You won\'t meet only nice people and you can\'t afford to antagonize everyone who doesn\'t meet your standards or who makes a bad first impression. Tista said.
Fine. Solus sighed.
She spent the following two days working on her poker face and people skills while Lith never stepped outside the tower.
He hoped that each increase in his mana core, no matter how small, would help the tower core\'s recovery and Solus\'s with it.
When he walked out of the Gate in the city of Alten, Lith found the officers in charge of the regiment at his orders waiting for him.
There were ten people lined up, one officer for each 100-men unit, and a man standing in front of them who wore the stripes of a Lieutenant Colonel.
They were all older than him and from the cold look on their face, Lith could tell that they weren\'t one bit happy about being there.
\'They are all mages, but nothing exceptional.\' Solus said after studying them with mana sense.
\'The officers go from bright green to bright cyan.
They are well fit, but judging from their life force they aren\'t used to working in the field.\'
\'What about the Lieutenant Colonel\' Lith asked.
\'You mean the rude jerk who\'s trying to drill a hole in your face with his stare\' Solus referred to the fact that while the officers were giving Lith the salute, waiting for him to return it, his second in command still stood on attention.
\'Bright cyan with a tinge of blue and the life force of someone who spends too much time in the gym to compensate for something.\'
The hostility in the room was palpable yet Lith didn\'t care.
He walked past the Lieutenant Colonel, giving him the back as if he wasn\'t even there before returning the salute.
Any sighting of Quaron in the area Lith asked an officer that he had picked at random.
The man was a Captain about thirty years old, 1.78 meters (5\'10) tall who stood uncomfortably as if someone had suddenly lit a candle under his ass.
Debriefing the Spellbreaker was the Colonel\'s duty, but he couldn\'t disobey an order from a superior officer even if that meant crossing another.
The target has yet to show his face and due to the air and earth sealing arrays surrounding the rebel cities we have lost all communications.
Our orders are to-
Enough! The Lieutenant Colonel cut the Captain short and stepped between him and Lith.
Have you spent so much time in your backwater village to forget the basics of military discipline, Major His eyes burned with spite and his voice was cold yet controlled as he tapped on the insignia of his rank.
Lieutenant Colonel Xolman Pelan had graduated from the Crystal Griffon academy ranking first of his year and had joined the army as soon as he had reached adulthood.
Not only did he belong to one of the most important noble families of the Nestrar region, but his career was also one of the quickest and most successful in the history of the Kingdom.
Yet he had never even achieved the title of Great Mage, nor did his name had ever been considered for the Spellbreaker order, no matter how many magically talented criminals Pelan apprehended.
The fact that the Royals had put such important matters in the hands of a southerner that knew nothing of Nestrar only added insult to injury.
Pelan had heard about Lith\'s achievements, but he considered them only as the result of the effort of the Royal Court to curry favor with the young magical bloodlines.
He believed that Lith\'s rank in the army and his title of Spellbreaker were due to political plays instead of talent, just like his own.
The other officers came from noble families as well and shared his feelings, but being their rank inferior to Lith\'s they couldn\'t express their discontent without risking being court-martialled.
I\'m your superior for rank and seniority.
I\'m the commanding officer of this mission and I have the authority to replace my second in command at any moment. Lith tapped on his Spellbreaker Badge while taking the Royal Orders he had received from Brinja out of his pocket dimension.
Or have you spent so much time listening to your own voice to forget the basics of the Kingdom\'s hierarchy, Captain A wave of his hand activated the enchanted uniform, lowering Pelan\'s insignia of two ranks.
You don\'t have the necessary authority to do such a thing! You retired from the army and-
Your lack of respect is more than enough ground for your demotion. Lith\'s eyes flashed with violet light, releasing a burst of mana and hostility that cut the newly demoted Captain short.
Even though the killing intent was aimed solely at the rebellious officer, the pressure in the room made it hard for everyone to breathe.
A cold shiver ran down their spines as they suddenly found themselves covered in a cold sweat.
You can appeal to the military court, but only after we are done with the mission.
The Kingdom can\'t delay a matter of national security just to indulge the temper tantrums of a man-child.
A second burst of killing intent brought Pelan onto his knees.
His eyes blazed with a cyan-blue light as he tried to resist Lith\'s will but his mana flow was swallowed by the strongest current, bringing his face centimeters away from the ground.
For any free man of the Kingdom that was one of the worst possible humiliations.
Even when in front of the Royals Pelan only had to bend his right knee whereas now he needed sheer willpower just to keep control of his bladder.
In case you have forgotten, this isn\'t an investigation, otherwise they would have sent a Royal Constable. Lith released a third burst of killing intent that brought the other officials on their right knee and sent Pelan slamming against a side wall with his feet dangling in mid-air.
This is a manhunt.
That\'s why they have sent me.
Our target is just one man.
A traitor who has exploited his position and the blind arrogance of people like you to conquer a region unhindered.
Now you have two choices.
You can follow my orders like everyone else or get executed for treason.
Either way, I want you out of my headquarters.
Are we clear Lith brought his face millimeters away from Pelan\'s who was still nailed to the wall by the violent mana flow.
The cyan-blue light in his eyes died out as he fell limp with a gurgle after losing his consciousness.
I\'ll take that as yes. Only then did the killing intent disappear, allowing the officers to stand up and to Pelan\'s body to sprawl on the ground akin to a ragdoll.
What were you saying before we were interrupted, Captain…
I\'m Captain Loman Estar, sir! He instinctively gave Lith another salute while his body still shivered from the cold.
Our orders are to find and eliminate the traitor without further exacerbating the situation.
Nestrar is one of the most fertile regions of the Kingdom..
Losing a single harvest would bring a second winter famine with disastrous consequences.
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