Within two to three minutes, Link saw the battlegrounds through the sparse cover of the rubber trees.
Link's heart raced at the scene before him.
Three bandits, wearing masks of blood-red fabric, were attacking a young kid of around seventeen or eighteen years of age. He had a face of indescribable beauty.
It was fine if someone was prettier than average, but this kid's features were far beyond that. He had a head of cloud-gray hair, eyes of a deep, dark green hue and near-perfect facial features. He was worthy of any praise in that regard.
A name popped up on the game interface before Link.
The half-elf Eliard!
Eliard: A Legendary character, born of a human and a High Elf, with unfathomable magical talent.
The first twenty years of the game had been a time when darkness had crept over the world. But it had also been the time during which the half-elf had grown to reach the Legendary Pinnacle.
If one were to speak about the World of Firuman without its game players, and only of the native NPCs, Eliard was definitely the typical undying protagonist!
Of course, at this moment, the prodigy's journey had not yet begun. Now, he was just a normal kid. Though somewhat skilled in fighting solo, he was still in pretty bad shape.
Facing three normal bandits with skills equal to that of the average street thug, Eliard managed to duck and evade here and there, narrowly missing death several times. He bled from multiple cuts on his body, and he looked as if he would fall at any moment.
Link had his mission to complete. Seeing that Eliard was about to be captured, he attacked.
There were just a few bandits. Link cast a Fireball at each of them from behind the tree without even showing his face.
Though his magic was weak, and despite the spells being cast without a wand, the Fireballs still possessed a certain amount of strength. Link used his old trick-a fireball exploded in each of the three bandits' ears.
Bang! Bang! Bang! One of the bandits was knocked out by the blast, leaving the other two stumbling about like drunken men.
Eliard was quick and nimble and knew some martial arts, but he was not a bloodthirsty fellow. At this, he landed a karate chop on each of the bandits' necks, knocking them out for good.
Then he looked in the direction in which Link stood. Wearing a hint of wariness, he called out, "Mr. Magician, thank you for your help."
He was too handsome, too beautiful. Because of his mixed parentage, Eliard had been left at an orphanage and grew up facing a lot of deception. Many harbored evil thoughts due to his exceptional looks. He had almost been sold to the nobles as an escort. The three bandits' aim had been obvious-they wanted to capture and sell him. His past experiences made him wary of strangers' help.
The Magician had appeared at a crucial moment, just as he was about to be captured by the bandits. There was something strange about that.
Perhaps he was being overly suspicious, but it was that same suspicion which had allowed him to survive up until now.
Link, not knowing what thoughts ran through Eliard's head, walked out from behind the tree and smiled at him. "It's nothing, just a simple gesture. I'm Link. May I know your name?"
Eliard hesitated, but the Magician had saved him, after all, so he gave his real name. "My name is Eliard."
Link smiled. He remembered a randomly generated, secret mission he had once heard of.
People on the game forum said that a young, unbelievably powerful NPC Magician appeared around the East Cove Magic Academy. The NPC appeared at random, issuing missions which allowed game players to collect all sorts of alchemy ingredients and materials. The missions weren't difficult but they were somewhat tedious. Game players received Epic Magic Crystals from the NPC after completing the final part of the mission.
In the game, items of Fine and Superior Quality were common, but Epic items were precious. Even in the next 20 years, when the world's Mana density was much higher, it was still quite an accomplishment for a game player to be able to collect a full set of Epic quality gear.
The NPC Magician was Eliard. All those who had completed the secret mission said that the half-elf was a mild, generous fellow who paid his debts in kind. Link knew that the stories probably rang true from Eliard's clear eyes and gentle features.
Making friends with a talented, future Legendary character was probably a good thing. But Eliard looked wary. Link would probably need a few tricks to build rapport with him.
"Good. I'll remember it. I should leave too, now that you're safe." Link gave Eliard a Magician's salute, then turned to leave.
He believed that Eliard would stop him. Even if he didn't, they would meet again at the East Cove Magic Academy. After all, Eliard was also bound for the school to study magic.
"Wait," Eliard did indeed stop him, "Mr. Link, are you a Magician of the East Cove Magic Academy?"
Link stopped and shook his head. "Not yet. I am on my way there to study magic."
"You..." Eliard's dark green eyes swept up and down Link's figure. What he saw was a pair of dull eyes (a manifestation of Ailing Magic), a normal gray robe and just a faint tinge of Mana around him. The Magician was probably just a normal Magician's Apprentice.
As far as he knew, the East Cove Magic Academy was extremely strict in its enrollment requirements. After all, the academy was the gathering place of the elite figures within the Norton Kingdom. It took in only prodigies or fully-fledged Magicians.
This Link knew some magic, but his talent was weak. He would probably be turned down at the door.
"What? Is something wrong?" Link asked with a smile.
"Sir, I have heard that the East Cove Magic Academy is very strict in its selection of applicants. I am afraid that you may not make it," Eliard said carefully, doing his best to avoid hurting Link's pride with his words. He no longer held any suspicion of Link.
Link understood what Eliard was saying. A wry smile crossed his lips. With just one glance, the effect of Ailing Magic allowed others to tell that he had not been blessed with magical talent.
"I brought some magic books with me. I'll try to enroll at the academy first. If I don't make it, I'll self-study for a while and try again when I improve." Link's smile was sunny and cheerful.
Eliard felt pity at this. In his eyes, Link was the type of person who, despite having his heart set on magic, had not been blessed with talent.
There were many such people in the Kingdom. But there was a stark difference between ideals and reality. Most of them studied magic with a passion, but still ended up wasting their youth.
Eliard pondered it, then said, "I'm planning to go to the East Cove Magic Academy too. Why don't we go together?"
The young Magician's Apprentice had saved his life. He owed Link a huge favor.
I'll be able to help him with his magic even if I can't help him get into the academy, Eliard thought.
As for himself, he was confident that he'd be able to enter the East Cove Magic Academy thanks to his incomparable magical talent. All the Magicians who had seen him said so, and he himself could sense it.
Link's heart leaped for joy. It was all going as he'd planned. He'd managed to get close to Eliard, a halo of undying luck shone upon him. Following Eliard was definitely the right choice.
A notification appeared on the interface.
Game player receives 5 Omni Points.
Subsequent mission activated.
Enroll and study magic at the East Cove Magic Academy.
Truly master a Level-0 Spell.
Mission Reward: 5 Omni Points.
Wonderful. Link accepted the mission with a smirk.
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