SMage 47 – Waterbending.
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[Name: Artus] [Age: 17] [Gender: Male] 

[Race: Celestial Human] [Essence: 21]

[Status] [Awakened (+28 Spirit)]

[Attributes] [Body: 17] [Mind: 12] [Spirit: 31]

[HP: 14/14] [MP: 21/21]

[Affinity] [Aether - 28%] [Flesh - 41%]

[Core: Level 2] [Slot 1 - Arcane Shell] [Slot 2 - Aether Sense - 24%]

[Active Skills] [Chop - 5%] [Spell Scribe - 38%]

[Passive Skills] [Celestial Charm] [Axe Handling 3%] [Lady Killer - 35%]

[Scribed Spell] [Water Ball] [Water Disc]

Artus was staring at his attributes, lost in thought, while Paige was trying to chase Jacob away. The three of them had their quiet late breakfast together, and now on their way to buy her dungeon-delving equipment. She would need to level up before her ‘invention’ became hot news, just to be safe. Greedy people might have a great idea of snatching her while he wasn't looking.

The effort of empowering her became more beneficial to him when the [Spell Scribe] had revealed its other wonderful function when Paige demonstrated her [Water Ball] spell. He had asked her on a whim and what happened right after that had surprised him. He hadn’t ‘learned’ the spell’s but its unique spell matrix still appeared in his status under a different segment. 

Artus had been obsessed to learn how the water-based spell worked and its symbols ever since. He was able to learn a lot more about the ‘magic programming language’ after he got the chance to compare two very different spells. The odd symbols may actually have their own meanings but he wasn’t sure about it yet. He needed more data just to be sure.

Regardless, the result of this investigation was two spells for her to try out. The water compression effect was a bit difficult to code, but after figuring that out, the rest fell inline easily. He kept the options open for her as she wouldn’t be able to fully understand the spell mechanics as he did. 

Regardless, the experience had told him that [Spell Scribe] could be crucial to him. He was wondering if he should put it into his third slot while trying his best not to listen to the two’s bantering at each other. 

“-But I don’t need you here,” stated Paige. “Please, go home.”

“We know each other since forever, Paige, you know that I want nothing but for your own good,” insisted Jacob.

“I’m not that little girl anymore, I can take care of myself.”

“Your affinity doesn’t have that kind of ability. What would you do if he decides to harm you, splash him with a blob of water?”

“For the last time, Jacob, Artus will never harm me!”

“How do you know that? He is a nobody from nowhere! And you had just met him yesterday!”

“Yes, I know that, but he has done so much more for me than you ever did!”

‘Ouch, that is painful,’ Artus lamented, and as expected, Jacob has no answer for that.

The man’s mouth opened and closed like a fish gasping for air.

Artus would have jumped in and said he was right there, but he had other important things to worry about. Other than watching the worrying surrounding, he was still trying to decide the choice of skill for the third slot. It was crucial because he suspected that only slotted skills were easy enough to be used during emergencies. 

And emergencies could happen at any time without much warning if no warning at all.

Should he go for an offensive third slot or another utility skill like [Spell Scribe]? What kind of skills there were for the Aether affinity or even Flesh affinity? Furthermore, what kind of class he would be offered later? What about the enchanting business plan?

“Artus, will you say something about this?”

He looked at the two arguing love birds who in turn stared at him back.

The future love birds, well, when his plan started rolling, at least. Probably.

Most probably not.

Who could even know when the man was an idiot?

Artus sighed, “don’t worry about her as I’ll keep her safe. Just do what the girl asked of you, Jacob.”

“Or what? You are going to make me?”

“No, not me, but maybe they will,” Artus said as hoodlums began to gather around them. It took them long enough.

“Who-” Jacob stopped when he also realized it.

“Young master, please return home, we’ll take care of these two,” said one of them.

Artus chuckled, “I’ve told you, young master, just do whatever you are told to do like a good boy you are.”

“Young master-”

“Shut up! Shut the hell up!! No one is going to tell me to do anything. I'm the young master here," Jacob emphasized. "I’ll tell you all what to do, and what do you mean you’ll take care of them?”

“Well, the last time, we had fun with the girl,” said another before a few chuckled. 

Paige reacted by grabbing Artus's hand. She wouldn't be so afraid for too long.

“You did what!? Who told you to do that!!?” yelled Jacob on top of his throat.

The biggest man in the group groaned. “This mama’s boy is getting on my nerves, get him out of my sight,” said the leader. The thugs reacted by manhandling the young master while he kept trying to show them who was the boss. It was clear that it was not him.

“How about the girl teach you guys all a lesson or two?” Artus said.

“Artus, I can’t-”

There was a short pause of disbelief before hoodlums laughed around them.

“Paige, I need you to trust me,” he gripped her hand and willed the spells to transfer back to her. The scribed spells then disappeared from his status and Paige let out a small, almost unnoticeable gasp.

She nodded with a new shine in her eyes. Paige brought up her hand and called out a small ball of water.

The laughter got even louder because of the size, but only the caster could feel the real weight of the spell. It showed on her pretty face. Her head tilted while she was staring at the small ball of water as if she was trying to understand its bizarre condition. 

Without warning, the water ball flew towards one of the thugs at a speed not many could keep up.

A loud multiple cracks seized the laughter. 

Her target was sent flying up into the air. The water ball made a swift swirl before it hit the man again while he was still in the air. His body bent into the shape of an L as he was hurled further away.

The body landed on the solid stone ground in a splat and cracks, enough to make the other thugs flinch on each sound. 

The man didn’t get back up. He wasn't even moving.

At such high water pressure, it must have felt like he was hit with solid stone but only worse. The near-impossible feat of compressing water was easily achieved using the magic language. The concentrated mass of water was also moving at near bullet speed, maximizing the impact to maybe several tons of force. Even the hulk would have felt it. 

Higher speed was possible, but Artus didn’t want the water ball to make sonic booms. That would have attracted too much unnecessary attention to both of them. Every pair of eyes in the alley followed the ball of water which flew around freely before it returned back to the girl’s palm.

The men flinched when it shot out again before moving freely to circle around her.

They flinched again when she took a step forward.

Artus chuckled. 

He had turned the simple [Water Ball] to a freaking wrecking ball and he was loving it. Paige’s control was also excellent based on the accuracy displayed.

“Look out!” screamed Jacob as a dagger flew towards the girl. 

The dagger clanged in the empty air in front of everyone’s wide-opened eyes and gaping mouths. The almost invisible twin shells had long been there around both of them when he first sensed the group of people. Artus wasn’t leaving it to chance in terms of safety.

The girl was surprised too, and she looked at him with a new light in her eyes. She should now understand why he was valued by the magi family, as smart as she was.

“Teach them a lesson, Paige. Remember what they did to you and don’t hold back.”

Two more balls of water appeared around her as her tiny weak fists trembled beside her. The three balls of water spun around her as the hoodlums yelled and rushed at them.

Like stones were spun around by invisible slings, the water balls hurled towards her offenders. 

‘It is futile,’ thought Artus. The notion that mages were weak at melee range was simply a false paradigm waiting to be abolished. 

Like out of control wrecking balls, the girl let loose her pent anger with a scream. Their much bigger physiques were thrown to the air before gravity took effect. Others were bashed away and buried into nearby walls with multiple hits. Any retaliation that got through her water balls were thwarted by the improved [Arcane Shell].

The result of this engagement was already written in their fate. 

The sounds of breaking bones, the horrified howls, and the cries of mercy echoed endlessly in the city’s alley. The young master watched in horror until he fell on his butt as the men around him were judged for their sins. One by one they were beaten until their bodies’ healing capability could no longer keep up with the blunt trauma injury.

Seven burly men were battered and bruised until not one could even move a finger.

Paige’s eyes were overflowing with tears by the end of it. Unlike these cruel men, her fragile heart was in turmoil while she was lost in her own pent-up fury. She hated hurting other people but she could never forgive what they had done to her. 

That much Artus could feel from their bond.

“These unfortunate people are here because of you, Jacob," said Artus to the young man. "You should already know who sent them, you just don’t want to admit who the real culprit is. Let’s go, Paige.”

The young master couldn’t say anything as he watched them leave the alley.

 

1Next chapter on Friday. Four more chapters to the actual dungeon action (more surprises coming up)

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