Early in the morning, Yagor awoke from meditation. He stretched his body, put on his magic robe, and walked to the window. He muttered a few incantations and the numerous flashing, star-like spots that were floating about the room immediately disappeared. An archmage would be quite vulnerable when entering a meditative state, and any ordinary man had the capacity to kill him. Yagor had always been a lone wolf; even though he was one of the ten greatest archmages, he rarely interacted with his counterparts and had no family or friends. In order to better protect himself, he carefully set up a few tricks and traps on this small island, even though it was unlikely for others to hurt a person with as much magic power as Yagor. What was more worthy of his attention than his own life?
Yagor opened the window and immediately felt the sun's warmth; his cold heart started warming up. "What a nice day today," he muttered to himself.
This warm feeling vanished when yesterday's failed experiment came to mind. He decided to give it another try, since he still had enough magic power.
Through the darkness along the hallway, Yagor stepped down the stairs and rushed into the basement. All of a sudden, he was alerted by a slight noise from the storage room, where only essential everyday items were stored; his precious things were already hidden in his spatial ring. Mice? Thieves? Yagor shook his head, frowning, and thought, "The traps and tricks are everywhere both inside and outside this house. Forget about mice and thieves, only a powerful archmage like me could get in."
Yagor used his levitation magic to fly to the front door of the storage room and peek through a crack in the door. To his relief, it was Ajia. Yagor pushed open the door and asked, "Ajia, what are you doing here?"
To his surprise, Ajia turned around and said to him, "Master, you got up early today."
"You are…" Before he finished his sentence, Yagor had already figured it out. This room was once full of dust as no one had entered it for almost half a year, but now it was clean and organized. Holding a cleaning rag with dirty, dark water by his feet, Yagor knew that Ajia was cleaning for him.
"Master, your breakfast was ready. I had nothing else to do after cooking breakfast, so I came here trying to make things a little more organized." Ajia said.
"Ah, diligent boy," Yagor said to Ajia, and was moved by him once more. Maybe… He should keep Ajia around and go to Maho Empire to look for substitutes, so Ajia could help more here.
"Ha ha. Thank you, Master. It's my responsibility to take good care of you." Ajia blushed and scratched his head.
"I'm going to eat my meal, then. You can eat some after you finish here. You are still growing, so don't be too harsh on yourself. And…" Yagor paused a little bit and continued, "You can start learning magic from now on." Yagor thought it would be a good idea to have an apprentice like Ajia. Someone who not only looked after him, but could also possibly be his helpful assistant, after he was taught some tricks. Not every trick, of course. This way, if Ajia misbehaved in the future, it would not be too hard to destroy him.
"Master, really?" Ajia went wild with joy, "I really can start learning magic from now on?"
Yagor nodded. Killing could bring fulfillment, as could breaking through one's limits, but helping weaker people could sometimes do so too.
"Thank you, Master!" Ajia bowed to his mentor. Right at that moment, Ajia's back touched a portrait in a crystal frame, which promptly fell to the ground. With a crash, the portrait broke into pieces.
"You idiot!" Yagor didn't want to scold Ajia until he saw what was broken on the ground.
"Bastard!" Yagor shouted at him, and whips made of lightning fell heavily on Ajia's hands, arms, and entire body. The lightning whips, consisting of numerous electrical sparks, fell onto Ajia's body like raindrops. He crawled, twisted, and frothed due to the unbearable pain. It almost made him faint.
Yagor stood up and lifted his arm holding the long whip. Again the lightning whips hit Ajia, but this time he passed out.
Yagor breathed heavily. He'd still shown mercy to Ajia, otherwise Ajia could have easily been killed by a small fireball from Yagor.
Yagor gradually pulled himself back together. Anger faded away and sadness crept onto his face. His stooped shoulders looked even lonelier in his shadow.
Yagor squatted down and very carefully picked up the portrait from the crystal pieces. He stared at the woman with long red hair in the portrait. She wore a light-green leather vest and held a shining longsword. With tightly closed lips, and big eyes full of energy and determination, she looked very cute; one might even say beautiful. Yagor's heart sunk and hurt whenever he thought of her and the life spent with her.
He slowly approached the door holding the portrait, tears dropping to the ground.
"Yagor, you can, I believe in you! You will be the greatest archmage ever!"
"Yagor, buy it, only 3 coins! Not a big deal! You can't fully release your potential without a good wand."
"Yagor, how stupid you were! I was lying to you. I really don't like the leather vest. It won't look good on me. We should buy the magic wand instead. It suits you."
"Yagor, can't you stay with me? The only thing I want is to be with you! Though we will be paid well for completing the task of finding the Flash Leopard Crystal, it will be too dangerous. Let's give it up, ok? Please!"
"Go. Go! I'm a warrior. I will be more likely to survive than you! Hurry up!"
BAM! Yagor's head hit a pillar. It finally brought him back to reality from those beautiful memories. He covered his face with his hands, but he couldn't stop his tears from pouring out. Although he was a master archmage, he couldn't stop sobbing like a woman.
The cherished and precious time spent with this woman always meant a lot to him. One was a genius archmage and the other was a strong warrior. One was always ready to sacrifice for the other. A perfect couple! The man wanted to buy a magic vest for the woman. On the other hand, the woman wanted to buy a magic wand for the man. In the end, the man chose the wand because the special wand could improve both of their powers and unleash more of their potential. But he knew, from the bottom of his heart, that she was really obsessed with the leather vest. This was the exact reason that he undertook the dangerous task: in order to earn the money to buy her the vest, so that he could bring back her beautiful smile.
The damn leopards! They planned to kill just one, but they ended up fighting against seven. At the most dangerous moment, she stood up, protecting him from the group of leopards and buying him some time to escape. She, however, ended up dying. Her gorgeous body was torn to pieces by the merciless wild leopards.
When Yagor finally led the troops to rescue her, it was too late. At that time, everything—including their happiness, their dreams, and their future—was ruined. His heart was shattered. Losing happiness was easy. It was hard to obtain happiness, and it would be even harder to get it back once it was lost.
Since then, he shut himself away, rarely making any friends. He stopped loving any women. No matter how beautiful they were, they were just tools to him. Instead, he concentrated on improving his magic power, which finally made him the youngest master archmage on this continent. But at the same time, he became a stranger and a loner that no one wanted to be with.
Yagor had earned the nickname "Flash Leopard Killer." Before he became a master archmage, he liked to go to different places to hunt and kill flash leopards for revenge, but he left the other beasts alone. Other warrior groups learned of his story and his actions. They followed him and collected the crystals after he killed the flash leopards.
This continued until recently, when Yagor got lucky and found a diary from a dark archmage. He finally got back on his feet again. He wanted to learn as much as he could from the dark magic and explore the mystery of death. He was eager to create a new Lisa, his lady, just like God creating the whole world.
By watching the portrait drop to the ground and the crystal frame break into pieces, Yagor was once more brought back to those old memories that made him deeply sad and broken-hearted. His feeling of hatred was so overwhelming, he decided to reset his magic array and use Ajia to test it again. He was glad that he didn't kill Ajia just now. He still needed to use him for the experiment. He had confidence that, sooner or later, he would bring back his Lisa.
Yagor held the portrait and walked like a zombie. Suddenly, he smelled an aroma coming from the cellar: the aroma of wine. He paused and then turned around, walking towards the wine cellar. He wanted to get a glass of wine, hoping the wine would help him with his anger, sadness, and despair.
He opened the door and noticed that the cellar was clean and organized. Apparently, Ajia did the cleaning the other day. Unfortunately, right now none of Ajia's kind acts could touch Yagor's heart.
Yagor walked up to the wine cabinet, where the bottles were lined up neatly. Strong liquors were lined up in the front, while mild wines were in the back. Without caring too much, he grabbed two bottles from the front and started pouring the liquor into his mouth, all the while still staring at the portrait in his hand.
Yagor always regretted allowing Lisa to keep fighting while he tried to escape. It was a normal procedure when a crisis arose; the warriors always needed to try their best to help the mage escape by continuing to fight. But Yagor would never forgive himself for what he had done, for the bad things he had let happen to her. With more and more empty bottles thrown on the ground, Yagor became more and more drunk. He seemed to feel better under the influence of alcohol, but he subconsciously knew that he had to stand up and keep doing what he needed to do, otherwise he would lose his last hope for reviving his Lisa. He slowly tried to get up.
"Get up! Get up, or you will lose this chance!" Anfey tried to command himself, using all his strength to get his body to stand up in the storage room while Yagor was drinking in the wine cellar. He noticed that this body was not strong enough and lacked proper training and exercise. He barely withstood the first round of whips, and the second round of whips made him almost pee in his pants. Anfey thought to himself, "I really need to undergo some tough training if I want to survive. Otherwise, I will not be able to survive in this world." There was always the saying "survival of the fittest." It was like Iraq invading Kuwait because Kuwait was weak. Some blamed Iraq, but others applauded Iraq. Other examples include America's invasion of Iraq, the Uprising of the Five Barbarians, and the Eight-Year Anti-Japanese Invasion. It was always the case that the strong attacked the weak!
Compared with the modern world, the world of evil spirits was much simpler. It was simple enough that everyone, even as a beginner, knew that the only way to survive was to make oneself stronger than others. Otherwise, he would have a hard life, always worrying about his safety. Anfey didn't want to be the weaker one!
Anfey slowly crept towards the door, cold sweat dripping down his head nonstop. He tried to figure out the proper timing.
Anfey didn't sleep at all last night. From the fraction of Ajia's spirit, he learned of the tricks and traps set up by Yagor in this mansion. He was cautious enough not to walk everywhere in the mansion. He only went to rooms that were safe, and the storage room was one of them. In the beginning, he didn't discover any valuable stuff in the room, but he didn't want to give up and start all over again. Finally, he found Yagor's diary in one of the secret boxes.
This was the diary Yagor started writing after losing Lisa. In the spare time between practicing his magic, in order to help him grieve, he pricked his fingers and used his blood as ink to write Lisa's name over and over again. This diary wasn't that important, so Yagor kept it in the stockroom. On the other hand, he always kept the Archmage's Diary with him wherever he went.
Anfey was smart enough to catch this opportunity. He was confident that the woman in the portrait hanging in the storage room was Lisa, the cause of Yagor's suffering. So Anfey made a plan based on all the information he gathered. He would "accidentally" break the crystal frame of the portrait. Beforehand, he rearranged the wine bottles so that the hard liquor bottles were in front. He believed that Yagor would not think to avoid drinking hard liquor, as he would be lost in sadness and despair. In order to seduce Yagor, Anfey purposefully poured a bottle of wine in front of the wine cellar, so that Yagor could easily smell it. Anfey believed the hint of the wine's aroma would be very enticing for someone who was so deeply sad.
At this point, Anfey didn't have enough time or energy to think about whether or not the plan was perfect, he had to give it his all. Even if it cost him his own life, he would happily go back to the Evil Abyss and start over again.
Anfey tried hard to listen to any sounds from the wine cellar. When Yagor walked into the cellar with a very low mood, he forgot to close the door behind him. It gave Anfey a great opportunity.
Yagor was making louder and louder noises. At the beginning, he tried to put the bottles cautiously on the table, hoping not to scare his Lisa. The more he drank, the louder the noises he was making. Then Anfey heard the noise of broken glasses and knew it was time for action.
Taking a deep breath, Anfey stepped down and walked into the wine cellar. He slowly approached Yagor and said, "Master, you drank too much. Let me help you get to bed."
Yagor looked at Anfey with a grimace and ignored him, then drank another big mouthful of wine. An ant was never worthy of a lion's attention. In Yagor's mind, Anfey was just like an ant. His fate was entirely within Yagor's control.
Anfey approached Yagor slowly and cautiously, trying not to make him suspicious. "Master, let me help you get some rest," Anfey said while adjusting Yagor's wrinkled clothes.
"Go away!" Yagor shouted. He was concerned that he would lose his temper and end up killing Anfey. In that case, he would not be able to continue tonight's experiment.
Just at this exact moment, Anfey hit Yagor's throat with his left elbow. The throat was not considered the most vulnerable place in the human's body, but once it was hit, the trachea and esophagus would suffer a short spasm and the cartilage of the throat would lose control. Even being hit with low strength, it could still make people non-responsive for one or two seconds.
Anfey knew how powerful a master archmage was, so his first attack was aimed to hit Yagor's throat, depriving him of the ability to use his magic.
Yagor's head looked up, and his eyes were full of pain. Regardless of the level of his magic, he couldn't change the structure of his body! While Yagor was painfully holding his throat, Anfey did a semi-spin, using his right hand like a knife to forcefully cut straight through the side of Yagor's neck.
Anfey practiced this many times. Usually, such an attack would take 0.4 to 0.6 seconds. But since his body was weak after Yagor's punishment, it might take even longer than one second. In order to win one second of time, Anfey had first tried to attack Yagor's throat with his left elbow.
When the side of Yagor's neck was attacked, his body immediately leaned towards the other side. The result of this attack was more serious than the one he originally took to the throat. One reason was that Anfey used all of his strength, and the other reason was that the attack on the carotid artery would directly decrease the flow of blood to the brain. If the attack was by a professional, it would either cause a coma or up to seven or eight seconds of unresponsiveness. Although Anfey was not strong enough for that, it would still make Yagor turn into an idiot for a few seconds.
Wasting no time, Anfey grabbed a bottle of wine and smashed it down onto Yagor's temple. The bottle shattered, and glass and wine splashed everywhere. Yagor was bleeding heavily from the temple and was knocked out without any struggle.
Anfey suddenly jumped up and forcefully stomped down. He felt something akin to a rubber ball breaking. Yagor immediately passed out without uttering a sound. An archmage's body was relatively weak. If a warrior closed the distance, it would have disastrous consequences. Anfey's evil attacks one after another, even warriors would be unable to handle it. The poor master archmage completely lost the battle without even getting a chance to use his magic.
But to play it safe, Anfey rushed to the door, grabbing a knife hidden underneath the rug, and turned back to Yagor. He didn't dare to bring the knife with him, as Yagor had the ability to scan one's body. If Yagor had found out that he had knife with him, he would've lost this opportunity.
He lifted Yagor, with his half-white and half-black hair, in his left hand. Anfey stabbed through his throat one time, two times, three times. The blood splattered everywhere. It reminded Anfey of killing a chicken. Finally, Anfey walked towards the door, extremely exhausted. He fell down and passed out once more.