The little Shadowmouse had previously watched Linley go hunting rabbits in the mountain, but this time, Linley wasn’t headed for the mountain. He was headed off in a totally different direction, traveling on a road. The little Shadowmouse immediately panicked.
The little Shadowmouse suddenly rushed in Linley’s direction.
Just as Linley was walking, he suddenly discovered that his legs had been hugged from behind. Lowering his head, he saw that it was the little Shadowmouse. The little Shadowmouse was standing up on his hind legs, his two forelegs tightly clenched around Linley. He stared at Linley with two quavering, pitiable eyes, as though he were about to cry.
“Uh, what’s the little Shadowmouse doing here?!” Linley was somewhat surprised.
Next to them, Hillman turned his head towards them. Upon seeing the little Shadowmouse, he was shocked. “A magical beast! Is it a Stoneater Rat?” Hillman didn’t know too much about the various types of magical beasts, but there once was an entire army which had been devoured by Stoneater Rats, so most soldiers knew and feared rat-type magical beasts.
“Linley, be careful!” Hillman immediately rushed towards them. Linley only saw a blur, and then Hillman was there, right next to the little Shadowmouse.
But the little Shadowmouse was even faster, and in the blink of an eye, scurried on top of Linley’s shoulder.
“Uncle Hillman, hold it!” Linley finally managed to react.
Hillman was startled.
“Uncle Hillman, he’s the pet that I’ve been feeding and raising in the back courtyard.” Linley hurriedly said. “Little Shadowmouse, isn’t that right?”
The little Shadowmouse seemed to understand Linley’s words, and his small head nodded.
Hillman looked at Linley with shock. “Linley, are you saying that you’ve been raising, raising a magical beast?”
“Uncle Hillman, wait a sec. Lemme tell him to go home.” Linley cupped the little Shadowmouse in his hands and said to it, “Little Shadowmouse, I am going to leave with Uncle Hillman to the capital. You cannot go to the capital. Understood?”
The little Shadowmouse just stared at Linley with pitiable sad eyes, as though he were about to cry
Linley placed the little Shadowmouse on the floor, then waved his hand at it. “Go back.” And then he pointed to the road. “I’m going that way. To the capital.”
After waving his arm, Linley began to continue going forward.
“Squeak. Squeaaaaak!” The little Shadowmouse stood there, watching Linley.
“Uncle Hillman, let’s go. Hehe, the little Shadowmouse is smart. He knows what I’m saying.” Linley said to Hillman. Hillman, who had been watching this spectacle with amazement, chuckled and then continued walking forward with Linley.
Seeing Linley and Hillman slowly disappear, the little Shadowmouse still stayed there, unmoving.
The little Shadowmouse suddenly gave out a loud squeak, and then turned into a black blur, traveling twenty or thirty meters in the blink of an eye. His speed was absolutely shocking, as was his agility. Linley and Hillman were chatting while walking on the road, but Hillman suddenly felt something was quickly charging them from behind and couldn’t help but look back.
Hillman wasn’t even given enough time to react. That blur suddenly landed next to Linley’s legs, and immediately chomped down on Linley’s right leg.
“OW!” Feeling the sudden, fierce pain, Linley immediately jumped up in the air.
Looking down, he saw that it was actually the little Shadowmouse. At the moment, the little Shadowmouse was staring up at Linley with its pitiable, sad little eyes. Linley rubbed his leg, and noticed that he was actually bleeding. He couldn’t help but grow unhappy. But seeing how sad the little Shadowmouse was, he couldn’t grow angry at him.
“Linley, are you okay?” Hillman said.
“I’m fine,” Linley chuckled.
A thick, dense black light began to emanate from the little Shadowmouse’s body. A droplet of fresh blood suddenly flew out from the corner of its mouth. That droplet of fresh blood had both Linley’s blood as well as the little Shadowmouse’s blood. That blood suddenly, bizarrely transformed into two opposite, interlocking black triangles, which the thick black light merged with, forming a strange magical formation which gave off a dark aura.
Linley and Hillman watched, stunned.
“Is this..can this be?” Linley had a wild guess in his heart.
From within the Coiling Dragon Ring, Doehring Cowart flew out. His white beard fluttering happily, he said, “Linley, the little guy is setting up a ‘bond of equals’ formation.”
“It really is the ‘bond of equals’?” Linley’s heart clenched. Even though he had guessed as much, he still felt stunned and excited.
The strange black magical formation separated into two, with one of the three black triangles flying into Linley’s body, and the other one flying into the little Shadowmouse’s body. Upon seeing this, the nearby Hillman was filled with shock and fear.
“Linley, are you okay?” Hillman was starting to fear for Linley.
“I’m fine. I’m wonderful!” Linley could feel his spirit and the little Shadowmouse’s spirit interlinking.
Standing on this quiet road leading out of Wushan township, Linley and the little Shadowmouse stared at each other, engaging in their first communication.
“Little Shadowmouse, what is your name?” Linley mentally asked him.
The little Shadowmouse said, somewhat excitedly, “Bei….bei….”
Linley stared at the little Shadowmouse.
“What’s the little Shadowmouse saying?” Linley didn’t really understand.
His white beard flowing, Doehring Cowart floated next to him and mentally said ,”Linley, this little Shadowmouse is still an infant. He can’t form precise sounds yet. Even when engaging in mental communication with you, for now, he can only communicate simple intentions.”
Due to their spiritual link, Linley could feel the little Shadowmouse’s excitement, but the little Shadowmouse simply couldn’t speak at all.
“Okay. You were saying ‘Bei’….’Bei’….then I’m going to call you ‘Bebe’. How’s that?” Linley grinned as he watched the little Shadowmouse.
The little Shadowmouse seemed to ponder for a while, and then happily nodded.
“Bebe.” Linley was grinning so widely, his face was about to split.
“Squeak squeak.” The little Shadowmouse immediately began to jump up and down.
An eight year old child and a little Shadowmouse were both excitedly shouting.
“Linley, this…what…what is this?” Only now did Hillman recover from his stupor. His eyes couldn’t help but grow round with shock. “Linley, what was that black magical formation just now? What just happened? Are you okay?”
Hillman had heard that for darkness-style magic, there were many curses and hexes involved.
Could it be that Linley had just been hexed?
Hillman, who only knew an inkling about magic, couldn’t help but feel shock and fear.
“Haha, I’m fine. It’s just that Bebe has become my magical beast, now.” Linley was extremely happy. “Come, Bebe, hop onto my shoulder.” Immediately, the little Shadowmouse let out a happy squeal, then scurried onto Linley’s shoulder.
“You…tamed him?” Hillman was stunned.
Hillman was a worldly man, and of course he knew that taming a magical beast was an extremely difficult, extremely arduous matter. But just now, Linley had actually subdued a magical beast.
Hillman felt totally bewildered. “You…you don’t have a soul-binding scroll, how…how did you?”
“That’s enough, Uncle Hillman,” Linley chortled. “Let’s hurry, we have a lot of road to make up. The capital is still really far away.” As he spoke, Linley pulled Hillman by the hand, not allowing him to speak as they continued heading towards the capital.
And the little Shadowmouse, ‘Bebe’, stood happily on Linley’s shoulders and squeaked.
And with his squeaks to accompany them, Linley, Hillman, and the Shadowmouse disappeared off into the distance.