Although Link had already made the decision to search for Celine in the South, he could not simply leave his territory. The entire development of the area rested on his decisions. He thus had to make some arrangements before he could leave.
This took him three full days. In this period, he left enough gold coins and made basic arrangements of the development plans for the next three months.
Unfortunately, right after he was done with the preparations, the Ferde Wilderness was hit by a huge hurricane. It was an extremely serious one with rumors of people getting swept off their feet. The sea waves crashed violently against one another, and torrential rain terrorized the land. The territory was even greeted by hail. Everyone stayed in at the Scorched Ridge, shivering in their own homes while praying for the blessing of the gods. They were afraid this hurricane would destroy their fragile wooden houses.
Link disregarded the advice of Lucy and the others and stubbornly set out in the abominable weather. He summoned the Wind Fenrir and started charging southwards. Along the way, images of Celine flashed across his mind. His memories of her in the game and in this reality became intertwined.
Aren't you afraid of me? You know I'm a demon! On the rooftop of the Gladstone City clocktower, Celine teased him while exuding her unparalleled charm.
I can't choose my birthright. However, I can choose the path I want to take! Celine eyes shone with resolve in the game as she said this sentence.
My father? He is merely a piece of crap in the abyss! She frowned whenever she said this.
Oh, Link, you are really an interesting Magician. I think I might have fallen in love with you. Heh, oh my, did you take that seriously?
Fool, I love to see the dazed expressions of you mortals.
The memories flashed through his mind with unusual clarity. Link felt a fire burning in his heart.
"Celine, I'm coming!"
He accelerated, bringing his speed to a maximum.
The wind roared as he sped into the boundless horizon.
A flash suddenly appeared in the sky as a thunderbolt struck the ground. Hailstones were mixed into the raindrops which mercilessly crashed down upon Link. Despite the protection from the Edelweiss spell, Link appeared to be struggling against the forces of nature. Many times, he would fly off the back of the Wind Fenrir as the view of the terrain was terrible.
After each fall, Link would summon a new Wind Fenrir while in mid-air to prevent himself from getting injured. He would then continue charging forward without reducing his speed.
At that moment, Link was no longer the Magician who shook the world with his name. He was also no Duke or Master of a territory. He was merely a young man following his heart.
There were six countries in the South, each of them on a much smaller scale than the Norton Kingdom. The total size of the six kingdoms was merely 1.5 times that of the Norton Kingdom. In order to defend themselves against the Northern Lions, these six countries formed an alliance called the Southern Free Trade Confederation.
Within the six countries, the Kingdom of Leo was ranked the last in terms of general strength and was also the smallest. It merely covered 800000 square kilometers. However, despite its size, the Magician organization located at the southern districts of its capital, Opal City, had made its reputation throughout the entire Firuman continent. This organization was the Southern Magician Alliance.
Unlike the tall Mage Towers that were preferred by people in the North, the Magicians in the South did not find such structures appealing. Instead, they preferred to build majestic castles.
The Southern Magician Alliance's base was essentially built from a huge group of castles. It covered an area of 30000 yards and had six pivotal castles set in a six-star array formation. The perimeter of the castle was filled with residential homes, where the workers and merchants with connections to the Magician Alliance lived. There were about 5000 of such people, including servants, coachman, horse trainers, scroll merchants and so on. It looked just like a city of magic. This was where the Alliance's youngest genius Magician, Wavier, studied magic.
Wavier was 21 years old and had elegant silver hair and eyes. In three months, he was expected to achieve a breakthrough and reach Level-5. This achievement would be an unprecedented one in the history of the alliance. He had hence earned the right to use the Merlin's Wand.
If all went according to plan, Wavier's road to success had already been set. His strength would continue to rise, probably even reaching Level-8. If he managed to attain that strength, he would then very likely become the next dean of the alliance.
However, an incident two months ago completely messed up the rhythm of his progress.
Wavier woke up as usual in the morning and ate breakfast casually. Following which, he headed straight to the library in the alliance. He had gotten an epiphany regarding multi-cast spells last night and needed to validate them with the wisdom of his predecessors to ensure that they were viable. He walked into the long corridor outside his room; there were many other Magicians who had woken up early. After seeing Wavier, they all bowed respectfully to which Wavier replied in kind. When he reached the Elottison Square right outside the castle, a sentence caught his attention.
"Did you know the investigation team has returned?" This was from a Magician's Apprentice.
"Oh, what's the situation?" Another person asked. Wavier was immediately intrigued and slowed down his pace.
"We sent ten people over, but only three made it back alive! It was said that they found connections between the demons and the Syndicate. That damned group of thieves are covering up the footsteps of the demons."
"The Syndicate is really disgusting!" Another Magic Apprentice was immediately enraged. He waved his fist in the air.
The two apprentices left after this short conversation. On the other hand, Wavier immediately changed his direction and headed directly to his mentor, Master Hanlott.
Master Hanlott was a Level-6 Magician. However, he was already 60 years old and did not possess as much energy as before; he would only wake up at 9 o'clock every day. Wavier would probably have to wait for a while before he could see him.
Master Hanlott's room was on the first floor. A young female servant was standing in front of the door. Upon seeing Wavier, she spoke respectfully, "Sir, the master is still sleeping. Please wait a moment."
"Alright." Wavier found a seat in the hall and started reading a magic book.
Previously, he could get immersed in a magic book quickly, to the point where he would become oblivious to his surroundings. However, he seemed to be unable to do so today. Two months ago, traces of demons appeared in the capital. He had personally participated in the investigation; one time, he saw a young girl. Despite only getting a glance, he felt as though he was struck by something amazing. The whole world seemed dull when placed beside this beautiful young girl of brilliance and vigor.
After that, he felt as though he was sleepwalking and made many mistakes along the way. Realizing that something was amiss, he voluntarily withdrew from the investigation team. Although the girl was proven to be a demon, it still did not change Wavier's impression of her.
How can such a beautiful young girl be a demon? Although Wavier's eyes were stuck onto the magic book, he was replaying images of that fateful encounter in his mind.
It was at an ordinary market in Opal City. The girl was wearing a light blue linen dress and carrying a hand-woven basket. She was bargaining with a few farmers and looked just like a girl-next-door. There were many of such young girls in Opal City-she was just slightly prettier.
However, Wavier was somehow mesmerized by her the moment their gazes met.
The eyes shining with brilliance, the teasing shape of her nose and the way her crescent brows shot up when she noticed him in a daze-it was as though Cupid had shot an arrow right through his heart.
I wonder where she is now? Is she hurt by any of the Magicians? Did she...kill anyone? Many possibilities flashed through his mind. He felt terrible.
Suddenly, a voice rang in his ear. "Sir? Sir?"
"Oh?" Wavier was jolted out of his thoughts and looked up at the servant.
"The master is awake. You may visit him now."
"Oh, alright," Wavier replied as he put away the magic book that he had barely read. He followed the servant into his master's room.
Hanlott's room was simply decorated. He had never been one that liked extravagance or wasteful designs. Minimalist and a basic lifestyle was something that he had always believed in. His favorite robe was the plain, white robe that he was currently wearing.
The moment he saw his talented disciple, Hanlott smiled. "Sit, my dear lad."
He liked to call the young Magicians that he was close to lads. He admired the youthful vigor that was emanating from them.
Wavier sat on a wooden stool beside the bed and said, "Master, I heard that the investigative team suffered great losses this time around."
Hanlott's face sank upon hearing this news. He nodded. "The demon is strong."
"Did we kill the demon?" Wavier asked.
Hanlott shook his head. "We seriously injured one of them. However, the demon had two other companions. Despite activating the Sealing Barrier spell, we were unable to stop them from escaping."
"Did...did they see the female demon?" This was not a question befitting of the situation, but Wavier could not resist.
Hanlott frowned and stared hard at Wavier, speaking in a serious tone, "Young lad, that is a dangerous thought."
"Master..." Wavier tried to explain himself but was interrupted by Hanlott.
The old man's face had a strict and grave expression; his eyes shone with the bladed resolve he once had in his youthful days. "Wavier, you have a bright future; do not ruin it! I want you to swear in the name of the God of Light. Swear that you will never be entangled with that demon woman!"
"Master!" Wavier wanted to defend himself, but Hanlott continued staring at him with a stern expression.
In this mental battle, Wavier eventually gave in and whispered, "In the name of the God of Light, I swear, that I will never have any contact with that demon woman. If I ever see her, I will...kill her without any thought."
Hanlott was finally satisfied. He patted Wavier on the shoulders and said, "Good, young lad. Remember, the more beautiful a demon, the more charming and sinister she is. People who are charmed by these vicious creatures usually don't have good endings. I do not want my talented disciple to fall under the hands of a demon."
"Thank you, Master." Wavier felt slightly frustrated, though he also felt gratitude for his master's guidance.
"Alright, go focus on your magic research. Try to get to Level-6 fast and become a Master. Don't let the complacent bastards at East Cove Higher Magic Academy look down on us." Hanlott said as he patted Wavier on the shoulders as a form of encouragement.
Wavier nodded his head and left Hanlott's room. When he closed the door behind him, he sighed and felt the energy leaking out of his body. It was as though he had lost something of great importance in his life.
She is a demon; it is impossible between the both of us...forget about it. Wavier shook his head and continued walking towards the library.
Opal City, Market. A common residential house.
Although the Magicians had found some of her traces, Celine had not left Opal City, not even the crowded market area. She merely changed her hiding spot.
It was indeed dangerous to stay so close to the Magician Alliance. However, those Magicians were also her guardians. Their presence would ensure that the demons behind her would not do anything rash.
Celine was on the second floor of the house, nursing her injured arm. This was an injury caused by a spiraling magic knife last afternoon. The injury was extremely deep-so much so that the bones were visible. Fortunately, the Magicians had arrived on time and saved her from her predicament. If not, she would have already been sent back to the abyss.
The wound was stained with the aura of the abyss, and the surrounding flesh had been corroded. She had to cut these pieces flesh off quickly, or she would go insane from the effects of the aura.
Using her knife, she carefully chipped at the pieces of rotten flesh around her wound. This was extremely painful, causing her to shiver uncontrollably with cold sweat on her forehead. However, she gritted her teeth and held on until she was sure that all the corroded flesh was removed. Only then did she lean on the wall feebly and sigh.
She briefly tied her hair which was drenched in perspiration and stared at the roof with her pair of beautiful, moist eyes. There was a spider web in the corner of the roof which had caught an unsuspecting bug. Despite the worm's painful struggle, it seemed to be unable to escape from its predicament. Meanwhile, the spider was closing in on its prey.
Am I the bug who has been caught in the web?
Celine felt devastated. She was all alone in this world in her struggles. Her only friend was all the way in the North and would not be able to come to her aid. She was almost at the limit.
Link, what should I do? A dark-haired young guy seemed to appear right in front of her eyes. At the same time, she seemed to hear his voice whispering, "One cannot choose their own birthright, but they can choose the path they want to take."
But why is my path so rugged and winding? Celine closed her eyes as a teardrop flowed down her cheek.
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