Supreme Magus - Chapter 807 Laruel Part 1
Chapter 807 Laruel Part 1
“You would be at risk of being attacked even without the current struggle for power, but as it is now, you might as well walk with a target on your back.” Lyta said.
“Between plant folk resenting humans, the infected starving due to the parasite, and Erlik’s followers disguised among the crowd, being Leannan guests of honor might not be enough to ensure your safety.”
Lyta was many things, but rude to her friends wasn’t one of them. She was politely trying to warn Kalla that once again her nature could bring her a lot of trouble. Erlik was bound to consider her a traitor, whereas plant folks would only see her undead half and consider Kalla either an enemy or a plague-spreader.
“Thanks for your concern, but I’ll take my chances.” Kalla reverted to her full Wight form.
It was a mass of shadows as big as a small house, which kept shapeshifting until it resembled a bear. Its only distinctive features were its glowing red eyes and its massive skeleton that glimpsed from time to time underneath the ever-changing darkness composing Kalla’s body.
“Where do you want to go?” Lyta asked, wondering why so many people only looked at her friend’s eerie appearance and were incapable of seeing her loving character.
Despite the fact that all Dryads had a stunning appearance, it wasn’t a matter of them being vain, nor an attempt to please the humans’ eye.
Just like what happened for the first form Emperor Beasts learned to shapeshift into, when a flower evolved into a Dryad, they simply would take the physical appearance they envisioned themselves with.
“I’m not going to sightsee, so lead us to the last known position of Erlik’s headquarters.” Kalla replied. “If the tissues that create the disease are made out of his body, it would be just perfect.
“We’ll even have a good reason to participate in the power struggle even though the plant folk law requires only for the citizen of the city-state to be able to take part in it.”
“But that would be dangerous!” Lyta said. “They have probably moved from the last raid, but if they see you, they’ll try to take you down.”
“What’s the point in me staying here? It’s better if Erlik’s followers find me, at least they will give me something to study.” Kalla replied with a wolfish smile. Ever since Lith and Solus had taught her light magic, her research to achieve Lichhood had progressed by leaps and bounds.
Kalla wasn’t as skilled as Scarlett in the use of light magic, nor she could turn darkness into light at will, but she was slowly understanding how deep the bond between the two seemingly conflicting elements was.
If she managed to capture a few undead, she would be able to study their blood cores without the act of playing god with their very life essence troubling her conscience. Kalla was gentle, but not stupid.
She had buried all her past opponents and once she resolved to kill someone, the how and how long would it take were just meaningless details.
“One last thing. Can we use dimensional magic inside Laruel?” Kalla asked. In a city full of potential dangers, it would have been foolish to move without having a clear retreat path.
“Technically, no. The arrays are set up so that only plant folks can use both the public transportation system and dimensional items. However, you are Leannan guests, and that grants you special privileges.” Lyta gave to each one of them what looked like a small acorn.
“Channel your mana through this focus and your spells will work as usual. Be careful, because even dimensional amulets are sealed to foreigners.”
The moment the two Awakened held their respective acorn, they could feel the power residing within with Invigoration. It wasn’t a magical device, but a still living piece of something bigger.
It had no mana core, yet both its life force and mana flow were visible.
‘Fucking great!’ Lith thought. ‘This is the best bug one could possibly devise. Whoever spawned this seemingly harmless acorn, could be listening and watching whatever we are doing, maybe even scanning our mana.
‘On top of that, I can’t store it inside my pocket dimension because I need the acorn to use my dimensional storage. It’s a perfect catch 22!’
‘Do you think it could sense me?’ Solus asked.
‘Unlikely, but I’m not going to take risks.’
The group practiced a bit how to open and close dimensional doors through the acorns before leaving. Kalla stored her own inside a small utility belt she wore around her neck.
Then, Lyta opened a Gate leading to their destination and wished them good luck.
Even though the Awakened were pissed off at the subtle attempt to spy on them, even if all the members of the group were tense at the idea of stepping inside the lion’s den, the spectacle in front of their eyes was breath-taking.
The sun was up from a few hours, but somehow there was still dew on the leaves of the tall trees that covered the sky above Laruel like a ceiling, preventing the city from being spotted by any flying onlooker.
The dew reflected the sunlight so that even though the thick foliage made it impossible to look at the sky, the city was perfectly lit. The dew also created several small rainbows that moved along with the group’s gazes, giving Laruel an appearance worthy of a fairy tale.
Its buildings weren’t carved or built, so much as grown, making each city block no different from a patch of trees. Some houses were close to each other, while others were afar as if whoever planted them had acted on a whim.
Yet there was harmony and beauty at every corner. Laruel didn’t feel like a city, so much as a natural treasure that extended as far as the eye could see. The fresh air was filled with long-forgotten scents that rejuvenated their lungs.
The vibrant colors of the flowers that grew almost everywhere soothed their restless spirit and the vision of the magical inhabitants of the city, with their oddly shaped yet beautiful bodies almost made the group forget about the importance of their mission.
Even Lith found it hard to not stop and smell the roses, but the fairy tale turned grim if one bothered to look past the surface of things. Several anomalies alerted his senses. The lack of all the characteristic smells of a city allowed him to perceive that something was wrong.
Beneath the fragrant scent of flowers, the air reeked with decay. The buildings where Erlik and his followers had hidden were revealed by patches of withered green. The signs of the struggle that ensued after they had been found by Leannan’s guards were still visible.
Only the houses tainted by the touch of the undead had yet to recover whereas the rest of the neighborhood was in pristine condition.
Solus scanned their surroundings, reassuring Lith that somehow, the living treehouses hadn’t been affected by the blight, but the same couldn’t be told about the citizens of Laruel.
She identified several plant folks with a blood core and that made her think.
“Kalla, does reflected light count against undead?” Lith asked on Solus’s behalf.
“Yes. The massive amount of light energy it bears has negative effects on many species of undead. We already know that the infective tissues do not have an adverse reaction to sunlight.