Chapter 526: An Ethereal's Use
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
An hour after Eliard fled the Magic Academy, wanted posters had been distributed throughout the city. Wanted posters with a portrait of Eliard had been plastered everywhere throughout the streets. The bounty put on him was even more ludicrous: 5000 gold pieces. Every poster bore the seals of the Magic Academy and Southmoon Kingdom.
The capture of one person for such an extravagant amount of gold pieces seemed easier and far more rewarding than going after those slippery bandits. At that point, the mercenaries in the city had all given up on the bandits' bounty and now began their search for this wanted felon.
Naturally, Link heard about the bounty as well.
He was strolling along the street leisurely when he heard the news. Immediately, he turned around and headed for the Magic Academy. Eliard had slain Andal and Amir... I fear the Ethereal crisis in Southmoon Kingdom is even worse than I had imagined.
The Magic Academy could be seen from Full Moon City. By simply raising one's head up, one could easily see in the distance the Magic Academy's Mage Tower of Enlightenment.
After walking for half an hour, Link reached the outer walls of Grinth Magic Academy. From there, he searched around him for an isolated corner. A translucent film rippled across his entire body, which gradually began to fade till he was gone completely from sight. He had slipped into the vacuum of space. Link had just recently invented this technique, which was similar to the Demon Illusory Assassins' racial trait.
Compared to the Demon Illusory Assassin, Link's spell was much more flexible and stealthier. It was essentially one of the most effective Invisibility spells in the realm of Firuman.
In his current state, Link was like a fish at the bottom of a shallow pond, observing the outside world through a thin layer of water.
Without even moving an inch from where he stood, Link was able to have a full view of what was going on within Grinth Magic Academy through the light-refracting property of space.
Behind the walls of the Magic Academy, Link could see that each Magician's face was tense and alert as if expecting an enemy attack at any moment. A magic light shone from the peak of the Mage Tower of Enlightenment. Link recognized it as a large-scale detection spell usually cast to seek out intruders.
With the Magic Academy's dean and Ferde's envoy killed, Link had expected such a heightened level of caution. However, after observing this for a while, he began to sense that something was not right, but he could not find the words to describe what it was.
Calmly, his view shifted to the two corpses that had been put away.
Link knew both of them. One belonged to Andal, who had visited Ferde a few times. There was a huge hole that had been recently burned through his chest. Carefully observing it, Link recognized it as a wound consistent with a Radiant Sunbeam spell. This must have been Eliard's handiwork. The other body was Amir. He was one of Ferde's official Magicians. It was a shame to have lost him as well. There was a hole on Amir's head. From the shape of the hole, Link deduced that he must have been struck by an arrow.
Must have been shot down by Eagle Eye Irvan. From the look of things, Skinorse had met up with Eliard. Good. Link was relieved, knowing that Eliard was now with Skinorse and his entourage of experience adventurers.
He continued observing the two corpses.
On the surface, nothing odd stood out from the two bodies. Link could not even detect any residual aura from them. This was fine, as he still had his Assassin's Vision of Truth up his sleeve.
Link activated his Legendary eye mask's special effect. A sudden change came over his vision. What had been a perfectly normal Magic Academy before was now filled with hazy hues of color.
The Magicians inside all radiated with various colors of light, representing the energies that resided within their bodies. Most of the Magicians' energies seemed normal, but there were a few whose bodies were giving off an extremely faint green energy. Traces of the energy were mingled with the Magicians' normal energies, making them almost difficult to perceive.
Moreover, a fine thread of green light connected two of these Magicians that exhibited such an abnormality.
Link looked at the corpses. He could see the same green light from them, the only difference being that the light had ceased all activity and was now in a state of stagnation.
"It seems that they were possessed by Ethereals and had transformed into Ethereal Warriors. Also, they seem to be connected to each other in such a way that they are all aware of each other's condition at any given time."
This was the first time he had encountered Ethereal Warriors in the real world. They had definitely piqued his curiosity.
In the game world, it was possible to exorcize an Ethereal from a body with the right method. There were in total two such methods. The first one was to treat an Ethereal as a malevolent spirit and cast a powerful exorcizing spell to expel it out of its host body. The other method was to treat it as a type of toxin and concoct an antidote through alchemy to disrupt the material basis for its possession. Without a solid basis, the Ethereal would be forced out of its host body.
Link had planned to capture one of these Ethereal Warriors and to study it himself. However, from the looks of things now, if he were to act imprudently, the other Ethereal Warriors would immediately be alerted to his presence, and he would lose the element of surprise as a result.
He still did not know what the Ethereals were scheming. If he were to be spotted, there would be a mass hysteria within the academy walls.
He needed to think of something to quietly abduct one of the Ethereal Warriors.
As he pondered his next course of action, he suddenly noticed that an Ethereal Magician had stepped out of the Magic Academy and got on a horse carriage. He then trotted off towards the city gates.
Link saw his opportunity and followed the carriage, his Vision of Truth still activated along the way.
Half an hour later, the carriage had reached the city gates to the city's south. At that moment, Link realized that the green thread connecting the Ethereal Magician with the other Ethereals had become faint.
When the carriage left Full Moon City, the green thread had dissipated completely.
The mutual energy link between the Ethereals probably has a limit of 2000 feet, thought Link. Now that Ethereal Magician has isolated himself from the rest, it's time to act.
With a burst of Dragon Power, Link activated Instant Flash and tore a hole through space.
In an instant, he had teleported himself inside the carriage. The Ethereal Magician's eyes went wide, caught off guard by his appearance. He began to raise his wand, but Link did not give him any chance to react. He managed to grab the Magician by his head and cast a spatial seal on him with a rush of power through his fingers.
This technique was also something Link had come up with recently. It was intended to freeze space around its target, effectively encasing it in a spatial bubble.
With a soft ting, the Ethereal Magician went rigid like a statue. His body looked the same still. However, ensnared completely within the spatial bubble, the Magician was now rendered incapable of all movement and oblivious to his surroundings.
To him, the outside world had stopped moving. Time had also frozen completely around him. His body was wrapped beneath a one-inch crystalline layer, which was the result of Link's Dragon Power freezing space around the Ethereal Magician. Frozen space was also known as spatial crystal. Link had acted with such speed and lightness that the driver outside did not notice what had just occurred inside the carriage.
Link rapped at the carriage's window with a finger and said in a low voice, "Hey, stop here."
"Is there something wrong, boss?" asked the driver.
Link softly sucked in his breath and let his Dragon Power flow into his voice. He then activated a Secret spell: Incite.
He had learned it from Eleanor. It was only a Level-2 spell, and it could only be used on human beings. Though its effect resembled hypnotism, it was more potent than the latter. The spell's target would still behave normally while being made to forget a few things in the process.
"Now, keep on going west without stopping until you reach Dunwall City 100 miles away. Then, find an inn to stay there for a month. Understand?"
"Understood." The driver's voice sounded absent.
"There was no one here in your carriage. You have been traveling alone all this time. There are 20 gold pieces in your pouch, given to you by the Magicians in the Academy. For safety reasons, you have kept it hidden beneath the wooden planks of your carriage." Saying this, Link took out 20 gold pieces and placed them inside a box in the carriage.
"Yes, no passengers. I had enough money with me as well," the driver repeated.
After judging that the level of suggestion he had placed on the driver should be enough for now, Link grabbed the frozen Ethereal Magician and with a flash of white light, teleported themselves into the woods a few thousand feet away.
In the woods, Link found a shady spot. He raised a hand, and the soil beneath him instantly surged up to form a 10-square-foot stone hut. Once inside the hut, Link erased the door outside with the force of his will. The hut's appearance changed as well, transforming into a relatively normal-looking hill. Inside the hut, a stone platform floated from the ground. A ball of light appeared near the ceiling, illuminating the hut's interior.
Link laid the Ethereal Magician on the platform and tapped a finger on his body. With another ting, the frozen space melted around him and began flowing normally. The statue had come back to life.
His thoughts were paused at the moment when they were still back in the carriage. When he woke up, he swished his wand, ready to retaliate.
The next moment, Link sensed a peculiar aura coming from the Ethereal Magician's body. His surprise then turned to joy.
This was due to the fact that the Ethereal Magician seemed to be capable of using Time Power.
Ethereals possessed an assortment of abilities, other than body possession. They could also be used for an even crueler purpose: the manufacturing of Ethereal Crystals. An Ethereal Crystal was a magical item that contained an Ethereal's unique traits and properties.
Right now, the Ethereal was ready to use its Time Power. Link would be able to craft an Ethereal Crystal if he could find a way to extract the Ethereal from the Magician's body.
This would be of great benefit to his research on Time Power.
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