How much for your best room Lith asked the receptionist, a young man about his own age.
He was too tired to care about money.
A good bed and a hot bath were the only thing she could think about.
One silver coin per night. The man yelped.
It was actually more expensive, but the Gatekeeper at Lith\'s waist looked mean and the man carrying it even meaner.
Excuse me, are you Ranger Verhen Asked a mage in his thirties.
He was of average height, with a lean build and kind chestnut eyes.
Judging from his silver robe, he worked for the Mage Association.
Depends who\'s asking. Lith gave the receptionist the money and his ID, making sure the stranger couldn\'t read it.
I\'m Mage Dorian Felhorn.
I\'m your liaison with the local branch of the Association. Clearly Felhorn had recognized Lith.
His earlier question was a formality.
I\'m sorry, but even if I was who you think I am, I work for the army now.
So unless you have written orders for me, I\'ve no reason to listen to you. Lith took his room\'s key and walked towards the stairs leading to the first floor.
Wait! You don\'t understand.
I may not have an official authorization yet, but I need your help.
The Association is in a pinch.
Lith had to admit the guy was brave.
Even when pressed by his Sunday killing intent, Dorian didn\'t flinch.
He even had the gall to grab his shoulder.
I\'m sure they are, but unless there\'s something in for me, I don\'t care. Lith shrugged the hand away.
Bottom line, I could come with you, it\'s just that I don\'t want to.
Lith\'s annoyed tone achieved what even his meanest glare had failed to.
The second Dorian was too shocked by Lith\'s disregard for whatever news he was the bearer of, the Ranger disappeared upstairs.
Dorian took out his communication amulet from one of his robe\'s pockets.
I\'m sorry sir, I\'ve failed my mission.
Great Mage Verhen was crystal clear in his refusal to even listen to me.
The body count is already in the dozens and is bound to getting worse.
I hoped that him choosing to be promoted in our ranks rather than in the army\'s meant he would be more sympathetic to our cause. Said a man voice coming from the amulet.
The Mage Association was in dire straits for years.
New and old noble families hated them for wiping them from Mogar overnight, but most of all, because unlike the army it was impossible for non mages to join their ranks.
Ever since the plague event happened five years ago, the Association\'s reputation was in steady decline.
First, they had failed to cure or even contain the plague, leaving all the glory to the army and the White Griffon.
Then, they had been useless against Balkor\'s attack.
Once again, the lion\'s share of the merits belonged to the White Griffon.
The army had at least provided troops, while most mages had run for their lives along with their families.
Last, but not least, the Mage Association had failed to keep Hatorne in check, to find Headmaster Linnea who was still on the run, and even to prevent the mass production of slave items that had led to Nalear\'s attack.
The Association was on its last leg, its political support dwindled every year.
Even the Queen was considering the idea of turning the Association in a branch of the Army and redistribute their funds.
After all, the heroes who had stopped the Mad Professor all belonged to the army.
Lady Jirni, Commander Orion, and Captain Phloria.
The only exception was Lith Verhen, a free agent at best.
Money or merits could buy his services, but not his loyalty.
We have no choice.
I\'ll contact the army and have them borrow him to us before the Royal Constable arrives.
That way, he will be our player.
We need a big victory, failure is not an option.
If all else fails, we still have our ace in the hole.
Technically, it\'s more like a double edged sword. Dorian didn\'t like Archmage Kwart\'s plan.
Stealing a dragon\'s egg could force the beast to compromise, but it would also provoke its animosity.
If we fail, a Great Mage\'s wrath will be the last of our problems.
I\'ll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, Lith was having dinner with his family.
Thanks to the communication amulet they could share the table even at thousand of kilometers of distance.
Othre sucks, this work sucks. Lith was complaining to his parents while consuming the food provided by the room service.
Everywhere I go, people treat Rangers almost like criminals.
Despite all the time I spent in the wilds, I\'m already sick of this place.
I\'ll leave tomorrow early in the morning.
I read that the communities in the north are tight-knit. Raaz had bought a book about the Kellar region.
He hated studying, but that way he was able to understand what his son was going through.
It also allowed them to share a deeper conversation than small talk.
You can\'t blame them for being suspicious.
Even here in Lutia we don\'t like strangers or cops.
To them, you are both.
By the way, Othre is famous for its open market.
You might find rare books or ingredients there.
Good point, dad.
Thanks, I will give it a look. Lith had the same book in Soluspedia, but was grateful for Raaz\'s thoughtfulness.
Elina was proud of her husband going an extra mile for their son and jealous because she felt cut out.
\'I need to get hold of that damn book.\' She thought.
Lith was dead tired after a week always being on full alert.
He fell asleep the moment his head touched the pillow and was awakened a few hours later by an explosion coming from outside.
\'Solus\' He asked as his pajamas shapeshifted into his Ranger uniform.
\'Yes, you never called a constable.
Those poor people are likely to be still stuck there.\' She pouted.
\'Who cares about that I meant what was that noise\'
\'Something is happening on the other side of the road, but it doesn\'t make sense.\' She replied.
Lith looked through the window in his room and notice that the door of one of the shops in front of the hotel had been blown to bits.
A few seconds later, a poorly dressed woman came out of it, carrying bags full of food and money.
\'You are right, it doesn\'t make sense.
How can someone so malnourished beat up so many men\' Lith pondered while staring at the scene.
Several shops had already been robbed and their owners were out cold in the middle of the street.
\'It\'s not that.\' Solus replied with a sigh after noticing that Lith wasn\'t going to intervene.
\'That woman has a red mana core and a human body, yet her mana flow is comparable to a yellow core.\'
\'How is that possible\'
\'She\'s absorbing world energy at a rate comparable to yours when using Invigoration.
She might be an Awakened.\'