The Verdant Plain
Before the three of them stood the petite figure of a fifteen-year-old girl. Link and the two Frost Warriors frowned at the sight of her.
It was none other than the daughter of Nozama, Saroviny.
It was not too long ago that she had barely escaped with her life from Firuman. She also seemed to have grown a lot more powerful since then.
Saroviny was standing before them in silence, with her black battle robe billowing about her. At a glance, the embroidery seemed to be squirming in the robe's fabric, as if it had a mind of its own. However, upon closer inspection, one would notice that there were actual human souls twisting and turning in it.
Her garment was like a dark abyss, inside which were trapped countless spirits writhing about in agony. No matter how much they struggled, none of them were able to flee from their imprisonment.
Link and the other two shivered at the sight of what was going on with Saroviny's battle robe.
Gazing at Link, Saroviny asked, "Do you like my new outfit? My father gave it to me. I really like it."
Link seemed troubled by this. He had seen a battle robe like hers back in the game world.
The only difference was that Nozama was its wearer back in the game world. Here, it would seem that he had passed it on to his daughter, Saroviny.
After merging with the God of Light to become the all-powerful Ruler of Light and Darkness, Nozama had certainly become quite generous with his belongings.
In the game world, the battle robe was called "the Abyss of Despair." It could only be equipped by players who had completed their classes. As a Level-19 Legendary Pinnacle Equipment, it was also notorious for being extremely difficult to obtain.
During his time playing the game, Link had only ever seen it on Nozama himself.
In order to obtain this battle robe, a player would need to gather 300 Abyssal Fragments from Nozama by defeating him again and again, as he would only drop one to two pieces of these fragments every time he was vanquished.
It should be noted that Link and his party were the first players to ever defeat Nozama throughout the whole server.
Link remembered the first time the game announced the robe's attributes. Just then, the game system pulled up a list of the Abyss of Despair battle robe's properties in front of him.
The Abyss of Despair
Special effect 1: Abyssal Power
Its user will have their power increased by 100 percent and their power recovery rate increased by 50 percent.
Special effect 2: Abyssal Corrosive Armor
When this effect is activated, the battle robe will provide its wearer with protection that can only be broken through by attacks above Level-15. Attacks which manage to bypass this effect will have its damage reduced by 90 percent.
Special effect 3: Foresight
The user will be able to open their third eye and see one second into the future.
Special effect 4: Abyss of Despair
Every time the robe's wearer kills someone, their victim's soul will be slowly ingested by the battle robe's fabric in order to nourish its wearer's power.
Link's blood froze as he read through the robe's special effects. How were they supposed to defeat a Level-16 Pinnacle master who was now equipped with Level-19 sacred gear?
The Snow Mountain Archmage had also given Link three Level-19 pieces of equipment as compensation for his troubles. However, the Abyss of Despair battle robe was in an entirely different level.
Link would have chosen to flee if he had to fight this fight on his own. Thankfully, he was not alone.
There were two Frost Warriors with him right now: Frost Queen Lily, who was currently a Level-16 midstage Warrior, and Absolute Zero Therodeau, a Frost Warrior in the early stages of Level-16. With their powers combined, all three of them might stand a chance against a Level-16 Pinnacle master like Saroviny.
However, it soon became apparent to Link that he was their weakest link.
After receiving the realm's blessing, not only did Link have a faster power recovery rate, he was also endowed with a powerful realm in Firuman. This was the reason why he managed defeat Saroviny back then and decimate an entire fleet of Silver Storm Sparrow battleships not long after.
However, here in the Aragu realm, he was completely stripped of those benefits.
After his encounter with the Six-Winged Burning Angels, Link realized that his power recovery rate had dropped by half. Though he could still use his realm technique, its power had been reduced by 30 percent.
In other words, even if Saroviny was not wearing the Abyss of Despair battle robe, Link still would not be a match for her.
Her power and stamina had seen a drastic increase since their last encounter. Even without using any of the battle robe's special effects, Saroviny could end Link's life in an instant.
Even the trump card that he had conceived not too long ago with the Snow Mountain Archmage's help would probably not do much damage to her, let alone kill her.
The two Frost Warriors had sensed the incredibly oppressive power that Saroviny was giving off. Frost Queen Lily stepped forward in front of Link. She then reached for the huge sword on her back as she said, "Maiden of Darkness, you dare trespass in the Kingdom of Aragu? Aren't you worried you might get frostbite?"
Saroviny's mouth twisted into a mocking smile. "Oh, are you one of those all-powerful Frost Warriors I keep hearing about? I'm shivering in my boots right now."
If Lily was not too careful, she could have herself killed by Saroviny before she even knew it. Link quickly whispered behind her, "Lily, be careful of her battle robe. It once belonged to the Level-19 Lord of the Deep, Nozama. Not only is he Saroviny's father, but he has also claimed godhood by becoming the Ruler of Light and Darkness."
Both Lily and Therodeau were taken aback by this piece of information.
Saroviny was already more powerful than any of them individually. The fact that she was the child of a god who had also gifted her with a powerful battle robe did not exactly fill Link's party with optimism.
Saroviny looked at Link, who had shrunk away behind Lily. "Lord of Ferde, you seem to know a lot. However, I'm afraid there's not much you can do with such information."
She then began to stroll towards the three of them. "To tell you the truth, the Inferno Archmage knows just how powerful my father is now. He's already chosen to side with him. Once the Archmage lights the Sacred Fire and ascends to godhood, he will become a god second only to my father. With my father's help, the Snow Mountain Archmage Iyr will not stand a chance. Tell me, Frost Warriors, is the Snow Mountain Archmage still worthy of your loyalty?"
Link and the others were at a loss for words.
Lily muttered to herself, "No, this can't be! This can't be!"
Therodeau was standing behind the other two with a blank expression on his face, gripping the Frost Sword tightly in his hand.
Link's brows were deeply furrowed, evidently searching for a way out of this.
Still languidly gazing at them, Saroviny continued, "You can't think your way out of this, lord of Ferde. You're a smart guy. Surely you must know that there's no way to stop a god. Why bother resisting us? Come serve my father, and together we will rule the whole Sea of Void. Eternal glory will be yours to have."
Link remained speechless.
Saroviny then turned towards Lily. "Lily, you're a talented Warrior with royal blood running through your veins. Why should a noble queen like yourself stoop to sacrificing your own life for peasant scum like Iyr?"
Lily let out a long breath and shook her head. She then said, "Save your breath, Saroviny. Master Iyr was my teacher. He was a kind, generous man. You, on the other hand, are a psychopathic butcher who has killed thousands of people over the last hundred years, and I'm guessing your father isn't that different from you. Otherwise, he wouldn't have made you such a despicable battle robe! I'd rather die in battle than live to serve the likes of you!"
Lily drew out her huge sword and held it in both her hands, ready for battle.
"Oh, what a disappointment," said Saroviny with a sigh. She then looked at Therodeau. "What say you, handsome one?"
Therodeau's features were indeed handsome. This much was undeniable. If he had been born on earth, he might have been able to make a name for himself as a male supermodel. However, looks served little to no purpose here in this war-torn world.
After a moment's deliberation, Therodeau finally made his decision. He began walking towards Saroviny. "I pledge my loyalty to your god!"
Even though she had not yet made her move, the aura she was giving off was enough to send a shiver down everyone's spines. The fact that she was able to stay so calm even in the Aragu empire's domain meant that she was confident she could deal with any of their attacks.
Therodeau had switched sides out of a sense of self-preservation. Blind allegiance had no place in this world.
Giggling at this, Saroviny pointed a long, white finger at Link and asked, "Link, I'm still waiting for your reply."
Link still remained silent. He had come up with a solution for his current predicament. However, he would need to pay a huge price for it to work. He was now deciding whether he should go through with it.
Saroviny waited patiently for him to speak.
She was ordered by her father to capture Link alive. Being the obedient daughter that she was, she would try not to kill him unless she absolutely had to.
Lily suddenly spoke, "Master, I've chosen my path. You're free to do whatever you want. If you choose to leave now, I'll try to buy some time for you to escape. If you choose to side with this Ruler of Light and Darkness, I hope you won't attack me from behind and at least give me the pleasure of fighting you in direct combat."
Link could not help but let out a soft sigh. Obviously, the queen did not become the leader of the Frost Knights for nothing.
Drawing a deep breath, Link stepped out from behind Lily and looked straight at Saroviny. "We all could learn a thing or two from you about having an unwavering spirit like yours, Lily."
Saroviny's brows shot up in anger. The sky suddenly went dark. In an instant, the air was filled with the wails of despairing spirits.
"Not a smart move, Link, not smart at all. My father was wrong about you! Now you die!"
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