"Felic, did you manage to see anything?" Andoine asked Lin Li worriedly. Now, this trust for Lin Li had risen to a new level. His knowledge in pharmaceutics had surpassed that of the Pharmacist Guild, his skills in forging had overpowered the Adventurers Guild, and he had displayed plenty of understanding of magic gears. Andoine did not know what this student of his could not achieve.
Lin Li made eye contact with Angelano before he glanced back. "It seems to be peaceful in here, but there are traps everywhere. A little bit of carelessness would bury us here."
The crowd was not surprised by Lin Lis words. Although they did not understand the designs within the palace, they could sense the need to take precautions. Even Rosen, who always liked to target Lin Li, only moved his lips and said nothing.
Lin Li and Angelano were considered to have the most understanding of magic gears and magic traps. Hence, the two of them continued to walk in front of the team. They were in charge of detecting the traps that were hidden in the midst of all the luxurious furnishings. Although Lin Li had a very comprehensive knowledge, and Angelano had deep understanding about Osric, neither of them dared to take the matter lightly.
It was definitely not an exaggeration to say that the team was moving slower than a snail. Lin Li and Angelano took a day to overcome a dozen magic traps, and the team had only advanced a dozen meters. Although nothing happened across those dozen meters, everyone took each step with trepidation. It was as though they were wandering between life and death at every moment.
Each time Lin Li and Angelano discovered a magic trap, everyone in the team had their heart raised to their throat. No one dared to take a deep breath for fear that they would affect Lin Lis and Angelanos focus when solving the magic trap. They could guess that the traps left behind by Osric were definitely not any low-level magic arrow traps. If they were activated, no one in the team would be able to escape doom.
As compared to the rest of the people in the team, Lin Li and Angelano showed no signs of nervousness as they tried to solve each of the traps. They had seemingly light-hearted discussions around each of the traps. Of course, being light-hearted did not mean that they were belittling the lethality of the traps. Their calmness helped them to look at the problems more holistically. Lin Li absolutely did not wish to bury his life here by committing a mistake at a critical moment.
"This Quick-Freeze Trap is a creation of mine. This trap would be able to freeze anyone below the Legendary-level when activated. Since Osric used the trap here, I bet he did not expect that I would come here one day," Angelano commented proudly to Lin Li upon recognizing the trap.
It was indeed an honor to see that Highlord Osric had used a trap he created in the Eternal Furnace. Yet, Lin Li was not amused by his discovery. "Is that so? I can roughly tell the principles behind this trap, but if you take a closer look, you will find something extra in there," he replied as he pursed his lips disapprovingly while pointing to some magic circuits within the trap.
"What?" Angelano exclaimed after taking a closer look at the direction of Lin Lis finger. "Isnt that the Mana Igniting Curse? That fella actually cast it a on a trap I created? What a joke! Doesnt the Mana Igniting Curse get rid of the mana in the magic trap? He is such a muddlehead!"
"If you took a closer look, you would see that this magic rune is here to enhance the curse on its victim. I bet even unlucky Legendary powerhouses would suffer from that," replied Lin Li. Although he was a mage, curses were not foreign to Lin Li. The effect of the Mana Igniting Curse was to instantaneously inhibit defensive spells such as elemental shields. The thing that surprised Lin Li was not the curse, but the integration of the Mana Igniting Curse and the Quick-Freeze Trap.
The Quick-Freeze Trap was considered a Master-level trap. The integration with the Mana Igniting Curse brought the power of the trap to the peak of the Master-level. A Legendary powerhouse would be killed by such a trap if he was careless. He noticed Osrics interest in integrating multiple things together; there was the combination of the Psychic Array and the Conquering Mageweath, as well as the hiding of powerful weapons within the beautiful decorations.
The traps Lin Li had solved previously were all singular traps, or traps that were combined with related items. It was his first time seeing a compound magic trap where there was a combination of two of such effects. Lin Li had an ominous feeling that the traps would be getting crazier from this point onwards.
Lin Li could only persuade himself to focus on the present hurdle before hed think about what was to come. Lin Li quickly thought about the ways to deactivate the trap. He knew that compound magic traps were not simply a combination of two traps. There were many inextricable relations between the magic circuits, and the deactivating of one circuit might lead to the activation of another.
After careful observation, Lin Li glanced at Angelano who was standing beside him. His cold gaze made that Goblin shudder. He spoke, "Angelano, this trap would require you make a sacrifice."
After some bargaining, Lin Li promised to repay Angelano with a level-15 magic traps. Angelano proceeded to manipulate the alchemy machine and walked towards one of the triggers of the trap.
Lin Li signaled to Angelano when he was ready. Angelano did not dare to delay at all. He triggered the magic trap and instantly released the Mana Igniting Curse. The entire alchemy machine was quickly covered by a faint red mist, and it started to tremble. Angelano was seated in the machine, screaming agonizingly as though he was in great suffering.
At the same time, Lin Li cast a phantom the very moment the Quick-Freeze Trap lit up. His figure started to shift as though he was teleporting. Streaks of bright magic circuits became dim immediately. In less than a seconds time, Lin Lis figure reappeared from the phantom, symbolizing the successful deactivating of a compound magic trap. It was a blessing to have Angelanos alchemy machine. It withstood the erosion of the Mana Igniting Curse and helped Lin Li save on the need to create potions to deal with the curse.
"Hey, you told me it wouldnt hurt. You have to repay me with at least one Legendary magical crystal for my roasted buttocks." Angelano hopped onto the ground and rubbed his buttocks as he spun around the alchemy machine.
"I am a man of honor. I will never change what I promised. Here, this is the level-15 magical crystal we agreed on," replied Lin Li as he threw a magical crystal towards Angelano.
Angelano caught the magical crystal. "Do not ever expect me to help you in the future!" he cried unhappily as he replaced the mana source of the alchemy machine.
"Then, does that mean that I do not have to return you that diary?" Lin Li asked dismissively as he advanced forward. He found another magic trap.
"Humans are definitely the most shameless creatures in the world," snapped Angelano disdainfully as he controlled the alchemy machine and got to Lin Lis side.
It was as Lin Li had expected. Compound magic traps had become a common sight for the rest of their journey. Osric had maximized the potential of the fusion of the integrative technique. At the same time, those complicated magic circuits grew increasingly discrete and unfathomable.
The progress of the team slowed down tremendously again. Angelano would not be the only one helping Lin Li every time he had to deactivate a trap. There would also be tasks assigned to Andoine and Rosen, as well as Aldwin and his team of mages.
Everybody trod on the short journey fearfully. It was the most terrifying mission they had ever embarked on. If they could, they would rather confront a wyrm than to suffer from the invisible pressure here.
However, to Lin Li, it was a thrilling mission that brought benefits along the way. He acquired new insights with the deactivation of every compound magic trap. This not only included the knowledge on the construction of magic traps and magic gears, but also involved the direct use of spells, curses, and various nomological power. These were all the product of Osrics wisdom, and they had all been exposed with the help of Lin Lis meticulous effort.
Angelano continued to nag while Lin Li worked on the traps. He talked about the origin of each of the magic traps and how he played a part in it. If not for his bit of usefulness for the traps, Lin Li would have bashed him up.
The team inched closer towards the core of the palace as time passed. They were like droplets breaking through a rock. Although they only covered a dozen meters every day, they managed to get closer and closer to the core of the palace.
When they got there, Lin Li discovered that the scene at core of the palace looked increasingly similar to that of the Eternal Furnace. The main paths and facilities were identical, as though it was another Eternal Furnace.
Yet, this discovery did not convince Lin Li to treat the matter less seriously. After all, Osric had emptied the Eternal Furnace. Lin Li had not faced any dangers when he entered the Eternal Furnace then, but he knew it wouldnt be the same here. This place had to be Osrics finished work. Hence, all the dangers he had not encountered at the Eternal Furnace had to be here.
Of course, Lin Li was not least bit disappointed. He knew that his prior knowledge of this place would definitely give him an advantage over the others. Although Rosen had toned down quite a bit recently, Lin Li did not expect that this would last long. He could already foresee a clash between himself and Rosen in time to come.
However, Lin Li did not have to worry about Rosen just yet. The wisdom of the Highlord was the main problem. Just when Lin Li thought that he had deactivated another magic trap, there was a sudden burst of magical wave. Right after, the 16 statues around them started to walk down from their stone platforms.
It was lucky that precautions had been taken when they were deactivating the magic traps. When the 16 statues start to move towards the crowd majestically, no one was taken aback. They took instructions from Aldwin and prepared to battle the statues with their Crescent Staffs that were glistening with rays of magic.
The 16 statues got up close to the team in a few steps. Each of the spears and swords in their hands had a halo of Combat Energy. They were filled with thirst for blood as they attacked Lin Lis team. Despite using heavy-duty weapons and gigantic size, their actions were incredibly agile. Their teamwork was comparable to that of the team of mages.
"I thought you said you had deactivated the magic traps? What are these statues?" Rosen could not help but snap at Lin Li accusingly.
Lin Li was indifferent to Rosens criticism. He was too lazy to give him a response. Lin Li stepped aside to show his lack of interest in participating in the battle. Although each of the 16 statues had the ability close to the Legendary-level, they were still at a great disadvantage in the confrontation with the team of mages. Lin Li knew that they posed no threat to the team.
Unlike him, Angelano who had been helping with the deactivation of magic traps became agitated by Rosens criticism.
"If Osrics traps are so easy to deactivate, why arent you helping? Do not join this team if you have the ability to do it yourself! You have no right to nag in front of the almighty Angelano!" he retorted in a shrill voice.
The heavy swords of the statues struck the magic shields. They created ripples of magical waves and cast numerous spells that engulfed them instantaneously. When the rays of magic dispersed, there were only piles of debris left on the ground.
None of the mages had expected such a result. They had expected the enemy within the palace to be more powerful than what theyd dealt with outside. But, it seemed that these statues were lousier than the silver knights they had met previously. No matter how great of an impact their attack could bring, their ability in defending against magic spells was pathetic.