Supreme Magus - Chapter 808 Laruel Part 2
Chapter 808 Laruel Part 2
“Their victims retain their physical strength during the day, so we can already rule out all the undead that would be harmed by exposure to the sun. Sadly, it doesn’t narrow the research enough.
“Even if they belonged to an undead who is paralyzed during the day, we have no idea how Jiera’s plague altered its metabolism. Maybe the tissues are still, but the organisms carrying them are not undead and allow the infection to spread even during the day.” Kalla said.
“Then what are we doing here?” Friya asked. “Wouldn’t be better to get back at night, when all kinds of undead can freely move around?”
“We’re doing research, child. If we find out that no undead matching the energy signature we are looking for is outside during the day, it means that they probably can’t move.
“Also, this is the perfect time to look for Erlik. Draugr can’t move as long as the sun is up, no matter if it’s covered by clouds or leaves. If we find him, he can’t escape.”
“What makes you think that we can succeed where even Leannan’s network of spies and constables failed?” Phloria asked.
“Plants folks are too obsessed with power to mind the small details, while you humans are helpless without your toys. Us beasts are natural hunters, and hybrids like me have many aces up their sleeves.” Kalla grinned, winking at Lith, who would have loved to share her optimism.
Sure, they had Life Vision, something that non-Awakened could only dream of, but the magical aura of the place was overwhelming to the point that even Solus’s mana sense was foggy at best.
They needed to get really close to a treehouse to see past its shrouding and with all the sweet scents lingering in the air, Lith’s nose was already jammed. Yet Kalla was right. Among the plant folks, there were undead spying on them.
‘Sorry. I don’t recognize their energy signature, which means none of them is the one who spawned the disease nor do they belong to the same undead kin.’ Solus said.
They had already put all the books about undead they had inside Soluspedia after their first squabble with the famished creatures in the Rothar forest, but that didn’t allow Solus to recognize an unknown type of greater undead just by looking at their blood core.
Lith had met very few undead in the past, like Liches, a banshee, and a couple of vampires. Whatever the things watching at them were, he had no clue what they were capable of.
While Lith and Kalla looked carefully around themselves, with their eyes glowing because of Life Vision, Phloria focused on the details of the scenery and the crowd, looking for anything out of place.
The first thing she noticed was that she wouldn’t expect more hostility from the locals even if they were there to conquer the city rather than save it. She was wearing her acorn on her chest as if it was a badge, yet the glares she received were spiteful at best.
The second thing she noticed was the absence of children. It wasn’t just that, except for those watching at the group from behind their windows and those loitering, the streets looked deserted.
Phloria couldn’t hear a child cry, laugh, or any noise related to the presence of someone who wasn’t an adult. She had studied plant folks at the academy, but she had never met many of them before.
Treantlings were humanoids who looked like trees, with bark instead of skin, leaves instead of hair on their head, and both had different shades of colors just like it happened for human hair.
Their height varied, but none of them was shorter than 2 meters (6’7″).
Each one of them exhibited a different build and numbers of limbs. Some Treantlings were thin, with arms not thicker than a human’s, while others were big enough that it was easy to mistake them for a real tree if they stayed still with their eyes closed.
Most of them walked on two legs, but they were able to grow extra limbs whenever they needed, just to reabsorb them once they were no longer necessary.
Thorns, the plant folks born from bushes, were nothing like the creatures she had met back in Kulah. Some had a human appearance, like the vegetation that the gardener of her household trimmed to give it the semblance of a mythical creature or of a hero of the past.
Others looked more like beasts, standing on all four and seemingly sniffing the air like hunting dogs. Their shape, size, and even color varied greatly from an individual to another, but she soon noticed that their form was merely dependant on their choice.
Thorns could assume any appearance they wanted, as long as the final mass didn’t exceed their own. They could actually grow as big as they wanted and obtain a greater strength, but doing that required them to spend huge amounts of stamina and mana.
“Kalla, why no one is attacking the undead? I thought that plant folks hated them.” Friya asked while nodding at a few red-eyed creatures among more than one group of bystanders.
“Because those are not undead.” Kalla said. “The red you see is the same that graces Phloria’s hair. It’s the sign of the blessing of the gods of magic. Not all plants have leaves, but all of them need eyes to see.
“The red light of undeath is much colder than that and is only visible if the creature has no longer eyes, just like me.”
“Wait. Thorns, Dryads, and Treantlings all have leaves.” Lith said. “What kind of plants are you talking about?”
“Those who grow and live underground. You might not meet them often, even in the wilds, but here is different. Laruel is their city, so they are not afraid of mingling with their cousins.” Kalla pointed with her snout at a creature that at first glance looked like a mass of mold infesting a tree.
Only when it moved did Lith realize it was actually a living mass of moss. It snarled at Kalla’s gesture, staring at her with its blue and yellow eyes. Kalla returned the glare, flaring her eyes with mana to cover her use of Life Vision while looking at the plant folks.
She identified several undead and discretely pointed them out to Lith, but he shook his head every time.
“This is interesting.” Kalla said while they approached the almost withered tree-house that was Erlik’s last known base of operations. “The rate of infected in the neighborhood is very low, whereas the number of undead is high.
“My guess is that Erlik wanted to keep a low profile, so that his followers could feed and pin the blame for their victims on the infected.”
Now that she knew how the plague worked, Kalla could use her mystical and physical senses to recognize the infected plant folks without the need of a diagnostic spell.
“Your kind has already done enough damage to our city.” A Treantling said while standing in their path. Despite their huge size, they moved nimbly. The creature had covered dozens of meters with just a few steps.
“We don’t need nor want your help. Get out of here before we make you.” It was speaking to Kalla, but Lith stepped in front of her, facing the Treantling. It was way taller than Lith, almost 2.5 (8’2″) meters tall, with light brown bark and few yellow leaves with shades of black.