At least twenty elite members of the Syndicate lay in ambush around the log cabin, or to be more precise, around Lucy.
These elite members were clad in anti-magic armor and armed with various expensive anti-magic gear that would completely mask their Innate Auras. There was a downside to this though. Everything in the universe emits Innate Aura, the masked auras of the thieves would create a black outline against a backdrop of Innate Aura emitted by everything else in its surroundings.
The Syndicate was well aware of this point, though, and they had a countermeasure against it. Apart from the anti-magic armor, they would also hide behind a barricade made of thick wooden planks; it was built like a small, triangular, wooden hut. The exterior of the barricade would be covered with sticks and grass, making it even harder to tell apart.
Additionally, the thick planks of wood would be covered with more anti-magic armor. This way, average-level spells were obstructed from being able to penetrate the barricade.
These arrangements clearly exposed Andy's defensive tactics.
"I used Lucy to taunt you. And I didn't kill her to let you think up of ways to rescue her, just so I can aggravate you!"
If infuriating Link and the rest was Andy's goal, then he had definitely achieved it.
In the hiding place, Link laid out his plans, "Lucy is still alive. Jacker, you protect me. Gildern, you are to kill those that survive, and Annie, you sneak in there and rescue Lucy.
His tone was as usual, very plain and calm, but Jacker who was familiar with him could detect a certain coldness in it. There was an air of bloodthirstiness and ruthlessness around him; that surge of magic aura around Link made his hair stand on its end.
He immediately nodded, "Understood."
Gildern inhaled deeply, then nodded and said, "Yes, my Lord."
Annie felt a kind of psychological oppression, she subconsciously obeyed Link's words and said, "Understood."
Link put away his New Moon wand and decided to instead use the superior Fire Crystal staff!
Annie knew what happened in Gladstone, so he had no need to hide his true power.
The moment the Fire Crystal staff appeared, the fist-sized flame crystal at the tip glowed a blazing red. It was influenced by Link's burning fury, and this light was burning brilliantly just like a flame.
But even though his heart was in fury, Link's mind was still in pristine order; his concentration was perfectly in focus, time slowed down in his mind, and everything in his surroundings became calm and quiet.
With the staff in his hand, Link violently shot up from the hiding spot. Jacker immediately followed behind him and with his shield raised high, he protected Link from the arrows shooting from the dark.
Gildern stood on the other side of Link, his hand holding a fine quality mulberry wood longbow, and nocked his steel arrows. He actively searched for targets in the dark.
Then, Link's magic began to roar!
The thieves, wearing anti-magic gear, hid behind their barricades and taunted Lucy. This sparked something in Link as he prepared to cast a spell.
Level-1 Modified Mixed Spell
Mana Consumption: 4
Effects: With Vector Throw as its foundation, a mix of metal and fire energy form a high-speed, rotating spear. IT contains extreme levels of penetrating and explosive energy.
(Note: As the whistle blows, the God of Death closely follows.)
Link held iron filings in his palm and threw them into the air in front of him. Less than a second later, the first Whistle took form and flew towards the area where Link detected Innate Aura.
This target was about 160 feet away. That distance might be too great for the average Magician, but for Link's modified spell Whistle, it wasn't far enough!
Barely half a second later, this high-speed rotating spike threaded through the trees, avoiding them by a hair's breadth, then penetrated through the thick barricade.
The barricade was about an inch thick; it was enough to block normal Level-1 Fireball attacks, but it was simply no match for a spell like Whistle.
Bang! Whistle penetrated the barricade and reached the sealed space inside the planks.
Three Assassins crouched on the ground behind the barricade. This tactic of having three people hiding in one place was to prevent being ambushed in the dark. It was one of Andy's schemes, a clever one at that, but it had actually sped up his own defeat.
The spike of death easily penetrated the barricade and on impact, the fiery core inside the metal shell immediately exploded.
When Level-1 fire element spells explode, its explosive power was about equivalent to that of a hand grenade on Earth-if grenades were covered with an iron shell.
Bang! The spell exploded and flames flew and scattered. The metal shrapnel shot through the air in all four directions and the Syndicate Assassins inside had nowhere to hide from it all.
The anti-magic leather armor on their bodies had the ability to block the damage from the flames for about a minute. That was at least enough not to render them incapacitated. But how much could leather armors protect, ultimately? When faced with the flying shrapnel, these Assassins were as vulnerable as newborn babies.
Andy was the Syndicate's division leader. He never actively took part in battles and had always been hiding from afar observing. He heard a magic explosion and immediately turned to its direction.
It's a Fire Spell, looking at the power, it must be Fireball. Night Blade members could definitely survive this, Andy deduced from his past experiences.
The Fireball spell was made purely of the fire element; the damage from the flames must have been minimal because every Night Blade member wore anti-magic leather armor.
Just as he was making these conclusions, he heard eight explosions just within three seconds!
This was exactly the number of hiding spots that he planted around Lucy where the Assassins lay in ambush.
Then, the cove quieted down.
Andy was full of confidence that his underlings could stand up and fight, but then, he saw the Magician who was the cause of all the commotion. He was standing at the riverbanks behind the grove with only a Warrior holding a shield and an Archer by his side to protect him. At this moment, had there still been some Assassins alive, just ten of them charging at the three would have successfully captured them.
After capturing them, he was sure that his torture methods could make anyone blurt all their secrets out.
But after the commotion, one second, two seconds, then three seconds passed, and the hiding spots were still quiet and motionless. Andy's heart began to sink.
After the barricades erupted in flames, there was some screaming, but none of the Assassins inside stood up and came out to fight. In fact, the screams only lasted momentarily. The wooden planks which the Assassins used to hide behind had been destroyed to pieces, while Gildern shot his arrows at the surviving Assassins who did not die in the explosions. None had survived.
After only a couple seconds, 22 Night Blade Elite Assassins perished. They were dead before they even understood what happened to them.
Andy's face became very pale. He looked at his two underlings beside him-these two were both crouching on the ground, silent, and one of them was trembling. They had been scared out of their wits.
He then looked at the surviving Night Blade members; they all had no choice but to retreat hastily.
What kind of spell did he use? What terrifying power he has! Andy couldn't find an explanation for what was happening. This was beyond what he knew about magic!
Then, he suddenly saw a black shadow appear beside Lucy. It shot two darts, cutting the cord that held Lucy, causing her to fall, but the shadow caught her before she hit the ground. Then, Lucy was carried on the shadow's back and they both escaped.
The shadow's speed left Andy shocked. That speed, only a Level-3 Assassin could do that! But why would there be a Level-3 Assassin among them?
He had investigated it earlier and found out that they only consisted of three people: one was a Level-3 Warrior, and the rest were just average Level-2 fighters. The Magician who was with them was not even able to enter East Cove Higher Magic Academy!
How could a Magician that wasn't even accepted by the academy be so strong? They had defeated the Dark Brotherhood, but what puzzled Andy was, firstly, how could the Dark Brotherhood be so weak, and secondly, what kind of spells did the Magician use?
In the Cove of Echoes, the black-robed Magician did say that he did not discover any trace of high-level spells being used there. The highest level spell used was only Level-1.
Andy had planned his tactics today based on that information. But now he realized how wrong he had been.
"My Lord, what should we do now?" asked his right-hand man in a low voice.
Andy was sweating in fear. He glanced at the Magician on the riverbanks and just at that moment, Link saw him too, as if he had discovered his location. Andy began to panic.
"Retreat! Retreat! I won't fight those people!"
They were just a band of thieves-all they ever did was collect money and do errands. Now that their lives were in danger, there was no point in doing any favors for anyone.
So Andy lead the surviving Night Blade members and escaped the Silverfish riverbanks.
He was quick, and he was familiar with the twists and turns of the Red Leaves Cove, so in no time at all, they were far away from the Silverfish riverbank.
However, when he turned a corner, he bumped into a person standing in the middle of the path. He knew this person; it was the black-robed Magician who was the messenger from the main division of Syndicate.
"When did you get here?" Andy asked, shock evident in his voice.
The black-robed Magician said with a croaky voice, "I'm here to help you fight that Magician."
"You're going to fight him yourself?" Andy was both surprised and happy, although, in his memory, this Magician had never been one to dirty his own hands.
"This Magician is worthy of my time!" The black-robed Magician gently waved the wand in his hand. The wand was made of pure Mithril, and embedded in the tip of the wand was a goose egg-sized, deep blue, magic gemstone glowing in a light blue magic light.
Then he followed his exclamation closely with, "But he's very strong, so we'll have to lay out our plans carefully."
On the other side of the cove, Link said to Annie, "Bring her back with you, I'll chase and kill them!"
He couldn't end the battle by letting Andy escape. He would never be at peace if he didn't kill that cruel and perverted venomous snake.
As he was speaking, a notification flashed on the interface.
Mission First Step: Rescue Completed.
Omni Points Achieved: 20
Excellent! Add that up to his existing 14 Omni Points and he now had 34 points, and 63 Mana points left. That was more than enough!
At the same time, the second step in the mission was activated.
Mission: Pursue and Kill
Mission details: Attack and kill elite members of the Syndicate division.
Mission Rewards: 25 Omi Points
Current Progress: 22/32
That's good. If even the gaming system supported this action, then there was no reason for him to back off from it.
Annie felt a little anxious, but she knew that under these circumstances, just like when they were in Gladstone, there was no stopping Link from doing what he set out to do. She had no choice but to nod and agree, "Fine, but be careful. Leave some marks on your way, so General Anderson can quickly catch up with you."
"Understood." Link nodded.
He turned around to look at Lucy. This tenacious woman was still conscious. She did not make a sound and was staring wide-eyed at Link. She had resolutely not given in or begged for mercy. She even suffered through the pain without so much as a groan, but now that she saw her Lord and comrades right there in front of her, she turned into a little child who was reunited with her parents. Her stony countenance softened and her eyes brimmed with tears.
Link saw the lines of bruises and blood stains from lashings on Lucy's body, so he lifted his staff and pointed it at her and cast a spell.
A shroud of light covered Lucy's body, replenishing and curing the lost elements. When the spell had done its job, Link turned around and told Jacker, "Let's go, we'll kill those thieves!"
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