89 The First Loophole in the Fortress

 Even though Link was submitting seven scrolls per day, it was still not sufficient to fill in the gap of 100 scrolls. Left with no choice, Warwick went to knock on the door of Magician Derek.

"Who is it?" Derek's voice rang from inside the room. Somehow, he sounded slightly nervous.

How strange, maybe Derek is doing something that he doesn't want others to know? Warwick thought.

Derek was quite introverted and didn't have much talent in magic. He was thus not exactly respected amongst the apprentices.

"It's me, Warwick."

"Why did you come here at this ungodly hour?"

Derek clearly sounded displeased. His footsteps were getting closer and the door slowly opened. Derek stood behind the door with a vexed expression.

The moment the door creaked open, Warwick picked up a faint odor with his sensitive sense of smell.

What is this? It smells slightly like sulfur and a bit like rosin; there is even a slight hint of rotting flesh. This is weird.

Warwick had never experienced anything like this before.

"Be quick. What do you want to say?" Derek rumbled, breaking Warwick's train of thought.

"Oh, the thing is ..." Warwick was afraid to speak. After mumbling for a few seconds, he noticed Derek's growing look of annoyance and timidly said, "Sir, we may not be able to complete the order on time."

As expected, this sentence caused Derek to frown with annoyance, "What exactly happened? I remember you had eight, no, with the addition of the new guy, nine helpers. 800 scrolls in 20 days should not be difficult, am I right?"

"No, we are only left with seven. Hanson and Manster suffered damages from Mana rebound. I am only receiving 35 scrolls per day. Sir, I have been writing five scrolls every day as well. We have all done our best but it is still not enough. We are still 100 scrolls short." Warwick helplessly threw out his hands.

Derek immediately blew up upon hearing this sentence, "Damn it! You idiots! How do you expect me to find extra manpower for you at this time? The departments for potions and low-level magic equipment are also short of people. The entire academy is doing their best to complete the order on time! Do you expect me to personally help you?"

Derek was a Level-2 Magician-to downgrade himself by writing Level-0 magic scrolls was simply a joke! He would not accept it!

Furthermore, he was not adept at writing magic scrolls. His competency in magic scroll writing was probably only the level of a higher magic apprentice. But most importantly, he was busy making money. He was learning a Level-3 spell and was at the final stages of implementing it. He needed to rent the Elemental Pool only available to lecturers.

The rental fee of the Elemental Pool was 100 gold coins per hour and his experiment required three hours of usage. Usually, he needed a month to earn 100 gold coins.

Hence, he simply had no time to be embroiled in this mess!

Warwick was clearly troubled and misunderstood, he shook his head frantically, "No sir! Of course not! I am just wondering if we could reduce the number of scrolls we need to produce-for example 700, no, 750?"

Derek objected vehemently. "The order was discussed and confirmed between master and the army. I have no power to change the contract...damn it, why do I have to deal with this!"

Derek was in a pinch. As the head of the mid-level magic equipment department in the tower, if Warwick made a mistake, the blame would be attributed to Derek instead!

Of course, he would not be stripped of his position as a manager. However, it would probably affect his commission which would delay his Level-3 spell experiment indefinitely.

"What do I do? Master Bale has been acting weirder by the day. The part where I was tasked to procure strange magical resources was especially disturbing. Oh lord, why am I so unlucky!" Derek's mood was at absolute zero.

After pondering for a while, Derek could not think of any good alternatives. If he wanted to facilitate his progress as a Magician, he would have to shoulder some of the weight.

Left with no choice, he said, "I will ask around the other towers to see if they have extra finished scrolls. However, don't count on me for this. Try your best to write more and narrow the gap, understand?"

Warwick nodded gratefully. "Yes sir, I will definitely give it my all."

"Ok, now go!" Derek commanded.

However, reality was often harsh and cruel. On the second day after reporting the situation to Derek, Warwick gave his best effort and wrote six magic scrolls. Together with the scrolls he collected from the other apprentices, he received only 25 scrolls in total. Link was the only one who had not submitted his scrolls.

Oh no, everyone is starting to feel tired and losing their speed. Warwick thought. If this went on, the gap would widen to 200 or even 300 scrolls.

He did not even want to think about that.

As Warwick was feeling helpless, a door at the bottom of the stairs punctually opened. Link stood at the entrance with a stack of scrolls in his hand.

Warwick's eyes widened with delight and he rushed forward.

"Link, how many did you write today?"

Without waiting for the answer, Warwick started counting, One, two, three...eight, nine, ten? Did I count correctly?

Warwick rubbed his eyes and counted again. As simple as the counting was, Warwick simply couldn't believe it.

Just two days ago, Link was only writing five scrolls per day and just yesterday he wrote seven. Now, he was writing ten! This was an amazing exponential increase. Wouldn't he be drained from all this work?

Warwick finally confirmed the numbers after counting them once more. He couldn't help but shout, "In the name of the God of Light, Link, you really wrote ten scrolls! That is incredible!"

This number reverberated through the hall and caught the attention of every apprentice. Everyone's attention was immediately captured and assembled towards Link.

Ten scrolls a day had been the record of the Mage Tower for the past 3 years. To think that someone managed to accomplish it was definitely shocking.

"Warwick, quick, examine the quality of the scrolls!" If all the scrolls were successful products, Link would be too amazing.

Perhaps Link had no talent in Mana and was more introverted, but if he continued to produce high-quality magic scrolls at such an alarming rate, he would definitely earn his place in the East Cove Higher Magic Academy.

Warwick swallowed nervously as he began his examination. Many others came forward to inspect the work as well. Unsurprisingly, all ten scrolls were not only successes, but also of premium quality. The strokes were clearly defined and rounded off nicely with a glossy finish. You wouldn't want to let go of it the moment you held it in your hands.

The most shocking thing was that the ten scrolls looked exactly the same, as though they were printed using the same stencil.

"Link, you really are incredible!" Warwick had great respect for Link from the bottom of his heart. He truly felt that in terms of magic scroll writing, Link was no doubt the best among all the apprentices.

Link merely gave a smile as though this achievement was nothing to be proud of.

"If there is nothing wrong with the scrolls, I'll be going back to my room."

"Yes, please rest well," Warwick hastily replied. He had a feeling that their chance of meeting the deadline now depended entirely on Link.

Link continued to produce stellar work the next day, submitting 13 magic scrolls. Not only had he broken the record of Bale's Mage Tower, he had also broken the record of the entire East Cove Higher Magic academy which was at 12 magic scrolls in a day. The quality of his work was, as usual, still of extremely good quality.

All of the apprentices were blown away!

The news traveled really fast and before long, the whole academy heard of a magic scroll genius in Bale's Mage Tower who wrote 13 premium magic scrolls in a day.

The next day, the news got even more absurd, 13 magic scrolls became 14, and eventually, 15 magic scrolls consistently every day.

Link was known as a monster.

In ten days, Warwick received a total of 420 magic scrolls, out of which, 120 magic scrolls were written by Link. The other six apprentices, him included, only contributed 300. Link's contribution was more than twice the work of an ordinary apprentice.

"It seems that we are not only narrowing the gap, but we might even be able to complete the order on time!" Warwick calculated the number of scrolls in advance and was in awe.

Just then the door below the stairs creaked open again with Link bringing out a thick stack of magic scrolls.

Warwick immediately dropped what he was doing and rushed towards him, grinning from ear to ear.

"Let me carry it. I bought some delicious food from Lecturer Moira's Mage Tower for you. Please go enjoy." Link was now his treasured apprentice; he had to treat him with hospitality.

"Thank you." Link nodded and dug into the feast Warwick had prepared. By the time he was done, Warwick had also finished his examination of the scrolls. Every single one of them was still of premium quality.

"I will be going out for a stroll. I got bored from sitting down too long," Link said. He had been wanting to try out a Supreme Magical Skill he developed recently and needed to make a trip to Herrera's Mage Tower.

"Yes, please go and relax," Warwick spoke in an unusually polite tone.

Derek walked into the tower with a pained expression just three minutes after Link left. The moment he saw Warwick, he hastily asked, "How are the magic scrolls coming along?"

As an official Magician, Derek never mixed with the apprentices. Hence, he was completely unaware of the news circulating amongst them. More importantly, he was extremely busy these few days trying to find an alternative to the magic scroll shortage issue. He was out in River Cove Town trying to purchase magic scrolls for a high price and at the same time, generating monetary resources for his own experiment. It was driving him crazy.

He did his best, but the results were limited. As of now, he only received 20 magic scrolls.

There were only ten days remaining. If he could not find another alternative, he would have to up down his pride and fill in the gaps himself.

He did not expect to be greeted by a jubilant Warwick.

"Sir, I have good news. The gap has been filled."

"What?" Derek was appalled.

"Haven't you heard? A magic scroll genius has appeared in the tower," another apprentice joined the conversation.

"Genius? Who?" Derek was even more confused.