Book 3, Mountain Range of Magical Beasts – Chapter 1, Stone Sculpting (part 1)

The warm, comfortable rays of the spring sun shone down upon the bros of dorm 1987, who were resting in their backyard.

Yale, George, and Reynolds were all engaged in idle conversation. By now, Yale and George were both 16 years old, while Reynolds was now 14. The three of them had quickly gained in height, and even the shortest Reynolds was now 1.6 meters tall. The tallest of them was Yale, at an astonishing 1.9 meters.

“George, stop faking in front of the two of us. Even fourth bro has lost his virginity. Why are you and third bro still faking? How about this, at the end of this month, why don’t you and third bro both go to Fenlai City’s “Jade Water Paradise”. I’ll handle the expenses. I guarantee that both of you will be extremely comfortable, and I’ll also guarantee that the girl will also be a virgin. Deal?” Holding two small stone weights, Yale was doing a chest workout while laughing as he spoke.

Those two stone weights each most likely weighed around 20-30 pounds. Linley generally disdained such light weights.

George laughed as well. “Boss Yale, stop trying to force us. Why don’t you guys go to the Jade Water Heaven while third bro and I go drinking. Isn’t that a better idea?”

Reynolds mocked from the side, “George, you, simply aren’t a man at all.”

George could only laugh helplessly.

Suddenly, footsteps could be heard from outside the courtyard. Yale put down the two stone weights and headed towards the courtyard exit while saying, “I bet it is third bro. C’mon, time to eat…” Before he finished his words, Yale suddenly went silent.

He saw Linley stride forward, carrying a huge rock on his shoulders, at least three feet high and a hundred pounds heavy.

But Linley clearly was carrying this boulder into the dorm with ease. Yale, George, and Reynolds all stared, slack-jawed. Linley casually set down the giant rock in a corner of the courtyard, and the weighty sound of the rock slamming into the ground made all their hearts tremble.

“What the hell? Third bro, I know you are strong, but how are you this strong?” Yale stared at the boulder. “Is the boulder hollow or something?” As he spoke, Yale moved forward and stretched out his hands, giving the boulder a test.

“Hrrrrrngh!”

Yale used all of his strength, and his entire face flushed dark red, but that giant boulder seemed to be rooted into the earth as it didn’t budge at all.

“Boss Yale, stop wasting your energy. There’s no way you can move it.” Linley laughed.

Yale’s physical strength was weaker than that of even a warrior of the first rank. How could he lift it?

Reynolds stared at the boulder with round eyes. Letting out a few surprised breaths, he suddenly turned his head and stared at Linley questioningly. “Hey, Linley, why did you bring such a huge boulder into our dorm? Oh, I know!” Reynolds eyes lit up. “I’ve seen powerful warriors use their hands to lift up giant boulders as a form of weight training. Are you preparing to start weight lifting, Linley?”

“Such a huge boulder could smash me into meat paste.” George stared at the boulder, also letting out a few surprised breaths before turning to look questioningly at Linley. “Third bro, why did you bring this giant boulder into our apartment?”

Linley smiled at his three bros, and he said two words: “Stone sculpting!”

Based on what Doehring Cowart had said, his sculptures were now qualified to be placed within the standard hall. But it took a lot of time to carve each piece, and usually a day wasn’t enough. In the past, he could casually carve at the rear mountains without worrying about making mistakes, but now things were different.

“Stone sculpting?”

Reynolds, George, and Yale all stared at Linley, shock in their eyes.

“What, is this really shocking?” Linley looked back at his three bros.

Reynolds hurriedly said, “It isn’t shocking, no. It is extremely shocking! We four bros have lived together for six or seven years now, but I’ve never seen you sculpt stone before. Are you planning to start training today?”

Linley laughed, “Who says I’ve never been trained before? I’ve been practicing stone sculpting in the rear mountains for over five years now, but this time, after I finish this piece, I plan to take it to the Proulx Gallery and display it there and see if it can be sold for any money.”

In order to come up with a sufficient amount of money to allow his little brother, Wharton, have sufficient funds to go with Housekeeper Hiri to the O’Brien Empire to request admittance and training, the Baruch clan had virtually exhausted all of its funds.

But despite this, Hogg was still very happy.

So what if his family had bankrupted itself? His elder son, Linley, was a student at the Ernst Institute, and upon graduation would definitely become a powerful magus. And his younger son, Wharton, had the possibility of becoming a Dragonblood Warrior.

Hogg could already foresee the dawning splendor of the Baruch clan!

“The Proulx Gallery?” Upon hearing this, Yale and the other two looked at Linley in shock.

Linley was the pride of their dorm, dorm 1987. Despite being just fifteen years old, he had entered the fifth grade at the Ernst Institute, and had been acclaimed alongside Dixie as one of the ‘Two Ultimate Geniuses of the Ernst Institute’. Yale and the others all acknowledged Linley as being a genius, but…

Stonesculpting was an extremely profound art form.

Many people would painstakingly train for decades, but still only be considered ordinary sculptors. As an extremely ancient and long-lived art form, how could it be easy for stonesculpting to be mastered? How did Linley dare to dream that his artworks would be exhibited in the most venerated of art galleries, the Proulx Gallery?

“Third bro, don’t get too carried away.” George joked in a consoling manner.

“Linley, I’m worried…your sculpture, will anyone actually buy it?” Reynolds frowned, a look of disbelief on his face.

Yale laughed loudly. “Why are you guys acting like this? Third bro, go ahead and put on an exhibit. As long as you have an exhibit, I’ll spend ten thousand gold to buy it and help spread your fame.”

“I’m telling the truth.” Linley retrieved a straight chisel from his clothes.

“Straight chisel?” Reynolds said in surprise. “Linley, looks like you’ve made some preparations. But in the past, I was also prepared to learn stonesculpting, so I know that lots of tools are needed, including the straight chisel, the butterfly chisel, the triangular chisel, the jade bowl knife, and tools like saws. What, did you only prepare a single tool?”

George, Reynolds, and Yale all knew at least some rudiments about art.

Linley didn’t say too much.

Wielding his straight chisel, Linley naturally entered a tranquil mental state. His spirit could feel the earth essence flowing through the boulder in front of him, and could even sense, just barely, the veins in it. Smiling, Linley began to use the chisel.

The flashing chisel reflected the light of the sun, causing the nearby Reynolds and the others to squint. But all of them continued to stare at the boulder.

“Whooooosh!”

Wherever the shadow of the chisel fell, large pieces of stone began to fall as well.

“How is this possible?” Yale watched in astonishment. “To remove such a large piece of rock, a saw should be used to chop it. He actually removed it with just a straight chisel. How astonishing must his wrist strength be?” Next to him, Reynolds and George both fell totally silent.

Wrist strength?

To do this in such a manner as casually as Linley did, with every cut being perfectly even, was not something which could be accomplished just with strong wrists.

Linley was as tranquil as a pond of still water. The straight chisel in his left hand stretched out, quickly carving through all parts of the boulder, and pieces of excess stone continuously rained down. The natural, elegant manner in which Linley carved was a treat to watch.

“Third bro, he….”

Yale, George, and Reynolds exchanged glances. At this moment, they all felt in their hearts that perhaps Linley truly was an expert stone sculptor.

Tranquil. Natural. Peaceful.

Linley very much enjoyed the feeling of stone sculpting. At his current level, Linley didn’t have to consider how much effort or strength should be used in any particular place. The straight chisel in his hands would naturally attain the most perfect usage of force. This was a subconscious effect.

Compared to the ‘Straight Chisel School’?

None of the other schools of stone sculpting could be so effortless. All the experts of the other schools had to consider which of the many various types of tools should be used for each part of the sculpture. This alone was exhausting.

In this natural, unrestrained manner, Linley’s stonesculpting led his spiritual essence to rapidly grow, like the grass after a rain. That sensation of natural growth was extremely wondrous to Linley, making him feel comfortable from his very core.

Linley’s right hand suddenly halted.

The flying dust and specks of stone took a bit longer to settle, but the outline of a crawling creature could be seen from the boulder.

“Why are you guys standing there in a daze? All shocked?” Linley laughed as he turned to look at Yale and the others. “I’ve just made a simple outline. There’s a lot more time and effort I’ll have to spend later. Come on, let’s get lunch.”

Yale, George, and Reynolds all glanced at each other.

Just based on what Linley had just shown them, all three of them were sure of one thing:

“Genius.” Yale said admiringly.

“A genius amongst experts.” George added.

Even amongst stone sculptors, for someone to be able to reach Linley’s level of proficiency in just five or six years was an event which occurred perhaps once in a century.

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