Wushan township. The Baruch clan manor.
Hogg had just finished lunch not too long ago, and was currently sitting down, relaxed, on a sofa, while leisurely reading a book.
Two shadowy blurs suddenly entered the manor. It was Linley and Hillman, who had rushed the entire way back from Fenlai City. At the moment, both their faces contained uncontrollable excitement, and Linley began to shout from far away, “Father, I’ve returned!”
“Lord Hogg.” Hillman was very excited as well.
Hogg raised his head. Seeing the wild excitement on the faces of Linley and Hillman, he had a positive premonition. He immediately stood up. Staring at Linley and Hillman, his voice quavered as he said, “How did the magus assessment test go?”
The Baruch clan had been in a downward spiral for too long. This ancient clan needed a mighty personage to restore it to its former glories!
“Lord Hogg, the Ernst Institute! It’s the Ernst Institute! Linley was accepted by the Ernst Institute!” Hillman said excitedly.
Hogg seemed to have turned into a statue. At the moment, Hogg felt as though his brain had suddenly been deprived off oxygen, as everything went blank for a moment.
“Ernst…lord? Lord?” Hillman called out twice.
Hogg, slowly regaining his mental faculties, suddenly hurried walked towards Linley and Hillman. In a disbelieving tone, he said, “Ernst, did you just say, Ernst Institute?” Right now, Hogg’s eyes were bulging and round.
“Father, here’s the acceptance letter from the Ernst Institute.” Linley directly handed the admissions envelope to his father. Hogg was stunned for a moment, then quickly accepted the red envelope and removed the letter from within it. He carefully scanned the letter.
Several names in bright red particularly stood out – “Ernst Institute” “Linley”.
“Haha, hahahahaha! Elders of the Baruch clan, there is hope for our clan again!” Hogg suddenly lifted his head to the sky and laughed wildly, so hard that his entire body was trembling, so hard that tears began to flow. “There is hope for our Baruch clan again!”
That wild laughter and those coursing tears absolutely stunned Linley.
“Father…” Linley said in a soft voice, as though afraid to disturb his father.
Linley had never seen his father act so wildly before, and his father’s tears made Linley’s heart quaver as well.
Housekeeper Hiri came over as well. He was also stunned by Hogg’s reaction. Hiri had no idea what had just happened.
Hogg took a deep breath, then looked at Linley, his eyes filled with boundless excitement. “Good, good.”
“Hillman, Uncle Hiri!” Hogg looked at the two of them. “Tonight, I am going to host a banquet. Quick, make the arrangements! Tonight, I am very happy, extremely happy. To have such a son, even if I die, I will be able to proudly face the elders of the Baruch clan.”
“Yes, Lord Hogg,” Hillman and Hiri responded.
“Squeak squeak!” Suddenly, the little Shadowmouse ‘Bebe’ scurried out from within Linley’s clothes. He hopped onto Linley’s shoulders to stare at Hogg, his little eyes filled with anger.
Mentally sensing the little Shadowmouse’s emotions, Linley didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
As it turned out, the little Shadowmouse had fallen asleep next to Linley’s chest, but Hogg’s explosive laughter startled him awake. An infant Shadowmouse spent a great deal of time napping, and hated being awakened. At this moment, naturally he was extremely furious.
“Shadowmouse. A magical beast, Shadowmouse?” Upon seeing the little Shadowmouse with Linley, Hogg’s facial expressions changed dramatically.
“Father.” Linley was afraid that his father would strike, so he hurriedly said, “The little Shadowmouse and I have already entered a soulbinding pact.”
Hogg seemed to have been thunderstruck. He stared dumbly for a long moment. “You, you subdued and tamed this magical beast Shadowmouse?”
The two ways to tame a magical beast were 1) Subduing it by force, and 2) Setting up a soulbinding magic formation.
Hogg naturally knew very well that Linley’s physical strength was very weak. And even the weakest Shadowmouse was of the third rank of power. And in addition, there was no way for Linley to set up a soulbinding magical formation, so that couldn’t have happened at all.
“Yes, father, I’ve tamed him.” Linley said seriously.
Hogg only felt that his own son seemed to have dramatically changed, totally changed!
“Lord Hogg, Linley really did tame this Shadowmouse. I personally witnessed it. This little Shadowmouse is also the reason why in recent days, Linley has often caught wild animals to feed to the ‘adorable pet’ he had behind the back courtyard.” Hillman explained.
“He was feeding this ‘pet’?” Hogg thought for a moment, then stared at Linley disbelievingly. “Magical beast Shadowmouse. This is the ‘cute animal’ you told me you were feeding in the back courtyard?”
Linley nodded honestly.
Hogg didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. The ‘cute pet’ was actually a magical beast?
Although he had many questions about how Linley might have entered a soulbinding pact with the little Shadowmouse, Hogg didn’t worry too much about it. Right now, he was in a wonderful mood.
“Fine, enough of that topic. Uncle Hiri, Hillman, lead the guards to make the arrangements right away. Tonight, I am going to host a magnificent banquet.” Hogg laughed loudly. Right now, his laughter was extremely full and carefree.
Linley stared at his father. From as far back as he could remember, he had never seen his father so happy.
That very night.
It was extremely noisy inside the Baruch clan manor. Even the ten-plus bodyguards and their families had all been invited. There were five full tables placed in the main courtyard of the manor, and the entire Baruch manor was filled with laughter and joy.
“Yummy, yummy.” Little Wharton first grabbed this, then grabbed that, eating excitedly.
“Young master Linley, congratulations on being admitted to the Ernst Institute. In the future, young master Linley will no doubt become a mighty, powerful magus.” A clan guard laughed as he toasted Linley politely.
During this banquet, Linley was the main attraction.
Upon hearing that Linley had been admitted to the Ernst Institute, everyone present had become excited. One could easily understand that entering the Ernst Institute meant entering a certain destiny. In the future, Linley definitely would not be constrained by tiny little Wushan township.
“Big brother, all of them are toasting you. I want to also.” Little Wharton grabbed his juice cup.
Seeing little Wharton’s greasy hands, Linley didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. But he still raised his own glass of juice and tapped it against little Wharton’s cup.
“Come, we’re brothers.” Linley grinned as he lifted his cup as well.
Late night, the Baruch family ancestral hall. Only Linley and his father were present.
The door to the ancestral hall was closed, and a row of candles was lit in the entire hall, making it quite warm. At this moment, Hogg was staring at the spirit tablet in the middle of the hall. His voice low, he said, “Linley, after the fifth Dragonblood Warrior was born, our Baruch clan began to weaken, generation by generation, to the point where even our hereditary, ancestral heirloom was lost. Every time I think of this, I can’t help but feel absolutely ashamed. We’re supposed to be the noble Dragonblood Clan!”
Linley stood behind him without making a sound.
He felt the shame as well.
An ancient clan which had lasted five thousand years. The Dragonblood Warrior clan. Linley felt pride in his heart. But their ancestral heirloom had been lost.
“Linley.” Hogg suddenly turned and looked at Linley solemnly. “From today forward, I will no longer treat you as a child. I will view you as the sturdiest pillar in the future of our Baruch clan! Our clan’s hopes for the future will all rely on you, now.”
“Yes, father.” Linley resolutely nodded.
“Wait a moment. I am going to get something.” Hogg suddenly turned and entered a hidden room next to the ancestral hall. Shortly afterwards, he returned with a thick book in hand. “Linley, take this and give it a good read. Memorize everything.”
Linley looked suspiciously at the thick book he had just accepted. There were no words on the cover, but when he opened it, there were four big words printed on the first page – Secret Dragonblood Training Tome.