92 An Offer You Can't Refuse

 Ten days went by like a breeze, and Link had now produced 150 Protective Armor magic scrolls, of which more than half was in Derek's name. The military's orders of 800 magic scrolls were completed on schedule as well. Warwick could finally breathe easy now, and he was deeply grateful to Link.

Warwick had made some progress because of this experience too. After 20 days of intense work stretching his own limit by producing a huge number of magic scrolls, he had broken through his progress ceiling and became a full-fledged Level-1 Magician.

He had two options after becoming a full-fledged Magician. The first choice was to become an independent Magician who would go out and fight in battles, while the second was to continue to stay in the Mage Tower. Warwick opted for the first choice. Thus, there was a vacancy in the position of the person overseeing the production of magic scrolls.

Many apprentices were vying for the position as it came with a lot of perks and boons. Because Derek had the power to appoint anyone to the position, a swarm of apprentices waited at his feet ready to do anything for him. Some female apprentices even threw themselves into his arms and became especially affectionate to him. It was a time when Derek felt he was on top of the world, intoxicated by the unctuous taste of power.

However, on the twelfth day, Link suddenly came into Derek's room and handed him 15 exquisite magic scrolls.

"Mr. Derek, I want to be the head of the magic scroll production," he whispered.

"What?" Derek was alarmed. It was the first time Link had ever made any special demands. His instinct was to refuse him because he had promised the position to an apprentice named Evelyn. For the simple reason, that beautiful girl had promised to be his lover and she would give him whatever he wanted, whenever and wherever he wanted it.

His impulse to refuse Link was stunted by the sudden realization that Link's magic scrolls had earned him a fortune. Every day, he brought Link's magic scrolls with him to Springs City and sold them at the price of 10 gold coins each. Not only did they sell out every day, but people flocked to him looking for more of these marvelous scrolls. Link's magic scrolls turned out to be much more popular than he imagined. Moreover, the capital city was never in shortage of rich people.

In the last ten days, Link had brought him thousands of gold coins of income. It was an amount of money he wouldn't even dare to dream about in the past.

An hour in his tutor's Elemental Pool cost a pricely sum of 100 gold coins, but that was not a problem to him anymore as he now had the money. With Link's magic scrolls he earned nearly a hundred gold coins a day, so he could afford to spend half an hour in the Elemental Pool every day. Because of that, he progressed rapidly and had now mastered a Level-2 spell, Large Fireball. Consequently, he was now a Level-3 Magician.

In the eyes of the Magicians, nothing was paramount to skills in magic. As a Level-3 Magician, his colleagues started to treat him with much more respect. This had given Derek far more satisfaction than any woman could through carnal pleasure.

"Don't worry about it," said Derek, "I've decided to appoint you as the man in charge of magic scroll production. I'll announce it publically tomorrow."

"Thank you very much, Mr. Derek," said Link, putting on a reverent tone. He then took out another magic scroll.

"I've recently mastered the Level-0 Light spell and made slight modifications to its structure to improve its aesthetics. This way people can use the spell as an ornament. I'm sure magic scrolls of this spell would sell much better than Lesser Protective Armor scrolls."

Although Derek showed no signs of being annoyed by Link's demand just now, he still wanted to make sure there were no hard feelings between them. The magic scroll was a present he prepared for Derek to sweeten the deal. But why did he not just offer the present before he made his demand?

Because Link wanted to send a message. He only presented the new magic scroll after Derek had agreed to appoint him to the position that Link desired - hinting that Link would repay him for whatever favor that was given to him. The more requests Derek could satisfy, the more presents he would get.

Derek could sense the message Link was trying to give and it left a bad taste in his mouth-though he was determined not to show it since Link had the upper hand in the current situation. And so, Derek suppressed the nagging anger he felt and proceeded to unfold Link's new magic scroll.

Derek was startled the instant he opened the scroll, as he was faced with not just simple lines of magic runes, but a horse - a horse carved out by countless lines of flowing Mana that looked so real it seemed it might jump out of the scroll at any moment. What was even more striking was how the body of the horse was glowing and the combination of light and shadow conspired to make it look three-dimensional. The eyes of the horse seemed to shine vividly, they were exactly identical to those of a living breathing horse.

"What is it?" asked the stupefied Derek.

"It's a horse," said Link, "But it's also the structure of the Light spell. I've made some minute changes to enable it to display a more impressive and realistic contrast of light and shadow. I've also used a magic-preservation spell on it, so it should last for at least fifty years without fading."

Just as Link had explained, Derek could finally make out the outlines of the Light spell in the structure of the horse. But it was far from the ordinary version of the spell. Link had created something so innovative that no one else would be able to imitate!

Derek could already predict how well this magic scroll would be received in Springs City. Marvelous! I won't let these magic scrolls part my hands without getting paid 20 gold coins for each! thought Derek, full of determination.

Derek's lacking entrepreneurial skills were obvious from this idea. Any shrewd merchant would know that these scrolls could fetch at least a hundred gold coins each!

Of course, Link wouldn't reveal the fact to Derek even if he could hear Derek's current thoughts. After all, producing magic scrolls was, to him, just a way to get closer to Bale. Even if he wanted to start doing it seriously to earn money, he would do it later himself and would definitely not trust a cheapskate like Derek to handle things for him.

"I'll pay you three gold coins for each magic scroll like this," said Derek, pointing towards the scroll in front of him. His previous animosity towards Link had completely vanished after seeing these magic scrolls.

"Thank you, Mr. Derek!" replied Link, not forgetting to put on a look of joy.

When Link left the room, Derek became lost in his train of thoughts. He now realized that Link was more than a simple Magician's Apprentice. He had a vague feeling that he was falling into a trap set by Link. But the problem was, he felt the trap was so alluring that he himself wasn't willing to escape, as it was brimming with gold coins. The ecstasy he felt from owning a mountain of gold coins that he could spend and squander however he wished was something he wouldn't let go of that easily, even if it meant that he was caught in somebody's trap.

"That damned kid, he's got me firmly in his hands!" cursed Derek. He then got up and left the room to find Emily. He had to appease his new lover.

Although he couldn't fulfill his promise to her, he knew the only reason she wanted the position was because she was attracted to the many perks that came with it. And now that he was in no shortage of gold coins, he was confident that she wouldn't stay angry with him for long.

What I wouldn't give to have that nice body of hers all to myself, thought Derek, now lost in his lustful fantasies. He was so eager to meet his lover that he failed to notice how Link had been observing his every move in a corner.

So he's resigned to his fate now, huh? Link could easily read Derek's thoughts just by watching his actions.

Derek was like a frog that Link trapped in a pot of cold water, to which he then increased the temperature so slowly that it would not notice any changes in its surroundings until it was too late. Figuratively speaking, Derek was now a boiled frog - no longer a threat or even a slight obstacle to Link.

Link then returned to his own little room. He didn't prepare any magic scroll or read any books. Instead, he started to work on his thesis.

The theories in Link's thesis were the basis of his modification of the spell Edelweiss, which he regarded as a great success. This made Link realize the enormous potential of his unfinished thesis, so he became more motivated to work on it now.

Today was quite a productive day for him. He had a lot of inspirations for new ways to advance his flow of deductions. He had been working intensely for a full hour before he felt exhausted and unable to focus. Link saw no point in straining himself further, so he put down his quill and picked up a textbook instead.

Level-3 spells were still not strong enough for him. Link anticipated the day when the Ailing Mana effects subsided and his Mana would be as high as 1480 points, enough to cast Level-5 spells.

Still, the quality of the spells purchased from the gaming system was just too low. Not only was their power disappointing, the spellcasting speed was too slow as well, which rendered them completely useless in battles. Unless it was absolutely necessary, Link wouldn't waste any more of his Omni Points to purchase new spells from the gaming system. From now on, he would learn and master the spells through his own efforts.

Learning magic was a complicated business. As the theories got more convoluted and impenetrable, the slower Link had to pace himself through each point and each fact. Nevertheless, his progress had been slow but steady.

Time passed, and it was now the dead of night. But in the small space beneath the narrow staircase in Bale's Mage Tower, the young Magician was still hard at work.

Meanwhile, Derek was still busy fooling around with his new lover, the genius Magician Eliard had already gone to bed after a long day, and the angel Herrera was in her own Mage Tower, enjoying a moment of quiet solitude as she sipped at the sweet Dragon Wine imported from the South.

In a city of pleasure paradise called Mollendan in the Southern Free Trade Confederation, a dark-haired girl suddenly gazed up at the night sky. In a sea of bright flickering stars, a dazzling meteor swept across the heavens.

"How are you getting on right now, Link?" murmured the beautiful demon Princess into the chilly air. A gust of wind blew past her, and the girl pulled up the hood to cover her face as she slithered away quickly into the darkness. Behind her, pursuers kept trying to hunt her down.