Chapter 547: Battle Invitation at the Cliff
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
There was a basin-sized hole in the Ethereal prince's chest. His body was almost split into two. With this kind of injury, he still wasn't dead and was even still conscious.
This was because the body didn't belong to him. He was just possessing it. As long as the head wasn't damaged, he could still escape.
Different from regular Ethereals, Prince Harmod's soul was abnormally strong. Seeing that he was in a hopeless state, his eyes shone with silver light, and he roared. "Ah!"
Ping! With a crisp sound, his bracelet shattered into a burst of light. The white light flowed into Haromed's head. After that, the air around him blurred. A beam buried into it and his eyes dimmed. His body collapsed onto the ground with a thud, losing all presence of strength.
This time, Haromed had risked everything to escape. The entire process happened in the blink of the eye. The four couldn't even process it.
Link could have stopped Haromed, but he'd just retreated from the state of extreme spellcasting. His mind hadn't recovered fully and was still delayed. By the time he recovered, Haromed had already disappeared.
Link shook his still-hurting pain and jumped into the magic seal. He cast a spatial detection spell.
White light appeared and spun around in the air. After around three seconds, fine ripples emerged in the light. They formed a tunnel the size of an arm and forcefully broke through Evelina's spatial imprisonment, extending outward.
No, Haromed shouldn't be able to break free. However, the World Impaler had put an opening to the spatial imprisonment. Haromed used it to flee.
Other than the spatial tunnel, Link also clearly smelled a faint aura in the air. It was like incense from earth. It was very faint, but after smelling it, he felt a bit dizzy. His emotions became affected too.
Link was very familiar with this smell. It appeared when a soul shattered. In other words, this was a soul's "blood."
"Haromed broke free from the restraints, but he's hurt," Link said immediately. "He can't be far. Let's go."
Using the traces shown by the spatial detection, Link rushed out of the yard. The other three ran out of their hiding places, following Link closely.
Link raised a hand while on the road. The light of a detection spell wrapped around his finger. He tested for abnormal waves on the path and pursued Haromed.
Soon, the four left Glen Heights and entered the dense jungle to the west.
Many of the trees here towered in the air. Their rich treetops practically blocked all source of light. Even though it was daytime, the jungle was dark. Plants that liked the shade, such as bushes and vines, took up almost all the space under the trees.
After entering here, they slowed down drastically, especially Link. His body had mostly recovered, thanks to the Dragon Power, but he was still very careful.
"Stay close and don't get separated," he murmured. "I can feel that Ariel hasn't left. She's still looking for a chance."
He still felt uneasy, like someone had their eyes on him. Not many in Firuman could give Link such pressure. At the moment, Ariel was the only one.
Just like them, Ariel hadn't given up yet. She was still trying.
This High Elf genius was truly hard to get rid of.
Evelina was a bit nervous. "Link, you have to be careful," she warned quietly. "She has never failed in her entire life, and she even brought a World Impaler this time. She's too scary."
Celine wasn't happy at this. Eyeing Evelina, she said, "I think you're just scared. She fought with Link and got hurt."
Eveline shook her head. "That was a tie, at most. Link isn't well off now either."
She had seen more clearly than Celine and wasn't that familiar with Link. She didn't have the absolute trust that Celine had.
Eliard was worried too. He turned to Link and arched an eyebrow while gesturing with his hands. How confident are you?
Link replied, gesturing, At most, we fail at catching Haromed.
This comforted Eliard. Chuckling, he asked, "What is there to be scared of? If that Ariel really is so powerful, why doesn't she just come out and fight? I think she's scared of us, heh."
Link thought a bit and said, "Let's go. In a battle, the end is decided in an instant. Stop thinking nonsense."
So the group stopped talking and continued following Link into the forest. They walked like this for more than one hour. They traveled around five miles and reached deep into the forest.
Here, Link's eyebrow twitched. "The spatial mark is gone."
With that, he squatted to check carefully. The ground was covered in rotting branches and leaves. Occasionally, some insects would crawl over. It all looked normal.
After a few minutes, Link found a fist-sized claw mark on the roots of a tree.
Evelina walked over to look. "This is the paw print of a Blue Mongoose, but it looks weird. The Blue Mongoose is supposed to be very agile. Judging from the footprint, it's matured, so why did it leave such an unsteady paw print?"
"Maybe because it isn't familiar with the body," Eliard said.
Link nodded and said, "The Ethereal must have possessed this Blue Mongoose. It'll be easier to find."
At the side, Evelina cast a beast tracking spell. A red-green spotlight rushed out of her wand. It circled the paw print and then flew away. The group followed it.
After a dozen miles, the tracking light suddenly stopped in place. It circled the spot and then disappeared.
Evelina was shocked. "His aura disappeared completely."
The injured soul of an Ethereal used his own power to forcefully possess a mongoose in the dense forest. All signs on the road pointed to the fact that he couldn't control the mongoose perfectly, leaving behind many traces to follow. But now, it seemed to have evaporated.
There was only one conclusion.
"Someone powerful intercepted," Eliard said. "Maybe it's Ariel?"
Celine was already holding her guns. "For some reason, I feel like it'll become very dangerous if we keep pursuing... Link, what do we do?"
Link didn't reply. He circled the place where the mongoose had disappeared, searching closely while casting different detection spells. Three minutes later, he found a tiny mark in the vines that extended from a tree.
Someone had made it with one's hand. Judging from the size, it was a woman. Link looked at Evelina. "How is Ariel at martial combat?"
In the game, Ariel didn't display any of those skills, so Link overlooked it. But after fighting her across space, he realized that she wasn't so simple.
Evelina shook her head. "I'm not sure, but one year ago, I think she purposely went to learn from a wandering vigilante called Green Leaf Swordsman. He's apparently amazing at swordsmanship. Later, I saw her practice a few times. She seems good."
Eliard found this strange. "A Magician practicing swordsmanship? That's weird. I heard that Elven Natural magic isn't suitable for martial arts."
Here, Eliard got an idea. His Sunlight Power was very suitable for martial arts. In combat, it was sometimes more useful than spells. It seemed that he should find some time to learn swordsmanship.
Evelina nodded. "Indeed, which is why I'm confused why she did that. However, Natural magic has a great advantage in controlling plants. There aren't many clues here. It's highly possible that Ariel did this."
Link didn't think so. If a Magician really wanted to learn martial arts, there were so many tricks they could use. To a Magician, there were only things that they couldn't imagine. Nothing was impossible.
He already saw Ariel as a martial arts expert now and would treat her accordingly.
Thinking of this, he said, "Let's go. She still left some signs. She used this vine to swing over and dropped onto a branch 60 feet away... Look, there's her footprint. Then she used another vine to leave. That's why there aren't any marks on the ground. As for the mongoose, she must've taken it."
The four of them were the top representatives of Ferde. It would be embarrassing if their plan was ruined by one person. Ariel didn't know how to give up, but Link was like this too.
Only those with this personality could keep moving forward on the tumultuous path of power and make shocking achievements.
Celine and Eliard didn't have any objections. Evelina couldn't do anything either. She didn't dare leave the forest alone, so she had to go with the flow.
The four continued pursuing. After around half an hour, a cliff appeared before them with plumes of white smoke under it. It was a few hundred feet high.
An ordinary female High Elf stood at the edge quietly. Her features didn't stand out, but her aura was indescribable, especially her dark purple eyes. When she looked at them, everyone-including Link-felt ineffable pressure.
Right now, she had a Blue Mongoose the size of a cat in her arms.
She saw Link from afar and turned around, smiling thinly. "I knew you'd come. This cat is nice, but his life is in my hands. I can destroy him at any time."
Link raised a hand, stopping the group. He stopped at a distance too. "What are your terms?"
"You and I have a battle at this cliff. No one else can help. The winner can take this cat. As for the loser, whether they can live is up to their skills. What do you think?" Ariel's words were shocking.
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