270 Pursuit in the Forest


 Girvent Forest

After watching Dorias leave with Dark Elf Prince Walter hanging from his mouth, Link cast a Traceless spell and snuck forward.

Perhaps due to the commotion from his previous fight with Walter, the battle sounds in the distance had disappeared. The forest had become silent again.

Link followed the direction the sound had come from and crept forward. After around 300 feet, Link saw the first corpse-an Undead Knight.

According to Gildern, these knights were practically impossible to kill. However, in battle, the other party seemed to have a solution against the Undead Knights. The corpse before Link now seemed to have been filled with some horrible power. The gray-white skin was riddled with holes like a sieve. Black blood flowed out of the holes and corroded the grass around him.

The blood was poisonous, so Link didn't dare touch it. He carefully bypassed the body and continued forward. He tried to organize his thoughts about the relationships between everyone.

"Alloa betrayed the Dark Elves, so they wanted to capture her. That makes sense, but then what's with these Undead Knights?"

Their armor had the Delonga Royalty's emblem, so they were from the South. Could it be the Syndicate? But wasn't the Shadow Stalker working with the Dark God? Why would a mistake like this happen?

If it was the Syndicate, it wouldn't make any sense. While thinking, Link suddenly remembered what Skinorse had told him. He'd said that Wavier had become Demon God Tabinos' slave and had created these Undead Knights.

"So these Undead Knights have nothing to do with the Syndicate and belong to Wavier himself?" Link wondered aloud. "Or more specifically, are they under Tabinos?"

Demon God Tabinos was not compatible with the Spider Queen Lolth that the Dark Elves worshipped. It was understandable if the believers of both sides fought over the Maiden of Truth.

However, this explanation also had uncertainties. How did Wavier get the information that Alloa had escaped from the North? Pondering hard, Link could only come to the hypothesis that Wavier had something to do with the Syndicate, but they were only close on the surface and had internal conflicts.

In order to capture the Maiden of Truth, the Dark Elves asked the Syndicate for help. In the process, they found Wavier, but the Dark Elves didn't expect Wavier would break the alliance halfway through.

This was the only logical explanation Link could think of. Of course, this was only Link's guess. As for the truth, he still had to see. He followed the signs of struggle and continued forward.

After around 650 feet, there was a clearing in the forest, but it was covered with corpses! This was probably the scene of the previous battle.

Link circled it, studying the traces in the area carefully.

"Eight Undead Knights, two Dark Elves..." he said to himself. "Hey, these are ghouls. Many footprints-Undead Knights, ghouls, this hoof print...Is it a demon?"

After investigating for five more minutes, Link discovered that three new people had joined the fight. One was a demon, and one was a Dark Elf Magician.

The last one was the most mysterious. The footprints indicated that he had existed, but he'd always stayed in the sideline, watching without participating. Link didn't know what kind of power he had.

"This guy stood by the tree without releasing any aura. He seems similar to a common man but who exactly was he? Is he from the Dark Elves' side or Delonga?"

Things were becoming more and more complicated; Link grew more cautious.

Investigating for a bit longer, Link confirmed that the enemy was still up ahead and he started pursuing.

There was another forest. The tall arbor blocked the sunlight, and the lush shrubbery practically blocked off all paths. The only path available had been created forcefully by someone. Here, the Undead Knights had abandoned their horses and went by foot.

From the prints, they had been here less than ten minutes ago.

Link observed carefully the entire way. His target was not the Undead Knights, ghouls, or the Dark Magician but the mysterious man who didn't fight. This guy felt the most threatening, and Link had to be cautious of him.

The mysterious man was very prudent. He didn't leave behind many traces, but they still existed. Link was detailed too. He never lost his target during this entire time.

After around two miles, he came across corpses again. There were three-two ghouls and one Undead Knight. Link glanced around and felt something was amiss.

Before, the Undead Knights had all seemed mutilated, but this corpse was better off. It had fallen mostly because his head had been chopped off. Link realized that the Undead Knight's body still maintained its vibrant strength. If someone found his head and put it back, he would probably be able to stand up again after a period of time.

The ghouls' corpses were much worse off. Two seemed to have exploded. Their internal organs, blood, and muscles were scattered on the ground, turning this place into a hell on earth.

After observing for ten seconds, Link concluded, "The mysterious man finally acted. His spell was...huh, it's the Black Fire Beetle!"

Black Fire Beetle

Level-4 Dark Magic

Effect: Creates a beetle with very high penetrative abilities. The beetle contains extremely condensed black flames. Once inside the target's body, it will either become parasitic or explode depending on the situation.

(Note: Boom! An exploding watermelon!)

The problem was, this Dark Magic spell was very powerful for sneak attacks, but the spell structures were also complicated. It was much higher than the difficulty of a Level-4 spell. The difficulty and effect were unequal, so very few people would choose to learn it. In the game, the Dark Magicians Link had encountered who used this spell were almost all demon god believers. This was because the demon god's power could lower the difficulty of the spell.

Link got an idea. "Demon god believer Wavier, did you come too?" he asked aloud.

This was his guess. Following this idea, Link started investigating the situation of the small battlefield in detail. Within two minutes, he found a large number of clues. He had mostly recreated the battle in his mind.

The Dark Elves captured Alloa and continued northwest, preparing to retreat...From the marks, there weren't many Undead Knights anymore, only...13. Two ghouls were left to stop the incoming enemy. Two against one-they could've killed the Undead Knights easily, but Wavier suddenly came out...Now, the Dark Elves should be at a disadvantage. This Dark Magician used three Level-6 spells and ten Level-4 spells along the day. Here, he only used a Level-3 spell to block the path. His Mana was practically all spent.

Link had received a lot of information from the countless small clues. He had a general idea of the opponent's power.

He continued chasing for around one mile. Along the way, three more Undead Knights had fallen while more ghouls had died. There were nine, all killed from exploding.

Link could see from the footprints that the Dark Elves were disordered. The footprints had different depths which reflected their anxiety. On the other hand, Wavier's footprints were all equal. He was like the king of the jungle, calmly advancing and reducing the places his prey could run to.

"Wavier is much stronger than before. Seems like the demon god has given him many benefits."

After around 300 feet, Link suddenly felt something wrong. Then, a black shadow abruptly jumped out of the forest nearby. Without hesitation, it swung a sword at his area.

Poof! The Battle Aura created a seven-foot-long arc through the air, slicing down towards Link's position.

The opponent sensed my existence but couldn't determine my specific position, Link thought. This attack is to force me out! If an Undead Knight can create a Battle Aura Cut, he'd be at least Level-6. So powerful!

His fight with Dark Prince Walter had made a big commotion. If Wavier was here, he'd definitely know that someone was chasing after him. If he kept some Undead Knights behind, it was to delay Link.

These thoughts flashed past Link's mind. He reacted instantly. Casting Cheetah's Agility on himself, he ducked down speedily. With a whistle, the Battle Aura Cut flew past, a hair's breadth above Link's head.

He had dodged the attack but also revealed his position. The Undead Knight adjusted his body slightly and unhesitatingly charged at Link.

Link focused, and the opponent's actions slowed instantly. He aimed carefully and activated the Vector Force Field.

The Vector Force Field may only be a Level-1 spell, but Link had greatly improved the spell's structure. Now, its power was comparable to a Level-3 spell.

Of course, this wasn't much to a Level-6 Warrior. However, after experiencing so many battles, Link had raised his understanding of a Warrior's different actions of instinctive reactions. Using a force field against them was easy and familiar.

As expected, there was a light thud. The Undead Knight had been attacked by the force field in mid-charge. The crash sent him stumbling back. Because he had been running at full speed, he lost his balance suddenly and couldn't recover.

The forest's terrain was complex. The Undead Knight's left foot had a misstep and twisted. With a crack, a bone was broken, and he flew out. The sneak attack had succeeded; this Undead Knight was no longer a threat.

Link dodged beforehand and avoided the Undead Knight's flying body. However, he was still in danger; two knights had been left behind.

While the previous one charged, the other also started charging from the other side of Link.

Link's solution against this knight was even simpler. He hid behind the two-foot wide tree beside him. The opponent instantly lost sight of him, but it was difficult to turn while sprinting. The Undead Knight could only halt but he reacted quickly too. He instantly activated the Battle Aura Cut to chop down the tree.

Link didn't give him the chance. He had completely grasped the Undead Knight's rhythm!

After hiding behind the tree, he didn't waste any time. He pounced sideways but halfway, he flashed and cast the Traceless spell. He disappeared into thin air, and his aura disappeared.

When the Undead Knight hurried to the tree, Link was already gone. The knight looked left and right. He swung his sword wildly at where Link could possibly be hiding but how could Link be there?

Helpless, he turned back to his companion. "Ford, how are you?"

"Broke my kneecap. I'll need half a day to recover." Undead Knight Ford's voice was gloomy.

His kneecap had been twisted badly, but as if he couldn't feel any pain, he sliced it open with a sword and started fixing the bone.

While treating himself, he asked, "Where's he?"

"He slipped away like a rat. I don't know where he went!"

"He must've gone after Master. Leave me here and go reinforce him!" Ford said anxiously.

"Okay!"

The Undead Knight flew deep into the forest. However, he didn't notice that while he was running, a figure was following dozens of feet behind him.

It was Link.

If he went alone, he wouldn't be able to know the enemy's specific location. He would need to spend time searching for clues and also be cautious of attacks. Now, he had a straightforward guide. It was much safer this way.