Kyle could be considered one of his allies.
He hoped Kyle landed near Vanheim and quickly assume back his position. Kyle is not stupid so he would probably find a way. Though, Aero is not that hopeful of him.
It is not that he is not confident that Kyle would not be able to reclaim back his position but he doesn't trust the loyalty of Kyle.
In fact, both of them knows that there is no feeling of affection between each other but all feelings of hatred or enmity was also erased between them
If there is one thing that tied them together, it is that they are tied by the promise of mutual benefit.
He is not sure what Kyle would do. But that person always knows to choose the right person to follow. He fights for himself and Aero did not grudge that.
For now, he decided to go to Veranis kingdom. There is a path in the forest around the borders between Karak and Veranis that no one had ever seen.
Aero got the report from one of his scouts when he sent them in an exploratory mission when he was Chancellor.
At that time, they wanted to make sure that King Phillip kept to his words.
Aero is going to use that passage to reach to Veranis kingdom, bypassing the border checks. If he is not mistaken he would be coming out to a village near some small mountain.
After a few hours of searching for it, he finally found it
'Thank the Gods that I did not forget where it was' he muttered to himself. In the forest everything looks the same but thankfully he still remembers where it was. It is hidden from the sight if you did not look for it.
It is a boulder and if one looks at it from afar it just looks like a big stone which had a hole with dead end.
But Aero knows that is not the case. The hole is not a dead end, instead it would lead to a networks of cave tunnels that bypassed the borders and checkpoints of Veranis kingdom
Aero did not know whether Veranis also knows the story and whether they would cooperate with the Karak government.
Since Greater Veranis is the vassal of the Empire, they might be an ally to him or maybe not. Aero did not know the intention of King Philip and he would not bet his safety in the feeling of others.
Aero shakes his head as he focused on what he is doing now. Now, is not the time of thinking all of this thing.
He first need to come out of Karak borders first.
'Greater Veranis is more suitable for now. I worry that Vlad is not completely honest with me' Aero thought to himself.
He looks at the not easily seen hole and then he moves his body so that his body would fit through that small opening
And then as he crawls inside, he falls down into the ground. There is only slight shine of light and that is from the small opening of the hole on top of his head.
'Phew. At least it is not that high' he muttered to himself as he dusted off the dust on his white robe.
He lights up his torch and then he walks forward.
Inside the darkness of these tunnels are only the sound of water ticking down and sounds of insects.
Aero keep walking forward ignoring the sounds and the eerie atmosphere of the tunnels. He just hopes this are not some crypts of some Wizard king.
After all, he never did send any of his scout to examine this place in details. At that time, he did not want to alert Greater Veranis that there is a way to sneak into their borders.
Aero has always prided himself on knowing the things that other people don't know.
If there comes a time when the interest of Greater Veranis and the interest of the Vanheim Empire clashed and there is no other way to solve it other than war, then Aero believes that the information about the tunnels could change the outcome of the battle between the two sides.
That is why he hides the information.
He hides it from Karak and he hides it from the Emperor. There are too many sycophants around the Emperor that he did not find it wise to give the information to him.
Even the people who gave him these information was tucked away safely at the Capital without anyone knowing it.
The only people that knows about this tunnels is himself and a few other subordinate of his. And those subordinate of him would never sell him out. At least not yet.
Aero never trust to much those who speak of loyalty. The more they said thing about loyalty, the more he guarded himself against them
That is why he is not worried someone will find these tunnels network. Even if these tunnels was compromised, there is no one under the sky Aero would not mind fighting.
Just because he did not like fighting does not mean he is not adept in it. It is only the fear that his weakness is somehow revealed that prevents him from fighting too much.
But when needed, he would crush any opponent that dares to tried to kill him.
It is just that the battle he is fighting now is not a battle that could be solved by killing everyone involved.
If he starts going that path, he had to keep killing people and he knew he could never stop once he go down that road
He had to become a tyrant that had to resort to intimidation and threat and had to worry about being assassinated all the time. This is too much work for him and also a thankless task.
Why would he choose such a way when there are other alternatives of way?
Aero keep walking forward as his boots become dirtier as he moves deeper into the tunnel. The tunnels itself is full of muddy soils and complicated stone structures.
Aero had guessed it before but it is always good to be right. The tunnels here were not manmade but it was naturally built.
It is clear to him. It is a wonder how this tunnel has remained hidden.
It probably formed naturally after an earthquake that causes the land to shift position creating this long cave with complicated tunnel network.
Slowly Aero walk deeper inside that darkness filled cave. Sometimes there would be serpents and scorpions that tried to attack him as he walks even forward.
In such narrow spaces, he could not use his sword. But he did not need to since he grabs them using only his hand and squeeze the life out of them.
He had to go through small holes that look impassable at a glance. He had to make sure the torch is not extinguished while at the same time moving forward.
It is not he could not see in the dark. It is just clearer when using the torch to see
After a few hours of walking in the darkness, even though Aero is not tired physically, he is tired mentally.
He could never see things clearly and even though his eyes could see through the dark, his eyes could not see pass through stones.
The passage grew narrow and narrower as he had to crouch down and crawls all over the small openings of the tunnels.
Aero also made a few startling discoveries inside this tunnel networks. When he was crawling and moving forward he landed into an open wide area.
There is a blue lake inside these tunnels.
Aero clean himself up in that lake and hunted a few fishes inside it and roasted it.
He did not sleep inside the tunnels but he did eat inside it for a while. It gave him a peace of mind and then he moves forward.
After hours and hours of walking in the dark, he finally saw the end of the tunnel when he saw lights on the other end of the cave.
He cautiously come out from the cave. He expected everything from ambushes to coming out from someone hut or house, but thankfully, it is just quiet.
He smiles a bit
'A little bit of luck' he thought to himself.
Since he returns back to Vilajeri Continent, he could no even have time to rest from the beach until now.
Ironically, that few hours in the dark cave seems like rest to him.
All of the past relationship is haunting him as he is once gain thrown into the whirlpool of politics once again
He is not saying he hated it. He knows he could not just opt out of it like other people. There is too many interest intertwined with each other in this matter
He cod not unravel all the things he had done and neither did he intended to unravel it.
The relationship with the two Imperial brothers, his deterring presence toward the other two great powers and many other things that bounded him to the matters of the world could not be cut by simply saying that he is done.
He either had to stand above all of them or fall behind and being killed by the winner.
He just saying there is no harm to want to rest for a while. He shakes his head out of that fantasy. He would rest when he arrived back at his mansion.
He looks around and he sighed.
'Another forest' he muttered to himself.
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