148 The Flaming Hand (Part 2)

 In the middle of the night. Hot Springs City, the Magician's District, Central Plaza ruins

It had been a week since the day of the tragedy. The dead bodies and rubble had already been properly disposed of. A variety of tools and materials could be seen laying on the ground around the destroyed architectures. The city had begun recovering from the incident and was in the midst of reconstruction.

However, the huge crater near the fountain at the center of the plaza was still present. The fragments of charred flesh stuck in between the cracks on the ground and the two visible trails of Link's Flame Blast spell served as a stark reminder of the cruelty of the attack.

A shadow draped in a large cloak emerged from a broken hut. He then crouched down and carefully observed the rubble and trails on the ground.

After a moment, the shadow spoke, "These stones have a blackened surface and show signs of melting. They seem to spread out in a conical formation. This person had cast a single directional fire elemental spell, at least Level-4 in strength."

Another figure behind him replied, "It does not matter what method he used. He will definitely be dead. Did you find any traces of the princess?"

"No need to rush." The shadow said before materializing a wand in his hands. A moment after he raised his wand, the tip of the wand was enveloped in a light purple glimmer which was almost invisible to the naked eye. The light then diffused over the plaza ruins.

After 20 seconds, a silver glow appeared on top of a hut at the corner of the plaza

"It's the Silver Moon blood! It's from the princess!" The shadow quickly said.

The Silver Moon blood was commonly known as the Holy Demon blood. It was a unique trait of the three largest familias in the Pralync Kingdom. The blood contained certain special magic properties that made it detectable by a specific spell.

The moment he spoke, two figures rushed out from behind and traveled hastily towards the hut.

These three people were the masters of the Norigan Familia. Their mission was to rescue Princess Alina from the clutches of the human race.

Of the two figures who rushed out, one of them was equipped with two long swords. He was a Warrior and was traveling at a slow pace. On the other hand, his comrade was outrageously fast and stealthy, much like a cloud of smoke. The moment the Magician finished his speech, he was already at the hut marked by the Silver Moon blood.

He was an Assassin that specialized in tracking. He was revered as a battle hound.

He squatted down and observed the blood carefully.

"Parson, Norisa, this is the princess' blood. The blood stain was oval in shape and unevenly dispersed. This meant that the princess was traveling at a fast speed at that moment. It seemed like she headed west."

He spoke while following the trail of blood, soon arriving at the alley Alina was in the previous day. The Magician and Warrior followed closely behind him.

Traces of Alina became more obvious and voluminous as they entered the alley. Blood stains, slightly sunken footprints and the dent in the walls caused by a heavy landing. Although a week had passed and such traces were almost undetectable to ordinary humans, it was easily captured by the Assassin.

The trio traced these trails through half the city until they reached the most western Prince Bill Area.

Prince Bill Area was the affluent district of Hot Springs City. It housed many beautiful parks decorated with towering trees and small round shrubs regularly trimmed. The trio lost all clues in one of these parks.

"All of the traces are gone. This is strange, the princess seems to have disappeared into thin air." The Assassin was perplexed.

The Magician who had kept silent all these while spoke, "No, the situation is weird. I feel the remnant magic fluctuations of a powerful Magician."

Dark Elves had a natural talent for night vision. The blanket of darkness and silence over the park had in fact heightened Magician Parson's senses, allowing him to detect even the faintest of magic fluctuations. He walked around the park in a circle before stopping behind a piece of wood.

He had actually already felt this mysterious aura at the plaza ruins. However, due to the explosions of several Flame Blast spells and the bustle of the city in the morning, the aura was extremely disorienting. On the other hand, the situation in the park was different. There was only one clear magic aura around the area, much like a flaming torch in the darkness.

"The magic aura here is the most intense! Hedel, come and take a look."

Hedel was the name of the Assassin. He walked towards the wood and circled around it before suddenly reaching out his hand, making a grabbing action. When he retracted his hand, he was holding a strand of black hair.

"It's a woman's hair. From the glow and texture, it feels like a 20-year-old girl," Hedel spoke.

Magician Parsons, on the other hand, felt something was amiss. He took another glance before raising his staff to cast a detection spell on the hair.

Under the effect of the spell, the hair immediately exuded a faint white glow. This glow was similar to a mist slowly being released from the strand of hair. As the mist dissipated into the hair, the strand of hair seemed to lose its luster.

"This is not a normal human girl. She is a secret magic Magician that is way older than 20 years old. If I am not wrong, her target is the princess."

He then looked around before pointing at the ground 15 feet away from the wood, "These should be her footprints. Try to see if you can locate her."

"Alright." Hedel began to wander around the area, sometimes even laying on the ground for closer observation. After around five minutes, he spoke, "I have found it. This way."

The two of them once again followed behind.

The trio went all the way out of Hot Springs City. Several times, Hedel lost all clues of the princess, but with the help of Magician Parsons' keen senses, they would quickly get back on track.

After a moment, they stared at each other.

"The princess had been held captive by a secret Magician and was brought out of the capital. The situation is grave." Magician Parsons frowned. He knew that secret Magicians were also usually known as dark Magicians.

Although the Dark Elves had a higher tolerance for black magic than the human race, they also had a deeper understanding about the cruelty and unpredictability of such magic. If the princess was subjected to torture under such magic, she would likely lose all rationality even if she was not dead.

"Don't think too much. Our mission is simply to save the princess! There are still clues!" the Warrior Norisa spoke.

"That's right." Hedel nodded and rushed forward.

It could be inferred from the traces that the secret Magician stuffed the princess onto a carriage before bringing her out of the city, heading west along King's Lane.

After an hour of tracking the clear trails of the carriage, Hedel spoke, "They alighted from the carriage. The princess' footprints can be seen for a while before disappearing."

Parsons then spoke, "That is normal. The secret Magician is a female and probably does not have much physical strength. She should have cast a levitation spell. Her footprints alone will suffice."

Hedel squinted his eyes and traveled along the forest alleyway. After a while, he gasped. "Parsons, what kind of beast is this? It is humongous!"

The forest pathways were getting more uneven and difficult to maneuver around. The appearance of a giant beast's footprint was thus a shock to Hedel. The situation seemed to be more complex than he imagined.

Parsons crouched down and carefully observed the footprints. After a few minutes, he spoke, "These are the footprints of a summon called Wind Fenrir. There is a new source of magic aura here...in fact, this is the second time this aura appeared. The first time was in Hot Springs City when we were investigating the plaza ruins. He should be the person who released the single directional Level-4 fire elemental spell."

"Could it be that he is an ally of the secret Magician?" Warrior Norisa immediately made the connection.

"Very likely." Parsons had a serious expression on his face. When they were collecting information in Hot Springs City, they had a quick overview of the events that unfolded on Jade Street. A human Magician seemed to have defeated the princess.

To think that the Magician would once again appear on the princess' trails outside of Hot Springs City together with the secret Magician. This would only mean that the princess managed to make her escape but eventually became his captive. The princess was probably...Parsons did not want to continue down this train of thought.

His two other comrades also had a sunken expression on their faces.

The clear footprints from the Wind Fenrir made the tracking process a lot easier. The trio reached a small hut beside a stream after half an hour. The moment they stepped in front of the hut, Magician Parsons' had a livid expression.

He felt the aura of death.

He kept silent and entered the hut. The first thing that caught his attention the moment he entered was the huge blood stain on the bed. He cast a detection spell and the blood stain immediately emitted a silver hue. It was the princess' blood.

Assassin Hedel similarly found many clues. He exited the hut and traced the trails all the way to the stream, where he came to a conclusion on Alina's outcome

"She was killed. Her body was burned to ashes and then scattered into the running stream." Hedel spoke calmly, though his pair of dark red eyes was already burning with a faint glimmer of Battle Aura.

"Is it possible to track the whereabouts of both the Magicians?" Norisa held his sword tightly. Since the princess was already killed, they would have to avenge her in some way.

Parsons did not reply immediately. Instead, he circled the hut three times before concluding, "The secret Magician was extremely careful. She erased all clues that could allow us to trace her whereabouts. However, the young Magician will not be able to escape! He is a Magician from the East Cove Higher Magic Academy called Link. He is quite a famous person in this area. Let's go pay him a visit!"

"I will gouge his heart out right there!" Hedel smiled cruelly.

Parsons shook his head, "No, we should bring him back to the North and present him to the King. The King will show him what exactly is cruelty!"

"Yes, Parsons is right. We cannot let this Magician die so easily." Norisa gritted his teeth.