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224 Moon Pavilion

 The Rule of Skill was a special authority that Xi Wei had bestowed upon all his believers in the Church of Games.

And it was exactly why buffs work for Players, but not for believers of other gods.

One of which was Eleena's Survival Tactics: Infinity.

Most Players would have assumed that it was an AoE purification skill from its effect just a moment ago, but that was not true.

After all, the real effect of Survival Tactics: Infinity was to forcefully reset the status of every Player-be it friendly or hostile-within its area of effect.

Yes-it worked only on Players and would not work on allies or enemies. All buffs or debuffs would all be reset, and everything including the Players' HP and MP would be replenished in full.

Given that Eleena was the Saintess (in-training) and that Saintessess were of equal rank to popes or other religious leaders, she was therefore given such authority over all Players (believers).

It was an overwhelming skill from most perspective, although the technique itself wouldn't work on Eleena since she was the caster.

That was exactly why it worked better when used amongst a group rather than a solo.

Aside from the exceedingly long cooldown period for that skill, it was also costly in terms of MP-casting it would have been a major issue if Eleena had not just leveled up and had her blue bar fully refilled.

Moreover, the skill wouldn't reduce in MP cost or cooldown time after leveling up, but increase in area of effect.

One way or another, Survival Tactics: Infinity would never work on the elven girl Selene. Therefore, she was still infected at the moment, and the way she was not struggling to get out of Marni's arms meant that she probably wouldn't last long.

The Clerics' purification and exorcism skills worked only on other Players as well. And while potions would work indiscriminately, the problem was that the Players who had brought Antidotes (Miranda Grape) had already used up every bottle of it and had no spares to give her.

Still, it was fortunate that Marni was amongst the more mature of Players and promptly realized that he was merely wasting time here. Hence, he quickly carried Selene with him and returned to the elven capital as the other Players made way.

One should mention here that the dropped item from the dead devil was golden legendary brass knuckles named Nightcry's Return-Dead Undead. The item also had a passive skill called Jacob's Limbs that inflict additional damage on hellspawn and undead, but its stats were otherwise mediocre, even underserving of being a Legendary item.

While the other Players were trading looks on how to actually use the item, the brass knuckles were already taken by Princess Leah with a smile since she was one of those who had contributed in the battle against the devil. Hence formally becoming the Iron Fist Princess, she promised that everyone was going to get a share, and that the other Players would be compensated in game coins after she returned to the Lancaster Hideout.

***

When the guardsmen outside Trinia's bounded field were startled by the droves of humans that were rushing towards them urgently, thinking that they were about to lay siege to the elven city.

It was fortunate that with Marni's silver tongue and the fact that the elven girl in his arms was clearly barely alive, the guards allowed him to enter the capital city.

The Elven Queen appeared to have learned of the Players' visit thanks to her Iris Macaw as well, and didn't hesitate to lead Marni to a place called the Moon Pavilion-a secret place of the elves.

Although it was called a Moon Pavilion, it was basically the fretwork of a massive tree made up of interweaved vines.

A mysterious pool lay beneath the roots. Even though the dense weaves of vines kept it hidden, moonlight would always shine into it every night, with faint rays of silver sinking to its depths.

In the thousand years following the War of Gods and Demons, the entire pool had become a bright silver.

And now, the Elven Queen took the deathly-gray Selene from Marni's arms and gently put her in the pool.

The elven girl seemed to sink beneath the silver, even as she vanished within the pool.

"Will she be alright?" Marni asked worriedly.

"She will be fine." The Elven Queen spoke softly. "The Silver Moonwell is said to heal all wood elf wounds and placate all hate. It is the entrance to the homeworld of my kind... to distant Fairyland. Though our race's bloodline had been sullied and we had lost the right to return to Fairyland because of our impurity, the Moonwell is still benevolent to all wood elves and would heal all our maladies.

Then, she turned her ravishing face to Marni with a smile. "But it is your actions that surprise me. Though Selene may be my precious kinsfolk, she is nothing less than a wood elf who holds you in disdain. Why would you go so far for her?"

"Hmmm... If I have to say it..."

Distressed, Marni scratched his head before answering. "Because I might have caused all this. If I hadn't mentioned that I'm going to the arcanum at the Trinia Forests, she wouldn't have led me to it in Jamie's place. She also had the chance to flee but didn't do so, and instead stayed beside me, ending up being caught in the devil's assault.

Pausing, Marni then smiled, seemingly realizing his conscience. "I probably wouldn't be free of guilt for the rest of my life if I ignore a kid like this."

In other words, he wasn't lusting after elven beauty, just as there was neither sentiment nor attraction in the brief few hours they shared in each other's company.

What Marni wanted was simple: a clear conscience, and despite how easy it was, only merchants like Marni who traveled across most of the continent knew how hard it was to do that despite the blemished ways of the world.

At first, he wouldn't greed for such a thing. There were only too many occasions where circumstances were not up for him-a mere traveling trader-to decide, not to mention how easily some blackguard could easily take his life.

It was only after he became a Player-the believer of the God of Games that his life was no longer first priority. Now, Marni had the chance to seek his conscience so that he wouldn't have to do things against his own will, and to carry guilt with him for life.

"Is that so?"

There was no telling if the Elven Queen understood Marni. She merely nodded at him and smiled elegantly. "I understand. Whatever the case may be, I thank you for your help. From this day forth, the gates of Trinia would be always open for you... may the day come that you would bridge the friendship between wood elves and humans."