Chapter 542 Escape From The Main Palace Part 2/2
"I'll scout ahead. Stay here." Nixere said as she checked the surroundings. This time, she wanted to make sure that the entire corridor and the next turn was clear before moving forward.
Finding no one present, Nixere returned to Nixpera's side a few moments later, and the two began to make their way towards the palace's back garden.
Nixpera could not help but release a faint sigh as she trailed behind Nixere. No weapon, no power, a weak body—why was she cursed with such a useless role? Was there honestly nothing she could do but play the damsel in distress waiting to be rescued?
If this were a fairytale, perhaps it would be somewhat of an entertaining experience; however, this dreamworld was a place full of tragedy. One wrong misstep had the potential to change everything!
Although it took almost thirty minutes, with Nixere's guidance and safety precautions, she and Nixpera finally reached the palace's back garden without any further obstructions.
The garden was silent, with only the sound of chirping insects echoing in the night. Besides the moonlight and the stars above, there were no other light sources, making it quite difficult to see specific sections of the back garden.
"This place looks completely different at night," Nixpera muttered to herself as she looked up towards the moon. But, what she did not expect to see was the strange state of the sky.
If she had to use a word to describe it, the first thing that came to mind was "fragmented". The sky was like glass that someone had struck at its center, causing it to fragment and shatter. At the moment, the upper atmosphere of the dreamworld resembled this exact phenomenon.
"I'm sure it wasn't like this earlier... Is this a natural occurrence in the dreamworld? No, more than anything, this looks like a world that's collapsing." Nixpera thought to herself.
However, the bizarre thing was that Nixere, an inhabitant of the dreamworld, did not have any type of reaction to the sky quite literally breaking apart. This caused Nixpera to doubt herself.
"Nixere, is the night sky normally like this?" Nixpera questioned as she pointed upward.
"Hm? Always like what?" Nixere replied with a slightly confused expression after she looked skyward.
"The cracks, the missing pieces of the sky—is it supposed to be that way?" Nixpera asked.
Nixere frowned, "I think staying in that palace for so long has caused you to start seeing things, dear sister. The sky is in one piece as it has always been."
She then continued, "We have to keep moving. The guards will soon realize that you're missing. Before that happens, we have to, at least, make it to the rendezvous point to-"
Suddenly, Nixere went quiet as she swiftly stepped in front of Nixpera with one of her daggers drawn. She glared at one of the hedges located a few meters away from them as it shook with signs of movement coming from within.
"Nixpera?" A voice sounded from within the hedges as a figure stepped out.
Nixpera immediately recognized this voice as she placed her hand on Nixere's shoulder and said, "It's okay. They're on our side."
As the figure emerged from the darkness, Nixere relaxed her guard and returned her dagger to its sheath. She, too, recognized this individual by their appearance when he stepped out of the darkness.
"Brother-in-law? Is my cousin not with you?" Nixere questioned.
"He is working on collecting some extra insurance. But, we do not have time for an idle conversation. We'll talk along the way since we're already running behind schedule." Venare stated as he held the hedges aside, opening a narrow pathway.
Nixere nodded, "I'll guard the rear. We'll be counting on you to lead the way, brother-in-law."
"Leave it to me. Don't stray too far away. The passageway is narrow, and if you get lost off the original path, it won't be easy to find you." Venare warned as he stepped into the hedges. Nixpera followed him and then Nixere as the hedges slowly moved back together once they made their way in.
Several minutes later...
Nixpera, Venare, and Nixere successfully made their way out of the palace's back garden.
At one of the back garden corners hidden away from the eyes of others lay a flat stone. This flat stone covered the entrance to a secret passageway that traveled underground through some abandoned tunnels. It was these tunnels Venare used to infiltrate the palace without being caught. However, there was no light present in the tunnels, which made navigating the maze-like layout tricky. Fortunately, Venare made the proper arrangements beforehand.
Leaned against the wall near the entrance of the secret passageway was a leather bag.
Venare opened the leather bag, took out a green branch, a piece of cloth, a vial of black liquid, and a strange-looking stone.
Venare wrapped the cloth tightly around the top of the green branch before pouring the black liquid over the cloth. He then stood the green branch upright on the wall and removed one of the throwing knives from its holster.
Venare held the strange stone next to the cloth and scraped against it with his knife, causing sparks to fly.
In the blink of an eye, the cloth erupted into flames, bringing light to the underground devoured by darkness.
"Let's go." Venare grabbed the makeshift torch and walked towards the tunnel located on the underground's far left side.
As the three entered the first tunnel, they were soon welcomed by another four paths to choose from. This repeated itself multiple times as the group made their way deeper into the underground structure.
"I can see why you said to stay close. This place is truly one huge maze. If one gets lost in here, they may never see the light of day again." Nixere sighed.
"How did you uncover this passageway into the palace?" Nixpera asked.
"I had a bit of helpful guidance," Venare responded.
After moving through the tunnels for nearly fifteen minutes, Venare said, "I apologize for dragging you into this mess against your will. The situation may have left me with no choice, but that does not excuse my actions. I won't ask that you not bear a grudge against me. However, I ask that you wait until we leave this place safely."
Izroth said that Nixpera could be trusted, but since she failed to mention the "first rule" that only those of the 2nd unit had knowledge of, this meant that Nixpera had to be Lieutenant Maeva of the General Support Unit.
When she came across Zarolas, the only thing on Aurie's mind was to keep the Night Lord contained as long as possible and hope that someone on the outside noticed the bizarre situation and called for reinforcements.
"I have to admit that at first, I was shocked. But, I do not blame you. Nor do I hold any kind of grudge against you. If I were in your position, I probably would have done the same." Nixpera stated.
"Your words have placed my heart at ease," Venare said as they glanced back with a light smile on their face.
Somewhere outside the inner palace walls...
A flat stone near the area where Fraun's men tried to capture Venare moved slightly. A few seconds later, it slid to the side as Venare climbed out from the hole. He helped Nixpera and Nixere out as well; however, the two women were now wearing hooded cloaks that were kept in Venare's leather bag. After all, even if it was night time, it was too risky and easy for them to be spotted going around in their formal clothing.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
Out of nowhere, the loud booming sound of a bell being struck repeatedly reverberated throughout not just the inner town, but the outer town as well! This was the sound produced when an intruder had infiltrated the palace.
"Spread out! You! Start searching the area over there!" A voice rang out from a distance. The knights had already started to move.
"They know my sister is missing. We have to get to the rendezvous point before they begin their sweep of the area." Nixere warned.
"Lead the way. I'll cover our tracks," Venare said to Nixere as the group swiftly left the scene.
Not too long after their departure, a group of knights arrived and investigated the area.
"Nothing here. Let's keep moving!" The leader of the knight group ordered as they continued their search.
Meanwhile, back at Fraun's hideout...
'Hm? This sound is...'