A note from InadvisablyCompelled


The enormous black polyhedron hovering in the sky seemed to press down on the city, people hurrying just a bit more than usual as they went about their business. The two pulses of mana had been barely felt by most, but even for those who had noticed, nothing else had happened. Intimidating as it was, it didn’t seem to be too threatening.

“Are you sure that was a good idea?” Toreq asked, swallowing chilled wine and frowning at Risu.

“It was obvious she wasn’t going to let us keep them, no matter what,” Risu said. “I am not going to let a fourth-tier void user be brought to the side of our enemies, so better to let the two of them fight it out. It doesn’t involve us.”

“I can’t believe how rude she was,” Molen grumbled. “To us!”

“We can hardly complain to anyone about it, and it’s not like we have much leverage in Tarnil or Orn in general.” Toreq replied. “Though in truth my concern is more with that than anything else.” He waved at the rock floating in the sky.

“You did send a runner for our Earth Corps, yes?” Risu dismissed the matter with a negligent wave of her kiseru. “In the end, it’s just rock, so they should be able to take it apart easily enough. Or even catch it, if for some reason it comes crashing down.”

“Yes, get it out of our skies.” Molen frowned up at it. “I’m sure it’s already scared off some of the cargo ships that were supposed to arrive today.”

“I’m a little worried about that mana wave. It might have some defenses and with that much mana they could be nasty,” Toreq pointed out.

“If it had any real weapons she would have threatened us with them. Instead she had to use that whatever-it-was personally.” Risu took a draw on her kiseru. “Besides, it probably requires someone to steer that thing, and it hasn’t moved since she arrived.”

“Perhaps, but Blue is supposed to be a Power, so you’d expect—”

A massive weight of mana spilled out over them, stifling and suppressing, like the world collapsing. Everything stilled, sound and movement trailing off from the force of that great unyielding pressure. Breath stopped. Time slowed.

A star lit on the underside of the Fortress.


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