Linley cautiously glanced about the room, saying in a low voice, “Your Majesty, just a moment. Let me order out the people who are outside.” As he spoke, Linley walked out the door, then barked at the two guards outside. “Both of you, stand down. Without my direct orders, do not permit anyone to enter this courtyard.”
“Yes, Lord Linley.”
Those two guards saluted respectfully, then left. Now, the only ones left in this standalone courtyard were Linley, Clayde, Merritt, and Ransome.
“Creaaak.” Linley quietly shut the door.
“Linley, what sort of secret is this, that you even close the door?” Clayde chuckled.
Linley glanced at Clayde, laughing coldly in his heart. He himself knew that Clayde had already been poisoned by the Bloodrupture poison. As the Bloodrupture poison didn’t actually cause any damage to the body, just prevent the generation of battle-qi, it was only after a person attempted to generate battle-qi that they would discover that they had been poisoned.
“This affair really is quite important.” Linley’s face was solemn.
At this time, Ransome subtly moved closer towards Clayde. As the personal bodyguard of the king, Ransome was beginning to feel that this environment was vaguely dangerous. At the same time, Ransome also felt that as Clayde was a warrior of the ninth rank, and he Ransome was a warrior of the eighth rank, by all rights, nobody here should be capable of being a threat to them.
But one could never be too careful.
“Your Majesty.” Linley stared solemnly at Clayde. “My mother left this world when I was young.”
Clayde nodded. He had investigated Linley’s background, and had discovered that Linley’s mother had died in childbirth, while giving birth to Linley’s younger brother, Wharton.
“I have no memories of receiving motherly love, only of the strictness of my father. My father was quite severe towards me in terms of both warrior training as well as all the education which nobles were expected to have. My father’s requirements for me were very high and very strict.”
Linley looked at Clayde as he spoke slowly.
Clayde was beginning to be confused. He didn’t understand what any of this had to do with the so-called ‘important matter’ which Linley had mentioned. But as the ruler of the kingdom, Clayde showed a kingly poise and didn’t interrupt.
“Your Majesty, I expect that you know that my clan, the Baruch clan, is also the clan of the Dragonblood Warriors.” A slightly proud look was on Linley’s face.
“That’s right. One of the Four Supreme Warrior clans, the Dragonblood Warrior clan. This is an illustrious, ancient lineage.” Clayde sighed with praise.
Linley shook his head. “We were only illustrious in the past. My clan had fallen so far that even our ancestral heirloom had been lost for hundreds of years. Each and every generation of Baruch clan leaders had desired to seize back this heirloom for centuries, but this never occurred. Your Majesty, when I was accepted by the Ernst Institute and left home, do you know what my father said to me the day I left?”
“What did he say?” Clayde looked at Linley.
“My father said, if in the future I do not bring back the ancestral heirloom of our clan, even in his death, he wouldn’t forgive me!” Linley’s body was trembling slightly.
Clayde, Merritt, and even Ransome all stared in amazement. A father could actually say such a thing to his son? “Your father went a bit too far.” Clayde said.
Linley shook his head solemnly. “I understand my father’s desire. My Dragonblood Warrior clan had been downtrodden for centuries, without a single truly powerful person appearing in all that time. My father understood that I would be the strongest person my clan had produced in centuries. Hundreds of years of hopes and desires all rested on my shoulders. Tell me, how could my father permit me to be a failure?” Clayde began to understand.
“My father’s lifelong desire was to bring the warblade ‘Slaughterer’ back to the clan.” Linley’s voice was growing fierce. “At the Ernst Institute, I didn’t dare to slacken off in the slightest. I trained like mad. I always remembered my father’s wish, my father’s instructions!”
Clayde and the others were beginning to understand Linley’s motivations.
“Half a year ago, after I auctioned off ‘Awakening From the Dream’, I went back home, and that time, I brought the warblade ‘Slaughterer’ with me.” Linley’s voice rose to a higher timbre.
Clayde, Ransome, and Merritt were stunned.
Because they all knew that on that trip, Linley had found that his father had already passed away.
“But when I excitedly returned home, I was welcomed by the news of my father’s death. Before he died, he didn’t have a chance to see the warblade, and I didn’t have a chance to see my father one last time either. All those years of hard work, my dream of making my father happy…unfortunately…” All the muscles on Linley’s face were twitching, and the expression on his face was terrifying to behold.
Clayde and the others could all understand how Linley was feeling.
“Linley, don’t be too heartbroken,” Clayde sighed.
Linley sneered. “But, do you know why or how my father died?”
Clayde, Merritt, and Ransome were all startled.
“My father was killed, your Majesty, by your younger brother, Duke Patterson!!!!” Linley’s eyes began to turn red.
“What?!” Clayde rose to his feet in shock. By his side, Merritt and Ransome were both stunned as well.
“Therefore…I killed Patterson!” Linley’s voice was very sinister.
At this point in time, Ransome was the first to feel that something was very wrong in this room. He vigilantly inched closer to Clayde, guarding against Linley’s actions. But suddenly, just at this moment, Ransome felt a gust of wind from behind. Ransome, a warrior of the eighth rank, knew that he wouldn’t have time to turn his head, and so his only choice was to swing his arm behind him in defense.
An incredibly painful feeling…and then, Ransome could no longer feel his arm’s existence. Only now did Ransome notice, from the corner of his eyes….
A rat-like magical beast, nearly half a meter long, was standing beside him. Aside from noticing the rat’s blood-covered maw, Ransome also noticed its sharp claws moving extremely fast towards him. At such a close distance, Ransome didn’t have any chance of dodging at all.
It was too fast!
The sharp claws split apart Ransome’s throat. Ransome stared in astonishment, but gradually, the life faded away from his eyes.
He simply couldn’t understand where this half-meter long rodent-type magical beast had come from. The first thing he had done when he had entered the room was to scan it carefully. He only noticed a small Shadowmouse on the ground which was the size of a man’s palm.
Could a palm-sized Shadowmouse pose a threat?
To a warrior of the eighth rank, not at all. Ransome thus wasn’t on his guard against it at all.
And thus, being caught totally off-guard, this warrior of the eighth rank, Ransome, was easily killed by the Shadowmouse, Bebe. In truth, his death wasn’t too unjust. Given Bebe’s current power, even if Ransome had been able to fight him openly and fairly, he still probably wouldn’t have been able to hold on for too long.
“Ransome.” Clayde and Merritt were both shocked.
A stately warrior of the eighth rank died in one action. The two of them stared in shock at that Shadowmouse. Before their very eyes, Bebe’s body shrank down, returning to a fist-sized state, then leaping back onto Linley’s shoulders.
“Bebe. Well done.” Linley rubbed Bebe’s little head.
Bebe closed his eyes, luxuriating in the feeling.
Linley turned his head to once more stare at Clayde. That cold look in his eyes made Clayde feel very uneasy.
“Linley, what do you think you are doing?” Clayde barked coldly. At the same time, he began to activate the battle-qi in his body. But at that moment, Clayde suddenly felt that those wide open blood vessels in his body had suddenly been stopped up by something.
Based on the dense battle-qi which Clayde possessed as a warrior of the ninth rank, in the past the flow of his battle-qi was as powerful and forceful as the crushing waves of the sea. But now, he was only able to forcibly activate a tiny amount of battle-qi, and sometimes the flow would break entirely. Right now, the amount of battle-qi available to Clayde was perhaps only one percent of what was normally available to him.
“Your Majesty, don’t shout and don’t resist. If you resist, you die.” Linley said calmly.
Clayde instantly realized what sort of situation he was now in.
Right now, just based on his muscle power, he could perhaps compete against a warrior of the seventh rank. But that little Shadowmouse on Linley’s shoulders was capable of killing even a warrior of the eighth rank like Ransome in a flash.
Clayde didn’t doubt in the slightest that Linley and his little Shadowmouse had the power to kill him in an instant.
“Linley, how dare you! You dare to attempt to assassinate his Majesty?” Terrified out of his mind, Merritt shouted.
“Shut your mouth.” Linley cast a frozen glance at Merritt.
Merritt’s muscle strength wasn’t that powerful. Now that he was virtually totally unable to activate his battle-qi, he could perhaps be comparable at most to a normal warrior of the fourth rank.
Merritt quickly understood the situation as well. Not daring to shout at Linley, he still tried to persuade him. “Linley, you have a great future and lots of potential. In the future, you’ll be a high-level official within the Radiant Church, and perhaps one day you’ll even be the next Holy Emperor. Why must you destroy your future prospects? Linley, I trust that his Majesty won’t blame you for having killed Patterson. He brought calamity upon himself when he acted against your father.” As he spoke, Merritt glanced at Clayde.
Clayde nodded as well. “Linley, I am willing to pretend that nothing happened today. As for Patterson, he’s already dead.”
“Linley, his Majesty has already spoken. Don’t act too rashly.” Merritt hurriedly said.
“Shut your mouth!” Linley suddenly stretched his arm out.
Like iron claws, Linley’s right hand stretched out and grabbed Merritt by the throat, suddenly raising him up in the air.
“Ah! Ah! Ah!” Merritt stared at Linley, terrified, gurgling out his pleas.
“Linley.” Clayde immediately called out.
But with a cold laugh, Linley flexed his fingers, and then let his hand relax.
“Crunch!” With a snapping sound, Merritt fell to the floor. He grabbed his throat, just barely managing to force out an ‘ah’ ‘ah’ sound. In the moments just before his death, he still couldn’t believe what had happened. He had come to visit today alongside King Clayde, and yet, this was the result.
As he died, Merritt’s life began to flash before his eyes. The last thing he thought of…was a woman.
“If I had known that I would die in Linley’s hands, then…that day…I shouldn’t have let Alice slip through my fingers.” This was the last thought Merritt ever had.
Linley was smiling coldly at Clayde.
“Linley, why are you acting against me? I seem to have treated you quite well.” Clayde looked at Linley, but at this moment, Clayde was hoping to himself: “Snow Lion, bring someone, quick, quick!” As a warrior of the ninth rank, Clayde had a magical beast companion of his own.
The Snow Lion was a Glacial Snow Lion, an eighth-ranked magical beast who came from the far north. Generally speaking, it would remain in the palace.
Because of the soul-binding contract which bound them, the minds of the Snow Lion and Clayde were linked. Thus, the Snow Lion immediately knew that Clayde had been a victim of an ambush. Clayde knew very well that right now…his priority was to delay, delay as long as he could!
“True, you have treated me well! But what about my mother?” Linley stared death at Clayde.
If it hadn’t been for the fact that in the past, Clayde had ordered the abduction of Linley’s mother, Linley’s father would still be alive, and his mother would be at home as well. His parents would still be alive! But because of Clayde’s actions, he had lost both parents.
“Mother? Didn’t your mother die in childbirth?” Clayde didn’t understand.
“Die in childbirth?” Linley laughed loudly, his voice wild. And then he stared coldly at Clayde. “That was just a cover story that we made up. Clayde, after my mother gave birth to my little brother, my father and her went to the Radiant Temple to pray. But that night, upon returning to their hotel, they were attacked and my mother was captured.”
“Clayde, could it be that you have forgotten that twelve years ago, you ordered Patterson to have kidnappers abduct my mother?” Linley stared coldly at Clayde. “Don’t deny it. Patterson has already told me everything.”
“That…that was your mother?!” Clayde was totally shocked.
“What, you remember now?” Linley’s eyes were boiling with fury. “Tell me. What happened to my mother? Tell me, is she alive, or is she dead?”
Clayde said calmly, “Your mother, I handed over to another person. You can’t afford to offend that person. Neither can I.”
“Another person?” Linley totally didn’t understand.
But at the same time, Linley felt a thread of hope in his heart. A person that even Clayde couldn’t afford to offend had abducted his mother. There had to be an important reason behind it. Perhaps…his mother was still alive.
Clayde laughed coldly. “But I can tell you one thing. Your mother is dead. Without question, she is dead!”
“No…” Linley stared.
“You don’t believe me?” Despite the situation he was in, Clayde began to laugh.