Time flowed on, and in the blink of an eye, it was now the end of May.
During the past two months, every day, Linley spent part of his free time in the meditative state, and the rest either practicing stonecarving or reading. The Ernst Institute’s library held an enormous amount of books within it, and through reading these books, Linley was able to increase the breadth of his knowledge.
May 29th. Morning.
Linley, Yale, George, and Reynolds stood in the square in front of the Proulx Gallery. A nearby carriage contained within it three wooden crates. During these past two months, Linley had actually managed to produce nine new sculptures, but since this was his first time delivering art to the gallery, Linley just wanted to get a taste of how it all worked and thus only brought three.
“Carry those three boxes,” Yale directed.
Some servants from Yale’s clan began to lift and move the crates.
“Third bro, come with me.” Yale clearly was quite familiar with this road, and he headed directly towards the side of the Proulx Gallery. The Proulx Gallery took up a very large amount of space, and off to the side of the main entrance, a few hundred meters away, there was an unremarkable door, with a middle-aged man dressed in warrior attire standing in front of it.
When the middle-aged man saw Yale stride towards him, his eyes lit up and he immediately hurried over. Smiling, he paid his respects and said, “Young master Yale, welcome!”
Yale smiled and nodded. “I imagine you already know why I am here. This is my good friend, Linley. These three sculptures are his. Where are your servants? Have them carry the sculptures inside.”
“Please wait.” The middle aged man smiled and nodded.
Very soon, several movers emerged from the corridor, and the middle aged man smiled towards Linley. “Young master Linley, per the rules of our Proulx Gallery, you need to leave behind your proof of identification. All you need to do is let us take down the details of your Ernst Institute student identification.”
The student identification of the Ernst Institute was more than enough proof.
Linley withdrew his student identification.
Accepting the identification papers from Linley, the middle aged man glanced through them, and his eyes immediately lit up. Shocked, he raised his gaze back to Linley. “Fifth grade?” Linley’s grade was very visible on the identification papers. For someone so young to reach the rank of a magus of the fifth rank was quite surprising indeed.
Yale couldn’t help but say proudly, “This brother of mine is one of the two ultimate geniuses of the Ernst Institute. Last year, when he was only fourteen years old, at the end-of-year exams, he reached the title of magus of the fifth rank.”
One of the two ultimate geniuses of the Ernst Institute?
In his heart, the middle-aged man knew quite clearly that the future prospects for this young man standing in front of him, Linley, were boundless. His attitude immediately became much more obsequious. After recording down Linley’s biographical details, he made a mark on each of the three crates.
“Young master Linley, everything is handled. All you have to do, young master, is to come back in a month and collect your renumeration.” The middle aged man smiled.
“In a month? I don’t have any time next month. Can we delay it to three months hence?” Linley asked. Linley was planning to head to the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts in a week or two, and on this trip, he was planning on spending two months or so there.
“No rush. As long as your sculptures find buyers, you can come back at any time to collect your fee.” The middle aged man nodded.
Yale frowned. “Hrm? What’s going on. I remember that in the past, before accepting sculptures, you would first inspect the contents of the crate. Why aren’t you doing an inspection this time?”
The middle aged man said, “The reason we inspect the insides of the crates is to prevent unscrupulous people from sending us some already-damaged sculptures. If we are unable to detect the damage, they might claim that the damage was caused by the gallery and try to extort us. But since these three particular sculptures have been delivered by young master Linley and you, young master Yale, I have no concerns. I am confident that someone like you, young master Yale, would not stoop to such actions.”
The middle aged man knew exactly what he was doing.
What sort of person was Yale?
Extort the Proulx Gallery? The amount of money that he might be able to extort probably wouldn’t even be enough to count as pocket change for him. And the creator of these sculptures, Linley, was known as one of the two ultimate geniuses of the Ernst Institute. How could people like them lower themselves to such base actions?
Day turned to night. On East Fenlai City’s main road, the Fragrant Pavilion Avenue. The third floor of the Jade Water Paradise. Linley and the other three had a room of their own.
The nights at Fenlai City were always quite busy.
But the nights within the Jade Water Paradise were even more bustling, having reached a peak of busy-ness. The coquettish laughs of women could be heard nonstop, while the roaring, heroic laughter of men also constantly sounded out. Within the private room, the four bros drank while making idle conversation, and by each of their sides was a delicate and pretty girl.
“Second bro, third bro, I’m going to go to bed, and fourth bro is as well. The two of you…” His arm draped around a girl with long, green hair, Yale’s breath smelled strongly of liquor.
“That’s enough, boss Yale. Stop talking, alright?” Linley interrupted Yale’s words.
Yale and Reynolds exchanged glances, then looked at Linley and George with contemptuous gazes. And then Yale and Reynolds, each of them with an arm around the waist of their respective companions, left the private room. For two years now, Linley and the gang had often come here.
Generally, Yale and Reynolds would go off to have fun, while Linley and George would at most drink a little and chat with the girls.
“Young master Linley, we’ve known each other for two years now, but you….” The green-haired girl seated next to Linley said in an unhappy voice.
Linley couldn’t help but feel a headache coming.
“Ira [Ai’la], if you are tired, you can go back and get some rest. I guarantee that when the time comes, you won’t receive a single copper coin less than you deserve.” Linley had no choice but to say coldly, causing the girl named Ira to no longer dare speak. It really was quite rare to see someone come to the Jade Water Paradise but only drink.
A white light shone forth from the Coiling Dragon Ring, and transformed itself into Doehring Cowart.
Doehring Cowart, face wreathed in smiles, looked at Linley. Jestingly, he said, ‘Hey, Linley. Why do you have such a foul look on your face with such a girl in front of you? Alas, I, a venerable Saint-level Grand Magus, am now just a bodiless spirit. I can’t touch a woman, even if I want to. And you, you punk, act in such a way?”
“Grandpa Doehring.” Linley frowned unhappily as he said mentally to Doehring Cowart.
Doehring Cowart pursed his lips. “You’ve never gotten a taste of a woman. If you had, you wouldn’t be acting in such a way.”
Linley raised his head and stared outside the window, no longer paying any attention to that lecherous old Doehring Cowart. The cold outside air blew on his face, helping Linley to calm down.
“The Mountain Range of Magical Beasts. What is it like, inside it?”
In one or two weeks, Linley was going to head off on his journey. Within the Ernst Institute, Linley had heard many legends regarding the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, and had also heard much from Doehring Cowart. However, Linley had never gone himself. Thus, Linley had only his own imagination to rely on when trying to picture the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts.
“In a week, let’s go.”
Staring outside the window, seeing the boundless night sky, Linley made up his mind.