207 You’re Impeded Here!


 Buzz... Buzz... Buzz...

Once they'd landed on the ground, Celine, Link, and Vance all activated their defensive spells. They took the same positions as they did in the underground palace-Celine was in front, while Link and Vance stood side-by-side behind her.

Nana had reached the ground too. She stared at Celine who was standing in front and estimated her strength.

"Target locked," said the magic puppet with her uncanny voice. "Threat level: 2 stars."

The instant she finished speaking, there was a loud boom in the air. Nana had used her deadliest move-the Ultra-Speed Charge!

In previous battles, whenever Nana used this move, she'd appear as if she'd vanished out of thin air to the eyes of those with slow reaction time. This prevented her opponents from estimating where her attack would come from, which would naturally render them helpless and defenseless.

But this time there was a problem!

Moments after Nana seemed to disappear, a mysterious figure glowing in red light appeared suddenly. Not only that, but Nana who was supposed to charge at full speed straight towards Celine was resisted by an unknown force. It threw her off balance and flung her away from her target just when she was about 30 feet away from Celine.

Because of her extreme 2000-feet-per-second speed, she'd sliced through the outrageously strong magnetic field of the island which caused a terribly high electric current to run through her metallic body.

The force of the electric current was equivalent to being struck by a lightning spell!

What was even more frightening was how her body got magnetized by the electric current, which then caused her body to interact with the magnetic field of the island even further. That was what threw her off balance.

"Huh...?" Celine's stunning pair of eyes widened at the sight of Nana's accident. It was something she'd never expected to occur.

Link and Vance had predicted this outcome, though. They wasted no time and each cast their own attacking spells!

"Titan's Hand!"

At the instant when Nana was flung away from them, Link's Titan's Hand quickly caught up to her and changed into the form of Fist of Firomoz and slammed down violently against the magic puppet's body.

Bang!

Nana's body was struck just as she was about to hit the ground, and the impact sent her flying again at high speed. She kept on intercepting the magnetic lines of the island which would generate more electricity in her body.

The magnetic force converted kinetic energy into electric energy, and once the electric current ran through Nana's body, it would then be converted into a huge amount of heat. In other words, this meant that the extremely high levels of kinetic energy (due to her extreme speed) would eventually be transformed into an equally high level of heat!

The higher the temperature of Nana's body, the more intensely her body would emit the red light.

"Body temperature will soon exceed limit," said the voice coming from Nana's body. "Begin heat dissipation! Begin heat dissipation!"

Soon, Nana did not dare to move at high speed even though she wasn't completely comprehending what was going on. Her most lethal weapon, her speed, was now canceled out by the Magnetic Island.

Finally, Vance now had enough time to cast his spell. 1.8 seconds later, he pointed his wand towards the magic puppet and shouted, "Metal Decay!"

A gray light shot out from the wand and went after the magic puppet. Nana immediately detected the great threat coming from this ray of light, and she instinctively dodged it with her lightning speed, causing another boom to reverberate through the air as she seemed to disappear once again.

Only this time, she was forced to reappear a mere seven feet away.

The red light on the surface of her body had now turned white, proving that the metal that made up her body had reached an extreme temperature that was close to its melting point.

Sizzle sizzle!

The Metal Decay finally caught up with her and struck her chest. Thick white smoke billowed out from the spot, and a fist-sized gaping hole appeared where the ray of light hit her body.

Nana just stood there motionless now, and the mechanically crisp voice once again emerged from her body.

"Fatal damage detected on the body," the voice said. "Begin repairing process."

"Repairing process failed," the voice continued. "Performing memory backup...Backup successful. Hibernation process initialized. Mission to protect master has failed...failed...failed...failed..."

Then, Nana's body trembled and flailed about violently for a few seconds before her head and arms got detached from the main body and dropped to the ground. The rest of her body just stood there without any signs of life or movement left in it.

"Is she defeated now? Just like that?" asked Celine, hardly able to believe it. Somehow it had seemed a little too easy.

Link nodded and heaved a long sigh of relief.

"She's gone into hibernation," he said. "We've won."

Vance, on the other hand, said nothing. He stared at the motionless magic puppet wordlessly for quite some time before letting out a long sigh.

"I built her in my daughter's image, you know," he finally said. "And now she's dead by my own hands."

As he spoke, he slowly approached Nana and made a move to examine her more closely.

"You should probably cast Metal Decay on her one more time," Link reminded Vance, "just in case she's not totally destroyed."

"That wouldn't be necessary," replied Vance. "That last attack from me was aimed at her Mana core."

The old Lich seemed to have fallen into a deep melancholic mood. He completely ignored Link's dissuasion and insisted on approaching Nana's lifeless body. He then stretched out his bony hand and softly touched her face.

Crack!

The magic puppet's body jerked suddenly, and her arm shot straight towards the Lich's skull.

Vance's skull was indeed very tough, but it was still far less sturdy than the metal that made up Nana's body. If Vance were to get struck by the full force of Nana's arm, his head would be blown to bits, and the Flame of Soul in his head would be instantly extinguished.

Nana's arm still moved too fast for Vance to respond appropriately, and he could only watch helplessly and brace for the incoming impact.

Just then, a dim red glow appeared around Vance's body-it was Link's Crimson Edelweiss!

Nana's arm was immediately slowed down by the shield's force field, and it finally stopped completely four inches away from Vance's skull. Half a second later, the arm was deflected away by the force field.

Nana's head jerked up sharply, and her clear eyes stared straight at Link. Then a hoarse voice emerged from her body.

"Mission failed," the voice said. "Residual energy exhausted...Target threat level: 5 stars...5 stars...5...stars..."

Then, as if all the life force had been drawn out, Nana's body collapsed completely to the ground, and all the segments came apart. This time, it seemed that she really was totally destroyed.

Only then did Vance manage to react to what was happening. He touched his smooth skull with his bony fingers and felt that his Flame of Soul was still burning. He did not expect Nana to still be able to attack him like that. It was indeed a close shave for him just now. He could easily have just died in that instant, not knowing what hit him.

Originally, Vance wouldn't have minded dying at all. But now that he'd fought through such a thrilling and fierce battle with Celine and Link, he found that he still very much wanted to live after all.

The sun still shone upon the earth, he realized. There are still worthy things to live for, like trust among comrades and loyalty in friendship.

This battle had really turned Vance's rusty and nihilistic views of life completely upside down.

"Thank you, kid," Vance said to Link with a wave of his hand.

"You're welcome, old man," replied Link.

Both then looked at each other and felt there was a newly formed trust between them. Suddenly, they both erupted into hearty laughter. Celine looked on at them curiously. She turned to Link, then to the old Lich, but couldn't work out what they both found so funny.

Then, Vance squatted near Nana's remains and began to carefully examine the magic puppet's body. He wanted to see how she had evolved and what had happened in the last 400 years.

Link, on the other hand, began to study the magnets on the ground. He picked up a piece of black stone and observed it closely. He found that it was, in fact, greenish black and had a strange spiral pattern on its surface. When he placed it closer to his nose and took a whiff, it smelled somewhat pungent and metallic. Then, an idea popped up in his mind, and he quickly turned around to Celine.

"Cut it in half with your sword," he said. "I'd like to see its cross section."

Celine then swiftly pulled out her sword, and as the blade glinted in the sunlight, she quickly cut the magnetic stone cleanly in half. The cross-section was smooth like that of a metal and was completely different from the usually rough surface of an ordinary magnetic stone. Upon seeing such a cross-section, a big grin appeared on Link's face. He realized that he was going to make a fortune!

Link had once read of a type of metal in a textbook on magic materials back when he was in the East Cove Magic Academy. The metal was called Gyromagnetic Iron, and it was described as having a pungent smell and had spiral patterns. Its magnetic field was a hundred times stronger than that of the ordinary magnets.

When this kind of metal was ground into powder and mixed into a dissolving potion, then put through a certain process, the result would be sparkling ink, which was a type of electrical ink. A small vial of this special type of ink would cost about ten gold coins. The capital to produce it was only three gold coins, containing in that small bottle no more than one ounce of Gyromagnetic iron.

Yet, this Magnetic Island surely contained thousands and thousands of tons of Gyromagnetic Iron. If he could turn them all into sparkling ink, Link realized that he'd be making a mountain-sized heap of gold coins!

But it wouldn't be so simple of course. The price of sparkling ink would drop drastically if there were a large amount of it on the market, probably as low as one gold coin or even one silver coin per vial. Even so, it would still make a huge fortune for Link.

When he thought of this, Link got so elated that he couldn't help but laugh heartily. He leaped up into the air then took Celine into his arms and danced.

"Hahaha, Celine!" he shouted, "this island will make us so much money that there'll be more than enough to build my estate now!"

Although Celine had no idea of the Gyromagnetic Iron's true value, she was still very happy to see Link so joyful.

Link let go of Celine eventually, but he still held her close. Now that he'd found the perfect excuse to be affectionate to her, he wanted to prolong the blissful moment as much as possible. At that point, Link felt his chest could just burst from the joy he felt, and his whole body was overcome with a tingling sensation while the wound on his body no longer gave him any pain.

Celine's cheeks blushed till they were as red as apples. She let Link hold on to her without any complaints. In fact, she was holding Link's hand herself.

Crack! Rattle!

The sound from Vance's skeletal body jerked Link and Celine rudely back to reality. They then quickly separated from each other when they realized the awkward positions they were both in. This made Vance rub his smooth skull and laugh cheekily.

"Oh, don't be shy," he said. "It's nothing to be ashamed of."

Celine lowered her head and said nothing. Link tried to calm himself down quickly and wiped the grin off his face.

"Did you find anything interesting about the magic puppet?" he asked, desperate to change the subject.

Vance nodded his head. "I think I've found the reason why I lost control of her," he said.

Link suddenly became interested. "Can you solve it, then?" he asked.

"That would be slightly difficult," answered Vance. "I can't do it alone. But if you're willing to help, I think we can revive her and turn her into a frightening combat machine."

"What if you lose control of her again?" asked Celine. It was a crucial problem that they couldn't afford to ignore. This magic puppet had pushed them all to the point where their lives were hanging on a thread, after all. It made them shudder even thinking about it.

"That's where the difficulty lies," said Vance, scratching his head and looking over to Link. "What do you think?"

Link considered the matter for half a minute.

"I don't really understand the principle that underlies a magic puppet's inner workings," he said, "so I can't give you a meaningful opinion now. Let's just bring her back with us first."

Vance nodded in agreement.

"That is a wise choice," he said. "I don't have any objections to that. Once we return, I'll hand you my notebook which contains notes and descriptions of the magic puppet so you can study it."