Chapter 307: Sand in the Gears
He had been wrong. There was no nucleus in the dungeon. The whole underground was filled with an army of chimeras and nothing else. Had they really put the nucleus on the upper floors?
Seth spends some more time in the dungeons looking for another staircase or door but found nothing. He started ascending the stairs again. If it wasnt below, it had to be above.
When he arrived back on the ground floor, he noticed ha the sky outside was already brightening again. Just how long had he been in the tunnels?
One obvious difference to below was the number of doors. There were a lot more, almost like the cells in the dungeon. Seth tried opening them, but few had forgotten to lock their rooms. Each door he managed to open led to a small room. Most were empty with their inhabitant probably still working somewhere. One or two had a priest sleeping inside.
These were probably the rooms for those of the lowest standing in the church or this stronghold. It was clear they would be treated better than the slaves, but Seth would not have guessed that even the lowest free people got individual rooms.
The next floor had significantly fewer rooms with all doors securely locked. Judging by the floor below, these were likely the rooms for the higher-ranked priests.
The higher he got the fewer doors here were, which probably meant the rooms were bigger. He had gone up 4 floors by the time the outside got bright and at the same time, he realized an unfortunate change.
The Helm of Hades had stopped working. He could see his own body again, except for the 25% transparency from the Cloak of Hekate.
He turned around and started sprinting at full speed back and down the stairs. The best thing he could think of, that the Helm was not perfect and had something like a 24h time limit.
But that wasnt important for now. The only place he could think of where he could hide was the dungeons. There was no light and most of the space housed brain-dead abominations. It would be hard spotting him there with his transparency.
One floor down, two floors down. He had just entered the floor of low-ranking priests when he heard a surprised gasp from the hallways. One of the doors stood ajar and a robed figure had just stepped out of the room.
He had been seen! In a kneejerk reaction, Seth charged the priest. He smashed his fist into his stomach and shoved the now lifeless body back into the room. This had to have been an early bird as all other doors showed no signs of life.
It didnt seem like anyone had noticed what just happened. Seth slowly closed the door before directing his attention to the priest on the ground. He started groping around the robes to find the key for the door.
His hand stopped when they came across a very familiar feature. He grasped it firmly. Once, twice, then, he was sure.
This was a nun!
Stein was approaching her from behind. The princess was hunched over the map of the area in their temporary command central. It was already late, and the room was only illuminated by the magic lantern on the table.
“You should really take a rest, my Lady.” he said and put a cup of tea for her on the table. “its already late. You should go to sleep soon.”
The princess heaved a heavy sigh and looked at the officer. He was a knight from lower nobility who had served his way up in ranks over many years. Leana knew him since she was a young girl.
“You are right, Sir Stein. I will finish soon.”
With rapped attention he watched her lift the cup to her plump lips. He was barely able to contain his sardonic smile when she took a sip and he saw her swallow it.
It took only a moment and her lids felt heavy. She could barely keep her eyes open as strength slowly waned from her arms and legs and she could only sink back onto the chair.
How long I had waited for this? She was at his mercy, and he could finally release all of these pent-up desires. It was all thanks to the great Zarkon!
He had been too blinded by the weakness perpetuated by the system church! Why should he hold back? It was only natural to take whatever he wanted. Or whoever he wanted. He would help everyone to see this truth.
He would show the light and he would start with her. He wanted to prop her on the table while unfastening his pants. Right now, and here he wanted to take her on top of all those plans he was about to ruin!
When he reached for her shoulder, his hand suddenly stopped.
“I would have never guessed it was him, but you were right, my lady.” Samuel stepped out of the shadows. Beside him were the princess and two other men.
Stein looked at the figure sitting on the chair and found and a desiccated undead with its hand sunken on the table. Shocked he tried to turn and run, but he was frozen in place.
“Wah?” he could only stare.
“Although, I wish I was wrong.” the princess shook her head. She wanted to approach but threw a questioning glance at the priest.
“No worries, I caught him in my snare. He cant move”
“You are probably confused about what happened, Sir Stein. For the formidable Illusion, you can thank Mr. Baker here, from Y City. ” the princess gestured at one of the men beside her.
It had taken quite some time and effort to negotiate an alliance with Y-City and keep it secret. She had suspected that her troops had been infiltrated somehow for a while and used the last few weeks to cement her suspicions.
“When did you get infected, Sir Stein?”
“Infected? What do you mean “infected”? I have realized the truth! The flesh and its instincts are above everything!”
Samuel grunted when Stein suddenly started mutation. He grew taller, his clothes ripped, and skin broke apart turning into thick gray armor plates and his body bloated into something barely fit to be called human anymore.
“Tch, hes actually an enlightened one.” Mark lamented and got ready to fight.
“I cant hold this thing for much longer!” Samuel warned.
Leana unsheathed her sword and started chanting. An audible shattering signaled the abomination breaking free from the head-priests binding spell. The floorboard gave in under the things weight as it made a step forward.
It didnt make a second step as the undead from the table was suddenly strangling it with a rope from behind. Choking the beast and bending its head back the undead stopped its movement.
Moments later soldiers rushed in and surrounded the beast, catching it with nooses and magic chains. These were the empires reinforcements as the Princess had no idea how many of her soldiers had been corrupted.
She had used the plan with the Starta village as a distraction while she waited for the reinforcements from Ypsilon. With the increased forces, they could quarantine the soldiers and weed out those infected.
Along with the empire came some of their temporary allies from Y City with their representative Mark Baker. They had come up with a technology that could recognize the disease of Zarkon and offered an exchange of knowledge.
Although the empire had previously had some bad experiences with the leadership of Y City, it was Bakers effort that led to the shaky alliance of the present. The Zarkists were everybodys problem and Y City wanted them gone just like Delta.
With these new troops and allies, Leana was sure to finish the preparations for the Starta Village and drive on the fight against the followers of Zarkon.
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