At Mist Basin.
After brushing a bunch of branches aside, Link saw a black Mage Tower by the lake.
The Mage Tower of the Undead! That was the first thought that popped up in his mind.
Dark colors, strange stone carvings, black magic aura fluctuations - the features of the Mage Tower pointed to the identity of its owner.
The Necromancers - because they manipulated dead bodies and exploited souls, they were forsaken by the gods of the Light Pantheon.
If a Necromancer was originally born in the Realm of Light, once he devoted himself to the Dark Side and black magic, his soul would forever be forbidden to enter the Glorious Kingdom where the gods of the Light Pantheon resided.
A Necromancer's soul would wander forever in limbo and his life would continue indefinitely in this state. This was their state of immortality.
Herrera then walked towards Link and saw the black Mage Tower through the gaps of leaves. Judging from her reactions, it was clearly the first time she'd ever seen such a building.
"How could such an evil thing be so near to Springs City?!" she exclaimed.
If it had been in the Black Forest in the North, it wouldn't have been surprising at all, but this is right in the heart of the Realm of Light!
"Bale should be hiding in that Mage Tower," Link whispered, "And apart from him, there should be another black magician in there as well. Since he has his own Mage Tower, I'm sure he'll be at least as powerful as you and me. And if there's a Necromancer in there who has probably lived for hundreds of years or more, then I'm afraid even our joint efforts won't be enough to defeat him, let alone defeat Bale too."
When a Magician's Apprentice mastered a Level-1 spell, they would then become a Level-1 Magician. Another Magician who has mastered 10 Level-1 spells would also be a Level-1 Magician. Although they both would technically be on the same level, the latter could easily defeat the former.
Necromancers could virtually live forever, so it wouldn't be surprising to find a Necromancer who was hundreds of years old. Time was on their side and the spells that they could master in that time would make Herrera and Link seem like rookies in comparison.
Link would really like to keep his Omni Points, but at the same time he knew that the current situation was dire. He must make the right choices now or lose his life.
This was the real world; there would be no chance to replay a battle if he lost his life here.
"But if we let him escape this time, we'd probably never find him again," muttered Herrera, hiding behind the bushes, "What if we head to Springs City now and find the dean? If we inform him what we found here, I'm sure he and the Court Magicians would come and help us."
Anthony was a Level-7 Magician and the royal family would generally only appoint high-level Magicians as Court Magicians. If Link and Herrera could get their help, it would greatly increase their chances of winning.
"Good idea," Link nodded, "We must hurry, let's go now."
So they turned around and retreated. The area was dense with vegetation but they decided not to use any magic spells to avoid attracting any attention from the Mage Tower. This made their movements considerably slow.
They had only been walking for about five or six minutes - no further than 150 feet - when something peculiar happened.
"Something's not right. Don't you notice how the white mist is getting thicker?" Herrera said.
The visibility range by that time was no further than 10 feet. In fact, Link found that he couldn't even clearly see Herrera's face anymore.
Herrera was a Level-5 Magician and an Angel of Light to boot-her sensitivity to black magic was much superior to Link. Right now, she could palpably feel black energy permeating through the air.
The trace of black magic that she felt was minute, like a drop of ink dripped into a glass of water, yet she felt it all the same.
"The opponent is stronger than I thought," said Herrera, "I'm afraid he's spotted us." Herrera had a Mage Tower of her own, so she knew how powerful a Mage Tower could be. But she didn't expect the opponent to be so perceptive that they would be spotted from more than 200 yards away.
She stopped walking as she was speaking and decided it was pointless to keep on hiding traces of her magic. The Mana in her body burst out, then she started to glow in a white light. The light spread out and as it touched Link's body, he seemed to be lit up as well and was then shrouded in a layer of white light.
Link recognized this spell at once.
Level-4 Halo Spell
Mana Consumption: 280 points.
Casting Time: Instant
Effects: The spellcaster acts as the center from which light energy spreads. Any creature of the Realm of Light within the vicinity of the spellcaster receives a protection that will block out 90% of the power from same level magic attacks and a 100% increase in wound recovery rate. Any creature of the Dark Side in the vicinity will experience a 50% reduction in their energy level and an 80% decrease in their wound recovery rate.
(Note: This is a spell that only Angels of Light can cast - no mere mortals can master it!)
This was a very powerful halo spell and the effects of the spell were greatly increased the more creatures of the Realm of Light were within its area. When used on a troop of soldiers, they would then become an invincible holy army.
After casting the spell, Herrera quickly said, "They've started to make a move against us, we must move faster."
Link nodded. He then promptly summoned the Wind Fenrir, which was then shrouded in a white light as it came under the effects of the Holy Light as well.
"Get on," said Link.
Herrera leaped onto the back of the Wind Fenrir, then Link followed behind her. The Wind Fenrir howled, then charged forward through the dense forest, leaving behind the Undead Mage Tower in high speed.
It had been more than 4 hours after Link's battle with Darris, and his high Mana restoration rate had come into effect, so Link's Mana was now about 970 points - enough to cast three Flame Blast. He did so as soon as he was on the back of the Fenrir, though not as an attack, but only to charge the Domingo crystal.
Because the situation was critical, Link didn't bother to conceal the Domingo crystal from Herrera. She was stunned when she saw the crystal - she recognized what it was and how precious it was at the first glance.
Five seconds later, the Domingo crystal was fully charged. In it was stored the fire elements for one Flame Blast, so whenever he needed to, he could now unleash a deadly spell in 1.1 seconds!
It didn't come without a cost, though. The power and speed of Flame Blast would be lethal indeed, but it would also consume twice as much Mana - once for charging the crystal and once for casting it.
So now Link was left with 650 points of Mana. He took out a low-level Mana potion to replenish himself. The potion could only increase 100 points of Mana, but it was the only potion he had on hand, so it was better than nothing.
"Stop, drink this instead!" said Herrera. She handed him a bottle of potion.
Link looked at the potion in her hand. It was stored in a bottle made of Mithril and the potion inside was a pure liquid a deep dark blue in color. He knew from a glance that it was a high-quality potion.
After looking at it for a second, a notification about it popped up.
Mid-level Mana Potion
Effects: Provide 500 Mana Points.
(Note: The potion is slightly toxic, so it should only be taken once in two days. People with ordinary skill level are forbidden from drinking it, as it may create a violent Mana fluctuation and sudden death!)
What an incredible potion, thought Link. He took the bottle then bit off the cork and swallowed the potion in one gulp. It tasted a little strange - bitter and astringent, and cold in the stomach. Seconds later, the cool sensation rose up from his stomach, and spread to his limbs and throughout his body.
Then Link found that his Mana was almost completely restored, reaching up to 1150 points now. Apart from that, he still had 100 Omni Points on hand.
With full Mana, a charged Domingo crystal, and high Omni Points, Link now felt slightly calmer.
The Wind Fenrir continued to dart across the horizon for nearly half a mile, but strangely the mist in the forest did not clear up at all. Instead, it had grown thicker and almost turned into a solid white wall.
When the Wind Fenrir ran past a place that Link felt was familiar, he shouted a command to the beast, "Stop!"
The Wind Fenrir screeched to a halt.
"What's the matter?" asked the startled Herrera.
"Look," said Link, pointing to the side, where through the thick white mist, there was a glimpse of the lake and they could even hear the soft lapping of its waves.
In other words, the Wind Fenrir had been sprinting for a while now, yet it hadn't been taking Herrera and Link any further from the black Mage Tower but was only circling around the lake beside it.
"The fog blocks the visibility and creates the illusion of us moving in a straight line, but in fact we've been running in a circle all along!" whispered Link.
Herrera understood it now. This was just a normal illusion spell, once discovered, it was very easy to crack.
"Lamp of Truth!" Herrera raised her crystal wand and the amber crystal tip lit up and emitted a beam of laser-like light.
Lamp of Truth
Mana Consumption: 25 points.
Effects: Creates a beam of highly penetrative light that will always be straight unless the space around it is distorted.
The beam of light had enough energy that it easily penetrated the thick mist and showed a long, distorted light path in front of them.
The light of Lamp of Truth always showed the true straight line and it was only distorted now because of an illusion created by the opponent. It was actually almost impossible to bend and distort such a huge area of space. The fact that the opponent was capable of such a feat was a testament to his formidable strength. He could probably kill Link and Herrera with a flick of his finger.
"Follow the light," said Herrera, keeping her wand lifted.
Link nodded. He then controlled the Wind Fenrir to follow along the distorted path. It felt as if they were moving in a winding path, but in fact it was the actual straight line.
But they only managed to move for another 100 yards before another oddity occurred!
Suddenly a shadow scuttled out from the grove in front of them. The shadowy figure was unusually tall, at least 13 feet tall, but because the mist was obscuring the view, they couldn't make out its exact features. One thing was clear, though-the figure moved very quickly. In a few moments, it was already next to the Wind Fenrir. The shadow slapped the beast with its bare hand and the slap hit right on the Wind Fenrir's head.
Even the massive body of the Level-3 magical beast was not able to withstand the attack. Its head was blown to pieces, and soon after its body began to collapse.
Fortunately, Herrera and Link were boosted by Cheetah's Agility, so they jumped down from the back of the Wind Fenrir just in time. And as soon as they reached the ground, they both shouted simultaneously.
Link had noticed it because he smelled something rancid, while Herrera could sense the energy of black magic.
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