Chapter 464: The Demon Abel
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
"Idiot! Madman! Butcher!"
Anthony walked towards the Heaven's Thorn in large strides. As he was using a magical prosthesis, his gait was unsteady. Walking a bit too quickly, he stumbled and quickly used the Magician's Hand to realign his body and prevent himself from falling to the ground.
The Magicians behind him all followed Anthony without a word. Most of their faces were grave, while those of the younger Magicians seemed disapproving towards him, as if not in agreement with what Anthony had to say.
Once Anthony regained his balance, he continued striding on, and in no time, finally reached the Heaven's Thorn. Upon entering the Mage Tower, he then seated himself on the first floor of the great hall. He heaved a sigh at nobody in particular, and then fell silent for a long while, sitting there like a statue.
He loathed the fact that just when the kingdom was finally able to settle down, he had to deal with a self-righteous tyrant with such a huge following. Not to mention, he was completely powerless to do anything about it.
While Anthony fumed, a gentle voice spoke to him, "Is there something wrong, Dean?"
"What else is there? It's the madman, Abel... Wait, you're... Link, why are you here?" Anthony stopped short, sensing that something was not right. He lifted his head again to take a better look at the face to whom the voice had belonged, and sure enough, it was one of his former apprentices, Link, who was standing beside Herrera.
These two were the pride of East Cove Magic Academy. Herrera was already a Level-8 Magician, whose magic now rivaled even his, while Link's magical abilities had already reached the Legendary level. Upon seeing them, Anthony was able to relax a bit.
"Sit, do sit, don't just stand there," he said to both of them.
Link and Herrera both sat down, and then Link asked, "Were you referring to Duke Abel of Orida Fortress?"
Anthony's face fell as soon as he heard his name. He nodded. "I don't know any other Abel. Do you know what he did?"
Link and Herrera glanced at each other and then waited for an answer from the old man.
Breathing in deeply, the wrinkles on Anthony's face deepened even more. His voice was considerably muted when he spoke, "Abel had sent 5000 Warriors to keep things under control in the northern town of Garrason, the source of the outbreak as you all probably know by now. The situation escalated, with the infected now scattered beyond the town borders. Our plan was to quarantine the infected, then attempt to look for a cure using samples collected from them, but Abel had deemed them unclean and had all the infected eliminated on the spot. There are at least 30,000 people in Garrason Town, and while almost half of them had shown symptoms of the disease, the rest of them were still sane, and Abel had them all wiped out. He even set fire to the town and razed everything to the ground. In the end, no more than 800 people had survived the madness of this butcher!"
When he finished speaking, Herrera asked softly, "Advisor, is the epidemic under control then?"
"Yes, for now, there seem to be no new cases of infection, which was probably the only good thing to come from this nightmare. But my blood still runs cold just thinking about what Abel did. He's completely addicted to slaughter, and I don't think I'll ever forget the bloodlust in his eyes. Did you know? He not only ordered his men to conduct the extermination of the infection, he too had joined in the act himself. I saw with my own eyes how he cleaved a crying girl in two with his sword. There were also many other Magicians who had participated in this monstrous act. At that moment, I thought they had all turned into demons!"
Anthony was nearing 70 years old, and both Link and Herrera took great pride in being his juniors. The old man had bottled up all this frustration in himself, and once an outlet presented itself, he just could not stop himself from venting it out.
From his account, Link understood the present state of Garrason Town.
Garrason Town was 100 miles north of Orida Fortress, and so it naturally fell within Duke Abel's jurisdiction to deal with the outbreak there in whatever way he deemed fit.
Throughout all this, Duke Abel had fulfilled only his duties, but his actions had been way too excessive. Though Anthony did not agree with such radical measures, some of the other Magicians who had joined in the slaughter alongside the duke viewed the whole affair as a necessary evil to cleanse the region of the disease.
The fact there were Magicians who saw nothing wrong with what Duke Abel ordered them to do had sent a chill down Anthony's spine.
After listening to all this, Link and Herrera could not help but shiver at the thought of Duke Abel's ruthlessness and the delight he apparently took in indiscriminate manslaughter, despite the fact that his actions might have yielded results. Still, as both of them had not been on the scene, they couldn't judge the duke solely based on Anthony's account of the whole thing.
Herrera could only console the old man at this point. "It's all in the past now, advisor. Everything will be alright."
Anthony let out a long sigh and held his head in despair. "To have my people, never once fallen to the Dark Army, fall instead under the butcher knife of my own kin... oh, the shame!"
Seeing their own advisor in complete shambles, Herrera shot a glance at Link, hinting at him to come up with something.
Link began to speak when Anthony suddenly raised his head and looked straight at him. "Link, Abel's growing more insane by the minute. What's worse is that he's doing all this in the name of justice and under the guise of exterminating demons."
Link knew what Anthony had meant. He wanted Link to intervene in this. Making eye contact with the wizened dean, Link spoke, "How about this, I'll go to the North for a bit and see what's wrong with Duke Abel."
Though Anthony had spoken disapprovingly of the duke, he did stop the spread of the disease, and his actions were still in line with army regulations.
The army was not exactly filled with doctors to begin with; they simply did what they did best-brutally murder everyone on sight in an attempt to nip the outbreak in the bud. What Abel did was cruel beyond belief, but from his standpoint, he may not consider his actions to be out of line.
Still, Anthony was now the second person to come to Link with grievances against Duke Abel, with Skinorse being the first, and both were equally intelligent people. This was enough to warrant Link's intervention; he should probably go to the North to check on things.
"You should go in quietly without letting him know, or else you won't see anything there. Duke Abel's a cunning fellow, he'll know what's going on. I'm old and not worthy of his attention, which is why he doesn't bother hiding his evil deeds from me. However, he'll sweep everything under the rug immediately if he knows that you're going there for a visit."
Link nodded. "I'll go there and take a look at things myself."
Anthony was satisfied with his response. He then asked, "I know you're busy lately, and you won't go there without any reason. Is there anything the academy can help you with?"
Link looked at Herrera, who then gave Anthony the books that he had brought with him. "These are the enchantment books Link has written. Take a look."
Anthony flipped through the books for around ten minutes then slammed a hand on the table. "A great read indeed!"
He then sighed. "Pity you wrote only two books. Are there more?"
Herrera answered on behalf of Link, "Link still hasn't written out the rest. Though, Link plans on establishing an enchantment workshop of his own to compete with the High Elves in the magical equipment business. To accomplish this, he'll be recruiting a number of talented magical enchanters."
Before Herrera even finished, Anthony clapped his hands together and shouted, "Then do it! Those High Elves have practically monopolized the whole magical equipment business. They've been making a profit out of our pockets for years, to the point of almost drying us out of our finances... You just go ahead and pick the best of the bunch. But make sure none of them are mistreated, or you'll answer to me personally."
Link smiled. "That wouldn't happen."
Link had planned on making this a long-term affair. Possessing unfathomable secrets of the craft, the High Elves were capable of producing quality magical equipment that had won the hearts of everyone from every other race. Instead of going for a huge bite out of the High Elves' business, Link had planned on just taking a few nibbles here and there at first.
Later on, some of the people there began discussing a few other details of the collaboration with Link. The discussion went on for a few hours, and in that time, Anthony had lightened up somewhat.
Link and Herrera then stayed at the Mage Tower for dinner, all three of them exchanging interesting anecdotes with each other.
Nearing 70 years old, the old man's body had shriveled up considerably. With most of his time spent alone without wife or children, he was more than thrilled to be visited by his two former disciples. At the end of the dinner, Anthony was blissfully drunk.
After settling the old man who had now begun spouting gibberish in his bed, Link then escorted Herrera out of the Heaven's Thorn.
The sky outside had turned dark. With a few street lamps lighting the way, both Magicians walked side by side till they reached the entrance to Herrera's Mage Tower.
"Advisor, I'll leave Rylai in your capable hands."
Herrera smiled at him. "Oh, don't worry about her, I'm sure she'll become a great Magician."
"I won't be going in then. Give this book to her, make sure she reads it. Also, tell the dean I'll be heading off to the North soon."
"Alright, be careful when you get there, I don't think Duke Abel's right in the head as well."
Link then turned to leave, and Herrera stood at the entrance of her Mage Tower to see him off until he finally vanished from sight. She then let out a soft sigh. The young man who had once consulted enthusiastically with her on magical problems in the academy had now become a lord of the land. The days of him being cooped up in her Mage Tower were long since gone.
Looking at the empty patch of land in front of the Mage Tower, Herrera suddenly recalled the night Link and Eliard fought each other till they were all black and blue.
She remembered every detail of the event as if it had only happened yesterday. She could not help but smile at the memory.
In the distance, Link had left the academy far behind him and found the airship in the woods. At top speed, the airship flew Link back to Ferde. It was only a few minutes before seven in the evening when Link finally reached Ferde. The Scorched City was bustling with activity as always.
When he entered the great hall on the first floor of his Mage Tower, Link found himself face to face with a familiar figure, that which belonged to the High Elf named Bryant.
Link was a bit taken aback by his appearance, but he knew then why Bryant had shown up.
Bryant had smugly seated himself in the great hall, surrounded by Link's magical apprentices who were too afraid to come close to him. Celine, Red Dragon Elder Pettalong, Felina, Vance, Jacker, and the other powerhouses were all glaring fiercely at the High Elf.
Upon seeing Link's arrival, Bryant stood up, and a smile spread across his face. "The lord of Ferde, you sure are a busy man."
Despite the smile on his face, his eyes indicated no good will, and Link knew in an instant that the High Elf had not come with good intentions.
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