96 Playing with Fire


 In Bale's Mage Tower.

...

After receiving threats from Darris, Link made sure to keep under the radar and did nothing that might arouse suspicions.

In recent days, he did not interact with anyone, nor did he even contact Herrera and Eliard. Instead he stayed cooped up in his room all day and all night, ostensibly to prepare magic scrolls.

He'd been consistently producing 15 first-rate magic scrolls a day, and all of them were handed to Derek to manage. He got three gold coins for each of them, thus earning 45 gold coins a day.

From the sales of magic scrolls alone, Link had so far earned nearly 300 gold coins. But wealth wasn't the only thing he gained recently.

Because he didn't have to worry about his safety once he was inside the academy, coupled with the adequate nutrition he got every day, the regular intervals of work and rest and his young age, Link had now also gained considerable weight. He no longer seemed so frail and thin, but had actually grown quite muscular, nicely filling out the tall and lanky stature that he had previously. All in all, Link now looked more pleasing to the eye than he ever did.

And so, five days passed with no incidents.

On the fifth morning, Link felt his body was completely rejuvenated to a point where he felt he was at a different plane of existence. His consciousness and perceptions had now become unusually acute.

He could even hear the spider weaving its web in the corner of the room and the whistling breeze blowing through the window. He could feel the various elements flowing in the air so vividly he could almost see it with his naked eye.

These were the effects of Elemental Sight. It was an ability that a Magician naturally developed once their power advanced to a certain extent.

Check body statistics. Once the thought emerged in his mind, there was a flash on the interface.

Link Morani (Nobleman)

Level-3 Elite Magician

Rate of Mana Restoration: 5 Points per hour.

Maximum Mana: 660 points.

Current Mana: 150 points.

Weapon: Matchstick Wand.

Current Status: Ailing Mana effects subsiding.

Just as I expected! After three long months, the Ailing Mana effects were finally going to be over.

The process of the Ailing Mana effects subsiding would last a full day, and in every hour, Link's Maximum Mana would gradually become higher and higher.

However, because his Mana restoration rate was so slow, his Mana could only recover 9.8 points per hour even under ideal conditions. So even though his Maximum Mana was continuously increasing, his Mana still needed more time to catch up, so he had to be patient and not do anything rash.

At eight o'clock in the evening, the Ailing Mana effects finally disappeared completely.

By then, Link's Maximum Mana was at 1480 points, and his current Mana was at 220 points. In order to completely restore his strength, Link had to wait more than 130 hours, which was more than five days.

My Mana restoration speed is too damn sluggish, Link lamented.

He knew that a Magician with decent Mana strength and talents would only need a day of absolute rest to completely replenish their Mana, yet he needed six long days to do the same. He realized that his Mana restoration rate was the biggest stumbling block to his progress.

Link was carefully considering the best strategies to take while lying in his bed. Finally, he chose to spend his Omni Points, which were currently at 125 points.

70 Omni Points to increase the Mana Restoration rate, he silently thought.

Then, a dialogue box popped up on the interface.

Confirm?

Confirm, replied Link.

Suddenly, Link felt a heat rising from inside his body. It felt as if something had exploded. Soon after the initial burst, a stream of heat then flowed rapidly to his extremities and he felt numb in every spot that was touched by the heat. Moments afterwards, the numbness turned into stinging pain and then the stinging pain morphed into excruciating pain. The pain was so unbearable that Link couldn't hold in his groans and beads of sweat began to form on his forehead, which then dripped down his face in streams.

What was going on? Link was petrified. He had only chosen to increase his Mana Restoration speed, so why was he suffering such a frightening level of pain? Nothing like this had ever happened before.

Then, a notification popped up on the interface. It was an explanation from the gaming system.

Player's choice has exceeded the Innate Talent limit of the physical body. Gaming system is currently modifying player's physical body to accommodate the new changes.

Innate Talent limit? Link had never heard of the term before.

The gaming system then provided a vivid metaphor to explain.

The physical body is like a bucket and Mana is like the water inside it. There is an inlet and an outlet on the bucket, and the limit for the physical body's inlet is 30 Mana points per hour, while the outlet's limit is 500 Mana points per hour. The moment these limits are exceeded, the system must modify the bucket to adapt to the current changes, and this process can cause pain to the player.

Link got it now.

Looking at the data that the gaming system just provided, Link's body must have had a pretty low Innate Talent limit. Link estimated that it wouldn't have been possible for him to rise any higher than Level-5.

At present, a Level-5 Magician might sound impressive, but in the future when there was a drastic increase in the concentration of Mana in the environment, a Level-5 Magician was nothing more than a mediocre Magician.

Strength always came with its own price. Since there was no other way to advance other than to transform this body, Link had no other choice but to grit his teeth and endure the pain.

It felt as if there were countless blades of knives stabbing him from within. His body was trembling madly in response to the pain, yet Link sunk his teeth into his blanket and suffered through the pain without making a peep of sound.

The ordeal went on for more than four hours, and when those blades finally stopped stabbing, Link was soaking in sweat and he came very close to collapsing. Still, he managed to cast a Cleaning spell on his body, then he took some snacks that Lucy had prepared for him out from his storage pendant. After filling his stomach, Link then went to bed and fell into a deep dreamless sleep.

The next moment he came to, it was already dawn.

Once he opened his eyes, Link clearly felt the surging Mana in his body.

His Maximum Mana was now 1480 points, and his Mana Restoration rate was now 79.8 points per hour. He checked his pocket watch and found out that he had slept for 15 hours, so his Mana must be full by now.

Right now, if Link didn't suppress a portion of his Mana, there would be a frightening flux of Mana around his body that would rival even the one that Darris emanated!

Finally, he could once again cast the Level-4 spell Flame Blast that he purchased in Gladstone a few months ago.

Link rose from the bed and changed into a brand new gray robe. He cast a Mirror spell and used it to tidy up his appearance. Then, Link walked out of his room with a strong resolve in his mind.

It was 10 o'clock this morning and when he reached the first floor, Link saw the simple and honest Matt hard at work preparing a magic scroll as usual.

"Matt, I'm going out for a while," said Link casually.

"Uh huh," replied Matt, more as a reaction than a response. He was still focused on his magic scroll. He must not be distracted or else the magic scroll in his hands would turn into trash.

Link left the Mage Tower and headed straight towards the Glory Square near the gates of the academy. There, he then hailed a carriage.

"To River Cove town, please," he said, after paying the coachman handsomely.

Magician's Apprentices were required to present their tutor's permission letter before they could leave the academy. Link had brought with him a permission letter that Herrera had prepared for him previously.

The coachman glanced at the letter, then eagerly received the gold coins and swiftly struck his whip. Very soon after, the carriage started to move and left the gates of the East Cove Magic Academy.

Link was going to fetch the Domingo crystal. A month's time had passed, and the crystal was now purified and ready to be used again.

Once he acquired the crystal, he would then possess a combative strength that no ordinary Magician could even dream of.

...

Meanwhile, in Bale's Mage Tower.

...

Shortly after Link left, Darris went to the main hall on the first floor. He had just got back from outside and he looked anxious and hurried, as if some emergency had occurred.

As soon as he reached the hall, he walked straight to the group of apprentices who were preparing magic scrolls. Coincidentally it was Matt that he approached.

"Where's Link?" Darris demanded.

Matt was jolted out of his deep concentration as he was working on the most critical structure of the magic scroll. He stared helplessly as the magic scroll that he had spent so much effort on failed before his eyes. He was so devastated he was about to cry, and yet he dared not raise his voice or lose his temper with Darris.

"He went out," answered Matt in a deflated tone.

"Out? Where did he go?"

"He didn't say."

"Damn it!" spat Darris, before rushing out of the tower in a flurried state.

These past few days, Darris had been snooping around to dig out as much information as he could about Link. The more he knew of the young apprentice, the more worried he got. Link was beyond any doubt a spy who was sent to investigate his tutor, Bale. Moreover, this kid was no ordinary Magician's Apprentice, but was in fact a Level-2 Magician!

He looked for Link everywhere until he finally got to the stable near the Square of Glory. He found a coachman, then pointed his wand at his heart and coldly asked, "There was a young Magician leaving the academy just now. Do you know where he was headed?"

This coachman was so afraid he was nearly out of breath, but in the end he managed to answer, "Yes, yes, I remember him. He said he was heading to River Cove town!"

Darris then climbed into the carriage.

"To River Cove town, then. And make it quick!" he barked at the coachman.

This was his best chance to eliminate Link now that he was out in the Girvent Forest. It wasn't an uncommon thing for a lone Magician's Apprentice to be robbed and killed in such a place where rogues and bandits lurked behind every bush.

You are bold for a Level-2 Magician! Don't you know that you're playing with fire?

Darris knew that the situation was now approaching the boiling point. He was sure that Link had sneaked out to the River Cove town to report on his tutor's secrets and expose everyone involved. Darris must do whatever it took to stop him!