Linnea didn\'t like killing innocents, but she had no other choice.
Fame was a double-edged sword and now it was pointed at her throat.
Pictures of her face were still hung on the walls of all decent establishments among the most wanted criminals and the bounty that the Master had put on her head made the non-decent ones even more dangerous.
The only reason why she had taken the risk of coming to the Frothing Mug was that she had been promised safe passage out of the Orthan region and a new identity.
Getting out of the city with dimensional magic was easy, but then what Linnea couldn\'t bear the thought of spending the years that she had left on the run like a petty criminal, eating crappy food and sleeping in cheap inns if not in the wilds.
\'I\'d rather die than live like a commoner, hiding my talent for magic and never drawing attention.\' She thought.
\'I find it hard to believe that a healer capable of changing my features with Body Sculpting exists since not even Manohar nor Vastor have ever achieved such feat, but what choice do I have left\'
Actually, the god of healing had long since learned how to shapeshift.
It was one of the secrets behind his successful escapades, but that\'s a story for another day.
\'Even if this is a trap, it\'s better to put an end to this pointless struggle.
I\'m old and the strain from constantly running away is sapping my strength.
It\'s only a matter of time before I become too weak, desperate, or both to fight.\'
Linnea was used to living in luxurious houses and eating gourmet food.
Yet ever since Tezka had frozen the Talons\' headquarters over she had only eaten gruel and barely slept due to the uncomfortable beds and to the fear of getting caught.
She had never learned how to cook and the only time she had left a woman alive after breaking into her house, the screams had alerted the entire neighborhood.
Linnea had been forced to kill the woman and to use Warp Steps several times to get away without being seen.
Dimensional magic required lots of physical and magical strength.
Linnea was in her mid-seventies and the life as a fugitive was quickly wearing her down.
Headmistress Anela Linnea, I presume. A youthful voice said, accompanied by the screeching of a chair being dragged on the squeaky floorboards.
Those words snapped Linnea out of her reverie.
She stood up while turning towards her guest, weaving an attack spell first and a dimensional spell second while they were still sitting down.
I appreciate your punctuality.
I\'m a busy woman and time is precious to me. The stranger gave her a polite nod of the head and offered Linnea her hand as if the Archmage had greeted her instead of chanting a spell that would turn the Frothing Mug into a crater.
Linnea ignored her and unleashed the tier five War Mage spell, Raging Sun.
Yet nothing happened.
Then she tried to Blink outside the tavern but once again her magic failed her.
Only when the people in the tavern stood up with a terrified look on their faces, pointing at the golden aura surrounding Linnea did she notice being enveloped by Silverwing\'s Hexagram.
Rage turned her vision red as she remembered how that very spell had granted both Nerea and Lith admission to their respective academy.
An enchanted knife coated in deadly poison came out of the long sleeve of her robe and flew at the stranger\'s right eye.
Linnea had imbued the weapon with a complex air magic spell so that once given a target, it would chase them until it struck.
Yet the mysterious woman just grabbed the knife by the hilt in mid-air and stabbed at the table with it with so much strength that the entire blade disappeared in the wood.
The enchantment that allowed the knife to move on its own made the table tremble in its struggle to escape.
I said, sit down. Linnea felt forced to obey and so did all the other patrons.
Do you know who I am
The Headmistress looked at her dumbly, shaking her head.
Thrud Griffon was 1.78 meters (5\'10) tall, with long ash blonde hair that framed the delicate features of her oval face.
Her rosy skin was flawless, emphasizing the contrast between her silver eyes and her full red lips.
She wore a simple white sweater over brown pants and riding boots.
Thrud had inherited Tyris\'s beauty, which made her a gorgeous woman even before she underwent several cycles of the Arthan\'s Madness.
After Awakening and reaching the white core, however, her looks rivaled that of her foremother.
She crossed her legs with a sensual grace that made everyone forget about their inability to control their bodies.
Pregnancy had made her curves stand out even more, especially her bosom that heaved with a hypnotic rhythm under the heavy woolen fabric every time she breathed.
I\'m your employer. Thrud said while her eyes glowed with white light.
I\'ve gotten an academy that needs maintenance and a competent Headmaster and you need a place to stay.
I\'d say we are a match made in heaven.
Hystar\'s teaching methods were as inhuman as the man who had given him life.
He knew how to make those trapped inside his academy stronger and what they needed to survive, but nothing about giving them a life worth living.
Thrud wanted someone who would treat her apprentices like people instead of as cattle, to ensure their loyalty without the slave spell.
No free will also meant no creativity and no ingenuity, making her soldiers only a bit better than golems and require constant supervision.
On top of that, with Linnea\'s help the Golden Griffon\'s power core would become as good as that of the six great academies.
Thrud had replaced the old runes with modern ones, making it more efficient, but the enchantments were still 700 years old.
I don\'t know who you are or how you found me, but if you think that I can turn any building into the Lightning Griffon you are sorely mistaken. Linnea said the moment that the Mad Queen\'s aura allowed her to.
Also, I didn\'t come here looking for a job.
I was promised safe passage and a new life.
And I\'m here to deliver them both. Thrud replied with a charming smile while taking the Headmistress\' hand.
Linnea felt her body become hot as light magic rejuvenated her and changed her physical appearance.
If you don\'t believe me, just look for yourself. The Mad Queen conjured an ice mirror in front of the Headmistress, who discovered that she not only felt as if she was fifty again, but she also looked twenty years younger.
Linnea touched her own face, making sure that her smooth skin wasn\'t just an illusion and discovering that her hands had no age spots anymore.
How did you do that The Headmistress asked in amazement.
First an array and now you conjured two more powerful spells without a single chant.
That\'s also part of my offer.. Thrud said.
What if I told you that the magic you practiced until today is nothing but a cheap parlor trick
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