The morning light shone one the army gathered below the mountain peak, and the leaders at the head. William looked down at the paper in his hand and shook his head, handing it back to Jordan.
Jordan received it and turned back toward the first gatehouse of the castle, then dramatically ripped the sheet in half. “The Eternal King finds your attempt at negotiation lacking, and your terms unreasonable. He shall draft a better proposal, one that your masters would be wise to agree to!”
The messenger who stood waiting merely turned to make his way back up to the top of the peak, passing through gatehouses one at a time. Meanwhile, Jordan and William walked back toward the command tent.
Once inside, there was a sharp exhalation of breath as the figure that looked like William returned to looking like Lorelei, “It’s hard to conceal magical fluctuations with so many people watching… Not that they’d necessarily notice but it wouldn’t do to be careless.”
Jordan nodded, “How do you think they’re doing?”
“I suspect we’ll find out soon.”
A guard turned toward his partner nearby, “I’m cold.”
“Uuuuuugh. Don’t start with that stuff again. Every day it’s ‘I’m hot, I’m hot’. I’ve heard enough of it. Now you’re cold. Deal with it.”
The first one turned to look at the door they were standing in front of, “Yeah but… we stand here all day! There’s nothing down these tunnels, you know? They just go on forever.”
“Yeah well be glad we aren’t on the other side of the door. That side’s dark and even hotter.”
“I don’t get why we don’t just block off all these tunnels instead of having us stand here.” The guard started rubbing his arms, “Can’t even rub myself through the armor. How is it getting this damn cold with all that fire down below?” He turned to see his partner collapsing, before he similarly found himself falling to the floor as blackness overtook him.
William looked down at the guards in front of him. Neither of them had a key to the door… and the other side wasn’t any better. William supposed it would have been a real pain to try to manipulate a key from the other side of the door, but the magically warded door wasn’t going to be easier.
He looked it over, using his ki senses and watching the flow of the mana. Perhaps they hadn’t actually expected anyone to find this place, as the door would be easy enough to break. Actually, William supposed it would still serve its purpose. It would alert their enemies and slow them down… slightly, “Get ready,” William said, and took a stance.
“Yes, my King.” The dozen lords immediately behind him prepared themselves. Further behind them, elite troops filled up the tunnels for a large distance. Lila also readied herself.
William’s eyes flicked back at them and he nodded, before striking the door with his blue crystal staff. There was an explosion as lightning poured out of it and onto the staff, but the doors also flung open, one of them resting at a strange angle before falling off of its hinges. “Let’s go.”
William felt ahead with his ki senses, finding the location of all of the guards. There weren’t any active barriers between them, at least none of any note, so he could easily find the next group of guards… and the locations of all of the soldiers strewn throughout the castle. Most of them were out at the walls or sleeping, which made things easier. Around each corner, groups of guards fell unconscious. Then he stopped before a door. “Up next is the keep. The lords are to follow me to the upper floors with your two best guards, and the rest of you are to follow the orders of the headmistress and secure the entrances to the keep and along with the tunnels behind us.” William closed his eyes for a few moments. “The front gates are a straight shot that way, but there are stairs to the gatehouse over to the sides starting from hallways halfway along. The stairs upward, however, are just next to us.” William pointed through the wall. He turned to nod to the lords behind him, “Let’s go!”
William pulled open the unbarred doors as the two guards outside fell to the floor. At the other end of the large room, other guards called the alarm… but soldiers were already rushing toward them. Meanwhile, William started making his way up the stairs, pausing briefly at the first opening. “Ten of you handle this floor.” William continued upwards, “Ten of you come with me and the rest guard the stairs. Watch for men coming from that room, that one, and that one.” William quickly pointed, just before men came out of the very doors he predicted.
William ignored them as the lords and their elite guards with him blocked them. William himself continued forward, chanting as he went.
The lords William brought with him were no pushovers, and with their best guards they managed to defeat the relatively unprepared- and mostly unarmored- enemies they faced within a minute. They were moving to follow William when there was a large crashing sound and William swiftly walked out of the back room, a determined look in his eyes. “Let’s go.”
The lords glanced to the room that was little more than wreckage, then followed William further up the stairs. The same sort of thing happened on the next floor, but there were two explosions shortly after each other. The lords exchanged glances with each other but said nothing. Insteady, they merely followed their king who was surrounded with a terrifying aura as he continued at a quick and determined pace to the top floor of the keep.
On the top floor, William merely waved his hand, “Start binding those who are unconscious. We can throw them all in their cells down below to be dealt with later.” William walked into a back room… but there were no sounds of combat following that.