A black shadow zoomed along the walls of northern Mist City, leaving behind a trail of unconscious Botanian guards with every step. They had been attacked by surprise. Locke’s pear Botanian disguise had only clung to his lower half; his human form was now revealed from the waist up. He shook off the colourful blood on his hands and began planting a few items around the area.
“Almost done,” Locke murmured to no one as he wiped away the beads of sweat across his forehead.
After a brief inspection, he began sprinting towards the south. The countless Botanian corpses that trailed behind his path silently narrated their earlier ordeal. It was only until the guards' shift change during the latter half of the night that the incident was noticed. However, before they could spread any word about it, a huge explosion in the north demanded their attention.
More chaos ensued. Amidst the rolling smoke, the Botanians of Mist City trembled in fear. They were worried sick that the invaders had breached past the sturdy city walls and mist. An explosion of this scale was unheard of on Botanian grounds; the loudest sound they had ever heard was thunder. Surely, only the overwhelmingly powerful alien invaders were capable of such destruction.
The regular Botanians shuddered in their terror while the Botanian guards rushed over to investigate the scene. Once the peak Botanians’ attention was successfully diverted. Locke masked his presence and continued his journey to the south.
With a quick chop to their necks, he subdued three Botanian guards at the gate. Locke immediately unleashed his full potential and broke past the gates with brute force. His abrupt discovery had little to no effect on the lower Botanians; no one had any idea what it meant. However, the higher Botanians that were on par with quasi-Ritters began a hurried chase from the north. Unfortunately for them, Locke was long gone when they’d arrive at the southern city gates. The only thing left for them was the hint of Locke’s alien presence in the air.
“Damn it!” The lemon general was one of the three Botanian generals that rushed over. He was very familiar with this particular presence; he was certain that this was the same slippery intruder from two days ago.
He quickly screamed at his comrades. “I’m going after him!”
However, before the lemon could lunge for the outside world, the crystal fruit city lord descended from the sky. He landed right in front of the lemon’s path.
“It’s too late to chase after him. We must place our focus on the chaos in the city. The invaders might attack any time soon!” That was an order that they couldn’t defy.
The lemon general was forced to swallow his wrath.
“Yes, My Lord!” The Botanian generals answered in unison before leaving in different directions. They were off to gather their subordinates.
From the city lord’s attitude and tone, the Botanian generals were now aware that a fierce battle was about to unfold. They had learnt about the crimes and cruelness of these mysterious invaders from the word of frantic refugees. Admittedly, the Botanian generals were a tad afraid, but they also itched for victory.
The crystal fruit lord watched the perpetual crystal fog that had protected his territory and people for aeons. He let out a weary sigh. “I wonder if we'll overcome this trial...” His eyes landed on the southeast forbidden zone, gaze burdened and solemn.
Despite being in peak condition, Locke dared not pause for a single moment. He made his way towards the contingent’s camp at full speed. The effects of the magic robe had completely worn off, finally perishing amidst the elemental turbulence of the earlier explosion. He gulped down a tube of potion and continued his run, completely ignoring the risk of reopening his wounds.
The infiltration had caused him a huge loss. Not only was he severely injured by the lemon Botanian, but he had lost his accumulated gains by half. Not to mention, the supplies in his spatial ring were largely depleted too.
The explosion in northern Mist City had come with the price of all of Locke’s magic equipment and one-third of his pyromancy scroll collection. He was forced to use pyromancy scrolls to impose intense destruction through the most primitive chain explosion theory. This was his only resort as his wind impetus wasn’t suitable and he wasn’t a user of mental ability.
Simply put, Locke had created an eruption purely from the output of the scrolls. This could barely be considered magic as the utilisation of the elements was way too weak. The natural elements in the air weren’t affected at all!
“Parlina better offer me some compensation or I’ll need to have Angelina say something,” Locke grunted as he continued to run.
Fortunately, the distance between the contingent’s camp and Mist City wasn’t far. He had broken past the southern gates past midnight and he had arrived at the camp’s entrance by noon.
He ignored the huge gorilla monster and green-beaked bird guarding the entrance to head straight for the Magisters’ tent in the centre of the camp. The high-rank major monsters could recognise him so they did nothing to stop him.
Parlina, who had been in the Magister’s tent since morning, had long received word of Locke’s return. Through gaining full control of soul imprints, Magisters were able to look through the senses of the slave creatures. As a result, the entire campground was littered with spies along with a multitude of magic equipment aimed for alarming and probing.
Locke barged into the Magisters’ tent, noticing that Ashar too was present. He studied his surroundings with a tilted head, finally noticing Angelina and Daenie who were staring at him with reddened eyes.
Locke didn’t look too hot at the moment. His erratic breathing and dripping wounds made for a horrifying sight. The Magisters failed to suppress their shock.
“Quick! Get Grandmeisterin Carla here!” Parlina shouted at the Lehrlings stationed outside the tent.
“On my way!” Daenie quickly rolled her sleeves up and ran to locate Carla.
Angelina was close to tears. She scurried over to support his frame.
Ashar seemed oddly bewildered when her gaze landed on Locke. Her lips soon curled into a faint smirk, it appeared that she had noticed something interesting.
Locke sighed in relief, secretly pleased that his act was working. He studied everyone’s responses through the corner of his eyes. Everyone looked concerned, even Grandmeisterin Parlina was genuinely worried about his condition. Undoubtedly, Locke’s injuries were severe. But it hadn’t gotten to the point where he’d need someone to help him walk.