Not long after entering the Soul Realm again, Link felt his heart palpitating at an insane rate, as though he was being targeted by a ferocious beast.
This was the premonition of a powerful Magician.
Something must have gone wrong, Link thought.
The Dark Forest in the Soul Realm appeared as sinister and gloomy as before. The usual cool forest breeze, cheerful chirping of the birds as well as the majestic growls of the beasts were absent. The forest seemed dead and silent.
Looking at the road ahead, Link knew that he had to do some preparations to add one more trump card to his hand.
He then checked his current status. He still had 200 Omni Points and an Elemental Affinity Bloodline that he still had not activated.
The Omni Points should definitely be kept for extremely crucial moments. However, the Elemental Affinity Bloodline would be a convenient and useful buff for any battles ahead. All elemental spells he cast would have their power increased by 50%, and while this would not work as well in the Soul Realm, it would have a pretty decent effect in the Physical Realm.
The only problem with this was the great pain that accompanied the transformation process. This pain would render him completely incapacitated.
As he was hesitating, an in-game message suddenly appeared in his field of vision: Pain can be reduced by extending the time required for the transformation
Oh? There is such a choice? Link was tempted and asked, On the grounds that it wouldn't affect my thinking processes, how long would the transformation take?
Confirm transformation! Link thought.
Upon giving approval to the in-game system, Link felt a sharp pain shot through his entire body. It was as though a pebble was grinding all his organs with just the right amount of force to cause extreme discomfort.
When this feeling first struck Link, he was breathless and almost lost consciousness. It was only after ten minutes that Link slowly grew accustomed to the pain.
It was still an acceptable level of pain similar to when he overdosed on the Mana Recovery Potion. Link tried not to focus on the pain and observed his surroundings instead.
As he was not paying attention to his surroundings previously, he did not realize that they were now within a cloud of thick fog. The visual obstruction of the mist, coupled with the natural dim lighting of the Dark Forest, caused their vision to be limited to a nine-foot radius.
"Look, there is a dark figure in the mist!" A scout suddenly pointed at the area beside them and shouted.
Everyone immediately turned to that direction and could clearly see a dark figure skidding past them at an incredible speed.
Felina's description was correct. The figure was indeed around six feet tall and had a strong physique. It was also extremely fast.
Link also saw the creature; he probably saw it in greater detail than everyone else. In his eyes, this figure had a pair of glimmering golden eyes. It was human-shaped with claw-like hands and a long slender tail behind its back.
It really is a Nightmare Beast!
Link had seen similar beasts in the game before. He remembered these creatures were termed as Heart Demons in the game. Although they did not possess strong battle capabilities, their auras had an extremely peculiar and powerful property. Under the effect of their auras, people would lose their rationality and would easily fall into the soul trap they had carefully prepared. The victims would then become the delicious meal of this Heart Demon.
The best way to deal with these creatures was to travel in groups. If they looked out for one another, the chance that they would fall into such traps would greatly decrease.
However, this Heart Demon had just eliminated a scout using its sinister tactics. It must be an extremely powerful one. They still had to be wary of it.
Link then immediately shouted, "Don't panic! This is a Nightmare Beast. Sacred Silver weapons are equally effective against it. Prepare yourselves and commence attack the moment it appears!"
Everyone's confidence was bolstered by Link's words. Their greatest fear was their lack of knowledge of this mysterious creature that dwelled in the Soul Realm. Now that Link had already analyzed the situation and even provided them with the means to deal with the creature, the fear in their hearts had mostly dissipated.
The mist became thicker as they progressed forward. Before long, the visibility in the area was reduced to a six-foot radius.
They huddled together so as to not get lost in this dangerous place. They continued in this state for around half an hour before another accident happened.
Kanorse, who had been lying on Felina's shoulders all these while, started roaring loudly. His roar was strange, sounding extremely violent and ferocious, as though he were an unrestrained beast.
Claws had grown from his usually cleanly trimmed fingers, and as he frantically struggled to get out of Felina's grip, the sharp claws grazed Felina's back a few times. The sound of claws scratching against bare flesh was extremely unnerving.
"Ah!" Felina could not suppress Kanorse's strength any longer and screamed in pain. She then instinctively threw Kanorse off her back. The moment he made a hard landing on the ground, he growled ferociously at the group before preparing to flee into the forest.
However, after just a few steps, he placed his hands on his head and knelt on the ground before bellowing, "No! No! I will not fall! I am Kanorse! The strongest Warrior!"
He had obviously reached his limit.
Link immediately rushed towards Kanorse and handed over a bottle of liquefied Sacred Silver to him while he was still conscious. He then shouted, "Drink this! Now!"
Using Sacred Silver to suppress the powers of darkness was an extremely devastating method. Link would not have used it if it were not the last resort.
Kanorse grabbed the bottle as though it was his saving grace and gulped it down without any hesitation.
The moment the Sacred Silver touched his mouth, it started sizzling and white mist could be seen appearing from his mouth. Kanorse then started howling in pain while he continued to pour the remaining Sacred Silver into his body. By the time he was done, the flesh around his mouth had already been completely corroded by the Sacred Silver.
It did serve its purpose after all.
The dark aura that was surrounding Kanorse had diminished greatly, and the blood red hue covering his eyes seemed to have faded as well. However, the Sacred Silver had also destroyed his body.
He became extremely weak and laid helplessly on the ground as he stared at the sky, muttering, "Oh God of Light, please save my soul! Please!"
As he repeated the lines over and over again, two streaks of tears rolled down his cheeks. The strongest Warrior in the World of Firuman was broken. He did not want to fall to the dark side. He definitely did not want to become a ghoul that would kill off many people of the human race. But he was going to lose it soon!
Everyone stayed silent while Annie walked up to Felina and prepared to bandage her wounds.
Kanorse's outburst had left a deep cut on Felina's back. Her armor was already stained with blood by the time Annie reached her side.
"Hold on, use the Sacred Silver dagger to first cut off the surrounding flesh," Link ordered.
Felina knew that this was to prevent the dark forces from infecting her mind as well. She hence endured the pain while Annie started working on the wound upon Link's instructions.
Fortunately, Annie's actions were quick and finished the treatment of the wound in less than five minutes.
"Thank you," Felina whispered.
She felt no anger looking at Kanorse, who was now lying powerlessly on the ground. Instead, her heart was filled with pity and regret that such a genius was about to fall to the dark side.
She shook her head and said to Link, "I'm afraid Kanorse will not be able to make it back to the Ice Peak Fortress. Even if he did, they might not be able to dispel the dark forces in his body. Am I right?"
This was the truth. Everyone fell silent, and Kanorse's face sank.
Previously, he was clueless about the powers of the Divine Gear and thus had the confidence to go against it. However, his confidence and beliefs as the strongest Warrior in the World of Firuman were now slowly collapsing.
Kanorse turned to look at Link as he spoke with a hoarse voice, "Magician, kill me. Don't let me become a monster."
Everyone stared at Link, waiting for him to come to a decision.
The main goal of their mission was to rescue Kanorse. However, they had now reached their limits. Unless a god descended on the world, there was no way to change Kanorse's tragic fate. The only way they could prevent the situation from getting worse was to kill him on the spot.
Link stayed silent. Unless he was really left with no choice, he would never give up on Kanorse.
However, how should he dispel the dark forces corroding his body?
He set his sights on the 200 Omni Points he had left. In order to suppress the demonization process of the Divine Gear, the spells of mortals would be useless. The only spells that would work would be Legendary spells.
Two hundred Omni Points would be enough to purchase a Legendary spell. Link clearly remembered one that could be used to dispel the dark forces while he was playing the game. The only problem would be his Mana Points. He was now left with 1500 Mana Points and would not be able to cast the spell even if he purchased it.
What should he do?
Link opened the list of spells that he could purchase in his mind and found the Legendary spell card he was looking for, glowing radiantly in many different colors.
Forbidden Mystery. Great Purification
Level-14 Legendary Spell
Cost: 140 Omni Points
Mana Cost: 11000
Effect: Dispels all dark spells and forces within a 3000-foot radius.
The insane Mana Cost of this spell made Link shiver in fear. His Maximum Mana now was merely at 8100 points. He would still be 3000 Mana Points short even if he was at his best.
It was impossible for him to activate this spell.
What should he do?
"Ah!! I cannot hold on anymore!" Kanorse once again bellowed. The effect of the Sacred Silver was truly short-lived. It merely lasted for a few minutes before the deadly poison of the Dark Serpent started raging in Kanorse's body once again.
His eyes became blood-red and dark runes could be seen circling within them. The claws on his hand were also growing at a speed visible to the naked eye.
"Kill me! Kill me now!" Kanorse looked at Link, as though pleading him to end his life.
Clang! Felina brandished her Sacred Silver dagger and walked towards Kanorse before placing it right under his chin. She then looked at Link and said, "Magician, we are running out of time!"
Link was still hesitating.
The strongest human Warrior, Two Saints of Mankind, Legendary Swordsman, the Pillar of the World of Light-all the accolades that Kanorse would be conferred with in the future flashed across his mind.
"Link!" Felina urged. She was about to lose her grasp over Kanorse.
"Master!" the scouts shouted.
"Kill me! Stop hesitating! Quick!" Kanorse spoke in a muffled voice. He could feel his consciousness being consumed by a giant snake.
Link gave a long sigh and walked up to Kanorse before kneeling down on one knee. He then placed a hand on Kanorse's chest and whispered, "Warrior, hold on, I will dispel it for you."
Although this was a curse from a Divine Gear, its power would definitely have been suppressed by the laws of the World of Firuman. If Link were to use a Legendary spell, it should be enough to dispel this wretched dark force.
Link decisively bought the Level-14 support Legendary spell.
"Link, you are not joking, right?" Felina asked in disbelief.
While Link was the strongest combat Magician in the human race, he was still a mortal. How could he say that he can dispel the power of a Divine Gear?
Link then gave a reassuring smile and said, "Don't forget that we are in the Soul Realm. As long as you believe in your actions, anything can happen!"
If they were in the Physical Realm, he would never be able to cast this Legendary spell with his current strength. However, they were in the Soul Realm. As long as he had enough conviction, he would be able to do whatever he wanted.
Many thoughts flashed through Link's mind.
Will I be able to cast it? Yes, I can! My soul is comparable to that of a sacred soul! Link thought.
There is no free lunch in the world. There is bound to be massive side effects using the power of the soul to cast a Legendary spell. The question is if it is worth it.
Link asked himself an extremely tough question. The essence of this question was simply, For what reason do humans live?
Many faces flashed through Link's mind. Celine, Eliard, Rylai, Herrera, Jacker, Lucy and many others he had met on his journey.
May the World of Firuman never descend into darkness. May the people who love me see no despair! This was the answer Link found.
He could never support the entire World of Firuman with his own power. The world was made up of many different creatures and races. Fighting this war alone would never work.
Link made this choice not merely based on his emotions, but also his wisdom.
After Link went through this introspection process, his conviction became exceptionally firm.
The next moment, a multi-colored brilliance appeared on his body. Following which, this brilliance extended through his entire body, almost making him look sacred.
A few moments later, this brilliance descended onto Kanorse, who stopped his mindless struggle almost instantaneously.
Kanorse opened his mouth and took a deep breath. His eyes were wide open, though out of focus. He felt as though he had seen the light. Countless blessings of light were raining down upon him from the void of this world.
In an instant, his agitated heart found respite.
The multi-colored brilliance continued expanding with Link as the focal point. It rushed past Felina's body and through the scouts.
In this brilliance, the thick mist was completely dispelled. The Nightmare Beast that was hiding in a corner disintegrated into a cloud of green smoke. His scream of pain soon followed.
An extremely strong energy wave seemed to surge through the Soul Realm and expanded in all directions. The creatures of darkness within the Dark Forest were frantically escaping the area.
Even if I have to give everything I've got, I will continue on the path I have chosen!
Link felt immense pressure and pain on his soul but chose to ignore them all and continued on his Great Purification spell without hesitation.
Amongst this endless brilliance, Felina's eyes widened and looked at Link in disbelief. She understood that this power had exceeded the limits of a mere mortal.
Annie stared at the pained expression on Link's face and wept while trying to stifle her cries.
The remaining scouts were already kneeling on the ground from the impact of this spell. They felt as though they had seen the incarnation of God.
Dark Forest, Physical Realm.
Aymons had arrived at Auselia's side. He was casting the Realm Conversion spell at the moment when he suddenly halted his actions. The spell he was casting was interrupted as well.
"What happened?" Auselia asked.
Aymons shook his head. "Nothing. I felt slightly flustered for a moment. It must have been my old age."
He then continued casting the spell.
Five seconds later, the surrounding world seemed to be robbed of its vibrant colors. Auselia, Bruttan and the group of 30 ghouls were all transported to the Soul Realm.
Aymons did not enter the Soul Realm together with them. His voice rang through the atmosphere, "Your Highness. You will be able to stay in the Soul Realm for three hours. Three hours later, you will be automatically transported back to the Physical Realm. If you wish to return before that time, please call my name."
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