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Chapter: 731

Thanks Sherlock

Chapter 731: Thanks Sherlock

With the spells cast by Jake, the duo made their way through the checkpoints of each plateau without slowing down. They didn't need to be discreet, as they proudly paraded up the never-ending staircase and reached the top without a hitch.

When they had joined the Mutant Office three months earlier, they were not allowed to proceed to visit the headquarters at the peak of Laudarkvik. Three months later, Jake could travel to the summit without disruption as if he were in his own backyard.

?? n?? - ? o? ?? , ?`?`m 'This... How do you do that?" Carmin whispered helplessly, her heart racing. Every time a guard looked in her direction, she would momentarily freeze up from her fear of being found out.

"Relax. They can't see us, they can't hear us, and they can't smell us." Jake replied coolly.

His vague answer did not reassure Carmin in the least.

"But then, why can I see you? And even if they can't see or hear us, there's still our Aetheric and spiritual signature..." She countered with concern.

No sooner had she finished expressing her doubts than Jake who was walking beside her vanished before her eyes. It wasn't just her eyesight that was playing tricks on her. He had literally disappeared as if he no longer existed.

Whether it was his aura, his Aether, or even the air flow that accompanied his every step, nothing betrayed his presence. The level of control required to accomplish this was just terrifying and she found it hard to believe that a Fourth Ordeal Player like her could do it. And yet, that's exactly what had just happened!

Then Jake reappeared in front of her, narrowly missing giving her a heart attack. Gasping loudly while pressing her hand against her bouncing chest, she angrily mouthed,

"Don't... ever... do that again! Goodness, I thought I was going to die! It's not okay to make jokes like that."

Jake let her grumble to herself the rest of the way, but at least she was no longer worried about making too much noise. In truth, these Stealth spells weren't foolproof.

While they were truly undetectable by the enemy's five senses and even extrasensory perception, they were still basic Aether Spells that he had cooked up with his meager experience. On the surface they seemed impossible to counter, but in practice they were only powered by his Aether Core.

At just over 5,000 yield points, it may have seemed powerful, but for casting spells it was actually quite paltry. It took a considerable amount of Aether to produce a little energy and the 5000 points of the accretion disc was obviously not enough.

Under normal circumstances, when Jake used his Aether Core he would speed up its rotation to passively suck in the surrounding Aether. This was the only way he could spam Aether Spells that had the energy potential of a big grenade. For more powerful spells, Jake had to tap into his own stamina to sustain their execution.

Since the goal was to erase their presence, he obviously couldn't rely on his Aether Core's ability to suck up energy for his spells, or the turbulence generated would instantly expose them. The Aether in his Aether Core was insufficient, so the fuel came almost exclusively from his stamina.

Jake was practically tireless, it was true, but that was only relative to normal efforts. In this case, he might have climbed the stairs undetected, but a keen observer would have easily noticed the many beads of sweat on his forehead. With most of his stamina going into supporting those Stealth Spells, even the slightest bit of intense combat would cause him to run out of breath in no time.

'Can't wait for my Reiga Core to reach a functional level.' He sighed inwardly, ignoring his muscle fatigue.

The glycogen in his muscles was depleting rapidly, but each of his cells was like a small nuclear battery, quickly renewing the lost energy. In addition to this, he had also eaten a plutonium ingot for continuous energy at breakfast as usual. If he had still been human, these radioactive materials would have been the equivalent of whole grain cereals.

Besides the difficulty of maintaining the spell, the real weakness of these Stealth Spells was their low energy level. If the enemy, whether native or Player, could cast a detection or anti-magic counterspell superior to his, their presence would be immediately detected. If one of these enemies also possessed outstanding mental power and specifically scanned the area they were in, they would also be exposed.

Finally, there were many other methods of detection that were much more circuitous. For example, instinct, clairvoyance, and divination. All it took was one player with a higher Oracle Rank than his and all his efforts would be easily nullified.

Fortunately for them, luck seemed to smile on them. Despite the growing pressure as they got closer to the top, not once were they disturbed.

After passing the last checkpoint without any trouble, the duo finally reached the top of Laudarkvik. This one was narrower than the other plateaus, and apart from the headquarters of each faction and the strongholds of the most influential clans, there was nothing but a vast, impeccably mowed lawn.

For the place that was supposed to be the decision-making and military center of Laudarkvik, both Jake and Carmin were surprised to see no one. This mountain top was... incredibly empty.

"Where is everyone?" The young woman murmured suspiciously.

Jeanie, who was napping in her pocket until now, chose this moment to wake up. Her sleepy little face swung her head to the right and then to the left, before commenting limply,pan da-nov el ,c`o`m

"There's not much of a crowd..."

"Thanks Sherlocks." Jake patted the tiny fairy's head, pushing her back into the bottom of his mantle pocket.

"Who is Sherlock?" Her muffled, sulky voice echoed through his mantle, but he ignored it to focus on the dilemma before him.

After a few seconds of thought, he made a guess,

"Having never been here before, I don't know if this situation is normal or not. Each stronghold is protected by its own compound and to avoid tensions between Factions in this climate of war it may have been decided to prohibit inter-faction travel."

"That would make sense anyway." Carmin agreed with his reasoning but did not relax her guard. "But that means the defenses will be stricter."

"I never thought we could safely extract Wyatt without a fight anyway." Jake snarled, his casual disposition changing dramatically. In the blink of an eye, he went from relaxed to combat-ready, his stern face becoming that of a dangerous killing machine.

As Jeanie and Carmin witnessed the change in his demeanor, they stopped chattering and also conditioned themselves for the coming battle.

" Which is the stronghold of the Dracul clan?" Jake asked dispassionately as he quickly inspected each Vampire stronghold with a quick glance. In addition to the HQ, there were three strongholds corresponding to the three clans holding seats on the Council. Cazimir Nosferati had been killed, so in theory there were only two left, unless he had been replaced.

Pointing to a medieval castle all in dark stone with tall, pointed towers, Carmin confidently said,

"It should be this one. At least that's where Wyatt is being held prisoner."

Indeed, Wyatt had no reason to hide his location from his childhood friend and other longtime subordinates. By giving them the ability to locate him at will, he could greatly increase his chances of escape.

Jake hadn't forgotten this feature of the Oracle Device, but his Shadow Guide had remained motionless when he had tried to plan a rescue. This could only mean one of two things: Either a Player with a higher Oracle Rank than him was overseeing the enemy operation, or Wyatt did not want to be found by him.

While he didn't completely refute the first assumption, the second was still very likely. After all, they were enemies not so long ago, and it was hard to trust a rival from another faction like that. If it weren't for Carmin, Jake wouldn't have cared about Wyatt's fate.

'I guess I'm not as petty and selfish as people think.' Jake gave a sour laugh.

"Follow me. From now on, we can get into a fight anytime." Jake stated as he drew his sword.

Carmin took him seriously and also grabbed her Blood Whip. Jeanie also equipped her tiny wand that was no longer than a toothpick.

Under the cover of her Stealth Spells, the duo climbed the wall without attracting the attention of the guards. Before jumping to the other side, they were able to confirm their previous hypothesis.

Vampires as far as the eye could see and almost all of them aristocrats. Vampire Nobles and offspring of the Vampire Progenitor were legion here and represented the core power of the Dracul clan.

Following Carmin's directions, the group weaved in and out of the guards, until Jake came to an abrupt stop. The young woman bumped her head against his back, but she refrained from making any noise. She noticed at once that instead of speaking, Jake had simply waved his hand.

It spoke volumes about the dangerousness of the situation.

Articulating exaggeratedly to let her read his lips, Jake silently explained,

"From that point on, there's an anti-magic barrier with other functions that I don't understand. We have two options. Decipher it and get through it without setting off the alarm, or rush as fast as we can to Wyatt and free him."

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