Chapter 339: The Demons are the First to Benefit
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
After a period of rushed travel, Link's group made their way over for more than 40 miles.
Here, there was a drastic change in the mountain's geography. There were rocks everywhere while the trees and vegetation lessened. The view was wide, and there were fewer places to hide.
This was both a pro and a con.
Here, Skinorse whispered, "The red monkeys disappeared. It appears that we've left their blockade."
Link let out a breath of relief. He'd been fully focused while traveling down the mountain path earlier. Every time a red monkey discovered their traces, he would kill it at once and make sure it would be executed flawlessly. This really did use up some energy.
He looked at Melinda on Nana's back and asked, "How's the wound on your leg?"
"It's alright. It doesn't really hurt anymore." Melinda looked at Link with wide eyes filled with reverence.
This reassured Link. He glanced at the black cat. It was pretty obedient-probably because it tasted some benefits at the Crystal Blue Lake. Now, it hid inside Nana's shirt with only a head peeking out.
Seeing that Link was looking at it, it narrowed its emerald eyes and meowed as if saying, Jealous? Well, that sucks because this is my personal seat.
Its appearance made the others really want to beat it up. At least, Skinorse had glanced at it many times already. It seemed that he was about to yank the cat out from Nana's collar and jump in himself.
Link didn't have time to bother with it. He turned to Skinorse and said, "How much farther away is Orida?"
Skinorse was very familiar with the North. Hearing the question, he composed himself and looked down at his watch. Then he looked at the sun, took out a triangular thing, measured the angle, and came up with a calculation. "I think there are around 700 more miles. If we continue forward, we'll pass through the southern corner of the Black Forest after 400 miles."
"We can't go into the Black Forest. How about this? We'll take a detour south, and after we get to a safer place, I'll summon a Storm Eagle. The spell can help us fly around 60 miles."
The Storm Eagle consumed a great amount of Mana. Link now had a maximum of 18,500 Mana Points, but this could only last for five minutes. The Storm Eagle's top speed was around 1500 feet per second, so they could fly 60 miles in five minutes. He still had to save some Mana so while this spell looked cool, it wasn't that useful.
Skinorse had no objections, of course. Crossing through the Hengduan Mountain Range was honestly too dangerous. One mishap could have them end up surrounded by high-level demons. It was like flirting with death.
Everyone turned and started going south.
After around half an hour, a gorge appeared up ahead. It was extremely narrow; the narrowest place wasn't even 15 feet wide. From the distance, it seemed to be entirely closed up. The walls on either side were very steep; on average, they were more than 2500 feet high. If one stood in the gorge and looked up, one could only see a sliver of the sky.
It was very windy in the gorge. Perhaps the wind passed through some unique rock formation because they kept hearing cries and it was hair-rising.
Melinda curled up on Nana's back in fear and explained softly, "This is the Wailing Gorge. It's more than 30 miles long and contains many branches and caves. It's like a maze once you enter it, and it's really easy to get lost."
Skinorse had heard of the Wailing Gorge before. "This gorge has many legends," he said. "Legend says that there's a horrifying secret hidden here. Someone had buried countless treasures but put an evil curse on each one. Anyone who tried to get the treasure died. Apparently, one thousand years ago, the last emperor of the Goldweed Dynasty retreated into the Wailing Gorge with his last army and never came back out...Anyway, it's really dangerous."
Link knew a lot of information about the gorge as well, but they were from the past game. In the game, there were at least ten storyline quests, both big and small, hidden in each fork inside the gorge. Many parts were still off-limit to players even later in the game.
This was a mysterious gorge filled with unknown danger.
After thinking, Link asked Melinda, "Is there a way to bypass it?" Unless there was no other way, he didn't want to pass through the creepy place.
"I don't know." Melinda shook her head. "We've only ever flown past with our airships."
"What if we pass from the walls on the side?" Skinorse suggested.
"That might work...wait, probably not. Look there!" Link pointed to the sky behind them.
Skinorse and Melinda turned around to see many blurry black dots appear in the sky. Counting quickly, there was more than 100. Without a doubt, the demons must have caught up.
"I can feel that these demons are really powerful and there are too many of them. We're not their match so we can't go on top. We have to enter the gorge!" Link said.
The gorge was narrow, and the walls on either side effectively blocked the enemies' vision. It could greatly decrease the aerial threat.
Faced with more than a hundred high-level demons, this was their only choice.
"They sped up. They probably saw us." Skinorse's voice was a bit panicked.
Link decisively used Teleportation. They disappeared at the gorge entrance under the white light. When they reappeared, they were already inside. The transmission spell could make the enemy lose them temporarily, winning them more time.
"Traceless!" Link cast another invisibility spell on them all. Not only would this spell hide their bodies, but it would also block their voices, auras, and anything else that could be used to track them."
"We can't beat wings no matter how fast we run," Link said. "Speeding up won't help. We can only try to hide from their pursuit."
As he spoke, Link cast another spell: Pursuit.
Level-5 Secret Spell
Effect: Borrows mysterious power from time to point out a safe path for the user.
(Note: It will tell you the right answer.)
There was a small puff, and faint white mist appeared in Link's eyes. The thread of mist extended forward, pointing out the way forward.
"Follow me." Link followed the white mist and strode forward.
Faced with more than 100 high-level demons, Skinorse was a bit panicked too. He had fought with many high-level demons in the Black Forest before, and he knew clearly how terrifying they were.
As for Melinda, she had no idea. At this time, she clung to Nana tightly, and even her musket was trembling with her. Only Link was as calm as before. He was the anchor of this temporary team so they would do whatever he said. No one would object.
Whoosh...rustle... The flapping of wings created the sounds of air moving. A group of demons flapped their wings and landed at the entrance of the gorge.
There were more than 120 of them. Most were Winged Howlers and above Level-7. One-third of the group was at Level-8. This was a very powerful force.
It would be unimaginable in the past, but recently, the demons summoned from the Abyss were less restricted by the laws. The reduction of the power had lessened. The demons summoned to the World of Firuman were all strengthening at incredible speeds.
Now, their strength was already at a terrifying extent.
Link was probably the only one who truly knew why. Faced with this, he could only chuckle bitterly.
Who would be the first to benefit once the Mana density of the world rose? It was not the humans, not the High Elves, not any of the natives. The first to benefit were the ones who were already powerful in the foreign world-the demons!
This kind of delay existed in the previous game too. For more than five years, demons dominated the World of Firuman without any restraint. There wasn't a single person strong enough to fight them in the entire world.
After five years, the strong of the various races started strengthening as well, until they could restrict the demons.
"I saw them disappear here." A Winged Howler sprawled on the ground, carefully investigating the footprints on the ground. His two hooked noses twitched without stop. A few seconds later, he had another conclusion. "General, their scent is in the gorge's wind. They're inside."
The general in question was shrouded in black mist and his features difficult to see. The only feature that could be seen clearly was the two eyes glowing with misty red light. His wings were different from the Winged Howlers.
They had a layer of membrane on their wings while he had black wings. And instead of one pair, he had a smaller pair under the large wings.
He landed slowly and shook his body. The wings transformed into a black mist that melted into his body and a hollow voice sounded. "The human Magician has a very special status. Try to capture him alive."
"General, capturing a Magician alive is playing with fire," a Winged Howler said, discontent. Capturing someone alive meant holding back and doing that in a life-or-death battle was flirting with death. No one would be willing to do so.
Crack. With the crisp sound, the demon suddenly spun and flew into the air. A ball of black mist slowly dissipated where he had been standing. No one had seen what the general had done. He was too fast.
"Remember, I'm not discussing with you. I am ordering you! I like giving people the chance to redeem themselves but one chance. Understood?"
The black shadow bent over slightly, staring at the fallen Winged Howler with blood-red eyes.
The Winged Howler was at Level-8 but was defenseless before this black shadow. He was unwilling but didn't dare show it. "Yes," he muttered.
"Good." The black shadow straightened and pointed down at the gorge. "The wind pointed out a direction, but it won't do so forever. We must hurry."
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