There were still many things Lith wanted to ask Kalla, like how she managed to perceive the Clackers\' calls and how to manipulate them, but as his bloodlust receded, he could feel that something was wrong with his body.
The headache had returned worse than ever, and no matter how much he used Invigoration, his energy was leaving him like sand slips between fingers, no matter how hard one clenches his fist.
Soon he wasn\'t even able to stand, his eyelids were drooping, forcing him to fight just to remain conscious.
- You seem to have a fever. Solus warned him.
Except during my first years of life, I never got sick.
Not even a flu. –
His breathing turned ragged, Lith lied on the cavern\'s floor, feeling the comforting coldness of the rocks ease the heat waves ravaging his flesh.
I think I need to rest for…
Lith fell asleep even before finishing the sentence.
Both Byks had no idea what to do.
Even with their limited knowledge of humans, they were capable of understanding that Lith\'s constant shivering and sweating bullets wasn\'t normal.
Mom, do you know anyone capable of using light magic Nok lapped Lith\'s cheeks trying to comfort him.
Outside of the Lord of the forest, no.
Maybe Scourge is just exhausted…
A snapping sound from Lith\'s body cut Kalla short.
The Byks stretched their ears, sniffing the guest.
Another snapping sound occurred, this time louder.
It was akin to a fresh log thrown into the fire, cracking because of the heat.
Snap and pop sounds came one after the other, if an earthling happened to be there, he would think that someone was making popcorns.
From the inside, Solus could see his bones cracking and heal continuously at an alarming rate.
Sometimes it was just a fissure, other the whole bone would shatter in small fragments before they assembled again.
When it was the skull\'s turn, Nok jumped backwards out of fear.
Suddenly a porcupine seemed to have slipped under Lith\'s face, sharp ends bulging under his skin, barely able to contain them.
Each time a bone would crack, impurities would ooze out of them, finding their way out through any of his orifices.
Most of it flowed out from his eyes, ears and mouth, forming a pool beneath his head.
The stench was unbearable, Kalla was forced to destroy the tar-like substance with darkness magic, fearing it could harm them.
Is he going to become an undead The events unfolding in front of Nok remined it what had happened to Raghul just a few hours prior.
Unlikely. Kalla replied.
I don\'t sense a massive amount of dark energies surging. Nonetheless, she closed Lith in the secret room, leaving just enough space for the air to flow, strengthening the cave walls in case of attack, just to be safe.
Thanks to Invigoration, Solus perceived the world energy flowing inside Lith\'s core, the body was finally able to withstand its growth, surviving the changes necessary to wield the new power.
- The unconsciousness is actually a blessing in disguise.
The pain would be excruciating if Lith was still awake. – Solus thought.
Hours later, he finally woke up, feeling like the Walmart doormat after the Black Friday.
Every inch of his body ached, his already tattered hunter suit was soaked in impurities beyond saving.
He managed to cancel the smell with darkness magic, but removing the stains would destroy the leather as well.
- What happened Lith shook his head, trying to remember where he was.
Good news! You have finally got past your bottleneck.
Your mana core is finally halfway through the cyan.
Probably the constant strain and healing cycles of this last few months did the trick. Solus words made little sense to him.
It\'s not my first rodeo.
Why did I faint And why do I feel like cr*p instead of refreshed –
It was too complicated to explain, so Solus just showed him her memories.
- What the f*ck All that pain just for a shade of cyan –
Once Lith managed to get up, even opening the stone door with earth magic proved to be a challenge.
Rise and shine, sleepyhead.
You have slept for three days.
I was starting to get worried. Nok trotted to him, rubbing his snout strong enough to make him fall.
Three days! Sorry Nok, I have to run! Lith yelled in desperation.
He didn\'t care for the lost lessons, as much for all the time wasted doing nothing.
If the vision was correct, he hadn\'t even a second to spare.
Nok laughed at him.
I was joking, it\'s barely sunset.
Cursing the Byk\'s ancestors and doubting the morality of their mating choices, Lith punched the nearby wall with the feeble strength he could muster.
It\'s not funny! He yelled, striking again.
My family is in danger, who knows what could have happened to them in three days You scared me to death!
That makes the two of us. Nok took two cautionary steps back, keeping its gaze on him, ready to run away.
Why are you scared
Don\'t want to end like the wall just for a stupid joke.
Lith looked at his punch, discovering that it had created a small socket in the wall.
A spiderweb of small cracks originated from the impact point.
- What the heck Lith and Solus thought, still in a daze.
I didn\'t feel anything.
How can I be this strong
It must be because of what happened to your skeleton.
Your mana flow is completely different from before. Solus pointed out.
The quality of your mana has barely changed, but now even at rest, the energy that your core passively produces is able to reach every inch of your body.
I have seen something like this only in magical beasts like the Protector. –
What\'s happening Kalla rushed back to the cave after the first pounding sound, expecting the worst.
When it saw both cubs alive and well the Byk sighed in relief, but then an odd smell reached its nose.
Not beastly nor human, it was something lost in between.
Scourge, you have changed. It was a statement, there was no shred of doubt in her voice.
Your smell is even less human than before.
It\'s akin to the one the Lord of the forest emits. Its eyes gleamed with comprehension of the true nature of their guest.
Before leaving, Lith asked Kalla how to perceive and lure the Clackers.
Sadly, the former required a high earth magic sensibility that he lacked, while the latter was far simpler.
The spider\'s feed call sounded exactly like the human heart rhythmic beat, only it had to be emitted via magic through the ground.
On his way back, while flying through the air, he activated Life Vision, searching for more changes in his abilities.
Lith discovered that now it didn\'t just show the life force and mana simply through colours.
Lith now could see the world energy flowing from the trees, the leaves, even from the stones.
The whole forest around him was breathing, generating a mana wind that had been invisible to him before.
- It has become much more similar to my mana sense. Solus said.
In a way is still worse, in another is better.
Look at that. –
Lith pointed at a clearing in the forest.
It was near to the point where he had fought with the mercenaries, but from the sky and with its ordinary look, normally he would have failed to recognize the place.
But now he could see everything.
The red wind originated from the animals, the green from the plants, the grey from the stones, and the black from the dead.
Lith only had to extend his hands and will to feel the rotting energies waiting for the call.
Rise! Rise my legion!
He could sense the many corpses stirring underground, clawing to escape.
And then he let them go.
He had no time to lose, there were many things he had to do before nightfall.