Late night. Within a quiet study, there was a desk with a lit lamp atop it, flickering with dim light.
Atop the table, there was a hawk-nosed, skinny man with long violet hair. This man was flipping through a thick book. Under the dim light of the lamp, the hawk-nosed man’s appearance couldn’t be clearly made out. But just at this moment…“Knock, knock, knock.” The sound of knocking.
“Enter.” The hawk-nosed man didn’t even look up, continuing to leaf through the book.
“Creaaaak.” The door swung open, and a handsome-looking golden-haired middle-aged man walked in. As soon as he walked in, he shut the door, then bowed respectfully. “Lord Praetor, Linley’s forces have already taken the prefectural city of Moat.”
The hawk-nosed man was the awe-inspiring Praetor of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal of the Radiant Church. Osenno.
Publicly, the Holy Emperor was the leader of the Radiant Church. The church did, however, whitewash its actions to make itself look pure. When dealing with some experts, they had the Ecclesiastical Tribunal carry out missions with extreme ruthlessness. Their leader, the Praetor, within the Radiant Church itself, had power and authority not one whit lower than the Holy Emperor’s.
“Oh.” Osenno continued to read his book.
The golden-haired man said respectfully, “Taking over the prefectural city of Moat is a small affair. More importantly…Linley’s side used that mysterious Saint-level panther-type magical beast in order to break through the city walls!”
“They used the Saint-level beast?” Osenno’s head suddenly snapped up.
Osenno’s eyes were as deep and dark as the depths of the sea. The golden-haired man felt his heart shake from Osenno’s gaze, but he forced down his fear and said, “Lord Praetor, Linley’s side actually used Saints to do battle. This is a clear provocation.”
Generally speaking, Saints did not get involved in battles.
Once a Saint got involved, that meant that there was no leeway left, nor any chance of reconciliation. It would be a fight to the death.
As the prefectural city of Moat was not part of the Radiant Church’s territory, for Linley to act in such a way wasn’t a direct provocation towards the Radiant Church. But for him to have Saint-level magical beasts engage in battle…this was a gesture. A provoking gesture towards the Radiant Church. Linley’s intentions were quite clear…
My magical beast has already shown himself. These forces belong to me, Linley. So what is your Radiant Church going to do about it?
At the same time, Linley’s side was displaying their might. ‘Since I dare to send out my Saint-level magical beast to do battle, if your Radiant Church wishes to battle me, you’d best bring your Saints along as well. Don’t bother with the soldiers.’
“Lord Praetor?” The golden-haired man looked at Osenno.
Osenno’s deep, dark eyes were totally unreadable. Suddenly, Osenno spoke. “Remember. From today forward, don’t fight head on against Linley. We will endure!” The golden-haired man was shocked, and he stared at Osenno in disbelief.
Osenno was definitely an extremely, terrifyingly powerful expert.
As one of the towering figures of the Radiant Church, his power was no lower than Haydson’s, and probably higher. The Radiant Church had quite a few Saints in the Anarchic Lands as well. There was no need for them to fear Linley.
“Lord Praetor, Linley’s side only includes himself and those two magical beasts.” The golden-haired man said uncomprehendingly.
Osenno said calmly, “No. He doesn’t only have so few Saints. Those five Barker brothers, if our predictions are correct, should be the descendants of Armand. They are all warriors of the ninth rank now. Upon transforming, they would be early-stage Saints. Only experts on the level of mid-stage Saints would be able to beat them.”
“Undying Warriors?” The golden-haired man was shocked.
Osenno glanced at him.
When Cesar had rescued Barker and his brothers and threatened Stehle, the Holy Emperor Heidens had immediately suspected that the Barker brothers were of the Armand clan. After all, for Cesar to act in such a way and so strongly…there was no other explanation.
“They aren’t much weaker than us.” Osenno lowered his head to his book again. He said a few final, calm words. “Remember. Endure.”
“Then what if Linley erects a Duchy and begins attacking our territory?” The golden-haired man asked. Although he was the managing supervisor for the Radiant Church’s forces in the Anarchic Lands, now that Osenno was here, naturally Osenno was now in charge.
Osenno said calmly, “If they attack our territory, we retreat and let them take it.”
“Uh…” The golden-haired man stared at Osenno in shock.
Osenno said calmly, “If they provoke us, we will endure. If they attack our territory, we will retreat! Let Linley think that we fear them and that our power is less than theirs…however, understand this. When he takes over our territory, he will naturally reorganize and make use of the soldiers of those cities.”
“Ah!” The golden-haired man’s eyes lit up. He understood Osenno’s hidden meaning.
“The Lord Praetor is wise.” The golden-haired man said excitedly.
Osenno chuckled calmly. “This is how warfare has always been. Human resources are of the highest importance! In terms of ensuring loyalty, what can be more powerful than faith? Linley…I’ll let you know how terrifyingly powerful ‘faith’ can be.”
The golden-haired man was secretly shaken.
Osenno was simply too sinister.
They possessed great power and many experts, but they still used such sinister methods. The golden-haired man could totally visualize…how the cocky, overconfident Linley’s forces would suddenly be beaten back to the starting point.
“You can leave now.” Osenno lowered his head to his book as he spoke calmly.
“Yes, Lord Praetor.”
The golden-haired man left respectfully, leaving behind Osenno by himself in that dimly lit study. He quietly continued to read that book. Next to it, there was another scroll, which had a few words written atop it; ‘Linley Baruch.’
In the northern area of the Anarchic Lands. In one breath, they had taken over a prefectural city and nine small cities, erecting a dominion which controlled nine million citizens. But although they had taken over the prefectural city of Moat, the political center of Linley’s side was still in Blackdirt City.
The current Blackdirt City was extremely developed.
The policy of no taxation caused many people to desire to migrate to Blackdirt City, and caused Blackdirt City to be bursting from the seams. This had resulted in the population management department of Blackdirt City to raise the immigration requirements. But as the political center of this dominion, Blackdirt City continued to attract many migrants.
“Boss, Blackdirt City has changed so much.” Standing on Linley’s shoulders, Bebe accompanied Linley as he walked along one of the primary roads.
Linley also stared at the surrounding hotels, clothing stores, and weaponry stores on each side of the road. When Linley had first arrived at Blackdirt City, the local citizens were dressed in rags and most looked yellow and malnourished. But in recent months, Blackdirt City had totally changed.
Those tattered old stores had all been completely renovated.
The streets had been repaved as well, and there were trees on each side of the road. In some of the hotels, Linley saw many commoners drinking wine while casually chatting. Most of them were talking about their ‘five wargods’.
Under the leadership of these five virtually invincible wargods, their lives had become stable, and the null taxation rate had caused their quality of life to improve by several levels.
“If those five wargods were to be defeated…” Just as a person in the hotel spoke these words…
“Motherf*cker, what are you farting about?”
“Those wargods are invincible. How can they be defeated? Punk, you better watch your mouth.”
Many people instantly began to curse him angrily. These commoners all deeply enjoyed their current peaceful, stable lives. Naturally, they didn’t wish for their lives to be disrupted.
“In the O’Brien Empire and the Holy Union, peaceful lives are so easily found, but in the Anarchic Lands, they are so precious and valuable.” Linley suddenly was moved. “This is what constant chaos causes.”
“If one day, the Anarchic Lands could be unified and the chaos brought to an end…”
Looking at the smiles on the faces of the commoners, Linley suddenly realized that his heart had a happy, satisfied feeling.
“Unification?” Linley shook his head and laughed.
He didn’t aspire to this. To be able to make his loved ones happy and to allow himself to constantly improve in his training. This would make him very satisfied.
“It’s best to allow Zassler and Barker to continue handling the affairs of war.” Linley’s body suddenly flickered and disappeared with a light wind.
Within the city governor’s mansion in Blackdirt City, Jenne, Rebecca, Leena, and the others were eating lunch in the living room. Suddenly, Linley appeared in front of the door…
“Lord.” Barker immediately stood up, and the others did as well. Linley hurriedly said, “Sit, everyone. I’m just here to visit you and talk about a few things.” Linley smiled as he walked to a nearby chair and sat down.
Zassler immediately said, “Linley, we were planning to go find you and discuss recent developments with you. Now that you are here, Jenne…make your report to Linley.” Currently, Jenne was the highest level administrator of their dominion.
But just as Jenne opened her mouth and was about to begin, Linley chuckled as he reached out to stop her. “Jenne, sit. No rush.”
Jenne nodded and sat down.
“As far as the wars are concerned, you can make up your minds on your own. Right now, I am thinking…there is still a period of time before we begin to do battle against the Radiant Church. I want to take this opportunity to make a trip to the south and spar with a few Saints.”
Linley still remembered the invitation from that Miller.
Sparring with experts, especially experts who trained in the same Elemental Laws, would give him many insights. In addition, his forces would soon do battle against the Radiant Church. By the time the battles started, he wouldn’t dare to casually leave.
He had to seize the time he had.
“Lord, don’t worry.” Barker laughed. “However, in another seven or eight days, we will begin attacking the Duchies controlled by the Radiant Church. Given what we discussed with you last time, Lord, if the Radiant Church fights us head on, we won’t cower from them, and a month from now, we will found our Duchy as the Baruch Duchy. If they are afraid of us, we can continue to pretend as we attack them, and pick another name for the Duchy.”
“Very well then. Haeru will stay with you, in case of any emergency. Bebe and I will head out.” Linley immediately stood up.
“Big brother Linley, won’t you have a meal with us?” Jenne suddenly said.
Linley chuckled towards Jenne, then shook his head. “No.” Linley’s body flickered, then disappeared from within the living room. Jenne, somewhat disappointed, let out a soft sigh.
In the southern areas of the Anarchic Lands. Within that quiet, mysterious little village.
Ever since the news of Reynolds choosing to stay here in the village had spread out, Reynolds had been ostracized within the village! The reason? Monica! Monica was the most beautiful, eye-catching girl in this village. There were simply too many suitors pursuing her.
Originally, many youngsters had thought that Reynolds would definitely leave and thus not be a threat.
But in the end, Reynolds had stayed.
Within a hotel in the mountain village. Reynolds was sitting there drinking wine.
“Hey, punk, move over.” Three youngsters walked over and slapped his table hard as they barked viciously at Reynolds.
Reynolds lifted his head up and glanced at them.
“What, you got a problem?” Those three youngsters’ bodies began to faintly glow with battle-qi. A magus of the seventh rank didn’t count for much in this mysterious mountain village. There were dozens of youths here who had reached the seventh rank, and quite a few who had reached the eighth. The three youngsters in front of him? One was a warrior of the seventh rank. The stronger one was of the eighth rank.
There was nothing he would be able to do if they wanted to beat him.
Taking a deep breath, Reynolds held down his temper and moved aside. There was nothing he could do…he had no one to rely on here in this village. But many of the uncles, aunts, grandparents and what not of the youngsters here were all experts. How could he possibly fight against them? And many of the youths here had grown up together. If they banded together, how could he possibly fight them all?
“What are you doing?”
Monica and her serving maid came over, and she snapped angrily at them.
“Princess Monica.” Those three youngsters immediately bowed. Within this mysterious mountain village, Monica’s father’s status was extremely high. According to legend…this mysterious mountain village had already existed a thousand years ago, and at that time, Monica’s father had looked exactly the way he looked right now.
Monica stared angrily at each of them, then grabbed Reynolds by the hand. “Big brother Reynolds, let’s go.”
Reynolds stood up. Taking a deep breath, he left alongside Monica.
“All he can do is hide behind a woman. Useless creature.” Those three youths cursed him in whispers. Reynolds, who had left alongside Monica, naturally could hear their voices. His body just trembled slightly, and then he followed Monica away.
In this mysterious mountain village, he had no one to rely on. All he could do was endure it!