Chapter 704: Realm Fusion (4)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The High Elves’ royal capital city, Andwar.
A day later, Link had arrived at the city’s outskirts. He could already see the World Tree in the distance from there.
Standing at least 1000 feet tall in the distance, the tree’s thick canopy seemed to extend over all of Andwar. Pure, natural Mana flowed down from its leaves and branches like waterfalls, before evaporating mid-air into a green Mana haze. It turned the entire city into something straight out of a fairy tale.
Ordinary folk would be immediately impressed by the sheer beauty of this magnificent tree.
Link, however, was able to see the ocean of Mana that the tree exuded.
The trees’ roots have embedded themselves deep within the Firuman realm’s core. The amount of Level-19 power currently flowing through it surpasses even mine by a huge margin. There’s no way I would be able to go up against it, thought Link.
The High Elves were truly blessed to be able to live in peace under its shade for more than 3000 years.
Putting his thoughts aside, Link quickly made his way towards a manor in the outskirts of Andwar.
He began following a small path through a forest until he came upon a clear stream in the mountains. A mountain valley filled with the scents of wild flowers in full bloom was on the other side of the stream. Once he cleared the valley, he began following another trail to the merry chirping of birds in the forest. Finally, a moon strawberry plantation came into view. His destination lay in the deeper regions of the plantation.
A thorny fence was erected around the plantation. A small building stood near the entrance of the plantation. This was where the manor’s guard lived.
A middle-aged guard was chopping firewood near the entrance as Link approached. Hearing his footsteps, the guard lifted his gaze and saw Link with a stunned expression.
The High Elf Warrior before him seemed somewhat familiar. He had a striking resemblance to Master Theodore, with the only differences being his weathered features and his well-built physique. He also had a sword hanging from his waist. Its scabbard was covered with dark brown spots. The guard immediately recognized them as dried-up bloodstains, which suggested that the High Elf’s sword was not there simply for show.
“Uncle Darsey, I’m back,” said the young man. His voice sounded deep and hoarse as if he had just recovered from an injury to his throat. Still, there was something familiar about his voice.
As if he finally remembered who he was, the guard’s eyes lit up. “Master Theodore?” he asked uncertainly.
“Yes, it’s me,” answered Link with a smile. The guard had easily recognized him as Theodore. It would seem that this young High Elf had quite a respectable position in the Morgenstern household.
The guard looked overjoyed. He quickly let his axe fall to the ground and shouted behind him, “Aya, Aya, Master Theodore isn’t dead. He’s come home!”
A middle-aged High Elf woman burst out of the wooden cottage behind the guard. When she saw Link, her jaw dropped. She then shouted, “Thank the God of Light, it really is Master Theodore! I’ll go tell everyone else!”
She then gathered the hem of her dress and hurried towards the manor on the far end of the plantation.
Darsey, the guard, hurriedly opened the plantation’s gates for Link. He swept his gaze over Link. A pained expression came over his face when he saw the scars on his cheeks and the backs of his hands. “Master, you’ve been through a lot.”
When news of the High Elf envoys’ massacre at the port near the Black Forest reached him, the old patriarch had simply let out a despondent sigh and decided to drown himself in wine and all manner of merrymaking to ease the pain of losing his son. The old High Elf had aged a great deal in a matter of days.
Darsey had no idea how the other masters and mistresses of the Morgenstern household had reacted to the news of their brother’s death, but he knew that the servants did not take it too well. Not only was Master Theodore the household’s beacon of hope, but he was also the Morgensterns’ most respectable master of his generation.
He was a kind young High Elf who would never bully any of the household’s servants. If death had not taken him away, he would have become the master of the Morgenstern household by now. The servants’ lives would have been a lot easier if he had taken the helm of the household.
All their hopes and dreams had come to an abrupt end with the supposed death of Master Theodore.
Theodore’s death had affected Darsey as well. He had watched him grow up. He still remembered back when the young master was still a child; he had trampled a couple of saplings along with his siblings as they were playing in the plantation. When Darsey got there, none of the other young masters and mistresses seemed the least bit sorry for what they had done. Master Theodore was the only one who had come forward to apologize for his actions. He was such an adorable little fellow back then.
Shaking his head out of his reverie, Darsey pulled Link into his wooden cottage and poured him a glass of wine made from the plantation’s moon strawberries, knowing just how much Master Theodore loved drinking Aya’s homebrewed moon strawberry wine.
“Master, you must be tired from your journey. You can rest here for a while. Aya has gone off to inform everyone else of your return. A horse carriage should soon arrive to pick you up,” said Darsey.
“Thanks, Uncle,” said Link. He then took the glass of wine from the middle-aged High Elf and began sipping its content.
The wine had a rich, velvety texture. There was even a hint of sweetness in it. It was perhaps one of the most delicious wines Link had ever tasted. He soon finished the whole thing in one gulp.
Darsey was gazing tenderly at Link as if he were his own child.
Link felt the middle-aged High Elf’s gaze on him. I’ve picked the right High Elf to disguise myself as. I may just be able to proceed with my mission without a hitch, thought Link as he also remembered how the guard’s wife Aya had reacted when she saw him.
Suddenly, there was a commotion outside the wooden cottage. A few seconds later, a gentle voice sounded behind the door.
“Where’s my brother, Theodore? Don’t tell me he’s again drinking wine in the guard’s cottage?”
As soon as he heard the voice, Darsey’s face fell. He muttered, “Master Theodore, it’s Master Lumien.”
Oh, so this is Lumien, thought Link.
Link quickly raked through his brain for information on Lumien. The High Elf in question was the oldest of the Morgensterns’ new generation. He was a vain, 45-year-old Level-4 Magician who always loved going to parties. He was also recently addicted to Milmilu, which was a type of beverage in the Isle of Dawn known for its aphrodisiac and hallucinatory effects.
Lumien had originally been the least promising candidate for the position of master of the house. However, with Theodore gone, as the oldest of the Morgenstern children and being a few levels higher than the rest of his siblings in terms of magical ability, the position was naturally given to him.
He had every reason to feel nervous about Theodore’s miraculous return.
Link put down his glass on a table and walked out of the cottage. Outside the building stood ten or so people. Most of them seemed to be servants. Three in particular were clad in elegant clothing. The male High Elf standing closest to him had skin so white Link assumed he must have powdered himself beforehand. He must be Lumien. The High Elf’s dull eyes swept across Link’s body from head to toe. He frowned as if not impressed by what he saw.
Behind Lumien stood a man and a woman. The man had a nasty scowl on his face. Clearly, he was not a friend of Theodore’s.
This must be the third master of the Morgenstern household, Dylin, thought Link. According to the information Link had on him, Dylin was in charge of taking care of Lumien’s messes.
The High Elf woman behind Lumien looked to be about as old as Theodore. There was gentle warmth in her eyes as she gazed at him.
Oh, this must be Lamiel, Theodore’s older sister. It seems that they were both born to the same mother, thought Link. The old patriarch could not have spawned so many heirs and heiresses with the help of just one spouse. In reality, he had married more than 20 women during his lifetime.
“It really is you, brother, though I have to say, that long scar on your face isn’t a good look for you,” said Lumien with a smile. Then, he took out a white handkerchief and waved it in front of his nose. “Oh, Theodore, how long have you not taken a proper shower? You’re beginning to smell like the servants.”
Link frowned. He was not easily upset by the words of weaklings like Lumien. However, he could not help but feel a twinge of annoyance at the man’s annoying demeanor. His fingers twitched as he tried to suppress an urge to pull out his sword and plunge it into his chest repeatedly.
Seeing that Lumien was about to come over, Link immediately spoke, “Shut your face, Lumien. I have no time for the likes of you, so you had best not provoke me.”
“Brother, you really should watch your temper…”
Before he even finished, he flew off in the opposite direction, as if an unseen force had slammed into him. His body did a few rolls through the air before it came to a crashing halt on the ground. The impact had left a long bloody wound across his cheek.
Link sheathed back his Ode of a Full Moon sword, which he had disguised as an ordinary Elven sword. Nobody even knew when he pulled it out.
“Lumien, the only thing I don’t miss about this place is your prattle. For your sake, I hope you keep your mouth shut in my presence. Got it?” said Link coldly. He then turned his gaze from Lumien, who was trembling on the ground, to Dylin.
Dylin instinctively assumed a defensive stance. He then saw the look of disdain on Link’s face. He too was not worth Link’s time.
Link then turned to Theodore’s sister, Lamiel and asked, “Sister, do you know where Father is? I would like to see him.”
“Ah… Oh. Follow me then. I’ll take you to him.” Lamiel quickly pulled Link away from the scene. She walked past Lumien without so much as a glance at him.
When the two left, a servant hurried over to help Lumien up from the ground.
“Get lost!” roared Lumien. “Help me up, quick, I need to see Father too. He needs to see what Theodore did to me. Ow, ow, my face!”
Dylin quickly helped Lumien up, and the two of them began walking back towards the manor, fuming. The servants looked gleefully at each other when the two High Elves were out of earshot.
Someone said worriedly, “Do you think the old master will punish Theodore for what he did?”
“Not a chance. He probably would be too happy about his return to care about any of that.”
“Theodore seems even more powerful than before. Did you see how fast he pulled out his sword?”
“I guess there’s still hope for the Morgenstern household after all.”
The servants were all deeply impressed by Link’s show of skill at that moment. Not far away, the High Elf Queen had received a guest.
The queen’s guest was not of this realm. She was clad in a black battle robe. Her skin was white like snow, and there was a calm, distant expression on her face. It was Saroviny. “Your Highness, something has happened in the Aragu realm,” she said, moments after meeting the High Elf queen.