Standing in front of Matt’s corpse, Linley couldn’t help but heave a sigh. At the same time, he couldn’t help but rub the scar on his chest.
The scar here was one which had almost taken his life.
“Compared to Nina [Ni’na], you are far too inferior.” Linley shook his head and sighed. This Matt actually didn’t have much of a friendship with him, and they were nothing more than temporary travel companions who met on the road. There was no way Linley would place too much trust in him.
After having experienced Nina, how could Linley so casually present his back to others?
“Squeak squeak!” The little Shadowmouse, Bebe, came over carrying the backpack which was on Matt’s back. He urgently said to Linley through their link, “Boss, hurry up and take a look and see how many magicite cores there are here. In this month, all of the other assassins combined didn’t have as many magicite cores as that first assassin.”
Doehring Cowart appeared by Linley’s side as well.
“Linley, it seems like this little Shadowmouse that you’ve raised really enjoys counting magicite cores.” Doehring Cowart chuckled.
“It does seem that way, just a bit.” Linley accepted the backpack and opened it while joking with Bebe, “Bebe, this time when you killed that Matt fellow, I believe you used your claws, instead of your sharp teeth. Why didn’t you use your fierce little teeth?”
Bebe sat up straight, let out a few arrogant squeaks, then said mentally, “Boss, I, Bebe, have incredible prowess. My sharp claws are no less fierce than my teeth. And that Matt fellow was too vile. Biting him would sully my teeth.” After saying this, Bebe intentionally put on a display of ‘spitting’ out a mouthful of saliva.
The image of the little Shadowmouse spitting out a mouthful of saliva was simply too human-like. Upon seeing this, Linley immediately started laughing.
“That’s enough, oi, Bebe. Look, that Matt fellow had a lot of magicite cores in his backpack. There’s around thirty. Looks like he didn’t waste much time during this month. But the best core in these thirty is just a core of the fifth rank.”
Linley carefully began inspecting the cores.
During these thirty days, he had killed a number of magical beasts, as well as some people who wanted to kill him. All combined, he had nearly three hundred magicite cores, with a total valuation of perhaps around forty thousand gold coins!
“Forty thousand gold. If father knew…then…” Fantasizing about his father’s reaction when he gave him all that gold, Linley couldn’t help but feel overjoyed.
“It makes sense that you were able to acquire so much,” Doehring Cowart said. “Aside from those magical beasts you killed, of those three hundred magicite cores, virtually all of them came from other people’s backpacks.”
Linley nodded in agreement.
That very first assassin ended up donating him 15,000 gold coins worth of magicite cores. The others, all combined, had just a bit more than that first assassin.
“The Mountain Range of Magical Beasts is extremely dangerous, so most people here have grouped up with others. But assassins rarely are willing to attack groups, because they generally specialize in killing someone instantly, which is why they prefer to fight one on one.”
Doehring Cowart suddenly began to laugh, his white whiskers floating about. “Linley, look at yourself. Yes, you might be tall and strong, but your face is still filled with a childish air. And that fuzz above your lips? All of those prove something…”
“You are just a kid!”
Doehring Cowart laughed uproariously. “Linley, in this huge mountain range, when those assassins find a kid here for his first training exercise, with such a childish face, how can they possibly not make their move against you? That’s why, in a single short month, you’ve run into so many assassins.”
“But those people travelling in groups might not encounter a single assassination attempt in a month. Of course, those five people we ran into that first day were exceptions. First of all, they were too weak. And secondly, their killer was really strong. But in the end, that assassin died by Bebe’s claws.”
Linley laughed and nodded as well.
He was only fifteen years old this year, after all. Although he was 1.8 meters tall, anyone with a good eye could tell that he was just a kid.
“Most magi of the fifth and sixth rank would probably only acquire a few thousand gold coins worth of magicite cores in a month here. And all of those cores would be acquired through life-and-death struggles. After all, the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts is incredibly dangerous.” Doehring Cowart sighed emotionally.
Linley nodded in agreement. “It is dangerous. I’ve stayed in the outer regions this entire time, and at most I have run into magical beasts of the sixth rank. But I’ve been injured several times already. If it weren’t for the Coiling Dragon ring, if it weren’t for the fact that I’m both a dual-element magus of the fifth rank and a warrior of the fourth rank, and if it weren’t for the fact that I have Bebe, I probably would’ve been done for, travelling on my own like this.”
He turned to look at the little Shadowmouse, Bebe, who was currently playing with a magicite core.
Calming himself, Linley collected the various cores, and then headed off once again, with Bebe in tow. He was going to continue his training in the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts. After all, based on his original plans, he was going to stay here for two months.
Each day, Linley would fight against local magical beasts, and his abilities in merging his abilities as a magus with his abilities as a warrior grew better and better. He was also growing in practical experience in using earth-style and wind-style magic in battle. Gradually, Linley began suffering fewer and fewer wounds in battle. Naturally, as Linley gradually drew closer and closer to the core regions, magical beasts of the sixth rank began growing more and more plentiful, and Linley began to be more cautious as well.
On the 46th day of Linley’s entry into the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts.
Ripples began to appear on the surface of the quiet little lake. A human figure suddenly emerged from within. It was Linley. Linley was using a piece of cloth to casually wash himself.
The little Shadowmouse, Bebe, stood on the shore, watching Linley bathe with an envious look in his eyes. After squeaking a few times, he began hopping up and down before diving directly into the lake. Seeing this, Linley couldn’t help but chuckle, and then he continued to bathe himself.
“Haha, that’s enough, Bebe, haha, that’s enough!” Linley suddenly broke out into uncontrollable laughter.
“Oh, boss, you are afraid of being tickled?” The little Shadowmouse rose up into the surface of the water, guileless black eyes gleaming with a hint of mischief.
Chuckling, Linley walked onto the lakeshore. Removing a clean set of clothes from his backpack, he put the new clothes on. Changing clothes after a nice bath was a very luxuriant event. And then, Linley began to wash the just-removed clothes in the lake, then hung them onto a tree branch to dry off. With a leap, Linley landed onto another branch on the tree. Lying down, he watched Bebe mess around in the lake water.
He watched as Bebe joyfully leapt about in the water. Sometimes, Bebe would dive to the lake bottom, while at other times, Bebe would lie on his back on the lake surface.
“Rumble” “Rumble” “Rumble” “Rumble”.
The ground suddenly began to shake ever so slightly. Based on the rumbling rhythm, Linley surmised that it should’ve been caused by something walking. Linley couldn’t help but feel startled, and he looked directly towards the south, in the direction the rumbles were coming from. He saw a large, indistinct shadow appear from within the southern side of the lake, but after a short period of time, Linley was able to clearly see the figure.
It was at least two stories high, and covered with large, flame-red, shield-like scales, which also extended over and covered its four limbs like scaly armor. Its long tail was roughly half as long as its entire body, as nimble and as agile as a whip. Its two sinister, ruby-like eyes, each the size of a lantern, stared at the surface of the lake. Two plumes of white smoke continuously wafted out from its nostrils.
Linley was in total shock, and his body froze, even as his heart sped up.
“Velocidragon. Magical beast of the seventh rank – Velocidragon!”