Chapter 468: The Shadow of Destruction
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
When Link had returned to Ferde, he immediately went to the harbor and found the commander of the navy Grayson there.
"There will be a couple of High Elves coming in later. I want you all to prepare a three-masted merchant vessel for departure and stock it up with enough water, food, and medicine. Give the ship to them when they arrive, and just accept whatever they have to offer for it," said Link.
"Yes, my lord." Grayson found his order to be a bit odd, but as it had come from the lord of Ferde personally, he did not think too much about it and did as he was told.
Link then left the harbor. Half an hour later, a soldier reported to him that a group of High Elves had arrived at the harbor.
Back at the harbor, Grayson saw that there were at least 100 High Elves, every one of them wearing the same dark green battle robe. Most of them looked completely worn out, with some of them bearing grievous wounds on their bodies. One of the more severe ones had even broken an arm.
A white-haired High Elf stepped out from the group and said to Grayson, "You must be the commander of the navy here. We need a ship to head back to the Isle of Dawn. Of course, you'll be richly compensated for your troubles."
Saying this, the High Elf took out an exquisitely-crafted magic sword which emanated thick ripples of magical power. Grayson instantly liked what he saw.
He had already prepared the merchant vessel for the High Elves as ordered by his lord, and without any reservation accepted the sword with a smile. "You've arrived just in time. I already have a ship ready for you and your men."
He then called to one of the sailors, "Jadence, take them to their ship."
Bryant was the High Elf who had approached the commander. He was stunned upon hearing this, not expecting things to go so smoothly that he feared he might be going into a trap again.
Looking at the mistrustful look on the High Elf's face, Grayson added, "It was an order from our lord, so don't just stand there, let's get a move on now."
"Oh, I see," said Bryant softly, visibly relieved by this.
After the bustle around the ship had died down, the High Elves were finally settled on board the ship. As the wind direction was not right, some of the High Elf Magicians set up a simple wind rune on the ship, and the merchant vessel slowly began its departure from the harbor.
In no time, they had left the harbor far behind them.
Bryant stood on the deck, silently watching the flickering lights of the harbor in the distance.
Beside him came the sound of footsteps clacking against the wooden deck. It was Vonhelon.
He reported, "Prophet, there is medicine on the ship, and our Warriors have been treated without too much trouble."
"Alright then." Bryant had mixed feelings about this. He did not expect such thoroughness from Link.
Vonhelon was also visibly troubled by this. They had come with their own warships, and now, not only were they saved by Link, but they were also riding his ship back to the Isle of Dawn. It was humiliating, to say the least.
After a while, Vonhelon, spoke, "Prophet, was that really the God of Destruction?"
"Yes. I felt his presence... He's an even more fearsome dark god than the Spider Queen Lolth. Historical records have shown that his appearances have always brought about great calamities to all of Firuman. This time... may not be an exception."
Vonhelon let out a long breath, before saying, "This is also a chance for the lord of Ferde to shine, you know."
The God of Destruction was a mutual enemy to all existence on the continent, and even the High Elves were powerless to put up any resistance against him. However, there was a chance that the God of Destruction may be vanquished by the lord of Ferde himself, and at that point, no one would be able to halt his progress forward.
Bryant felt even more ill at ease, as he recalled Link's words before he left them on the ocean. He could not help but sigh. Hero of the humans, huh? It's been such a long time; I've almost completely forgotten about it. Do I even deserve a chance to redeem myself now? Bryant thought.
He did not know the answer to that question.
At that moment, Link too felt troubled, not by the High Elves, but by the emergence of the God of Destruction.
Instead of magically transporting himself back to his Mage Tower as usual, he had hailed a horse carriage and gotten on it. Link ordered the driver to drive slowly, and he sat in the carriage in silence, ruminating on how to best deal with the onslaught of the God of Destruction.
From outside the carriage, the rhythmic clacking of horse hooves could be heard, along with the sound of wheels grinding against the soil beneath. The city lights twinkled like stars through the window throughout the whole journey from the harbor to the Scorched City.
What had happened tonight had at least alleviated the tension between him and the High Elves, which was probably the only good thing to come from it.
But now, the God of Destruction, who had all this time been lurking in the dark recesses of the world, had risen to the surface to bare its fiendish fangs and sharp claws at the world. His dark forces had appeared for the first time at the City of Lariel, and later below the lighthouse of Ferde's harbor. And tonight, a High Elf fleet had been obliterated by them on Ferde's waters.
However, this time, Link was able to see through the concealment of these dark creatures thanks to his Vision of Truth. If Link had not gotten there in time, the High Elves would surely all be murdered by them in the sea, and there would most certainly be a war between Ferde and the Isle of Dawn.
Should such a war be allowed to happen, both sides would sustain severe damage, while the God of Destruction would continue growing in power in the darkness. He could lash out on the world at any given moment, and there would be no one to stop him at all.
This was an enemy more cunning and cruel than any Dark Elf or demon.
The atrocity that the God of Destruction's dark creatures has wrought tonight was horrific, and I fear the worst is yet to come. Where are they now? And what is their next move? thought Link.
Link realized that he knew little to nothing about the God of Destruction. This was an enemy he had no knowledge of whatsoever.
He grew even more anxious as he pondered, until finally, he called for the driver to stop.
"Sir, is something the matter?" The driver did not recognize Link, but he sensed that he must be an important person.
Link opened the door of the carriage and stepped out. He then tossed a gold coin to the driver. "Just drop me off here. It's getting late, you should head home too."
"Many thanks, good sir. You really are a good man." The driver was overjoyed at being paid such an extravagant fee.
Link walked straight towards a manor not far from where he stood, but he did not enter the manor. Instead, he went around it till he reached an empty clearing. He then found a large rock and sat on it.
He took out the rune stone given to him by the Travel Magician Aisenis and infused magical power into it. A dim white light began shining from it, and Link set the rune stone on the rock. He then patiently waited.
Around three minutes later, Link sensed a faint ripple in the space forming to his side. Seconds passed, and a small Yabba man finally materialized into view. It was the Travel Magician Aisenis.
He saw Link, and his face broke into a smile. "Ah, Magician, it's been a while. You've certainly grown much stronger than before."
Link cut straight to the point. "You once said that you're just here for the fun of it, so you must know about the God of Destruction's invasion, don't you?"
"But of course," said Aisenis, still smiling gleefully at him.
"I need information about this. Name your price."
"Well now, aren't you forthright tonight. Not that I mind, anyway." Aisenis handed Link a scroll. "I'm an honest-to-God businessman, and I like my numbers in black and white. Here's my price.
Link took the scroll and opened it. There was nothing on it at first, but then words began taking shape on the paper. Half a second later, he could finally see what was written on it.
A detailed plan of the God of Destruction's invasion (latest edition), priced at 80 Jogus.
This was a little expensive. At the moment, Link only had 103 pieces in hand. To have more than half his reserve of Jogus spent in one fell swoop was something he found difficult to swallow. He opened his mouth, ready to haggle further with the Magician.
Aisenis waggled a finger at him, knowing what he was about to say. "My price is written there. No discounts."
"Is this plan updated continually?" Link asked.
"... You really thought this through, eh? You'll have to pay more for a continually updated plan, though."
Saying this, Link saw that a new price had appeared on the scroll, stating that every new update would cost him 80 Jogus. This was way too expensive.
"Alright, I'll buy it. Just make sure that you give me the latest information on this."
The little Jabba man leaped up and shouted, "But of course, swindlery and scams are far beneath a respectable businessman such as I!"
"Then I'll take it." Link handed a pouch full of Jogus over to Aisenis.
Aisenis' watery pair of eyes flashed at the sight of the pouch. He eagerly took out a piece of Jogu and bit on it. Laughing out loud, he said, "Ah, genuine Jogu. This is simply wonderful; I can't believe I've managed to earn this much in one night."
He gave a pleasant look at Link. "Kid, you've got a bright future ahead of you, to be able to get this much Jogus in such a short time. I now officially proclaim you to be my most esteemed customer. Take good care of that scroll. If you have any problems, just ask it, and of course, if you've stocked up on enough Jogus, you can summon me any time. Your credit score right now is one star, and so you're allowed credit for as much as 10 pieces of Jogus. If you can get up to five stars, I'll even let you in on the best way to deal with spatial cracks. You can pay me later, of course.
This did not sound like a bad deal. Link nodded and waved the scroll at him. "Will all that be shown in the plan?"
"Of course, look at the scroll again. It's already written out the whole plan as promised."
Link looked through the scroll again, and sure enough, the paper was now crammed with words and diagrams detailing the invasion plans of the God of Destruction.
"Not bad." Saying this, Link felt the air rushing in to fill the sudden emptiness beside him. Aisenis had already vanished.
Not in the least bit concerned by this, he sat on the rock and began perusing the scroll intently.
Link was mesmerized by what he read from the scroll. When he finished, he drew a long breath. "No wonder Duke Abel changed so drastically."
He stood up and was about to leave for the North when suddenly he stopped.
"The scroll said that the duke had absorbed the power of every living being he killed. As of now, he has already killed 3980 people and is now a Legendary Warrior. He is also protected by Agatha Nagas from the shadows. I fear that I may not be a match to him if I were to face him alone, and with the God of Destruction still fixated on my land, Abel may be alerted immediately by my absence. I need to flush out the traitors among us!"
Link stood up and headed straight for his Mage Tower. According to the scroll, there was a cult stronghold worshipping the God of Destruction in Ferde called Grissin Altar. It had over a hundred core members, and its peripheral members numbered in the thousands.
He had to destroy the altar, and soon.
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