Thanks to her outstanding talent, at the third lesson Quylla was able to execute Loop.
Even though he practiced night and day, Lith needed until the fourth one, ending up as the tenth to complete the exercise.
At first, he had been frustrated by his inability to keep up with Quylla.
Despite her private lessons on dimensional magic and the long hours of hard work at night, he was always up to two or three steps behind.
But then, he understood that being tenth on over two hundred students wasn\'t such a bad result, especially since most of them had a way to go.
Not to mention that his mana sensitivity was slowly but steadily improving.
It was an odd experience, feeling the energy flow with the mind rather than his eyes.
Dimensional spells seemed to have hot and cold spots at the same time.
The secret to stabilize a Gate, was to infuse water magic only on the hot spots.
Using too much of it or affecting an already cold spot, would cause the spatial distortion to collapse.
When the weekend arrived, Lith needed to vent out his frustration, so he proposed a trip to the forest to forget about their worries and fetch some ingredients for extra points or money.
Since he got admitted to the academy, Lith had stopped working, and in case he needed to get his family out of the Kingdom and rebuild their lives from scratch, it would require a lot of gold.
But aside from Quylla, the rest of the group had its hands full between understanding triple cast and managing to complete the Loop spell.
I would love to come with you. Quylla seemed really dejected.
But I\'m useless in battle, and you are a great healer yourself.
Without someone protecting me, I would only be a burden.
The best thing I can do is help them with dimensional magic and practice for the next exercise.
Hearing those words, Lith\'s mood went from good to great.
Work hard for me too.
If you find any trick or shortcut to it, I\'ll make it worth your while.
After that, he only had to go to the portal connecting to the ground floor and the academy\'s entrance.
Before going out, he needed to get the clearance.
The clerk stationed at the front desk, besides the giant wood and metal double doors, looked at him like he was a madman.
Are you really going out alone Where is your team If that was a joke, he didn\'t find it funny.
No team, just me.
Can I go now, please Lith snorted.
Do you realize that once out there you are on your own Outside the exam period, you are not bound to encounter friendly magical beasts.
You are just a fourth-year student, you could meet fifth years too.
Not to mention poachers, adventurers, monsters and gods know who.
The academy is in the forest, but doesn\'t own it.
It\'s full of resources, and everyone wants a piece of it.
No problem, I got this. Lith took out his Ballot, receiving a contemptuous look in return.
That doesn\'t work outside the academy.
The only thing you can use is this. The clerk showed him a marble sized pendant.
In case of trouble, just push its center to generate a distress beacon.
But it\'s not a Ballot, at all.
First the rescue personnel will have to find you, only then a Warp steps can be opened.
It can take minutes!
Lith smiled at the good news.
Fine by me.
It\'s that all
Grumbling about youngsters\' idiocy, the clerk compiled a form and had Lith signing it.
The castle gates are open 24/7.
I recommend you not going to deep and returning for the night.
That\'s the moment when the big predators hunt.
If you still want to go, that makes two hundred points.
Two hundred points! I need to pay to risk my life
It\'s the only to make you kids realize how important this decision is.
Normally, the cost would be split among the team members, but since you are alone…
Lith exchanged the points for the pendant, without a second thought.
Once he was behind the trees\' cover, he put the uniform and everything related to the academy in the pocket dimension, wearing his old hunter suit instead.
With everything that was happening, it was much safer appearing as a stranger rather than a student.
The clerk\'s words were the best news he had received in over a week.
Being alone, as long no one was able to recognize him or live to tell the tale, he had no reason anymore to hide his real power.
Lith had often thought how to conceal his face, and had come with a solution during the four days break.
A mask would have been cool, but would limit his line of sight.
Hoods were good only if they abode to some magical principle, preventing them to come off while moving at high speed.
Not to mention the poor lateral vision.
His old self that had always loved heroes was really disappointed, but he had long learned that practicality was much more important than looking cool.
So he had his mother realize a ski mask, leaving only his eyes exposed.
Once his identity was safe, he started flying among the trees, using Life Vision to check the perimeter for enemies and preys alike.
Being unshackled after so many months, gave him an adrenaline rush.
Lith started moving faster and faster, alternating short flights with high speed movements thanks to Fusion Magic.
- Solus, let me know you sense anything with a huge mana signature.
This isn\'t Trawn wood anymore.
We aren\'t hunting for food, but for magical herbs and mana crystals.
Yeah, too bad that library\'s books can\'t be brought outside.
The forest\'s herbarium and bestiary would save us so much time…
Who would have thought that dimensional magic was that hard We hadn\'t a minute available to copy them.
We\'ll do with what we remember. –
Lith kept going deeper into the forest, jumping from tree to tree with an agility and speed that would have put a ninja to shame.
The killing intent he emitted kept normal animals and insects at bay, allowing him to move unimpeded.
After a few hours scouring the forest, his patience was growing thin.
- Abundant resources my a*s! I haven\'t even spotted a single magical beast so far.
Where the heck is all the good stuff
Down there, look at the bottom of the tree at your left. –
Following Solus\' directions, the only thing that Lith noticed was a big bush in the middle of a clearing.
Switching to Life Vision the scenery changed entirely, though.
The world turned into shades of grey, while the bush was the only thing of a deep green.
On the center of it, there was something that shined of purple light, the strongest magical force he had ever saw.
He floated down slowly, checking to have no competition for the treasure.
- Odd, there\'s nothing alive around here except for trees and plants.
Maybe that thing is sucking all the natural resources.
– Lith thought.
By coming closer, he was able to catch a glimpse of his prize.
It resembled a red lotus flower, and it was floating in mid-air above the thick bush, emitting a sweet fragrance, like a flower bed after the spring rain.
His first instinct was to extend his arm and take it, but his paranoia took the wheel, forcing him to stop.
- Wait a minute.
I get that I\'m pretty deep in the forest, but this thing stands out a lot.
Why no one has found it before And how the heck does that thing floats More importantly, why there is no insect buzzing around And since when plants appear coloured with Life Vision –
Because their vitality was equally dispersed from the roots to the leaves, usually Life Vision perceived small plants as almost lifeless, while big trees had barely a tinge of red.
When he had devised that spell, Lith had planned of using it against humans and animals alike, making it more sensitive to things that had an active circulatory system.
No matter if it was mana or blood, Life Vision sensibility was aimed to things that moved quickly.
The bush appearing of a blue colour was something that he had never forgot about.
With a wave of his hand, the space around the lotus was invaded by flames, and an inhumane screech filled the air.
The bush suddenly moved, revealing countless green appendages hidden underground, that now it was using to smother the flames.
Each of that things was as thick as Lith\'s arms, moving and writhing so fast that he couldn\'t get if they were vines or tentacles.
The red lotus swayed and moved along with the bush-thing, revealing to be connected to it through a small tendril.
The thing didn\'t seem to have a definite shape.
It was a living mass of vines that was whipping the air, trying to capture its prey.
The green appendages moved quick as snakes, grabbing Lith by the arms, chest and legs, only to discover that he had already moved, leaving behind only an afterimage.
Whatever you are, I\'m not H-game material! Back off!
With another wave of his hand, he released countless wind blades, cutting all the incoming appendages like a hot knife through butter.
The thing screeched again, its body no more lying down revealed to be at least three meters high, filling the air with snapping vines.