Chapter 432.Pushy Pursuit
The only people who were assured of the demons survival, apart from Seth, was the imperial family. They were sure their technology had not malfunctioned, and the demon just found a way to evade the recorders detection.
As for the audience of the empires broadcast, the Battle of Akhaz had an abrupt end that jumped from the third wave to the team traveling across the sea.
Their groups action was once again overshadowed by what happened to other teams, as they tried to weather the blood sun.
The party of the unfortunate scout Hannigan for example was like watching a horror movie. They got stuck in the vicinity of Aburth when the Blood Sun rose and one of their members led them into a cave to hide from the sun.
When the mass of the monsters flooded from the city laid siege to their cave, the party was chased into a vast network of caves and tunnels. The situation became so dire, that no one of them could afford to hold back. Each battle was fit to be the season finale of a show and there were 10 of them.
Only seven of their members managed to escape, while the rest were teleported back to the empire in the last second. Even after the blood sun sunk, they were scattered in the huge, dark labyrinth, still filled with abominations and amalgamations.
Other groups were in similarly terrifying situations, with one group almost being wiped out because they had no shelter. They were transported back before the curse could harm them. In the light of these situations, the public quickly lost interest in the inconsistencies of Seths party.
The only one vexed by this was the reality TV junkie Mur, the merman prince, and others like him. But it hit him especially since he was most interested in knowing more of Urths group. Just when they started showing some of their abilities, they had hidden so far, the report cut to them, leaving Akhaz.
At this point, Mur had already gotten news of the Crown princes setback. Thee failed assassination attempt and the loss of their bridgehead in Beta was a big hit. What made it worse, was that unidentified humanoids had wiped out what little troops were left in Theta.
The bizarre thing was, that no bodies were left behind. On their return, the Crown prince and his people only found signs of battle and pools of blood. Pictures from the surveillance magic had shown a humanoid shape, but one they had never seen before.
Mur didnt have the closer description, but the fact itself that they destroyed and took away all people left in their base was unsettling.
The elders had not yet moved to throw the burden back at Mur, but he was sure, it wouldnt be long anymore. He had already put the plan into motion, to take his setup with him, if he really was ordered to return.
He had to keep an eye on the team of Urth. One thing was clear, after the first Blood Sun, their team stayed one of the most mysterious. Other people would probably realize this in time.
“Get it back in the air!” Marcel screamed at Hubert, as Elza and Tatzel kept throwing ice magic into the ocean, freezing large patches of the sea.
They had entered the sea when the ships energy storage fell below 50% because they were afraid of the sea beast that Ahmed had spoken of. Their caution had quickly shown its worth when a head suddenly surfaced in the water close to them.
Their vessel looked like a nutshell, compared to the gargantuan sea dweller. Its head resembled a crocodile with a cluster of armored eyes on its head, of which half were focused on their ship. With a jolt, the airship increased its speed and shot up in the air.
Not without the beast attempting to follow them, as its body charged out of the water to swallow the vessel like a pill. Just the part that came out of the water was longer than Puffles whole body. Compared to this beast, he became a caterpillar again.
And they had no idea about how much longer this massive beast was under the water. When the jaws were about to snatch the vessel, the heros energy blade hit the massive head. Some of the armored eyes were damaged and the beast fell back into the sea with a cry of agony.
“What is that thing?” Harker asked agitatedly. He had been a little irritable since their escape from Akhaz.
“My appraisal calls it a Koor Worm, a kind of sea serpent with dragon blood. We shouldnt fight it, as it is called almost unbeatable in water. We should just fly away and shake it off.” Hubert suggested.
“That wont work. Its following us.” Elza answered from the entrance.
The airship had already ascended so far, that the giant beast below looked like a stick drifting in the water, but it was tenaciously following them.
“Im sure it will give up sooner or later,” Hubert answered.
They flew for a few hours, but the merchants words did not come true. Sometimes they lost view of it, but the Koor Worm did not give up. It was still there, lurking in the deep.
“How much longer can we stay in the air?” Seth asked the merchant.
“With our current consumption and energy collection, we should be able to stay in the air for another day.” Hubert asserted after checking some of the displays.
Seth looked in his inventory and brought out a medium-sized chest.
“Can we use some of these to recharge the ships energy?” he asked the merchant.
“Are those magic crystals?!” Hubert exclaimed.
The blacksmith nodded. Since some of the things Seth had with him needed the extra power, he had stocked up on the artificial magic crystals before leaving Minas Mar. He brought out a chest since he did not really want to risk getting back into the Koor Worms range.
“Give me a moment, I have to check.” the merchant vanished through a door into the engine room
Soon Hubert returned.
“Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news: just two of those crystals are enough to charge the energy core to the max. Bad news, I have to install a module on the engine that allows it to harvest the energy and we have to land to install the module.” the gentleman proclaimed.
“How about we make a quick stop on that island? Im sure this stupid sea worm is only strong in the sea. He cant even touch us in the air, he wont be able to follow us once we reach land!” Rich exclaimed enthusiastically.
Causing Seth to heave a deep sigh. As a holder of the <>
Still, it was their best bet, so they slightly changed the course and aimed for the island.
Seths worries were baseless. When they finally reached the first island on the map two days later, the giant worm stopped at the shallow water of the shore. Out there, in the deep ocean, he stayed and roared indignantly, as if he was waiting for the vessel to leave land again.
They had entered the second biggest island that lay between the two nations. Supposedly, there was a very prosperous and free city on the other side from their landing point, but nobody knew anything for certain anymore.
The contact with Akhaz had stopped weeks ago. The city might have fallen a long time ago. In that case, it would be a breeding herd for amalgamations that were unable to leave the land surrounded by water.
Currently, they were stuck in a discussion about whether to have a look at the city or not. The hero asserted that they might be people in need of help. He also argued that there might be people who could tell them more about the citadel.
Finding survivors would also raise their contributions in the eyes of the empire. Even just information about the danger, or worth of a place held huge value. The consensus was that not bothering with the city was the safe option but taking a look wouldnt hurt. As long as the hero didnt go.
“I will go and scout.” Cade suddenly threw into the discussion. They had no dedicated thieves or scouts in the party and Seth was far from revealing his Helm of Hades to anyone.
Cade suddenly turned translucent in a manner similar to a chameleon. It was no perfect invisibility, but if she stayed still, it was hard to see.
“Im good with illusion, I have some stealth skills, and I am strong enough to get out of a prickly situation. You are only fit to do the last one,” she revealed some of her powers and argued against the hero wanting to go himself.
Everyone agreed with her reasoning. Nobody thought the hero was able to scout a monster-infested city without being jumped by a swarm. They had no interest in provoking a beehive. It was best if they could stay on land for a few days, charge the ship, and maybe dodge the Koor Worm by leaving at a different shore.
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