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Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
When he escaped from the Demon Fall Valley, Ronald was already covered in dirt and wounds as his hair stuck up in all directions. The eye patch over his blind eye had been ripped off, leaving a hollow exposed to the air, sending a chill down the back of anyone who saw it…
Luckily, he did manage to escape…
Ronald wiped the sweat on his forehead as he felt slightly relieved to hear the sound of water flowing come from the distance. As long as he crossed the Black River, he would enter the Forest of Whispers, which had a difficult terrain and dense vegetation—a perfect spot for an ambush. The Shadow’s Nest had been operating for decades, and the mages of the Emerald Tower would not dare barge into this place even if they had an advantage in numbers. As long as he was patient and waited a few years for his strength to recover, he might still have a chance to take back the Demon Fall Valley.
The only unfortunate thing was that he had paid an unbelievably high price in this battle.
The expensive traps they’d laid down did not even come into use, as the land was burned right from the start of the battle. Over a hundred core members of the Shadow’s Nest had died today too, and Ronald felt his heart clench at the very thought of it. He had spent a decade painstakingly building up these relationships, only to lose so many of them today…
Of course, what truly pained Ronald was Old Merlin’s death.
He was a true Archmage, much stronger than a level-15 warrior like him in terms of combat, and a powerful figure he would never have been able to recruit if not for the sudden fall of the Merlin Family. The truth was that Old Merlin’s strength in magic was of utter importance to the Shadow’s Nest as many fights that were too difficult for them previously suddenly became way too simple with his help. Especially so during the attack on Emerald Tower—with Old Merlin helping them secretly, they were able to take down the tower which had remained unbeatable for centuries, and did so without shedding a drop of blood…
Only, Old Merlin was now dead…
Who knew how long it would take him to find another Archmage—after all, not every force had one. Furthermore, not everyone was as lucky as Emerald Tower to be able to find an Archmage in his twenties, and such a terrifyingly powerful one too. Damn it, why don’t I have such luck?
Ronald could not help glaring at his men when he thought of this.
Damn it, it’s all because of these retards!
We already took down Emerald Tower, which was unbeatable for centuries, yet these retards still could not find me what I was looking for!
Damn it, if I’d found what I wanted, would I have lost like I did today? That big shot from Alanna had promised me to fulfill my requests for any equipment or manpower as long as I gave him that thing. Damn it, if I had a few Archmages, would Emerald Tower still dare to act so high and mighty?
Unfortunately, it was too late to say anything…
Ronald shook these annoying thoughts away as he continued dragging his weary body towards the Black River.
It was right ahead—the fast-flowing water splashed against the river banks, causing vapor to hover in the air. 10 large vessels were docked at the bank overgrown with grass—they had been left behind here after the Shadow’s Nest’s attack on the Demon Fall Valley. Ronald could not be happier about his decision to do this as he would undoubtedly lose over half his men if these 1000 or so defeated fighters had to swim across the Black River now…
“B-B-Boss…!” As they neared the Black River and Ronald was about to order his men to board the vessels, one of his trusted men suddenly froze.
“Damn it, shut up!” Ronald was feeling annoyed, and felt an unexplainable anger rising as he listened to him stutter again and again without getting his message across. If not because they were on the run, he would give him a slap.
The sight of the figure hovering in the sky immediately quenched his anger. Ronald leaped up like a cat whose tail had been stepped on, and ran towards the Black River with all his might as he frantically waved at his men to follow. “Quick, quick, quick, if you wanna live, you’d better get on that damn boat!”
“Get on the boat?” Lin Li quietly hovered above the Black River using the Levitation Spell as he watched Ronald shout with all he had as the members of Shadow’s Nest scrambled to board the vessel.
He gripped the Aether Staff tightly as the light yellow Dragon’s Eye glowed brightly; strong magical waves appeared from the mageweath that covered the staff. The mana Lin Li infused into the staff was repeatedly magnified and purified before it was ultimately released in its purest form…
The complex and lengthy chanting was like flowing water, mysterious and solemn. Endless amount of ice magic element was tossing around above the Black River as thick clouds covered the sky as if before a storm. Lightning flashed from time to time, resembling a golden snake as it tore through the sky and coated the gloomy clouds with a layer of gorgeous gold. The Black River continued to flow quickly as waves crashed against the river banks again and again. Coupled with the vapor that shrouded the place, it was what anybody would imagine doom’s day to be.
Lin Li’s chanting grew faster and faster…
“It’s over…” Ronald’s gaze slackened. The figure holding the staff in the sky was like a scythe-wielding Grim Reaper who made snow fall in July. The bone-chilling cold made Ronald’s heart seize up as he only then realized that he had been overly optimistic. The goal of this young mage was not to chase them out of the Demon Fall Valley, but to kill them—it would be a massacre capable of shaking any force down to their core…
It’s over, everything’s over now…
Ronald stood and stared blankly at the sky as his gaze was filled with fear and hopelessness.
The chanting flowed like water as Lin Li stared at the Black River with a gaze void of mercy. As the last of the spells was finally finished with a loud cry, a strong gust of wind swept by, and caused heavy snow to fill the entire Black River. In an instant, the whole world turned white, and neither the members of the Shadow’s Nest scrambling for their lives nor the 10 large vessels could be seen. Even the rushing river came to a standstill as heaven and earth seemed to have become one at that moment. Besides white, there was no other color in the world…
Then, the world became quiet.
Strong wind blew above the Black River as the young mage with a presence like that of the Grim Reaper continued hovering quietly in the sky.
A deathly silence filled the surrounding as nothing besides the howling wind could be heard.
The first batch of mages to reach Black River after cutting through the Demon Fall Valley only appeared after 10 minutes, and what they saw was enough to haunt them for a lifetime…
“My God… ” A young mage from the Mannes Family was the first to reach the river bank, and he could not help letting out a terrified whimper as soon as he saw what had happened here. Then, he sat down weakly.
Followed by the second, the third, and then the fourth…
Almost a thousand mages stood frozen on the spot, looking uncannily similar to the thousand or so ice sculptures on the surface of the Black River.
Downy flakes of snow continued to fall as the whistling of blowing wind could be heard from time to time. Thousand or so eerily lifelike ice sculptures stood quietly. Some of them had just boarded the vessel, while the others were fighting to get to it. Rays of sunlight fell upon them, and made the crystal-clear sculptures shine unusually beautifully.
At that moment, the beauty and cruelty of the situation had fused seamlessly.
As they stared at the crystal-like sculptures of ice, almost everyone felt a chill running down their spines…
The leaders of the 16 forces looked at each other as they saw fear and shock in each other’s eyes.
There was only thought in everyone’s mind. My god, this is a massacre…
Indeed, this was a massacre.
Including Ronald, not one of the over thousand members of Shadow’s Nest, nor any of the vessels, had been spared. Everyone had been sealed into a block of ice, their faces etched with hopelessness right to the point of their deaths.
Lin Li continued to hover silently in the sky with the Levitation Spell. While his black-cloaked figure seemed weak and feeble in the strong wind, he was just like a scythe-wielding Grim Reaper in the eyes of everyone else. No, he was an existence scarier than the Grim Reaper—at least the Grim Reaper chose which lives he wanted to take, but this young mage spared none. He was just like the Highlord, who single-handedly terrorized the whole of Felan 1,200 years ago, equally shocking, and equally ruthless…
“Sorry for scaring all of you… ” Lin Li slowly descended after freezing every last drop of water in the river before lightly dusting off his robes, a bone-chilling smile still on his face. “I sent the guests from the Shadow’s Nest on their way since it was convenient… ”
“…” The 16 leaders of the forces tried to welcome him with a smile, but after hearing his ominous words, they could not help feeling a wave of terror run through them, and nearly sat down in shock. What a monster… he killed a thousand people with a single wave of his magic staff. How can he still smile so easily now? Hell, could he really be possessed by Osric, the great executioner?
Of course, they still had to keep the smiles on their faces in the midst of their fear.
“The bastards of the Shadow’s Nest deserved to meet their end for harassing Jarrosus year after year. They should have been dealt with earlier… Thankfully, Mage Felic caught all of them today!
“That’s right, we’ve long been waiting for this day!”
“Mage Felic, you’re too humble!”
Strings of praise came tumbling forth in a second as Lin Li smiled, not paying heed to any of it. After placating them with a few casual phrases, he found an excuse to leave before finding Gerian in a quiet corner.
“Damn it you’re a monster… a thousand people, alive and kicking, yet you killed all of them just like that. Hell, how could you not have called me along for something so exciting!” Gerian scolded him, excitement written all over his face.
“Quick, quick, tell this old man, how did you do it?” Gerian’s eyes glittered as he looked at the sculptures on the banks of Black River before he pressed excitedly, “Was it the Thousand Miles of Ice?”
Lin Li did not hide it from him. “Yeah.”
“Damn it, it’s really the Thousand Miles of Ice?” Gerian froze suddenly as he looked at Lin Li like he was a dragon spewing flames. “Damn it, are you human?”
“I didn’t do it on purpose…” Lin Li pursed his lips indignantly as he thought, You think I wanted to do it? Damn it, I still don’t know what Immortal King is, or what saying he would wield skeletons as his staff and be crowned king once again means. You think I got to level-16 easily? Damn it, I still don’t know when I’ll get into more trouble…
“Hey, wait… ” After mumbling away for some time, a trace of suspicion appeared on Gerian’s fat face again. “I’ve seen people use the Thousand Miles of Ice in Alanna too, but why wasn’t it as powerful as yours? Tsk, tsk, are you fooling me about freezing over a thousand people using the Thousand Miles of Ice?”
“Well, you know I have a bit of knowledge in the field of pharmaceuticals… ”
Of course Gerian understood what he was getting at—this rascal must have taken some powerful potion before using the Thousand Miles of Ice, which caused his magic to become much stronger and result in the horrific scene before them. Damn it, he could kill over a thousand people in a second with just one bottle of this potion? How could a monster like this exist?
“Have you got more of such potions? Give me some…”
“Stop dreaming, you really think anyone can use such potions?” Lin Li rolled his eyes as he looked almost weary. “I’ll be honest with you, this potion is powerful, but so are its side effects. I may look fine, but my mental strength has been drained… ”
“What a pity…”
Lin Li smiled tiredly as he did not continue with the topic. To be honest, if not because he was going to leave Jarrosus in a week, he would not have been willing to use the Soul Burning Potion. The side effects were unbelievably powerful even to someone like him, and depleted all his mental strength at once, although he had an almost unlimited source of it.
However, it could not be helped.
He was due to leave Jarrosus in a week to head to Breezy Plains, and might not be able to return to this place he had already thought of as home for a couple of years. What would happen to the Emerald Tower and Gerian after he was gone? What if some force that didn’t know better decided to attack the Emerald Tower? What was he going to do?
So, he could only leave a warning before he left—if someone was eyeing the Emerald Tower, they had better think twice whether they could afford to pay the price of failure…
“Alright, go get someone to set up a Warlock’s Eyes, I need to find a place to rest.”
“Ok, go ahead.”
Gerian knew what it was like to have one’s mental strength depleted, and did not dare disturb Lin Li any further, only calling on two young apprentices to escort Lin Li to a tent that had just been set up.
Gerian felt his eyes water as he looked at the figure walking away while stumbling occasionally. He still remembered asking this young man if he was willing to succeed him as the leader of the Emerald Tower before the auction, but this young man had replied saying he did not want to be tied down. However, when he thought back on what had happened, he realized that everything this young man did had been for the sake of the Emerald Tower—he had always been secretly helping the Emerald Tower even though he was not always willing.
“It has been hard on you, Felic…”
Gerian was right, it had been hard on Lin Li indeed.
Lin Li slept until the morning of the fourth day as he woke up groggily. The side effects of the Soul Burning Potion were much too powerful, and even for someone with Lin Li’s mental strength, it had taken him four days to deal with most of it. As he walked out of the tent, he still did not feel completely comfortable as his once incredibly sensitive mental strength was now somewhat blunt and slow. He tried releasing two Wind Blades, only to realize that the flow of his mental strength was not as smooth as it used to be, just as though something was interrupting its flow.
“Seems like four days aren’t quite enough…” Lin Li shook his head. Well, it was not like he was in a hurry; besides, mental strength could only recover in about 10-15 days anyway. This was a methodical and gradual process that couldn’t be rushed; he would naturally recover to the peak of his strength when the time was right.
After setting aside his worries, Lin Li realized that the Demon Fall Valley had taken on a new look after he woke up. The debris outside the mithril cave had been cleaned up, and a group of mages were directing the slaves they had taken over from the Shadow’s Nest to dig outside the cave. The place had once been charred by magic, but now, tents were set up everywhere as the hundreds of mages brought by the 16 forces did not leave after the fight; they all remained at the Demon Fall Valley instead.
This stay had lasted four days.
Lin Li scratched his head, feeling perplexed. All of those people were notable figures in Jarrosus, and while they might not have thousands of matters to see to every day, they were definitely nothing short of busy, and had business to tend to. How would they have time for vacation in the Demon Fall Valley?
“Felic, you’re awake?” Lin Li had just walked out of the tent when he heard Gerian’s voice.
“I just woke up.” Lin Li nodded before asking curiously, “Right, why didn’t Ysera and others go back?”
“I have some trivial matters I’ll need their help for.”
“You need their help to raise money?” Lin Li pursed his lips. What else could Gerian ask for if he needed somebody’s help…?
“Damn it, am I such a person?” Gerian replied indignantly, looking as though he had been wronged, only to burst into laughter after nagging away. “Hehe, that’s actually a really great idea, I’ll discuss this with Ysera later. Damn it, their mages have bombarded this whole place, and ruined all the plants in the Demon Fall Valley. It’s only right that they pay for it…”
“You should start doing some good…”
“Can’t you see that I’m helping Ysera lighten his burden? Think about it, you rascal, you’ve scared so many people out of their wits with your Thousand Miles of Ice. The leaders of the 16 forces are now trembling in their tents, afraid that you’ll use it on them one day when you lose your temper. I’m showing them that they are not worthless and won’t be wiped out by you by asking them for money. Why don’t you ask them, then, see if they are willing to fork out money to help rebuild the Demon Fall Valley.”
“Whatever, you can keep talking, I’ll go look for some food…” Lin Li shook his head, defeated. He was no match at all for Gerian when it came to spouting nonsense, and saw no point in continuing. He was starving after sleeping for four days straight; it made more sense to satisfy his hunger first…
“What are you, a pig? Looking for food as soon as you’re up… I’ll talk to you about that later, but first, I have some important matters to discuss with you…”
“What important matters?” Lin Li looked at Gerian suspiciously.
“Do you know why the Marathon Family supported the Shadow’s Nest?”
Lin Li scratched his head, uncertain, and asked, “I think you’ve mentioned a treasure map a few days ago?”
“That’s right, I’m surprised you remember that…”
“What about it? I thought you said that the treasure map was a hoax?”
“Oh, no, no, no…” Gerian looked around before leaning closer to Lin Li discreetly. “Let me tell you this, I found out a big secret a few days ago…”
“What big secret?”
“Well, it was a coincidence…” Gerian pointed into the distance. “You see that mineshaft there? When we were attacking a few days ago, we collapsed the cave, didn’t we? After you went to sleep, I had a group of people shovel away the debris from the entrance of the cave, only to find out that it was hollow about 50 meters into the cave…”
“Hollow?” Lin Li frowned when he heard this. If it was hollow, doesn’t that mean that something else is hidden in the cave? Could that be where the treasure Gerian was talking about is hidden?
“That’s right, hollow!” Gerian nodded firmly. “I studied the treasure map thoroughly these last couple of days, and I realized yesterday morning that my previous understanding of it was wrong. The place indicated on the map was not the Forest of Whispers, it’s here…”
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