Chapter 1012 Change of Leadership Part 2
"By the way, you are quite energetic for someone who slaughtered an army of lesser undead by herself just to slay some Ghouls and then heal people without ever taking a break." Friya said.
"I'm surprised as well." Phloria had no idea the time of her Awakening neared. "I'll go heal as many people as I can before going to sleep. We're done exploring the caves for today, that's for sure."
Between taking care of the wounded, repairing the camp's defenses, and treating the people rescued from the life banks, everyone remained on edge until a few hours later, when the reinforcements arrived.
A single mage Warped outside the barrier and assembled a temporary Warp Gate. It allowed to instantly move the troops from the nearest base to destination and bring the victims of the undead where they could receive all the assistance they needed without compromising the safety of the mission.
"The army really doesn't spare expenses when crystal veins are involved." Friya yawned while looking at the newcomers.
Even though she had taken a tonic before going to sleep, her body still suffered from the strain of the previous day. Friya had a light headache due to mana abuse and her muscles were sore from the aftereffects of top-grade body enhancing potions.
Feeling her limbs too stiff to be useful in battle, Friya made a mistake, performing stretching exercises in the open. Her Skinwalker armor was still in its combat mode, resembling a tight suit of armor instead of her usual baggy clothes.
The sight of her luscious curves as she wiggled her whole body, the light dancing in her raven black hair framing her features, and her bosom giggling at her every move made a lot of soldiers fall into a stupor.
Some tripped on their own feet, the reinforcements fell onto each other in a comical domino effect, and the Healers poured the potions on their patients' heads instead of that in their open mouths.
"Nice to meet you, sweet fairy. I'm Sergeant Sfarzen Rosics of the Rosics household." A young man in his early twenties said, offering her the flowers that he was supposed to put on the bodies of the deceased.
Sfarzen was a bit taller than Friya, about 1.68 (5'6"), with dark blonde hair and grey eyes. He was half panting and half speaking because he had rushed to her before someone else could make his move first.
"I'm still new in the army, but my family has enough influence to allow you safe passage back to Feymar and I'm skilled enough to protect you in the case you decided to stay.
"The battlefield is not a place for such a lovely lady like you and I'm willing to put my life at risk just to be worthy of your smile." Sfarzen's words might have been considered romantic in a bard's tale, but in real life, they were beyond offensive.
Friya had spent her whole life training in both magic and swordplay, graduating from one of the six great academies and ranking second overall. Yet the man in front of her assumed she was just a soldier, failing to notice anything about her but her appearance.
Ignoring her armor, sword, and the tent she stood in front of was already rude, treating her as a damsel in distress waiting for a hero just added oil to the fire.
"Nice to meet you. I'm Mage Friya Ernas, of the Ernas household, Guildmaster of the Crystal Shield guild." Her voice was stone cold and her words made the hapless youth freeze like a deer in the lights.
The rest of the camp was laughing their ass off at his expenses. Even those who thought she was just a pretty face at first, still respected her status as both an Ernas and a Mage.
After seeing her fight, soldiers and Prospectors had understood while the members of the Crystal Shield guild referred to her as "god" whenever they thought to not be overheard.
"Now unless you wish me dead, bring those purple Plumes to the fallen, and don't talk to me again unless it's about the mission." She snarled, going back inside the tent to shapeshift her clothes into something more comfortable.
The flowers he was holding resembled a bellflower each petal of which had a black eye-looking spot that made them look like Phoenix's plumes. Laying one on a dead body was supposed to help and protect the deceased on their way to the netherworld, keeping them from turning into undead due to unsolved grievances.
According to the lore, it would also grant the fallen the possibility to be reincarnated if they wished for it.
"It's more than that." Phloria closed the tent behind her sister while glaring at Sfarzen. "This isn't just about the mines, but about stopping the undead from achieving whatever they were doing here. As much as I hate to admit it, the Kingdom is at war."
By the time Quylla woke up, the security of the camp had been reinforced threefold, the wounded had been treated, and the dead brought back to their families. The original members of the expedition were tense, yet in high spirit.
After seeing the Ernas fight and with so many elite soldiers joining their ranks, they were certain that the mission would be a huge success. At the same time, however, the mood among the reinforcements was sour at best.
Between Sfarzen being publicly humiliated in front of his comrades and the rumors that Kortus had spread about the methods Phloria had employed to wrestle the command of the mission from him, half of the camp glared at the Ernas in spite.
"Hiding precious information to look good in front of the General was really a cheap blow." Many said.
"Even if you don't agree with a fellow soldier, sucker punch him to make him miss the action and hog all the glory is too much. Phloria Ernas is a disgrace for the army." Others would reply.
"They are such powerful mages, all of them are healers, and yet over ten people died. I think they didn't save everyone on purpose to suck up on Berion and make Captain Kortus look bad. All nobles only think about themselves and don't care for us commoners."
The reinforcements' rude comments caused fights to break out the moment the members of the Crystal Shield guild or those who had survived only thanks to the Ernas heard them.
Before dinner, even the new Healers had run out of mana to treat all the injuries caused by the infighting and half of the camp was in detention.
Quylla refused to eat and remained in her tent, forcing her sisters to act sooner than they had planned.
"You're still pale and need to eat!" Friya said. "Seriously, what's wrong with you? It's not the first time I put a drone in his place and you know as well as I do that, outside noble courts, the Ernas name brings more trouble than respect."
"Yeah. Also, what's with being scared of the dark and trying to act like a martyr at all times? We have nothing to prove to those people. I care about your life much more than I care about theirs." Phloria said.
"I'm so sorry. This is all my fault. You have done so much for me, yet all I ever brought you was trouble." Quylla started to sob.
Not only she considered every dead soldier as her personal failure, but also seeing her sisters treated so unfairly was more than her broken spirit could take.