\'Damn it, Peonia will surely spread this story among the Royal Court and the soldiers through their ranks.
If this mission succeeds, my reputation will be in the gutter by daylight.
I\'d better keep my mouth shut from now on.\' General Morn thought.
There\'s no acceptable casualty rate yet I permit you to kill anyone in Mandia that you consider a threat to the mission. Peonia said a few seconds after Lith\'s words had died out, making the murmurs turn into shocked gasps.
Even if you kill hundreds, we\'ll save thousands and the food supplies of Mandia will save thousands more. She looked at Lith, but she was actually talking to everyone.
Whether the mission succeeds or fails, I\'ll take responsibility for their deaths and compensate their families.
The Crown will not hold you responsible, Major Verhen.
That\'s how a true leader speaks. A female soldier of an elite infiltration unit said.
It\'s too easy to hog the glory and avoid the responsibilities like Generals do.
I guess they see us as nothing but wooden pawns on their pretty little maps.
Once they are done with a mission, they put us in a box and forget about our existence. A male soldier said while spitting on the ground in disgust, careful to avoid looking at the General.
Morn fumed with rage as such comments became widespread and louder, but there was nothing he could say.
That was Peonia\'s unit and if the mission succeeded, it would belong to her forever, outside of his area of influence.
Good. Lith nodded.
I\'m on my way then.
Are you sure you don\'t want help Lieutenant Grenner here is one of our best spies. The Princess pointed at the female soldier who had spoken earlier.
I don\'t doubt your skills, Lieutenant, but believe me when I say that not even you can keep up with me. Lith replied.
Really Morn scoffed, incapable of following his own advice now that Verhen had served such an opportunity to him on a silver platter.
These people have served longer than two measly years and trained their whole life, shedding tears, sweat, and blood.
Do you really think that a blue robe makes you better than them Your pride will be your downfall.
You are right, General Morn.
Talk is cheap so I have only three words for anyone who wants to take part in the mission.
Follow my lead. Lith waved his hand, conjuring a powerful gust of wind that scattered the leaves on the ground and sent them flying toward Mandia.
The natural wind carried them high and forward in the night sky above the city.
Then, Lith took a short run before taking flight.
No one understood his intentions until he entered the air sealing arrays of the city and started to fall.
His foot touched one of the flying leaves and he activated gravity fusion, jumping toward another.
His mass couldn\'t be altered by gravity, but Lith could always alter its direction with magic, giving the impression to be weightless.
Good gods. Lieutenant Grenner said in awe.
I thought that stuff like that happened only in the legends.
I guess that Archmages are just built different from the rest of us. A Sergeant said while Lith moved above and past the city walls unnoticed, carried by the wind along with the leaves.
Not an Archmage. Peonia said.
And a Soldier Magus to be precise.
He isn\'t sitting comfortably on the backline.
He\'s fighting on the frontline so that we have a higher chance to go back home alive.
The members of her unit looked at the Princess with a puzzled look before understanding her words and spreading her message.
The words Soldier Magus spread like wildfire through the camp, making Morn regret to have not bitten off his own tongue.
Lith kept using gravity fusion to move only until he reached a guard tower that shielded him from the vision of both enemies and allies.
Then, he Spirit Warped as far as his eye could see, going from the outer rim to the middle rim of the city in a split second.
\'Thrud uses Awakened forces and the presence of witnesses would only increase the body count.
I need to be alone to perform at my best.\' He thought as he closed in to the City Hall.
\'Was the question about the casualty rates really necessary\' Solus asked.
\'Solus, I can\'t leave loose ends.
One witness is all that it takes for everyone to know that I\'m Tiamat and an Awakened.
At that point, I\'d be no different from Thrud\'s Awakened Beasts for them.\' Lith replied.
She sighed but said nothing, finding comfort in the weight of Thundercrash that was strapped on his back and War which hung at his side.
They could use the pocket dimension despite the dimensional sealing arrays, but it would consume his life force.
Lith didn\'t bother looking at Mandia\'s elegant buildings, the numerous artworks that decorated even the plazas of the commoners\' district, or the blooming parks.
He Warped from one vantage point to the next as soon as Life Vision and mana sense confirmed that the coast was clear.
Once he reached the City Hall, he used Invigoration to recover his strength while looking for an entry point.
\'Getting here was the easy part.\' Solus said.
\'Once inside the building, walls will cover our line of sight and dimensional magic won\'t help us escape if things go badly.
Stealth is the key.\'
Lith nodded and used the Eyes of Menadion to check inside the City Hall before Warping.
He could take the dimensional coordinates from a window, but he needed the artifact to make sure that he wouldn\'t pop in front of the guards.
The City Hall was built on a small hill isolated from the rest of the city.
Life Vision had only a limited range and there was no way to get close enough to use the spell without getting spotted.
Luckily for him, the Eyes could do everything that Life Vision did and so much more at a much greater distance.
Lith chose an empty corridor where the guards had just passed, buying himself the time that he needed to understand his position from the map stored in Soluspedia.
\'Why did you pick the third floor\' Solus asked.
\'The Warp Gate is on the ground level.
This way we have to move a lot more and take more risks.\'
\'Because the Warp Gate is disconnected from its power source to keep the Royal Override from opening it against Thrud\'s will.\' Lith replied.
\'I\'m no engineer and I\'m alone.
\'Fixing the Gate will take longer than the time between patrols and once I set the mana cables back into place, even if I hide, the guards will notice them.
I need to cull their numbers and create a diversion.
\'I\'m strong, but I can\'t take on dozens of Awakened Emperor Beasts by myself.\'
Lith shapeshifted into his Tiamat form, gaining its affinity toward darkness.
He moved through the three floors of the City Hall, counting the guards and assessing their dangerousness thanks to Solus\' mana sense.
The corridors were empty and there were only a few places where the lights cast a shadow deep enough to hide..
Lith hid his smell, stretching the darkness enough to cover him but not so much that it looked unnatural.
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