What if I told you that I can teach you the secrets that made the past Magi great and that they kept for themselves
That what you know as the lost city of Huryole is actually the Golden Griffon, the seventh great academy If you come with me I\'ll give you a second youth and all the means you need to get your revenge on the those who turned their back to you without any regard for your decades of loyal service. Thrud said.
What do you mean Linnea asked.
My name is Thrud Griffon, daughter of Arthan Griffon, the Mad King, and I\'ve come to take back what\'s mine. She stood up while opening a Warp Steps leading to a nearby mana geyser where she had moved the lost city of Huryole.
Follow me and bathe into my glory or stay here and rot.
The choice is yours.
It\'s not much of a choice since you are as mad as your father! Linnea replied.
How could you be so stupid as to make your grand speech in the presence of so many witnesses
What point does it have to give me a new face just to reveal it to the whole Mogar along with my name You can\'t kill so many people nor make them disappear without alerting the authorities.
The Orthan region is crawling with Spellbreakers looking for the Talons and the undead.
How long do you think it will take them to find and siege your precious academy
The line between madness and genius is often paper-thin. Thrud snapped her fingers and suddenly the eyes of all those present lit up with mana from red to yellow.
All the people here are my accomplices and I chose this place for our meeting to show you what I\'m capable of.
My men have already infiltrated many cities of the Kingdom and are ready to act on my command.
It was actually a blatant lie.
Thrud had arrived a few days ago, just in time to capture and enslave enough criminals to pull the stunt necessary to impress Linnea.
Getting the Headmistress\' trust was but the first step of her plan.
Then what are we waiting for Let\'s get out of this **hole. Linnea stood up, eager to get the first decent meal and good night\'s sleep in days.
\'I have nothing to lose by accepting Thrud\'s offer.
If she somehow wins, I\'ll become one of the founding pillars of the new Kingdom and reform the academy system as I see fit.
If she fails like I expect her to, I just need to bail out before it\'s too late.
\'If what she said about magic is true, I\'ll use my stay in her academy to build a small force of mages loyal only to me.
Then, when Thrud and the Royals are busy fighting each other, we\'ll pillage her treasury and escape from the Kingdom.
\'I just need to reach one of the free countries to live for the rest of my life as a Queen.
With a new face, a clean slate, and enough powerful mages at my command, becoming an important noble again will be a cakewalk.\'
Linnea had already tried to leave the Kingdom on her own terms, but no one trusted a traitor.
Every country that she had contacted had either refused, afraid of the political consequences, or asked her to reveal to them everything she knew about the academies in exchange for asylum.
Yet Linnea knew that the moment she spilled her last secret, she would also outlive her usefulness.
Once she learned how to shapeshift, however, recognizing her would be impossible.
Not so fast. Thrud\'s grip on her wrist was as delicate as a feather, yet Linnea froze in fear.
An army needs soldiers just like an academy needs students.
Raising powerful mages takes years that I don\'t have.
I heard about the Talons and I know you are one of their members. Thrud took out an official document listing the identities of the known Talons along with their bounty.
Linnea cursed out loud reading her own name on top of the list.
As you said, the region is crawling with Spellbreakers and it\'s only a matter of time before your colleagues get captured.
If they are willing to serve my cause, I\'ll offer them a good deal as well.
The Mad Queen had been traveling the Kingdom ever since the day that Tezka\'s attack had exposed the mercenary units\' headquarters, looking for survivors.
Thanks to Spirit Magic, her Awakened disciples could bypass elemental sealing arrays and by shapeshifting, they could take the appearance of local mages to learn confidential information.
At those words, Linnea\'s mood changed and she finally returned Thrud\'s smile.
It will be my honor, my liege. She said while pressing the runes on her contact amulet that were still lit and giving them coded instructions to inform them of her true intentions.
\'This fool has no idea that I\'m no ordinary member of Talons.
This way, I have no need to build my own force because Thrud is welcoming them with open arms.\' Linnea thought.
\'This fool has no idea that the list is a fake and that I extracted the information about her from one of her men.\' Thrud thought.
\'I needed this charade only because I arrived here too late and because by the time the Unwavering Loyalty arrays enslaves her, the rest of the Talons would already be dead.
\'The Kingdom has no prisons for mages.
They are killed the moment their interrogation is done.
To make matters worse, low ranked Talons only know the communication runes of the members of their own unit.
\'High officials can reach only those of lesser rank whereas the General can contact any of them to assign special missions.
As soon as I\'m done here, I\'ll recruit the Black Dragons.
\'Most of my apprentices are powerful mages but their combat experience is lacking.
These mercenaries will teach me everything I need to know about the army\'s tactics, serve me as drill sergeants, and once the war starts, they will make excellent suicide squads.
\'There\'s no place for traitors in my Kingdom, but rather than just dying, they might as well pay for their crimes while doing something useful.\'
Blood Desert, Heavenly Plume tribe, a few days later.
After their first failed attempt at crafting the Sage Staff, Lith and Solus had followed Salaark\'s advice and had worked relentlessly to fix the many issues that she had pointed out to them.
Solus had to learn how to adjust the flow of world energy inside a mana circle so that it would resist the combined pull of the Evil Eyes and of the Yggdrasill wood while Lith had devoted himself to furthering his understanding of the altered crystals.
Using Domination to enhance their elemental aspects was but a crutch and the procedure still took so much effort from him that it was clear that his current technique was incomplete at best.
It took them so much time that Lith and Solus would meet their family only for the meals and cause them so much fatigue that they both needed to sleep each night to recover.
Even with the tower empowering them, Solus suffered from a great mental strain from combining the Forgemastering circle with the Eyes and the Hands of Menadion while Lith could only use Invigoration so many times before it lost effectiveness.
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