Supreme Magus - Chapter 1552
He had sent Morok and the others far away enough from the geyser where they wouldn't be swarmed by the monsters before they could come up with a proper plan.
The apprentices moved by flight, covering the distance in just a few minutes and stopping at a safe distance to scout the area without being spotted thanks to the cover of the woods.
"Is it me or is this the wrong place?" Quylla said pointing at the serene scene in front of them.
They had reached the position marked on Ajatar's map, yet the small plateau in front of them showed no sign of monster activity. Only a few trees had been cut down recently and the birds sang without a care in the world.
"This is indeed odd." Morok used Life Vision, but the intense energy flow coming out of the ground blinded his mystical senses. "Maybe the geyser really reverted the monsters to their peaceful nature or maybe they left."
"Really?" Nalrond asked.
"No, I'm messing with you." The Tyrant laughed at his naivety. "I bet they moved underground to bathe in world energy and that they survive by eating the captured tribes, that's why they have yet to plunder the woods.
"Speed is of the utmost importance when dealing with monsters. Let them spawn or mutate enough and only a proper city or a small army of Awakened can deal with-"
Several goblins appeared from a corner of the nearest plateau, cutting Morok short and making him signal the others to shut up.
They were a short humanoid race, rarely taller than 1.2 meters (3'3") high, with skinny limbs, bloated bellies, and disproportionately large eyes that further emphasized their childish appearance.
They were also supposed to have a pale, almost translucent skin and a bald head with eyes filled with an unquenchable hunger for all the pleasures of the flesh.
The creatures in front of the group, however, almost reached 1.5 meters (5') of height and had bright yellow skin. Their limbs were well-proportionate and the pointy ears visible from under their white hair almost resembled those of the elves.
"What the fuck?" Protector blurted out in surprise, taking the words out of everyone's mind.
The goblins also wore simple clothes instead of rags and moved in an orderly fashion. Each one of them was carrying huge stones with earth magic that they turned into dust before going back from where they had arrived.
"Since when can goblins use magic?" Quylla asked.
"That's not what worries me." Morok said. "There was something on their necks that reminded me of a collar."
"Are you sure?" Quylla became pale as a ghost and stared at her right ring finger, afraid that Nalear's slave item might reappear to haunt her at any moment.
Protector and Nalrond exchanged worried looks, hoping that the Tyrant was wrong. Unlike him, their most developed sense was that of smell so they had failed to notice the presence of the collars.
"Not really. They were too far to see them clearly even with my eyes and with their huge heads it's hard to look at their necks. Let me call master Ajatar." Morok said.
"This is odd indeed." The Drake said. "The use of slave collars would mark the presence of humans or at least of Awakened since monsters can't craft magical items. Yet it still wouldn't explain their sudden mutation or what's happening there.
"If the Goblins needed to bring the rocks outside instead of just compressing them with earth magic, it means that they need an awful lot of space and this doesn't fit with any monster tribe I know either. Continue the mission and keep me posted."
Before moving forward, they established a mind link to communicate between them without the risk of being overheard. Then, they took flight to study the plateau from above with their regular sight due to the mana geyser blinding their mystical senses.
The array detection spells came out negative, allowing to the group to come down to the ground and search the location where the goblins had disappeared.
'They are very smart.' Nalrond said after turning into a Rezar and studying the rock walls. 'There is a passage, but it's so deep that if we use earth magic to reach it, the noise, the vibrations, or the sunlight would betray our presence.
'Unluckily for them, my bloodline abilities are perfect for this situation.'
The Rezar needed but to touch the ground to make it open in front of him as if Nalrond was diving into a thick liquid instead of solid stone, allowing him to swim through it.
'I'll open a Steps for you as soon as I get to the other side. Don't forget to shield the sunlight.' He said before the rocks cut the mind link.
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'You know, I'm really happy that you're here.' Morok had a hard time staying away from Quylla because after going so close to losing her forever, every time he saw her, he just wanted to hold her tight and never let her go.
'Yeah, same. It's really a bummer that first Deirus and now your father is making it impossible to have our second date.' Quylla replied while dropping on the ground a red sphere that she buried with earth magic.
'Really? Didn't you change your mind after my earlier little outburst of enthusiasm?' He asked.
'No. Our first date wasn't so bad and my sisters told me what you did at my funeral. You really are a moron, but you are also a good guy. I am willing to give you a chance as long as you promise me to stop trying so hard.
'We don't know each other so well. If you keep doing crazy things to impress me, you are just going to look like a creep and scare me.' Quylla said.
Morok swallowed a huge lump of saliva, happy that she had no idea that he had Awakened for her and that he had even planned on killing Deirus to avenge her.
'Don't worry. I attacked Deirus out of grief, but once I cooled my head, I didn't do anything stupid.' He lied through his thoughts.
'I'm curious about how your father found you.' Quylla asked, making the swallowing get worse. 'I thought that the tracker he had implanted in your life force would trigger only upon your Awakening and you were adamant about not-'
A dimensional corridor opened in the point where the Rezar had disappeared under the rocks. Small at first, to give his companions the time to shroud the entrance, but big enough to re-establish the mind link with them.
'Get in quickly. You have to see this.' Nalrond said, saving Morok in the nick of time.
Quylla was too busy stopping the sunlight with darkness magic to finish her question and force the Tyrant to lie again.
After the group walked through the Warp Steps, they found themselves in a complex network of caves. The walls had been masterfully dug with earth magic and each corridor was large enough to allow three adults to comfortably walk side by side.
There was no light inside, forcing the Awakened to activate Fire Vision and Quylla to wear special goggles that Orion had crafted for her. Nalrond had neither, but he could navigate by following the vibrations in the ground.
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