64 A Walking Lump of Meat?

 Jacker gritted his teeth as he was hit with each explosive blow from the Crystal Golem, straining to keep himself from collapsing.

With each attack, his bones rattled, his inner organs churned as if he were riding on a tsunami, his chest pounded violently, and his throat was filled with the metallic taste of blood.

He was at death's doorstep. He knew that he would not be able to last much longer. Another five minutes? Six? He wasn't sure.

But apart from the foreboding sense of imminent death, another peculiar feeling emerged in Jacker's mind under the weight of those horrendous attacks.

Jacker felt as if each of the Crystal Golem's attack was like the strike of a hammer and his body was like a piece hot iron being forged and wrought by the hammer. As thrashing after thrashing hammered down on him, he felt excruciating pain, but at the same time, he felt as if the attacks were pounding the impurities out of his body, forging him into a stronger Warrior.

Well, look at me. I'm holding out against a giant of an opponent. How proud would my friends be of me if they saw me now?

Another heavy strike from the Crystal Giant and blood surged up through Jacker's throat, staining his teeth red with fresh blood. Still, there was not a shred of fear in his mind, only courage that grew bolder and bolder.

To be able to fight against an opponent worthy of the legends - this was exactly the kind of battle he'd always wished for!

On the other side, Link had managed to escape to a spot where he would be safe from the Crystal Golem's attack. His gaze swept across the battlefield.

In a few seconds, he spotted his two targets - one was the Magician in a black robe whose face was covered and was holding a Mithril wand with a blue gemstone on its tip, and the second was Andy who was beaming with regained confidence now that he had a Crystal Golem on his side.

Once his targets were identified, Link stopped to quickly assess the whole situation.

Right now, he had 4 Mana points, which was only sufficient for one Whistle or four Glass Orbs. As a Level-3 Assassin, Andy possessed dangerous speed, so if he ever got near Link, Gildern would not be able to block him-in one second Link would be finished!

At the same time, there was another opponent that he'd have to face - the Magician. He had the capability to summon the Level-4 Crystal Golem, so he must be at least a Level-4 Magician. What was worrying was the fact that his magic aura was still more intense than Link's present aura, even after summoning a Level-4 spell. That meant that he could cast much more powerful spells than Link in his current condition.

Under these circumstances, it seemed impossible for Link to defeat the Magician!

Both of them were dangerous enemies and the situation had now become life-threatening to Link. From the way things stood, it seemed that Link had fallen into a bottomless pit of defeat. Still, Link had no intention to give up yet. He would give it his best shot and fight to his last breath!

That was how he excelled in the game in his previous life. He had even achieved the miraculous feat of single-handedly defeating the Demi-God Lord of the Deep, Nozama, all thanks to his unrelenting determination.

And that was how he intended to face the present battle. It was just in his nature to never give up - always had been, and always will be.

Link's eyes swept the whole scene of the battle and quickly he spotted a potential opening for an attack.

Andy had nimble and agile limbs, so he could easily hide behind the tree trunks to shield himself. He was gradually closing in on them at 100 feet. Gildern had fired a few arrows at him, but he dodged them with seemingly no effort at all.

The black-robed Magician was not so brash, though. He made no moves or attacks. Instead, he kept hiding behind a tree trunk more than 200 feet away, observing the situation now and again, obviously trying to be out of range of Link's spells.

Although he would be safe from Link's spells at that distance, at the same time it meant his spells won't reach Link either. In fact, the Magician had not been attacking at all, he was obviously waiting for Andy to get near to Link before making his move.

And that was the chance that Link spotted. The Magician would not begin his attacks yet, but if he could kill Andy, then he would complete the mission of killing the leader of the thieves and receive 40 Omni Points. That would boost his chance of defeating the black-robed Magician.

"Back me up. We'll kill Andy!" muttered Link in an urgent voice.

Gildern nodded then inhaled deeply. He reached for three arrows in the quiver then nocked all of them at once on his bow. Gildern knew this was a moment of life and death, so he focused all his energy and concentration on this one attack.

By this time, Andy was already 60 feet away, close enough that Link could plainly see those pair eyes that were brimming with bloodthirst.

Coincidentally, Andy was looking this way too, and the two locked eyes.

It was the first time Andy had seen Link at such a close distance, and it made him stop in his tracks momentarily. He had expected to see a young Magician pale-faced with fear and shaken to his core. But what he saw instead was a dark pair of eyes, unfaltering and chillingly calm.

The word young didn't seem to suit the owner of those eyes, though he didn't seem old either. The Magician couldn't be more than 16 or 17 years old, his body looked gaunt and weak, and his arms couldn't be any thicker than a toothpick. The only thing that stood out about him was his expressions, or rather his lack thereof. His face did not betray any kind of emotion. Even when Andy was staring into his eyes, he couldn't detect a trace of feeling there at all.

Is this really the Magician who killed all my Night Blade members? He looked so weak that a single breeze could carry him off. I can easily finish him off with a single stab of my dagger. But why is he not afraid? Andy had seen countless people, but Link was unlike any other he had met so far.

In the short instance that Andy was lost in his thoughts, Gildern grabbed the opportunity and raised the three arrows and shot it towards Andy. At the same time, Link also shot a glass orb at him.

A gust of wind roused Andy back to his senses; he was now faced with arrows shooting towards his eyes. But with lightning speed, he raised his dagger. Clang! With the dagger in his left hand, he easily deflected the arrows and sent them flying in another direction, and with the dagger in his right hand, he stabbed at Link's glass orb.

Bang! The orb swiftly moved forward, but all the same, Andy had managed to stab it with his dagger because his reaction was incredibly fast!

This was what high-level Assassins were capable of. Their biggest strength was their speed, and each movement they made in battles was with purpose. They reacted to each attack without having to think because they had gone through so much training; it had become their second nature.

No matter how random and unpredictable Link's Glass Orbs' movements were, their speed could never exceed 100 feet per second. To common folks, this speed was unimaginably fast, but it fell short when faced with a high-level Assassin like Andy.

After successfully thwarting the attacks, Andy bent his body and sprung towards a tree and hid behind it, as nimbly as a fox.

He was now only 50 feet away from Link.

Right now, Jacker was struggling to block the Crystal Golem's attacks with all his might, and it seemed that he wouldn't last any longer. Link had only 4 Mana points left. Gildern's shooting skills weren't bad, but he was only a Level-2 mercenary-his reaction speed and attacking speed was no match for Andy.

While on the other side, Andy was armed with anti-magic armor and anti-magic daggers, so Glass Orbs couldn't hurt him much at all. In addition, somewhere further away in the forest lurked a powerful master Magician waiting for the right moment to attack.

At that point, even Link was beginning to think that they had a slim chance of killing Andy.

Then Andy appeared from behind the tree and in a flash, disappeared behind another tree again. He was now only 30 feet away from them.

"Magician, it's time for you to die!" said the Assassin, and Link could clearly hear his maniacal voice ringing through the forest.

The black-robed Magician told him that the young Magician had almost used up all his Mana and that at most, he could only cast two spells. A Magician without his spells, in Andy's eyes, was nothing more than a walking lump of meat!