140 Your Highness, Are You Retreating Already?

 The gentle breeze carried the scorching air left behind by the Flame Blast. Link stood in the middle of all the rubble as he stared into the direction of Alina's escape. He wanted to chase her down, but soon changed his mind.

Alina possessed a Battle Aura of at least Level-5; her speed was lightning fast and Springs City was a labyrinth of narrow alleys where she could easily weasel through and make her escape. Even if Link did try to chase her down, he might end up being the one who got ambushed instead.

He wasn't sure he could face a Level-5 swordswoman's ambush right now.

Capturing her wasn't the most important thing anyway. He must now focus on ensuring the safety of Prince Phillip. It might look like he won now, but there was no guarantee that there wouldn't be any more Dark Elves lurking around trying to attack the High Elf prince.

With this thought in mind, Link turned around and approached the prince.

Eleanor subconsciously followed him. For no other reason than the fact that those two Flame Blasts Link had just detonated were immensely powerful and they had completely toppled her first impression of the young black-haired Magician.

When she first met him yesterday, Link was, in her eyes, a gifted young Magician with very quick spellcasting and exceptional enchantment skills. He was warm and friendly, while at the same time wise and sensible. There was a hint of awkwardness about him, but all in all he was an amiable young man.

But just now, when they were suddenly attacked, Link had reacted calmly and quickly which had saved her life. He even went on to kill six Level-3 professional Warriors at an amazingly quick speed. Then, when he was surrounded by three even more dangerous opponents, Link managed to keep his calm and killed two of them and force the remaining one to flee without even moving a step.

This kind of combat power was simply terrifying!

Eleanor imagined herself in Link's situation and thought that if she were to face such dire circumstances, she'd probably die at least twice.

Although she was well-versed in secret spells and was in fact a Master Magician, all these spells she'd learned would be totally insufficient to make her last even a fraction of a second in a violent battle.

In this battle against the Dark Elves, another side of the young Magician was revealed to her - that cold, resolute and dangerous side, and it had left a much more profound and lasting impression on her mind than what she thought of Link when she first met him.

She had followed him for a few steps before she forcefully pulled herself back and shook her head gently, incredulous of the young man's influence on her.

She was also a master of spirituality, so naturally she understood the reason behind this influence she felt.

He's planted a deep impression on my heart now, thought Elena after a deep sigh. I'm afraid I won't be able to be strong in front of him after this.

She knew that she could never reach Link's level of magic skills, or his wild and bursting energy, or his single-minded determination. The only way she could free herself from Link's influence was to defeat him in a battle with exactly the same tactics as Link had used just now. But that was near impossible, so Eleanor had no choice but to concede to this new influence that she'd never experienced before.

She then turned to the corpses of the two Assassins on the ground nearby. They had been charred to the bones, but because their armor was made of very good materials, their bodies were still held in their original position where they fell dead. These people had almost killed her, so she must get to the bottom of their identities and motives.

Within the first few seconds Eleanor had noticed that both corpses had dark purple blood.

"Dark Elves!" exclaimed Eleanor in shock.

News of the massacre in Gladstone had spread throughout the continent and Eleanor was well aware of it as well. She'd never thought that they would be so bold to sneak into the capital city and create such a raucous here. There was no doubt now that the enmity between the kingdoms of Norton and Pralync would only be solidified and radicalized from this point onward.

Since you're both Dark Elves, I'll just go ahead and use the spell on you with no hesitation then. Eleanor would've paused if they had been human Magicians because of the impacts her spell would have on the souls of the dead, but now that she found out that they were the sworn enemies of humankind, she went on swiftly without any qualms.

She chose to cast the spell on the Magician's corpse. Eleanor waved her wand gently and a gleam of purple light that looked like a pair of phantom hands emerged from its tip. Those hands searched the corpse and reached inside it, where they pulled out a bright orb of white light.


Level-4 Secret Spell

Effects: Obtains a large amount of information about the life history of a person who hasn't been dead for more than three hours.

(Note: This is a taboo spell as it has a great destructive power to the target's soul.)

Without considering the damage that the spell might have inflicted on the unfortunate Felidia's soul, Eleanor grabbed the light orb in her left hand and forced it into the magic golden ring on her finger.

After that, Eleanor could sense a pair of eyes watching her from behind, so she turned around and saw Link's shocked gaze at the sight of her dark magic spell, although he made no attempt to come and stop her.

Eleanor then smiled awkwardly at Link. She knew for some reason that he wouldn't interfere. Seeing that Link made no move a few seconds later, her smile widened, and she slowly stepped back and headed towards the shambles of rubbles and mostly destroyed buildings. Soon, she disappeared into the narrow alleys without a trace.

The city guards would soon arrive, and they would not like the look of a mysterious Magician using dark magic. She had no choice but to bolt before they could catch her. She was enraged by these Dark Elves who had almost taken her life. Although she was glad that two of them had been killed, there was still that swordswoman who ran away like a coward. She swore by the honor of a Master Magician that she would use her magic skills to hunt that woman down.

Meanwhile, Link turned around and headed towards Prince Phillip. By then, the young prince's eyes were blurred by tears and he was dazed and confused by everything that had just happened. When he heard the approaching footsteps, he raised his head and saw Link. He looked into the Magician's eyes with respect and gratitude.

"Master Magician, thank you for saving me," said the prince, his tone full of reverence and awe, though he still sounded awfully formal.

He was grateful to be alive, but this incident was a rude awakening of the cruelty in the human world. His previous fascination for this world was now violently shattered. All he wanted now was to go back to his homeland, back to the safety and serenity that he had known all his life.

The Isle of Dawn was all that was on his mind now.

"Your Highness," said Link unexpectedly, "have you been frightened by the cruel reality of this world after what has happened?"

"I beg your pardon?" replied the prince, not knowing how else to respond to such a puzzling question.

Link then knelt down in front of Prince Phillip and stared straight into the prince's violet eyes.

"Your Highness," he began earnestly, "there is a vast golden savannah in the southern part of the continent where lions rule as the kings of the grasslands. They lived in prides, and in each pride, there will always be just one adult male lion. This alpha male is the strongest of the pride and rules over the other lions and the other beasts of the grasslands."

Prince Phillip didn't exactly know where Link was going with this, but he was fascinated by his words and was listening to him intently.

Then, Link reached out his hand and patted the thin and fragile shoulder of the young prince before he continued.

"But did you know, my prince," he said, "that every male lion would be driven out of the warmth and safety of their prides by their fathers before they reached adulthood? The would be forced to make it alone in the world, where they might get bullied by the dogs, or they might be forced to eat rotten flesh to survive, or they might get stampeded by the elephants or the rhinos. In fact, some even died before they became a mature male lion. Only when they'd passed all these trials were they able to return to their pride and defeat the alpha male and reclaim their position. Your Highness, you are now just like the lion who'd just left the safety of his pride - are you planning to retreat already?"

Prince Phillip was moved by these words. Was he going to run away so soon? Yes, that was the thought he had just now - he was going to return to the peaceful and idle life he'd always lead in the Isle of Dawn and he planned to live out the rest of his life in safety and leisure.

But the Isle of Dawn was only a small part of the world, and the High Elves were only one of the many races that lived on the continent. While an ordinary High Elf might choose to live out his life in the peaceful world of the Isle of Dawn, he was a member of the Amethyst royal family, and a prince of the High Elves.

A prince couldn't expect to have the admiration and respect of the people if he didn't honor his responsibilities to protect them and bring glory to the royal family - that was his duty as the prince of the kingdom.

And so, the prince wiped away his tears as he stared at the Magician who seemed to be the same age as he was.

"I thank you again for saving my life," said Prince Phillip solemnly. "The High Elves will forever remember this valiant and noble deed of yours! May I know your name, sir?"

These words had proven that Prince Phillip was no longer the terrified boy he was just moments ago and was now ready to step up to claim his authority and honor as the prince of the High Elves.

"My name is Link Morani, Your Highness," answered Link with a smile. "I am a Magician from the East Cove Higher Magic Academy."

"I am Phillip Rodrick," said the prince, "the third son of the Queen of the Isle of Dawn."

Link extended his hand to Prince Phillip, who then held on to it as Link helped him up to his feet again.

This was the portentous moment that was recorded in the history books of the Firuman continent. It was the exact moment that had consolidated the foundation for the glorious alliance between the humans and the High Elves which proved to be one of the most crucial elements that would help the Realm of Light to fend off the Dark Side in the future.