119 Link’s Machine Gun


 Many Magicians had left the academy to join the army, though Link took no notice of this as he was busy in a mid-level Elemental Pool. He was skillfully manipulating the magic seal and was engrossed in his spell experiments.

Just as its name would suggest, the Elemental Pool's appearance resembled that of a pool. There were five of them, each housing the five basic elements: metal, wood, water, fire and earth.

Each of the elements was of a distinct color and the colorful pools were placed around the perimeter of the expansive room along with the controlling magic seal. Once the magic seal was triggered by the presence of active Mana, a Level-5 Guarding Barrier would then be instantly activated.

A layer of thin translucent barrier enveloped Link's body. It might seem fragile, but it was indeed powerful enough to protect him from any magic spells that were below Level-5. This meant that even Flame Blast wouldn't be able to do anything to him now.

Link had the power to manipulate the five elements as he wished through the controlling magic seal, into which he then began to pour his Mana into.

By now, a week had passed since the day he was poisoned by the Mana potion and all symptoms had basically disappeared. Thus, Link could now cast any spells without holding back.

The controlling magic seal then guided Link's Mana out of the barrier and into the center of the room. Link was then able to remotely control his Mana and construct any spell structure he wished from it. This time, he'd chosen to experiment with Flame Blast. He'd been using the spell ever since Gladstone's days, yet it was only recently that he truly learned its structure.

He had now received 60 Omni Points for advancing to Level-4, but time had been scarce lately and the spell structure of Flame Blast had been too complicated. So, Link had only been able to master the standard version of the spell.

Because Link wasn't using a wand, the spellcasting was slower than normal. Plus, the spell structure was quite intricate because he had added some of his own modifications to it, so in the end the whole spellcasting process took 3.5 seconds to complete.

Once the spell structure was fully formed, it then attracted the fire element. Under Link's control, it flowed slowly into the spell structure and permeated through it before it began to form a fireball.

This time the experiment was still in its rudimentary stage, so Link's control of the fire element was still very limited. Thus, the explosive power of the resulting Flame Blast was only one-tenth of its full potential.

Once the spellcasting was complete, Link detonated the resulting Flame Blast immediately.

Bang!

A tiny explosion went off and a shockwave spread out through the air. But as Link was protected by the Guarding Barrier, he was completely unaffected by it.

So far, everything went as expected.

But a second later, something strange happened. There was a bizarre Mana fluctuation when the Flame Blast exploded and then, right after the explosion subsided, another Flame Blast emerged.

The new Flame Blast then began to attract fire elements, which immediately filled in the spell structure just as the previous Flame Blast did.

This was a mystery to Link, as he hadn't made any effort to cast a new Flame Blast at all. The only thing he did was keep the flow of his Mana into the magic seal constant.

The newly-emerged Flame Blast then exploded and within a fraction of a second, one more Flame Blast appeared. Link burst into laughter at the sight before him - his experiment was a success!

Then, a notification appeared on the interface.

Player attained a new Supreme Magical Skill. 10 Omni Points rewarded. Please name the name spell.

"I think I'll call it Machine Gun," said Link.

Naming of new spell successful.

Machine Gun

General Supreme Magical Skill

Scope: Any spell below Level-5.

Effects: Allows the spellcaster to cast one type of spell in close succession. The spellcaster needs only to construct the spell structure once, as it would automatically emerge from the Mana residue of the previous casting.

(Note: Link's Machine Gun is a high-speed spellcasting technique.)

The real state of Gibraltar involved the engraving of the spellcaster's soul onto the magic seal, which was undoubtedly a complex and esoteric operation. Not to mention it was a risky one because there was a good chance that a single mistake might lead to the damage of the soul. In fact, parts of the knowledge associated with this state were purportedly so evil that it could be classified as black magic.

Link's magic skills hadn't yet reached this level, though. His spellcasting techniques were only a shadow of the real thing and were only an application of parts of the theories that described the state of Gibraltar.

With this Supreme Magical Skill, the most time was spent on the first spellcasting as there would be no time wasted on spell structure construction in the subsequent castings. The higher the spell level, the faster it would work and if it was used in conjunction with the Domingo crystal, it was possible to virtually cast spells in an instant.

This is amazing! thought Link, All I need now is a slight upper hand in battles and there would be no way anyone could defeat me!

Link thought of how much time this skill would save him. With the help of the Domingo crystal, he realized that he could unleash Flame Blast in the time it took to blink an eye!

With a high-speed Flame Blast, and several of it in quick successions to boot - Link was thrilled at the thought of possessing such a formidable power!

And if he used it on Glass Orbs, he could virtually unleash an unending string of them without using much of his energy at all - what a power that would be!

This would certainly come in handy on the battlefield. If he was ever faced with a never-ending onslaught of enemies, with the help of a few Warriors around him, he could effectively form a magic fort with this skill!

Once he'd truly mastered it, he was sure he would use it so frequently that it would become second nature to him.

Link then combined the skill of Machine Gun to every spell he'd ever mastered and practiced using it together. After five hours of hard work and with the help of the gaming system, Link was now thoroughly familiar with this Supreme Magical Skill.

He walked out of the Elemental Pool and stretched. He discovered how tired he actually was - he was in no mood to study at the moment. He also had no new ideas to work on for his thesis, so he decided to take a walk to freshen up his mind. But only a few steps later, he thought of the agreement with Herrera.

I should go get a few magic materials from Herrera's warehouse and build new magic gear.

He'd already had some ideas for novel enchantment gear in his mind, plus he now had the 5000 gold coins' reward from the dean, so the time was ripe for new magic gear.

He cast a spell for a magic mirror, then used it to tidy up his hair and clothes. Then, he headed towards the fourth floor of the Mage Tower.

He gently rapped on the door as usual, then patiently waited for a reply.

The door would usually open in less than a minute, but Link had been waiting for two minutes now yet it was all silent and the door was still closed.

That's strange. Is she out? But she never goes out anywhere.

Link was about to turn back and leave when he heard the door click open and a voice coming from inside the room.

"Come in, Link, and wait for me in the sitting room," said the voice, "I'm in the shower."

It seemed that he'd come at an inconvenient time, but since he was already there, Link decided it was best to just wait for Herrera.

Link entered the hall and the door instantly closed behind him. He went to the bookshelf and scanned the titles of the books there. Then, he pulled out one that was called Runic Wheels Stacking and began to read it.

Runic wheels were the basis of all spell levels. Link had developed his spell Whistle based on the exploitation of the runic wheels. The field of runic wheel studies were so profound and full of potential that it was almost a branch in magic studies all on its own.

Link was very interested in these kinds of modular theories in magic and he had spent a lot of time and energy on the subject both in his thesis and in his experiments.

The textbook described the many techniques in exploiting runic wheels. After a few pages, he began to be fascinated by the subject and started to be so engrossed in reading it that he was oblivious to the flow of time.

While he was completely preoccupied with the book, he heard a sound nearby. Link instinctively looked up and saw Herrera walking out into the sitting room, fresh out of the shower.

She was wearing a white silk bathrobe that hugged her figures intimately, accentuating those fabulous curves of hers. Link had seen Herrera's naked body before, but that was at a time of emergency, and it was only a quick glance, so neither of them had thought much of it.

But things were different now. Their two souls had intertwined ever since the incident in Shade's Mage Tower. Herrera had tended to his wounds so tenderly then that it was impossible to look at Herrera the same way again. She now had a special place in Link's heart and there was nothing he could do about it. Link wasn't aware of it, but his gaze was completely locked on Herrera now, and he found himself unable to turn away.

"Tutor," Link said after forcefully pulling his gaze away from Herrera, "I must've come at an inconvenient time. I'll come back later."

As he spoke, Link was getting ready to leave. It really wasn't the right time after all, as his focus had been completely diverted from the thoughts of magic gear. He reckoned he wouldn't get much done anyway even if he stayed.

Herrera was intrigued by Link's reaction. She then cast a drying spell on her damp hair, then sat on a chair and brushed her hair in front of a magic mirror that she had just conjured up.

She felt she had nothing to hide from Link. He was her disciple now and he was also a comrade who had fought with her in battles. Not to mention, he was also the person who had been chosen by the God of Light.

"No, stay," she said, "As the Chosen One, you'll be tested with countless temptations in the future - beauty, knowledge, strength, power and so much more. You must start learning to fight them now."

Link cursed silently to himself. How could Herrera possibly ask him to resist this kind of temptation?

There wouldn't be a problem at all if it had been any other woman, but with Herrera? She was an Angel of Light, one of the Four Great Beauties voted by the players of the game - how could he possibly stand there unaffected with such an enchantress right in front of him?

"Tutor, forgive me for my frankness, but there is a limit to the self-control for us mere mortals. The gods themselves advised against tempting the devil. In the face of a tantalizing temptation, surely the best thing to do is to stay away from it." This was a conclusion he'd reached himself after having pondered about such things a lot lately, induced by the fate that befell the Master Magician Bale.

"Very wise," Herrera nodded in approbation. Then she asked, "But what if you can't run away from it, then? Would you then give in to the temptations?"

Great, now we're actually going to argue about this.

Link sighed as he was reminded of Darris' curse that doomed him to a life of loneliness. Why else would he be having a dry and boring debate with a beauty who just got out of the shower? But as the conversation went on, Link realized that he was feeling more comfortable and at ease.

"If there's no way of escaping the temptation," started Link, closing the book in his hands, "Then one would just have to give in, at least for the time being. Once one was exposed to the same temptations over and over again, the temptation then ceases to be tempting, and over time it would take no effort at all to resist it. In fact, one can become indifferent or annoyed at the enticements that used to hold so much appeal in the past."

As he spoke, he no longer averted his gaze away from Herrera. He was now staring straight at her, pinpointing his gaze on whichever part of her body he desired. It was Herrera herself who had wanted him to stay, after all, so he'd better take the full advantage and drink in the glorious view before him.

But the more Link studied Herrera the more he noticed how much more beautiful she'd gotten lately, possibly because of the awakening of her angelic soul. She was already 35 years old and she had a mature temperament, but her skin seemed more delicate and radiant now and her curves were as alluring as ever. Though she had maintained her seraphic and elegant nature, at this moment she seemed less like a pure angel to Link and more like an enticing devil!

This time, it was Herrera's turn to feel uneasy. She wasn't a hundred percent angel after all - apart from her angelic nature, there was a human nature in her as well. By now her face had turned rose red, as though she was inebriated by wine.

"Interesting. I'll be sure to keep what you said in mind in the future," she said. "So why did you come see me today?" she asked, desperate to change the subject, "Do you need anything?"

The question fell like a bucket of cold water over Link's head. He was suddenly reminded of his original intention in coming to meet Herrera.

"I need some materials to construct some magic gear," he said bluntly, "I'm assuming the promise still stands?"

Herrera took a quick glance at Link. Her expressions briefly betrayed her slight dissatisfaction, though she remained as charming as ever.

"I knew you wouldn't forget about that. Yes, of course. Come on, follow me."