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Chapter 24 - City Lord's Men

Aaron's amusement had increased on each step along the way to the inn. He saw warriors and mages marching together, showing people the image of the Prophetess and telling everyone how dangerous she was.

His greatest surprise was seeing two groups facing each other and arguing. One had garments showing the symbol of the Temple of Time, while the other wore blue and silver, the colors of the City Lord.

"We've always welcomed you with honors," a local mage wearing magic armor made of metal with imbued gems was speaking with irritation at one of the mages of the Temple of Time, who only wore enchanted robes. In Lamia, only the City Lord's troops were allowed to wear high-end armor on the streets. "But today you're overstepping your boundaries!"

The other mage had an expression of absolute rage. "How can you say that?! There is a traitor in our ranks! Her potential for destruction is boundless! We must find her at once, for the good of this city itself!"

"If she unlawfully betrayed you, you're welcome to present evidence to the City Lord and await his judgment on it!" The local mage said. "This is not your temple, this is Lamia! You are not allowed to hunt anyone in here just because you say they are traitors!"

"She hurt our warriors!" The Temple of Time's mage replied.

"She did, but our investigations showed her claiming innocence and your warriors insisting on capturing her!" The local mage was getting angrier. "All people in Lamia are allowed to resist unlawful capture! The City Lord has spoken, cease this nonsense at once or there will consequences!"

The local troops left without waiting for a reply.

"You're harboring a traitor!" The Temple's mage yelled. "We won't allow this to happen!"

Aaron had no idea where a mere City Lord found the guts to stand against the Temple of Time, but he liked it very much.

As if that wasn't interesting enough, at the alley where the inn was located, he found three men frozen in thick ice, with only the ice on their noses open so they could breathe. And at the door of the White Lotus Inn, Helina Chosen stood in a bloodied dress screaming questions at the people inside.

Aaron decided to test her again, this time by using a spell to hide his presence.

Myriad Arts – Spellcasting – Triple Elements: Space, Light, Soul – Seventh Stealth!

Light and space twisted around Mark and Aaron, hiding them completely. They couldn't be seen, smelled, heard, or felt. Even Mana Sense would go around them if he stood still; unless a mage was actively focusing on the area they were and saw the mana going around something invisible, they wouldn't find anything wrong.

He had already used this same spell to hide from Duke Eminence Ninefingers but he hadn't been stupid enough to test how close to the Duke he could get. Now, to Aaron's happiness, Helina didn't notice him even after he got right behind her, and she was using her Mana Sense! It seemed that as long as his opponent wasn't paying too much attention to their Mana Sense, he could slowly walk inside its range without being detected.

Hearing her questioning Sara, he dropped his stealth spell and spoke.

"She does," he said.

Helina turned immediately and looked in absolute fury at Aaron. "You! What did you do?!" She stepped out of the inn.

Aaron raised an eyebrow. "I did some shopping...?"

A cloaked Sara came from the inside of the inn and silently stopped beside Aaron.

"They are calling me a traitor!" Helina yelled. "Me! A Chosen Prophetess!"

Aaron shrugged. "So?"

She was even more infuriated by his nonchalance. "It must be because of you! What did you do for them to call me a traitor?"

"Look, girl," Aaron said with an unhappy expression. "First, lower your voice, I'm not your fucking dog. Second, you think I give a damn about you, enough to make your stupid group deem you a traitor? Third, even if I did want to do it, how the fuck would I make the Temple of Time call a Chosen Prophetess a traitor?" She opened her mouth to speak, but he didn't let her. "If you didn't notice, I'm a man, and your people would rather die than accept anything I said. In fact, if they heard a man saying there are three moons in the sky, they would publicly proclaim that there once was a fourth moon, only it decided to leave the sky because it couldn't withstand the sight of men!"

Mark couldn't help but chuckle at that. Even Sara let out a smile. The Prophetesses thought of themselves as better than everyone else, but they were especially harsh against men. In their organization, men were only lackeys who were supposed to obey without giving their opinions on anything.

Helina didn't like it but Aaron's words did make sense. Indeed, how could he make the Prophetesses turn on one of their own?

"Anyway, I'm leaving the city," Aaron said. "You're free to come with us if you want."

He was already turning when she spoke.

"Wait!"

He looked silently at her.

"Aren't you..." She started. "Didn't I tell you they are calling me a traitor?"

Aaron rolled his eyes. "Yeah. So?"

"I'm supposed to protect you... But if I come with you, you'll be hunt by people from the Temple..."

Aaron sighed. "Listen, kid, take a hold of your emotions. You're too volatile. You were ready to attack me a few moments ago and now you're all worried about my safety. As I said, I'm leaving, you can come or not. I'm being hunted myself, so a few more pursuers make no difference at all." He looked straight at her eyes. "If I may say so, you would benefit greatly from following me. I recommend you don't let go of this chance."

He left unsaid that he would benefit even more by studying her and understanding how the disturbance of Origin Energy he had felt at the city gates could give her Visions.

This time, he wasn't stopped when he turned to leave.

"Master..." Sara said not too long after that. "What is happening?"

"Oh, she claims to be a Prophetess who was Chosen to protect me," Aaron explained. "But her people say she's a traitor. No idea what's going on."

Sara looked back at Helina, who was following them as if she was completely lost and had no idea what was going on.

"I..." Sara felt as much lost as Helina looked. She wanted to say something about it, but she had no idea what she should say.

"We'll talk when we have the time," Aaron said. "For now, pay attention to your surroundings, we might get attacked."

"Should you really allow her to follow you?" Sara asked Mark.

The butler shook his head. "There can be no progress without conflict. Overcoming obstacles will be good for our young master. Also, our young master isn't stupid, he wouldn't willingly attract any trouble he isn't confident in dealing with."

Sara had nothing to say after that and only looked around in high alert.

Aaron didn't use stealth or told Helina to change her appearance. He still hadn't decided if he would turn the Temple of Time into an enemy or if he would help her clear her name. It would all depend on the interactions with the first people from the Temple who found them.

 


 

Helina had no idea what to think. Who was that kid? How could he act so much like an adult? What was going on with the Temple?

As they walked the streets of Lamia towards the gates, she kept her Mana Sense on a twenty meters radius around her. If she expanded her Mana Sense too much, people might trace it back to her. That distance was just enough for her to detect any stealth attacker.

She also kept a Soul Disruptor spell active, preventing her soul from being tracked...

Wait a minute! As she realized something, she almost tripped on her own feet in shock.

She hadn't been using her Mana Sense before! How had the boy approached her without being detected?!

She looked at the butler. She had conjectured before that he might be an Ascender in disguise, but everything spoke of him indeed being only a weak warrior following the kid.

Then, she looked at the cloaked woman. She could see that she was a Champion pretending to be a klutz. Helina hadn't felt anything from the woman, so she shouldn't have used a spell to hide the boy from her Mana Sense.

That boy... Who, or what, was him?

 


 

Aaron was walking the main streets of Lamia, disappointed at the Temple of Time. He was already midway through the gates and no one had appeared yet.

And that's when the City Lord's troops appeared.

They were a group of twenty. Aaron felt something wrong with their leader and immediately checked their levels.

 

Level: 7 — Champion Mage (8 — Eminent Mage)

Level: 7 — Champion Mage

Level: 7 — Champion Mage

...

Level: 6 — Notable Warrior

Level: 6 — Notable Warrior

...

Level: 6 — Notable Warrior

 

It was a force to reckon with. An Eminence hiding her level, four Champion mages, and fifteen Notable warriors. They all wore impressive metal armor, all of them blue with silver details, showing their loyalty. The five mages' armors were even more impressive than all others, as they had imbued magic gemstones that shone in different colors.

The leading mage, the one hiding her level, had a helmet open on the front, revealing her face. They stopped in front of Aaron's group and she spoke directly to him.

"Aaron Valdian, the City Lord sends his regards to the Royal Family and invites you to his castle."

Aaron wasn't surprised that they had found his identity after the amount of money he spent. He smiled and waved his hand dismissively. "I thank the City Lord's kindness. Send him my heartfelt regards. Unfortunately, as the City Lord must know, I must make haste to the Three Towers."

She didn't blink at his reply. "The City Lord thought you might say this and told us to show you his respect by escorting you to the Three Towers." Her voice had a hint of a challenge to it as if she was daring Aaron to tell her to disobey her orders.

However, Aaron nodded. Even if he wanted to get rid of them, he wouldn't do so in the city. "Good. Let's go."

He barely stepped ahead when someone yelled from behind him. "Traitor! Surrender yourself!"

Aaron turned and saw a group of ten people wearing the symbol of the Prophetesses. They might be half as many as the city lord's men, but their levels...

 

Level: 9 — Ascending Mage

Level: 8 — Eminent Mage

Level: 8 — Eminent Mage

Level: 7 — Champion Mage

Level: 7 — Champion Mage

Level: 6 — Notable Warrior

...

Level: 6 — Notable Warrior

 

Five mages, five warriors, all of them wearing magic metal armor.

One of the mages was an Ascender with an amazing armor, completely black, resembling a dragon with two horns on the helmet. Him being an Ascender made him powerful enough to speak directly to the rulers of the country, not to mention to purse an Eminence.

"Miss City Lord's Woman," Aaron spoke to the Eminence despite looking at the people from the Temple of Time. "I wasn't aware that unlawful capture of people was allowed in this city."

He was expecting either a weak agreement with him or a refusal based on the Ascender's level. However, the local troops stepped ahead, standing between Aaron's group and the Prophetesses' men.

"Stand down!" She yelled. "Showing yourself in metal armor is a breach of Lamia's laws! Trying to capture someone without the agreement of the City Lord is another breach! Under the authority given to me by—"

She couldn't even finish speaking before the Ascender pointed her finger at her and a black ray came out of it.

The black ray went straight at the Eminence, trying to pierce her heart, but a white barrier appeared right between the ray and her armor. Her armor started to change as if it a layer of paint was slowly melting away, revealing an even more impressive white armor beneath, shining with blue gemstones. On the left breast of the armor, the words Immortal Crusade could be seen in bass-relief beneath the drawing of a black cross.

The Ascender apparently wasn't expecting that for he took a step back, stopping the black ray at once.

The Eminence closed her helmet with a spell and a blue orb materialized on her hand.

"Ascender William Horned-Dragon," she said, "you have attacked an agent of the Immortal Crusade. Surrender yourself at once!"

The Ascender didn't reply for a while. He looked at the Eminence, then to his sides and said with a trembling voice. "I didn't know you were a Crusader!"

She wasn't moved. "For daring to talk back after being ordered to surrender, your offense has increased! Remove all your weaponry, present all your spatial items, and kneel! Now!"

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A note from edwardcastle

The chapter of the week. We're back on track!

The Immortal Crusade has finally arrived! And an Ascender no less! How will Aaron deal with her?

Thanks for reading and commenting! ^^


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About the author

edwardcastle

  • Brazil

Bio: I'm Ed, a writer of GameLit. So far I have released only two books, but I'm working on increasing this number by tens! No, by hundreds! Maybe thousands! xP

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