When I translated a teaser a few years ago my website was quite small and I was in a poor financial situation. I have been getting a few comments about...
Sometimes, the stick is better than the carrot (2)
Young mages surrounded those two Archmages.
They voluntarily came to watch this spectacular match.
“All of sudden, a match?”
“Versus the little bo…. I mean, sir Ian?”
Young mages often acted like little children.
Who is the strongest among those 12 Archmages?
Who will be the next tower lord?
Most of them were wondering about it.
“But still, opposing Helene is bit too much….”
“Even other Archmages avoided fighting with her.”
Of course, most of them were expecting Helene’s win.
She was one of the top duelists.
With her violent temper and talent as a combat mage, she was a natural-born fighter.
“Well, I guess the audience is big enough.”
Helene squared her shoulder.
While watching Ian, she said.
“Anything you want to prepare? Do it now. Quickly.”
“Not that much, actually.”
Ian walked to the Parvon who was standing between crowd.
While he passed his staff to him, he asked.
“Tell me straight whenever you hear any voice or sound from the staff.”
“Huh? What kind of sound….”
“You will notice whenever it comes out. Please inform me without hesitating.”
“Y, yes sir.”
Parvon received the staff, nodding his head. He was confronting his boss, an Archmage. He didn’t understand Ian’s request, but he had no choice. Support mages had no rights to tackle him. He had to believe and follow whatever Ian said.
“I thought you want to use it?”
“It is expensive.”
“Ha, mages don’t need to worry about money.”
“As you know, this is my first day.”
“Don’t worry, boy. You will soon get paid nicely for your private research.”
Even the research support allowance wouldn’t be enough to buy the staff. Of course, she had no idea that the crystal orb on the staff was actually the communication orb. Helene didn’t give a shit about anything but fighting.
“Well, shall we begin?”
Helene was 10 years younger than when Ian saw her in his former life.
But still, her face wasn’t that much different.
‘I should bend her will completely.’
She was proud of herself.
She had deserved talent.
Not just her magical talent,
‘She would have great success even if she had become a knight.’
Although her muscle power had limitations as a female, her other features made her unique.
Agility, reaction time, good eye vision.
She was literally a perfect fighter.
‘Her combat style is very different to other mages.’
Thanks to her body, her fighting tactics were completely different to other mages. Unlike other mages, who build their own shields and fight passively.
‘She dodges the opponent’s attack, then counter attacks.’
She preferred dodging, rather than guarding.
A combination of her inborn talent and the support of spells resulted in her being untouchable.
Furthermore, instead of focusing mana to shield spells, she used it for aggressive spells.
Especially, her favorite, fire magic.
‘A normal victory will make it worse.’
In his former life, Ian defeated Helene in various ways.
With an ordinary style of combat magic, with tactics that were one step more cunning, with stronger fire power.
‘Everytime she lost, she made excuses.’
Through her endless re-challenges, Ian finally realised.
He never should leave any ‘hope’ to Helene.
Maybe I can try this way next time
Maybe I better complement this weakness
Ian had to destroy her hope completely, so that she would never dare to defeat him.
“Go first. I will give a privilege to my student.”
“Can you deal with it?”
With Ian’s challenging reply, Helene laughed.
“Common, are you worrying about me? You better watch yourself.”
“Well then. I will accept your offer.”
“Yes yes. Please, come at me quickly.”
Helene was full of confidence.
But for how long she would keep her confidence?
Ian closed his eyes gently.
This time, he didn’t draw mana in his body.
Rather, he drew it out of his body.
It was a symptom that was very similar to building shields.
“Humph! You know some tricks, huh?”
By watching Ian’s mana, Helene made sure about that Ian would cast his defense magic, soon.
“Whatever shields you are building,”
Helene also started to cast her magic.
A burst of flames appeared nearby her.
Every single of it had size of ‘Pyro blasts.’
“I will destroy it for you, boy.”
Whatever shields Ian would build, Helene was confident that she would easily destroy it.
Not only normal shields, but mana barriers and even absolute barriers.
She had destroyed it more than hundreds times.
“Hmm, it won’t be as easy as you think.”
Ian answered mysteriously.
It wasn’t a shield that covered Ian, but ‘Chilling Energy.’
Mana that was surrounding Ian, soon started to freeze.
*Crack, Crack… Craaacckkk!*
And ice quickly covered Ian.
It was shield magic as Helene briefly expected.
But it wasn’t exactly the shield magic that Helene had expected.
“…… Are you kidding me?”
It was a useless move.
It was different to the magic she had expected, but that was all.
“What the hell are you doing?”
As she ridiculed, Helene removed her flames.
Other audiences reacted similarly.
What Ian just did wasn’t proper move for duel.
“All of other shields, but that…..?”
“He wouldn’t able to do anything.”
“He will lose when his mana is depleted.”
‘Ice block’ wasn’t just an ordinary shield.
It had nearly unbreakable hardness, but contained many disadvantages.
First, the caster fell ‘asleep’.
Which meant he wouldn’t be able to dispel his own magic.
It would continue until his mana was depleted.
It was literally, a type of ‘final life saving’ magic.
“Hello. Mr. Page? Can you hear me?”
Helene approached to Ian, and said.
She knocked the block as she was knocking Ian’s door.
Ian’s eyes were closed as he was sleeping.
His lips were shut, his body stayed calm.
With no doubt, he used the Ice Block spell.
“I have no idea what he’s thinking.”
Her eyes were full of disappointment.
And her voice revealed even more disappointment.
“I was crazy bitch. What do I expect from this little brat….”
Soon, something hit Helene’s back head.
Literally, it ‘tapped’ Helene.
“What the hell?”
It was a small mana sphere.
It had to be casted by a mage.
It was casted without formulas, so it didn’t damaged Helene at all.
It’s impact was as same as snow ball.
One of mages must threw it to her.
‘Wait. Hold on a second.’
She shook her head with curiosity.
‘Who would dare to trick me?’
Dare to trick Helene?
Was there anyone who dared to throw a mana sphere at her?
Among those trashes of the Ivory Tower?
‘It can’t be.’
With instinct, Helene looked at Ian in the ice.
Soon, her face turned pale.
Ian, in the ice, had to close his eyes.
Until the very last moment. She was so sure about that.
‘Is he….. opening his eyes?’
Did he managed to open his eyes in the ice?
Furthermore, he managed to move his eyes?
It didn’t make sense at all.
He was supposed to sleep.
‘What on the earth…..’
Opening his eyes was already shocking enough.
However, something more surprising happened.
A loud noise came from everywhere.
An uncomfortable sound came from the bottom of the Ivory Tower.
“Where this sound came from?”
“I think it’s from the bottom….”
Young mages quickly looked around.
Everyone tried to find the source of the sound, and It wasn’t hard to find out.
They found it as soon as they looked down the rooftop.
Mages, actually, anyone who could see the Ivory Tower at the moment, would be shocked. From the forest that was surrounding the Ivory Tower, hundreds of thick vines erupted and were crawling on the outer wall of the Ivory Tower.
“What? What is going on!”
By watching those scenes, mages lost their mind.
Nobody dared to answer Helene’s question.
They even couldn’t hear her voice properly.
It was a question of one of the mighty Archmages.
But they refused to answer to her?
Helene headed to the edge of the rooftop to check the situation.
At that moment,
Vines were crawling up.
What were those things?
With a shocked face, Helene saw Ian.
Still, in the ice, he was looking at her.
‘Is he casting magic in the Ice Block?’
Hundreds of vines erupted from every side.
As they had eyes, they sought the target like snakes.
A red colored target, the caster ordered them.
The vines tried to seek the red target, and soon, they started to move.
She couldn’t help herself.
Hundreds of vines were targeting her.
Those vines were only targeting Helene.
Helene had burned them.
But the problem was, the vines came endlessly.
Burn, burn and burn.
‘What is this!’
Already a few hours had passed, and that chasing had never ended.
Not only her mana, but her stamina had fallen.
Dodging and burning wasn’t the ultimate solution.
There was only one clear solution.
Suppressing the caster.
The caster was hiding in the Ice Block.
A strong shield that was formed by freezing mana.
A spell that Ian was supposed to not do anything in.
She had to do something.
‘I need to find a way….’
However, she couldn’t think of any.
As time went by, Helene’s breathing got rough.
Her stamina and mana were draining out.
She started to realize that she couldn’t win this fight.
As she started to open her guard, vines quickly stretched towards her.
One of the vines quickly tangled her right leg.
Her fire spells were useless.
The vine was faster than that.
From her arms to legs and finally, her body.
Like a worm forming its own cocoon.
The first time she screamed in her life.
The first feeling of shame.
What had she done in this duel?
She couldn’t even touch her opponent’s skin.
She had to fight with these damn vines for the whole duel until her stamina and mana had been emptied.
It would be less shameful if she had managed to burn down all of those vines.
But, she had been caught. Like a loser.
She knew Ian had extraordinary talent.
But this was, nonsense.
He didn’t lose his consciousness in the Ice Block.
Furthermore, he used magic.
And there was a more surprising thing that happened.
Now, Helene laughed like a mad woman by watching Ian’s next move.
His Ice Block was dispelled.
Did he use his all mana?
No, it shouldn’t be.
Was it too perfect to regard it as a coincidence?
Ian approached Helene.
As she expected, Ian dispelled the Ice Block by his own will.
Otherwise, he couldn’t walk to her like that, without any damage.
“Well, now I see why you are called as the Mage of Beginning.”
Helene’s voice contained bitterness.
Now she understood the meaning of his title.
She could see its power after combat.
He wasn’t an ordinary talented mage.
“I submit. So, will you please remove these dirty vines…..”
Ian lowered his voice.
It wasn’t good enough. He had to bend her will completely.
Not just for Helene, but to all other mages who were watching it.
‘I will show them who I am.’
Young mages just heard the rumors and announcement.
He passed the interrogation of Archmages.
He earned the title 4th class.
However, there was a huge gap between just listening, and watching it for real.
“W, what do you mean…..?”
Soon, Helene asked suspiciously.
Of course, Ian didn’t answer.
Instead, he slowly raised his right hand on his head.
He gathered mana on his stretched palm.
“W, wait! Boy? Ian?”
She now even fixed how she called Ian. She was so desperate. If such a high-class aggressive spell landed on her, she would die without a doubt.
“This is just a duel! A practice! Stop it!”
A dark cloud started to gather at the sky of the Ivory Tower.
Its mighty appearance represented its power.
The spell Ian was casting, it had a long and complex formula.
And it required a lot of time to be launched.
However, its power was the best of the best among 4th class spells.
A thick lightning.
It smashed the rooftop of the Ivory Tower.
Precisely, at the point where Helene was tangled.
*CRACCCKKKK – !*
Helene closed her eyes helplessly.
As well as the other mages who were watching it.
White shards of materials that formed the floor of the Ivory Tower were being blown out.
Even the defensive spell on the Ivory Tower couldn’t bear its power.
There would be no doubt about Helene’s death.
Only If it hit her directly.
Helene opened her eyes.
The floor in front of her was smashed.
Not only that, it was burned badly around the landing spot.
The lightning smashed right in front of Helene.
“Pa, pant! Paaant!”
She finally could breathe.
She survived. Somehow, she survived.
But why does she feel her heart burning?
Actually, it wasn’t her heart that was burning.
It was the heat which was coming from the burnt vines.
Without the vines, she would be burnt badly.
Ian, who was standing out of the area of effect of lightning, made small gestures, then the vines released Helene.
Helene fell down.
She couldn’t manage to keep herself standing.
Ian approached Helene very closely.
“D, don’t come to me……!”
Helene shouted unconsciously.
Her instinct refused Ian.
“Is there anymore,”
However, Ian never cared about her reaction.
Rather, he sat down and looked straight at Helene.
“You want to teach me?”
Helene shook her head desperately.
Any more to teach?
What was he intending to?
Helene couldn’t understand it, also didn’t want to understand.
She just wanted to run away from Ian.
Otherwise, she couldn’t calm herself, from the unknown fear, and her beating heart.
“Then, excuse me, I got to go.”
With those words, Ian walked away.
As he approached, mages stepped back.
And naturally, they made a way for Ian.
At the end of the way, Ian could see some special guests.
Middle-aged mages, who were great seniors to most of the mages.
Including a few Archmages and the Tower Lord, Habert.
They came to the roof when they saw those vines climbing the tower.
Ian said while watching them.
“Can you step aside, please? I feel tired.”
They stepped aside with confused face.
A new Archmage defeated Helene.
The Ivory Tower, which was used to being silent, faced a new era.
Especially, young mages were moved greatly.
“He cast magic while in Ice Block…..”
“He’s on a level of creating magic, isn’t he?”
Wherever they go, it was about Ian, Ian Page.
There were no gossips that didn’t include him.
However, not all members of the Ivory Tower got excited.
“Is she still inside, without coming out?”
“Yes. She refused to eat for days.”
The 19th floor where individual research rooms were located.
There was only silence on this floor.
More than silence, depression.
“Helene, can you hear me?”
In front of Helene’s research room.
With a knock, the Tower Lord called her.
“I understand what you might be feeling. However, you can’t just stay there without eating. Let’s have a conversation, yeah?”
With a warm voice, the Tower Lord unlocked her research room.
While he was entering to her room slowly,
Tower lord quickly cast a shield magic, to block the bottle which was thrown at him.
Inside of the research room was the worse than he could’ve imagined.
A bunch of wine glasses was rolling on the floor.
Glasses which were laying down on the floor were smashed.
Including books, there were nothing that stayed clean.
“It won’t solve any……”
“GET THE HELL OUT!”
Unsettled hair, lightless face, full of the smell of alcohol.
Literally, she looked wasted.
It wasn’t only the result of the defeat.
She was defeated shamefully, in front of numerous audiences.
She screamed like a loser and begged for her life.
However, she couldn’t find any solution to beat him.
She only barely managed to run away.
Her pride couldn’t accept any of these situations.
Her pride was ruined completely.
“Firstly, we better forbid alcohols to be brought in. Have a meal after you get clear headed. The body of every single mage does not belong to them. It belongs to the Ivory Tower. You know it very well, don’t you?”
“Leave me alone. Please…. PLEASE!”
“……. Alright. I will come again tomorrow.”
The Tower Lord left the room.
“Tsk tsk. Look at her face.”
He clicked his tongue.
His face was getting ugly.
He made an immature decision. He had planned to kneel down Ian Page at the very beginning. However, he instead smashed Helene ruthlessly.
‘It’s not a matter of taming him.’
On the day, when Ian Page stomped Helene, Ian Page said to him, ‘please step aside.’ Including him, there were great seniors on his path.
What a brave and arrogant kid.
‘He is not a dog who suits a leash….’
A leash was a tool which only can be used on dogs.
It wasn’t designed for a ferocious beast.
A beast may try to bite the master whenever it can.
‘Rather he was a wolf.”
A beast that can’t be tamed even at its young age.
Now he better choose a different way, to make him a loyal servant to the Ivory Tower.
‘To make him ‘MY’ loyal servant.’
A clearer, unofficial trick.
A secret trick that even other archmages shouldn’t know.
Ian deserved such special treatment.
‘I need a lot of time, a large amount of time.’
Soon, Habert reached the 22nd floor, the room of the Tower Lord.
There, a familiar face awaited him.
“Hello, Tower Lord.”
A boy who dared to sit on the chair of the Tower Lord.
The fifth prince, Ragnar Greenriver.
The boy welcomed him.
“Sorry for being late.”
“I’m okay with it, by the way, please keep telling me the story you have said.”
“What kind of story…..”
Two men who put masks on their own face.
Actually, they suited each other quite well.