The Reincarnation of Alysara - Chapter 124:
I finally found land, and what’s more, I’ve found people! They are Runalymo, but they look different; probably a subspecies, too related to us to actually qualify as a different race despite their physical traits diverging over time. But how did they end up there? Are they descendants of exiles? Or were they part of Kayafe’s group that broke off at first sight of land?
I notice my scapegoat growing warm, telling me that it is absorbing mana. The culprit is an item that the gold-Bonded person is wearing, and it is using a lot of mana, even though I’m not receiving all that much. Is it just a bad item, or could it be that the distance is weakening the retaliation effect? In any case, it only started retaliating once I started using [Analyze], so I probably should stop.
The retaliation ceases, but with my lower perceptive pressure I can still vaguely make them out; it’s kind of like seeing through foggy glass.
That answers one question.
I know that my lower perceptive pressure does not trigger retaliation, at least for items of this quality, and that [Analyze] – or my perception-integrated version at least, it might not apply to the actual [Analyze] skill – does.
The people seem spooked; it couldn’t possibly be my fault…. Jokes aside, I am a little interested in the culture of these people. If we are going to meet them, then we should know what they are like; for now, I’ll observe these important-looking people.
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Archmage Ruluna stares at the washed-up Leviathan with awe. Here is one of the most powerful beings in the world, an Exalted-tier creature that has lived for who knows how long until now. Its scales are bigger than her body; even if she were to stretch her arms up, she probably won’t be able to touch the top of the one she’s looking at. These scales should be incredibly tough, and just one can be used to make full suits of armor for an entire squad.
Ruluna walks to the head of the creature. The open maw reveals a tunnel of teeth tall enough to rival small towers; they look like adamantite, which suggests that its bones might be made of the same stuff. Just the one Leviathan can arm a whole army with top-tier armor and weapons.
No wonder the Order asked her to attend Lady Lysha; she must have told them of the Leviathan, and they no doubt negotiated to receive some of the materials. With how large the creature is, even a small part will bring a fortune, and great power, to the Order. However, one must learn from history; this isn’t the first time a Leviathan has washed ashore, and the previous times caused all sorts of mayhem. Wars were started, neighboring countries were conquered and so many people died.
It’s why the spy is cause for great concern; somebody else knows of the Leviathan. Lady Lysha is still questioning the villagers about who leaked the information, but so far, no one has said anything; each one seems to be very confused about all of this. The only other person that could have leaked information is the messenger, and if that’s the case, they’ll never see him again.
Ruluna studies the corpse with [Sense Mana], a very well-kept secret of the Order. Its existence is only revealed to high-ranking members, and even fewer people are actually taught the skill. Ruluna was chosen because the higher-ups hope she can gain some more insight into the skill and discover more breakthroughs but, at eighteen breakthroughs, it’s already a very well-studied and -documented skill.
Still, when that World Message was broadcasted a few years ago, the Order was up in arms; someone had managed to reach the absolute pinnacle of the skill, a fellow Lunaleyan at that. Neither she, nor anyone else she knows, knows which kingdom they come from, but they are a threat. It may even be that very person who was spying on them… in fact, they are the most likely suspect, now that she thinks about it.
No other order or kingdom has come out or even hinted at knowing who the person is, but they must be somewhere.
Ruluna takes heavy notes on where the magic materials are by studying the mana signatures, but she can’t help but feel like she is being watched. It must be paranoia from earlier, but the feeling won’t go away, even if her skills aren’t reacting to anything.
The sky finally makes due on its threat to wash the world, the dark grey clouds finally pouring their contents onto the land. Water drops land on her hair and are instantly evaporated by her burning hair and fur. She increases the temperature to stay dry and pulls out a voice stone from her storage ring.
“Headmaster Vulpun, this is Ruluna,” She says, contacting headquarters. “I have confirmed the Leviathan.”
“That is great news; we’ll send everyone we can spare to harvest the materials. Is there anything else to report?” Vulpun replies. Usually, in a case like this, there wouldn’t be, it’s a low threat quest, but ambushes do happen.
“Yes, actually. When we arrived, my [Track Senses] and Lady Lysha’s retaliation device both activated, meaning somebody else knows about the Leviathan,” Ruluna says, in a tone dark enough to match the weather.
“Who? Where? How strong are they?” Vulpun asks, sounding a lot more serious now. With a potential threat contesting them for the Leviathan, they will have to act with all haste.
“I don’t know, I—”
“You don’t know? You don’t know?! How can you not know?! You were chosen just in case this very thing happened!” Vulpun yells into the voice stone.
“It’s probably ‘Alysara’, the one from the World Message” Vulpun instantly falls silent as Ruluna explains. “I couldn’t tell who or where; it’s almost as if they were watching us, yet at the same time they weren’t. It’s not like they were using a proxy either; I simply couldn’t get anything from them. Who else could do that, but one who has reached the pinnacle?”
Vulpun sighs, calming down. “So it could be Alysara, but it also could not be. It might be possible that someone has a magic item or skill that hides them, but I do find the timing suspect. Why would they not use this item before? I’ll use my contacts to see if there have been any other cases like this in any kingdom. For now, we’ll redirect anyone we can to help with the material recovery.”
“One more thing,” Ruluna says, “I have a strange feeling of being watched, yet my skill isn’t activating; I’m sure it’s nothing, but, just in case I really am being watched, you should know.”
Vulpun doesn’t speak for a few minutes, but when he does, he sounds like he just ran all the way up the Order’s tower.
“Very well,” Vulpun pants. “Well, prepare things on this end; you’ll be given unimportant missions for now. If we can give false information to any potential spy, we will.”
“Ruluna out.” Ruluna ends the connection and looks back at the Leviathan.
This mission has gone to absolute shit.
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Ting! Sense Magic has met the requirements for a breakthrough and will continue leveling past level 760!
38th Breakthrough: You’ve sensed another’s perceptive field; this will help you detect when you are being spied upon, or determine the target of others’ attention.
The fiery-haired mage also has [Sense Mana]! Because our perceptive areas ‘feel out’ the mana, I am able to feel her tugging on the same mana I am sensing; maybe she can feel the same thing? Although my perceptive pressure is very low, so maybe not?
This is the first time I’ve felt this tugging, even though Esofy has the same skill; maybe it’s because my perception is usually so strong that I couldn’t feel any resistance? I wonder if I can block others’ perceptions with enough perceptive pressure…
Either way, I’ll keep an eye on these people, learn what I can from them, and see if they are dangerous to contact.
For now, I’ll look over the land to get a good idea of where things are and if there are any other settlements around. I’ll be able to get a lot of information on the general state of things. If they are in the habit of using banners, I can use that to determine factions. Uniforms, badges, styles of clothes, many mundane things can indicate the state of affairs.
Even what people are most producing. If smiths are making a lot of weapons, it can indicate expectations of war; old battlefields with lost weapons can reveal history; regional items showing up in other regions can indicate trade; and seats of power, from congresses to thrones, can show how people are governed.
I am more confident that my low perceptive pressure won’t trigger retaliation from enchanted items, and maybe some skills, depending on how many breakthroughs that skill has and what level it is. In other words, I am confident that even if I trigger retaliation, the combination of distance, my scapegoat and the low likelihood of powerful retaliation will keep me safe.
I don’t have to search far to see a mid-sized city flying banners, not flags, with the symbol of a volcano. There must be a volcano nearby, too, because the ground is enriched with ash and fire mana. These people probably enjoy very fertile farmlands, so I expect their main export to be food.
Yup, as I continue looking around, there are a large number of farms. Many fly two banners, one being the volcano symbol I assume to be the national one and the other showing what I assume, from the number of farms growing it, to be a staple crop. The second banner is probably that of some sort of guild, probably a farming guild, but not all farms have that banner; some seem to be independent.
The city has several other banners being flown by some buildings, likely indicating some sort of intra-national faction or guild. The banner with a flame is likely the affiliation of those ‘flame warriors’ that are with that gold essence woman.
The people of the city are dressed in something similar to togas. There are actual men here, and no sign of hermaphrodites. They may look similar to Runalymo, but in this regard they are different. There is a large population of people with fire and ash Bonds here; one mystery I have yet to really pursue is the relation of Bond affinities and genetics. Is it even genetics at all, or is it environmental? Perhaps it’s both, or there are several sources that influence it?
For example, most blue-haired Runalymo have water Bonds; I can only assume that since Kayafe has a water Bond and she is very strong, that might be from her influence. This indicates genetics are involved, but my beauty Bond probably came from Myrou’s blessing. Environmental factors are also heavily indicated; a lot of Runalymo have fire Bonds, which makes sense since the Nexus has a lot of fire mana due to the Mana Arc.
Anyway, the flame building looks to be some sort of militaristic place, with training grounds for mages and warriors. It has a barracks for its members, and there are several secret rooms. Of more interest to me personally are a library filled with books and an experimentation room with a crude mana pressure chamber made out of mana silk. Honestly, it’s a very poor attempt at a mana chamber; they need solid mana at least for it to work well; what they have leaks mana constantly.
The large congressional building near the center of the city shows that the place is ruled by some sort of senate or something similar. It is arranged in a large circle with dozens of seats. Behind each seat is a banner, meaning that each city faction has a say in the going-ons of the government.
The faction/guild that I am dubbing as the ‘Farmers’ Guild’ also has a secret room, containing a Heroic-tier underground topaz tree. Lightning sparks from branch to branch, and it looks like it is occasionally harvested for rare materials if the cut branches are any indication. I don’t think they realize just what the tree really is though… its roots extend far down below the earth, sprouting into new trees in an underground chamber.
I flicker my [Analyze], relying on my memory to fully absorb the information I get.
Hive Root Topaz Oak (Heroic), Mind Whisperer (Heroic), Lightning Caller (Grand), level 2025 Lightning Bond.
It’s a mind mage, and, judging by the mind essence around several members of the guild; it’s the one in charge. I have a suspicion that it’s not exactly friendly: it’s probably not hostile either, but with Kayafe’s warning that plant monsters don’t have the same emotions and thought processes as us, it might be perfectly fine with puppeteering others. I’ll have to see for myself.
Fortunately, I am either too far away or have gone under its radar, as I am not feeling any mental influence from it.
I start writing down everything I see in the city. Tusile and Guklaro will want to know it all.
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