644 Have a Taste of My Abyssal Dish! 1/4

 Link eyed the Protector. There was a look of urgency on his face. He did not sense any hostility from him. After hesitating for a second, Link decided to believe him.

He then flew towards Romeon. When he was close enough, he extended out a claw and caught hold of both the Protector and his unicorn.

"Lead the way!" Beating his wings back powerfully, Link returned to full speed once more in the air.

"We need to go back. The hiding place I was talking about is behind us," said Romeon.

Link tightened his grip on the Protector and said suspiciously, "Are you sure?"

He looked behind him. All that he could see was the hazy red sky. Nozama was nowhere to be found. Judging by the energy fluctuations the Lord of the Deep was giving off, Link estimated that he was now 60 miles away from his pursuer. Even if he was somehow able to avoid Nozama as he turned back, he would still need to expend a large amount of energy. This was no different from hurling oneself directly into the jaws of death.

Romeon could feel Link's claw closing in on him. Fearing that he might be squeezed to death by the dragon, he quickly erected a force field around himself. He then said, "Dragon, I'm the Protector of the Fedaro realm. I have no reason to deceive you and less reason still to help those demons."

Link was reassured somewhat by his words. Still, the question remained: How should they avoid Nozama in order to reach this hiding place that the Protector mentioned?

Not only did they need to circumvent Nozama, but they also needed to do so without spending too much energy or taking a hit along the way.

What should I do? thought Link as he considered his options.

He sensed that Nozama's current power was probably around Level-13. There was no way he was Level-19 right now. If that had been the case, Link would already be dead by now. With Level-13 power, Nozama might not be able to break through his magically-resistant dragon scales with magical attacks. However, he might be able to do so if he came at Link with physical attacks.

One of the more intriguing qualities of Dimensional Rejection was that it only affected the energy output of extra-dimensional beings. It had absolutely no effect on one's physical characteristics.

For instance, Link could only use Level-10 battle techniques and spells at the moment. However, his dragon scales still retained their Level-13 hardness and Level-18 magical resistance. Only an attack with a power which exceeded the level of his scales or underwent an elemental change would be able to pierce through his dragon body's defenses.

The same could be said about Nozama.

However, Nozama's demon body and the weapon he was equipped with was now at an overwhelming Level-19. Link's dragon scales offered no more protection for him than a layer of paper mache would against either one of them.

Since that was the case, Link no longer saw the point in remaining in his dragon form. His dragon body was more of a hindrance to him at this point, as his pursuer would be able to hit such a massive target with ease from a distance.

Link then began to descend towards a more precipitous spot in the mountains, where the trees were also thicker.

When he was 50 feet in the air, Link retracted his dragon form.

Retracting a dragon form with a wingspan of more than 100 feet was a tricky affair which involved a meticulous use of spatial magic. Romeon saw the dragon's scales begin to glow and then fold upon themselves rhythmically as the dragon's body shrank. The entire process was so intricate that none of the Magicians present were able to keep up with its every step without feeling a throbbing headache in his or her head.

Romeon also tried to observe the folding of Link's dragon scales. He was able to last a bit longer than Dadara. According to the ancient legends, dragonification is supposed to be a form of magic. A high-level one at that, apparently. I can't even begin to wrap my head around it, thought Romeon when he finally turned his gaze away.

Five seconds later, Link had retracted most of his dragon form. He was now in his half-dragon form, which was approximately 7 feet tall. Dragon scales still covered his body, giving the impression that he was wearing an exquisite set of armor. Link's transformation had also extended to his Ode of a Full Moon sword. It was now covered in a layer of silver-black dragon scales. Only its sharp edge remained.

When his transformation was complete, the group of people he had been carrying with him landed in the forest beneath him

As soon as he landed, Link raised his sword and was about to cast an invisibility spell over all of them when suddenly Romeon said, "Allow me. My power has been recognized by the Fedaro realm. I can easily camouflage us here."

Link stopped. Romeon stabbed his wand out and muttered, "Earth, sky, tree, open up your loving embrace and grant us protection."

A red, golden and green light issued out from the tip of his wand. Like smoke, it rapidly spread out in the air before settling on everyone around Romeon.

When the radiant mist settled upon them, Link felt as if everyone had evaporated around him. He looked around him and saw that everyone was still visible. He could still see Romeon, the six summoners and his two demon attendants around him, but he could not feel any of their auras. Link soon realized that they were still giving off their auras. Romeon's spell had simply camouflaged them such that they felt no different than the trees, animals, and rocks around them.

Seeing the look of confusion on Link's face, Romeon explained, "This is the power of the elements. In order to receive their aid, one must first obtain their recognition."

"Do they also recognize extra-dimensional beings?" asked Link.

Romeon shook his head. "Maybe. I don't know. It all depends on what the elements are thinking at the moment."

Sensing Romeon's reluctance to say anything more on the subject, Link decided not to press him any further. He then felt for Nozama's aura and was able to determine that he was now 30 miles away from them. He needed to move fast.

Romeon said, "Let's turn back. We shouldn't move too fast, or we'll give our locations away."

Link did not object to this. Romeon was a native of this realm after all. Under his guidance, all of them began retracing their steps. After walking for half a minute, a sound like thunder rang out in the air above them.

It was a sonic boom, a phenomenon which usually happened in the wake of an object flying at top speed through the air. Nozama had arrived.

Link looked up in the air and saw a black dot flying over them 2000 feet in the air. Romeon's elemental invisibility spell was extremely effective. Nozama did not seem to notice their presences on the ground as he sped past them. He then let out a sigh of relief.

However, Link noticed that Nozama had stopped moving forward and was now circling in the sky, just above the spot where Link and the others had landed moments ago.

The two demons had also noticed this. They were now trembling so fiercely that they could not even hold their weapons properly. Had it not been for the fact that Link had forced them to sign an inviolable soul contract with him, the two demons would have already run back to their former master at the drop of a hat in order to beg for his forgiveness.

Dadara and the others darted anxious looks at Link and Romeon from time to time. These two possessed power far greater than any of them. Whether they would be able to escape Nozama's terrible pursuit would be entirely up to them.

"Ignore him. He won't be able to sense us here. Let us move on," said Romeon.

Link nodded. The group trudged on forward. During that time, Link observed Nozama's every move from the corner of his eye as the demon circled in the sky.

He did not dare look at him directly, for fear of making eye contact with Nozama. Still, Link was able to see Nozama clearly from 2000 feet away without needing to strain his eyes, thanks to his dragon vision. Even the slightest shift in Nozama's facial expression did not escape his notice.

Back in the previous game world, Link had confronted Nozama more times than he cared to count. Through his confrontations, he now knew exactly what the demon was thinking and what his next move would be. The game's developers had even made painstaking efforts to give this final boss a more life-like quality. From his observations, Link could tell that this Nozama who was now flying in the sky before him was an exact copy of the Nozama back in the game world. Even their flight patterns were indistinguishable from one another.

Link was able to predict what was going through Nozama's mind and what spell he was going to cast from his every move and every change in his expression.

As they walked on for another half-minute, Link noticed that Nozama had suddenly stopped moving in the air. In the next second, a sonorous voice called out from the sky.

"Link, I know you're hiding in these woods. Since you still insist on playing this game of hide-and-seek with me, I guess I have no choice but to let you have a taste of this dish I've prepared especially for you, straight from the Abyss!"