63 A Trick up the Sleeve

 Battles between Magicians differ slightly from that with other classes.

The major difference, being high-level spells, would rarely be used in a one-on-one Magician duel.

The reason was simple. The higher the spell level, the more complex its spell structure. Magicians would then have to spend longer time on both constructing the magic and gathering enough energy to release the attack, inevitably increasing the time needed to cast spells.

This was almost an iron-clad rule.

A Magician had to be extremely focused during spellcasting and would be vulnerable to any incoming attacks. In most cases, Level-1 Spells would be more than sufficient to defeat the opponent, which was why Magicians rarely used high-level spells when they were not under protection.

The most commonly used spells in duels are Level-0 and Level-1 Spells, Level-2 Spells would also occasionally be used either for ambush attacks or when a lead had already been secured.

Currently, the black-robed Magician was hiding in the undergrowth with a Level-3 Invisibility Spell cast over himself.

This Invisibility spell was extremely strong, blending the user completely into the environment and even erasing most of the user's Innate Aura. Naturally, this was not something detectable by Link's Level-0 Aura Detection Spell.

Without a doubt, he had gotten the pre-emptive strike advantage in this duel.

Being able to land the first hit was a huge advantage, in fact, it was usually the deciding factor in a duel. This advantage often gave Magicians a change to release a high-level spell which would otherwise be difficult to pull off!

This duel might be over in just one hit!

In order to hide his trails, the black-robed Magician chose a hiding spot around 240 feet away from Link. This distance had already exceeded his spellcasting range.

He also took a huge risk by not casting a high-level defensive spell on himself in order to enhance the effectiveness of the Invisibility spell. The defensive spell would have created a concentrated magic aura around him making him easily noticeable, rendering the Invisibility spell useless.

The strongest defense was usually not one which protects you from a powerful attack, but one which conceals you from your opponent. With this knowledge, the black-robed Magician chose the Invisibility spell over the defensive spell without any hesitation.

And that decision had now bore fruit by providing him a chance to strike first using a high-level spell.

"Should I use a defensive spell or an attacking spell first?" The black-robed Magician weighed the pros and cons of the two choices. His strongest defensive spell was a Level-3 Mid-Level Guarding Barrier with a casting time of 2.5 seconds, which could effectively protect him from a Level-3 magic attack.

As he had the pre-emptive strike advantage, he should have been able to successfully cast the spell. However, the Mid-Level Guarding Barrier spell could only defend against elemental attacks and was not effective against physical ones. Based on his previous observations, the long distance attack his opponent released had a strong piercing effect; his Guarding Barrier might not be strong enough to withstand the impact.

His next defensive spell was the Magician's Armor, a Level-2 spell. This spell performs well in the face of both physical and magical attacks. However, his opponent was using a Level-1 spell enchanted with Supreme Magic Skills, which might easily break through his Level-2 defensive spell. He did not harbor much hope for this too.

His opponent's spellcasting speed was way too fast-Magician's Armor would disintegrate in an instant if he focused on offense. Furthermore, his attacks would most surely be blocked by the loyal Warrior at his side.

The result would be his life in exchange for that of his opponent's follower. It was not a worthwhile exchange.

It seems like offensive spells are the way to go! the black-robed Magician weighed his options and came to a conclusion.

More problems arose.

His opponent was way too far for him to assault with pure elemental spells. Throwing-type spells would also be blocked by the shield Warrior.

If only I was closer to them, I could have cast my Level-3 Chain Lightning and inflict paralysis on them! The black-robed Magician was slightly disheartened.

After much thought, the black-robed Magician chose to use the highest leveled summoning spell in his archive. Magical powers surged into his staff, the sapphire at the tip of the staff glimmered ever so slightly, forming runic magic circles in the atmosphere. When the fourth magic circle appeared, the black-robed Magician stopped the transfer of magical energy.

He pointed at the ground and the four magic circles each released a beam of runic symbols which converged onto the ground, enchanting it with magical powers.

In an instant, the ground started to tremble, forming a rolling, growling ball of mud. It grew exponentially in size, congealing more rubble and mud together until it reached 12-foot-high. This ball of dirt then began to transform.

Limbs sprouted out of its unimpressive body, then clear muscular groups began to form. Before long, it became a 12-foot-high Golem with crystallized rubble formed at its surface. This was especially so at the limbs, where more rubble was concentrated to give support. It looked almost as if it were wearing a crystal armor.

Summoning Magic: Crystal Golem

Crystal Golem

Level-4 Spell

Mana Cost:280

Effect: Summons an extremely strong earth elemental golem. The effect lasts for 30 minutes or till destroyed

(Note: It's extremely strong!)

This was a strong Level-4 spell, also the only one known by the black-robed Magician. He heaved a sigh of relief after using the spell.

The magical construct of this spell was very complex, and also consumed a lot of Mana. He was drained of more than half his Mana from this one spell, not to mention that it took him 4 seconds to complete the spellcasting.

The appearance of this Crystal Golem in a tranquil forest with the Magic Disturbance of a Level-4 spell was bound to be noticed.

In fact, from the time the black-robed Magician started casting the spell, Link had already felt something was amiss.

But when he finally pinpointed the position of his enemy, the golem was already fully formed.

Boom! Boom! Boom! A 12-foot-high Crystal Golem sauntered towards them. It destroyed everything in its way, from trees the size of a man's limb to trees with more than one foot in diameter, in a single hit.

Such destructive force was simply unstoppable! It might be possible for a Level-5 Warrior or higher, but not for Link and his comrades. Even Jacker, the strongest of them all, would not be able to stop this monstrosity.

Gildern fired an arrow at the golem.

Tick. The metallic arrow barely grazed the surface of the Golem. A few pieces of crystal shattered while the golem sauntered on.

A pale Jacker immediately jumped in front of Link in an attempt to protect him. "My Lord, I'll deal with this, please leave now!" He was prepared to fight to his death.

Link kept silent and stayed put.

He recognized this spell.

Crystal Golem, a Level-4 spell. From what he saw, it should only have been a normal version of the spell without any enchantment effects from Supreme Magic Skills. Of course, this spell was still difficult to deal with.

If he had used up his 59 Omni Points previously, the three of them would no doubt be eliminated by this spell. The gears in his mind spun wildly, looking for a solution.

The best counter-magic to summoning magic would be dispelling magic.

However, the magic structure of a Level-4 spell was extremely stable. Without a Level-4 or higher dispel spell, it would not be effective. On the other hand, even if Link bought a Level-4 dispel spell with his Omni Points, he would not have enough Mana to cast the spell. Link therefore dismissed this idea almost immediately.

Then there was only one other option left. Stall the summoned and kill the summoner.

Link thought of a plan. "Purchase Support Magic: Might of a Giant!"

Might of a Giant

Level-3 Spell

Mana Cost: 60

Effect: Greatly increases the strength of the receiver. Increases strength by 200%. Effect lasts ten minutes.

Even though this was a Level-3 spell, it's Mana cost was relatively low at 60 Mana due to its supporting nature. Link's mana was now at 35 points. Purchasing a Level-3 spell would leave him with 29 Omni Points. He spent the rest of the Omni Points on increasing his Maximum Mana without hesitation.

As a result, his Mana became 64 points, just enough for one casting of Might of a Giant

His staff glowed with a bloody red aura. The sticky consistency of the aura was akin to blood and was transferred into Jacker's body with graceful fluidity. Under the effect of the spell, Jacker's muscles instantaneously increased in size, and his body glowed with a metallic golden shine. His muscles became even more defined and looked on the verge of tearing.

One look at Jacker would remind someone of the Legendary Titan of Greek mythology. "ARRGGHHH!!!!" Jacker felt power surging through his body and uncontrollably let out a war cry which reverberated through the mountains.

The spell took two seconds to cast. Jacker's eyes shone with the bloody redness of the magic aura and he felt a destructive force churning in his body. It felt as though he could shatter anything into smithereens.

At that moment, the Crystal Golem threw a punch at Link and his comrades.

This punch was devastating. Before the hit even landed, the blow had already flattened the overgrowth around the area.

ARRGH! Jacker raised his shield in defense.

Jacker has already attained the peak of Level-3 Combat Aura and was naturally born with the gift of strength. Being enchanted by magic now effectively tripled his original strength. In theory, he should have the power of a Level-5 Warrior.

Crash! A low rumble echoed, the shield and the Golem's giant fist came into contact and both of them stopped in their tracks. Everyone was holding their breaths. It was a stalemate!

Jacker gritted his teeth. He was almost at his limit. His body trembled slightly and dug his heels deep into the mud. This was Link's chance.