Chapter 2114 A Frail Alliance (Part 2)
On paper, the Magic Empress was supporting the Council, granting its members full access to the cities of the Empire and to the databases of the local authorities.
Yet she wasn\'t doing it out of the goodness of her heart, but for her own survival.
Milea was aware that in case the Kingdom fell the Empire would be the next.
By buying time for the Royals, she was actually buying time for herself.
The Empress had put Belius under constant siege not only to expand her borders, but also to force the Mad Queen to reveal her best cards.
The more desperate both the Griffons were, the more of their respective secrets they had to unveil in order to remain in the game.
Milea didn\'t care whether her opponent would be Meron Griffon or Thrud Griffon.
Once the war was over, she planned to exploit the weakened state of the winner to conquer the Kingdom.
To do that, she was studying the best strategies of both sides and training her armies to counter them.
The Empress was afraid of the legacies left by the First and the Mad King and before making her move, she needed a clear picture of their power to increase her odds of success.
There was a reason if despite its turbulent history the Kingdom had never been taken by force.
Every time an invading army had neared the city of Valeron or the academies, they had been wiped out, leaving no testimony of their defeat except for bards\' songs that talked about gods and miracles.
After her visit to the White Griffon during Nalear\'s attack, Milea could hazard a guess of what had really happened and why Thrud had started her attack from the opposing side of the Kingdom.
The Mad Queen needed to secure a position where to move her Golden Griffon and even the odds in order to start the final battle.
The Empress could almost see how glorious her future would be.
First, she would make the Supreme Magus an offer he couldn\'t refuse.
Then, with his technology, she would have taken the Kingdom by storm, replicated the academies, and then moved to Jiera.
Yet to make her vision come true, she needed time and opportunity and so far, she had neither.
Milea received constant reports about the Abominations and the lack of progress in their research in all the three cities of the Empire.
Seeing creatures so ancient and powerful achieving in hours what usually took her elite corps months was frightening.
Reading about their constant failures, instead, made her worry that there was no key to defeating Thrud.
Dammit! If the Eldritches can\'t find a clue even with the full support of both the Council and the Empire, then no one can. Milea Genys, the Magic Empress and ruler of the Gorgon Empire, said.
She paced non-stop, going circles in the space between the massive tail and the even more massive head of the Black Dragon curled up in her throne room.
I wouldn\'t be so sure. Leegaain replied.
Nice of you to come back, by the way.
How are the babies Milea\'s voice oozed sarcasm.
They are doing great, thanks for asking.
Mine is due in a few months while it will take longer for Lith\'s. If the Father of all Dragons noticed it, he sure didn\'t seem to mind.
Judging from the excited thumping of his tail, however, Milea could tell how little he cared about her predicament.
Do you realize that, if we don\'t find a way to get rid of the Golden Griffon, either Thrud\'s will conquer two-thirds of Garlen or a huge part of the border regions will be blown away in the detonation ensuing the destruction of the lost academy She asked.
Of course I know.
Then how can you be so relaxed I thought you cared about your turf! Milea clenched her head in annoyance.
I do care about my turf.
I just don\'t care about the people or who sits on that throne.
No offense. Leegaain replied.
Much taken. She grumbled.
What about our deal You promised me your knowledge.
Why can\'t I find anything about the Golden Griffon in your huge ass library
First, our deal is still valid.
Second, you can\'t find anything because I don\'t know much about how the lost academy was built.
I collect lost knowledge whereas the details about the Golden Griffon are simply hidden. He answered her questions with the same lecturing tone he had used back when the Empress was his apprentice.
On top of that, Arthan was very good at operating in secret.
He managed to pull a lot of stuff right under Valeron\'s and Tyris\' noses.
Believe me when I say that old Val was really anal retentive about his life\'s work.
If both Val and the resident Guardian were in the dark the whole time, how am I supposed to know
Because you\'re the damn god of knowledge, that\'s how! Milea desperately wanted something to work on.
If she discovered the weak point of the Golden Griffon and shared it with the Kingdom, no matter the outcome of the war, she would be the real winner.
If the Royals won, both the Kingdom and the Council would be deeply indebted to her, if not even weakened enough to be ripe for the taking.
If they lost, instead, their failed attempts would be priceless data that Milea would use when it was her turn to deal with the Mad Queen.
Yet without a starting point, the only difference between her and the Royals would be the date of her defeat.
I\'m not a god and until a while ago, I had no reason to study the Golden Griffon.
It was Tyris\' problem, not mine.
I have no knowledge to share, only one piece of advice. Leegaain gently rubbed his snout against her body to calm her down.
Shoot. The Empress said with a sigh while leaning against one of his protruding fangs.
Are you really sure that you are giving Zoreth your full support He asked.
What do you want me to do To go beat the streets with her I have an entire Empire to rule and a war to plan! I\'m not- Milea froze up, her eyes reduced to two slits as she calculated her gains and losses.
Time to bring out the big guns.
Dammit, so far the mission is a total bust. Kigan threw his tailor-made suit on his bed.
Our underlings who run the local underworld failed to find any lead or contact for the secret base and I\'ve attended more galas in the last few days than in the previous millennium.
The undead we managed to track during the day and spot during the night were all irrelevant pawns.
We need to find someone at the top of Xaanth\'s Undead Court and fast.
Indeed. Xenagrosh nodded.
Our absence is weakening the Kingdom\'s battlefront and we can\'t employ our Abomination brethren openly in the war.
They are already busy dealing with the undead, but that\'s not the real issue.
As members of the Council, the Royal Pardon extends to us hybrids as well and ensures us that only a handful of people in the Kingdom know about our real identity.
The rest of the Eldritches are not included in the deal simply because mentioning their names would be enough to split the Royal Court in two and jeopardize the alliance between humans and Awakened.
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