142 The Gift from the High Elf Prince

 Although he was very much surprised at Link's revelations, Grinth's mind was calm. That was usually the case for a powerful Magician like him; he didn't show any of his emotions on his face.

After listening to Link, he turned towards the corpses behind him and noticed the dark purple blood on them. This was an irrefutable characteristic of Dark Elves and taking Link's detailed explanation into account, there was no doubt that the calamity was the Dark Elves' doing.

"Ira," shouted Grinth, calling for his assistant, "bring a team of guards here immediately and go get us a carriage! Make it quick!" Fear had begun to creep up on him now.

Once his assistant was gone, he then turned towards Herrera.

"Moira, it's not safe here," he said. "We must escort the prince back to the royal palace and...I suppose your disciple should come along as well."

Grinth had fully acknowledged Link's strength by now. He would be glad to have him with the company as they escorted the prince back to the palace as he could act as an excellent guard. Moreover, this young man was the direct witness of the attempted assassination and had even saved the prince's life. Grinth was sure that the king would like to meet such an important figure when he heard of the details of the incident.

To this request, Herrera and Link naturally agreed.

Soon, the carriage stopped at the edge of the ruins of the street. Grinth's people surrounded Prince Philllip and escorted him into the carriage and they headed straight to the palace.

The guards then surrounded the carriage all along the journey as Prince Phillip, Herrera, Grinth and Link sat inside. For extra protection, Grinth had cast a powerful Level-6 defense spell around them as well.

They then traveled all the way to the palace without any incident. As they entered the palace gates, a notification popped up on the interface.

Mission: Rescue (First Step Completed).

Player received 60 Omni Points.

Mission's Second Step: Exposing the Dark Curtain, Current Progress ⅔.

The reward for the second part of the mission was the mysterious Glyph of Soul. He checked his current progress and discovered that he would've received the anticipated reward had he killed the third Dark Elf. It's a pity the swordswoman managed to escape.

There should be more chances to pursue her later, thought Link, as a way to comfort himself. I've done my best and it's too late to catch up with her now, anyway.

After arriving at the palace, the security guards were taken over by the heavily armored members of the king's guard. Grinth disappeared into one of the many buildings in the palace complex to arrange the royal security affairs. Link and Herrera, on the other hand, were lead to a sitting room in the palace. Grinth had mentioned that the king might want to meet them.

Soon after settling down in the sitting room, a messenger came in to inform them of King Leon's order, though it had nothing to do with Link but was instead an order for the reputed Magician Herrera to join the Royal Council. As an unknown young Magician, Link would have to wait a little longer, alone in the sitting room.

And so, Link was left there all alone in the vast empty room. It seemed as if everyone had forgotten his presence there. Still, Link was above letting such thoughts bother him. He waited there patiently, giving no thoughts to the apparent disregard the courtiers had shown to his reputation.

He clearly understood that only people who had gained the king's utmost trust and confidence could join the Royal Council at this time of emergency. The members of this esteemed council had the highest capabilities, qualifications and reliability. While it might be true that he had shown exceptional capabilities so far, he had still risen too quickly and had basically no established position in society. He hadn't even met the king himself, so it would be impossible for Link to gain the king's trust at the moment.

As he was starting to get bored waiting, he took out his sketches of the Flame Blast enchantment bracelets and began to work on them.

It was intended for the black-dressed woman. Although they hadn't exchanged more than a few words between them and Link didn't even know her name at this point-the woman had even used a taboo dark magic spell in front of him not too long ago-he still wanted to fulfill the promise that he had given to her.

Never mind, he thought. I'll just keep my distance from her from now on.

Flame Blast was a Level-4 spell. In order to fix it to a bracelet he must create a bracelet with an intricate structure and pattern. This wasn't a simple task at all, so Link was quickly immersed in the planning that forgot the flow of time.

Just as he was engrossed in his work on the sketch, Link suddenly heard a sound of soft footsteps beside him. When he turned his gaze towards the source of the sound, he saw Prince Phillip standing not too far away, staring at him.

Prince Phillip was only an insignificant minor character in the game because Link had never even encountered him in his previous life. This might be because the gaming company ignored him, as he played no important roles in the main plot of the game. Or maybe, it was just not his time to shine yet. Anyway, Link's impression of the prince was completely blank before he met him today.

In reality though, this person was a high-born royal prince of the Isle of Dawn, so Link hurriedly bowed when he noticed him in the room and addressed him respectfully as "Your Highness".

As he bowed, Link began to find the prince's presence there a bit strange. Link was only a normal Magician now and he was only a younger son of a minor Viscount. Their disparities in rank were huge, so there was no reason for the prince to come find him here himself. Link had assumed that after he was escorted safely back to the palace, the mission would be over and they would have nothing more to do with each other. So what was the prince doing here?

When Link turned around, he saw a hint of guilt on Prince Phillip's near-perfect face.

"I'm sorry," said the prince, "have I disturbed you?"

"Oh, not at all, Your Highness," answered Link with a smile. "I am an enchantment Magician and I was merely working on my sketches for my next magic gear since I had nothing else to do here. Did you come to see me?"

Phillip nodded and glanced at the sketch in Link's hand as he approached him. The sketch was elaborate and was full of complicated parts and indecipherable magic runes. He couldn't understand a thing on the sketch so he turned his gaze back to Link.

"I am deeply indebted to you, sir," said the prince. "You've saved my life."

"Your Highness," said Link, "I only did what I should've done." Link had estimated that the High Elf prince must have some important business to come and meet him here himself. Although he was curious to find out what the prince's motives were, he posed no direct questions to him and opted to wait patiently for the prince to bring it up himself instead.

Sure enough, Prince Philip shook his head in reply to Link's modest protest and soon revealed his true reason for this meeting.

"Since you've done what you should, then I must do what I should as well," said the prince. "A simple thank you won't be sufficient in expressing my gratitude to you."

As he finished his sentence, the High Elf prince then took out a delicate little wooden box with a greenish-brown hue. Its outer layer was carved into beautiful patterns of trees and flowers. The prince then thrust the box into Link's hands.

"Here," said Prince Phillip, "it's my gift to you."

The wooden box was the work of a famous carving master among the elves, but that was beside the point. What was most important was the contents of the box. He had no idea what use this object had or what its specialty was, but it was what the Prophet had given Prince Phillip.

The Prophet was a mysterious figure who had originated from the human world. He held a lofty position in the High Elf court and was even respected and revered by the Queen of the Isle of Dawn herself.

Prince Phillip remembered the Prophet's last instruction before he left very clearly.

"The contents of the box are of no use to High Elves," he said, "but it is of immense value to a human being. I'll give this box to you now, so you can give it to the right person when you are in the human kingdom."

"How do I know I've met the right person to give this to?" the prince remembered asking the Prophet.

"If you think the person is the right one, then that is the one you give this to," answered the Prophet. "Just listen to your heart, my prince."

In fact, besides discussing the alliance between the two kingdoms, Prince Phillip had come to the Norton Kingdom expressly for this purpose. The answer given to his question about the right person was vague and confusing, and the prince wasn't sure if he fully understood it. He had been carefully observing many people these days yet none of them had struck him as the right person to give the Prophet's gift to.

If they didn't even make him feel like they were the right person, Prince Phillip assumed that they must not be the right one. That was why the wooden box stayed with him until this moment.

But right now, the prince felt confident that Link was the most suitable and worthiest person to receive the mysterious gift, which was why he snuck out of his room to meet him.

Link had no idea there was so much meaning behind the gift. He thought nothing of what the contents of the box could be. All he thought was that it was a normal gift given to him as a token of gratitude, which he humbly accepted.

"Thank you, Your Highness," he said courteously as he received the wooden box with both of his hands.

"I don't know what else to give you," said the prince with a friendly smile. "But apart from this wooden box, you will now receive the friendship of the High Elves. You'll forever be my honored guest on the Isle of Dawn and you'll always be welcomed there."

"I shall never forget it," replied Link.

"I snuck out just to meet you," said Prince Phillip, "so think it's time for me to go back now before they realize I'm gone. Farewell, Link." As he waved his hand, the prince quickly turned around and went out of the room.

The meeting with Prince Phillip had happened so quickly and seemed to be a bolt out of the blue for Link. When the prince was gone, he began to examine the fist-sized wooden box in his hand, eager to find out what was inside it.

Is it jewelry? Or maybe a type of precious magic material? Link was just about to open the box when suddenly, there were footsteps at the door. Link didn't want anyone else to know of Prince Phillip's gift to him, so he quickly hid it inside his storage pendant.

Not long afterwards, there was a voice calling for him at the doorway.

"Mr. Link, his majesty would like to meet you."