Both sides of the auction hall were filled with wealthy nobles. The groups of nobles separated into two sides in order to open a corridor for the departure of the Cardinals Guillermo and Lampson of the Radiant Church, King Clayde of Fenlai, Director Maia of the Proulx Gallery, young master Yale of the Dawson Conglomerate, and of course, the genius magus and genius sculptor, Master Linley.
These people walked in the middle corridor, chatting and laughing amongst themselves as they headed towards the exit of the Proulx Gallery.
“Lord Guillermo. Lord Lampson.”
All of the surrounding nobles and magnates were smiling and greeting them with modesty and goodwill. The Debs clan, however, had been squeezed into a corner. Her head covered firmly by her hat, Alice couldn’t help but to raise her head and take a peek at Linley, who was buried within a sea of well-wishing nobles and magnates.
In this day and age, Linley had become a legendary genius.
A seventeen year old dual-element magus of the seventh rank whose achievements in the field of sculpture rivaled that of Proulx, Hope Jensen, Hoover, and the other Grandmasters. A genius such as he was would naturally be viewed as the most glittering star in the sky, worthy of everyone’s admiration. Slowly, the two Cardinals, King Clayde, Linley, Yale, and the others disappeared in the distance.
Only then did all of the nobles and wealthy moguls leave as well.
“You must be Alice.” A clear voice suddenly rang out.
Several members of the Debs clan looked behind them into the hall.
A beautiful, golden-haired woman walked over to them, while by her side was an old man with a warm smile on his face. But both this woman and the old servant had an aura of nobility that emanated from their bones, naturally making others feel inferior to them.
Seeing her, Bernard immediately said modestly, “Lord Shaw, this must be Miss Delia. I’ve long heard that the Leon clan’s legendary Miss Delia is so devastatingly beautiful that she can cause the downfall of a kingdom. Today, upon seeing her, I must say that she is even more beautiful than the legend.”
The influence of the Debs clan was limited to the Kingdom of Fenlai. Compared to the continent-spanning Leon clan, they were incomparably minute.
“Oh, clan leader Bernard of the Debs clan?” Delia glanced at Bernard.
Bernard modestly nodded.
“And this must be your son Kalan’s fiancée, correct?” Delia looked at Alice, who was hiding behind Kalan.
Bernard immediately smiled. “Her? No, she’s not the principal wife of my son Kalan.”
“Not the principal wife?” A cold smile appeared on the face of Delia, and she slowly walked towards Alice. Bernard didn’t dare to block her way. When Delia neared Kalan, Kalan actually puffed out his chest and tried to courageously block her path.
But when he met Delia’s frosty gaze, Kalan suddenly felt his heart grow cold.
When he reminded himself that this was a young mistress of the Leon clan, Kalan felt all the more uneasy. Right now, the relationship between the Debs clan and the Dawson Conglomerate was already terrible. If they offended the Leon clan as well…it would be simply too easy for the Leon clan to deal with the Debs clan.
“Alice.” Delia stared into Alice’s eyes.
Alice raised her head, forcing herself to match Delia’s gaze, doing her best to calm her beating heart.
But Delia only laughed. In a soft voice, she said, “Alice…I really don’t know why Linley fell for you?” Alice’s face grew pale, but she replied, “That’s none of your business!”
“None of my business?” Delia let out a calm chuckle. “Right. It’s none of my business. But I really feel pity for you. You actually gave up Linley, but the result of that was? You aren’t even going to be a principal wife within this Debs clan. I imagine you feel regret…but unfortunately, you’ll never have that chance again. Because a person like you will never, ever have the chance to interact with Linley again. In the future, you two will belong in different worlds. Do you understand?”
Delia totally ignored the ugly look on Kalan’s face, and she turned directly to look at Bernard.
“Forgive me for disturbing you.” Delia said extremely courteously.
Bernard immediately bowed modestly. “Miss Delia, by your leave.”
That old man by Delia’s side cast a look at Kalan, who still had that ugly look on his face. With a cold sneer, he followed Delia out. But Bernard continued to watch them leave with a courteous smile on his face. Only after Delia and her servant had left did he turn, fixing Alice and Kalan with a deadly glare.
“Absolutely disgraceful!” Bernard viciously snapped at them.
Neither Kalan nor Alice dared to make a sound. Under this aura of oppressiveness, the Debs clan returned home.
Within the Lucas clan’s mansion in Fenlai City.
“Master Linley, no, no, there’s no need.” Marquis Jebs was hurriedly trying to refuse Linley. “There’s really no need for the 600,000 gold coins. Master Linley, I am so incredibly sorry. I really had no idea that you had reached such an incredible level in the field of sculpting.”
Jebs, that obstinate old man. Right now, when he looked at Linley, his eyes were filled with something akin to veneration for an idol.
Marquis Jebs didn’t have many hobbies. The one thing he loved to do was collect items.
Naturally, he felt deep veneration for those Grandmaster-level artisans of each field. Perhaps even if the King of Fenlai was present, he wouldn’t feel as much awe as he did now towards Linley.
“How about let’s just name the price at 180,000 gold, is that fine? My clan originally bought it for 180,000 gold coins, so that would still be fair. Master Linley, I really am not willing to make money off of you. If I took advantage and earned money from you, Master Linley, I wouldn’t be able to sleep well at night.”
That adorable old man, Master Marquis, was extremely stubborn.
“Marquis Jebs, in the past, when your Lucas clan bought this warblade ‘Slaughterer’ from my clan, the price you paid was 180,000 gold coins, true. But after all these centuries, due to inflation, the 180,000 gold coins you paid then is worth much more now.” Linley wasn’t willing to take advantage of the Lucas clan either.
But Marquis Jebs only stubbornly stared at Linley.
“Haha, you guys…you guys are just so…” Next to them, Yale was laughing so hard that he was clutching his belly. “The seller is frantically trying to lower his product’s price, and would rather give it away for free. But the buyer is trying to raise the price higher. I have never seen something like this before.”
Linley let out a helpless laugh as well. “Marquis Jebs, how about this. Centuries ago, that 180,000 gold coins had a purchasing power comparable to around 360,000 gold in this era. Let’s just go with 360,000 gold coins. Don’t refuse any longer! If you do, I’ll just throw down my magicrystal card and leave.”
Linley withdrew his magicrystal card from his breast pocket.
Marquis Jebs looked unhappily at Linley, but finally nodded. “Fine, then.”
Linley couldn’t help but laugh.
Marquis Jebs suddenly laughed a bit shyly as well. “Master Linley, I have a small favor to ask, if I might?”
“Go ahead.” Linley laughed, looking at the Marquis.
Marquis Jebs gestured at his servants, who quickly carried over an erect stone tablet from deeper within his mansion.
“Master Linley, I only hope that you can put your signature on this tablet. If you do, I will treasure this forever.” Marquis Jebs looked at Linley with hopeful eyes.
Linley chuckled, then withdrew his straight chisel from his breast pocket.
With a casual flick of the wrist, the chisel began to fly about in a blur as stone dust began to fall off from that stone tablet. In the time it took to take three breaths, Linley was finished and withdrew his chisel. Gently blowing air on the tablet, all of the remaining dust flew away from it, revealing a name artistically written, as though it were a flying dragon or a dancing phoenix.
Staring at that word, Marquis Jebs’ eyes were shining. “What an elegant carving technique, and what beautiful letters. This word is far more valuable than 360,000 gold coins.”
Hearing this, Linley didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
On the road from Fenlai City to Wushan township, the path was lined with redwood trees on either side. Riding a large stallion, Linley was galloping forward with a huge case on his back. This case was several hundred pounds heavy. Fortunately, this stallion was a particularly fine one that had been provided by the Dawson Conglomerate. Normal horses wouldn’t be able to move quickly when carrying such a burden.
Behind Linley, a troop of over a hundred Knights was following him.
This troop had been gifted to Linley by the Radiant Church via Cardinal Lampson and Cardinal Guillermo. What the Radiant Church claimed was that Linley’s safety was of paramount importance to them, which could be seen from the recent abduction attempt. The weakest member of this troop was a warrior of the fifth rank. It belonged to one of the ace regiments of the Knights of the Radiant Temple.
Over a hundred warhorses galloped behind, kicking up a cloud of dust.
From far away, the image of Wushan township drew closer and closer to Linley’s sight. In his mind, he couldn’t help but think back to the events of his youth, such as the training he had undergone in the training grounds, as well as that terrifying sight of the Velocidragon.
In the past, in Linley’s eyes, a Velocidragon was the symbol of utter invincibility. But now, to Linley, a Velocidragon was no longer much of anything.
The earth shook as this troop of elite knights and warhorses continued on their way. The shudders could be felt from far away.
“What a mighty troop.”
While walking in the middle of Wushan township, Hillman couldn’t help but turn and stare. The sound of the hoof steps was orderly, fast and forceful, striking fear into Hillman’s heart. Even when he was in the army, he had never encountered such a high-quality force of knights.
The lowest of the knights present was a warrior of the fifth rank. How could a troop belonging to one of the ace regiments of the Radiant Church be of low quality?
The sound of their warhorses galloping alone could strike fear into many.
“Who is that?” Hillman instantly saw that there was a person riding ahead of the troop.
“Linley.” The expression on Hillman’s face changed, and he quickly ran at high speed towards the Baruch clan manor.
After entering the bounds of Wushan township proper, Linley instructed his troop of knights to lower their speeds. Linley, only, continued to move at a relatively fast speed towards his clan’s manor. Seeing from afar that vine-wrapped, scarred wall, Linley thought back to one event after another of his youth.
“The Baruch clan, my roots, my foundation!” Carrying the warblade, ‘Slaughterer’, on his back, Linley’s heart was filled with pride.
Linley could still clearly remember, the first time he had left for the Ernst Institute, what his father had said to him. Linley believed that he would never, ever forget these words from his father.
“Linley, remember the centuries long desire of generations of Baruch elders. Remember the shame of the Baruch clan!”
“After graduating, you will at least be a magus of the sixth rank. As long as you train hard, becoming a magus of the seventh rank shouldn’t be too hard. In the future, you will definitely have the ability to regain our clan’s ancestral heirloom. If you fail to do so, even in death, I will not forgive you.”
“Even in death, I will not forgive you!”
That voice reverberated in Linley’s mind. But this time, feeling the weight of the ‘Slaughterer’ on his back, Linley only felt a surge of pride.
“Father, I’m coming back”!
“Father, I have brought back our warblade, ‘Slaughterer’!”
Linley flew off his horse’s back and directly charged into his clan’s courtyard.
“Father!” Linley shouted loudly.
“I’m back! I brought the warblade ‘Slaughterer’ back!” Linley was filled with joy and excitement. The elders of his clan had labored for centuries. His father had pined for it his entire life. And now, he had finally fulfilled his father’s desire!
“The warblade, ‘Slaughterer’?” A voice rang out.
Linley turned and looked behind him. It was Hillman.
“Uncle Hillman, where’s father? Quick, have him come out. Haha, I’ve finally brought back the warblade ‘Slaughterer’. Honest! I have the ancestral heirloom of our Dragonblood Warrior clan. I’ve finally brought it back. Quick, tell me where my father is. Once my father finds out, he will be so ecstatic. Tonight, we are absolutely going to get drunk. Uncle Hillman, don’t worry, tonight, I’m not going to shirk my duty. I’ll definitely get drunk with you. If we aren’t drunk, we won’t stop!”
Linley was so excited, he continued to babble without stopping. He even removed the case from his back, holding it in his arms as he stared at Uncle Hillman.
There was no hint of joy in Hillman’s face. In fact, there was a hint of misery.
“Un….Uncle Hillman?” Linley began to frown. Staring at Uncle Hillman, he said, “Uncle Hillman, where is my father?”
Looking at Linley, Hillman forced out a smile. “Linley, you’ve brought back the warblade, ‘Slaughterer’? If your father knew, he definitely would be ecstatic. Definitely.”
“Where is my father?”
“Your father. He. He passed away three months ago.” Hillman took a deep breath, then finally, slowly said these words. As he did, his eyes turned moist.
Linley suddenly felt as though countless thunderbolts had went off by his ears. His brain went blank.
The case in Linley’s hands fell heavily to the ground. The lid to the case flew open, revealing a giant warblade which emanated a killing aura and was tinted with a slight, bloody red color. That cold, killing aura and that bloody aura filled the entire hall in an instant.
Linley stared disbelievingly at Hillman.
Hillman nodded slightly.
Suddenly, Linley laughed. “Haha, Uncle Hillman, you must be lying to me. Haha, I’ve brought back the warblade ‘Slaughterer’. Look, Uncle Hillman, I’ve brought back the warblade ‘Slaughterer’. How could my father be dead? He is going to view this warblade first.”
With one hand, Linley reached out and picked up the warblade ‘Slaughterer’. Instantly, that bloody aura filled even Hillman’s heart with trepidation.
“Uncle Hillman, look. I brought back the ‘Slaughterer’. And I have to tell my father that I am now capable of transforming into a Dragonblood Warrior.” Scales began forming around Linley’s hands, and in a short while, Linley’s hands transformed into draconic claws.
Grabbing onto Hillman’s shoulders with his two draconic claws, Linley stared into Hillman’s eyes. “Uncle Hillman, look, I can already transform into a Dragonblood Warrior. I’ve brought home the warblade ‘Slaughterer’ to our clan. It’s true. Where is father? My father!”
“I am going to show the warblade ‘Slaughterer’ to him!”
“I haven’t yet had the chance to tell him that I can become a Dragonblood Warrior!”
Those draconic claws gripped Hillman by the shoulders, but the owner of those claws, Linley, stared beseechingly into Hillman’s eyes.
“Uncle Hillman, I’m begging you, tell me, where is my father?” Like a poor, lost orphan child, Linley stared at Hillman, his eyes begging. Like a drowning man clutching at a stalk of grass, Linley clutched at Hillman.
Hillman gently shook his head. “Linley, your father…is dead!”
Linley laughed. Laughed so desolately. “No…no way. I have to show him the warblade ‘Slaughterer’. I have to tell him that I can transform into a Dragonblood Warrior. And tonight, I’m going to drink wine with him.”
As he spoke, tears began to cover Linley’s face.
Staring at Linley, Hillman couldn’t help but lower his face, and then two rivers of tears began to flow down his own face.
Gripping onto Hillman fiercely with his two claws, Linley stared a deathly stare at Hillman. His eyes even took on that same, icy, dark golden color of the Armored Razorback Wyrm. The entire hall was suddenly filled with a baleful aura that was even more terrifying than the one emitted by the warblade ‘Slaughterer’.
A low, hoarse growl emitted from Linley’s throat…
“Tell me….where is my father?”