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Redan laughed and screamed with joy the whole time, forcing Lith to use the Hush spell, just to be safe.
"I've never flown before! I swear, even if you are a demon, this is the best day of my life."
"Hus.h.!.+" Lith said with an angry voice. "We can't risk drawing attention and time is of the essence."
"You are too paranoid, dear Linjos." Redan shrugged. "No one patrols these corridors and even if they did, we just have to kill them." Like anyone inside Kaduria, the farmer had a body count that would have made the worst serial killer pale in comparison.
For Kadurians killing was akin to picking your own nose. Nothing more than a disgusting hobby.
"It's not so simple. Whenever one of you dies, their body returns to the Black Star. Killing is not an option. If it's able to collect your minds too, we'll alert the enemy."
"I'll take point then. Even if you are right, as long as no one sees you we're good." Redan said while spinning and tossing a knife in the air like it was a toy. It danced from one hand to the other with a display of skill that creeped Lith out.
'It's the first time I meet someone as cold as I am. The good news is that his weapon isn't a threat to me. The bad news is that Redan is bats.h.i.+t crazy. I wonder how many skills he has picked up during all this time.'
Lith used Life Vision to scout ahead while keeping Warp Steps and a few other spells always at ready. It turned out to be a useless precaution. They reached Meru's quarters without meeting anyone and the door was wide open.
Redan entered the apartments like they were his own home. He walked through the hallway, ignored the library, and went straight for the bedroom. Redan pushed a hidden b.u.t.ton on the nightstand, revealing a secret compartment inside the wall.
"I was really bored." He replied to Lith's stupefied gaze.
The compartment held a magic safe, but like everything else it had been drained of its mana, making it nothing but a piece of metal. Lith opened the safe, flipping the pages of the stored grimoires until he found what he was looking for.
He copied the pages about the Black Star in both their original language and a translated version for himself. Explaining how he had learned ancient Kadurian would cause him too many troubles.
'Besides, I'd bet good money the army knows how to read it anyway.' He thought.
'Solus, give me a hand. The castle crumbles at the end of the light cycle. It means that even these pages are a creation of the Black Star. Maybe it didn't expect someone to sneak in and learn about its secrets or maybe it has redacted them.
'If the artifact notices us, it could destroy them with a thought. We need to copy them as fast as possible.'
'I doubt they are redacted.' Solus pondered.
'The cursed item has displayed the ability to replicate the whole city, but not to change it in any way. Otherwise it would have created many more mana crystals to speed up the siphoning of the mana geyser. I think it's stuck with what it has.'
'All the more reason to finish quickly!'
The moment the copy was completed, Lith added it to Soluspedia.
'This-this is…' They thought as one while a.s.similating the ancient Kadurian forgemastering method.
'This is beyond idiotic! Redan was right, there is no input or command to distinguish allies from foes. They didn't even add a failsafe in case something went wrong!' Solus was speechless from the recklessness of the design.
'Maybe, maybe not.' Lith added. 'We know that the artifact is alive and that life cannot be created from thin air. These blueprints do not explain how or who was sacrificed to give it sentience. We need more information.'
"Redan, can you describe to me this Meru fellow? Without their help these notes are useless."
"He is the eldest among the clerics. White robes, white long beard, and a face only a mother can love." The farmer's eyes became cold as steel just by mentioning his name.
"He is the one that activates the High Lord every single day. My pals and I have killed him so many times we know his entrails like the back of our hands."
'Gross and irrelevant.' Solus thought. 'Ask him something more useful.'
"How tall is he? Where can we find him?"
"Not much. About 1.6 (5'3") meters, maybe less because of his hunched back. At this hour he is usually praying for guidance in the main temple."
"Which is?" Lith asked.
'Right beside the Black Star.' Solus answered. Her mana sense covered an area wide enough for her to recognize the energy signature of all the eight clerics they had seen during the last cycle. Only one had a hunched back.
"Two floors below us." Redan said while pointing at the floor with his index finger.
'F*ck me sideways!' Lith cursed at his bad luck. The idea of tripping an inch away from the finish line was unbearable.
Lith racked his brain in search of a solution. Neither him or Solus could get that close to the artifact without risking to reignite its anger. He paced around the room until his gaze was drawn by Redan playing with his knife again.
"Didn't you say you and Meru have quite a history together?"
"Me and many others." Redan shrugged. "Most Kadurians consider him responsible for what happened. There are so many who hate his guts that he doesn't attempt to run away anymore."
"So, if you went to pick him up for a 'friendly chat' it wouldn't be anything unusual, right?"
"I'd say it's time you two remind of the good times together. Bring him here."
"It should be fun." Redan tossed his knife in mid air, making it spin like a pinwheel and catching it by the handle when it was in front of his face
"In one piece." Lith clarified.
"Not so fun, then." Redan sighed.