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Chapter 1298 – Great Minds and Fools (Part 2)
“Can Onyx sleep with me? There’s plenty of s.p.a.ce in my bed.” Aran asked.
“I don’t think that either the floor or the bed can withstand her weight, sorry. Besides, where is she supposed to do her business here?” Those words made Aran turn pale.
He loved Onyx, but the stench of her droppings was much deadlier than her bite. At least for him.
“Good night, Uncle.” Leria yawned as her eyes became droopy from the warmth of the woolen blankets.
“Good night, Lith.” Aran fell asleep as soon as his head touched the pillow.
“Good night, kids.” Lith tucked them in and kissed their forehead before closing their door.
A sudden noise from below woke up the kids and swept off his face the kind expression that he had until a moment back.
“What was that?” Both children came down from their beds, running to the safety of Lith’s legs.
“It’s nothing, someone must-” A violent thump followed by a man screaming cut him short.
“Must have had an accident. Remember to never trust a.d.u.l.ts that drink too much anything that’s not water.” Lith’s serene smile didn’t extend to his eyes, but along with a Hush spell, it was enough to calm the children.
“See? It’s already over. Now get back to bed, otherwise instead of letting you sleep in, I’ll make you practice at dawn.” His words and the silence made the kids return to their respective rooms, fearing nothing but the extra workload.
“Do you think we are safe here?” Being in a foreign place while surrounded by strangers made strong noises scary for Leria.
“I don’t think, I know we are safe.” Lith tucked her in and weaved a protective array while waiting for her to fall asleep.
‘I didn’t pay good money to stay up all night and silence this place. Even arrays wouldn’t last long enough, requiring my focus.’ The moment the kids’ breath became slow and steady, Lith walked out of the room, discovering that the noise had only gotten worse.
He went down the flights of stairs until he could see the events unfolding in the restaurant. Most of the tables had been thrown to the side and the people who couldn’t escape were lined up against the wall, waiting for their chance.
Two armed groups fought in the middle of the room, mostly by yelling and throwing spells at each other. The great hall of the restaurant was reduced to a mess. Ice crystals stuck out of the walls, ceiling, and even of the big beer kegs behind the restaurant counter, spilling their precious liquid on the floor.
Throughout the room, burnt marks showed were fire and lightning had struck, spreading the pungent smell of charred paint. Some of the curtains were on fire, with the flames slowly climbing to the first floor despite the best efforts of the waiters.
‘What the f.u.c.k has happened here?’ Lith had no idea to be partly at fault.
The merchants whose carriage had crashed earlier after witnessing the Warp Steps didn’t dare to argue with a mage, but that didn’t make their mood any less sour. They had kept bickering between them for so long that when they finally had reached an agreement, both the restaurant and the hotel were fully booked.
They had been forced to sit on the side tables along with their respective mercenary crews, knowing that they wouldn’t get a decent meal or place to sleep. Things had only escalated when some members of both companies disappeared.
Great minds think alike, but fools seldom differ.
Each merchant thought the other owed them rightful compensation and had sent some of their men waiting outside for a table to steal some merch from the parked carriages.
Thefts were commonplace in road inns so they only had to be careful not to be seen. Little did they know that the stable boy had been so busy that he had delayed dinner for the animals.
Whoever put themselves between a magical beast and their meal, was bound to take its place. The men had disappeared without leaving a trace and it would take about eight hours for their undigested remains to see the light again.
The merchants blamed each other for the missing people, trading accuses of theft and murder until the alcohol in their bodies did the rest. Two middle-aged men exchanging punches were more pathetic than scary, at least until the mercenaries got involved.
From that point, things had escalated quickly, leading to the events unfolding in front of Lith’s eyes.
“Silence!” Lith’s magically enhanced voice carried enough killing intent to make the customers cower and the fighters stop. All heads turned to look at him and he exploited that moment to exert his dominance.
The beer from the kegs flew into his hands and froze into golden blades streaked with green runes from Spirit Magic while his hunter outfit turned into a deep blue robe.
“I’m Archmage Lith Verhen and you are ruining my sleep. I don’t care what’s the beef between you, go settle it somewhere else or pay the consequences.” A flick of his wrist extinguished the flames on the curtains.
“Anyone can wear a blue robe.” Said one of the mercenaries, showing his hood.
“What’s an Archmage doing in a place like this?” Another one said, his voice oozing with sarcasm.
“You’re no Archmage, just a thug!” A merchant yelled, high on wine and adrenaline. “Otherwise you would have offered to pay for the damage you caused. Let’s see if you can still act c.o.c.ky now that my men are here. You’re going to p-”
“Silence.” Lith didn’t waste mana to amplify his voice this time. He used it to reinforce the violent feelings his words carried and forced those present to obey.
“Kneel.” A sudden wave of killing intent and Spirit Magic forced all those below the bright green core to get down to their knees.
There were too many people and the restaurant was big, spreading Lith’s mana thin and allowing those with powerful cores to resist his orders.
With each step down the stair that Lith took, one piece of the robe turned back into the Scalewalker armor’s true appearance that resembled Lith’s hybrid form.
‘Solus, a.n.a.lysis.’ Lith asked.
‘All mercenaries have medium-grade enchanted weapons and many of them are fake mages. Some even have a blue core.’ She replied.
“Nice trick, but you missed a spot.” A burly woman with her red hair woven in a shoulder-length tress said with a cruel grin. “Right about everywhere.”
She waved her longsword at the many still-standing mercenaries before pointing it at Lith. The mercenary held the heavy blade with one hand, tensing her muscles so hard that her heavy armor seemed to barely contain her.
“Why don’t you come here so that we can t-” It wasn’t the fact that Lith had jumped off the stairs to make her choke on her words so much that he had spread the wings of his armor and moved in the air as light as a feather.
Instead of cras.h.i.+ng on the ground, Lith floated in a long arc until he landed on the tip of the still raised blade with the grace of a b.u.t.terfly. For a split second, the woman didn’t feel any pressure weighing down on her sword, making her doubt her own senses.
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