War of the Spirits

Saphira is the future leader of the isolated mountain village Natallian. However, just as she left to being her training, an incident takes place in the naboring town that changes her course of life forever

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4. Chapter 4

The trip to Crystal Mountain didn't take as long as Saphira had thought, even when she paused to try and see if she was able to use her new Rektos yet. She could summon a weak flame, but it was more efficient to not use her blade at this point. Crystal Mountain had a green like glow to it, created from the gems that were on the outside of it. And it was rather large as well.

"This mountain is a lot bigger than I first thought. It's going to take days to get over it and reach Milline," she sighed as she tried to find the best way to start climbing. "What is Cryslis doing now, anyway? If I remember correctly, she made this in the past,"

"To answer the second question, yeah this is her handiwork. And it's a lot bigger than it was the last time I saw it," Flarenix started. "Some Spirits create objects like this in the Human Realm as a substitution for having a Aolis. They get the same support from them as others would from Aolis, though they don't get as much. Whenever they become stronger, these objects become larger to represent their strength," Saphira looked up the mountain once again, still not looking forward to the climb. "As for your first question, I believe she's filling my place in the Dragon Circle right now. Which could explain her increase in power," Flarenix finished, and Saphira did agree with her. As she was about to begin her climb, a loud, booming voice stopped her as she looked over to her right.

"Alright, everyone! Gather around! The tour through Crystal Mountain to Milline is about to begin!" A large group of people stood in front of what looked like an entrance to the inside of the mountain.

"I guess you won't have to climb up the mountain after all. I didn't expect to see a big hole in Cryslis' mountain," Flarenix commented, Saphira walking over to the group. She was relieved that she didn't have to climb the entire mountain, as time was not on her side right now, but she thought it was a bit disrespectful towards the Spirits. "Relax, Cryslis probably made it herself to let people get to Milline," Flarenix reassured her, Saphira letting out a sigh. There were a lot more people than she originally thought, and they all seemed to be paying attention to the person who stood in front of the group and entrance.

"Now, there is something all of you must remember. This mountain is connected to the Spirit Cryslis. Any and all damage that is done to this mountain will be as if you hurt Cryslis. So be sure to be cautious on what you do on the inside of the mountains," the man informed them, though Saphira thought it was unnecessary. The mountain was supposed to represent Cryslis' power, as in the power of a dragon. It would take more than a clumsy Human to damage it. "If you all understand that, then let us begin this grand tour of Crystal Mountain. Everyone, follow me!" The man began to walk into the mountain, and everyone followed after him. Saphira stayed at the back to make sure she didn't cause any unnecessary commotion with the others around her.

"Oh, I just realized something that might be good for you to know," Flarenix said, catching Saphira's attention. "The history you know might differ a bit from what the others around you know. You lived in a village that has had direct contact with Spirits since the separation of Humans and Spirits. But everyone else has changed it to suit their fancy. So don't go correcting people if something isn't like you remember it," Saphira had already expected some differences, considering someone randomly came up to her and asked about Spirits. But Flarenix's concern was always welcome, as it has helped her more than once in her life.

"Now, if you take a close look at these walls, you'll see a large collection of gems imbedded in the walls," the tour guide said, Saphira looking over and studied some of the gems. They were all crystals, and they all had the same shade of green. Just like the one son the outside of the mountain. As she looked at them, though, she noticed something moving along the wall. And it wasn't on the outside, but on the inside. She couldn't see clearly what it was, but it seemed like some kind of energy.

"Does anyone know what that energy roaming around in the walls is?" the man asked, getting everyone's attention once again.

"It's the soul of the Human that Cryslis worked together with as she created this mountain," one of them said, Saphira honestly surprised they mentioned a Human. From what she remembered, Cryslis was terrified of Humans. Not only that, but Spirits wouldn't trap Humans inside their creations, nor are they able to.

"Humans do this all the time, they find some way to insert themselves into our history," Flarenix growled, Saphira understanding her frustration as it gave the wrong impression of Spirits.

"That's right. This is the soul of the first Human to have ever met Cryslis. And he gave his soul to assist her in becoming stronger, which she used to create this mountain," the tour guide confirmed, which only made Saphira more annoyed.

'Cryslis has never been to the Human Realm, and has therefore never met any Humans.' She sighed a bit to herself as the group continued forward. They walked into a large, circular room. In the center part of the room, there was Aleric writing all over the floor. As the group split up and everyone went their own way, Saphira went over and read the inscription on the floor.

Of the elements and our brethren, we live to protect those around us.

Saphira vaguely remember reading that in a book back in her village, but she couldn't put her finger on where it was from.

"This is one of the areas where the Dragon Circle obtain their powers. After Cryslis was acknowledged as worthy of being a part of the Dragon Circle and carry their burden, this room formed and the letters were engraved into the ground as proof of her new title," the tour guide explained, Saphira unsure if he was actually right this time. It did seem reasonable.

"Humans always assume. It would be so much easier if they just asked," Flarenix sigh, which confirmed that he wasn't right. "It's true that this appears in areas connected to the Dragon Elders, but it's not a power supply. It's kind of a distress call. if there is trouble in any of the areas near these places, this place will light up and inform the dragons that there is trouble,"

'So like a smoke signal?' Saphira asked mentally. She didn't think talking out loud to Flarenix was the best idea around so many people. Flarenix confirmed it, Saphira examining the floor a bit closer. Even if their information was wrong, this place was still fascinating to her.

"Alright, let's continue," However, before she got a chance to get a good look at it, the tour guide called everyone to continue through the rest of the mountain. Saphira was really tempted to just stay here and keep looking, but she had no idea what people would think if she came out by herself. She didn't even know if it was allowed to go through here unless you’re a part of the tour. Reluctantly, she followed after everyone. The tour guide talked about things here and there, but Saphira had lost interest as it was things she had already learned. She just looked at the walls, entranced by the glow from the gems.

"And this concludes the tour through Crystal Mine," the tour guide said, getting Saphira's attention again. They all exited the mountain, the sunlight really bright after being in there for so long. "Welcome to Milline, the largest mining town in all of Savia," A foul smell was the second thing that hit Saphira after the sunlight. She assumed it was from the several materials that were being refined. Scenery wise, the place was rather gloomy. There was barely any grass, and it was a brownish color instead of green. All the trees looked dead, and there didn't seem to be any water source nearby from what she could tell. The tour guide mentioned that the trees were a special kind of plant life that could survive this type of living conditions. The group went over to a stall of some kind, were men were forming the metal into different objects. Swords, cutlery, you name it. And the men were Aolis as well, so it fascinated Saphira how they changed the metal into liquid and then began to form it.

"I'm glad you're enjoying yourself, but remember why we actually came here?" Flarenix reminded her, Saphira nodding as she left the group to see if she could get any information about Dragon Scale. However, not a single civilian mentioned anything about them. All they talked about where different digging places and how to refine the materials they find there. As she came to the middle of the town, a loud noise that sounded like an explosion came from her left, outside of the town. She quickly moved towards the sound, hopeful that she might get some idea of what Dragon Scale were planning. She came to the end of the town, and saw two men talking to each other. She made sure she was out of sight as she tried to listen in on what they were discussing.

"How much longer until Dragon Scale begins to move? They haven't done much since the incident in Sektories," one of them said. Saphira tried to see if she could see the emblem of the Royal Family, but she couldn't see it anywhere on their armor. Which meant that these two were a part of the Shadow Knights.

"I honestly don't know. Lieutenant May had overheard one of them mentioning this plan of their, but they didn't say anything specific other than that is was going down here," the other answered. Saphira remembered what drew her here in the first place. She noticed a pile of metal on the ground between the two, and it was generating electricity of some kind. "But these speakers have been placed all over the town. What the hell are they up to?" Saphira began to move away as he finished his last sentence, not too eager to test her luck. She was beginning to head back into the main part of the town, a new set of voices catching her attention. As she rounded a corner, she saw Erik talking to who she thought was a shop owner. Their lips moved, but she couldn't hear anything. She looked around for any other way to get past them, but the only way out of this area was an alleyway past them.

'I really have the worst luck at times.' She thought to herself as she walked over to the opposite wall and kept her sight forward. She didn't need her seeming suspicious around one of the Lieutenants of Shadow Knights.

"Thank you for all of your helps. I really appreciate it," Erik said, Saphira trying not to look over to see if she recognized who he was talking to. She just kept her head forward and continued walking.

"It was the least I could do for you. But are you sure you should really try and stop Dragon Scale? I've only heard rumors of their actions, and it be a huge loss to lose a good man like you," the other man said.

"You don't have to worry. I'll be careful," Erik reassured the man. Saphira realized she missed the important details of the conversation, but she at least got a bit more confirmation about Dragon Scale. She reached the alleyway and continued through it to get to the main street. Before she was able to get too far, though, as a hand grabbed her arm and forcefully pulled her backwards which made her drop her bag on the ground. Whoever pulled her back pushed her against the wall and placed their hand on her throat. She gasped for air and looked right at Erik. "Who sent you?" he asked as he tightened the grip on her throat.

"No one," Saphira was barely able to speak, but got the words out either way. She tried to loosen his grip, but her efforts didn't do anything at all. Her vision became blurrier and she began to feel drowsy, the strength in her body fading.

"Not on my watch, you bastard," Flarenix used her power on her own and channeled her power into Saphira's hands, which were on Erik's. It didn't take long before they began to burn him, which made him pull his hand back. Saphira leaned against the wall for support as she gasped for breath. Erik just stayed silent for a while, which gave Saphira some time to recompose herself. Once she felt a bit better, she looked back at Erik.

"I wasn't sent here by anyone. I just came through here to try and get back to the main street," she explained to him, thought Erik didn't seem to believe her. He just stared at her for a bit before he spoke again.

"And just happened to pick the route that allowed you to eavesdrop on a conversation that could be vital to the enemy," he pointed out, and Saphira had to admit that it did seems suspicious. And she would be lying saying that she just chose this path by coincidence. She heard their voices and wanted to see if she could get some information. "But you still haven't tried to make a break for it since I let you go, so you can't be a spy. Who exactly are you?"

"Just a traveler learning about how the world works and what one can get from the different places," she told him, which only made Erik narrow his eyes at her. It was very obvious that he didn't believe a word of what she said, but Saphira just stayed silent as she waited for him to say his opinion.

"If that's true, then why are you armed? Most travelers think it's safe enough to travel from town to town without any protection," he asked, Saphira shifting her gaze to her katana.

"I've heard about the incident that happened in Sektories, and it made me a bit paranoid since I travel by myself," she answered him. When she mentioned Sektories, he slammed his hand against the wall. Saphira jumped a bit, not expecting the sudden movement. "Is something wrong?"

"Where did you hear about Sektories?" he asked, making Saphira confused. Why was that something he got so upset about. As she was about to answer him, the sound of something big moving on the ground interrupted their conversation. "They finally made their move," Erik whispered, Saphira looking back at him. "I'm done with you, so just stay here," he told her before he left without a second look at her. Saphira stayed put for a bit before she picked up her bag and went back towards the area with the dead trees. She would be better off staying off the main path if she wanted to get there without being seen. She hid her bag behind one of the bigger trees, pulled out her cloak and put it on and jumped up it to make her way towards her destination. Flarenix assisted her by directing her in the right direction, the sound getting louder.

When she finally got to where the sound came from, she saw a large vehicle made of metal moving very slowly towards the town. Saphira had never seen anything like it, and it scared her a bit how something like that was able to move by itself. A large group of people began to form in front of it, which caused it to stop so it didn't accidentally hurt anyone. Saphira carefully made her way down the tree and joined the crowd.

"Citizens of Milline, hear my words!" Once Saphira was on the ground, she looked over and noticed a man standing on the vehicle. He was really far away, yet his voice was so clear. She assumed that he was either an Aolis of a Vocal Spirit, who could change the tone and volume of any voices, or another Aolis assisted him, that and maybe more of those speakers that those Shadow Knights found. "We are Dragon Scale, and we fight to end the injustice reign of the Royal Family and their army!" Saphira tried to make her way through the crowd so she could confirm which of assumptions were right. She felt someone push her in the back, almost making her lose her balance. She turned around and saw someone leaving the crowd and head into the forest, his clothes similar to the two she saw talking in the forest. She wanted to follow after him, but thought it would be best to just wait until she knew what was going on.

"What are you talking about. We have never experienced anything of the sort," someone from the crowd asked, the others around him agreed with his statement. Saphira kept her gaze on Dragon Scale, noticing someone walking up onto the stage next to the man that spoke. She didn't recognize him, but based on his different attire she knew that he was someone important.

"Good people, please lend an ear to our cause! I promise you, if you help us achieve our goals, all of your dreams will be fulfilled!" As the man finished talking, a soft flute began to play all around them.

"Cover your ears, now!" Flarenix yelled, so loudly that Saphira's head actually began to throb afterwards. She did as she was told and noticed one of the people next to her began to cheer. Soon, everyone else joined him. "That's the song of a Dream Spirit. Depending on the strength of the Aolis, they can completely change what dream a person has. Which makes them one of the most dangerous Spirits in the hands of Humans," Flarenix explained. Saphira had heard about them before, but she had also heard that they tend to stay away from Humans. She looked around for an easy way to get to the vehicle, but every way had someone in front of.

'If I try to do something with everyone like this, they'll attack me. And if I hear that song for too long, I'll end up like them.' Saphira thought, trying to think of anything else she could do.

"Summon me and let me take care of this," Flarenix suggested, Saphira flinching. She knows how to let Flarenix come into the Human Realm, but it's really risky to do when Saphira didn't have anyone around her to protect her. When a Aolis brings their Spirit into their Realm, all of their power is used to keep the Spirit's physical form here. And it can also be fatal if she does it for too long. As dangerous as she knew it was, she didn't have time to hesitate. She kept her ears covered as she made her way out of the crowd and into the woods. Once there, she moved her hands and closed her eyes as she began to focus.  She channeled all of her power into the sole of her feet, and began to spread it on the ground around her. She could feel the ground heating up under her shoes and opened her eyes. A circle with Aleric written all over it. It began to glow a bright red and a column of flame erupted from it and rose into the sky. The flames began to form into the shape of a dragon, the fire wings beating down at the vehicle, which stopped the song. Saphira felt her energy fading quickly, falling on her knee.

"Please hurry, Flarenix," she whispered to herself as she looked up at the sky again. The flames vanished from the form, Flarenix's dark red scales reflecting in the sun above her. She landed behind the trees, so Saphira was only able to see her head. But she could hear the sound of metal being crushed under something, so she thought that Flarenix had landed on top of the vehicle.

"You Humans sure do love to cause trouble. I would've hoped you had learned by now," Flarenix taunted them, a few screams following. Saphira wasn't able to see anything, but she assumed they had successfully broke the Dream Aolis' spell on the people.

"You're…You're Flarenix, aren't you? Former member of the Dragon Circle," Saphira could hear the voice of the Dragon Scale who spoke earlier, which meant that there was still a Vocal Spirit that was helping him. "Why are you interfering? Our plans for the future go in line with what you believe," Saphira wasn't expecting him to try and butter her up.

"Hypnotizing innocent people to follow your ridiculous ideals isn't something I would do. What exactly do Humans think I stand for?" Flarenix scolded, Saphira feeling Flarenix's anger. Saphira's attention was taken away from the scene with Dragon Scale when the sound of a branch breaking came from the opposite side. Forcing herself onto her feet, she looked in that direction and made sure her hood covered her face. Erik came into view and walked towards her, Saphira looking behind him for any other members. But it looked like he was by himself.

"So you're the Aolis who summoned that Spirit," he said, Saphira staying quiet. She could hear Flarenix's voice behind her, but Saphira was too focused on Erik at the moment to hear what exactly Flarenix was saying. "You're also the one who helped in Sektories, correct?"

"Yes, I am," she answered him, her voice not as strong as usual, her breathing sounding hoarse as well. Flarenix was a strong Spirit, and keeping her out in the Human Realm was harder than it would've been for any other Spirit. The same was for every other dragon Spirit.

"You're already becoming weak. You should stop before you kill yourself," Erik advised, Saphira not expecting him to sound so concerned for her. "Don't get the wrong idea. It's Flarenix I'm worried about, not you. You're not the only one who'll suffer if you die while she's out here,"

"You know who Flarenix is?" she asked, Erik just glaring at her. She didn't understand why he was so angry with her, though. Flarenix wasn't exactly a well known Spirit aside from the fact that she used to be a member of the Dragon Circle. Heck, she didn't expect Dragon Scale to know who she was. But that wasn't important right now. "I know the risks, and I know what will happen if I die while she's out. But right now, there was nothing else that could be done," Erik didn't say anything about her statement, but instead walked towards her. Saphira's entire body tensed up, as it was impossible for her to leave the circle while she still had Flarenix was out. He stopped in front of the circle, studying for a bit.

"This Aoltes Circle is very well created and stable, considering the Spirit that was summoned. It's rather impressive, actually," he commented, Saphira not saying a word. "But no matter how well made it is, it still has the same weakness: if another person enters it or touches it, you'll experience the worst pain possible,"

"If you're trying to threaten me, get to the point," Saphira interrupted him, already anxious about him being so close to her. Erik didn't say anything else, but instead held his foot right over the edge of the circle. Saphira prepared for the pain and closed her eyes tightly. Before anything could happen, however, she felt something warm envelope her. She opened her eyes and saw the flames surrounding her and the Aoltes Circle had disappeared.

"Sorry I took so long. Let's get going before he tries anything else," Flarenix said, Saphira forcing her body to run back the way she came. She didn't hear Erik following her behind her, but she just continued to run just to be safe. She was soon back at the tree where she had hidden her back and swung it onto her shoulder. As she did, her body nearly collapsed with the extra weight on her. Knowing she would need to find a place for her to rest for a little while, she began to move as quickly as she could towards the opposite end of where she first arrived.

Saphira stopped by a lone tree on a cliff quite a bit away from Milline. There were members of both Dragon Scale and Shadow Knight all over the place within the first hundred meters from the town, so Saphira had to travel even further than she really wanted. She dropped her bag and practically fell on the ground against the tree, trying to keep herself awake.

"You should really get some proper sleep. You haven't actually slept properly since we started this little expedition, and you've exhausted yourself," Flarenix said, Saphira more than ready for a good night's sleep. But sleeping outside when she knew there was someone who could attack her out of nowhere. "Let's head for Castrelia once you've gotten a few minutes rest,"

"Castrelia? Where is that exactly?" Saphira asked, not sure she's ever heard about it before. Even from the rare visitors in her village.

"It should be close to this area at this ping," Flarenix said, Saphira very confused about the 'right now' part. "You'll understand when you see it. It's quite the sight," Flarenix just chuckled at her, Saphira looking over to the field below the cliff. "Castrelia is the town where the Royal Family live, and where the Royal Army has their main base. So we might uncover some useful information,"

"Wait, I thought the castle wasn't that far from Sektories. Why would it be all the way out here?" Saphira asked, only becoming more and more confused by the minute. Flarenix didn't say anything and was still chuckling to herself. Saphira felt slight vibration in the ground, though it wasn't an earthquake. She placed her hand on the ground and she could faintly feel the change in the ground caused by an Earth Spirit. Curious, she looked around her to see where the Aolis was. Since she could feel it, whoever did it had to be close enough. As her eyes returned to the field, she gasped as she saw the cause of the vibration. A large city was floating slight above the ground and was moving along the ground. The buildings were tall, the castle rising above all of them. "That' incredible. But how are they moving such a large city. And why?"

"Well, the common belief is that so the citizens of the place can see the rest of the world without having to travel from their homes. But that isn't the main reason," Flarenix began. "It's to keep the Royal Family at times when their lives are at risk. There is a tribe of Earth Aolis that serve the King, and they continuously move the city from place to place during war or when they suspect attacks against the Royal Family," Saphira found it a bit odd, but it did make some sense. But there was one thing about it that seemed flawed.

"If they're trying to keep it a secret, then what do they do about the citizens. If they see it as a holiday, won't they try and see as much as possible? That would draw attention to them," she asked.

"That's a big part in their strategy," Flarenix told her, which Saphira didn't understand. "It's not the location that they're trying to keep a secret, but the reason for the move. If the enemy thinks that they are unaware of their plans, they become reckless and cocky. Which will make them careless and mess up," Saphira could understand that, as it would give them quite the advantage. Castrelia soon stopped in the center of the field, yet it still floated above the ground. Saphira stood up and placed her bag on her shoulder.

"We should start heading down. Hopefully there's a inn of sort down there," she said as she carefully made her way down the cliff side. As she reached the entrance, she got a better look at the inside of the city. There were so many people walking around in the streets, all of them smiling and laughing like they didn't have a care in the world. There were shops similar to those in Holie, but they were much larger, and some of the products were outside as well. Saphira continued to look around, searching for a place where she could stay the night.

"There's a place to your right. It seems like a good place to rest," Flarenix informed her, Saphira looking in that direction and saw a building called 'Swallows Rest'. Not too picky about where she slept, she entered the inn and went over to the girl at the counter.

"Hello, and welcome to the traditional inn, Swallows Rest. A place for a good rest and a chance to relive the olden days. How can I help you?" she welcomed Saphira with a big smile.

"I was wondering if you had an empty room I could stay in," she asked. The woman looked down into a book, Saphira assuming it was a catalogue of some kind to keep track of which rooms are in use or not.

"Yes, we do have one. Although it is one of the more expensive ones. Do you want that?" the woman informed her, Saphira unsure if she had enough gold for it. She was about to ask the price, but a familiar voice behind her interrupted them.

"She'll take it," Saphira turned and saw Nate, her older brother, smirking at her. She heard the woman move from the counter and looked over to see her walking up the stairs, most likely going to fix Saphira's room. "It's good to see you again, Saph. I really didn't expect to see you here. We're pretty far from Natallian," Nate said, pulling Saphira into a light hug. Even though Saphira was upset with him when he decided to leave, but she was still happy to see him again.

"One thing lead to another, and I ended up here," she told him as he broke the hug. As she got a better look at him, she noticed that he had finally cut his brown hair, and he had the Royal Emblem on his armor. The armor itself was different as well, so he wasn't just a soldier. "You're joined the Royal Army?" Nate took his gaze off her and looked down at his armor.

"Yeah, kind of. I'm Prince Marik's personal guard. That's why the emblem I have is a bit different from the rest. Even General Paul's," he explained, Saphira looking back at it. Like he said, it was a different kind of emblem. But it wasn't something that one would see at a quick glance. "Anyway, what brings you to Castrelia? I would've thought dad wanted you to start your leadership training at this point,"

"Don't you mean YOUR leadership training, Nate?" Saphira corrected him, which made him go silent. Saphira knew why he left, but he threw all of his responsibilities onto her. Hence why she was still upset with him. "And yes, I was supposed to start it. But I came to Sektories at a very bad time as it became a battlefield," as soon as she mentioned the incident in Sektories, Nate quickly grabbed her by the shoulder and pulled her closer to him.

"Were you hurt? Did Shadow Knight or Dragon Scale threaten you in any way?" he asked frantically, Saphira not sure what to actually say. She wanted to tell him the truth, and the real reason she was here. But it would only cause problems for her further down the line.

"No, I was fast enough to get away from there before it became too bad," she lied, and she already felt guilty for lying to Nate. But he was a member of the Royal Army, and right now, an enemy. "Anyway, I heard that there was going to be a party here, so I thought I'd check it out. Anyone was allowed in, right?" Nate finally let go of her and distanced himself from her a bit before he spoke again.

"Yeah, it's open for anyone. But don't even think about attending it," Nate ordered her, which only made Saphira suspicious of the whole thing. "Just trust me and don't attend it, alright?"

"If you're that serious about it," Saphira sighed, Nate giving her a warm smile in return. Footsteps came from the stairs, Saphira turning to see the woman from before came back down.

"Your room is ready, miss. I will show you to your room once you're ready," she informed them, Saphira giving her a nod.

"Well, I'll see you some other time, Nate. Can't keep a soldier from his job," she teased, Nate giving her a light shove in response.

"Yeah, I'll catch you later. Make sure you rest up properly," He turned and left the building, Saphira turning to follow the woman. The room was relatively high up in the building, and the room was pretty large as well. Saphira placed her bag on the floor next to her bed, which had been crafted by pretty solid wood.

"Excuse me miss, are you by chance Saphira?" the woman asked suddenly, Saphira looking over to her. She gave her a nod, the woman closing the door as she walked closer to Saphira. "I am one of Dick's informants. I was placed here to hear any plans made by soldiers. He sent me a letter informing me about you, and I was supposed to tell you anything I could," Saphira wasn't expecting to meet any of Dick's people all the way out here, but he did feel a bit relieved that she had an ally here.

"Thanks, I appreciate it," she said as she tried to think about what she wanted to know. "What do you know about the party that is taking place tomorrow?"

"The party itself is a trap to lure Dragon Scale and Shadow Knight out into the open. They want as many people as possible to see what kind of people they are, or what kind of people Commander Paul portrays them to be. That will make them more likely to support the Royal Army, which could harm both of them indirectly," the woman explained, Saphira understanding now why Nate was so against her going to the party.

"I can't think that they wouldn't suspect it being a trap. It seems a bit obvious," Saphira asked, the woman nodding.

"Yes, but that's not the reason this trap will work. It's the heir to the throne, Prince Marik. The party isn't going to be tightly guarded, and it will be relatively easy for them to sneak in. And the fact that Prince Marik will be there is enough bait for them to go against their better judgment and fall into the trap," she explained further.

"Is the Prince that good of a ruler? I've heard next to nothing about him," Saphira asked, the woman a bit hesitant to answer her.

"Prince Marik is young, and has trouble making decisions on his own. So he consults Commander Paul, hence why he has so much power over all the decisions while the King is ill. So if Dragon Scale or Shadow Knight got him and were able to convince him of their ways, then this war could be turned around completely. And the King might be killed before he recovers," Saphira could hear the concern in her voice, which made her think that she had high respect for the King.

"Alright, I think I understand. Thanks you for your help, but there's one last thing I'd like to ask," Saphira said, the woman waiting for her question. "Do you happen to have a map or something of the castle?" Saphira could see the woman flinch, which made Saphira think that the woman hadn't expected Saphira to actually try to interfere with the party.

"I can bring it to you tomorrow morning," the woman said as she left the room. Saphira sat herself down on the bed and took of her boots, and laid down on the bed. Her eyelids felt heavy as soon as her back hit the mattress, Saphira shifting her position so she felt a bit more comfortable.

"Seems like we have our work cut out for us tomorrow. Better do as Nate say and get some proper rest," Flarenix told her, Saphira having absolutely no objections at this point. She closed her eyes to try and sleep, Flarenix humming a soft lullaby in her head. Saphira quickly felt herself drifting into sleep, as Flarenix's voice began to fade.

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