Chapter 2091 Undercover (Part 1)
The food stored in Zehnma was a priceless asset and the people of the Nestrar region had happily sided with Thrud since the first day of the War of the Griffons.
Meron\'s policy about fairly sharing and distributing crops had saved millions during the famine, but those he took them from just considered him a cruel tyrant who starved them.
The city was a fortress with walls of polished stone over 20 meters (70\') high that shone like silver under the sunlight due to the high concentration of Orichalcum dust they contained.
It helped the defenders by blinding the enemies during daytime and had allowed the Royal mages to cast powerful defensive arrays that no regular rock could withstand.
Fuck me sideways. Lith said as Solus showed him the intricate network of concentric magical formations that went from the city walls to the town hall, becoming smaller and more powerful the closer they got to the Lord\'s office.
Merrik is a cool guy and I\'m sure that as soon as he sees you in your Divine Beast form, he\'ll change his mind. Phloria said with a chuckle.
Ah-ah! That\'s the least of my worries.
How do we get in Lith asked.
That\'s a question I have no answer for. She sighed.
Even if we use Spirit Magic to fly and the arrays can\'t stop it, they would still detect us and the guards shoot us down.
Thrud upgraded the standard elemental sealing arrays with high altitude motion sensors so even opening a Steps in mid-air is out of the question.
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What if we shapeshift and get in from the front door Tista said.
One of the guards is an Awakened and uses Invigoration to check people before letting them in.
Even if you use cloaking devices, the moment they touch they\'d detect your mana flow and hybrid life force. Phloria replied.
How long do we have until they close the city doors Lith pensively tormented his chin.
Until sundown or until something triggers a lockdown.
The area is allegedly safe and Thrud\'s citizens need to go in and out at all hours for their trades.
I have the solution, but unless we want to wait all day, we better be quick. He replied.
Tista, follow me.
They took flight, always remaining under the cover of the trees to avoid detection.
Then, Lith searched for the busiest road leading to Zehnma and followed it until he found a caravan of merchants.
Did you forget to buy something before we left or what Tista asked.
Solus, I want you to enter the carriage on the front, memorize the place, and then explore the rest of the caravan before it reaches Zehnma. Lith said.
I understand the part of your plan about me infiltrating the city and opening a Steps for you, but not the carriage stuff.
Care to explain
I could send one of my Demons inside a shadow, but Invigoration would detect them and with sunlight, a shadow moving around won\'t be missed.
You instead are small and can take any shape you want.
Stay in the first carriage until they start searching it.
Then Blink in the second and wait for them to be done.
Even if they are using Life Vision, such a tiny and short-lived spell will be covered by the magical aura of the merchandise.
After that, move back into the first carriage and wait to be inside Zehnma.
You know the rest. Lith said.
Mind if I take both of our cloaking rings just to be safe Solus asked.
Be my guest. Lith gave her his electrum ring and she absorbed it before taking the form of a stone spider and reaching the caravan unnoticed.
How do we explain the Steps to my troops They are Awakened and not stupid. Phloria said.
If anyone asks, just say that I conjured a Demon inside the city or something. Lith shrugged.
No one knows what my limits are and I want to keep it that way.
No problem. She nodded.
You are lucky I\'m the one leading the mission.
Any other officer would ask you lots of questions to understand how to best use your skills in future missions and you would have to answer.
Or at least make up bull** that you would be later forced to uphold.
You are welcome.
Now let\'s get back to the base and wait for your ride.
The caravan reached Zehnma in half an hour and while Lith pretended to be in deep meditation to control his Demon from a distance, he was actually using a surveillance spell to keep an eye on Solus.
The guards had the merchants stop too far away from Zehnma for someone to Blink inside while a thick mist made it impossible to see past the city gates.
Even a creature with amazing eyesight would just see a blur even from the sky and fail to acquire the dimensional coordinates needed for a Steps.
\'By my Mom, Thrud really covered all of her bases.
The only thing she didn\'t consider was a living piece of stone.\' Solus thought.
Then, the guards cast from a distance a Life Sensing array, checking not only if the number of people and beasts matched that accounted for by the caravan leader, but also that there was no one hidden in the proximity of the checkpoint for an ambush.
\'Me and my big mouth! Let\'s hope that my artifact nature and the rings are enough to hide my presence.\' She sheltered her conscience deep inside the ring, as she had learned to do in order to give Lith some privacy while dating.
Her hybrid half coupled with her technique allowed her to escape the detection of the spell which perceived only a slight anomaly in the cargo.
There\'s something weird in there. A woman with the glazed eyes characteristic of the Forgotten said while pointing at the first carriage.
We need to perform a thorough scan.
Is it really necessary The merchant, a chubby man in his late fifties with thick reddish mustaches said.
Searching the merchandise already takes a lot of time and we are on a schedule.
If we arrive late, the hotel will cancel our reservation and we\'ll have nowhere to spend the night.
We need to perform a thorough scan. The woman repeated with a deadpan voice.
That or I can kill you all and destroy your carriages.
You have five seconds to comply.
Search all you want! The man shouted in fear, making his double chins wobble.
But you\'ll find nothing.
It must just be the interference from the enchanted items.
I swear it on my life.
Your life already belongs to Queen Thrud.
Your oath is irrelevant. The Forgotten were students of the Golden Griffon academy who had completely lost their minds after centuries of imprisonment, starvation, and resurrection.
Nothing was left of their original personality, they were just living puppets that the Unwavering Loyalty array forced to enact Thrud\'s will.
She had deployed them as city guards throughout the occupied territories because they were all loyal deep violet-core Awakened and because she hoped that social interaction would reignite any spark of humanity the Forgotten had left.
So far, they behaved no different from a flesh golem.
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