Chapter 536: Profit beyond One’s Imagination
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The medicine that Eliard gave Evelina worked really well. A few hours after taking it, she had recovered much of her strength and was able to walk herself.
But her body was still weak. Lazy to walk on her own, she allowed Eliard to carry her all the way.
The three of them were headed north. Link had activated his Void Walk to hasten their journey. In half an hour, they managed to arrive outside Full Moon City.
Once they landed, the three of them then entered the city.
Evelina looked around. She noticed that everything was still in order. There did not seem to be any sign of chaos. She then gave Link a perplexed look as he walked on in front of them.
Link felt her gaze and chuckled. “The second stage of your plan was almost perfect. The only problem was that the Ethereal Warriors had been too slow to carry it out. When I got here, they still hadn’t arrived in the city.”
“What about the king?” asked Evelina. She had noticed that the wanted posters plastered around the city had been torn down. This meant that the king had been taken care of.
Link smiled and took out a pale yellow crystal. He tossed it up and down in his hand, then threw it to Eliard. “Catch. Let her have a look at it.”
Evelina looked carefully at the crystal held up by Eliard in front of her eyes.
The crystal somewhat resembled a piece of amber, and a cotton-like substance swirled abundantly inside it. She held out her hand and touched it. It was smooth and warm to the touch, and it did not feel sharp or angular like other gemstones. At the same time, she sensed a familiar aura coming from it.
“This is…” She turned to Link, still uncertain.
“You guessed it. The Ethereals that you’ve brought in are now inside the crystal. In it, they can neither live nor die.”
The Soul Crystal was a unique item. It could store souls in a way similar to pendrives back on earth. Any file stored in a pendrive would be preserved as it was, a dead thing removed from all external influences. The file would only be subject to change via user input once it was extracted from the pendrive and run on a computer.
The Soul Crystal was a pendrive of sorts, while the possessed victims were the computers infected by the Ethereals. Once they were stored within a Soul Crystal, the Ethereals remained a dead thing inside it.
These “dead things” possessed peculiar properties. Their sophisticated structures contained a large number of rune groupings. By infusing one’s power into the crystal with the right technique, one could reactivate these rune groupings and draw out the Ethereal’s power.
In other words, the Ethereal Crystal was a magical item with an immediate effect.
Evelina swallowed. She eyed Link incredulously and asked, “They are living beings capable of speech and thought, and you’re storing them like mere objects. Aren’t you afraid their guardians will have an issue with such abuse?”
Link laughed out loud. “I neither bought them like merchandise nor slaughtered them like mere sheep. They got what they deserved. Why shouldn’t I have my way with them? It’s not my fault their essences have such useful properties.”
Eliard listened on to all this, confused. He asked, “Link, what are you two talking about? Evelina, who’s capable of speech and thought? And what’s this talk about guardians?”
Evelina looked at the crystal in Eliard’s hand, still finding the whole thing difficult to accept. She then explained to Eliard, “Link stored the souls of the Ethereals inside this crystal, turning them into a piece of magical equipment.”
Eliard was shocked upon hearing her explanation. If he had heard of this before, he would have leaped up in protest. However, right now, his mentality had undergone a major upheaval.
He observed the crystal carefully in his hand. He then asked Link, “How useful is this?”
Link replied, “Ethereals possess unique powers inside their souls. For instance, by imbuing your power into it with the right technique, the Ethereal Crystal that you’re holding now will be able to produce Level-10 Earth Power.”
Eliard’s eyes brightened up. His mind was able to immediately grasp what Link was saying. He then said, “By that logic, does that mean any ordinary Magician will be able to summon out Legendary power with any magical equipment forged with this crystal as its base?
Link nodded in agreement. “Exactly, and its conversion efficiency is extremely high. Around a hundred apprentices would be able to muster a Level-10 attack with their combined Mana. On the other hand, only 20 Magicians above Level-5 would be needed for such an attack.”
“What about the crystal’s cost of production?” asked Eliard.
“Not at all high. On average, a piece of crystal would cost more than 70 gold pieces. With the added cost of alchemical potions required to exorcize the Ethereals from their host bodies, the total cost would amount to around 130 gold pieces. Also, these crystals can be used at least 100 times.”
At this point, Eliard had fallen silent. A few seconds later, he said, “This Soul Crystal business feels a bit shady to me, but it would be a waste not to take advantage of it now. With this, the military might of Ferde would improve by leaps and bounds. Besides, these Ethereals aren’t exactly peaceful beings. If they had just stayed in their own realm, none of this would have happened to them.”
The risk of being reprimanded for violating the rights of these Ethereals seemed trivial in comparison to the immense profit that could be reaped from them. It was highly unlikely that there would be anyone who would go so far as to defend these evil spirits.
Evelina listened on to their discussion. She felt as if a whole new world had been laid out before her. In front of her stood not Magicians, but rather vulgar merchants who would do whatever it took to earn a buck. For some reason, she was not at all displeased at the way they handled things. Both Link and Eliard were fastidiously weighing the gains and losses of the matter at hand. They would only choose to do something if its gains weighed more.
Also, it seemed that Link’s method of forging magical equipment with the souls of Ethereals would most certainly bring in a huge profit. Evelina was impressed by this.
Her gaze alternated between Eliard and Link for a few times. She then asked, “Can I join you guys in this?”
She did not believe that Link would lock her up indefinitely. She must have impressed him with her magic and talent. Her imprisonment was simply a way for him to tap into her skills. Why else would he have agreed to let Eliard watch over her? She was not one to sit quietly on the sidelines and let an opportunity like this pass her by.
Link smiled. He knew that a maiden bold enough to commit treason against the Isle of Dawn like her would find a way to spice things up. He then asked, “And what if we refuse you?”
“If you let me in on your plans, I’ll tell you where you can find plenty of Ethereals and the safest spots to trap them. I’ll even tell you the spatial coordinates of the Delou Ethereal Realm. If not, well, I won’t tell you anything then.”
Link and Eliard were stunned. This lady was incredible. She had betrayed the Ethereals to them at the drop of a hat with such thoroughness that even Link found it a bit too extreme. She had even suggested capturing these creatures from the Ethereal Realm, as if their complete eradication meant nothing to her at all.
But then, only a fool would refuse such an offer.
Link nodded. “It’s a deal, then.”
The three of them then continued their path through the city. A while later, the gates of Full Moon Kingdom’s palace rose up before them. At that moment, Link whispered, “Before I forget, you seemed to have messed up Skinorse and Irvan quite badly back then. Try not to provoke them when you see them.”
Eliard was the only one who was unaware of what had happened. Apprehensively, he asked, “What happened to Skinorse and the others?”
Link did not know how to tell him what happened. Thinking about it for a while, he said, “Physically, they’re both alright. It’s just that their prides have been somewhat injured. Don’t ask them about it later on. Just let the whole thing pass.”
“If you say so.” Eliard nodded, still confused.
At that point, the king of Southmoon Kingdom had returned to normal. The palace opened its gates to Link without much fuss. As they entered, there were a few attendants already waiting there to guide them through the labyrinth of corridors and alleyways until they finally reached a small courtyard on the western side of the palace.
“Skinorse and the others are in there. Our business here in Southmoon Kingdom has come to a close. After I’m done giving out my orders, we’ll head north immediately.”
Eliard looked at Link strangely. “What’s the rush?”
“I fear that the High Elves will catch up with us if we stay here for too long.”
Eliard was startled. They definitely needed to watch out for the High Elves. He then thought of a graver problem. “The Isle of Dawn would not give up their search so easily. If they were to come looking for Evelina in Ferde, what should we do then?”
Right now, Evelina was in their hands. It was simply out of the question to hand her over at this point. But Eliard had no say in the matter; the only one capable of putting up a fight with the Isle of Dawn was Link himself. It was up to him to decide what to do with her.
Evelina too looked at Link, waiting for a reaction from him. She would literally be sent to her death if he succumbed to the Isle of Dawn’s demands to hand her over to the High Elves.
Link laughed. “Of course we won’t hand her over. If we do, the information on the Ethereals will forever be out of our grasp. Once we get back to Ferde, we’ll wait for the High Elves to make the first move. Then we’ll proceed as planned at the first chance we can get.”