"That girl must join too!" the youth suddenly said as he turned his gaze to Sasha, who was desperately trying not to attract attention. Since the brat of a girl looked so confident, the noble youth wanted to tack her on with another burden.
"Fine," Innilis agreed generously. She knew that Leguna wanted to train Sasha too, so she didn't refuse.
But why is Big Brother so concerned about Sasha? Innilis thought. It didn't occur to her that Leguna was trying to help her after finding out she was a gifted too. If she truly had a latent gift, she could be nurtured and Annelotte could benefit from it too. However, given how sheepish Sasha currently was, Leguna didn't think this would work out too well.
Sigh, I guess I'll cross the bridge when I come to it.
There was an arena set up in the academies for apprentice magi to conduct practical training. However, the designers also considered using that place to resolve personal conflicts among students. The one in charge of the arena building was a hunched old man who expected the building to be quite hectic. He just didn't think that there would be people going to it on the first day itself.
"Non-official use of the arena will cost five gold coins!" the old man said, practically yelling to Leguna.
"Five gold coins? Geez, Annie, you really are a vampire!" Leguna mumbled as he fumbled for his money.
"Pire? What pire? I said I want five gold coins!" the old man yelled.
"I don't need you to pay for it!" The youth pushed Leguna away and was quite dissatisfied with his carefree attitude. He decided he would teach him a harsh lesson after dealing with the two brats.
"Suit yourself." Leguna shrugged. Since there was someone willing to foot the bill, Leguna didn't mind saving some money.
"Five gold coins, got it?!" The old man didn't hear what they were saying and merely repeated the amount he was charging.
"I know, you old deaf!" The youth waved in annoyance and handed the coins to the old man like he would a beggar.
"Yep, it's five gold coins alright. I wonder what that had to do with the pyre?" the old man said after receiving the coins.
"Hahahahaha!" Leguna laughed without restraint. He didn't think his complaint would elicit such an unexpected reaction.
The youth popped a vein from rage. He expended quite a lot of effort to hold his rage back and shot Leguna a fierce glare. Leguna smiled at the youth like he enjoyed the attention.
"Hmph!" The youth turned and entered the arena.
"Don't be afraid, I'm here," Leguna said as he stroked Innilis's head encouragingly. He turned to Sasha and patted her on the back too. "You too. You'll be fine."
"Okay!" Innilis nodded hard and went in confidently.
It's my first duel, so I have to do my best! Innilis told herself.
"What should I do… How do I defeat that man?" Sasha said, shaking from fear.
"I am Hoffman, 7th-stratum magus," the youth announced. It was a custom of duels between magi. At the very least, they had to know who they were fighting.
"Innilis, 6th-stratum magus," Innilis said.
"Wi… WInleysha…" Sasha stammered when the youth turned to her, "I'm… I'm not a magus…"
"Are you kidding me?!" Hoffman spouted with rage. How could someone who wasn't a magus enter the academy?
"Alright, it doesn't matter. I alone am enough to deal with you!" Innilis said, standing ahead of Sasha.
"You will regret this!" Hoffman yelled, before he began his dictation.
The first spell he chose to use was a lesser spell nullification barrier. It was the only level-four spell he had learned to use. With it, Innilis wouldn't be able to harm him with her level-three and lower spells.
When Hoffman heard that Innilis was only of the 6th stratum, he almost jumped with joy. With that barrier, only spells level four and above could harm him.
As expected, even though Innilis finished the dictation of her magic missile spell a second earlier, the time it took for the projectile to travel made her slight speed advantage pointless.
"Foolish girl!" Hoffman yelled before he started dictating a fireball spell.
Innilis closed her eyes and countless methods to deal with it surfaced in her mind. In the end, she decided to take a risk.
Sis Annie said that a counterspell works by injecting one's own mana into their formation as their spell charges up. I only need to find that point… Innilis began to sweat, but she grit her teeth and decided to give it a try.
"Stop!" Innilis cried as a blue magic glow shot out of her finger.
The mana entered Hoffman's formation before he was able to react. The formation dissipated due to the interference.
"Counterspell?!" Hoffman's eyeballs almost fell out. Wasn't the girl just a 6th-stratum magus? How could she use such a high level spellmutation? It was impossible!
It did seem rather implausible. All Annelotte taught Innilis was the theory and principles of counterspell. But if understanding that was all it took to inject a stream of mana into an enemy's magic formation, it wouldn't be that hard to pull off for so many other magi.
While the technique relied on using mana to interfere with the enemy's own mana flow, the mana had to be accurately fired into the spell formation, and that required precise guidance by one's enthymema.
However, there could be a problem with that. When the counterspell user's enthymema entered the enemy spell formation, the enthymema could be forced to flow according to the spell formation and cause the user to use the very spell they were trying to cancel out.
Being forced to use a spell unwillingly meant only danger, no matter what spell it was.
Usually, a proper magus would immediately dissipate their enthymema after interfering with the enemy's spell formation to prevent unleashing an uncontrolled spell through the use of a mana resonance. A mana resonance was created by unleashing a wave of mana that had the exact amount of magic particles of the spell being countered, which was the hardest part of a counterspell.
A fireball spell required around 400 to 800 magic particles to use, but the fixed number depended on the finesse and control of the spell user.
If magi wanted to prevent being made to cast the spell they were trying to counteract unwillingly, they would have to predict the mana usage of the spell based on their opponent's condition to achieve resonance. The magic particle difference between the mana wave and the spell couldn't be more than ten or so. Only those with the most precise calculation ability and mana control could use counterspell properly.
However, Innilis, who had just started her magic training, couldn't possibly know that much.
As a result, the spell formation for fireball appeared in front of Innilis, much to the shock of those witnessing it. She felt her mana being forcefully drawn away and the formation triggered.
"Innie!" The moment the formation appeared, Leguna knew something was off. But as the arena was lit, he couldn't use Shadow Blink, so the formation had activated the moment he rushed to her side.
Leguna was only able to shield her from half the shock of the blast.
"Innie!" Even though his face was slightly charred by the blast, Innilis was faring much worse, with her hair still on fire. He leapt over and tried to put out the fire around her.
However, that didn't solve the core problem. Though she suffered only half the blast, Innilis's petite physique and the superficial knowledge of combat Annelotte taught her didn't prepare her for the damage. The left half of her body was heavily impacted by the blast. She spat out blood nonstop. It seemed that the shock hurt her heart.
"Hahahahaha!" Hoffman laughed out loud. "What a joke. Counterspell? Spellmutation? It was just all a dumb brat pretending to be a high-order magus! Hahahaha! You got what you deserved!"
"Shut up!" Leguna threw a shadow knife that whizzed past Hoffman's neck. It was one centimetre away from cutting his artery open.
Leguna had already held back with that throw. If it were back then, he wouldn't have missed.
Hoffman was so terrified that he broke out in cold sweat and obediently stayed quiet.
"Eirinn! Eirinn!" Leguna called out frantically. However, she was still in the restaurant healing that injured girl. Innilis was coughing out blood nonstop, so what should he do?
"Are you messing around again?!" Annelotte said. She showed up at the entrance of the arena without anyone noticing.Previous Chapter Next Chapter