22 Each Second Counts!


 Lorde, at just 35 years of age, was already the youngest Level-6 Warrior of Pralync, the country of the Dark Elves.

The Warriors of the Firuman Continent developed their Battle Aura at Level-3. At Level-6, they could unleash their Battle Aura beyond the boundaries of their bodies as ranged attacks.

Before Level-6, however, a Warrior had to risk being attacked as he attempted to get close to an enemy Magician. But at Level-6, they gained the strength they needed to truly confront Magicians.

In the world of the Dark Elves, strength was equivalent to status. The young Dark Elf prodigy, Lorde, had been appointed as the marshal of the Dark Elves' ambush on Gladstone City.

The Dark Elf Army, now just five miles away from Gladstone City, could already see the city's high walls and the spire of the clock tower when they looked towards the East.

Their plan hadn't been carried out as smoothly as Lorde had imagined.

The scouts he sent out came back with waves of bad news that made Lorde's face as dark as the stormy sea.

"Marshal, there are still guards on Gladstone's city walls!"

"Marshal, the northern doors have not been opened as planned."

"Marshal, there are at least 2000 guards on Gladstone's city walls! All of the defensive units along the walls have been deployed!"

There was dead silence from Lorde and his generals.

The Dark Elf Assassin from the city earlier hadn't told them anything like that. All he had said was that most of the prominent figures in the city had been killed, and that Gladstone City's Magicians had been wiped out. The only accident throughout the entire operation had been the destruction of the Portal Tower in the Magic Academy. Because of that, they had had no other choice but to send someone with the bad news.

But now, it looked as if there had been more major disturbances within the past couple of hours.

"Bring the Assassin here!" Lorde seethed at the Dark Elf's shortcomings.

The Assassin who had sent the message was brought over quickly. He knew that all was not well when he saw Lorde and the generals' expressions. His legs turning to jelly, he stumbled and fell.

He scrambled to his feet, shaking as he walked up to the Marshal and addressed him respectfully. "Marshal, I am here."

Lorde's handsome face was so ominous it looked as if a black hole might swallow him up at any moment. His ruby eyes pierced through the Assassin before him. "This is your last chance. Are you hiding anything from me?"

The Assassin started to shake uncontrollably. After a while, he stammered, "Marshal...Jiggs is dead. He was killed by a young Magician, ...the ...the same one who destroyed the Portal Tower. Master Holmes had been on his tail when I was sent here."

Lorde's eyes narrowed. "A young Magician?"

A general beside him said softly, "Marshal, it seems like Holmes was no match for the young Magician. He was defeated as well."

This was war. Defeat meant death!

Lorde felt a migraine coming on. Holmes was a member of the Silver Moon Mage's Guild, and not one of his own soldiers. Holmes' mission hadn't been to fight either, he'd just been there to use the Portal Tower! Now that Holmes was dead, the Magicians from the Mage Guild would come after him again.

The anger in his heart grew. Glaring coldly at the Assassin, he asked, "And why didn't you say all this earlier? Hmmn?"

The Assassin collapsed onto the ground. He knew his end was near.

Lorde waved a hand. Two Dark Elves came up and dragged the messenger away. Soon, a shrill scream rang out. The Assassin had been killed.

"Marshal, what do we do now?" asked another of the generals.

Lorde sneered, "Gladstone City's leaders have all been killed. The 2000 troops guarding the city are just a useless pack. With haste, attack the city!"

He had 20,000 Warriors and he himself was a powerful, Level-6 Warrior. He was further aided by the generals, each of whom who were powerful in their own right. Gladstone City's powerful fighters had been wiped out. The 2000 troops guarding the city were just average soldiers. Who could stop them if Lorde and his generals took the city by force?

The strength of his military gave Lorde the confidence that he would be able to take Gladstone before the human reinforcements arrived.

By then, he would be able to guard the city even against Gladstone's allies, the Black Iron Garrison when they arrived. He would be honored among the Dark Elves when the sacrificial rites within the city were completed!

"Marshal, it's a little risky. If..." one of his generals advised.

If they didn't manage to take Gladstone before the human armies arrived, they would be in great danger.

"You dare to question me!" Lorde barked, his red eyes blazed at the general.

Within the Dark Elves, the strong were greatly respected. The general backed down immediately. "No, of course not, Marshal. Your word is my command!"

Lorde snorted coldly and gave the orders. The Dark Elf Army began to advance much more quickly than before.

...

In the East.

An army made its way North as fast as it could on a wide highway. Marshal Allonse, a defender of the Black Iron Garrison, led the army.

Allonse was also a Level-6 Warrior. He had led his troops out immediately after receiving the word that the MI3 outpost in Gladstone needed aid.

There were 15,000 troops were stationed at the Black Iron Garrison. He had brought 10,000 with him and left the rest to guard the garrison under his second-in-command.

From the report, Allonse knew that the situation was urgent-he also forwarded the news to the capital. He believed that he would be able to defend the city against the Dark Elves' attack so long as he managed to enter Gladstone before them.

If he managed to hold the city for some time, until aid came from the capital, the Dark Elf Army would have no choice but to retreat or be annihilated.

"Faster. Faster!" Allonse kept urging.

Time was of the essence. With each second that went by, the outcome of the battle could be drastically affected. Whether Gladstone fell to the Dark Elf Army, or if they, the Black Iron Garrison, managed to protect the citizens of the Norton Kingdom and beat off the pariah elves-everything depended on who entered the city first.

Fwoosh. Fwoosh. Strong winds blew through the sky. It was the Griffin Special Command Unit of the Black Iron Garrison.

Fifteen Griffins flew in a V formation in the sky. The Magician Osmu sat on the Griffin at the front, his wand glowing softly, guiding the flock towards Gladstone.

Osmu, a Level-3 Magician skilled in Elemental Magic, was a Battle Mage from the Violet Council who was stationed at the Black Iron Garrison. Griffins were normally unsuited for battle in the dark, but under the guidance of the soft, magical glow from Osmu's wand, the huge, fierce beasts swiftly carried 15 powerful Warriors towards their destination. These were the Warriors chosen from among the troops at the Black Iron Garrison to form a suicide squad.

The Griffins would send the Warriors into Gladstone City to help stabilize the current state of affairs and do their best to delay Gladstone's fall into the hands of the Dark Elf Army.

The mission was exceptionally dangerous, with only a slight chance of survival. That was why each member of the suicide was a powerful Warrior of at least Level-3. The strongest among them was Minx, a Level-4 Warrior, an officer with the rank of Major in the Black Iron Garrison. He held another identity-the younger brother of Lord Derrick, the Earl of Maple County in the East, who himself was a knight of the kingdom.

As for the Magician Osmu, he wouldn't join in the battle unless another Magician appeared from the enemy camp. Otherwise, he would just leave Gladstone City after guiding the Griffins there.

No one would or could force him to join, because Magicians were few and far in between. They were too precious to use in normal skirmishes such as this. Rough jobs like this were for Warriors.

Griffins flew extremely fast; Gladstone City was within their sights within half an hour.

From the sky, they could see the guards patrolling the brightly lit eastern walls of the city. And towards the North, black, shadow-like masses approached.

The good news was that Gladstone City hadn't fallen yet. It had even managed to put up some defenses. The bad news was that the Dark Elf Army had already arrived.

The Magician Osmu slowly descended until he reached about 300 feet above the city-then he cast a spell towards the ground.

The Griffins flew down, guided by the light. One by one, Osmu cloaked each of the warriors that passed him with the defensive spell, Rock Armor.

Rock Armor

Level-2 Defensive Spell

Effect: Thick, heavy Earth elements form a strong, sturdy magical armor. It is especially good at defending against physical attacks.

Magic flashed non-stop. Thick layers of ochre yellow light appeared on the 15 powerful Warriors. The light was so dense that it looked just like a layer of yellow crystal.

Having cast more than 14 Level-2 Spells continuously, Osmu had used up more than half of his Mana. "Minx, the battle after this is up to you all!" He bellowed.

"Don't worry!" Minx said as he took the shield from off his back and ran towards the city wall.

Osmu watched Minx as he faded into the distance. Urging his own Griffin, he circled and left Gladstone City for the Black Iron Garrison, followed by the other 14 Griffins.

He had accomplished his mission of sending the suicide squad to its destination.

...

At the same time, Link and Celine reached The Lower Magic Academy of Flemmings.

How could one get strong fast in the World of Firuman? Gear, potions, and buff.

All these could be found in the Magic Academy, and he had come here to gain power.