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197 Moon Keeper

 "Phew... I'm so tired..."

Even as the Players were caught in the impact of a new class, the divine spear Sefarim which Jessica was still holding reverted to human form.

And she was shrieking horribly the moment her feet touched the ground.

"Wh-what is this?!"

The wood elves had thought that she was wounded and quickly came to take a look, only to find that there was now a leather collar around the young girl's neck, with a vaguely visible crystal chain dangling in front of it.

Meanwhile, Sefarim was still tugging at the chain in astonishment. "When the heck... Come to think of it, the power that came into my body just now was weird! That definitely wasn't Luna's power!"

Edward frowned at the chain and then turned to Jessica, who didn't seem to realize that another transparent chain was vaguely wrapped around her right wrist.

Then, he looked like he gained epiphany.

"I see..."

So that was the Soulbound mentioned in the System?

On that note, after the Greatest Treasure of the Elves III was completed, there indeed was something called the Soulbind Scroll whatnot listed in the quest rewards...

"What have you people done to Sefarim!?"

Brom Daystar had drawn his short sword and was aiming at Edward's group.

After sharing his discovery, Edward then felt a pain about how he should handle things with the elves.

He had assumed that Sefarim was a one-time use quest time, and certainly didn't expect that Jessica would immediately be Soulbound to her.

This was going to be a problem.

There was no way they would let Jessica be interned with the wood elves in Trinia, just as the wood elves would not so simply allow them to abduct their greatest treasure.

Joe glanced at the frowning Edward who was unsure what to say right then, and then at the everyone else's grim faces. And for some reason, he immediately assumed that he, having the biggest chest, should be the one who to come forward and resolve this dire stalemate.

"Tsk tsk! Your greatest treasure now has our god's form!"

'Tsk the hell! Are you trying to pit us against the elves?!'

Edward's face promptly darkened.

At the same time, the situation spiraled downwards no thanks to Joe's blunder. The hostility of the elves was now hitting them face-on, and a fight was going to break out in the next split second.

"Hold on, just wait a minute..." Sefarim recovered just then and attempted to stop the fighting.

Nevertheless, the look on Brom Daystar's face made it clear that the elves are not planning to let their greatest treasure being taken away by humans.

And after having become Players for so long, Edward and the others were never going to just do nothing and let themselves be killed. Moreover, those elves might be Drake food if they hadn't helped just now!

But in the middle of their standoff, a faint blue light suddenly appeared between the Players and the wood elves, from which a figure emerged.

It was another wood elf, but one who appeared more graceful and elegant than the others, and also had a mark like Justice Bao[1]... scratch that, a crescent-moon mark over his forehead.

"Your holiness!" Brom Daystar was delighted to see the new arrival. "You've come with great timing-those accursed humans abducted Sefarim..."

So, an elven backup.

Edward quickly looked above the new elf's head.

[Moon Keeper, Level 59]

Tsk. There's no winning against this one!

"Can you use that skill just now again?" Edward quickly whispered to Jessica.

That exceedingly elegant blast actually wasn't an explosion, nor was there black and white flashes or impressive animations. Space itself had simply been cut out and was consumed by the void along with the Drake, and it clearly wasn't a simple attack but one which was close to spatial destruction or Rule-levels of damage.

Such level of devastation could crush a Level 85 Drake, let alone a level 59 Moon Keeer.

However.

"No, I can't use it again..." Jessica replied bitterly.

She was Level 42, but her level had plummeted to Level 18 after she used Sefarim-and that was with her party members sharing the EXP drain: Edward and the others had dropped two or three levels as well.

It was fortunate that the EXP from defeating the Drake and the totaling up of EXP had leveled her up to 28, whereas the others also leveled up once. Even so, they were far from their original state even though they did make up for some losses.

Still, because she was now Soulbound to Sefarim, Jessica knew very well that her amount of EXP now was not enough for a second strike.

After all, the higher the Players' level was, the more EXP they would need to level up-and leveling from 1 to 30 takes less than leveling from 30 to 40.

Moreover, the Soulbound had reduced the EXP cost which she could share with the others, and she definitely couldn't keep relying on their EXP to fight. It was so not worth it that they might as well die here, where they would at most lose 30% of EXP of their current level...

"Have no fear, human-we're not here to kill you." The Moon Keeper said peacefully just then instead of attacking Edward and the others. "Her Majesty the Elven Queen has just received an oracle from the Goddess Luna a moment ago. She sends her wishes to have your band visit our city of Trinia as guests."

"What?!" Brom Daystar stared at the Moon Keeper in shock. "Allowing these filthy humans to trample over Trinia? It's been a thousand years since the last foreigner came to our sacred grounds!"

"That is the queen's decision, Son of Daystar. You have no right to question it." The Moon Keeper said evenly as if it was fact, but did not pull rank just because a dozen levels above Brom. "It may be connected to Luna's oracle, and that is clearly beyond your authority. Now, please make way-I shall escort them to Trinia."

Brom Daystar was gritting his teeth in reluctance. Still, he arched his back and put his left palm over his right shoulder-an elven gesture for welcoming guests-ultimately obeying the Elven Queen's decree and made way for Edward's party.

More surprised than anything, Edward and the others moved along the path the elves made.

Then, as the Moon Keeper reached Brom's side, he said, "Times change, Son of Daystar. You must adapt yourself to the moving tides of this world and give up on rotten, antiquated prejudices. Only then could we wood elves venture further in this new era."

[1] Justice Bao () is the honorific title of Bao Zheng (, 5 March 999 - 3 July 1062), a Chinese politician in the Song Dynasty and symbol of justice famed for aiding peasants and overcoming corruption. Je is often portrayed wearing a judge miter hat and a crescent moon on his forehead