A16 Manor, side hall.
Greg was about to speak when a blinding light flashed outside the window, followed by loud noises and violent trembles.
Rumble— Boom— Crash—
For a moment, it seemed as if the ground was collapsing and all constructs in the manor tilted to the side.
A stunned Greg froze in place and he was pushed to the ground by inertia before he could even react. Those servants and guards following behind that had rushed in fell to the ground as well. Amidst the panic, the old butler recovered from his fall and got up, shouting in an attempt to maintain order in this chaotic scene.
"All of you calm down! Calm down! Master! Are you alright, Master?! What's going on outside..."
The loyal butler wiped the blood off his face and rushed over to help his master.
A somewhat speechless Ji Bonong eyed the butler who was clearly much more flustered than him. Shaking his head, he patted the latter's hand and said in a calm manner, "I'm fine. It's probably an earthquake."
He glanced at the gradually fading light as his spiritual senses throbbed.
While his thoughts were a little messy, seeing the Clockwheel Worm's second hand that had been rotated more than half a circle back, Ji Bonong roughly understood what had just happened.
Time was reset. All of space and time was like an hourglass that had been reversed before starting to flow once again.
While it didn't appear like there wasn't any difference, the river of time that flowed was no longer in the same order as it originally was. In other words, the explosion, flashes, and shaking in front of them seamlessly connected to the scene from a few seconds ago was in fact on another timeline after the reset.
Ji Zhixiu had a confused look on her face. She felt a subtle dizziness as if she had just been on a roller coaster. She felt that everything before her eyes seemed somewhat different.
She gazed up at the swaying crystal lights as her whirling vision slowly returned to normal.
Memories from before the time reversal gradually returned to her mind as she watched the crystal chandelier sway. Young Miss Ji's eyes widened in surprise.
She hurriedly turned to meet Ji Bonong's gaze.
The father and daughter pair exchanged tacit glances, and both felt a chill run down their spines.
Time… Wasn't that the Law mastered by the Supreme-rank that was caught by Boss Lin and almost devoured?
While they weren't sure what exactly happened, they both vaguely sensed a connection between this series of events. The Supreme-rank existence's escape was probably planned by Boss Lin from the beginning. Only at this moment where it displayed its last bit of strength did it become an important chess piece in Boss Lin's hand.
Support us at bit.ly/3Tfs4P4.
Otherwise, Boss Lin would never have let that Supreme-rank existence go if he had really wanted to kill it.
And judging from the reaction of Joseph's disciple, Greg, this chess piece was probably influencing the decisive battle between Secret Rite Tower and the Corpse Devouring Sect happening thousands of miles away!
What sort of boldness and might was this? Using Supreme-ranks as chess pieces and the entirety of Norzin as a chessboard.
Ji Zhixiu felt a shortness of breath and her limbs were numb. She found it difficult to calm herself down.
After roughly ten seconds, the tremors came to a close and darkness returned to the outside.
Lin Jie had nearly wanted to find a spot to crawl under. Fortunately, the earthquake had stopped quickly enough, allowing him to save some face. As he clutched the table to support himself, his first reaction was to quickly check if the clock he held was intact.
"Phew..." Lin Jie heaved a sigh of relief as he saw the ticking clock and the cute little wriggling bug still in one piece.
Thank goodness it isn't broken! One of these would definitely cost a fortune...
"What was... Ah, it was an earthquake."
Lin Jie moved away from the table rather naturally and casually patted the dust off himself with a calm expression, acting as if he wasn't someone that had nearly crawled under the table in panic.
Exhaling sharply, he said, "I still thought it was something big. Well, as the saying goes, you can't run away from a massive earthquake, but you don't have to run from a small one. You guys still haven't had enough life experiences, huh."
"Haa..." He sighed and turned to Greg. Seeing him on the floor, he extended a hand and smiled. "Are you alright? Why were you that anxious? Youngsters are still too immature. Just come find me if you need to. No use being so flustered. It's not like I would run away."
"I'm fine, I'm fine…" A subconscious chill ran down Greg's spine when he saw the smile, making him shake his head vigorously as he got up at once.
"That's good," muttered Lin Jie with some slight shaking of his head. "By the way, what did you want to say?"
Greg opened his mouth to speak, but the old butler immediately became alarmed when he noticed the youngster. He quickly ran in front of Ji Bonong and shouted in a panic, "That's him! Stop him. Don't let him come over. He threatened me with a knife and knocked me out. Master, he might not be the real Greg but an assassin!"
The servants that were strewn all around immediately came alive and quickly ran over to subdue Greg as chaos broke out once more.
Greg was at a loss and didn't know what to do. While Lin Jie didn't know what had exactly gone down, he could roughly guess this was a misunderstanding after all that time spent with the youngster.
Not knowing whether to laugh or cry, he tried to explain, "Mr. Butler, you might have misunderstood. He's here for me. Besides, he's just a kid, how could he have knocked you out?"
The old butler had been scared witless previously, but he was still certain of the person that had placed a knife against his neck. "No! I am very certain! It's him! Mr. Lin, don't be fooled by him!"
Lin Jie shrugged and looked toward the true master of the house for help.
Ji Bonong quickly came forward and said, "Enough. These two are our esteemed guests and it's surely all just a misunderstanding. Albert, you must have been mistaken. For now, head to the banquet venue and appease our guests first."
Naturally, Albert the butler couldn't refute his master's will. Thus, he could only give Greg a polite bow, but he still said stubbornly, "Yes, Master, but… a man doesn't stand under a dangerous wall. With my loyalty, I beg you not to stay in the same room as a person wielding a knife."
Surprise cries and shrieks from guests outside could indeed be heard. It appeared that the sudden earthquake had frightened many people.
The banquet was forced to a temporary halt.
Ji Zhixiu walked over and whispered to Ji Bonong, "Father… Let's head out first. We would still have to deal with the guests outside."
Ji Bonong shot a passing glance at the clearly anxious Greg, then nodded. "My apologies for not being able to keep you company for longer, Mr. Lin."
Of course, Lin Jie expressed his understanding. "Please go ahead. It would be even better if you could come back later and tell me what happened."
What happened… Don't you know best?
Ji Bonong couldn't help but utter this inwardly, but he still kept the courteous smile. "I'll get someone to confirm the exact situation and will definitely update you once you are done talking with Greg."
As the Ji father and daughter pair left along with the butler, the rest of the servants followed suit. Only Greg and Lin Jie were left in the side hall.
Lin Jie exhaled sharply and sat down once more. Then, he subconsciously wiped away any dust on the small clock he held.
"Alright, tell me. What made you so panicked to the point you scared the old butler that much?"
Lin Jie felt that as an adult, he couldn't appear ignorant before a kid. Clearing his throat, he pretended to be calm and gave some advice, "Don't panic no matter what happens. All things can be turned around. While keeping cool might not necessarily work, it sure beats panicking. I've said before that you can always tell me if you encounter any difficulties or problems.
"As the saying goes, cross the bridge when we get there, right? I'll definitely help if I can." Lin Jie looked at Greg earnestly.
The young noble finally returned to his senses at this point, but he was even more confused. He glanced out of the window, thinking about time that seemed to have changed, as well as his teacher who was still in an uncertain situation.
Finally he broke into an uneasy stammer, "Yes… But… I, you… Just now… I'm sorry… How…"
Lin Jie comforted the youngster, "Don't be anxious. Speak slowly."
Greg took a deep breath. Just as he opened his mouth to speak, vibrations from his palm interrupted him. It was then that he realized the communications device gripped tightly within his sweaty palm. Slightly startled, he glanced down to see the ID 'Tower' being shown on the display.
This was the ID specially used by Secret Rite Tower personnel for emergency notifications!
Could it be that his teacher's battle had finally come to an end?!
"I'm sorry!" Greg jumped up and gave a polite bow to Lin Jie, and after seeing a response from the latter, he walked anxiously out of the side hall through a small door and quickly answered the call—
"Apprentice Knight Greg." A voice he was unfamiliar with sounded on the other end.
It wasn't Chief Winston.
Greg's heart skipped a beat as he muttered, "That's me."
"Your mission is aborted."
The cold, indifferent voice over the call seemed as if it was to pronounce some sort of verdict.
A chill ran down Greg's spine as he uttered in a trembling voice, "Teacher Joseph… How is Sir Radiant Knight?"
"At present, the entire battlefield is covered by a huge amount of aether and our personnel are unable to enter or leave. Thus, I can't give you a precise answer."
Stunned, Greg glanced to a window at the side and lifted the curtain to peer into the distance. Seeing the gap in the sky made his heart sink. "What about the outcome of the battle?"
"From the final evaluation of the Aetheric Surveillance Network, it seems to be mutual destruction. We'll have to wait for reports from the Logistic Division on the ground investigation for more information."
Greg said nothing for a long moment, as if frozen in place.
Seems to be?
"Where's… where's Section Chief Winston?" After quite some time, Greg breathed in deeply to steady himself and regain his composure. "It was always him that contacted me before. How did..."
"He's currently located near the battlefield and has probably been affected. His current whereabouts are indeterminable." The tone of the voice on the other end never fluctuated at all. "Alright, apprentice knight. You've asked enough. We will inform you immediately if there is any news on Joseph since you are his disciple. But right now, in order to prevent a possible scheme of Wilde's, you are required to abort your mission and accept a new one—
Greg hung up.
A strong sense of doubt had arisen in his heart.
Impossible… It's Impossible. Since Boss Lin actually interfered, it means that he responded to our request and saved Teacher.
It was impossible for him to have suffered mutual destruction.
But the biggest issue was that while Joseph's fate was now unknown due to trying to stop Wilde, Secret Rite Tower was getting his disciple to continue with an even more dangerous mission before the situation became clear.
They were simply... exploiting Greg's hatred and thirst for revenge.
Just too frightening... Ji Zhixiu found herself trembling all over after receiving the latest information and reviewing all that had just happened.
Though she hadn't personally witnessed the battle between the Supreme-ranks, she had indeed seen Boss Lin move the hand on the face of the Clockwheel Worm with her own eyes.
Judging from the look Greg had when he rushed in, which was almost to the point of tears, it probably meant that Joseph was at a severe disadvantage in that battle—at least before time was reversed.
But now, the present situation was still indeterminate.
Just like what they had witnessed before, when the Supreme-rank with the Law of Time did a reversal, it was merely a backflow of time itself. Without any external interference, everything would just return back to its original position.
In other words, if Boss Lin wanted to affect the battle, simply reversing time would not have changed the outcome.
Therefore, the Supreme-rank transcendent existence had been intentionally released by Boss Lin so that at this specific moment, its death, which released massive power of Law, caused the cogs of fate to turn in what could be called the butterfly effect.
During this entire process, the most terrifying aspect was that Boss Lin had actually precisely calculated that existence's movements. Not only had he thoroughly extinguished that existence, he had used it to manipulate the fates of Wilde and Joseph.
From the beginning, from the moment he stepped out of his bookstore... No, from the moment Ji Zhixiu had selfishly decided to invite him to the banquet, or from even earlier, when Andrew gave the Clockwheel Worm, or was it since Wilde and Joseph knew each other?
In any case, everything was all a part of Boss Lin's plan!
Just the mere thought of it made a powerful being like Ji Zhixiu tremble in fear. And this was something ordinary folk would never ever have an inkling about.
A familiar greeting startled Ji Zhixiu. She turned at once and saw Lin Jie coming out of the side hall with the Clockwheel Worm in hand.
"B-Boss Lin…" Ji Zhixiu panicked as if she had been caught red-handed. She immediately put down her hand covering her mouth and tried to force a smile. "Why have you come out? Anything I can help you with?"
Her gaze involuntarily fell on the Clockwheel Worm and she shuddered.
"It's nothing much. I just remembered that you forgot to take the gift. Really, I've given it away already, how can it still be in my hands?"
Lin Jie took Ji Zhixiu's cold little hands and stuffed the Clockwheel Worm into it. With a smile, he said, "After watching my demonstration just now, you shouldn't still be afraid, right? Look, it's really not scary at all, perhaps even rather obedient."