~~ Saeflod was walking though the halls of the base, on his way to debriefing, when his friend, Laefera, rushed to him, excitement making her eyes gleam.
"Hey, Saeflod!" Laefera called, in her melodic voice.
"Hey, Laefera!" he replied.
"Scurdan wants to see you, and he says it's very urgent."
"Did he say anything else?"
"Nope!" She beamed. "But, he seemed really excited."
"Alright, then. I'd better hurry down there."
"Bye!" He smiled, made a brief wave, and set a brisk pace down the hall toward Scurdan's office. He glanced back at Laefera, who grinned, waving.
After a quick walk, he knocked on the door of the Lieutenant's office.
"It's open," came the muffled response.
Saeflod opened the door, and stepped inside, to be greeted by a sight he had seen only a couple of other times. Laefera had been right, Scurdan was bursting with excitement! He practically leapt from his chair when he saw Saeflod's face.
"Saeflod, I have incredible news!" he blurted out.
"What is it?"
"We may finally have a solid lead about its location."
"Descriptive," Saeflod said, with mock sarcasm.
"The legendary Diamond City."
Saeflod's jaw dropped, and his eyes widened to the size of golf balls.
"I'm sorry, what was that?"
"A bug within the capitol of Hierdelicia picked up high-ranking officials discussing 'the excavation of the ancient capitol' and 'a partial translation of the scroll.'"
Saeflod's elation turned to disappointment. "So, we think the Hierdelicians may have a lead. We still would have to steal their intelligence on it, which might not exist. If it does exist, then it might not be correct. And they have a head start on locating it. This hardly calls for celebration."
"You underestimate me! I have already considered that. However, we are far quicker thinkers than they'll ever be, which makes up for their head start. Nothing can be done to change whether or not they're right, regardless, we would still at least gain access to whatever ancient scroll they're trying to translate, and a possible partial translation of it, which may be wrong, but is still a good place to start. Plus, we know exactly where it recorded what they said and who said it, which should make the pre-mission recon far less difficult."
"I see your point."
"Guess who I'm assigning to do this mission."
"Please, don't pick me. Please."
"You guessed it!"
"Are you seriously asking me to infiltrate the inner sanctum of the most well defended kingdom? I'm smart, and I'm well versed in magic, but I'm no where near that good! I'd be lucky to get to within the outer wall of the kingdom, much less the capital! There's a reason why no one else has ever managed it!"
"I know it's going to be incredibly difficult! I'm not delusional. Yet, all those failures had two things in common."
"What would that be?"
"They didn't go in through the front gate, and they were assassins or spies, not mages."
"Through the front gate? Are you insane? They snuck in, because the only way to go through was if you were actually Hierdelician! And how is it that lacking training in infiltration is better?"
"No, the only way to pass through the gate is if it believes you're Hierdelician. And being a mage, aside from automatically setting you apart from them, means that you understand things like how the spell that chooses whether or not to let you through works, which may make it easier for you to find a way to bypass it. Plus, you even specialize in counter spells!"
"I suppose that makes sense. Then again, I know next to nothing about earth magic."
"Then learn something! You're undoubtedly bright enough, although I could be mistaken, considering that you didn't think of something so obvious."
"Seriously, Saeflod, I understand that you're scared, but enough already! It's almost like you don't want to find the diamond!"
"Yes sir. May I at least have a few days to think about how I'm going to do this?"
"Fine. Three days, no more. Dismissed."