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Supreme Magus 752 Secrets of the Trade Part 2

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If Lith started to produce rune-based artifacts, Phloria and her whole family would end in a lot of troubles. Yet she remained silent, to not ruin the moment.

'I can only trust Lith to do the right thing and use the knowledge he will acquire from the sword in a cover way. After all, he has trusted me with his everything, I don't see why I shouldn't do the same.' She though.

"By the way, do you think we should tell Friya?" Quylla said. "I wonder if she would be more surprised by discovering the truth or outraged by being the only one of us left out."

"It's not up to us to decide." Phloria shook her head. "Lith's and Friya's lives are their own. They both have a lot on their plate already. Plus, I think we had enough emotions for a long, long time, right?"

Quylla nodded, hoping that the next surprise she experienced would be less mind-blowing and more heart-warming. Like Lucky having puppies or one of her sisters finding someone deserving their love.

***

Athung Soranot, the emissary of the Council of the Awakened Humans was having one of the biggest headaches she had ever experienced during her 25 years of life. 

The same day the expedition team had escaped from Kulah, her old master, Raagu, had given her the mission to lead Lith at the current Headquarters of the Council to be examined, but approaching him had turned out to be a nightmare.

The Ernas mansion didn't allow for visitors until the three survivors had recovered. At least all those who didn't bear the Royal Crest. Even with all of her contacts, Athung had failed to find a way in to the mansion, official or otherwise.

To make matters worse, with all the protections in place, even a true mage would be easily detected and she needed a friendly approach, not to become the target of a manhunt.

She had thought to have found her opportunity when Lith had left the manor, only to lose his tracks before she could even reach his last known position. Moving with Tower Warp made most of his movements untraceable since it left no official record she could follow.

Yet it wasn't Lith moving like a ghost to cause her such distress. While waiting for her mark, she had collected all the information available about him and it was enough to make her want to cry.

"I thought this job would be about leading by the hand a small kid inside a wolf den, but this guy looks more like a rabid beast." Athung said to Zartan, her best friend. "According to his file, this Lith is a paranoid with anti-social behavior who has paved his career with corpses.

"How the heck can I persuade this Verhen to even sit down and talk to me without him attempting to chop my head off? All the Awakened he met in the past tried to kill him, so opening with 'I'm like you' is more likely to trigger him rather than reassure him.

"What's worse, they were all affiliated with the Council, so the reputation that precedes me isn't good at all." She sighed.

"Why don't you tell the old bat to fuck off and give this crap assignment to one of her beloved disciples?" Zartan asked. Just like her, he was free from all the master-disciple obligations and was a minor member of the Council.

"Are you kidding me? Even though now I'm an independent player, I'm still one of the most eligible candidates to inherit her legacy, and I want to keep things that way. Raagu may be a pain in the ass, but she's a filthy rich pain in the ass and she's not going to live much longer." Athung replied.

Unlike regular disciples, Athung had Awakened herself when she was just twelve years old and her feats had led Raagu to her doorstep when she was just fourteen. Raagu had taught her everything Athung knew about magic, but the young Awakened was aware that her mentor was withholding most of her knowledge.

Being a natural Awakened meant that Athung wasn't bound to serve her master for one hundred years since it was a treatment reserved to those who had needed external help to be turned into true mages.

Once Athung had learned all that Raagu was willing to teach her and the Council had recognized her as its full-fledged member, she had got her freedom back. Yet it had come at a price.

Sure, as an apprentice she had to obey Raagu's every order without question and had been forced to put her abilities to the test even in fields of the magical research that she had no interest into, but her life had been so much easier back then.

Whenever she had a question or reached a bottleneck in her personal research, Raagu or her library would provide Athung will all the answers she needed. During her eight years of apprenticeship, Athung never had to worry about books, money, or materials.

Whatever she needed, her master would provide it to her on a silver platter in a matter of minutes. During the last two years, instead, her abilities had stagnated. Since Athung had never attended an academy, she had no connections nor a name for herself.

The moment she had walked out Raagu's manor, life had harshly reminded her that without money one couldn't make magic and vice versa. Finding a place where to live, setting up her own lab, acquiring the proper materials, were all things she didn't even know where to start.

No one would hire a rogue, nameless mage, and to acquire what she needed through crime would have made her one of the most wanted criminals in the Kingdom, if not even put her on the hitlist of the Council.

Magical knowledge and resources were all heavily guarded by the Association. An Awakened one could bust one or two deposits, but not without leaving plenty of evidence and witnesses behind.

Exposing the existence of true magic for petty reason was the most common cause of death among foolish Awakened ones. Raagu had reminded her of it countless times during her training.

So Athung had spent most of her time building her own reputation and making a living instead of focusing on magic, which frustrated her to no end.

"Those old bastards set you up too, huh?" Zartan sighed. Once being a self Awakened was reason enough for an elder to bestow upon people like Athung their legacy, but ever since Silverwing had spread her knowledge, things had changed.

Back in the day, the Council had laughed at her simplified version of true magic, considering it a fool's errand. Yet after genius magicians like Manohar had appeared, the Awakened had almost choked on their own laughter.

In less than a millennium, the combined efforts of the magical community had brought fake mages on a level dangerously similar to that of true mages and it was only a matter of time before they caught up or, even worse, surpassed the Awakened.

Now people like Raagu couldn't settle for brilliant heirs, they looked for geniuses. Everyone wanted a Manohar of their own. His feat to conjure hard light constructs, something that only light magic experts with centuries of experience managed to learn without a legacy, had made more than one Council elder weep blood.

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