Chapter 299: The "Small Rodents" Strikes!
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Rear mountain of the Dragon Temple.
Link and Elin were hiding behind a huge tree and discussing strategies to deal with their predicament.
"Perhaps, we should try to escape from the Dragon Valley," Elin said as she nodded, convinced that this was the most reliable way.
The Red Dragon Queen contained all the abnormalities within the Soul Realm to keep it out of sight from the ordinary residents of the Dragon Valley. However, this action also revealed her terrifying power.
In front of such a magnificent dragon soul, Link and Elin were like two small rodents under the feet of a giant elephant. If even the elephant could not resolve this issue, how could two small rodents offer any help? The correct way to deal with this situation was to make a run for it.
However, Link had just accepted a mission and naturally would not agree to this plan of action. Furthermore, it was impossible to break through the Spatial Maze surrounding the Dragon Valley. Instead of rejecting Elin's idea outright, Link rebutted, "Are you sure you know the way out?"
Elin fell speechless before she started to grumble, "I knew that something was wrong the moment I accepted the invitation. I did not think much about it and look at what happened! How unlucky!"
Link then stuck his head out to take a look at the Red Dragon Queen who was constantly being corroded by the Dark Sacred Gear. After a few minutes, he turned to Elin and said, "At this rate, the queen will completely descend into darkness in half a months' time. If there is no improvement to the situation after half a month, we might be facing an insane dark dragon queen."
"Do you have any ideas?" Elin clasped her hands on her face at the thought of this disastrous situation.
"Not for now...Let's take our discussion back to our room. It is not safe here," Link said.
Although he was tasked to find the mastermind behind this situation, the information that he was presented with was simply too sparse. He had to do further investigation before he could determine the next course of action.
"Alright, let's go back. Look into my eyes," Elin said.
Link followed her instructions.
Elin's eyes were originally slightly cloudy. However, it slowly cleared up and sparkled, expanding to fill Link's field of vision.
"Soul Return!" Elin whispered.
Shadows flashed across Link's eyes at an unbelievable speed. He only felt himself shiver slightly before he found himself back in the room of the Night of the Dragon Inn. He then stared at the soul candle in front of him and realized that only a small portion of it remained.
It seemed like a dream.
Link could not help but exclaim at Elin's techniques. It was indeed a lot safer and more effective than Eleanor's dimensional scroll.
Elin's voice then rang out, "Do you see now; the queen is entangled in a mess. She has no time to entertain us."
Link fell silent and tapped the table lightly. After half a minute, he stood up and said, "We cannot watch and do nothing. Let's go; we will circle the area and see if we can find any clues."
"Searching for clues? Are you planning to get involved in this?" Elin jumped down from her couch as she said.
"I'm afraid we have no other choice," Link said as he summoned Nana to his side. He then walked towards the door and said, "Instead of awaiting death, let's try our luck."
This sentence seemed to strike a chord with Elin as she skipped towards him and said, "Wait for me, I'm going as well."
Quickly, the two of them reached the lobby of the inn.
Link then approached the boss of the inn and said, "I am going for a short walk. If a messenger of the queen comes, tell them that I will be back soon."
The boss nodded and said, "I understand, but don't go too far out. A circus just arrived in town. It is quite entertaining; you might be interested."
"Thank you," Link nodded as though deep in thought as he exited the inn with Elin.
"Do you have any plans now?" Elin whispered.
"Sort of," Link rationalized the situation in his mind as he mumbled his thoughts, "The Scale of Balance would not malfunction for no reason. Someone must have purposely damaged it. As a Sacred Gear, it must have been heavily guarded by the high-ranking dragons. Ordinary dragons might not even get to see the Sacred Gear. The person who did this must then be a high-ranking dragon..."
"Could it be the fallen Isendilan? He was the husband of the Red Dragon Queen after all," Elin lost her usual casual demeanor and became serious.
Link then shook his head and said, "That's not very possible. He was already exiled from the Dragon Valley after being exposed. Everything in the Dragon Valley that is connected to him will be thoroughly investigated as well. Even if he had that idea, he would not be able to actualize it. I think that the person who did this must be someone that had a good reputation amongst the high-ranking dragon race."
Elin had to jog to keep up with Link's pace as she said, "There is nothing wrong with what you said. However, we have completely no clue about the inner politics of the dragon race. We are also not allowed inside the Dragon Temple. There is no way we can find this person...Hey don't walk so fast, I cannot keep up with you."
Link then recollected himself as he turned to look at a panting Elin. He then said apologetically, "I'm sorry that I did not notice. Do you want Nana to carry you?"
"Alright then, Nana, please," Elin smiled as she said. She seemed to be extremely friendly towards Nana.
After Nana lifted her off the ground, Link continued his analysis, "Although we have never entered the Dragon Temple, this does not mean that we cannot find this high-ranking dragon. Think about it, the queen is already in such trouble. This means that the person has already succeeded. If you were in his shoes, what would you do next?"
"Me?" Elin frowned as she thought, "I have never plotted against someone. However, I had a fight with my father when I was six. I snuck half a bottle of goat piss into his cold plum wine and ran to my aunt's house to stay for a month. I wanted my father to know that I have always been at my aunt's house and had no time to execute this dirty plan."
"Haha!" Link could not help but laugh, "Yes, that is exactly what this person will do. He will start creating an alibi to protect himself. Furthermore, there is a huge chance that he is not in the Dragon Temple, as any disguise may be easily exposed. It is simply too dangerous to stay in the Dragon Temple. It will be impossible to escape! Therefore, he will definitely find an excuse to leave the Dragon Temple."
"So he might have already left the Dragon Valley-how are we going to find him then?" Elin followed Link's train of thoughts and asked.
Link then shook his head and said affirmingly, "He is not in the Dragon Temple, but there is a low chance that he will leave the Dragon Valley."
"Why is that so...Oh, I understand. He wants to see the fruits of his labor, right?" Elin already understood the situation. After she spiked her father's wine with goat's piss, she still constantly tried to inquire about the situation despite being at her aunt's house. She wanted to know if her father indeed drank that disgusting drink.
Naturally, her father drank it in the end, though he also exposed her dirty tricks and gave her a good spanking.
Link then smiled and said, "That's right. If we can find this high-ranking dragon race, we might just turn the tables around."
"That will be tough. The Dragon Valley is more than 500 miles in diameter, and there are more than ten thousand high-ranking dragons. Each of them also has a territory. We merely have half a month's time to look through all these unfamiliar people. This is impossible!" Elin frowned as she said.
If there were a high-ranking dragon who could give them an overview of the inner politics, coupled with their previous analysis, they could definitely point out the suspects swiftly.
However, there was no one to offer any help. They could only make ungrounded guesses.
Link then smiled as he said, "It is not as difficult as it seems. Look, this high-ranking dragon has already left the Dragon Temple. In order to not attract any attention, he will stay low on the radar. However, he also has to keep updated about the situation in the Dragon Temple. What do you think he would do?"
"Find someone to help?" Elin hesitated for a moment before she had an epiphany. Her eyes sparkled with excitement as she said, "This messenger has to not attract attention and must be an ordinary dragon. These dragons are usually very weak, and for him to get news on the Dragon Temple, he has to get as close as possible. The closest place an ordinary dragon like him can get to is Creekwood Village!"
Link snapped his fingers as he said, "Yes, that's right. That is the dragon that we must find!"
Creekwood Village was a small area less than a mile in diameter and housed only around 3000 people. It would not be difficult to spot an ordinary dragon with unusual behavior, especially to a meticulous Magician with good observation skills.
"Let's go; we will begin looking for him. We can even narrow our scope further. If this ordinary dragon is really present, then he will definitely not be a local. He must have arrived recently on a very reasonable excuse so as to not attract unwanted attention. The only thing that checks all the boxes...I think I already know the answer," Link chuckled.
Elin had not understood Link's words. She felt like she was missing an important piece of the puzzle and her curiosity got the better of her. She immediately pressed, "What is it? Where is he? Tell me!"
"The boss of the inn mentioned that a circus arrived in town," Link reminded.
"Oh, yes, why didn't I think of that! That person must have snuck into the circus!" Elin exclaimed before she quickly urged, "Let's go! We will fish him out right now!"
Link was a lot calmer as he said, "Don't get too excited. This is only our speculation. Whether or not we succeed will depend on our luck."
His previous inference was merely built on a very limited pool of knowledge. However, the truth was often built from countless grounded key information. If they had missed out any crucial information along the way, they might be led in a completely different direction.
Their predictions merely gave their actions more conviction and purpose as they tried their luck.
The circus was extremely eye-catching. It was located at the center plaza of the village. Their performances were similar to that of the human world, mainly comprising of clowns, beasts jumping through fire rings, juggling bears, and so on.
Link and Elin made one round around the circus. After that, Elin stared at Link proudly as she asked, "Did you find him?"
From her haughty expression, Link knew that she had found her target. He then nodded and said, "I have mine too."
As he said, he materialized an image in front of him. Upon seeing this image, Elin chuckled, "It seems like we found the same person."
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