Glenn stood beside Sorcerer Norris, waiting for his mentor to assign the task.
Norris responded to Glenn with a nod, and then he pointed his withered hand to a crystal ball in front of him. The ball glittered and a shining scene appeared before Glenn.
Norris said to Glenn drily, "This mission is to hunt for a Black Sorcerer. I've given it some thought and decided that this Black Sorcerer is just someone who has gone astray, someone whose sorceries were just at a student level. It would thus be suitable for you students to go on this mission."
"Students?" asked Glenn. "Many students would be engaged in this mission?"
Norris saw Glenn had finished taking notes on the routes and clues of this mission. He then closed the scene and said, "This mission is inside information. I've allotted this job to you and three other students. I believe the four of you have the potential to become a Demon-Hunting sorcerer. But remember that you are the weakest among them for now. And the area where you're going is near the Ivory Castle School of Sorcerers, which will send out four students for the mission as well."
Thinking about the area, Glenn estimated that if he went there on foot, it would take about a month, or he could fly there by constantly draining his magical force, thereby arriving in five or six days. But he would lose his chance to exercise. And since Glenn hadn't met the other three Black Isotta students his mentor mentioned, he didn't respond much to the remark of him being the worst.
"So eight students for one mission... then who gets the credit once it's accomplished? And what specifically do I need to pay heed to in this mission?"
"The one who gets that Black Sorcerer's head gets the credit. This is an inside mission, so we old fellas will give 'inside' reward. And what to pay heed to? Just to take care of your life. That's the most important thing." There was a hint of warning in Norris' eyes.
"Many students and even sorcerers degenerate to Black Sorcerers willingly, and the biggest reason is that Black Sorcerers have the most thoroughly-studied knowledge on life and death. In other words, they are a bunch of sorcerers who are bent on life and death sorely. They are absorbed in sorceries which are aimed at killing!"
"Does it mean that they are better in battles than ordinary sorcerers?" Glenn frowned.
"You can think of it that way," Norris replied drily.
"Then why the Sorcerer Continent forbids…"
Norris cut in before Glenn could finish. He then said in a tone that was close to contempt.
"Were you asking why we forbid Black Sorcerers?"
"Yeah." Glenn nodded.
"Humph," Norris sneered. "The Black Sorcerers in the Sorcerer Continent are nothing more than a horde of evil sorcerers who, in order to do research on life and death, use humans as experimental specimens. They create disorders and regression. You can see it in the Black Field. Yet…"
The Black Field was where the Black Sorcerers were gathered. They acted according to the Black Sorcerers rules, which varied widely compared to ordinary sorcerers.
Norris stopped before completing his sentence and stared at Glenn: "Don't you think these ancient sorcerers who have lived many, many years have realized it's a good idea—to raise Black Sorcerers to make this a stronger place?"
"I don't think they haven't."
Of course Glenn wouldn't believe that the idea hadn't occurred to the ancient sorcerers.
Norris then added, "But all sorcerers yearn to become Demon-Hunters. And Demon-Hunters are the legit 'Black Sorcerers' nurtured by the Holy Tower, and they are top-notch sorcerers who are able to hunt and kill Black Sorcerers. But there is a little difference between them: the 'Black Sorcerers' we nurture do experiments with creatures from the foreign lands for their study on life and death, not humans."
Glenn displayed an intense look on his face. "No wonder those students have already had 40 points of mental strength decades ago, and they were not attempting to make a breakthrough to become a sorcerer! They've been waiting for a chance to be nurtured as a Demon-Hunter by the Holy Tower, which occurred once per centennial."
Three days later.
At the school entrance, Glenn rendezvoused with the other three students who were also tasked with the 'Clearing the Black Sorcerer in the Pamir Town' mission.
The group exchanged eye contacts first, and afterwards, all attention was focused on Glenn.
"You are a new guy? You're neither Sam, nor Kyrie nor Bionna. Interesting!" said an over-1.9-meter tall, male student, who wore a metal ring on his nose and was equipped with a large fan on his back. He seemed so barbarous!
Over the past two years, Glenn had grown familiar with the Top Ten students in the Black Isotta. There were already students who had that title, but they were chosen merely from the first-year students. However, the real Top Ten had included all of the students in the school. They were much stronger, their actual strength matched their name, and none of them was a pseudo-master! The ten elite students were further divided into two ranks. Four of them were rated into the first rank, and their power and prestige were generally greater than the other rank. Through decades of accumulation, they had become top-class students by passing tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, real tests.
The talking guy did not belong to the Top Ten, though. But there must be something that had distinguished him, since Norris and other old-age sorcerers had chosen him to strive for the Demon-Hunter qualification.
"I'm Glenn," said Glenn calmly, wearing his mysterious Ashen Mask. He said it in a tone which suggested his desire to stay low-key and that he loathed to talk much.
Hand-shaking and kissing for greeting didn't exist in sorcerers' social etiquette, otherwise one's information would be easily stolen.
"I came to this school just prior to you. My name is Ryan. I'm one of the big names in this school, yet not as well-known as her!" Ryan pointed to a girl beside him.
What came into Glenn's view first was the girl's figure. She had a round, fat body, and on Glenn's first sight, he recognized that she was the girl whom Glenn had found at the gate of the dilapidated Water Tower when he was about to leave. She belonged to the Top Ten and was ranked 10th. She was the Winter Ice Soul—Bethany.
Back in the dilapidated Water Tower, the light was faint, and Glenn was terrified, so he didn't get the chance to watch her—this real powerful student. So he couldn't help but give her a survey.
Glenn's first impression about Bethany was a natural, impregnable fortress when she was standing before him. Her imposing figure gave her a majestic look, and Glenn decided that her constitution was under no circumstances lower than his. Besides, Glenn was just a half-baked element sorcerer!
A Meteor hammer was on Bethany's back, shedding a chilling light, and its metal chain rolled down to surround her waist. She was in a black leather coat, which had taken place of her old loose cloak. This was her battle-wear! On looking further, one would find her short haircut, which was clinched in strands. She seemed very unfeminine, and rather, her eyes gave the one who stared into them a freezing cold, like Sam's eyes occasionally did.
"You're a wuss! I saw you at the Water Tower that day." Bethany stared at Glenn coldly, in a manner that she was not trying to hide at all, and her eyes gave Glenn the feeling that she detested cowardice.
Glenn didn't respond. He didn't intend to explain.
Sorcerers might be of an eccentric temper, but one thing was for sure—the weak would never have much of a choice, so the weaker should try to avoid all potential conflicts with the stronger ones.
Glenn was probably not as enfeebled as Norris had indicated, but he was certain that he couldn't compare to the girl before him.
As Glenn was thinking this, the last student in the group approached him out of the blue. To Glenn's great surprise, he noticed two extra heads sneak out of the student's cloak, and the three heads kept on sniffing at Glenn.
"It's so strange. Why am I not sensing your body odor?" The three heads stared at Glenn suspiciously.
"The Three-Headed Hematology Sorcerery?" Glenn didn't answer but retorted.
According to 'Canine Olfactory Enhancement and Odor Mapping', based on sorcerers' study on odors, the known creature which was most sensitive to odors was the three-headed Cerberus, which could discern any odors known to sorcerers.
"Ha, you do know something! New guy, you can call me Harry Reid." As Harry was talking, his three heads were all demonstrating an air of arrogance. Knowing that Glenn was just a student who entered school just five years ago, he didn't bother to be polite and ordered, "Tell me how you made your odors disappear!"
Glenn's pupils contracted despite the fact that this change was hidden beneath his mask. He replied lightly, "What do I get in exchange?"
"I won't give you a hard time on this trip. That's what you will get!" Harry said in a tone suggesting that Glenn giving him the 'de-odor' recipe was what Glenn was supposed to do.
For someone who had made huge progress in honing his sorceries, this irrational requirement was noticeably not working!
Glenn had made a quick judgment. Bethany was much better than him, so not messing with her was a decision he had made. As for Ryan, he didn't have a clear advantage over Glenn even if they were not on par, and even if Glenn was not in a better position, this disadvantage would arise from the fact that his constitution-building sorcery hadn't been practiced in field trips.
This Harry, however, was not much of a threat.
Beneath his Ashen Mask, Glenn sneered grimly. "Then only one of us would have the chance to join."
A silence... a dead silence followed Glenn's words.
Ryan shrugged and then complained: "It seems I've to be a lone wolf again! Big Sister Bethany, I'm going. See you." Ryan went away, leaving behind the others. As he was leaving, he shouted: "We follow the old rule—If we can't take down the Black Sorcerer, then we leave a signal of gathering at the nearest city gate."
Bethany took another glance at Glenn, and her opinion about Glenn seemed to have improved.
"No matter if you're gonna survive, I'd like to retract what I said about you." Bethany strode away. She moved in an agile way despite her excessive size.
Glenn threw a glance on Harry's three heads which were still in shock and mumbled, "See you in the Bramble Forest."
These words were uttered by Glenn in a way that said killing was as simple as enjoying his meals.
After that challenge had been raised, Glenn got out the place, leaving behind the view of his back and the livid looks on Harry's face.