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Thread: 盘龙 - Coiling Dragon, by I Eat Tomatoes (我吃西红柿)UNABRIDGED

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    Default 盘龙 - Coiling Dragon, by I Eat Tomatoes (我吃西红柿)UNABRIDGED

    GLOSSARY

    Please don't post here unless you post chapters and/or am a moderator.

    A

    Absolute Zero - A forbidden-level water-style spell that can freeze an entire army to death.
    Annihilating Tempest - A forbidden-level wind-style spell that can fill the entire sky with blade-like gusts of wind.

    B

    Battle qi - 斗气, a form of internal energy
    Black Dragon - A powerful dragon-type magical beast with wings, over a hundred meters long, covered in black scales, breathes black fire. At least of the ninth-rank in power, and possibly even Saint-level in power.
    Blue-eyed Thunderhawk - A flying magical beast of the seventh rank.

    C

    Cayley - A minor clan in the country of Fenlai.
    Coiling Dragon Ring - A mysterious ring with many special powers, found by Linley Baruch. It contained for a time the spirit of Doehring Cowart, an earth-style Grand Magus.

    D

    Dark Alliance - One of the six principal political organizations, located west of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, let by the Cult of Shadows. Opposed by the Holy Union.
    d'Bero shadow diamond - A dark violet gemstone desired by magi, worth 100,000 gold coins.
    Delia - A fellow student of Linley's at the Ernst Institute. Wind-style magus and eventual love interest.
    Dillon - A Saint-level swordsman who engaged in battle with Rudi in Wushan township. Proved to be inferior to Rudi. Nicknamed the 'Stellar Sword Saint'.
    Dixie - The foremost genius of the Ernst Institute, exceptional elemental affinity in two different elements, super exceptional spiritual essence (62 times others).
    Doehring Cowart - A Saint-level Grand Magus, earth-style, who lived in the Coiling Dragon Ring. Linley's eventual instructor in earth-style magic.

    E

    Earthguard - A staple earth-style defensive spell, can be used at the fifth rank to cover one's body with stone, at the seventh rank to cover it with jade, eighth rank for crystal jade, ninth rank for platinum, and Saint-level for diamond.
    Earth Tremor - A earth-style spell of the first rank, shakes the ground beneath the opponent's feet.
    Elemental essence - The energy of nature, which magi absorb into their bodies and use to create spells.
    Ernst Institute - The number one magus academy of the Yulan continent, located in the Holy Union. Named after Pope Ernst, a famous leader of the Radiant Church/Holy Union.

    F

    Fenlai - The kingdom which Wushan town belongs to. Main kingdom of the Holy Union.
    Forest of Darkness - One of the three dangerous places on the Yulan continent.

    G

    George - One of Linley's three dormmates at the Ernst Institute. A year older than Linley, hails from the Yulan Empire.
    Golden Bank of the Four Empires - The premier bank in the world, set up by the Four Great Empires. Offers magicrystal cards.
    Griffin - A magical beast of the fourth rank, hybrid of a lion and an eagle.

    H

    Hadley - Friend of Linley.
    Hamelin - A Saint-level Grand Magus who ambushed Doehring Cowart along with another Saint-level combatant.
    Heaven Collapses, Earth Shatters - A forbidden-level earth-style spell that can cause the earth to roil about, unleashing chasms which will spew countless amounts of magma.
    Heavenly Fire Burning the Fields, Earthly Fire Burning the Cities - A forbidden-level fire-style spell which can burn a city to ashes.
    Heavenly Lightning of Absolute Destruction - A forbidden-level lightning-style spell which can unleash tens of thousands of thunderbolts.
    Heavenly Meteor's Descent - A forbidden-level earth-style spell that can cause countless giant boulders to fall from the sky and reduce a city to rubble.
    Heishi - Main kingdom of the Dark Alliance.
    Hillman - Warrior of the sixth rank, captain of the guards for the Baruch clan.
    Hiri - Housekeeper for the Baruch family.
    Holy Union - One of the six principal political organizations, located west of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, led by the Radiant Church. Opposed by the Dark Alliance.
    Hogg - Leader of the Baruch clan, and father to protagonist Linley, and his younger brother Wharton.

    I

    J

    K

    L

    Linley - Protagonist of this story, the eldest son and heir to the Baruch clan.
    Lomu - A magus who serves Reynolds and his family. Has taught Reynolds magic.
    Lorry - Guardsman for the Baruch clan, under Sherman.

    M

    Magus - Term used to describe any individual who can use magic.
    Mageforce - Purified, distilled elemental essence which mages absorb into their body, which is then used to direct natural elemental essence to produce spells, under the guidance of spiritual energy.
    Mountain Range of Magical Beasts - A mountain range filled with (duh) magical beasts! The largest mountain range on the Yulan continent. One of three dangerous places on the Yulan continent, it bisects the continent, north to south.
    Mountain Range of the Setting Sun - The second largest mountain range on the Yulan continent. One of the three dangerous places in the Yulan continent.

    N

    O

    O'Brien Academy - The number one martial academy for warriors, located in the O'Brien Empire, the most militarily powerful empire in the Yulan continent.
    O'Brien Empire - One of the six principal political organizations, located east of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts. Northern empire.

    P

    Philip - A member of a noble clan situated near Wushan town. In sounder financial straits, he often purchases ancestral heirlooms that the Baruch family is forced to sell.
    Pouant Empire - An empire that was destroyed nearly five thousand years ago. Doehring Cowart hailed from this empire.
    Proulx - A grandmaster stone sculptor, acclaimed throughout the ages.
    Pulsating Guard - A forbidden-level earth-style defensive spell that protects a wide area from spells, even some other forbidden-level spells.

    Q

    R

    Rand - A fellow 1st grade student when Linley first entered the Ernst Institute. Won the yearly tournament for 1st grade students, then was thrashed by Linley.
    Reynolds - One of Linley's three dormmates at the Ernst Institute. One year younger than Linley. Hails from the O'Brien Empire.
    Rhine Empire - One of the six principal political organizations, located east of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts. Southeastern empire.
    Rohault Empire - One of the six principal political organizations, located east of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts. Eastern empire.
    Roger - Guardsman for the Baruch clan, under Sherman.
    Rudi - A Saint-level earth-element magus who engaged in battle with Dillon in Wushan township. Has a Black Dragon as servant. Proved stronger than Dillon.

    S

    Saint - 圣, a level which exceeds the normal nine ranks of warriors/mages
    Shadowmouse - One of two types of rat-type magical beasts, the other being Stoneater Rats. Shadowmice are extremely fast and can range in ranks from 3-8. At rank 5, their fur turns blue, while at rank 7, their fur turns violet. Omnivorous, have sharp teeth, particularly feared for attacking in waves.
    Shattered Rocks - A scaling earth style attack spell that has different names and levels of power. Used as a way to 'test' one's strength.
    Slaughterer - The name of the ancestral warblade of the Dragonblooded Warrior clan. Sold off many years ago.
    Spiritual energy - Mental energy used to shape mageforce and elemental essence into magical spells. A magus needs to have at least 5 times more spiritual energy than an average person.
    Stoneater Rat - One of two types of rat-type magical beasts, the other being Shadowmice. Stoneater Rats are extremely tough and can range in ranks from 1-8. At rank 4, their fur turns silver, while at rank 7, their fur turns gold. Omnivorous, have sharp teeth, even sharper than Shadowmice, particularly feared for attacking in waves.
    Supersonic - A scaling wind-magic spell that can dramatically increase one's speed.

    T

    Trey - Linley's first instructor in wind magic, a sixth year student at the Ernst Institute.

    U

    V

    Vampiric Iron Bull - A large bull-type creature with blood red eyes, a magical beast of the fifth rank.
    Velocidragon - 迅猛龙, aka 'velociraptor', an enormous, dragon-type, 20-30 meter long, two-story building tall magical beast of the seventh rank. Fire type.

    W

    Wendi - Linley's first grade instructor in earth magic. Praised by Doehring Cowart as having solid fundamentals, but still of course inferior to Doehring Cowart.
    Wharton - Younger brother of main protagonist Linley, a member of the Baruch clan.
    Windscout - A wind-style scouting spell.
    World Protector - A forbidden tenth-rank spell of the earth element type. The strongest offensive earth element spell.
    Wushan - Mt. Wu, where the protagonist lives.

    X

    Y

    Yale - One of Linley's three dormmates at the Ernst Institute. Extremely wealthy, also hails from the Holy Union. One year older than Linley, and the oldest of the four bros.
    Yulan continent - The name of the continent where the early parts of the story takes place.
    Yulan Empire - One of the six principal political organizations, located east of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts. Central empire.

    Z

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    Coiling Dragon, Book 1 The Ring

    Chapter 1 Early Morning at a Township

    The town of Wushan. An ordinary little town located within the Kingdom of Fenlai, west of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, the largest mountain range within the Yulan continent.

    As the morning sun rose, in the town of Wushan, there remained a slight hint of the cold, pure pre-dawn air. However, virtually all of the citizens of this small town had already come out to begin working. Even the six or seven year old children had already gotten out of bed and were preparing to begin their traditional morning exercises.

    On an empty area in the eastern region of Wushan town, the warmth of the rays of the morning sun passed through the surrounding trees, leaving behind scattered spots of light on the empty ground.

    A large group of children could be seen there, approximately one or two hundred in number. These children were separated into three groups, each group divided into several lines. All the children stood there silently, their faces solemn. The northernmost group of children were approximately six years old. The group in the middle, approximately nine to twelve years old. The ones in the south, the thirteen to sixteen year olds.

    In front of this large group of children, there were three sturdily-built middle-aged men. All three of them wore short-sleeved shirts and roughly cut trousers.

    If you want to be a powerful warrior, then you must work hard from youth. The leader of the middle-aged men, head raised high, hands clasped behind his back, said to them coldly. He swept his cold, fierce gaze across the northernmost group of children. All of those six and seven year olds tightened their lips. Gazing at this man with their big, round eyes, none of them dared to make a sound.

    The leaders name was Hillman (Xierman). He was the captain of the guard for the Baruch (Baluke) clan, the noble clan which owned Wushan town.

    All of you are commoners. Unlike those noble families, you wont have access to any secret manuals teaching you how to cultivate battle qi [dou qi]. If you want to become someone of worth, if you wish to be respected, then all of you must use the most ancient, most simple, and most basic ways of improving yourselves through exercising your bodies, and building up your strength! Am I clear?!

    Hillman swept the group of children with his gaze.

    Understood. The voices of the children replied brightly in unison.

    Good. Satisfied, Hillman coldly nodded. The eyes of the six year old children displayed their confusion, while the eyes of the teenagers became very determined. They understood the meaning behind Hillmans words.

    Virtually every male in the Yulan continent would exercise very hard from a very young age. If anyone slacked off, in the future, they would be looked down upon by others! Money and power these were the things that determined a mans status! A man without power would be looked down upon even by women.

    If one wanted their parents to be proud of them, wanted women to worship them, wanted to live a glorious life?

    Then they must become powerful warriors!

    All of them were commoners. None of them would have access to any of those precious manuals which taught the arts of cultivating battle qi. Their only road to glory was through exercising from a young age, and gathering strength! Bitterly hard work! They would work harder than those nobles, spend more of their energy and blood in strengthening themselves!

    When the sun rises in the morning, all things begin to thrive. This is the best time to absorb the natural energy from your surroundings and improve the conditioning of our bodies. Same rules as always Legs spread apart, as wide as your shoulders! Both knees bent slightly, both hands pressed down at the waist. Assume the Qi Building Stance. When assuming this stance, remember Focus your concentration, maintain a calm mind, and breath naturally. Hillman coldly instructed.

    The Qi Building Stance was the most simple, yet most effective way of exercising ones body. This was based off of the experiences of generations of forefathers.

    Immediately the nearly two hundred children assumed the Qi Building Stance position.

    Remember, focus your concentration, maintain a calm mind, and breath naturally! Hillman said coldly as he walked amidst the children.

    At a glance, he could tell that the teenagers in the southern group all were maintaining the stance calmly and breathed naturally. At the same time, all of them attained the goals of being stable and steady in their stance. Clearly, they had attained some degree of proficiency in the Qi Building Stance.

    But glancing at the northernmost group of children, with their waists and knees crooked at odd degrees, their legs relaxed and loose, it was clear to Hillman that they were standing unstably and without any power.

    Hillman said to the two other middle aged men, The two of you, take charge of the south group and the middle group. I will go take care of the youngest children.

    Yes, Captain. The two middle aged men immediately obeyed, paying close attention to those two groups. Every so often, they would kick the legs of those teenagers, checking to see who was standing firmly and who was not.

    Hillman walked towards the northern group of children. Those children immediately became nervous.

    Crap, the Head Monster is coming! A golden-haired child with large, bright eyes named Hadley (Hadeli) said in a low voice.

    Hillman strode into the midst of the children. Staring at them, his face was cold, but in his heart, he was sighing. These kids are just too young. They are just too lacking in both wisdom and strength. I cant demand too much from them. However, its still good to get them exercising from a young age. If they work hard from a young age, in the future, when they are on the battlefield, they will have a higher chance of survival.

    And to teach young childrengetting them interested was the most effective way! If he forced them too hard, it would have the opposite effect!

    All of you, stand firm! Hillman coldly harrumphed.

    Immediately, all of the children straightened, sticking out their chests and staring straight ahead.

    A hint of a smile played at Hillmans lips. He then moved to the front and took off his shirt. The lines running across the powerful muscles on his body made the eyes pop out of all of the kids. Even the children in the middle group and southern group couldnt help but stare at him, admiring his physique.

    Aside from his perfect musculature, on Hillmans bare upper body, there were countless knife scars, sword scars, and dozens of other old wounds. All of the children stared at those wounds, their eyes shining.

    Knife scars. Sword scars. These were a mans medals!

    In their hearts, they were filled with veneration towards Hillman. Hillman, a mighty warrior of the sixth rank, a warrior birthed from life and death struggles! Even in large cities, he would be an amazing individual. In the tiny town of Wushan, he was a man who every single person venerated.

    Seeing the ardent gazes of the children, Hillman couldnt help but let a slight smile escape. He wanted to stir up a feeling of worshipfulness in the children, a desire to be like him. That way, they would work harder and be more motivated!

    Lets add some more fuel to the fire! Hillman secretly grinned, then walked in front of a giant boulder, which weighed three or four hundred pounds.

    With one hand, Hillman grabbed the boulder. In a very relaxed manner, he began brandishing it about. That three hundred pound boulder, in Hillmans hands, seemed to be as light as wood. All of those childrens jaws dropped, and their eyes widened.

    Too light! Lorry (Luorui), if you have some free time after training, go and get some larger boulders for me. With a casual toss, Hillman sent the boulder flying several dozen meters. Crash! It smote the ground next to a large tree, and the entire ground trembled. Hillman casually walked in front of some random stones.

    Hah!

    Hillman breathed deeply. All of the veins on his muscular body popped out prominently, as Hillman directly struck at a nearby bluish boulder. His fist shattered the air, creating a howling sound that made all of the watching children widen their eyes even further. Hillmans mighty fist smashed directly onto the boulder.

    Crash! The sound of the fist smashing into the boulder made the hearts of all the children tremble.

    That was an extremely hard bluestone boulder!

    The bluestone boulder trembled. Suddenly, six or seven giant cracks appeared on it, as with a peng sound, it split into four or five pieces. But on Hillmans fist, not the slightest injury could be seen.

    The Captain is as formidable as ever. Lorry, one of the two other middle-aged men, laughed, as Hillman walked back towards them.

    The other man, Roger (Luojie), also walked over. Usually, when the children practiced the Qi Building Stance, it was time for the three of them to relax and freely chat, while paying attention to any child who decided to slack off.

    Hillman laughed as he shook his head. No way. In the past, when I was in the army, every day I would train like crazy, while on the battlefield, I engage in bloody close combat. Nowadays, all Im doing is relaxing and stretching my muscles a bit in the morning. Im not filled with as much energy as in the past.

    All of the children stared worshipfully at Hillman.

    That huge bluestone boulder was shattered by a single blow from his fist. What sort of power was this? And that three or four hundred pound boulder was so easily tossed with a flick of the arm. What sort of power was this?

    Hillman turned his head. Staring at the children, he was very satisfied with the childrens reactions.

    Remember, even if you arent able to cultivate battle qi, in principle, if you reach your bodys fullest potential, you can still become a warrior of the sixth rank! And a sixth ranked warrior, upon entering the army, can easily become a mid-level officer, and easily obtain the military manuals which teach one how to cultivate battle qi! Even if you cannot become a warrior of the sixth rank, and can only become a common warrior of the first rank, you will still be qualified to enter the military. Remember! If a man isnt able to become even a warrior of the first rank, that man cant be considered a man at all!

    If you are a man, then you must raise your chest high, welcome any and all challenges, and fear nothing!

    Upon hearing these words, smiles appeared on the faces of all the six and seven year olds. All of them forced themselves to remain expressionless. These words were Hillmans often-repeated mantra, and he repeated these words endlessly to the children.

    All of you, stand straight. Look at your elders to the south, then look at how you are standing! Hillman censured them.

    All of the six year olds immediately tried to adjust their stance to be more stable.

    After a while, the six and seven year olds began to wobble. All of the kids felt that their legs were cramping fiercely, but they gritted their teeth. But after holding out for a short period of time, the children began to collapse and sit on the ground, one after the other.

    Hillmans face was cold and callous, but in his heart, he secretly nodded. He was still very satisfied with the performance of these six and seven year olds.

    After a short period of time, some of the ten year olds in the middle group also could no longer hold out, and one by one, they began to fall as well.

    Hold out for as long as you can. I wont force you. But if in the future, you are weaker than your peers, then youll have no one to blame than yourselves. Hillman coldly said.

    Hmm? Lorry suddenly stared, astonished, at the northern group.

    At this point in time, many of the kids in the middle group had fallen down, but in the northern group, a six year old child had held strong.

    This must be Linleys [Linlei] first day at training. Who wouldve thought hed be so formidable? Lorry said, amazed. Next time him, Roger and Hillman also noticed. Looking in that direction, they saw that to the north, a single brown haired boy was still holding firm. His lips tightened, the boy stared determinedly in front, both fists tightly clenched so hard that his fists were white.

    A look of pleased surprise appeared in Hillmans eyes.

    Good kid! Hillman secretly praised. Despite being just six years old, he could maintain the Qi Building Stance for as long as the ten year old kids.

    Linley, full name Linley Baruch, was the eldest son and heir to the Baruch clan, which ruled over the Wushan town. The Baruch clan was an extremely old clan. Once, it was extremely prosperous, but after thousands of years, it had only three members remaining. The clan leader, Hogg [Huoge] Baruch, and his two sons. The elder son was Linley Baruch, six years old. The younger son, Wharton [Wodun] Baruch, was just two years old. As for his wife, when she gave birth to the younger son, she died in the midst of childbirth. Linleys grandfather also was dead, having lost his life in battle.

    Linleys legs were trembling. Although his willpower was strong, his leg muscles were strained to their utmost and were beginning to tremble uncontrollably. He finally collapsed and sat down.

    Linley, how do you feel? Smiling, Hillman walked towards him.

    Linley cracked a smile, revealing his small canines. Im fine, Uncle Hillman. As captain of the Baruch clans guardsmen, Hillman had watched Linley grow up. Naturally, the two of them were very close.

    Well done. You acted like a man. Hillman patted Linley on the head. Immediately, the hair on Linleys head became tousled like windblown grass.

    Haha. Linley grinned widely. In his heart, he felt very happy at being praised by Hillman.

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    After resting for a while, they continued their exercises. The training regime for the six and seven year olds was a lot more relaxed. But for the teenagers, the training regime was terrifyingly strict.

    The large group of children, including the six and seven year olds, were lying down with their heads and their feet each on top of a flat rock, relying solely on the strength in their waists to keep straight.

    The waist and the thighs form a triangular region. Hillman gestured with his hands to show the area he was describing. This area is a persons nucleus. Speed and power all come from this triangular nucleus, making this region extremely important.

    As Hillman spoke, he continued to walk about, carefully inspecting the youths to see if their movements were correct.

    Tighten that up! Your waists need to be straight! Hillman thundered.

    Immediately, the waists of many youths straightened. This was Linleys first day of training. His tiny head and his feet were both flat on the rocks, but by this point in time, Linley could already feel his waist growing tight and hot.

    Hold, gotta hold. Im the best! Linley kept encouraging himself. Linleys body had always been very strong, even as a baby. He had virtually never gotten sick. Given that he also worked very hard, for him to excel was nothing special.

    Thud! The first child fell down.

    However, the stones they were using as a pillow and footrest were only twenty centimeters high, so although the child fell down, it didnt hurt much. (In the Yulan continent, the goldsmiths used standardized lengths of 1 meter = 10 decimeters = 100 centimeters = 1000 millimeters.)

    Thud! Thud! As time went on, more and more children could no longer hold out.

    Linley gritted his teeth. He could clearly feel that the tightness in his waist had already reached the limits of his endurance, to the point where it was almost going numb. My body feels so heavy. Im almost unable to control it. Hold, gotta hold for just a bit more. By this point in time, of the six to eight year olds, only Linley remained.

    Staring at Linley, Hillman couldnt help but be filled with surprise and joy.

    Lorry. Hillman suddenly shouted.

    Captain. Lorry immediately straightened, awaiting his orders.

    Hillman commanded, Tomorrow, prepare some special dyes. When they are practicing their waist strength, put a branch under all of their waists, and dye the branches. If any of them slack off and let their waists touch the branch, their body will be dyed as well. Their training regime will double in difficulty.

    Yes, Captain. Lorry acknowledged the order. He couldnt help but let his lips tug up in a smile. He secretly laughed, The Captain is always filled with so many devilish ideas. Those punks are really gonna get it now.

    Wasnt that just so?

    Looks of pain appeared on the faces of all the ten year olds. Normally, they could still make slight adjustments and slack off. But with Hillmans idea, they would have no chance to do so.

    Hillman continued coldly, Let me tell you all, when a warrior practices his battle qi, the battle qi is stored in a fist-sized location directly beneath the navel. You should understand that this is part of the triangle I was talking about. I expect you all now should understand the importance of strengthening the triangle region! This is your core. If it fails, then your body fails, no matter how strong the other parts of it might be.

    A good instructor is of paramount importance to the children.

    And Hillman really was a formidable warrior. He knew the important parts of training, and also knew how to increase the difficulty one step at a time. He knew what sort of tools to use with what ages. If it was too hard, it could make a childs body collapse.

    Battle qi?

    Upon hearing these words, all of the youths, including the youngest children resting off to the side, stared at Hillman with wide eyes.

    All of the commoners were extremely eager to learn battle qi. Even Linley, this scion of a noble house, was extremely eager.

    Thud!

    Linley could finally hold out no longer, but he still used his arms to prop himself on the ground as he slowly rolled off.

    That feels good! Linley could feel that his waist felt a numbness which pierced through to the bone, so comfortable that his eyes crinkled slightly.

    How long was I able to hold out? Linley opened his eyes wide, looking around him.

    All of the six year olds had collapsed. Even half the ten year olds had collapsed as well. All of the fourteen year olds, however, held on. Hillmans face remained as cold as ever.

    All of you must remember. Your body is like a vessel, like a wineglass. Battle qi is like the wine! The amount of wine a vessel can hold is dependent on the size of the vessel. Same goes for the body; a persons ability to practice battle qi is based on the extent of his training. If his body is too weak, even if he gains access to powerful battle qi manuals, his body wont be able to hold much battle qi, and he still wont become a powerful warrior. Hillman imparted many important bits of advice to the children.

    Many warriors, due to not having received proper guidance in their youth, only understood the connection between battle qi and body strength much later in life. But by that age, there wouldnt be much progress when they trained.

    Many forefathers had gone on many wrong paths and gained much experience. Hillman continued to impart these experiences, like the spring wind imparting life-giving rain, deeply etching these important experiences in the minds of these children. Hillman didnt want these children to go on wrong paths as well.

    After practicing the Qi Building Stance, the waist, back, thighs, shoulders, and other parts of the body would be harmonized. Now, almost all of the children were sitting, relaxed, on the ground. Hillmans training program was nearly perfect in the difficulty levels he assessed on each age group.

    Todays training ends now, Hillman announced.

    Wushan towns training regimes were regulated. Every day, it happened twice, once at dawn, and once at dusk.

    Uncle Hillman, tell us some stories! As training ended, the children immediately began to call out. Every day, after the dawn lessons, Hillman would tell them stories of his army days, or some events which had happened on the continent.

    The children, all of whom had lived in the town their entire lives, thirsted for stories about the military.

    Hillman smiled. He enjoyed telling stories to the children. This was a way to make the kids eager to train. Hillman had always felt that only by making the children voluntarily train would the children have great results.

    Today, I will tell you about the legendary Four Supreme Warrior bloodlines which everyone in the continent knows about. A look of awe appeared on Hillmans face.

    The childrens ears immediately perked up, and their eyes brightened. Linley, sitting on the ground, felt his heart thump furiously. The legendary Four Supreme Warriors? Linleys ears couldnt help but perk up as well, as he stared unblinkingly at Hillman.

    In Hillmans eyes appeared a hint of excitement. His voice, however, remained calm. On our continent, thousands of years ago, there appeared four powerful Supreme Warriors. All four of these Supreme Warriors possessed power comparable to an enormous dragon. They could wander amidst an army of millions at leisure, and easily take the head of any general! These Supreme Warriors were known as the Dragonblood Warrior, the Violet Flame Warrior, the Tigerstriped Warrior, and the Undying Warrior!

    Warriors are divided into nine ranks. I, a mere warrior of the sixth rank, can easily shatter boulders and kick down a large tree! But a ninth rank warrior, even within our country of Fenlai, would be considered a top level expert. But above the ninth rank warriors are the Four Supreme Warriors. They have surpassed the ninth rank warriors and can be considered the pinnacle of warriors. They belong to the level of legendary Saint-level warriors! Hillmans eyes were filled with excitement. The legendary Saint-level warriors can melt giant icebergs, make the boundless sea roar with angry waves, make tall mountains crumble, make cities with millions of people collapse, and make meteors fall from the sky! They are absolutely undefeatable, the highest possible power.

    Silence. All of the children were stunned.

    Hillman pointed at a mountain to the northeast.

    Look at Wushan. Isnt it huge? Hillman smiled.

    After hearing Hillmans words, many of the kids had been scared silly. They all immediately nodded. Wushan was over a thousand meters high, and thousands of meters in circumference. In the eyes of men, it would definitely be considered a huge mountain.

    But Saint-level combatants can destroy Wushan in the blink of an eye. Hillman said firmly.

    A sixth-ranked warrior can only smash a boulder. But a Saint-level warrior can smash an entire mountain! All of the childrens mouths dropped, and their eyes widened. All of them were shocked, and their hearts were suddenly filled with an unspeakable dread towards these Saint-level combatants. But, their hearts were also filled with longing.

    Destroy a mountain? Hillmans words had a huge impact on Linley.

    After a short period of time, the stunned children returned to their homes. Hillman, Roger, and Lorry were the last to leave. Watching the children depart in clusters of three or five, a smile appeared on Hillmans face.

    These children are the hope and future of Wushan, Hillman said with a smile.

    Roger and Lorry also gazed at the group of children. On the continent, virtually all of the children of commoners had to train hard from an early age. Seeing the kids, Roger and Lorry reminisced back to their own youth.

    Captain Hillman, you are definitely much more formidable than ole Potter of bygone years. Under your guidance, I believe that Wushan town will become the strongest town in our region, surpassing the other ten or so towns, Lorry said with a smile.

    The strength of a teacher determined a places future.

    Oh, Captain, how do you know about the power of Saint-level warriors, or the Four Supreme Warriors? Lorry suddenly remembered to ask.

    Slightly embarrassed, Hillman grinned, Well, um, actually, Im not too clear about exactly how powerful the Four Supreme Warriors are. After all, they are the stuff of legends. Its been years since any were seen.

    Lorry and Roger were astonished. You dont have any idea, and yet you lied to the kids?

    Hillman smiled slightly. Although Im not clear about the exact strength of the Four Supreme Warriors, I know this a Saint-level mage maestro, which is to say a mage which has attained the Saint-level, can execute forbidden magical techniques and eradicate an entire army of tens of thousands, or an entire city. Since Saint-level mages are so powerful, I expect that Saint-level warriors cant be that much weaker.

    More importantly, the reason I told the children these stories was to make them work harder. Couldnt you tell how amazed those children were after hearing the stories? Hillman smiled delightedly.

    Lorry and Roger were both speechless.

    ..

    See ya later, Ley!

    See ya, Hadley!

    Bidding farewell to his good friend Hadley, Linley went back, alone, to his home. After walking for a while, he saw the Baruch estates.

    The amount of land the Baruch manor was built upon was actually quite large. Moss was growing on the walls, and all sorts of ivy creepers twined up the walls as well. The scars of time were very apparent on the walls. The Baruch manor located in Wushan town was the ancestral home of the Baruch clan. An ancestral home which had existed for over five thousand years and endured countless renovations continued to stand here.

    But, with the decline in the clans fortunes, the Baruch clans finances had taken a turn for the worse as well. Towards the end, it could only consume its previous gains. Over a hundred years ago, the then-leader of the Baruch clan determined that all the members of the clan would live in the front courtyard, which took up a third of the space of the manor. The rest of the manor would no longer be maintained. That way, a great deal of money could be saved.

    But despite these measures, by this period in time, Linleys father, Hogg Baruch, still needed to sell off family possessions in order to keep the family afloat.

    The towering doors to the manor were open.

    Saint-level warriors? While walking, Linley was still thinking about that. In the future, will I be able to become a Saint-level warrior?

    Linley. Hillmans voice sounded from behind him. Hillman, Roger, and Lorry had finally caught up to him.

    Linley turned around and immediately said happily, Uncle Hillman!

    Following this, Linley sucked in a deep breath. Raising his head to look at Hillman, his voice filled with eagerness, he said, Uncle Hillman, are Saint-level warriors really that powerful? Then what about me? Is it possible that I will become a Saint-level warrior? In Linleys heart, there was a desire which all children possess.

    Hillman was stunned. Besides him, Roger and Lorry were also speechless.

    A Saint-level warrior?

    This kid really has the daring to dream big. The country of Fenlai has millions of citizens, but even so, after countless centuries, it hasnt produced a single Saint-level warrior. To want to become a Saint-level warrior In Hillmans mind, he fully understood how difficult it was to become a Saint-level warrior.

    It required someone to work extremely hard from a young age, the support of a noble clan, and also a high amount of natural talent. It also required luck. How could it be easy to become a Saint-level warrior?

    Hillman knew quite well how much he himself had to suffer in order to become a sixth-ranked warrior, and how many life-and-death battles he had to experience. Even a warrior of the sixth rank was very difficult to become. A seventh, eighth, and ninth ranked warrior was of course only harder. As for a Saint-level warrior? Even in his dreams, Hillman didnt dare imagine himself as one.

    But he was facing Linleys earnest gaze.

    Linley, Uncle Hillman has faith in you. Im sure youll become a Saint-level warrior. Staring at Linley, Hillman spoke firmly. These words of encouragement caused Linleys eyes to shine. In Linleys heart, as well, a desire arose.

    A desire which had never been so ardent!

    Uncle Hillman, from tomorrow onwards, can I participate in the training sessions with the ten year olds? Linley suddenly asked.

    Hillman, Roger, and Lorry all stared at Linley in surprise.

    My lord father always told me, if you want to become a man without peer, then you must work harder than other men. Linley unconsciously mimicked his fathers manner of speech.

    Hillman suddenly smiled. He had seen the results of Linleys training today. Although Linley was only six, his body conditioning could compare with nine year olds. He immediately nodded, smiling. Fine. However, youd best not slack off. Youd best realize that this isnt a one day or two day commitment. This will be a long-term regime.

    Linley raised his small head proudly. Self-confidently, he smiled. Uncle Hillman, you just wait and see.

    This was a very normal morning for Wushan town. Afterwards, every morning was the same as this one. The group of Wushan youths would follow Hillman, warrior of the sixth rank, and train hard under his guidance. The only difference was, the six year old Linley was placed in the central squad of ten year olds.

    BOOK 1, CHAPTER 1 END

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    Book 1, Chapter 2 The Dragonblood Warrior Clan (part one)

    In the blink of an eye, another half year had passed. Training hard and strengthening his body, Linley passed through the gentle, warm spring, the blazing summer, and the chilly autumn. The white poplar tree next to the empty training field of Wushan would always scatter some dried leaves onto the ground whenever the wind blew. The leaves slowly whirled down, covering the entire training ground.

    The sky had slowly grown dark.

    Today, there was an exceptionally large number of people on the training grounds, nearly three hundred.

    Todays evening training session ends now. Hillman smiled. Before leaving, however, everyone needs to first congratulate this next crop of children who are about to leave Wushan and join the army.

    With autumns end came the season of military recruitment. With the entire continent engaged in an age of warfare, every youngster viewed becoming a mighty warrior as a badge of honor. Naturally, there were also those who wished to become mages, but becoming a mage is an extremely difficult task. Perhaps only one person in ten thousand had the necessary qualifications to become a mage. With such a low probability, the average person wouldnt even consider it.

    Becoming a warrior was much easier. Upon turning sixteen, as long as they were at least warriors of the first rank, they could easily enter the army.

    Uncle Hillman, thank you!

    A hundred and twenty six children, all age seventeen, respectfully bowed towards Hillman. These youngsters normally did not attend training. They had all become adults, and had their own jobs to do. But since they had all been trained by Hillman since they were toddlers, they all considered Hillman to have been their benevolent master.

    Before joining the army, they all came here to say farewell to Hillman.

    Staring at this group of energetic, eager seventeen year olds, Hillman was filled with countless mixed feelings. This was because Hillman knew that all of these children were eager to join the army, but after ten years of military service, how many of them would come back alive?

    I hope at least half of these hundred and twenty six will be able to return alive, Hillman prayed silently.

    Hillman stared at the children, and said in a clear voice, Brats, listen up! You are all men of Wushan town. The men of Wushan town must straighten their chests and welcome any challenges, and accept no fear. Am I understood?

    All of those seventeen year old youths straightened their chest, their bodies ramrod straight. Their eyes filled with a hot ardor for military life, they all responded in loud unison, Understood!

    Good! Hillman stood ramrod straight as well. His cold gaze was filled with a military aura.

    Tomorrow, all of you will depart. Tonight, prepare well. I know how strong all of you are. All of you will be able to easily enter the army! I, Hillman, will wait here for all of you to make your glorious return to Wushan town! Hillman said in a bright voice.

    The eyes of those youths shone bright.

    Returning home with honor. This was the dream of every youth.

    Now, I order all of you, go home immediately and begin your preparations. Disperse! Hillman said in a cold, fierce voice.

    Yes sir!

    A hundred and twenty six youths respectfully saluted, and then departed. They were followed by the worshipful gazes of the nearly two hundred youths that remained. Tomorrow, they would begin a brand new journey.

    I have two more years. When I become of age, I also want to join the army.

    I really want to live the exciting, heart-throbbing life of a soldier. If I had to live here for my entire life, in Wushan town, even if I lived forever, it would be pointless.

    ..

    A group of thirteen year olds chatted amongst each other. All of them longed for that exciting life, a life filled with vigor. All of them wanted to accumulate merits and establish a reputation. They wanted to be adored by the girls and the esteem of their relatives.

    This was their dream!

    Linley, your father, Lord Hogg, has some extremely important business with you. Dont go off playing with the other kids. Come home with me. Hillman walked to Linleys side. Gazing at him, Hillman felt very proud.

    Linley was exceedingly smart. Under the tutelage of his father, Hogg, since a young age, he had learned many words and could read most books.

    Reading was a very luxurious thing. Usually, only the scions of noble houses could read. The Baruch clan was an extremely old clan, and it held a large number of books.

    Uncle Hillman, I know already. My lord father already reminded me three times. My lord father has never been so insistent about anything. I wont go off and play. Linley grinned, revealing his pearly white teeth, perfect but for the fact that one was missing.

    Linley was already beginning to grow permanent teeth.

    Thats enough. You are missing one of your front teeth. When you smile, you let the wind in. Hillman laughed. Go, go home.

    ..

    In the ancient front courtyard of the Baruch manor, after the family finished dinner, Linley was playing around with his younger brother.

    Big brother, hug, hug!

    Little Wharton was staring at Linley with a look of pure, simple love. Walking unsteadily, he extended a small, pudgy hand towards Linley, trying to hug him. Linley stood not too far away, quietly waiting for little Wharton to reach him.

    Wharton, you can do it! Linley encouraged him.

    Little Whartons wobbly footsteps made people fear he would fall with each step. But in the end, little Wharton managed to rush into his big brothers embrace. His smooth skin, as soft as water, was slightly pink. His big round eyes stared at his elder brother, and in a baby voice, he said, Big brother, big brother.

    Looking at his baby brother, Linleys heart was filled with a boundless warmth and love.

    No mother, no grandparents. Although he had his father and the family caretaker to take care of him, Linley, who had matured early, was extremely loving and protective towards his little brother. In Linleys eyes, as the big brother, it was his job to take care of his little brother.

    Wharton, what did you learn today? Linley asked, smiling.

    Wharton frowned, an extremely cute expression. After pondering, he excitedly said, Today I learned about using rags!

    Rags? Linleys face revealed an uncontrollable smile. What did you wipe?

    Counting on his fingers, little Wharton said, First I used the rags to wipe the floors, then the toilet chamber pots, and lastly I wiped.wiped.right, I wiped the plates! He looked excitedly at Linley, awaiting Linleys praise.

    You wiped the chamber pots, and then wiped the plates? Linleys eyes were huge.

    What, did I do it wrong? I really wiped them clean. In little Whartons tiny head, his eyes were filled with an uncomprehending look as he stared at his big brother.

    Young master Linley, your father is looking for you. Let me carry young master Wharton. A brandy-nosed old man walked over. This brandy-nosed old man was the Baruch clans housekeeper, Hiri (Xili). In the entire manor, aside from the housekeeper, there wasnt even a serving girl.

    Linley no longer had any time to chat with Wharton. He immediately handed Wharton over to Grandpa Hiri, and went towards the guest hall.

    I wonder why father summoned me? Although he was young, Linley could sense that this time, his father had called him for something important.

    Entering the guest hall, in one corner there was a desk clock that was higher than Linley was tall.

    This desk clock can be considered a high quality object. Generally, only wealthy or noble families had such a clock. At this moment, Linleys father was seated next to the fireplace. The flames in the fireplace burned, constantly crackling and popping.

    Um? Why did father change his clothes? Seeing his father, Linley was filled with astonishment. While at home, his father normally wore only simple very simple clothes. Just then, while eating dinner, his father wore normal clothes. But now, he had switched to a set of very noble, beautiful apparel.

    Hoggs entire body emanated an ancient, noble aura. That aura wasnt the sort that money could buy. It was something which an ancient noble clan cultivated in its heirs. A clan which had survived for five thousand years. How could an ordinary noble clan compare?

    Hogg stood up. Turning around, when he saw Linley, his eyes lit up.

    Linley, come with me. Lets go to the ancestral hall. Uncle Hiri, you know about the matters of my clan, so you can come as well. Hogg smiled.

    The ancestral hall? Linley was astonished.

    The members of the Baruch clan only stayed in the front side of the manor. The areas in the far back, virtually no one went there to clean. Only the ancestral hall in the back did they ever visit, once a month, to clean.

    But this isnt the time to sacrifice to our ancestors. Why are we going to the ancestral hall? Linley had a belly full of questions.

    Exiting the guest hall, Hogg, Linley, and Uncle Hiri, who still held Wharton, followed the blue stone path towards the back manor.

    Deep autumn. The night was as cold as water.

    The cold wind blowing, Linley couldnt help but shiver. But Linley didnt make a sound, because he could feel that something was different today. Following his father, Linley entered the ancestral hall as well.

    Clack. The door to the ancestral hall closed.

    With the candles in the hall becoming lit, the entire hall immediately became very bright. Linley could instantly see the many spirit tablets placed in the very front of the hall. That thick, dense cluster of spirit tablets spoke volumes as to the age of the Baruch clan.

    Hogg quietly stood in front of the spirit tablets, not saying a word.

    Linley felt very nervous. In the entire hall, aside from the sounds of the whispering candles, no sound was heard. The quiet was terrifying, creating an oppressive feeling on the heart.

    Suddenly, Hogg turned and focused his gaze on Linley. In a weighty voice, he said, Linley, today, there are many things that must be done. But first, let me tell you some of the history of our Baruch clan.

    Linley could feel his heart thumping frantically.

    Our clans history? What can it be? In his heart, Linley was eager to know, but he didnt dare to make a sound.

    A look of pride appearing on his face, Hogg said in a clear voice, Linley, our Baruch clan has existed for five thousand years. Even scanning the entire Kingdom of Fenlai, I dont believe we can find a second clan which is as ancient as ours. Hoggs voice contained an absolute pride.

    Ancient. This was a word which some noble clans viewed with great importance.

    Linley, have you heard of the legendary Four Supreme Warriors of the Yulan continent? Turning his head, Hogg looked at Linley.

    Eyes brightening, Linley nodded. I know. According to Uncle Hillman, the legendary Four Supreme Warriors are the Dragonblood Warrior, the Violet Flame Warrior, the Tigerstriped Warrior, and the Undying Warrior.

    Satisfied, Hogg nodded. Smiling, he said, Right! Now, I am going to tell you something. The Four Supreme Warriors actually represent four ancient clans. And our Baruch clan is the ancient clan which contains the exalted bloodline of the Dragonblood Warriors!

    CHAPTER 2 - END

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    Book 1, Chapter 3 The Dragonblood Warrior Clan (part two)

    The Dragonblood Warrior Clan?! Linley felt as though his entire head was buzzing.

    In Linleys eyes, his clan was nothing more than just an ancient clan which had fallen on hard times. How could it be related to the legendary Dragonblood Warrior?

    You dont believe me? A trace of arrogance could be seen on Hoggs face. Linley, go up and take a close look at those spirit tablets. By now, you can read all the words on them. On the back of every single spirit tablet is the history of those departed forefathers. The three spirit tablets at the very top, are three who are Dragonblood Warriors!

    Hogg took Linley by the hand. Come.

    Hogg led Linley towards the area behind the many spirit tablets. Lifting him up, Hogg said, Take a close look at those characters behind.

    Linley widened his eyes and began to read.

    The words carved onto the uppermost tablet were etched very deep and very clearly. Those five thousand year old characters told of an astonishing story!

    Baruch, the very first Dragonblood Warrior of the Yulan continent. In the year 4560 of the Yulan calendar, outside the walls of the city of Linnan, Baruch did battle against a Black Dragon and a Titanic Frost Wyrm. In the end, he slew both the Titanic Frost Wyrm and the Black Dragon, causing his fame to be spread across the world. In the year 4579 of the Yulan calendar, along the coastline of the northern sea of the continent, Baruch did battle against a Nine-Headed Serpent Emperor. On that day, the waves crashed unceasingly and nearby cities crumbled, but after a vicious fight lasting a full day and night, Baruch finally executed the Nine-Headed Serpent Emperor.finally, Baruch founded the Baruch clan, and became the first leader of the Baruch clan!

    Ryan [Ruien] Baruch, the second Dragonblood Warrior of the Yulan continent. In the year 4690 of the Yulan calendar, in the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, he defeated and subdued a Saint-level Golden Dragon, and became known as the Golden Dragonrider Saint! In the year 4697

    Hazard [Hazede] Baruch, the third Dragonblood Warrior of the Yulan continent. Born in the year 5360 of the Yulan calendar, in his very first battle, he fought fiercely with a Saint-level Bloody Maned Lion in the Mountain Range of the Setting Sun. He defeated the lion, forcing it to scurry away and flee, causing Hazard to become famous throughout the world

    .

    One mighty name after another, one amazing story after another, made the blood in Linleys veins pump all the more vigorously.

    My clan, is actually the clan of the Dragonblood Warriors? Linley was extremely excited.

    Beside him, Hogg said in a low voice, The first three generations of the Baruch family were all Dragonblood Warriors. Upon becoming a Dragonblood Warrior, ones life expectancy would dramatically increase. The second generation Dragonblood Warrior didnt get married or have children until after he was seven hundred years old.

    And afterwards? Linley wondered. Father, why doesnt our clan have any more Dragonblood Warriors?

    Hogg nodded. To become a Dragonblood Warrior, the most important thing is the density and thickness of the dragonblood which flows in our veins. The higher the density, the better. After many generations, the density of the dragonblood in our veins has grown thinner and thinner. Howeverthat isnt an absolute. Because as time goes on, sometimes, out of nowhere, a descendant will possess a very high density of dragonblood.

    After Hazard Baruch, the fourth Dragonblood Warrior appeared, nearly a thousand years later. And then, after fifteen hundred years passed, which is to say tens of generations later, the fifth Dragonblood Warrior finally appeared in our clan. But in the thousand years from then until now, not a single Dragonblood Warrior has shown up.

    Hogg shook his head and sighed. The fifth Dragonblood Warrior only stayed on the Yulan continent for around two centuries, before he disappeared. In the thousand years since then, our Baruch clan has totally decayed.

    After a thousand years, even the most illustrious of families could decay.

    However, our clan still has hope. Perhaps in the future, one of our descendants will have the requisite density of dragonblood in their veins, and meet the requirements to become a Dragonblood Warrior. If they meet the requirements, after just a few decades of training, they would be able to become a true, full Dragonblood Warrior. And at that time, the Baruch clan would once more be restored to the glorious days of yore, when we were known as the Dragonblood Warrior Clan! Hoggs eyes shone. Linley, you are six and a half now. According to our rules, at your age, the test to see if your blood has a high density of dragonblood will be fairly accurate. Today, I am going to test you.

    Linley was stunned. Testing the density of dragonblood in my veins? Test me? Linley fully understood the implications of his father performing this test. This test would show whether or not he met the requirements for becoming a Dragonblood Warrior.

    Linley, wait here. Ill go get the Dragonblood Needle. Hogg clearly was very excited, as he immediately departed the ancestral hall for a nearby private room.

    Dragonblood Warrior? Will I really become a Dragonblood Warrior? Linley was mentally fidgeting.

    Standing there, Linleys mind was a confused mess. He was filled with both eagerness and fear. He feared that the density of dragonblood in his veins wasnt high enough.

    If I fail, I guess father will be extremely disappointed. Linley couldnt help but think. Having grown up with his father and his younger brother, Linley didnt want to disappoint his father. But the density of dragonblood in his veins wasnt something he could decide.

    After just a short period of time, Hogg returned with a twenty-centimeter long needle that was extremely thin as he walked out from the private room.

    Dragonblood Needle? Linley guessed, as he stared at the long needle in his fathers hands.

    Alright, Linley. This needle will just barely break the skin when it goes in. It wont hurt at all. Stretch out your hand. Hogg smiled, and Linley nodded. Taking a deep breath, Linley stretched out his right arm. The slight trembling in his arm showed that Linley really was very nervous.

    Not just Linley. To tell the truth, even Hogg was very nervous.

    Hold it. Holding the translucent Dragonblood Needle, Hogg lightly pricked Linleys ring finger with it, easily piercing the skin. Linley felt a piercing pain, and the translucent needle immediately turned crimson as well.

    Hands shaking, Hogg immediately lifted the Dragonblood Needle up and inspected it carefully.

    Raising his head, Linley stared at his father, feeling extremely agitated. Is the density of dragonblood in my veins sufficient? Why has father stared at the Dragonblood Needle for so long? Linley had a bad premonition

    Sigh with an exhaled breath, Hogg placed the Dragonblood Needle off to one side.

    Hearing his fathers sigh, the nervous Linley knew that the density of dragonblood in his veins clearly didnt reach the required level. His tears immediately began to flow.

    Linley, why are you crying? Dont cry, be good, dont cry. Hogg immediately hugged Linley. Seeing Linley cry, Hogg felt sick at heart. After all, Linley was still just six and a half. He was just a child.

    I wont cry. Yeah. Wont cry. Linley sniffled twice, then forced himself to calm down. Father, Im sorry. Ive let you down.

    Hearing Linleys words, Hogg felt a warm feeling in his heart. He couldnt help but hold Linley against his bosom. Linley, dont feel bad. I actually didnt raise my hopes too high. Over a thousand years and tens of generations, no one has become a Dragonblood Warrior. It doesnt matter that you also failed. Father doesnt blame you.

    Feeling the warmth of his fathers chest, Linleys tightened chest gradually loosened.

    By this point, the two year old Wharton had long since fallen asleep in Grandpa Hiris arms.

    Linley, at this point in time, the Baruch family just consists of you, me, and your little brother. I dont have any extravagant hopes. Ive never dared to dream of becoming a Dragonblood Warrior. Hogg laughed at himself satirically. How could becoming a Dragonblood Warrior be an easy task?

    Linley raised his head, staring at his father.

    Linley rarely saw his father speak to him in such a manner. Normally, his father was always very strict and unyielding.

    Staring at the rows of spirit tablets, Hoggs eyes were filled with a dreary sadness. My true goal is actually to recover the ancestral heirloom of the Baruch clan, passed down across the generations.

    Our ancestral heirloom? Whats that? Why have I never heard about it? Linley asked curiously.

    Hogg proudly said, Our ancestral heirloom the warblade, Slaughterer. This was the weapon used by the very first leader of the Baruch clan, the very first Dragonblood Warrior of the Yulan continent. Alashis descendants were unfilial. Six hundred years ago, because of poverty, a descendant who loved luxury actually sold our ancestral weapon for money.

    As he spoke, Hogg was filled with so much fury that his body actually trembled.

    Shaking his head helplessly, he said, Afterwards, every single generation tried to recover the warblade Slaughterer, but despite six hundred years of trying, none of us have succeeded. After all, when we sold the warblade Slaughterer, it was for the price of 180,000 taels of gold. 180,000 taels of gold! We arent able to produce such a vast sum, but even if we were, the current owner wouldnt be willing to sell to us.

    The ancient clan of the Dragonblood Warriors, actually had sold off its own ancestral heirloom.

    This was a humiliation!

    The humiliation of the ancient clan of the Dragonblood Warriors!

    Every succeeding generation had attempted to come up with ways to regain the warblade Slaughterer, but despite six hundred years of trying, they had never succeeded.

    As the current clan leader, Hogg also had this desire, but the clans economic situation was in dire straits. 180,000 taels of gold? Even if they sold off the manor and all their possessions, they might not be able to produce such a vast sum.

    The ancestral heirloom was lost. This humiliation constantly weighed on Hoggs heart. He felt ashamed and helpless, and unable to face his forefathers.

    Seeing the look on his fathers face, Linley consoled him, Father, dont be unhappy! I promise that one day, I will recover our familys heirloom and bring it back to this manor.

    You? Hogg chuckled. Eyes filled with love, he ruffled Linleys hair.

    In his heart, Hogg secretly said, Linley. Do you know, these words you just saidall those years ago, I said these same words to your grandfather as well. Six hundred years of efforts had all failed. How could it be easy to accomplish? After all, the person who had purchased the warblade Slaughterer couldnt be any ordinary person.

    Why would they be willing to sell?

    Even if they were willing to sell, how could the decrepit Baruch clan afford the cost?

    Father, you dont believe me? Raising his head, Linley looked at his father questioningly.

    I believe you, I believe you, Hogg laughed.

    Father and son held each other close. Only three members remained of the ancient Dragonblood Clan in this era. When would this decaying clan be able to regain the glory and honor it had in prior years? At this moment, lying against his fathers chest, Linleys fists were clenched tightly!

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    Book 1, Chapter 4 Growth (part 1)

    The spring wind came, turning green the poplar trees near the empty space outside of Wushan town. On the empty ground, a group of youths were ardently training. Almost a year had passed since the Dragonblood test, and Linley was eight years old now. Over the course of this period of time, Hillman clearly saw that Linley had only become even harder working!

    Well done, Linley! Hold it, hold it! Hillman encouraged from the side.

    Right now, Linley was only wearing trousers. His upper body was covered with sweat, and his body, as taut as a drawn bowstring, was lying on the ground. His hands were pressed fiercely to the ground, as straight as tree trunks, while the rest of his body was motionless. He was supporting himself from a push-up position, with just his hands and the tips of his toes! His entire body was taut!

    The Static Tension training exercise!

    A very simple yet very effective training exercise. If a person could reach the level of being able to maintain this pose for an hour, then his body would no longer fear ordinary swords or sabres.

    Drip, drip!

    Beads of sweat rolled down from Linleys forehead. The sweat entered Linleys left eye, and he couldnt help but wince at the pain.

    “Ley is really amazing. Just eight years old, but hes able to match the thirteen year olds in doing the Static Tension exercise. Some of the children who had already given up were sprawled on the ground, chatting as they watched Linley.

    Ley, keep it up! Keep it up for the rest of us! Beat those thirteen year olds! The golden-haired Hadley shouted from the side.

    Yeah, keep it up, Ley! The other children started to chant as well.

    Linley was on extremely good terms with the other kids. Although Linley was the child of a noble house, he was extremely kind to the children of commoners, and often helped them train as well.

    Gotta hold it. Gotta hold it. Linley constantly said to himself.

    In the back of Linleys mind, the words his father said a year ago constantly echoed. Linley, we are the family of the Dragonblood Warriors. As a member of the Dragonblood Warriors clan, you have an advantage, but also a disadvantage! The advantage is, even though the density of Dragonblood in your veins hasnt reached a sufficient level, your body will still be much stronger than those of most ordinary people. It might be very difficult for others to become a warrior of the sixth rank through training alone, but for you, it will be somewhat easier.

    However, your disadvantage is this. The descendants of the Dragonblood clan are not able to train battle qi according to normal manuals. This is because the blood in our veins is only suited to the training method inside the Secret Dragonblood Manual. It conflicts with all other types of battle qi cultivation methods. Unfortunately, only those who have reached a certain density of Dragonblood are able to practice using the method within the Secret Dragonblood Manual. Therefore, you will not be able to cultivate battle qi at all.

    Also, although in theory, anyone training the body can reach the sixth rank, thats just in theory. In practice, the number of people who accomplish this is very low. But for us, it is different. Even if the amount of Dragonblood in our veins is low, our starting level will be higher than others. Just from training alone, we can become warriors of the sixth rank. Your great grandfather, based on training alone, managed to become a warrior of the seventh rank!

    Linley remembered his fathers words very clearly.

    Linley growled to himself, Im stronger than everyone else now, only because of the Dragonblood in my veins. But since I cant practice battle qi, my only options are to work hard, and to work harder! Since great grandfather was able to become a warrior of the seventh rank, then I shallI shall become a warrior of the eighth rank. Or even the ninth rank! Nothing is impossible!

    A warrior of the eighth rank!

    A warrior of the ninth rank could be considered the most powerful expert in the entire country of Fenlai. A warrior of the eighth rank, although unable to restore the Baruch family to its former glories, would be able to dramatically improve its current situation.

    Gotta hold! Linley gritted his teeth.

    By this point, his muscles felt like they were being chewed on by countless ants. His entire body was quivering, and every single muscles on his entire body trembled. Every single trembling muscle could be seen visibly.

    After a long time, in the end

    Thud!

    Linley, exhausted, collapsed to the ground.

    That feels wonderful. Flat on the floor, his entire body relaxed, Linley could clearly feel how numb his entire body was. All the muscles on his body, after undergoing that training, were slowly growing. Although the growth wouldnt be noticeable from just one or two exercises, after a long period of time, the effects would be pronounced.

    Hillman, off to the side, nodded with satisfaction.

    And then, Hillmans face grew cold as he turned to look at the fourteen and fifteen year olds. All of you had better hold on! Linleys only eight years old, while all of you are almost adults. Dont let an eight year old get the better of you!

    .

    After morning exercises ended, Linley bid farewell to his group of friends and went towards the Baruch clan manor. If a stranger had seen him, the eight year old Linley surely would have been assumed to be eleven or twelve years old, and not just a mere child of eight.

    The descendants of Baruch truly were different from other men.

    Big brother! Upon seeing Linley, the healthy-looking Wharton rushed over.

    Thats enough, Wharton. My entire body is covered with sweat. Let me wash myself first. Linley patted Wharton on the face and laughed.

    Wharton hmphed. I know that as soon as you wash up, youll go take lessons from father.

    As a member of a noble house, Linleys education began from a young age. The five-thousand year old Baruch clan was even stricter regarding educational matters than even the royal families of most kingdoms were.

    Enough, Wharton. Ill play with you around noon. Linley laughed.

    Wharton was only a child, while Linley was much more mature.

    After washing up and changing into some fresh clothes, Linley entered the study. At this moment, his father, Hogg Baruch, was sitting in front of a desk, his back ramrod straight. In front of Hogg were three thick tomes.

    Father! Linley respectfully bowed.

    Hogg coldly nodded, and Linley quickly walked next to him.

    Yesterday, I explained the history of the countries of the Yulan continent to you. Repeat it back to me. Hogg said coldly.

    This was the real Hogg.

    Instances like the time when he was holding the crying Linley in his arms were extremely rare. Normally, Hoggs attitude towards Linley could be summarized in one word: Strict. In all things, Hogg strove for perfection. He wouldnt let Linley get away with any mistakes.

    Yes, father. Linley said calmly.

    In the Yulan continent, there are three dangerous areas. The number one mountain range, the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts. The second mountain range, the Mountain Range of the Setting Sun. And, the number one forest, the Forest of Darkness. The space these three dangerous regions take up is incomparably large. The Mountain Range of Magical Beasts runs across the entire continent, from north to south, covering over ten thousand kilomters. Within it are countless magical beasts, including Saint-level beasts which have the power to destroy the heavens and ravage the earth. Because of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, the Yulan continent has been divided into different regions.

    West of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, there are twelve kingdoms and thirty-two duchies. Within these kingdoms and dukedoms, there are two major divisions. The first is the Holy Union, with the kingdom of Fenlai being the principal kingdom. The second is the Dark Alliance, with the kingdom of Heishi being the principal kingdom. These two alliances are opposed to each other and constantly battle because one is controlled by the Radiant Church, while the other belongs to the Cult of Shadows.

    East of the Mountain Range of Magical Beasts, there are four empires, six major kingdoms, and countless duchies! These four empires are enormous, and are not influenced by the Holy Union or the Dark Alliance. In these four empires, the rule of the emperors is absolute. Any of the four empires are comparable to the Holy Union.

    The four empires are the central Yulan Empire, the southeastern Rhine [Laiyin] Empire, the eastern Rohault [Luoao] Empire, and the northern OBrien [OBuLaiEn] Empire. After having said all this at one go, Linley let himself relax slightly.

    Just this? Hogg frowned.

    Linley was about to immediately continue, but Hogg cut him off. Let me ask you, within our Holy Union, how many kingdoms and duchies are there?

    Within our Holy Union, there are six kingdoms and fiftesevente Linley suddenly frowned.

    How many duchies were there in the Holy Union? Linleys memory was a bit hazy. He wasnt sure if it was fifteen, or if it was seventeen. He couldnt be sure.

    Hmph!

    His face cold and harsh, Hogg pulled out a wooden stick, and Linley obediently stuck his hand out.

    His eyes narrowing, with a WHAP sound, Hogg whacked Linleys hand with the stick. A red line immediately appeared on Linleys hand, but Linley could only clench his teeth, not making a sound.

    Linley, you must remember, we are currently living within the Holy Union. You must know everything about the Holy Union! Hogg coldly looked at his son. In the entire Yulan continent, the most important entities are the four empires and the two alliances.

    Linley nodded.

    Although his fathers words were simple, Linley clearly understood the deeper meaning.

    At the far northern end, the Holy Union shares a border with the OBrien Empire. While at the southern end, the Dark Alliance intersects with the Yulan Empire. Under the guidance of the Radiant Church, the unity of our Holy Union isnt one whit inferior to that of the empires.

    Listening to his fathers words, Linley agreed.

    Yesterday, he had read many books. Clearly, the Holy Union could be considered the cultural center for the entire Yulan continent. At the same time, in terms of economic strength, it was on par with the Yulan Empire, making the two of them the most economically powerful entities in the world.

    In addition, it had the support of the Radiant Church.

    The Holy Union truly was very formidable.

    Today, we will study art, Hogg said coldly. As the descendent of a noble family, you must have a thorough understanding and appreciation of art. Art is what gives noblemen an aura of gravitas! Hogg pulled out a large tome as thick as a fist, immediately opening it.

    In the year 3578 of the Yulan calendar, the grandmaster stone-sculptor Proulx [Pulukesi] was born.

    Off to the side, Hogg solemnly taught while Linley strove hard to memorize. He wanted to meet his fathers requirements.

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    Book 1, Chapter 5 Growth (part 2)

    Time flew by quickly, and in the blink of an eye, the grandfather clock within the hall rang eleven times, signifying that it was now 11 in the morning.

    Is Hogg at home? A clear voice rang out. The Baruch manor had no guards, so clearly, this person had already arrived within the manor grounds.

    Hogg frowned, placing down the thick tome in front of him. Linley, today well come to a stop here. Revealing a wisp of a smile, Hogg turned around and walked towards the guest hall.

    Ah, Hogg, my dear friend! Just the other day, I heard the clothspinner birds cry, and I just knew that something good was going to happen. Indeed, by noon, I received your missive, and as soon as I read it, I was overjoyed.

    Dear Philip, I am very happy to see you as well. Hillman, quickly go and bring me the stone sculpture, Fierce Lion. Philip, come, lets go to the main hall and wait. The sculpture will be here shortly.

    Hearing these words, Linley felt his heart twinge.

    Were selling off more family belongings? Linley knew that the Fierce Lion sculpture was one which his father deeply liked. But the Baruch clan, which took very little taxes from Wushan township, really was in dire economic straits.

    Fortunately, the Baruch clan was an ancient one, and by virtue of its age, had stored many rare and precious items.

    Unfortunately, even the vastest of hoards could not withstand so many years of auctions and sales. By this point in time, the number of valuable items within the clan was very few. Linley couldnt help but turn to stare at the grandfather clock. I wonder how long it will be before even this clock has to be sold off.

    A middle aged man with long, golden hair and a noblemans aura strode into the hall by Hoggs side. Linley immediately was able to guess that this middle-aged man must be Philip.

    Oh, this adorable child must be your son, right Hogg? Philip smiled very warmly at Linley. Linley Baruch, right? May I address you as Linley?

    It would be my honor, sire. Linley placed his right hand against his breast and respectfully bowed.

    What an adorable child. Philip seemed very pleased.

    By his side, Hogg laughed. Philip, stop wasting time with the child. Look, the Fierce Lion you have desired for so long has arrived. As he spoke, Hillman easily carried in the large sculpture into the hall, and then easily set it down.

    It was a nearly thousand-pound stone sculpture, but in Hillmans hands, it seemed like naught but a toy, clearly showing Hillmans strength.

    Mr. Hillman, your strength amazes me. My own manor doesnt have anyone as fierce as you, guard captain, even though I control twelve towns. Philip smiled as he spoke, but the implicit meaning in his words was quite clear; he wanted to invite Hillman to work for him.

    Hillman said coldly, Wushan town is my home, sire.

    Forgive me. Philip quickly apologized.

    Philip turned to look at Hogg. Hogg, I must say, although I like this stone sculpture very much, the artisanship of this Fierce Lion sculpture cannot be considered to be top tier, much less the masterpieces of those grandmaster sculptors.

    Philip, if you dont wish to buy it, then forget about it. Hogg was quite succinct.

    Philips eyes couldnt help but narrow, but then he laughed. HahaHogg, dont be angry. Im not saying that I dont wish to buy it. Im just telling the truth. How about this. Ill buy this sculpture for five hundred gold coins. What do you think?

    Five hundred? Hogg frowned.

    This price was much lower than what Hogg had hoped for. He had been hoping for at least eight hundred.

    In the Yulan continent, one gold coin equaled ten silver coins equaled a thousand copper coins. The average commoner would be able to earn twenty or thirty gold coins in a year. Even the average army soldier would only earn a hundred or so gold coins.

    The price is too low. Hogg shook his head.

    Hogg, you must know that in all the ten thousand plus years of the Yulan continent, there have been countless sculptures made. The true value of a sculpture is in terms of its artisanship. As far as the artisanship of this one.well, heh, suffice to say, I just like it. Five hundred gold really is my highest offer. If you dont accept, then lets just forget about it.

    Philip laughed as he turned to look at the grandfather clock in the hall. His eyes gleaming, he said, Hogg, if you were to sell this clock, however, I would be willing to pay a thousand gold.

    Hoggs face grew cold.

    Ahem, two thousand gold would be acceptable as well. This would be my highest offer. Philip hurriedly said.

    Hogg sternly shook his head firmly. The grandfather clock is not for sale! As for the sculpture, six hundred gold. Take it or leave it.

    Philip carefully studied Hogg for a moment, then chuckled. Fine, Hogg. Ill give you some face. Six hundred gold it is. Housekeeper, bring me six hundred gold. The caretaker for his manor, who had been waiting outside the entire time, immediately ran over with the gold.

    Six sacks of yellow gold.

    Six hundred gold, Hogg. You can count it, if you want. Philip smiled.

    Hogg hefted the sacks. Just based on weight alone, Hogg was certain that there really were six hundred gold coins in them, a hundred gold per sack. Hogg smiled and nodded. Philip, how about staying and having dinner with us?

    No need, I still have some business back home. Philip laughed.

    Philips housekeeper subsequently instructed two powerfully built warriors to lift and carry away the sculpture, which they did with difficulty.

    After Philip and his entourage had departed, Hogg stared at the six sacks of gold, a dim look in his eyes. This time, he sold the stone sculpture. Next time? Although the manor still had many things remaining, sooner or later, they would have nothing left.

    Father, I want to learn to be a sculptor! Linley suddenly said.

    Linley knew very well that in the Yulan continent, those famous master sculptors could produce works valued at tens of thousands of gold pieces each. Some famous sculptures could even reach a hundred thousand gold pieces. And wealth aside, the societal ranking of these sculptors was also very high.

    If I can become a master sculptor, thenthen father will no longer have to sell our family possessions. This is what Linley was thinking.

    Sculpting? Hogg glanced at Linley, his eyes cold.

    Linley, do you know that amongst the hundreds of millions of people in the Holy Union, there are at least several million who have studied sculpting. But in the entire Holy Union, the number of true masters can be counted on one hand. In addition, if you dont have a good instructor, you simply cannot succeed on your own.

    The inner circle of sculptors is not one which ordinary people are allowed into. You only see the sky-high valuation of the works of the masters, but do you know that the vast majority of sculptors only make a few dozen gold coins each year?

    Hoggs voice was very fierce.

    Linley was so frightened, he immediately knelt down. Just now, he only spoke because he thought that sculpting could improve his familys situation. He didnt expect his father to say so much and lecture him so sternly.

    Enough. The ancestral hall needs some cleaning. After lunch, go and clean it up. Hogg said coldly.

    Yes, father. Linley said respectfully.

    Looking at Linley, Hogg sighed in his heart. Sculpting? Oh, child. Do you know that in the past, I also practiced sculpting? I spent ten full years of my life trying to learn. But unfortunately, my sculptures werent worth a single coin. Hogg, too, had once foolishly dreamed of becoming a master sculptor and thereby improving his clans situation.

    But in his heart, he felt very helpless. Despite spending ten years training, his sculptures were still worthless. The field of sculpting could be described as a pyramid.

    Those famous master sculptors were at the top of the pyramid. They enjoyed a high status, and each sculpture they made was worth hundreds of thousands of coins.

    But the valuation of the work of the countless low level sculptors at the bottom of the pyramid was soul-crushingly low. Most of their works would just be bought by commoners for just a few silver coins to use as decorations in their homes.

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    Book 1, Chapter 6 Coiling Dragon Ring (part 1)


    Underneath the setting sun, the rosy clouds seemed to cover half the sky, casting their red hue upon the entire world.

    Cleaning the ancestral hall is pretty easy.

    Departing the ancestral hall, Linley had to admit that he had over-prepared. He had slotted an hour for this job, but in just fifteen minutes, he was finished cleaning.

    On the Yulan continent, each year was divided into twelve months, each month thirty days, each day twenty four hours, and each hour sixty minutes. Most noble families owned grandfather clocks, and were able to accurately tell time. Some extremely wealthy or extremely high-status individuals might even own meticulously calibrated wrist watches.

    The ancestral hall is cleaned every month. Frankly speaking, in just a month, the ancestral hall wont get too dirty. All I have to do is just casually wipe it down. I have almost an hour before training starts. What should I do? Bored, Linley looked around in all directions.

    The ancient Baruch mansion had five thousand years of history.

    The front courtyard was cleaned every day, but the rooms in the much-larger back courtyard, aside from the ancestral hall, were all covered in dust, and even the walls were cracked. Wild grasses and dark green lichen covered the floors and even ran up the walls.

    Heeeeey Seeing the decrepit architecture, Linleys eyes slowly brightened. Lots of places in the back courtyard havent been visited in over a century. I wonder if theres any ancient, valuable items there?

    Upon coming to this realization, Linleys heart began to pound.

    If I am able to find some valuable things and give them to father, no doubt he will be very happy. Linley took a deep breath, then immediately entered a decrepit room next to the ancestral hall. Step by step, he walked carefully, wielding a sturdy wooden stick in his hands, which he used to strike down the cobwebs, allowing himself a more careful examination.

    Immediately upon entering the room, a rotten scent wafted past Linleys nose. Thick cobwebs could be seen in each corner, and spiders could even be seen clambering about.

    Many spiderwebs were covering decorative curtains and furnishings. Upon closer examination, all of these curtains appeared very ancient. Unfortunately, the curtains were tattered beyond belief, just barely holding together in the semblance of a curtain.

    If these curtains werent ruined, no doubt they would be worth a lot of money. Linley helplessly shook his head. He continued to inspect the room, using his stick to brush aside the layers of cobwebs as he carefully searched.

    He searched the floor, the cabinets, and even to see if there were any secret passageways on the walls.

    According to the books Ive read, it is quite common for walls to contain hidden levers or passages. Linley carefully rapped the walls, listening to the sounds.

    Linley very much enjoyed this feeling of searching for treasures in the ancient room. But he had forgotten something. If he could come up with this idea, wouldnt his father, his grandfather, and the other elders of the Baruch clan also have thought of this?

    These ancient rooms had long ago been scoured clean by the deceased elders of the Baruch clan.

    Linley was only eight years old, after all. Although the strict education of the clan helped him mature quickly, there was still a large gap between him and an adult. Naturally, he wouldnt be able to consider things from a more complete point of view.

    Nothing in this room. Next one Linley exited the first room and entered the second.

    There were actually many rooms in the back courtyard. After all, the front courtyard which Linley resided in constituted only a third of the entire manor. The back courtyard was far larger. Linley would probably have to spend an entire day in order to finish searching the entire back courtyard.

    All these decorations are ruined. There isnt a single one worth money. Linley exited yet another empty room.

    He stared up at the sky.

    Eh, looks like its almost time for training. I have another fifteen minutes or so at most. Linley turned his head around and stared at an extremely large room. Ill just look at that last one, that big one. Ill spend about ten minutes searching. If I cant find anything, Ill go off to training.

    Having made up his mind, Linley raced towards the large room.

    This ancient room was much larger than even the main hall in the front courtyard. Stepping inside, Linley carefully scrutinized the place. I bet hundreds of years ago, this was the dinner hall for our Baruch clan. From the ornaments and furniture, Linley could tell that this was a living hall.

    A huge, grandiose-looking hall.

    Search the ground first.

    Same as before, Linley lowered his head, widened his eyes, and began carefully searching the room one part at a time. Upon seeing anything interesting, he would tap it twice with his stick. If it was made out of stone, he would ignore it. Since he didnt have much time left before training was to start, his searching speed increased as well.

    Time to search the walls and the curtains. Oi. Last, best hope. Linley grimaced as he scanned the surroundings. Clan elders, I really hope you guys left one or two things behind for me to find. Even if it is just a small thing.

    Linley carefully searched the walls, even peeking behind the tattered curtains.

    On the ancient walls were many rotted wooden cabinets, each of which had many drawers. Linley pulled open each and every drawer, but the drawers were totally empty, almost immaculately so. The only thing inside of them? Some dust.

    Alas!

    After pulling open the last drawer, Linley felt bitter disappointment in his heart.

    After searching for all this time, I didnt even find a single valuable item. All I did was cover myself with sweat and dust. Linley stared at his clothes. They really were filthy, now. Linley couldnt help but feel discontented.

    Linleys gaze once more flashed across the room.

    Hmph. Im leaving. Linley angrily used the stick in his hand to strike hard against a nearby cabinet, as though he wanted to give vent to all the anger which had built up over an hour of fruitless searching.

    Thud! The stick solidly struck against the cabinet.

    The cabinet was extremely ancient. After having been chewed on by mites for a hundred years, it couldnt withstand any weight. After having been struck so fiercely, it began to creak and groan.

    Hearing this, Linley couldnt help but look behind him in alarm. Oh no, its going to collapse! While searching the other rooms, Linley had also destroyed a few other pieces of furniture, so by now, he was very experienced.

    Linley hurriedly dodged to one side.

    In the end, the cabinet, which was twice as tall as Linley himself, collapsed. With a crashing sound, the cabinet smashed against the floor, breaking into seven or eight pieces, covering the room with even more dust. But hidden amidst the dust, unseen by Linley, was

    Upon the shattering of the cabinet, a black ring which had been hidden within the wooden supports came tumbling out, falling to the ground.

    Ew, ew! Linley spat out the two words as he hurriedly tried to escape the wave of dust.

    How unlucky! My entire body is covered with dust now, and I bet training is about to start. Id best go take a quick shower and put on some new clothes. With a wave of his arm, Linley pushed open the door and departed the ancient room.

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    Book 1, Chapter 7 Coiling Dragon Ring (part 2)

    That black ring had rolled forward, landing precisely in front of the doorway.

    When Linley had strode forward by three steps, reaching the doorway, he came to a sudden halt, because he could clearly feel that he had stepped on something hard.

    Just now, I searched the ground and didnt see a single rock. This must have come from the shattered drawers. Thinking about the collapsed drawers, Linley couldnt help but feel angry, and he viciously stomped on the piece of shattered wood beneath his feet.

    Based on Linleys thinking, if it was a piece of shattered wood, it should be stomped into fragments. But in reality

    Whoah, its hard! Whats under my foot? Linley felt that the item underneath his foot was extraordinarily tough, and immediately stepped aside to take a closer look.

    He saw a jet-black object in the shape of a ring lying peacefully on the ground. It was covered by a layer of dust, and was not at all catching to the eye.

    Oh, a ring? Linleys eyes were bandit-sharp. He happily plucked the ring up, then used his filthy sleeves to give the black ring a vigorous rub-down. Only then could Linley make out what this item really looked like.

    This black ring was made of a material that seemed to have properties of both wood and stone. On the body of the ring, there was a very faint carving of an indistinct object as well

    Earthworm? Linley suspiciously looked at the carving on the ring.

    At first glance, Linley felt that the sinuous carving on the ring seemed to be that of an earthworm.

    Linley laughed to himself, The carving skill for this ring is really terrible. I bet even an average carver could make something more attractive. Alas, what a waste. This black ring doesnt even have a single diamond on it, much less any valuable magic crystals.

    Most rings were adorned with either diamonds or magic crystals.

    Unfortunately, this black ring seemed to have been made out of a material that had properties of both wood and stone. Not even the shadow of a gemstone could be seen. Clearly, it was worthless.

    But for some reason, upon seeing the ring, Linley immediately felt that he had taken a liking to it. He suspected that it was most likely because this was the only thing he had discovered after spending a prodigious amount of effort in searching the manor.

    Hm, this ring is really thick. Theres no way to wear it on my finger without it slipping off. Ill string it through with silk and wear it around my neck. Linleys eyes brightened.

    The eight-year old Linleys hands, after all, were much smaller than the hands of an adult. There was no way he could wear the ring on his fingers.

    Now, what name should I choose for this black ring? Earthworm Ring? No way, that sounds terrible. Linley mumbled for a few moments, then his eyes lit up. Haha, that sinuous object can also be considered a dragon, right? A dragon curled around the ringthen lets call it, the Coiling Dragon Ring! Although in his heat, Linley felt like the carving looked more like an earthworm, but he still chose the name Coiling Dragon Ring for it.

    Coiling Dragon Ring! Lifting up the dark, unadorned ring, Linley felt exceptionally pleased.

    Wait, crap! Its almost time for training!

    Linley suddenly remembered. He frantically stared at his filthy clothes, covered in dust and grime. He looked like a beggar. Oh no Linley had no time to think. He immediately ran out of the ancient courtyard and charged straight for the washroom.

    The sound of rushing water.

    Linley dumped water over himself. His skin was bright and vigorous, and muscular lines were already beginning to develop. This was the result of Linleys training. Underneath the rushing water flow, the dust was quickly washed away.

    Using the least amount of time possible, Linley washed himself clean, then hurriedly put on his training clothes.

    String, string Linley hurriedly looked about for a thread on which he could hang the Coiling Dragon Ring. Suddenly, Linleys gaze fell on a ruined old washcloth. His eyes lit up, and he immediately pulled a string out from within the washcloth.

    Although the washcloth was very ordinary, it was very sturdy and durable. The string, too, would be very resilient.

    He quickly strung on the Coiling Dragon Ring, then immediately wore his makeshift necklace.

    Im gonna be late. This is my first time being late! Linley bolted out like a roaring flame. As he ran, he tucked the Coiling Dragon Ring into his clothes. Feeling the coolness of the ring against his chest, Linley couldnt help but feel happy.

    In exchange for being late, he gained the Coiling Dragon Ring.

    Linley felt very happy.

    In a flash, Linley rushed out of the Baruch clan manor, and then immediately ran towards the empty training ground east of Wushan town. By this time, most of the commoners had already returned home, leaving the streets empty, but as they saw Linley run, they were able to guess the reason.

    Young master Linley, careful, dont hurt yourself!

    Master Hillman is extremely rigorous. Im afraid young master Linley is going to be punished.

    ..

    The kindness which the Baruch clan had showed the commoners caused them to also be filled with love and goodwill towards Linley.

    How will Uncle Hillman punish me? Even as he hurriedly rushed forward, Linley was still thinking about this question. At this point, Linley had no time to chat or pay respects to any of the uncles or aunties nearby. In a short period of time, Linley arrived at the training field of Wushan town.

    By this time, all three squads had already lined up. Hillman was speaking, but upon hearing Linleys footsteps, Hillmans cold gaze couldnt help but shoot towards him.

    Linley ran towards the training squads. Taking position next to the squads, he nervously awaited Hillmans instructions.

    Todays training exercises will be doubled for you. Return to your team! Hillman calmly said.

    Yes sir! Linley raised his head high and said in a bright voice.

    The youngsters nearby couldnt help but stick out their tongues. He was just late by a short amount of time, but was punished with double duty training. Today, Linley probably wouldnt have any time to go home and eat dinner.

    Just as Linley began jogging towards his usual position in the team, suddenly

    THUD! The entire earth seemed to tremble slightly, but with regularity. It was as though a giant creature was walking on the earth, causing it to tremble with each step.

    East. It came from the east. Linley immediately discerned the direction.

    Not just Linley. Hillman, Roger, and Lorry all turned towards the east, their expressions growing solemn. The vibrations were growing stronger and clearer. All of the youths present could clearly feel that the regular vibrations were coming from an enormous creature headed their way.

    Each of the thunderous footsteps seemed to caused a vibration powerful enough to shake Linleys heart.

    What giant creature was causing this?

    Linley widened his eyes and stared east

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    Book 1, Chapter 8 Magical Beast Velocidragon!

    The giant creature that caused the earth to shake finally revealed itself.

    Upon seeing this enormous creature, Linley and the rest of the children were scared silly. Hillman, Roger and Lorrys reaction speeds were very quick; they immediately stood in front of the group of kids and carefully watched the enormous creature.

    A magical beast of the seventh rank. Velocidragon*! Hillmans facial expression contorted, while Lorry and Roger, by his side, felt their legs grow weak.

    So bi, bi, big! Is, is this a legendary magical beast? Linley was totally stunned.

    Since he was born, the largest creature which Linley had ever seen was the warhorses that sometimes passed by Wushan township. Those large, powerful horses were 1.8 meters tall. But in front of this giant creature, they seemed like nothing more than a babe in front of a giant. The difference was truly astounding.

    This creature was easily two stories high and at least twenty or thirty meters long.

    Magical Beast Velocidragon!

    The Velocidragons entire body was covered by huge, fire-red scales, each scale glittering with the reflected cold, golden light. The scales alone were stunning and frightening to behold. The Velocidragons four scale-covered long legs were even more terrifying in their thickness. Two fully grown men would barely be able to surround them with their arms. The flame-red Velocidragon was entirely crimson in color, with the exception of its cold, deadly looking black claws.

    The Velocidragons long, scale covered tail made up over half of its total body length. Like a whip, it swept across the ground. Each time it struck the ground, a deep thud could be heard emanating from below.

    Grrr

    With a low-throated growl, white steam erupted from the nostrils of the Velocidragon, carrying with it the stench of sulfur. Those diamond-like eyes, nearly the size of a lantern, were also, strangely enough, red as well. The huge head of the Velocidragon turned towards Linley and the children. Its cold gaze terrified all of the children, freezing them in their tracks.

    Tchhh. Tchhh. The Velocidragons mouth tensed, revealing two rows of enormous, saw-like teeth. Each teeth was ivory white, and the sight of them caused everyones hearts to grow cold. No one dared to question its sharpness.

    Linley felt as though his heart had stopped beating. Right now, it seemed as though all sound had faded away.

    Too terrifying. Is there anyone who can possibly defeat such a creature? Linley was scared stiff.

    Just from looking at this huge magical beast, Linley felt as though its power was irresistible. Linley believed that with but a swipe of its enormous tail, most likely even the sturdiest stones of the houses of Wushan town would be disintegrated.

    Is this Wushan town? Suddenly, a cold voice emanated from on top of the Velocidragon.

    All of the terrified children looked up, astonished. Upon the Velocidragons enormous, scaly back, a mysterious man wearing violet robes was sitting cross-legged. The Velocidragon was simply too huge in size, and its back was extremely broad. There was more than enough space for someone to stand, sit, or even roll around.

    Lord Magus, this is indeed Wushan town. Is there anything we can help you with, Lord Magus? Hillmans voice rang out.

    Upon hearing Hillmans voice, everyone seemed to find their bearings again, and recovered from the state of stunned terror. But everyone present, including Roger and Lorry, didnt dare make a single sound. They all stood behind Hillman and fearfully looked at the terrifying Velocidragon and the mysterious, violet robed magus.

    Wushan town. Looks like I didnt get lost. The violet-robed man said in a low voice.

    And then the mysterious, violet-robed man didnt say anything else. After gazing at Linley and the rest of the group with its cold eyes, the Velocidragon continued forward, two more lines of smoke appearing from its nostrils. Seeing the Velocidragon go in the direction of the township, the expression on Hillmans face changed.

    Everyone, stay here. After he spoke, Hillman immediately chased after the departing Velocidragon.

    Uncle Lorry, what is that? Is that a magical beast? Linley was the first to ask.

    Lorry cleared his throat, a look of terror still in his eyes. But he still nodded. Yes, it is. But its a very powerful one, a magical beast of the seventh rank. A Velocidragon!

    Velocidragon?

    Linley memorized the word, forever etching it in his mind.

    The Velocidragons huge body, hard scales, sharp claws, and powerful tail served to create a terrifying appearance. Linley believed.a single Velocidragon could most likely annihilate the entire Wushan township.

    The defensive power of the Velocidragons scales is astonishing, and its attack power is terrifying as well. In addition, it is proficient in destructive fire magic! Lorrys heart was filled with fear as he explained to Linley and the others. If faced with a terrifying magical beast such as the Velocidragon, most likely even a platoon of a thousand soldiers would be wiped out, unless it had a number of sixth or seventh ranked warriors and magi who could unite to penetrate the Velocidragons scales.

    Linleys heart trembled.

    Even a platoon of a thousand soldiers would be wiped out?

    However, the most terrifying thing is not the Velocidragonit is the mysterious violet-robed man. Lorry took two stabilizing breaths, calming his agitated heart.

    By his side, Roger nodded as well. Right. In order to subdue a Velocidragon, one must force the Velocidragon to willingly submit to being a servant. In other wordsthe violet-robed man must be significantly more powerful than the Velocidragon. Based on his clothing, he should be a magus.

    At least a magus of the seventh rank. Perhaps even a magus of the eighth rank! Rogers fists couldnt help but tremble as well. I never imagined such an important individual would come to our home.

    Linley could also feel the fear which was in the hearts of Roger and Lorry.

    Velocidragon, a magical beast of the seventh rank. And a mysterious magus whose power dwarfed that of the Velocidragon? This definitely was enough to cause terror.

    The magus was even more powerful than the Velocidragon? Linley found this somewhat hard to believe.

    The Velocidragons huge body, hard scales, sharp claws, and powerful tailall seemed to dwarf that small human figure of the magus.

    Roaaar!

    Suddenly, an angry roar erupted from the middle of the township.

    Crap! Lorry and Roger were stunned. Linley and the other children grew worried as well. Was the Velocidragons angry roar caused by Uncle Hillman, or by Wushan township? Nobody knew.

    All of you, stay here. Lorry and Roger, although terrified, still raced towards the center of the town.

    Linley gritted his teeth. Uncle Hillman! Linley was also worried for Uncle Hillman, as well as the citizens of Wushan town. He also ran in that direction. At this moment, Lorry and Roger were both panic-stricken at the thought of the Velocidragon, and didnt notice Linley following behind them.

    In but a few moments, they arrived in the middle of the town. Hillman was standing far away, watching.

    Why did you come? Hillman reprimanded in a severe tone.

    But upon seeing Linley follow behind Lorry and Roger, Hillman frowned even further. Linley, its far too dangerous here. Go back immediately. Only now did Lorry and Roger notice Linley had followed them.

    Linley, why did you Lorry and Roger didnt know what to say.

    Uncle Hillman, Im not going back. Linley wasnt willing to return.

    Hillman helplessly shook his head. He knew how stubborn Linley could be, and how hard it was to force him to change his mind. Fine. Then stay behind me, do not go too far. As long as you stay next to me, I am confident that I can protect you.

    Thank you, Uncle Hillman. I definitely wont run around. Linley was overjoyed.

    At this point in time, Hillmans group was roughly a hundred meters away from the Velocidragon. They quietly watched the events in the center of town unfold. In front of the huge Velocidragon, a group of youngsters could be seen. Four men, three women.

  11. #11
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    Book 1, Chapter 9 Magical Beast Velocidragon! (part 2)

    Captain, whats going on up ahead? Lorry said in a quiet voice to Hillman.

    A hint of a smile played at Hillmans lips. That mysterious magus seems to be at odds with that party over there. Just stay here and watch. No need for us to interfere. Hillman himself was only a warrior of the sixth rank. In truth, he didnt dare to interfere either.

    The Velocidragon alone was something he would not be able to fight off, much less the mysterious magus.

    The strength of the seven-man party in front of the magus was not weak either. Five of them were warriors, while the other two were magi. The leader of their party was a powerfully built man with tousled red hair, who rode a pitch-black iron bull. The two sharp horns of the iron bull glittered under the light, dark and deadly.

    Its blood-red eyes gave testament to the true nature of this bull Vampiric Iron Bull, a magical beast of the fifth rank.

    With a snort, smoke began to emit from the bulls nostrils as well.

    Of the seven people in the party, four were men, three were women. Both of the magi were women, while the third woman was an archer. Aside from the Vampiric Iron Bull, a huge griffin floated in mid-air.

    Griffin a magical beast of the fourth rank!

    It had the head of a lion, but a pair of enormous, powerful wings. For a party to have two magical beasts and two magi, clearly this adventuring party was no ordinary one.

    Youngsters, itd be better if you handed the [DePeiLuoYing] d'Bero shadow diamond over. The mysterious man seated on the Velocidragon said a second time, his voice cold.

    Lord magus, we dont wish to be your enemy, but in order to acquire this d'Bero shadow diamond, we spent countless amounts of time and effort. The value of it exceeds a hundred thousand gold coins, but you, lord magus, want to buy it from us for just seven hundred coins. Thisthis is impossible. The red-headed leader of the group said in a solemn voice.

    Listening to the conversation from far away, Linley, by Hillmans side, now understood everything.

    So this mysterious magus wanted to spend seven hundred gold to purchase this d'Bero shadow diamond which was worth a hundred thousand.

    Wow, the price of that diamond Linley was shocked. For it to be worth so much money, clearly this d'Bero shadow diamond must have some significance attached to it. Otherwise, it wouldnt cause this magus to be willing to lower his status and try to forcibly buy it.

    An offer of seven hundred gold, for an item worth a hundred thousand. No wonder the small party was unwilling to accept.

    Hmph. The mysterious magus coldly harrumphed.

    I only have seven hundred gold on me. Right now, Im still willing to use money to buy it from you. If you lot dont know how to take a few steps back and do whats best for youthen not only will you not receive a single gold coin, you will also lose your little lives. The magus said in a frozen voice.

    Grrrrrrrr.

    The Velocidragon, taller than most of the houses in the town, let out a deep growl, causing all the houses nearby to shudder.

    Captain, we risked our lives to obtain this d'Bero shadow diamond. How can we so easily cower in front of this guy and give it away? A woman in black said coldly. As an experienced adventuring party, these seven people had experienced many battles and wouldnt easily submit.

    The red-haired captain said in a solemn voice, Honored lord magus, I am of the Kingdom of Fenlais Cayley clan

    This captain wanted to use his background to force the opponent down.

    But unfortunately, powerful magi usually were eccentric and didnt give a whit about noble families.

    You all have chosen death. The mysterious magus sneered coldly.

    Careful. In a flash, the seven person party raised its guard. The four warriors charged in front, the female archer in behind pulled out her strongest bow, and the two female magi began to prepare magic.

    ROAAAAR!

    The huge Velocidragon opened its mouth, and an enormous plume of fire erupted from its fangs, headed directly for the party.

    Where the fire came near, the very stone road underneath the fireblast began to warp, crack, and even shatter from the intense heat as the entire road charred black.

    Careful.

    The red-haired leader said in a deep voice, as his entire body became suffused with red-colored battle-qi. The other three warriors activated their battle qi as well.

    The red-haired leader wielded an enormous claymore in his two hands. With rapid speed, he fiercely swung it against a nearby stone wall, and with a thundering sound, the stone wall collapsed, as hundreds of rocks rolled down to the floor and dust exploded outwards.

    Just at this time, the fire from the Velocidragon enveloped the four men, who used their battle-qi to resist it.

    Hah!

    The red-haired man kicked a large rock nearly half a meter long at the magus.

    The other three warriors did the same, also kicking large rocks with the speed and power of enormous slingshots. The four rocks split the air, howling as they pierced forth towards the magus seated on the huge Velocidragon.

    Swish! Swish! Swish!

    One after another, a barrage of rocks assaulted the magus. In the twinkling of an eye, all the rocks from the collapsed wall were used up.

    Seeing this battle from afar, Linleys hands were tightly clenched.

    How incredible. They actually dare to use their feet to kick such huge rocks. Watching the four men unceasingly kick the huge rocks, he felt all the more in awe of warriors in general. Although, the Velocidragon is even more terrifying!

    Staring at the Velocidragon, Linley watched as its whip-like tail snapped about, dancing in front of it.

    Crack! Crack! Crack! Crack!

    One giant rock after another was smashed into smithereens. The rocks couldnt even come close to harming the magus on the Velocidragons back.

    Swoosh! The Velocidragons tail seemed to be totally unimpeded. It covered an enormous area, and whenever it casually passed by a stone house, it sliced through it as though the house was made of mud. The stones would be shattered without any resistance. As one house after another began to collapse, stones rolled about everywhere and the entire area was bathed in dust.

    Roaaaar! Even in the middle of the dust storm, the Velocidragons mighty roar could be heard, and it continued to vomit fire from its jaws.

    This entire time, the two female magi in the back of the party were continuously mumbling magical incantations in a light voice. The words of magic were totally different from the common tongue spoken on the Yulan continent. It was much more awkward-sounding and complex. Before too much time had passed, the two female magi finished their incantations!

    Protective Icy Carapace!

    The two female magi chanted out in a low voice. Bright light erupted from their bodies, with four rays covering the four male warriors with a translucent, crystalline armor.

    The red-haired leader was delighted. With the protective icy carapace supporting his battle-qi, he now felt more confident in this battle.

    Attack! The red-haired leader ordered.

    The four warriors shot out four more rocks at nearly the same time, attacking the mounted magus simultaneously. Immediately following, the four warriors charged forward like arrows released from bows as they shot towards the Velocidragon.

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    Book 1, Chapter 10 Dance of the Fire Serpents, part 1

    ROAR! The flames erupting from the Velocidragons mouth encompassed a diameter of tens of meters of the surrounding area, bathing them in a sea of fire.

    Hiss..

    The Velocidragons fire danced around the bodies of the four warriors, but guarded by the Protective Icy Carapace and their own battle-qi, the four warriors definitely would be able to resist the heat.

    As for the archer, by this point, she had already mounted the Griffin and taken to the skies, her bow nocked.

    The Vampiric Iron Bull stood there like a iron wall, protecting the two female magi.

    Swish! Swish! Swish!

    Her eyes filled with a fierce cold gleam, and her hands as steady as a rock, the Griffin-mounted archer shot out three arrows in a row. The target the mysterious magus on the back of the Velocidragon!

    Whoosh! The Velocidragons whip-like tail shot out like lightning, moving even faster than the arrows. In the blink of an eye, it shattered the arrows released from the archers triple shot. Immediately afterwards, its tail swept back towards the four charging warriors. The howling sound generated from the tail shattering the air with its movement caused the expressions on the faces of the four warriors to change dramatically. They immediately tried to leap backwards, like agile monkeys.

    But the draconic tail didnt move in a purely straight pattern; it oscillated and curved strangely, with no fixed pattern.

    Crash!

    One of the four warriors didnt manage to dodge in time, and was directly struck by the draconic tail on the waist. Both the Protective Icy Carapace and his own battle-qi were smashed into nothingness in the blink of an eye. With a slight flick, the tail curled around him and tightly wrapped him up.

    Luke! (Lujia). The red-haired warrior by his side howled angrily, his eyes filled with pain.

    No! Luke was also screaming in terror.

    With but a flick, the draconic tail tossed Luke directly towards the Velocidragons mouth. The Velocidragon opened its jaws, revealing its bloody maw, and chomped down. With a terrifying crunching sound, the last thing escaping Lukes throat was an anguished scream.

    Ground beneath the Velocidragons saw-like teeth, Lukes entire body was turned into mincemeat. Half of one bloody leg escaped the Velocidragons mouth and fell down to the ground. Gleaming white bone could be seen protruding from the bloody half-leg.

    Dont look. Hillman covered Linleys eyes.

    That sudden display was simply too bloody. Even a fully grown adult, when faced with such a terrifying scene for the first time, would be panicked. Linley was just an eight year old child.

    But it was too late. Linley had already seen everything.

    Huff. Huff. Linley felt as though his heart was being compressed by a giant boulder. His breathing was growing labored, and he started to pant. But in his minds eye, he replayed the sight of the young man named Luke being eaten, over and over again.

    His belly was ripped open, and his intestines had been shattered. His skull had been crushed, and half his leg had dropped to the ground!

    All of these things made it hard for Linley to breathe, and he felt dizzy.

    This was the first time Linley had seen a fight become so vicious and cruel. It was also the first time Linley had seen someone being eaten alive by a huge Velocidragon. The half-eaten leg, in particular, deeply buried itself in Linleys mind.

    Hillman, Roger, and Lorry exchanged troubled glances as they watched Linley.

    What sort of harm to the psyche would this bloody affair cause an eight year old child? Would it serve as a constant psychological trauma? Once a youth becomes traumatized by battle, his future accomplishments would be dramatically impacted.

    Killing someone. No big deal. No big deal. Linley forced himself to think these words repeatedly. When I grow up and join the army, I too will have to kill people. Gotta hold on. Gotta hold on.

    Linley really was intelligent. He had read many books, and knew what path he had embarked on for the future.

    On the Yulan continent, when a man grew up, it would be very likely that he would experience life-and-death struggles. But since Linley was just a child who had not done so yet, he had to repeatedly tell himself to calm down. And slowly, the terror and horror in his heart really did begin to lessen.

    In fact, much the opposite; in just a short period of time, Linley felt as though his blood was beginning to surge.

    That battle really is incredibly fierce. It really is exciting. For some reason, that bloody battle just then made Linleys blood boil with excitement, filling his heart with desire a desire to battle and kill!

    Is it because of the Dragonblood in my veins? Linley didnt know.

    But Linley suddenly discovered that he was actually very eager to participate in these bloody struggles. Linley immediately stepped to the side, bypassing Hillmans protective arm, and continued to watch the battle which was still going on a hundred meters away.

    Linley, dont watch. Hillman saw that Linley was intending to continue watching, and was shocked.

    Uncle Hillman, Im not afraid. Linley turned his head to glance at Hillman.

    Hillman suddenly noticed a red gleam of excitement in Linleys pupils. Surprised, he no longer tried to prevent Linley from watching. As Linley continued to watch the battle from afar, he saw that it was reaching an even bloodier climax.

    ROAR! With a howl, the Velocidragon turned its head and bit down towards a warrior, while its huge claws swept towards another one. Its lightning-fast, whip-like tail, as well, struck out, aiming at the third warrior.

    The warriors were pressed to the point of abandoning their assaults and instead retreating.

    The mysterious magus on the back of the Velocidragon still hadnt moved. He let the Velocidragon deal with the threats as his lips continued to mumble.

    Dance of the Fire Serpents!

    The cold voice of the mysterious magus suddenly rang out, and in the blink of an eye, seven enormous fire serpents, each spanning tens of meters long, appeared. Howling, they erupted away from the magus in all directions. Each fire snake appeared to be a real, living creature, with distinct scales and enormous bodies that inspired fear in all who saw it.

    Everyone who was watching was stunned.

    A Fire Element spell of the eighth rank Dance of the Fire Serpent!

    It now became clear that this entire time, the mysterious magus was mumbling the words to a magical incantation. He was preparing this terrifying Fire Element spell of the eighth rank Dance of the Fire Serpent! This spell could unleash seven enormous fire serpents, each of which had a simply astonishing attack power. Even the terrifying defensive ability of the Velocidragon would not be proof against it; if struck, even if it survived, it would be badly injured.

    If dealing with a magus of the seventh rank, the small squad might be able to hold on for a while longer, but dealing with a magus of the eighth rank, and a Velocidragon as well? They simply did not have the power to resist.

    Only now did they understand that this mysterious magus was a master of the eighth rank!

    Its the Dance of the Fire Serpents. Quick, run away! The red-haired warriors facial expression changed dramatically, and he shouted in a loud voice.

    The six remaining members of the small squad were now all filled with terror.

    Too late. Prepare for the baptism of death! The mysterious magus said in a cold, cruel voice, which pierced like a cold dagger at the hearts of the members of the small squad.

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    Book 1, Chapter 11 Dance of the Fire Serpents (part 2)

    The seven fire serpents flew at a very high speed, and wherever they passed through, the stone houses nearby immediately began to blaze. The burning flames towered towards the high heavens, an absolutely catastrophic scene. Seeing their homes be disintegrated from afar, the denizens of Wushan township, who had long since fled and hidden far away, all felt pain and sorrow in their hearts.

    In front of the seven giant fire serpents, their stone houses seemed like naught but toys. They were easily demolished, and the flames in the wreckages rose towards the sky.

    Run! The female archer no longer cared about anything else. She immediately directed her griffin to fly to a higher altitude.

    There was a limit to the distance at which a fire-element magus would be able to control the seven fire serpents. If the archer and her mount could fly beyond that point, she would be safe.

    Whooooosh. Two of the blazing fire serpents enveloped the two female magi and the Vampiric Iron Bull as well. Almost instantaneously, the sound of burning, crackling flesh could be heard, and Linley thought that he could smell hair burning.

    Big brother Kerry [Kailai]! Save us! The desolate cry of a female magus sounded out, filled with pain, from within the middle of the fire serpent.

    Snort. Snort. The eyes of the Vampiric Iron Bull were terrifyingly red, and every single muscle in its body was quivering nonstop. It continuously roared in anger, wanting to charge past through the encircling fire serpents, but unfortunately, the restrictive power of each fire serpent was simply too great.

    Louisa [Luyisha]! The red-haired warrior howled angrily, his voice filled with anguish.

    Very shortly afterwards, both female magi and the Vampiric Iron Bull were reduced to naught but gray ash. But the red-haired warrior no longer had even the opportunity to cry out. He and the other two warriors each had to face an enormous fire serpent of their own as well. In front of the titanic flaming body of the serpents, they seemed to be nothing more than children, incapable of the slightest resistance.

    They had the power to split stone with a single punch, but so what? While constricted by a huge flaming serpent, what could they do?

    Ahhhh! Surrounded by flaming serpents, the three warriors couldnt help but let out torturous cries.

    As they shouted, their battle-qi vanished, having been demolished. The hissing sound of burning flesh once again could be heard. The muscles on the faces of the three warriors twitched, and their eyes bulged out. All the hair on their bodies was burnt clean in the twinkling of an eye, and following that their skin, their flesh, and their bones. Nothing could withstand the terrifyingly high temperature of the fire serpents.

    In a very short period of time, the three formidable warriors had also been reduced to nothing more than dust.

    Huffhuff

    The female archers breath was ragged, but she had finally escaped the boundaries of the Dance of the Fire Serpents.

    LukeLouisabig brother KerryI will definitely avenge you all. Definitely. The female archer cried bitterly, and as she did, she directed her griffin to fly still higher.

    ZZZZT!

    An enormously thick bolt of lightning struck down from the clear, cloudless skies, striking directly down on the totally unprepared archer. Her entire body was turned directly to dust from that strike, while her griffin was scorched black as well. The two of them fell down from the sky, heavily crashing into the stone ground of the town as they crashed through a wooden roof and into the base of a dwelling.

    Want to run? Hmph. The mysterious magus let out a deep snort.

    Over a hundred meters away, Hillman swallowed hard, his own heart filled with a thread of inescapable fear. Not only is he a magus of the eighth rankhe is a dual element magus!

    .

    That spell was called Dance of the Fire Serpents? Linley was still standing there, totally awestruck.

    The sight of those enormous fire serpents and the inferno they had cast had totally shocked Linley, like he had never been shocked before. Each of the fire serpents was as terrifying as the Velocidragon. Seven of them together? They represented an utter apocalypse. Even the stone houses were disintegrated by their flames.

    In the blink of an eye, those four mighty warriors, those two magi, and that archer, as well as their two magical beast companions were utterly destroyed, with the possible exception of that griffin.

    The seven fire serpents had disappeared by now, but Linley could still feel the terrifying, seismic presence and power emanating from the area. The entire battlefield had been annihilated, leaving nothing left but the finest of debris. The debris all radiated tremendous heat, as though testifying to the power of the battle they had just endured.

    Amaamazing.

    Linleys breathing slowly began to stabilize. Swimming in his mind were images of those seven fire serpents, and how they had descended on the battlefield like a catastrophe of power.

    Compared to that vision, even the Velocidragon was not as impressive as before.

    Linleys gaze suddenly turned towards the mysterious magus on the back of the Velocidragon. By appearances, the magus was much smaller and much weaker.

    Just thenjust then, was he the one who cast the Dance of the Fire Serpents? Linley really found it a little hard to believe. A person who seemed a full size smaller than Uncle Hillman was actually able to cast such an apocalyptic spell.

    Linleys heart was suddenly filled with dread, as he stared at that far-off, distant figure.

    Thisthis is what a magus is? For the first time, the concept of a magus clearly imprinted itself in Linleys mind.

    At the same time

    Linley suddenly had a powerful urge to become a powerful magus as well.

    If one day, I too was capable of such a powerful attack Fantasizing about it, Linley felt the blood in his veins boil to the limit. He was in a state of tremendous excitement.

    Right at that moment?

    Linley knew the path that he would take in the future.

    To pursue the peak, the pinnacle of power.

    Father! Linley suddenly saw that his own father, Hogg. Seeing how Wushan township had just suffered an unmitigated catastrophe, as the lord of Wushan township, Hoggs heart was filled with helplessness.

    Dont make a sound. Hogg glanced at Linley, conveying that message with his eyes.

    Hogg turned towards the magus, his heart filled with ruefulness. Hes actually a magus of the eighth rank. And a dual-element magus! Perhaps the entire kingdom of Fenlai has only a handful of people more powerful than him. Someone like him actually came to our little town

    Hoggs only desire, at this point, was that the mysterious magus would leave as soon as possible, and let Wushan town return to its normal tranquilness.

    The mysterious magus suddenly leapt down directly from the back of the Velocidragon. He was at least two stories up, but he descended easily with a single jump.

    Striding up to the ashes of the red-haired warrior, the mysterious magus waved his hands, and the gray ash parted. A violet, almost translucent-looking diamond suddenly appeared. With a flick of the wrist, the mysterious magus plucked out the dBero Shadow Diamond.

    Haha, the dBero shadow diamond. I searched for you for ten years. Who would have thought that just because today, I decided to pass by this town, I would actually meet you by accident? HahaHeymans [Haimansi], now that I have this shadow diamond, once I socket it into my staff, I want to see how you will possibly stand against me next time. Haha The mysterious magus began to laugh wildly.

    Hogg and the other residents of Wushan township simply watched quietly from afar, not daring to make a sound, for fear of angering this powerful, mysterious magus.

    Wushan town, ehwho leads Wushan town? The mysterious magus suddenly said.

    Father Linley was shocked.

    At this point, Hogg had no choice but to stiffen his spine and step forward. He respectfully said, Mighty lord magus, I am the leader of Wushan town.

    Oh. The mysterious magus face was still covered by his violet robes, preventing anyone from seeing his face. He lightly said, Your town suffered some serious damages today. I annihilated this small adventuring party. On their bodies, there is sure to be a good amount of gold coins. The gold coins, no doubt, have been melted and reforged by my Dance of the Fire Serpents, but they are still worth some money. Just consider them yours, as my recompense for what Wushan town just went through.

    Hearing the words of the mysterious magus, Hogg felt a sense of relief.

    This mysterious magus probably wouldnt go kill-crazy now.

    I, Hogg, on behalf of the entire Wushan township, would like to thank you for your kindness, lord magus. Hogg respectfully bowed down.

    The mysterious magus lightly nodded, then turned and walked towards the Velocidragon. The Velocidragon immediately knelt down, stretching out his foreleg. The magus stepped onto the Velocidragons leg, walked two steps, then easily jumped onto the Velocidragons back.

    Hmph. The Velocidragon let out a lazy snort, as two plumes of white smoke once more emanated from its nostrils.

    And then, the Velocidragon once more began walking, its heavy footsteps shaking the earth. Watching the enormous creature and the mysterious magus on its back walk far away and disappear off into the distance, all the citizens of Wushan township finally felt their hearts begin to calm down.

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    Book 1, Chapter 12 The Will of the Mighty (part 1)

    Only after seeing the magical beast of the seventh rank, the Velocidragon, and its mysterious magus master depart, did Hogg calm down.

    Uncle Hiri. Hogg immediately turned to look at his housetaker Hiri. Immediately order some people to recover all of the melted gold from within those piles of ashes. This adventuring party was quite extraordinary as well. No doubt, they had a great deal of wealth on them. I hope they had enough to recompense the losses we have suffered today

    Hogg stared in all directions, seeing how so many houses had been reduced to rubble.

    Yes, milord. Hiri nodded.

    Hillman. Hogg turned to look at Hillman. Smiling, he said, What do you think?

    Hillman nodded as well. I was absolutely terrified. When I saw that magical beast of the seventh rank, the Velocidragon, and that mysterious magus, I knew that Wushan township didnt have the slightest ability to fight back in any way. If such an exalted personage as a magus of the eighth rank decided to destroy our town on a whim, I doubt anyone would dare to criticize him, much less sanction or punish him.

    Magi had extremely high social standings.

    Normally, even an ordinary magus had the same social standing as a noble.

    And a magus of the eighth rank? Even if he was in the presence of a king, he would not need to kneel or show obeisance. He could just chat while staying standing. From this, one could tell how exalted a level an eighth rank magus held.

    Right. So, we should all celebrate the fact that not a single person from Wushan town perished today. Hogg laughed.

    It definitely is worth celebrating, Hillman nodded and laughed as well.

    Hillman, take some men to assist Uncle Hiri. After finishing up, please address the issue of the commoners who lost their houses. Hogg instructed.

    Yes, lord Hogg. Hillman assented.

    Hogg looked behind him carefully, then asked Hillman suspiciously, Hm? Where did Linley go? He was just here a moment ago.

    No idea. Didnt notice. Hillman shook his head as well.

    My lord, young master Linley has already went home. Hiri said from the side. Although, when he left, he seemed to be in a daze. No clue what he was thinking about.

    Hogg thoughtfully nodded.

    ==================

    If there was one thing which the Baruch clan manor did not lack for, it was rooms. In the days of the Baruch clans glories, hundreds of people lived here. The population now was much lower than before. Even an eight year old child such as Linley had his standalone quarters.

    Within Linleys bedroom.

    Linley was kneeling on the bed, his brow furrowed in thought.

    Again and again, the terrifying power of the Dance of the Fire Serpents swam about in his minds eye. Those seven huge fire serpents and the tempest of flame they generated repeated in his mind over and over again, as well as how they instantly turned everything around them to ash, including the powerful warriors and magi of the small adventuring group.

    Magi are so powerful.

    Linley felt a thread of desire in his heart. Although I am a member of the Dragonblood Warriors clan, the density of Dragonblood in my veins is too low. The fact that anyone with Dragonblood is totally unable to utilize any other battle-qi cultivating methods is something which will hold back my ability to develop my warrior abilities to the maximum. I wonder if it would be possible for me to be a magus, instead.

    Linley suddenly had the desire to become a magus.

    That Velocidragon was terrifyingly powerful as well. If I were to have a Velocidragon, then

    Linley began to think back to the awe-inspiring might of the Velocidragon.

    Its lightning-fast, whip-like tail had so easily shattered the stone projectiles aimed at it, and had demolished any houses it touched. Its enormous body resembled huge siege weapons which armies might field in a war. Once it charged forward at a fast pace, considering how tough its scales were, the Velocidragon really would be a terrifying opponent.

    Magical beastsI wonder how someone acquires a magical beast. Linley desired to have a magical beast of his own as well.

    For whatever reason, as he lay on the bed, Linley simply couldnt fall asleep. He tossed and turned, his mind filled with images of the Velocidragon and the Dance of the Fire Serpents which the magus had displayed.

    Linley, whats wrong? A familiar voice said.

    Linley scrambled to his feet. Raising his head, he saw that it was his father, Hogg. At the moment, a smiling, praising look was on Hoggs face as he watched Linley.

    Father. Linley said respectfully. Suddenly, Linley felt confused. Why is father smiling at me? And with this sort of expression?

    Hogg was extremely strict with Linley, and rarely smiled at him in such a intimate manner. His current expression made Linley feel all the more astonished.

    Not bad, not bad, Hogg said proudly as he looked at Linley. You really are a scion of our Dragonblood Warrior clan. You have our superior qualities. If a descendant of the Dragonblood Warriors were to be terrified of death, terrified of blood, of slaughter, then it would be an absolute joke.

    Upon hearing these words, Linley immediately understood. His father was happy at how he had not been terrified by the sight of the Velocidragon eating Luke alive.

    Linley said, surprised, Father, you saw everything?

    That Velocidragon caused such a stir. How could I not? As soon as the Velocidragon arrived at Wushan township, I came out as well, but I was off to a different side. I could clearly see the expressions on your face and on Hillmans, Hogg nodded.

    Linley grinned.

    Back then, aside from the initial bit of panic, he later only felt his blood boil and surge, filling him with a thirst for bloodletting. Linley, as well, had wondered at the time if it was because of the Dragonblood in his veins.

    Hogg laughed. Linley, did the events of today astonish you so much that you even forgot about dinner?

    Dinner? Linley was startled.

    Rumble. Linleys belly sounded in agreement at this time. Only now did Linley realize that the evening training hadnt even begun before the Velocidragon and the mysterious magus arrived.

    By all rights, it was now time for dinner.

    But Linleys mind was still preoccupied thinking about that Dance of the Fire Serpents and that Velocidragon.

    Father, Id like to ask, is it possible for a member of the Dragonblood Warrior clan to become a magus? Linleys hands unconsciously balled up, clenching his bedsheets. He stared hard at his father.

    Hogg was startled, but in the next moment he immediately understood. Looks like his child now wanted to become a magus.

    It is possible. Hogg nodded.

    Linley couldnt prevent a look of joy from appearing on his face.

    Hogg waved his hand, motioning for Linley to calm down, before saying, Linley, there have been magi in the lineage of our Dragonblood Warrior clan. However, theres only been two in total. Linley, you should know that the most important thing for a magus is natural talent. Normally, only one person in ten thousand has the talent to become a magus. One in ten thousand! The chance really is very low. So, youd best not have too much hope.

    Linley shook his head.

    Father, so long as there is any hope, I will persevere. A solemn look was on Linleys face.

    Hogg looked at the serious expression on his eight year old boys face. By all rights, a young child being so serious was an amusing thing. But Hogg did not laugh.

    Hogg considered for a while, then said, Linley, every year, when the army recruitment drive begins in deep autumn, in the royal capital of Fenlai City, there is a magus student recruitment testing drive. If you really wish to go, when autumn comes around, you can go take the test.

    Late autumn? Isnt that just half a year away? Linleys eyes were filled with excitement.

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    Book 1, Chapter 13 The Will of the Mighty (part 2)

    At dinnertime, the three members of the Baruch clan and their housekeeper, Hiri, all shared dinner together. Little Wharton raised a cute ruckus at the dinner table, filling it with laughter. By the time dinner came to an end, the old housekeeper carried Wharton back to his room, while Linley and his father, Hogg, began to chat.

    Right. Father, which one is stronger? A magus, or a warrior? Linley was curious.

    Hogg glanced at Linley. Chuckling, he shook his head and said, Linley, magi and warriors each have their own strengths. At the same rank, a magus is perhaps slightly stronger than a warrior. But the most important thing is that the status of a magus is a full rank higher than that of an equivalent warrior. For example, that dual-element magus of the eighth rank, in terms of social standing, is perhaps slightly superior to even a warrior of the ninth rank.

    If they are only slightly more powerful, why is there such a big discrepancy in status? Linley was curious.

    Hogg laughed. Before discussing this, first you should understand the ranking system of the magi. There are nine ranks. First rank and second rank magi are considered junior magi. Third and fourth rank magi are considered mid-level magi. Fifth and sixth rank magi are considered senior magi. The three ranks above them; seventh, eighth and ninth? These are all terrifyingly powerful people. And of course, above the magi of the ninth rank are the Saint-level magi!

    The reason why magi have such social standings is because the destructive potential their spells have is enormous. Hogg picked up a glass of juice and continued talking while sipping at it.

    Destructive potential? Linley looked at his father.

    Putting down the glass of juice, Hogg nodded. A single warrior, even a Dragonblood Warrior, can at most kill a hundred people with the swipe of a sword. When faced with a million man army, at best he could kill their leader, but when a leader dies, he can simply be replaced. But a Saint-level magus? If he chooses to utilize one of those powerful forbidden spells, he can annihilate an entire town or wipe out an army of hundreds of thousands. With an entire army destroyed, even if its leader survived, whats the use? Thus, to a kingdom, a Saint-level magus is more terrifying than an entire enemy army.

    Linley immediately understood.

    Lets not discuss Saint-level magi for now. Even a magus of the eighth or ninth rank would be capable of using spells which contain shocking power and are able to change the course of a battle. This is why magi have such a high social standing. Hogg said with a light chuckle.

    Linley quietly nodded.

    In the war-torn land of the Yulan continent, one could imagine how important the magi were to a kingdom.

    Oh, right. Father, I read in one of the books that compared to a warrior, a magis physical strength is much weaker. But just then, I watched that magus jump down from the back of the Velocidragon with ease. How could his body be physically weak? Linley pursued.

    Hogg replied, Lets discuss this question later. Linley, you should know that in the Yulan continent, an average persons lifespan is around 120-130 years. Powerful magi and warriors can live for longer, usually up to two or three hundred years, or sometimes even four hundred years. The absolute limit to a persons lifespan is five hundred years. Only those who have attained the legendary power of Saint-level combatants can live eternally, unbound by the dictates of time.

    Linley nodded.

    He had read of this in his books as well.

    But Linley, do you know the reason why powerful warriors and magi enjoy such a long life-span? Hogg followed with a question.

    Linley was startled.

    Linley had always considered it to be a fact of life that powerful warriors and magi could live for three or four hundred years. He had never considered the reason.

    Looking at the expression on Linleys face, Hogg couldnt help but laugh. Linley, first of all, I must tell you that in this world, there are elemental powers. Fire-type element, water-type element, wind-type element, earth-type element, lightning-type element, light-type element, and darkness-type element. Warriors and magi both rely on absorbing these elements from nature as part of their training. Both magic spells and battle-qi are fueled by and determined by a specific elemental type. If you had carefully observed, you would have been able to notice that in the adventuring party you saw earlier today, for the four warriors, the red-headed leader had fire-type battle-qi. The other three had either wind-type battle-qi, or water-type battle-qi. And just like battle-qi, the spells of magi also have elemental types!

    This was the first time that Linley had ever heard about this. Only now did he learn that both magi and warriors relied on absorbing natural energy from the elements.

    The reason why powerful magi can live so long is because when magi absorb natural elemental energy into their body to generate pure mageforce, when the elemental energy flows through their body, it will naturally refine their apertures, their joints, and their flesh, making their bodies stronger and stronger. With a stronger body, naturally they will live longer. By the same logic, when warriors cultivate their battle-qi, they also absorb natural energy, which flows through their body and strengthens it. The more powerful a warrior his, the stronger his body will be. Naturally, he will live a long life. Hogg explained everything in detail.

    Linley felt as though only now did everything become crystal clear.

    Based on his fathers words, the bodies of magi had also been strengthened by elemental power and would therefore naturally be very strong.

    But father, why is it that people say magi have weak bodies? Linley was confused.

    Hogg shook his head. Cant you think this through yourself? Magi only have weak bodies in comparison to warriors of the same rank, and not in absolute terms. For example, a magi of the eighth rank might have the same physical strength of a warrior of the second or third rank, even if he never engaged in any physical training. But of course, compared to a warrior of the eighth rank, his body would be very weak indeed!

    Linley slapped himself on the head, then laughed, somewhat embarassed.

    How could he not have realized this simple logic? His thoughts really had been too rigid.

    Although, despite the fact that magi are vulnerable in melee combat, they do have their own ways to address this deficiency. One method is utilizing magical protective spells, such as the shield of earth, shield of ice, shield of wind, or shield of light spells. First, they would use their magic to defend; then, they would use their magic to strike back!

    And truly powerful magi have another method. Using magical beasts!

    Hearing these words, Linleys eyes shone.

    Linley wanted a magical beast of his own as well, such as a powerful Velocidragon.

    A powerful magical beast can protect the body of his magus, preventing enemies from getting close. This way, the magus can immediately cast his attacking spells to kill his opponents. Hogg smiled as he spoke.

    Linley immediately asked, Father, how can a person acquire a magical beast companion?

    Seeing the expression on Linleys face, Hogg couldnt help but laugh. Theres only two ways to acquire a magical beast companion. The first is to make the magical beast willingly subordinate himself to you and serve you. The second way is to use a soul-binding magical array to enslave the magical beast.

    The requirements for the former are very difficult. For a magical beast to willingly subordinate himself to you, perhaps the only way is to defeat the magical beast in direct combat. Only then would he willingly follow you. For example, if you wanted to subdue a Velocidragon, you would first have to be able to defeat that Velocidragon in battle. His fathers words rendered Linley speechless.

    He wanted a Velocidragon of his own, but how could he possibly have the power to defeat one?

    As for the second method, it is extremely complicated to set up a soul-binding magical array. Only a magus of the seventh rank, at the very least, could set up such an array. Hogg said in a composed voice.

    Linley was stunned. Father, by what you sayonly a magus of the seventh rank or higher can enslave a magical beast?

    No, not necessarily. If you have enough money, you can purchase a soul-binding scroll. When the time comes, all you have to do is to tear it apart, and it will automatically generate a soul-binding magical array. However, a soul-binding scroll is amazingly expensive, Hogg said with a self-deprecating laugh.

    How expensive is it? Linley pursued the topic.

    Last I heard, the going price was around ten thousand gold coins. And whats more is, even if you had the money, theres almost no market for it due to its rarity. Hoggs words forced Linley to laugh bitterly at himself.

    The hardest part to acquiring a magical beast companion was in defeating it.

    Of course, you could always acquire a weak magical beast as a companion, but what would be the point? But for a powerful magical beast, do you have enough power of your own to subdue it? If you were to defeat it using traps and trickery, how could the magical beast possibly be willing to serve?

    It isnt an easy thing to convince someone to whole-heartedly subordinate themself to you.

    As for the second method of using a soul-binding array, it was clear that this option was only available to powerful magi or to wealthy people. Not even many noble clans would be willing to part with the extravagant sum of ten thousand coins for a single soul-binding scroll.

    Chewing on his lips, Linley furrowed his brows in thought.

    If I really want to acquire a magical beast companion, based on my familys economic situation, I would have to become a magus of the seventh rank first. Thats the only way. Linley secretly pondered all the possibilities, but he knew very well how difficult this would be.

    And the first barrier to this plan? The question of whether or not he even had the natural talent to use magic!

    After all, he only had a ten-thousand in one chance. If he didnt have the natural talent for it, then there was no way he could become a magus.

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    Book 1, Chapter 14 The Battle in the Sky (part 1)

    Dawn the next day.

    Just like every other day, the empty ground east of Wushan township was filled with youths. Hillman and the other two teachers had not yet arrived, and so all the children were noisily and energetically chatting together. Naturally, the topic of their conversation was yesterdays shocking battle.

    That magical beast yesterday was so powerful. When Uncle Hillman and the others were standing up in front, I was behind them, sneaking peeks from afar. You guys have no idea. When that huge magical beast simply scraped its claws against the ground, the stone road was shattered into countless pieces. And those houses collapsed like they were made of mud. In the midst of all the children, Hadley, ever the most talkative of them, was narrating glibly and wildly, waving and gesticulating as though he had seen everything with his own eyes.

    All the children were staring at Hadley with wide eyes.

    Hadley, yesterday you were with us on the east side as well. You didnt dare go over. How could you see all this? A thirteen year old brown-haired child snorted.

    These slightly older children werent as easy to cozen as those seven and eight year old kids.

    Hadley turned to stare at the thirteen year old youth. His eyes widening, he said, Faura [Fu'la], you dont believe me? When have I, Hadley, ever tricked anyone?

    That brown-haired child named Faura said with a sneer, Everyone knows what a big talker you are. When do you ever speak the truth? Hey everyone, why dont you guys speak for yourselves; has Hadley ever told the truth? Faura said to the children next to him.

    Those twelve to fifteen year old children all began to laugh. Right on. This little scamp Hadley is always filled with nonsense.

    A number of slightly older children stood on Fauras side.

    Hadley immediately said urgently, You guys dont believe me? Fine, dont believe me! Furious, Hadley turned around, searching everywhere until he found Linley. His eyes brightening, he immediately said, But everyone here knows that aside from Uncle Hillman and the other two, Linley also went. Linley saw everything with his own eyes. Linleys words should be true, right? Let Linley tell you if I spoke the truth or not.

    Young master Linley? The youths turned to look at Linley.

    In the eyes of the children of Wushan township, Linley had some stature amongst them. First of all, he was the heir to the Baruch clan, and secondly, as an eight year old child, Linley could match the thirteen and fourteen year olds in training. In the wartorn land of the Yulan continent, Linleys prowess caused all of the children of Wushan township to admire him.

    Young master Linley saw everything with his own eyes. Naturally, we would believe whatever young master Linley says. Those youths nodded.

    Those thirteen and fourteen year olds were more mature as well. They knew that Linley was a noble and not like them. Almost all of them addressed him as young master Linley. Only Hadley and the rest of the rascally seven and eight year olds still continued to directly address him as Linley, without regard for propriety.

    Tellm, Linley! Was I lying? Tellm what happened! Hadley rushed towards Linley, tugging Linleys hand and secretly winking towards Linley.

    Linley couldnt help but feel helpless. How was it that Hadleys nonsense roped him into this conversation as well?

    That magical beast is known as a Velocidragon, and is a magical beast of seventh rank. It is incredibly powerful. Its entire body is covered in extremely hard scales, impenetrable to normal weapons. It is also armed with a sturdy, whip-like tail and with sharp claws. Those tough road stones and floor foundation stones were ripped apart like paper by its tail and claws. It was even able to breath fire from its mouth, fire so hot that even the stones cracked apart. Linley said truthfully.

    All of the children listened quietly to Linley.

    Actually, all of you knew how powerful the Velocidragon was from the moment you saw it. No need for me to elaborate. Linley said with a smile.

    All of the older children nodded.

    As soon as they saw the Velocidragon the previous day, they had been scared stiff. Its huge body had seemed as massive as a mountain cliff, and those huge red scales on its body left nothing to the imagination with regards to how tough they must be.

    You hear that? I told you, that Velocidragon creature is really powerful! Hadley began shouting loudly.

    That youth named Faura glanced at him, and was about to say something.

    Uncle Hillman is coming. Linley saw Hillman, Lorry, and Roger walking towards them from afar, and immediately spoke up. Immediately, all of the children calmed down and in a very orderly fashion, lined up into three groups.

    The empty training field immediately settled down. Only the footsteps of Hillman and the other two could be heard.

    Hillman and the other two walked to the front of the three groups, facing the children. Hillman smiled and directly addressed what was on everyones mind. Everyone should know about what happened yesterday, right?

    We do. Hearing Hillmans words and seeing how relaxed Hillman was, all of the children immediately replied vigorously.

    Great. Hillmans facial expression suddenly turned serious. That huge creature is known as a Velocidragon. The magus on top of the Velocidragon is incredibly powerful. But everyone should know one thing!

    Hillmans gaze immediately sharpened as it swept across the faces of each child. Even that mysterious magus gained his power one step at a time, starting from the bottom ranks. In order to subdue that powerful Velocidragon, he had to spend many years of toil and hard work! If you guys want to subdue a Velocidragon of your own, to be as powerful as that mysterious magus, then all of you have to work hard without fail!

    Every single person has the potential to become mighty. The only question is, are you willing to work hard enough at it?

    Uncle Hillmans words were as clear and as hard as nails. His gaze was fierce and cold.

    Immediately, all the children quieted down, but all of them still had their own imaginations running wild, and their gazes shone with their different thoughts.

    Now, time to do our morning exercises. Same as always face the sun, and begin the qi-absorbing exercise. Hillman crisply began the days program, and immediately the three groups of children began to practice the qi-absorbing stance.

    ____________

    Based on each squads ability, Hillman assigned different exercises. Under the guidance of the three adults, each child studiously completed each exercise. Today, the training atmosphere was totally different. Almost none of the children complained of being tired.

    Every single one of them had some fire in their belly today, and they trained hard!

    fiftyfifty one Linley counted mentally as he laid horizontal to the ground, supporting himself with just the fingertips of one hand and the tips of his toes. His entire body was tense. He was in the middle of training through five-finger pushups.

    This exercise could not only train his palm strength, it could also improve his finger strength and his elbow strength. This method was simple and effective.

    If someone wanted to be a mighty warrior, normally they would have to practice cultivating battle-qi. The ability to cultivate battle-qi, in turn, was determined by how strong and sturdy ones body was, as a stronger body would be able to enjoy a more powerful battle-qi.

    Since my body has Dragonblood in its veins and is unable to practice battle-qi, my only option is to far outstrip everyone else in bodily strength. Linleys eyes were firm, and his fingers jutted into the ground, as tough and unyielding as old roots. He did one pushup after another, amazing many of the already-exhausted youths around him.

    Ninety eight, ninety nine

    Linley continued to persevere.

    ____________________

    Morning exercises are over. Hillman said in a loud voice, facing the children.

    After saying these words, Hillman took a deep breath as he thought to himself, What story should I tell them today? Every day, when morning exercises were completed, Hillman would tell the children stories. This had turned into a routine.

    Uncle Hillman, we-

    A childs voice rang out.

    But just at that moment, halfway through the childs words, Hillman, who had been lookingly slightly downwards as he collected his thoughts, suddenly felt a strange feeling. He lifted his head up. Right now, all three groups of children were all staring east, eyes wide and jaws dropped. Roger and Lorry had also turned to stare east, and their gazes were also filled with awe.

    Eh? Surprised, Hillman couldnt help but turn around as well and stare to the east.

    In the east, not too far away, perhaps two or three hundred meters in the air, an enormous, ebony-colored dragon lay coiled in the sky, its body at least a hundred meters long. The enormous black dragons giant eyes were the size of cartwheels. Its sparkling black scales were huge enough to fill any mans heart with dread. And its hundred-meter long wings were gently flapping, but with movement contained incredible powerful.

    Magical beast Black Dragon!

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    Book 1, Chapter 15 The Battle in the Sky (part 2)

    Black Dragons were ranked amongst the most powerful magical beasts in the world. The Black Dragon race were generally at least magical beasts of the ninth ranks. Powerful members of this race could even reach the stage of being Saint-level combatants. But regardless of whether a Black Dragon was of the ninth rank or Saint-level, it would indubitably be incomparably more powerful than the Velocidragon.

    At present, the group of children and the three instructors were about several hundred meters away from the Black Dragon. To see a hundred-meter long Black Dragon from such a close distance is an awe-inspiring experience which simply cant be explained with words.

    The most terrifying thing of all?

    On top of the head of the Black Dragon, a gray-robed man stood, arrogant in demeanor. The wind howled about him, but although the mans gray robes fluttered a bit, he himself maintained a ramrod straight posture, as though he were a carved sculpture. His gaze was focused on a middle-aged, green-robed man who hovered in the middle of the air in front of him. The green-robed man wore a sword behind his back.

    The gray-robed man mounted on the Black Dragon and the sword-bearing green-robed man were staring at each other.

    Hovering in the sky!

    Aside from wind-type magi who were able to use the seventh-ranked spell, Soaring Technique, only Saint-level combatants were able to stand and hover in the sky. The sword this green-robed middle-aged man bore on his back gave testament to his true status.

    Warrior. A Saint-level warrior.

    A man in gray who was able to subdue a Black Dragon? And a Saint-level combatant who can fly? The eight year old Linley was totally stunned, even after having witnessed the previous days amazing battle. Not only him; even Hillman, a warrior of the sixth rank, was totally flabbergasted.

    Saint-level combatants. Actual Saint-level combatants. Hillman was mumbling, his entire body trembling.

    Hillman, being a man who had been tested in trials of blood and death, was the first to recover and clear his mind. But even after recovering, Hillman still felt as though he were in a dream. Yesterday, a dual-element magus of the eighth rank came. Today, something even more amazing; two Saint-level combatants, and a Black Dragon! In my entire life, Ive never seen anything so amazing.

    Hillman felt slightly dizzy.

    Black Dragons were amongst the most powerful of magical beasts, at least ninth-rank in power. Someone who was able to subdue one was almost certainly a Saint-level combatant. And from the looks of it, the person facing off against him was also a Saint-level combatant.

    This was ample proof that the gray-robed man was a Saint-level combatant as well.

    Hillman and the others were hundreds of meters away from the Black Dragon. No matter how sharp their ears were, there was no way for them to hear the words being exchanged by the two parties.

    Not knowing what was being said, they just watched, until suddenly

    Roaaaaaaaaaaar.

    Suddenly, the enormous Black Dragon let out a furious roar as its two huge wings began to flap vigorously. It emanated a terrifying pressure, causing everyone, Hillman included, to feel their legs grow soft and to feel as though they couldnt breathe.

    Is this dragonsfear? Linley also felt as though his heart was being squeezed by a huge stone, making it impossible for him to breathe, but nonetheless, Linley felt extremely excited, and his blood was beginning to boil.

    The Black Dragon was simply too powerful.

    Rudi [Ludi]! Dont go overboard! That green-robed man suddenly let out a powerful shout. The explosive sound of his words reverberated in the air as though it were thunder. Not only did Hillman hear these words clearly; every single person in Wushan township heard the words clearly.

    Hillman paused. He mumbled the words, Rudi? Rudi?

    But Hillman quickly realized what was going on. Rapidly turning around, he shouted fiercely at all the children, Everyone, go home right now! Go home and hide! NOW! Hillmans loud roar and his urgent expression stunned every child present.

    Hillmans thought processes were very clear.

    These two Saint-level combatants obviously were engaged in some sort of dispute. Apparently, they were about to come to blows.

    When Saint-level combatants were about to engage in a fight, the children standing there watching the fight would not be able to protected whatsoever. The slightest side reverberations could kill all the children present. Saint-level combatants were reputed to have the power to shatter the heavens and obliterate the earth.

    Even if that reputation was slightly exaggerated, they definitely did have the power to obliterate a city or a tall mountain.

    Quick, lets move. Dont stand there in a daze, move! Hillman shouted loudly while shoving some children away.

    Only now did the rest of the children awaken from their stupor. Although they didnt understand why Hillman was pushing them to go back to their homes and wanted to continue watching the Saint-level combatants, Hillmans awe-inspiring presence was still enough to send all of the children running speedily for their homes.

    Lorry, Roger, quick, take the six and seven year olds back home. Quickly! If Saint-level combatants clash, when the side-effects of their struggle reach us, the aftermath will be.

    Hillmans face was filled with urgency.

    Understood, Captain! Lorry and Roger totally understood what their captain was thinking.

    Lorry and Roger immediately turned around and lifted up the children who were slow runners. They carried two in each arm and two on their backs as well. Hillman joined them as well, quickly beginning to pick up child after child.

    Linley, go home, quick! Hillman, still carrying several children, shouted towards Linley, who was also running.

    I know, Uncle Hillman! Linley replied loudly.

    Although Linley was only eight years old, his running speed was on par with fourteen year olds. While running, Linley would often turn back to stare at the sky. That huge coiled Black Dragon and those two Saint-level combatants had fully captured his attention.

    Captain, Lord Hogg ordered us to come assist you! Twelve warriors had come flying out of the Baruch clan manor. As soon as they saw Hillman, they shouted at him.

    Quick, take these children home! Hillman immediately ordered.

    Yes, Captain! The warriors hastily replied, and quickly began sending the six and seven year olds to their homes.

    All of you, go home! Go home and hide! Protect yourselves! Hillman shouted again in a loud voice.

    Hillman possessed a great deal of authority in Wushan township. Upon hearing his words, many of the villagers who had been terrified at the sight of a Black Dragon knew immediately what to do. Right now, the entire Wushan township had turned into a frenzy of activity. All of the children and all of the workers fled to their homes. At this point in time, the only thing which could protect them was the sturdy stone of their houses.

    Linley directly charged into his own residence.

    Quick, hide in the cellar beneath the storage room. Hogg was standing in the middle of the courtyard. Upon seeing Linley, he immediately ordered him in. The cellar beneath the storage room was the largest, most sturdy cellar within the Baruch clans manor. Anyone hiding there definitely would be able to survive.

    Yes, father! Linley repeatedly nodded, and immediately ran in the direction of the storage room.

    While running as fast as he could, Linleys mind returned to the Black Dragon, its gray-robed rider, and the green-robed man. He couldnt help but turn once again and look back at the eastern sky. Since all the buildings in the small town were fairly low in height, he could clearly see for hundreds of meters.

    Right now, the Black Dragon was growling in a low voice nonstop.

    Dillon [Dilong], if you are going to be so stubborn about this, then dont blame me for my actions. A cold voice emanated from the sky. Immediately afterwards, the Black Dragon began to let out a series of angry roars and belching forth smoky black fire from its mouth.

    Rudi, today Im going to see exactly how powerful of a Saint-level magus you are! The green-robed man shouted angrily.

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    Book 1, Chapter 16 Catastrophe (part 1)

    Clearly, the swordsman wearing green was named Dillon, while the gray-robed man was named Rudi.

    The Black Dragon beneath the gray-robed man breathed out a huge plume of black flame, surrounding the green-robed man and swirling like smoke. Suddenly, the green-robed swordsmans eyes shone with a fierce green light, and then his entire body was surrounded by a protective green aura, preventing the flames from injuring him in the slightest. At the same time, the ringing sound of a sword could be heard.

    That ringing sound was even louder and more pure than the dragons roar, encompassing the heavens and the earth.

    The green-robed man struck out with his longsword, and suddenly, a huge, indistinct sword tip spanning tens of meters in length appeared and slashed outwards into the air, fiercely attacking the gray-robed man. The gray-robed man stared coldly at that sword of light. Not moving in the slightest, he just constantly mumbled magical incantations.

    Is this the tip of a sword? The tip of an enormous sword? While running to the warehouse, Linley was still watching with his head turned. How is that gray-robed man going to block? Using the Black Dragon?

    Crash!

    The Black Dragon didnt block at all, and allowed the enormous sword-tip to come crashing down directly on the body of the gray-robed man. The mans gray robes immediately exploded in all directions, but after having done so, a suit of shining protective battle armor was revealed underneath it. The battle armor was so shiny, it was piercing to the eye, as though it were made of diamonds.

    The sword-tip's collision with the battle-armor had actually done no harm at all to the gray-robed man.

    How is that possible?! Linley was truly scared silly.

    Since he wasnt watching where he was running, Linley suddenly stumbled on a stone and went crashing to the floor. But even on the floor, Linley was still continuing to watch that battle in the eastern sky. What sort of armor is that? How could its defensive abilities be so strong?

    Linley, hurry! Stop daydreaming! Seeing Linley, Hogg couldnt help but let out a furious roar.

    Yes, father! Linley was startled awake. He immediately clambered to his feet and began running in the direction of the warehouse again.

    Rumble, rumble Suddenly, a terrifying sound could be heard from the heavens, followed by a terrifying screech which shook the entire Wushan township. Linley couldnt help but once again turn his head towards the eastern sky to take a look. That single glance stunned him once again.

    The eastern sky had suddenly become densely filled with giant flying boulders, every single one of them the size of a house.

    Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh!

    All of those house-sized boulders were covered with flashing light, the color of yellow dirt. They flew through the air at astonishing speeds as they struck like meteors towards the green-robed man. Every single stone had to be tens of millions of pounds in weight. Each one of these boulders were uncountably times heavier and larger than the stones used by catapults in times of war.

    Even the walls of a city could not resist such a powerful boulder.

    A single giant boulder carried such powerful force, but now, the entire sky was filled with them, as countless boulders were arcing towards the man in green. Every single person in Wushan township was stunned by the sight.

    Crash!

    As the first boulder struck the man in green, the amount of green light covering his body suddenly increased dramatically, transforming him into a green sun, emanating piercing rays of green light in all directions.

    Countless boulders converged on the green man, like drops of water in a rainstorm.

    In the blink of an eye, it seemed as though he had become completely surrounded by boulders. The green light could now only be seen through tiny cracks in that wall of boulders.

    Shatter!

    With a thunderous cracking sound, one boulder after another began to explode, as the boulders began to be shattered into tiny pieces by that terrifyingly powerful battle-qi. Each and every boulder, originally the size of a house, was shattered into much smaller pieces, and shot outwards in every direction.

    They were hundreds of meters in the air to begin with. When shot out with the force of that battle-qi, the rubble shot out with tremendous power to an extremely far distance.

    Oh no. Hoggs face had turned white. Hillman, who was still on the streets of Wushan township, saw this and his face turned white as well. They all understood

    A catastrophe was descending upon Wushan township!

    Countless rocks, ranging in size from two meters in diameter to man-sized, fell down in all directions, with no rhythm or pattern. Each boulder had produced tens, if not hundreds, of pieces, and perhaps twenty percent of them were shooting in the direction of Wushan township.

    Quick, go inside, quick! Hogg was so agitated, he roared with fury.

    At this moment, Linley was still tens of meters away from the warehouse. Hearing his fathers angry roar, Linley paid attention to nothing else and ran towards the warehouse at top speed. As he did, he could hear one crash, crash, crash after another. The sound of countless stones raining on Wushan township had begun.

    It was like an earthquake was occurring. A picture of absolute disaster.

    Whoosh! A boulder that mustve weighed hundreds of pounds shot right past Linley, coming to a crashing rest not too far away from his feet, creating a huge crater. Linley felt cold sweat pour down his back. Just a tiny bit of a difference in trajectory, and his little life wouldve been over.

    Crash! Crash! Crash! Crash!

    The sound of stones smashing apart houses could be heard. The sound of stones colliding with the ground, the sounds of stones shattering wood, the sounds of people howling in painall sorts of sounds mixed together unceasingly, forming the symphony of disaster.

    Swoosh! Another huge rock slammed into the ground in front of Linley, forcing him to rapidly jump backwards.

    But if he kept on having to dodge like this, how would he manage to hide within the warehouse?

    Young master Linley, hurry! A man came charging out from within the warehouse. It was Uncle Hiri, the housekeeper. His body was currently covered with red battle-qi, and he ran directly towards Linley.

    Big brother, hurry!

    At the door to the warehouse, four-year old Wharton stood crying as he yelled towards Linley.

    Wharton, go inside now! Linley roared back angrily.

    WHOOSH! A huge rock nearly two meters in diameter came flying in their direction from far away, headed directly towards the warehouse. Linley immediately realized that when this giant boulder smashed into the warehouse, Wharton would either suffer serious injury, or even die!

    Quick, Wharton, inside! Linleys eyes were opened so wide as to appear bloodshot, and he howled angrily as he ran towards the warehouse at top speed.

    He no longer paid any attention to the raining stones, nor did he try to avoid them. He ran directly towards the warehouse in a straight line.

    Hiri was facing Linley, and simply couldnt see the giant boulder headed towards the warehouse. But Linley saw everything clearly. When the boulder descended and shattered the room, how could little Wharton survive?

    Young master Linley? Seeing how Linley was acting, Hiri couldnt help but feel shocked.

    Three more boulders came crashing down near Linley, but moving like a panther, Linley continued to charge forwards, his gaze fixed on little Wharton as he finally entered the warehouse. Hiri, turning around, only now became aware of that two-meter long boulder descending towards the warehouse. His face immediately turned white.

    Lie down! Linley roared angrily, his face fierce.

    Wharton had never seen his big brother look so angry before, and was so terrified that he immediately lay down. His eyes filled with tears, he looked at Linley and mumbled, Big brother But with a flying hug, Linley tackled Wharton and covered him with his own body.

    Almost just at that instant

    CRASH!

    The sound of the boulder crashing into the warehouse. That enormous boulder had smashed into the warehouse roof with terrifying power. Although the stone roof of the warehouse was sturdy, when slammed into by such a huge boulder, it still broke apart. Even the floor of the warehouse was shattered apart by the vibrations from that collision.

    Young master- Housekeeper Hiris eyes immediately turned red. The battle-qi in his body exploded, and like a bolt of red lightning, he flew towards them. Using his own body as a protective barrier, he also used his two hands to push at a huge piece of the falling roof which was going to fall on Linleys body. Hiri and that collapsing ceiling arrived next to Linley at almost the same time.

    Rumble, rumble

    In the blink of an eye, Wharton, Linley, and Hiri were totally trapped and pressed down under the falling rubble.

    Hogg was in the courtyard, wielding an enormous sword, deflecting one boulder after another. But when he turned his head towards Linley, he saw Linley risk everything to protect Wharton, and then Housekeeper Hiri fly towards them to protect them both. His mind immediately went blank.

    The warehouse collapsed, and rubble poured down into it.

    Linley! Hoggs eyes turned red.

    Right now, there was no way for Hogg to tell if Hiri had managed to position himself in front of Linley in time, or if the falling rocks had slammed into Linley first.

  19. #19
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    Book 1, Chapter 17 Catastrophe (part 2)

    Thud! Thud! Thud!

    A few more crashing sounds continued to sound out from within Wushan township, but a short period of time later, no more stones fell from the sky. All of the boulders had been thoroughly demolished by the green-robed swordsman. But by now, no one in Wushan township had any spare energy left to pay attention to their battle.

    Lord Hogg, Wushan township is in bad shape. Just then-.Lord Hogg? Whats wrong? Hillman rushed into the manor. Just as he was beginning to report on the towns situation, he saw that Hogg was standing there in a daze, not making a single sound.

    Hoggs body trembled. Only then did he regain his usual faculties. Linley. Hogg charged violently towards the warehouse at an astonishing speed. Seeing this, Hillman guessed what had happened and immediately followed Hogg.

    Smash! Before Hogg had arrived, the rubble covering Hiri, Linley, and Wharton had been blasted apart.

    Housekeeper Hiri stood up from within the rubble.

    Uncle Hiri, whats the situation? Hoggs voice was trembling. At the same time, he stared at the prone bodies. The first thing he saw was Linley, head covered with blood. The sight of the blood was so piercing to the eye that Hogg felt his head grow foggy, and his body swayed, almost falling down.

    Up til now, Linleys body was still elevated from the ground, as he had been using his fists in a push-up position, so as not to crush Wharton.

    Father. A youthful voice emanated from beneath.

    Wharton slowly crawled out from under Linley. His body was small, and he had been fully covered by Linley, so he didnt experience any injuries at all.

    Big brother, big brother, whats wrong? Wharton tugged at Linleys body.

    Linley. Linley! Hoggs voice was quavering.

    Housekeeper Hiri said from off to the side, I was still a little too slow. There was one piece of rubble that I managed to block, but before it struck young master Linley in the head. Although I believe that the strike shouldnt have been too heavy.

    IIm fine. A low, hoarse voice. Linley forced himself to lift up his head and stare at Hogg, managing a weak smile.

    At this moment, upon seeing Linleys smile, Hoggs tears came spilling out.

    Linley straightened his body and sat up. His clothes were covered with blood, as was his face and his hair. When the stone had struck him, it had caused a great deal of blood loss. At the moment, Linley also felt slightly woozy. Still staring at his father, Linley said in a weak, low voice, Father, you are crying.

    I, Im fine. An excited smile appeared on Hoggs face.

    Wharton? Why were you at the doorway earlier? Linley rubbed his little brothers head and said in a reproving tone.

    Wharton also knew that he had made a mistake. Lowering his head, he said, Big brother, Im sorry.

    Housetaker Hiri, off to the side, said, This was my fault. This disaster came too suddenly, and as soon as I had taken Wharton into the warehouse, I saw young master Linley in great danger, so I immediately rushed forward to help him. I didnt imagine that in just that instant, a huge boulder would head for the warehouse. This was my fault.

    RUMBLE!

    Suddenly, a huge tremblor shook the earth.

    Everyones facial expressions changed as they stared towards the eastern sky. A giant had appeared, hovering in the sky, over ten meters tall, muscles bound tightly, with a ruthless expression on its face. Its entire body was the color of yellow earth. At the moment, this earthen giant was engaging in a fierce battle with the green robed swordsman, and their every exchange of blows created a sound like crashing lightning or roaring thunder.

    The sound of the blows alone gave testament to how mighty the earthen giant was. Every single one of its blows was more powerful than the combined force of those countless boulders from earlier.

    Linley stared at this battle in awe. This earthen giant must have been conjured by the magic of the gray-robed magus. Linley could easily come to this conclusion, since the gray-robed magus was a mighty magus, after all.

    Linley, how are you feeling? Hogg said with concern.

    Linley squeezed out a smile. Im fine. Theres just a cut on my head, is all. I just lost some blood.

    Young master Linley, you actually lost quite a bit of blood. If you lose too much, you could die. Housekeeper Hiri immediately retrieved some white gauze from within the warehouse and wrapped it around the injury on Linleys head.

    Hogg took a close look at Linley. Uncle Hiri, how does his injury look?

    Uncle Hiri smiled at Hogg. Not bad. Linley is in excellent physical shape, and he hasnt fainted. There shouldnt be too much to worry about. In the coming days, he just needs to eat more meat to replenish his blood, and hell be fine.

    Only now did Hogg secretly let go of a breath he had been holding.

    Just then, when he saw Linley charge over to protect Wharton, Hogg had truly been scared silly. He had truly been terrified that his sons wouldve died, just like that.

    After taking a deep breath, Hogg looked at Hillman. Right, Hillman, you were just saying that Wushan township was in bad shape. How bad of a shape is it in?

    I cant say with exact precision as to how bad the condition is, Hillman said, his face grim. But from what I could see, some people must have died, and many were injured or even crippled! This catastrophe came simply too quickly. Even though I shouted for everyone to hide, many people didnt have the chance to barricade themselves in their cellars.

    It really did come too fast. Hogg turned his head to stare at the eastern sky.

    Saint-level combatants were on a totally different level than the people of Wushan township. A Saint-level combatant could wipe out the entire town with the wave of a hand. Earlier, the rain of boulders and the green-robed mans destruction of said boulders was nothing but the opening gambits of these two combatants.

    But even the side effects of just those initial, testing blows were enough to cause an utter castastrophe to Wushan township.

    The legendary earth-style incantation of the tenth rank, a forbidden spell the earth element World Protector. The power of this World Protectoris extremely terrifying. Its considered the most powerful offensive spell available to an earth-style magus. Staring at the earthen giant, Hoggs face had grown cold as he spoke.

    Hogg was a member of the Dragonblood Warrior clan. Although the Dragonblood Warrior clan had fallen on hard times, their five thousand years of history meant that within their family archives, there was information about all of the most powerful magical attacks used by the most powerful people in history. Hogg naturally could tell what was going on at a glance.

    An incantation of the tenth rank Linley took a deep breath.

    Linley badly wanted to one day also ride a Black Dragon and utilize apocalyptic incantations of the tenth rank. His thoughts naturally turned to the magical testing and recruiting event. The test will only be held in autumn in the capital. Theres still half a year left

    From the bottom of his heart, Linley was eagerly awaiting the magical ability examination in half a year.

    Hillman, in a little while, accompany me in inspecting the situation of the residents of Wushan township. Hogg said, and then looked at Hiri. Uncle Hiri, after these two Saint-level combatants depart, take Linley home to change his clothes and make sure he gets some rest.

    Yes, lord. Hiri nodded.

    Hogg turned back to look at Linley, who was enraptured watching the exciting battle between two Saint-level combatants. Laughing, he said, Oh, Linley, you little rascal. Even though you are injured, you still want to watch Saint-level combatants fight. Fortunately, given that the Saint-level magus has unleashed the World Protector, this battle is about to come to a close soon.

    Absorbed in the shocking battle going on off in the distant, Linley didnt notice at all that around his chest area.

    Since his head was injured, the so-called Coiling Dragon ring he wore underneath his clothes had also been stained by blood. But the blood on the Coiling Dragon ring seemed to have disappeared, like water into an endless ocean, as the strange black material slowly absorbed it all.

    And then, the Coiling Dragon ring actually began to shine with a faint, dim light.

    But since it was being worn underneath his clothes, no one could possibly notice the faint light coming off from the surface of the Coiling Dragon ring.

  20. #20
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    Book 1, Chapter 18 The Coiling Dragon Spirit (part 1)

    In the eastern sky, the gray-robed man still stood on the head of the Black Dragon which lay coiled in the sky. A self-assured smile was on his face, as he watched the green-robed man battle against his earthen giant.

    Sschhhhwiing!

    A piercing sound split the air as the green-robed mans sword pierced directly into the earthen giants head. Rumble! The earthen giants head split apart, but the earthen giant didnt collapse. Its boulder-like fists directly slammed onto the green-robed mans body.

    Ah! Then green-robed man spat out a mouthful of blood, his entire face turning ashen white.

    And then, the earthen giants shattered head began to reform and regenerate, as though no damage had been done at all!

    Dillon, youd best just hand it over. The World Protector that I summoned isnt something that you can overcome. The gray-robed man riding the Black Dragon said calmly.

    The green-robed man stared coldly at the gray-robed man. He suddenly said in a fierce voice, Rudi, if I cant have it, then you wont either! A bright green light began to shine from within the green-robed mans hands. Upon seeing this, the gray-robed man who had previously been standing so calmly on the head of the Black Dragon immediately grew startled and anxious. Stop!

    Splatter!

    The green-robed mans arms suddenly shone as bright as the sun. An explosive sound could be heard, and then immediately disappeared.

    Dillon, you-! The gray-robed man pointed angrily at the green-robed man, but couldnt say anything.

    The green-robed mans face was ashen white as he stared at the gray-robed man, whose face had also turned white. Now, nobody has it. Rudi, Ive been injured, but if you want to kill me, thats still going to be quite hard to accomplish! With a cold laugh, the green-robed man transformed into a beam of green light as he flew off at a fast speed into the northeastern skies.

    The gray-robed man watched him fly off. He only frowned, and did not pursue.

    The earthen giant by the gray-robed mans side also slowly disappeared.

    The Stellar Sword Saint Dillon? Pity. I cant kill him yet. The gray-robed man said in a low voice. And then the Black Dragon underneath his feat, as though knowing his masters wishes, flapped its enormous wings and went flying off into the southeastern direction.

    In the blink of an eye, these two Saint-level combatants had disappeared.

    But Wushan township was still filled with the sight of utter devastation. Nearly a thousand houses had collapsed, and screams of pain, angry curses, and sorrowful, pain-filled cries filled the air. In a short period of time, the previously peaceful township had turned into a disaster area.

    .

    Within the Baruch clan manor courtyard, there was only Hogg.

    Hogg was seated at a table, his forehead furrowed. As the controller of Wushan township, he absolutely had to think carefully about how to take care of his people.

    Footsteps. Uncle Hiri emerged from within the living room. Lord.

    How is Linley? Hogg immediately turned his head and asked.

    Hiri chuckled. Lord, please be at ease. Ive already washed and cleaned young master Linleys wounds, then re-bandaged them. Ive made him eat a big meal, and then change his clothes and go to bed. By the time he wakes up, hell be much better.

    Only now did Hogg feel relieved, and he nodded. But his forehead was still furrowed.

    Lord, are you worrying about the people of Wushan township? Hiri asked.

    Hogg nodded. Smiling wryly, he said, Uncle Hiri, most of the people in Wushan township arent like us. Wushan townships men wont be too bad off, as most of them are warriors of the first or second rank, but the women arent. For so many boulders to come raining from the skies non-stop, it would be hard for them to block any at all!

    Hiri nodded as well.

    The number of people in Wushan township who were able to utilize battle-qi could be counted on one hand. Just now, thousands of rocks had descended from the heavens. If people hadnt managed to hide in cellars early on, or use thick shields to block, then as soon as the stones came crashing down

    Theres nothing we can do now, aside from waiting on Hillmans report. Hogg felt extremely restless.

    After a long time, urgent, rushed footsteps could be heard entering the manor.

    Hoggs eyes brightened. Turning, he saw Hillman striding quickly into the manor.

    Hillman, whats the situation in Wushan township? Hogg quickly asked.

    Hillman let out a pain-filled sigh. We just ran some calculations. Over three hundred people died, and a thousand were injured. The entire township only had a population of five thousand. This meant the casualty ratio was about 20%! And this was for those who lived in stone houses. This really was a diaster.

    So many casualties? Hogg couldnt help but begin to grow worried.

    Food was the lifesblood of any nation, and a small town was the same. For their workforce to suddenly decrease dramatically, but the number of injured and crippled to skyrocketthe economic situation of the town was going to worsen even further.

    Ugh! Hogg let out a long sigh.

    He wanted to lower their taxes, but Wushan townships tax rate was already very low. Right now, his own clans survival had already become a problem. How could he assist the commoners of the town? The situation was different from those other towns, where taxes were so high that many commoners died of exhaustion and misery.

    Lord Hogg, all the commoners in Wushan township greatly appreciate your kindness and generosity. Everybody knows how much you have done for us. Please dont be too vexed. Hillman said from the side.

    Hillman himself was born in Wushan township.

    Based on his status as a warrior of the sixth rank, even in the capital, he could be the guard captain for a noble family. But because Hillman felt gratitude towards the Baruch clan due to their kindness and generosity, after Hillman retired from his army career, he directly became the captain of the guard for this decaying old noble Baruch clan.

    Hillman, lead the guard squad to do some more scouting about the township. Uncle Hiri, go and get some rest. Hogg directly instructed.

    Yes, lord. Hillman said.

    Housekeeper Hiri also bowed respectfully and departed. After Hillman also left the pavilion, once again, the only person left remaining was Hogg.

    .

    Within Linleys bedroom.

    Due to Linleys head injury, Hiri had instructed everybody not to bother Linley and to let him get some rest. While Wushan township was a whirlwind of activity, Linleys bedroom was peaceful and quiet. Linley himself had been drawn deeply into a world of dreams.

    Ding!

    A gentle, chime-like sound could be heard as rays of light began to leak out from Linleys chest area. And then, a cage of light surrounded the pitch-black Coiling Dragon ring, which slowly flew out from under Linleys pajamas and began to hover roughly ten centimeters away from him.

    The ring began trembling more strongly, and the glow from the Coiling Dragon ring began to grow as well.

    Fortunately, there was no one in Linleys bedroom right now. Anyone entering the room would have been stunned. Linley, however, was still blissfully asleep, and didnt notice at all that the Coiling Dragon ring was now floating.

    Ting! The glow surrounding the Coiling Dragon ring suddenly began to contract rapidly, and then a single ray of hazy light flew out from within the ring. Descending next to Linleys bed, it transformed into a persons image.

    The image was of an amiable looking old gentleman with moon-white robes and a long white beard.

    At this point in time, the Coiling Dragon ring directly fell back onto Linleys chest, powerless. Linleys eyelids flickered, and then slowly opened. Upon seeing an old man whom he had never met before at the head of his bed, he couldnt help but feel shocked. Youwho are you?!

    Hello, kiddo. My name is Doehring Cowart [Delin Kewote]. I am a Saint-level Grand Magus of the Pouant [Puang] Empire! The amiable looking old man said with a smile.

    Linleys eyes suddenly turned round. Youyou are a Saint-level magus instructor?

    The white-haired old man nodded confidently.

    No way. Gramps, you just said you are from the Pouant Empire. The Pouant Empire that was eradicated over five thousand years ago? Linley was quite familiar with the history of the world, and he knew very well that the Pouant Empire had ceased to exist before his own clan had even came to be. In the modern era, the Pouant Empire was not one of the four great empires of the world.

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