Book 8, The Ten Thousand Kilometer Journey – Chapter 42, An Appointment Kept
The five year agreement. Linley still remembered his promise.
“I hope Jenne won’t be too determined.” Linley knew that even if in the end, Jenne elected to follow him, at most Linley would only be able to treat her as he did Rebecca and Leena.
Linley couldn’t reciprocate her affections.
After experiencing so much and passing one tribulation after another, the deepest part of Linley’s heart had been frozen and locked. That layer of ice covering it was very cold, very thick. To melt the hard ice surrounding Linley’s heart would be difficult. Very difficult.
But when he thought about affairs of the heart, Linley began to think about Wharton.
“According to Yale’s messengers, over this past year, Wharton and the Seventh Princess of the Empire have been quite passionate with each other. However, according to what the letter says, it won’t be easy for Wharton to successfully take the Seventh Princess as his wife.”
The Seventh Princess’s background was simply too excellent. She was virtuous, kind, beautiful, of high rank, and doted upon by her imperial father. There were too many suitors.
The only thing Linley could do was to silently bless his little brother and hope he would have a wonderful relationship.
At least, his brother couldn’t end up like him.
Half a month later.
“Lord.” The fifth brother, Gates, energetically sprinted over towards Linley, who had just completed a sculpture. With excitement, he said, “My big brother has also grasped the concept of ‘wielding something heavy as though it were light’.”
With a flip of his hand, Linley stored away his straight chisel. With surprise, he said, “Barker has reached the level of ‘wielding something heavy as though it were light’?”
“Right. Lord, why don’t you go take a look?” Gates advised.
Linley laughed. “How about this. Gates, have everyone come to the main hall. There’s something I want to tell all of you.”
“Oh.” Seeing Linley had something important that he wished to discuss, Gates nodded.
After a while, everyone congregated within the main hall. Many of them were animatedly talking about Barker reaching the level of ‘wielding something heavy as though it were light’.
Smiling, Linley walked into the main hall. “I have an important matter I need to take care of. On this trip, I will only bring Bebe and Haeru. As for the rest of you, all you need to do is to continue to train here. If everything happens quickly, I’ll be back in a few days. If I need a bit longer, I’ll send someone with a message.”
“Lord, you don’t plan to take us along?” Gates asked loudly.
“Continue your training.” Linley laughed as he glanced at Gates. “Gates, if you can reach the ‘impose’ level, or reach the ninth rank, I will take you as well.”
Gates immediately shut his mouth. He wasn’t Linley. Reaching the level of ‘wielding something heavy as though it were light’ was already quite difficult for him. He was still just at the basic stage of this level, and had yet to even master it.
“Enough. Tomorrow morning, I leave at dawn.” Linley declared directly.
The next morning at dawn, the Barker brothers, Rebecca, Leena, and Zassler all watched as Linley, dressed in a warrior’s outfit covered by a long black robe, rode off on the back of Haeru, his Blackcloud Panther, with Bebe seated next to him. The man and the two magical beasts departed from the Cloudpeaks Village.
His long black robe fluttered in the wind. Linley’s weapons had all been withdrawn into his interspatial ring.
“Using the adamantine heavy sword to execute the Profound Truths of the Earth is extremely powerful; once that technique comes out, most likely the target will perish. Normally, it would be better for me to continue using the Bloodviolet Godsword.”
Linley had already reached a fairly high level of proficiency in using his Profound Truths of the Earth.
But as for the Profound Truths of the Wind his Bloodviolet sword used, Linley’s level of proficiency was quite low.
Linley didn’t believe that using the Bloodviolet sword was necessarily weaker than using the adamantine heavy sword. After all, the forbidden wind-style spell was the single-target spell ‘Dimensional Edge’. If magical techniques could create the effects of this spell, logically speaking, sword techniques should as well.
“Bebe, I’ve discovered that over these years, you’ve continued to improve. What sort of magical beast are you, exactly?” Seated astride Haeru, Linley laughed towards Bebe.
Haeru let out a growl. “Master, Bebe is a total freak. I’ve never seen such a freakishly powerful magical beast. Five years ago, he was about the same as me, but now, he’s much more powerful. But he still hasn’t reached the Saint-level yet.”
If Haeru had met the three sons of Dylin, the King of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, he would know that there were other magical beasts in the world that were even more freakishly powerful than Bebe. Those three were terrifying magical beasts of the Saint-rank had easily swallowed over a hundred enormous dragons into their bellies.
“Bebe has grown somewhat stronger.” Linley chuckled. “But Bebe seems to still be growing.”
Linley suspected that Bebe was not fully an adult yet.
“Heh heh, that’s entirely possible.” Bebe narcissistically raised his little head. “When I, Bebe, reach adulthood, maybe I’ll be a Saint-level magical beast.”
Saint-level magical beasts such as the Bloody-eyed Maned Lion, the Savage Worldbear, the Violet-Eyed Goldfur Ape…these were magical beasts which would, as a natural part of their growth cycle, enter the Saint-level as soon as they reached full adulthood.
This was the innate gift of these Saint-level magical beasts.
“I’ve heard of Saint-level magical beasts. But is there such a thing as magical beasts which would naturally grow up to reach the Deity-level?” Linley sighed to himself. “Even if there are, I’ll wager they wouldn’t appear on planes such as the Yulan continent.”
They continued on their journey. By nightfall, Linley reached the prefectural city of Cerre.
On the streets of Cerre, there were many people mounted on magical beasts. However, most of those people were mounted on low-level or mid-level magical beasts such as Windwolves or Fanged Wolves.
When Linley rode the Blackcloud Panther on the streets, the other magical beasts all prudently retreated in terror, giving him space.
Although humans, when encountering strange magical beasts, might not be able to accurately gauge the beast’s strength, when a low level magical beast encountered a high level magical beast, they would easily be able to sense the difference in power.
“Hrm? A black panther?”
A very ordinary man in the streets of the prefectural city of Cerre saw Linley seated on his black panther, and his eyes immediately lit up. “He has a black panther, and he looks exactly the same as the picture. It must be him.”
The man immediately grew excited. He immediately ran out of the street, heading towards a small alleyway.
At the gate to the governor’s castle of the prefectural city of Cerre. As soon as Linley had seen the gate, he discovered that a large number of people were congregating around the gate, awaiting his arrival.
“Big brother Ley.”
A young man and woman called out at the same time.
Linley immediately recognized them. The girl who had grown even more mature and beautiful was Jenne, while the handsome young fellow who was half a head taller than Jenne was most likely the grown up Keane.
Keane and Jenne ran over excitedly.
The now nineteen year old Keane said loudly, “Big brother Ley, I heard from the guards a long time ago that a man riding a black panther had arrived. I immediately guessed that it must be you.”
Black panthers were extremely rare, after all. There were only two types; Blackstripe Panthers, and Blackcloud Panthers.
“Big brother Ley.” Jenne’s face was slightly flushed, and she looked expectantly at Linley.
“Let’s talk inside.” Linley said with a calm laugh.
All of them entered the castle. Since he had turned sixteen, Keane had officially taken over the management responsibilities of the city, and by now, he was a qualified city governor.
Last year, Keane had taken a beautiful wife. At the time, Keane had wanted to invite Linley, but unfortunately, he had no idea where Linley was living.
“Jenne, you’ve become a magus?” Walking in the hallway, Linley laughed as he asked her this question.
Given Linley’s spiritual energy, he could immediately sense the aura of a magus coming from Jenne. The aura wasn’t particularly strong.
“Right. A water-style magus.” Jenne’s eyes shone with excitement. “Big brother Ley, after you left, I didn’t have anything to do. Afterwards, I realized that with you being so powerful, if I couldn’t do anything and kept on being a hindrance to you, that wouldn’t be a good thing. So, I went to have my elemental affinity and my spiritual energy tested. I didn’t expect that I was suited to train in water-style magic.”
When she was young, Jenne had been constantly suppressed and held down by her aunt, and thus didn’t have the chance to train in magic at all.
Nobody had any idea that Jenne had the capability of becoming a magus.
“But my talent isn’t very high. After five years, I’m still only a magus of the third rank.” Jenne said quietly.
Generally speaking, from infanthood until adulthood, one’s spiritual energy was continuously growing. But for geniuses such as Linley and Reynolds, even if they hadn’t trained in magic when they were young and only began once they reached the age of eighteen, they probably would have immediately started off with the spiritual energy of a magus of the third rank.
Eighteen years of growth, combined with five years of training. And yet, she was still only of the third rank.
Her talent could only be considered to be average, perhaps a bit higher than your ordinary magi.
“Big brother Ley, have a seat.” Keane enthusiastically invited Linley to sit in the seat of honor. “Let me make some introductions. This is my wife, Irene [Ai’lin].”
Seated next to Keane was a very beautiful young lady, who had a pair of pretty blue eyes. Right now, this young lady was looking at Linley with curiosity. When she and Keane had first began their courtship, Keane often would talk to her about Linley.
“Big brother Ley.” Irene said courteously.
“Keane, everyone, just sit down and relax. Don’t stand on so much ceremony.” Linley said with a calm laugh.
Everyone sat down, but Keane continuously stared at Linley. Keane knew very well that the purpose of this trip had to do with that five year agreement he had made.
Five years having passed, Jenne was now twenty three. Because of training in water-style magic, Jenne’s skin was now glistening, making her even more beautiful. And the now twenty three year old Jenne now had a more womanly aura.
During these five years, Jenne had many suitors.
And not just from the prefectural city of Cerre. Whenever Jenne and Keane went to attend the yearly events of the clan at the provincial capital of Basil, there would be many people who would attempt to flirt with or make passes at Jenne.
But Jenne still refused to pay any of them any heed.
“Jenne.” Linley looked at Jenne, cutting straight to the heart of the matter. “I imagine you still remember our five year agreement. Jenne, I’ll tell you right now, in my heart, I truly can only envision you as a younger sister who needs someone to cherish her.”
Jenne’s entire body trembled, but in the next moment, she began to laugh.
Next to her, Keane and their housekeeper, Lambert, both let out a low sigh.
“Big brother Ley.” Jenne said. “I feel very fortunate to have a big brother like you. No matter what, no matter where, I’ll follow you. I just hope that you won’t discard me before I get married.”
Linley slightly trembled.
But he immediately understood that Jenne truly had made up her mind to follow him. But judging from what Jenne was saying, over the course of these five years, Jenne had already mentally prepared for what he had said today.
“Then you’ve decided to follow me and leave here?” Linley asked.
Jenne paused for a second. After all, she was very close to her brother, Keane. In her heart, she couldn’t bear to part with him either. But after taking a glance at Keane and seeing how happy and loving he was with Irene, Jenne’s worries melted away.
“I can follow you away at any time, big brother Ley. Big brother Ley, where do we go first?” Jenne asked.
“We’ll first pay a visit to a small town near the provincial capital of Basil.” Linley replied.
“The provincial capital of Basil?” Keane started, then immediately said, “Big brother Ley, our Jacques clan will organize a yearly gathering at the provincial capital of Basil each year. It happens every year on November 15th. The day will come in three days. Big brother Linley, would you be willing to let my sis go with me one more time? It’s in the same direction anyhow.”
Keane looked expectantly at Linley.
Keane really couldn’t bear to be parted from his sister. He knew that Linley roamed the world. Once his sister left with Linley, who knew how long it would be before the two would meet again?
Having grown up alongside his big sister, their affection was naturally very deep.
Linley looked at Keane, then looked at Jenne. Finally, he nodded. “Fine. We’ll go to the provincial capital of Basil together. After you finish attending your clan’s annual gathering, Jenne will leave with me.”
“Thank you.” Keane said gratefully.
While Linley took up residence for a few days within the prefectural city’s castle, the Radiant Church’s forces that were hidden within the prefectural city of Cerre were very excited.
“That Linley actually came to the prefectural city of Cerre. This is wonderful.” A white haired man said, his face covered with excitement. “Five years, five full years. We’ve finally found Linley.”
The Radiant Church had been searching fruitlessly for Linley for five years. Sadly, due to their lack of manpower within the O’Brien Empire, their forces were primarily concentrated in places such as prefectural cities. Naturally, they wouldn’t be able to discover Linley, who was hiding within a countryside village.
However, in this prefectural city of Cerre, the place where Linley had once stayed for quite some time, the Radiant Church had a good amount of people present.
“Hurry and send a message to Lady Lyndin in the countryside. Tell her that Linley has arrived at the prefectural city of Cerre.” The white robed man immediately instructed his subordinates.
Lyndin and the other five Angels, upon arriving at the O’Brien Empire, had searched everywhere for Linley for two full years, but had found nothing. In the end, with no other choices, they had settled into a small town near the prefectural city of Cerre, ready to act at a moment’s notice.
As soon as they received any news, they would immediately head out.
They would kill Linley no matter what the cost, even if it meant they would have to die with him. This was their fate as Angels.