East Cove Higher Magic Academy.
While Link was rescuing the merchant, Elena was reading a book silently in the hall. She was alone as Eliard was in the elemental pool experimenting on a Level-2 spell he newly learned. He was extremely busy these days.
When magic fluctuations could be felt from the luminous green rune stone, Elena was shocked and her face immediately sunk.
"Have I been exposed?"
She held the rune stone tightly in her hand. The rune stone was originally cold to the touch. However, due to the constant information and vibrations from the magic fluctuations, it had started to become warmer.
When she covered the stone with her hands, she could prevent the magic fluctuations from being felt by anyone else. She could also determine the type of spell used from the special way the rune stone would react to different spells.
The current fluctuation pointed to the presence of explosive spells around the other rune stone. Whenever a spell was caste, there would be a sharp increase in magic fluctuations, allowing Elena to accurately determine the strength and frequency of the attacks.
At the start, Elena felt two extremely strong magic fluctuations back-to-back. Her heart almost skipped a beat. "This is a Level-4 spell! This Magician cast two Level-4 spells in less than two seconds! What fast spellcasting speed! Are two Magicians fighting against each other?"
In fact, it was Link who had consecutively cast the Level-4 defensive spell, Edelweiss, twice.
Following which, the rune stone emanated a series of weak but extremely fast fluctuations. There were a total of 12 fluctuations in less than half a second. Elena was horrified. "This is the strength of a Level-1 spell. Who could have cast 12 spells in half a second? Could it be...?"
There was only one Magician in the entire academy who could cast Level-0 spells at such a frequency. That person was Link, the Magician staying in the same Mage Tower whom she had avoided the entire time.
She then felt another few instances of Level-1 and Level-0 spells. This carried on for around ten minutes before the rune became dormant.
Elena's heart sank.
"It could only be him. No one else could cast two Level-4 spells in less than two seconds. Hasn't he been in the Mage Tower all this while? How could he possibly find out?"
Elena was confused. She had already taken precautions to avoid him. To think that she would still be busted by him. However, she knew that she had no time to worry about the details. She had to think of a countermeasure before Link returned to the Mage Tower. Elena stayed calm and immediately weighed her options. From the day she entered the academy, she had been preparing for this day in case she ever got exposed.
She stood up and put away the magic books she was reading.
The apprentice beside her was puzzled and asked, "Elena, we still have a lot of time left. Why did you stop?"
"I am feeling slightly unwell and wish to rest." Elena gave a slight smile and spoke in a gentle voice. She even tried to sound weak and managed to make herself look pale.
The apprentice was completely fooled and immediately nodded, "Please rest. After all, health is the most important."
"Thank you." She then proceeded to the second floor and greeted a few other apprentices on the way. When she reached her room, she immediately entered the room and closed the door behind her.
The room was large by normal standards. It was made up of a common space and two bedrooms, as she was cohabitating with Eliard. She immediately peeled off her facade and her expression of pain and weakness changed into one that was cold and unmoving. She entered her bedroom and took a thick magic book from the top layer of her bookshelf, where she hid three separate scrolls in the cover compartment.
These three scrolls contained detailed blueprints of the internal structure of the six most powerful Mage Towers in the academy. The information included the Detection spells, Defensive spells, and Offensive spells used by the tower and the workings of their respective elemental pools.
If one were to plan their attack based on the information recorded, their ambush would be a lot more efficient. Furthermore, if they could point out the weakness of the Mage Tower from the blueprint, they could take down the Mage Tower in one hit!
There were six Master Magicians in the academy, and their respective Mage Towers would be the pivotal buildings holding the fort in the case of an attack. If the Dark Elves were to destroy them, the academy's defensive strength would be reduced by at least thirty percent!
The blueprint of Bale's Mage Tower had already been taken care of. Elena was simply tasked with bringing back the blueprints of the other five central Mage Towers. She had carried out her task efficiently, already securing three of them. She did not expect to be exposed at this crucial juncture when victory was already in sight.
These scrolls should have been sent out a long time ago. However, after the incident in Gladstone City, the Norton Kingdom started their ruthless extermination of the Dark Elves as well as anyone who had pledged allegiance to the Dark Brotherhood and the Syndicate. This destroyed all her connections outside of the academy and left her alone on this highly dangerous mission. She could only keep these scrolls in a safe place until she received new instructions.
However, her life was at stake now.
"I have to send the blueprints out, but how? Link is rushing back right now, I don't have much time." Elena's heart was pounding as she pranced around the room. Her brain was working at top speed, thinking of a way to escape the academy safely.
After a while, she was suddenly struck with an idea, "That's it!"
It would be difficult for her to deliver the blueprints herself, but she could use Eliard's help! Eliard was Link's best friend. If she left the academy together with Eliard, Link would have to think twice before attacking her as Eliard's safety would be compromised. Furthermore, she could also use Eliard as a hostage when the time came.
Elena then formulated a detailed plan before she put away the scrolls into her robe. She then left her room and headed towards the elemental pool on the second floor.
She should not be disturbing Eliard as he was experimenting with his new spell. However, time was short. Elena pinched her thighs with full force and a sharp pain shot through her body, causing her eyes to be full of tears.
She then activated the runes on the door. When the runes lit up, she feebly said, "Eliard, can you come out for a moment?"
Within ten seconds, the door to the elemental pool opened. Eliard walked out with wet hair and ice residue on his hands. There were also many tears in his magic robe. He looked completely disheveled.
He must have forcefully interrupted his experiment at the most crucial moment.
Elena felt a tinge of guilt upon seeing Eliard's pale face, but suppressed her emotions almost immediately.
Eliard on the other hand, didn't think much about the incident. The moment he saw the pained expression on his lover's face, he gently asked, "Elena, what happened?"
Elena clutched her abdomen with her hands and beads of cold sweat could be seen on her forehead. She spoke with a pale face, "My stomach hurts and I have no idea why. The recovery potions didn't help as well..."
"How did this happen! I'll take you to the church in River Cove Town now!" Eliard scooped Elena off her feet and briskly walked towards the Mage Tower entrance.
Magic could accomplish almost anything in the World of Firuman. However, healing was something that magic had limitations in. Priests were the only ones who could cure serious injuries or illnesses. Hence, a Magician would still have to consult a priest if they fell sick.
As the East Cove Higher Magic Academy did not have priests, they would have to go to River Cove Town, which was exactly what Elena wanted.
Eliard ran all the way to the stables with Elena in his hands. By the time he reached, he was already sweating and panting.
Eliard immediately paid the coachman a whopping ten gold coins and shouted, "To River Cove Town, double up!"
With the monetary incentive, the coachman's actions were also unusually swift. He led the horses out of the stable, hooked them onto the carriage and with a resounding whip, the carriage sped out of the academy.
In the carriage, Eliard held Elena's hand with one hand while gently rubbing her stomach with another. He whispered, "Why did this happen. Was it because of last night...?"
"Don't say that." Elena's pale cheeks suddenly flushed with a tinge of shyness.
Eliard felt extremely guilty and reprimanded himself in his heart. His expression also grew gentler by the minute. At that moment, he felt that this woman meant more to him than the world, even more than magic, which he loved so dearly.
He could not explain the phenomenon as well.
In the beginning, Eliard did not feel much affection for Elena, merely noticing that she was an understanding and kind girl. However, as they spent more time with one another, he gradually grew accustomed to her companionship. He then started developing feelings for Elena. There were times when he would feel jealous when he saw her chatting and joking with other male apprentices.
When she inadvertently showed her seductive expressions, there would be a huge desire to make her his own. He still remembered the feelings of bliss when they shared their first kiss. He also remembered the ecstasy he felt when they were connected for the first time.
Now, he was already inseparable from her. If she was met with an unfortunate accident someday, Eliard had no idea how he was going to take it.
The carriage quickly sped through the gate and onto the King's Lane.
The East Cove Higher Magic Academy's carriages had four windows, each of them made from clear crystals. One would have a clear view of their surroundings even when sitting in the carriage.
Less than half a minute later, Elena saw a familiar figure riding towards the carriage on a Wind Fenrir.
The figure seemed to have noticed the magic aura in the carriage as well. He gradually slowed down his speed and turned his Wind Fenrir sideways to block the entire King's Lane, preventing the carriage from moving any further.
The coachman was horrified and immediately stopped the carriage.
Elena then narrowed her eyes ever so slightly. She knew that this was the most crucial moment.
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