Volume 8 Chapter 1 Part 3
With that in mind, I landed and ran forward for a few more seconds. All in all, the distance between me and the enemy had been reduced by about 300 meters.
I used the same defensive magic as before, before the enemy could cast their own spell. This kind of bluff—pretending that a spell that normally has no significant effect is a powerful spell—only works if you use it over and over again.
You also need to determine exactly when they see through the bluff and make the next move. Bluffs may seem simple, but they require skill to execute effectively.
The distance between me and the enemy is about 1,700 meters. There’s no doubt that the distance was still advantageous for them, but it was still progress.
Another beam of light shot out from the enemy and landed a few meters behind me. It wasn’t as bad a miss as the last shot, but they still couldn’t hit me either.
“Gotten quite closer now.”
I can see the enemy on the mountaintop talking about something. It didn’t seem like a planned strategy meeting, but more of a discussion on how to deal with whatever problems arose. Maybe they were talking about how their spell missed.
A distance of two kilometers is considered close range for an Ether Cannon. Missing two shots suggests something was wrong. There’s no doubt that during their training, they learned that Ether Cannon is not a spell that can miss at this distance.
With the spell’s high accuracy, the target wouldn’t be able to avoid it. Before the target could even move ten centimeters, the Ether Cannon would have already hit.
If they missed, it would only be because the caster themselves aimed at the wrong location. But the fact that they were chosen to use a Wisdom Stone suggests they were elite.
Although it hasn’t been long since they acquired the Awakened Skill, they must have been trained enough not to lose their aim on someone who was simply running. Sudden changes of direction or evasive actions might affect their aim, sure, but that’s a different story. That’s probably why they’re so surprised that they missed their target.
I closed the distance between us some more. Now I was only about 1,300 to 1,400 meters away from them. It’s still not close enough for me to attack, but I’ve managed to shave off a third of the distance.
Right now, it may look like they’re on the offensive and all I could do is defend. But Ether Cannon is a spell for long-distance combat. Closing the distance against these enemies is much more effective than a haphazard attack.
As for the spell, it might be more accurate to say that I am letting them shoot me rather than being attacked. The enemy consumes a lot of mana with the Ether Cannon, while I only use magic for movement and Fast Shield, which consume very little mana.
However, the enemy still has the advantage of distance. This level of disadvantage is natural, since I’m charging into a place where the enemy is waiting for me.
This time, I continued onward without using Fast Shield. I had spotted an enemy habit from the engagement so far. Just before shooting, they would close one eye, perhaps to make it easier to aim.
If you close one eye, you lose depth perception, but perception is not really necessary for the Ether Cannon, which takes a straight line trajectory without the influence of gravity. In which case, closing one eye would increase accuracy. They probably experimented with it and found the results favorable. Once you get used to it, you should be able to aim well even with both eyes open, but I’m guessing they’re not that skilled.
In any case, it’s a terrible habit since you should not let the target know the timing of your attack. Maybe this hasn’t been a problem before because they killed their target before they could even get close enough to see their eyes. Well, now that I’m aware of it, I’ll put it to good use.
The moment the enemy closed one eye, I leapt to the side. A beam of light struck the spot I was in just moments ago.
This time, they didn’t miss their aim. If I hadn’t avoided it, the Ether Cannon would have killed me.
The magic itself is so fast, it can’t be dodged, but the reflexes of the person casting it is limited. It can be avoided if you suddenly change your movement right before it is cast. Magic spells cast by humans will always have its effectivity limited by the caster’s abilities.
Of course, if you don’t time the dodge right, the opening created by your evasive maneuver will only be used to land an Ether Cannon on you. If you time your dodge right before the spell lands, you’ll be safe for the next ten seconds. If the enemy has two Ether Cannon users, this tactic will fail. Though from what I’ve gathered so far, there’s probably only one of them. This conjecture is not based on what I’ve seen in this battle so far, but the movements of the Empire itself.
Among the many Awakened Skills, Ether Cannon is not the strongest magic spell. Sure, it’s powerful magic for long-range sniping, but in crowded areas where it’s difficult to get a wide field of vision, it’s not much different from ordinary offensive magic. If it hits, you take down one target, but you can achieve the same result with a Fire Bomb.
If the enemy took the barbaric and primitive method of sending many troops, you would most likely be crushed to death. After all, the spell can only be used every ten seconds, and in the face of a thousand people, it’s no better than a slightly more powerful bow and arrow. In that sense, you can say that it’s a bit of a mediocre spell when used in a large-scale war.
Of course, it would be a useful spell in a situation where it can be used, but as an asset that can be obtained only by using Wisdom Stones, an extremely valuable resource in this world, its use is too limited. The only way you can make several Mages learn the Skill is if you have plenty of Wisdom Stones. With that in mind, the probability of a second Ether Cannon coming at me while I’m vulnerable due to evasive maneuver is extremely low.