“Rise, A-rise, A-rise! Fire Lance!”
I deflected Lina’s fire attack with my Fire spell, which I had set in one of my Swift Magic slots.
Lina had quite a lot of variety of spells invoked from her Spell Circles. I could identify some of them with the Appraisal Glasses, but regrettably, it would be hard to track most of them after they were out.
In the end, I needed split-second judgment to choose the right counter spells for her attacks.
I had chosen to take all Lina had to throw at me. As I had agreed with Pochi last night, we would give it our all to withstand Lina’s full power.
“Whew… whew. Rise! Fire! Speed Up!”
“Kuh — hah!”
The crowd cheered us on. It felt amazing, for me being watched on by so many people, and presumably for them witnessing an unexpected technique. Although my Fire spell was invoked by Swift Magic, it had been applied with quickening magic one wouldn’t expect a Freshman to use easily. It still could be brushed off easily with a staff, but if that failed, the recipient would suffer considerable damage – Whoops!
“Rise, A-rise! Whirlwind!”
Lina drew a Spell Circle at her feet and set it sliding under me, sending up a coil of wind. I managed to escape by enhancing my physical abilities with magic, but considering how I could only stay on the receiving end, perhaps I was on the losing side there.
Lina’s delighted countenance was dazzling. Sweat streaming, breath heavy, she had finally reached me by the fingertips, and I couldn’t possibly shake her off.
“Very good, Lina! Here’s to your graduation!”
“Yes! Thank you very much!”
A graduation from a little magic school, one unknown to everyone here except Lina, Pochi, and I.
Lina shivered and did her best to hold her tears… Oh no, my eyes are starting to-
“She’s finally graduated! This calls for a celebration!!”
“How come you’re the one who cries first!?”
“I’m so sorry that you had to put up with a teacher like him all this time!!”
Pochi’s cry-howling sent the whole venue into a wave of confusion. Lina, on the other hand, changed her expression as if she had experienced a paradigm shift. She opened her eyes, letting sparkling tears scatter, leaving not a trace of overwhelmed emotions in them.
It was as if she had noticed an apparatus about to explode, and switched it off before it could. Now she took one step toward me.
“The real show starts now, Master~~”
“You do remember the plan, right?”
“Yes, sir. You’ll take on Baladd, and I’ll watch over Lina!”
“Nope, that’s not it! You got the most of it right, but not the last part!”
“Ahahaha, I know, I know! We gotta go full power from the start, right!?”
“You got it!”
And then Lina’s Spell Circle was completed.
A dark silhouette emerged from the radiant flash.
Such was the summoning of Ballad Dragon, the Four-winged Dragon. Looks like she’s grown up two more meters. Now, let’s see how much you’ve improved during the last month… WHAT!?
Make no mistake, it was indeed Baladd. But in one of her fingers, she’s got a… sword?
Wait, no, that was the staff-estoc Lina used when she had fought Hornel’s team.
Tch – Appraisal Glasses, do your thing!
- NAME: BALADD
- TITLES: Four-Winged Dragon, Advanced Familiar, Rank A, Mage
- LV: 30
- HP: 2,209
- MP: 761
- EXP: 66,701
- SPECIAL SKILLS:
- Breath Attack
- Space Interference
- Attack Magic (Elementary)
- Support Magic (Elementary)
- Recovery Magic (Elementary)
Damn it, I was afraid this would happen! She can already use magic!
“Pochi, keep Lina busy!”
“Leave it to me!”
“Speed Up! Power Up! K-kyah–!”
Lina successfully applied support spells onto Baladd at the last second, with Pochi’s disruption preventing her from taking further action. From a tactical standpoint, Baladd is my only opponent from this point on.
To be frank, it wouldn’t be so difficult to win against Lina. But simply zoning her out of the fight would definitely not count as a victory… So I’ll face everything Lina has to throw at me head-on.
“Master Asley, I’ll give it my best today!”
“Yeah! Come at me with all you’ve got!”
“Hype Up! Title Up!”
Damn, that was a good plan. Setting augmentation spells with completely unrelated effects as Swift Magic to prevent overlap… Should have been an obvious choice, now that I’ve seen it in action.
Moreover, I’ll be using only intermediate and lower-level spells. Right… this might get intense.
“Here I go!”
Well, she’s already mature enough to not go along with that, though. Her enormous build already took up a quarter of the whole fighting space, she’d been boosted with quickening magic, and now she’s charging right at me… Yikes!
I managed to evade Baladd’s feet by the skin of my teeth, but then the crown of Baladd’s head busted right through the venue’s defensive force wall spell. The high-pitched shattering rang and buzzed in my ears. It was very rare for the force walls to be destroyed during the Friendly Match. If anything, this place is the Magic University. Perhaps they haven’t been expecting A-ranked monsters to attack the place very often.
Irene and Billy promptly took action. They’re probably creating a stronger force wall this time around. Works for me.
“Rise, Middle Chain Double!”
“Ukyah! That won’t work! Shaaa!”
Along with an adorable cry that reminded me soprano of a boy, she brushed the intermediate-level restraint spell aside. Did it quite splendidly, nonetheless. Although designed to be used against human opponents, the spell was effective against monsters, too. Her dealing with it so easily had decreased my range of viable tactics considerably.
Baladd breathed a scorching stream of dragon fire from her mouth. I dodged, then the fire hit the new force wall and caused the same shattering screech as before.
At this point, I’m sure Irene and Billy were having their hands full maintaining the wall.
The audience grew uneasy but unbeknownst to us Gaston had already encamped himself opposite to Irene, two of them practically clutched us as we fought. It seemed that he was now maintaining the force wall together with Irene, fortifying it greatly. What exactly do you want to ensure with that, old man? For my opponents go all out even more?
“Rise, Middle Chain Double! Rise, Middle Chain Double!”
“That won’t work, Master Asley!”
“Rise, Middle Chain Double!”
“So purr sistent!”
I fired off the same spell again and again, each time failing to faze Baladd’s tenacious figure. Although her reversal attacks did consume a fair amount of arcane energy, it would still be difficult to shave them off at the rate we were going.
In this case, I had to bank on exploiting Baladd’s immaturity!
“Baladd, are you aware that magic spells linger for some time after they are invoked? Middle Chain Double!”
“Of course I do!”
“Rise, Middle Chain Double!”
If you do, then what about all the spells that you had shrugged off!?
“Now! Remote Control!”
I invoked the Circle that I had been tracing discretely with my left hand.
All the scattered Middle Chains strapped themselves onto Baladd at once.
Although they were intermediate-level, the great number of chains were strong enough to hold the colossus down. In fact, they contained her so well that she was almost completely immobile, save for the fingers of her limbs.
One thing I was glad for, was that I had been able to restrict her movements before she had the idea to use Space Interference. I would have landed in hot water otherwise. If Baladd had garnered some more experience for herself, I wouldn’t have been able to pull the stunt off, either.
“Gotta… get them… off–!!”
“And… checkmate. Don’t push it, Baladd.”
I held the pointed end of my staff at Baladd’s mouth.
And then Lina announced her surrender.
“Duuudee!! Way to go, Asley!”
As the Maginasium had just fallen into dead silence, Bruce’s voice alone echoed intensely through the venue.
Betty’s voice could be faintly heard as she berated and attempted to restrain Bruce, and Blazer said nothing while he clapped his hands.
Doing the same after the latter, were Duncan, Dallas, and the folks from the Adventurers’ Guild. In no time the whole audience followed suit, as if it was an instantly contagious phenomenon.
“”WHOAAAAA!! THAT WAS AWESOME!!””
Overwhelming applause and cheer… congratulating, praising, and expressing excitement toward my victory, a victory of a talentless man. It was a scene that I had never been subject to until now.
I could hear a sudden, prominent pulsation inside me. The proof of my streaming blood, of my life, intensifying as if to fuel my arcane energy. That, too, was a sound that I had never known until now.
“Congratulations, Sir Asley.”
“Lina… you did great.”
“But you could’ve ended it instantly if you went all out! But that was all I had… against my teacher… I… I…”
“Gah — Lina, c’mon, don’t cry here–“
“B-but… I’m — I…”
“Bah, you haven’t learned a thing about a woman’s heart, Master. You should give her a good hug and let her cry it all out!”
“Master Asley! Hurry and get these shanes off alreadyy!”
“Leave that to me, sir. You do your job, Master!”
Pochi was being perfectly reasonable for once. Still, the Master being the one taking orders from his Familiar is a bit… Well, I suppose I should thank her for it this time around.
I approached Lina, and as she wiped her tears, I patted her head. Then, as reluctant as I was to follow my Familiar’s order, hugged her on her shoulders.
And at that moment voices of powerful cheers broke out, so intense that even an Ogre King would go pale. The roar kept shaking the air in the Maginasium and the ground of the Magic Univerity. I see, so that was what the saying meant – people are not strong, but they can exhibit incredible power. I’ve long forgotten where I’d heard that from, but I couldn’t pick a better phrase to describe how I’m feeling now.
“C’mon, Lina. Everyone’s waiting.”
Her frail shoulders straightened up. With the glint of a strengthened confidence in her eyes, she looked into the distance, then for a brief moment back at me.
Such was an emotionally triumphant moment of my excellent pupil, a cry-baby, yet an adorable pupil. She filled me with so much power that I didn’t even mind all the bashing from the Guild folks coming at me. I smiled, naturally as can be, then Lina followed, and together we gave our thanks to the yet unrelenting congratulations.