Elena was Eliard's lover. This was hardly a secret, especially in Herrera's Mage Tower as they had started cohabitating.
In their daily conversations, Eliard would often commend how gentle and kind Elena was. He would even proudly discuss Elena's outstanding performance at night when he was in the mood. Whenever the topic was on Elena, Eliard had an expression of bliss, as though he had the whole world in his palms.
He had completely become a servant to love.
Even though Link did not have a good impression of Elena, she was, after all, Eliard's beloved partner. He could only stay as far away as possible.
Other than being scheming and materialistic, Link originally thought nothing of Elena. It was not surprising if you thought about her background, as she came from a family of merchants. However, the situation unfolding right in front of him was triggering all the emergency bells in his head.
After talking to the merchant for around ten minutes, Elena suddenly embraced the merchant and kissed him on the lips. The kiss lasted for three seconds before Elena let go of the merchant and walked away nonchalantly. The merchant, on the other hand, stayed in the forest and stared lovingly at Elena's disappearing shadow.
Link had a clear view of the entire scenario from his angle. He immediately frowned, Eliard is definitely unaware of this. However, he will realize it sooner or later, I am afraid...
Thinking back on the look of bliss on Eliard's face, Link was certain that Eliard would be devastated.
"Should I tell Eliard?" Link was having a headache.
Link had no evidence of the incident. If he had told Eliard directly, Elena would likely deny all accusations and use her charm to trap Eliard in her web of lies. As Eliard was blinded by love, he would definitely believe her side of the story and turn his back on Link.
However, if he chose to ignore and keep it a secret from Eliard. Eliard was sure to be devastated when he realized the truth. Judging from his character, he would probably not harm Elena, but wallow in self-pity and despair alone.
Love is indeed a volatile and luxurious good. If it does not turn out well, it might even destroy a talented Magician, Link could not help but exclaim silently.
After thinking for a moment, Link had decided to first observe Elena and get a deeper understanding of her personality. If he deemed her character to be seriously flawed, he would then find chances to give subtle hints to Eliard.
He then stayed in the forest for another five minutes until both the merchant and Elena were completely out of sight. He then walked back to Herrera's Mage Tower. The moment he opened the door, he saw Eliard and Elena on the first floor.
They were flipping through magic books in the corner. From time to time, Eliard would guide Elena along and answer her queries. Elena would then look at him in adoration, to which Eliard would always give a warm and tender smile in return.
Link even saw Elena wearing a necklace that he had created. As he recalled Eliard's expression that day when he was asking for a favor, Link could not help but sigh.
At that moment, Elena gave a quick peck on Eliard's cheek while he was absorbed in the magic book. Eliard then broke out into a silly smile. That was almost Link's limit and he immediately left the hall while trying to erase those memories from his brain.
For the next few days, Link spent almost all his time on his magic research. When he felt tired, he would delve fanatically into crafting magic equipment. The equipment would then be passed to Warter for sale. Occasionally, Lucy would write to inform him on the progress of the Ferde Wilderness' initial development. Link did not participate physically in the entire process, merely writing back to Lucy and sending back another 5000 gold coins as funding. This was so even when the mercenary band started missions to clear up the bandit's hideout in the area. At the same time, Link had also been observing Elena.
He placed a secretive magic formation at the tower gate. As long as Elena left the Mage Tower alone, her unique magic fluctuations would activate the magic formation which would then send a signal to Link. If she was leaving with Eliard, the magic formation would stay dormant. Whenever Link received a signal, he would follow behind stealthily.
Time flew and it was two weeks since the first time Link caught Elena in the forest. In this period, Elena left the Mage Tower alone for a total of eight times. The duration was always a standard 30 minutes and her reason of absence was always that she needed some fresh air.
In these eight separate instances, Link saw a different side of Elena.
She would always meet a merchant in secret in the forest. Furthermore, there was more than one merchant that she was seeing! Link had counted a total of six different merchants with prestigious backgrounds. Each of those merchants having a close business relationship with a Master Magician in the academy. However, Elena seemed to be able to keep her multiple intimate relationships a secret from each of her lovers. Every merchant seemed to be bewitched by her charm.
Not only was her private life complicated, but Link was horrified to discover that Elena had many faces. While she was gentle and kind towards Eliard, she could be cold, elegant, seductive or even submissive to the other merchants. She displayed each character naturally and with ease. There were almost no flaws in her facade.
This woman is really something. She definitely has a more complicated background. Her merchant background was simply a farce!
Link was extremely careful every time and kept a distance between Elena and himself. He also did not use any magic, causing him to miss out on the content of their conversation. However, based on what he had observed, he had already developed suspicion towards Elena's true identity.
Link's continued attempts at tracking Elena were no longer an act simply to help his good friend. He felt that Elena was a huge threat, even to the point of suspecting that she was connected to the Black Moon Conspiracy. This was due to her multiple secret intimate relationships which seemed to point to something more sinister.
Link then used a Supreme Magic Skill he had recently grasped to set up an extremely well-hidden magic formation to eavesdrop on the conversation.
This magic formation came in handy soon after. One day, as Link was just preparing to test out his new ideas in the elemental pool, the alarm from the tower entrance rang again. Elena had left the Mage Tower on her own.
Link immediately ran out of the elemental pool and left the Mage Tower after three minutes.
Link hastened his pace the moment he left the Mage Tower, taking the shortcut towards the Inspiration Courtyard before finally reaching the forest Elena always held her secret conversations in. He made a detour and entered the forest through another entrance before squatting down in a good hiding spot.
After three minutes, Elena had arrived. There was already a merchant awaiting her arrival. This merchant was none other than the one Link saw two weeks ago.
The moment their gazes met, Elena and the merchant embraced each other and kissed with great passion. This lasted a whole two minutes. All the sounds Link got from his eavesdropping magic formation were panting and slurping sounds. He felt unusually irritated by it.
It felt like an eternity before the two of them finally got their hands off each other. Elena's voice could then be heard. She spoke in a cold voice, "My knight, what good news have you brought me this time?"
"My dear queen, you will definitely be satisfied. I have successfully bribed a Level-4 Magician from Ferdinand's Mage Tower. Look what he gave me."
Link stole a glance and saw the merchant handing a scroll over to Elena.
Elena opened the scroll and looked satisfied. She smiled seductively and said, "Very well my knight. The master will definitely reward you. I will reward you as well."
The merchant then spoke hastily, "Oh, my queen, thank you so much. May I know when I can redeem your gift?"
After a few seconds, Elena spoke, "Not here. How about this. I will be going to River Cove Town to settle some things tomorrow. You can wait for me in the hotel."
"Thank you so much, my queen." The merchant sounded as though he was going insane.
Both of them then carried on with their disgusting conversation. The merchant praised Elena continuously while Elena carried herself like a queen, belittling the merchant yet enticing him with seductive words.
Link ignored these superfluous things. His attention was captured by Elena's second sentence-"master"? That sounds like a term used by followers of a dark cult. Could Elena be a spy from a cult?
Link's eyes widened upon the realization. I cannot let this Elena accomplish what she wants. It sounds like she will be headed to River Cove Town tomorrow. That would be perfect!
Link had to take action.
As for Eliard...Link looked at the memory crystal he had activated to record the entire scene. He sighed regrettably. It is better to end some things quickly even though they might be painful. Let's just hope Eliard can recover.
At that moment, Elena bade goodbye to the merchant and they once again got drunk in each other's passionate embrace.
As he had gotten Elena's subtle permission, the merchant was extremely daring. He slid his hands into Elena's skirt without any resistance. This lasted for five entire minutes before they reluctantly separated from each other. Elena then tidied up her hair before leaving the forest. The merchant then walked the other way with a dazed expression.
Link did not return to the Mage Tower immediately. He waited patiently in the forest before following behind the merchant.
Elena was Eliard's official partner and was a member of the academy. She would not be able to go too far without the academy's permission. However, this merchant was a free individual not bounded by the academy's rules and was just about to leave the academy. Link thus decided to start his investigation from this merchant.
The merchant continued walking towards the stable where he parked his carriage. Taking advantage of his ignorance of magic, Link cast a Level-0 magic marking on the merchant and exited the academy ahead of him. After he was out of the sight from Guardsman Vincent, Link then hid in the forest beside the pathway in wait for the merchant.
Around ten minutes later, a carriage bearing the magic fluctuations of Link's magic marking arrived at the entrance.
This place is still too close to the academy. It's not a good time. Link waited for the carriage to drive past him before casting a Cat's Agility spell on himself and followed closely behind.
After around ten minutes, Link felt comfortable with the distance and was prepared to strike.
At that moment, a strange thing happened. A group of bandits suddenly rushed out from the forest and killed the coachman. They then attempted to break open the carriage door violently. From their bloodthirsty expression, it seemed like their target was the merchant.
"Are they trying to...silence him?" Link was appalled. The issue was way more complicated than he had ever imagined.
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