Chapter 448: The Winds of Change
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The Dragon Temple
Link followed the Red Dragon Queen to Lucia Silverstar's room, and in great strides, reached the side of her bed. He then cast the Detection Spell that he had recently mastered.
Level-11 Detection Spell
Energy Cost: 300 Dragon Energy
Effect: Will dye any trace of the Void's aura in one's surroundings.
(Note: One's power level determines one's field of vision.)
A point of bright red light shone forth from Link's hand, which began scanning the air in circles.
In the first few rounds, the air remained unchanged, but Link had felt something in the room.
The Void Eye scanned the place a few more times, and the faint traces of the Void began surfacing in the air in red. Gradually, a thin red mist began forming around the bed in front of Link, where a distinct red human-shaped silhouette could now be seen.
Gretel had then entered the room, and seeing the hazy red silhouette, she understood immediately what Link's spell was used for. She whispered in disbelief, "The Void Tyrant was brought in by Silverstar?"
"It was probably her," said Link, nodding, as he began scanning other parts of the room with his Detection spell. "The Void Tyrant had cleverly concealed himself; there was barely any trace of the Void's aura to be picked up here. I suspect she must have been under its influence when she summoned the Void Tyrant into our world."
At this, Link's train of thought cleared up even more, as he recalled what he had seen back in the woods that day. "Back in the woods, I came across the body of a Yabba half-dragon. Did you manage to find out who she was?"
"Yes, her name was Emilia, a member of the Emerald Circle as well. Silverstar had explained that the half-dragon was under the influence of a Void presence, and so she was forced to kill her and her underlings with the help of the Void Tyrant. We did not suspect a single thing then," said Gretel, clearly troubled by all this.
Link had already checked most of the room but was unable to find any further clues that could be of use. "What's important right now, is finding Silverstar. But she's a threat to everyone around, so it's best if it's just the two of us going after her. I hear that there are four other Legendary Magicians here, maybe they could provide their assistance."
Gretel shook her head. "No, they're still busy crafting the anti-crack rune, they probably won't be able to help us."
"Anti-crack rune?" Link did not quite understand.
Gretel began explaining the whole affair to Link. When she had finished, Link was silent for a few seconds. Then, he spoke, "I think it's best to put off the matter with the spatial crack. Right now, we need to deal with the Void Tyrant as soon as possible, or it will become far too strong for us to handle if left unchecked. The way I see it, the Void Tyrant holds a higher priority than the spatial crack."
Link then turned to leave the room, and asked, "Where are they now? I'll meet them personally."
Gretel quickened her pace to catch up to him. "No, you don't understand, the Emerald Circle is a loose collective that exists solely to safeguard the safety of the whole realm. To them, anything else is of little to no importance. They won't intervene in things they deem not worthy of their time."
Link was stunned for a moment. Of course, how could he have forgotten?
Even in the previous game world, Link had been one of the high-level members of the Emerald Circle and understood the underlying principle of this organization better than anyone else. The Astral Magicians there were shrouded in mystery. Their existences were virtually unknown to any other player, though Link had only met these enigmatic characters maybe two or three times.
These Legendary Magicians had pierced through the inner workings of the world, and as a rule, did not meddle in earthly affairs. Right now, as the Void Tyrant was an internal issue among the dragon race, they would simply watch the whole thing unfold as mere observers on the sidelines.
But Link did not believe in absolutes. If done right, anyone in this world could be persuaded to accept his point of view.
After much thinking, an idea came to him, and he asked, "You were saying you had been perfecting a spatial crack-stabilizing spell. Can I take a look at it?"
"Of course." Gretel gently flicked her fingers, and an overly complicated three-dimensional magical structure appeared in the air.
If he had remained as he was back in the East Cove Magic Academy or even the last time he was in the Dragon Valley, he would not have made head or tails of any of this; but now, he had no problem understanding every inch of the magical structure before him.
Walking around the magical structure as it floated in mid-air, Link was able to understand the key sections of the spatial stabilizing spell. After walking around it again, and with another closer look, he finally said, "Not bad for a spatial spell, but there's still a lot of room for improvement... Let's go, you lead the way, I'm confident that I can convince them to aid our cause."
Gretel headed for the great hall, not entirely reassured by Link's words. "Are you sure? Bryant had said that he would only help in exchange for the art of dragonification."
Link started at this. "Bryant was made a member of the Emerald Circle?"
"Yes, he has already been a member for the past 150 years as a representative of the High Elves."
"Well then, now I'm sure I can convince all of them!" Link smiled inwardly.
Gretel could not fathom what Link was planning, but seeing the confidence in his eyes, she did not press any further. Should he fail, Link risked only disgrace, but the dragon race would be able to hedge their losses should he succeed.
In a few minutes, they had reached the entrance of the great hall. Despite bracing herself for the humiliation to come, the Red Dragon Queen was still not used to this. In all her lifetime, this may be one of the few times she had to beg for help from someone else.
Still trying to keep her emotions under control, she felt someone patting on her shoulder and saw Link smiling reassuringly at her.
"Don't worry; besides, I'm the one who has much to lose from this."
Slightly stunned, she felt her face growing hotter from embarrassment. How could she be thinking of herself at a moment like this? Link was the one who would be doing the convincing, and the one who would be on the receiving end of any mockery should this backfire would be Link himself as well. What did she have to lose?
Straightening up, and with a deep breath, Gretel smiled apologetically at him. "Sorry... And thank you."
She pushed the doors into the great hall, and within, the four Astral Magicians were in the midst of putting on the finishing touches of the spatial stabilizing spell. They turned towards Gretel with a questioning look.
The Dwarf Mountain Sage Heroto asked curiously, "Your Highness, didn't you say something big had happened? I didn't think you would be back so soon."
Gretel did not reply; instead, she stood to one side, allowing Link, dressed in a dark blue Assassin Robe, to enter the room. His eyes fell on the magical structure above the table and shook his head, smiling. "Forgive me for speaking so bluntly, but this spell you have here is pure rubbish!"
The four Astral Magicians were rendered speechless and looked at each other before exploding on Link.
The ever brusque Mountain Sage Heroto was first to speak. "You're Link? Young man, I have farted for far longer than you have been alive to utter nonsense like this. How dare you call this spell rubbish?"
Bryant spat out coldly, "Know your place, whelp!"
The Dark Magician laughed coldly. "You have spunk, young one."
The Light Magician did not say a word and instead turned towards Link, waiting for an explanation from him.
At that moment, Gretel had an urge to hide herself in the nearest hole she could find. She did not expect Link to start off with such insolence; he had basically dug his own grave by speaking that way!
Link chuckled, striding towards the table. He then pointed his magic wand at the magical light construct and began rearranging some of its details.
He was able to retouch ten or so sections of the structure with a few deft movements. With a light wave of his hand, the runic silhouette began slowly revolving. Link gave it a couple brisk taps with his wand, removing and adding runes wherever he saw fit. Half an hour passed, and an entirely brand new magical structure was left floating above the table.
Link stowed his wand back with a smile. "Though your original spell would have been able to stabilize the spatial structure, it lacks the capacity to stop the spread of Mana effectively. As most of you should know, Mana is able to keep any spatial tear open. Ever since the appearance of the crack, the density of Mana in the world had risen to 80 percent, and the Space Barrier of Firuman has thinned considerably. But with my spell, any collateral effect brought about by the spatial crack will be contained within the barrier; even if the space within the barrier has collapsed, it won't affect any other parts of the realm of Firuman."
Link applied much of what he had learned recently into designing the spell. Of course, he had only scratched the surface of his newfound knowledge. The core fruits of his research remained untapped.
Still, the spatial spell that an expert Spatial Magician such as himself had concocted should prove to be much more effective than what any of these dabblers could hope to conceive.
The other Magicians were able to recognize the workmanship that had gone into the newly designed magical structure. They simply marveled at it without a sound.
After a moment, Heroto spread out his hands. "Alright, it certainly looks better than before."
"Hmmph!" Bryant let out a huff of discontent through his nose.
The Dark Magician expressed his acknowledgment as well, though reluctantly. "I guess you do have the right to speak."
The Light Magician, however, asked, "There's more to this, isn't there, Master Link?"
Hardened in the ways of the world for as long as any of them could remember, these Astral Magicians knew Link would not have helped them without reason.
Link smiled coyly. "I guess there's no point in hiding the matter. Lucia Silverstar is in deep trouble."
By centering the conversation on Lucia's position as an equal among the Emerald Circle instead of bringing up what had befallen the dragon race, Link had hoped that the Magicians would be more willing to help out.
The idea of saving a fellow member would sound far more appealing to this lot than meddling in the affairs of the dragon race, even though the end result of either path was essentially the same.
Upon hearing this, Heroto the Dwarf bellowed, "What happened? She was just fine the other day, what happened to her? Where is she? No, let's just go get her!"
Still harboring much resentment towards Link, Bryant laughed coldly. "About Lucia..."
Before he could finish, Link interrupted him. "Your Excellency, I have always had the utmost respect for you. Our legends have portrayed you as nothing less than a legendary savior to us humans. I do sincerely hope that you could come visit me in Ferde again; I'll make sure to give you the proper treatment befitting of an honored guest such as yourself, if there is such a chance, of course."
Bryant's face stiffened considerably. "Thanks. But Lucia's matter takes precedence at the moment. We should resolve it quickly."
His eyes were fixed threateningly on Link, and the message was clear to him, What happened in Ferde stays between us, no one else should know about it.
Should anyone else catch wind of his humiliation, his reputation would crumble in an instant.
Link nodded, satisfied that they were able to come to a mutual understanding.
He then turned to the Dark and Light Astral Magicians. "As far as I know, Lucia Silverstar has been possessed by the Void Tyrant, if nothing is done, things may get out of hand quick... What do you think?"
After pondering in silence for a bit, the Light Magician spoke, "I will help you in tracking down Lucia, but I will not aid you in dealing with the Void Tyrant."
The Dark Magician also spoke up, "I'm with him. We'll look for the girl with you, but you're on your own with the creature."
This was more than enough. Link took a step back and bowed before the Magicians in gratitude. "You have my thanks."
And so the matter was settled.
In the entrance, Gretel looked on, dumbfounded.
Four Astral Magicians, two of whom had decided to help, while the other two had chosen to sit on the sidelines. This outcome had far exceeded Gretel's expectations. She stared at Link, a mix of admiration and dread on her face.
Just then, a couple of the Red Dragon Elders had returned. They stood beside the Red Dragon Queen, in time to see what had transpired.
Pettalong observed Link, who was able to settle things with such speed and resolve and then looked at the queen beside him. He let out an inward sigh. The times are indeed changing, thought Pettalong rather wistfully.
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