Link looked down from the archer tower at Lorde, who was charging towards him. Calmly, he asked Celine, "Can you stop him?"
Celine's dainty brows creased. "He's stronger than I am. I can only hold off up to three blows from his sword."
With that, Link knew that Celine was probably Level-5. It would be difficult for her to take on Lorde, who was Level-6.
Being able to fend off even three blows was probably already due to her demon blood.
He checked his Mana. Because of the rapid Mana Recovery gained by the Magical Murmurs potion, he now had 1010 MP, enough for him to use Flame Blast three more times.
His thought for a bit, then a solution came to him almost immediately.
"Holding him off once will be enough."
He turned to the archers on the tower. "Leave this place. Tell all the Warriors to get away from here!"
The Flame Blast from earlier had sealed Link's authority in stone. The archers hastened to follow his orders. Quickly, the human Warriors retreated away from the archer tower.
Lorde had already reached the bottom of the city wall. With their marshal safe and unharmed, the Dark Elf Warriors charged forward again, following Lorde's lead. However, their advance was far slower than before, carrying a sense of crippling uncertainty and fear of the terrifying display of magic.
After all, the charred bodies still flickering with flames below them whispered the awesome power of magic. They would be afraid so long as the threat of the Magician still loomed.
What if the Magician used Flame Blast again?
Lorde charged up to one of the ropes and hastily climbed up the wall. The other Dark Elf Warriors followed suit, taking some of the pressure of the humans' attacks off their marshal. Above, the human Warriors threw boulders off the walls to stop their advance.
This time, Lorde ducked and evaded the attacks instead of using his Aura Scythe.
He'd learned his lesson earlier. He had to keep an eye out for the Magician's attacks.
As he climbed, Link quietly explained his plans to Celine. He spoke quickly, but clearly. He was evidently unfazed despite the strong enemy coming towards them.
Celine listened attentively as her eyes glowed bright. Sneaking a glance at the young man next to her, she saw a pair of black eyes, as dark as her own.
In that moment, the pair of eyes seemed deep and clear, full of a chilly glow like that of a blade in icy water. It was the glow of wisdom.
Celine's heart stirred. The plain-looking young man seemed very handsome all of a sudden.
"Do you understand?" Link asked after concluding.
"Yes," Celine nodded.
Just then, Lorde reached the top of the city walls and slayed the human Warriors around him with just a few swings of his sword. He then charged towards the archer tower.
"Lesser Hailstorm!" Link's voice was faint, as if the one charging at him was just a normal soldier and not a deadly enemy.
White light flowing out of the tip of his staff enveloped the archer tower in an icy storm.
The storm wasn't meant to injure Lorde, but rather to obscure his vision.
Lorde found that he was unable to pinpoint the Magician's location with the violent hurricane between them. He wouldn't be able to use his Aura Scythe so easily.
If his Aura Scythe didn't manage to hit the Magician, he would have used a lot of his Aura and would have to be on the defensive.
"Hm. Do you think that that can stop me?" Lorde sneered to himself.
He could take the Magician's life even without having to use his Aura Scythe. He wasn't afraid of the Magician using another Flame Blast either. This time, he'd be prepared. He'd extinguish it with a swipe of his sword once it came at him.
Lorde closed the distance between them. But the Magician hadn't made a move since casting the Lesser Hailstorm.
All the soldiers on the battlefield had their eyes on the battle between the Dark Elf Marshall and the human Magician. The pace of the battle slowed considerably because of that.
The hope that their Marshall would kill the human Magician grew in the hearts of the Dark Elf Warriors.
But the human soldiers began to worry.
Lorde was too fast. They couldn't catch up. Unable to help, they could only watch.
Minx threw sideways glances at the archers' tower as he fought a Dark Elf Warrior. The Magician's quiet ate at him.
Could he have finished his Mana? He's so young. He must have done his best to cast that Flame Blast and then run out. But he can't lose!
If the Magician died, the human troops' morale would die with him, causing their defenses to crumble and collapse!
Minx understood what was happening on the battlefield, but he was just a powerless observer.
It was painful. The sheer feeling of uselessness was overwhelming.
Annie acted immediately. Gripping her dagger, she shot out with a Speed Burst, hurtling towards the tower without paying any heed to her surroundings. Even if it bought Link just a fraction of a second, she was willing to pay for it with her life.
Her life was his. She owed it to him twice over.
But she was still too slow. The Level-6 Dark Elf Warrior, charging at full speed, was far beyond her grasp.
Within the blink of an eye, Lorde reached the archer tower. Using the momentum of his charge, he leapt up into the air, the sword he held, Bloody Pride, glowing brighter than ever.
In mid-air, he was prepared to use his Aura Scythe at any time.
Just then, Link leapt out from the Lesser Hailstorm in the opposite direction. He was as quick as a dart.
Level-1 Spell, Cat's Agility!
As he fell, Link cast another spell towards the archer tower-Vector Resistance Field!
Bang! The archer tower shook a little. The force of the rebound flung Link out and away from the tower in a wide arc.
Throughout all this, the staff he held glowed blue. He was casting another spell! This time, it was another Flame Blast.
But Lorde, in the midst of the Lesser Hailstorm, couldn't see Link. In fact, he had been attacked viciously once he reached the tower.
A glittering sword of blue crystal had stabbed at him. It was astoundingly fast. Halfway through the attack, tight-knit sparks of thunder and lightning gathered around the incoming blade.
The attack was horrifyingly powerful!
Huh. Who is this? Lorde, taken by surprise, had no choice but to bring his sword up to meet it.
Ting! An explosion erupted from the collision. Lorde felt his wrist go numb, but he managed to repel his opponent's sword. Celine was not as strong as he was.
Having had the upper hand in that exchange, Lorde finally passed through the hailstorm and onto the archer tower.
The Level-2 Lesser Hailstorm was just normal wind and frost to him-it was completely unable to breach his defenses. Its only function was to obscure his vision, which it had done.
Where is the Magician? Lorde was confused.
Only a human maiden of inhuman beauty stood there facing him. She held the sword that had stopped him earlier.
"And who are you?" Lorde asked curiously.
Celine didn't answer, but instead cast her Bloodline Talent, the Level-5 Obsidian Shield. As a type of bloodline magic, it was engraved deeply in every drop of blood that flowed within her. She cast it almost instantaneously, the strong crystal shield enveloping her within less than one-tenth of a second.
Lorde was stunned. Holding off a blow then hiding within a turtle shell? What type of combat style was this?
Throughout this exchange, a dark blue beam of light shot across the night sky, landing squarely on the archer tower.
Another earth-shattering Flame Blast split the air.
The archer tower on the city wall was swallowed up by sparks and flames.
The fire raged, rubble shooting out of it; two figures shot out from within the chaos.
One of them was Celine. Her Obsidian Shield had protected her from most of the impact, allowing her Demon Aura to easily handle the rest. She had been prepared for the Flame Blast's explosion. She put as much distance between Lorde and herself with the momentum borrowed from the explosion.
The other figure was, naturally, Lorde.
Faced with the ambush of the Flame Blast, he had been forced to defend against it by fully unleashing his Battle Aura again, using up a large portion of his remaining power.
As he fell through the air, Lorde felt his aura plummet to less than a third of what it was before; he broke out into a cold sweat.
He would run out of aura at any moment. It wasn't enough for him to carry on his attack on the city. He would have to stop-otherwise, he might just die in Gladstone due to the depletion of his aura.
If that really happened, his name would be smeared for eternity.
As a Warrior, he could die fighting, but not a shameful death like that.
As he fell, he finally caught sight of the Magician who had vanished earlier.
Like him, the Magician was 'flying'. However, the Magician was already about to land. From the trajectory, it seemed as if the young spellcaster would land on the city walls.
The Magician was looking at him too. Those deep dark eyes unfathomable. Lorde could see no ripples or emotion within them.
A Magician with absolute calm. I never stood a chance! With that one glance, Lorde's thoughts of slaying the Magician were extinguished.
But the Magician wasn't about to just let him go.
Blue light condensed around the Magician's staff, forming a Flame Blast that shot at Lorde from more than 130 feet away.
Lorde's heart raced. The Flame Blast didn't travel in a straight line; Lorde was completely unable to predict its path.
He didn't dare use his Aura Scythe due to its high consumption of power. If he used it, he would have almost no aura left. Furthermore, if he missed, and the Magician used another Flame Blast on him, he would be in mortal danger.
He couldn't use his Aura Scythe on the Magician even if he had enough aura anyway. They were too far apart. A little over 150 feet lay between them, and the range of Lorde's Aura Scythe was only 100 feet!
Lorde was left with no choice but to brace himself against the attack.
Boom! The Flame Blast smashed into Lorde. It was as if a sun had appeared-the light of the flames lit up the entire battlefield.
Lorde's body shot out like an arrow through the waves of flame, landing heavily with a loud thud 200 feet away.
He sustained some injury with each Flame Blast he took. This time, he had used up almost all his aura. When he landed, he tasted something bitter at the back of his throat. Unable to control himself, he opened his mouth and vomited a decent amount of blood.
Dark Elf Warriors gathered around him instantly. Their faces were dark at the sight of their Marshall in such a state.
"Marshall, are you okay?" Lorde's closest aides walked up to him and helped him to his feet.
"I'm fine." Lorde stopped his aides and climbed to his feet on his own. But this time, his movements were slower and his voice weaker. His injuries weren't light.
After he stood, he looked towards the city walls of Gladstone where the Magician stood silently.
The Fire Crystal Staff he held glimmered with flames as his robes seemed to flow, glowing with the clear light of magic. The spellcaster's face was stoic and expressionless.
At that moment, the young Magician looked just like a God above the clouds!
Suddenly, deep horn blasts rang out from the northern side of Gladstone City. The sound, though bleak and desolate, pierced the hearts of the human soldiers. They rejoiced while the Dark Elves' faces filled with panic.
The humans' reinforcements were here!
At the same time, the darkest part before the dawn ended. A golden ray of light broke out from the horizon, bathing Gladstone's city walls in gold.
Dong. Dong. Dong. The bell sounded. It was five o'clock sharp in the morning.
The long night had finally ended, bringing forth a new day.
"Retreat!" Lorde cried. He heaved a long sigh, his pride replaced by a sense of deep resignation.
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