Opal City Market.
There was a famous pawn shop in the area with a peculiar name. The shop was called the "Little Pawn Fish." The assistant had an honest look on his face while the shop owner always had an inviting smile. They seemed ordinary enough.
However, this was all a farce. This shop had a hidden secret on the second level. The second level seemed to be the shop owner and assistant's bedrooms. However, closer observation would reveal that the second floor seemed smaller than what it looked like. One could not specifically point out exactly which part of it was peculiar, although there was something visibly not right about the building.
The pawn shop had no customers today. This was a common sight. One would usually not see long lines at a pawn shop. However, once they managed to strike a deal, they would probably earn enough to support themselves for a long time. Hence, only a few customers would enter the shop occasionally for business matters.
The entrance to the pawn shop was usually a one-way ticket. The people who entered the shop planning to strike a deal often do not appear again. One also could not find any traces of the person in the shop. It was as though he had evaporated into thin air.
Where did the person go? No one cared. The market was filled with people who had come from other poorer districts and areas. Everyone was only concerned with their own livelihoods.
At that moment, a figure clad in a full body, gray cloak entered the shop. He then spoke in a raspy voice, "The shadow engulfs the world!"
Upon hearing those words, the inviting shop owner respectfully greeted him and said, "Sir, this way please."
The mysterious figure nodded and headed towards the second floor. They walked along the corridor till they reached a dead end. The mysterious figure then gently pressed the wooden wall with his skinny and sinister finger. All of a sudden, the plain concrete wall became a shining wall filled with glowing runes. The man then pushed the wall with all his strength, causing the wall to move backwards, revealing a narrow staircase leading down towards the basement. Faint voices could also be heard traveling upwards.
This was the entrance to the secret underground chamber. Who would have thought that the secret entrance to a basement would be built on the second floor instead of the first? The staircase was well hidden in the gaps of between the two walls. It was extremely narrow. However, as this mysterious figure was very skinny as well, he could walk through the stairs with ease.
There was a sharp bend along the staircase. Once one got past the bend, dim flickering candle lights could be seen, and the voices would become more prominent. One could even hear strange breathing sounds.
The mysterious figure then walked towards the secret underground chamber.
This chamber was extremely huge-it was at least 60 feet in length and width. There was a table in the middle of the room with a candle stand on top of it. Under the dim illumination of the candlelight, one could see five vague figures sitting around the table.
To be exact, it was two humans and three demons.
The three demons had a stature similar to humans apart from their hideous appearance. One of them had two big axes as his arms instead of hands, one was a giant lizard in a human form, while the other was a giant toad also in the form of a human. When this creature breathed, one could hear strange bubbling sounds as the vesicles on the side of his cheeks expanded. The vesicles also seemed to hold black a sinister-looking liquid.
When the mysterious figure appeared, an Assassin wearing a crimson armor whispered, "Andrew, you are late."
The leather used in the production of this armor was extremely special. As he moved, one could see traces of blood mist emanating out of it. The presence of this mist concealed much of the Assassin's presence and made the contours of his body vague. Even in such close proximity, it was difficult to determine his exact position.
"You cannot blame me, Bren. There has been an accident along the way." The mysterious figure was Andrew, the Necromancer who was just defeated by Link.
"Accident? What about the two shadow shields I sent as your protection?" The Assassin named Bren was in disbelief. Andrew was a Level-7 Necromancer. Furthermore, he had specially equipped him with two Level-6 Shield Warriors. There should have been no one in the entire Leo Kingdom who could stand up to such strength. What kind of accident could have happened?
Andrew sat down and sighed. "Something happened when we were trying to capture that Wind Tiger. An outrageously strong Magician appeared out of nowhere. The three of us couldn't even scratch him. The two Shield Warriors are already dead. I had to use all my power in order to escape."
"Magician? One versus three? Did you recognize him?" Bren did not accuse Andrew right away. He knew that one could not simply look at the results. Although Andrew indeed messed up their plans this time round, he had to first determine the threat they were up against.
Andrew helplessly laid out his hands and said, "The battle happened too quickly. It was a sneak attack, and I did not get a good view of his spells. However, he only used one spell the entire battle. It was a giant handmade of fire elements. It looked like a Level-6 Fist of Firomoz spell. Though in the middle of the battle it did change form..."
"A flaming hand?" another figure that was under a cloak suddenly spoke. The sound was exceptionally delicate, like that of a young lady.
"Yes, Lina. It was a hand of fire." Andrew shrugged his shoulders as he commented. Although the Magician was young, she was a High Elf, a race with natural talent in magic. She was merely 40 years old but had already attained Level-6. He treated her with the utmost respect.
Upon hearing Andrew's words, the High Elf called Lina turned to Bren and said, "The one from the North seems to have arrived."
Bren was horrified, "The one from the North? You mean the Demon Slayer, Manipulator of Flames, Link?"
Andrew immediately understood his defeat. "No wonder he was so strong."
He fled early that night and did not witness the entire battle. After hearing the terrifying news of the appearance of a Level-9 Magician, he made his way to the South at full speed. Hence, he naturally did not recognize Link's signature move.
He then heaved a sigh of relief. He thought he had really gotten old and weak such that any random Magician could make a fool out of him easily. He had been frustrated and depressed this whole time. However, after knowing the true identity of his opponent, he felt a lot more at ease.
He was still strong. The only reason he lost was because his opponent was way stronger!
Bren had nothing to say as well. In the face of an opponent who had just crushed a Level-8 demon, Andrew had proved his strength simply by escaping unscathed. To have met that person during their mission was simply their bad luck.
At the same time, he was met with new problems. He looked at the demon in front of him and said, "Ballie, this is bad news, The Magician who killed Tarviss might very well be here for Princess Celine."
The demon with axes was the leader of the three demons. He was the strongest at Level-6. If he had to fight against a human of a similar level, he could probably take on up to five of them at once due to his combat talent as a demon.
However, he was not confident enough to face off with a Magician who could defeat even Tarviss. He had no faith in his own abilities and said with a trembling voice, "What proof do you have that he is here for the Princess?"
Bren took out a scroll and threw it towards Ballie, "This is his information, given to us by The Death's Hand. In Gladstone City, Princess Celine once saved his life. The fact that General Lund failed in his attempt to kill him was partly due to the Princess' intervention as well. Based on this connection they had and his unknown motive for coming down south, what do you think?"
Ballie fell silent. One could tell his unease and fear from his heavy breathing.
The lizard demon then whispered, "Leader, he is alone. We have an entire group behind us."
The lizard demon then turned towards Bren and said, "You can't just watch for this one. You also have to help."
Bren stayed silent while Lina, who was sitting beside him started shaking her head. "We will not intervene directly. The most we will do is to aid in your retreat if needed. You should know that he is not our only opponent. If we deal with him, we will also make enemies with the Magician Alliance, and Opal City is its headquarters!"
Bren silently acknowledged Lina's statement.
However, Andrew suddenly commented, "I think this is a chance!"
"How is this so?" Everyone in the room looked at him, awaiting his speech.
"You see, Link is here for Princess Celine. He is definitely here to save her. However, the Princess is a demon and the target of the Magician's Alliance. As long as we sow discord between the two parties, Link would become enemies with the Magician Alliance. We just need to wait for the perfect chance when both sides are terribly injured. We might even secure a total victory!"
A glimmer of hope appeared in everyone's eyes. However, Lina merely sneered and disdainfully said, "Andrew, if you think he will be fooled so easily, I think you have underestimated his power."
Andrew stood firm to his views, and he defended them. "There is a risk to everything. This is especially true for Master's goal. If we don't take any risks, we will never get any results! Bren, what do you say."
Before Bren could speak, the axe demon immediately replied, "My master's promise still holds. As long as Princess Celine is brought back safely, he will support your master with all his might."
This speech was like a sharp knife that immediately severed the hesitation in Bren's heart. "May the shadows engulf the world. This plan is possible, though we need to plan it in great detail."
Andrew's face then broke out into a satisfied and sinister smile. While he could not defeat Link alone, with the help of so many powerful people and the Magician Alliance, it might be possible. Even if Link were to defeat everyone, his reputation would go down the drain. It would be devastating for him either way.
Although Lina had differing opinions, she knew that the plan was set in stone, and nothing she said would change their decisions. She then pulled down her hood, revealing her pale flawless skin and an expressionless face.
Bren ignored the overly cautious female Magician and laughed, "This will be a mighty festival of endless slaughter!"
The extermination team of the Magician Alliance had already reached the area outside of Opal City marketplace. They started splitting up into groups of four except one which was formed by only Hanlott and Wavier. There were a total of eight groups.
"Our informant has identified the hiding place of the female demon. We will seal her escape routes. Remember, once you see the target, go all out and exterminate her. Do not hesitate!"
Hanlott cast a glance at his own disciple, Wavier as he said these words. His motive of bringing him on this mission was to sever the impure thoughts running through the mind of his talented disciple once and for all.
It was his responsibility to guide his disciple up the correct path.
Wavier could feel the pressuring gaze coming from his mentor. He did not evade it this time round and stared back, his eyes shining with resolve.
"Good." Hanlott was satisfied, "Commence attack!"
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