Brigitte pulled her chair forward and clenched her fist . “If this wasn’t intentional… there’s no way . ” The calm and collected Professor was nowhere to be found . Her voice was trembling with anger . “Of course . The reason why he insisted on taking charge of the Tower of Magic sponsorship . I thought something was fishy, but this is just despicable! To think he’d be this cheap!”
In truth, Desir hadn’t expected Professor Nifleka to go to such means . For a professor to blatantly show such bias was unthinkable . ‘Was it because I defeated his Blue Moon Party?’ Desir couldn’t determine why the professor would go to such lengths . In any case, the buffoon’s motives didn’t matter . What did was the current situation—the deadline had passed . There was no point in complaining .
Seeing the look of loss on Desir’s face, Brigitte immediately reassured him . “I’ll look for anything I can do to fix this . For now, go and rest . ”
Desir nodded at his teacher, and returned to his office . He didn’t have much hope that her intervention would solve the situation .
‘On top of all that, the Tower of Magic has a very rigid schedule . ’
As Desir traipsed back to his papers, he came to the conclusion why Nifleka acted so brashly . At the realization, Desir felt an uncharacteristic anger boiling up inside of him . He laughed bitterly . ‘So you’ve decided to act first . ’ His eyes gleamed as he hatched a plan . ‘Two can play that game . ’
Now seated in front of his mountain of paper again, he flipped open the piece of paper in his pocket . It was the timeline of events he had written down prior . Skimming down the list, he traced his finger until he got to what he was looking for . A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth . ‘I can be just as cheap . ’
3 Points . Attack on Tower of Magic’s Aeurelli Branch – July 7th
It was a late summer night, and the air was brisk . A man with a handsome mustache dressed in neat clothes took long strides along the street engulfed by the night fog . His name was Criken . Criken was extremely tall, with a well-built frame . His eyes peered up into the night sky, before falling on a boy running toward him with a bag full of rye bread . His shabby appearance gave Criken more than enough information about this child . The hard rye bread in his arms was precious food for his family .
Criken moved aside as the boy continued to run, but they still bumped shoulders . The bread bag flew into the air, and a look of panic showed on the boy’s face . Suddenly, something strange happened—the bag stopped in mid air, as if somebody were holding it . Criken grabbed the bag out of the air, and peered at the fallen boy .
“Sorry, sir . ” The boy’s eyes were downtrodden at his mistake .
“It’s alright . Are you hurt?” Criken offered his outstretched hand to the boy and helped him up . After he stood back up, Criken wiped away the soot on the child’s face . “Where are you headed?”
“I’m heading home to my family, sir . ” The boy gave a quiet smile to the man who helped him up .
“With this bread?” Criken asked .
“It’s for my little sister, sir . She isn’t able to come out of the house,” said the boy . His eyes looked earnestly up at the towering man in front of him .
Criken’s intuition was correct, and he nodded in understanding . “Don’t walk around outside so late . Your sister will worry . ”
The boy nodded his head fiercely . “Yes . Thank you, sir . ” He stared at the bag of bread in Criken’s hands .
As Criken moved the bag to and fro, the boy’s eyes were mesmerized by it . He smirked . “Right . I should give this back . ” Criken held out the bag to the boy .
“Thank you, sir!” the boy exclaimed . Just as the boy’s hands touched the bag, Criken suddenly turned it upside down and emptied its contents onto the floor .
In shock, the boy asked what he was doing . Criken responded by crushing the bread underneath his feet . They broke apart into crumbs and mixed into the dirt, completely inedible . A faint look of amusement appeared in Criken’s eyes as he wandered past the bewildered boy . He was feeling quite cheerful—whenever he was about to do something important, he would have a bit of fun with things like this .
As the moonlight faded away and the darkness grew deeper, the street lights flickered and the shadows disappeared . He rounded a third corner until he could no longer see any lit street lights . Surrounded by pitch black darkness, he stopped in his tracks . In front of him laid a giant metal door embossed with the words Tower of Magic, Aeurelli Branch in an elegant cursive . At this point, he tossed his fedora aside, revealing a mask shaped like a shark with horns . In the dead of night, he said a single word .
“Assemble . ”
Restless shadows stirred from the seedy underbelly of the city, and 80 silhouettes stood behind him . Each of them wore masks adorned with skulls and dark black cloaks, merging with the darkness . The masquerade began channeling all manners of spells . Waves of mana rippled through the air as a menagerie of spells clashed with the gate . A powerful magic barrier activated, nullifying the slew of magic that struck the metal gate .
‘As expected of the Tower of Magic . ’
Criken gestured forward with his chin, and a number of heavy-set men stepped forward to pound and grind down the gate . The door began to yield in reaction to the overwhelming force . “Keep going,” said Criken . “We can’t let it adapt . ”
Additional clangs rang out from the door, as the enchantment weakened . As the mana could only flow in one direction, it could only activate one spell at a time . The enchantment could only augment its physical or magical durability—even with the greatest source of mana in the world, it wouldn’t matter . Criken smirked as the door opened with a boom .
An ear-splitting alarm rang out—the intruders entered the Tower of Magic . Security guards and mages poured out from the Tower of Magic and formed ranks, with the defensive towers manned and sights readied on the incoming masked foes . Criken was taken aback at their quick response time, but that didn’t deter him . He signaled his subordinates to charge .
The masked marauders let out a war cry as they engaged the incoming forces . Sounds of steel clashing, roars of triumph, and explosions echoed throughout the battlefield . In the chaos, Criken quietly left the battlefield, with 6 of his subordinates in tow .[Invisibility . ]
The high-level spell refracted light to make one disappear from sight . They tore away from the fight as the security guards continued to flood onto the war zone . “They really came!”
Criken and his men skirted off to one side . He glanced at the guards as they went down the stairs, and then smiled to himself . Everything was perfect . With the Tower of Magic’s forces gathered on the lower floors, they wouldn’t be able to prevent him from accomplishing his goal . The only thing which bothered him was how quickly they reacted . ‘No matter . Everything is according to plan . ’
The 80 men were merely a distraction . The main forces had dispersed from the upper floors, and he leisurely walked up the stairs .
Tower of Magic—20th Floor .
Compared to the floors below, the 20th floor was rather small . As he entered the top floor, his eyes were drawn toward a safe . Criken, wary of additional traps, conjured a magic formula in front of him as he took careful steps toward his prize .[Earth Rage . ]
3rd circle attack spell . The barriers layered on top of the safe were expelled by the tide of mana exerted by Criken . The safe was laid waste to and inside, a strange object illuminated the surrounding area . 2nd tier magic crystal—Ruigenell’s Tear . The brilliant blue light danced across Criken’s palm, and the crystalline object pulsed like a beating heart . His eyes shined with greed and he reached out to grab the magic crystal—
“That’s enough . ” A young boy’s voice rang out .
Startled, Criken turned around . It was an incredibly beautiful boy—no . He was so beautiful that it was difficult to tell if it was a boy or a girl . His voice was firm . “Please surrender, Outer . ”
This was outside of expectations . “You were hiding forces in reserve? Interesting . ” Criken’s voice wavered as he tried to determine how they figured his plan out . “This means that you had to have known our plans, our identity, and even our objective…” His voice trailed off . “Who are you?” His eyes narrowed as he tried to read his opponent .
Pram Schneizer raised his sword with his eyes trained on his target, and said “With the authority of Hebrion’s Single Ranker, I place you under arrest . You would do best to surrender . ”
“I refuse . ” With that, Criken snapped his fingers and his companions lined up in front of him .[Elan’s strength resides in me . ] [Wave of Flame . ]
The mages created their constructs and aimed their sights at Pram . In response, Pram likewise used the time spent casting to analyze the enemy’s strength .
‘4 mages, 2 swordsmen . Based on the spells being cast and the reactions of the swordsmen, these guys can’t be much stronger than 2nd Circle and Pawn-rank . ’[Fireball . ] [Ice Spear . ]
With the first two spells completed, the mages sent them careening toward the lone swordsman . A glint in Pram’s eye shined as he swung his sword toward the incoming blasts of elemental energy . His Blanchume rapier bisected the Fireball and the Ice Spear left nary a scratch on Pram’s head as they shattered into fragments of mana .
“He cut the magic?”
Seeing the change in atmosphere, Pram leaped forward to subdue the mages . In response, the knights stood in an ironclad formation preventing Pram from making it to his quarry . The mages began casting a new salvo of spells with everybody back in position . The morale was high for the intruders, getting ready for Pram’s execution, but—
“It’s useless . ”
Pram disappeared in an instant . The swordsmen quickly frantically looked around, trying to find the blue-haired boy, only to discover he was already on top of their mages . This was the difference of rank: these Pawn-rank soldiers had no hope of matching up with the Knight-rank prodigy . A dull smack sounded and the first mage crumpled to the ground . Their expressions turned grave as Pram moved onto his next target . As he neared, a pulse rose from the ground and caught his foot .[Entangle]
2nd circle snaring spell . Pram’s battle senses were hardy, but he was in disbelief . ‘No way . There weren’t any mages casting spells…’
He had missed it . There was a mage just outside of his vision, and now he would pay the price .