49 – Run or Fight – 1
I began teaching intermediate magic in earnest.
Whether it was because she had mastered basic magic or had formed contracts with spirits, Lena’s absorption rate was remarkable.
Especially, her absorption rate for fire-type magic, which has good compatibility with wind, was extraordinary.
Just by teaching the spell and explaining the flow of magical power, she could cast the spell like this.
At this rate, graduation didn’t seem too far away.
“Master! How was that?!”
The Fire Wall that Lena just displayed wasn’t a simple intermediate-level Fire Wall.
Summoning Speed, combined with her wind, created a Fire Wall that was wider and more powerful than a regular Fire Wall.
Seeing her easily handle the coordination with the spirit, I couldn’t help but feel proud as her teacher.
“I guess we should try other elements properly too?”
With a high-five and a smile, Lena raised her hand.
Next is Water Ball.
The Void Pavilion was flawless, and the multiple spells were astounding.
In an instant, five orbs formed of water floated in the air.
I aimed them at the tree, and upon impact, the tree, shattered by the water orbs, not only disintegrated instantly but also had enough force to demolish the surrounding trees.
“Still finding it challenging to overlap?”
“W-Well, a bit. It seems possible to double-layer, but…”
Ah, overlapping is impressive too.
I gently stroked Lena’s head, who spoke with a downcast expression, muttering. I proceeded to teach her the next set of spells.
By the time today’s lesson concluded, the shadows gathered in the forest.
“There you are!”
Here they come! Experience points!
The Asura disciples, who visited once every few days since my first encounter with them, appeared. They seemed slightly stronger than the initial ones, providing Lena with suitable opponents as she mastered intermediate magic.
Now, Lena stepped forward without fear.
Thus, the battle between Lena and the Asura disciples began.
Hmm… Multiple spells are great, but the accuracy is a bit lacking.
Starting tomorrow, I’ll have to focus on precision in our lessons.
I observed Lena and the Asura disciples fighting, and at the right moment, I intervened, defeating all of them alongside her.
“Good job today.”
Lena, now accustomed to killing, nodded as she burned the corpses, completely incinerating one Asura disciple with a combination of speed and coordination. After collecting all the bodies and burning them, I called the tired Lena.
“The enemies are getting stronger.”
Fortunately, the Asura disciples came gradually, making it easier to handle them. However, if we continue like this, Lena may face opponents with overwhelming numbers and strength.
Considering that, it seems we need to make some changes.
“It might be time for us to leave the cabin…”
Running away may be embarrassing, but it’s likely to be helpful. The intervals between them are getting shorter. If we continue like this, you may not be able to undergo proper training.
Of course, fighting against enemies is also a form of training.
But what’s important to Lena right now is how many more spells she can make her own.
If she doesn’t learn a certain number of intermediate-level spells, she won’t be able to learn advanced-level spells.
“If we fight while running away, the Asura disciples won’t easily catch us. So…”
“W-We have to run away, you say?”
Lena’s gaze fell on the hut. She, who had been gently staring at it, slowly lifted her head.
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“U-Until I meet the master… I’ve always lived by running away.”
“By meeting the master… I’ve, I’ve changed. I gained the strength to protect myself and, the strength to protect others.”
“Uh, well. I don’t want to run away anymore.”
Though her voice trembled, there was determination in it.
Clutching her fist tightly and looking straight at me, Lena’s sapphire-like blue eyes sparkled.
She has changed a lot.
The Lena who avoided eye contact and was afraid when we first met is nowhere to be found.
Walking her own path, emitting her own light, she was like a star.
“It won’t be easy.”
The Asura cultists are formidable enemies with such strong influence and power that they are associated with the true ending.
If they decide to attack us, it will be a truly challenging path to face them.
When there’s an easier path, if you choose the path of hardship and adversity…
“But if you think you can do it, we’ll have some challenging lessons from now on. Are you okay with that?”
Lena’s expression was serious.
If that’s the case, I should be serious too.
Staring at her, who was tense with her staff in hand, I drew my sword.
“From now on, we’ll fight. Once a day.”
The moment the words left her lips, I stepped forward with determination.
Simultaneously, as she began to emanate energy, Lena trembled with anxiety. Nevertheless, despite her trembling, she did not cease releasing the energy.
“I’m going. Try to stop me well, because if you can’t, you might die.”
I sprinted towards her, swiftly swinging my sword.
Her hands, unsure of what to do, moved as she wore a pale expression.
What manifested was a barrier of wind.
Unfurling the Moonlight Sword, Moonlight Flash, I overcame the barrier of wind and unleashed Moonlight Dance upon reaching close quarters.
Utilizing Haste to retreat, Lena, with tears streaming down her face, deployed a barrier of fire.
It was a barrier of fire with more than five layers, but it could easily be shattered with Moonlight Wave.
After annihilating powerful magic with a potent attack, I raised my left hand.
The thrown spear of wind was blocked by the defensive shield.
But this was anticipated. I seized the opportunity and maneuvered my sword.
The surroundings darkened, and the full moon revealed itself in the sky.
Had Lena sensed the approaching moonlight blade created by the moonlight?
She frantically poured tears and used magic to deflect the blade.
As the duration of Moonlight Thrust ended, the sky returned to its original state. Lena, who had barely defended against all attacks, gasped for breath and looked at me with flashing eyes, pointing her staff at me.
“I-I can’t do it…”
But in the end, she lowered her staff.
Indeed, she was a soft-hearted one.
No matter how much training she underwent, it seemed she couldn’t bring herself to use magic against her mentor.
Certainly, even during our earlier fight, Lena had only used defensive magic passively.
Watching Lena, who started crying and sniffling, I sheathed my sword and approached her.
It seems like she thought she was in trouble.
Her appearance, hunched shoulders, and a more frightened demeanor were far from the strong magician who faced the Asura sect.
“Stop crying. Hush.”
I wiped away her tears with a handkerchief.
Rena, who had been staring blankly, finally seemed to relax and started sobbing, clinging to me.
After crying for a while, she stopped, but she didn’t let go of my hand.
“Th-that was really… s-scary…”
“Yeah. Yeah. But this is also part of the training.”
“I can endure anything else. I-I was afraid that Master might hate me…”
“Me? I have no reason to hate you.”
I was treating her so well.
I patted Rena’s head, and she took her head from my arm, resting it on my lap.
The scent from her soft silver hair tickled my nose.
She, who had been playing up to me, let out a deep sigh.
“With this… I-I can’t fight against the Asura sect… Should I run away…?”
“You can’t get full on the first drink. It’s a rule.”
Until now, Rena had always eaten her fill on the first drink.
“Get used to living. The elite of the Asura sect has this level of survival skill as a basic.”
“Living is… fine… but it’s yours, Master…”
“I won’t dislike you. No matter what happens.”
I firmly held Rena’s hand. Looking at me with wet eyes, she pulled my arm around her again and started wiping her face.
Oh dear, how can she fight against the Asura sect like this?
“I’ll make something delicious for you today, so take a break now.”
“From tomorrow, we’ll get serious. You need to learn intermediate magic faster.”
“And we’ll do this again.”
Although Rena seemed discouraged about facing another duel tomorrow, she nodded with determination.
Like a stubborn fellow.
Sitting at the table and watching Lee Hyun cook, Lena thought about what had happened earlier. It was terrifying. The fact that her respected and beloved teacher had actually tried to kill her. Of course, it was just a training, but what if it had been real? What would she have done?
“Ugh… I, I hate it…”
That was the one thing she truly hated. Everything else was fine, but she despised being disliked by her teacher more than anything else. Lena wrapped her head in her hands and slumped onto the table.
And then, she remembered the words Lee Hyun had said to her earlier.
“I will never hate you. No matter what happens.”
“Is, is that really true? No matter what I do, my teacher won’t hate me… right?”
Lost in thought, Lena tilted her head.
Does not hating mean liking?
Of course, it may not be so. Not hating doesn’t necessarily mean liking, and the feeling of liking can be different from feeling liked by someone else.
But still, unknowingly, a warm feeling bloomed in a corner of Lena’s heart, and she burst into laughter.
“Hehe, hahaha. That would be… nice.