After the demonic spirits withdrew from the periphery of the Mage Tower, the progress of the battle outside became slow. It was Maynild and Laurenna’s group’s turn to battle, but Brendel expected this to take at least three to four more rounds before the demonic spirits could be completely cleared out.
It was a bit of a long time, but the good news was that he was not idle. The first floor inside the Mage Tower was as large as a small square against the outer wall of the plaza, with spiral stairs leading upwards to a platform on the second floor. The platform was actually suspended between the plaza and the third level of space above it, the platform was a circular structure with a chest wall and battlements built around it, which looked like a fortification no matter how Brendel looked at it. Its function was self-explanatory, naturally, it was used to attack the enemies above the first level plaza after someone broke through the entrance of the Mage Tower.
It must have been filled with guards and young apprentices of mages when the Mage Tower was still functioning, but now it was already empty, leaving only the deadly fortifications behind.
But even so, the Mage Tower was still full of danger. 'Mages’ things must not be touched' was a common saying among the Karsuk people, and the Mage Tower, which was the most valuable property of a mage, was itself a forbidden area for ordinary people.
Especially inside such an abandoned Mage Tower, the wandering magic, the still-operating magic traps, the magic puppets and dangerous creatures and plants that had lost their master's restraint, and even the books on the shelves were all full of mystery and unknown. As far as a normal person was concerned, the best way to enter the Mage Tower to ensure safety and peace of mind was to stay down there and not move.
But this constraint only applied to ordinary people.
Brendel knew another secret of this tower. He ordered everyone to stay where they were, and then he took Scarlet, the young prince, and Firas into the third level of the Mage Tower.
Especially in this place, there was no physical connection between the third and second floors of the Mage Tower, but twelve Teleportation Arrays were used to transport manpower and supplies. These twelve Teleportation Arrays were marked by different colors, and Brendel chose the red one without even thinking about it.
Setting traps on the Teleportation Array was the most vicious and the most common way for mages to guard against their enemies.
Red was a warning color to most people, but Brendel knew that the twelve Teleportation Arrays were colored for more than just a warning. The mages of the Black Tower associated them with the twelve months of Aouine, as well as the twelve rounds of the moons, and only one of the Teleportation Arrays could be the true one in different months, with different moons.
Most of the other Teleportation Array will transport you to the Mountain of Quelled Storms, or the Lava Lands, or the shallow seas of Malourcha's homeland, or some corner of the world one could not even name.
While Teleportation Arrays are mostly not deadly, the effects it produces are dangerous although not deadly, especially to the player. It was said that an unlucky man in Amber Sword was sent to a kingdom called Hilma when he wandered into the array, and it took him a year of real-life and countless forum posts to find his way back to Vaunte.
It was said that the actions involved in rescuing this player could have been made into a sad story, with the players coming up with all sorts of ideas to do so. For a long time after that, there was even a craze among players to travel to the otherworld.
Because of Aouine's war, Brendel was not personally involved in the pomp of that event, but he knew that the players did not really end up finding out how many 'otherworlds' there really were outside of Vaunte.
Except that these otherworlds apparently had existed early on, and Kelsie was from one of them. Players preferred to be fragments of Marsha's order scattered throughout the vast dark world. Vaunte was just one of the larger pieces of it.
Activating the array took Brendel some effort, as he discovered that the Elemental Pool of the facility inside this Mage Tower was not even the same as the Elemental Pool of the Advanced Exorcism Formation outside. The Elemental Pool inside had apparently dried up long ago, and he had to use the magic crystal he had with him to finally activate the Teleportation Array.
There was a flash of light before the four of them, and the next moment they found that the scenery in front of them had changed. The original fortification was still quite spectacular. But now it had turned into a narrow, dark aisle - the Elemental Pool in the Mage Tower had long since dried up, and the Magical Illumination that had been used was naturally gone, and if it were not for the strange glowing plants in the aisle, what they would have seen now would have been pitch black.
But Brendel had been prepared, he took out his magic crystal, and the bright light immediately reflected the corridor in front of him. As if it was the first time in a century that light had returned to this place. Then, Brendel heard a rustling sound, and they all saw a large vine that seemed to shyly brush away from the corridor that disappeared in the blink of an eye.
They had seen a lot of things, but they had never seen a plant that could grow legs and run around by itself.
Besides, the shape of the tunnel was a bit of an eyesore, this was supposed to be a walkway with marble or obsidian like stone paving, and the walls on either side were covered in masonry with torch holders at regular intervals on top. A similar walkway like this could be seen in many castles or shrines.
But the one in front of them was like this: many sturdy vines grew out of the broken masonry, the floor slabbed long since it was cracked, and the corners of the walls filled with all kinds of plants as if they were in a tropical jungle. They were mostly ferns or some glowing fungus. If one had not seen it with their own eyes, it was hard to imagine that a place like this would be a paradise for plants.
But such was the case with the mages’ land, which was commonly referred to as a 'miracle of magic'. Except that this miracle was not necessarily friendly, and folklore had no shortage of examples of people who touched things and were permanently turned into frogs.
"What is this place?" Firas opened his mouth in surprise and could not help but ask.
"This is supposed to be the uppermost floor of the mage's Tower, where the mages lived," Brendel replied. The red array, during the Moon of Flowing Fire, when the harp's magic overflows, was the only way to the upper level of the Mage Tower.
"Ah ......" Haruz suddenly gave a low cry - the wound on his shoulder had been bandaged, but the tug on the wound still made him frown. Then this young prince said somewhat curiously, "So those down there are the Twelve Moons Teleportation Array!"
Haruz seemed to have just realized that he was a little too rude to make a fuss, he started to blush and explained in a small voice, "...... My sister and I had heard some rumors about the mages from our father. The Black Tower Mages have some unique means of defense, the Twelve Moons Teleportation Array is one of the most famous, the mages designed this complex system of formations based on the seasons and the changes of the moon's surplus and deficit on Vaunde, it is said that after the blueprint of this array was destroyed in an accident, no one has been able to unlock it."
"Even the mages of Buga have felt sorry for it, and it is said that while the proud Silver Folks despise this crude phalanx technology, they frankly claim that it contains the most subtle astronomical and calendar calculations."
Haruz's tone was agitated, "To even receive praise from the Silver Folk, it is undoubtedly the pride of Aouine."
Firas trailed off, "Didn't Mr. Brendel unlock it?"
It took the young prince so long to remember this, he then looked at Brendel with some admiration, "That's because the teacher is so knowledgeable, even my sister holds the Count in high esteem. My sister has always been a proud person, and Grandmaster Fleetwood himself said that she is no less knowledgeable than him."
As he said this, he could not help but look a little cautiously at Brendel.
It was a bit awkward for Brendel to say, and he clearly heard the tone of the young prince praising him. Besides, the complex calculations of these teleportation 'codes' certainly were not made up by him, and it was not that the players were that wise, in fact, the way the players had deciphered this set of 'codes' could simply be considered an example of violent cracking, he remembered a large association deciphering it with the sacrifice of human lives.
He did not remember the name of that association, but the other person had paid a price in return. They sold the riddle along with the array itself to the Black Tower mages who reportedly bought it for the price of a city.
mages had always been the least in need of money class of people on Vaunde, though they were rarely seen spending money in a big way.
"But then again, this was where the mages live, so there must be something of great value left in here, right?" Firas seemed to have suddenly remembered the legend as well, "I've heard that every single one of the mages' items is a rare treasure."
He was about to rush inside, but Brendel hurriedly grabbed him and reminded him in a bad manner, "No that's not true, mages are nothing more than having more magical items on hand. Believe me, you have quite a few on you too, Mr. Firas. Not every magic item is worth a fortune, and even if they were, it would be to the common man, not to you."
Firas was stunned, and that was when he responded, "That's right. So what are we doing here?"
"You'll see in a minute," Brendel said, relieved, but warned, "Be careful, it's a big maze in here. It's not the kind in your garden, the mage's maze is a place where some people walk into and never get out of, not to mention there are Minotaurs in there, and you've never seen the monsters the mages have codified, they can eat you to the bone."
Firas was about to walk forward but was shocked to hear him say that and hurried back, "This tower has been here for at least a few centuries. Won't they starve to death?"
"Have you ever seen a demon starved to death?"
Firas blinked as he could not recall seeing any before.
Only then did Brendel raise the Lighting Crystal and walked forward, the plants around him were oddly shaped, but he saw that they were mostly harmless plants. The highly aggressive Devouring Hogweed and Snake Vine that mages liked to grow were nowhere to be seen here but he figured it was because they were both carnivorous vegetation that probably would not live long without someone to feed them.
He followed the directions on his memory of the walkthrough, turning left after passing through five closed doors, and then moving forward about a hundred paces. At his reminder, Firas, Scarlet, and the young prince tried not to look at the doors, in fact, they had heard similar stories even if Brendel did not tell them. The door was a mysterious word to mages, most of their doors led to mysterious alternate dimensions, and once a mortal entered they were never to return. It was hard to tell if these stories were true or not, but it was best not to take them as jokes.
After walking almost a hundred steps, Brendel came to a halt. He did indeed see a skeleton in the grass ahead of him.
It was not the skeleton of a mage, as the skeleton was still wearing conspicuous armor. It was in this location when the first player in the game found it, and that player thought that this skeleton should be the adventurers who entered here later, as to how they found this Mage Tower was unknown, but according to his analysis the owner of this skeleton should be a warrior type of Cielacter in this group of adventurers.
As for the cause of his death?
Brendel turned back and took a closer look at the grass. That was when he noticed Haruz beside him looked strangely pale and stopped to ask, "Did you find anything?"
"Who is he?" The young prince asked curiously.
"A warrior, or a knight, but certainly not a mage anyway."
"He was one of the mages' guards, so why did he die here?" Firas asked as well.
"Because of this-" Brendel finally found what he was looking for in the grass, the Halran Gaia already in his hand. He stabbed down with the sword, pinning the thing to the ground at once.
There was a sharp squeak and a black mass of something struggled under Brendel's sword and stopped breathing. The others set their eyes on it and realized it was a skunk-like creature.
"What's this?" Firas was slightly startled.
"That's a skunk."
"You’re saying that a skunk killed this guy?" Firas stared with widened eyes, "Would I be bitten to death by my dogs one day then?"
Brendel was a little speechless at the analogy, and besides, he thought that with the guy's intelligence, he might have been killed by a dog if he had not been so lucky. It was not like getting bitten to death by a dog in Vaunde was anything strange anyway, even if it was the Dusk Hound they would be dealing with later which were legitimate canines.
"It's a magic pet." This was his reply.
"A magic pet?" It was only then that Firas responded, "You mean it was a mage who killed him, and there are other mages in this tower?" He got a little creeped out.
The little prince also immediately looked around.
Scarlet did not answer, but just silently held the Azure Lance.