Book 2 Chapter 127

Annelotte Versus Hladik

{Do I attack now?} asked Leguna as he quietly shifted into a position more suitable to attack.

Everyone had surrounded the area in a 100-meter-diameter circle. They emptied the center for the duel while a few illumination spells near the two allowed the rest to see the situation clearly.

{Don't rush,} Gahrona replied, {It's not the best time. You're can't use Host of Darkness yet. Assassinating a 17th-stratum magus as a 14th-stratum assassin can only be done if you kill him in one surprise strike. You have to wait for the perfect moment to act.}

{Even if it doesn't work out, I can still give him a pretty good fight!} Leguna exclaimed emotionally, {But Annie might not hold on long enough!}

{Why did I even bother to take such a dumb disciple?} Gahrona complained, {Do you think everything'll be over once you kill Hladik?}

{Won't it?}

{Of course not! I fought the Eye a number of times myself when I was alive. Apart from the fact that those stuck-up bastards were reasonably powerful, they were also great at teamwork. I bet if you can't kill Hladik in less than a minute, you will have to face another high-order magus and an elite enforcement squad.}

{So I have to wait until they wear each other out?}

Leguna hated the idea that his comrade was risking her life while he just sat around watching idly.

{You have to trust her! Since the kid chose to challenge Hladik, she must be confident she can last at least a few bouts with him. You have to trust her, otherwise, all four of you will die! Don't forget what you promised me!}

Leguna's expression wavered. He understood how hard it was to follow Gahrona's instructions. He did his best to resist the urge to jump in and forced himself to watch the duel.

Annelotte dictated various defensive barriers around her calmly. Hladik didn't take the time to launch any attacks. While it wasn't against the rules to launch an attack immediately, as the side with superior strength, he felt he should go a little easy on the little girl. If he were too serious, he would be mocked by the rest of the guild.

Annelotte dictated a lesser magic nullification barrier and a flame defense barrier before dictating her first attack spell.

A glacial ray shot out of Annelotte's fingertips. It had the color of her hair. It flew straight for Hladik, bringing with it an intense, bone-chilling cold.

The high-order magus was rather discontented by the girl's attack. He even felt too lazy to dictate a spell. He activated his enchanted necklace instead. It deployed a lesser spell nullification barrier.

When the ray impacted the barrier, it dimmed considerably. However, a small beam pierced the into his chest. He groaned lowly. He had been too careless. Annelotte, being a water swayer, was naturally stronger when it came to using ice-aspect spells. She rivaled even normal high-order magi in that regard. Hladik had considered her just a normal mid-order magus and had suffered a loss as a result.

The people around didn't notice. All they knew was that Hladik was an experienced magus and ignored the dimmed beam.

He subdued his pride and hurriedly dictated a defensive barrier.

The fireball Annelotte dictated came flying a moment later. While it was similarly resisted by the lesser spell nullification barrier, the waves from its explosion still managed to blow the magus back a few steps.

Hladik was utterly enraged. He waved his hand, sending a fireball at his the little girl. She leapt into the air, narrowly escaping the explosion. She wasn't confident enough to take the attack head-on. His attack was very powerful. The waves from its explosion sent her flying into a huge boulder nearby. Her face paled and the ends of her ice-blue hair curled up, singed by the heat.

She rose with startling agility, wiping the blood from the corner of her mouth. She moved quickly as she dictated. It was a blink spell this time. Magical light coalesced around her. Under the double obscuration of the dark of night and the spell, her form blurred. Hladik had already finished dictating his next spell: a petrification spell. As the girl moved with uncharacteristic agility, Hladik wanted to turn her into a statue. But he had once again underestimated her. She avoided his spell easily. One moment she was right in front of the crowd. The next, she skipped into space itself.

Within the bubble of space, she began another round of dictation. The moment she re-appeared, she launched a fireball. She had chosen the simplest and fastest spell. While it couldn't cause her enemy much harm, the precision with which she understood it caused the magi witnessing the duel to gasp.

"So blink spells can be used like this as well..." mumbled one of the spectating magi. He had initially thought the duel would be very one-sided. He didn't think the girl would take advantage of her flexible spell usage to delay Hladik for so long. As if he was suddenly reminded of something, he summoned a palm-sized screen of light; his notebook. He was actually taking notes!

When the other magi saw this, they snapped out of their referees and took out their own notebooks and took notes as they observed the duel intently. Hladik had never seen such focus on their faces before, especially not during his lectures. It was a humiliation unlike anything he'd ever experienced before. His thoughts were poisonous. He glared at the surrounding magi coldly and ignored the Annelotte's assault.

"While adept usage of spells can indeed raise one's combat ability," he lectured, "such a difference in power can't be covered so easily! Let me give you all a lesson today!"

Under everyone's shocked stares, he dictated the first syllable of his spell. Dense mana gathered in the space between his hands, pulsing like a heart with each new syllable. An orange-red ball of light slowly took shape.

{An ash cloud spell!} Gahrona cried, losing her calm, {He's actually sadistic enough to dictate such a powerful spell against a little girl?! Leguna, get ready, it's almost time!}

{What's an ash cloud spell?} asked he frantically.

He could sense how terrifying the energy gathering in Hladik's hands was. Even Death's Finger didn't feel so terrifying!

{It's a wide-range fire-aspect attack spell! He isn't going to attack your little girlfriend with a targeted spell. Instead, he wants to burn the whole area into ash!}

{Damn it!} Leguna stopped listening.

He disappeared into his veil in front of a group of people and approached Kurdak. Fortunately, they were enthralled by Hladik's spell so they didn't notice his disappearance.

Shock flashed across Annelotte's eyes when she sensed Hladik's spell. She disappeared into her bubble again. She launched a counterspell the moment she re-appeared. The weak flow of mana momentarily disrupted the formation between Hladik's hands, causing the energy within to escape. It exploded dramatically a moment later.

She stared at the smoke quietly. She knew the duel was far from over, the explosion was far from enough to hurt her opponent.

A few mid-order magi dictated their own illumination spells in hopes of seeing the explosion's results. Bright light was cast onto the large circle of people.

The falling rain soon scattered the smoke. Hladik could be seen standing in the dispersing cloud's midst, a little haggard but not substantially injured.

"You forced me to do this!" hissed he.

Annelotte looked at him, puzzled. She didn't know what he had planned.

Leguna sped towards him. Lighteater shuddered in its scabbard as if excited to devour another soul.

{He's already breaking down. Wait for one more round of spells!}

As expected, Hladik dictated his next spell not long after. A beam of light shot at Annelotte. Leguna didn't know what kind of spell it was, neither did he know whether it hit his girl. He couldn't afford to think about anything else right now. His only task was to drive the sword through the magus' heart.

Hladik immediately started dictating another spell when the first left his palm. Leguna's eyelids twitched. He knew exactly what spell the man was busy dictating.

Death's Finger.

He still remembered the incantation exactly even after so much time had passed since he'd last heard it. Its threat was engraved on his bones.

{I have to get him before he finishes!}

Leguna exited his veil five meters from his target. His figure emerged soundlessly.

Hladik was completely unprepared for the sudden assault. He had only dictated anti-magic barriers since he was dealing with a magus; he had no protection against physical attacks. He couldn't react fast enough to the assassin. He made a split-second decision. He completely ignored the coming attack and focused on finishing his spell.

Half a second later, Lighteater burst out of his chest, obliterating his heart.

Got him! thought Leguna. He slowly stood up and turned his gaze to Annelotte.

She stood there blankly, blood flowing out of her mouth and down her chin. Her chest glowed crimson where Death's Finger had struck.


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