Chapter 74 - Preparation
Translator: SaltyTank Editor: SaltyTank
As the Whiterun army would leave at noon the next day, Soran went to a magic store early in the morning and bought a few essential scrolls for the upcoming battle.
Soran had already sold most of the loot from his last expedition, netting him almost 1000 Gold Derahls. It looked like a large sum, but it would be gone in no time. Spellcasters’ expenditures were beyond imagining; just the Invisibility scroll Soran bought this morning cost 300 Gold Derahls. It was the most expensive Level 2 scroll, and it allowed one to turn invisible upon using it. The effect could stack with rogues’ Sneak, making it even more effective for Soran.
Of course, Soran did not purchase the scroll to use it as a consumable, but to analyze and record the spell’s details in order to learn the spell model. He used Read Magic to speed up the process. It took him fifteen sheets of paper to record all of the spell’s details, including a thousand and two hundred spell nodes and a hundred spell circuits.
Under the buff of Read Magic, Soran rapidly glanced through the papers and started memorizing the information. Although he quickly remembered everything within ten or so minutes, it would take a few more days before he could finish constructing the spell model in his mind. Memorizing mathematical formulas was easy, but applying them was harder; it was the same with spell information.
Learning more Level 1 spells could be put aside for now. Currently, Invisibility was the most useful spell for him. After learning Arcane Missile, Soran had a grasp on how to learn spells more effectively. As such, he decided to skip the rest of the Level 1 spells and learn Invisibility first. Level 4 wizards had two Level 2 spell slots. Usingd Invisibility at the right time could be a game changer. Suddenly disappearing into thin air under broad daylight was something even 150 Sneak could not achieve.
Anyway, mobilizing both the army and adventurers required logistical backup. Preparing supplies and assigning roles to adventurers took time. Soran was given the role of a scout, the most common role given to rogues. After leaving the magic store, he headed for the gray areas of the city for some illegal supplies. Restocking poison arrows and wyvern poison cost him another 200 Gold Derahls. Along with the Invisibility scroll, almost half of his earnings had already been used. If one did not carefully plan beforehand, they were likely to suffer a deficit from an adventure.
Before Soran left to start his mission, he visited Gloria’s mansion. Surprisingly, he met Gloria’s mother again, only this time she did not use any spells on him. She winked and smirked at Soran, and fiddled with a card between her slender fingers.
“Little fella,” the woman chuckled and said, “did big sis scare you last time? I was just playing you know. I can make you disappear easily with Disintegrate.”
Upon hearing her speak, Soran placed his hand on the hilt of his sword. Despite showing a calm face, he was already prepared to fight. The woman in front of him was Gloria’s mother, but their personalities were rather different. Although Soran had not asked, it was quite obvious that the relationship between Gloria and her mother was tense. As the saying went, curiosity killed the cat. It was better not to dabble and learn something he could not handle. He locked his gaze on the woman’s fingers or, more precisely, the card between her fingers.
It was either a card from the Deck of Many Things, the Deck of Arcane Magic, or lastly, the legendary Deck of Destiny. She was probably a high-grade witch—a highly powerful Northern witch who might be stronger than Gloria herself.
“Mother.” Gloria appeared from seemingly nowhere. She glanced at Soran before turning to speak to her mother. “It’s about time you go back. According to the rules set by the council, you must not leave your room for over two hours a day.”
_An exiled witch?_
Soran’s brows twitched ever so slightly, but he quickly covered it up with his typical calm, emotionless expression.
He had never been good at the basic skills Perform and Deception, even back in the game. In other words, Soran could not hide his expression through utili zing the system, which was why he always kept an emotionless and cold expression. It prevented others from guessing what he was thinking.
Some people jokingly said that pretty ladies had an innate Perform buff, but apparently Gloria’s mother actually was pretty good at acting. She stood up and lightly clasped her hands. Before she left, she glanced at Soran with an alluring expression. Despite having exceptional beauty, Soran felt as though she was preying on him, and goosebumps rose all over his body. He reflexively clutched his sword even harder, his body tensing up.
“Hohoh,” she chuckled, showing a bewitching smile. “Looks like you’re really afraid of me.”
She walked toward Soran and circled around him. The air around her was filled with a unique fragrance. Soran took a deep breath, seeming as though he was attracted by it. Gloria’s mother had a satisfied look when she noticed this; some women liked having men under their full control. However, Soran really sniffed her fragrance just to remember the smell. Whenever he came across this specific scent again, he would be able to quickly identify the approaching person as Gloria’s mother. Many predators relied on their sense of smell when hunting, though humans were more oblivious to this particular sense. Soran took advantage of this and had killed plenty of women based on their scent back in the game, with plenty of them being high-grade witches. As they could not hide their scent with Invisibility, it gave away their position despite being unnoticeable to the eye.
When Gloria’s mother finally left, Gloria apologized. Soran did not mind and followed her into the laboratory. In the first place, he was here to see Vivian before leaving the city, not to pick a fight with a powerful exiled witch. Soran simply found the mother and daughter pair quite amusing; Gloria was a kind person who valued law and order, but her mother was clearly someone who did what she wanted.
From his standards, Gloria should be of the Lawful Neutral alignment, probably inclining toward Lawful Good. Her mother, however, was most likely Chaotic Neutral, and was more inclined toward Chaotic Evil.
If one did something good or bad, their alignment might change because of their actions, but that was less common among NPCs. It was the players who had changed their alignments the most back in the game.
Back to the present, it was now nightfall. After spending some time with Vivian, Soran left the mansion. The Whiterun army would officially mobilize tomorrow, and he still had preparations to make. The upcoming battle would not be an easy one.
* * *
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*[Long Taos]: side characters in Chinese operas who perform acrobatics and fight scenes
*[12.47 to 13.07]: don’t ask me about the tree sap