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20 Infiltration

    When dawn appeared, Derrick was ready to leave. He had made preparations and gave various duties to his retainers. Now that everything was set, it was time to explore this vast world.

    His first destination was what Lacha had pointed out on the map. The name of the city was Terra, and she barely had any memories of it. The only information she had was hearsay, which Derrick immediately discarded.

    He couldn't base his trip on knowledge that could lead him in trouble, so he decided to go with a cautious approach and learn on the fly. After all, it was his strong suit.

    ***

    After hours and hours of only seeing green shades of forests, Derrick was starting to wonder if Lacha's map was even accurate. He rarely lost his temper, but if he got lost and couldn't even go back to Akata, he would blow a massive fuse.

    When he was about to rain curses on her, he finally saw a change in the landscape below. He asked Io to hover closer to the clouds, which would still grant them decent cover. After all, he didn't want people to see a monster flying over them.

    When they had a better vantage point, he was shocked. What he was seeing was absolutely mesmerizing. There were gigantic farms that spread as far as he could look. He could also see an ocean of small moving figures, laboring the fields.

    Back in his small village, he had cultivated a bit to sustain himself and was proud of his accomplishment, but what was in front of him put him to shame. It was as if the world's entire food production was laid in front of his eyes.

    After the initial shock, Derrick ordered Io to get back to his original altitude, scared that he would be seen. His estimates had been completely wrong. He wondered how many people would be in the main city.

    Later, following another hour of flight, he finally saw the walls. And oh were they astounding. He was still pretty far, but he could tell that they were at least 100 meters tall. It circled the entirety of the city's boundary, which was tens of kilometers long. On it were towers spread evenly and equipped with giant ballistas that could tear across the skies.

    Derrick had never felt this awed in his entire life. The defensive measures a border city had were truly nothing to scoff at. But it didn't end there.

    Behind these impressive trinkets were a magnificent city that made the impressive walls pale in sight. The buildings, made of white granite, were disposed in a neat order. Their height also kept increasing the more you went towards the center of the city.

    It was basically small living mountain. Such a monster probably had way more than 100 000 denizens, but Derrick couldn't blame Lacha as she had left many years ago.

    Thus, his expectations had skyrocketed, but so had his worries. He didn't want to cause a commotion, which meant that he had to take more precautions.

    However, there was an immediate problem he had to address. Where the hell was he supposed to land not to attract attention!?

    After arriving, he asked Io to circle around, but the beast was starting to tire. Their trip had been way longer than expected. Derrick couldn't ask him to land, as they would be immediately apprehended, and he couldn't land further away because walking would take too much time.

    Suddenly, a sly smile creeped on Derricks' face. He knew it was a gamble, but with his body, he was pretty sure he would survive. He told Io to go fly above a lake a kilometer north of the walls, which he considered a reasonable distance.

    As they were above the cloud ceiling, they were still invisible to the people below. Derrick told Io to scan the lake's depth, which cleared his remaining uncertainty.

    "I never thought I would be this crazy..."

    After tightly strapping his weapons and gold pouch on his back, Derrick jumped from Io's back and dove from the sky.

    Just like a meteor, the air engulfed Derrick's body and his eyes started tearing up from the insane speed that kept increasing.

    A few seconds later, he breached the clouds, completely soaked, and continued his mad descent. With tiny eyes, he tried evaluating the distance at which he would have to spread his entire body to slow his ridiculous fall.

    Meanwhile, some farmers saw the incredulous phenomenon and rubbed their eyes, wondering if they had gone insane. The only thing they could see was an object falling from the sky, which looked like a man, but how was that possible?!

    As such, they stopped looking at the object and observed its trajectory, which was a small lake. They instantly stopped their activities and ran in its direction. Falling objects from the sky would surely enrich them beyond their wildest dreams.

    While greed clouded the minds of common folk, Derrick had already fallen 2000 meters. It was now time to slow down his fall. He changed his form from a rocket to a star, spreading as far as he could to maximize the drag of his body.

    That's when Derrick realized he messed up. In a thunderous splash, he landed on the surface like a flat rock and lost consciousness for a brief instant. While sinking under water, he howled in pain and cursed his retarded brain. How the hell had he forgotten such basic things?!

    In a pain that would make gods wince, he slowly swam ashore and rolled on the ground, still cursing himself. Io, after dissolving and returning to Derricks' shadow, even snickered at his master. Truly, this day couldn't go any worse.

    That's when Derrick turned his head and saw a small crowd of farmers running in his direction... WHAT THE F****!!! He had to evade questions no matter what, so he painfully got up, straightened in armor, and proceeded on a dirt road that lead to the walls.

    Luckily for him, the farmers' eyes couldn't get off the lake and as soon as they arrived, they jumped in without a care in the world. They had heard the splatter, and they would do whatever it takes to get the object.

    What they failed to notice was the tall man staggering off like he had beaten to an inch of his life...

    ***

    Derrick had been right. If anybody without his body had jumped, they would be mince meat at the bottom of the lake. Luckily for him, he had even kept all his belongings. On the dirt road, he had also found a clothing stall and bought a cloak.

    The look of greed the merchant had given when looking at his armor had confirmed Derrick's decision to be more careful.

    As he got closer and closer to the wall, he couldn't be more awed. He had underestimated its grandeur. The entrance was masterfully carved and took half of the walls' height. It also sported a thick iron gate that would close the path of any invader.

    The entry lines were tidy and organized, with merchant carriages and people separated. To enter, everyone had to state their reason and intention, which made Derrick worry. He wondered if he should lie or tell the truth, but decided to go with the latter.

    When it was his turn, the guard, wearing a shining iron armor, advanced.

    "Business or casual?"

    "Business"

    "What type?"

    "Selling weapons"

    Derrick pointed to his back, where there were his newly made spears. They looked gorgeous and appeared to be the work of a master. When the guard saw them, a malicious glint appeared and his eyes, and he made a signal to other guards.

    Derrick knew what was about to come. It was a shakedown... With a sigh, he was about to reach for his gold pouch when he heard a loud and harsh voice.

    "How dare you treat my guest with such poor manners?! Explain yourselves!"

    Derrick was surprised and frankly, confused. The voice was directed at the guards in front of him and it came from a large, burly man in a carriage a few meters away from him. This man was a merchant, and clearly a great one at that. He was wearing chic clothes and held a neatly carved glass filled with wine.

    His carriage was the definition of opulence. It was minted in gold and its wheels were finely made, to the point where it was surprising that they weren't breaking. Its windows were also crystal clear, exposing its luxurious interior.

    When the guard saw the merchant, his face paled, and he exposed a weird grimace.

    "Sir Brigand, is this man with you?"

    The guard's voice was a tad shaky, which made Derrick wonder about the man's status. However, he was wary as to why a stranger would help him.

    "Of course he is! Why would I vouch for him if he was not?!"

    The tone of Brigand bordered on anger and when the guard heard it, he instantly moved aside to let Derrick pass.

    "Thanks for your kindness, Sir"

    With a slight bow, Derrick turned around and started walking away.

    "Wait! You're here to sell weapons right?"
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