Wizard! Chapter 479
The sound of feet impacting hard ground repeated, even though there was no ground nearby. William ran across the water, a feat he was getting used to. What made it harder this time was doing so while invisible. He had to chant to gather mana, but if he wanted to truly be unseen, he needed to make it look like he wasn’t gathering mana. Most dwarves couldn’t see mana- at least not naturally- but that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be any.
As for the actual invisibility… William cheated somewhat. He merely replicated the appearance of seawater in front of him and above. True invisibility was only necessary when sneaking past people up close.
William regulated his breathing to continue his chanting, as well as carefully controlling the flow of his ki. He’d already developed it to be hard to detect when he wanted to, but now was a time he couldn’t afford any mistakes.
While he would have preferred to go at a more leisurely pace, that would have taken more energy in the long run. Every second he had to hold himself up on the surface of the water and chant to stay invisible took effort. However, even if it had been a worse energy efficiency, there hadn’t been any cannons fired yet- and William wanted to arrive before that happened.
William ran around the side of the walls of the dwarven fortress, before stopping at a seemingly normal part of the rock face. It only took a moment to unlock and open the secret entrance, perks of Morsut Cragarm’s memories. Normally the benefits of a secret entrance or exit outweighed the risk of a small number of intruders… but once it was found out it became a liability. Especially when there were powerful individuals involved.
Once inside the wall William ran for the center of the island. He switched to true invisibility, but he no longer needed to use ki to support himself on the water so overall it was easier. He ran over cobblestone roads surrounded by bits of sand for a few moments before coming within sight of his goal.
There was a metal hatch in the ground, inside a small building. A few dwarves were loitering around, but at the sound of cannons they scrambled inside. The cannon fire indicated that the ruse had been discovered- the gevai were probably close enough to be seen and they were obviously not dwarves. William just barely made it inside the hatch as it was closed and sealed.
Inside the hatch was a spiral staircase that led down… down… down. Through the island and into the earth below. That was where most of the forward outpost was contained- with the walls and cannons up top just serving as the first line of defense. With knowledge of the arrangements and the fortress ship, Admiral Kovach should have no problem with those- but penetrating beneath the hatch would be very difficult. If William hadn’t made it inside, anyway.
The few dwarves near the surface of the hatch fell unconscious before they could even sound the alarm. It would have travelled down to the area below and made everything more difficult, and William didn’t want that.
Underground, the area was set up to make it hard for intruders to enter. They would have to fight through layers of defenses with magically reinforced and trapped walls and doors. Assuming such defenses were activated, anyway. Only the basic ones were, and William was quite aware of how to avoid them. It was too bad for the dwarves. They could have held this place against a great gross of regular soldiers- or a smaller force of elite soldiers. Unfortunately, that was only possible if their defenses weren’t compromised… and they weren’t ready for William. With how strong he had become, he had to keep reminding himself that he wasn’t invincible. The recent arm injury notwithstanding, he couldn’t be sure there weren’t a few members among the elves or dwarves who were terrifyingly strong in areas of the soul.
William walked through the corridors, admiring the craft put into even a military base. As he approached dwarves, they found themselves falling unconscious. William sighed and was glad he had thought to bring extra rations and restraints. That way, fewer dwarves would have to die. Those on the surface manning the cannons were unfortunate. Admiral Kovach’s orders were to capture the dwarves if he could- but not to risk his own men. Maybe the dwarves would be smart enough to surrender. Gestures of surrender would be familiar even to those who didn’t speak dwarven- and Admiral Kovach himself had learned at least the basics from the ki scroll.
Finally, William found himself in the dungeons. “Hi.”
“Aaaagh!” The nearest dwarf called out as William suddenly appeared. “Don’t kill us! We swear we said everything you told us to say, and we didn’t attack any more de- ge- of your people!”
William laughed- a real laugh, from the heart. “Ah, don’t worry. I know. I appreciate it. I need you to do something else for me now…” He started opening their cells. They were locked in cells, but not chained to the walls or anything- they were still fellow dwarves, after all. “I need you to go carry all the unconscious dwarves around this place and put them in the prison instead of you.” William held up a hand to stave of the inevitable complaints, “We can just say I threatened you. In fact, here it is- any of those dwarves who aren’t secured in one of these cells will be a corpse. If that’s not motivation enough… some of you can be responsible for feeding people and otherwise taking care of the prisoners- so you know they’ll be well treated.” William paused, “Do I need to voice more threats or something, or are you guys going to get moving?”
William watched contentedly as the first crew he’d captured started scurrying about to find their unconscious brethren. William watched them with his ki senses just to be sure, but they seemed clear on his ability to follow up with his threats if he wanted to. By the time Admiral Kovach had taken over the surface, the dwarves down below were secured.