Volume 7 Chapter 7 Part 4
It seems that the countermeasure that the enemy was talking about was sniping from the top of the mountain with the Ether Cannon. I’m sure they went to the trouble of tearing down all the buildings and turning the city into a vacant lot to give a better view for the sniper. The enemy Mage at the top of the mountain was probably watching us using a telescope or something, waiting for the perfect timing.
“He dodged it?” the enemy let out a cry of surprise.
“H-How could he tell?!”
Their strategy was to send Mages who can use Sandstorm to the front line as their main force, and then snipe those they can’t deal with. It’s not bad as far as strategies go, but they didn’t think things through.
Magic Veil can’t withstand the power of Ether Cannon, and if it hit, I would have been dead on the spot. But sniping from a long range is only effective if the target is unaware of the sniper.
Their movements were all too obvious. The way they used Sticky Bombs earlier was like telling me, “We’re going to snipe you, so don’t move.” The only ones who would fall for that would be the ones who don’t know about the existence of the spell Ether Cannon.
“The timing of my cloaking attack magic should have been perfect!”
I see. Their plan was to make it look like they were the shooter, so that people don’t realize that someone else was shooting from the top of the mountain. A wasted effort, since I already noticed it. With that in mind, I resume moving left and right.
Even an Ether Cannon would take a few seconds to land. That’s plenty of time to avoid it. Sniping is not effective unless it is done in one shot. If they wanted to use it as a trump card, they should have made it so they could pull it off with one attempt.
The cooldown for Ether Cannon is about ten seconds. They should be firing their second shot soon, but the AoE of the spell is not that huge that it can hit a moving target easily. If I can predict where the spell will be fired, it’s not hard at all to dodge it as well.
“Is that all you got?” I asked as I started walking forward.
I’m within the range of Sandstorm now. Although I can still dodge it with my Magic Wing, the closer I get, the more difficult it is to evade.
If I’m in range of the Sandstorm, that means the enemy is also within range of my Steam Explosion. But of course, I still need more time before I can cast it again. Approximately twenty-five seconds had passed since I last cast it. I need about thirty-seconds more for the next one.
Although there is a spell called “Dual Cast” that reinvokes a spell casted just before, it has to be within a five-second time frame. Otherwise, it’s pretty much ineffective. What’s more, I cast Magic Wing after Steam Explosion, so time really doesn’t matter. Using Dual Cast would recast my Magic Wing instead, not Steam Explosion.
But the enemy doesn’t know all that. So I decided to pretend that I could still use… or almost use Steam Explosion.
Seeing me like that, the expression on the enemy’s expression darkened, fear in his face. If I retreated, the enemy would have thought that there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be able to cast the next Steam Explosion yet.
However, when the other guy was closing in on me, all I did was watch him silently. By doing so, I made them think that there was a reason I was so composed, that I didn’t mind them coming closer to me. They were definitely thinking that I was so relaxed because I still had an ace up my sleeve—another Steam Explosion.
In fact, I can’t cast Steam Explosion, but I can give the illusion that I can.
The enemy probably doesn’t know the exact attack range of Steam Explosion, or its cooldown. But if intel from my previous fights with the Empire’s troops were passed to them, they should have a general idea.
In order to confuse the enemy of the exact cooldown of Steam Explosion, I didn’t cast it every sixty seconds. While it’s difficult to create the illusion of a shorter cooldown, it’s possible to create the illusion of a longer one. I can make them think that instead of the actual sixty seconds, the cooldown is eighty seconds. If they miscalculate and stay in range for a longer time, I could end them on the spot.
The enemy must be considering the possibility that their estimate on the cooldown is wrong. The only data they have is that in all my battles so far, I had not cast Steam Explosion within eighty seconds. There’s always the possibility that I can cast it every sixty seconds, or even thirty, that I’m just choosing not to cast it consecutively.
And that fear became a reality.
It’s only been thirty seconds since I cast the spell. I began uttering the name of the spell much earlier than they had expected.
Despite this, their reaction was quick. They got down on the ground, covered their heads, and put up their strongest defensive magic in the direction the blast would come from. All the things they did was almost exactly what you would expect from a drill to protect yourself against explosions. Perhaps they trained for an eventual fight against me.
As a result, they both managed to pull off a defensive maneuver before I finished my chanting. All that against a magic spell that failed to cast at all.
“…Explosion,” I said, as I rolled to the side.
Immediately after that, an Ether Canon landed on the spot where I was a split-second ago.
Man, this sniper’s too easy to read. What, they actually thought they could hit me with this? Give me more credit, will you?