Chapter 454: The Secret Duke
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Not long after Link plunged into the Sea of Void, Gretel watched as the black tentacles in the city began moving even more erratically.
At first, the tentacles had been whipping against the binding rune circle in an orderly fashion, like a black tidal wave. Now, it seemed that they were beginning to retreat from the circle in a state of complete disorder.
It was like watching a pack of dogs running away in defeat with their tails tucked between their legs.
This lasted for more than a minute, and then, all of a sudden, the tentacles slackened and fell to the ground limply, as if they had lost all the life in them.
This went on for another ten seconds, and by that time, Gretel was sure that the Void Tyrant was dead.
Outside the city
Lucia Silverstar noticed this as well. Upon seeing the state of the tentacles, she immediately shouted ecstatically, "The Void Tyrant is dead! It's finally been killed!"
"Really?" The Red Dragon Elders all looked at her in disbelief. Their enemy was immense, its tentacles covering both ground and sky. Even a Legendary Flame spell from the Red Dragon Queen couldn't burn it down. How on earth could it have been killed?
"It's true! Link went into the Sea of Void, he must have destroyed the Void Tyrant's brain!" Lucia Silverstar excitedly replied. She was, after all, a Legendary Magician, and she knew exactly what Link had planned on doing there.
One of the Red Dragon Elders asked, "What about Master Link, has he not returned?"
"Well..." SIlverstar could not think of an answer. The Void Tyrant was dead, but Link had not yet returned to the material realm. Surely he must have been all right?
Worried about Link, Gretel immediately leapt into action.
She flew to where Link had disappeared, then entered the Void by activating Spatial Transference.
Once within the Sea of Void, all she could see was a blur of gray. There were energy whirlpools everywhere, and from time to time, flashes of light erupted close by.
A sudden energy turbulence flowed past her in one direction.
The reason was simple: dimensions were not stationary objects in the Sea of Void. On the contrary, they were like bubbles floating on the surface of an ocean, rotating as dictated by the physical laws of their surroundings.
But no one actually knew what those laws were.
"Link, where are you? Link!" Gretel could not find Link at all; for now, the most she could do was send her thought waves out into the Void.
She continued shouting for Link, but no response came from him, wherever he was.
Time went by, and Gretel began to despair, fearing that Link had been killed during his battle with the Void Tyrant, his corpse now being carried away by the eddies in the Void.
But she still needed to thank him for what he had done!
"Link! Link!" Gretel did not want to believe that he was already dead. She continued to fly about aimlessly, searching for any hint of life.
She could not stop thinking about Link.
They had first met each other in the Dragon Square, where he and that Yabba dwarf had destroyed the Worthdamk in secret.
When they had been discussing their theses on spatial magic, he had said to her with a smug smile, "You've made a mistake here, Your Highness."
When they had been walking in the woods in the Korora Mountain Range, he had cleared the path of the brambles and vines for her with much decorum and had even built a stone bridge across a stream for her. On the Ancestor Altar, their sudden change in behavior towards him had not fazed him, and even in her time of need, Link had been the first to step up to her aid.
Now, he had saved Dragon Valley, but at the cost of his life.
She should not have neglected Lucia Silverstar, she should not have associated the Black Dragon King with Link. That was ancient history. Link had nothing to do with it!
She was the one who had sent Link to his death!
"Link! Link!" Gretel's voice had now turned into a sob.
Just when she was on the brink of giving up hope, a weak mental presence reached out to her. "Stop crying, I'm not dead yet! I'm right here!"
Gretel was overjoyed. She immediately flew where the consciousness guided her. Soon, she found Link lying motionless at the outer reaches of the dimensional barrier. Black tentacles wrapped around him, one of them deeply embedded in his back.
"My dragon body was severely injured. I couldn't use Spatial Transference with it," said Link. He had almost been carried away by a strong eddy to the deeper regions of the Void. It was fortunate that he had still had some strength left in him, so he had been able to hang on to the dimensional barrier just in time.
"You're safe now, I'm here." Gretel flew to his side, and embraced Link's body in her arms as she activated Spatial Transference.
A watery film of light began enveloping them, and the two slowly floated and once again resurfaced back into the realm of Firuman.
The light blinded Link's eyes as he returned to the realm of Firuman, up in the air above Dragon Valley, not too far from where he had first entered the Sea of Void.
Looking down, he could see the lifeless mass of black tentacles and the crowd of dragon warriors outside the city.
Gretel slowly hovered to the ground and let him down gently when she landed.
The dragon warriors surrounded them immediately, looking at Link with a mix of respect, dread, and confusion.
"All right, give us some space. Master Link is heavily injured and needs immediate attention," shouted the Red Dragon Queen.
Everyone scattered in an instant, as ordered.
Link had received severe damage on his back. The tentacles had pierced through the abdomen of his dragon body. Unbearable pain seized his body at even the slightest movement.
Gretel grabbed onto the tentacle and infused her Dragon Power into Link's body. She then whispered to him, "All right, this will all be over before you know it, just relax."
She proceeded to pull the black tentacle fiercely out of his back.
"Owww," Link roared in pain, and his surroundings went black.
Gretel began sealing up the internal wounds in Link's body with her Dragon Power, then gently touched his dragon's heart. A few seconds later, Link's body began pulling back its dragon form, and he finally returned to his human form.
While there were no traces of blood on his human body, she noticed a bloody wound on his back when taking off his clothes. Though it had stopped bleeding, it definitely stood out like a sore thumb.
Gently picking up Link's body with her dragon claw, Gretel took off into the sky again and hurled down a Void Destructor Fireball at the black tentacles on the ground.
'Boom!' The fire engulfed the ruins below, the lifeless black tentacles disintegrating into ash.
She then ordered her subjects, "Clear the place thoroughly, I want every tentacle burned!"
"Yes, Your Highness!" said the Red Dragon Elders in unison.
Gretel began flying towards Dragon Temple for further treatment of Link's injuries.
Link's heart was racing hard as he lay on his bed, unconscious.
The blurry visions he had seen in his state of unconsciousness had been of the land of Felde.
He had seen the place bathed in a sea of fire, children in tears as they knelt beside the corpses of their parents.There were countless corpses of the Yabba people, practically covering the whole island. He had even seen the port engulfed in flames and bodies floating on the sea, its waters running red with their blood.
In the ruins, he had seen black, shadowy figures flitting about. Their pointed ears had resembled those of elves, but they had also had blood-red eyes, and Link had not been able to tell what they were.
It was then that a black shadow had swooped down at him. He had heard a sharp laughter overhead and seen that the black figure was baring its sharp teeth at him. From its mouth, strands of glistening saliva had dripped down to the ground, and he had seen bits of fresh, bloody meat hanging off its teeth.
Link immediately woke up from his sleep when the thing swooped down at him.
Upon waking up, he found himself lying on a large bed eight feet off the ground and staring at a ceiling. Only the interior of the Dragon Temple possessed such a unique architectural style.
He wiped the cold sweat off of his forehead and carefully felt the rest of his body. He felt weak, but there was no pain. There was a tightness around his chest, and he noticed that it was wrapped in bandages.
"You're awake?" a familiar voice called out. It was Gretel.
"How long have I been sleeping?" Link struggled to sit up. His mind kept going back to the nightmare he had seen just before. The details of it were vague, and it didn't feel quite like a premonition, but still, he couldn't help but worry about it.
"Not long. Three days." Gretel rushed to the bed and helped Link to lean on the headboard of the bed.
A sudden pain shot through Link's body, reminding him that he had not yet healed fully. "How's Dragon Valley?"
"The Void Tyrant is dead. The new bodies that had split off from the original were destroyed before they even had a chance to mature. Thanks to you, order has been restored to Dragon Valley." Gretel sat on the bed and squeezed Link's hand in gratitude.
"Oh, that's great then." Link nodded, indifferently pulling his hand out of Gretel's.
"When will my wounds be fully healed?" asked Link again.
"Your injuries will need at least half a month to recover fully. However, your dragon body took some serious damage, and while it is capable of self-repair, it may take half a year before you can transform into it again. Don't worry too much about it. Take as long as you need to rest here in Dragon Valley. I've already sent word to Felde. Oh, and I've also sent thirty dragon warriors there. Pettalong will be flying there as well in a few days, which should be enough to dissuade any attempts at an invasion."
The Red Dragon Queen kneeled down beside Link's bed and raised her eyes to look at Link. "I heard you speaking in your sleep. Don't worry, nothing will happen to Felde."
Thirty Red Dragon warriors and a Level-9 Elder would be strong enough to deal with any non-Legendary being. Link let out a soft sigh and nodded at the queen. "Thank you, Your Highness."
"You just get some rest. If you need anything, call for me, I won't be far."
Gretel gave a few orders to the attendants nearby and was about to leave, but after taking a few steps towards the door, she turned back to Link and stuffed a black seal into Link's hand. "You are now officially a duke of the Dragon race."
Without waiting for a reply from Link, she hurriedly exited the room.
Link scratched his head in confusion. This was certainly a peculiar way of conferring the title of duke to someone. She hadn't even given him the chance to refuse her.
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