The three ghouls seemed to be bursting with unbridled fury and pride when they first appeared. However, they were defeated in an instant and were now flinching around helplessly on the ground.
If they hadn't witnessed the scene with their own eyes, no one would have believed it. Hence, when this Magician clad in a grey robe emerged from the back of a tree, the scouts who were lucky enough to survive involuntarily walked towards him. Their hearts were filled with deep gratitude and admiration.
In the Dark Forest where danger and despair lurked in every corner, there was nothing more reassuring than the support of a powerful Magician.
Both the scout captain and the vice-captain did not survive the assault. The remaining scouts were all around Level-4 in strength, and as the daughter of a duke and the strongest scout alive, Annie hence assumed the position of temporary captain.
Link was still wearing his hood at this moment, causing Annie to not recognize him. She merely felt that this figure was somewhat familiar, though she could not point out exactly why. She walked forward and bowed respectfully, saying, "I'm Annie Abel. Dear Magician, thank you very much for your help."
She was also extremely grateful to this Magician. However, she was still devastated as the three young guards who were protecting her did not make it through the assault. This made her extremely guilty and depressed.
"I'm late. Sorry for the delay," the Magician replied in a low voice. Annie's eyes brightened upon hearing this voice. It was familiar as well.
She recollected herself and carefully observed the man standing in front of her. The more she looked at him, a figure started forming in her mind.
A faint voice started appearing in her head-could it be? No way!
He was now a Master Magician and the lord of a territory. There were even rumors that he would be one of the candidates for the next Dean of the East Cove Higher Magic Academy. How could such a prominent figure come and fight on the frontlines of the war against the Dark Elves? Even if he really wished to assist in the war, he should be positioned within the fortress as a defensive triumph card.
In the next moment, Link took off his hood and revealed his true identity. As he stared at Annie's astonished face, he introduced, "Princess Annie, I am Magician Mirose. I will be assisting you in the search for the Dawn Swordsman."
As he spoke, he winked at Annie to signal that he did not wish to reveal his status.
It really is him!
Annie was just about to shout his name when she saw his signal. She then swallowed her words and said, "Oh, it's Mr. Mirose. I am extremely honored to be able to fight alongside you."
The familiar voice and face instantly dispelled half of the heaviness in Annie's heart.
He actually came. The person who pulled Gladstone out from the clutches of the Dark Elves-the person who saved her life twice in a row had really arrived. At this moment, Annie felt as if her soul had found an anchor.
This feeling was as though a person drowning in a river and getting swept by raging currents suddenly found a solid tree branch to grab hold of, dispelling all feelings of panic and despair.
Link, on the other hand, did not feel these emotional fluctuations. Annie was simply a good friend in his memory. Furthermore, they had not met for over half a year and had grown apart.
After greeting them, he then turned to the scouts beside him and said, "Although these three ghouls are already seriously injured, they are still alive; don't kill them. Send them back to the Ice Peak. We are going to study them and find their weaknesses."
Upon hearing those words, Annie immediately selected ten scouts and said, "All of you and this group, bring these hideous creatures back."
"Yes, Your Highness." The scout quickly used ropes to secure the ghouls together, and before long, they were prepared to return to the fortress.
Link walked over and took out a scroll and three bottles containing a thick silver liquid. He then walked up to a scout and said, "The bottles contain Sacred Silver while the scroll is enchanted with the Blessing of Light. If you meet any ghouls along the way, activate the scroll and smear the Sacred Silver onto your weapons. This should be enough to scare them away."
The scouts valued Link's advice greatly and carefully took over the precious Sacred Silver and scroll.
After that, Link turned to Annie and said, "Ten scouts might not be enough for a safe return trip. We need at least 15. Your Highness, you should return as well."
There were 21 scouts who survived the onslaught. If 15 of them were to return, there would be six left for the mission. Coupled with Link's power, this should be enough to rescue Kanorse. Furthermore, as they were infiltrating the enemy's base, a larger group might not be beneficial.
"I will not go back!" Annie shook her head firmly, "'Your Highness' does not exist during a mission. We are all simply scouts from MI3."
Link fell silent for a moment. Since the other party was not willing, there was no forcing it. He nodded. "That's fine as well."
After which, he then randomly selected five scouts and said, "You guys go back as well. Remember that the ghouls have some sort of mutual connection between them. They should already know that their comrades are gravely injured and will be on your heels. I will try to delay them for half an hour. In this time, you guys will have to rush back to the fortress at top speed. No stopping along the way! Is that understood?"
"Yes, sir!" The scouts replied in unison.
At that moment, Link's word was their command. He had a lot more power than Princess Annie as he had just displayed his unparalleled power against the ghouls. He was the absolute most powerful being in the Dark Forest.
This offensive power was what soldiers on the field looked up to!
"Alright, get going!" Link pointed in the direction of the Ice Peak Fortress.
The 15 scouts then carried the three gravely injured ghouls and rushed straight towards the Ice Peak Fortress.
Link stared at the remaining six scouts and said, "We have to do something to buy them some time."
"Please give your orders!"
Annie spoke with a respectful voice as well. She realized that the young man in front of her was no longer the shy reserved person she knew in the past. He was still as powerful and calm as ever, though he seemed a lot more dependable and firm now.
The other scouts stared at Link with admiration, waiting for his orders.
Link then said, "Pass me your daggers."
The six scouts passed their daggers to Link without hesitation. Link then took out a bottle of Sacred Silver in liquid form and activated the Magician's Hand. The 12 daggers then instantly levitated into the air before arranging themselves neatly in front of Link.
These daggers had anti-magical properties. However, Link's abilities had long surpassed such ordinary anti-magical enchantments. They were all useless against his spells.
After the daggers were arranged properly, the silver liquid floated out of the bottle. This Sacred Silver was created by Link himself and was able to maintain its liquid form due to the Higgs Field Transformation spell that Link was adept in. As the Sacred Silver made contact with the atmosphere, it quickly turned into a near transparent film. This transparent film then swiftly coated the daggers held in a neat formation. Following which, a large number of magic runes appeared in the air. These runes rotated quickly in the air while getting closer to the daggers with every spin until they finally wrapped themselves onto the daggers evenly.
The scene looked just like many fireflies dancing around the levitating daggers.
Three seconds later, Link then raised his Burning Wrath of Heavens Wand and pointed it gently at the daggers in the air, "Magic Stabilize!"
Crisp Metallic sounds reverberated through the forest as the runes knocked themselves onto the surface of the daggers, engraving their powers on the ordinary weapons. With each sound, a clear rune symbol could be seen appearing on those daggers.
Around three seconds later, all the runes in the air disappeared, and the appearance of the dagger had changed completely.
Originally, these daggers were grey and black in color. However, they were now dark silver and a row of beautiful rune engravings could be seen running through the middle of the dagger. The runes also shone with a slight silver hue that was exceptionally clear in the Dark Forest.
What was more incredible was that all 12 daggers looked exactly the same.
The scouts all looked at the scene with disbelief. They had never seen such mysterious, enchanting magic in their entire life. Even Annie was dumbfounded at the sight.
This was actually pretty normal, as Link had already mastered the art of enchanting. For a simple enchanting processes like this with not much technical difficulty, he could do it simply with a few waves of his wand. He was too used to it.
With another action of his hand, the 12 daggers slowly floated back to the hands of the scouts.
He then said, "I have enchanted Sacred Silver onto these daggers. The ghouls would not be able to regenerate as fast if you wound them with these weapons."
Their regenerative abilities were one of the ghoul's greatest advantages.
After that, Link waved his wand again to activate the Magician Hand.
Under the surprised expression of all the scouts, the crossbows and arrows scattered around the floor all started drifting towards Link and were once again arranged in a neat formation in front of him. Link quickly swept his gaze over these weapons and decisively threw five thoroughly damaged crossbows and 20 unusable arrows away. He was then left with 20 usable crossbows and 160 crossbow arrows.
Link then once again displayed his powerful control of magic. There seemed to be countless invisible hands working on all these weapons at once, putting the arrows back into the trigger and fixing the acceleration mechanism all at the same time.
Within two minutes, the 20 crossbows were all as good as new.
Link then took out another bottle of Sacred Silver and started creating many transparent films in the air before coating the crossbows the same way he did with the daggers. Half a minute later, the crossbows had all turned dark silver though there were no changes in their physical appearance.
With a gentle flick of the wand, the crossbows flew towards the scouts. They got two crossbows each, evenly distributed amongst the remaining members.
"Take care of them. They will be your weapons against the ghouls."
The scouts mechanically took over the crossbows as they were still in awe of Link's abilities.
These crossbows were usually termed as a disposable weapon. It was extremely troublesome to fit the arrow onto the crossbow again after firing. Usually, it would take around half an hour to fix one crossbow. However, the Magician in front of them fixed 20 crossbows and even enchanted them with Sacred Silver in less than three minutes.
What he was doing was no less than a miracle.
Right after the preparations were complete, Link felt a magic fluctuation in the atmosphere. He felt a few dark creatures moving at high speed towards them. It was the ghouls!
"That was fast!" Despite his preparations, Link was still surprised at their speed.
He raised his wand and methodically cast a spell at each of the scouts. A ray of light then flowed towards the scouts like streams of water, causing them to vanish from sight.
Finally, Link then entered the stealth state himself.
A voice seemed to appear out of nowhere from the seemingly empty forest. "The ghouls are here. There are four of them. They are definitely here to observe the battlefield. Hide yourselves well and wait for your chance to launch attacks. Don't worry about them retaliating; I'll stop them!"
At the last sentence, Link's voice had already become muffled, and it was impossible to tell exactly where it was coming from.
Link's inspiration for this stealth spell came from Vance's concealing spell. However, he had made some alterations to make it a more flexible spell for individual use. The sound technique was called resonance reverberation, a spell he learned from the magic notes that the Master Magicians from the academy had given him.
Link was well versed in all these small magic tricks after being exposed to a great deal of magic materials. This included the Higgs Field spell that he just used to create the Sacred Silver.
This was where the foundation of a Magician lay.
Link had already started combining the expertise of many masters of his era, even becoming a master in his own right. Although his strongest spell was still only a Level-6 spell, his combat powers had at least double since the time he slew Tarviss.
In the forest, the scouts lay quietly in wait.
This time, they only had eight members. However, the despair that once consumed them had now turned into ambition and rage, fueling their actions. They were all looking forward to the arrival of the ghouls, as they now had an extremely powerful leader.
It was time for revenge!
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