Chapter 2113 A Frail Alliance (Part 1)
During the battle of Zehnma Phloria\'s Awakened corps had shown its true value and proved that the Council had more tactics at its disposal to capture a city than Thrud.
Now that she had been cornered, the Mad Queen was bound to retaliate as hard as she could.
All that she needed to gain the upper hand again was to plant one of her little slaves inside the Awakened\'s ranks and leak intel about every attack before it even happened.
At that point, Thrud would have just to wait for the main forces of the Council to be assembled in the same spot to take them all out in one fell swoop.
No matter how powerful the Awakened elders were, if caught in an ambush by over thirty Divine Beasts led by the Mad Queen herself, the Council would be done for and the War of the Griffons lost.
The representatives of the four races could no longer afford to underestimate Thrud.
After losing so many battles to Thrud, after the death of so many ancient Awakened at the hand of her troops, the Council couldn\'t dismiss her as a fleeting threat anymore.
For the first time since the First Guardian had been born, the Awakened were afraid.
Afraid to have met an enemy they couldn\'t defeat.
Why didn\'t we get this memo Xenagrosh asked while checking her Council amulet.
Look in the spam folder. The Oberon replied.
Those old farts send so many of them that I archive them without even opening them.
It was attached to the Council\'s latest war bulletin.
Damn, you\'re right. Xenagrosh browsed the unwanted messages until she found the memo.
Hey, why are my messages in there as well Kigan asked.
Take a guess. She replied with a sneer.
Was there any failed infiltration attempt already or is it just a precautionary measure
We are at a critical juncture of the war and we can\'t afford one single misstep.
Is there anything I can do for you before you leave At a wave of Cenn\'s hand, a sapling sprouted into a wooden table, cups, and fresh fruit.
I recommend the herbal tea.
I grow the leaves myself.
He showed them his hand, where a seedling quickly emerged from his green skin, emitting a strong medicinal scent.
Thanks, but we have to go.
In which direction is the city of Xaanth Kigan looked around for the exit from the underground cave.
That way. Cenn opened a Warp Steps leading outside and dozens of kilometers in the right direction.
You can\'t miss it.
Thank you very much. Xenagrosh handed him a flask filled with bright violet Origin Flames.
This is for your trouble.
No trouble at all. Despite his words, the Oberon took the flask and put it inside his dimensional amulet, just to avoid take-backs.
This is my contact rune.
If you need help or a direct line with the local members of the Council, I\'ll be glad to assist you.
The hybrids stepped through the Warp, bidding their host goodbye with a nod of their heads before taking flight.
Reaching Xaanth took them less than an hour due to the unfriendly competition between them.
Xenagrosh and Kigan couldn\'t stand each other and turned everything into a pissing contest.
What now He asked after their Council IDs granted them access to the city.
We are looking for a secret base, not just a local branch.
There\'s no way that we can find it by exploiting the local thugs like usual.
The Empress is willing to help the Council, but if she had any clue, she would have already raided the place herself.
Now it comes the hard part. Xenagrosh sighed.
We are going to need some legwork to find reliable intel.
Let\'s split up to cover more ground.
During the following days, the two hybrids checked with the local authorities in the morning and spent the time until sundown squeezing information from anyone who even remotely smelled of undead.
They had no access to Invigoration, but unlike the city guards, they had senses that could pick up the faintest scent of expensive perfume and their respective eyes could discern the presence of a blood core even in thralls.
Xenagrosh was the best tracker of the Organization and she knew that real undead were completely different from the stories that parents would tell their kids to make them afraid of going out at night.
The undead didn\'t smell like corpses nor did they all feed on blood.
Most of them looked and smelled just like the living until they decided otherwise.
What betrayed them was their inability to come out during the day and their love for rare fragrances.
The Shadow Dragon had learned from experience that the best way to find an undead\'s hiding place was by searching for people who despite their trivial day job smelled too good.
Those who served the undead would be permeated by the essences that their masters used to freshen the stale air of the underground palaces they had to stay until sundown.
That scent would follow them around the city as they performed the daily chores, spreading to everyone they came in contact with like a disease.
Even Emperor Beasts would have a hard time following such a weak scent inside a city.
The fragrance would weaken with time and soon would be drowned by the smell of people, their pungent sweat, and the aromas coming from every establishment serving food or drinks.
Yet to Xenagrosh\'s nose each scent would leave a distinctive trail that with time and a bit of luck she could follow back to its original source.
During the night, instead, the hybrids infiltrated the houses of the most influential mages of Xaanth under the fake identity of scouts from the Imperial academies.
Contrary to the bards\' tales, real undead didn\'t spend their free time hanging out in the slums, sewers, or sordid brothels.
They liked to party, mingle with powerful people, and take part in their sordid vices to become their friends.
Undead didn\'t accumulate power and riches just to brood in a damp cave, spending their waking hours whining about how cursed their existence was or how lonely they felt.
They did it to enjoy in undeath all the things that in life they had never been able to afford.
The best place where to look for the upper echelons of the Undead Courts was where the people who they perceived as their peers gathered.
Xenagrosh and Kigan would have never had such a solid cover if not for the collaboration between the Council and the Magic Empress.
In a country where there was no such thing as nobility and the power of a household lasted only as much as the life of its best mage, scouts from the great academies were always honored guests.
The two Abomination-hybrids spent a few days like that, identifying and following several thralls, but no matter how hard Kigan and Xenagrosh searched, their leads brought them only to dead ends.
The hybrids were surprised when they discovered from the local constables that not only the Empire was aware of the true nature of the two Council\'s envoys, but it also didn\'t put any limit on their stay.
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