The group quickly reached the bottom of the cliff.
This cliff was six feet tall and had a three-foot depression. The depression managed to shelter the ground below from snow which left a hollow center, forming a natural snow cave. It was a good place to temporarily hide from the chilling wind.
Everyone heaved a sigh of relief when they finally entered this warm haven.
Felina then finally got a chance to ask the burning questions in her heart. She went into an outburst, asking a series of questions, "Where am I? Who are you guys? Where are those bastards?"
Link naturally answered them in order.
After listening to the narrative, Felina stared at the humans around her in disbelief, "You people merely have a Level-4 Battle Aura. Look at your weak physique! Furthermore, your Battle Aura could at most support five battle skills. And this Magician over here, although you are Level-6 in strength, it seems impossible for you to deal with two of those monsters at once. Don't you think?"
She had personally experienced the battle prowess of those creatures. They were unusually difficult to deal with and simply would not die even after countless mortal wounds had been inflicted on them. They would be up and about in a few minutes after being gravely injured.
They were clearly only Level-6 in strength. However, they were able to completely destroy her, a young genius Warrior of the Dragon Clan. How could these weak and messed up human beings defeat them when she couldn't?
Annie was immediately infuriated. This Dragon Warrior had been arrogant from the very beginning and seemed to be bent on calling them mortals and derogatory terms that were hard on the ears. Now, she was even questioning their combat strength. It was time for her to fight back.
"You underestimate us. Sir Mirose had once destroyed three ghouls in less than half a minute's time. The two ghouls who managed to capture you were also defeated by us in less than 20 seconds. Their bodies still lay in the wooden shed we were residing in just now. If you don't believe us, you can turn back and take a look with your own two eyes!"
The scouts also started defending themselves.
Originally, they had a good impression of the female Dragon Warrior due to her gorgeous battle armor and good figure. However, all she said were words of despise and distrust. It was the last straw when she started questioning Sir Mirose's power.
"The princess is right. You can look down on us, but not on Sir Mirose! He was the one who saved your life just now!"
"Doesn't the Dragon Clan know the concept of gratitude?"
"I am a mortal alright. But you were captured by the ghouls as well. How strong can you be!"
Everyone started criticizing Felina's arrogant behavior. She then fell silent before apologizing, "Alright, I should not have said those words. I am sorry. But I am still curious-how did you guys do it?"
Annie was just about to speak when she seemed to remember something. She then turned to look at Link who gave a nod of approval.
Annie then brought out her dagger which was treated by Sacred Silver and said, "Do you see something different on this dagger? There is Sacred Silver on its surface, which can thoroughly destroy the regeneration abilities of the darned ghouls. We are also in possession of these crossbows, also treated with Sacred Silver. It can fire ten Sacred Silver arrows in four seconds. Furthermore, we have a powerful Magician with us. Now, do you think we have the power to defeat the ghouls?"
Felina observed the Sacred Silver weapons with interest. These silver weapons seemed to be enveloped in a sharp, brilliant force of light. It was peculiar, warm, yet aggressive.
She then nodded. "If Sacred Silver is truly the answer to these...ghouls, then I believe that you guys can defeat them. I once again apologize for my actions. Thank you for saving my life."
Now that Felina's arrogance was kept in check, Link said, "As far as I know, Dragon Warriors rarely communicate with the rest of the world, unless something peculiar is happening. If you trust us, perhaps we may be of help."
His mission was to successfully get Felina's assistance.
Although he could capitalize on the prideful nature of the Dragon Clan to demand her of her assistance in return for saving her life, it would definitely leave a bad impression on Felina's side. This was hardly what Link wanted; he wished that the other party would offer to help on her own accord.
He thus had to build some sort of bridge between them.
Upon hearing these words, Felina hesitated.
If this happened when she first arrived in the Dark Forest, she would definitely sneer and give them the cold shoulder. She might even look down on them and head into the Dark Forest alone. However, now that she had seen the true terror of this hellhole, a few reliable partners would be extremely helpful.
This group of humans just saved her life and seemed to have the tools to deal with the ghouls. They could be of some help along the way.
However, she still could not put down her pride, "My mission is extremely dangerous. You guys might lose your life over it... wait a minute."
She then got an idea and stared straight at Link before asking, "This place is the heart of the Pralync Kingdom. Isn't the Norton Kingdom at war with the Dark Elves now? Since you guys are here, might you be on a mission? Maybe I can help as well."
It was the truth the Link had saved her life. She would have a peace of mind if she could return the favor.
Upon hearing these words, the scouts were elated. Link was simply euphoric; it seemed like this Dragon Lady had a much better personality than he imagined.
He then added, "The Dawn Swordsman Kanorse had been captured by the Dark Elves. We are originally here to rescue him. However, the chances seem to be slim."
As he explained, Link started smiling bitterly, and the scouts around him also had a grave expression on their faces.
"Dawn Swordsman? You mean the strongest Warrior in the Norton Kingdom, Kanorse?" Felina was shocked. Although the Dragon Clan kept themselves hidden from the rest of the world, they were still concerned about the important events that were happening, including the emergence of outstanding talents amongst other races. The Dawn Swordsman was one of those people.
He was only thirty-five years old but had already attained the strength of a Level-8 professional. He was rightfully termed as the strongest Warrior in the Norton Kingdom, or even the entire human race. He was indeed a rare talent.
Even the prideful Dragon Clan was surprised at the growth of the Dawn Swordsman. In fact, Felina had been craving to challenge the Dawn Swordsman while she was trapped inside the Dragon Valley. She had always hoped to one day complete with this said genius and determine who was stronger once and for all.
To think that he would be captured; are the ghouls really this strong?
Link nodded to confirm her suspicions, "I think that no one else can be termed as a Legendary Warrior in Firuman."
Felina was truly taken aback. Her eyes naturally emitted a silver radiance; hence, one could easily notice whenever she blinked her eyes. However, her eyes at that time were unblinking and wide opened. She was finding it difficult to accept.
"Even he was not able to stop the ghouls?"
Link continued, "That is not true as well. He was only captured after facing an army of them. We have discovered that he was sent to a place called the Skeletal Fort. Following which, an extremely powerful and evil being there will demonize him, turning him into something like a ghoul. If I am not wrong, they probably captured you for the same reason."
"Skeletal Fort?" Felina stared at Link. Link's words had sent shivers down her spine.
"Yes, the base of the Dark Elves houses the boss of the ghouls. Her power...I'm afraid it has gotten to point where mortals cannot hope to comprehend."
"Strength that cannot be comprehended? Immortal ghouls?" Felina seemed to be absorbed in her thoughts. She mumbled, "If the Dawn Swordsman were to be demonized, that would be a nightmare...The ghouls are already so strong; what kind of power could their boss possibly have? How could this world have such terrifying power?"
No one told her the answer. Link and the scouts remained silent.
Felina did not expect her questions to be answered as well. She had somehow deduced her own conclusion, muttering, "The queen had mentioned that a destructive power was upsetting the balance of this world. She had sent me to the mortal world to investigate this matter. This Skeletal Fort should be the source of that power! Ghouls should not have existed in this world!"
Link listened, and when she reached the part about the ghouls, he gave a helpless sigh. Ghouls really should not exist in this world, but alas, that was the power of a Divine Gear.
The World of Firuman was using its power to reject the presence of this Divine Gear. In order to maintain the stability of this Divine Gear, the Dark Elves sacrificed at least one hundred thousand lives!
Suddenly, Felina stared at Link. "Do you know the exact location of the Skeletal Fort?"
"I roughly know the coordinates. In fact, we were planning to infiltrate into the enemy's base after a night's rest," Link answered.
Felina's eyes widened yet again at this brazen declaration, the silver radiance in her eyes shining brilliantly. She said, "Going straight into the base to rescue someone? Just the few of you? Isn't this a suicide mission?"
Annie then said, "The Dawn Swordsman cannot be demonized. We have no choice but to do our best to prevent that from happening."
Link then laid out his hands helplessly and said, "There is never a choice in wartimes."
Felina then sighed and shook her head once more. "This mission is bound to fail. I shall not even talk about the few of you. You guys are far too weak. And you, Magician Mirose, unless your combat powers can match up to the Demon Slayer, I suggest that you forgo this mission. Don't sacrifice your lives in vain."
Her words seem a little strange. What did she mean by matching up to the Demon Slayer? Who is this Demon Slayer?
Link was slightly confused by those words. He felt as though he had heard this title somewhere before, although he could not exactly remember who it was referring to.
This was understandable as well. After defeating Tarviss, he had been extremely busy with either his magic research or the development of his territory. He paid no attention to other people's evaluation of his achievements. While the title Demon Slayer might seem familiar, he did not make the connection to himself.
On the other hand, Annie's eyes widened with glee. She then said to Felina, "You are saying that if the Demon Slayer was present, we might have a chance?"
Felina nodded. "If he was indeed here, coupled with my Level-7 strength, it might be worth a try."
Upon hearing those words, the remaining scouts sighed helplessly. The Demon Slayer was a noble with his own territory. He was also a Master Magician of the East Cove Higher Magic Academy. A person of his status and position would definitely not risk his life to come to this hellhole.
One could only hope for such miracles in their dreams.
However, Annie's eyes glowed even brighter as she turned to look at Link. This gaze was so hopeful that Link felt slightly disturbed by it.
"Who is the Demon Slayer?" Link asked as he felt something was amiss.
"He is none other than the lord of the Ferde Wilderness," Annie said excitedly.
"Oh..." Link patted his forehead and suddenly understood the situation. To think that they were referring to him all this while. When the title Demon Slayer came out of the mouth of a Demon Warrior, he immediately associated it with some sort of heroic and historical figure. He had never thought it would be him.
Since Felina had already mentioned it herself, Link did not wish to conceal his identity anymore. He turned to Felina and said, "I think I can give it a shot."
"This is not funny, Magician," Felina frowned as she sneered.
Link smiled and said, "Mirose is only my alias. My real name is...Link Morani."
The scouts swallowed a mouthful of saliva upon hearing those words. Annie stared at Link with pride written all over her white and pretty face. This young man was a hero in her heart.
Felina then opened her mouth and was once again in shock. It took her a while before she continued, "No wonder...So it is you after all."
It all made sense why they could deal with the ghouls. She was just thinking how such a powerful human Magician could appear out of nowhere without the knowledge of the Dragon Clan.
The Dawn Swordsman was the strongest Warrior in the human race, and Felina still had the guts to challenge him to a battle. However, she had no intention of doing so if she was facing the Demon Slayer. This was because he had once defeated Tarviss. She would not have been able to defeat Tarviss even if her strength doubled.
The moment she said this sentence, a glow appeared in Link's field of vision. It was a mission.
Step Two: Completed.
Player Omni Points +100
Step 3: Stealth or Force?
Task: Break through the obstructions of the Dark Elves and reach the Skeletal Fort.
Mission Reward 1: 100 Omni Points
Mission Reward 2: Elemental Affinity Bloodline (Note: Under the effect of this bloodline, all elemental spells cast by the user will have their strength increased by 50%)
Link sighed and once again accepted the mission.
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