The Viscount despised commoners, but he was a man smart enough to know when to swallow his pride and play nice.
Just a few hours ago, he was angry at Lady Ernas for bringing an unwanted guest inside his house.
Krame didn\'t complain to her about it only because he was hoping to establish ties with the Ernas Household.
The sudden turn of events had made Friya a goddess of victory to his eyes.
Having the city Regent under his roof would ensure that all of his plans would come to fruition once the crisis was resolved.
The Viscount was so angry at himself for his lack of foresight that if he could have traveled back in time, he would kick his own ass.
\'Bad news travels fast.\' Lith thought.
The High Command had bestowed upon him full control over Zantia in the middle of the night, yet the Viscount already knew about the shift in the balance of power.
Between that incompetent fool of Cestor, those lunatics hurting my business, and my family under siege, I must have lost my mind due to the stress.
As a fellow noble and family man, I hope you can forgive my rudeness.
If there\'s anything I can do to help, you just have to ask. Krame stood up, giving Lith a polite bow even though he was the Lord of the house.
His hypocrisy made Lith want to puke, but he had more important matters to attend to.
The past is in the past.
I\'m sure Mage Friya has mentioned to you our need for a piece of sensitive information. Lith said.
Before he could even finish the phrase, the Viscount took a folder out of his pocket dimension and handed it to Lith.
I hope this is enough.
I took care of procuring it through safe channels.
The nature of your inquiry is known only to the three of us.
Lith quickly checked the folder\'s content.
Not only there was a complete list of all the people affected by the Griever, but also another one containing all the names of the known members of the Church of the Six along with their addresses.
It\'s perfect, Viscount.
You can rest assured that the Crown will hear from me about your cooperation. Lith\'s words were actually far from being benign.
He meant that he would not forget to mention how the noble had put his own interest before Zantia\'s and how Krame had treated him when he believed to have the upper hand.
Yet his warm smile and calm tone fooled the Viscount, who could already picture himself obtaining the city Lord\'s seat thanks to Lith\'s recommendation.
After they finished eating, Lith and Friya went to her room to plan their next move.
The Viscount had gracefully relieved her of all her duties and had assigned her as Lith\'s aide until the crisis was resolved.
This suck! I didn\'t get to give you a single order that our positions are already reversed. Friya said while opening the door.
Her room was actually a small apartment.
It had a living room, a bedroom, and its own bathroom.
Each one of them was bigger than Lith\'s room and was equipped with all comforts.
It seems that I got the room reserved for the unwanted guests. Lith sat at the high table in the living room and unfolded a big map of the city of Zantia from the folder the Viscount had given to him.
Then, he also took out the list of people affected by the Griever and marked their addresses with red dots.
Friya helped him, cross-referencing their names with the known affiliates of the Church of the Six.
This doesn\'t make much sense. She pointed out once they were done.
The number of people suffering from the Griever are way less than I expected.
There are barely more than 200 names on the list.
Even a medium city like Zantia has thousands of citizens.
Not even a hypochondriac would call something of this extent a plague.
You are right.
We are missing something. Lith said.
After witnessing the anguish of the city guards, the fear in the eyes of Count Cestor, and how the population of Zantia was split between believers and non-believers, he was expecting a much worse situation.
The dots on the map were just a mess and he didn\'t recognize most of the names.
He called his handler and asked her help.
Kamila was a data analyst, if there was a pattern, she should have been able to find it.
Well, it\'s a very short list.
It will just take a few minutes. She said after Lith had scanned for her all the information he had at his disposal.
He could see her hands dancing on the holographic interface with the speed and the grace of a piano player.
I can already tell you that the number of people on the list is oddly convenient.
It\'s just a few units below the threshold that makes mandatory to alert the authorities.
Kamila\'s words made Lith realize another piece of the puzzle.
Up to that moment, he had thought that the limited number of victims was due to the Awakened behind the church lacking the manpower for a bigger scheme.
Now, instead, he was sure it had been an intentional move to prevent outsiders from messing with their plan.
\'Picking an isolated city in the middle of winter lockdown, the timing of my summon and of the snowstorm.
This cannot be just a coincidence.
Whatever they are doing, they must be hiding from the Council, not the army.
\'Otherwise they wouldn\'t risk involving me.\' Lith thought.
I\'m done. Kamila said as the list on Lith\'s hologram was now reduced to 84 names, each followed by their position in the city\'s administrative offices and their clearance levels.
Aside from the obvious city Lord, these people are all bureaucrats and officials of medium importance.
None of them holds a special relevance to the city, but if you put them all together, they give you access to all key points of Zantia.
Among them there are the guards tasked to check the city entrances, clerks that can hasten or slow down any paperwork you might need, and even those in charge for the maintenance of the emergency arrays
With their combined help, a smart person would have full control over Zantia\'s available resources.
They could smuggle or hide anything inside the city and even take some of the relics stored there for emergencies without anyone noticing.
I doubt it\'s anything that big. Lith shook his head.
How long ago was the Church of the Six founded
Over nine months ago. Kamila replied.
When did the Griever first appeared
A month ago, right after the lockdown.
\'I can\'t imagine six Awakened wasting a whole year in the middle of nowhere.
According to Firgon, the Church was on the verge of collapsing before the Griever.
They must be using the Church as a cover and as a scapegoat in case something goes wrong.\' Lith thought.
We need a second map.
Maybe if we remove all the marks belonging to the officials, we can get a better picture of why they picked those people as victims. Friya said.
It\'s a waste of time. Lith extended his arms and used light magic to create a holographic copy of the map right above the real one.
Thanks to his training, he was now able to add a tinge of colors by using other elements, giving it a higher definition.