Chapter 516: We Are Magicians
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
What Ferde had plenty of was money, while the black market in the North had plenty of slaves to spare.
In the black markets of the northern kingdoms, if your price was right, the Syndicate would provide you with anything you wished.
The Golle Kingdom, one of the Leo Kingdom’s neighboring states, saw the most active slave trade among the four northern kingdoms.
The Golle Kingdom had a huge geographical advantage, as it shared its borders with the other three kingdoms. With the ocean stretching to its east, the Golle Kingdom had one of Firuman’s first largest ports within its borders as well, called Port Antique.
Incidentally, a slave market thrived in Port Antique.
On that day, an elderly man with thick flaxen hair and gristly sideburns arrived at the market.
With a generous wave of his hand, he tossed out tens of thousands of gold pieces to the slave merchants, buying every slave of any race he could find—from Elves to mixed-blood demons, and Beastmen to half-dragons.
The Syndicate thieves were all taken aback by the arrival of such a benevolent buyer. Despite their immoral ways, they showed good business ethics and professionalism by responsibly transporting the buyer’s merchandise to a designated area in the wilderness outside Port Antique.
Once they were finished, the thieves suddenly fainted on the spot. When they regained their senses, the slaves that they had brought with them had all disappeared.
The group of thieves blankly stared at each other as if they had just seen a ghost. Given the bewildering circumstances of the incident, the thieves silently decided among themselves not to speak further on the subject.
One hundred miles to the east of Port Antique, there was a dense forest. As the North saw frequent rains and the weather was warm and humid, the trees there grew unnaturally tall almost like their tropical counterparts on earth.
The forest was filled with all manner of ravenous beasts and venomous insects. As a result, there was little to no signs of human presence.
Deep in the forest, a castle stood tall. From the outside, the castle seemed dilapidated. Vines entwined themselves around its walls, some of which had collapsed. None of the rooms inside seemed intact.
However, in the depths of this castle was a wine cellar, and in it was an extremely spacious Folded Dimension.
The dimension was a few hundred square feet wide and around ten feet tall. It was divided into two levels. The recently purchased slaves were kept on the lower level, while the upper level served as an experimentation area.
Vance was the one carrying out the experiments.
He had been in the castle’s wine cellar for almost a month. Every day, screams of agony escaped the wine cellar’s cracks like the inhuman cries of a phantom.
Link, Eliard, Alloa, and Eleanor took turns visiting the place. Link had left the place after staying for only a day, no longer able to withstand the cellar’s conditions. Eliard threw up for a whole day after only glancing at the experimentation area. On the other hand, Alloa and Eleanor’s reactions were a little better than the other two, but they did not last long in the cellar either.
The scene in the wine cellar was simply too inhumane to be spoken outside the castle walls.
A month later, the wine cellar’s great door opened with a thunderous thump. Vance in all his balding glory entered the place and shouted into the darkness of the room, “Alright, people, you’re all free.”
There was no response from the wine cellar. Ten minutes later, a mixed-blood Blade Demon timidly poked his head out of the wine cellar’s door. His body was covered with horrible scars, especially around his chest, all of which wound compactly with one another like cobwebs. Though his scars had largely healed, one could only imagine what sort of torment he had been through in the past.
The mixed-blood Blade Demon’s eyes were somewhat unfocused. This was due to the Memory Wipe spell he was under. As a result of the spell, the slave subjects in the wine cellar had all forgotten their time in the ancient castle.
Eleanor the Magician had cast the spell on all of them.
After the mixed-blood Blade Demon, the Beastmen came out next, followed by the half-dragons, and finally the elves. Like the mixed-blood Blade Demon, all their bodies were heavily scarred as well.
Of course, as their body structures were unique in their own ways, their scars were only temporary and would heal soon.
Before long, the slave subjects were all gone. After losing ten of them during the experiments, there were around 80 of them remaining.
When the slaves had all gone their respective ways, Link appeared beside Vance. He then willed the Folded Dimension to collapse on itself, bringing the whole wine cellar down with it.
He sighed and said, “I finally understand why you were called a butcher in the past. To think that I had allowed such cruelty to happen…”
Vance spread out his hands, indicating that it could not be helped. “Sacrifice of some kind is always inevitable in one’s search for ultimate knowledge. This is the last time I’ll sully my hands with such foulness. Oh, I definitely won’t be able to sleep well with the shrieks of agony still ringing in my ears.”
Link patted Vance’s shoulder, unable to come up with any words of consolation for him.
Though the process was barbaric, their experiments had achieved results. Vance had more or less grasped from where each race drew their power. Such information was priceless to them.
When they returned to Ferde, Vance produced five copies of his results to everyone involved.
When Eliard received his copy, his hand trembled a bit. He was able to vividly smell the stench of blood from the experiments they had conducted. Eliard then raised his head to look at the others.
Link’s face was dark and solemn, while Vance looked exhausted from the experiments. Both Alloa, the Maiden of Truth, and Eleanor’s faces were expressionless as if they were already accustomed to such horrors.
Eliard then sensed that there was a stark difference between his worldview and the others. Before, he had seen the world in either black or white. The two color’s purities remained intact even with the insinuation of a few grey areas.
Now, he finally understood that the world consisted simply of shades of grey. There was no such thing as a purely black-and-white world.
For instance, in the hearts of the people of Ferde, their lord, Link, was honorable and intelligent beyond compare. He was a messiah-like existence almost akin to the reincarnation of light itself.
But this time, he was the first to suggest using the strengths and powers of the other races for their benefit. Before, Link had wanted to end the lives of 70,000 people in Orida Fortress of the north, regardless of whether those people were good or evil. Link’s hands were certainly stained with more blood than anyone else in the world.
On the other hand, who would have known that Vance, who usually disputed with him over magical problems as a fellow, mild-mannered scholar, would be willing to dissect countless corpses and even live bodies in his zeal to develop Battle Art?
Judging from their unfazed expressions, Eliard was sure that both Alloa and Eleanor had done their fair share of unspeakable things in the past.
Link looked at Eliard, who remained silent. He then said, “Is there something wrong? You seem shocked.”
Eliard shook his head. “No, I just realized that there’s no line between light and darkness.”
Though he was still a bit shocked, as a Level-7 Magician, he managed to calm himself down and prevent himself from losing composure.
“That’s not usually the case. To some people, absolute light exists. I’ve seen it with my own eyes in Orida Fortress. But…” Link remembered the pope and cardinal who had been willing to incinerate their souls back in Orida Fortress. Such individuals would sacrifice anything for the light.
Eliard raised his brows upon hearing this and waited for Link to continue.
Link fell silent for a while. He then continued, “But… we’re Magicians. To us, the eternal conflict between light and darkness holds little to no meaning. Religion and morality are better left to saints who have long removed themselves from worldly concerns. What we do has concrete value. Our ultimate goal is to change the very nature of the world.”
Before, Link had not given this much thought. As he grew in power and accrued even more experience in the world, his convictions had fortified. To quote a saying from earth, “Be unscrupulous in your methods, and never lose yourself.”
Beside Eliard, Vance spoke out, “We need to be diligent in our efforts to reshape this world. There will be times when we’ll be forced to shake off the shackles of morality in order to achieve our goals.”
Eleanor added, “Link took the words right out of my mouth.”
Alloa the Maiden of Truth then said solemnly, “This is the reason why I left the Dark Elves and sided with Link. He sees through everything more than anyone else.”
To all of them, piety, morality and the values of mortal men were nothing more than impediments. A Magician should not concern himself or herself with the struggle between light and darkness, but rather with an object’s practicality and whether it can be used to fulfill their objectives.
Though Link usually presented a noble exterior to the outside world, it was usually for the purpose of gathering support for his actions.
Hearing their words, Eliard looked at his compatriots around him in awe.
He suddenly had a clearer understanding of things.
Slaughter, cruelty, generosity, greed—all these things were simply a means to an end. These tools would only be used when needed and discarded when they had served their purposes. Most people usually made the mistake of confusing means and ends and ended up losing themselves in the process.
Heaving a long sigh, Eliard sensed that the path ahead of him had become even clearer. There were others like him walking the same path, and they were all doing a great service to the human race.
“I understand.” Eliard nodded.
Link then shuffled the papers in his hands and said to the others, “Alright then, let’s get started.”