5 The Magician’s First Battle


 Of the three Magician's Apprentices, Link was the calmest. Holding an elaborate magic wand, he was also the most eye-catching.

The Dark Elf stood at the door. He raised his bow and nocked an arrow. With a twang of his bow, an arrow shot towards Link's head.

If he had had enough Mana, Link would have used the Level-1 Spell, Lesser Field of Protection from Arrows, to block the attack. But each Level-1 Spell cost 10 Omni Points-more than he could possibly afford.

So instead, Link used the Level-1 Spell, Fireball.

A white, marble-sized fireball appeared in the air before him. With a tap of his wand. It shot towards the Dark Elf Assassin's arrow.

"Huh, your spellcasting isn't bad. But it's naive to think that it can stop my anti-magic arrow," the Dark Elf Assassin chuckled to himself.

In the next moment, the fireball and the arrow flew past each other, separated by only a few centimeters.

Link and the elf watched silently as the tip of the arrow flew past the fireball...followed by the shaft. As the flame glided past the arrow's feathers, the Level-1 Fireball exploded!

A boom rattled the air. It wasn't too loud, but the air beside the anti-magic arrow expanded rapidly, sending air currents in all directions and more importantly, against the arrow itself.

Yes. To deal with the Magic Academy, all the Dark Elves had been equipped with anti-magic weapons. If Link had aimed the Fireball directly at the arrow, the fireball would have been pierced and scattered into mere sparks.

Instead, he had used the force of the Fireball's explosion to change the trajectory of the anti-magic arrow! It was incredibly effective!

The arrow strayed from its original path. By the time it reached Link, it had deviated more than seven inches from where it should have been. It flew past his cheek, ruffling some locks of his hair.

"Hmm?" The Dark Elf Assassin seemed surprised that he had missed.

He prepared another arrow.

But he never got a chance to release it. Link had never been the type to get hit and not give payback. His style had always been to give an eye for an eye!

Psshh! The floor where the Dark Elf stood suddenly warped as an Earth Spike shot up from it.

Earth Spike

Level-0 Earth Element Spell

Effect: To bring up a solid stone spike up to 2 feet tall from the ground...don't step on it.

Like the Fireball before it, the earth spike appeared so abruptly that the Dark Elf Archer didn't have time to react. To make matters worse, the elf had worn light, thin-soled shoes for stealth. He was almost completely unprotected.

With a dull thud, the earth spike pierced through the Dark Elf's ankle, rising up to extend through the side of his calf.

One can only imagine the amount of agony such an injury would cause!

"Ahhh!"

Even the Dark Elf Assassin, who had gone through extensive and formidable training regimes, couldn't bear it. He screamed out in pain, the arrow he had just nocked falling to the ground. He fell backwards, landing on his behind, and shaking uncontrollably.

Psshh! Another earth spike rose up from the ground!

This spike had been placed ingeniously, as if Link had known exactly how the Dark Elf Assassin would react. As the elf fell backwards, the second earth spike rose up from the ground, pointing directly towards the Assassin's back.

With another dull thud, the Dark Elf landed on the ground. He jerked. His eyes wide and his muscles taut, he remained motionless for two seconds. Then, his head drooped.

He was dead.

Even a legendary hero wouldn't survive being impaled by a two-foot-tall earth spike like that.

Both spikes had been activated swiftly and silently, leaving their target defenseless.

A Dark Elf Assassin had been killed within a one-second encounter! Only when the elf fell to the ground did his companion in the hall realize what had happened.

There was no way he could have imagined it. There were only Magician's Apprentices in that room. He thought that they would've been an easy kill, just like those in the other rooms.

"You little shit!"

Holding an anti-magic dagger, he sprinted towards Link. He ran quickly, gaining at least 50 feet of ground each second. He looked just like a black whirlwind.

He had used the Battle Skill: Speed Burst.

Fast opponents with anti-magic weapons were the worst nightmares of low-level Magicians. In close range, they usually spelled disaster.

"Careful!" a voice rang out from behind him. It was Celine.

Link's face was as hard as nails. His eyes cool and indifferent to the Assassin in front of him, he summoned the Spell Menu.

"Purchase Level-1 Spell: Vector Resistance Field."

Spell purchase successful. 10 Omni Points used.

Vector Resistance Field

Level-1 Spell

Mana Cost: 6

Effect: Repel objects towards the direction chosen by the bearer.

If Level-0 Spells were equivalent to large firecrackers, then Level-1 Spells were powerful enough to make the average human cower in fear.

The Assassin got within three feet of Link. He struck out at Link with the dagger and lifted a foot to kick him. Link tapped the New Moon Wand in the thin air before him. There! he exclaimed to himself.

Level-1 Spell, cast successfully within 0.3 seconds!

Ripples of wind spread out from the tip of Link's wand, warping the air before him. The ripples radiated out and away from Link towards the direction he faced.

The Assassin, who had been charging forward like an arrow, stopped as if he had slammed into a wall. For a split second, his body stopped in mid-air-as if time had frozen. The force of the Vector Resistance Field built up to its peak. With a boom, the Assassin's body ricocheted back in the opposite direction!

With the strength of an Elite Level-2 Warrior-Assassin, he could have resisted the repelling forces of the Level-1 Spell. But Link had cast it at the perfect time.

The Assassin had just lifted a leg when the Vector Resistance Field had been cast. In such an unstable posture, the elf had been unable to produce enough power to resist the spell.

Link had achieved complete victory by pitting a Level-1 Spell, at the peak of its strength, against the Assassin in his weakest moments!

Having gotten the upper hand, Link pursued. There was no way he'd let his opponent get a chance to rest and recover.

Link pointed his wand towards the Dark Elf. Even as his opponent's body flew through the air, a Level-0 Fireball came shooting at him.

The fireball, its Mana having been compressed by the wand, was much hotter than it normally was and glowed a fiery white.

The Assassin was remarkable. Even as he flew back, out of instinct, he managed to lift his dagger to stab at the incoming fireball.

If the Fireball had been cast by the average Magician's Apprentice, it would have been easily dispersed by the anti-magic dagger.

However, the one who had cast the Fireball had spellcasting abilities far beyond the elf's own imagination.

The marble-sized, white ball of flame danced around like a sprite. It didn't fly in a straight path, but instead spiraled around in circles. Incredibly, it sped up and slowed down randomly, making it impossible to predict where it would be in the next moment!

Just as the Assassin's dagger seemed to touch it, the little fireball evaded the blade nimbly and glided through the air in a smooth arc, landing right between the Assassin's eyes.

As a Level-0 Spell, Fireball wasn't powerful. Even with the magic wand, the most damage it could do was to blast the average human's hands to a bloody mess. Used on a Dark Elf Assassin, it would barely be able to crack open the calluses on his hands.

But a fireball exploding next to fragile areas like the eyes was a different story altogether.

The Assassin was faced with this tragic scenario even as he hurtled through the air.

He was masked, but the mask only covered the lower part of his face, leaving his eyes exposed. Link's Fireball was fast. The Assassin had only enough time to close his eyes. But how could delicate things like eyelids shield anything from a fireball's explosion?

Bang! The fireball exploded, destroying the Assassin's eyes and leaving them bloody. He screamed in pain. Everything was pitch black - he couldn't see! He was terrified.

But his screams only lasted for a split second. He fell to the ground. Even before he fell, an earth spike stood ready and waiting where he would land.

Tragically, the now blind Assassin didn't even notice it.

Pssh. The earth spike impaled the Assassin's chest from the back, ending his life right then and there.

With this, both Assassins had been dealt with.

Magicians and Assassins were arch-enemies. Their powers and strengths were polar opposites. A low-level Magician could slay a high-level Assassin, but it was just as possible for a beginner Assassin to kill a high-level Magician with a well-planned stab.

When they dueled, winning and losing wasn't determined by their levels, but rather, their battle skills and experience.

Link had executed everything almost perfectly in this battle.

In the fight, Link had used a total of five Level-0 Spells. The Level-1 Spell he purchased had cost him 16 Mana Points. Link hadn't moved an inch throughout the entire battle. Not because he couldn't, but simply because he didn't need to.

Notifications flashed through Link's head.

Mission complete. Player Link receives 15 Omni points.

A warm current flowed through Link's body. Link checked his Omni Points again. It had been 14 Points. Purchasing a Level-1 Spell had cost him 10 Points. With the 15 Points he had just received, he now had 19 Points in total.

The Magician's Apprentice by the door had seen everything. He had been watching with dread and anticipation. When the Assassin died, he stammered, "Link, you...you...you..."

Was this still that nobody he had known? His spellcasting was downright incredible!

The cowering Magician had no words for the wonder he felt. He was amazed, not only by the spells Link had used, but also the... the presence he carried when Link used magic-as if everything was completely under his control.

"That was simply God-like!" He finally found the right words.

Link's expression betrayed not a hint of pride. Such battles were child's play to him. He left the room. "Come on, Celine!"

"Oh. Okay." Celine threw Link a look of admiration. Following him, she asked, "Where are we going?"

To be honest, the Dark Elves' ambush had taken her aback, but she didn't really think much of it. She followed Link simply because she was curious. The human Magician had changed too much. Something wasn't right.

"To the academy's Portal Tower." Link had planned an escape route from very early on.

The city was surrounded by the Dark Elf Army, and within it, hordes of Dark Elf Assassins. He now had 19 Omni Points, but less than 3 Mana Points. With an extra person with him, fighting his way out wasn't realistic. The only way out was to use the portal in the Portal Tower.

After thinking it over, Link spent 1 Omni Point on 10 Maximum Mana Points. Link's Maximum Mana was now 31 Points.

Because of the spells he had used earlier, his Mana wasn't full, but only at 13 Points. He would have to wait for the rest to recover.

His Mana recovery speed had never seemed more important. His recovery speed was only 0.2 Points per hour. In such fast-paced, precarious circumstances, it was as good as nothing.

I still have 18 Omni Points. They should be enough for anything that might happen. Link felt slightly more at peace.