Count Wharton’s manor was very quiet. Zassler was in his room training, while Barker, his brothers, and Wharton were all training in the wide training yard in the back of the manor. Rebecca, Leena, and Jenne were chatting with the Seventh Princess, Nina.
After finishing his training, Wharton took a shower and changed into a set of clean clothes. Satisfied and content, Wharton walked into his manor. He had never felt as happy as he currently felt.
He was together with his big brother, and he was marrying Nina. Grandpa Hiri and Hillman were also enjoying the quiet, comfortable lives of nobles.
“Father. Mother. If you two were still alive, you would definitely be very happy.” Wharton felt very satisfied, while at the same time, he felt very grateful to his big brother, Linley, who had brought all of this.
Linley was the pillar of the clan.
If it wasn’t for Linley, would the Emperor have given Nina to him? If it wasn’t for Linley, in the capital, he would only be an ordinary person amongst the nobles, at best considered a genius.
Wharton glanced at the distant Grandpa Hiri, who was reclining on a chair, idly sipping some fruit juice.
“Grandpa Hiri, where’s my big brother?” Wharton asked as he walked over.
Housekeeper Hiri looked up and smiled. “Oh, Wharton. Young master Linley left early in the morning.”
“He still isn’t back yet?” Wharton nodded.
“You have nothing to be worried about. Your big brother is a Saint. Young master Wharton, you need to train hard as well.” Housekeeper Hiri chortled.
“Right.” Wharton nodded.
“Grandpa Hiri, next month is Olivier’s duel against the Monolithic Sword Saint. Will you go watch?” Wharton laughed.
“Naturally. How could I miss a duel between two Saints?” Housekeeper Hiri’s eyes shone. “The Monolithic Sword Saint is an expert amongst Saints. This duel will definitely be exciting.”
Wharton’s eyes were also filled with excitement.
“One day, I will be like my big brother, Olivier, and Haydson.” Wharton secretly decided.
Just then, footsteps rang out.
Linley appeared outside the courtyard. Seeing his big brother, Wharton felt a warm feeling in his heart. He hurriedly went to welcome him. “Big bro, what took you so long to come back? Barker and I have finished our training. We are going to eat dinner soon.”
“I went to see some people.” Linley laughed.
Linley didn’t tell his little brother about his trip to War God Mountain. As Linley saw it, it was best not to inform his little brother about certain affairs of the Yulan continent. When his little brother reached the Saint-level, there would be plenty of time to tell him then.
Within the rear of the courtyard was Linley’s residence within the manor estate. The training grounds of the estate were extremely large, but Wharton, Barker, and his brothers all needed a great deal of space as well. Thus, Linley usually trained by himself in his own manor.
“Whoosh.” “Whoosh.” The wind blew about, scattering the fallen leaves on the floor, sending them dancing into the air. Linley’s hair gently fluttered about with the wind as well.
Linley was wielding the adamantine heavy sword, with the tip of the sword touching the ground.
“I have already managed to generate 128 pulses of the vibrational attacks of the Profound Truths of the Earth.” During the five years he had spent at Cloudpeaks Village, Linley had already mastered the Hundred Layered Waves during the fourth year.
Linley had improved quite rapidly when he had advanced from three waves to ten, then from ten to a hundred.
But after a hundred waves had been reached, Linley’s rate of improvement had begun to drop. Despite all that time having passed, Linley had only reached 128 waves.
With each breakthrough, Linley only managed to increase the number of waves by one or two.
“I wonder what the absolute limit is for the number of waves?” Linley sat down into the meditative position.
The sound of the throbbing pulse of the world rang out within Linley’s consciousness. That unique rhythm had a miraculous cadence, capable of causing someone to unconsciously be subsumed within it.
Linley’s muscles would occasionally expand or contract as they constantly vibrated, and wind arose out of nowhere around Linley. While meditating, Linley had previously noticed that his muscles would absorb earth elemental essence at an even faster pace when they were vibrating in pace with the rhythm of the earth’s pulse, allowing his body to gain strength faster.
Linley suddenly stood up, his eyes shining with terrifying light.
“The throbbing pulse of the world. The throbbing pulse of the world…” Linley had suddenly recalled that technique the Monolithic Sword Saint, Haydson, had used to block himself and Olivier.
Haydson’s body had suddenly been surrounded by layered waves of earth-colored elemental particles which had hammered against him in waves, forcing him backwards.
“Back then, I had the feeling that Haydson’s defense seemed to have a very familiar quality about it. But at the time, I didn’t understand it, and I didn’t have time to analyze it. But now…”
Linley had a particular feeling, akin to seeing a bright moon which had been hidden behind a foggy veil gradually grow clearer in his mind.
“The throbbing pulse of the world isn’t just vibrational waves. It can also become invisible, and it can also be transmitted through battle-qi.” It was as though there had been an opaque film covering this realization. Having pierced through the film, Linley now began to understand.
“Using pulses for defense, haha…earth-style magic has the ‘Pulsating Guard’ forbidden level spell. It seems that they are based on the same principles. However, my ‘Pulseguard Defense’ would only be used to protect myself.”
Linley’s azurish-black battle-qi began to fill the area around him.
“No, that isn’t how it works.”
Linley shut his eyes, allowing his heart to merge with the throbbing pulse of the world, while also tuning his Dragonblood battle-qi to the same tempo. He already understood the general principles, but actually applying them wasn’t a simple task.
Linley stood there in the middle of the courtyard as waves of azurish-black battle-qi suffused the area around him.
The principle was actually quite simple. For example, a sheet of paper could easily be torn apart, but if the paper was folded six times into a braid, this braid of paper might be able to support up to a hundred pounds of force.
The same material, after being folded and braided, could support far more amounts of force.
Battle-qi was the same when used for defense.
The same battle-qi, when used in different ways, could defend against ten times or even a hundred times as much incoming force. The “Throbbing Pulse of the World”, in turn, was a very unique technique.
The Throbbing Pulse of the World was just one of the paths within the Laws of the Earth.
Linley had already reached a rather high level of understanding with regards to the Throbbing Pulse of the World. All he had to do now was to transform that understanding and use the same principles to create a Pulseguard Defense for himself. Since he already understood the principles, once he began to apply them, he would advance fairly quickly.
“Big bro, time to eat.” Wharton walked over, with Barker and his brothers behind him. The five of them had just finished training and then showering.
But when they pushed the door open, they discovered…
Linley was surrounded by azurish-black battle-qi, which rolled out like waves of fog. Linley was hidden within those roiling waves of azurish-black battle-qi.
Wharton, Barker, and the others all looked at each other. Although training was important, resting was as well.
“Don’t bother the Boss.” Bebe, resting in the corner of the courtyard, ordered.
“It is dinner time. Big bro should take a rest.” As he spoke, Wharton headed towards Linley. Bebe and Haeru glanced at each other, but didn’t block him.
Linley had already instructed Bebe and Haeru not to go near him, as they would otherwise be injured by those waves.
“Time to let this little punk learn a lesson.” Bebe secretly said to himself.
Wharton remained cautious. The battle-qi around Linley was quite dense, but he was still fairly far away from Linley. The battle-qi here was still rather sparse. How could Wharton be truly worried about such a small amount of battle-qi?
But once he reached the edges of that azurish-black battle-qi, Wharton suddenly felt a bizarre surge of energy strike at him.
Wharton was sent flying away. Wharton had the sensation of being struck dozens of times in an instant, and each time he felt as though he had been struck by a meteor.
“Wharton.” Gates was the first to go forward and catch Wharton.
“Wharton, are you okay?” Gates asked.
“I’m fine.” Wharton put his hand against his chest, the taste of blood in his mouth. He stared at Linley in disbelief. “Big bro is releasing his battle-qi, but I only touched the outermost perimeter. How could the power be so intense?”
Wharton didn’t believe it. The battle-qi density closer to Linley was far higher, and it would most likely be far more dangerous as well.
“Wharton, his Lordship still hasn’t stopped his training despite what just happened. Clearly, he must be at a critical juncture in his training. It’s best if we don’t disturb him.” Barker said seriously.
Wharton nodded as well. “I will order the guards to prevent anyone from disturbing him.”
“No need. Haeru and I will look after him.” Bebe said disdainfully. “You can leave now. If the Boss doesn’t finish his training, don’t disturb him.”
Wharton, Barker, and the others glanced at each other, then left.
At the same time, Wharton and Barker instructed everyone else not to interrupt Linley’s training. That night, at dinner, Jenne, Nina, and the others were all astonished at how hard Linley was training.
“He’s training so hard that he won’t even eat dinner. Big lunk, your big bro really is hard working.” Nina murmured.
But unexpectedly, the second day, Linley continued to train like this. The third day, the same…and just like that, one day after another went by.
In the blink of an eye, over ten days passed. May had arrived.
“In a few more days, it will be time for the duel between Olivier and Haydson. My big bro wouldn’t be so caught up in his training that he will miss it, would he?” Wharton said to Barker and his brothers.
Wharton, Barker, and his brothers were all standing at the doorway to the courtyard.
Every day, after they finished their training, they would come visit Linley. Linley hadn’t changed at all, and he was still surrounded by that azurish-black battle-qi. Only, compared to ten days past, that azurish-black battle-qi had actually shrunk quite a bit in area.
“I wonder how big brother’s training is progressing.” Wharton simply couldn’t understand what he was seeing.
Barker and his brothers shook their heads as well. In terms of level of understanding, Barker and his brothers weren’t much better off than Wharton, and weren’t able to understand much of anything regarding the Elemental Laws.
“Whew.” The sound of an exhaling breath.
Wharton and the Barker brothers, who had just turned and prepared to leave, all turned and looked back. Indeed, the azurish-black battle-qi had returned to Linley’s body, and Linley was currently smiling while stretching.
“Wharton, you are here as well.” Linley laughed.
“Big bro, you finally finished your training.” Wharton said with excitement.
“Oh, right. Wharton, how much time have I spent in training?” Linley laughed.
“Almost fifteen days! Today is May 1st. In three days, it will be May 4th. That night, Olivier and Haydson will be dueling.” Wharton said quickly.
Linley was slightly startled. Actually, he had been totally concentrating on sensing the ‘Throbbing Pulse of the World’ and constantly modifying and upgrading his Pulseguard Defense technique. He hadn’t noticed time pass at all.
Unexpectedly, after closing his eyes, fifteen days had passed.
“Although I already had a high understanding of the ‘Throbbing Pulse of the World’ and also understood the general principles behind the Pulseguard, the actual development of the technique took fifteen days.”
But Linley was actually quite satisfied.
In the past, his ‘battle-qi armor’ was created through the application of battle-qi in a very simple, crude manner. His current ‘Pulseguard Defense’ used the same amount of battle-qi, but was several dozen times stronger.
“But it seems my defense is different from Haydson’s.”
When he was developing his technique, Linley had thought their techniques were the same. But after developing it, Linley realized…that Haydson’s defense was actually just a simple way of utilizing the ‘Throbbing Pulse of the World’. Haydson’s understanding of the Throbbing Pulse of the World definitely was not as deep as Linley’s own level of understanding.
However, Haydon’s defense was still frightfully powerful.
This was because the ‘Throbbing Pulse of the World’ was just a supportive part of Haydson’s defense. His true power most likely lay in a different mystery of the Laws of the Earth.
“I wonder how my pure ‘Pulseguard Defense’ technique matches up against Haydson’s defense.” Linley secretly wondered to himself.
“Big bro, what are you thinking about? Let’s go eat dinner.” Wharton called out.
Linley turned to look at Bebe and Haeru. “Bebe, Haeru, let’s go.” Linley could guess that Bebe and Haeru hadn’t left his side during these past fifteen days.
“And here I was thinking that the Boss had forgotten about us.” Bebe hopped onto Linley’s shoulders, then pursed his lips. “But Boss, I’ve gotta say, although we haven’t left the courtyard a single time during these past ten or so days, those servants still delivered food to us every day. Alas, but tonight, nobody will deliver food. I, Bebe, will have to personally go get something to eat.”
Linley, Wharton, and Barker and his brothers all couldn’t help but laugh.