Lith could understand why his appearance had caused so much anger.
The city had many gates and each one had a queue several hundreds of meters long that was getting longer by the minute.
Merchants, travellers, even residents had to pass several checks to get in or out.
The Warp Gate was a fast lane, usually reserved for nobles and high officials.
Lith ignored them, activating Life Vision to check if he could take off.
\'What the heck\' His surprised expression was mistaken by some of those present as an indignant one, which prompted them to resume their swearing.
Lith couldn\'t care less about them and spun around himself to make sure his eyes weren\'t playing a trick on him.
The arrays weren\'t in a fixed position.
Unlike the academy and the Royal palace, they could only be described as a maelstrom.
The magical energies covered the whole city at all times, but they also change their size and height with no warning.
Lith watched a mage flying above the city, until the array became like a hurricane and reached for the sky.
The poor fellow fell like a rock, crashing on a rooftop with deadly consequences.
Move along, sir.
Otherwise you may be run over. The guard\'s voice woke Lith up from his stupor.
He walked away double time, eager to find a better viewpoint which would allow him to study Belius.
The city was surrounded by walls made of stone that stood twenty meters (66\') high with evenly spaced observation towers built along the perimeter.
Each one of them was topped by blue magic crystals the size of a person.
Lith and Solus observed the arrays for a time, watching them shift like a tide.
Whenever one of the spells the formations were meant to negate were used, even from a considerable distance from the city, the towers would detect it.
They would then produce a lightning of mystical energies invisible to the naked eye marking the mage as a target.
The arrays would shapeshift accordingly to the information received killing their victims almost instantly.
Thanks to his heightened senses and the tall tree he had climbed, Lith was able to spot from a distance several towers placed along the mountain range, spanning as far as the eye could see.
\'By my maker, those towers are relay points for Belius\' arrays.\' The revelations flabbergasted Solus.
\'Yeah, they also allow the sealing magic to pinpoint its target and send an alarm signal.\' Lith pondered.
\'The corpses of the idiots we\'ve seen trying to bypass the city checks have all been promptly collected.\'
He had no idea what was actually happening but he could see a Warp Steps and several humanoid figures appear where the trespassers had fallen just a few seconds after their demise.
Everything happened too fast to be a coincidence, so Lith assumed that, just like for the Academy, elite guards could ignore the arrays and move freely.
\'An almost living magical formation capable of changing its shape.
To think that Yurial always nagged about Wardens being useless.\' A sad smile appeared on Lith\'s face while thinking about his lost friend.
\'I wish he were still alive, here with us.
I could finally say to him I told you so.\'
Lith jumped down on the ground, landing with a roll to break his fall.
It couldn\'t actually harm him, but he was still in an area were air magic was negated by the arrays.
Neither his armor or spells could justify him being unscathed so he had to play the elite soldier card.
Lith had to run for over one kilometer to escape from the boundaries of the array.
Only then he was able to take out from his pocket dimension the map of the Kellar region and put it inside Soluspedia replacing the one of the Distar Marquisate.
\'We have up to four months here.\' Lith thought.
\'Let\'s plan our patrol so to give priority to the lost cities.\'
The Kellar region was mostly uncharted.
Aside from big cities like Belius, small settlements would pop up as fast as they would disappear.
In the north, a cold wave was enough to freeze to death whoever didn\'t possess a properly insulated house.
Monsters would run rampant, slaughtering small villages for a midnight snack.
Last but not least, there were the Rangers like Lith.
Most of those small settlements were illegal, a safe haven for bandits, deserters, and all those who had an aversion to paying taxes.
They enjoyed the safety the army\'s patrols ensured, just like the comfort of using the roads paved by the Kingdom to connect rural areas with the main trading cities.
Yet they took everything for granted and considered the harsh life in the north reason enough to be exempted from paying their dues.
In case such settlements were discovered by soldiers, one of the two had to disappear.
Lith was flying high enough to check with Life Vision a large area while he moved towards his first destination, the fallen city of Kaduria.
The landscape was different from what he was used in the Distar Marquisate.
While his birthplace was mostly comprised of cultivated lands and woods filling the space between the populated areas, Kellar was mostly barren.
It was still late fall, but snow already covered the ground and the tops of the few trees Lith encountered.
Ever since he departed from Belius, he met no farms nor villages.
The frozen earth was full of rocks, making it unfertile without a considerable amount of effort.
The area Lith was currently in was too far from the main road for any kind of trading to be profitable.
The only life forms he met were animals looking for food.
Winter was coming and those without enough fat reserves were bound to meet a bad end.
After several hours of flight, Lith was starting to feel tired.
\'I have yet to recover completely from treating Kalla, tonight I\'d like a good night sleep.
Solus, did we meet a mana geyser on our way here\'
\'None, but I believe that even without an external energy source I can at least form the ground floor of the tower.\' She replied.
\'Are you asking me to sleep while you work your a*s off No way, we\'re in this together.
Either we both rest or I use Invigoration.\'
\'Or we could sleep there.\' Solus pointed at him the smoke coming out of several chimneys visible on the horizon.
\'F*ck me sideways!\' Lith cursed.
A human settlement was the last thing he wanted to meet.
He used the army\'s communication amulet to call his handler.
Ranger Lith Verhen calling the Nest, do you copy
Loud and clear. Said a feminine voice coming from the other side.
Unlike Lith\'s amulet, the one provided by the army was engraved with several green mana crystals which, among many other things, strengthened its signal.
The gemstones emitted a series of flashes, scanning his surroundings.
You deserve your reputation, Ranger Verhen.
Covering so much ground in a single day is praiseworthy.
Please give me a brief report of your findings. It was a polite way to ask him to prove he hadn\'t ignored his patrol duty.
There wasn\'t much to say, but Lith had taken note of all the unmapped landmarks he met on his way.
He was certain they had been left out on purpose, some were too obvious to be missed, unless one was blind, deaf, and dumb.