The group safely reached their destination. Before arriving, they had encountered another group of goblins. There was about a couple more goblins than the last time, but they were defeated without too much trouble.
The first battle had been a huge boon to Mark. He had realized something from those two battles. It was that a class 1 magician did not count for much at all, and especially when it came to actual combat. If Mark had run into a pack of goblins alone, he would have died for sure.
He reflected on the necessity of a warrior protecting him from the frontlines. It was a good idea that was of mutual benefit, a combination where a warrior could better display his abilities with a magician supporting his back.
Entering the town, Mark received his reward and booked a room at the local inn. While soaking his body in the bath, he continued to think. There was a need to put a little more effort into training his skills in magic.
In particular, he was still lacking skill in using combat oriented magic. There was always the chance of failing to cast magic he wasn’t familiar with. And a casting failure in the face of a monster, only spelled imminent death.
The very next day, Mark paid a silver to buy a robe. This was another thing he had realized from his recent battles. The poison darts that goblins used were quite dangerous. Enhancing his robe using Armor magic would be a good defensive measure.
Returning to his room at the inn, he took his shirt off to use the Armor spell on it. After his first goblin encounter, he had been practicing it every day. This was why he had succeeded in casting it just before arriving at the town.
Taking out his dagger, Mark carried out some tests on his shirt. He stabbed it with varying degrees of strength, lightly and strongly. The result was satisfying. The Armor magic enhanced shirt would rip only when he applied a great amount of strength.
If it was like this, then the poison darts of a goblin wouldn’t be able to pierce his robe, because after all, the robe was much thicker than his shirt was. Although uncertain, he thought that it might even be enough to stop the fangs of a wolf.
The duration of the spell was a little short, lasting about 10 minutes. But since confirming that the duration of the Warm spell did increase through his nightly practices, he wasn’t too worried about it. With diligent practice, the Armor spell would last longer.
Mark resolved to focus more on the spells, Magic Arrow and Armor. At the least, he needed to be able to fatally wound a goblin using Magic Arrow. He now knew that the duration of spells like Warm and Armor could be increased, so he was certain that the power of Magic Arrow would rise along with his proficiency. Not to mention, it took too long to cast Magic Arrow. While concentrating on completing the magic seals accurately, casting the spell in 5 seconds was the fastest he could go. It wasn’t good enough.
The day after, Mark went around town, looking for a magic store. Since this was a much bigger place than the villages, he was excited to see what he would find. Surely there would be a bigger and better magic store in this town. Mark wanted to make a short visit just to find out the price of a class 2 magic tome.
Relying on the directions given by the passing people on the street, he located the magic store.
A pretty looking shop assistant was there to welcome him. The previous magic store he had visited was directly managed by the owner, but things were done differently here after all. A big town indeed.
“Do you have any class 2 magic tomes?”
“We do. Please wait a moment.”
The shop assistant walked over to a bookshelf in the corner of the store, and picked out two books.
“There are two volumes for class 2 magic tomes. 9 spells are recorded per volume.”
“How much does each one cost?”
“It’s 50 silvers for each book.”
Compared to the class 1 magic tome, which costed 20 silvers and included 12 spells, it was awfully expensive. After saying that he would be back the next time, Mark left the store. He had come to only determine the price after all. To buy those tomes, he needed to work hard.
The rapid bolt of magic flew straight towards the chest of a goblin, dealing a strong blow. He was already drawing another set of seals before the Magic Arrow reached its target.
A mercenary yelled out urgently.
The movements of the goblin that was attacking the mercenary momentarily halted. Not losing the opportunity, the mercenary hacked down the goblin before returning his attention to the other goblins nearby.
Again, Magic Arrow shot out, scoring a heavy hit on another goblin. It was knocked over from the force, and a mercenary swooped down to skewer the monster through its chest.
The continuous attacks by Mark caused some of the goblins to shift their focus on to him. While several of them approached in a run, one goblin was about to blow a poison dart at Mark. He reacted by using his robe to cover his body as he retreated.
The poison dart failed to pierce his robe and fell uselessly to the ground. At the same time, the dart shooting goblin was effortlessly cut down from behind by another sword mercenary, while the ones dashing towards Mark were shot to death by the crossbowmen in the rear.
While the frontline mercenaries drew attention, Mark would aggressively fire Magic Arrows, and when the reverse happened, the others would easily take out the goblins while Mark acted as a distraction. Falling into disarray, they would all be slaughtered.
The dead goblins scattered around on the ground, numbered in the dozens.
“Sure was alot of them.”
One of the men muttered. A white misty breath escaped from his mouth. He was peering at Mark as he spoke.
“Mark. Will you really not join our mercenary group?”
“Gilbert. I’m a free spirited person. Though I’m thankful for the offer, I have to refuse.”
Mark laughed as he replied, then drew the magic seals to cast a Warm spell. Lately, the weather had become so cold that he was using it all the time.
The man called Gilbert was wearing a regretful expression.
“The doors to Gilbert Company are always open. You need only come and I’d be only too happy to welcome you.”
“Thank you, Gilbert.”
Finishing his conversation with him, Mark went over to the goblin corpses to join the others in looting. The mercenaries were chatting to each other as they picked off everything of value.
“Anyhow, I never would have thought we’d be attacked when the town is right before us.”
“I feel the same way. Don’t you think that monsters have suddenly become more aggressive than before?”
Another mercenary, who was skinning the hide off a goblin, chipped in.
“We did get attacked over 10 times during the past fortnight.”
“Well, doesn’t this just bring good working opportunities to mercenaries like us?”
“I just feel like something will happen.”
An aged looking mercenary had spoken out in concern.
“You worry too much. What could happen? Hahaha!”
Yet another mercenary had replied with a hearty laugh.
Listening to their conversation, Mark sunk into thought. It had been over half a year since working as a mercenary, and the number of monsters appearing had been gradually increasing. Thanks to that, mercenaries received more job requests and Mark was busy all the time.
Within those past months, Mark had completed numerous jobs. Most of the requests he took involved escorting and protecting merchants on their journeys, but the encounters with monsters was a frequent happening.
Mark ran across monsters in every single one of his missions, and ended up fight an excessive number of battles. As a result, he became so skilled at using the spells, Magic Arrow, Armor and Daze, that he was now able to use them with his eyes closed. He had vastly improved his speed in completing magic seals, and not only that, he could now use most class 1 spells.
In fact, before the battle, this time again, Mark was able to detect the approaching goblins using magic. This was why they were all prepared to fight, and even though it was an attack made by dozens of goblins, their casualties were minimal.
After completely skinning a goblin using a Sharp magic enhanced dagger and dropping the hide to the ground, Mark went around to pick up some wood twigs and branches.
Mark sat next to the fire he created, and warmed his chilled hands. He took advantage of every moment to use magic. In particular, he always remembered to use enhancing spells with long lasting effects. The hard efforts he put into practice had paid off, and the duration of these spells had greatly increased.
Seeing that the goblin cleanup was finishing up, he put out the small fire, heaping a load of dirt onto the small fire, and stood up to join the others. He quickly wanted to arrive at the town and take a bath.
On the way back to the town, they didn’t come under attack once again. The mercenaries were relieved, yet at same time, felt that it was a pity. Monsters were a source of money after all. They felt even more regretful when they considered the escort party’s current high battle capability that was owed to the excellent mercenary company and capable magician.
As compensation, Mark received 8 silvers. It was the total amount of the 40 coppers earned every day escorting and the money he gained by selling all the goblin hides he had skinned. Mark’s value as a mercenary had slightly gone up and he could now earn 40 coppers per day of escorting. Among the D rank mercenaries, there weren’t many who could receive that amount.
As a matter of fact, part of the reason for his higher salary was the scarcity of magicians in the neighborhood, because the only mercenary magician available in this local area was Mark.
In all his time as a mercenary, he had not once seen another magician apart from himself. But just then, Mark recalled that actually, he did happen to see one other magician. It was the owner of the magic store.
Mark made his way to the magic store. This was because, Including today’s earnings of 8 silvers, he now had 50 silvers. Buying the magic tome wouldn’t leave him with much money, but that didn’t matter. Mark knew that magical prowess would sooner rake in the gold. Being able to use class 2 magic would raise his value even more.
Entering the store, he saw the same shop assistant as he had on his previous visit months ago.
“Please show me the class 2 magic tomes.”
The shop assistant brought out two books from the shelves.
“There are two volumes regarding class 2 magic. Each book contains 9 recorded spells.”
“Is it alright to have a look? I want to decide on which I want after looking through them.”
“Yes, please do.”
Taking one of the books into his hands, Mark flipped the pages to the index to check which spells were recorded. The spells were as follows: Fire Arrow, Telekinesis, Web, Whisper, Ghoul Touch, Alarm, Fire Wave, Fire Endurance, Silence.
After skimming through each spells to get a general idea of each magic, Mark picked up and opened the other book. The spells in this book were as follows: Wood Skin, Alarm, Binding, Eagle Eye, Flash, Grease, Mana Mine, Direct Mana, Hallucination.
Mark was in deep contemplation as he took turns in reading both books. The reason for his indecision, was that the spells he desired to learn most of all were not gathered in one book. Compared to class 1 magic, there was alot of spells that would be useful.
First of all, Mark wanted to master an offensive spell more powerful than Magic Arrow. In the first magic tome, there was a various selection of offense magic. Fire Arrow was the same as Magic Arrow, only that it fires a magical bolt of the fire element. It would definitely be much stronger than Magic Arrow.
Fire Wave was a spell that would spout blazing flames from the caster’s hands. It would prove to be priceless when facing a large number of approaching goblins. The Web spell disabled the target’s mobility. It would also have many uses.
But there was also a number of spells that he wanted to learn in the second magic tome. The one he needed most was Wood Skin. It was similar to the Armor spell, except that where Armor would apply strengthening effects to an equipment, Wood Skin was able to enhance the defense of the caster himself by hardening the skin.
On the other hand, Binding was a spell that forcibly accelerated the growth of nearby plants to ensnare enemies, Flash caused a blinding bright light to break an opponent’s vision, and Grease altered the ground to become slippery, making enemies unable to stand. This set of spells were specialized for controlling the situation of the battle.
After a while of serious consideration, Mark finally made his decision to buy the second magic tome. As of late, he had been fighting battles alongside mercenaries, so he thought that magic that controlled and disabled his enemies would be more helpful than pure offensive magic.
It was a pity about the attacking spells, but with these new spells, he was confident in being able to gather another 50 silvers in no time.
Mark held up the second magic tome.
“I’ll go with this one.”
“Thank you for your purchase, that will be 50 silvers.”
Mark took out 50 silvers from a pocket, and carefully placed the magic tome into his bag.
“Please take care on your way.”
The shop assistant had bid him farewell, but every single fibre of Mark’s being was focused on the magic tome in his bag. He quickly wanted to return to the inn and begin learning the new spells.
Like a young maiden experiencing first love, his chest was thumping wildly.
His footsteps hastened.