“Hrm?” Linley turned around, frowning.
Kalan immediately walked over to thank Linley. “My name is Kalan. I very much would like to thank you for your support. If it wasn’t for you, Alice most likely would’ve died just then.”
That girl named Alice ran over as well. Clearly, she was still panicked, and she was panting so heavily her chest rose and fell with each breath. But her soft, hazy eyes were fixed on Linley. “Thank you for saving my life. I’m Alice. My full name is Alice Straf [Si’da’fu]. I’m also a magus of the earth-style.”
Linley’s gaze paused for a moment on Alice.
He had to admit, Alice was a very refined-looking young lady. She had an aura which would naturally make men want to cherish and protect her. She was the sort of girl who didn’t need to use her voice or cosmetics to improve herself.
“Linley, when you see people in danger in the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, you usually don’t assist, right? What’s going on today?” Doehring Cowart’s jesting voice rang out in Linley’s head. “Oh, I get it, you must have taken a fancy to that Alice girl.”
“Grandpa Doehring, in the past, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to help them. It was that within the inner regions of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, the monsters which people were dealing with were at least magical beasts of the sixth rank, sometimes even the seventh rank. I didn’t have the ability to help them. Killing a beast of the fifth rank isn’t too hard, which is why I went ahead and helped.” Linley immediately explained to Doehring Cowart.
Doehring Cowart chuckled and no longer spoke.
“My name is Tony [Tuo’ni]. Milord magus, what is your name?” The other male youth also spoke.
Linley calmly glanced at this group of people. “How long have you been in the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts?”
“This is the first day,” Kalan admitted helplessly. “I didn’t expect that on our very first day, we would encounter a magical beast of the fifth rank. We really were too unlucky. Based on what the books said, the outer region should only have magical beasts of the third and fourth ranks. The four of us shouldn’t have been in any danger.”
“Foolish.” Linley shook his head and spoke.
That female archer named Niya immediately got angry. “Hey, why are you being so cocky? You saved Alice, but that doesn’t give you the right to insult people!”
“Niya!” Kalan immediately shouted.
Linley directly explained, “I really very much admire your courage, that all of you dare to barge into the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts like this. But at the same time, I have to say that you are very lucky. You didn’t run into any bandits on your way to the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts.”
“Bandits?” Kalan and the others looked at each other. They really hadn’t encountered any bandits.
The Mountain Range of Magical Beasts was over ten thousand kilometers long, after all. There were many routes by which one could enter. To not encounter any bandits was very normal.
“Let me tell you this. If you don’t want to die, then immediately depart these mountains.” Linley directly said.
“Why? Are there a lot of magical beasts of the fifth rank in the outer regions as well?” The younger named Tony said curiously.
Linley calmly explained, “In these mountains, especially in the outer areas, the most danger comes not from magical beasts, but from other humans. The four of you are both weak and inexperienced. I trust that certain greedy people will not let you slip away. I expect that the only reason why you haven’t been discovered yet is because today is your first day in these mountains. Otherwise, the four of you would have been killed by now.”
“The most danger comes from other humans?” Kalan frowned, but shortly afterwards, his face changed.
Kalan respectfully said to Linley, “Milord magus, we just entered these mountains and only know a little bit about this area. We made a private decision to come here. I hope you can assist us, milord magus, and escort us out of these mountains.”
Linley couldn’t help but frown.
He hated trouble. But if these people were to encounter bandits on their way home, they really would be in for it.
“Milord magus, we beseech your aid.” Alice also begged.
Linley glanced at Alice. Seeing the look of appeal in her eyes, and imagining her being killed by bandits, Linley’s heart softened. Nodding, he said, “Fine. I’m headed back anyways. I’ll take you along with me. But if we really do encounter bandits on the way back, I can only promise to try my best. If you end up getting killed, there’s nothing I can do.”
Kalan immediately joyfully nodded. “For you to be willing to aid us, milord magus, we are extremely grateful already.”
Linley nodded, then immediately headed forwards. His back towards the four of them, he said, “Follow me.” Kalan and the other four began following Linley. Under Linley’s protection, they departed the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts and headed in the direction of the city.
On the road back, Kalan and the others learned Linley’s name. That Alice, also an earth-style magus, was filled with admiration for Linley. She, too, was only fifteen years old, and she was considered the number one genius at the Wellen [Wei’lin] Institute.
But despite this, Alice was only a magus of the fourth rank. This sort of accomplishment, at the Ernst Institute, would only be considered average.
A break in the journey. Linley, Kalan, Alice, and the others were all eating. Linley and Alice were seated together.
“Big brother Linley, you really are too amazing. You became a magus of the fifth rank when you were fourteen. I probably will be twenty when I reach the fifth rank.” Alice stared worshipfully at Linley.
“I’m nothing. The number one genius at our institute, Dixie, became a magus of the fourth rank when he was nine, and a magus of the fifth rank when he turned twelve.” Linley said casually. He didn’t disclose…that when he was thirteen, he had also been a magus of the fourth rank. But by age fourteen, he had become a magus of the fifth rank.”
In just one short year, he had advanced as much as Dixie had in three.
“A magus of the fourth rank at age nine? I’m fifteen, but I just became a magus of the fourth rank. And I’m considered the top genius at my school. Our Wellen Institute really can’t compare at all to your Ernst Institute.” Alice sighed.
“Big brother Linley, it felt like to me that your Earthen Spear Array was very powerful and formidable, even more so than the other magi of the fifth rank at my school. Why is that?” Alice was also an earth-style magus. Naturally, she noticed the differences in Linley’s spell.
Linley smiled faintly. It wasn’t just power. The speed at which it erupted was also very fast.
“Earth-style magic’s origin lies in the essence of the world…” Linley began explaining to Alice. To be honest, in terms of understanding earth magic, Linley had a much deeper grasp and understanding than even the earth-style instructors of the Ernst Institute. After all, he had a Saint-level Grand Magus as his personal tutor.
Alice stared at Linley, totally focusing and concentrating on him.
One listened while the other spoke. As they talked, the two of them drew closer and closer to each other. Totally absorbed in magical theory, Linley only noticed after taking a break that their faces were now so close that only a fist’s worth of distance separated them.
Linley was startled. This was his first time being so close to a girl. Being so close, he could clearly see Alice’s two hazy, soft eyes, her pert nose…Linley even thought that he could feel her breath on him and smell the fragrance of her body.
“Big brother Linley, why’d you stop talking?” Alice asked curiously. But moments later, Alice realized what happened. She immediately pulled back, and her face immediately flushed as red as an apple.
Linley forced himself to calm down, and then stood up to face the others. Pretending that nothing was amiss, he said, “Alright, everybody eat up. We’re going to continue to travel soon. Let’s do our best to arrive at the city early.”