Book 8, The Ten Thousand Kilometer Journey – Chapter 38, The Church’s Strategy
After Cesar left, Linley’s group immediately headed off that morning in the direction of the provincial capital of Basil. This time, they weren’t in too much of a hurry. But for the five Barker brothers, who were warriors of the eighth rank, the speed at which they travelled was still quite fast.
By nightfall the next day, Linley’s group arrived at a town near the provincial capital of Basil.
“This town is called Cloudpeaks Village.” Zassler laughed as he introduced the town. “In the past, I spent over ten years in this small town. The people here are fairly honest and simple, and they rarely interact with the outside world. Generally speaking, very few people come here. It is quite peaceful.”
What they needed was a peaceful place. This time, when he fought against Stehle, he had very nearly lost his life. Linley made up his mind that he would have to train until he was at least a warrior of the ninth rank in human form. That way, after being Dragonformed, his power would be at the Saint-level.
“If I can reach the Saint-level, then a few years later after that, when I combine my insights and understanding of the principles of using the sword with my superior speed, even if I encounter Stehle again, I’ll still be able to flee, even if I can’t win.”
Linley had a very good grasp of the strengths of this mutated Dragonform he had.
After devouring the blood as well as the draconic core of that Armored Razorback Wyrm, Linley’s mutated Dragonform had inherited the strengths of the Armored Razorback Wyrm; its speed and its defense.
As the five Barker brothers stared at the peaceful town, their eyes were firm and resolute as well.
“There will definitely come the day when I will get revenge for my wife and my son.” Barker and his brothers also knew the state of affairs between Linley, Zassler, and the Radiant Church.
Without question, this group was now under the leadership of Linley.
This squad was completely composed of the enemies of the Radiant Church.
On the west side of Cloudpeaks Village, Linley and his people engaged in a quick transaction with some local nobles, spending ten thousand gold coins to invite many laborers to come and erect a new residence.
Ten thousand gold coins, in a countryside town such as this, was enough to build a very lavish residence.
The very next day, Linley brought Rebecca and Leena to this place. From this day forward, Linley’s team all quietly took up residence here, focusing on their training.
The ocean waves crashed against the shore, throwing up countless sprays of foam. Above the jade-blue ocean waters, a human figure could be seen flying over at high speed. In a short period of time, the human figure arrived at the shore. It was Stehle.
“Things have gotten complicated now.” Stehle was extremely frustrated.
The Church had placed a very high degree of importance on obtaining those five bodies. Most likely, it would even be willing to give up one of its Saint-level combatants or offend the O’Brien Empire to do so. In order to make sure nothing would go amiss, Heidens had even asked him, Stehle, to handle it.
But the result was…
Stehle stared at that distant, mighty Radiant Cathedral.
“Woosh.” Stehle once more took to the air. The knights surrounding the Radiant Temple, upon seeing someone flying towards it, couldn’t help but tense. Only after seeing that it was Stehle did they calm down.
Within the ninth floor of the Radiant Temple.
“Oh, Stehle’s back.” Heidens had already seen through his window the sight of Stehle flying back through the air. “What’s going on? Why did Stehle come back alone?”
Heidens had a very bad premonition.
“Creak.” Without any forewarning, the door to his room swung upon. Stehle, as cold as thousand-year glacial ice, walked in.
“Stehle, what happened? Where are they? Where are those five bodies of the eighth rank?” Heidens was frowning and he asked his questions hurriedly.
Stehle shook his head. “Your Holiness, acquiring those five bodies is no longer an option for us.”
“What happened?” Heidens’ face sank.
Those five bodies represented five peak-stage Saint-level combatants. Their importance to the Radiant Church couldn’t be understated.
Stehle said in a low, somber voice, “Your Holiness, originally, I was escorting those five brothers along the way. But when we entered the prefectural city of Deco, we ran into two people.”
“Which two people?” Heidens didn’t believe there was someone capable of stopping Stehle.
“Linley, Zassler.” Stehle’s voice was extremely cold.
“Linley? Zassler?” Heidens was startled.
This Linley had disappeared for three years. He now appeared out of nowhere?
Heidens couldn’t help but think back to three years ago. Heidens truly did not wish to kill an ultimate genius such as Linley. But he had no other choice. However, three years ago, after Linley disappeared from Hess City, no one ever found any trace of him again.
But now, Linley was in cahoots with Zassler?
“Are you telling me that it was Linley who had rescued Zassler?” Heidens’ eyes lit up.
Stehle nodded. “Yes. This Linley is already extremely, extremely powerful. Beneath the Saint-level, there’s definitely no one who can match him. Only Saint-level fighters or other extremely powerful fighters can defeat him.”
“Six combatants of the ninth rank. He can kill that many?” Heidens found it rather hard to believe.
Stehle nodded somberly. “Your Holiness, I must inform you that this Linley has two extremely powerful magical beasts. Both of them should be peak-stage magical beasts of the ninth rank. And in addition…in terms of insight and understanding regarding fundamental principles, Linley is already nearing the peak-stage Saint level.”
“Nearing the peak-stage Saint-level?” Heidens was very shocked.
After all, the higher one’s level of understanding was already at, the harder it would be to progress to the next level of understanding. There were people who would spend hundreds of years training yet still fail to improve whatsoever.
“Yes. Linley has already surpassed the level of using the force of the heavens. His current form of attack is extremely strange and unique. What’s more, I have the feeling that right now, he has only mastered a small part of that level. Despite that, he was able to cause me a light wound.” Stehle couldn’t help but reflect on how bizarre Linley’s attack using the ‘Profound Truths of the Earth’ was.
“I’ve never encountered an attack such as that. That sort of attack wasn’t based on battle-qi, nor was it based purely on strength. It was…” Stehle paused, not quite able to find the right words to express it.
Hearing Stehle say such things, Heidens was very surprised.
An attack which could cause a light wound to a peak-stage Saint-level combatant such as Stehle was already, in and of itself, quite astonishing.
“What was so special about his attack? How would one defend against it?” Heidens immediately asked.
Stehle nodded. “His attack could pass through the exterior muscles and transmit its force directly into the internal organs. In other words, exterior layers of defense, no matter how powerful, are virtually useless.”
“Oh?” Heidens frowned.
“This technique is a weapon aimed at attacking the internal organs of a person. In order to defend against this technique, the best method is to use battle-qi to internally protect all of the body’s internal organs, covering them all with a layer of battle-qi.”
Actually, these vibrations which Linley’s attack created, when passing through material barriers, would still lose a bit of power.
But because this was a sort of vibrating wave, no matter how high your external defense was, it would still transmit its power through your defense. However, if the opponent’s organs had a highly dense, concentrated layer of protective battle-qi over it, the vibrational waves would be slowly weakened by the battle-qi. By the time it reached the internal organs, its threat level would be rather low.
“There’s no way to completely defend against this sort of attack. The only option is to use a high amount of battle-qi to ameliorate its effects.” Stehle sighed in praise. “And, again, I have the sense that Linley has just recently begun to understand this technique. In the future, his attack will most likely be even more powerful. This can probably be classified as the strangest type of attack I have ever seen.”
Stehle had a very high opinion of this technique.
This made Heidens all the more worried.
“This Linley must be killed.” Heidens was now truly starting to grow worried. If Linley was to be permitted to continue to develop like this, he would pose a true threat to the Radiant Church.
“Continue. I’m sure the two of them weren’t enough to stop you.” Heidens said in a somber voice.
Stehle nodded. “Indeed. Both Linley and Zassler are only of the ninth rank. But just as I was about to kill Linley, a person appeared out of nowhere. Cesar. The King of Killers, Cesar!”
“Cesar?” Heidens said doubtfully. “He shouldn’t be willing to dare fight face to face against the Radiant Church directly.”
“Wrong. He dares.” Stehle sighed. “Cesar has reached the Deity-level.”
“Reached the Deity-level!”
These words were like a lightning bolt slamming into Heidens’ mind, making him momentarily feel dizzy. Yet another Deity-level combatant had appeared in the Yulan continent.
“Deity-level?” Heidens stared at Stehle.
“Yes. Deity-level.” Stehle nodded again.
Heidens was silent for a long moment.
“What did Cesar say?” Heidens said calmly.
“Cesar said, in the future, our Radiant Church definitely must not have any designs on those five brothers. Otherwise, he will shed all pretense of cordiality with us and slaughter his way to the Sacred Isle.” Stehle’s words were like a hammer to Heidens’ heart.
These five vessels of the eighth rank symbolized five peak-stage Saint-level Angels.
This was too heartbreaking. Heidens didn’t want to accept it.
He didn’t want to accept it!!!
“Why would Cesar say such a thing?” Heidens’ eyes narrowed. “Based on my understanding of Cesar, he’s a man who has no interest in power or authority. He enjoys living a carefree life. He wouldn’t spend a single iota of effort on a stranger.”
This was indeed the case. Cesar truly didn’t care about the lives or deaths of others.
“For a lazy person such as Cesar to be willing to go this far…”
Heidens’ eyebrows suddenly shot up, and his eyes lit up.
“I understand now.” Heidens sighed.
“What’s the reason, Your Holiness?” Stehle asked.
Heidens sighed yet again. “In the records that the Church has regarding Cesar, there was information regarding, in the chaotic era of five thousand years ago, Cesar’s experiences alongside his good friend Armand. The people whom Cesar truly values have always been the descendants of Armand.”
“The Undying Warriors?” Stehle began to understand as well.
“Right. I’ve always been very surprised how five bodies of the eighth rank could suddenly appear here in the Yulan continent. But now, it makes sense. Undying Warriors. The most physically powerful of the Four Supreme Warriors.”
Heidens was silent for a long period of time. His thoughts regained their normal clarity.
“We can’t touch those five siblings. That is without question.” No matter what, they couldn’t afford to offend a Deity-level expert.
“Linley’s level of talent is simply terrifying. We simply cannot allow him to live.” Heidens looked at Stehle. “Stehle, Cesar didn’t say that he would go to war against the Radiant Church for Linley’s sake, did he?”
Heidens smiled confidently.
“That’s more like him. Although he likes stone sculptures, he definitely wouldn’t go to total war against the Radiant Church for the sake of a master sculptor.”
Cesar was an arrogant loner.
There were very few people for whom he would really be willing to go all out. And Linley was not one of them.
“Stehle, go and get some rest. When you leave, order someone to have Lyndin [Lan’dan] come.” Heidens ordered.
“Yes, Your Holiness.”
Roughly ten minutes later, the sound of knocking at the door.
“Enter.” Heidens said calmly.
A tall and beautiful woman with a head of silver hair walked in. Without question, she was a woman so beautiful as to make any man go wild. But that icy beauty of hers was the type that would make others not dare to approach her.
“Your Holiness.” Lyndin bowed.
Heidens immediately issued his order. “Tomorrow, take five Angels of the ninth rank with you and head directly to the O’Brien Empire. The goal for this mission is to kill Linley. In a while, I will have a scroll containing information about Linley delivered to you.”
“Yes, Your Holiness.”
Lyndin was a Radiant Angel who had descended into a body of the sixth rank. Although it was quite hard to find bodies of the seventh and eighth ranks, bodies of the sixth rank were quite common. Thus, the Radiant Church had quite a few Angels of the ninth rank.
“Remember, you must kill Linley, no matter the cost.” Heidens instructed yet again.
Lyndin started, then expressed assent.
Angels possessed astonishing power. Even the weakest Two-Winged Angels had early-stage Saint-level power. Lyndin’s true power was very powerful; however, bound by the restrictions of their vessels, they weren’t able to put them on full display.
But if they were to go all out…
They were totally capable of unleashing their Saint-level power in exchange for their lives.
Most importantly…six Angels were capable of forming the legendary ‘Angel Battle Formation’. With the six of them joining forces, even an early-stage Saint-level expert would most likely be killed, to say nothing of Linley.
Heidens said calmly.
They were just six Angels of the ninth rank, after all. For the sake of killing Linley, he’d be willing to sacrifice six more if necessary. After all, Linley’s natural talent had truly terrified Heidens.
“He cannot be allowed to continue to grow!”