Wizard! Chapter 519
Instantaneous verbal communication was no longer exclusive to Cruonia. It hadn’t been for many years, and even the various bits and pieces of Liaoyang who were slowest to adopt magical changes still had the technology available. It was doubtful that anyone had as many phones as Cruonia, but they would have some.
In most cases, William found this to be a good thing. It was nice to be able to quickly reach people if he needed to. However, when dealing with the League of Sovereign Humans, it could prove to be troublesome. Advance warning of troop movements was one of the most powerful tactical tools available. Even if the League didn’t have many phones, a simpler form of communication existed. Since before the last Demon King war, simple messages were able to be communicated via paired disks. It wasn’t good for complex information, but it was at least enough to know troops had arrived in a particular area.
Even if he tried to secretly move troops, he had no doubt that someone in the League would have the information shortly after ships had sailed from his shores. There were just too many people that could be spies- and someone was always willing to accept pay even when feeding information to countries that would probably wipe them out if possible. That was just the way of people. Of course, most Cruonian citizens weren’t spies, but there only needed to be a few.
Cruonia had the advantage of not needing to move as many troops as other nations. Each gevai soldier was equivalent to about a dozen humans and so they simply didn’t need as many troops- nor could they field as many with their smaller population. Unfortunately, any reasonably sized army was still visible.
William was still waiting for a response from the Allied Subterranean Territories. That would determine whether he could send any troops or at least scouts through the tunnels he knew they had to have. The only question was whether they thought helping deal with the League was more important than keeping the full breadth of their expansion secret, or at least ambiguous.
The League had refused all attempts to settle things diplomatically, even going so far as to attempt to kill one of the messengers. It was only an attempt, because they hadn’t succeeded in killing her right away. The messenger, Merve, had been able the first attempt and run, all the way out of League territory. It was a matter of a few gross miles- over approximately a dozen hours. Messengers were chosen for their ability to take care of themselves, and being able to escape danger was at the top of the list. War with the League was an inevitability- the only question was exactly when, and how.
The sewers in southern Liaoyang were terrible. They were poorly maintained and barely functional. Perhaps that was not true of all sewers, but the current sewers were not good. Even so, that made them a great place to hide. Nobody wanted to be in the sewers for good reason, and that meant nobody would be looking in them. Even so, he would have preferred to just be able to sleep on the streets. He didn’t enjoy that either, but it wasn’t nearly so bad.
He wasn’t going to stay a moment longer than he had to. Unfortunately, it had already been much longer than he had expected. When the ship he was on had been captured, swimming to shore hadn’t been too big of a problem, but then he had spent months hiding. He moved from city to city, but now he was just waiting. Occasionally, he would go to the surface- but he wasn’t great at magic. It was almost his limit to clean away the smell and disguise himself for an hour or two. He was glad only a few people had the possibility to see through his disguise. He was less glad that he hadn’t thought to learn the language. Not that he would have been good at it anyway.
Finding the people he was looking for had been hard. He had memorized what they looked like, but it was a lot of work. They didn’t even have different skin colors or horn patterns- or horns at all. He also had to watch them from afar, because they would notice if he used ki. He had to keep his ki as subdued as possible. That was fine, since he wasn’t that good at using it anyway… but that meant he was left with a little bit of magical ability and his body. Fortunately, his eyes worked great- even if his arms and legs didn’t.
Then, finally, the message came. “Troops are moving out. Expect their arrival in… three weeks to a month.”
“Another month? I don’t want to wait that long.”
“That’s just how troop movements work. Don’t forget how far away you are. Just… be patient, okay? If you are seen, you could mess everything up. You’re not even supposed to be there.”
“Fine, I’ll wait. I still need to regularly go up to keep tabs on the primary target.”
“Just remember how serious this is, alright Tiburcio?”
“Of course, commander.”
Three weeks had passed. Most of the troops were in place, but there were going to more than one location. Tiburcio didn’t know exactly where they were- he didn’t bring a map with him, and it wouldn’t have survived even if he had. He had only found his current position because it was the biggest city.
For the last few days, he had been living among some trees on a hill instead of the sewers. It meant he was more likely to be seen, but he needed to watch the city at all times or he might lose the primary target. He was glad he had, because they had just ridden out of the city. Perhaps they were going on a hunting expedition, but maybe they had somehow received word of troop movements. Tiburcio wished there was a way to know. From the large numbers, he doubted it was any sort of normal hunting expedition.
Since he didn’t know if they would return to the city, all he could do was move after them. Moving quickly was hard with a bad leg, but he wasn’t going to let a little bit of discomfort stop him. He had to keep the group in sight… though not get too close to them. He couldn’t ruin the plan… but if this guy got away, it would also ruin the plan. He just had to make it work somehow, by placing one foot in front of the other, even if every other step shot pain up his leg.