Chapter 2818: Wayfinder (part 2)
"Not to mention that the presence of a Divine Beast alone will be deterrent enough to keep most meddlers away." The Empress said.n/(O1n
"I see." Lith nodded while racking his brain to find a way out. "I would love to help but sadly, I can't leave my daughter's side even for just a few hours, let alone days. If I were to bring Elysia along, Kami… I mean, Lady Verhen would follow.
"I can't protect her and the Wayfinder at the same time. My focus would be split and we all know who I would prioritize."
"That's the reason we are not sending you alone." Queen Sylpha said. "The Kingdom, the Empire, and the Council are sending members of their elite units to support you.
"This is an unprecedented endeavor that will benefit us all. We will all do our part."
"Define elite, please." Lith crossed his arms, trying to keep his tone neutral.
"The Kingdom is committing several units of the Queen's Corps who will be led by Captain Amyla Farg, Archmage Orion Ernas, and his daughters Friya and Quylla Ernas." At a wave of the Queen's hand, the entrance to the High Council Room opened, letting the new guests in.
"I was in charge of the engineering team that turned your blueprints into reality, Lith." Orion said while giving a bow to those present. "I'm coming to make sure that everything goes without a hitch. After all, there's not much you can do without a Royal Forgemaster."
"That makes sense, but what about you two?" Lith asked Quylla and Friya.
"I'm here as Faluel's apprentice." Friya replied. "My master eats and weighs too much for this mission. Also, she can't leave the Distar Marquisate unattended for that long."
"I'm here as a Healer of the Kingdom and to protect my father." Quylla replied. "Jiera is bound to be full of diseases unknown to Garlen. Our colonists are going to be wiped out in a few days if they don't receive the proper medical care.
"On top of that, those same diseases might be carried over once the Gate is established. What is a common flu on Jiera can turn into a plague on Garlen and those without an Awakened body would die."
"Great Mage Ernas is right." The King nodded. "Only after she identifies the most common illnesses in the colony and finds a cure for them will the Gate be opened to the public.
"Until that moment, a strict quarantine will be enforced for everyone coming through the Gate and all goods will be sterilized before being moved."
"The Empire will deploy its White Sword Corps and my own step-daughter, Kelia Genys." The Empress said. "Don't underestimate her because of her age. Like Magus Verhen in his youth, there's more to her than meets the eye."
Kelia fumbled a bit, trying to perform a curtsy before remembering that she was wearing pants and switching to a bow. Everyone chuckled, making her turn beet red. Then, she raised her open hand and let out a spark of silver lightning.
No one laughed anymore.
"Her presence alone boosts our strength by tenfold." Milea stepped back, patting Kelia's shoulder for the job well done.
'I'm sorry.' The youth said via a quick mind link established through physical contact. 'I can deal with nobles and mages but some of the people from the Council are old monsters. What if they discover about Dusk?'
'Don't worry. If it comes to that, I'll take the full blame and deal with the aftermath.' The Empress replied. 'You just focus on your missions.'
"The Council is sending two squads of the Hands of Fate that will be led by a representative each. With all due respect to the Empire and the Kingdom, only Awakened can deal with Awakened and there's no telling if Jiera's Council will attempt foul play to preserve their monopoly."
"None taken." The Royals and the Empress said in unison.
They knew that the Council wasn't acting out of the goodness of its heart. The Awakened of Garlen expected to be compensated with their share of mana geysers, magic crystal, and enchanted metal mines for their trouble.
And it was all going to be tax-free.
"Wait, did you just say representatives? Not Elders?" Lith asked and Raagu nodded in reply. "I thought that food and weight were an issue. Who are you sending?"
"Inxialot and I volunteered for this job." Raagu replied.
"Sure, I- Since when?" The feral news pulled the King of Liches out of his memory lab where he conducted his simulated experiments and mental calculations whenever babbling idiots kept him away from the real one.
"Since now. Why do you think I asked you to accompany me?" The human representative said with a scoff.
"Now that you mention it, how did I get here in the first place?" Inxialot tried and failed to remember one single thing after he had given the morning feed to Nero, his pet cat/lab assistant.
"I called you on your amulet and then showed you this." Raagu took a shining orange flower out of her mage robe and the Lich King started to follow her around the room like a puppy lured by a tasty treat.
Then, she put it away and Inxialot snapped out of it.
"That's not fair. Give me the Star Seed! You promised."
"Sure." Raagu's voice sounded like that of a nursery school teacher talking to a particularly annoying kid. "What's that?"
She pointed behind Inxialot and he turned around, gasping in shock.
"Who are you people and how did you get inside my house?" Blazing spheres of emerald energy flared from the Lich King's arms, making the room tremble.
"This is the Royal Castle of Valeron." Meron pinched his nose, having a hard time believing that a creature so powerful could also be so deranged. "Gods, it's like Manohar is still here,"
"Nonsense, I haven't visited the Royal Palace ever since Nero insisted on crashing Valeron's wedding." Inxialot conjured a spell that would ascertain his dimensional coordinates. "You have no idea of the trouble I've gotten myself into just for a slice of cake."
The spell confirmed Meron's words, making the Lich gasp again.
"I'm really in Valeron. Is there a wedding, by chance? And why is Raagu here? Not that I'm complaining." He winked at her, making her eyes roll.
"Did he just forget about the entire conversation?" The Empress was flabbergasted.
"What conversation? Make sense, woman!" Inxialot was furious and confused.
He hated it when people treated him like an idiot after sneaking inside his own house.
"You just volunteered to take part in the journey to Jiera with me." Raagu replied.
"And why would I do that? Are we going to share the same room?" He said with a scoff.
"No, but it's a Train." She pointed at the hologram.
"I can't avoid you for the whole duration of the journey." Raagu's shoulders slouched as Inxialot raised his finger and opened his mouth to talk.
Then, he squinted his eyes and fell into a deep meditative trance, rubbing his chin while pondering the implications of those words.
"I eat no more than a human and he doesn't eat at all." She turned toward Lith again.