City of Sin

Book 1, Chapter 28A
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The First Blow

However, could he handle this strength? For the first time in his life, Richard found himself wavering.

The horse lost stamina quickly, slowing down. It was still much faster than most armoured horses, but its stamina dropped faster and faster until, after bashing into one last obstacle, it was completely fatigued. It gave a pitiful cry, collapsing to the ground with a large amount of froth at its mouth. Its hooves twitched for a moment, and then stopped moving.

Richard cried out, not expecting this outcome, and gazed with urgency at grand mage Fayr. The old mage patted him, saying, “No need to panic. An ordinary rune would only raise its speed by 30%, but the one you made isn’t good enough. It’s up to a 50% increase, so the horse couldn’t bear the rune. This was just an experiment anyway, that’s why we just forced the rune on it. If everything was perfect, the rune wouldn’t have harmed it at all. Now, I’m sure you’ve seen how runemasters can change the world.”

Richard nodded. His heart was still thumping wildly, leaving him unable to speak.

“This is a power that can change the world. Use it wisely, you in particular.” Fayr stated meaningfully and took Richard away.

Richard was given permission to rest that day, something he needed desperately. Drawing the rune had left him in a state of excitement the entire night, and he’d already lost all his strength and mana. He hadn’t been able to contain his excitement at the sight of the rune he’d made himself, but once he calmed down he felt a wave of fatigue overcome him. It felt like heavy stones were pressing down on his eyelids, leaving him unable to open them all the way. The only thing he wanted at that point was to fall asleep in place.

Fayr called a mage on shift and asked him to bring Richard back to his residence alongside two strong beings of another race. Once the mage on duty left, he thought over it once more and called a student next to him. He passed a receipt for things to buy, sending Richard a box each of powerful mana potions and energy potions from his own pocket.

This student was already thirty, and had followed the grand mage for many years. Although he only looked slightly shocked on the surface, his mind was already surging with storms. The two boxes would only have ten potions each, but each potion would be far more effective than those from the outside. While Fayr had a high rank in Deepblue, and his income matched his status, these two boxes of potions were akin to his salary for an entire month. This was the income he used not just for his own expenses, but also to operate his lab and pay his staff!

The other young students next to him couldn’t hide their thoughts either. There was a lot of astonishment and envy, and only a small number were indifferent to the situation...

The testing of the rune took up the whole morning. Fayr took a look at the magic hourglass that told the time, and found that the afternoon magic philosophy lessons were about to begin. The teleportation formation in the northeast corner flickered at that moment, and Steven and Minnie walked out.

Seeing the grand mage in the distance, Steven immediately cried out, “Professor Fayr, I finally found you!” The cultured and refined youth revealed an impatience and joy that could not be restrained.

The youth ran up to Fayr, giving him a respectful blow while filled with anxiousness. It had to be said that his etiquette and bearing was outstanding amongst people of his age. Considering his great family background and splendid talent, the fact that he was even doing this was admirable. Compared to him Sharon’s other two apprentices as of now were obviously lacking. Minnie often unknowingly displayed arrogance, while Richard mostly cared for nobody and nothing. Be it in class or in break, the boy was focused on his notes and the teaching material, basically ignoring everything in his surroundings. Many who wanted to befriend him would find themselves at a loss.

“Professor Fayr, I created this last night after a sudden gush of inspiration. Please appraise it!” Steven’s tone showed his eagerness. His humble attitude couldn’t hide the pride he felt in his accomplishment, and one could not help but be curious about what he’d brought. The youth carefully opened a leather suitcase in his hands that was made with magic, revealing a hexagonal beast hide that he passed to Fayr.

This dark red beast hide had a strong smell of sulfur. There were dark patterns on it that looked like bloodstains, with the large black spots showing that it had been taken from an extremely dangerous beast— the blazing earth dragon. Exceptional sturdiness and great magic conductivity made earth dragon hides the standard materials to draw runes, useful at ranks 2 and below. The specific hide Steven took out was even more exceptional than normal, able to perhaps make a rank 3 rune in the hands of a skilled runemaster.

The hide had been tailored and processed exquisitely, evidently not Steven’s own work. At the middle of the hide was a complicated spell formation in the shape of a closed fist, exuding a savage aura.

The lines and composition of the formation made it evident that the one who’d drawn it was quite proficient, and it was good by normal standards, but the shape was still somewhat crude. Since this was a formation that fused three smaller ones together, it required a precision and grasp of the big picture that could not be measured by ordinary standards. Although the formation wasn’t complete, the occasional magic light flickering from several corners indicated that some parts of it were effective.

Grand mage Fayr scanned the spell formation on the dragonhide for a while, nodding with slight surprise, “Elementary Strength, and it’s about... 20% complete. Hmm, not bad for your age and ability.

“This rune obviously has Saint Klaus’ style. Looks like he’s quite attentive in coaching you. I’ll have Luce study it when he gets back, and see how you can improve.”

Having said this, Fayr passed the dragonhide to a student next to him and headed for the teleportation point. The old grand mage paused when he was next to Steven, taking a long look at the young dragon warlock before saying, “Also, that dragonhide was pretty good. This is a bit of a waste.”

Escorted by a few students, Fayr’s figure disappeared into the rays of the magic formation. The skies were dark, and the wind was chilly.

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