The Kingdom\'s food supplies have almost been emptied to save as many lives as possible.
Violence must be used only as a last resort.
Well said. Lith nodded.
I have yet to receive any update from central command about our mark\'s sightings.
Where do you suggest starting our search
Estar took his army amulet and pressed the blue gemstone engraved in the middle, conjuring a holographic map.
The central command chose Alten as our base of operation because it\'s the nearest Gate to Zeska. At a wave of his hand, the map centered itself around a medium sized city surrounded by a vast area of cultivated fields.
Due to the conflict with the locals, sowing has been delayed for too long and in a few more weeks it would be too late.
Quaron knows it as well so he is likely to be there.
In the case of his absence, it\'s of paramount importance to exploit the lack of leadership to retake the city as quickly as we can.
After Quaron killed the only Mage of the Association, there are only magicos and graduates from lesser academies left in Zeska.
If the city falls, some of their neighbors will come to their senses and surrender.
After that, the others will lose their fighting spirit, making our job easier.
Or harder. Lith pondered.
How do you think that people will react when they hear that the Kingdom didn\'t hesitate to slaughter hundreds of civilians that were simply defending the fruits of their hard labor
What if, instead of being demoralized, the rest of the Nestrar region fights until the bitter end because they think that they are going to die anyway A cornered prey is the most dangerous.
Then what do you propose to do A blonde female Captain in her mid-thirties said.
To stand here and do nothing
No, to go to Zeska and do nothing. Lith replied.
Mobilize the regiment.
Time is of the essence.
One male Captain who didn\'t have the courage to speak suddenly stood on attention.
What is it, Captain…
What do we do about Lieutenant- I mean, Captain Pelan. He pointed at the still fainted officer who lay on the floor, drenched in his own piss.
Clean him up and bring him along, Rudra. Lith said.
There must be a reason if he was appointed as my second in command and I\'m willing to find out.
Captain Estar, the new second in command, led the way through the army base to the inner courtyard where the rest of the soldiers was waiting for them.
Enough long rectangular benches had been set near similarly shaped tables to accommodate them all.
Some were eating and drinking quietly, others were maintaining their equipment, but most were simply sitting to save their strength while waiting for orders.
\'By my Mom! Each one of them has at least a deep green core.
I haven\'t seen so many mages assembled ever since we left the academy.\' Solus said.
\'It explains why there are no horses around and speak volumes about the importance of the mission.\' Lith replied.
Are you familiar with the Nestrar region, Major Estar asked.
It\'s my first time here. Lith shook his head.
Then with your permission, I\'ll take the lead until Zeska.
Permission granted. Lith nodded.
Estar started to shout orders while the other officials took flight in a widely spaced wedge formation.
The soldiers quickly followed, arranging themselves in 100-man groups that stood behind their respective commanding officers.
To avoid an ambush from the ground, the regiment of mages flew so high that onlookers saw them as black dots in the sky and mistook them for a late flock of migratory birds.
To lessen the air resistance, each of the officers constantly generated a wind blade in front of them, making it overlap with that of their neighbor.
The blade not only protected the magically weaker soldiers from high-speed impacts with dust and insects, but it also generated a slipstream effect that allowed them to fly faster.
\'Nice technique.\' Solus said.
\'The wind blades sustain each other, saving a lot of mana to both soldiers and officials.
Without it, our men would get tired before reaching our destination.\'
Whenever there was the need to change the formation\'s speed or direction, Estar would release pulses of colored light that would then be relayed by his fellow officials first and then by the soldiers in the front lines.
Speaking while traveling at such speed impossible while using one single big flare would have blinded the battalion and exposed their position to scouts looking at the sky.
After one hour of flight, Estar conjured a flare that signaled the regiment that it was time to land and rest.
Zeska is right there. The Captain pointed a black dot in the distance at Lith.
We have no idea what we are going to find and we can\'t afford to let them see us panting and covered in sweat.
I\'ll mention your ingenuity in my report. Lith patted his shoulder in approval.
Estar was about to say that it was just standard procedure when he noticed that Lith was breathing normally and had yet to break a sweat.
\'Good gods, are all Archmages like this After flying for so long and the show off against Pelan, he was supposed to be tired.
Does his mana have no limits\' He thought.
Instead of resting, Lith was moving his hands and chanting gibberish to cover his use of true magic.
I have good news.
Quaron is not in Zeska.
Now I can plan our strategy accordingly. Lith said.
With all due respect, sir, how can you be so sure It was the same female Captain from before.
She had a well-built body, about 1.80 (5\'11) tall, with sharp features and more muscles than curves.
Fear still lingered in her hazel eyes, but her curiosity was stronger.
Because the gates of the city are closed and even though the fields have been already plowed, they are left unattended. Lith replied.
The citizens of Zeska need to prepare for the next winter as well and they would feel confident enough to keep working if their hero was there with them.
Look at it yourself.
He stepped aside, revealing a dimensional fissure the size of a binocular that offered a view from above of the city.
Her jaw fell to the ground along with that of all the officials that one after the other stood up to observe the odd phenomenon up close.
How could you pinpoint the spatial coordinates from such a distance She asked.
Zeska is still dozens of kilometers away.
I didn\'t. Lith replied.
I used a trick that a friend of mine versed in dimensional magic taught me.
First, I created a small Warp Steps as far as I could see.
Then, I simply switched the exit point to the farthest coordinates I could pinpoint from there.
Rinse and repeat a few times and voilà.
Lith widened the dimensional fissure enough for both of them to comfortably see through it and then he switched the exit point so as to study Zeska from all sides.
This is brilliant! We can now perform reconnaissance from a safe distance and with minimum risk of being noticed.. She said.
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