205 The Invincible Magic Puppet (Part 5)

 It took ten points of Mana per second to sustain the Storm Eagle, which meant that 36,000 points of Mana would've been consumed within an hour. Link's current maximum Mana limit was 5200 points, but because of the series of attacks he unleashed earlier, he was now left with only about 2400 points of Mana.

In other words, if he were to keep on maintaining the Storm Eagle in the air, he'd be completely depleted of Mana in less than four minutes. The Mana consumption rate of a high-level flying spell was simply astronomical. This was one of the crucial reasons why flying spells weren't the most practical spells to use in battles.

Fortunately, though, Link had come up with a way to deal with the magic puppet Nana.

Link made the Storm Eagle climb higher up into the sky.

"How much time do you need to cast Metal Decay?" Link turned around to ask Vance.

"Ummm...about 1.8 seconds," answered Vance while scratching his smooth skull. He could guess what Link was planning to do. "While the spell can really cause damage to Nana, she'd never give me enough time to cast it on her."

"I suppose so," said Link, nodding his head. "That's why you must increase your spellcasting speed."

Vance was speechless for a moment.

"How do you expect me to cast a spell faster than that?" he asked Link. "That's my limit!"

"Do you remember Morestern's wand Dark Arbiter?" asked Link. "It's in the underground palace, and right now the only one who is there is the weakened Dorians-"

"Link and I will distract Nana," said Celine immediately as she caught up to Link's plans, "and you'll go get the wand!"

"Exactly!" Link glanced at Celine with gratefulness in his eyes. It felt great to have someone on his team who could quickly understand what he intended to do.

Vance's teeth clattered for a few seconds, and he said nothing as he considered the plan.

"That sounds like a decent plan," he finally said. "But that wand needs a whole day's time to recharge after casting a Level-7 spell. Besides, you don't have much Mana left; are you sure you'll be able to hold Nana at bay?"

"I can carry him," said Celine. She could easily stay in flight for as long as ten hours or more without expending much energy anyway.

"That's unnecessary," said Link. "I've got a way to stall her. Celine, the wand is the key to our victory. You must go get it with Vance."

It would be too risky for one person to venture into the underground palace due to its labyrinthine structure. If Dorians had a functional brain between his ears, he could easily defeat Vance with sneak attacks. With Celine's help, though, there shouldn't be any problem for them to get the wand.

Although Celine was anxious of Link's safety, she saw how resolute he was and thought there wouldn't be any point in making protests, so she nodded in agreement with the plan.

At that point, the Storm Eagle had reached the highest limit of its flight at about 20,000 feet which took it 20 seconds to ascend. Looking down from here, the inky dark sea looked vast and endless. Wads of cottony clouds floated all around them. If it hadn't been for the dangerous situation that they were in, they would've appreciated the sublime view very much.

"Let's do it then," said Link. "Celine, take Vance back to the underground palace and get the wand. Take this rune tag with you, and you'll know my precise location wherever you are."

"Be careful, Link," Celine said as she took the rune tag from Link.

Link nodded. Then, Celine spread out her black wings and grabbed the almost weightless Vance and flew away from the Storm Eagle.

Immediately afterwards, Link canceled the Storm Eagle spell and cast a levitating spell on himself.


Level-0 Spell

Mana Consumption: 2 Points

Effects: Makes the spellcaster's body as light as a feather, light enough to walk on water. When in the air, the spellcaster will fall at the maximum speed of 1.6 feet per second for about ten minutes.

Why 1.6 feet per second? This speed was as slow as the average walking pace, and it would take about three and a half hours to fall from the height of 20,000 feet to the surface of the sea. With this leisurely speed, Link could easily summon the Storm Eagle again and use it to climb up 20,000 feet within 20 seconds before he hit the surface of the water. Using this technique, Link would have no problem floating in the sky forever!

Moreover, Link wasn't that far away from the underground palace, probably about 20 miles, so it shouldn't take too long for Celine and Vance to return with the wand. Once they returned, all they needed to do was stall Nana for a day to wait for the Dark Arbiter wand to recharge. Then they'd defeat the terrifying puppet.

As he was floating in the air, Link used the spell Eagle's Eye to check the situation on the surface of the sea. He must make sure that Nana was still following him, otherwise it would mean that Vance and Celine were in serious danger.

From what they'd seen so far, the magic puppet clearly possessed near-perfect combat skills, but her strategic planning still left something to be desired. From there Link could spot her weak points where he could utilize to defeat her.

Nana was still following Link at high speed. She's obviously locked her target on Link, as she thought that he was the most dangerous opponent with a threat level of 5 stars. Therefore, her primary goal must be to eliminate Link.

Haha, keep on following me, then, thought Link.

The Level-0 Levitation spell consumed only two points of Mana and required no additional Mana to sustain at all. With nothing to do and all this time on his hands, Link nonchalantly slipped out Bryant's Scroll of Enlightenment and began to calmly study it.

He'd studied more than half of the scroll and had made many great discoveries from it. According to Eleanor, the person who managed to study the whole scroll thoroughly would experience a doubling in the rate of Mana recovery. That would surely come in handy for Link now as his Mana was running quite low. That's why he decided to study the scroll now.

After having drifted in the air for a while, luck seemed to be on his side as a storm started to brew on the surface of the sea. With a body that was as feathery light as Link's now that he was under the Levitation spell, the slightest gust of wind from the storm kept him aloft for much longer and even helped him gain a bit of height as well.

He then used the spell, Eagle's Eye and watched the surface of the sea beneath him. He noticed how Nana struggled to catch up with him and couldn't help but laugh at her. What an adamant puppet she was!

Soon, though, Link found that the situation wasn't so funny anymore.

The wind was getting stronger and stronger as the storm brewed on. The clouds got much thicker now and had transformed from white fluffy puffs to dark, menacing clouds that harbored thunder.

A bitter smile cropped up on Link's face as he realized that he'd forgotten the most crucial fact when he meticulously planned his strategy to fight Nana. He'd failed to take into account the fact that they were in the coastal area of the Ferde Wilderness where the climate was notoriously temperamental.

Lightning soon flashed in the clouds, and the sound of thunder rumbled Link's guts. Before the sublime majesty of mother nature, Link was as insignificant as a speck of dust. The average flash of lightning was equivalent to the power of a Level-7 spell. He'd die instantly if he ever got hit by one of these lightning flashes.

Just in case, Link cast the spell Edelweiss to protect himself, then he summoned the Storm Eagle and began to ascend to its highest limit at 20,000 feet where he would be safe from being struck by lightning. Yet, the storm was just as violent there as it was below, and Link's body was blown about like a leaf. There was no way for him to check the situation down there on the surface of the sea at all. Neither did he know where the wind of the storm would blow him to.

And so, Link drifted in the sky for about three hours when he was finally blown out from the storm, and the clouds gradually cleared out, once again allowing him to see the dark blue sea below. Then, Link immediately cast the Eagle's Eye spell and checked the situation below him. After a while, he sighed in relief at the sight of Nana still chasing after him from below.

What a relentless magic puppet, he thought. And she still hadn't lost sight of me after all this time. Not bad at all.

At that point, Link noticed a cluster of islands in front of him. There were about 30 or so islands there of different sizes. Among them, the biggest one probably had an area of about five miles. Lush forest covered most of the islands and colorful birds danced around, filling the air with bird calls and chirpy bird songs. Then, in one corner of the forest, Link saw a wild Griffin catching its prey.

Link had no intention of landing on the island. He just slowly floated above it, taking his time enjoying the beautiful view.

What a strange island, he thought.

Most of the islands were full of wildlife, yet on the southeastern corner, there was a black island where even grass and weeds wouldn't grow. It seemed as if the whole island was cursed. Link tried to sense the aura of the strange island, but he couldn't detect anything out of the ordinary coming from the place.

How odd. If no one were chasing him then, he'd dive straight down and explore the place from corner to corner. Unfortunately, Nana was still hot on his trails, so he couldn't afford to go down there.

Right at that moment, a shocking sight caught Link's eyes. He saw how Nana came up on the shores of the island where her speed increased miraculously on land. There was no sign of fatigue in her movements at all. Link was shocked. He was only hovering at 2,000 feet above the island. Nana could easily leap up from the ground and reach him at this height! Thus, Link swiftly summoned the Storm Eagle and ascended higher up into the sky.

He soon reached the height of 20,000 feet. The cluster of islands had shrunk into the size of pebbles at this height and Link could no longer see the magic puppet.

I should be safe from her here, Link thought.

He then cast the Levitation spell on himself and continued to drift in the air.

Suddenly, though, Link heard an unusual gust of wind behind him. He drew in a sharp breath when he turned around and saw a Griffin flying towards him at high speed. Sitting on its back was none other than Nana herself!

She's a smart puppet, alright, thought Link bitterly. Now that she's found herself a Griffin to fly on, things are no longer as simple as before!

The Griffin's flying speed wasn't actually that fast at only about 200 miles per hour. But the more critical point was that it had high endurance and wouldn't have any problems flying in the air for more than a dozen hours.

Link might have recovered some of his Mana when he was under the Levitation spell, but now that he had summoned the Storm Eagle, he could probably maintain it for no more than five minutes before he ran out of Mana again.

At this point, Nana would catch up to him soon enough!

I must kill the Griffin! Link thought.

He made no more attempts to flee from Nana and waited for her to approach him mid-air.

Half a minute later, Nana had driven the Griffin to about 300 feet away from Link. He could clearly see that the Griffin was reluctantly following Nana's orders only because her powers had overwhelmed it and rendered it helpless against her will. Three hundred feet was the range limit of Link's Whistle. The Griffin had no protective gear around its body, so Whistle was more than enough to cause damage to its body.

Link focused his eyesight and activated the Crimson Edelweiss in his bracelet just in case. Then, he raised his wand and directed his Mana into it, casting five Whistles in a row, taking 0.08 seconds for each of them.

Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh...

The Whistles tore through the air and headed straight towards the Griffin.

The magic puppet Nana quickly blocked the Whistles at an unimaginably fast speed. A series of dings rang out in the air. Nana had quite effortlessly deflected all of Link's Whistles from the Griffin.

What Link found even more shocking was how nimble and agile Nana's movements were. Not only did she cut off Link's Mana from the Whistles, making it impossible for him to control them, she'd also used her tremendous power to deflect the attacks right before the Whistles exploded.

The Whistles had now been flung out about 50 feet away before their spell structures collapsed which triggered their explosions. At that distance, even with the metal fragments in the air, they posed no threats to the Griffin whatsoever.

It was the first time Link had ever seen one of his most powerful attacks get deflected so easily!

As expected from a magic puppet that's evolved over 400 years, Link thought. Ah, her combat skills almost make her indestructible!

But naturally, Link had other attack strategies up his sleeve other than Whistles alone. He still had his Glass Orbs, which could do nearly as much damage to the Griffin as Whistles could.

Mana flowed into his wand once again, and Glass Orbs took form at an indescribably high speed. With the help of the Domingo crystal, Link managed to cast 50 Glass Orbs per second.

For a moment, there were countless lines of light between Link and the Griffin.

Nana blocked the attacks with her sword as she did before. The Glass Orbs burst like soap bubbles as they hit the blade of her sword. And in no time at all, none of Link's Glass Orbs remained.

Nana's swordsmanship was flawless indeed, but there was one tiny problem that was out of her control.

Because of the succession of explosions were so near to the Griffin, the creature was completely spooked, and it fled instinctively away from Link, overruling Nana's command no matter how much she tried to subdue it.

The Griffin escaped further and further away from Link, and Nana fixed her eyes on him as if she had made a certain decision. She stood up and used the Griffin's body as the springboard to leap forward towards Link.

Nana had witnessed Link's reaction speed many times by now so she knew that there was a chance that she could hit him this way. But still, this was her only chance!

Meanwhile, Link entered the state of absolute calm that was the spellcasting state. He amassed all of his energy and attention and dared not relax for even the briefest fraction of a second. He knew that the slightest mistake he made would result in death when faced with such a terrifying opponent.

Nana was insanely fast; she was now only 16 feet away from Link. Seeing this, Link immediately raised his wand and cast the defensive spell, Vector Protective Force Field.

The Level-1 spell got to work instantly and flung the magic puppet away from Link. At almost the same time, Link saw a black stone getting hurled at him by Nana, evidently as a direct attack. Although it was only an ordinary stone, once in the hand of the terrifying magic puppet, it turned into a menacing weapon that shot through the air towards Link at the speed of 2600 feet per second.

In truth, the speed at which a stone traveled would always be faster than the speed that the thrower was moving at. Therefore, because Nana herself was moving at 2000 feet per second, it only made sense that the stone that she threw was moving as fast as a rifle bullet!

This didn't pose much of a problem to Link, though. He was sure that his Crimson Edelweiss was sturdy enough to deflect the stone. Once the stone hit the edges of the shield, it was met with a ring of scorching light. The heat from the light ring slowed it down at first, then the stone burned up into flames and began to disintegrate. 0.01 seconds later, Link discovered that there was something strange about the stone. Its surface looked normal, but at its core, there were tiny blue sparks of electricity.

Link had seen those sparks before. They were on that dark blue sword she'd used earlier, and they had a strong anti-magic effect.

It seemed that Crimson Edelweiss alone wouldn't be enough to stop this stone!


Things were looking bad!

By this point, Link didn't have any time to do anything to counter the incoming attack. At the very last second, he cast a Level-0 defensive spell, Mage Armor and instantly, a pale green glow enveloped him as the armor took form.


The stone smashed into Link's stomach. It was less than two pounds. When it reached Link's body after having broken through Crimson Edelweiss, its speed was no more than 30 feet per second.

The problem was that Link's body...was not much stronger than that of the average person's.

Link was thrown completely off balance by the impact, and all he could feel was the excruciating pain in his stomach. His black eyes dulled, and he almost lost consciousness for a while, although he soon recovered.

What truly horrified Link was the strange sensations he felt in his stomach as if an alien force had penetrated into his body and interfered with his Mana.

Then there was a flash on the interface showing a warning from the gaming system.

Player has been afflicted. Current state: Mana Disorder.

Estimated total recovery time: three hours.

At that instant, all magical functions in Link's body were shut down. He could only manage to maintain the Levitation Spell and activated the defensive spell in his bracelet, in case Nana flung her sword at him when he was in his most vulnerable state.

Fortunately, Nana cherished her sword too much to throw it away at Link, so he was safe in that regard. Link sighed in relief and floated down towards the cluster of islands below. While he was in mid-air, he took a deep breath and relaxed his body to speed up its recovery time.

What a fearsome magic puppet, Link thought. Her battle intuitions are amazing! I can't waste any more time playing cat and mouse with her.

Link decided not to run away any longer. There must be more than one Griffin on these islands, so there was a high possibility that Nana would catch another one to chase him with. Once she caught up with him, there was no saying what she would do then.

It's time to end this battle once and for all. Link took out the Prophetic White Stone from his storage pendant. If nothing else happened within these two hours, then he would use it to end the battle as soon as his feet landed on the ground.

He'd planned on saving a Level-9 spell originally; it's too bad that it wouldn't be possible now.

Meanwhile, Nana was similarly falling to the ground because she'd been struck by the impact of Link's Vector Protective Force Field. Her falling speed was extremely fast, but she fell right on one of the islands.


A crater of about eight feet wide and five feet deep was created on the spot where Nana hit the ground. Still, she stood up and dusted her body off as if completely unhurt. She then turned around and entered the forest to look for a Griffin, while not forgetting to keep an eye on Link, who was slowly drifting downwards from the sky.