The world called him the Silver Storm.
One of the twelve leaders of the male mages of Deroura, his fame had spread across the land even before Aouine had been established, and his legend was even older than the bards’ songs.
All the kings of the world trembled before him, and even the four Holy Cathedrals would retreat in the face of this pale old man. He was the pinnacle of the Silver Mountains, before whose pride even the dragons bowed.
There was only one person who was capable of all this, and his name was William Pist.
The folk prints depicted that image of the Archmage. Frozen in those prints, he wore the silver-colored Robe of Skies with wavy edges, holding the ‘Draka’. The staff that symbolised ‘Ruler of the Skies’ in runic language, and the figure who had once read the Twelve Articles of the Buga to the monks in the Sacred Shrine of Lionheart, appeared in flesh and blood today before everyone.
Makarov, as well as everyone else, froze. The Emperor of the Kirrlutz was already considered of insurmountable status to the nobles of Aouine. But William Pist was on another level; he was someone that only existed in storybooks, in legends.
In the Year of Chaos (1517), the Sanctuary of Light threatened the male mages so they would not participate in the Holy War, and though Buga practiced isolationism anyway, the mortals’ threats sparked their anger. Three months later, in the midst of the War of the Moon of Flowing Fire, the Bugas returned the favor with three Floating Cities.
The result of that war was what the folk prints depicted, when the Silver Storm had swept through the White Book Cavalry, the highest fighting force of the sanctuary. He had killed his way into the Sacred Shrine of the Lionheart alone, read the Twelve Articles of the Buga to the Seventh Pope, and forced Farnezain to bow down and confess his sins.
That awe-inspiring battle remained in everyone’s hearts, to this day.
"I never thought it would be you who came. Master William." Brendel got up and smiled weakly. It was as if he was the only one left in the room who could still speak. He joked, "What a surprise, I thought the Silver Candle had been monitoring the movements in the wilderness south of Madara, I didn't think the male mages would be so idle."
William paused and looked at him deeply. Then with a small smile, he said, “Little friend Brendel, it seems as if you know a great deal about what is going on in the skies above Vaunte. And here my mulish men still believe that mortals know little about them, they think they can keep that ridiculous mysteriousness of theirs alive."
It was the Buga mages’ pride made them boast of being the overseers and controllers of the skies of Vaunte. The runic staff in William’s hand was the Draka, the staff of mystery, whose existence signified the authority to rule the skies; it was one of the most powerful authorities of the Silver League.
Mortals could not reach the skies, and so naturally, they would not offend these Silver Folks. The Dragons might be a bit vocal about this, but the naturally lazy race would not necessarily be spurred into action for a mere street.
Besides, the Silver Folks did not fear them.
“To the mortals, you are very mysterious indeed," Brendel replied smilingly, "It's just that I happen to know the world of mages quite well, I had heard long before that the Silver Candle would build a fortress south of Aouine for surveillance, it's called Naioch right? Are you going to make a move on Madara?"
"You don't have to beat around the bush to fish for information, you little imp. The Silver Folks don't get involved in mortal wars. We’re spying on something else. Besides, surely those skeletons would not be able to stop you.” William was not actually angry at Brendel’s probing. Instead, he replied straightforwardly with a slight smile, “The reason I came this time was because you uncovered something remarkable.”
Speaking of the Azure Lance, Brendel quieted down as well. That’s a majestic thing. The Holy Lance of Heaven was indeed considered a piece of artifact that the Azure Knights used to shatter the very skies. Mortals, and even players, had always thought that it was just a legend, but who would have thought that it actually existed in the world.
But Brendel knew better than the others present that this leader of the Deroura Male Mages was not here because he was interested in the Azure Lance.
Indeed, William continued, “But I'm more interested in the reason for its appearance. The Mercury Staff…...we’ll put that aside for now, and the reaction you caused. The fact that ancient artifacts have appeared on the earth piece by piece has drawn the attention of many."
Brendel listened in silence, for he understood that a time of future turmoil was coming, beginning with the rise of Madara. Vaunte would be plunged into a time of prolonged warfare.
Everything that he had done at the Loop of Trade Winds was to prepare for the coming war. Many, including the princess’ followers, had been quite vocal about the compromise they had made to the king’s eldest son this time, but Brendel quite admired it.
Like him, the princess could see the violent clouds of war breaching the horizon.
If they only looked at the civil war at hand, Aouine would be completely toppled in the stormy turmoil that would follow. This was the lesson learnt from history, and Brendel certainly would repeat those mistakes.
“Hmm?” William seemed to sense what Brendel was thinking and asked, somewhat surprised, “Do you know something, little one?”
Brendel gave William a glance. This was his second meeting with the silver-robed Archmage leader, and in his past impressions, as the leader of the Deroura Mages, the Silver Storm was the very image of an NPC with immense authority. But seeing him in the flesh, William Pist gave an impression of an extremely kind elderly man.
Although they did not know each other, the Archmage had been of no small help to him. The last time he fought Anderla, as well as this time when he had won the war of Ampere Seale, it was also thanks to the help of Buni’s Concealment Cloak that the other party had given him.
Of course, Brendel knew it was because of William’s affection for his past friends and Aouine, but he had always been a man who returned the favor, and he wasn’t used to owing people. In the future the Bugas would be involved in that long war as well; the Slate War involved so many forces that even the Silver Folk would suffer from it. With that in mind, he raised his head and uttered a warning to William.,
"The Holy War is coming, and the land are destined to be caught in the clouds of war. In the meantime, I'm sure the mages of Buga have already observed the upcoming Great Demonic Wave. Master William, the rise and fall of the magic tides have influenced the history of Vaunte for thousands of years, and this time will be no exception. There will always be omens of chaos before the times of turmoil come. I believe history has already sounded that alarm to all of us."
William had not cared when Brendel spoke of the Holy War of the mortals. Mortals and the Silver Folks were of two worlds, with the exception of that one arrogant provocator in the Year of Chaos. The Holy War between the Four Holy Cathedrals and the Holy Cathedral of Earth had never affected Buga. But when Brendel mentioned the Great Demonic Wave, the mage leader frowned.
"Brendel, do you think Vaunte will see a repeat of the War of the Holy Saints?" He turned back and asked solemnly. Brendel had also been upgraded from 'little one' to his real name, which meant that at this moment, the mage leader saw him as at least in some sense an equal to himself for discussion.
The reason was simple, actually—the oncoming Great Demonic Wave. Buga's astrologer had only recently become aware of the extraordinary nature of this magical Great Demonic Wave, and, just like what Brendel had said, the rise and fall of the magic tides have influenced the historical changes of the continent for thousands of years. Any sudden attack by magical creatures could completely change the course of Vaunte's history.
Even William had to consider this carefully.
"It doesn't have to be a repetition of history, it could also be a new danger." Brendel described it euphemistically after some thought.
"Haha," William suddenly laughed, "You sound like a witch of Bunosong," He suddenly caught sight of Romaine beside Brendel, and after being startled at first, said absent-mindedly, "You've been studying astrology lately, little one?"
William’s joke left Brendel with no idea how to react. The old mage probably thought that Brendel was joking with him. But his ambiguous descriptions of what was going to happen in the future really did sound like one of the rambling prophecies of the witches. If he were to say it outright however, he would probably be treated like a scammer.
“The Darkness Dragon has already perished, but the chaos on the borders of civilization could be a problem." William finally continued.
Brendel’s heart raced a little when he heard this. So this was what the mages of Buga were concerned about, and what the Silver Candle had built the fortress in the air on the Sea of Eternal Dull to monitor.
Unfortunately, they were looking in the wrong direction.
Brendel had come across the history after the two Wars of the Black Roses. In the Year of Silver, the Pale Poem said that three days and three nights would be followed by the Eternal Night, the Law of Tiamat would be changed completely in the midst of the Great Demonic Wave, the Slate War floated to the water’s surface, and that the war and chaos would scourge the land completely, bringing forth the epoch of war.
But he could not say any of these things. He could only hope that his previous words would arouse enough attention for it in William.
This conversation was definitely confusing to the onlookers, and only the princess and Amandina's group, who knew the inside story beforehand, understood a little part of it. But the predictions about the future of the continent was really not something they could fathom; in fact, with Brendel's status, this insight itself was already somewhat extraordinary.
The nobles were only concerned about the benefits that lay before them, and even Princess Gryphine was only concerned about the rise and fall of the kingdom of the Aouine. The survival of the continent and the changes of history did not seem to be things that mortals should worry of.
But the good news was that William didn't seem to be delving into this issue.
At this time, Makarov finally got over his surprise. He barely understood from William’s words that this prestigious Master Archmage was here for something important. And yet he had never heard from any party before the words mentioned about this important thing
He looked at the princess with great dissatisfaction.
Princess Gryphine seemed to have been prepared for this and replied calmly, “Oberwei, Makarov, I was the one who asked you to come here today, so I won't hide anything from you. However, this matter is of great import, and you must be careful. I ask you to please understand."
Upon hearing this reply, Makarov frowned slightly.
“Mortal, put away your discontent. She is right. Compared to the miracle that you are about to witness, your selfishness is nothing more than the dust covering a jewel." William suddenly swept a glance their way, and he coldly warned them.
His words immediately silenced everyone.
The majesty of the Silver League Mage Leader was displayed fully in this moment.
Only then did Brendel order Babasha and her party to teleport everyone into that underground ruin, and they passed through the long tunnels. This time, that Spider hidden in the darkness seemed to sense William's presence, as an animal would instinctively sense danger. In response, it actually allowed these uninvited guests to walk around in its tunnels without ever emerging, which made Brendel quite depressed.
It was the same annoyance he felt when a player with a high-level NPC tried to drop by to swipe a boss, but the boss slyly hid away instead.
The team did not move very fast in the darkness.
Since they weren’t running away from something like last time, everyone could leisurely take a closer look at the surrounding scenery. The underground tunnels were formed in a convoluted web of cracks, some artificial, and some of which were the work of nature, spreading out in all directions, making the entire underground ruins themselves look like a giant spider's web.
With this in mind, it was a perfect match for the owner of this place.
Half an hour later, the crowd finally arrived at the prayer room from that day. The prayer room remained as it had before, immersed in darkness, and even the formation was left intact on the ground.
William Pist took took just one look at the phalanx and made a soft sound of question, "It's the heritage of the witches. As I expected, they have something to do with that thing. Legend has it that the Miirna brought it to the glacier, but the witches actually predate the Miirna by a lot."
Of all of them, probably only Brendel and Tania, understood the statement, while the eyes of the cat in Romaine’s arms twinkled. The Archmage was talking about the history before the fall of the Babel Tower, and it involved the question of which bloodline the Azure Knights had actually descended.
The Archmage put his hand on the teleportation array and frowned, before taking his hand back, "This array is also a bloodline inheritance, almost the strongest precautionary measure they can take." He looked back at Brendel and asked, "But you’ve already prepared something for that, right?"
"Sure," Brendel turned around, calling out, "Sugar Jar."