Even though Innilis's injuries were stabilized, Leguna still thought that her situation was rather grim. She could live life normally, but the weakness and pain she showed from time to time wasn't something that could be easily hidden.
Annelotte had recommended for her to take a rest from class, but the girl firmly refused. She didn't want to lose her top position in the academy because of that.
Lately, Innilis studied like a madman since entering the academy. She sped through books, learned all the magic she could and did everything with 110 percent effort.
There was a reason why 'mad' was frequently used to describe geniuses. Innilis used her brand of madness to stand out from the other two hundred students of the academy. Her dedication made many of the students from poor backgrounds who have experienced real hardship to be impressed and even scared.
They didn't know what kind of resolve one would have to have to be so dedicated. They could tell that given her background, Innilis definitely qualified to go to First Magic Academy, so why would she try so hard?
They didn't know that she was doing all that to feel like she deserved to stay by a certain someone's side.
While Innilis was among the top but not the best in the academy, her efforts surpassed those of everyone else. It even started to affect Sasha. Now, this young gifted also showed amazing talent. While she wasn't as eye-catching in the academy as Innilis, she was among the few 'geniuses' in evocation-type spells.
Though Innilis felt worn out from working so hard for two straight months, it was a really rewarding experience. That was why she didn't want to stop just there. She had tried really hard to achieve what she did and she would never give it up due to a little hardship.
Annelotte had no choice but to shrug off all her duties in the academy despite the objections of the other headteachers to accompany Innilis the whole time before she recovered and personally instruct her according to the syllabus.
Leguna and Eirinn also left their duties unattended and made some simple preparations before leaving Melindor towards the mysterious Dark Zone.
"It's actually that near?!"
Leguna's eyeballs almost popped out when he saw the Dusk Zone's entrance. He thought they'd have to cross mountains and seas and overcome all sorts of trials to go there.
Little did he know that the entrance was deep within the Lightless Forest which was situated west of Melindor. It looked no different than a small cave.
"The Dusk Zone is on a different plane of the human realm," Linq explained, "If we try to describe the world like a tree, the plan the human realm is on would be the trunk of the tree. Your plane is referred to as the base plane from other planes as the fundamental laws of the planes are derived from here. The other planes can also only communicate with each other through the base plane."
"Is that so?" Leguna had heard some things about the planar theory, so he wasn't completely confused when Linq brought it up. "How large is the Dusk Zone's plane then?"
"It's really huge. At least, we haven't been able to find the edge of the plane yet," Linq replied.
Leguna looked a little puzzled. If the Dusk Zone was so large, why didn't its denizens unite and attack the base plane? Did they find the Dusk Zone a comfortable place to live in?
"I know you might not believe this," Linq said, taking note of Leguna's expression, "But that's simply a fact. Just like the two continents of this plane being surrounded by the vast ocean, the Dusk Zone is surrounded by an infinite abyss. Nobody has been able to cross the abyss, so nobody can check whether there's an end to the planes or if there's another continent beyond it."
Leguna fell into deep thought. Linq's explanation did make sense. Chino and Lance were separated by the Central Seas, but nobody knew whether there was an end to the endless oceans around the two continents. Was there another continent beyond that?
The thought of that caused Leguna to feel more respect towards Linq's thoughts. Even though he was an assassin who carried out his house's tasks like a tool, he had thought about the world he lived in. Though it seemed rather meaningless, he could be an idiot who had too much time or a genius with really unique thoughts.
[You might as well interact with them more,] Gahrona reminded. The reason he dared to scheme against the dark elves was his teacher who would act as a backup.
[What will learning about the world from him do?] Leguna asked unwillingly.
[Fool! I'm talking about what's to come next!] Sometimes, Gahrona couldn't stand the gaping hole that was in his head.
[Even though Linq's just an assassin, he seems to be more than that based on his adaptability over the past few days. At least, he understands how to use words to escape the effects of the lie detection spell. Either he's good at adapting or he came prepared. But no matter which case it is, one thing is for sure. He's a really smart fellow. So, I think you'll get a big fish if you show him a little bait.]
Leguna looked at Linq's back with a glint in his eye.
The three of them slowly entered the depths of the cave. Not a trace of sunlight shone that deep in and one couldn't see one's outstretched fingers in the dark environment.
As Linq was a dark elf, he was born with the ability to sense the environment through heat and movements in the air. Leguna, being a shadow dancer, was practically a ruler in the darkness. The dark cave had quite a dense concentration of shadow energy which put Leguna's senses on par with Linq's.
Despite that, Leguna had a magic torch lit since Eirinn couldn't stand the dark. Though her half dark-elf heritage gave her stronger night vision than most, she wasn't able to see clearly in a completely lightless environment. She shivered in the darkness and held his hand tight as if she would lose all touch with the world the moment she let go.
To calm her down, Leguna used a magic torch. The sudden light caused Linq to cry in pain as he grasped at his eyes to shield it from the light.
"Sorry, I didn't think this would happen," Leguna apologized sincerely. He turned the torch dimmer. It was something Annelotte had made for them before they left. Not only could the light intensity be adjusted, it was modified to consume less power and could last double the time of normal magic torches.
"Please warn me the next time you do that. My vision has to adjust to accept light," Linq said without a hint of dissatisfaction. However, his endless tears made Leguna feel quite uneasy.
"I will." Leguna squeezed Eirinn's hand slightly to calm her down and continued on their way.
"[email protected]" Linq cried in dark elven tongue, causing the whole cavern to echo with his cry.
"There are many points of the Dusk Zone that connect to the base plane. Think of the connection points as normal portals. basically, they allow us to travel between the planes. However most of the connection points are unstable and to make it convenient for us to go to the bae plane, we have spent quite a lot of resources to stabilize some of them. The connection point we're using now is controlled by the dark elves. The rest are lookouts. With me around, you won't have to worry about being attacked, so don't worry."
"Let's hope it's as you say." Leguna's expression was a little sour. He had long detected the movement around them and he was suspecting he had fallen into Linq's ambush for a second.
Linq also picked up on the suspicion and hurriedly explained himself lest he be killed by Leguna in a reckless attack.
Gradually, the sound in the cavern grew louder. Many dark elves no longer hid themselves and stood on the higher platforms of the cave with their bows drawn. The glint of the metal arrows caused Leguna to furrow his brow.
The bowmen didn't seem that strong, but Eirinn was with him and she would be under the most threat here.
Leguna put up his guard. Naturally, Annelotte wouldn't let the two go face the elves unprepared. He had many tools she had given him at his disposal if needed. Annelotte was well aware of the weaknesses of the dark elves and each one of the tools she provided were effective and malicious.
Thankfully, Linq wasn't lying. When they arrived at the connection point, not a single dark elf attacked them. At the very least, it now seemed that the dark elf was really trying to bring them to see the matriarch of the household.
"!^%&$" the one of the guards said to Linq.
"[email protected](%(*" he replied with his brow furrowed.
"What's wrong?" Leguna asked, sensing that something was wrong.
"We might be in trouble," Linq said with a gloomy expression.Previous Chapter Next Chapter