Book 8, The Ten Thousand Kilometer Journey – Chapter 22, The Vast Earth
A month later, the order came down from the clan leader of the Jacques clan; Keane was to assume the position of city governor of the prefectural city of Cerre. However, prior to achieving the age of maturity, his sister, Jenne, was to assist him in managing the affairs of the city.
“Big brother Ley, you are leaving?”
Jenne, Keane, and Lambert all looked at Linley with astonishment.
With Keane the governor of Cerre and Jenne his steward, the two of them now had comparatively relaxed lives. Just as the two of them wanted to find a way to repay Linley, he suddenly declared his intention to depart from the prefectural city of Cerre.
“Big brother Ley.” Jenne’s eyes were starting to turn slightly red.
Linley was carrying his heavy sword, and Bebe was on his shoulders. By his side was Haeru, his Blackcloud Panther. Smiling, Linley said, “In this developed, urbanized environment within Cerre City, my training is negatively influenced. I won’t be going too far. I just intend to go to a valley in the mountains near Cerre City to quietly train for a time.”
To Linley, the most important thing was still training. Linley, who was still constantly improving himself, hadn’t yet reached a bottleneck, which made training all the more important. At a time like this, he had to seize the opportunity to raise his power as much as possible.
There were records of Dragonblood Warriors of the Baruch clan reaching the Saint-level and dominating the world in a matter of decades due to intensive training.
Experts had to be able to endure loneliness.
“Valley?” Jenne and Keane both inwardly let out sighs of relief.
“Alright, if I have some free time, I’ll come visit. I’ve already helped you as much as I can. In the future, you’ll have to rely on yourselves.” Linley said with a laugh.
When he looked at these two siblings, Keane and Jenne, Linley would often think of his own younger brother, Wharton. Right now, he and Wharton also had lost their parents.
“I wonder how Wharton is doing. After I finish understanding the level beyond ‘impose’, I’ll go pay him a visit.”
Linley knew very well that right now, over the course of Wharton’s training in the O’Brien Empire, there was no need for him to go disturb Wharton. In addition, only by learning on his own would Wharton grow fastest.
Once Linley was by Wharton’s side, Wharton would probably be unconsciously negatively impacted.
East of Cerre, there was a vibrant, green mountain range with an unassuming little valley. Linley erected a wooden room here, then began to engage in quiet training.
Late at night, within the mountain valley. There was a green plain of grass, and even a little lake in the middle of it.
Linley was seated in a meditative trance close to the lake. His eyes were closed as he attuned himself to nature. By his side, there was a lit campfire, casting a flickering light across Linley’s face.
Linley could feel the expansiveness of the vast earth, the flows of the wind, and the streams of water. He could feel the passion of the flames…
As a magus, especially one with exceptional affinity for both wind and earth elemental essence, Linley’s ability to attune with nature was far superior to most warriors.
This was the reason why that ancestor of the Baruch clan who used a heavy warhammer as his weapon only managed to reach the level of ‘impose’ after entering the Saint-level. After all, it was harder for warriors to become one with nature, compared to magi.
“The ‘Thunderbolt’ technique learned when I reached the level of ‘wielding something heavy as though it were light’ contained explosive force, like the eruption of a volcano. As for the so-called ‘impose’, it contains the ‘imposing force’ of nature itself, of earth, fire, water, and wind. However…”
After meditating for a long time, Linley suddenly understood.
“The ‘impose’ level is merely an ‘imposing force’ that borrows from the strength of the surrounding, nearby nature. The level that is above ‘impose’ should be all-embracing. I need to pursue the most suitable avenue for this.”
In the darkness of the night, Linley remained there in the meditative pose. His eyes then suddenly opened, and they were as resplendent as the stars in the night sky.
“Different weapons will need to be used in different ways. The strength of the heavy sword lies in its weight! As for this heavy sword, Bladeless, it naturally doesn’t rely on a sharp edge. It openly relies on its tremendous weight and makes open, direct assaults.”
Linley’s spirit was dimly sensing something.
The principles of training with the heavy sword were very similar to the fundamental principles of the earth itself.
“The vast earth is dense and heavy. The vast earth is boundless. The vast earth is stable…” Linley was holding the adamantine heavy sword in his hands, but his heart had totally merged with the throbbing pulse of the earth.
The unique vibrating pulse of the earth had a one-of-a-kind, heart-shaking rhythm. Generally speaking, only people who had reached a very high level of attunement to the earth would sense it.
Linley rose to his feet.
He began to silently wield the adamantine heavy sword about. As the adamantine heavy sword danced about, Linley’s own movements and the movements of his sword began to enter into a certain unique rhythm.
This was a rhythm that was like the pulse of one’s heart.
The adamantine heavy sword seemed to carry a million pounds of force, as it heavily slashed through the air again and again. As Linley swung his heavy sword repeatedly, he felt as though he had totally become one with the earth. Just by training with his heavy sword, he felt as though he himself now carried the weight of the earth.
Linley’s heavy adamantine sword suddenly pierced directly up into the air. Several explosive booms could be heard in succession. This empty stab upwards had caused the air itself to explode. This was inconceivable! This was because no matter how fast a weapon could move, it could at most cause a single sonic boom. To cause multiple sonic booms was virtually impossible.
“Hrm?” Linley’s eyes suddenly lit up.
But just like that, upon becoming distracted, Linley was no longer absorbed with that near-miraculous feeling of being one with nature.
“What happened just then? I didn’t use any battle-qi, but my power split into multiple rhythmic pulses in that attack.”
Linley began to ponder this question.
When in the middle of training, people would sometimes enter into a certain state and reach an astonishing level of power. But if they weren’t able to totally understand that state they had entered, they wouldn’t be able to wield its power again so easily.
What Linley needed to do now was to constantly ponder and constantly train.
He needed to master everything and be in complete control!
The sky was ocean-blue, a pure azure color without a hint of other colors. A few beautiful, lazy clouds drifted across it. Linley’s life in the valley was indeed very quiet.
The blowing wind. The rippling lake.
Right now, Linley wasn’t training. He was fishing in the valley lake. A person couldn’t always be training; if they did, it could actually be counter-productive.
If he wanted to go fishing, he would. If he wanted to go to sleep, he would.
His heart had become one with the world, one with nature.
When he did train, this made his rate of improvement extremely high.
“Big brother Ley.” From outside the valley, a happy voice could be heard. Linley turned and saw Jenne on a fine stallion. Behind her, there were two pretty female servants on horses. These two female servants were clearly quite talented, as their movements on their horses were those of practiced riders.
“Jenne.” Linley put down his fishing pole and stood up.
Neither Bebe nor Haeru were currently present. The two of them would often go deeper into the mountains to hunt for wild beasts to eat. The beasts in this mountain range Linley had chosen to stay in were all ordinary animals. Magical beasts were extremely rare.
“Big brother Ley, these are some of the dishes that I prepared.” Jenne removed a package from the back of her horse. The package was well wrapped. “You definitely can’t have been eating too well here. Come, big brother Ley, have a good taste.”
Jenne unwrapped the package, one layer at a time. Inside was a metal box, which was filled with all sorts of dishes as well as rice.
Linley took a sniff.
“Mmm. It really does smell good.” Linley laughed.
Jenne’s face immediately turned red with excitement.
But in his heart, Linley was sighing. How could Linley not tell how Jenne felt? In terms of both appearance as well as temperament, Jenne was all but perfect. But having experienced so much, it was hard for Linley to open the depths of his hearts and let anyone else in.
Linley sighed to himself.
He didn’t have any interest in affairs of the heart. The most important thing for now was to focus on his training. Right at this moment, a scene couldn’t help but suddenly flash through Linley’s mind.
After Linley’s father had died, all the nobles had come to pay their respects at Wushan township. That night, Delia had come to visit him. She had wanted to tell Linley that she was returning to the Yulan Empire. And that night, before she had left…Delia had kissed him.
Aside from Alice, perhaps the only person Linley felt some romantic affection towards was this girl whom he had known since his very first year at the Ernst Institute, especially after the open displays of affection Delia had shown him. Although Linley had never admitted it openly, in his heart, Delia’s image had been engraved in his mind.
“Big brother Ley, eat up!” Jenne said hopefully.
Linley sighed to himself. “I can’t let Jenne waste her youth like this.” As he thought to himself, Linley began to eat heartily while praising, “This really is excellent. The taste is wonderful.”
Hearing Linley’s praise, Jenne was all smiles.
“Jenne, in the future, though, you don’t need to come visit me. When I am training, I don’t like to be disturbed.” Linley said to Jenne.
Jenne was startled.
“Oh.” Jenne mumbled, then she squeezed out a smile. “Then when you have some free time, big brother Ley, come visit us in the castle.”
“Sure.” Linley could only respond affirmatively.
The days of Linley training in the mountain valley passed by very quickly. In the blink of an eye, over a month had passed. With regards to how to properly use his adamantine heavy sword, Linley had gradually begun to find the proper path.
So long as he persevered down this path, in a few years time, he definitely would be able to reach a new level that was beyond the ‘impose’ level!
Within a secluded hotel in the prefectural city of Cerre.
This hotel was very dimly lit, and the atmosphere tended towards the dark, giving the impression of dusk. Each table was arranged in a very orderly manner, and between each booth, there was a screen.
This was a very quiet hotel with a great deal of atmosphere. The first time Linley had come here, he had taken a liking to it.
The expenses here were fairly high as well.
While he was training, generally speaking, every seven or eight days, Linley would come here and drink wine while listening to the elegant, beautiful music of the hotel. Every so often, he would hear some gossip from travelers.
“It’s almost July. Wharton’s school year should be starting soon.” Linley thought to himself.
Right now, there were quite a few customers in this hotel. All of the customers engaged in conversations were quite conscientiously lowering their voices as they spoke, but when Linley focused, he could clearly hear every word of every conversation they were having.
Suddenly, a quiet conversation attracted Linley’s attention.
“Have you heard? In the imperial capital, an incredible genius has emerged. A seventeen year old named ‘Wharton’.” On a table next to Linley, there were three middle-aged men. They were discussing the various geniuses of the empire.
Linley focused his attention on them.
After having spent so much time in the O’Brien Empire, Linley had yet to learn anything regarding Wharton.
“Are you talking about that genius who popped up out of nowhere in the O’Brien Academy?” The bald man’s eyes lit up. “I’ve heard of him too. The end-of-the-year competitions for students of the seventh grade always receive a great deal of attention. Even some students who have reached the eighth rank will participate on occasion.”
As the number one warrior academy of the Yulan continent, the O’Brien Academy was divided into seven grades.
Upon reaching the seventh rank, a warrior was admitted into the seventh grade.
A warrior of the seventh rank was qualified to graduate, but many of them still elected to stay in the academy. Even some warriors of the eighth rank were in no hurry to graduate.
“Old bald vulture, you’ve heard this news as well? That Wharton is really…wow.” A jade-haired middle-aged man sighed. “Only seventeen years old. In the past, he had never participated in any of the yearly competitions. This time, when he took part in the seventh grade competition, he actually defeated a warrior of the eighth rank to become the champion of the seventh grade class.”
“What? A seventeen year old who defeated a warrior of the eighth rank? Are you serious? Is this real?” A pudgy man who had only been listening up till now suddenly spoke in shock.
The bald man glanced at him. “Of course it’s real. I personally witnessed it. You have no idea. This Wharton was around two meters tall and extremely powerfully built. His physical presence alone exerts tremendous pressure on people. His weapon of choice is an extremely terrifying giant warblade. Wielding that warblade, that Wharton was actually able to defeat a warrior of the eighth rank to become the champion of the seventh grade class.”
“From what I heard, for this Wharton to already be able to defeat a warrior of the eighth rank now means that he most likely will be able to reach the eighth rank himself by age twenty. In the past, the Prodigy Sword Saint, Olivier, reached the ninth rank when he was thirty. This Wharton’s natural ability isn’t too far off.” The jade-haired man praised as well, “For a seventeen year old to be able to defeat a warrior of the eighth rank is amazing. It has been a long time since the empire has produced a genius like this. He’s even been publicly acknowledged as the number one genius of the O’Brien Academy, and the Emperor has already conferred upon him the title of Count.”