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<Some time later> (Edit: fixed the timeline to be in line with the event below)
Macoto lounged on a bed of soft grasses, warm sunlight shining down on the secluded grove as pastel petals drifted in the light breeze. Sensing a shift in the breeze, she turned to see Ruut approaching swiftly, blossoms catching on his horns. "Is something the matter?" she asked.
Ruut held up a finger to forestall further questions, taking out a wooden powder box with the other. Sliding the lid away, he scattered a dull rosy powder into the air around them, watching as the breeze caught hold of it, some even settling onto Macoto. Nodding after a few seconds, he applied a pinch of the powder to himself, observing a similar lack of reaction. "Good, we aren't being observed and haven't been enchanted," he said. "And this conversation will be shielded from prying eyes and ears."
"Why the sudden concern?" Macoto asked, sitting up.
"I have received additional reports concerning our many visitors. The Seven Leagues' emissaries have been reasonable, and peaceful arrangements are moving swiftly. As for our other guests…" Ruut sighed.
"There's been an incident?"
"Apparently. The Zalgofarians have sent a high-ranking figure, and seem to have scaled back the preaching in favor of a more traditionally diplomatic approach. The Cultists, on the other hand, have become more aggressive in their conversion attempts."
"Should we be more explicit in our disinterest toward religious pursuits?"
"It is unlikely that will resolve anything given their zealotry, but there is a more pressing matter. A new arrival from the Cult appears to have done something to this high-ranking Zalgofarian. Whether or not they were successful, things are likely to begin escalating, as they appear to be fighting over our allegiance."
"Even though we've expressed neutral intent?"
"I suspect it is due to our location between them, considering their opposing ideologies and clear negative opinions of one another. They likely desire to use the guild's unusual surroundings to form a strong base, while also securing versatile alchemical support."
"Do you think we can get them to resolve their differences away from the guild's gardens? We can even provide a battlefield if they must have one."
"I will have the Aster make a request of both sides."
"Will they be safe?"
"Assuming both sides still desire our support, the resulting aversion to offending the guild should be sufficient to protect our members from harm. I will remind the Anemone to remain vigilant over the coming days, but I think we should not increase the number of guards, as we must maintain our welcoming atmosphere despite this altercation."
Macoto sighed absently, looking off into the distance.
"Something else bothers you?" Ruut asked.
"The Cosmos tell of a place that's unusually receptive to our efforts. I'd love to send a larger expedition there, or even go myself, but it seems we don't have time for that right now."
Ruut's expression hardened grimly. "I will do my best to resolve this effectively, then we will go together."
Macoto reached out, catching a flower as the wind carried it from Ruut's horns. "Don't forget to keep yourself safe as well."
"Worry not; I have a number of contingencies prepared." Ruut's expression softened for a moment. "But I appreciate your concern, and will keep it in mind." His wooden face returning to its usual smooth blankness, Ruut left as swiftly as he arrived, petals fluttering silently in his wake.
Macoto sighed at the news of the assault. Clearly it was time to move on, as this was probably going to spark a war that the guild had no intention of being caught up in. "Let's evacuate fully and change locations," she suggested.
"You want to bet on that place the Cosmos told you of? This is certainly the perfect excuse to make a large-scale expedition."
"Right. After we complete the evacuation, I will return this place to the earth. They wished to use it as a base, so the least I can do is make things more difficult for each of them while also both furthering our mission and erasing anything they could use."
"Very well. While we haven't yet heard from the caravan to Antaias, we can work with the Seven Leagues as a contingency. The Aster will have already made our displeasure with this turn of events clear, so do not worry about any lingering True Gods cultists, regardless of their current position when the collapse begins. I will ensure the guild possesses sufficient nondetection concoctions for the evacuation and expedition. All preparations should be complete within a few hours."
Macoto nodded. "That'll be more than enough time to be ready on my end. See you soon."
Ruut stood at the head of several warded caravans loaded with the guild's works and personnel. Anemone circle guards patrolled amongst their ranks while Gazania traders and Euphorbia scholars finished triple-checking the cargo and other preparations. Seeing Macoto sitting on the same opalescent slab she'd found after the cataclysm, he waved her over. "We received a messenger from the Zalgofarians toward the end phases of the evacuation. They find fault with us in their relative ignorance, and demand we inflict retribution on those that ambushed the Zalgofarian diplomats. Regardless, an army will arrive tomorrow. I neither know nor truly care whether or not the cultists remain nearby, but I suppose we shall provide shortly should they be within these gardens."
Macoto looked north with a sigh. "This is an unfortunate series of events, but we need not remain here to accomplish our mission."
Turning back to the guildhall, she reached out to the earth with her power. The earth shook violently, a number of the distant stone spires collapsing as a deep sinkhole opened up beneath the guildhall. The structure crumbled, vanishing into the depths of the earth and leaving nothing behind. Macoto collapsed a number of the nearer stone spires into the sinkhole, ensuring the guildhall's remains would be thoroughly pulverized and concealed before burying the entire affair in many feet of earth. To further conceal the ruins, she spread sharp grasses and thorny plants across the remaining broad depression, melding the space into the guild's vast gardens.
"That should do it," she mumbled, slumping into Ruut's waiting arms. "I'll have to send something out to the Cosmos and Chrysanthemum…"
"Rest for now," Ruut said, carrying her to one of the lead caravans. "I never tire of watching you work such miracles," he said softly, gently laying her in the back of the transport.
Signaling to the rest of the guild, Apothecaria Salvia set off toward unknown lands as the sun set behind them…