500 The Mysterious Island

 Chapter 500: The Mysterious Island

Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio

As he spoke, Link activated the Level-12 sealing spell.

Countless crimson runes issued out from his body like morning mist and entwined themselves around the Red Dragon Queen's body like a cocoon.

This went on for a few seconds until the cocoon of light was now an airtight chamber that rapidly shrank around Gretel's body. At the same time, the Chaotic Rot in her body gradually subsided in her body. One of the most visible changes on her body was her eyes.

The dark power had receded instantly from her almost completely blackened eyes. Gretel's pale face too had regained its color.

Another five seconds later, she drew a long breath, widened her eyes and stared at Link, a perplexed expression on her face. She remained silent for a long while. Then she said, "You... liar!"

Listening to him speak so affectionately before had filled her with so much hope. She thought he was going to finally confess his feelings to her, but it was all an act!

She was now angry and disappointed at him!

Link smiled awkwardly at her. He helped Gretel up, and said, "Your Highness, I wasn't exactly lying to you. I was, in fact, trying to suppress the venom in you."

"How dare you still call me 'Your Highness'!" said Gretel coldly, glancing sideways at him.

Link could only chuckle at this. They had almost reached the ground at this point, and Link did not wish to continue this awkward conversation any longer. He surveyed the forest around them, and asked, "Tellie, I think there's something wrong about this place. I've never seen these kinds of plants before."

He did not recognize any of the plants around him. It was as if they had entered another realm.

Gretel did not mind being called "Tellie" by him since they were the only two people there. Gretel's rage subsided somewhat upon hearing this, and she turned around to observe her surroundings. In an instant, she had forgotten all about her discontent and was now drawn to her strange new surroundings.

"This is new."

Link had only lived for twenty years. Though he may be well read, his knowledge of the world was still limited in comparison to the Red Dragon Queen's. On the other hand, Gretel had lived for 2000 years. Even though she had spent most of that time in Dragon Valley, she had gone on hundreds of trips to the outside world. The longest trip she had taken was with her mother when both of them once flew around Firuman.

She had virtually seen all of Firuman and was more than familiar with most of the islands dotting the great ocean. But the island below them was completely foreign to her.

At that moment, both of them had landed on the ground.

As they landed, there was a sudden squeak from the woods near them. A creature as large as a mouse shot out into the open. Its appearance was exceedingly strange. Link activated the Magician's Hand and held the thing before him.

The thing was no larger than an adult's palm. It resembled somewhat the kangaroos back on earth. Its hind legs were more developed than its front legs, which seemed dexterous enough to act as their hands. It squeaked desperately, struggling to free itself from the invisible hand holding it in the air.

"I've never seen such an animal before," said Gretel, shaking her head.

It was rare indeed for her to not recognize something in the world of Firuman, assuming of course that they were still in Firuman.

Link let go of the mouse-like creature. It immediately scampered back into the woods.

He looked around at his surroundings and saw that the canopy of leaves above them was especially dense. A golden sun hung in the blue sky, which was not at all different from Firuman's sky.

Link then cast a Detection spell to measure the island's spatial distortion, magical saturation, and chronal speed. Each of these aspects was similar to Firuman's.

"We are indeed on Firuman. If you've never seen this island before, could it be that it had simply floated to the ocean's surface?"

This explanation, ridiculous as it may sound, was their only explanation for the island at the moment.

Gretel thought for a while and could not think of anything to contradict this. She spread her hands and spoke, "Anything can happen in this world. What you just described is possible... Aren't there a couple of buildings on the island? This must mean that there are people living here. Why don't we go and take a look?"

Link had the same idea, but at that moment, Gretel's power had been sealed up. In her current state, she might not be able to defend herself if there was any trouble. He had to think of a way to neutralize the venom completely in her body as soon as possible.

Holding out the Void Centipede's stinger, Link said, "Gretel, the venom running through your body is only temporarily sealed up. To actually remove it, we need to find a more efficacious antidote for it. There's still a bit of venom in the stinger. Can you think of a way to counteract its effect?"

Alchemy was not Link's strongest suit, but the Red Dragon Queen was an expert on the subject. She should be able to come up with something.

Gretel nodded and took out a magically-resistant vial. She then spoke to Link, "Here, pour the venom into this vial."

Link did as he was told and carefully squeezed the remaining venom from the stinger into the vial. Around five ounces of the deadly liquid dripped into it and completely covered the bottom of the vial.

Though the venom emitted a faint black smoke, it was colorless like water and slightly more viscous.

Gretel then took out another vial which contained a viscous, pale blue liquid. She poured a drop of the venom into it. Immediately, the pale blue liquid began bubbling violently in its vial.

Seeing such a reaction, Gretel explained to Link, "The blue liquid tests a substance's toxicity. The more poisonous something is, the greater its reaction will be."

"So how poisonous is the venom?"

"Very. It's deadlier than any other venom I've ever encountered. It's a miracle I'm still alive." Gretel's face blanched at the thought of the venom still flowing around inside her body.

"Do you have a way to neutralize it?" asked Link.

Gretel shook her head, "I'm not sure; I'll need to run a few more tests."

She then laid out a wide array of bottles and vials from her spatial bracelet and continued running her tests. Her brows relaxed at times and pressed against each other tightly at others.

Half an hour later, a frown came across her face. "I have an idea, but the amount of venom we have right now may not be enough."

Link too frowned at this. He could not expect her to accompany him back to the Sea of Void and face the Void Centipede again. That would be no different from suicide.

After a while, Link remembered something. In the game, he had helped an alchemy master gather some ingredients for the antidote. He still was able to recall what they were.

Even though he had no idea what the master's procedure was, the Red Dragon Queen was, fortunately, an alchemy master. If she were to have the list of the antidote's ingredients, things would probably go even more smoothly.

He pondered for a while on this. Choosing his words carefully, he said to the queen, "Your High... Tellie, I remember reading something about the Void creature in a High Elf book. I think it's called 'Thousand Legs.' There was mention of an antidote, but it only listed its ingredients and said nothing about how to brew the concoction. I don't know if this information is of any use to you."

Hearing this, Gretel's eyes lit up suddenly. "Of course it is! Just tell me."

Link told her what he knew. "Creeping jennies, sunflowers, ginseng, a pinch of arisaema..."

When Link listed out all 13 types of ingredients, Gretel's eyes brightened even more. Finally, she clapped her hands and laughed. "I got it! I'm not too far off from it. Though I'll still need to run those tests, the venom we have in hand should suffice."

Saying this, Gretel began collecting the alchemical ingredients from her surroundings. Link recognized none of the materials she had collected. When she had gathered more than seven materials from the forest, Link asked, "Gretel, the ingredients aren't right."

"You have much to learn. Each of these materials contains a number of medicinal properties. The goal of alchemy is to neutralize the properties that we don't need and strengthen the ones that we do. To produce the medicinal effect that we need, we don't have to follow the ingredient list to the letter. Oh, I'm still short of a few things. Oh well, I'll look for them later. Let's go. We'll visit the village up ahead first. Who knows, we may come across some of the medicinal materials that I'm still missing along the way."

Gretel put away all her ingredients. She dusted off her hands and looked at Link, ready to head out.

With the problem of the antidote more or less settled, Link now felt even more relieved. During their conversation, he had almost fully recovered his Dragon Power. He was now able to deal with any threats in their way.

The two of them then headed off in the direction that they had determined from the air.

A while later, Gretel patted her legs and sighed. "Ow, how tiring. This is taking forever."

Link was speechless at such an obvious hint from her.

For the rest of the journey, Link gave Gretel a piggyback ride.

They now made their way through the forest even more quickly than before. Ten minutes later, the woods in front of them had become sparser. Through them, Link could see a simple stone wall erected up ahead. Behind the piles of rocks stood a neat row of wooden houses. The sounds of chickens and the occasional barks of a dog could be heard. Columns of smoke drifted from the wooden houses into the evening sky.

"It seems peaceful," said Gretel.

Link too felt the same way about the place, but there was still something odd about it. "The architecture here seems strange. I've never seen it before. I don't really know why, but I'm getting an ominous feeling about the place."

He did not feel that their lives were being directly threatened at the moment, but the feeling was enough to make him feel uncomfortable about the place.

With her power being sealed off, Gretel's senses were not as acute as Link's. Hearing this from Link, she said thoughtfully, "It looks somewhat similar to the architectural style adopted 1000 years ago by the southern kingdom."

As they observed the place, a troop of human-shaped figures marched out from another corner of the forest. Link was startled by what he saw.

"Are those... demons?"