“About time they stopped hiding,” I muttered to myself, taking in the scenery around me.
Several minutes had passed since I successfully acquired the Awakening Skill and started walking to the top of the mountain where the Ether Cannon user was.
There are three enemies at the summit. So far, only one of them is confirmed to have an Awakened Skill, a Mage who uses a high-powered, ultra-long-range, lightning-fast sniping magic called Ether Canon. As for the other two, I don’t know whether they even have Awakened Skills or not.
The path I took was overgrown with tall trees. I was able to proceed without being shot at.
But from now on, it will be different.
As I approached the summit, the trees became sparser and shorter, until eventually there were none. In a few more meters, there would be nowhere to hide, and I would expose myself to the enemy.
The effective attack range of a Sage is basically less than 100 meters. If the enemy spotted me, I would have to move nearly two kilometers while under attack by a sniper. With three of them, I doubt they would fail to notice me if I just walked normally.
Normally I would use Mana Invisibility in this case, but there’s too much distance to cover. If I moved too fast, the spell would be extremely ineffective, but if I moved too slow, I would never get there. If it only takes a whole day, closing the distance slowly is an option, but a couple of days is too much.
After pondering over the matter for a while, I activated my Mana Invisibility and started walking towards the top of the mountain.
If the enemy is far away, you should close the distance quickly, even if it means your covert abilities being less effective.
The closer the distance, the easier it would be to spot Mana Invisibility anyway, so I can’t spend too much time here. I’m not going to run, of course. Just walk a little slower than usual. If they can spot me even at this distance, then I can’t really rely on Mana Invisibility in this situation.
If I slow down as I get closer to the enemy and enter the range of Steam Explosion, the fight will be very easy. All I have to do is cast Steam Explosion while hidden. It’s a simple yet powerful strategy that doesn’t even require the Awakened Skill I acquired on this volcano. I’ve used a similar approach many times before, but that’s only because this strategy is so effective.
But I have a feeling it won’t work out that easily this time. The enemy has taken the only place of Awakening that can be used by those who are not familiar with the system, and continues to camp it even when the Awakening ritual is over. It’s clear that they have assumed the possibility that their enemy knows about the Awakening system as well as they do, and have taken countermeasures.
I would be underestimating them too much if I thought I could defeat enemies who have done substantial preparation with a single spell from a hidden spot. If Mana Invisibility doesn’t work, I got a few more tricks up my sleeve. That’s why I took the trouble of acquiring the Awakened Skill Ether Hack before coming here.
Several seconds later, the enemy suddenly became more frantic. They were facing me now. Actually, there was too much distance between us to tell where exactly they were looking, but the fact is, they were facing towards my general direction. I can assume they already know.
As expected, I suppose.
The enemy is probably aware of Mana Invisibility. No. They may not know that I’m using a spell called Mana Invisibility, but they understand that I’m using some kind of cloaking magic.
Intel from our fight against Cardinal Georgis has probably reached the enemy. If the Cardinal was backed by the Empire, it’s only natural that there would be some information about how he lost. In a way, it was only natural for them to arrive at the conclusion that I would use cloaking magic.
If they’re aware of my tricks, it’s not too difficult to counter Mana Invisibility. After all, the enemy only needs to protect the summit of this mountain.
They had plenty of time to prepare before we arrived, and there are many ways to detect the enemy’s approach, both magical and physical.
Since Mana Invisibility doesn’t magically reduce the caster’s weight to zero, in extreme cases, digging countless pits around the summit would be enough.
Of course, there are plenty of tactics that are much more efficient and effective than pitfalls if you use magic. There shouldn’t be any spells that act like landmines, but either way, you don’t really need anything highly-advanced to detect the presence of an enemy.
The fact that Cardinal Georgis did not prepare any counter was pure carelessness. Then again, since cloaking magic doesn’t seem to be widespread in this world, they didn’t prepare any countermeasures. Let’s assume that as soon as they learned that someone who could use cloaking magic appeared, they quickly came up with countermeasures. The fact that they noticed my presence not long after I started moving is commendable.
Looks like easy targets, I thought to myself.
The enemy doesn’t understand human combat. If you’re aware of the enemy’s location, the basic rule of combat is to pretend to be searching for the enemy until you have the chance to attack.
From the current situation, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the enemy were to fire Ether Cannon at me. I can deal with it right away. But what if they don’t even show that they noticed my location, and just started eating, tossing bread into their mouths, and then suddenly unleash Ether Canon?
At the very least, it would be much more difficult to deal with it than if they attacked right now, when I’m aware that they know. Of course, I also take into account the possibility that the enemy is already aware of my location, but it’s difficult to maintain 100% focus at all times.