Chapter 478: Floating Delta
"… Okay, what happened!?" Seth exclaimed after stepping out through the doors of the system church.
Delta, a city located among the mountains, was surrounded by beautiful peaks and snow-covered mountains. Or rather it HAD been the last time Seth was her he had a good view of Delta’s panorama. Now they were gone.
Looking to the heavens above Delta, these picturesque peaks had now turned into floating islands and filled the sky above the cityscape. Snow and water were slowly trickling down and glistening in the sun.
The sight was so abstract, so far from anything, the blacksmith had ever seen or known- Seeing a group of floating islands above Delta’s modern skyline was nothing less than mind-boggling to him and had him stare in silence for several minutes.
It had been an almost ordinary morning. Monique told him that he would see for himself, once he went to meet the sorceress in the city. At that point, he had not known what had been waiting for him.
Collecting his thoughts took a while.
"…I think, I’m okay now. Let’s go meet Al…" he said after taking a deep breath to calm down. Monique standing beside him was visibly relieved. He didn’t know what she expected, but it seemed that he handled this better than she expected.
On the way, his mind was obviously filled with thoughts of how something like this could have happened. Just what had the sorceress done to cause something like this? And why didn’t she react to the messengers of Minas Mar?
Monique had told him, that Al’Zalsar would return to Minas Mar more seldom. She had also not answered the messengers they had sent to her residence in the red light district. It was a place she had bought for convenience, so she would not have to travel back and forth when she went for a break from her research.
Seth also felt a little peeved that she didn’t come to greet him, but he wasn’t a little child anymore. Also, the fact that the sorceress blew up several mountain peaks, so hard they literally stayed in the air, was more important at the moment.
Although Deltas weather had become warmer since Seth had left, it was still too cold for the red light district to be filled with scantily clad people, which made it almost look like a normal shopping mile. Arguably, a shopping mile for erotic toys and similar stuff, but still almost normal.
Al’Zalsar’s residence was a love hotel that was ruined by a monster attack during the early days of the apocalypse. The sorceress had rebuilt it into a lavish apartment building she called her own. As one would expect, the security of this building was also no joke, so if she decided to ignore the messengers, there was nothing they could do.
Similarly, Seth and Monique stood at the entrance door and rang the bell. The building was covered in glass, just like the doors before them, but it would have been a mistake to underestimate the kind of spells that protected the whole place. Even if it looked fragile, it might have been the most secure building in the surface Delta.
They kept ringing the bell, but nobody came to the door and there was no reaction from the intercom. Seth pursed his lips.
"Should we come back at another time?" Monique asked unsurely.
Seth shook his head, lifted his hand, and snapped his fingers.
Nothing happened. Monique looked at him in awkward silence. The blacksmith was still calm. Monique twitched when the intercom suddenly cracked.
"Seth? You are back?" Al’s surprised voice could be heard and with a loud buzz, the door was unlocked.
He pushed it open with a smug smile and motioned Monique to follow him in. The snap was the utilization of and the connection he had with all the golems he created. Al counted also as one and he could send her direct signals.
The bard didn’t like to do this to the people he technically revived as it felt a little wrong to do that to a person. But otherwise, Al might not have reacted any time soon and he was quite curious about what exactly happened for her to put flying islands into the sky.
Al’Salzar, scantily glad as ever, already awaited them inside with her hands on her hips.
"It’s taken you a while to come by. Why didn’t you inform me that Seth is already back?" she blamed Monique.
"We tried! You are the one who didn’t react to our messages!" the vice-tower master exclaimed indignantly.
"You did…?" the sorceress asked genuinely surprised.
"We sent you messages on the phone, we sent people, you never answered."
Al checked her phone and to her surprise, she really found 15 unread messages.
"What had you so preoccupied that you didn’t notice? Does it have something to do with the floating islands outside?" Seth injected himself into the conversation.
"Oh, you saw those.."
"hmm, you could say it has something to do with them, or rather with the guy behind the gathering of mana. Let’s talk inside."
They relocated to a living room to continue talking.
"You said someone was gathering mana?" Seth couldn’t help but ask and Al’Zalsar began to explain from the start.
The steady drop of temperature that had plagued Delta before his departure was caused by an unnatural amount of mana gathering in the mountain range. They found definite proof of this thanks to Evee’s meticulous work.
After it came to her notice, that the people of her neighborhood started dressing more conventional, she took it upon herself to track the cause and get rid of it.
"You mean it became too cold for the hookers you usually visit and this inconvenienced you?" the blacksmith read the sorceress.
"…Yes. Now shut up and let me finish:"
Since she knew what she was looking for it became easy for the revived lich to track the flow and mana and find out where it was gathering. What she found was a massive formation, not unsimilar to those that Minas Mar used to gather mana into the tower.
However, this one used several of the biggest peaks in Delta’s surrounding as cornerstones and worked on a much greater scale. The amount of energy it gathered was defying logic.
Within the formation, she found how this was possible in the first place. At the very center, she encountered a humanoid within a second formation that converted the mana into a similar type of energy he was busily absorbing.
According to Al’Zalsar, the person was…uncooperative. It came to a fight that completely messed up the formation’s arrangement. After she barely managed to defeat her opponent, she was left to deal with the aftermath.
At this point, Seth was already staring at her with shock. Although the sorceress tried to play it down, the fact that she, Al’Zalsar, with her skeleton made of the bones of a divine throne and her own power as a centuries-old lich and quasi-legend had a hard time beating the opponent spoke volumes.
"After the original formation collapsed I had to deal with the energy somehow unless there might not be a Delta now."
"And you used the excess energy to put those peaks you destroyed during the fight into the air…?" he concluded in bafflement.
"Yes, it’s the most inefficient and power-draining method to waste mana on, by making things float," she admitted.
"You said your absence was connected to the floating island, so that means that..?"
"Oh yeah, I was interrogating this guy and researching his powers. Their world is not actually part of the Pathworks and they have a very interesting method to gain strength. Since he was able to rival me, I was very intrigued.
Do you remember Master Mountain? My suspicion is that they come from the same world. I have thoroughly interrogated him. If you want to, I can let you have a look at my notes. Or maybe you want to have a look yourself?"
"Wait! You captured him and kept him here? Why didn’t you bring him to Minas Mar? Wouldn’t that be safer?"
"I didn’t want to implicate Minas Mar. According to his own words, he possesses a high standing in his world. If I were to correlate their power ranks to ours, he was close to becoming a legend."