The knocked on the door was the most dreadful sound that could happen for the two that are hiding within the house. On the guard’s records, this place houses a single male above 40 years of age, and works at the local baker. The patrol did not find the person in the bakery, and came to this house instead.
“Is anyone in there? Open the door or we will break it!” The guard shouted
“Looks like no one’s in. Okay, open the lock guys”
“Yessir!” the underlings replied and they started plying open the door.
The wooden door swung open with a loud creak, revealing an unlit interior. One of the guards stepped forward after striking a torch. They walked through the house quickly, shouting in case the resident is asleep, but soon they smell something rotting in the upper rooms. Following their noses, they went up the stairs, searching room after room.
“Found him” someone called out after a while, and the rest came over realising that the owner to the house had been dead for a week at least.
“Well, let’s go then” the leader said, and they started walking out of the house. There would be someone else to bury the corpse and clean up this place.
When Silvers and Sasha heard them leaving, their pounding hearts began to calm down and their breathing less ragged.
“Don’t Think We Don’t Know You Are Here!” The guard captain suddenly halted his steps and roared, he turned towards the underground cellar the two are hiding. Both of them prepared for battle, but before they could do anything, they felt a great pressure above them, and then a monstrous quake.
“A….are we exposed?” Sasha asked quietly, but Silvers merely gestured for her to wait a while longer.
After that tremendous shake, silence continued all around them, then the captain said, “I just wanted to try our luck here. Haha. Well, it seems that the criminals aren’t here either, let’s go”
Above the two, the entire house has been blown apart, shredded to dust by a great hurricane created from the captain’s martial art. The sun shone in the now-broken roof but revealed nothing.
The other guards watched their leader disapprovingly and he replied, “What? At least I took care of his burial”
As they were about to turn and leave, one of them suddenly spotted something odd on the floor and pointed, “Hey, look. The floor seemed to be uneven…. Do you think?”
She did not complete her sentence that there might be a hidden cellar underground, and she did not need to. The guard leader quickly traverse across the room towards the uneven part of the ‘house’ as indicated by his underling.
He stopped just above the two, and when he was about to check the flooring, a loud shout from outside halted him.
“We’ve found tracks of the boy, quickly follow me!”
The two exhaled a breath of relief when the patrols finally disappeared. All they needed to do now is to wait for a good opportunity to escape, and meet up with the rest.
They stood up, ready to leave their hiding place, when Sasha suddenly spotted a few individuals around the house with her soul perception.
After waiting half an hour, those presences shown no signs of leaving.
By now, the imperial troops would have found out that Jones has already been extracted out of the city. It is merely a matter of time, that the shadow hounds picked up on their scent and followed them. They bided the land wyrm forward, the first part of their plan is the crucial bit, and it determines what would follow later. They know that by now, the troops must’ve exited Aurolia and are on their way chasing them.
They continued towards South-East, choosing to travel more towards eastward than the south. Hours passed by quickly, and when the sun is at its highest, they finally saw the rice paddy plateau from afar. If everything goes well, they would be able to meet up with the 7 people they had prepared beforehand.
A quick run brought them closer towards the landmark and not even half an hour later, they reached. As the signal, the group instantly sent out their soul perception to cover the large plateau. Each of them chose to send their ability outwards in the shape of an oval, choosing to cover a greater distance.
Then, one of the guys felt his soul perception brushed against another’s in this place.
In a hidden location perfectly kept from both sight and smell, one of the Snowdrifts’ member suddenly opened up his eyes and said, “They’re here”
Then the 7 came out of hiding and waited for their arrival.
“Ho Kairos, Ho everyone. JONES!! You’re looking great!” One of the guys bubbled excitedly, and he ran forward to greet them as he saw the mission had been carried out perfectly.
“Whoa, it’s nice to see you guys too!” Jones laughed and jumped off the land wyrm with a great somersault, and he landed fabulously before them.
“This fellow!” Kairos almost screamed, “Jones, you’re not even fully recovered yet! You would desist from doing something like that till you’re better!”
“Says the one that made me run ceaselessly out of the palace” He said, and everyone who heard it laughed.
Rolling his eyes, he and the rest of them quickly got off the back of the land wyrm, “We have no time, let’s quickly move. Did you guys prepare the things I’ve asked?”
“Yes boss” The 7 of them nodded and quickly invited Kairos’ group into their hidden lair, a place that is so perfectly secretive that even if a person or a shadow hound, is next to them they wouldn’t discover anything odd. If not because the guys were using soul force to scan the surrounding areas, it would be nearly impossible to find.
They entered a small enclosed space. Along the wall, placed on a shelf dug out of stone, several transparent bottles with dirty green fluid are placed along with a large bucket filled with mud.
Kairos’ group quickly stripped down and gave the clothes with their scents to these 7, and they changed into another set. 6 of the people here are members of Snowdrifts, chosen for their similar built with Kairos’ brothers while the last person is an adult they hired from the thieves’ guild, and he of course, has a similar stature as Vouno.
Once they are dressed, they took the bucket of mud and smeared it all over and poured the green liquid all over. The liquid turned out to be made from grass juice, and along with the mud it would protect them from being discovered by the hounds.
“Alright, time to go!” The group quickly exited, replacing the cover to this place, and since they do not need it anymore, they had activated and left a weak explosive talisman inside.
The enclosed space disappeared with a boom, all evidence of their presence completely buried, but at this time the groups have already set off.
Kairos’ group split up with the 7 here, continuing on foot, turning sharply southwards and choosing to head straight towards the border.
Meanwhile, the 7 masquerading as them, carried on in the south-east directions, urging the land wyrm towards a tallgrass prairie.
They reached the place after a full day’s ride and then they jumped off the wyrm’s back, finally giving it time to rest.
Wyrmy disappeared underground once again, while these 7 slowly went into the tallgrass. Choosing to carefully erase their tracks and cut down on stepping on the wild shoots.
They progressed at a snail’s pace, until they reached somewhere in the middle of the prairie. When they believed they are well-hidden, they started to remove the scent from Kairos’ team’s clothes that they are wearing.
They dug up the soft mud with their hands, and covered every inch of their bodies, choosing to aid one another to hasten the process. And afterwards, they grabbed handfuls of tall grass and grinded them into pulp with their hands, drenching everyone with the juice. Just like what was done back in the hidden enclosure.
Once they are done, they cross the rest of the prairie with light steps, ensuring that they leave behind only very little tracks. Then, they turn eastward, heading towards the mountain ranges near Vox Shalua.
Syriong woke with a great wrath, unlike how a half-dead individual should act, and showing the vitality of his rank.
He vowed to hunt the boys down, and would have already been on his way to do so if not for the emperor ordering him to rest. His only substitute is the news coming in about the pursuit.
Two days’ distance behind the guys, a mounted group of imperial troops just arrive at the Rice Paddy Plateau following their tracks.
Before their departure, they been informed that the boys might have help from the thieves’ guild, but because anyone could pay the thieves to do anything, they had dismissed that fact until now. The direction of the group they are chasing is heading clearly towards Vox Shalua, the greatest undercity of the thieves.
The troops halted their quick mount when they saw evidences on the ground of a large beast, about the size of 3 carriages, surfacing from underground.
“There are draconic traces here. A land wyrm I presume, most probably it is a mount belonging to the ones we are chasing. Let’s go, its direction is towards the Rice Paddy Plateau”