Supreme Magus (Web Novel)-Chapter 2980 Stalking Predator (Part 2)

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Chapter 2980 Stalking Predator (Part 2)

2980 Stalking Predator (Part 2)

Discarding her own, Bytra's, Lith's and Solus' scents was easy, because she was already familiar with them. Then, she consumed the energy belonging to unanimated artifacts like armor and weapons.

They were metallic, leathery, or woody. Some were made of paper or the skin of the member of one of the five races but they all had one thing in common. Their mana was stale, dead as a doornail, a mere variation on that of their owner.

Then, only two smells remained. One, belonging to Limbell/Pharek, was spread throughout the house while the second, the shadow disciple, was present only in a few rooms.

Yet inside the secret lab, his scent was stronger than Pharek's. The disciple had spent a considerable time there, mastering the secret crafts that his master had entrusted solely to him.

Xenagrosh unraveled the tangle that his smell formed by focusing on the small details.

She now could feel the disciple entering the room one step behind his master and walking to the Forge. Inside the secret lab, the smell became agitated and spread out like a storm to the bookshelves the disciple had destroyed in his fury.

Then it started to move in circles like a caged beast before moving out of the door.

"This way." Xenagrosh led the party and the others followed.

'Fuck me sideways! Zoreth's power and the Eyes don't work well together. She destroyed everything we needed to retrace the movements of our prey.' Lith thought as the artifact's scan was now completely blank.

'Yeah.' Solus inwardly nodded. 'Let's hope it was worth it.'

She took a different corridor from the one they had come from, her stride quick and confident as if she was familiar with the palace's layout. After a few meters, the Eyes picked the unknown energy signature again and showed Lith a hazy ghost on the run.

'Jirni was right. After killing Pharek, the shadow disciple went into a panic. This wasn't planned.' Solus noticed there was no attempt to cover his tracks or destroy the traces of his passage.

The only thing the ghost cared about was getting out of there quickly.

The group walked into a long corridor filled with portraits of Pharek with the various disciples he had trained over the years. There were men and women of all races and ages, the only trace of the passage of time was Pharek getting older or younger.

"Do you think we might find the shadow disciple among these guys?" Rhuta asked.

"Unlikely." Strider shook his head. "There's no point having a shadow disciple if you hang his portrait on display. I bet my latest batch of ingredients that this just made our guy angrier."

"Nailed it." Zoreth pointed at a spot in the corridor where she could smell the residue of a punch strong enough to make even an Awakened bleed.

The arrays had long since repaired any damage, and the shadow disciple had the presence of spirit to destroy his blood with darkness magic.

Yet Zoreth's nose and the Eyes could still pick it and the presence of the portrait of Pharek with his official heir made everyone believe the Shadow Dragon's words even though they couldn't notice anything.

"There's a secret passage here." Xenagrosh pointed at the wall in front of her. "The smell moves in this direction."

"And the control panel is here." Lith could see where the ghost's hand touched the wall so he did the same while activating the tier four Forgemastering spell, Reveal.

The hidden enchantment turned visible, revealing a holographic keypad waiting for the access code.

"I can't read the code." Lith said.

"I can't smell a code." Xenagrosh shrugged.

"We don't need to." Strider entered the numbers 1-2-3-4-5 on the keypad and the door opened.

"What?" Lith blurted out in surprise. "Was Pharek senile? That's the kind of thing an idiot would have on his lock!"

"Indeed." The Zouwu replied. "But after his death, his imprint has been lost and all the security codes have been reset. We forbade Nem to add his imprint exactly for a case like this."

"Still, the old man had a perverse sense of humor." Bytra said. "Every time the shadow disciple had to get in and out, he would not only be forced to use a secondary entrance like a beggar, but also be reminded of what he can never have.

"Pharek's official disciples will be remembered after his death and can use his name as a reference whereas no one was supposed to know about the shadow disciple and they have to hide their skills like a thief."

The door led to a long underground corridor that opened on the back of the White Fang Mountain which was located at the edges of the Medaka plains.

"Wait a second." Bytra stopped the Shadow Dragon the moment she felt they were leaving the mana geyser under Pharek's house.

She turned around, hastily scribbling on a piece of paper that she crumpled and handed Solus. She opened it, taking care that no one else could read it.

"If you need time to recover your strength after what you and Lith did, you just have to give me a sign. I'll find an excuse to take a break."

Solus burned the piece of paper and patted Bytra's back to reply with a hidden mind link.

'Thanks, but it won't be necessary. I'm fine.' Even though she couldn't summon the tower over an already taken geyser, between the rich world energy, the Sage Staff, and Lith's presence, Solus was at the top of her game.

"You guys did a great job covering the entire area with the energy-preserving arrays." Xenagrosh said to buy time and smoothen things with the Hand of Fate. "I have yet to lose track of our prey."

"Thanks, but it's standard procedure. Always preserve the area covered by the victim's magical formations and then some more." Azhom quoted the manual. "We are still inside Limbell's array system."

Once Bytra gave her a covert signal, the Shadow Dragon resumed her advance. The trace still moved in a straight line, making it easy to follow as they exited the arrays' range and entered a small patch of trees.

Lith inwardly cursed when he saw the hazy figure of the ghost disappearing into a circle of light that he recognized as a Warp Steps.

"I was right." Xenagrosh stopped in front of the echo of the dimensional door. "You guys did a good job."

She spread her arms out and traced runes in the air that outlined the shape of the remnants of the Steps. Her hands moved in a blur in every direction, forming what looked like an array.

The Eyes of Menadion's readings indicated that the portal's energy trace was getting stronger with every rune Zoreth conjured. The array was picking up the echo of the Warp Steps as well, amplifying it until the spell came back to life.

"I didn't know you also were a dimensional mage." Lith furrowed his brows in confusion.

"Because I'm not." The Shadow Dragon replied. "A dimensional mage would have opened this with a wave of their hand. I'm just ancient and specialized in tracking. I've learned how to do this with lots of practice."