Just as Lin Li turned around, the dark-red shadow sprung on him along with a gush of foul wind like a horde of ferocious wolves.
It was fortunate that Lin Li had been living in Andoine's log cabin for more than a month. In this past month, though he had only learnt ten low-level spells, he was far more adept in his execution of the spells than an average mage.
Lin Li pulled back before the red shadow came close and begun reciting the Delaying Spell in haste.
After unleashing the Delaying Spell, he quickly recited the Illuminating Spell.
What was originally a low-grade magic spell used for lighting released an extraordinary power in this dark and damp cave. A cry of horror ensuedthe savage beast was badly wounded.
Lin Li took advantage of this opportunity and retreated another dozen steps. In the blink of an eye, the distance between them had been drawn to a safe one.
Only then did Lin Li have the chance to see the appearance of the monster that had attacked him from behind.
It was a dark-red lion with a tail that was much longer than the average lion's. The tail had an inverted hook at the end, giving off a faint blue shimmer under the afterglow of the Illuminating Spell. Lin Li could see clearly that it had attacked neither with its claws nor teeth a while ago, but instead swooped in on him with the inverted hook on its tail.
Even if Lin Li had been blind, at this moment, it would still have been clear to him as dayit was a Manticore, the level-five magical beast that Andoine had mentioned!
"Old bastard Andoine" Lin Li cursed between clenched teeth, paying greetings to all eighteen generations of Andoine's family in his heart. How irresponsible of the old fellow, sending him to the cave lightly without having any idea whether there were any Manticores inside.
In the little log cabin, Andoine watched the scene on the crystal ball and blurted out a praise. "Nicely done!"
Lin Li's performance was far beyond his expectations. He was calm yet efficient. Even when the Manticore's tail was right in front of him, he never stopped reciting of the Delaying Spell. The Illuminating Spell that followed right after was even more so a stroke of genius. Even Andoine himself had not thought that the Illuminating Spell could be put to such use.
Dealing damage to a level-five demon with a level-one spell was a feat that even Andoine himself had not accomplished.
With the delicate touch of the Illuminating Spell, it brought the distance between Lin Liwho had been just exposed to magic for barely more than a monthand the level-five beast infinitely close.
The badly wounded Manticore was still ferocious. But it had lost both its eyes, so most of the time it was merely expressing its anger and malice. Wild roars echoed throughout the cave; the strikes that seemed like lightning came down repeatedly, most of the time missing their target.
Lin Li was constantly struggling to keep up amidst the relentless attacks.
The Delaying Spell was used alternately with the Hastening Spell, allowing Lin Li to escape from the lion mouth again and again.
He seemed a little clumsy with this. But Lin Li knew that all he needed was a chance. A chance for him to recite his spells.
Lin Li had waited for long before he finally got his chance.
He'd even exposed himself to the claws of the Manticore for this opportunity.
It was because he knew very well that the most terrifying thing about the Manticore was not its claws, but the inverted hook at the end of its tail.
After unleashing another Delaying Spell, Lin Li suddenly broke his stride. He did not turn and run after unleashing the Delaying Spell like how he did before. This time, he stood rooted to the spot, and large verses of spells poured out of his mouth as if he had not noticed the advancing Manticore right in front of him.
There was a thick smell of blood carried by the Manticore's roar.
Lin Li could even sense the chill of its claws
Just as the claws fell, a wave of wind blade tore the air apart. Then, it tore apart the soft abdomen of the Manticore as well. The cries of the Manticore were filled with despair; the sharp claws were so close, so very close to tearing the body of the human in front of it apart. But it was this small distance that became a gap never to be crossed
At that moment, Lin Li had not forgotten to shoot an icicle to clog the wound of the Manticore, preventing the gushing blood from spilling over Lin Li's body.
The action fell into the eyes of Andoine, who deemed it a waste of power. He stomped his feet in anger and chided, "Wastrel!"
In the eyes of the old mage, magical power would always be the most precious of things. Even the smallest amount of power could let you unleash the last spellenough to save your life. What Lin Li had done was a crime in Andoine's eyes, wasting his power just for the sake of keeping his clothes clean!
Though, of course, there was more or less some helplessness in his scolding.
Andoine knew that the kid in the crystal ball was not an ordinary mage. He was a born psychopath, a psychopath with a super-deformity of the mind.
It was still unclear to Andoine where the limit of the kid's mental strength was. All he knew was, if another mage were to practice the highly intense elemental sequencing daily, it would probably take him less than an hour to tire out and return to his room to meditate. But Lin Li was perfectly fine. The kid's mental strength seemed to be endless. To go through how many hours of practice all depended on his mood. Andoine had only ever heard him protest in annoyance, but never out of exhaustion.
That was the truth. Unleashing a few more low-grade spells had no effect on Lin Li at all.
He was crouching next to the body of the Manticore, studying its inverted hook with interest.
The inverted hook was still shimmering with blue light, and a rush of sweet stench jolted his brain as he went closer.
This was a sign of lethal poison.
Lin Li had always liked stuff that carried poison because it meant a deadly force.
So, without much hesitation, he pulled a dagger out of the Ring of Endless Space and very carefully nicked the inverted hook off the tail. Then, as gingerly as ever, he put it back into the Ring of Endless Space.
"" Andoine was at a loss watching the scene from the crystal ball. Was he really a mage with a knowledge of the mystical? No matter how the old man looked, he thought the kid was more like a thief instead
Regardless of how Andoine thought, Lin Li came back safe and sound with a pile of wild steelbloom.
"I need an explanation!"
Lin Li was still brooding over the encounter with the Manticore in the cave.
"What is magic to you?" Andoine did not explain but instead posed a question.
"A kind of skill, a skill that will allow your strength to become more powerful." The present Lin Li was not the piece of clear rock that knew nothing when he first came to this foreign world. He had developed his own understanding of magic under the influence of Andoine.
"Then, what is the purpose of making your powers stronger?"
"To kill!" Lin Li suddenly understood some of it.
"That's right!" Andoine smiled, feeling pleased. "In the eyes of the mortals, magic is a skill that is mysterious yet elegant. But to a real mage, the only purpose of magic is to battle. A mage that lives is a mage that's really successful! You have learnt enough low-grade spells this past month, and obtained a certain degree of skills. But it's far from enough. Without the experience of life and death, and the shower of fresh blood, you will never become a true mage."
"So you didn't tell me there was a Manticore in the cave on purpose?"
Andoine's reply was simple. "It's just a level-five beast, there's no need for a special reminder."