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Chapter: 46


"And that's what happened." William sighed. "It was my fault for underestimating it."

Owen smacked William's head with the palm of his hand which made the boy yelp in pain.

"Idiot! The first rule of dungeon exploration is to never underestimate your opponents!" Owen nagged. "You do realize that if you didn't react on time and used the ring, you and your goats would have died."

"...Yes." William felt aggrieved, but it was the truth. He didn't dare to make any excuses for the mistake that he had made.

"Listen here, Little Will," Owen said with a serious expression. "There are instances where pure strength is useless. Dark Magicians are feared by many, do you know why?"

"Is it because of their curses?"

"Yes and No."

Owen grunted as he summoned a white ball of light in his hand. "The reason why Dark Magicians are feared is because they can kill people without their victim knowing how they died. Their curses can penetrate that person's body and… destroy it from within."

A black speck appeared in the middle of the ball of white light in Owen's hand. It then gradually became bigger until it encompassed all the light in the ball turning it into a black orb of malice.

"This process can take years, but one thing is for sure," Owen stated. "Once a Dark Magician decides to kill a person, it will be very hard for anyone to survive. Fortunately, the Hobgoblin Shaman you fought is only at the Fourth Circle. The spells can be dispelled by someone of my rank.

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However, if you were cursed by someone that equaled or surpassed mine then nothing in this world could save you. I guarantee that you would suffer a very slow and painful death. This is why people don't like to associate themselves with Dark Magicians."

William listened to Owen's explanation and frowned. He then looked at the old man with a serious expression and asked a question that he had been meaning to ask since the old man started to talk about Dark Magic.

"Then, Mr. Owen, how can I fight against it?" William asked.

"Well, there are many ways to fight against Dark magic. The first thing you have to do is, kill the Hobgoblin Shaman before it kills you," Owen answered. "I just find it strange for a ten-year-old like you to ask me how to fight a Hobgoblin Shaman. Do you know? Even Silver Ranked Adventurers can die when facing those critters!"

The old man's voice was filled with contempt as he looked at the young boy in front of him. Even so, William's gaze never wavered. He continued to look at Owen with a serious expression which made the old man raise his eyebrow.

"You're seriously trying to find a way to fight a Hobgoblin Shaman at your age?" Owen asked. "Why? Are you trying to meet a deadline or something?"

"No." William shook his head. "I just want to become stronger. The fight against the Millennial Beast made me realize that I am just an ant that can easily die once a being of that level decided to step on me."

"Mmm, well, you're not wrong." Owen had to admit that the boy's logic held some truth in it. After pondering for a short time, Owen decided to give the boy some advice in order to overcome his current predicament.

"There are three ways that you can overcome your current situation. Like I said, the first one is to kill the Goblin Shaman before it kills you. This means that you have to use a long range spell or an attack that can kill it at a safe distance.

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The second way is to learn Light or Life Magic. Although both magics have the same roots, they still have different purposes. Light Magic is widely used by Clerics, Priests, and Paladins. You can even say that they are the nemesis of Dark magic."

Owen paused for a moment to allow William to digest his explanation. He understood that this might be hard for a ten-year-old to understand, but since the boy was serious, he decided to get serious as well.

"Then the last way to beat Dark magic is to… fight it with Dark Magic." Owen grinned. "Do you know of that saying? An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and fight fire with fire? Once you master Dark Magic, there will be very few 'status spells' that can cause harm to you.

So, Little Will, what do you plan to do? Ah, let me just say this in advance. If you are to learn Dark Magic, people will avoid you like a plague. Although Dark Magic isn't necessarily evil, those who wield it are treated as such."

William lowered his head as he sank into deep thoughts. He weighed the pros and cons of Owen's suggestions. After thinking for ten minutes, William raised his head and said his answer.

"Mr. Owen, I'd like to learn... "

"Meeeeeeh!"

"Meeeeeeh!"

"Meeeeeeh!"

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"Meeeeeeh!"

After talking with Owen, William returned to the Ainsworth Residence. After seeing his Grandfather, Uncle, and Aunt, he went straight to the goat pen to check on his herd. He was immediately surrounded by Aslan, Chronos, and the rest of the goats.

William crouched on the ground and gave everyone a hug. The goats surrounded him and pressed their foreheads against his body. The young boy felt their love and concern and it made him feel warm.

Ella looked at this scene with a calm expression. She wanted to step forward and lean her head on William's shoulder, but she held it back. William's second mother understood that her "son" needed to give the goats some sense of comfort in order to calm the anxiety that had kept them stretched to their limits these past few days.

After a while, the goats were finally sated and regained their lively demeanor.

"Mama." William stood and opened his arms wide.

Ella walked forward and licked the boy's face. William giggled because his Mama's tongue felt very ticklish. He hugged her neck and brushed the top of her head. This was their way to assure each other that everything was fine.

The Ainsworth family, along with Leah and Cedric, had lunch together. The two siblings were relieved to know that William had recovered from "Evocation Madness". William had been told in advance that this was the explanation that Owen and James had given their comrades, so he had to stick to this explanation.

During lunch, William noticed that Leah seemed livelier compared to that last time he had seen her. She was even smiling and the boy could tell that she was not faking it.

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"Did something good happen, Big Sister?" William asked. "You look more beautiful than the last time I saw you."

"Really?" Leah gave William a very sweet smile. A smile that was sweet enough to rot his teeth.

"Yes." William nodded his head. "Did something good really happen?"

"Maybe," Leah replied. She playfully stuck out her tongue, but didn't say anything else.

Cedric also noticed the change in his sister's attitude. However, he didn't say anything about it. For him, it was better for Leah to be like this instead of being depressed by their father's passing.

If he only knew that his father wasn't dead, and had even met her sister, he would probably be feeling the same as her.

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