Chapter 367 – Negotiation
After several minutes of noise while chasing the intruder, the battlefield became silent for the first time.
The Mages still couldn’t comprehend what they had just witnessed.
A physi had managed to take a Late True Mage hostage while surrounded by four Mid True Mages?!
Weren’t Late True Mages supposed to be unbeatable for every physi except for that one physi in the Skythunder Kingdom?!
“Let go of our Head!” one of the Mages shouted angrily.
Shang tightened his grip, making Esther open her mouth in a silent scream.
“I don’t want to fight with your Kingdom,” Shang answered with a deeper voice than normal. He didn’t want any of them to recognize him by voice, even if the chances were minuscule. Additionally, he also hid his face behind Esther’s lifted body.
“I only want to enter the Blackshadow Kingdom,” Shang added.
The Mages gnashed their teeth and looked at each other.
If they launched a Spell, their Head would definitely die. Additionally, they probably couldn’t keep Shang here. He already stood closer to the mountain than them, and chasing him up the mountain was impossible.
“Why would we let you do that?” one of the Mages asked with narrowed eyes.
“Because I am not here on a mission, but on accident,” Shang said. “You are allowed to cast a truth verification Spell if you want, but I warn you, I know the chant. If I hear anything else, she dies.”
The Mages looked at each other, but eventually, they nodded.
One of them stepped forward and chanted a Spell.
After around five seconds, the chant was finished, and the Mana in the surroundings had changed.
The Truth Verification Spell was now active.
“I am not here by free will,” Shang said, knowing that the Mages were now able to see whether he was telling the truth or not. “I never wanted to come here. I am not being paid to be here. I am not on a mission. No Kingdom, Duke, Mage, or whatever gave me the mission to do anything to the Grandmountain Kingdom or interact with it.”
“I am here due to a cruel twist of fate outside of my control, and I only want to get home. I am not interested in the war or any sort of conflict between the Kingdoms. I only want to return to the Skythunder Kingdom and traveling across the Blackshadow Kingdom is my best chance at getting back.”
“That is everything I want,” Shang finished.
The Mages looked with surprise at one another.
The intruder had spoken the truth.
They talked to each other for a bit until one of them looked at Shang, who was still behind Esther.
“Will you release our Head?” she asked.
“I promise that I will let her go uninjured as soon as I pass your military forces at the north of this Zone,” Shang said.
Surprisingly, the Mage didn’t react the way Shang had expected.
They had just heard that they could get their Late True Mage back without any injury. They didn’t even need to give the intruder anything. He only wanted to leave.
Yet, instead of relief, Shang saw a bit of anger and frustration in their faces.
“You are talking nonsense,” the female Mage said. “Go through the Blackshadow Kingdom to return to the Skythunder Kingdom? Do you know what they do to powerful physis?”
“Feed them to their beasts,” Shang said. “I know that.”
“Then why would you want to go there?” the Mage asked.
Shang was a bit confused why the Mage was asking such an irrelevant question. For all intents and purposes, they should happily send him on his merry way to get slaughtered by the Blackshadow Kingdom. Why would they warn him instead?
“Let that be my problem,” Shang said. “The Blackshadow Kingdom might be allied with the Skythunder Kingdom, but if they stand in my way, I won’t show any mercy. As I ran through the Plague Rat Zone, I didn’t kill a single Mage of your Kingdom, even though I had the opportunity. I don’t want to kill people that don’t go against me.”
At that moment, a feeling of guilt rose up in Shang’s chest as he remembered Lash’s shocked eyes before he died, but Shang quickly buried the guilt again.
Now was not the time.
“If the Blackshadow Kingdom tries to stop me, I won’t have a problem with killing a couple of Mages or Summoners.”
The Mages looked at each other again, and they became increasingly frustrated.
At the same time, Esther began to struggle in Shang’s grip.
She hadn’t done that before.
Of course, Esther was as helpless in Shang’s hand as a tiny lizard.
One squeeze and her head would separate from her neck.
“We went against you. Why didn’t you attack us?” the female Mage asked.
Shang was surprised by this question too.
‘What’s up with their weird questions? Why would they care?’
‘I’m offering a great deal here. I’m sure you would much rather keep a Late True Mage alive than kill some random warrior. Why aren’t they accepting?!’ Shang thought with frustration.
“Because this is easier. My goal was to get to the Ancestral Mountain to wait for an opportunity to escape initially, but that has way too many risks. I’d much rather prefer leaving straight away,” Shang answered.
The Mages looked at each other with frustration as Esther’s struggle intensified.
It was like she was trying to escape her death. Sure, she was currently in Shang’s hands, but Shang was negotiating instead of torturing or killing her.
Additionally, she hadn’t struggled at the beginning. That had only started as Shang talked more with the Mages.
The Mages talked to each other for several seconds.
And then, they turned to the hanging Esther, their eyes unwilling. They were filled with frustration, guilt, and helplessness.
When Shang saw their expressions, he knew what was going on.
He had had the same expression just a couple of minutes ago!
This was exactly what he had looked like before he had killed Lash!
“The law must be upheld,” the female Mage said with a deep voice as she looked into Esther’s panicked eyes.
Esther felt like her world was ending.
“I’m sorry,” the female Mage said. “We can’t negotiate with the enemy.”
And then, their Foci lit up with prepared Spells.
Shang gnashed his teeth.
Shang’s hand tightened, and Esther’s head was squeezed off her body.
And then, he exploded towards the mountain.
‘So, this was why they asked these questions.’
‘They tried to find a way to ease the pain of what they were going to do! If I was some sort of monster or enemy to the Kingdom, they could say that they did the right thing. They could say that they were only protecting their home.’
‘However, my intentions were only to escape without going against the Grandmountain Kingdom. I’m pretty sure all four of them wanted to accept the deal.’
‘Yet, their law states that they are not allowed to negotiate with the enemy.’
‘They were forced to do something they didn’t want to do.’
‘Just like me earlier.’
Esther’s corpse was destroyed by the Spells, which quickly followed Shang.
However, these Spells weren’t nearly as deadly or accurate as the previous ones.
It wasn’t that they didn’t want to kill Shang. It was just that they had already given up.
They knew that they wouldn’t be able to stop Shang. So, they simply stopped trying and performed the motions without any enthusiasm or goal behind them.
After Shang evaded the Spells, the Mages stopped chasing.
They knew that it was already over.
Shang reached the Ancestral Mountain.
Shang exploded upward, landed on one of the cliffs, and continued jumping.
Shang was moving at insane rates up the mountain.
This was why it was impossible for them to follow Shang up the mountain.
Shang was amazing at moving through the air, and he had an insanely powerful body that allowed him to move up the mountain like he was running on the ground.
With every jump, Shang ascended another twenty meters. He didn’t even need to use his Blasts to traverse the mountain.
And the Mages?
Of course, there were Spells for them to traverse such a tall mountain. There was a Spell that allowed their Mana Shield to cling to the wall and ascend.
However, there were several problems with the Spell.
It cost a lot of Mana, and it was slow.
But the biggest problem was that they couldn’t use Mana Step in such an environment.
For Mana Step to work, the ground had to be somewhat even.
If they followed Shang up the mountain, they would completely lose any mobility.
Mana Step was one of the most powerful weapons for fighting beasts and physis.
Sure, they might be able to kill a normal warrior, but by now, they knew that they wouldn’t be able to get Shang.
If they couldn’t get him on the ground, they wouldn’t be able to get him on the mountain.
Even more, they might actually die while trying to kill him.
There was no point in chasing him.
He had already escaped.