44 Becoming outlaws
With his strong mental capacity, he cross-referenced many facts, finding out more about the outside world and dungeons. Doing so his theory of humans invading these structures without the blessing of masters were proved. This meant after the first few levels, the difficulty would soar to prevent any intruders from barging in.
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Thinking of his new finds, John murmured:
"This is rather existing, let the show begin"
John pondered: "one can train, build good relationships, and develop their own stockpile of resources to painstakingly improve. Or simply ransack others, stealing what is needed, even though the second method is riskier, the reward is also more; that should be the way kingdoms are treating the dungeons, treasure boxes. However, since there is no sign of religious authority in the mind of my vessels, one can conclude the dungeon mana core to be a tool of mortals, not tempting the ones who have crossed over. Nonetheless, I have to be extremely careful in all dealings with religions, until I am grown tall enough to ride the adult trains!"
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John continued: "More data is necessary to form a complete picture, yet I sincerely doubt my presence to be noticed until I shake the hornet's nest. The mighty rarely have time for weak, they tend to forget where they have come from; which greatly helps as they underestimate me. Moreover, the masters and kingdoms share the same dilemma; this will help to cover my tracks by implicating others. Since the kingdom has set a barrier ahead, I can use the traces of fanatics and hostile kingdoms to push my way through"
He concluded on the optimal plan: "From the attained memories we are located inside Dahnkirk kingdom very close to Lunar domain's border. Lunar's people qualify in both categorize, they are a hierarchy of fanatics, worshiping Mah the moon goddess. Apparently, this group has visited their domain for a few missions, which has given me more information. Even if my setup does not fool them, it will serve its purpose by buying time, then they should send a team of elites to handle the offenders. Depending on my findings, I may have moved to another monster or I take over the elites, either case it works rather well for me. The only challenge now is passing the outpost without losing any members. It will not worth the effort to replace my mounts right now, as it can lower the quality of the experiment"
John analyzed many more matters until the rest was over and the band of adventurers packed up their camp. He then subtly pushed the idea to move towards the border in Dahlia's mind, as a means to find more of their mission's objective; finding laughing flowers.
Dahlia addressed the crowd: "Let's move all the way up towards the outpost, then we can sweep down from there looking for more plants"
To keep the purity of human interaction, John did not act to change their minds, simply observing.
No one refuted such comment from their party leader, yet their thoughts were not in line with their actions.
Alvin, the loyal soldier was afraid of the soldiers, the sigil of the wolf's head scared him, and he did not know why.
Link could not care less; reading the manual inside his pendant, improvement came first and foremost for him.
Betsy was wondering why was she following orders rather than giving them?
Beryl silently followed her older sibling, trying to walk in her exact location of footsteps.
Dahlia was surprised that none of the members had the energy to argue about her instruction. This made her glad, thinking she should disturb their sleep more often; making her team more obedient.
The last two had no right to an opinion, simply following and doing as instructed was why they were paid. However, even if asked, John had prepared a response based on the personality of his two vessels. He had the habit of being ready for any outcome, surprises did not faze him as a solution was always there.
Sometime later; the company slowly approached the fences set up by guards, controlling the entrance tightly. A large tunnel was blocked by a group of 10 normal fighters, equipped with swords, bows and a small device responsible for communications. Luckily for the group, no other people were around to witness the fight that was about to be triggered.
With superb command over energy flow, John blocked the transmission by the small communicator and disabled the general alarm of the entire station.
With the expansion of magic, tools were made to assist the military in their duties. Some master mages were paid to invent such devices helping the army. This was a better outcome than teaching knowledge far and wide. Thus, each mage represented a considerable amount of resources, deploying them to act as the guard would be a waste, that was why none of them were present.
WANG, WANG, WANG
The small communication tool gave a cry of dissatisfaction, alarming the 10 experienced warriors.
One of them, who looked like their commander addressed the party of adventurers:
"You lot, you have something that is blocking our transmitter, quickly dismantle it then hand it over to us, we are confiscating it due to violating the rules"
As a commander of such sensitive post, how would he not know the value of such tool, if he gave it to the army his contribution would be a lot, yet he did not show his interest, acting composed and righteous.
Under the unfriendly gaze of the guards, the group felt threatened and lost at the same time; offending the military was never a good idea, but they had no idea what had just happened.
Intimidation was a useful tactic when one had enough backing for it, the protectors showed the sigil of a silver lion with golden paws. One would commit a crime if they used such a symbol without being part of the royal army. So, the 10 had nothing to worry about, even if the entire group of adventurers died, they would be lightly questioned; by claiming to defend themselves they would leave scot-free. Such was the agony of the loners without sponsorship, they could disappear without anyone asking about them.
Dahlia attempted to salvage the situation: "Sir, we have no such tool, please believe in our honor"
Link came forward to work his charm: "My good sir, we have no such tool, but if you like I can take a look at your transmitter and see if it has malfunctioned"
The commander replied: "Move away you pest, how dare a lowly magic apprentice claim to understand the work of a master? And what honor, you people are mercenaries"
This reply made the militants laugh.
John used the formation of his network to multiply his power, influencing the mind of the leader pushing his greed.
Suddenly the sound of a sword unsheathing was heard, the rest of militants followed their leader.
Commander shouted: "ENOUGH TALK, EITHER HAND OVER THE DEVICE OR WE WILL FORCE YOU INTO SUBMISSION AND SEARCH YOU"
The scared group got in formation, trying to defend themselves out of habit. The soldiers were twice their size, trained better, equipped more superior and had reinforcement close by.
Sweat was formed on the forehead of the group, holding tightly onto their weapons as their lives depended on them. The tension was rising as adrenaline rushed through the veins of everyone, in the anticipation of a fight.
The reason only a small number of warrior class guards were stationed at this critical juncture was to hold the enemy back rather than total annihilation. Many others were patrolling the area and guarding around the dungeon, a slight signal of distress was enough to have all hell break loose. This was their strategy for crowd control, sending reinforcement to pressure the assailants from both sides. As most adventurer groups protected their healer, mage, and archer in the back; attacking from the rear would expose their vulnerability.
In truth, all of this could have been avoided but John did not disable the secondary function of the alarm inside of the tool, designated to sound if the signal was gammed. he found out about such reaction choosing to ignore it, as he wanted it to make a sound leading to such tension.
A small drop of sweat caused by the stress of confrontation fell from Dahlia's face.