Supreme Magus - Chapter 1363 - Corpse, Feather, and Nest (Part 1)
Chapter 1363 - Corpse, Feather, and Nest (Part 1)
'Having children near a geyser is really dangerous. What will you do if one of your relatives moves into our house while pregnant or if Kamila does?' Solus's words reminded Lith of Salaark's promise to protect whoever carried his heir, making him choke on his enthusiasm.
'I don't want to think about that. Besides, between the tower and the Hands of Menadion, we can achieve fine control over the geyser, just like they did in Kolga.' Lith replied before turning to the Marchioness.
"This is the perfect spot. I'll take it."
"Just as I expected." Mirim said with a kind smile. "I must warn you that there is no crystal or enchanted metal mine under the mana geyser. We already checked. That's why we needed to raze the Rath's mansion.
"Do you have something in mind for the geyser or do you just want a free energy source for your defensive arrays?"
"How do you know about the mana geyser?" Lith asked.
"The same way you do, Lith." The Marchioness activated Life Vision, flooding her eyes with silver mana.
Suddenly, every piece of the enigma the Marchioness was fell into place. Lith had always wondered why she wore the cloaking barrette and why she pretended not to have magical powers to the point that even the Professors of the White Griffon kept her past as a student a secret.
"Are you an Awakened too, Marchioness?" Lith said while taking a step back and checking their surroundings.
"More or less. Your lack of trust is disheartening. After all, we know each other for a long time. Call me Mirim." She sighed, making two comfortable armchairs appear out of her dimensional amulet.
Only after both Life Vision and mana sense confirmed to him that there wasn't anyone around did Lith relax.
'Damn my paranoia. If she wanted to ambush me, she would have already done it without announcing herself. She's not the bad guy of an action flick.' He thought while sitting down.
"This should make things clearer to you." Mirim took off her barrette, revealing to have a bright violet core and a physical prowess that put Lith's to shame. "Please, remove your cloaking device as well. If you have a cyan core, then I'm a Guardian."
"You indeed have a powerful mana flow, but there's something off about it. Also, what did you mean, more or less?" Lith asked while giving Solus his cloaking ring.
"It's a long story, but you deserve to know the truth now." She took a cherry wood tea table out of her dimensional amulet. It had a steaming teapot and several plates full of sweets.
By the time the Marchioness was done telling him about the existence of the fake Awakened, the teapot was empty and the plates were clean. She had not only disclosed to Lith the existence of the Queen's Corpse, but also of Salaark's Feathers.
"After proving my loyalty as the Lord Commander of the Queen's Corps, Lady Tyris shared with me the gifts of Awakening, making me a member of the Corpse. In time, I became its Lord Commander as well." She said.
"It makes it easier to coordinate the two organizations without them interfering with each other."
"That's why the security around my house has always been ironclad." Lith blurted out. "Why are you telling me this now?"
"Because of this." Marchioness Distar handed him her Past card. "With all the threats at hand, we need all the help we can get. Thrud has been sighted in the Kingdom and this Balkor copycat has proved to be a formidable foe."
"Despite Lady Tyris's attempts at misdirection, the Royals are certain that you're an Awakened. They even considered asking you to join the Corpse, but I decided against it.
"It's better to keep you as a free agent and maintain your contacts with the Council whereas if you joined us, you would be shunned by the Awakened community." Mirim said.
"What do you mean?" Lith asked.
"The main difference between true and fake Awakened is that we lack your breathing techniques. Even though we can use Spirit, Fusion, and true magic, we are cut off the world energy just like any other mage.
"It means that we cannot improve our cores without a Guardian's help and that we cannot recover our strength at will like you do. Also, the Council considers us nothing more than the puppets of our Guardian and refuses to acknowledge our existence."
"If you were to join the Corpse, you'd likely suffer our same fate." She said.
"Can you really use Spirit Magic?" Lith was flabbergasted.
"Yes." Mirim replied by emitting a tendril of mana that shook his hand and a Poke spell that Lith intercepted with a Pillow out of habit.
Both his head and Solus's were spinning so fast that they needed a moment to collect themselves.
"I recently meet Grandma, I mean Salaark. She had plenty of Phoenixes working for her in an organization called 'the nest'. What does she need fake Awakened for?" He said, hoping to squeeze as much knowledge as he could and clear his head.
"The Corpse and the Feathers both consist of fake Awakened, but that's the only thing they have in common. The Corpse takes care of all the threats too dangerous for the army or the Association to handle. We can even break the law if necessary.
"The Corpse's secrecy allows us to do what needs to be done without compromising the political balance and gives the Royals plausible deniability. The Feathers, instead, are a publicly know group of people whose duty is to take care of their respective tribes.
"The Blood Desert is even bigger than the Kingdom, but its population density is nigh-zero except that near the oases. Each tribe is so big and needs to defend against so many threats that no human leader could possibly shoulder the role alone.
"The Phoenixes of the nest only take care of the Desert and its natural resources, making sure that they don't get plundered. It is them that cull the monster tribes and keep oases from going dry." Mirim said.
"What do you need my help with?" Lith asked now that he had a clearer understanding of what becoming part of Salaark's nest would imply.
"Right now, we don't need your help, but things might change at any moment." Mirim shook her head. "You must understand that if the Kingdom's forces weren't stretched so thin, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
"So many people received those damned cards that the members of the Corpse had to give up on their Royal Fortress Armor to give the Royals the power to protect everyone. Killing Lark like that was supposed to be impossible, yet it happened.
"Many people are scared because if the Royals prove to be incapable of protecting their most loyal subjects, the Country will plunge into chaos."
"Wait. Aren't Royal Fortress Armor just standard equipment for Royal Guards?" Lith asked.
"I wish. They are powerful artifacts crafted by Lady Tyris herself back when King Valeron was still alive, just like the Sword and the Armor of Saefel. There's only a few Royal Fortress Armor and they were supposed to be worn solely by the members of the Corpse and the by the bodyguards of the Royal family." Mirim said.
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