-Chapter 57, DGM-
10 minutes later, Link and Annie reached the river valley inn.
Annie’s princess status was too eye-catching, so they didn’t linger at the living room, instead heading to the best private guestroom on the second floor. Anderson, the kingdom’s knight who had asked for Link’s details before, also accompanied them.
As for Hank and Greedin, they rested in the dining hall on the first floor, waiting for any signs of the syndicate.
“Why didn’t you even bid a goodbye before abruptly leaving?”
In the guestroom, Annie watched Link intently with eyes matching the sky-blue leather armour she wore. A hint of vexation could be seen in her eyes.
She was returning to the capital city to report what had happened at Glaston city. After the mess at Glaston city, Glaston city had became the talk of the kingdom. Eyebrows were raised, ripples had spread and there had been outrage. A great deal of concern had been expressed at the threat of the dark elves. As the most important participant in the issue, Annie had been called back.
(Important TL Note: To clear up any misthoughts, the capital city of the Kingdom is known in Chinese as Wen’Quan I think, still trying to find a suitable name for it. It is NOT hot springs or in any relation related to hot springs.)
Link also felt somewhat stupid.1
When he was in Glaston city, Link had worried that he would be assassinated by the assassins dispatched by the dark elves. Hence, he had not dared to linger even a minute longer in the city. Now, however, in river valley village, he was more proficient in magic. This was also an important landmark in Northon kingdom. His worries had quickly faded after arriving at this place.
Link finally reached an explanation in his head. He said grinning, “You’re probably very interested in why a magic apprentice like me can use a high levelled magic spell like ‘flame burst’, no?”
Annie’s interest was immediately piqued by his words. This was the question that had bugged her the most. Anderson, who was standing at one side, could not help but turn his head to look at Link too. He had always regarded this youngster as the ordinary son of a noble, or even as a lowly magic apprentice. Who would’ve thought that this ordinary rascal could actually cast such a destructive high-levelled spell like ‘flame burst’?
How old was he? 16 or 17? Shouldn’t this young magic apprentice only have a few level 0 magic spells?
Annie searched Link with her eyes as Link began to fib, “I didn’t actually know how to cast ‘flame burst’ at first. At max, my limit had been casting level 2 magic spells. After I defeated Holm, I returned to Fleming academy directly. At the academy, I found three ‘flame burst’ enchantment scrolls. However, the grade of the magic scrolls were too high. To use them, I had to receive a bit of backlash.[footnote]read enough xianxias and you’ll understand this term At that time, my strength had been greatly sapped, and I was almost unable to cast anything. As you know, being unable to cast magic under those circumstances was the equivalent of death. I knew I was unable to remain in Glaston city, or I’d forever remain there.2 Hence, I escaped to the South.”
This explanation was reasonable, and believable to boot. Even if there were any gaps in his reasoning, it had disappeared with the destruction of Fleming magic academy. Investigations were virtually impossible to conduct after Fleming magic academy had perished. Hence, Link could safely fabricate his story.
As expected, Annie bought it. Link had no basis to lie to her, but she still wasn’t very pleased with Link’s actions. Her eyebrows creased as she frowned, “Then you should have spoken with me. I could have arranged for people to escort you to the South.”
‘Shit, why doesn’t this woman spare the details?!’ Link exclaimed, distressed.3 In any case, Annie was the princess, and also his friend. Her concern for him was merely out of worry, and he could not simply bat away her concern. He could only continue to spin the web of lies…
“To be honest, I have my own methods of escaping. After I left Glaston city, I reached Gwinnett forest within the next morning.”4
A thousand miles was nothing to Celine’s speed. The flight had taken 3 hours.
Annie was unable to find any reason for dissatisfaction anymore. However, she still found it hard to forgive his abrupt disappearance. She felt like Link had not even considered her feelings at all…wait, why did she think this way? Why would Link need to even think about her?
As she stumbled upon this conundrum, Annie got a huge shock. All the displeasure in her heart was immediately overtaken with shock. She immediately sorted out her feelings, and fumbled for words as she did so.
“Just now on the streets, you looked pretty serious. Your friends also looked pretty concerned. Have you met with any trouble?”
God knew how much Link had been waiting for this question…
Annie was a respected princess, and her father was the Iron duke. Her uncle was the King, someone who could effortlessly use his authority to mobilise troops. He was also on rather good terms with this princess. Now that he had met a powerful enemy like the syndicate, he would be a fool not to seize this opportunity by the tail. Only a mindless idiot would play hero and solo the syndicate.
What he feared was not a single branch of the syndicate, but instead the widespread and powerful influence of the syndicate all across the human realm. Even if he eliminated a branch, counterattacks would be soon made, one after another endlessly.
Princess Annie had made her appearance, and what stood behind her was the Norton kingdom. Even if the syndicate knew a branch was exterminated, they could only resign themselves when faced against the might of the kingdom.
This was the skill of passing on the risks to other people. This was the first thought that ran through his head when Link saw Annie.
Hence, Link began to speak of his bitter experience in river valley village, from the time he met the flamingo mercenary squad to the time he wiped out the dark brotherhood to earn enough cash for the magic academy fees and Witt’s treasures. This sum of money had, however, been coveted by the syndicate, and this entailed a new set of inconveniences. In the end, Lucy had been taken hostage. Everything was laid down on the table. However, as for the details with the demonisation magic runes, Link had not uttered a single word of it.
He was not afraid of the news of it leaking, because this stuff was considered taboo in the world of light. The syndicate would definitely not let any news of it leak out. Hank and Greedin were his followers, and they would not speak of it either. Unless some accident happened, they would be able to protect the existence of the demonisation magic runes.
When Link finished, Annie turned to look at the kingdom knight Anderson, “General, this syndicate organisation’s power is too great. For it to dare to show its claws in the neighbouring villages of the capital city is evident of that. Glaston city was only a precedent. Is a clean-up operation here feasible?”
Who didn’t know the infamy of the syndicate? There was always a weed in a field of flowers. Seeing that Annie had intentions of helping, Anderson, naturally, went along with it. Raising a clenched fist to his stomach in a salute, he attentively responded, “If your highness princess, desires for it, I can take command of the people’s militia in river valley village!”
“En, go. This matter is urgent.” To Anderson, Annie was a princess deserving her respect. Every motion of her demanded respect and commanded authority.
Anderson saluted her again, then strode out of the guestroom in big strides as he left to organise the military in river valley village.
As the room’s door swung shut, only the two people – Link and Annie – were left in the room.
Link was still concerned with the issue of the syndicate knocking on his door. There was no point to sitting here aimlessly. After a period of silence, he opened his mouth. “Your highness princess…”
“Call me Annie, just like in Glaston city.” Annie cut off Link.
“Alright then, Annie. The syndicate will be knocking on our doors anytime now, shouldn’t we wait in the inn’s hall?” Although Hank and Greedin were at the hall, these two mercenaries were afraid just by the mention of the syndicate. Suffuse to say, Link was worried.
Annie nodded in agreement. “That’s good.”
The two of them got up to leave the guestroom. As Link placed his hand on the knob of the door, he heard Annie’s calm voice from behind him, “Is Lucy attractive?”
What type of question was this? Link turned the question over in his head for a while, but was unable to make sense of it. He nodded, “She’s quite attractive.”
“If compared with me?” Annie asked.
“To each his own, ah, of course she can’t compare with you.” Link finally reacted. Did Annie take a fancy to him or something? No way, their time spent together hadn’t even exceeded two hours. How could feelings possibly arise?5
Regarding Annie, Link did not even anything romantic towards here. At most, they were friends. Annie was a princess, a very beautiful princess. However, she was not his type. But of course, he could not recklessly say this out loud. Women were unusually emotional creatures. If he did not take into consideration her feelings, borrowing her authority and power could not be possible.6
Link turned his heel, explaining, “Lucy is my follower. We fought alongside before. Regardless of whether it’s her, Hank, or Greedin, I would act all the same. This isn’t about whether Lucy’s a girl, or how attractive she is — it has nothing to do with any of those. This is my responsibility as their master.”
Master and follower, both roles came with their duties and obligations. Once a contract was established, the follower would be faithfully devoted to the master, and the master would protect the follower. If the follower died in battle, then the master had the obligations of arranging the things the late follower left unfinished in his life, such as his family and relationships.7
Really…when the words came out, Annie’s troubled face suddenly cleared, and her footsteps became faster, like she had a bounce in her footsteps. Stepping in front of Link, she said energetically, “If you’re unable to enter the academy, you can write me a letter. My father knows a powerful level 6 magician, and he’s also a tutor at the magic academy. If my father says so, he would definitely accept you as an apprentice. With your talent, he would be beyond delighted to accept you as an apprentice. I’ll forgive you this time, -but. If you have any troubles in the future, remember to find me.”
“I will.” Link nodded his head.8
The two of them left the guestroom.
At this moment, Hank appeared at the inn’s stairs on the second floor. After seeing Link, his expression relaxed. “Senior, the syndicate sent a letter.”
“What’d it say?” Link was apprehensive.
“They told us to go to the south of river valley village, to the red leaf valley. They want to exchange…gold coins for the person as ransom, and they want us to appear before 3 p.m. in the afternoon.” Hank eyed Annie cautiously. He almost said crystal, but he changed his words upon remembering that she was an outsider.
Annie didn’t catch on. After listening, her eyebrows arched as she said steely, “Gwinnett forest’s syndicate as already run rampant to this level? I’ll set them in order.”9
Hank looked at Link dumbly.
“Princess Annie will help us to rescue Lucy. Knight Anderson has already went to organise the people’s militia as help.”
Hank brightened instantly. With the entrance of the kingdom’s strength, the threat of the syndicate would be nothing scary anymore. Who would’ve thought Master knew the Princess? Furthermore, they looked like they had a good relationship. This was almost too good to be true.
Link turned back to Annie, “Annie, our number one priority is rescuing Lucy first, before we commence the suppressing operation.10 Hence, our numbers need not be too great. My suggestion is that Hank, Greedin and I will first move, followed by you guys secretly following us from behind…”
“No need. I’ll come with you guys. General Anderson will cover our backs. Don’t bother dissuading me — going by yourself is too dangerous. In Glaston city, you saved my life once. Now, I’ll return the favour.” Annie’s expression was firm.
Link could only nod feebly. “Ok.”
Annie quickly wrote a letter for the servant to pass on to Anderson. She said to Link, “Go, we’ll leave now on my horses!”
-Chapter 57, end-
Who else building a ship