Book 8, The Ten Thousand Kilometer Journey – Chapter 26, Mutual Trust
There were no stars in the night sky, nor was there a moon.
Linley and the Arch Magus necromancer, Zassler, the Blackcloud Panther, Haeru, and Bebe made their way through the secluded alleyway. At this time, Linley returned to his human form.
Linley’s ripped and torn pants were instantly consumed by flame. And then, with a flip of the hand, Linley retrieved yet another pair of pants as well as a form-fitting black shirt. In the blink of an eye, Linley redressed himself.
“Oh, this Linley kid is even more special than I thought.” Zassler’s green eyes stared at Linley. How could Zassler not know what had just happened? Linley clearly had an interspatial ring.
He, Zassler, had an interspatial ring of his own as well.
Over four hundred years ago, in the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, when he was collecting undead slaves, he had accidentally raised a half-shattered skeleton that had been dead for who knows how many years. On the skeleton’s finger, there was an interspatial ring.
At the time, Zassler had been wildly overjoyed.
Based on his observations of the surroundings, Zassler guessed that this skeleton most likely had engaged in battle against magical beasts countless thousands of years ago, and then crawled into a deep valley where it had died of its heavy injuries. But after thousands of years, the local geography had changed and the valley had been sealed off.
As an 800+ year old Arch Magus necromancer, it was understandable for him to be in possession of an interspatial ring. But this young man in front of him clearly was very young. Where did he acquire one?
“Let’s move, fast.” Linley finished dressing himself and let out a quiet order.
“Linley, I find myself more and more curious about you.” Zassler’s laugh was so very sinister.
Linley glanced at him sideways. “Zassler, remember. In the future, without my permission, you are not to call me by my real name. Just call me ‘Ley.’”
Zassler’s eyebrows twitched. “I understand. You are afraid your identity will be revealed.”
Actually, Linley’s name was a relatively famous one in the O’Brien Empire as well. But this was primarily in the field of sculpture. Sculpture aficionados knew a great deal about Linley. A sixteen year old who was able to carve a sculpture on the level of the Ten Masterpieces? How could they not be filled with admiration towards him?
Unfortunately, Zassler, that old philistine, had no interest in sculpture.
They hurried along the way.
“Where are we going?” Zassler asked quietly while maintaining his high rate of movement.
“Outside the city.” Linley said calmly.
“But this isn’t the direction of the city gate, is it?” Zassler asked suspiciously.
“Must we leave the city by the city gate?” Linley glanced at Zassler, who immediately understood what Linley meant.
“But it isn’t ten o’clock at night yet. The city gates haven’t shut yet. We absolutely can depart by the city gates if we wish.” Zassler objected.
“I’m not certain of the forces which the Radiant Church has in the prefectural city of Cerre. Perhaps they have people planted amongst the gate guards here. If you go by that route…it’s possible that they will recognize you. After all, aside from those six experts from the headquarters of the Radiant Church, there are others who have seen you today and knew that you were heading towards that residence.” Linley said calmly.
On the way to being locked into the residence, there had indeed been another group of people within the residence, all of whom clearly were the Radiant Church’s people in the prefectural city of Cerre. Originally, there were servants there to serve Lampson and the others as well.
But Lampson was extremely careful. He was afraid of the possibility that these people had been infiltrated, and thus all of the servants had been sent away.
Linley and Zassler quickly arrived at the high city walls. Those twenty-meter high walls were more than enough to render Zassler speechless.
“There’s no way I can get over.” Zassler was quite blunt.
He was an Arch Magus necromancer. His physical condition was on par with an ordinary fighter of the third rank. But for him to leap over a twenty, thirty meter high wall was impossible.
“Haeru.” Linley looked at his Blackcloud Panther.
“Grooooowl.” This two meter tall, four meter long, handsome black panther, Haeru, stared at the Arch Magus necromancer Zassler with his cold eyes.
“Ride on Haeru’s back.” Linley instructed.
Zassler no longer hesitated, immediately leaping onto Haeru’s back. Standing on Haeru’s neck, Bebe also gave Zassler a challenging look. Zassler, however, didn’t dare contend against these two magical beasts.
He had clearly seen the results of that battle just then. Given his judgement, he could clearly tell that both the black Shadowmouse and the black panther were magical beasts of the ninth rank. Without having his undead minions ready, he, an Arch Magus necromancer, didn’t dare irritate magical beasts of the ninth rank.
With a leap, Linley flew into the air like an arrow, vaulting over thirty meters with a single bound, easily flipping past the wall and landing on the other side.
“Swoosh.” With a mighty bound, Haeru transformed into a black blur and easily leapt past the twenty-meter high city wall.
On the wild grass outside the city.
“Whoah. This panther is quite fast.” Zassler clutched his chest, letting out a shocked breath. As he spoke, he dismounted.
“Stay on.” Linley immediately said. “Haeru, let’s go back now.”
Linley immediately executed the ‘Supersonic’ spell on himself. Linley quickly hurried towards their mountain valley home, moving as fast as the wind, but Haeru easily maintained pace with him.
Scant minutes later, Zassler and Linley arrived at the mountain valley.
“Starting today, you will live here. If you want to leave, it’s best if you change your appearance first.” Linley said calmly. Looking at his surroundings, Zassler nodded with satisfaction. “I like secluded areas. This place is very much suited for my training.”
That very night, Linley built a wooden room for Zassler as well.
Late at night, when Linley was seated on the grass, preparing to quietly train, he suddenly sensed that from Zassler’s wooden room, there was a dense, deathly aura emanating from within. No wonder Zassler liked secluded areas. In places where there were many people, Zassler wouldn’t dare train in such an open, unrestrained manner.
“Necromancer.” Thinking back to the information he had read about necromancers, Linley couldn’t help but feel some fear.
Generally speaking, the older a necromancer was, the more powerful his spiritual energy was, and the more terrifyingly powerful he was. Because, with enough time, they could amass an enormous number of undead minions.
“At the courtyard, Zassler’s undead minions were all of the ninth rank. Most likely, he also has an ocean’s worth of middle-rank undead minions as well.” Linley had heard that an Arch Magus necromancer could be considered an entire terrifying army by himself.
An Arch Magus necromancer was totally capable of summoning a massive army of hundreds of thousands of minions to do battle.
And, in wars, as long as he could kill his opponents, the necromancer would be able to create undead slaves out of their corpses, controlling the deceased warriors of his opponents. His opponent’s corpses would do his bidding and wage war against his enemies.
A necromancer’s army only grew with each battle.
But of course, the pre-requisite for that was that the necromancer have sufficient spiritual energy.
“In addition, I’ve heard it said that necromancers have more than just the Wraith Call ability or the ability to create undead slaves. I’ve heard that there are some unique, sinister necromantic spells.”
Necromancers were most famous for their plagues.
In historical records, there was indeed a case where, because of a single necromancer, a huge epidemic had occurred, costing tens of millions of people their lives. This was also the reason why, when Linley had seen Holmer using poison, Linley had wondered if Holmer was a necromancer.
Dawn. The sky slowly brightened.
The Arch Magus necromancer, Zassler, retracted his spiritual energy out of the undead realm and back into his body. Opening his eyes, a small smile appeared on his face. “Yesterday really was my lucky day.”
“Not only did I regain my liberty, in the undead realm, I even managed to subdue a Black Knight Captain. Although it cost me one of my golden-furred zombies, the cost was worth it.” Zassler was very happy.
Although golden-furred zombies were also of the ninth rank, compared to a Black Knight Captain, they were much weaker. A Black Knight Captain was roughly on the same level of power as the Undead Dragon. It could be considered a peak-stage creature of the ninth rank.
Right now, under Zassler’s control were three undead minions of the peak-stage ninth rank – An Undead Dragon, an Ancient Wight, and a Black Knight Captain. At the same time, he also had available to him two golden-furred zombies and two golden skeletal archers.
Three peak-stage ninth rank minions, four ordinary ninth-rank minions.
This was the most powerful force available to Zassler. As for undead minions of the eighth and seventh ranks, he had far more. After all, in the undead realm, a high-class undead could enslave many lower-ranked undead.
For example, those two golden skeletal archers controlled an army of five hundred thousand skeletons.
As for the Black Knight Captain, he had a number of Black Knights of the eighth rank under his command.
A necromancer, especially an 800+ year old Arch Magus necromancer, definitely could be considered a terrifying one-man army. This was no joke.
“Hrm?” As he walked out of his wooden room, Zassler’s eyes immediately widened.
Because right now, Linley was quietly standing on top of the pond, his eyes closed. His body seemed to be feather-light, and he didn’t sink down at all into the water.
“This is…” Zassler was extremely amazed.
Zassler knew very well that Linley was not a Saint-level combatant. After transforming, Linley was only a peak-stage ninth rank, while in his human form, he was most likely even weaker. But right now, Linley was standing there as though he weighed nothing at all.
“Mr. Zassler.” Linley suddenly opened his eyes, a rare smile on his face. At the same time, he walked over on the surface of the pond, as easily as though he were walking on solid land.
“We can be considered allies now. I want to know a few things about the Radiant Church.” Linley said directly.
Zassler chuckled, then nodded. “Even if you didn’t ask me, I would tell you. Right. Before this, we should show some mutual trust in each other. I really don’t know much about you at all.”
“Linley. Full name, Linley Baruch. Twenty one years old. Beneath the Saint-rank, no one in the world is a match for me.” Linley said calmly, but his words were extremely confident.
As a peak-stage Dragonblood Warrior of the ninth rank, he could already be considered invincible save against Saint-levels. When combining that with the adamantine heavy sword which he could use with the ‘impose’ level at maximum proficiency now, and more importantly with Linley’s supportive abilities as a dual-element magus of the eighth rank…Linley’s power could rise to an amazing level.
“Dragonblood Warrior. No wonder.” Only now did Zassler understand that Linley wasn’t a Draconian. Suddenly, Zassler stared. “What did you say? Twenty one years old?”
“And?” Linley looked at Zassler.
Linley knew very well that this Arch Magus necromancer was definitely a very proud person. If Linley wasn’t able to totally overawe him, most likely their teamwork would be very difficult to manage.
“How is that possible?” Zassler was rather shocked. But then, he laughed. “Haha, I’m different. The older we necromancers are, the more of an advantage we have. This year, I’ll be 866 years old.” Zassler proudly announced his age.
“Linley, you say that you are invincible aside from the Saint-levels. I don’t really believe it.” Zassler said calmly. “My army of undead minions reaches into the millions, and I have three peak-stage undead minions of the ninth rank.”
At this time, both sides were trying to forcibly suppress the other. In addition, by letting each other know exactly how powerful they were, they would be able to coordinate their teamwork better as well.
“Zassler.” Linley glanced at him coldly. “I admit that if I were to fight against your entire army of undead, I wouldn’t be able to fight through them. However, I have two peak-stage magical beasts of my own. And I’ve forgotten to tell you something. I’m not only a Dragonblood Warrior. I am also a dual-element magus of the eighth rank. Your human wave tactics are of no use against me.”
Zassler was now totally stunned.
He could accept that as a Dragonblood Warrior, Linley could reach the peak of the ninth rank as a warrior at twenty one years of age.
But a twenty one year old dual element magus of the eighth rank was absolutely terrifying.
After all, the hardest part of magus training was cultivating spiritual energy. There was simply no way to avoid it. For a twenty one year old to have such a terrifying amount of spiritual energy was something which Zassler didn’t even dare to think about.
“A dual-element magus of the eighth rank. Twenty one years old?” Zassler murmured. “Is this the number one magus genius in all of history?”
When Linley was seventeen, he had reached the seventh rank as a magus. This was the second youngest in history.
But a twenty one year old dual-element magus of the eighth rank? This was the first in history.
“When I reached the eighth rank as a necromancer, I believe I was around four hundred years old.” When Zassler thought about how old he had been, he found that there was nothing more he could say.