Eventually, Lila found her first demon city. That was where she ran into a problem she hadn’t considered. She didn’t speak the language, and wasn’t a demon. She felt the first part was the more difficult problem, because she could just disguise herself with an illusion. She also wouldn’t find what she was looking for just lying around. However, she wasn’t the type to give up without having tried something.
Upon entering the town- it wasn’t really big enough to be called a city, Lila was met with strange looks. She wasn’t sure why, since she’d seen some of the people from the outskirts and made herself look like them. There shouldn’t have been any obvious errors, but it was as if everyone immediately noticed something was wrong. She soon found herself approached by some demons, and being unable to speak the language, the only thing she could think of to do was run. At this point, she was glad that William insisted that she exercise in addition to practicing magic. Lila slung various spells to deter the demons from chasing after her, but she still almost got caught. However, they didn’t chase her far outside the town, and while she was breathing hard, she at least hadn’t collapsed from exhaustion.
Lila considered what she had done wrong. Obviously there was at least one thing. She wasn’t sure if they were extremely unfriendly to outsiders. That might have been a factor, but Lila felt there was something more to the strange looks. They couldn’t have seen through the illusion. After all, it manipulated the light, so the only way to see what was under the illusion would be to dispel it. Lila had somehow manage to keep the illusion all of the way outside of the city. However, upon looking at it, Lila figured it out. Certainly, they couldn’t see through the illusion, but they could see that it was there. Lila hadn’t worried about that, because only trained wizards would be able to detect that, and only if they were looking.
That should have been the case, but obviously that didn’t apply to demons. Lila remembered hearing that all demons had the potential for magic. That had seemed exaggerated, but she was beginning to think that might not be the case. Either they were extremely wary… or they could just see mana naturally, at least when it was being manipulated. Perhaps it was both.
Lila considered, and came up with a method to create an illusion that should work. She kept a much tighter control on the mana she was using, preventing it from creating fluctuations in the surrounding mana. It wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t so obvious either. It still required some intake of mana from the surrounding area, but as long as the flow was kept smooth, it should at the very least avoid casual notice. That was strange to think, because humans mostly had to concentrate to see mana, assuming they had the capability at all. Of course, Lila still couldn’t speak the language.
Upon entering further towns and villages, Lila still found that she was met with a sense of wariness, but at least not every single person looked at her like she was some kind of strange anomaly. At best, however, Lila managed to listen in on a few conversations that she couldn’t understand… and at worse she was approached and had to flee again, though sometimes she managed to do so in a way that implied she was just busy and couldn’t be bothered to talk, and just walked away.
As she travelled around the country, half fleeing and half wandering, she grew somewhat more desperate. This was pointless. She couldn’t make any progress… and the country itself was strange. It was so… organized. Not at all chaotic like she had expected. There weren’t sacrifices of babies in the streets or anything, not that there would be any human babies around anyway. However, large cities seemed to be carefully controlled, and she needed some form of identification to enter. Thus, she found herself running a lot, or sometimes riding any of the various beasts they had tamed for that purpose. Everything was confusing. The country felt wrong, but it also wasn’t as evil seeming as she had expected. There seemed to be a feeling of fear everywhere… but maybe that was just her own feelings.
Eventually, Lila managed to learn some of the demon language. However, it was quite hard because nobody was assisting her. She couldn’t read it, and on her few encounters with books she didn’t manage to find anything not written in the demon language. Of course she would have liked to find a convenient Demon to Ostanan dictionary, but of course those were nowhere to be found.
Lila found that stealth became her greatest ally. One thing that demons had in common with humans was that they slept, which was something Lila was grateful for. During the night, security relied more on magical wards than on guards, and Lila was glad for that. Most of the wards were simple, and Lila was able to circumvent them, either disarming them or avoiding them completely. She attempted to do the latter more, because that wouldn’t leave indications that someone had broken in.
She even managed to get into some cities, and though there were guards on the wall, invisibility was almost easier than creating a disguise. There was only the slight problem that it would make the user blind unless special precautions were taken to allow sight. This in turn made it much harder than a disguise, and with the added difficulty of needing to avoid it being an obvious change in the surrounding mana it pushed Lila’s abilities to her limits.
Inside the cities, Lila found them to be somewhat similar to human cities. At least, from her perspective there were some obvious things. Nobles seemed to control everything, and everyone else got stepped on. Of course, in human cities there were people in between the nobles and the poorest people, but that didn’t seem to be the case in the demon cities. Not that Lila could say that it was definitely nobles who controlled everything, but there were obviously a relatively small number of demons and those working for them enforcing that control. It seemed even more restrictive in demon lands, though, because it didn’t seem like most demons were allowed to move around between cities as they pleased. At least in Ostana poor people could try to move to another city to find work or a better life, but Lila saw that many demon cities had restrictions on exiting the cities just as much as for entering. Lila wasn’t sure if anything she’d found was leading her closer to her actual goal here, though.
Perhaps she could find some kind of magical academy… although it would be more dangerous, if Lila could see soul magic performed she felt she would be able to duplicate it. On the other hand, perhaps it would be better to learn the language more, and find something written on the topic. That would be safer than directly interacting with or getting near demons who actually studied magic.