Chapter 441: Breakthrough in Five Steps!
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Link wasn't far from the Dragon Valley now-only 600 more miles. He was pretty fast too. Nothing happened in the rest of the journey. Around one hour later, he stood before the Mist Maze.
From here, everything before him was white mist. No matter where he looked, he couldn't see the end. It was like a boundless wall.
At first, the mist wasn't very thick. He could see around 100 feet. There wasn't any strangeness in the space either. Link pulled himself together and stepped forward.
The moment he entered the Mist Maze, a huge mirror appeared in the Legendary Basilica of the Dragon Temple.
Close to 300 dragons had gathered in the basilica. The weakest one was at Level-7. Almost all mature high-level dragons were here.
The Red Dragon Queen and the elders were here as well. Their eyes flew to the mirror.
"He's coming!" Elder Pettalong uttered.
All the dragons had been talking amongst themselves earlier. Now, their heads all turned to the image inside the mirror. Many began commenting quietly.
Some were in shock. "A human Magician possesses our race's power. It's unbelievable."
Some were hostile. "He's a thief. He stole our power!"
Some were seeing Link for the first time. "He looks strong, and his movements are agile. He doesn't look like a Magician at all."
Some were purely here for fun. "Do you think he can get through the Mist Maze?"
"I hope he won't. I don't want to become the same race as a human."
According to their tradition, any organism that possessed Dragon Power and could pass the Mist Maze independently would be accepted as a member of the dragon race. Throughout their history of ten thousand years, this had happened 13 times, but only two succeeded. The last one to successfully join the dragon race was 5000 years ago, and he was a Legendary half-dragon.
Of course, only the dragons knew about this tradition. Link, who was currently in the Mist Maze, didn't know anything. Around 3000 feet in, he started running into problems.
A folded space appeared before him. The folding method was very exquisite and practically seamless. Link discovered that there were at least 30 passageways before him. He didn't dare walk aimlessly or use portals in a folded space.
He sat down and placed his magic notes on his knees. He wrote down calculations with one hand while casting a Spatial Detection spell with the other hand to detect the properties of the folded space.
Link's calculations were very slow. He would often stop and ponder while resting his head on his hands. He would think for a long time, supporting his head with his eyes closed. He looked like he was asleep.
Half an hour passed. The dragons in the temple didn't mock him because the half-dragon that had passed had been stuck in the Mist Maze for one month before somehow getting out.
It was only half an hour now; it was quite normal.
Of course, the dragons wouldn't keep watching the mirror. They started chatting again. The Red Dragon Queen and elders activated a Soundproof Barrier. They were also discussing quietly.
"Your Majesty, have you really decided?" Pettalong asked. His brows were slightly knitted, clearly not agreeing with the queen's idea.
The queen shook her head slowly. "I'm not sure. Let's just see as we go. He hasn't passed through the Mist Maze yet."
Another elder said, "So what if he can pass? According to you, he received Dragon Power accidentally. He doesn't have our blood. If you do this, the royal bloodline will be tainted."
As soon as he finished, another elder refuted, "You cannot say that. Her Majesty already checked personally. Link's Dragon Power is perfect. And not only does he possess Dragon Power, but he can also develop it further as well. This means his body has already started transforming."
"This has no precedent in our history!" yet another elder said.
They wouldn't be so conflicted if there was a tradition to follow. If it had happened before and they repeated it, it would be a small mistake even if it was wrong. But if there was no precedent, no one knew what consequences it could cause.
"The world is changing. Traditions are reliable, but you must make changes at some point."
"Can you bear the responsibility-"
"Enough!" Gretel waved her hand and stopped the impending argument. "It is too early to consider all this. Even if Link successfully exits the Mist Maze, he is only accepted as a member of our race. We can speak of the other things in the future."
The elders fell silent.
After a few minutes, Pettalong pointed at the mirror. "Look, he seems to have come to a conclusion."
"That fast?" An elder took out a Yabba pocket watch to look at the time. It had only been 40 minutes.
In the mirror, Link suddenly stood up and walked towards a direction. Every elder was shocked at that step.
"He made the critical step."
"No, not just that. He started changing the space. Tsk, he-"
"He's changing the space. Heh, he's a fearless one. Just wait for the counterattack from the Mist Maze." An elder chuckled.
The Mist Maze was the crystallization of the wisdom of hundreds of Legendary dragons throughout thousands of years. It was one thing to walk down the correct path. If he tried changing it, he would be seen as an intruder. The entire maze's inner space would change in an instant.
As expected, after Link started changing the spatial structure, the entire Mist Maze transformed. Countless spaces reformed and started turning like gears. It was completely different in a second.
An elder laughed. "Ha, all his efforts went to waste."
But Pettalong shook his head. "No, no, look. He walked forward five miles!"
In the mirror, Link walked forward again after the spatial structure inside the Mist Maze was reconstructed. Maybe it was a lucky guess, or he really calculated corrected, but he chose the right passage amongst the 30 choices. He instantly completed one-fifth of the maze.
"Was it a guess?" an elder asked. This was too incredible.
"Did he figure out the pattern for the Mist Maze?"
"It's only been 40 minutes. Our ancestors' wisdom is as deep as the sea. How can that be possible?"
At this time, the Red Dragon Queen shook her head and said, "No, he didn't see through the pattern. He just grasped the deep and profound mystery of Dragon Power."
With that, all the elders shut up. They exchanged glances, shock filling their eyes.
The Mist Maze was very complicated, and the spatial structure was impossible to calculate. In other words, you couldn't use pure logic before it. If you tried to calculate it bit by bit, you would enter an incomprehensible ditch and possibly even spend your entire life on the calculations.
But as complicated as the maze was, every official dragon could find the accurate path in the simplest way. Why was this so?
It was because of their Dragon Power.
It was not only power. To the Mist Maze, it was more like a key. As long as you calmed yourself and followed the guidance of the Dragon Power, you could easily find the accurate path amongst all the choices.
The problem was that the Dragon Power's guidance was very weak. A high-level dragon needed to undergo training during their youth. It usually took around 200 years before they could become calm enough to sense the faint guidance.
"Could it have been a lucky guess?" An elder still didn't believe it.
The moment he spoke, Link started changing the spatial structure again. Naturally, this caused another round of changes. This time, he didn't step forward. When the space stabilized, he started changing it again.
After three changes, Link made his third step.
This time, he advanced even further. He instantly crossed one-third of the journey and reached the second half of the maze. Seeing this, none of the elders doubted him anymore.
"Your Majesty is correct. He has comprehended the Dragon Power's mystery. The maze can't stop him anymore."
With that, the elders all glanced at the Red Dragon Queen with suspicion in their eyes. Earlier, she had walked in the mountains with Link alone. Now the elders were sure that she had secretly given Link some hints.
Gretel chuckled wryly. "You've all guessed incorrectly. He doesn't know anything about the Mist Maze. In reality, I told him that if he could enter, I'd help him condense the Heart of the Dragon and give him dragon spells. He... he wants to use a dragon's large body to travel faster, so he agreed."
The elders seemed to explode with that.
"I can't believe he only wants a dragon's flying abilities! Such low standards!"
"The magic of our race contains endless mysteries. It can protect a soul from decaying for thousands of years and even transform into a boat for the soul. But he just wants it for faster travel! This is blasphemous! Blasphemy!"
"A mortal's eyes are set so low!"
But despite their fury at Link's thoughts, tradition was tradition. Link had grasped the mystery of Dragon Power in such a short time. He would be a member of the dragon race when he walked out.
Pettalong was the guardian of traditions. "Everyone, please watch your language," he said. "Master Link is no longer a mortal. He will be a member of our race. With his power, he may even become a member of the Dragon Elder Council if he wishes."
The elders all fell silent with that.
Though they were silent, the younger dragons in the basilica were in an uproar. In the mirror, Link had made his fourth step. He was now only a step away from getting through the entire maze.
The younger dragons were much more straightforward with their comments.
"Why is he so fast? I was ready to wait for a whole month."
"Is this really the Mist Maze? I thought it was Link's garden."
"Great, he's coming. Look, the queen and the elders are going to welcome him already."
Link had already entered the Dragon Valley. Looking back at the mist, he sighed in relief. "I almost fell into the trap. Thankfully, the Dragon Power helped."
He'd planned on making calculations but ended up wasting half an hour. Thankfully, he was quickly enlightened.
At that time, his vision flashed, showing that he had completed the mission.
"Show reward," Link murmured.
Something heavy appeared in his hand. There were five thumb-sized white stones. At a glance, they looked like Go pieces. Without any power aura, they would look like regular stones if thrown on the ground.
Link put them away carefully and started towards the Dragon Temple. After a dozen miles, many dragons suddenly appeared in the sky. The leader was the Red Dragon Queen.
Link was a bit shaken. Wasn't it just the transmission of the dragon spell? Why does this feel so ceremonious? He didn't get it, but out of politeness, he went up to meet them.
Whoosh, whoosh! Amidst the windy sounds, the dragons started landing. Once on the ground, there were a bunch of flashes, and the dragons changed into human-shape.
Queen Gretel walked to the front. When she was before Link, she smiled gracefully. "Congratulations, Master Link. You have become a member of our race."
The other elders all smiled and nodded at him.
Link froze when he heard this. "Join the dragon race?" he asked in confusion. "Why didn't I know about this?"
Elder Pettalong walked up to explain. After that, Link shrugged at the queen. Shaking his head, he said, "No, no, we didn't agree on this. I didn't think about becoming a dragon. Your Majesty, you didn't tell me about this before."
"What, you aren't willing?" Petallong's expression went stiff. The other elders didn't look happy either.
"No hurry," the queen said immediately. "You all can leave. I will explain to Master Link."
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