185 Conquering the East Cove Academy


 On the Mage Tower rooftop.

Link leaned back against the railing and almost slumped down to the floor. The process of killing the Level-8 demon might seem easy to an onlooker, but in truth, the attack Link had just unleashed had cost him an unimaginably immense amount of energy that left him completely drained.

Tarviss was incessantly bursting with power, so Link must continuously direct his Mana into the Titan's Hand to maintain it as well. The Mana consumption rate, in this case, had soared up to 200 points per second!

In less than two minutes of fighting, Link had spent 220 Omni points to obtain an unlimited maximum Mana limit. He then drank two bottles of a mid-level Mana potion. Only then did he manage to kill the demon Tarviss, and even then, the demon had died right before the moment Link completely exhausted his store of Mana.

Mission: Investigate Black Moon Conspiracy (Failed)

Player successfully killed the demon Tarviss. 200 Omni Points rewarded.

These two notifications flashed into his view on the interface. Link now had 200 Omni Points, yet instead of celebrating he didn't even want to move an inch. He had overexerted himself in draining his Mana, and he was sure that the Mana potion he'd drank was now poisoning his body. All this had left him without even an ounce of energy to lift a finger at the moment. Maintaining a powerful Level-9 spell had been taxing his spirits as well, and he felt it was too much effort to even stay awake.

After some time, Link heard sounds of rushing footsteps approaching. It was followed by a familiar voice that was full of worry and anxiety.

"Link!" said Herrera. "Are you alright?"

Link didn't have the strength to even turn towards her at this point. All he could manage was curl up his lips slightly in an effort to smile, but before that could happen, he was overcome by a sudden hazy sensation and blacked out immediately. But just before he completely collapsed, he heard Herrera's panicked voice again.

"Oh no!" said Herrera. "He drank two bottles of Mana potion! The toxins have spread into his bloodstream!"

Herrera had helped him the last time he drank too much Mana potion. She was now in the academy where she could get help from other people easily, so Link was sure that there wouldn't be any problem for her to help him this time. As a result, he fainted knowing that he was already in safe hands.

...

When Link woke up again, he found himself lying on a bed. He looked around and realized that he was in his room in Herrera's Mage Tower. He could feel that the bed sheets and the blanket that were covering his body were clean and crisp as if they had been recently changed. They even smelled fresh and fragrant. Link then noticed that he felt fine apart from feeling a little weakened and dizzy.

Link then sat up in the bed and discovered that the clothes on his body had been changed as well. His storage pendant and his protective spell magic ring were both still on his body, while his wand was placed on the table right beside the bed. Just as Link was about to climb out of bed, the door was pushed open, and Herrera walked in. She was pleasantly surprised to see Link already awake and rushed towards him immediately.

"How are you feeling?" she asked with concern.

"Not too bad," answered Link. By then, he was already out of bed pacing slowly back and forth in the room. "I feel a little dizzy, but that's about it."

As soon as he said that, Herrera's face turned slightly angry.

"Of course you'd feel dizzy," she said, gently but firmly reprimanding Link. "You overdosed on Mana potions again. This time you didn't use a spell to freeze your stomach, so the poison had spread into your bloodstream and flowed to the rest of your body. If it weren't for Master Grenci who managed to cure you with the Hundred Herbs medicine in time, you would've surely died!"

Master Grenci was one of the six members of the academy's high council. He was the best Alchemist in the entire East Cove Magic Academy. A Hundred Herbs medicine was his most treasured possession which was an epic-level poison antidote. It was an item so priceless that no amount of money would be able to buy it, and Master Grenci had treasured it more than any other of his creations.

"I must go thank him personally," said Link, full of gratitude.

"There's no need to hurry," said Herrera. "You can do that once you've fully recovered. I hope this will teach you not to do anything so risky next time...but I'm afraid that wouldn't ever happen."

Herrera's eyes began to redden. She knew more than anyone else how dangerous a situation Link had put himself in on that fateful night was. She still shuddered in terror as she thought about it. God of Light only knew how much anxiety this young man, who had no thought of his own safety, had caused her!

Link noticed the genuine concern in Herrera's expressions and felt both grateful to her and ashamed of himself for having put her through this. He walked slowly to the window and pushed the curtain aside to look out.

The weather was excellent this day. The sky was as bright as a blue jewel, rays of sunlight shone down like a heavenly golden waterfall, basking the whole academy in its shimmering glory and warmth.

From this point of view, Link could see the scars of destruction left by the demon Tarviss on the academy. Several Mage Towers had fallen and were reduced to rubble, and a large number of workers were busy clearing the space. A handful of Magicians stood aside guiding and helping the process with some magic spells. He could hear the sounds of their chattering voices sometimes while the workers were all hard at work sweating profusely; even the Magicians were covered in dirt and dust.

Further away, Link could see that the hole in the middle of Bryant's Inspiration Courtyard was filled up while some Magicians were busy dispelling the traces of demonic aura left by Tarviss there.

At this moment, the East Cove Magic Academy was just like a wounded old tiger licking its wounds and taking its time recuperating.

"Tutor," said Link after a while, "the dean..."

It was pure chaos at the time, so Link had no idea what had befallen the dean other than the fact that he sensed the sudden disappearance of Anthony's aura that night. Still, Link was unwilling to believe that a mighty Level-7 Master Magician would be killed so quickly and easily.

Herrera walked towards the window and smiled gently.

"The dean survived," she said. "He used Burst to escape in the nick of time. He has lost both of his legs, though."

"Oh, thank goodness!" exclaimed Link, visibly relieved now. To a soldier, losing limbs would be a great tragedy as they would have some difficulty in taking care of themself. Yet, to a Magician, this was nothing but a cause of mere inconvenience.

"The academy lost six Mage Towers that night," Herrera continued, "the Heaven's Thorn was one of them. Nineteen full-fledged Magicians died in battle, 130 Magician's Apprentices were killed, and countless other people were injured. But in the end, it was not all in vain because the demon Tarviss had finally been killed!"

As she spoke, she turned her head towards Link and her eyes shone with gratitude.

"It was all thanks to you, Master Link!" she exclaimed.

"It was only my duty," answered Link who was slightly unnerved by Herrera's gentle and crystalline eyes staring straight at him. "Besides, you are my tutor; you shouldn't call me Master."

"I'm no longer your tutor, Link," she replied. "You have graduated. You are the most outstanding Magician the East Cove Magic Academy had ever produced!"

Link was stunned at Herrera's generous praise, but then she interrupted him before he could make any reply.

"It's almost noon now," she said. "Go put on your Magician's robe and get yourself ready for lunch."

"Yes, tutor," said Link, suddenly realizing that he was quite hungry. He turned around and took a glance at the garnet Magician's robe laid out on the table. As he approached it, he was immediately taken aback by its superior quality.

"Is this for me, tutor?" he asked incredulously.

He recognized the astounding quality of the robe's material at a glance. After further inspection, he discovered that it was made with Golden Fire Silk with many mysterious looking magic runes made with the world's softest Mana-conductive metal, Oester Silver. When he examined it more closely, he discovered that the spell structure on the robe was a Level-6 booster spell called Clear Thoughts.

Just as he was looking at the robe, a notification popped up on the interface.

Flame Controller

Quality: Epic

First Effect: Speeds up the rate of fire element accretion by 50%.

Second Effect: Boosts the resistance towards elemental spells by 100%.

Third Effect: Fixed with the spell Clear Thoughts, which when activated will restore 2000 points of Mana to the caster in five minutes. A gap of 48 hours is required before the spell can be re-cast.

(Note: This is a special gift from the East Cove Magic Academy!)

This was obviously an invaluable robe! For a Magician who had an affinity towards flame and fire like Link, this robe would be like a pair of wings given to an already mighty tiger, which would make him almost invincible! The spell Clear Thoughts would be especially helpful to him because it would greatly compensate for his biggest weakness that was his lack of Mana.

"Of course it is yours!" answered Herrera. "It is a special gift to you in return for saving the academy. The Golden Fire Silk was Master Ferdinand's prized possession, and the Oester Silver was from the dean. Meanwhile, Master Weissmuller was the one who made the robe with his own hands. And now, the robe is yours."

Link made no more pretenses to be polite and quickly took off his clothes and slipped into his new Magician's robe. It felt luxurious against his skin, and the superior style and quality of the robe was even more obvious now that he wore it. Because the robe could accumulate fire elements in the air, Link's body now seemed to be emitting a faint glow and because the fire elements were gathered on top of Link's head. It seemed as if Link was wearing a flaming crown.

Link then cast a magic mirror to check how he looked. He was momentarily stunned at the majestic appearance of the robe and even thought that it might look too ostentatious on him. But he changed his mind moments after as he thought there would be no point in keeping a modest appearance now that he'd advanced this far. Besides, the dean, the six members of the academy's high council, and Herrera herself all wore extravagant robes, so it was no big deal that he was one wearing one himself.

"King Leon had sent a special tailor to help work on the robe as well," said Herrera, whose eyes shone brilliantly as she laughed. "He's obviously done an excellent job here."

Not only was the robe simply gorgeous to look at, but it also enhanced Link's presence and charisma while also underlining his calm and collected appearance. Link looked undoubtedly like the king of fire in this robe!

After that fateful night, no one questioned the profound acuity Link had on magic spells that involved fire elements. He was indubitably Firuman's greatest master of fire spells.

"How many days have I been unconscious?" Link asked, suddenly realizing that such a magnificent robe must've taken some time to prepare.

"Not too long," answered Herrera reassuringly, completely understanding Link's sudden confusion. "Only about three days."

The academy must've exerted enormous efforts in preparing such a Magician's robe in the short span of three days. Link almost felt as if he'd conquered the East Cove Magic Academy by defeating the demon Tarviss.

Later, Link followed Herrera out of his room and into the hall on the first floor, where Link was faced with a shocking sight.

Anthony, Grenci, Ferdinand, Weissmuller and the rest, not excluding all the Magicians in the academy who were of Level-5 and higher were present in the hall. All 37 people were waiting for Link.

Upon seeing Link, Anthony took the lead in standing up. His wounds had now healed almost perfectly thanks to a Priest's divine healing spells. He was fixed with a pair of magical prosthetic limbs which allowed him to move just as he always did.

"Our hero is here!" he exclaimed joyously.

Everyone was sitting in the hall initially, but they all rose to their feet immediately upon seeing Link. Then, Anthony took the lead again in giving Link a respectful Magician's bow which was traditionally performed by a Magician of lower level to a Magician of a higher level.

Link was slightly dismayed by this treatment as he was only a Level-6 Magician in truth. The only reason why he could cast the Level-9 spell, Titan's Hand was because of the Prophetic White Stone's help. Meanwhile, the dean was a genuine Level-7 Master Magician, so Link felt he didn't deserve this kind of gesture at all.

The dean smiled gently as he noticed Link's obvious unease.

"We are aware that the Prophetic White Stone's power helped you," he said, "but, it alone would be useless in the hands of anyone else but you. None of us could control a Level-9 spell, let alone use it to defeat the Level-8 demon Tarviss. But you did it, and you've saved us all. That is the truth, and that is all that matters."

He then turned around and addressed everyone else in the room.

"Make way for Master Link!" he shouted. "Today the seat at the head of the table belongs to him!"

The Magicians in the hall then shuffled aside to make way for Link. On the dining table, he saw that a variety of scrumptious dishes had been laid out. They had obviously got wind of Link's recovery and made these special preparations just for him.

"Don't worry, Link," Herrera whispered, "this is everyone's way of showing their gratitude to you. You've earned their respect."

Link knew this, of course. He also knew that it would be a sign of disrespect if he were to turn down the dean's generous gesture.

"Thank you," said Link, returning the Magicians' bow respectfully. "I am moved by the generosity you have shown me today."

He then walked to his seat at the head of the table.

There was neither boastful arrogance nor exaggerated modesty in his expressions. He cut a strikingly calm figure against the backdrop of festive moods in the hall. Overall, he seemed like a man whose maturity far exceeded his young age.

None of the Magicians present were younger than 35 years old. In fact, Herrera who was the youngest there apart from Link was already 36 years old herself, while most of the rest had grey hair and beards. Naturally, they had been worried that the respect shown to such a young Magician would make him vain and conceited.

Just think about it-this was the person who could control an advanced Level-9 spell and defeat the mighty demon, Tarviss. For all they knew, Link could be bloated with pride right now!

But then Link's actions began to put them at ease. Once he'd taken his seat, everyone started to dine, and the atmosphere relaxed considerably. The crowd began to chat freely about magic and spells and Link himself would say a few words to the dean. In a few minutes, the tension in the air began to loosen, and everyone started to enjoy themselves.

After the meal, the table was cleared, and Anthony suddenly clapped his hand to get everyone's attention; the air became tense again. Link was surprised and didn't know what to expect next, but just then, Master Grenci walked up to him and placed a notebook in front of him.

"Master Link," he said, "this is a notebook that contains all the knowledge I've discovered throughout my life. I hope you may find some inspiration from it."

Then, the rest of the high council members-Ferdinand, Weissmuller, Hanswiser, and Andal all handed each of their own notebooks to Link, all reiterating Grenci's hope to one day inspire Link.

Link had stood up at this point. He did not refuse the Master Magicians' gifts. He knew that these contained precious wisdom that could not be found anywhere else in the world. They would be an invaluable help to him in advancing his magic skills.

Link bowed deeply each time he received a notebook. He was aware that this was the highest honor that could be bestowed upon a student of the academy. This meant that he had now been recognized as a stellar Magician by the most respected Magicians in the academy.

By now, although it wasn't explicitly stated that Link was the best Magician in the academy, the fact that he was presented the notebooks of the Master Magicians meant that he was implicitly recognized as one. Only three other people had ever received such an honor in the long history of the East Cove Magic Academy, and all three of these people had gone on to become the academy's dean.

In total, Link received 37 notebooks that day. He then bowed to the Magicians again and took out a notebook from his storage pendant and placed it on the table.

"I've recorded all of the Supreme Magical Skills that I've ever created in this notebook," he said. "It also contains some of my theories and deductions that I've accrued from the first day I started to learn magic. I would like to gift it to the academy so that anyone can read and study them. I hope it might one day inspire you to make new discoveries and advance your magic skills as well."

"Wow!"

The hall was now echoing in gasps and surprised exclamations by the Master Magicians. They soon erupted into warm applause. They had not expected him to give them anything, yet Link had gifted them with such a priceless item. Naturally, everyone there now found Link to be admirable and deserving of their respect.

There was not a trace of a doubt that Link was a peerless genius. His spells were full of innovation and creativity apart from being incredibly powerful. For that reason, his notebook was without question the most prized possession of the academy. It would be a great help to the Magicians of the academy as they advanced their levels.

Link himself wouldn't lose anything by giving this away. The Supreme Magical Skills he developed were indeed powerful. If he were to make this knowledge accessible to the Magicians of the academy, then that would only mean that more of them would become stronger and better Magicians who would fight better in the war against the dark forces in the future. That could only be a good thing.

Herrera looked on quietly as the scene unfolded in front of her among the crowd; she was deeply moved inside. She had watched Link grow up from a skinny Magician's Apprentice in tattered rags who had bloomed into such a powerful and formidable Master Magician who might one day become the next dean in slightly more than half a year. It was nothing short of a miracle.

Still, Herrera knew that as the God of Light's Chosen One, this was only the beginning. Link would be creating even more miracles in the future, and Herrera couldn't wait to see what they would be.

What miracles will he make next in the Ferde Wilderness? Herrera wondered with anticipation.