The emergency letter from the MI3 had a special magic seal targeted at Link's Mana. Only Link could open it; if anyone else tried to damage it, the letter would self-destruct.
This letter from the battlefield, Link could only read it by himself. He brought it back to his room and cast a Silent Barrier. Then, he lightly pressed his thumb to the letter, supplying his Mana continuously.
After around three seconds, the shimmering surface on the letter receded like a tide. The entire outer shell faded as well. Finally, the entire letter transformed into a light blue ball of light. It turned into a face that hovered quietly in the air.
The face started mechanically reading the report.
"Recently, many Fear Demons were discovered in the Northern Black Forest. These demons and ghouls appear in groups and work well together. Their combat power is many times higher than the ghoul teams from before. The MI3 suffered heavy casualties, and the Black Forest is practically sealed by the Dark Elves. We only know about ten percent of what is happening there. There is heavy fog over the entire forest. To counter the possible attacks from the Divine Gear, the Pope and Twelve Archbishops of the Sacred City have already brought the Holy Grail north to the Orida Fortress."
There was not much to report. After that, it added the exact date, showing that it was a report from two days ago. Afterward, the light forming the man's face scattered into faint light spots and disappeared in the air.
It was only a few minutes, but it was like a dark cloud over Link. Had the Dark Elves started summoning Fear Demons?
Introduction: #28 on the High-Level Demon Combat Power Rank. They are extremely powerful. In battle, they can instantly sense holes in the enemy's mindset and use strong psychological attacks to disrupt the enemy.
In the game, the Dark Elves had destroyed Greenstone, and then used sacrifices to summon the Dark Serpent Divine Gear. Later, they moved south, fighting smoothly. That was why, five years later, the Light Confederation was formed and they started summoning large amounts of demons to fight against the attacks. The first type of demons summoned was the Fear Demon.
But now, it was three years too soon!
If the ghouls modified by the venom of the Dark Serpent were like cockroaches that couldn't be killed, the Fear Demons were battle masters with the characteristics of a cockroach!
All the high-level demons from the Abyss had boundless vitality comparable to the ghouls. Because of the difficult environment of the Abyss, every demon who could survive had rich battle experiences.
These demons were extremely powerful, especially high-level ones like the Fear Demons. Compared to the ghouls with raised strength but low experience, they could fight one against ten.
Even more terrifying, the ghouls would definitely make these Fear Demons their commanders. This would make up for the ghouls' own lack of experience.
This was so in reality. The report had said that the combat abilities of the ghoul teams had multiplied. No wonder the MI3 would be forced out of the Black Forest.
In war, the most crucial thing was information. Now, the MI3 was unable to see anything in the Black Forest. They had no clue what the Dark Elves were doing. Even worse, there was no news on the actions of the Dark Serpent. If the Dark Elves wanted a surprise attack...the result was too horrible to imagine!
"However, the Light Church has put the Holy Grail into use. They should still have a chance to fight or at least delay the enemy."
Link remembered the characteristics of the Holy Grail clearly.
Effect 1: It activates a Light Territory up to six miles in diameter. Within this territory, all organisms of the Light World will receive the Light's Blessing. The strength of all dark organisms will decrease by 80%.
Effect 2: Begins the holy summoning to summon seraphim to fight in the mortal world!
The Light Territory was almost tyrannical. The seraphim it could summon had Legendary power, enough to make the Dark Elves fear for their lives and change their battle tactics.
However, this was only an expedient solution. Sacred Gears were not the same as Divine Gears. It could stop the Dark Elves for a while, but as time went on, the enemy would definitely think of a solution.
Pondering, Link realized that he was unable to help with the war in the North anymore. He could only reinforce them in the background...No, he still had Nana.
"I can't keep procrastinating. I must complete Nana!"
Thinking of this, Link wanted to go to the seaside immediately and work with Vance to create Nana as soon as possible. However, he knew that as the lord, it would be troublesome if someone discovered he was with a Lich at a time like this.
"What should I do? What should I do?" Link murmured to himself. He paced in the room, trying to come up with a perfect excuse that wouldn't be suspected.
After thinking for a while, he really did come up with something. "Pretend to be sick? That might work!"
He could pretend to be sick and stay inside and then sneak out to the shore of the East Sea. If he had Celine for his alias, there shouldn't be any problems. This illness couldn't be any simple one either because there was a priest at Scorched Ridge. He could easily cure Link. For a Magician, the biggest problem would be... Yes, spell backlash!
A priest couldn't cure this illness; the Magician must recover by himself.
Thinking of this, Link went to find Celine. After he told her everything, Celine's eyes widened, and she looked at him in surprise.
"What's wrong? Is it bad?" Link felt guilty being stared at like that.
"No, I just think it's weird you can think of something so interesting, ha." Not only did Celine not disagree, she even thought it was interesting.
"Let's discuss the details now. My cover can't be blown."
The two put their heads together and discussed for several hours until they came up with a seamless plan.
There was a boom and huge sound waves spread through Scorched Ridge. Firelight rushed into the air, illuminating the night sky.
Everyone was shocked awake. Quickly, someone felt something wrong.
"Oh no, it's the lord's home! It's on fire!"
"What are you waiting for? Put out the fire! Put it out!"
Where's the lord? Is he okay? This was what the soldiers and common folk thought.
The Magicians of Scorched Ridge rushed to the scene as soon as possible. The two at the front were the two Masters from the East Cove Magic Academy-Grenci and Ferdinand.
They were nervous because they sensed huge Mana waves before the fire appeared. Rather than the typical waves, they had been uncontrolled and scattered. Waves like that meant a Magician's experiment had failed, and there was a high chance of spell backlash.
To a Magician, there was nothing more dangerous than this. When the two rushed to the scene, there was only blazing fire. There was no trace of Link.
"No way," Grenci murmured. How could a genius Magician die from spell backlash? This was unrealistic.
He would believe other people, but it was impossible for Link. He had such fast reflexes that he would definitely realize his Mana was losing control and save himself.
"Do you think he used Burst to escape?" Ferdinand guessed.
"No, I didn't feel the Mana for Burst," a voice said. It was light and lovely with a hint of worry. The voice came from Princess Milda.
"I didn't sense it either. Did something really happen?" Romilson was here too.
More and more people hurried over. They surrounded the blazing cabin, but Link still didn't appear.
"No, we must run in to save him!" Jacker had arrived. He was more straightforward and had a damp blanket over him. The Battle Aura around him was explosive; he was ready to run into the fire to find Link.
But then, something moved inside the fire.
"Jacker, wait. Look, someone's coming out," Eliard said.
The situation inside the fire was very clear now. Everyone could see a blurry figure walk from the blazing flames. When he came out, flames still covered his body. Five seconds later, the flames finally extinguished, revealing Link.
His face was as white as paper, and a patch of his hair had been burnt to crisp. He was covered with burns as well. In the empty space, he couldn't stand anymore. He staggered, almost falling over.
Countless people rushed over to steady him. The fastest one, the least hesitant, and the closest to Link was Celine. She held onto him and asked anxiously, "Lord, how are you?"
"My body is okay, but my Mana is a bit uncontrolled." Link smiled wryly.
Seeing that Link was okay, Grenci felt assured. He looked at Link's pathetic state and walked up to reprimand him. "After two days, the Mage Tower will be finished. If you want to experiment with new spells, you should go to the elemental pool of the Mage Tower. What are you hurrying for?"
"Stop," Ferdinand advised from the side. "Everything's alright as long as he's alright." Then he turned to Link and asked, "How are you now?"
"My Mana is very chaotic. I think I must recuperate quietly and organize my Mana." With that, Link coughed lightly. There was blood at the corner of his lips. It was clear that he was badly injured.
Milda walked over from the side. "The injuries look grave," she said caringly. "I have some Elf Nectar here. Drink it."
Link didn't reject her. He took the crystal bottle and drank all of the holy medicine.
At the side, Jacker and others saw that Link was alright and the fire had only burned Link's home. It hadn't spread further. Jacker waved a hand and said, "Let's disperse now. There's nothing wrong. The lord was experimenting with a new spell, and it's a small mishap. This won't happen after the Mage Tower is finished. Let's go now."
It had made a big commotion, but it actually wasn't that big of a deal. Under the soldiers' urging, the residents of Scorched Ridge all went back to their homes to rest.
On the side, Link smiled wryly at the Magicians. "It was a bit dangerous," he explained. "My mind is quite messy right now, and I must rest quietly for a while. I'm not sure if I can be better within half a month. Two Masters, all Magic-related matters of Scorched Ridge will need your help while I'm resting."
"No problem, these are all small things. Your health is most important," Grenci said. Ferdinand nodded.
Then Link said to Lucy, "There aren't any big matters on the territory these days. You can make decisions for me for everyday tasks. Jacker, Gildern, it's the same for you. If there's something important, tell Celine, and she'll notify me."
"Yes, Lord." The three weren't quite familiar with spell backlash, so they agreed without suspicion.
Link then smiled apologetically at Princess Milda. "I'm sorry for disturbing Your Highness's rest so late at night."
"It's nothing, but were you experimenting with a Level-7 Spell?"
"Yes, but I failed." Link's face was filled with regret.
At the side, Romilson comforted him. "Failing is normal. Back in the day, I failed at least seven times and had spell backlash four times. Once, it was even a serious injury, and I had to rest for half a year. But I'm seriously impressed that you dared to experiment without the Mage Tower!"
Link chuckled. He didn't dare; this was all a show.
"Then everyone, I'll go rest now."
"Go, go. Rest well and don't take risks like this again!" Grenci chided.
Link nodded. Celine helped him toward her own cabin. The people of the territory no longer saw this as strange. Link and Celine's close relationship was old news.
Once Link entered Celine's cabin, Milda turned to rest too. After a few steps, Romilson caught up. He asked softly, "Your Highness, this was weird. How can spell backlash happen to Link? It's so weird!"
Milda smiled. "Isn't spell backlash normal?"
"No, it's not the same. For other people, it's normal, but he's different. Back then, he helped detoxify Your Highness while controlling the Wind Fenrir to run smoothly and talking to me at the same time. He was doing three things at once. If this spell backlash didn't really happen, I would never believe it."
Milda still didn't feel any suspicion. She smiled and said, "Okay, stop feeling strange. Link is a human and humans can make mistakes. There's nothing weird about that. Go rest."
Seeing that Her Highness wasn't supporting his idea, Romilson couldn't do anything about it. Though he was suspicious, he didn't look too deep into it. He turned and went back to his cabin to rest.
On the other hand, Link waited patiently for two hours. When the territory fell quiet again, he whispered to Celine, "I'll be relying on you for the next few days."
"Don't worry. It's all on me," Celine promised seriously.
Link left the Flame Controller robe in Celine's room, using the aura from that robe as a disguise. He cast the Traceless spell and slipped out of Scorched Ridge.
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