Supreme Magus

Chapter 2982 Random Steps (Part 2)

Chapter 2982 Random Steps (Part 2)

2982 Random Steps (Part 2)

'The Ears do exist so maybe you are right and we should listen to metals and crystals.' There was a nagging feeling in the back of Lith's head and for once it wasn't Solus.

At least, not directly this time.

Her words had stirred one old and one recent memory that he still couldn't explain. When they had fused against Nalear and years later against Windfell, they had displayed abilities that couldn't be explained by the floors the tower possessed at the time.

'I wonder if that was the Ears doing.' He pondered.

Lunchtime came and went. Everyone had brought hot food with them, even the Lich. After a few awkward and short-lived conversations, the Awakened mustered the courage to speak with Bytra.

She was already a living legend and the revelation of the Maw of Bytra made her a goddess of the Forge to their eyes. Everyone wanted to hear stories from her time with Menadion and, more importantly, if she accepted commissions.

Bytra avoided talking about Menadion for Solus' sake and politely turned down the orders for custom-made equipment. To not let the conversation plunge back into embarrassed silence and small talk, she shared her memories about the founding of the Kingdom with the Awakened.

Eldritches aside, the oldest member of the group was 359 years old. They had read about those events in history books but hearing them from someone who had taken part in so many important moments was a completely different experience.

"Back then, everything seemed possible." Bytra said. "In a little more than 300 years, we had four Rulers of the Flames and even more Magi. White cores and Guardians walked among us, and a mixed couple ruled over the first and strongest Kingdom of Garlen."

She took a brief pause, conjuring with Lith's help a hologram of Valeron's coronation and then another depicting the figures of the first three Rulers of the Flames, leaving herself out.

"And that's when everything went downhill." She sighed. "Magic started to progress too quickly. Powerful artifacts were now available for the first idiot who had the money and connections to get them.

"The Madness, the slave collars, and many other plagues were born from our collective stupidity. We Rulers of the Flames were so obsessed with one-upping each other that we didn't realize how dangerous our creations were.

"The last 700 years have been wasted cleaning up the mess we made. I can't even imagine how many brilliant minds have been snuffed out during one of the eternal conflicts between the countries.

"We worked so hard to create a golden age and failed to make it last."

"But things are finally changing again." Rutha said. "There's the Blood Magus in the Desert, the Void Magus in the Kingdom, and a new Guardian!"

"And don't forget about Baba Yaga's return." Unanna said. "She's the living proof that white cores exist and that mage towers are real! With so many brilliant minds and Lady Bytra becoming part of the Council again, there's no telling what the future holds."

"It's Supreme Magus, Rutha." Ryka chided him. "You are forgetting about Magus Verhen's Forgemastering skills. We might have another Ruler of the Flames right here!"

Azhom nudged them all, nodding at their leader.

Strider's dislike for all forms of Abominations was well known and Baba Yaga had returned because of the mess her Horsemen had made. The war with the Undead Courts had cost many Awakened lives, including many of their friends.

The Zouwu clenched his cutlery, closing his eyes more often than he liked to make sure his gaze didn't turn into a murderous glare. The Lich's worries were on point, but what annoyed Strider the most was that he couldn't refute any of his subordinates' overly enthusiastic remarks.

'Instead of whining like a loser, I'd better work hard and become a leading figure myself. ?I can't just cross my arms and wait for Mogar to change. I must become the change.' He thought.

"How are you and your family finding Garlen?" Solus asked to make him part of the conversation instead of a brooding spectator. "Do you miss Zima?"

"We're doing fine. Thank you, Lady Verhen." Strider felt weird saying it, as if he was talking to Lith's wife.

All their hidden mind link required physical contact like holding hands and touching shoulders which were easy to misunderstand. The two showed a degree of intimacy that the Zouwu hoped to have never displayed with any of his siblings.

"At first it was hard. In Zima we speak Tyris' language so that wasn't a problem. The hardest thing to get used to was the food." He sighed. "My mother grew quickly accustomed to the new cuisine whereas my father still whines at every meal unless she prepares a traditional dish.

"My siblings were born here so they don't understand why he's like that and mock him for it. We don't miss Zima much. Aside from the humans' physical appearance, everything is the same here. We just wish we didn't have to abandon so many things during our escape."


After they were done eating, the hunt resumed.

It was a few hours before sundown when they picked the shadow disciple's trace again.

"Told you so." Xenagrosh gloated, pointing on the map how the village of Yurta was just a few degrees off the straight line she had traced by connecting Pharek's lab and the exit point of the Steps she had reopened.

"Random Steps don't exist. The guy must have never even bothered checking a map. I bet he just picked a spot he's familiar with and that allows him to travel fast."

The members of the Hands of Fate nodded and swallowed loudly, realizing that probably they made the same mistake and that someone like the Shadow Dragon could find their hidden labs with ease.

"Do we go in now or wait until tomorrow to interrogate the locals?" Strider swallowed his pride, instead, and let Xenagrosh take the lead.

"To get what? Lies and misdirection? Our prey has no reason to be honest with the villagers and what little might have slipped during their everyday conversations is irrelevant at best. Lith?"

"That way." The Eyes picked a faint residual energy trace in the village and a massive one in the thick woods a couple of kilometers away from the village.

He could have pinpointed the position of their mark but that would have been stupid and aroused questions he didn't want the others to even ask themselves, let alone to him.

"Yes, his trace goes in that direction and it's fresh. He left the village no more than a few hours ago. Let's move." Xenagrosh opened a Steps a kilometer away from the woods but she didn't cross it, to make sure not to trigger any traps. "Be on guard.

"A cornered prey is the most dangerous and we're challenging him inside his own den after giving him five months to prepare."

The Maw emitted life and array-sensing spells, covering the entire stretch of land between the open Steps and the woods while the rest of the team used Life Vision to scan the area.

Much to everyone's surprise spells and mystical senses perceived nothing at all.

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