Chapter 490: We Need More Power
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
"Time is the ultimate dimensional order that moves only in one direction. To throw it into turmoil would compromise the dimensional fabric."
This was the first sentence written in the prologue of the magic book. It was also the only sentence Link understood, as the rest of the pages were filled with words he could barely grasp.
After flipping through only a third of the book, a splitting headache had set in.
He did not recognize any of the runes or the magical concepts introduced in the book. This could be easily rectified; he could simply take all the time he needed to understand the book's contents. The problem was that each and every one of these logical inferences in the book was extremely complex, to the point that it seemed to have surpassed the boundaries of all human knowledge. It was all written in abstraction in the truest sense of the word.
Link continued poring over its pages till midnight. He knew he had come across a real conundrum. Understanding the whole book would definitely take a great deal of time and effort from him.
Link now had an inkling of where the two Nagas had disappeared off to. He suspected that the enemy had traveled through time and hid themselves in the future.
But just how far into the future did they manage to travel? Would they reappear at the same place that they had disappeared? Link knew none of the answers to these questions.
The fact remained that the two Nagas had escaped his grasp.
"Forget it, I need to rest. Tomorrow, I'll be heading off to the Mage Tower in Orida Fortress and begin working on some magical equipment for Kanorse."
As of now, Kanorse was only equipped with a sterling level set of leather armor and the magical sword that Link had forged for him, a far cry from Duke Abel's epic level equipment.
Right now, Link felt obligated to support in any way possible the ascension of the next marshall in the North.
A night had passed in silence.
The next day, the army set off for Orida Fortress.
Link had gone off ahead with Celine to Orida Fortress, whereas King Leon and the others had remained with the rest of the army, trudging on slowly towards the same destination.
On the third day of their journey, a dark red light appeared in the middle of the woods, where the army had set up camp before.
At first, the point of light was no bigger than a thumb. It was shaped almost like a pair of bloodshot eyes. They observed their surroundings for a moment as if making sure they were alone. Then, a sudden whoosh sound could be heard, as the ball of light rapidly expanded. Moments later, there was a thump, and the Naga Priest Molina and Katyusha fell from the ball of light and onto the ground.
On the ground, Molina immediately scrambled over to Katyusha and pressed a hand on the gaping wound in her chest. She began chanting a spell. From her hand flowed a continuous stream of dark red light, which then entered Katyusha's body.
Katyusha stared dully at the air in front of her. Her breathing had all but stopped. Her limbs dangled lifelessly from her body, and her skin was sagging so much, it was as if she had been reduced to a skeleton with squishy bags of skin and blood bound to it.
This was the appearance of an Agatha Naga on the verge of death.
But as the power flowed on through her, the skin around the gaping hole on Katyusha's chest began weaving itself together at a speed visible to the naked eye until the wound was completely sealed up. At the same time, her skin began to tauten around her. Ten seconds later, she took in a deep gulp of air. Both her hands clasped tightly around Molina's wrist as her eyes sprang open.
"I'm alive?" Katyusha's voice was weak.
"You almost died." Molina pulled her hand back. She was covered in sweat, and her eyes were dark with exhaustion. The divine spell she had used on Katyusha had depleted almost all of her power.
"What time is it?" Katyusha sat up. She then looked about, searching for her Spear of Victory.
"It's with me." Molina took out the spear and handed it over to her. "We've traveled into the future, three days after our last battle. The human army has already left. I assume they've all returned to Orida Fortress. Our operation has failed."
Katyusha fell silent. She took her spear back and leaned on it as she slowly tried to stand up.
In the dim forest, a breeze blew down from the mountains. Without a sound, Katyusha began whirling the spear in her hand. Her body was still weak, and she could only spin it slowly at first. Gradually, the spear began picking up speed. A few minutes later, she was whirling her spear at her normal speed.
Just then, she tripped on a rock and fell forward on the ground.
The Spear of Victory flew from her hand and clattered on the ground a few feet from her.
Katyusha did not bother getting up. She remained lying face-down on the ground, like a corpse buried shallowly among the fallen leaves.
She had never experienced such defeat ever since she was born!
She lay on the ground for around five minutes without moving. Looking on at this, Molina grew worried and approached her to see if she was alright.
When she got close to her, Molina saw that Katyusha's shoulder was trembling. The sound of stifled sobbing could be heard from Katyusha. Molina walked around her and saw that tears were indeed rolling down her cheeks.
Molina sighed heavily. She understood Katyusha more than anyone else. When she had just entered adulthood, Katyusha was deemed as the most gifted Naga of them all. Their defeat this time had come as a tremendous shock to her.
Molina kept silent and simply remained by Katyusha's side.
Ten minutes later, Katyusha crawled up from the ground and wiped her tears off. She then walked over to pick up her spear. "We were impatient. We left our defenses wide open. If we had slowed down just a bit, Ferde and the Isle of Dawn would have gone to war with each other without our aid."
Molina nodded. "I guess you're right. The emergence of Link would naturally accelerate the rise of the human race, but the High Elves would not have let such a thing happen. There was no need for us to have intervened in this."
Something clicked in Katyusha. "Link is just too powerful. With the Light of Firuman's blessing on him, he must be the Child of the Realm. We are most definitely not a match for him with our current power level. We need to form our own alliances."
Molina laughed at this. She knew that Katyusha had grown even more mature and reasonable after suffering such a defeat. She asked quietly, "What other race would want to ally themselves to us?"
Katyusha counted her fingers. "A lot, actually. On the surface, there's the Lord of the Deep, Nozama himself, the Dark Elves, Morpheus the Shadow Stalker of the South and his Syndicate. Then there are the High Elves, the Beastmen, Dwarves and even the Yabba race who may be willing to form an alliance with us."
"Oh?" Molina was confused. "I can see why the High Elves would ally themselves with us. But the Beastmen live far out in the Golden Plains, the Dwarves have no quarrel with the rest of the world. There are, in fact, friendly with Link, and the Yabba people are under Link's protection. How do we make allies out of any of them?"
Katyusha's reasoning had become even clearer. Her eyes lit up even more. "The rise of the humans will eventually lead to them invading the others for their own profit. As they become more powerful, so too will their greed. They will begin coveting the Dwarves' weapons and the Beastmen's fur and other natural resources. I imagine none of them would find such an outcome desirable. Though the Dwarves and Link are on friendly terms, it is only on a personal basis. The illusion of friendship will not last long when the Dwarves' own interest is at stake. As for the Yabba people, there should be a couple of them who have begun to feel discontent about living under another race. Akensser, the master craftsman, is still within our grasp. He's probably gathered a following in his race by now."
Molina grinned widely at this. "I can't find any fault in your reasoning. Once we get back to the North, we'll bring this up for discussion with Ashali (the highest in command among the Nagas), she'll probably agree with you."
At the mention of Ashali, Katyusha's face darkened instantly. "Maybe, I don't think she likes me that much."
"Don't worry, I'll back you up," said Molina reassuringly. She lifted her head up and looked at the sky. "It's getting dark. We'd best rest for a while. Once it's completely dark, we'll go back quietly to the North."
Link was still hard at work forging magical equipment. When the exhaustion started to set in, he could either go back to finishing up his book on magical enchantments or practice his sword at the magical arena.
Days had passed, as scouts from the Orida Fortress searched the woods for any sign of Katyusha or Molina, but to no avail. A month later, they simply gave up their search.
In that time, King Leon had remained in Orida Fortress, while Kanorse began familiarizing himself with his duties as the fortress' new marshall. The one who had appointed him as Duke Abel's successor was none other than the depowered Duke Abel himself.
As if trying to make up for his crimes, Duke Abel had been teaching Kanorse how to navigate his duties as a respectable marshall. Though Kanorse was upright in his ways, he was also an intelligent man and picked up what he had learned in no time.
Time passed, and both master and student had grown even more intimate with one another.
In half a month's time, Link managed to complete three pieces of magical equipment: a marshall's ring, a lapel pin, and a belt. All three were Legendary gear. He had even crafted the Hero's Dusk sword, modeling it after the Lion's Fury sword.
There was still half a month away till Kanorse's promotion ceremony. With all that free time, he began focusing all his efforts on writing his book on magical enchantment.
As far the book on time magic, he figured that he still did not have the capacity to fully understand it. He would only be torturing himself if he were to force himself to absorb its contents in one go. He decided to just take it slow.
One day, while he was buried deep in his work, a sound of someone knocking came from outside his door. After psychically identifying his visitor, he put down his pencil and said, "Come in."
The door opened, and Skinorse entered, grinning lazily at him. His hands kept rubbing against each other greedily.
At such a sight, Link knew what he was up to. He picked up three rings placed on his table and threw it to Skinorse. "Take them. You've earned it."
Skinorse caught the rings in the air. He felt them carefully in his hands, and knew that they were no ordinary rings. Each of them contained a Burst spell and a Level-10 Defense spell. Both spells were invaluable to any self-respecting adventurer who wished to live a little longer in the adventuring business.
"Hehe, many thanks. I'll remember to give the other two rings to my friends." Skinorse put away the rings in his pocket, then sat on the other side of the table in front of Link. "Actually, I'm here to show you something."
"Oh, do tell." This piqued Link's curiosity. He knew that Skinorse's slovenly mannerism was just a facade. He could be quite dependable when he wanted to.
"It's like this. Didn't I tell you before that I was exploring some ruins? I found something quite interesting. You won't be able to guess what it's used for."
Saying this, Skinorse took out a silver coin and placed on Link's table.
"It's definitely going to blow you away!" he said.
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