The scouts in the old shabby cabin had all woken up.
None of them moved, though. They all looked to Link and waited for his orders. Everyone chose to turn a blind eye to the fact that Princess Annie and Link were huddled together in the same snow bear cloak. In a situation where their lives were constantly at risk, it was merely a trivial matter, hardly worth the time to mention.
Annie's face was flushed, but the light inside the cabin was too dim so no one could really see it.
Link, on the other hand, felt there was nothing to feel awkward about at all as they were only trying to keep warm. After listening to the sounds carefully, he'd determined that there were only two ghouls. He then made the gesture that they'd agreed beforehand was the signal to prepare for battle.
The ghouls weren't Magicians, so he didn't have to worry about them sensing the Mana fluctuations in the air. Thus, Link took out his wand, which was now glowing dimly, and cast the Traceless spell which worked on the whole group of people. And so, the scouts instantly vanished from the cabin.
The room now became totally silent. The scouts held their daggers tightly in their hands and waited patiently for the ghouls to arrive. They could clearly hear the voices outside the cabin. The ghouls had sensed that there was something wrong inside the cabin.
"Do you smell that?" asked a gruff voice. "Smells like tasty meat."
"Wait, it's not just that," answered the other voice. "I can smell the stench of humans too! Be careful; I hear an extremely powerful human Warrior had come to the forest."
The footsteps outside the cabin slowed down almost to a halt, and their voices became very soft. The ghouls were now slowly feeling their way into the cabin.
In that quiet moment, Link saw a notification flash on the interface. He looked at it and discovered that it was a new mission.
Epic Mission Series Activated: Skeletal Fort (Difficult)
First Step of Mission: Rescue
Mission Details: 1. Kill Occult Dark Elves. 2. Rescue the foreign Warrior. The foreign Warrior must live.
Mission Rewards: 100 Omni Points.
The words of the mission were written in a blood red color, and it was constantly flashing too. This gave off a feel of urgency and extreme danger.
The Skeletal Fort was indeed very dangerous. The gaming system didn't have to use special fonts for Link to realize that. Still, he ignored the danger signs and accepted the mission. Nevertheless, Link found this mission quite puzzling. Rescue the foreign Warriors? Could it be that the one outside the wooden cabin wasn't the Dawn Swordsman Karnose?
At that point, the soft footsteps had reached the door of the cabin. The scouts inside all raised the crossbows in their hands and pointed them at the old, shoddy wooden door.
Link took out his Mithril wand as well. He focused all his attention and waited patiently for the ghouls to appear.
1 second, 2 seconds, 3 seconds...Finally, a strongly-built shadowy figure appeared at the door with eyes glowing dimly in red. It was a ghoul!
He glanced around the inside of the cabin and saw no one there. That made him relax immediately, and he turned to his companion.
"There are signs of burning firewood," he told him, "but no one's here. Did you see anyone nearby?"
"There's no one nearby," answered another ghoul from outside the cabin.
"They must've left then." The ghoul then turned around and was about to leave the cabin.
The ghoul was not paying attention to the situation inside the cabin and had let his guard down. This was an excellent opportunity to attack!
Without the need to wait for Link's orders, all scouts began to attack immediately!
The sound of the crossbows broke through the silence. Then, a holy net dense with arrows rushed towards the ghoul without giving it any room to dodge the attack.
The scouts were only 15 feet away from this ghoul. At this distance, the crossbow would have terrifying penetrative power. Because the ghoul was standing right in the door frame, it was very easy for the scouts to aim precisely at him.
The ghoul's eyes, heart, neck, and his other vital parts were all struck by at least five arrows.
Within two seconds, this unlucky ghoul was pierced through by 18 arrows. Both of his eyes were struck by four arrows and each of those arrows pierced through as deep as five inches into his skull. They looked like two chopstick holders.
With these kinds of injuries, there was no chance for the ghoul to survive no matter how strong his vitality was. He groaned in pain briefly, and his knees buckled immediately. His whole body was flung backwards by the sheer force of the numerous arrows.
Once he'd fallen to the ground, his body wriggled and jerked slightly although they were closer to convulsions than actual body movements. It was obvious that he was gravely injured and wouldn't be able to get up and fight anymore.
But there was another ghoul outside the cabin.
Initially, the ghoul was about to follow his companion into the cabin, but he'd been horrified by the unexpected attack. His friend had been killed within seconds by attacks that came out of nowhere.
He'd never seen such a frightening thing before!
The ghoul let out a strange, distorted scream of fear. All of his courage left him in that moment, and he turned around and fled the scene immediately.
But he'd only taken a step when a mysterious force hit his body and made him lose his balance. He was flung out and fell heavily to the ground.
The scouts in the cabin were already chasing after him when they noticed that he was about to escape, but now that they saw him falling to the ground, they wasted no time and took swift action!
They nocked their arrows, shot them, and killed off the already fallen ghoul.
Whoosh whoosh whoosh whoosh!
The scouts' aim were all very precise, so even when the ghoul was still falling in mid-air, his body had been struck by a series of arrows. When he landed, he was basically unable to move. His fate was not unlike that of his companion's.
With the two ghouls eliminated, Link waved his hand at the scouts and ordered, "Burn their bodies."
The scouts immediately rushed up and plucked out all the Sacred Silver arrows from the ghouls. They then piled up the wooden boards from the shabby cabin and ignited them into a flame. Afterwards, the corpses of the two ghouls were thrown into the fire.
Recently, they'd encountered two waves of attacks by ghouls in the forest, and this was how they always handled their corpses, so they were used to it and could do it quickly and efficiently by now. Meanwhile, Link walked to the door of the wooden cabin and saw the Warrior captured by the ghouls.
Because it was the middle of the night, it was very dark, and Link could barely see that the soldier was clad in an oddly shaped dark armor. The Warrior was very tall, almost seven feet tall, and judging by the curves of the Warrior's body; it turned out that this was a female Warrior.
Usually, a women's petite figure meant that they were usually Assassins, Archers, swordswomen or other kinds of fighters that relied on techniques other than brute strength. Very few women had ever become Warriors because it was very difficult for them to advance much in their levels seeing that Warriors tended to rely heavily on pure physical strength.
Yet here was a female Warrior, and she was in fact still breathing. Judging by the way the ghouls were acting, it seemed that they were taking her back to Skeletal Fort.
To have the ghouls be interested enough in her that they were taking her back to Skeletal Fort must mean that her strength was quite impressive. Hence, there was no doubt now that she was a powerful female Warrior. It turned out that she really was a rare breed.
Because she was a woman, Link felt it inappropriate to check her injuries himself, so he pointed his wand at her and cast a floating spell.
The Warrior then floated in the air.
Link then used the Magician's Hand and carried her from the snow-covered ground into the cabin near the fire.
"Why don't you go and check her injuries?" he asked Annie.
"Sure," she answered.
Annie approached the Warrior and noticed that there were traces of blood on her head, so she tried to take off her helmet to check for injuries. Strangely enough, no matter how hard she tried to remove the dragon's head helmet with two delicate horns sticking out of it she just couldn't remove it from the Warrior's head.
"That's strange," Annie remarked. Then she carefully examined it and half a minute later turned to Link who was nearby and said, "It's not a helmet. It's a part of her body."
Link was stunned for a moment. Then he noticed how dim the light was in the cabin so he cast a light spell to illuminate the place better so he could see more clearly.
Then he really was taken totally by surprise. He discovered that not only was the helmet-like thing a part of her head, but the so-called armor on her whole body was, in fact, not armor at all.
At a glance, the Warrior seemed to be wearing an elaborate and luxurious scaly armor. But once examined closely, these scales all turned out to be her own skin!
The deep dark red scales covered most of the Warrior's body. Where there were no scales, the exposed skin still looked quite bizarre. It was red like the scales, yet it shone in the light and had a metallic luster. Link tried patting the skin with his wand and discovered that it made a clanging sound as if it was made of the same material as steel armor.
"What on earth is she?" Annie had never seen such a creature before.
By then, the other scouts had also finished their tasks, so they started walking into the cabin as well. They saw the strange Warrior by the light of Link's spell, and all found her fascinating and completely unlike what they'd ever seen.
"Look at her head," said one scout. "It looks like one of those dragons in the legends. Do you think she might be a Dragon Warrior?"
"Now that you mention it," said another, "that might really be the case."
"My lord, what exactly is she?" asked a scout.
Link knew exactly what she was. She was from the Dragon Clan. Furthermore, she was not an ordinary Dragon woman at all.
Her scales were fine and delicate, her dragon horns were curved and looked like steel, and her skin had a metallic sheen to it as though it was pure steel. There was no doubt about it-this Warrior was a pure-blood Dragon woman.
Pureblood Dragon People were no different from real dragons. The only difference was that when Dragon People were born, they were turned into humanoids by a magical process and were fated to keep that form for the rest of their lives. The Dragon People were very powerful Warriors and were roughly on the same level as high-level demons!
What Link found curious, though, was that from what he knew, Dragon Warriors lived in a hidden world called Dragon Valley and they rarely if ever entered this world at all. So how did this Warrior end up in the Black Forest? And how did she get herself captured by the ghouls?
"She really is a Dragon Warrior," said Link with a nod.
The Warrior's body didn't look as if she suffered many injuries. There were some wounds, but they were all shallow and not life-threatening, except for the one on her head. When Link raised her head and examined it carefully, he found that the wound was on the right side of the back of her skull. The wound was dark and swollen, although there wasn't much blood flowing out. It must've been the result of being hit by a blunt weapon, probably one of the ghoul's hammer.
Judging by her breathing pattern which was smooth and strong, Link knew that the Dragon Warrior's life was safe, so he started to cast spells to heal her.
He first cast Elemental Cure, then took out a bottle of high-grade medicinal potion. He then let Annie open her mouth before he slowly poured the potion into it.
Gulp gulp gulp...
The Dragon Warrior instinctively swallowed the potion. This meant that her injuries really weren't that serious.
After that, Link stood up and told everyone, "We've killed the two ghouls here, so we must leave this place now."
As he spoke, he cast a spell to make a stretcher out of the wooden planks found in the cabin. Then, he placed the Dragon Warrior on it and ordered two scouts to carry her as they moved to a new place. They left the wooden cabin while carefully covering the footprints they left in the snow.
"Follow me," said Link. "There's a huge boulder over there. We can find shelter from the cold wind there."
The boulder was about half a mile away, and just as the group had walked about a third of the way, the Dragon Warrior suddenly coughed gently. Her breathing then turned rapid, and her body slowly began to move. She was waking up.
Only a little more than ten seconds later, the Dragon Warrior opened her eyes. The first thing she saw was how unfamiliar her surroundings were. Then, she noticed that she was carried on a stretcher by a few human beings while a young man whose attire looked as if he was a Magician walked beside her.
It was a bizarre scene for a Dragon Warrior.
The last thing she remembered was that she came to this forest by the orders of the Queen who commanded her to investigate the power imbalance in the forest. She then encountered four ghastly beasts that kept refusing to die no matter how much she attacked them. Then, after a long battle she finally defeated them and was about to escape, but four more of the same beasts had found her, and she was overpowered and knocked unconscious.
The problem was, shouldn't the Black Forest be the Dark Elves' territory? How could there be humans here? Besides, these humans don't seem to be all that strong. Yet, how did they save her from those ghastly things?
A flurry of questions swirled around in her head. She was about to open her mouth and ask them but was stopped by the young Magician.
"This isn't the right time to be talking," he whispered. "Take some rest for now. We'll talk once we've reached a safer place."
"I can walk," she said. She'd collapsed because she'd been too tired. But now that she had recovered some of her strength, there would be no problem for her to walk now.
She then struggled up from the stretcher and managed to get on her feet. She still felt slightly dizzy, but it wasn't too bad that it would affect her movements. She then followed the scouts quietly all the way.
Just then, a notification popped up on the interface.
Rescue Mission Completed.
Player rewarded with 100 Omni Points.
Second Step of Skeletal Fort Mission Activated: Get Assistance.
Mission Details: Acquire the support of the Dragon Warrior.
Mission Rewards: 100 Omni Points.
With Link's current strength, 100 Omni Points was just an average amount, neither too much nor too little. He didn't know the true strength of this Dragon Warrior, so he wasn't sure if it was worth it. But, he trusted that the gaming system must have a good reason to turn it into a mission.
It was just like in Gladstone when the gaming system would guide him step-by-step. In the end, he managed to complete a mission that at first seemed impossible to accomplish.
Right now, Link had decided that he would attack Skeletal Fort, so he accepted the second step of the mission without any hesitation.
Then, he turned to the Dragon Warrior.
"I'm Mirose," he said. "What's your name?"
To his surprise, the Dragon Warrior just glanced at him for a few moments without answering.
"Mortal Magician," she said, "you're not yet qualified to know my real name. But since you've saved me, you shall call me Felina."
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