672 The First Curse of the Divine Fragmen

 "Come on, let's go take a look," said Dylosen with a smile.

Due to the soul contract they had signed before, he did not have to worry about Link and Eliard betraying him. With the death of Morpheus, he was finally able to complete the mission that the Snow Mountain Archmage had entrusted him with.

Once he returned to the Aragu realm, he would most certainly be compensated by the Archmage himself for his efforts.

Link and Eliard never had any intention to abscond with the Shadow Divine Fragment in the first place. Though their soul contract with Dylosen played a chief factor in their disinterest towards it, they also knew that the fragment's power was not something that should be trifled with. Anyone capable of wielding it would be able to ascend to godhood. Those who were unable to would be overwhelmed by it and perish as Morpheus did back then.

However, there was no way Link and Eliard would pass up a chance to study something so rare and mysterious up close. Link and Eliard began following Dylosen just to make sure nothing happened to him.

Soon, the three of them arrived at the Shadow Fortress. There was a broken humanoid statue in the great hall. From what was left of it, they were able to deduce that it had been shaped in the likeness of Morpheus himself. The points of breakage on it seemed fresh. The entire building too seemed to be in ruins. Most of its walls had crumbled. This must have been the after-effects of their battle with Morpheus not too long ago.

Once inside the hall, everyone split up to search for the fragment. In truth, Link already knew where it was. However, he had no intention of finding the accursed thing first, so he simply made a show of looking for it in a corner.

Suddenly, Dylosen came back hurriedly into the hall. "Found it, it's right here!"

Link and Eliard turned around and saw that Dylosen was standing beside Morpheus' fallen statue, holding a black crystal skull in his hand.

The skull was completely black. It somewhat resembled the crystal skulls back on earth. However, it seemed to be missing its lower jaw and a huge chunk on its back. There were also numerous scars on it as well. Curiously enough, a pair of black spectral light flickered in its sockets.

"The skull seems to be made of something not of this world. I've never seen anything like it before," breathed Eliard. This had certainly been an eye-opening discovery for him.

Link had seen it before in the game. However, the real thing seemed even more impressive than he had anticipated. The two black flickering light in its sockets were like entrances into an impossibly dark abyss. Upon making eye contact with the skull, he could hear a low whispering voice inside one's mind. He also suddenly began to covet it, wanting to make the skull his own.

Link immediately averted his eyes and suppressed this sudden impulse to snatch it from Dylosen's hands. He then looked at Eliard. There was a strange look on his face. He too seemed to be affected by it.

As Dylosen had a deeper understanding of the skull than his two companions, he naturally knew better than to look directly into its eyes. "Careful, don't let this thing enthrall you."

Link nodded. "Alright, Dylosen, we've completed your mission. I think it's time you give us what we're due."

"Of course, it has been a pleasure working with the two of you. My lord, you've certainly been a tremendous help. The Snow Mountain Archmage and I owe you a great deal," said Dylosen with a smile. He took out a custom-made box and placed the black crystal skull inside it. He then used a piece of rope to tie it up and hung the box from his waist. Strangely enough, the box seemed to have erased the skull's presence from this world.

Then, Dylosen handed the Chaotic Moon over to Link. "The Moon can only be used once per month. We've already used it once just now, so you'll only be able to use it again in a month's time. You've seen what it can do. I'm sure it will serve you well."

"It is certainly an incredible item," said Link with a nod, ready to receive it in his hand.

This had been a beautiful partnership between them. However, things had never been this easy for them.

"Look out!"

Link suddenly pulled out his sword and stabbed it into a Despair Ball that had materialized in front of him. The sword's tip then protruded from behind Dylosen.

A figure in a red-gold battle robe had jumped out from behind Morpheus' statue, swinging his sword down on Dylosen.

Judging by his outfit, the figure must be an Inferno Warrior... No, his battle robe seemed even more garish than the ones worn by the two Inferno Warriors that Link had brought to Ferde not too long ago. The power fluctuations in his body felt even more powerful as well. This must be one of the high-ranking Lava Knights that Dyleson had told them about.

Link figured that the Lava Knight must have been drawn to the commotion in the valley just now and so waited in the shadows for an opportunity to strike all this time.

The Lava Knight parried Link's sword with a resounding clang. The impact sent a powerful shockwave down Link's arm, paralyzing it in an instant and temporarily neutralizing Link's ability to wield his sword effectively. The Lava Knight was evidently a lot stronger than him.

However, Link was not just a Warrior. He was also a Magician.

Though the Ode of a Full Moon sword was parried, it was able to buy its wielder time to cast a spell. With a reverberating hum, a thick Space Barrier materialized between Dylosen and the Lava Knight.

"Hmmph!" The Lava Knight swung his sword down once more. All of a sudden, the two-handed sword, which seemed to be dripping with streams of lava, exploded. It then coalesced into a 50-foot-long blade made entirely out of fire and lava.

The sword effortlessly cut through the Space Barrier that Link hastily set up behind Dylosen like butter.

Then, the sword's flames surged towards Dylosen at incredible speed.

This had all happened in a split second. Aside from Link, neither Eliard and Dyleson even had time to react to the Knight's ambush.

Dylosen was soon enveloped by the flames. Sounds of explosions came from his body, as the defensive magical gear he had with him all failed at that moment.

Evidently, the flames were some sort of realm-type attack. Dylosen simply had no way of defending himself against such power.

This was the result of an ambush conducted by a Warrior-type class on a Magician. The Lava Knight was clearly more powerful than any other Magician. There was no way his magic-wielding quarries would be able to survive any of his attacks.

Just when it seemed as if the flames were about to roast Dyleson alive, white light began to glow from his body. Hum. Hum. Hum. It was Link's teleportation spell.

When the white light faded, all three of them had disappeared from the Shadow Fortress. The Lava Knight did not give chase. He simply went over to where they had been and picked up the wooden box. He then opened it and found the divine fragment quietly lying in it.

Dylosen was not his target. His target had always been the divine fragment. With it now in his possession, the Snow Mountain Archmage would no longer be a threat to his master, the Inferno Archmage.

"The lord of Ferde is certainly something," The Lava Knight closed the box. He had no intention of going after Link. Instead, his plan now was to head back to the Isle of Dawn.

His main mission was to retrieve the divine fragment and sabotage the Snow Mountain Archmage's plans. Killing Dylosen and the lord of Ferde would have simply been an act of convenience. Their deaths mattered little to him at that point.

However, the lord of Ferde's little trick had caught him completely by surprise. Though the Lava Knight was not at all afraid of him, there was no need to bother with him for now, lest he trip up in his pursuit.