Linley immediately ran over and grabbed the rabbit by the throat with one hand. CRACK! The rabbit, previously struggling in agony, twitched twice, then went still. Ever since watching those two battles half a year ago, the ‘bloodthirsty’ nature of the Dragonblood in Linley’s veins had been in full sway.
“I am both a warrior of the first rank and a magus of the first rank, but in terms of attack power, my magic is stronger.” Grabbing the wild rabbit, Linley couldn’t help but laugh and sigh.
Magi were divided into nine ranks, and becoming a magus of the first rank was easy. But later on, it would become much harder, and take more time to attain each new rank! Many powerful magi of the seventh or eighth ranks would spend hundreds of years and still find it hard to attain a higher rank.
But for the first rank, half a year would be enough for someone talented. Even if one didn’t have much talent, as long as they met the basic requirements for becoming a magus, two to three years would be sufficient for them to become a magus.
The rabbit in his clutches, Linley immediately began running down the mountain.
“Linley, why aren’t you cooking it? Although the Shadowmouse will eat raw meat, his favorite is cooked meat.” Doehring Cowart’s voice sounded in Linley’s mind.
“Grandpa Doehring, I bet you never coaxed any kids before.” While running, Linley replied in a teasing voice.
Doehring Cowart was startled. He had never had any grandchildren, and why would a revered Saint-level Grand Magus like himself stoop to coaxing other kids?
“Um, no, I haven’t.” Doehring Cowart was forced to admit.
Linley self-confidently said, “I often have to coax little Wharton. Lemme tell ya, if you want to give a kid something, you can’t give them something too good, right off the bat. Otherwise, in the future, they’ll expect something really good every single time, or something even better. Right now, the Shadowmouse is chewing on rocks. If I give him some raw meat, he’ll be really happy. I’ll give him raw meat for seven or eight days, and then I’ll give him cooked meat. That will make him even happier.”
Doehring Cowart immediately understood.
The older one got, the craftier one got. How could he fail to understand this logic? It was the same method he had used in dealing with subordinates. First, giving them just a little taste, and then giving them more later. If you gave them too much too early, it would be hard to satisfy their urges in the future.
“I read about this as well in a book regarding raising monkeys. ‘Saying three in the morning and then raising to four in the afternoon’ is much more effective than ‘saying four in the morning and then lowering to three in the afternoon’. Linley grinned.
Doehring Cowart suddenly felt that although Linley was only eight, he wasn’t any inferior to many young adults.
“Looks like the educational methods of the Baruch clan are rather effective after all.” Doehring Cowart silently sighed with praise. Education can raise a person’s intelligence, but most commoners didn’t have access to education. Most commoners could not meet either the entry requirements or the fee requirements for good magus academies or warrior academies.
None of the people of Mt. Wushan found it strange for Linley to be running home with a wild hare in hand. In truth, ever since Linley had learned the ‘Earth Spike’ spell, he often brought wild hares home.
“Young master Linley is so formidable. He caught another wild hare.” The commoners in the town grinned as they watched him pass by.
Linley also politely smiled back at them as he walked past them on the street.
“I wonder if the Shadowmouse will eat something which is provided by another.”
Taking a deep breath, Linley entered his family’s manor and went to the back courtyard, and one careful step at a time, approached the location where the Shadowmouse had appeared, his footsteps not making a single sound. In a short period of time, Linley returned to his earlier position.
“Where’s the Shadowmouse?” Linley stared at the ancient building, but aside from some rubble and rotting leaves, he didn’t see anything.
Some of the stones still showed signs of being chewed on, but despite scanning inside the entire building, he couldn’t see even the shadow of the Shadowmouse. Linley couldn’t help but feel despondent and miserable. “Grandpa Doehring, the Shadowmouse isn’t here anymore. It was just an hour. Did it leave already?”
A ray of light shot out of the Coiling Dragon Ring and transformed into the white-robed Doehring Cowart.
Doehring Cowart also frowned in confusion. “That shouldn’t be the case. It was just an hour. Did it really leave already?”
“Crunch, crunch.” That familiar, soft crunching sound could be heard once again. Linley’s eyes brightened, and he immediately turned and headed towards an ancient courtyard nearby. Arriving at the entryway, he clearly saw the black Shadowmouse chewing on stones in one spot, unmoving. He seemed almost like a sculptor, as he chewed each rock into surprising, bizarre shapes.
Linley stood at the doorway.
Tap! Linley purposefully let his foot bang into the doorway and make some sound.
The black Shadowmouse immediately moved and in the blink of an eye, appeared over ten meters away. His two guileless eyes stared towards the doorway, and he immediately saw Linley. His eyes were filled with caution.
“Here, this is for you to eat.”
Linley smiled at the Shadowmouse, then tossed the wild hare in front of the doorway. Perhaps the Shadowmouse couldn’t understand human speech, but Linley understood that an intelligent magical beast should be able to understand the meaning of a smile.
After all, magical beasts weren’t like wild beasts. Their intelligence levels were only slightly lower than humans, and some powerful magical beasts were incredibly crafty.
“Don’t rush it, don’t rush it.” Linley kept on telling himself, and then forced himself to slowly walk away.
The Shadowmouse saw Linley depart, and then looked at the wild hare. He only managed to resist for a short period of time, then he scurried like a flash to the doorway while still staring at the now-distant Linley. Only then did he look at the dead hare. The Shadowmouse immediately grew ecstatic and was so happy that he began to hop about.
“Squeak, squeak!” The Shadowmouse began to make a happy sound.
And then he immediately began to eat the wild hare. His sharp teeth chewed at an incredibly fast rate. Although the Shadowmouse had a small body, this wild hare which was physically larger than the Shadowmouse was fully devoured by it, aside from the fur. Even the bones weren’t spared.
“Buuuurp!” The little Shadowmouse made a belching noise, and then, in a very human-like gesture, rubbed its belly, extremely content.
Compared to stones, raw meat clearly was a much tastier treat.
After finishing his meal, the Shadowmouse glanced again in the direction which Linley had departed to. The baby Shadowmouse immediately felt a degree of kinship for this young fellow. After all, he was just recently born, an infant magical beast. The baby Shadowmouse even felt a bit of anticipation. Would this young man return in the future with another wild hare?
That same day, before dinner.
“Wonder if the little Shadowmouse ate it or not.” Linley was currently in the back courtyard of the manor, and walked towards the area where he had tossed the wild hare earlier.
“Linley, don’t worry. That’s just a baby magical beast. It’s always very hungry.” Doehring Cowart’s laughter echoed merrily in Linley’s mind.
Linley nodded slightly. He quickly arrived at the doorway, and saw that at the doorway, there was some rabbit fur splattered with blood. But the rabbit’s flesh and bones were all gone. Seeing this, Linley’s eyes immediately shone.
“Wonderful!” Linley clenched a fist.
The first step was a success. The only thing left to do was to persevere!
The next afternoon, Linley killed another wild hare as well as a wild chicken. He gave the wild hare to Uncle Hiri to prepare for dinner, and then tossed the wild chicken in the exact same location as he had tossed the hare; at the doorway to that courtyard.
“The Shadowmouse is actually here staring at me.” Linley chuckled as he saw that Shadowmouse inside the courtyard watch him approach.
“Linley, looks like things are progressing smoothly. He didn’t run away immediately upon seeing you, which means that he doesn’t feel much hostility towards you.” Upon seeing this, Doehring Cowart secretly felt joy for Linley. Linley really was lucky to have met such a powerful juvenile magical beast.
“I really wonder what this young fella’s parents are up to.” Doehring Cowart was secretly suspicious.
After placing the wild chicken at the doorway, he said a few words to the young Shadowmouse, smiled, and then retreated. But this time, he didn’t depart, just standing off to the side and watched. Shortly afterwards, the young Shadowmouse scampered out. Looking around himself, when he saw Linley’s far off presence, he wasn’t too scared. He immediately lowered his head and began to eat the chicken.
Day three. Day four. Day five.
These acitivities continued. Day after day, Linley continued to undergo meditative training while preparing wild rabbits and other animals for the little Shadowmouse to eat. Nobody in the entire Wushan township, including Hogg and Hillman, knew that Linley was learning magic. Similarly, none of them knew that Linley was taking care of a juvenile magical beast that already possessed power of the fourth rank!
Only Doehring Cowart was aware of this all, as he watched Linley mature.
“There’s no way that tiny little Wushan township is big enough for Linley.” Watching Linley enter the meditative trance to practice magic, Doehring Cowart felt a hint of excitement. “Sooner or later, he will bring an adult Violet Shadowmouse and step onto the endlessly broad stage that is the world of the Yulan continent.”