It was half-past one in the morning by the time Mary had caught up to Link and the others.
In the game, this had been the time when the Dark Elf Army had launched their main attack. But now, thanks to Link, it was peaceful and quiet outside the city.
However, Link knew deep down in his heart that destroying the Portal Tower could only stall them for a little while. Their time was running out.
Mary continued on towards the city guards' barracks along with Link and the other human Assassins. She told them all about what she had seen and heard at the fountain square, leaving everyone speechless.
More than 150 Dark Elf Assassins was certainly a force to be feared, but even more so, was the Dark Elf Magician.
This was the real world, not a game. The imbalance of power couldn't be adjusted.
To outsiders, Magicians had wisdom far beyond the reach of other beings. Their magic was mysterious and powerful. Fear struck the heart of any Warrior facing a Magician simply because there was no way to know what the Magician had in store for you.
Very often, people were killed without even knowing what happened.
Their sheer intelligence was the reason for their complete domination.
There was a silence among them. Annie turned to look at Link. "Mr. Link, what do you think?"
To face a Magician, one needed another Magician. Annie had never been so grateful that Link was there. Otherwise, her subordinates would have been dead and she, captured. The possibility of turning the tides wouldn't have even been a thought to consider.
Link, fortunately, knew all about his opponent.
The Dark Elf Magician was named Holmes. He was a Level-2 Elite Magician specializing in both Elemental and Summoning Magic as well as a member of the Silver Moon Mage Council.
In contrast to the teachers at The Lower Magic Academy of Flemmings, he was a true Battle Mage. As far as he knew, Holmes could use at least one Supreme Magic Skill-Swift Spellcasting!
Under that Supreme Magic Skill, Holmes could cast Level-1 Elemental Spell, Fireballs with incredible speed. His best record was casting 10 Fireballs within 1 second.
Level-1 Fireballs were the upgraded version of Level-0 Fireballs. They were also significantly more powerful. If Level-0 Fireballs were large firecrackers, Level-1 Fireballs were grenades.
In his last life, there had been a team of ten novices who had attempted to take Holmes down as they escaped Gladstone. They had been killed instead-all ten of them, with just a barrage of Fireballs.
Because of that, Holmes had gotten the nickname of Fire Canon.
All this information flashed through Link's head. Link compared himself to what he knew of Holmes. He knew not a single Supreme Magic Skill, though he had 20 Omni Points, 15 MP (Mana Points). Oh, and he also had a Level-2 Defensive Magic Item-the bracelet.
It seemed that he stood a chance as long as he had enough Mana!
At the thought, Link used 10 Omni Points on Maximum Mana Points without hesitation. He felt warmth envelope his body- he was full of Mana once more. Taking a look at himself, his Maximum Mana was now 241 Points and he held 118 Mana Points.
That was enough for him to go into battle.
Link thought quickly. "The Magician is very powerful. But I know his strength roughly from what Mary described. Don't worry. I can handle him!"
Holmes was just a Level-2 Magician. Link was once an Archmage, a Legendary Pinnacle. How could he lose in a battle of magic?
Annie breathed easy, "That's good."
The other Assassins also breathed a sigh of relief.
After running for about five more minutes, they saw the raised flag of the city guard. The Lord's castle could also be seen in the distance.
"Faster! Faster! We'll reach soon!" Annie yelled.
This urged the Assassins forward, their steps becoming quicker by the second.
Just then, Annie said, "Listen. There are footsteps behind us. Someone's approaching, and very quickly!"
Startled, Link was about to turn and look, but within that split second, he sensed a great wave of Mana coming towards them at an unbelievable speed.
He sensed the danger within it, as if a beast was reared up and poised to attack him from behind, its teeth already touching his neck!
The hairs on his neck stood on end.
The sense of peril was so pressing that Link barely paid attention to anything else and just activated his Band of Protection.
Magic lights flashed. A crystal clear glow quickly spread out from his wrist and over the rest of his body, blending into the gray robe he wore. His robe was covered with a thick, dense layer of light. Magic runes swirled within the light, making his robe appear extraordinarily grand and elaborate.
Effect: Strong defense against magical attacks but weak against physical attacks.
As soon as the spell took effect, Link caught a glimpse of a flash of fire from the corner of his eye.
At the same time, he felt a push from behind him, making him stumble forward by a few steps. The push had felt mildly hot, and with it, an explosion had rung out from behind.
That wasn't all.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
The explosions continued on, sparks and flames bursting out everywhere. Link spun around and saw the bluish-white, fist-sized fireballs whizzing through the air, each heading towards a human Assassin.
Each fireball exploded with a huge bang, flames spreading out into orbs that spanned more than three feet.
Within just two seconds, almost twenty Level-1 Fireballs had flown at them from almost 200 feet away.
Except for Annie, who managed to duck and defend against the balls of flame with her incredible speed and the strength of her Battle Aura, the rest of the human Assassins flew out from the impact of the explosions.
Ardivan and Mary weren't spared either. Charred from the flames, they were thrown out 15 to 20 feet. They spat out blood before passing out.
In just one blow, almost all the Assassins were wiped out. With the exception of Annie, they all had been fatally wounded.
Such was the power of a Magician with Supreme Magical Skills!
"It's Holmes! He doesn't just have the Swift Spellcasting ability; he also has the skill Distant Spellcasting as well!"
Holmes casted his Fireballs from almost 200 feet away, more than twice the normal range for an average Magician. It was unnerving!
Link, barely having any time to think or feel sad, countered immediately. He pointed his wand at a brick by the roadside. "Vector Throw!"
His opponent was too far, beyond his spellcasting range. His magical attacks wouldn't be able to reach. The only attack that stood a chance at hitting Holmes from this distance was Vector Throw.
The brick went flying with a whoosh towards the huge black figure in the distance. Link had already made out what it was-it was Holmes, sitting astride the Earth Hound he had summoned. He had come alone, before the other Dark Elves.
As an Archmage, Link had had an extraordinary grasp and control of his magic. His aim was exceptional, even using a semi-physical spell such as Vector Throw. The brick flew at Holmes' head.
Magicians' bodies weren't much stronger than commoners'. If he was hit, he would be severely injured if not die. Holmes urged the Earth Hound to duck to one side. Seizing his chance, Link slid over to Annie's side.
The Legendary Assassin to be had been awestruck by the terrifying display of magic. She hid, hyperventilating, in a corner. The mask on her face was gone, showing the fear on her white, delicate features. Her eyes brimmed with tears for her subordinates, whose life or death was still uncertain.
Without hesitation, Link raised a hand and brought it down with a hard slap across her face. The smack was crisp and clear. With it, five finger marks appeared on Annie's face. The pain brought her back to her senses. Clutching her face, she stared at Link in disbelief and confusion.
"Go! Quickly, to the barracks! I'll stop him!" Link barked.
This was Gladstone City's only chance to change to course of history!
At this, his wand flashed. A beam of light wrapped around Annie. He casted the Level-1 Spell, the Cat's Agility!
"Then what about you?" Annie asked anxiously. She knew that Holmes wasn't too far behind, and there were more than 150 Dark Elf Assassins following behind! How would Link fight them all single-handedly?
"Stop worrying about me and go!"
He pushed her out. With another flash of his wand, he used the Level-1 Spell, Vector Throw on her.
Under the repelling force of the magic, Annie flew three feet into the air and into a second-story window.
Annie's sobbing shriek rang out from inside the window. She knew that Link had stayed back to stop the enemy from going after her. It meant that he had been ready to fight to his death.
The Magician prodigy had already saved her once tonight. And now, he would sacrifice his own life for her sake. The young girl's heart quivered, tears running down her face.
Link didn't hear her. His opponent was strong, but he had entered a serene calm and focused on his spellcasting.
His wand flashed with magic again as he casted Cat's Agility once more on himself. With a leap, Link shot out like a cat, charging towards Holmes.
Holmes could cast spells from much farther with his Distance Spellcasting ability. Therefore, Link needed to close the distance between them! Holmes, however, wouldn't let him get close so easily. Sitting astride the Earth Hound, he pointed his magic staff at Link and bellowed, "Fireball!"
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Under his Swift Spellcasting skill, fireballs rushed out of his staff, producing four of them almost instantaneously. They shot out towards Link in rapid succession.
Link was protected by the Guarding Barrier and impervious to the Fireballs, but the Guarding Barrier had its limits-it would disintegrate if it was hit by seven fireballs. He wouldn't let them hit him unnecessarily.
"Lesser Hailstorm!" Link cried.
An icy glow radiated from his wand. At the same time, Link ducked using Cat's Agility, successfully evading two incoming fireballs.
One second later, the Lesser Hailstorm took full effect. An Icy storm and hail swept around Link, closing off the narrow little alley.
If Holmes wanted to pass through, he would have to force his way through the storm. The high-speed Fireballs he heavily relied on would also have to pass through to attack Link.
But his Fireballs were just Level-1, while the Lesser Hailstorm was Level-2. The Lesser Hailstorm wouldn't give way without more than ten of Holmes Fireballs.
Holmes also didn't have much Mana left in him after having released 14 Level-1 Fireball Spells. He wouldn't have any Mana left if he continued using fireballs to break through the hailstorm. But he had plenty of battle experience under the belt, and so he countered Link's spell instantly. Pointing his staff towards the hailstorm, he roared, "Charge!"
The Earth Hound was a creature summoned from tightly knit Earth Elements and contained immense power. The Lesser Hailstorm was a chaotic mash of water and wind Elemental Magic. It might be able to damage the Earth Hound, but the beast would definitely be able to sink its teeth into the Magician, killing him before the storm disintegrated.
Once a Magician died, so did his magic.
Link and Holmes' battle was intense within just three seconds of their encounter. Victory and defeat, life and death could be all decided at any second!
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