In the Necromancer's Mage Tower.
Bale was dragged out of the dark green pool with the Magician's Hand, and the condition of his body was revolting!
The Magician's robe he wore had been completely corroded by the water of the pool, so he was now stark naked. Folds of eroded gray skin were riddled with holes, and in places even the bones and internal organs were visible. From inside his body in between the internal organs, a foul-smelling dark green mucus oozed out.
He was oblivious to what was happening to him and seemed to be in a deep sleep. His eyes had been eroded away, leaving only two black holes where his eye sockets were. But what was most disturbing was the sight of that eerie smile he wore on his grotesque goblin-like face.
Link took a glance at Bale and understood right away what was going on.
"He's turning into a Lich!" said Link, "The transformation is almost complete. He'll wake up soon."
Herrera took a deep breath. Her eyes betrayed shock and disgust, and she turned silent for half a minute. Then she pointed her wand toward Bale and said, "Mana Lock!"
No Spell Level
No Mana Consumption.
Effects: Seals the Mana in the spell target's body for a certain period of time, blocking the opponent's ability to cast any magic spells.
(Note: The spell's effect is very powerful, but it must be cast when the target is in a state where they cannot resist the spell.)
Bale was currently unconscious, so naturally he was not able to resist. Once the Mana Lock was successfully cast, Bale would no longer pose any threats to them even when he woke up later.
The Necromancer Shade was severely wounded-he'd just been hit by a powerful backfire of the spell and his Flame of the Soul was almost extinguished, so he was now completely incapacitated. It was impossible for him to ever cast spells again; he was lucky enough to still be alive. Only then could Link and Herrera catch their breaths and feel that they were truly safe.
They both looked at each other and noticed how serious the other's injuries were. Especially Link, who seemed to have one foot already in the grave.
There was a deep slashed wound on his leg, his face had a deathly pallor, his nose and his mouth were bleeding, and his hands and feet were trembling wildly from the toxin poisoning of the Mana potion.
Now that everything was over, he stopped straining himself and slumped to the ground. Then he realized that he was so weak that he couldn't even sit up, so he let himself lie down. The toxin in the Mana potion turned out to be much more powerful than he imagined.
Herrera was much better than Link, she was only weakened because she'd used the secret soul spell on Link earlier. Once she saw Link collapsing, she rushed towards him then took out a bottle of pale green potion and gave it to him.
"I'm giving you mid-level detoxification potion," Herrera explained as she was helping Link to drink the potion, "It will save your life now, but you'll need to rest for at least 10 days to fully recover. You must not use magic at all in this period of time, otherwise there will be permanent residual effects from the toxins." As she spoke, she started cleaning Link's wounds.
The wound was caused by the claws of the undead army, so not only was it an external injury, Link was also infected with toxins from the undead. This was the reason why even though Link was injured not more than five minutes ago, it had already started to fester and become swollen and dark green pus had even started to ooze out from it.
If the wound was not promptly dealt with, judging by Link's thin and quite frail physique, it might even become life-threatening.
Seeing the gruesome wound on Link's leg, Herrera's eyes began to tear up. She sat on the floor and held Link up in her arms and then took out a white crystal bottle.
Link looked over and saw the crystal bottle filled with translucent gel-like liquid; the liquid inside exuded a sacred and holy aura.
"Is that holy water?" asked Link softly.
"Yes, it is," answered Herrera, "I brought it with me to deal with any black magic forces and now it really is coming in handy. Brace yourself, it's going to hurt a little."
She then pulled open the cork and dribbled the holy water slowly onto the wound on Link's leg. There was a soft sizzle where the holy water touched the wound. Link saw a glaring white light emerging where from the wound and a green gas spewed out from it as well. A foul stench then spread to his nose, and at the same time he started to feel an incredible pain!
It felt as if someone had stabbed his leg with a knife then turned it around and kept pushing it down deeper into his flesh. Even while his whole body was numb by the toxin poisoning, the pain had managed to pierce through and dominate his whole senses. His body was trembling uncontrollably now, and he was about to let out a scream.
It really did hurt like hell!
But Link still managed to hold in his screams because the excruciating pain was greatly alleviated by Herrera, who was holding him gently in her bosom and was constantly caressing him to soothe his pain.
After about ten seconds, the pain in his leg slowly dissipated. Herrera held him in her arms the whole time-one hand was tenderly stroking his back.
It felt incredibly soothing. Link could smell the gentle fragrance that radiated from Herrera and it was so calming that it felt as if there was a tiny hand that had gently picked up the pain he felt on his leg and threw it far away from him.
A wise Sage had once said that the most comforting place in the world is the peak of a woman's chest. I thought it was just a joke then, but now...I guess it's true. Link wouldn't mind staying this way for a little longer.
After a long while, Herrera gently asked, "How do you feel now?"
"I feel much better now," murmured Link.
The second Link uttered the words, Herrera pushed him immediately away from the gentle embrace. To be honest, he still longed for that gentle touch and would love to experience it for a little longer.
Herrera's face was reddened, which was something that had never happened before. But after blessing Link's soul, she felt their souls were now intertwined and that they could keep no secret from each other. They were now a part of each other, and it confused her.
Herrera then checked Link's wound again.
"It should be fine now," said Herrera, visibly relieved.
"I feel like my strength has recovered somewhat. I think I can stand up now."
Link then tentatively moved his arm and found that the feeling of weakness in the body had been dissipated.
It turned out that the main culprit for the weakening his body wasn't potion poisoning after all, but was instead the toxic residues from the wound that was caused by the undead army instead.
Link didn't expect the toxin from the undead to be so deadly. It was just his luck that Herrera had brought the holy water along, otherwise he would undoubtedly be as cold as the ground by now.
After a while, Link stood up with Herrera's support. He then scanned around at the interior of the Mage Tower.
"What a crude Mage Tower. The whole interior was simply one big hall. The magic materials here are abundant though," said Link after a sigh.
These magic materials were all found in the magic seals. There was Mithril, Celestite, and other precious stones. There were also the bones, fur and hide from a variety of magical beasts and what excited Link most of all was Thorium!
Like Mithril, Thorium was also a Mana-conductive metal and it had the same silvery appearance. The most noticeable difference between the two metals was Thorium's extremely shiny surface, where it gleamed in a silvery light that looked just like the stars in the sky.
Thorium was ten times more conductive to Mana than Mithril. To speak in terms of electric conductivity, Mithril was equivalent to graphite, while Thorium was equivalent to copper.
Mithril was a general Mana-conductive metal in the Firuman continent and was widely used in low-level magic gear. But Thorium, on the other hand, had now begun to ascend in popularity due to its high quality. In fact, any magic gear of Level-4 or higher must now use Thorium as its core!
The value of Thorium was also ten times that of Mithril. One ounce of Thorium would cost about 3000 gold coins. Link then searched the entire Mage Tower and ultimately collected 4.5 ounces of Thorium from the core of magic seals. These were then pulled into threads as thin as the breadth of human hair and then they were bundled up together, forming into a small lump of Thorium the size of a thumb.
In addition to the Thorium, there was also 11 pounds of Mithril. There were still some miscellaneous trinkets and belongings apart from that, and overall, Herrera estimated the total value of their looting to be at least 40,000 gold coins.
To Link, this was a vast fortune!
To Herrera, however, the amount wasn't so impressive.
"This Necromancer is poor for a Level-5 Magician," she said
She had no interest in taking the loot, so she collected them all into a pile and pushed them towards Link.
"Link, you take all of it. Think of it as the reward for your role in investigating Bale," she said.
If it had been someone else, Link would've insisted on an equal share, but with Herrera, he could easily understand and accept her well intention. Since she didn't want the treasures herself and had also intended to give him the gold coins as the rewards for helping her, Link happily obliged. He only had 300 gold coins right now anyway, and that amount of gold coins to a Magician was simply pathetic and insufficient for anything at all. He knew the lootings would definitely come in handy.
He then cheerfully kept all these materials into his storage pendant.
By now, Link's energy had recovered a lot. He was now able to move freely, and his Mana had started to recover at a rate of 100 points per hour. The residual side effects from the Mana potion toxins turned out not to be as serious as Herrera had feared.
Still, this was no laughing matter. For his future's sake, Link resolved to use as little magic as possible in the next 10 days.
At that moment, Bale, who had been lying on the ground all along, began to move. His voice was grumbling in his throat. Immediately afterwards a foul green liquid oozed out of his mouth, and his head began to sway around while his four limbs began to flail in the air.
"He's waking up," said Link as he glanced at him.
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