Book 8, The Ten Thousand Kilometer Journey – Chapter 32, The Decision
Although Perry was already over two hundred years old, as a warrior of the eighth rank, his body was still very sturdy. But after Zassler pierced his claws into his skull, Perry’s face and body began to turn ashen white, while at the same time, his body began to quiver violently, as though he were an extremely ill old man.
Linley carefully watched this sight.
“Soulscour.” This was the first time Linley had seen this sort of technique performed. As one of the three most powerful types of magi, necromancers did indeed have some terrifying abilities.
After approximately two minutes had passed, Zassler’s green, glowing eyes returned to their normal color.
Zassler glanced at the ashen faced Perry, letting out a sinister laugh, then released him. The two golden-furred zombies also released Perry. As for Perry, with his skull pierced by claws and his soul scoured, he was dead without a doubt. Like a pile of mud, he slumped to the floor and didn’t move again.
“What do you think?” Zassler looked delightedly at Linley.
An expert like Zassler generally wouldn’t feel pride upon seeing the astonishment and admiration of ordinary people. But during this period of time that he had spent with Linley, he had yet to do anything to make Linley truly admire him. After revealing this ability, Zassler was quite looking forward to seeing Linley’s amazed expression.
Only the amazement of experts could satisfy Zassler’s vanity.
“Very incredible.” Linley sighed in honest amazement.
Souls were very amazing, mysterious things. They were the most fundamental component of a person, but people knew very little about souls. To recover a person’s memory from his soul was something which Linley, at least, couldn’t even begin to imagine doing.
“Heh heh heh.” Zassler laughed delightedly, and then those two golden-furred zombies by his side disappeared, returning to their home in the undead realm.
In the blink of an eye, Count Perry’s manor returned to its normal calm. By now, most people here remained unconscious, while the corpses of the experts just lay there on the floor.
Within the private courtyard of their residence.
Shutting the door to the main hall, Rebecca and Leena very obediently lit the lamps as Linley and Zassler began to chat.
“What did you discover in Perry’s memories?” Linley said calmly.
Zassler laughed delightedly as he looked at Linley. “Linley, in the past, I knew too little about you. I didn’t expect that you were such an incredible figure.”
“What did you find out about big brother Ley?” Rebecca’s adorable, large eyes widened as she asked with curiosity.
Zassler laughed, his white eyebrows jumping up and down. “Rebecca, Leena, your big brother Linley has quite a reputation in the Holy Union. His proficiency in stone sculpture is nearly on the same level as the likes of grandmasters such as Proulx. Do you know? When he was sixteen years old, he carved out a special sculpture. Can you guess how much that sculpture was worth?” Zassler asked, laughing.
Rebecca and Leena glanced at each other.
To them, sculptures were things that were very hard to make. To carve out a sculpture that was accurate and detailed was already hard enough, to say nothing of making it have a special aura.
“How many gold coins?” Rebecca and Leena asked curiously.
“Ten million gold coins!” Zassler announced.
Zassler had actually gotten all of this information from Count Perry’s mind. Count Perry had received a ‘kill order’ from the Radiant Church regarding Linley. Naturally, this kill order had many details regarding Linley.
“Ten million gold coins, for just a statue?” Rebecca and Leena’s mouths hung open, very wide.
“Not just sculptures, by the way. Your big brother Linley’s talent as a magus, in the past, was the second best in history. But now, most likely in the entire history of the Yulan continent, he can be considered the number one genius. As for his talent as a warrior, you should already know.” Zassler sincerely admired Linley from the heart.
Nobody would question that he was a genius. Linley’s performance had given testament to everything.
Rebecca and Leena immediately looked towards Linley, their eyes filled with astonishment and worship.
“Enough, Zassler.” Linley shook his head and laughed. “Enough of these bygone affairs. Tell me what you found in Perry’s mind.”
Zassler nodded, dropping his smile.
“Based on the information in Perry’s memory, the Radiant Church’s forces in the O’Brien Empire are fairly weak. They are all in hiding. They don’t dare to offend the War God, and thus in the O’Brien Empire, the Radiant Church has very few experts.”
Linley nodded slightly.
“From Perry’s memories, I discovered the identities of the various supervisors throughout the Northwest Administrative Province for the Radiant Church. We now can definitely shatter their entire web of power in this area.” Zassler laughed evilly.
Creation was hard. Destruction was easy.
To place a group of people in an area without arousing suspicion was extremely hard.
But to destroy this web of influence only required those people be killed.
“And in the other provinces?” Linley asked.
As far as Linley was concerned, just destroying their web of influence in this administrative province wasn’t enough. Only by destroying the entire operation of the Radiant Church in the O’Brien Empire would Linley be truly happy.
“If we kill all of the general supervisors and some of the important supervisors in all seven provinces, the Radiant Church’s forces will be like a beheaded dragon. In addition, the Radiant Church’s force structure in these areas all hinge around a single line of communication. Once the general supervisor and supervisors are dead, most likely their entire web of influence will collapse.”
The greater the blow to the Radiant Church, the happier Linley would be.
Zassler shook his head. “Just like how each supervisor in each prefectural city only reports to Perry, Perry himself only reports to the general supervisor for the entire O’Brien Empire, or the Radiant Church’s headquarters.”
“The general supervisor for the entire O’Brien Empire?” Linley’s eyes lit up.
So in the O’Brien Empire, there was a highly ranked general supervisor for the Empire? If they could seize this person and Soulscour him, most likely they would learn even more.
“Sadly, even Perry didn’t know who this person really is.” Zassler shook his head. “Perry only knew about a place he could go to exchange messages.”
But Zassler suddenly began to laugh. “But from Perry’s memories, I discovered another piece of interesting news.”
“Speak.” Linley looked at Zassler.
“The general supervisor of the O’Brien Empire issued an order. In roughly another month’s time, another squad of prisoner escorts will enter the Northwest Administrative Province. The general supervisor ordered Perry to carefully assist and welcome these people and make sure their secrets were kept.” Zassler’s lips split into a grin. “Per this order, it seems as though they place a very high importance on this squad. This squad isn’t the slightest bit less important than the one escorting me.”
“Oh?” Linley’s eyes lit up.
For this squad’s importance to be so high meant that the people they were escorting definitely weren’t ordinary figures.
“Do you know where their first point of entry in the Northwest Administrative Province will be?” Linley asked.
“It should be the prefectural city of Deco [De’ke]. Based on the initial planned trajectory, they won’t pass through the provincial capital.” Zassler said.
Linley nodded. He could totally understand this. The provincial capital of Basil had the Saint-level expert McKenzie present. Naturally, their route had to avoid this place.
“The prefectural city of Deco is roughly eight hundred kilometers away.” Zassler was quite familiar with the geography of the O’Brien Empire.
Linley said coldly. “Eight hundred kilometers? If we rush, we can get there in a day.”
If the Blackcloud Panther, Haeru, were to run at maximum speed, he wouldn’t even need half a day. But running for so long meant that he wouldn’t be able to maintain maximum output the entire time.
But if they ran at normal speeds and left in the morning, they definitely could reach there by nightfall.
“In half a month, we will head towards the prefectural city of Deco.” Linley said.
Zassler nodded as well.
Time passed. Linley, Zassler, and the sisters remained within this residence. Zassler was preparing to begin the ‘Necromantic Initiation Rites’ for the two sisters, while Linley didn’t waste any time either as he trained continuously.
Linley didn’t actually have the opportunity to witness the ‘Necromantic Initiation Rites’ first hand.
Only Rebecca, Leena, and Zassler were inside their room, as they began the ‘Necromantic Initiation Rites’. Very shortly afterwards, Zassler left the room, then instructed Linley not to disturb the two.
A full three days and three nights later, Rebecca and Leena proudly left the room.
Over the course of those three days, they had been totally attuned with the contents of the ‘Necromantic Initiation Rites’. According to what Zassler said, these two sisters had very high aptitudes.
As for Linley, he continued to train in the fourth level of the heavy sword, the ‘Profound Truths of the Earth’.
In the desolate wildness, a long-robed figure crossed the boundless plains like a whirlwind, flying east at high speed.
He had a skinny, agile frame, and his short hair was gleaming silver, looking like steel threads.
His entire body was covered by a black robe, and his eyes were very sharp. He stared east as he flew through the air at high speed.
“Five vessels of the eighth rank.” Stehle still remembered Heidens’ repeated instructions.
Those five siblings which were under armed escort could not be allowed to escape, no matter what. Five bodies of the eighth rank! Once the Angels descended, they would transform into five peak-stage Saint-level combatants.
“It has been a long time since I’ve killed a Saint-level combatant.” Stehle’s face had a hint of a cold, sinister smile on it.
Heidens had already stated that if a Saint-level combatant were to interfere, he could kill them. The Radiant Church would bear all responsibility for his actions.
The tenth morning after Count Perry’s death.
Linley was seated cross-legged on the floor, not moving at all. The morning mist covered the lands. Recently, Linley’s life had been very peaceful, even though Perry’s death had aroused an investigation by the city guards.
But this had nothing to do with Linley and his group.
Linley suddenly rose to his feet. The adamantine heavy sword in his hands suddenly stabbed forward, and an ear-splitting howl could be heard!
A wall roughly fifty meters in front of Linley suddenly quivered, a layer of dust shaking off from it.
“Boooom.” A fist-sized chunk of wall suddenly turned into dust. The sand-like pieces of disintegrated stone slowly poured out, revealing that fist-sized hole in the wall.
No battle-qi had been shot out. Just by stabbing at the air, Linley had created a hole in the wall at fifty meters distance.
“Profound Truths of the Earth – Triple Layered Waves.”
Linley gently murmured, “These most basic ‘Triple Layered Waves’ of the Profound Truths of the Earth have finally been completed.” After leaving the prefectural city of Cerre, Linley had been pondering this the entire time.
And now, Linley had finally mastered the most basic attack of the ‘Profound Truths of the Earth’; the ‘Triple Layered Waves’.
When the force of the battle-qi and physical strength in an attack was converted into vibrational form, the more vibrations that were created represented a higher rate of conversion, with lower loss of power. The ‘Triple Layered Waves’ technique had a very high level of loss conversion, but it was already extremely powerful.
After all, it was a totally different form of attack than one utilizing battle-qi and physical force.
“Linley.” Zassler was standing at the doorway, watching. “What sort of attack is that?” Zassler was quite surprised as well.
Zassler had seen attacks from Saint-level combatants.
But generally, what they did was chop out their swords, projecting battle-qi in distant attacks. But Zassler had never seen someone like Linley, who without visibly using battle-qi or any other power, could suddenly, silently, create a fist-sized hole in a distant wall. This was too bizarre.
“Even if I told you, you wouldn’t understand.” Linley laughed calmly.
After having mastered the most basic ‘Triple Layered Waves’, Linley knew that the farther up he went, the more difficult it would be and the more time would be required.
“Knock!” “Knock!” “Knock!”
Suddenly, knocking sounds could be heard from outside the door. Linley immediately walked over and opened it.
The hotel attendant said respectfully, “Sir, this gentleman wants to meet you.” An amiable, middle-aged man was standing next to the attendant.
The middle-aged man glanced at the attendant, and the attendant very courteously withdrew immediately.
The middle-aged man smiled at Linley. “Lord Linley, hello.”
Linley’s face couldn’t help but change. There were very few people who knew his identity.
“Lord Linley, no need to be too anxious. My clan’s lord wishes to meet with you.” The middle-aged man smiled.
“Who is the lord of your clan?” Linley frowned.
“Lord Linley, if you read this letter, you will understand.” The middle-aged man withdrew a letter from his clothes and offered it to Linley.