155 Torture? There’s No Need for That


 Link's actions had given Clyde great confidence. Although Clyde's career in the army hadn't been quite so successful, he was still a proud and upright man and a member of the Morani noble family.

The first thing Clyde did with the 4000 gold coins from Link was to give each of the soldiers 10 gold coins. None of the soldiers had ever touched such a large amount of money. They were both happy and anxious because they were worried that they might misplace the gold coins. In the end, some of them even resorted to hiding the gold coins in the crotch of their pants to make sure that no one would ever steal them!

Now with all the soldiers satisfied, Clyde could then lead and control them with ease. They didn't take long at all before order was completely restored in the castle. The traces of blood had all been washed away, and to prevent the spreading of plagues, the names of the fallen soldiers were recorded and then their bodies were cremated.

By midnight, even the damaged drawbridge was fully repaired. The gates of the castle were then closed. Had it not been for the fact that there were significantly fewer people in the castle now, no one would've noticed any signs that they had been attacked and that fierce battles had occurred there just hours ago.

But these were trivial matters, and naturally Link took no part in any of it. When everyone else was busy restoring order to the castle outside, Link was in the castle's dungeon, and facing him right now was the Dark Elf Magician.

Link wanted the two Dark Elves to speak. In this situation, the most commonly used method was torture - but Link had no interest in using such a barbaric and not to mention bothersome method. No, there was no need for that. There was a much easier way, albeit a more cunning way, to make the Dark Elves spill out everything they knew.

The Magician had just been completely defeated, so he was now at his most vulnerable state when his mental strength and will were at their weakest. It wouldn't stay that way for long, however, as Magicians' minds were notoriously robust. Link knew that if the Magician was to be left alone through the night, his will and determination would've recovered by tomorrow morning. That was why he must interrogate him now.

In the dark, damp dungeon, Link sat on a chair while the Magician Parson sat against the wall ten feet away.

Link said nothing at first, he only stared into Parson's eyes - those deep red eyes of a Dark Elf which had gone dull because of confinement. After more than ten seconds Parson finally couldn't stand Link's stare any longer, so he looked away.

"Is the Death Hand preparing to attack the East Cove Magic Academy?" asked Link suddenly. He used a very gentle tone and showed no trace of hostility, and it sounded just as if he was chatting with a friend. Link had even used the Elvish language to speak with the Dark Elf Magician with an accent that sounded quite authentic as well.

"It's... uh... it's nonsense!" Parson responded. He stopped himself and denied Link's claims just in time, but then it was too late as his initial reaction had proven that what Link had suspected was true.

Link had now gotten what he wanted.

"Don't think that I know nothing about your plot to attack the East Cove Magic Academy," he said with a cold smile on his face. "You've even got a plan called Black Moon Conspiracy, and Felidia was involved in it, isn't that correct?"

"You're wrong! There's no such thing!" Parson was in doubt now. His eyes darted around the cell uncertainly even while his lips were vehemently denying Link's words.

In truth, Parson was only a retainer of the Norigan Familia, so he hadn't much information about the Death Hand or their activities. At this point, though, much of the Pralync Kingdom's secret information had been leaked to him indirectly. He didn't pay that close an attention to all of them, but he'd gleaned more than enough from casual conversations with his comrades.

That was how he knew that the Death Hand was focusing their efforts on the East Cove Magic Academy, because that is where more than 70% of Norton Kingdom's best Magicians came from. Once they destroyed the academy and eliminated their Magicians, the army of the Norton Kingdom would be considerably weakened by at least four times by the absence of the Magicians' aid!

And this operation, called the Black Moon Conspiracy, had involved the Magician Felidia. According to rumors, the operation had been going on for quite a while and everything had gone smoothly, with only one last step left.

But how did this human Magician find out about this secret operation? He couldn't come up with any ideas for the moment, in fact he was suspecting that there might be a mole or a spy within the highest officials of the kingdom's government.

"You've come so far to avenge Alina's death," continued Link, "so I'm guessing you must've heard of the mysterious master Magician friend of mine, isn't that right?"

"Of course I have," answered Parson. He felt there was no longer any need to keep any secrets from the human Magician, as he might just kill him and have that mysterious Magician friend of his to obtain his memory from his soul anyway.

"Yes, she had the ability to use the Soul Searching spell," said Link with a cunning smile, as if he could hear Parson's thoughts. "It is such an evil spell, don't you think? I don't really like those kinds of dark magic spells, but she still is a friend of mine, after all. If I asked her to come and help me with the promise of some rewards, I'm sure she would gladly comply."

"..."

Parson began to panic. He had just witnessed Link's awesome power in the battle against him, so his mental strength was still fragile. Link only had to play a little trick on him and he would bend to Link's will.

Parson kept gulping and said nothing for more than ten seconds.

"Promise me," he said finally, "that after telling you what you want to know you'll give me a quick and painless death."

"No problem at all," said Link. "How about a cup of Green Hylia Wine?"

"It's a deal, then," said Parson with a nod. "I must tell you, though, that I'm just the Norigan Familia's retainer, not a member of the Death Hand. I may know some things they were up to, but don't expect any details from me."

"Is the Assassin the family's retainer as well?" Link asked.

"Yes, he is," answered Parson, not bothering to keep any more secrets. "The Warrior was one too."

"Understood," said Link as he patiently listened to Parson. "You may continue."

Parson let out a long sigh before he continued to speak.

"There was indeed a plan called the Black Moon Conspiracy," he finally said. "Its target was the East Cove Magic Academy, although I have no idea how they were going to implement the plan. All I know is that once the plan was successful the academy would be reduced to ashes."

"Anything else?" asked Link, just as calm as he had ever been. No one could ever guess what was in his mind at that moment.

"Yes, you!" said Parson. "The Death Hand had put a high price on your head. They've announced it to the public that whoever could bring your head to them they would be rewarded with ten thousand gold coins! Not only that, but the Magicians of the Silver Moon Council and Prince Norigan had also contributed to the rewards as well. Now anyone who could bring your head back to Pralync would receive a tailor-made magic gear of epic quality along with the title of a hereditary duke that came with fifty acres of fertile land!"

"Who would've thought that this ugly head of mine would be worth so much?" Link said while rubbing his neck.

"Ha! You won't walk this earth for much longer than I will," sneered Parson. "Soon enough I will see you in hell. And don't ever expect yourself to enter the gates of heaven after you're dead, because the moment they cut off your head the servants of the Lady of Darkness will drag you straight down to hell!"

Link remained unmoved by these words. He was aware that powerful men had enemies, and as the saying went, only those who hadn't stood up for anything made no enemies. Now that he had attracted such hatred from the Dark Elves, it must mean that they had finally acknowledged his power.

He should be proud of that, not afraid.

"Is there anything else?" Link asked again.

"No!" replied Parson, who then turned silent and would say nothing more.

Neither did Link have any more questions to ask Parson. He got all the information he needed for now. As for the Black Moon Conspiracy, he guessed it might have more or less the same objectives as the incident in the game. When it all came down to it, the only person who had the ability to reduce the East Cove Magic Academy was the demon who was captured and chained by Bryant - Tarviss.

The only question he had now was how the Dark Elves were going to release Tarviss without the Occultic Runes. Then, just as he was considering the matter, a notification popped up.

Mission Activated: Investigation

Mission Details: Find out the details of the Black Moon Conspiracy.

Mission Rewards: 80 Omni Points.

Naturally, Link accepted the mission. Parson was now no longer of any use to him. He then used the Magician's Hand to float a cup of Green Hylia Wine towards Parson's direction.

Parson took the cup of wine into his hands without any hesitation. He then defiantly stared at Link so intently that it seemed he wanted to engrave the image of the Magician who had defeated him onto his soul before he died. Then, Parson swallowed the wine in one gulp. Seconds later, a peculiar smile emerged on his lips, then his body was bent over and he fell down to the ground with a heavy thud.

Parson was dead.

Link ordered the prison guard to clear away the dead body. He then headed towards Hedel's cell.

Hedel was now awake, but his wounds were too grave that he was writhing on the floor. Link swept his gaze all around the cell after stepping into the cell, wearing a merciless smile on his face while he was at it, although his body remained motionless.

"I've just killed Parson," said Link.

"I didn't expect you to keep him as a pet," replied Hedel sneeringly.

"He told me many things before he died," Link continued, ignoring Hedel's jeers. "I find what he told me about the Black Moon Conspiracy especially interesting. He said that you were preparing to release the demon Tarviss so he would destroy the East Cove Magic Academy."

Link's ruse had once again brought results as Hedel's eyes were widened suddenly and he stared blankly at Link with a puzzled look.

"But Parson wasn't a member of the Death Hand," Hedel said in a surprised tone. "How would he know anything about the Black Moon Conspiracy?"

As a notoriously powerful Assassin, Hedel must've been involved with the Death Hand before. Plus, he was a high-profile professional Assassin, so he would have slightly more access to secret information within the organization compared to Parson. He wasn't a part of the members who would implement the plan himself, so he didn't have the deepest knowledge of the details of the Black Moon Conspiracy. He knew, of course, that the demon Tarviss would be released, but as for the method of the release, Hedel had absolutely no clue.

The response Link got from the Assassin confirmed Link's speculation of the connection between the Black Moon Conspiracy and Tarviss. He decided to play one last trick on Hedel.

"I was just kidding," Link said. "Parson isn't dead. He'd actually just sworn his loyalty to me!" He then broke out into a mischievous laughter.

"That's impossible!" shouted Hedel. "You're speaking nonsense! You're just lying to me, aren't you?" Yet somehow Hedel believed that Link truly knew what he was talking about. But the Black Moon Conspiracy was a top-secret operation, how could this human Magician ever find out about it?

Link burst out in laughter again. It was just as he expected. This Assassin was just another Norigan Familia retainer, so he wouldn't know much more than Parson did. Link was satisfied with the information about Tarviss that he managed to winkle out, and he knew that there wouldn't be much more to tease out from Hedel. Thus there was no point in keeping Hedel alive now, so he promptly unleashed a Whistle and blew the Assassin's head clean off his neck.

It appeared that the Black Moon Conspiracy was now the most urgent matter that must be dealt with immediately. Although there was still some time before the set date of April 15, no one could predict what might happen before the time came, not to mention how clueless they were of the methods the Dark Elves would employ to release Tarviss. Link realized that he must inform Herrera of this matter as soon as possible.

After careful consideration, Link decided that he must rush back to the East Cove Magic Academy first thing the next day.