Chapter 524: Danger Everywhere
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Grinth Magic Academy
Before long, Eliard was able to find Earl Andal on the top floor of the Mage Tower of Enlightenment.
The man was nearing 70 and possessed Level-6 magical knowledge. This was an impressive achievement among the Magicians of the previous generation, but age had caught up to him.
While the world saw a drastic growth among the younger Magicians due to the steady increase in Mana concentration, his power level had stagnated due to his wizened body.
The white-haired old man reclined on his leather armchair with one hand toying around his magic wand. Seeing the youthful Eliard, he smiled and said, "I knew you would come, young one. Must have realized that there's something odd going on here."
Eliard still did not have a handle on the old man's temperament. Just a while back, Magician Amir had also told him that Earl Andal had contracted a highly suspicious illness. With this in mind, Eliard remained suspicious of the old man.
Without a word, he began to feel his aura. It felt normal, at least for someone his age. Link had reminded him that anyone possessed by an Ethereal entity would display unnaturally augmented power. He had also told him not to dismiss the possibility that some of these might be able to hide their own presences.
He found nothing else to confirm his suspicions.
Andal seemed to have read his mind, as he continued, "Young man, you must have realized that the people here don't seem to be speaking truthfully. It's as if everyone's been possessed by some evil spirit."
Eliard raised an eyebrow and asked uncertainly, "Spirit? What spirit?"
Andal smiled weakly. "I don't know. What I do know is the fact that these spirits have attacked the king, queen, princess, prince, as well as me and a few other Magicians. Some of the attacks were successful, others not so much. They're extremely good at hiding themselves. Even I don't know whose body has been taken over at this very moment. The only thing I know is that I have not been possessed by these evil spirits."
"I find that hard to believe." Eliard had pulled out his magic wand and was now twisting it between his fingers.
"I don't have proof of this." A bitter smile surfaced on Andal's face. "That's what's so terrifying about these creatures. Regardless of whether they managed to possess any one of us, these spirits have succeeded in destroying the trust between us beyond repair. Don't think that I'm not possessed by one of them right now just because I'm having this conversation with you. Remember, they are capable of disguising and hiding themselves in our midst, and they are also extremely crafty."
At this point, Eliard sensed that the fog around him had thickened so much that everything was now a blur before him. He had never experienced something so bizzare.
He had never felt a shred of fear in a fight with anyone else.
He was now a Level-8 Magician. At this point, his power was near limitless. He was equipped with a powerful wand in his hand and the runestone that Link had given him as a defensive measure. However, he could neither see nor feel the enemy he was now facing this time.
"I'm way in over my head," said Eliard, sighing.
Earl Andal chuckled, "I don't think you can handle this by yourself. You probably should leave here right now and let the Lord of Ferde take care of things himself."
The one who should have come to this place in the first place was Link. But Link had changed his mind on a whim, and Eliard ended up coming here on his behalf. This was all just a series of unexpected turns
However, the Earl's words fired Eliard up. He smiled. "No need to bring Link into this. I too would like to see how big this particular python is."
"As you wish," said Andal.
At this point, there was nothing else left to say. Eliard turned around and was ready to leave the room. He opened the door. Just as he was about to step over the threshold, Eliard suddenly stopped. He then asked, "It must be really nice in Alford right now, I imagine?"
"Rubbish, that god-forsaken place..." Andal suddenly paused, then smiled even more bitterly at him. "You win, young man."
Alford, a city in the Delou Ethereal Realm, was known for its nightmarish weather and hostile environment. In truth, all the habitable regions in the Ethereal Realm were deplorable. Alford was simply one of the worst places to live in. The place was also renowned for being one of the three great cities of the Ethereal Realm.
No ordinary Magician in the realm of Firuman should be able to know a place like Alford. The fact that Earl Andal knew what kind of place immediately revealed his true identity.
Earl Andal was still smiling, though his eyes had turned cold. "Young man, you were never in any danger before. But now that you know who I am, I can't possibly let you leave here alive."
Warning bells began to ring in Eliard. He suddenly remembered what Amir had told him, that a Magician had suddenly gone berserk and cast a Flame Blast spell to bring down a palace. He was then executed on the spot.
His situation now was the same as that Magician. If he were to assault Earl Andal here, everyone else would think he had gone mad. There were probably other Magicians who had been possessed in the Magic Academy. As soon as they subdued him, Eliard would be immediately executed like the other Magician.
He was able to figure out so many things in such a short span of time.
A moment later, he turned around and pointed his wand at Earl Andal. "Radiant Sunbeam!"
Level-8 Master Level Spell
Supreme Magic Skills: Soul Resonance (Instant cast)
Cost: 4500 Sunlight Magical Power Points
Description: Sends out a beam of pure hot energy and has a lock-on effect. Anyone hit by it will not be able to use any spatial magic spells below Level-8. The beam will shoot out three times. At each time, it will recalibrate its direction to match a moving target's movements.
(Note: Be gone like a pile of snow in the morning sun.)
Eliard's attack came fast and strong. He had the first move!
There was a tearing sound, as a golden beam of light flashed through the air not once, but thrice in an instant.
The first flash came. Earl Andal had remained on his chair, but the beam did not hit its mark. Rapidly, Andal dodged sideways, avoiding the attack entirely. The second beam of light immediately adjusted its direction.
He dodged again, but this time, it took a lot more effort than before. The beam of light managed to graze his skin, which instantly set it ablaze.
He was still in mid-air as he dodged the second beam when the third beam came. It pierced through his chest, leaving a gaping hole with a diameter of more than 10 inches in it. The blood and flesh around the wound were still melting away after the beam of light had dissipated.
After being struck by Eliard's spell, Earl Andal's body immediately lost its balance. Like a kite whose string had snapped, he collapsed to the ground and hit the wall. The old man's neck snapped, and his head rolled on the ground limply.
Even in such a state, he was still barely alive. He raised his head unsteadily and stared at Eliard with a cold sneer on his bloodstained face. "Not bad, but you're alone here. Even if you kill me, how will you escape from Full Moon City?"
Saying this, Earl Andal let out his last breath. From his mouth drifted a faint green mist. This was usually what would happen whenever a possessed body expired.
Eliard heaved a long sigh. Even after killing Earl Andal, the sense of urgency in him intensified even more.
He heard footsteps and shouts coming from outside the window.
"Someone has killed the dean!"
"Apprehend him, quick!"
"We'll kill him on the spot!"
The shouts sent a chill down Eliard's spine. He knew that those shouting outside the window were possessed by the Ethereal creatures. How else would they have known that the dean was dead without even setting foot in his room?
If the ones coming for him were ordinary Magicians, Eliard would be able to eliminate them all without breaking a sweat. But these were Ethereal Warriors he was dealing with. Link had told him that Ethereal Warriors were endowed with special abilities. In large numbers, they could easily rival a Legendary master's power.
They had laid out this trap especially for Link. Eliard was heavily outmatched. The only thing he could do right now was flee!
A great number of people had gathered outside the building. He needed to get out of there before it was too late. Eliard quickly took out the communication rune and was ready to leave.
Just then, he put the runestone back inside his pocket. "Do I really need to ask for Link's help to deal with this? I'll be looked down on by him. No, I need to think of a way to get myself out of this and resolve this business in Southmoon Kingdom by myself."
In a flash, Eliard had come up with an escape route in his mind. He rushed into the room in long strides and then waved his wand midway. Earl Andal's corpse floated into the air. At the same time, Eliard extended a hand towards the window and activated the Magician's Hand, which swung the window wide open.
"Go to hell!" Eliard swished his wand again, and Earl Andal's body soared out of the window.
Just as the corpse left the window, a huge number of spells struck it in mid-air. Apparently, the people outside had mistaken the corpse for a fleeing Eliard.
Taking advantage of the confusion, Eliard cast a Traceless Invisibility spell and ran out towards the Mage Tower's spiral staircase.
As he descended, he could hear many footsteps coming from below the staircase. The magic wand in his hand twitched, and he cast a Conjuring spell on himself: Tangible Illusion.
The illusion ran back up towards the top of the tower, while Eliard, who had remained invisible, leaned back motionlessly against a wall.
A few seconds later, a group of people ran up the stairs without noticing Eliard.
When everyone had rushed past him, Eliard continued his path down the staircase. Before long, he reached a great hall. There were four people in it. Unlike the rest who had gone up the tower, they stood guard in the hall in a composed manner.
When Eliard appeared, one of them suddenly turned towards him. The other three, who had been oblivious to Eliard's presence, turned to look at him as well, as if the four of them were psychically linked to one another.
Eliard quickly realized that he had been spotted. Without bothering to recast his concealment, he made his first move and waved his wand, shouting, "Freeze!"
A golden mist erupted from his wand and settled on the four of them. A golden film of vapor condensed on every one of them. They were all immobilized in an instant.
Eliard then cast another spell: Sunlight Acceleration.
His body trembled violently, as a golden light engulfed his body. At a glance, he now resembled a small sun, which burst out of the Mage Tower at blinding speed and into the courtyard outside.
Along the way, Eliard looked towards the garden villa nearby that served as the base camp of Ferde's diplomatic envoy.
Should I trust Amir? thought Eliard. Then another thought surfaced in his mind. Of course, Link must have prepared some countermeasure to prevent Ethereal possession. Amir should be alright!
At this thought, he then turned and sped towards the garden villa.
Eliard saw Amir standing at the entrance with an agitated look. When he saw Eliard, Amir shouted, "Master, what's going on?"
"Many have been possessed by evil spirits in the Magic Academy, including the dean. And I've just killed him."
Without even doubting his words, Amir said, "Quick, let's get inside, the villa has a defensive magic circle around it!"
When Eliard rushed into the courtyard, Amir instantly activated the defensive magic circle. Eliard noticed that the magic circle was only Level-5. He immediately halted in his tracks and said, "No, a Level-5 magic circle won't be enough! I'll hold them off, go gather everyone... ah, you..."
Eliard suddenly noticed that Amir's face had contorted peculiarly. Startled, he dodged sideways. From the corner of his eyes, he saw that Amir had pulled out a dagger from behind. The dagger sliced through the air fast and was already inches away from stabbing through his heart.
He would not be able to dodge the attack in time.
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