"Kevin!" the old man screamed as he got to the second floor. "You lazy punk, get out here! There are things to do!"
A long silence. The fat old man got angry and the tightly shut door was kicked and split in half with a thud. Lin Li stood at a side, stunned by what he just saw. How was the old fellow so strong? Was he a mage or a beast?
"President Gerian…" The room was in ruin; inside was a thin, young mage who looked to be about twenty or thirty years old. He stood dumbfounded, looking at the door. He was about to say something but the fat old man shot him a fiery glare, and he could only swallow the words back down his throat.
"Come, let me introduce you. This is Mage Felic, a new mage. He has decided to go through the level certification in Jarrosus' Guild of Magic. Bring him down to process the doc.u.ments; I'll look for someone to arrange the certification. These little rascals are getting more brazen, hiding in the room early in the morning. I wanted to teach that b.a.s.t.a.r.d from Shadow City a lesson, but couldn't find any helpers to back me up…
"Oh, right. Felic, this is Kevin, the famous nice guy in Jarrosus Guild of Magic. You'll follow him to handle all the paperwork, I'll come and find you later."
The fat old man went off swearing, leaving Lin Li and Kevin standing there in a daze.
"Heh heh, the President's character… Uh… He's more straightforward, you'll slowly get used to it in the future." The young mage lifted the two broken pieces of door from the ground as he explained to Lin Li with a smile.
"Straightforward indeed…" Lin Li laughed. The fat old man was much more interesting than Andoine.
Gerian's kick was harsher than a beast's attack. The lock that was behind the door was broken with his kick. Kevin lifted the door up and examined it for a long while, soon realizing that it was impossible to repair it. He could only lean the broken door against the wall, and with a bitter smile, he said, "Let's just wait for the President to call for a repairman. I'll bring you down to process the doc.u.ments first."
"Sorry to trouble you."
On the way down, the two of them chatted from time to time and gradually became familiar with each other.
The fat old man was right, this young mage Kevin was indeed a nice person. Lin Li had asked a dozen questions along the way; if it was someone else, they'd long be annoyed, and only a good-hearted person like Kevin would answer each and every one of them—without losing patience, no less. He would explain twice if Lin Li couldn't comprehend the first time, and only when Lin Li finally understood did he stop the explanations.
"That is to say, after the level certification, I'll be a member of the Jarrosus Guild of Magic?" After listening to Kevin's introduction of some general knowledge regarding the level certification, Lin Li finally understood the reason behind that fat old man's sheepish laugh earlier on. It turned out that there was another meaning behind having this level certification.
"On paper, at least." Kevin nodded and continued, "But the Guild of Magic is a relatively loose organization. Strictly speaking, mages have far more rights than obligations in the guild. After the level certification, you will have the right to use all the guild's facilities like the library, laboratory, and the meditation spot. If you make a significant contribution to an area of study, the guild will also provide you with a large amount of money."
"Sounds pretty good… Then, what obligations do I have to fulfil?"
"Obligations… Other than admitting that you are a member of the Jarrosus Guild of Magic, there seems to be no other obligation. At least in Jarrosus Guild of Magic, the President won't force you to do anything. Even if he does, you have the right not to agree. After all, the guild is a loose organization, there's no subordinate relations.h.i.+p between the mage and the guild."
"Then, why do I feel that you seem to be afraid of the President?"
"He's my uncle…" Kevin smiled bitterly. "Not just kicking my door, even if he beats me, I can only bear with it…"
The certification procedure was easier than expected. It was considered done once the form was filled out.
The questions on the form were almost all about magic. Other than the name and age columns, there were no questions on the family or address. Lin Li had spent half the day worrying over it, and revised the fake identification Andoine had made for him once more.
After filling out the form, Kevin brought Lin Li up to the third floor. They pa.s.sed through a few corridors and finally saw Gerian, who had long been waiting for them.
The old man was incensed. His hands were making exaggerated gestures as he swore.
Not far in front of him, a middle-aged mage was listening in silence, his expression aggrieved and frightened. He nodded while retreating carefully at the same time, as if afraid that the old man's rage would fall upon him.
"Go and tell that fool from the Merlin Family to scram this instant. If they dare to make such requests again, I'll burn their nest down with a torch!" The swearing old man showed a slight restraint in anger when he saw Lin Li approaching and spared the poor middle-aged mage for the time being. "Go now!"
As if being granted an amnesty, the middle-aged mage turned and ran faster than a hare could. He only shot Lin Li a curious glance as he brushed past him on the way out.
"The Merlin Family?" Lin Li frowned at the mention of the familiar name. But after thinking for a long time, he still failed to recall where he had heard that name.
Lin Li had yet to recognize the name when Gerian had stepped forward to meet him. He wondered which year the old man was born in as his mood changed from one moment to another. A while ago, he was still swearing in a towering rage, and with a turn, he reverted to the amicable smile on his chubby face. "How was it, Felic? Have you processed the doc.u.ments?"
"Yes, it's done."
"Great!" Gerian's face beamed with delight. Without any further questions from Lin Li, he hurriedly brought the two of them to the hall on the third level.
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A crystal ball was placed in the middle of the hall. Around the crystal ball lay two kinds of mageweath.
"You… You… Are you a human or a monster?" Kevin asked cautiously, as if afraid that Lin Li would turn into a demonic beast and pounce on him.
"Twenty-eight minutes…" Gerian stared at Lin Li with his eyes and mouth wide open. With a confounded look on his face, he mumbled to himself repeatedly, "Miracle… Miracle!"
Any mage would know what it meant to have a magic output that lasted up to twenty-eight minutes. Most spells, with the exception of a few channel spells, required only an instantaneous burst of energy. In other words, it was only at the moment of unleas.h.i.+ng spells that magic output was needed. A minute of continuous output could be converted into at least a hundred instantaneous bursts of power. The mental strength of a human was limited, after all; even a top mage like Gerian could only maintain five minutes of magic output at the time he had been advancing to the Archmage.
He would never have imagined there'd been such a monstrous character like Lin Li in the world.
Twenty-eight minutes of continuous output meant a few thousands of low-level magic spells. Even if they were legendary spells, this would be enough to unleash a dozen of them. Gerian had really wanted to ask Lin Li whether he was truly a human.
What was the scariest of all was that even after twenty-eight minutes of continuous magic output, Lin Li had shown no signs of fatigue at all. The kid had even approached them in great spirits and asked, "How was it? How did I do?"
Gerian was about to answer when Kevin, who was standing beside him, slapped his hand against his forehead and let out a cry. "Oh no!"
"I forgot to record his mental strength!" At the moment, Kevin wanted to drop dead. It was his responsibility to record the data, but he had been so engrossed in watching that he had forgotten about doing his job. Kevin wanted to hit his head against the wall. He was so doomed; something so important had gone wrong in his hands. With Uncle Gerian's character, even if he didn't die this time round, he'd probably still have to get skinned.
"Fool!" Gerian, however, did not throw a fit—not physically. Instead, he scolded him in a fit of rage. "Record for what! A mental strength that can support an output of twenty-eight minutes… Even if you did record it, no one would believe it."
Then, he took a look around and made sure no one was eavesdropping on them. With a menacing stare directed at Kevin, he threatened, "Destroy all other evidence except the magic level. Also, do not reveal the things that have happened today no matter who asks about it—and that includes your father. If news is leaked, let's see how I'll deal with you!"
Kevin hurriedly agreed. He was so scared that he broke out in cold sweat.
In the end, Lin Li's level in magic had become the least important of things.
With a stroke of the pen, Gerian filled in an "8" under the column for magic level. With that, a level eight mage certification was considered complete.
"Mage Felic, on behalf of the guild, I officially welcome you as one of us. From now on, you are a member of the Jarrosus Guild of Magic. If there are things you don't understand, do ask Kevin," Gerian announced with a smile of satisfaction on his face as he gathered the level certification records.
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