The sun was high in the sky. Reynolds was currently hiking through a particularly large mountain.
“I should have entered the Anarchic Lands by now.” Reynolds himself wasn’t too clear how far he had walked, after having hurried for ten days. Reynolds generally headed in whatever direction looked the most desolate. Even if he saw cities from afar, he wouldn’t enter them.
The mountain that Reynolds was now hiking on was extremely large and took up an enormous amount of land.
After hiking for a long time, Reynolds arrived at one of the mountain peaks and gazed around him. Suddenly, he discovered that this giant mountain actually had a tiny little mountain village in the center. Reynolds licked his dry, chapped lips. Grabbing a fistful of long rattan vines, he began to climb down into the little mountain village in the center of the mountain.
This little mountain village had people inside it. When they saw Reynolds walk in, they glanced at him with curious stares.
Clearly…they rarely saw visitors.
There were quite a few people in this little mountain village. Guessing based on what his eyes had seen, Reynolds estimated that there were several thousand people here. There was even an open-air inn that was rather simply made. Reynolds walked over and immediately sat down and said, “Two cups of water, and then some dishes and a bottle of wine.”
But as soon as he sat down, Reynolds noticed something…
“This place…” Reynolds’ heart shook.
He suddenly had discovered that every single person here emanated the aura of an expert. From what Reynolds could tell, there were many warriors of the sixth and seventh ranks, and even warriors of the eighth rank…as well as some mighty magi. Not warriors. Magi. And extremely powerful ones.
“Friend, how did you end up here?” A bald man came over with a bottle of wine and two bowls. “Come, let’s drink.”
Reynolds now sensed that this mountain village was no ordinary place. He immediately replied, “I came from across the border with the Rohault Empire. I was planning to enter the Anarchic Lands. I didn’t take any of the main roads, and hiked my way through the mountains to the north. Whenever I encountered a river, I swam my way through. Whenever I encountered a mountain, I hiked through. I didn’t expect that while hiking through this mountain, I would’ve run into this little mountain village.”
The bald man nodded and laughed. “So that’s the case.”
“No wonder. There’s no roads near our village, and this mountain is extremely desolate. Generally speaking, we’ll usually go eight or ten years without seeing a single outsider.” Another man walked over, laughing.
Reynolds was growing anxious.
The two people in front of him were both exceedingly powerful, perhaps at the seventh or the eighth rank.
“What in the world is this place? Why are there so many experts here?” Reynolds secretly wondered.
Drinking and chatting with these two people, Reynolds discovered…that the people of this mysterious mountain village weren’t totally cut off from the outside world. In fact, they knew a great deal about the outside world.
“Princess Monica [Meng’ni’ka] is coming.” The bald man suddenly said. Many people turned to look in one direction, and Reynolds did as well…
He saw a beautiful young woman with long jade hair walk over with a serving maid behind her, while greeting the other villagers along the way warmly. Seeing this beautiful woman, Reynolds instantly was stunned. That beautiful face…that friendly smile…
Despite often having dalliances amidst the flowers, Reynolds felt utterly bewitched and smitten.
“I think…I have found the place I was meant to be.”
The playboy Reynolds had dallied with quite a few young noble ladies. But there hadn’t been a single person who had successfully moved his heart…which was why he was still single up till now. But this girl in this mysterious mountain village had a very unique aura, one which made Reynolds’ heart shake.
The girl named Monica glanced at Reynolds. Reynolds instantly discovered that Monica’s clear eyes contained a hint of jade light. She looked like one of the legendary spirits, utterly bewitching. Monica laughed and spoke to him. “Hello there, outsider.”
Reynolds immediately rose to his feet and said with great courtesy, “Beautiful Princess Monica, my name is Reynolds.”
Monica suddenly glanced at Reynolds’ left hand. She opened her mouth in surprise, then looked at Reynolds. “What happened to your hand?”
“It was injured by someone.” Reynolds said casually.
Monica immediately walked towards him. “Stretch your hand out.” Reynolds didn’t ask any questions, immediately stretching his left hand out. The wound which had been left by those steel pincers was heart-shakingly frightful to behold. Monica’s lips began to move slightly, and a short while later…
Countless specks of light entered Reynolds left hand like a mirage-like nebula. Reynolds could clearly sense that the wound on his left hand was rapidly healing, and two new fingers were growing out from it. In the blink of an eye, Reynolds’ left hand returned to a perfect state, as though it had never been injured.
“This…this…” Reynolds was shocked, and he stared at the young lady named Monica in surprise.
He hadn’t expected that this young lady named Monica was a light-style magus, and an extremely powerful one. Her power wasn’t one whit inferior to Reynolds’.
When Reynolds saw the look of concentration on Monica’s face, his heart immediately began to thump wildly.
Nightfall. The sun was setting in the west, and the skies had a large amount of red, flame-like clouds.
On the grass by the mountain village, Reynolds and Monica were walking side by side. Reynolds looked at Monica’s beautiful face, and in his heart, he felt a hint of contentment. He had already stayed here in this mysterious mountain village for more than a month now.
No one in the mountain village had suggested that he leave.
During his month in the mountain village, Reynolds had learned that the vast majority of the villagers here had never left the mountain village. Only a very small percentage would occasionally make trips to the outside world. When they returned, they would inform the other villagers of the events of the outside world.
Monica was only twenty years old, but she was already a light-style magus of the seventh rank. In terms of talent, she was actually superior to Reynolds. She was even more talented than Reynolds.
“I can’t continue like this. I have to inform my parents and Third Bro that I am alive.” Reynolds wanted to meet his friends and family, but Monica’s allure for him was simply too strong. And to Monica, this outsider, Reynolds, knew many things. Whenever she chatted with him, Monica found that she could learn many things about the outside world.
Reynolds was particularly good at making conversation. This made Monica very happy whenever she was with him.
“If I were to always be with Monica, how wonderful would that be?” Reynolds’ heart was filled with hope.
“Miss Monica.” A voice suddenly came from behind them, and a silver-haired middle-aged man walked towards them. Reynolds was startled. He hadn’t noticed this man approach them. Clearly, the man was extremely powerful.
“Uncle Miller [Mi’le].” When Monica turned her head and saw this middle-aged man with short silver hair, she immediately called out in laughter.
Miller had a simple, honest face. Glancing at Reynolds, he then laughed towards Monica in a friendly manner. “Miss Monica, it is getting late. Your mother is waiting for you to go home and eat dinner.” Monica nodded, then smiled towards Reynolds. “Big brother Reynolds, I’m going home for now. See you later.”
Reynolds smiled and nodded as well.
After Monica left, Miller stared at Reynolds. “Outsider kid, you’ve been in our mountain village for some time now. You now need to make a choice…”
“Choice?” Reynolds felt surprised.
Miller nodded calmly. “Since you’ve been able to find us, that means that destiny has led you here. You now have two choices. The first is to forever stay in our mountain village, and become one of our villagers, never to leave. The second is to immediately leave, and never enter again. You only have two choices. If you disobey, you will definitely die.”
These cold, calm words made Reynolds’ heart quiver.
Leave forever? Or never leave the mountain village again?
Reynolds didn’t want to make either choice.
“Mr. Miller,” Reynolds hurriedly said, “Based on what I know, aren’t there some people in the village who occasionally go outside?”
Miller glanced at him, then chuckled. “True. Our mountain village has a yearly contest. Anyone who makes it into the top ten during this tournament is permitted to leave the village and make a trip to the outside world. But given your current power…you aren’t even able to rank in our top hundred, much less top ten.”
Reynolds was very anxious.
“Although I currently can’t make the ranking, in the future I might.” Reynolds had already made his decision. “Mr. Miller, I have decided to become a member of this village.” Although Reynolds loved his parents, when he was in the army, he often went a year or two without seeing his parents a single time. So long as his parents knew that he was alive, that was all that matter. In the future, he would have a chance to meet them. There shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Reynolds knew that his parents could definitely live for another century or two.
But Monica…Reynolds was worried that if he left, he would regret it for the rest of his life.
Miller nodded slightly. “Welcome to the village. Remember. You are not allowed to leave the village without permission. If it is discovered that you did…you will definitely die. No matter what, you had best not harbor any doubts about how powerful our village is.” Miller immediately turned and prepared to leave.
“Mr. Miller.” Reynolds hurriedly said.
Miller turned to look at him. “What is it?”
“When the other people in the village leave, can they help me carry a message out?” Reynolds asked.
Miller nodded. “Yes they can. However, you cannot reveal any information regarding the village. In two days, I’ll be leaving the village. If you have any messages, I can help you transmit them.”
Reynolds felt a surge of joy, and he hurriedly said, “Lord Miller, when you leave the village, please go to any of the Dawson Conglomerate’s branches and tell them that I, Reynolds Dunstan, am not dead. Right now, I am happily alive, and I hope my friends and family won’t be worried about me.”
“The Dawson Conglomerate?” Miller glanced at him, then nodded.
“Lord Miller.” Reynolds suddenly realized something. “Didn’t you just say that only the top ten in the annual tournament are allowed to make a trip? Why is it that you can leave whenever you want?”
Miller glanced at him. “Once you are at my level of power, you can also leave whenever you wish.” As he spoke, with a single movement Miller suddenly vanished from in front of Reynolds. Reynolds’ heart was filled with shock; this speed was simply too terrifying!
“Milord, that Reynolds isn’t very powerful, but it seems as though Miss Monica feels rather…” Miller stood to one side respectfully, while a handsome, refined-looking middle-aged man with long black hair sat on a stone chair, casually sipping wine.
The refined middle-aged man laughed calmly. “Monica is free to like whoever she wants. Don’t force her. For Reynolds to choose to remain in the village means that he has courage, at least.”
“But the Madame…” Miller said.
The refined middle-aged man laughed. “Haha…as for that, there’s nothing I can do either. If that Reynolds really has taken a liking to my daughter, then all I can do is suggest that he work hard. Otherwise, he won’t even be able to pass my wife’s approval.”
“Tomorrow, when you head to the Forest of Darkness, be careful. Don’t irritate the King of the Forest of Darkness.” The refined middle-aged man glanced at Miller.
“Yes, milord.” Miller said respectfully.
The next morning, a blur suddenly streaked out at high speed away from the mountain village. In the blink of an eye, it pierced through the skies as it flew towards the north at high speed. The speed at which it travelled was a good deal faster than even Linley’s speed in full Dragonform. An hour or so later, that blur arrived at the Forest of Darkness.
“Hrm?” The astonishing speed lessened, and from high up above, Miller stared down below.
Blackdirt City was located quite close to the Forest of Darkness, only fifty or so kilometers away from it. Miller was currently directly above Mt. Blackraven. Although he had been flying at high speed, he could sense a powerful amount of wind-style energy coming from below.
“Someone else who also trains in the Laws of the Wind?” Miller’s eyes lit up.
Miller was studying the Laws of the Wind as well. He carefully examined Mt. Blackraven, and saw a human form, dressed in a deep blue robe who was wielding a violet longsword. That human form constantly flickered about in multiple places in Mt. Blackraven at an astonishingly fast speed.
“His level of understanding is quite excellent. It has been centuries since I’ve sparred with another wind-style expert.” Miller’s heart itched. He flew down at high speed.
By now, Linley had noticed this human form flying down from the skies at high speed.
Miller landed directly atop the crown of a tree on Mt. Blackraven. Standing on the tree’s crown, he stared at the nearby Linley and laughed loudly, “I am Miller, also a student of the Laws of the Wind. My friend, would you be willing to have a competition with me?”