Linley’s entire body was in such pain that it was convulsing. Linley’s very spine was straining as if trying to pop out, and then one small spike after another did begin to slowly grow out of his spine, piercing through his skin and flesh and rising to form a line on his back.
This extreme pain caused Linley to begin letting out guttural howls. His entire body was covered in sweat, but even as the sweat came out, so too did one black scale after another, each and every scale very much similar to the scales of the Armored Razorback Wyrm. The only difference was that they were smaller in size.
Grinding his teeth, his throat trembling with every guttural, pain-filled roar, Linley did his best to forcibly will himself to begin utilizing the secret methods contained within the Secret Dragonblood Manual.
The draconic crystal was being constantly eroded away by the Dragonblood in Linley’s veins, and it was slowly growing smaller. At the same time, the Dragonblood in Linley’s veins was constantly devouring the astonishing darkness-type elemental force contained within the draconic crystal. The pace of his body’s evolution actually began to pick up even further…
“Graaawr!” A blood-covered, black-scaled draconic tail slowly began to protrude from Linley’s tailbone. This draconic tail was of the size and hardness of a steel whip.
“What, what is going on?” Feeling his entire body transforming, especially those spikes popping out from his spine, and those black scales, Linley was totally flabbergasted.
Per the records of the Secret Dragonblood Manual, a Dragonblood Warrior had three forms.
Under the third form, ‘Dragonform’, the Dragonblood Warrior’s entire body would be covered with azure scales, and a horn would sprout from his forehead as well. This was the most powerful form available to a Dragonblood Warrior…but currently, Linley’s physical transformation was totally different from that which was described in the Secret Dragonblood Manual.
The scales which were covering Linley’s body were all black, not azure. The spikes protruding from Linley’s spine should not be there. Linley couldn’t help but suddenly think of the Armored Razorback Wyrm.
The second form, ‘Demidragon’, was not quite as strong as the ‘Dragonform’ transformation, as it only allowed part of his body to transform.
As for the first form, that was the normal human form. In most situations, a Dragonblood Warrior would be in this form. This was also the weakest form available to a Dragonblood Warrior.
Per the Secret Dragonblood Manual, the first time a Dragonblood Warrior successfully trained the usage of Dragonblood battle-qi, his body would uncontrollably enter the third form, the Dragonform. This first transformation would be incredibly painful, but afterwards, the transformations would no longer hurt at all.
Within Linley’s body….
A surge of deep blue liquid seemed to have merged with a black liquid and spread itself throughout his body. Every single muscle, every single vein was constantly absorbing energy from these liquids, causing Linley’s physical attributes to all start improving at a terrifying pace. But this rapid strengthening of the body was causing Linley excruciating pain as well.
“Damnable dragons.” Linley was beginning to curse at them mentally. “It must have been you guys. Otherwise, our clan definitely would have written in much greater detail about the aftereffects of drinking live dragon’s blood and the things to be careful about.”
The more Linley thought about it, the angrier he became.
His own clan’s Secret Dragonblood Manual clearly was filled with contradictions. If it was true that no one had ever successfully used live dragon’s blood to rouse the Dragonblood in their veins, then why would the book be so confident that this method would be successful? This was a clear contradiction.
And how could Linley know what the situation in the clan was, 4000-5000 years ago!
“It must have been that due to the pressure of the entire race of dragons that our ancestors were forced to skimp on the details of this method of using live dragon’s blood to rouse the Dragonblood in our veins.” Right now, Linley had no idea what he should do.
His ‘Dragonform’ was clearly different from the authentic ‘Dragonform’ which had been mentioned in the Secret Dragonblood Manual.
“I am far too mentally resilient. I really hope I’ll faint soon.” Linley actually was begging for himself to faint, as once he fainted, his pain would be over.
Linley’s entire body trembled once again. All ten fingers and all ten toes suddenly were wracked with a bone-deep pain, as the fingernails and toenails suddenly began to grow sharp, like miniature dragon claws. The pain of sharp claws forcibly growing out of his fingers and toes really, finally, caused Linley to begin to lose all consciousness.
As his head grew foggy, Linley’s eyes began to close, and then all consciousness fled.
Linley’s body collapsed to the ground.
“He’s passed out.” Doehring Cowart stood next to Linley, watching him. He couldn’t help but let out a small sigh. “How bizarre. I can’t imagine how Linley’s ancestor, Baruch, could have developed such a strange ability of transforming into a Dragonform.”
Frowning, Doehring Cowart mumbled to himself, “Honestly speaking, it’s bizarre. It seems that aside from the Dragonblood Warriors, there’s also three other bloodlines of Supreme Warriors. But when I was alive, there was no such thing as a Supreme Warrior. But shortly after I died, these four bloodlines arrived on the scene.”
Despite his thousand-plus years of experience and wisdom, Doehring Cowart was unable to puzzle out how and why this occurred.
“If he was able to slay a Nine-Headed Serpent Emperor, then in all likelihood, Linley’s ancestor, Baruch, was no weaker than I am, and perhaps stronger.” Doehring Cowart knew full well how powerful a Nine-Headed Serpent Emperor was. Nine-Headed Serpents were an extremely formidable race of magical beasts, and for a Nine-Headed Serpent to receive the title of ‘Serpent Emperor’ meant that, without question, it was a peak Saint-level magical beast.
Even he himself would not have the confidence to say that he could slay a Nine-Headed Serpent Emperor.
“And that little Shadowmouse is no ordinary creature either.” Doehring Cowart turned his head to stare at the little Shadowmouse Bebe, who was still lying and resting in that crevice his body had created earlier. “An Armored Razorback Wyrm is amongst the most powerful dragon-type beasts of the ninth rank, and this Sartius fellow was at the peak of the ninth rank. His dying blow should be able to shatter the bones and rend the flesh of magical beasts of the ninth rank, but somehow, this little Shadowmouse managed to survive it.”
Doehring Cowart couldn’t help but feel astonished.
In fact, he was starting to suspect…
“Could it be that this little Shadowmouse isn’t a Shadowmouse, and is actually a Stoneater Rat?”
Doehring Cowart knew very well that of the two major rodent-class magical beasts, the Stoneater Rats were far more populous than the Shadowmice. The weakest Stoneater Rat was of the first rank, while the most powerful was of the seventh or eighth rank. As for Shadowmice, although they started at the third rank, they also topped out at the seventh or eighth rank.
The advantage of the Shadowmouse was its speed and its sharp claws, while the strength of the Stoneater Rat lay in its defensive abilities and its sharp claws.
“The Stoneater Rat is physically small, but its defensive ability is the most powerful of any magical beast at the same rank. The defensive power of a Stoneater Rat of the eighth rank could most likely compare with the defensive power of an Armored Razorback Wyrm!” Doehring Cowart knew very well how terrifying Stoneater Rats could be.
Although physically small, the defensive power of its fur was formidable to an extreme.
Across all the myriad types of magical beasts, be it dragon-types, bear-types, serpent-types, or any other types, the tiny little Stoneater Rat had the highest defensive power at the same rank!
“Bebe’s power should be at the eighth rank now. If he’s a Stoneater Rat of the eighth rank, I would find it conceivable that he could take a hit and not die. But he’s not a Stoneater Rat. A Stoneater Rat of the eighth rank should have golden fur.” Doehring Cowart’s mind was full of questions.
“Black fur and terrifying speed, and also such amazing defensive power? How bizarre.”
Suddenly, Doehring Cowart’s eyes glazed over.
A terrifying name suddenly appeared in the back of his mind!
“Could it be that this little Shadowmouse is…is related somehow to ‘that one’ in the Forest of Shadows, in the northeast of the Yulan continent?” Doehring Cowart was trembling with fear now. Back in the days when Doehring Cowart was alive, in the Yulan continent, there were only two entities powerful enough that he wouldn’t have any hope of fighting against them.
In those years, Doehring Cowart really had been ranked amongst the top five most powerful figures in the Yulan continent. Aside from the first and the second, there wasn’t much difference amongst the rest of the five in terms of power.
But the power of the number one and number two experts of the Yulan continent was without question.
As for who exactly was number one and who was number two, nobody knew for sure. One of the two was the pillar and foundation of the Yulan Empire. As long as he was alive, even if the Yulan Empire grew weak and decrepit, it would never fall.
And the other, was the one who lived in the Forest of Shadows.
The Yulan Empire had unified the entire Yulan continent and also initiated the Yulan calendar that year, year one. After almost ten thousand years, the continent had now fragmented to its current state, resulting in the two major alliances and the Four Great Empires. And even as far back as when the Yulan Empire ruled over the entire continent, that human expert’s name was famous throughout the world.
“That one in the Forest of Shadows is the undisputed strongest magical beast in the world. I heard that he is extremely fond of rodent-type magical beasts. Could it be that this strange little Shadowmouse was brought up by him?” Doehring Cowart was wondering to himself.
But Doehring Cowart also knew that the information he had about the experts of the Yulan continent were five thousand years out of date.
Five thousand years ago, the Yulan continent had exactly two ultimate super-combatants; one human, and the other a magical beast. The other Saint-level combatants could only admire them from afar.
But five thousand years later?
“Perhaps there have been mutations to the rodent-type beasts. That’s also a possibility.” Doehring Cowart consoled himself.
Doehring Cowart once again glanced at Linley and Bebe, then nodded. “A descendant of the Dragonblood Warriors, and a mutated Shadowmouse. What will the two of them accomplish together?” Doehring Cowart was rather excited to see. Perhaps, by Linley’s side, his future days wouldn’t be too lonely either.
The entire tunnel was absolutely silent.
The unconscious Linley’s body was still transforming, and the Dragonblood battle-qi was slowly gathering three inches beneath his navel, crystallizing into a pattern similar to a draconic crystal. Bebe’s wounds, in turn, were also slowly healing.
Three days later.
Linley opened his eyes and suddenly rose to his feet.
Right now, Linley was absolutely naked. All of the clothes he had previously been wearing had been torn asunder long ago by that first Dragonform transformation he had undergone. But now, after having returned to human form, Linley seemed no different from any other humans.
“I’ve finally changed back.”
Although according to the Secret Dragonblood Manual a Dragonblood Warrior was able to transform back into human form, only after it actually happened did Linley feel at ease. After all, his ‘Dragonform’ and the authentic ‘Dragonform’ as described in the manual was different.
“Boss, you woke up.” That bright, chipper voice rang out in Linley’s mind.
With surprised delight, Linley turned his head to look, and as he did, Bebe jumped into his arms. Embracing Bebe, Linley finally felt his heart at peace. When Bebe had suffered that vicious wounding deathblow of the Armored Razorback Wyrm, Linley had truly been afraid.
He was afraid that the little Shadowmouse he had grown up with was dead.
“Bebe, are you okay?” Linley carefully inspected Bebe’s body. Upon doing so, Linley saw an unassuming scar directly on Bebe’s chest…but Linley could also tell the rest this scar appeared unassuming was because the fur on Bebe’s chest was blocking much of it.
Bebe chortled, “I’m fine. How could I, Bebe, be afraid of a little worm?”
“Boss, hey! Your body no longer has any scars? Same with your face. You don’t have any scars at all, now!” Bebe suddenly said in astonishment.
Only now did Linley pay some attention to his own body.
“Ah, so this is indeed as the Secret Dragonblood Manual described. The first time one undergoes the Dragonform transformation, one’s entire body is transformed, and even the skin is changed.” Right now, there wasn’t a single scar anywhere on Linley’s body, and it was in perfect condition.
Sensing the boiling power now within his body, Linley couldn’t help but feel excited.
“What tremendous physical power.” Linley could feel that his current power was at least several dozen times greater than before. After having roused the Dragonblood in his veins, the physical characteristics of his body had all been tremendously enhanced. Even in his human form, he was much stronger than before he had roused the Dragonblood.
Clenching his fist and generating a field of Dragonblood battle-qi, Linley suddenly delivered a powerful punch to the nearby stone wall.
“Bang!” As though struck by a steel rod, a large hole was punched into the stone tunnel wall as rocks began flying in every which way.
“Sixth rank. Linley, in your human form, you already have the power of a warrior of the sixth rank!” Doehring Cowart flew out of the Coiling Dragon ring, laughing as he spoke to Linley.