199 Chapter 196 Gnorma’s Trickery
Stella stepped back out of Joseph's shadow, with a better grip on her emotions. She hated brownies. Glancing over with a sneer at the creature that was still hanging around, she focused on helping Joseph cast his spells.
The ground rumbled, and distant screams floated to her ears, as Joseph began to move the tons of dirt and rock from above the city, to underneath it, while preventing the vast amount of damage that was threatening to occur, with magic.
She wasn't sure if Joseph was aware of the history between brownies and her ancient fey race, but was determined to enlighten him if she needed to. There was no shavist way she was going to allow that brownie to join his kingdom. The only thing they were known for was trouble. They didn't even taste good, either.
Lending him mana as he needed it, she squinted as the first rays of sunlight hit the barrier and cascaded into the city. Stella wasn't sure what would happen when they hit the surface, but she had been hoping that the barrier would go down. It was obvious now that it wasn't going down without being deactivated. The rock was flowing, as if it were suddenly liquid, to the underside of the city, and lifting it up as if it were a boat. She could feel the ground rocking side to side as the dirt settled underneath them.
"Gnorma, where are the royal family members entombed?" asked Joseph calmly, not looking at her as he finished settling the city into place.
The brownie fidgeted for a moment as if she didn't want to answer, and Stella fought the urge to kick her, before she finally pointed further away from the center of town. It made sense that the royal tomb would be away from the eyes of the commoners, that way they could hide when someone died.
Joseph turned in that direction without another word, and Stella followed him, keeping an eye out for anything that might be dangerous. She didn't trust the creature to not lay some traps somewhere, even though she was sure nothing she did would get past Joseph's magical gaze.
The grounds were meticulously cared for by an army of tiny golems that clipped the grass and trimmed the bushes, polished the granite and swept the walkway. They seemed to know when they got near and scrambled out of their path, until they had passed, then they would scramble back to their jobs. She was impressed, and wondered how long it would take Joseph to implement something like them in the castle back home. She imagined his mother would love one as a pet, or something. The tomb itself was a long low-ceilinged marble building, that had stairs leading down into the ground.
Joseph paused to inspect the door, before pushing it open soundlessly. Inside, Stella paused in surprise. What looked like the corpses of the entire royal family were piled in a corner of the building. The odd thing about it, was that they weren't dumped as if they were carried here, they were piled as if they had been huddled together for warmth when they died. Turning quickly, she watched as the brownie grinned evilly at them, before slamming the door shut.
"I was wondering what she had planned."
Stella raised an eyebrow. A lot of thoughts crossed her mind, but she kept her mouth shut. Joseph took her hand and they teleported just outside the tomb, behind the brownie who was watching the door and giggling to herself.
"If you are done acting a child, I want to know what happened. Did you kill them all?"
The brownie jumped a foot in the air, twisting to land startled and horrorstruck, gaping at them.
"How did you?" she stammered, looking behind her at the closed door, as if they had snuck out when she wasn't looking.
"Magic," growled Stella, unable to keep herself quiet. This idiot had just watched him perform amazing feats with magic, knew that he was the savior in the prophecies, and still claimed confusion by a simple teleport? Ridiculous.
"Do I really have to resort to using magic? I thought I made myself clear in my demands…" said Joseph raising his hand to form a glowing ball of lightning.
Stella could tell it was hot enough to burn and melt most things, yet he held it as if it were no different from a stone he had picked up from the ground. The look in the eyes of the brownie grew large and she began stammering.
"He made me do it! I didn't want to, but he forced me to! You should talk to him! He's in the attic of the palace!"
"Stella, if she leaves the stone she's standing on, kill her."
Stella watched him head to the palace for a moment, then turned to look at the brownie. Maybe she should have told him that she hated this creature, but then decided he could probably tell through their link.
"Does your master know that your kind used to eat people like him?" asked the brownie with a pout, crossing her arms. The illusion her hair piece cast over her, could be seen through, now that her identity was revealed, and that intrigued Stella. Was that so the royal family could tell who they were talking to?
Smiling at the brownie, Stella pulled a knife out of her purse, and held it just so she could see it.
"He gave me this one to skin people with, though I haven't had much of a chance to use it. Shall I show you the others I have?"
The brownie paled and shook her head no, glancing down to make sure she was squarely in the middle of her rock.
"How did you survive the apocalypse?" asked Gnorma, glancing at the barrier that was shimmering in the bright sunlight.
Stella's eyes narrowed. Was she asking just to fill the silence and her curiosity, or was there a hidden agenda? So far, she hadn't been impressed with the brownie's intelligence, and she honestly wondered at her sanity.
"Is that why you came here, to the gnomish city?" asked Stella, slipping the knife back into her purse and pulling out her god-killer blade. It glinted brightly, and she smiled as Gnorma's eyes became glued to it.
"No, I came here, because the gnomish god told me to."