178 The Final Step


 They were unsuccessful in tracking the Dark Elves. However, they killed the demon and determined Elena's true whereabouts. Link then bade farewell to Eleanor and returned to the academy to report the Lawndale incident to Herrera.

Herrera valued Link's opinions and immediately reported the matter to the dean. Upon hearing the news, it was rumored that Anthony was so furious and shocked that the crystal glass he was holding fell out his hand and shattered into pieces.

The alert level of the entire academy was already very high. This time, they raised it even a notch higher, upgrading every single pivotal Mage Tower in the academy.

They seemed to be preparing for a formidable enemy.

The amount of attention the academy placed on this issue gave Link a peace of mind. In the days that followed, he simply charged the Prophet white stone whenever he could while continuing his magic research, trying to improve his knowledge as much as possible before the fated day.

He had a practical goal, which was to shorten the casting time of his Level-6 spell, the Titan's Hand. While the spell had great offensive power, Link still needed at least five seconds to cast the spell even with the help of the in-game system. The combat utility of the spell was thus, heavily compromised.

This was the awkward part about being a Magician. The higher the level of the spell, the more complex the magic structure. Although the strength of the spell would increase exponentially each level, so would the casting time.

During a battle, the higher the level of the opponents, the lesser the advantage a Magician had over other professions. This was true all the way until a Magician attained the Legendary status.

Link simply needed to reduce his spellcasting time-even 0.1 seconds would be a significant reduction.

The East Cove Higher Magic Academy was recovering well from their minor setback.

On the other hand, Dark Elf Lawndale had just narrowly escaped from Link's pursuit. He did not dare to stay in the Girvent Forest any longer and made his journey all the way back to the North.

Around half a month later, Lawndale returned to the Black Lake.

This was the core area of the Black Forest. Although the Norton Kingdom was advancing fast into the territory, their vanguard forces were still at least 500 miles away. Hence, this area was still safe.

After circling around the lake for half a mile, Lawndale saw a dock ahead. No boatman could be seen on the pier, although a few wooden canoes could be seen. Lawndale casually embarked onto a wooden canoe and tapped his toes gently onto the magic circle engraved on it. As mana surged into the magic circle, the water elemental spell that was enchanted onto the canoe was instantly activated.

The small wooden canoe darted out and headed towards the island in the center of the lake steadily but rapidly. There was a Mage Tower on the island called Horton Tower. This tower belonged to his mentor, Duke Aymons.

Aymons was a Level-7 Magician, and his parliamentary status in the Silver Moon was only secondary to the Chancellor. The demon that accompanied him to the Girvent Forest this time around was also summoned by his mentor.

After 20 minutes, Lawndale stepped onto the island. The island was filled with dense overgrowth, and one could vaguely see shadows drifting amongst the thick mist. These shadows were all tower guard demons who were summoned by his mentor. Their strength was around Level-3 to Level-4, and their battle abilities were almost three times higher than ordinary soldiers of their level.

Lawndale charged his staff with mana which caused it to glow in a light purple hue. This was a magic marking. Under the effect of this magic marking, he would not be attacked by these demonic creatures.

He then stepped cautiously into the forest. After ten minutes, a tower with a similar exterior to that of a castle appeared in his field of vision. The tower was surrounded by a circle of tall walls, and a 12-foot-tall demon stood aloofly at the entrance of the gate.

Not only was the demon tall, but there was also a thick layer of demonic scales surrounding his tough exterior. There were almost no gaps in this dense armor and a knife shaped horn grew from its skull. He looked extremely intimidating as he held two giant swords which were larger than Lawndale himself in his hands.

This demon was called Bruttan, a Level-7 Demon Warrior. He was the strongest demon his mentor had ever summoned, and probably had the power to crush the entire army of Firuman Warriors if he wanted to.

Lawndale greeted the demon with respect and said, "Dear Bruttan, I would like to speak to my mentor."

The demon looked down condescendingly at Lawndale and rumbled with disdain, "Little one, didn't you bring Nobi together with you? Where is he?"

"Nobi was met with misfortune. I was just about to report to my mentor regarding this issue."

"What? Who could have killed Nobi? He might have been a bit of a joke, but his power is not something that you mortals can ever hope to match up to. Tell me who did it!" Bruttan stared at Lawndale with bloodshot eyes, his pupils burning with violent tendencies.

Lawndale felt pressured by the intimidating gaze, so much so that he felt difficulty breathing. He tried to remain calm and said, "Dear Bruttan, I need to see my mentor."

At that moment, a voice rang from the Mage Tower, "Bruttan, let him in."

Upon hearing the sound, Bruttan's intimidating stature dissipated. He muttered a few words under his breath before obediently clearing the path for Lawndale.

Lawndale heaved a sigh of relief and entered the tower. Once he was inside the castle walls, he finally saw his fellow Dark Elves. Some of them were his direct seniors and juniors, while others were servants that he had grown close to in the past few years. He immediately felt a lot more at ease.

As one of the Magicians saw Lawndale, he pointed to the tower and said, "Mentor is waiting for you at the rooftop balcony. Please make your way there."

"How is he feeling?" Lawndale whispered.

"I cannot tell. Probably not too bad," the Magician replied.

"Alright. Thank you." Lawndale needed to prepare himself.

Lawndale climbed up the winding grey staircase to the rooftop balcony. The balcony was extremely wide and was enveloped in a translucent light dome. Through the dome, the area within a six-mile radius from the Horton Tower seemed to be brought infinitely closer without any compromise on the details.

An old man clad in a grey robe stood silently on one side of the roof. He did not turn his body even when he heard some noises behind him. He simply spoke softly, "In my dreams, the Dark Lady brought me a message. She mentioned that the Lord in the South is extremely displeased with your action of killing Elena."

The Dark Lady and the Lord in the South were all god-like presences. For a mortal to have angered a god-this was absolutely not good news.

However, there was no hint of fear on Lawndale's face. He calmly explained, "The situation then was dire. If I hadn't killed her, she would have ended up in the hands of East Cove Higher Magic Academy. If that truly happened, I am sure the Lord in the South would be even more unhappy."

"Yes." Aymons nodded. He then turned around, revealing his face filled with wrinkles and a pair of white pupils. He was already blind.

"Nobi could not be considered weak. Who could have killed him?" Aymons asked.

"I was in a hurry then. The downpour that happened erased most of my evidence of escape. I only managed to catch a glimpse of him from afar. It should be that guy."

There was no need for names of descriptions. As Lawndale's mentor, Aymons knew exactly who he was talking about. He said, "This is your first time dealing with him. What do you think?"

Lawndale recounted his experience in the Girvent Forest, and his eyes twitched ever so slightly. "I am not his opponent in a direct battle as of now. However, I am confident that our mental capabilities are on par. Although there is one area where he is stronger than me by leaps and bounds."

"Tell me more." There was no hint of emotional fluctuations in Aymon's voice.

"He is not a one-man team. He has already gathered a powerful alliance around him. I have done my research and realized that he has allies in the academy, the mercenary band, MI3, the merchant world and even a Level-6 Secret Magician. There have even been rumors that he is on good terms with Princess Celine. Not only is he open-minded, but he is also humble. I could not feel even a hint of the usual arrogance that Magicians had on him. He can always accurately determine the talents of others and is highly charismatic. These social skills are what makes him extremely dangerous."

This plan was meant to be carried out in secret; Chestnut Village was an extremely remote area. Nobi was originally only tasked to track down a Level-6 Secret Magician. However, Link's appearance messed up the entire plan.

Who would imagine that an official Magician from the highly prestigious East Cove Higher Magic Academy would have connections with a secret Magician that had once dabbled in the dark arts? This was the preposterous scene that happened right in front of Lawndale's eyes.

This made Lawndale feel extremely vulnerable. He felt as though Link had multiple tentacles, some of which he was still unaware of. If he ever stepped foot into the Girvent Forest, he might be done in by any one of them as long as he made a single mistake.

It was almost impossible to defend against such tactics.

Aymons stayed silent for a long time before speaking again, "The Dark Lady once told me that the God of Light found a new Chosen One amongst the people of Firuman. Originally, I thought nothing of it. It would at most be another Bryant. However, it seems that the situation is more dire than I have imagined."

The Legendary Magician Bryant; all mortals would have heard of his righteous name and probably revered him in his endless glory. However, the people who were familiar with the true history knew that the reason Bryant could achieve such extraordinary feats was only partly due to his gift. The other reason was the blessings of God.

He was the previous candidate chosen by the God of Light.

Furthermore, while Bryant indeed became the Legendary Magician that everyone respected and loved, he was eccentric and a hopeless romantic. He spent his whole life tangling with a High Elf woman, and even made a rash decision out of love.

Bryant could serve as a deterrent to the dark forces and good role model for the people of Firuman. However, he did not know how to surround himself with allies. No matter how strong Bryant became, it was impossible for him to change the world. In fact, a demon named Tarviss was all it took to wear him down.

However, this new candidate was something else.

Lawndale then followed up, "What do we do then?"

Aymons shook his head. "We must treat this person seriously. However, the priority is to first destroy the Norton Kingdom Army who is currently heading north."

Lawndale looked at Aymons with a surprised expression, "Mentor, are we going to activate the God item?"

Aymons nodded, his grey-white eyes turning towards the crystal screen on his side. "The time is almost ripe. The East Cove Higher Magic Academy is the final step."

The moment the academy fell, the Norton Kingdom would lose most of its defensive power. Their magic capabilities would also be reduced by at least 50%. Coupled with the power of the God item, it would be easy for the Dark Elves to reverse the situation.

"Mentor, are you saying that we need to bring forward the Black Moon Conspiracy? But the old guy in the Tower of Azula might not be ready."

"Oh, the old guy is merely a sacrifice," Aymons laughed.