Supreme Magus - Chapter 1003
Chapter 1003: 1003
Chapter 1003 Clever Plans Part 1
“Are you in a bad mood again or did that clearing grope your ass to glare at it like that?” Friya Ernas asked from the back of her horse .
“I suspect there might be an undead nearby . Either that or the Winter King is not done with Feymar yet . ” Phloria waved at their surroundings while keeping an eye on the small caravan following them .
Belin of Feymar had gone from homeless to the middle class in just a few months by selling small mana crystals to the Mage Association . At first, no one had cared for him, thinking he had just been lucky since he brought only a few small gemstones worth barely a couple of silver pieces .
But instead of squandering the money on gambling or alcohol, Belin had bought himself a small house and a field, bringing more crystals to the Association each time his business needed funds to expand .
Belin had been careful, picking only small amounts at a time and never exchanging them when at the counter there was a clerk who already knew him . Thanks to that, the supervisor noticed Belin’s name being mentioned multiple times only when he revised all reports to compile the annual inventory .
Instead of wasting time and resources to punish a victimless crime for which there was hardly proof, the supervisor made Belin an offer he couldn’t refuse . Full immunity for the gemstones he had already sold and a hefty sum in exchange for the location of the unknown crystal vein .
Belin had already collected everything he could find, so he happily agreed . The ex-vagrant got himself a pretty house and the supervisor a promotion . All that remained to do was for a squad of miners and Crystalsmiths to check the place .
The crystals Belin had found were so small and their grade so low that they might as well just be a lucky find . Sure, crystals rarely reached the surface, but when they did, it was the presence of green gemstones the mark of the motherlode, not that of red ones like those Belin sold .
Preliminary reconnaissance of the terrain had failed to provide any clues, so the follow-up expedition required the utmost care . Crystal mines were priceless assets, especially with the ongoing struggle against the undead and the colonization plans for the Jiera continent .
The army suspected that either there was nothing to find and Belin had been extremely lucky, or he had just found the scraps left by illegal miners that would do anything to prevent the loss of their golden goose .
With most of the regular troops busy keeping the order and eradicating the Undead Courts whenever they found them, the army was understaffed to the point of asking the infamous Captain Ernas for help .
“Do you really still believe in those fairy tales?” Friya chuckled .
“No . I don’t, but I like having someone to curse when one of my men loses his toes to frostbite . ” Listening to her own words reminded Phloria of her imminent discharge and made her sad .
At that point, the only question was if it would have been an honorable or dishonorable discharge .
“It’s a good thing that you brought two professional Healers along, then . ” Friya pointed at herself and their sister, Quylla, who was keeping her horse near the caravan .
“Thanks for coming . “
“Stop thanking me . You are making me feel like the worst sister ever . I didn’t drop anything to give you a hand and I’m even getting paid for it . ” Friya tried and failed again to lighten the mood .
Phloria was tired of all the whispers and the mean looks that her presence caused due to the rumors Velan Deirus had spread, so to make her accept her final mission as a Captain, the army had been forced to agree to her two conditions .
The first was that Phloria refused to be the commanding officer . For all she knew, the mission might have as well been a set-up to further compromise her situation . The second was that she had demanded the presence of Friya’s Crystal Shield guild .
“Sorry . It’s just that between all that happened to me and the cowardly attempt to pin on Mom the blame for Balkor’s return, I’m in dire need of someone trustworthy . I can’t believe I dated that piece of shit of Kallion for almost six months . ” Phloria said with a snarl .
Friya’s men were disguised as guards and the Crystalsmiths as miners . Without proof of the presence of a real vein, instead of sending elite units to scout the place, the army had opted for a softer approach .
Officially, the caravan belonged to a prospector in search for precious metals . It justified the deployment of guards and excavation tools without the risk of drawing the attention of local criminals that might be involved in the illegal mining operation .
Dimensional magic couldn’t be used near crystal mines without the risk of triggering the detonation of the volatile gemstones . It was the reason why they were moving on horses rather than Warp Steps .
To make matters worse, Warping in the proximity of the mine would alert the enemies and leave them plenty of time to detonate the crystal veins before leaving . If the mine was in the hands of the undead, they would never let the Kingdom reclaim it nor leave anything behind that could lead to their Court .
A massive explosion would kill two birds and several elite units with one spell .
“By the way, I still can’t believe Mom wiped the floor with the ass of a guy that big . ” Friya said . “Sure, she’s well trained and everything, but Irehein was no pushover either . Not to mention he was much heavier and younger .
“Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if Mom is just a monster of her own or if she’s secretly blood-related to Lith . He’s the only one I know who was that strong despite being that short back at the academy . “
“None of the above . ” Phloria whispered, forcing Friya to come closer while she conjured a Hushed zone . “She just cheated . A few days before the Court was summoned, Mom got Manohar to rejuvenate her and give her what he calls ‘a little extra boost’ .
“By the time they fought, she had practiced long enough to get accustomed to her younger and enhanced body . That Irehein idiot had no chance from the start . Serves him right for deserting Dad after everything our father did for him . “
Friya’s brain froze at the revelation .
‘This doesn’t make sense . How could Mom prepare in advance for a fight issued in response to an accusation that she had no way to know that Nuragor would have made?
‘The only possible explanation is that she already knew the topic of the conversation because she’s really responsible for the attacks and had everyone dancing in the palm of her hand . But that’s preposterous!’ Yet it was the truth .
The caves where the crystal veins were allegedly located was close enough to Feymar that it only took a full day of travel to reach their entrance . The Crystalsmiths cast several detection arrays, but found no trace of enemies and crystals alike .
“I’m sorry, Captain Kortus, but so far the scouts were right . The crystals must be deep underground if there are any . ” Tlea Ormann, the Crystalsmith foreman said .
“Don’t worry, Tlea . It only makes our little covert operation smoother since we can place as many arrays as we want . Any suggestions, Captain Ernas?”
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