Chapter 2096 City Hall (Part 2)
By the time the Forgotten patrolling the neighborhood noticed that the maid seemed to have two energy signatures, Valia was already done.
Returning to Lith\'s shadow required no mana and didn\'t leave any dimensional energy that arrays could detect.
As for the Eyes, she only had to store them back in the pocket dimension to make them disappear without a trace.
Solus flowed out of a pinhole-sized dimensional door, just to be safe.
Thrud knew about Spirit Magic and Solus had already witnessed several anti-Awakened countermeasures throughout the city.
\'Maybe the Mad Queen invented an array that perceives the stretches in space.
Better be safe than sorry.\' She thought while looking around with the Eyes of Menadion.
During the day, the city hall was bustling with people and noise.
The fall of Trephius at Leegaain\'s hand had thrown a wrench in the security of the area and the local officers were busy preparing their defenses for the attack they knew would sooner or later come.
The Eyes perceived that many powerful people were assembled in a room that Solus assumed was the mayor\'s office.
Clerks ran in and out of the offices non-stop, bringing blueprints of the city, maps of the region, and refreshments.
The office Solus had Warped into was empty only because its owner was busy in a meeting as well.
She made sure to have not triggered any alarm before running in her spider from over the desk and checking the documents for anything that might be useful for the mission.
The room was the standard issue workplace for a medium-level bureaucrat.
It had a large desk with a few chairs in front of it for the guests, cabinets for the important documents on either side, and a library filled with folders containing the paperwork of the past years in chronological order.
The carpet covering the floor of the room was of mediocre quality and so were the landscape paintings hung on the walls.
After a quick glance, Solus dismissed the documents in the room as irrelevant and searched for a place near the first array node where she could open a Warp to the hotel room.
\'My cloaking rings make me invisible to mystical senses and my small form makes me hard to notice when I stay still.
I\'d better take my time and scout the area to avoid unpleasant surprises once Lith and Tista arrive.\' Luckily for Solus, the security was laxer on the inside.
There were too many people going around and the guards had barely the time to check the IDs of everyone they met during their patrol to bother looking down on the floor.
Solus studied the patrol patterns and routes while also taking a mental note of which corridors were frequently used or avoided.
The longer she stayed away from Lith the weaker she become and she couldn\'t even use the Sage Staff due to the artifact not being cloaked.
On the other hand, her spider form consumed little energy and she used the Eyes to do most of the work.
Once she was done scouting the third floor, Solus moved to the safest area she had managed to find.
She made sure to memorize its dimensional coordinates before opening a minuscule Warp Steps to the hotel room.
Thank the gods you are alright, Solus.
You had me worried sick. Lith embraced her stone body the moment he felt their mind link restored.
What took you so long I was starting to fear that something had happened to you.
I was just doing my job. She replied.
Exploring such a large place takes time, especially if you want to go unnoticed.
She slipped on Lith\'s finger, using a partial mind fusion to share her findings with him.
Solus could now rest for a bit while Lith opened a dimensional door.
\'Why of all places in a city hall did you pick a broom closet\' Tista asked via a mind link.
The room was barely spacious enough for two and the pungent smell of cleaning products made her eyes water.
\'Because while checking the floor I met clerks, guards, city officials, and nobles but no regular citizens.
This means that either all unnecessary staff is forbidden entry until the crisis has been resolved or that the cleaning happens after office hours.
\'We can stay in here for as long as we want without the risk of being discovered.\'
Where is the first node\' Tista said.
Solus passed the Eyes of Menadion to her.
The artifact contained a detailed map of the floor, the real-time position of the guards, and the locations of the key points of the array system.
\'The good news is that there is only a handful of Forgotten inside and they spend most of the time in the mayor\'s office so until the operation starts the probability of meeting one of them is low.
\'The bad news is that there is a node on each floor for a total of four.
Once we start disabling them, the Forgotten are bound to come to check what\'s happening.
Also, there\'s no way you can escape being discovered the moment a patrol spots you.
\'Each person inside the city hall has a badge containing a sample of their life force.
This way, when the guards check it, they can recognize the original from a shapeshifted Awakened.\'
\'Simple but effective.\' Once again Lith cursed Thrud\'s ingenuity as a mage.
\'Don\'t worry, I have a way around it.
Just give me a few minutes.\'
He took a deep breath and suddenly the broom closet went dark.
Neither the Eyes nor Life Vision could see anything and even the light filtering from the doorframe was swallowed the moment it crossed the threshold.
\'Call of the Void So much for going stealth.\' Tista said.
\'No, that would be stupid.
It\'s just this place being damn small.\' Lith replied.
One after the other, the Demons of the Darkness left the room in the form of two-dimensional shadows that moved from one piece of furniture to another until they found their prey.
The Demons would enter the shadow of one guard each, crawling under the folds of their armor and clothes, ready to strike at any given moment.
They slowly infested the whole city hall, detaching from their targets solely when they approached one of the Fallen and went back stalking their prey as soon as the coast was clear.
As more and more Demons left the broom closet, the light returned to the room.
\'I can now hijack the security the moment they spot you, turning the guards into our unwilling accomplices.\' Lith said.
\'Brilliant move but isn\'t it dangerous\' Tista asked.
\'I mean what if a Forgotten makes a sweep with Life Vision Even from the mayor\'s office, with so many Demons on the prowl they are bound to notice that something is off.\'
\'No, it\'s not.
I gave them barely the energy to manifest.
Unless someone watches directly at them with Life Vision from up close, they are nigh-invisible.\' Lith replied.
\'The problem is that I can\'t move from here until we are done.
\'Controlling so many Demons and watching through their eyes at the same time takes a lot of focus.
On top of that, to empower the Demons at the right moment, I\'ll need Invigoration.
I can\'t check on you and my surrounding while also using a breathing technique.\'
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