Chapter 630: Is It Real? Or Is It an Illusion? (1/2)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Hundreds of dragons were circling in the air, whipping up a roaring wind that could be heard miles away.
Celine stood on the edge of Girvent Forest to the west of Ferde silently looking out from high ground at the dazzling magical city in the distance.
Knowing that Link had finally calmed down, she let out a sigh of relief.
After wiping away a tear from the corner of an eye, Celine turned around and began walking towards the forest behind her. Suddenly, a huge green silhouette emerged from the trees, its aura tumultuous and menacing. However, Celine did not move a muscle.
It slowed down as it drew closer. Finally, it materialized into a green-furred tiger before Celine. It then spoke, “Mistress, you finally came.”
It was Dorias. Ferde was no longer a place he could reside in, especially as the city became even more prosperous and its population grew every day. Ordinary folk feared him, so Dorias thought it best to live in Girvent Forest, away from civilization.
“Are you waiting for me?” said Celine curiously.
Dorias shook its head furiously. “Of course. The lord has ordered me to. He said that you may need a ride, though I must say this is the most degrading request I’ve ever received from him. I’m supposed to be a Warrior, not some mule to be ridden on… Then again, orders are orders. Can’t really say no to the man himself, can I?”
Celine decided to go along with Link’s arrangement. “I don’t need a ride right now. I do, however, require a guide. I need to find a quiet place to continue my magical training. You’ve lived here for a long time now. Surely you must know a couple of places like that?
Dorias pondered on this for a moment. “I do know a few secluded places in the area, but I’m not sure if they’re quiet. Should I take you there then?”
“Then get on, and hold on tight.”
Celine climbed up onto the tiger’s back. In a single bound, it was able to cover 100 feet. Before long, both Celine and the tiger vanished into the forest.
Ferde, outside Scorched City, in an ordinary courtyard
While the dragons were circling in the sky, a well-built man was driving a battered-looking horse carriage towards the entrance of an ordinary courtyard. Once there, he undid the horse’s reins and led it into the courtyard.
Inside, a woman in a linen dress was busy working a loom, which rattled on endlessly.
“I have no idea what’s going on, but somebody needs to do something about these dragons that’s been flying in the sky these past few days,” the man muttered irritably, looking up at the sky.
“Didn’t the lord announce what’s going on? The dragons have crowned the lord as their king. They’re celebrating his coronation right now,” said the woman. Her eyes were still glued to her work. Though they were not exactly living in poverty, most of their furniture was old and shabby. She thought her work might be able to earn them enough money to afford repairs around the house.
“Oh, you sure know a lot, don’t you?” said the man with a huff. He led the horse into the stable, gave it a bit of hay in its feeding trough, and then poured a ladleful of water into its water trough. Fearing that it might swallow more than it could handle and end up sick, the man added a bit of straw wine into the water.
As he did all this, the man felt as if he had been doing the same thing for the last ten years… What was he thinking? He had always been a coachman. What else was he supposed to do for the rest of his life, anyway?
The man shook his head. For some reason, he sensed that something was wrong. He should be living like the soldiers out on the street, clad in their brilliant armor and armed with their elegant swords. No, he should have been someone important, maybe even an esteemed master like those Magicians in Ferde’s Mage Tower.
He looked down at his own hands. They were covered in dirt and grime. He then sniffed at his sleeve. It smelled of horse urine. Finally, he turned to his wife, who was still busy working her loom… Wait, when did he marry her? Why could he not remember a thing?
“Hamilton, what are you doing there? Still having one of your daydreams? Why don’t you come here and make yourself useful? I can’t carry all these spindles by myself, you know!” His wife was standing beside the loom. She was staring at him furiously, her hands clasped on her waist.
Hamilton jolted from his reverie and hurried over. “Coming, dear. I’ll handle this. Why don’t you go cook something? I’m starving.”
Hamilton felt a sharp stab of hunger in his stomach. The piece of bread he had this morning was not as filling as he thought it would be.
Suddenly, a dragon’s roar reverberated in the sky. Hamilton looked up at the sky.
A dragon was flying especially low in the sky. Hamilton could clearly see the dragon’s dark red scales which gleamed with a metallic light. The dragon seemed to be glowing as well. As it flew over, countless specks of light fell like raindrops to the ground.
One of these specks of light landed on Hamilton. In an instant, he felt a sudden warmth flow through his body. All the exhaustion he had accumulated after a whole day’s work vanished without a trace, along with the hunger he had worked up.
Noa came running out of the house. She looked up at the sky and happily said, “That’s the Dragon’s Blessing. How wonderful.”
“What’s a Dragon’s Blessing?” asked Hamilton, perplexed.
Noa hit his arm indignantly. “How ignorant can you really be? The royal messenger has been going around from door to door telling us all about it. There should also be announcements posted at every corner on the street. You could have at least stopped to take a look at some of the posters outside.”
Hamilton tried to recall what he had seen and heard as he made his rounds around the city, and realized that he had indeed heard something about the Dragon’s Blessing. However, as he had been a bit absent-minded of late, feeling that there was something wrong about his life, he did not pay it much mind.
“Alright, a blessing’s nice and all, but I still have dinner to make for tonight.” Noa pulled up her sleeves and returned to the kitchen.
Hamilton began piling up the spindles under his arms. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. A voice sounded behind it. “Is anyone home?”
Her wife shouted from the kitchen, “Hamilton, there’s a customer outside our door. I’m busy right now, so go answer the door!”
Hamilton walked towards the entrance and pulled open the shabby door, which whined noisily in its hinges. He was taken aback by what he saw there.
There were two men standing outside the courtyard. One of them was wearing a silver-black battle robe with a sword dangling from his waist. What immediately stood out about the other man was his blue skin. He was clad in a dark blue robe with golden edges, which was usually reserved for high-ranking Magicians in Ferde. What came as a greater shock to the senses were their eyes which glowed with a piercing light. He was now feeling a bit light-headed as his heart thumped incessantly against his chest.
“Who’s at our door?” shouted Noa again from the kitchen.
Hamilton swallowed. “No… no idea.”
“Useless old fool!” shouted Hamilton’s wife. Hurried footsteps sounded behind him. Upon reaching the courtyard’s entrance, she gasped in surprise when she saw who their guests were and immediately knelt down before them. “Peace be upon you, my lord.”
She then pulled at her husband, trying to get him to kneel down with her on the ground. At first, Hamilton seemed reluctant to do so. After much resisting, he finally gave in and knelt on the ground beside Noa.
Hamilton was just an ordinary commoner, and it was customary for commoners like him to kneel before someone as important as a lord. Still, it did not sit right with him.
Link observed the man and woman who was kneeling before him, somewhat surprised. He then turned to Piasce. “Good job.”
Soul magic was simply incredible. Two Level-14 masters had been subdued so easily without shedding a drop of blood. Fooled into believing that they were mere commoners, both of them even behaved like actual commoners before the lord of Ferde.
Both Link and Piasce entered the courtyard and closed the door behind them. Link then gave two quick taps on Hamilton and Noa with a hand and cast a spell on them, sealing both their powers in them.
Hamilton and Noa looked at him quizzically, not sure what he had done to them.
“My lord, have we done something wrong?” stammered Noa.
Link smiled. He looked around the courtyard and found a chair to sit on. He then said to the couple still kneeling before him, “Get up, both of you.”
The two obediently did as they were told, looking uneasily at each other.
When the two of them got up to their feet, Link said to Piasce, “That’s enough, Piasce. It’s time to ask them a few questions.”
Piasce nodded. He looked at Hamilton and Noa, muttered an incantation and then snapped his fingers.
In an instant, the couple shuddered, and their glazed eyes cleared up. Then, there was a look of surprise on both their faces.
Surprise quickly turned into anger. Hamilton did not take this too well in particular. He was a Level-14 Infernal Warrior and was also a high-ranking member of the Fire Sect. He had every right to be furious at Link for playing such a dirty trick on him!
He growled through gritted teeth, “Well played, Link, well played! I’m gonna kill you!”
Link quickly cast a Distortion spell. A vague ripple appeared in the air with a hum. With their powers sealed inside them, both Hamilton and Noa were forced back down on their knees, unable to resist Link’s spell.
“End me if you can! Do it now!” roared Hamilton. He was still struggling to break free from Link’s invisible restraints.
However, his efforts were all in vain.
Link raised a hand, lifting Noa’s face by her lower jaw. “I can feel the seeds of life sown in you. It’s Hamilton’s child, isn’t it? But aren’t all Infernal Warriors supposed to abstain from matters of the flesh? Or have the two of you chosen to forsake your god?”
Piasce was able to uncover this piece of information from the two Infernal Warriors’ consciousness before confronting them.
“What?!” Hamilton was stunned. Noa had actually conceived his child. But this was in direct violation with the tenets of his religion. What was he supposed to do now?