Virtually all of the villagers in this secretive little village in the southern part of the Anarchic Lands were clustered here, staring at Miller, Livingston, and Linley as they flew over. Those thousands of people instantly grew excited and began to chant the names of those two Saints.
“Miller!” “Miller!” “Miller!” “Miller!”
“Livingston!” “Livingston!” “Livingston!” “Livingston!”
A wave of cheers echoed forth from the valley. The atmosphere here was extremely lively and energetic. Miller, Livingston, and Linley flew to the center. Miller just extended his hand and waved, and everyone in the area fell silent.
Everyone stared at those three people in the center, and many also noticed the cute little Shadowmouse on Linley’s shoulders.
A smile appeared on Miller’s face. “This year will be the same as the past. We are about to begin our annual tournament. However, there is one difference this year. First of all, there is a total of 1022 participants in this year’s tournament, which is much higher than in the past. And secondly…this year, Master Linley, renowned throughout the Yulan continent, has come!”
Upon hearing this name, the thousands of villagers all fell silent, turning their gazes towards Linley…and then, the entire village exploded into explosive cheers of welcome. Everyone felt extremely excited that such a legendary genius Saint had arrived.
“Excuse me. Excuse me.” Reynolds constantly squeezed forward.
But there were too many people. Reynolds, having always been low-key, had originally been at the margins of the crowd, but now, he was squeezing forwards.
“Why are you squeezing forward?” An unhappy shout.
Reynolds turned his head and saw that it was Videle, the youth who had a grudge against him. Right now, the area was filled with thunderous cheers, but Videle stared coldly at Reynolds and whispered, “What, you want to take a look at Master Linley? Haha…what a joke!”
But Reynolds paid Videle no heed, passing by more people as he continued to squeeze forward.
“Everyone, silence.” Miller reached his hand out and waved, and the villagers began to fall silent. But just as Miller was about to speak, a voice rang out from within the crowd. “Third Bro!”
Linley had been engaged in quiet chatter and laughter with Livingston, but suddenly, his face stiffened. Seeing the change in Linley’s expression, Livingston couldn’t help but feel startled. He whispered, “Linley?” But it seemed as though Linley didn’t even hear him, as he slowly turned his head towards the direction of that noise.
That familiar figure in the crowd…
“Third Bro…” Reynolds was so excited that his entire body was shaking.
“Fourth Bro!” Linley felt filled with joy and excitement. Paying no heed to what Miller and Livingston were saying, Linley’s body turned into a blur as he rushed towards Reynolds, who had already squeezed his way in. The two bros immediately embraced each other in a hug.
A very tight hug!
After learning the truth behind how Reynolds had ‘died’, Linley had been filled with utter rage, and in that rage, slaughtered Prince Julin. When Linley had learned that it was Hugh who had killed Reynolds, Linley had planned to kill Hugh right there in the military camp to avenge his bro.
But afterwards, Hugh claimed that Reynolds didn’t die. Only then had Linley forbore from killing him.
Linley was no soldier. In his heart, he didn’t care about noble ranks or military matters. According to noble privileges, as the saying went, ‘If the monarch ordered his officials to die, his officials had no choice but to die.’ Prince Julin, in his fear of death, had let Reynolds ‘die’ pointlessly. He could do this because according to noble privileges, the rights of the lord were far greater than that of the subject.
But to Linley?
Even the Emperor wasn’t as important as his bros. What was the big deal about an Emperor? He was born to the royal clan and inherited the Imperial throne. What, did that mean he was necessarily more noble than Linley’s bros? That was nothing more than the brainwashing foolish commoners believed in. Linley didn’t care about those at all.
“Reynolds and Master Linley…but…” Everyone was stunned.
In particular, Videle. That ‘pretty-boy’ Reynolds was tightly embracing Linley? What was the relationship between them?
Linley and Reynolds released each other.
It was rare for Linley to have such a look of utter joy on his face. Turning to look at Miller and Livingston, he said, “Miller, so sorry. I interrupted your officiating over this tournament.”
“It’s fine.” Miller hurriedly said, but then looked at Linley in confusion. “Brother Linley, you and Reynolds…?”
Linley casually rested his hand against Reynolds’ shoulders. “Reynolds is my friend, one of my closest, dearest brothers, like a real brother.” Reynold laughed as he slapped Linley on his shoulders as well. “Third Bro, don’t say such sappy things.”
“Haha…” Linley laughed with great happiness.
The village tournament was held in accordance with the normal rules, of course, but many of the youngsters, upon seeing Linley and Reynolds together, felt utterly stunned. They had bullied Reynolds in the past, serving him regular meals of punches and kicks. If Reynolds was to tell Linley, and Linley was to tell Miller…
Given Miller’s legendary severity in dealing out punishments, they would be doomed.
“This Reynolds…how did this Reynolds get involved with Master Linley?” Videle and the other youths felt full of regret.
After the tournament’s officiating ceremonies were ended, Miller, Livingston, Linley, and Reynolds departed together, heading to the restricted area; Monica’s home.
“Uncle Miller, I shouldn’t go.” Reynolds saw that distant copse of trees and immediately said.
This was a restricted area.
Miller laughed. “No need. Since you are Linley’s bro, come along with us. It is no big deal.” Miller suddenly frowned and let out a laugh. “Reynolds, you called me Uncle Miller…but I address Linley as brother. This…this really is…amusing, haha.”
Linley and Reynolds were both startled. Only now did they realize this as well.
Livingston laughed as well. “Miller, enough chitchat. You each can address each other as you should. You and I are both over a thousand years old, yet we know Saints who are over four or five thousand years old. Don’t we all just address each other by name?”
“I’m just making conversation.” Miller pursed his lips unhappily.
Reynolds began to laugh as well. Even the normally icy-faced Miller had his humorous side, it seemed. Most likely, very few people in the village had ever seen Miller laugh. Reynolds understood…only in front of experts of his own level would these people joke about so freely.
“Miller, let’s hurry. I’m very curious about those experts you mentioned.” Linley urged.
Linley had always felt a hint of anticipation whenever he thought about the experts in this mysterious village. He knew…these experts were perhaps some of the people whom the War God had spoken about, those ‘experts who were quietly training in seclusion’. These experts weren’t very well known in the continent these days. Or perhaps, long ago, they were very famous. These experts, in terms of power, were much stronger than the famous people of the current era.
Passing through the dense copse of trees, they arrived at a large grassy area, filled with flowers and with stone benches and stone tables placed nearby.
In the center of the grassy area was a round lake.
Passing by the grassy area, they arrived at a location next to the mountainside. Next to the mountainside were several stone houses. The mountainside itself had been hollowed out as well with several tunnels.
“Big brother Reynolds!” An excited and happy voice rang out, and from a nearby tunnel, a figure dressed in white came running out. Seeing the jade-haired, beautiful girl, Linley turned to look at the expression on Reynold’s face.
Linley laughed softly. “Fourth Bro, no wonder you weren’t willing to leave.”
Reynolds let out an awkward chuckle.
The look Linley saw on Reynolds’ face made Linley feel as though he had seen a doppelganger. The playboy Reynolds could actually be embarrassed? Could it be that this time, Reynolds had really fallen?
“Big brother Reynolds, what are you doing here?” Monica grabbed Reynolds by the hand. She was very excited. Reynolds immediately walked with Monica off to one side, then whispered and explained to Monica, who immediately turned to stare at Linley in surprise. “He’s Linley?”
“Haha, I hear Linley came?” A loud laugh could be heard.
Three figures emerged from the other side of the grassy area. The person who had just spoken was an old man with snow-white hair but the ruddy complexion of a child. The other two? One was a rather chubby, friendly seeming middle-aged man, while the other man who walked between them was an elegant middle-aged man with long black hair who wore a moon-white long robe.
The elegant middle-aged man was clearly the leader of the three.
“Father.” Monica immediately ran towards the elegant middle-aged man, tugging his hand affectionately as she pointed towards Reynolds and introduced him. “Father, this is the Reynolds who I spoke to you about.”
Monica had immediately introduced Reynolds, making him nervous.
This was the tantamount to seeing his father-in-law for the first time. Most importantly…his future father-in-law seemed to be an extremely incredible personage.
“Not bad.” The elegant middle-aged man favored Reynolds with a friendly smile. Miller immediately introduced, “Lord, this Reynolds originally went to the same school as Linley. They are close friends. For them to be able to meet with us here means that the bonds of destiny tie us together.”
As Miller spoke, he walked towards the elegant middle-aged man, while at the same time, he mouthed something.
The elegant middle-aged man’s face froze for a moment, but then it returned to normal. However, when no one was paying attention, he snuck a peek at the little Shadowmouse, ‘Bebe’, on Linley’s shoulders. The smile on his face instantly increased in friendliness by another 30%.
“Linley, hello. Very happy to be able to meet you. Haha…let me introduce you.” The middle-aged man spoke in an extremely friendly manner. Pointing to the ruddy-faced old man, he said, “This is my good friend who came here with me, Hayward [Hai’wo’de]. He is a magus as well, but he is a fire-style magus.”
The red-faced elder, Hayward, chuckled towards Linley. “The ninth rank by age twenty seven. Truly admirable.”
“This gentleman is Foreman [Fu’man]. He’s a Saint-level warrior, and like you, he trains in the Elemental Laws of the Earth.” The elegant middle-aged man laughed. “I have another friend who is currently in training. He should be arriving a while later. Oh, right. I haven’t introduced myself yet.”
The elegant middle-aged man smiled as he stared at Linley. “My name is Desri. I train in the Elemental Laws of Light.”
Linley’s heart shook slightly.
It was him after all!
According to the War God, the Yulan continent had five Prime Saints who were only one step removed from becoming Deities. Fain of the War God’s College was one such, while another was an expert named Desri in the Anarchic Lands.
Linley understood that experts such as these people could defeat him with just one move, much like how Fain had caused him to collapse and nearly pass out with one attack.
Both Fain and Desri had reached the doorway to the Deity-level. With one step past that doorway, they would reach it, but that step was extremely hard. Cesar, for example, who had previously been on par with Fain, had taken thousands of years as well, but upon breaking through and taking that last step, he had become a Demigod.
“Respectful greetings, Mr. Desri.” Linley said humbly.
Desri laughed calmly. “Come, let’s take a seat inside. My wife should be arriving soon as well.”
Everyone immediately headed into a nearby tunnel.
“Whoah.” Linley stared with astonishment at the architecture inside the mountain. The insides had been hollowed out, creating a large, empty space with all sorts of rooms and courtyards built inside. Most importantly, the ceiling above was filled with all sorts of gemstones, filling the area with a multicolored, dazzling, dream-like light.
Inside the mountain, the sound of dripping water from a mountain spring could occasionally be heard. It seemed so peaceful.
The temperature today was rather low, but inside the mountain, it was much warmer and quite comfortable. In an empty area, there were multiple square tables which were covered with all sorts of fruits and delicacies.
“Linley, take a seat first. Let me go call my wife. Hayward, you and the others can keep Linley company for now.” Desri smiled, then immediately headed deeper inside. After taking a number of twists and turns, Desri arrived at a sealed stone room.
The sound of stone rumbling could be heard, and the stone door swung open. A jade-haired beautiful woman dressed in a noble white robe walked out. At a casual glance, she looked nearly identical to Monica. Only when one stared at her more closely would one notice that she was a bit more mature and poised than Monica.
“Wife.” Desri laughed as he looked at this lady. “Come. Today, not only has Linley come, but Reynolds has come as well.”
The beautiful woman frowned. “Why did that Reynolds come?” She truly disliked this pretty-boy who had suddenly appeared out of nowhere and wanted to pursue her daughter.
“Reynolds and Linley are good friends who grew up together.” Desri explained.
“So what if they are? Linley’s nothing more than a genius.” The beautiful woman didn’t hold Linley in any particular regard. “If it wasn’t because his rate of training is so fast and if we were only to look at his current level of power, how could he be worthy of me leaving my training for him?”
Desri laughed as he shook his head. “Wife, I think you had best not prevent Reynolds and our daughter from being together, and you need to alter your attitude towards Linley.”
“Why?” The beautiful woman frowned.
Desri said confidently, “Go take a look at that Saint-level magical beast on Linley’s shoulders and you’ll know why. I think…when you see it, your attitude will change.”