In a short span of three years, Nature’s Alliance had cemented its status as a medium-scale guild. After absorbing Dense Fog Forest’s remains, it had even managed to become a peak medium-scale guild! All of these achievements had been largely attributed to Leylin’s contributions, a fact that went undisputed.
Even if he did nothing personally, the mere presence of a rank 2 Magus would eliminate most of the Alliance’s troubles.
Hence, the faith that he commanded from members of Nature’s Alliance had been increasing day by day up to a point of reverence, even deification.
Additionally, a lot of Magi had joined during this period of large-scale recruitment. Although Celine’s strength as a rank 1 Magus afforded her some bit of status, there was no longer any influences that she could have.
This meant that even if Leylin intended to take away her nominal position as the guild leader, he needed but to ask.
Passing through layers of glowing spell formations, Leylin ended up at a purple villa.
“My lord!” Celine and Iren respectfully bowed.
“Mmm!” Leylin nodded, and directly asked, “Has anything happened recently?”
“The guild’s development has been very smooth. Currently, our influence has expanded to the vicinity of the Ural mountain plains. Two local small-scale guilds have also expressed their desire to subordinate themselves to us…” Iren took the lead and bowed while reporting to Leylin.
A peak rank 1 Magus—Leylin’s strongest military force—Iren ranked highly within Nature’s Alliance, where he specialised in the guild’s expansion.
“What about the approaching horde of darkness creatures and the Dark Elven Empire?” Leylin asked.
“Reports of abnormal activity of the darkness creatures are starting to come in. In addition, the warmongering faction in the Dark Elven Empire successfully staged a coup, eliminating all influence of the pro-peace faction. They’ve mobilised the entire army, and are ready to attack any day now.”
Wars were not uncommon in the subterranean world, but they rarely coincided with the attacks of the horde of darkness creatures. This was so rare, in fact, that even a peak rank 1 Magus like Iren had only encountered such a situation once in his lifetime.
That period had seen the loss of many Magi and numerous large-scale guilds. It had come to be known as the subterranean world’s Great Power Reshuffle
An event that destabilised the world of Magi would obviously be a long period of suffering for the commoners.
“From the looks of it, a big war is inevitable!” Leylin sighed lightly.
A war between two intelligent species wouldn’t be quick to occur. It would be prefaced by a long period of strategy and preparation, with very little surprise attacks occurring. High ranking Magi had started keeping tabs on their opponents as early as three years ago, and their preparations had begun even further back.
However, precisely because of this long preparatory phase, any and all strategies tended to be useless; the war would devolve into a contest of information gathering and military might.
”Have we made any moves yet?” Leylin looked at Celine.
Recently, this woman had become much more beautiful. It was as if the power she’d gained made her glow more than she already did.
Power was an elixir to men. This was no less true for women as well. It was a pity that although these women were as beautiful as roses, every rose has its thorns. To conquer them was not a simple task.
Were he on Earth, Leylin would naturally not think like this. But the Magus world was different. Dominance, status—everything came from his own power, and he was not in the least bit concerned that Celine would one day surpass him.
“Forget the commoners’ war for now. The joint conference has commissioned a war council headed by the nine enforcers. It issued a formal request for your assistance!”
Celine arranged her hair. This revealed a translucent earring inlaid with a glowing red ruby.
The request was a result of Leylin’s agreement with Logan. In exchange for his participation in the war, Nature’s Alliance had been allowed to expand unchecked.
“Where have they stationed me?” Leylin asked with interest as he sat on a reclining chair. He raised up a crystal goblet, the fresh red wine within as thick as blood.”
”Dolon City! A large number of the Magi who responded to the call have gathered there! Of course, Duke Fendix and the royal military have been stationed there as well!”
“Dolon!” Leylin raised his glass, and a map of eastern Twilight Zone appeared within his mind.
“They’ve retreated too far! That’s basically giving up the borderlands!”
“Most of the commoners have already been evacuated!” Celine smiled wryly, “But for some areas, it’s beyond our control.”
As a Magus, Celine generally thought of problems purely based on how they affected her, but now that this matter concerned everyone, she exhibited the sympathetic nature of a woman.
Immediately, the sympathy turned into worry.
“The war council intends to use Dolon, Wakeshire, and Sadoor to form a tripartite defence that makes full use of our geographical advantages. When the war begins, my lord, you will have to face the military might of the Dark Elven Empire, including many of their matriarchs.”
The Dark Elven Empire was still a matriarchal society and was more a united kingdom made of numerous smaller clans than anything else.
The matriarchs of the smaller clans were at least as strong as official Magi. The ones Celine referred to were the matriarchs of the larger clans, existences that rivalled rank 2 Magi in might. Dark elves were naturally gifted with extraordinary strength, something which made the average elf much more powerful than the average human. Were it not for their low fertility, they would have conquered the Twilight Zone long ago.
Celine’s face was full of worry. After all, she was very clear that the powers she had came from Leylin. Should anything befall him, even if Nature’s Alliance didn’t crumble, it would fall dramatically in power.
“Don’t worry, I have confidence!” Leylin let out a smile. That he had decided to go forward meant he was amply prepared for anything that he might come across. At the very least, his personal safety wasn’t an issue. After all, even in a war as large in scale as this one, rank 2 Magi rarely fell.
Furthermore, he was not there to fight but to observe. The moment something was amiss, he would flee. Which Matriarch would dare sacrifice herself to prevent his escape?
Leylin had already recovered his strength as a rank 2 Warlock, even advancing in some areas. He was confident that, as long as he didn’t meet an old freak that rivalled rank 3 Magi, nothing could stop him.
However, thinking up to this point, Leylin felt a bit depressed.
In a world of beings with extraordinary abilities, large-scale wars generally depended on the strength of the higher-ups. Wouldn’t the humans turtling up mean that even his monstrous strength would not be able to turn the tide of this war?
Neither Celine nor Iren was qualified to know of this. Perhaps only rank 2 Magi would be able to see the situation more clearly.
“No matter what, I need to go and have a look. If I were to pass the completed techniques to the acolytes of Nature’s Alliance, it would arouse suspicion. Furthermore, the shifting landscape of war could hold good opportunities for me…” Leylin considered.
Upon seeing Leylin deep in thought, Iren immediately took his leave. Celine was a little disappointed and just curtsied.
Just as she turned to leave, Leylin grinned. “Celine, don’t go just yet…”
Having heard that, Celine’s face revealed a charming smile.
Dolon City was a military town along the Eastern Twilight Zone’s border. The town was built purely of black granite, which made it look like a huge fort from afar.
Currently, militia lined the entrance of the town, and soldiers and fleets of carriages crossed the gates occasionally.
Flags bearing the royal family’s crest were everywhere, and the silhouettes of knights leading small patrol teams were scattered around.
The entrance was guarded by official Magi in grey robes, and stringent checks were performed on everyone.
Dolon City originally supported 100,000 residents. Most of its current population, however, comprised of soldiers.
Now that the joint conference had commissioned a war council, the royals they backed could only execute their battle plans. All of Dolon City was preparing for war, and had begun wartime operations.
The center of the city was occupied by the grandest villa in town. However, this villa was not for royalty; it was meant, instead, for distinguished Magi.
Numerous Magi, robed in all colours, could be seen on premises. They’d even set up a large spell formation for defence. Some of the Magi patrolling the city walls would occasionally cast spells on the wall to strengthen it.
“The atmosphere here is so stifling!” A rank 3 acolyte wearing a grey acolyte robe walked along a deserted road, and intermittently glanced at both sides of the street. Passing soldiers would bow to this mighty magician.
“With one foot already in the grave, how can I still be considered a magician?” Aaron smiled wryly.
This acolyte was among the first group of people Leylin had met when he was transported here.
Back then, Aaron was among the party of three acolytes and two grand Knights that Leylin had saved in the Woody Wastelands. As recompense, Leylin had scanned their souls, which resulted in them losing a lot of things.
Aaron sighed deeply.
During his previous reckless foray into the Woody Wastelands, he had luckily obtained bio-materials worth a lot of magic crystals. Still, he felt like something was amiss, although he could not put a finger on it.
What terrified him further was that, after his return, he found out that his aptitude had dropped a grade!
Aaron and the other acolytes had been lucky to survive Leylin’s reckless scanning of their soul. However, his random tampering of their memories had grave consequences.
The development of magicians depended largely on their aptitude. Aaron’s original aptitude was not astounding, a mere grade 3. When it fell to grade 2, he felt as if the world began to crumble down on him.
He still remembered the regret and disappointment in his mentor’s eyes after the examination, as he said, “Perhaps an abnormal being attacked you leading to the demotion of your aptitude. It might never be reversed. Pity! What a pity!”