Brendel blinked hard, the corners of his eyes stinging a bit.
When he opened his eyes, Malourcha’s body was radiating a burning white light and turning transparent and ethereal. The magic floating above it seemed to be undergoing a rebirth. In that light, as bright as a newborn star, the dark magic was being guided by a force beyond life and death. An unseen rule descended from the skies.
In that instant, he and Maynild both looked up, their souls experiencing the same kind of shock. They experienced the power that came from Marsha.
Gentle, but insistently seeping through every pore.
Every language and sound seemed to lose its meaning.
The fairies looked up at this scene. They were amazed to feel the forest shattering, but a friendly power was struggling to free itself.
Brendel saw the little fairy in Maynild’s eyes run towards the Crystal Stag’s body, her face streaked with tears. She cried and shouted, her mouth opening and closing, but Brendel couldn’t hear anything.
There was just rule and power between heaven and earth.
Brendel saw the golden magic blossom from Malourcha’s body. It seeped into the ground and spread out along the path in the forest like a spider net. Then he saw a faint layer of fog rise from the Crystal Stag’s body, already turning into ash, and forming into what Malourcha looked like while it was alive -- that majestic and beautiful creature looked up at the night sky with its head raised.
And then that layer of fog began to dissipate.
But in that instant, Brendel seemed to realize something. He raised his head and shouted at the fog-like soul, “Malourcha, wait! Your magical core won’t be completely turned to ash. A part of it will be inherited by the new elemental!”
The Crystal Stag clearly seemed to realize something as well.
It stood there, slightly stunned, and then turned around to look at Brendel. Because its physical form was already starting to fray, Brendel couldn’t clearly see its expression. But Brendel could read the last thing Malourcha wanted to convey through its gaze --
The magical core was already completely tainted. Even if only a part was given to the newborn Crystal Stag, it will be assimilated by that Crystal Stag. The newborn elemental life will only become a monster out for blood.
And this forest will only become a wilderness, filled with gloom and horror.
So this is the mission.
Brendel finally figured things out but he wasn’t relaxed at all. He could only watch as Malourcha’s body gradually faded into nothing. It looked at him anxiously but there was nothing he could do either.
There was a way. Brendel suddenly raised his head. He looked at the Crystal Stag and his entire mind was filled with the scene he saw earlier. The wide and never-ending sea, the crisscrossing fang-like cliffs, the waves crashing against the rocks -- that was the Shallow Seas, the never-ceasing origin of elementals.
“I can help you Malourcha.”
He suddenly called out, “Will you accept?”
In the middle of Brendel’s palm, a blank card was already floating. Malourcha looked at the card and seemed to understand. Its life was long and it accumulated knowledge bit by bit through the centuries.
“Are you willing!” Brendel demanded angrily.
The golden magic filled the entire forest, but the black flame reignited from the center of the golden light. For the human and the stag, only one chance remained.
“What’s your plan, human.” Malourcha’s gaze held this question.
“Use the dark magic as a source of energy and seal you alongside it. I’ll use the rules of the Cards of Fate and separate it from the magical core. It might just work!”
“How sure are you?”
“I don’t know --”
Malourcha nodded slightly, a wispy existence except for what remained below its neck. Its body had completely vanished but its four hooves still remained firmly on the ground.
Brendel took out the Cards of Fate and turned them to face Malourcha’s soul. “Ciel, help me calculate how much I need to seal a card this time.”
“My lord, can’t you do this simple calculation yourself?” Ciel’s drowsy voice sounded in Brendel’s mind. Ciel yawned, clearly having no idea what was going on.
“Stop wasting time and just tell me--” Brendel scolded through gritted teeth.
Ciel shivered and then realized, “Ah, then please give me some access to the privilege of sealing so that I can tell what kind of card you’re about to seal --”
Brendel immediately did so.
“Crystal Stag.” Ciel paused. “This thing is much stronger than the little princess. Though its soul has agreed to it, which will reduce the cost of sealing, we're still looking at close to a thousand.”
“Ah, wait -- what’s this?” Ciel’s voice turned frantic. “Dark magic? Is Leader thinking of separating that out from here -- but that’s chaotic law. From the point of view of privileges, that’s no lesser than Planeswalker privilege. Are you sure you want to do this? I don’t quite understand..”
“You don’t need to understand!” Brendel was going crazy. Malourcha’s head had all but fainted. “You just need to tell me how much!”
“There’s too much dark magic…”
“This is a small amount already!” Brendel didn’t shout the last part. The majority of the dark magic had already been cleansed by Malourcha and turned into forces of order.
“Okay, okay -- I got it. You need a total of 2720 points.”
“I said…” Ciel answered but was interrupted rudely by Brendel. “Enough, just tell me if I have enough points right now.”
“... Barely, but weren’t you planning on saving some? Didn’t you say that you might encounter some nicer raw materials in the Frost Stained Labyrinth? We’re still in the Anserra Forest right now aren’t we?” Ciel asked with some curiosity. He didn’t know whether his leader had run into some kind of trouble.
But Brendel didn’t have time to spend on him anymore.
He pressed his thumb and forefinger on the card and shouted at Malourcha’s soul: “Seal!”
But things didn’t go as he expected. In complete contrast to what happened the last time he sealed Medissa, the Card of Destiny just floated quietly in mid-air, completely unmoving.
“What’s going on?” Brendel’s right hand, the hand holding the card, slightly stiffened.
“Leader… the soul you’re trying to seal is too weak. Even dark magic isn’t enough to make up for the lack of rule… you need more points to create a virtual rule.” Ciel’s voice cried out anxiously.
“How much more?” Brendel asked with gritted teeth. He was about to lose the last chance.
Brendel’s heart chilled. But just then, Ciel suddenly yelped, “Ah… a new force is coming in. What’s happening?”
The young mage attendant clearly had no idea what’s going on and Brendel didn’t know either because all he saw was that the blank card suddenly glinted with silver light and then exploded like a flash bomb.
A white and piercing light spread out in all directions.
Brendel squinted his eyes slightly. When the light faded he saw a card drop gently through the air.
“Though you are in darkness, your heart turns towards the light. That is the eternal song--”
The card fell into his hands:
Song of Reincarnation
Eternal Song VIII
Light 4/ Dark 4
Spend 40 Elemental Points (Knight) and summon the white stag Malourcha (level the same as Farland Knight level -10) into the playing field. When the white stag departs, choose two cards and reshuffle them into the player’s deck.
Sustain: white stag Malourcha will be sustained until the resetting time the next day
“Life and death, ever cycling --”
Brendel looked at the white stag depicted on the card along with the fairy riding on its back. He was confused for just a second before he understood what happened just then.
He looked up and saw the golden forest envelop the entire forest. The decayed patches of Tree of Fog collapsed onto the ground, but new branches sprouted from the ashes and a little patch of the dense forest quickly grew up.
A young Crystal Stag lay with its eyes half-closed among the trees.
The forest seemed to stand guard around it.
With a quiet buzzing sound, Brendel saw a pale green status board pop up in front of him:
‘Mission: Elemental Activation, complete, perfect completion.’
‘Mission: Song of the Shallow Seas, complete, excellent completion.’