Book 9, His Fame Shakes the World – Chapter 3, Provocation
Emperor Johann had heard of Linley’s fame long ago.
That ‘second genius magus’ in all of history who had also reached the exalted rank of grandmaster sculptor at the age of sixteen. An absolute genius. When Johann had learned of Linley and his history, he couldn’t help but sigh repeatedly with admiration.
He watched as Linley walked in.
“He indeed appears to be a man of great talent.” Johann sighed to himself. Be it in either his physical proportions or his reserved personality, Johann could tell that Linley did indeed have that unique aura of a grandmaster sculptor.
“Greetings, your Imperial Majesty.” Linley bowed fractionally.
“How dare you.” The palace attendant next to Emperor Johann said in a shrill voice. “How dare you not kneel and kowtow before his Imperial Majesty?”
Linley swept the attendant with his cold gaze. The palace attendant suddenly felt as though he was being stared at by a viper, and he couldn’t help but shiver.
“A master artisan such as Linley is someone whom We have admired for a long time. Naturally, there is no need for him to kneel and pay any obeisance.” Johann glanced at his nearby attendant, and the attendant no longer dared to speak.
In the O’Brien Empire, generally speaking, ministers needed to kneel on one knee before the Emperor. But people such as Blumer, a personal disciple of the War God, only needed to bow slightly.
“Wharton.” Johann looked at Wharton, who stood next to Linley. “We have heard long ago that you had an older brother. Why is it that you have only brought him to see Us today?”
Wharton immediately said, “Your Imperial Majesty, your servant’s older brother has only recently arrived in the imperial capital.”
Emperor Johann nodded calmly, then looked at Linley. With a laugh, he said, “Master Linley, I heard that at the age of seventeen, you became a dual-element magus of the seventh rank. After ten years have passed, might I ask what level you have now reached?”
Linley smiled. “After ten years of painstaking training, just a few days ago, I stepped past the gateway into the ninth rank.”
“An Arch Magus of the ninth rank?” Johann blinked.
“What?” A surprised shout from behind the Emperor. Linley casually glanced at the covering screen placed behind the Emperor’s seat. As soon as he had entered, Linley had known that there were two experts of the ninth rank hidden there, one a magus, one a warrior.
Johann glanced backwards as well.
Knowing that they had revealed themselves, those two came forward. One was dressed in a loose, long magus robe, while the other was wearing a classic warrior’s outfit.
“These two are Our guards. They, too, were shocked at your advancement, Master Linley.” Johann laughed calmly.
“A dual-element Arch Magus of the ninth rank. Linley, might I ask how old you are this year?” That silver-haired magus stared at Linley. As a magus, he naturally knew how incredibly difficult it was for one to increase one’s level of spiritual energy.
Throughout history, more than ten warriors had reached the Saint-level in their twenties.
But in all of history, there was not a single Arch Magus of the ninth rank who reached that rank before the age of thirty. The rate of advancement for spiritual energy was something which couldn’t be increased by any known means. It required one to slowly accumulate it, one step at a time.
“My older brother is twenty seven years old this year.” Wharton spoke out.
“Twenty seven!” Hearing this number, that magus of the ninth rank had a very…amusing…look of shock on his face.
History was history. History included the records of countless geniuses over tens of thousands of years. There were a few people who reached the ninth rank after the age of thirty, but that was ancient history. In the past few centuries, there hadn’t been a single person who had reached the ninth rank in their thirties.
“Twenty seven. Twenty seven!” That silver-haired old man laughed at himself. “I reached the rank of Arch Magus of the ninth rank when I turned 170, and I thought I didn’t do too bad. But compared to you, Master Linley…”
The silver-haired old man sighed, shaking his head.
The difference was simply too extraordinary.
“Mr. Gerhaus, in the past, how old was the youngest Arch Magus to reach the ninth rank?” Johann immediately asked.
The silver-haired old man said respectfully, “Your Imperial Majesty, according to the historical records, the youngest Arch Magus of the ninth rank was an absolute genius from over thirty thousand years ago. He reached the ninth rank at the age of thirty-two. In more recent history, from the beginning of the Yulan calendar to now, the youngest genius magus to reach the ninth rank did so at the age of thirty-five.”
In training battle-qi, if one possessed or acquired some special treasures, perhaps their battle-qi would be greatly enhanced.
One’s level of understanding might suddenly jump as well from a flash of insight.
There had been people who had reached the Saint-level in their twenties!
But spiritual energy wasn’t something that you could easily increase at will. Even by using the Straight Chisel School of stone sculpting, Linley had only gained that sudden breakthrough and increase a single time, when he was sixteen. In the past ten years, he had been slowly, painstakingly training nonstop. Only then had he managed to reach the ninth rank.
“I’ve heard that Master Linley isn’t just a magus. You are also a powerful warrior?” Emperor Johann smiled towards Linley.
Linley smiled calmly. “Your Imperial Majesty, you can have that person next to you give me a try.”
That warrior of the ninth rank pursed his lips. “Can it be that Master Linley is such a genius that you have reached the level of a warrior of the ninth rank as well?”
“Mr. Lancy, go ahead and give him a try. But you must be careful. Master Linley is of the Dragonblood Warrior clan.” Johann laughed.
Mr. Lancy immediately drew his pitch black broadsword.
Linley only flipped his hand over, allowing Bloodviolet to appear in his palm. Against a warrior of the ninth rank, he didn’t even need to transform.
“Hrmph.” A layer of illusionary, stellar light seemed to suddenly cover the broadsword in Mr. Lancy’s hand. “Mr. Lancy is the student of the Stellar Sword Saint.” Johann explained.
Stellar Sword Saint?
Linley wasn’t even concerned about the Stellar Sword Saint himself, much less his disciple.
“Swish…” The broadsword seemed to split apart the air itself, chopping against Linley with seemingly enormous power. Linley just stood there, not even moving. Bloodviolet flashed…
Mr. Lancer suddenly felt as though the entire world was filled with violet light, and that all the surrounding space had suddenly been locked and frozen.
“Bam!” The flat of Bloodviolet’s blade struck against Lancy, knocking him flying back and smashing against the stone screen. The screen split apart, and Lancy spat out a mouthful of blood as he fell to the ground.
Steadying himself with his hands against the floor, Lancy slowly rose to his feet. His eyes didn’t have a hint of arrogance in them. Instead, he said with gratitude, “Thank you for being merciful, Master Linley.” The flat of the blade had contained such tremendous force when it struck against him. If it had been the edge of the blade, he definitely would have died.
“Of course. It was just a sparring match.” Linley said casually.
“Master Linley, you have already mastered the level of using the force of the heavens and the earth. My master once said that in order to reach the Saint-level, one must master this level. I am too far off from your level, Master Linley.” Lancy knew his own limits.
When sparring against his master, he had previously experienced this sensation of the space around him having been frozen and locked.
Emperor Johann’s eyes narrowed.
The Empire’s intelligence regarding the Dragonblood Warriors was quite detailed. If a person were able to reach the ninth rank in human form, then after Dragonforming, that person would definitely be at the Saint-level of power. And if they were able to reach the Saint-level in human form, then in Dragonform, they would definitely be invincible amongst Saint-levels.
Linley’s status in Johann’s mind was continuing to rise.
“Haha…master Linley, you truly are the most incredible genius that We have ever seen. Even Olivier cannot come close to competing with you.” Johann laughed loudly.
As a warrior, Olivier perhaps was on par with Linley.
But as a magus? Who could compete with him, the greatest genius in all of history?
As a stone sculptor? Linley had been acclaimed as a grandmaster sculptor at the age of sixteen. Every aficionado of stone sculptures was filled with worship towards him.
It was very hard to reach the peak of any field. For someone to reach the peak of three fields…only the word ‘genius’ could be used to describe him.
“Your Imperial Majesty.” Linley didn’t want to waste any time with Johann. “I just recently arrived at the imperial capital. There are many things I don’t understand too well regarding the affairs of the Empire. But I understand that my younger brother Wharton truly likes the Seventh Princess, Nina. In my capacity as the clan leader of the Baruch clan, I would like to ask you, your Imperial Majesty. Would you be willing to allow Nina to marry into my Baruch clan?”
With Hogg’s death, Linley had become the leader of the Baruch clan.
But this so-called clan only had two members to it.
“This…” Johann was put in a very difficult situation by Linley’s sudden ambush.
Linley was indeed a genius, and Johann’s heart had been moved.
There were quite a few Saint-level warriors in the O’Brien Empire. The War God’s College alone had several. But Saint-level Grand Magi could be counted on one hand. And perhaps only a single one of them would obey the commands of the imperial clan.
Perhaps in one-on-one combat, Saint-level Grand Magi were not exceptionally powerful.
But in times of war, Saint-level Grand Magi were incredibly dangerous.
Just think about it. If a Saint-level Grand Magus were to directly cast a destructive forbidden-level spell over your capital, how much damage would be caused? The million man army that you painstakingly built up might be destroyed in an instant by a single forbidden-level spell such as the ‘Annihilating Tempest’.
A dual-element Arch Magus of the ninth rank at age twenty seven.
If someone were to tell Johann that a genius such as this wouldn’t be able to reach the Saint-level and become a Grand Magus, Johann most likely would curse out that person as being mentally retarded.
The allure of a Saint-level Grand Magus was much higher than that of a Saint-level warrior.
“Master Linley, please permit Us some time to consider it.” Emperor Johann’s attitude was incredibly friendly.
“Then I and my younger brother will respectfully await your Imperial Majesty’s decision.” Linley said with a calm laugh. “Then, your Imperial Majesty, I bid you farewell.”
“Master Linley, why not enjoy a dinner with Us instead?” Emperor Johann hurriedly said.
“Thank you, your Imperial Majesty, for your kind offer. But I have other affairs to attend to.” Linley said with a smile. A hint of disappointment was on Johann’s face, but he didn’t try to press the issue. Smiling, he said, “Next time, then.”
Linley and Wharton walked out of the inner palace. Wharton was extremely excited. “Big bro, I’ve never seen his Imperial Majesty be so humble before. Even facing Blumer, he had never been so modest.”
“The O’Brien Empire has many Saint-level warriors, but very few Saint-level Grand Magi.” Linley laughed calmly. “Most likely, he values my talent in magic.”
A twenty-seven year old dual-element Arch Magus of the ninth rank.
Anyone who heard these words would be terrified out of their wits.
Nobody could say for sure how terrifyingly powerful Linley would be in the future.
“Judging from the look on his Imperial Majesty’s face, most likely he is beginning to seriously consider things. I’ve been in the Empire for quite some time, but I haven’t heard of any Saint-level Grand Magi yet.” Wharton sighed emotionally.
The O’Brien Empire truly had too few Saint-level Grand Magi.
“Hrm?” Wharton suddenly saw someone from afar.
Noticing that Wharton had paused, Linley couldn’t help but ask questioningly, “What are you looking at?”
“Oh, it’s Wharton. What, did you go to visit his Imperial Majesty?” A cold voice rang out. Linley turned to look as well. At a glance, Linley could tell that this youngster in front of him was no weakling.
“Blumer, what are you doing over there?” Wharton said coldly.
Wharton was fairly familiar with the layout of the imperial palace, especially the wing where the Seventh Princess, Nina, resided in. The direction Blumer was headed towards was precisely the direction where Nina’s residence was.
Blumer laughed calmly. “What? Aren’t I allowed to visit Princess Nina?”
“Visit Princess Nina?” Wharton suddenly grew calm. “Blumer, I’ll wager that you haven’t been even allowed inside the main entrance.”
This indeed was the case.
Blumer had went to visit Nina, but Nina had shut the gate in his face, refusing to see him at all.
Blumer’s heart had been filled with anger at this. All his life, aside from his older brother whom he worshipped, he had never lowered himself in front of anyone. After becoming the personal disciple of the War God, he had become all the more self-confident.
“No. I haven’t been able to get in.”
Wharton laughed calmly. “Blumer, did you think that because you are the personal disciple of the War God, you would definitely be able to marry Nina? Dream on! Big bro, let’s go.”
Linley shook his head with a calm smile, then turned and left alongside Wharton as well.
“Hold it!” Blumer suddenly shouted.
“Oh?” Wharton turned his head to look at him. “Might I ask, oh mighty personal disciple of the War God, what else do you want?”
Blumer stared coldly at him. “Wharton, I hear you are of the Dragonblood Warrior clan, and that you are quite powerful after you transform. But I don’t believe it. Today, I formally challenge you to a duel. Do you dare accept?”
Linley couldn’t help but narrow his eyes.
Wharton was briefly startled, and then he laughed loudly. “What do I have to fear?”
“A month from now, at the imperial capital’s Colosseum. I’ll invite his Imperial Majesty as well as my fellow apprentices from the War God’s College to officiate. If you don’t have the guts to participate, you can give up.” Blumer said coldly.
And then Blumer paid no more attention to Wharton, immediately walking away.