After leaving Herrera's Mage Tower, Link circled the grounds of Bryant's Inspiration Courtyard, making sure he seemed like he was just taking a walk as he always did.
Then, he walked back to Bale's Mage Tower as usual. But when he walked into the tower, he found that there was something different about the atmosphere in the hall.
It was eerily quiet, even the usual din of murmurs was missing. But Link looked around and saw that most of the apprentices were there, so what exactly was going on? Why was it so quiet?
Link then scanned around the hall more carefully and found the reason for the abnormal silence. Right there beside the semi-circular bookshelf was a white-haired old man dressed in a green robe.
The old man's face was full of wrinkles, his stature was very thin, and he must have been at least 70 years of age. The Mana on his body fluctuated in a very restrained manner, making him seem not very powerful at all, and yet Derek and Darris who stood near the old man both looked especially deferential when they addressed him.
That must be the Magician Bale! It was Link's first time seeing the disgraced Magician since entering the East Cove Magic Academy.
He looked much older than he did in the game. In fact, he even seemed weak and frail. His only outstanding features were his eyes which were a deep dark blue, and they exuded a mysterious aura that seemed capable of inadvertently striking terror into a weaker soul. This meant that the old man possessed a formidable power within that shell of a frail body.
His body might be old, but his magic was obviously still on point.
Bale was surrounded by many Magician's Apprentices who were posing questions to the official tutor of all apprentices in this Mage Tower. He wore a kind smile on his face while he patiently answered their questions.
Link hurried back to his room before anyone noticed him. Once in his room, he quickly put the record of purchases notebook on the nightstand.
Finding out that Link had smuggled the notebook out of the tower would certainly make Bale suspicious of Link, and that would mean disaster.
Barely a minute afterwards, someone knocked on his door.
"Link, come out. The tutor wants to see you."
It was Derek's voice.
Link was startled, but he managed to regain his composure quickly.
"I'll be out in a bit," replied Link in a loud and clear voice.
As he opened the door, Link saw how every pair of eyes in the hall turned to him. Many of those eyes betrayed signs of admiration and some, jealousy and envy. But there was one stark exception - Bale's chief disciple, Darris, who was standing right beside his tutor. His eyes were staring fixedly at Link with a clear expression of distrust.
Link found it curious since he clearly remembered that he hadn't been interacting much with the chief disciple, and yet, Darris seemed to be inexplicably resentful of him, as though they were sworn enemies.
I'll just be more careful around him, then. Link thought this wasn't the time to ruminate on such trivial matters.
Bale was watching him too, looking very interested in the young apprentice. When Link approached him, Bale greeted him amiably.
"Young man, I have seen your magic scrolls," said Bale, "They are indeed remarkable. I am honored to have such a talented young man as my apprentice in my twilight years. If you are willing, you may remain as my disciple in this tower once you've become a full-fledged Magician."
Just as those words left Bale's lips, the whole hall erupted into gasps and suppressed mutterings. No one admired Link now. Everyone had become envious of the lucky new apprentice-some even resented Link at this point.
Bale enjoyed a high reputation in the kingdom of Norton. He was widely respected as a veteran Master Magician among Magicians in the kingdom. Although these apprentices had been learning magic in Bale's tower, they've never actually been taught by Bale himself. And yet, who would've thought that this newcomer Link would suddenly be noticed by the tutor and was even invited to stay on after becoming a full-fledged Magician by the man himself? Some apprentices found it simply unacceptable and unfair.
What aggravated the matter was the fact that Link's own Mana strength was so low. Had he been accepted by the tutor because of his strength, they would've conceded to the decision. But all Link could do was create beautiful magic scrolls!
If Link's innate Mana wasn't strong enough, while he might be able to become a full-fledged Magician, he would never be able to rise above Level-2. What was so impressive about producing nice-looking magic scrolls when he was stuck at being a Level-2 Magician? Why would Bale take notice of such a weakling?
Even so, none of the apprentices dared to voice their displeasure. It was Bale's Mage Tower after all, so his words were the law. No one had the guts to challenge any of Bale's decisions.
Even Link himself was shocked by Bale's announcement. He never thought that such a thing would happen. As he looked up his eyes were met with Bale's own extraordinary pair. For a few moments, both were staring deep into each other's eyes.
Link's eyes were deep and impenetrable, while Bale's eyes were naturally emitting a dignified aura. In the brief moment that they made eye contact, their different spiritual forces inadvertently collided.
Seconds later, Link lowered his eyes and with a joyful expression said, "Thank you, tutor!"
Bale blinked unwittingly, and his brows were slightly raised.
He had decided to accept the young apprentice as his disciple because he was impressed by his extraordinary magic scrolls. Compared to the other apprentices, Link's skill in creating magic scrolls was indeed spectacular. However, what had really caught Bale's eyes was Link's masterful control of Mana, especially after hearing how Link could engage in such an intense activity as producing magic scrolls for many days in a row.
Being able to tirelessly produce magic scrolls for many consecutive days proved that Link possessed a powerful soul, and this was one of the essential qualities of a great Magician.
Link's weak Mana was not a problem at all because he was still very young. Bale believed that there will be a great development in his innate Mana in the future. Throughout history, there had been numerous great talents who were late bloomers, so a case like Link was not an uncommon one.
Although it was true that the old man had started to delve into the dark art of black magic, his original intention had only been to lengthen his own life. Bale was not an evil man at all. When he discovered a way to guarantee an excellent afterlife for himself, he was naturally delighted, and wanted to find out precisely how he could attain it.
However, after looking into Link's dark pair of eyes, Bale couldn't help but feel a little bit unnerved. He was now sure that Link's soul was very powerful, but in that brief interaction, he'd found that Link's soul might be so powerful that even he could be overwhelmed by its immense force.
It simply made no sense how such a powerful soul could possess such a weak level of Mana!
Bale had to satisfy his curiosity, so he carefully observed Link again and again. Yet Link never showed the same fierce power he did before and he was now just a normal reverent apprentice no matter how many times Bale examined him.
Was I just imagining it? Bale wondered.
In the past, Bale wouldn't let such trivial thoughts linger on in his mind. He wouldn't bat a second eye to it and would completely forget it in a matter of seconds. But those were simpler times when he had nothing to hide.
He couldn't afford to be so carefree now because he was now plagued by a guilty conscience. He was concealing a terrible secret that he couldn't let anyone find out. Therefore, any minute details that were out of place would trigger his suspicion nowadays.
I was too reckless just now, Bale thought. I should've checked the apprentice's background more thoroughly before I make any hasty decisions.
Because of the unruly doubts in Bale's mind fueled by his dark secrets, his readiness to accept Link as his new disciple had been cut in half.
Bale did not realize that although he had dipped his toes into black magic with the initial intention of extending his life, the insidious nature of black magic was no laughing matter. It had planted three treacherous demons in Bale's heart: Constant Doubt, Fear of Exposure, and Eternal Greed.
Under the efforts of these three demons, the qualities he possessed in the Realm of Light rapidly collapsed without him knowing it.
Then, Bale seemed to forget what he had just said. His attitude toward Link changed drastically and he stopped talking to him completely. He stayed in the hall for a while longer, doing and saying nothing.
After a while he suddenly turned to Darris, one of his most trusted disciples, and said, "I'm tired now. Let's go back upstairs. When you're free later, tell Link to move out from his room and arrange for him to stay in a new room on the second floor."
"Yes, tutor," replied Darris respectfully.
Bale then stood up, and Darris hurriedly stepped forward to support his tutor's body. They then headed for the stairs and climbed up to the top of the Mage Tower.
"Darris, what do you think of Link?" asked Bale suddenly. They'd reached the third floor and no one else was around.
"I don't know much about him," answered Darris, "He used to be very quiet, and his progress had been average. Had it not been for the military's order for magic scrolls, I wouldn't have known that he had such a great talent for magic scrolls. I hear Derek is close to him, so he should know more about Link than I do." Darris gave a very objective response to the question and he made sure not to mix in any of his personal feelings.
But Bale knew his disciple very well. When he heard Darris's tone as he spoke of Link, his face crumpled into a frown.
"So you don't like him, huh?" asked the Master Magician.
- Against the Gods
- Ancient Godly Monarch
- Ancient Strengthening Technique
- A Second Chance
- A Will Eternal
- Ancient One
- Atelier Tanaka
- A step into the past
- Ancient Cultivator in Modern World
- Absolute Choice
- A Helping Hand
- A Frog in the Well
- Always You
- A Record of a Mortals Journey to Immortality
- A Naive Short-tempered Girl
- A Thought Through Eternity
- Age of Adepts
- Ascendance of a Bookworm
- A Chance
- A Match Made in Heaven
- Asuka of the Scarlet Sky
- Assassin Farmer
- A Slight Smile is Very Charming
- A Slice of Life: an Online Romance from Aiden's point of View
- Ace of Ace
- Akuyaku Tensei Dakedo Doushite Kou Natta
- A New Me
- Battle Through the Heavens
- Bungaku Shoujo
- Botsuraku Youtei Nanode Kajishokunin wo Mezasu
- Blue Phoenix
- Bringing The Farm To Live In Another World
- Battle Frenzy
- Beseech The Devil
- Blade Online
- Beloved Empress
- B Group no Shounen
- Beauty and the Bodyguard
- Ballad of the Desert
- Biblia Koshodou no Jiken Techou
- Bringing the BNations Husband Home
- Douluo Dalu
- Desolate Era
- Dragon-Marked War God
- Dungeon Defense
- Devouring The Heavens
- Descent of the Phoenix – 13 Years Old Princess Consort
- Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyusoukyoku
- Dragon Martial Emperor
- Dragon Blooded War God
- Divine Throne of Primordial Blood
- Dungeon Hunter
- Doomed to Be Cannon Fodder
- Dragon Maken War
- Dominating Sword Immortal
- Descent of The Phoenix
- God of Thunder
- Everyone Else is a Returnee
- Genius Doctor Black Belly Miss
- God and Devil World
- God of Slaughter
- Great Demon King
- God of Cooking
- Emperor of Solo Play
- Goblin Kingdom
- Emperor's Eye
- Experimental Log of The Crazy Lich
- Forty Millenniums of Cultivation
- Friends Without Benefits
- Godly Model Creator
- Epoch of Twilight
- Empress Running Away with the Ball
- Galactic Dark Net
- Gate of Revelation
- Gourmet Food Supplier
- God of Crime
- Games Universe
- Emperor of The Cosmos
- Global Evolution
- Genius Sword Immortal
- Hail the King
- King of Gods
- Kumo Desu ga Nani ka
- I Shall Seal the Heavens
- Killers 7
- Hidden Marriage
- Heavenly Jewel Change
- I am the Monarch
- I was a sword when i reincarnated
- In a Different World with a Smartphone
- Konjiki no Moji Tsukai
- Kuro no Maou
- Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear
- History is Strongest Senior Brother
- Heavenly Star
- Kujibiki Tokushou Musou Hāremu ken
- King Shura
- Infinite Competitive Dungeon Society
- Immortal and Martial Dual Cultivation
- Immortal God Emperor
- Kamigoroshi no Eiyuu to Nanatsu no Seiyaku
- Heroes Shed No Tears
- Invincible Conqueror
- Imperial God Emperor
- Inma No Hado
- I'm Really A Superstar
- Martial World
- Monster Factory
- Martial God Asura
- Long Live Summons
- Lord Xue Ying
- Lazy Dungeon Master
- Limitless Sword God
- My Wife is a Beautiful CEO
- Magi Craft Meister
- Maken no Daydreamer
- My Wife is a Beautiful CEO
- Miracle Throne
- Martial God Space
- Law of the Devil
- Legend of the Dragon King
- MMORPG Rebirth of the Legendary Guardian
- Martial Peak
- Mesmerizing Ghost Doctor
- My Beautiful Teacher
- Martial God
- Monarch of Evernight
- Martial Arts Master
- Monster Paradise
- Mr CEO Spoil me 100 Percent
- My Disciple Died Yet Again
- My Cold and Elegant CEO Wife
- Mystical Journey
- My Father in Law is Lu Bu
- Martial God Conqueror
- MMORPG: Martial Gamer
- Life Mission
- Lord of All Realms
- Mai Kitsune Waifu
- Murdering Heaven Edge
- Master Hunter K
- Masked Knight
- Release that Witch
- Release That Witch
- Peerless Martial God
- Nidome no Yuusha
- Otherworldly Evil Monarch
- Poison Genius Consort
- Rebirth of the Thief Who Roamed the World
- reincarnation of the strongest sword god
- Princess Medical Doctor
- Renegade Immortal
- Peerless Battle Spirit
- Pure Love X Insult Complex
- Praise the Orc
- Red Packet Server
- Otherworld Nation Founding Chronicles
- Perfect World
- Pet King
- Painting of the Nine Immortals
- Reign of the Hunters
- NEET Receives a Dating Sim Game Leveling System
- Pursuit of the Truth
- Returning from the Immortal World
- Paradise of Demons and Gods
- Spirit Realm
- Shen Yin Wang Zuo
- Swallowed Star
- Stellar Transformations
- Shadow Hack
- Sovereign of the Three Realms
- Strongest Abandoned Son
- Spirit Vessel
- Stunning Edge
- Skyfire Avenue
- Starting from Zero
- Summoned Slaughterer
- Slave Harem in the Labyrinth of the Other World
- Shadow Rogue
- Sendai Yuusha wa Inkyou Shitai
- Stealing The Heavens
- Super Soldier King
- Superstars of Tomorrow
- Shrouding the Heavens
- Tales of Demons and Gods
- The New Gate
- Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken
- True Martial World
- Tsuki ga Michibiku Isekai Douchuu
- Transcending the Nine Heavens
- The Great Ruler
- The Unrivaled Tang Sect (Douluo Dalu 2)
- Transmigrator Meets Reincarnator
- The Daily Grind
- The Book Eating Magician
- The Strongest System
- Tales of the Reincarnated Lord
- The Good Student
- The World Online
- To Deprive a Deprived Person
- The Magus Era
- Terror Infinity
- The Wizard World
- Talisman Emperor
- The Black Card
- The Nine Cauldrons
- The Good for Nothing Seventh Young Lady
- The Great Conqueror
- The Strongest Dan God
- The Man Picked up by the Gods
- The Charm of Soul Pets
- The Great Thief
- The Divine Elements
- The Avalon Of Five Elements
- The King of the Battlefield
- The Strongest Gene
- The Ultimate Evolution
- The VIP
- Trial Marriage Husband: Need to Work Hard
- The Gate Of Good Fortune
- The Alchemist God
- The Invincible Dragon Emperor
- The Portal of Wonderland
- The Silly Alchemist
- The Amber Sword
- Wu Dong Qian Kun
- Warlock of the Magus World
- Zhan Long
- War Sovereign Soaring The Heavens
- Ze Tian Ji
- World of Cultivation
- World Defying Dan God
- Upgrade Specialist in Another World
- Undefeated God of War
- Zhu Xian
- World of Warcraft Foreign Realm Domination
- Very Pure and Ambiguous The Prequel
- Womanizing Mage
- World of Immortals
- Virtual World Peerless White Emperor
- Sci fi