95 Threats from the Chief Disciple


 Bale's Mage Tower

...

Darris looked at the ground and shook his head, "No, Link is an exceptional apprentice, it's just...too sudden. Master, I do not know how to explain this feeling of abruptness...it is almost as if this was deliberately planned."

"Deliberate? Planned?" These two words struck fear into Bale's heart. Many images flashed through his mind.

Could it be that someone has discovered my secret? Link was recommended by my old friend Duke Abel, there should not be a problem...but Darris' sixth sense had always been accurate. If he sensed that something was amiss, the chances were that he was right.

After a few moments of silence, Bale spoke, "Since I have decided to take Link as my disciple, I have the right to better understand his background. Help me do some research and report back to me as soon as possible."

"Yes, sir," Darris nodded, "If there is indeed a problem, what should I do?"

Bale listened and shook his head, "Report to me before you do anything. Do not act rashly."

Darris then escorted Bale back to his room and immediately returned to the ground floor to look for Link.

"Let's go, I'll bring you to your new room." Darris was cold towards Link.

"Okay." Link nodded and followed closely behind.

Under the envious vision of all the other Magician's Apprentices, the two of them climbed up the swirling stairs and stopped in front of the outermost room on the second floor.

Darris did not open the door immediately, but instead, stood in front of the door and stared at Link, "Link, there are many secrets in this world, but we do not have to know all of them, especially those that will not cause harm to others, am I right?"

Link was shocked at Darris' awareness of his secretive actions but he still managed to keep his cool.

He replied with a confused tone, "Sir, I don't understand what you are talking about."

Darris sniggered and lowered his voice, "You know exactly what I am talking about. I know the notebook that is used to record purchases of raw materials for magic scrolls is missing. After asking around, I realize you are the one that is in charge of keeping it safe. I also know that you got this position in return for writing magic scrolls for Derek. You probably have a motive, going to such means to get what you want. You must be investigating on my master, and shall I make a guess that you have already found some evidence?"

Link looked at Darris, clearly bewildered and at a loss for words.

When Link found the evidence in the notebook, he was sneering at Bale's failure to cover up his tracks. The sensitivity and accuracy of Darris accusations was thus something he did not expect.

Link looked as though he was frozen in time.

"Please let this go. My master has not fallen, and he will never cause harm to others." Darris stared hard at Link with a slight murderous intent. He seemed ready to engage in a fight if Link were to refuse.

The real reason why Darris was able to pinpoint Link's intentions so accurately was purely coincidental. Link had been performing exceptionally well amongst the apprentices and had caught his attention from a while ago. Darris was thus observing him with keen interest.

However, Link's consistent exceptional performance turned his curiosity into vigilance. This was especially so after Link became the person in charge of magic scroll production.

Darris was fully aware of Bale's experiments into black magic. He was, in fact, a competent assistant to his master.

Bale was getting old and did not have as much vigor as before. When he was fully focused on his research, he often failed to cover up the tracks of his ventures into the area of black magic. On the other hand, Darris was young and vigilant. He knew very well that the notebook definitely held evidence of his master's experiments.

If anyone were to express interest in the contents of that notebook, there was a high chance that he was here to investigate on his master. Darris was only surprised that the person tasked with such a dangerous mission was of such tender age and had little to no magic powers.

While Darris was sorting out his thoughts, Link had also figured out the episodes that could have ignited Darris' suspicion. Darris might have been right about his intentions, however he lacked concrete evidence to prove it. Before then, it could only be dismissed as a conjecture.

This also meant that Darris' views could still be easily changed by what he saw and felt.

Link hence decided to stay true to his original statement, "Sir Darris, I still do not understand."

"I truly hope so. I was an orphan and it was Master Bale who raised me as a child and taught me magic. He is like a father to me! Anyone who tries to hurt my master will have to first step over my dead body!" Darris was extremely confident that Link was a spy.

Darris called out his Light Green Rune Staff and a warm glow enveloped the tip of his staff. Before long, the corridors were shaking and getting distorted; it felt as though they were in the midst of a heat wave. This was the power of a Level-4 Magician.

If an ordinary Magician's Apprentice were to witness this scene, he would be petrified with fear. However, Link had way too much battle experience for this tactic to be effective. He knew, for one, that he could not let this confrontation develop into an all-out battle.

It would be for the best if a Master Magician like Bale dabbling in the arts of black magic was settled quietly.

Link thus had to find a way to stabilize Darris' emotions and convince him that his conjecture was incorrect. As long as Darris started to doubt himself, he would be able to buy more time to react to this unexpected confrontation.

Link hence put on an act to be traumatized by Darris' display of magic power. He made sure to tremble while slightly stammering, "Sir Darris, I understand. I will definitely remember your words. Also, I am really not investigating anything. The notebook has always been in my room, if you want to take a look I can always pass it to you."

Link had a fearful and dazed expression when speaking. He looked like he was clueless about what was happening.

"You are a smart person," Darris nodded.

Link seemed genuine enough. He might have really made a mistake by accusing Link of such an act. After all, Link might just be a talented Magician making detailed plans for his future.

"Pass me the notebook now." Darris would erase all evidence.

Link immediately ran to his old room to retrieve the notebook.

After receiving the notebook, Darris spoke sternly, "No one has to know about what happened today, understand?"

"Yes, I totally understand." Link nodded hastily.

"That's good. Now please enjoy staying in your new room." Darris pushed the door open and handed the room key to Link.

Link took the key and ran off swiftly. He looked terrified.

Darris started to believe he could have been misguided. Link might really just be an ordinary apprentice. However, there was no way he could continue staying in this Mage Tower after what happened today.

He had to find a way to get him out.

And the moment he leaves...Darris' eyes shone with a bladed resolve.

"The secret must be safe! Master is getting old and way too kind. Certain things require a clean break." Darris would take no chances. If his master's reputation went down the drain, so would his future.