Lith didn\'t like at all the turn the events had taken.
In hindsight, it was an easily predictable outcome.
Driven by his desire to stand out among the masses, he had provided them too much information, giving them hope.
His plan to give them just enough to solve the problem on their own, letting him go back to his daily life, had actually backfired.
- Damn, I underestimated them because of my Earth standards.
Back in my world, any prime minister would have turned this scenario into a black op, removing the threat in front of him with extreme prejudice.
Instead, they are willing to put everything at risk to save these people.
They could have just turned the infects into guinea pigs, using their bodies, dead or alive, for research purposes. –
Since no one outside this room knows that we made a breakthrough… The King continued.
I hereby decree all the new information pertaining the crisis and their source a state secret.
We will divulge them bit by bit once all our assets are in place, using a cover story to avoid Mage Lith becoming a target.
Officially, he\'ll be here only as a consultant.
He will convey any further findings only to Captain Kilian, which in turn will share them with the other healers.
The three men nodded, yet Lith kept racking his brain to find a way out.
- If I refuse, best case scenario I will get expelled from the academy and my family will lose the corps\' protection.
Heck, I\'d be lucky to avoid being charged of treason.
I would be alone versus the Crown, the nobles that I offended in the past and whoever sent those mercenaries to kill me.
If their contactor didn\'t hesitate despite I already was under the Queen\'s umbrella, there\'s no telling what he\'ll do next.
Once again, I can only grin and bear it.
The only silver lining is that if I get properly rewarded, I\'ll not have money problems for the rest of my life. –
Before we proceed any further, I\'d like to know why Mage Lith thinks these parasites are a product of Alchemy. Queen Sylpha\'s curiosity had been piqued by that particular statement, since she shared the same opinion.
Because I can\'t think about any other mean to infuse magic in a poison or parasite. He lied through his teeth.
One of the details he had not shared, was that the worm-like parasites he had identified didn\'t alter the mana flow directly, but by secreting an unknown substance.
Not only that made them living alchemic labs, but was also deviously brilliant.
Even with Invigoration, Lith had struggled to overcome the mana distortion effect and identify the real source of the trouble.
Any other mage would have fallen for that trick, devising a spell to cleanse the toxin, only for the healed patient to fall ill again in a matter of days.
The reason why even Lith would need time to cure the plague, was that first he needed to find a way to remove the toxins without killing the patient, and then remove the parasites safely.
He suspected that killing them while inside the host, or removing them forcibly would prove to be lethal for the infected.
Also, I read from the Captain Velagros\' file that the plague spread right after the explosion of Coirn Hatorne\'s alchemic lab.
I think is highly unlikely for it to be a coincidence.
The Queen nodded, disappointed from the answer.
She had hoped for more brilliance and less logic, more Manohar and less Marth.
Geniuses were hard to come by, and even harder to keep.
As for you, Colonel Varegrave… The Queen\'s voice was filled with ill restrained wrath.
If glares could cut, the Colonel would have already been turned in pieces not bigger than a postmark.
I hope you haven\'t forgotten your bet with the King, because certainly I have not.
Your earlier blunder is inexcusable.
The only reason why you\'ll keep your rank and position, is because we cannot afford the time to change the ownership of the Small World.
When the current emergency will be solved, prepare to face the consequences of your foolishness.
This conversation is far from over!
The conversation ended so abruptly, that Kilian checked the gemstone to make sure the magical item wasn\'t broken.
The truth, though, was quite different.
I told you not to mention the bet! King Meron still couldn\'t believe his fiery wife had forced him to hung up the call.
We had yet to listen to Lith\'s requests and find a way to sweeten the deal! In case you forgot, we need more than his services, we need his loyalty! We have to correct the situation as soon as possible, otherwise he will resent us and leave the Kingdom.
In my book, putting that Varegrave moron in his place sweetens the deal a lot! Sylpha retorted.
This time, we will do things my way, I want him dead.
He is a loyal servant of the Crown! Her bloodlust would never cease to amaze Meron.
You can\'t kill him off just for one mistake.
It would set a terrible example.
It would be a great example.
He disobeyed a direct order and endangered everything because he wasn\'t able to keep his emotion in check.
What if Kilian wasn\'t there to stop him What if next time he loses it, we lose another great mage for good
Fine. The King stood up from the throne, like he always did after losing an argument.
Do you think this Lith is an Awakened one He asked after a while.
Unlikely, but possible.
We had high hopes for Hatorne and Manohar too, but they turned out to be normal mages.
Being a genius and being an Awakened one are two different things.
We\'ll have to send Lady Tyris to check on him.
It\'s the only way to be certain.
Hundreds of kilometres away, Archmage Lukart trashed his desk in a fit of rage.
What do you mean, the Talons have been wiped out
Exactly what I said, sir. The voice from the communication amulet belonged to one of the few surviving members of the mercenary unit, that hadn\'t taken part in the latest assignment.
Their dog tags have activated, and that can only mean that there were no survivors.
It\'s impossible! Lukart still refused to accept the news.
They were eleven versus only six members of the corps, and with the element of surprise! How is it possible
We\'ll investigate. The voice coldly replied.
But we will not follow up on the matter.
The mission was an utter failure, we now lack the manpower for a second attempt.
Your information was clearly lacking of fake, otherwise a complete wipe out would have never happened.
At least give me back my money! I could have bought a whole castle with that sum.
The voice hung up the call without even answering.
Suddenly, Lukart felt lightheaded and dizzy.
Everything was spiralling out of his control.
The fall of the White Griffon academy was just a small step in his master plan.
Contrary to what his associates believed, his endgame had never been privileges, but the Crown itself.
Lukart wanted from the beginning the civil war to happen, it was the only way to trigger a war with the neighbouring countries.
At that point, the only thing he had to do was to unleash the plagues that Hatorne had spent years to develop and for what she had been handsomely paid.
The water parasite would have crippled the Blood Desert tribes, forcing them to surrender or die.
The mana parasite, instead, would have neutralized the Gorgon Empire magical army, without which they had no defences.
First, he would have repelled the invaders, looking like a hero in the eyes of the people, becoming King by acclamation.
Then, he would use them a weapon to bring all the three Great Countries under his heel.
But now, because of that witch\'s paranoia, the lab was blown to bits, spreading the eggs in the wind.
He could only hope that no one would discover their existence, that the Crown would just kill the infected without finding a cure.
Manohar was the only mage whose genius was on Hatorne level, with him out of the picture, Lukart\'s plan was supposed to be safe.
What can a little runt do, after all