Far away, to the north-west, in a mountain filled with broken dwarf buildings, a patrol of that race could be seen. They were exploring the ruins of one of their cities, destroyed by the Portal War. The vast kingdom of the proud dwarves was huge, and to check everything will take an eternity. Sometimes, some monsters that shouldn't have been awakened tried to escape from the deep holes where they were born. Because of them, those patrols were created. But like most of their searches, the dwarves found nothing. They began to retreat toward the closest garrison, expecting a good beer and a hot meal. They didn't notice a shadow moving above them. That shadow was waiting for their departure.
Shortly after all the lights were gone, the shadow arrived at a peculiar location. It was a pile of rocks. Without a sound, more came behind it. With the help of twenty of its companions, they began to clear the way. They took an hour to do that. After that, they entered the hole that was now visible, and another group of shadows could be seen exiting and closing the passage. Of course, no one except them saw that.
The first group arrived in the slums, filled with millions of slaves, waiting for their death or to kill their superiors. A common sight could be seen in front of that group, two ratmen fighting for food. But while one of them noticed the newcomers, the other didn't make way quickly enough. His head was sent flying. One of his arms was torn apart and grabbed by a shadow, who begins to enjoy his meal. The other slaves, noticing that, all kneeled before them.
The group continued its way toward the higher levels, meeting with terrible machinery, monstrous creatures, warriors training, magicians testing their new spells on some unfortunate slaves and prisoners. Until they arrived at the highest location of this hole. There, only two of them entered the room. What should have been a table with ten participants, now only five seats were occupied. Around it, the Clan Masters of the ratmen were seen talking, threatening, and insulting the others. The two shadows approached the only one who was not reacting to the current infighting. After saying what they needed to say, they exited quickly the room.
The other Clan Masters, noticing that, began to calm down, awaiting the explanation.
"Th-the djinns are dead. Th-the ritual has been canceled."
Only that phrase could be heard from the head of the Clan Noctulis. The Clan that had formed and trained the Green Claws for centuries. Of course, after saying this sentence, everyone stopped what they were doing and began to calculate all the possibilities of this information.
"Is-is this the traitor's work, shlec shlec?"
Toward the question of the Decar Clan Master, only a nod was enough. Everyone around the table was aware of the existence of a lone ratman. But since his previous deeds were the killing of humans and fairies, his survival was allowed. Now that he had directly attacked a servant of Salazar, only death will await him.
"Green Claw, one, enough."
New sentence of the Noctulis head. But after saying this, every other Clan Masters was reassured. To kill the previous Hero, they only needed three Green Claws. There is no way that a lone ratman will survive the assault of one. But the repercussion of the destruction of an entire race will be huge. Especially since it is the work of a ratman. Even if they knew that it was not their doing, the rest of the world will see it as the first wave of attack. They will fortify their defenses, increase the security of their border. That will give a headache to all the remaining Clans. Noctulis, Decar, Skar, Sicle and the apostle of Salazar. The five participants will have to work together as one this time. Or their god will not forgive them as he did a century ago.
Such a reunion could be seen in all the world. Dwarves in their iron fortress were increasing the production of rifles and cannons. Their famous black powder was now considered a secret. All trade containing this substance was canceled and everyone from another race in possession of such a thing will be considered the enemy of all the dwarves.
Elves were meeting with the old treants in the forest and their friends the fairies. They were discussing the deadly progress of the desert but the news of the destruction of the djinns by a ratman and the recovery of their forest provoked mixed feelings. Clearly, the cause of the desert were the djinns and their destruction was a good thing. But the one responsible of this was a ratman, a race supposed to be evil. They were the cause of the slaughter of two towns and twenty-two rangers. And while the elves were not ready to forgive them at all, the treants decided that they will listen to what their savior will say. They will not forgive the previous destruction and poisoning of their forest, a hundred years ago. But to the ratman that have saved them, they will not attack him on sight.
As for the human, every single magicians and alchemists were conscripted by the army. They were now tasked to provide any cures or antidotes for free. Of course, the ingredients for those were provided by the kingdom. As for the magicians, they were now turned into hunting dogs. They have to find every trace of the ratmen and for the most powerful of them, track the responsible for the eradication of the djinns.
The Church was not idle either. The priests were all praying for the blessing of Aria, waiting for a mighty Hero to free them from the evil plot of the ratmen, as he did a century ago. But, while the blessings could be felt around the world, no Hero was coming this time.
The spells that can allow someone to see from far away were not mastered by anyone, but every race has at least one mean of seeing what is happening somewhere else. And at that moment, every single of those powers were watching the imperial palace of the Sand Empire. Where one little ratman was currently walking away, in a sandstorm. This sandstorm was not natural; it was just the former djinns getting absorbed by the ritual.
(Do you have any idea of how many are currently watching you at this very moment?)
What do you mean, the djinns are all dying, no one is watching me?
(I am talking about magic. Or technology for the dwarves. But that's not the point. I can say, that right now, at least fifty, no, sixty living beings have their sights on you.)
It is really hard to be famous, everyone is looking at you, searching for you. Do you think if I say that I am an envoy of Aria they will believe me?
(Not a single chance. But while I can't personally see by myself, I can sense that some of them are located in the forest near the Fairy Towns. So, the chance of us, sneaking in, grabbing some crystals while destructing everything is really small.)
Yes, but I am stronger now.
(Did you get any experience or the stuff you have when you kill something? Because that was an entire race. I mean look around, everyone in the city is gone.)
No, the System probably thinks that it's your guy, the sorcerer-king, that has done all the work. And he is not wrong. Even if I think that I deserve an Oscar for that.
(What's an Oscar? Is it something that you can eat?)
No, let it go. So, since crystals are in a vault, where are we going?
(Well, I remember that you met a powerful team of hunters.)
Yes, they killed that drake, they were quicker than me.
(They belong to an old friend of mine, so if we can just say hi, he will probably get the hell away from that planet and leave us alone.)
Seriously? Will he listen to you? For real?
(What you think I am not convincing? The only problem is, I know he is trying to invade another planet, so if he succeeds, we have no chance to make him leave. But if he failed, well we can probably trade something.)
And what is that trade? Because except the nine corrupted crystals I have nothing to give.
(Oh don't worry, we have done a lot of those deals, let me resume it how most of the time they are done. One of us approach the other, we both say hi we exchange the latest news, and the stronger one threatens the other. If the weak is not leaving, then we both attack each other. That's the standard procedure of our exchanges.)
And you think I am the strong in this case?
(No, you are probably weaker, but after you manage to destroy a race, he will be scared of you. So it doesn't matter if you are truly strong or not. The important thing is, he believes you have the power to destroy his believers. So if he failed his invasion, losing another group will hurt him a lot.)
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