Hiding in the shadow of a tree, Link did his best to steady his breath. He wondered how he could possibly escape from the Dark Elves.
20 Omni Points. I'll spend 9 of them on Mana Speed Recovery first, Link said to himself.
If all went well, he would be able to just avoid them. If he could replenish his Mana quickly, the longer he dodged them, the more Mana he would recover and the safer he would be.
His Mana Recovery Speed became 9.2 Points per hour with the 9 Omni Points he had spent on Mana Speed Recovery. He now had a Maximum Mana of 91 Points, and 23 Mana Points. If only he could hide from the Dark Elves for seven more hours, then his Mana would be refilled completely.
With his Mana full, he could easily use the six Level-0 Spells and two Level-1 Spells he knew. Even if something were to happen, leaving him with no choice other than to fight, with those spells he was confident that he would be able to escape.
He heard voices coming from the ruins of the tower. The Dark Elves were engaged in a heated discussion.
Everyone from the Magic Academy had been wiped out by now, leaving most of the Dark Elves free to gather around the Portal Tower. This would be the best time to escape from the academy.
Link thought about it and came to a decision.
Purchase Spell: Silence.
Effect: Reduces the noise emitted by the bearer, including footsteps, breathing and speaking. The spell's effect lasts for 20 minutes each time it's cast.
After purchasing it, Link felt the familiar haziness wash over him. When it was gone, he had mastered the Level-0 Spell.
Link recited the Spell of Silence in his mind, using it right away.
At this time, the Mana around the Portal Tower had already settled down and the flashes of light had died out. The Magic Academy once again sank into darkness.
With the spells of Lesser Invincibility and Silence cloaking him, Link moved as discreetly as a shadow. He stood up, avoiding the streetlights and followed the path back by memory. He walked towards the back door of the Magic Academy.
The Dark Elf Assassins hadn't noticed anything as he slipped past them. Link managed to escape the Academy.
The Magic Academy had been built in Gladstone City's Flower District. It was a gathering point for the city's upper-class citizens-most of them even lived there.
That was the reason why so many Dark Elf Assassins assembled throughout this area.
But in contrast to the Assassins in the Magic Academy, the Dark Elves here had specific targets: the prominent figures of the Flower District. Their mission was clear, and so they wouldn't go around just killing every person they saw.
As long as Link didn't get exposed as a Magician, he would probably be safe even if he was discovered.
In that moment, Link felt extremely grateful that he was wearing a normal, gray robe. With his average features, and as long as he kept his wand hidden, he would look as common as common could be.
I should be safe before the news gets out about the Magic Academy. But I should be careful and get as far away from the academy as I can. No matter what, I need to leave this place before the Dark Elf Army arrives.
Link walked quickly, his luck seeming to be in his favor. Along with the help of the two spells he wore, he flitted through the shadows without running into any obstacles.
The Magic Academy, at the Portal Tower.
When Link left the Magic Academy, a crowd of Dark Elf Assassins stood around the ruins of the tower, unable to believe their eyes.
Commander Jiggs had died, and the Portal Tower had been destroyed. The prime location for their ambush on the Magic Academy had disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
"Terry, what do we do now?" a Dark Elf Assassin looked at Terry and asked, his voice raw.
Even though Terry had chosen to run rather than fight Link, with the death of Commander Jiggs, he was now the only highest ranking Dark Elf among those present.
Terry's heart was heavy. The Portal Tower had been crucial in their ambush of Gladstone City. If news of the successful assassination did not reach Marshal Lorde outside of the city, he would not dispatch his troops.
In addition, there was a possibility of the attack on Gladstone City being abandoned. If that happened, every single Dark Elf involved in the ambush would be severely punished according to military law. There might even be a mass execution by the furious Marshal.
"I think, that the only thing we can do now, is to avenge the Commander. Find that young, human Magician!" Terry sighed.
The Dark Elves exchanged looks with one another. The same Dark Elf asked again, "Could he have used the portal to get away?"
Terry shook his head. "Impossible. No one can use a portal on the verge of collapse. Not unless he has a deathwish. He must have escaped after destroying the Portal Tower. If I'm not mistaken, he should be hiding in some dark corner of the Magic Academy."
"We'll find him!"
The Dark Elf Assassins scattered in all directions, determined to search each and every nook and cranny of the academy.
The academy wasn't large. Its circumference was only about 1000 feet. There weren't many places one could hide in such a place. There were at least 200 Dark Elf Assassins searching for Link. Within less than half an hour, they had torn through each and every corner of the school, to no avail.
Half an hour later, the Assassins gathered around the Portal Tower once again.
"We didn't find him. He's escaped!" one of them reported.
"If he's escaped from the Magic Academy, he's likely in a disguise, and we have no way of finding him now. It's a pity we didn't bring the hounds from the Black Forest.
Terry frowned deeply. He felt helpless.
Just then, a cold voice rang out from the darkness beside them. "What is going on here? Why is the Portal Tower in ruins? Why is Jiggs dead?"
Heads turned to the source of the interruption. They saw a middle-aged Dark Elf dressed in a black robe with silver trim, holding an ebony staff as tall as he was. He stood at the gate of the enclosure around the tower.
A pair of Dark Elf Warriors fully clad in armor followed closely behind him.
The Dark Elf Assassins straightened their backs at the sight of the newly arrived elf. "Master Holmes," they all said in unison.
Holmes, he was a Level-2 Battle Mage and a member of the Silver Moon Mage Council. He was well known for having single-handedly defeated three Elite Assassins from the Norton Kingdom. Not only did he slay them, but he also left the battle completely unscathed.
In the plans for the ambush of Gladstone City, he had been tasked with activating the Portal Tower and sending a detailed report back to the Dark Elf Army 30 miles away.
For his safety, he was only supposed to enter the tower after the Magic Academy had been cleared out.
The academy had been cleared, but the crucial Portal Tower had been destroyed as well. What was the point of him coming here?
"What on earth happened here?" Holmes barked. He looked at Jiggs' corpse and strode up to it, crouching down to examine his wounds.
"A Level-0 Earth Spike? Was he killed by a Magician's Apprentice!?" For the life of him, Holmes just couldn't understand what was going on.
A Level-3, fully-armored Dark Elf Warrior with Battle Aura had actually been defeated by a single Earth Spike. It was a disgrace to the Dark Elf Warriors!
No, a disgrace to all Dark Elves!
"I demand an explanation!" Holmes' voice was as sharp as knives.
Terry took a deep breath and stepped forward. "Lord, it happened like this."
He began to describe what he had seen. He told every detail, from the young human Magician's appearance to every word Commander Jiggs had said. He recited every response and explained every attack. He left nothing out.
He spoke in simple but descriptive words. As the Dark Elves listened, the battle scene was re-enacted in their minds. They saw a young, powerful, composed human Magician.
His magic had been like a web of death. The moment he appeared, the web had begun to weave. Each spell had been a thread, binding his prey and ultimately suffocating them.
When Terry had finished, the Dark Elves all shivered. They could never have imagined that such a formidable character had been hiding in the Lower Magic Academy.
At the same time, they rejoiced that they hadn't encountered that dangerous Magician themselves. They knew that they wouldn't have been able to stand there listening to Terry's tale otherwise.
Holmes' face was dark. He was a Magician and therefore knew better than anyone else here how dangerous this human counterpart was.
Nine Level-0 Spells within just one second. Precise magic control. What spellcasting skill!
Two barrages of Fireballs to rile Jiggs up, and a Grease Spell to make Jiggs vulnerable, and finally finishing it all with a Vector Throw. Thinking of the intricate planning of the battle had him in a cold sweat.
"This is a master tactician!" Holmes concluded.
He made up his mind then and there. "He has achieved so much at such a young age. If he is allowed to grow, he will become a large threat! We must kill him!"
"But Lord, he has already escaped from the Magic Academy."
"But he's left his scent. He will have left footprints, all of which can be tracked."
Holmes laughed coldly. The fiery-red crystal on his staff glowed brightly. A beam of Mana shot onto the ground, causing the earth to bulge out and writhe, finally taking the form of a 6-foot tall hound.
Effect: Condenses earth elements into a gigantic hound. The hound's strength knows no bounds. Its eyesight and sense of smell are exceptional.
(Note: Don't ever let an Earth Hound get a hold of your scent!)
Where the Earth Hound's eyes should have been instead sat round black holes. When it had fully taken shape, Holmes pointed towards Jiggs' corpse. "Find the killer!"
The hound pounced onto Jiggs' body, sniffing furiously.
After about ten seconds, the hound let out a howl, then turned and darted out towards the outside of the Magic Academy. It sniffed the ground even as it ran.
"You, and you. Send this report back to Marshal Lorde at the camp outside the city!" Holmes passed a scroll to the Dark Elf Assassin. He could only rely on the Assassins to deliver the report on foot since the Portal Tower had been destroyed.
"Yes, Lord." The Assassin took the scroll and vanished into the night.
"The others, follow me!" ordered Holmes.
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