Chapter 1604 - Tower Gate (Part 2)
A marriage implies not only that such burden must be shared with the spouse, but also the need to take some time off for the honeymoon and to properly introduce Zinya to all of her subjects. Xenagrosh said.
Are you telling me that before the marriage Zin has to become a real lady Lith was flabbergasted.
That would take years.
She still needs to learn at least the basics to everything a noble dame must know and even that will take a while. She said.
Where are we going to meet He asked.
Salaark didn't allow Xenagrosh to come within 100 kilometers from her village nor did the Eldritch-Troll hybrid feel safe getting close to the Guardian so each time Lith and Xenagrosh met for their lessons, they would arrange the pick-up spot at the last minute.
At these coordinates.
From there, we'll go visit Sinmara.
She's already waiting for us. She replied.
Lith used the Surveillance Mirror to check what was at the location that Xenagrosh had selected, discovering that it was just a large flat stone formation surrounded solely by small sand dunes.
'There's no place where an assassin might hide and no way to keep someone from running away, it's the worst possible spot for an ambush.
Even though Grandma has promised Xenagrosh to not hunt her down when she comes visiting me, Xenagrosh is still wary of her.
'I wonder if paranoia runs in the family or what.' The answer to Lith's question was the latter.
In the past, the Organization had tried to kill Salaark a few times, using her as a benchmark for the Master's research.
Also, by getting rid of the Guardian, the ensuing chaos would have let them free access to the countless resources of the Desert.
Salaark had yet to forget her clash with Pazuel and the death trap that the Organization had prepared for her.
She had been relentless in tracking them down and that was also the reason why before the war with the Undead Courts had started, the Master had steered clear from the Desert.
Now, however, the war offered him a perfect cover to move back and scapegoats in the case his operations were exposed.
'Do you want to come along' Lith asked via their mind link.
'Are you kidding me I wouldn't miss watching a white core in action for the world.
On top of that, this time we have a front-row seat on the show and a bodyguard.
I can't wait to see if the upgrade of the tower's power core has also enhanced the Eyes of Menadion.'
'Good point.' Lith thought.
One of the issues of Solus being constantly in her humanoid form was that they had never gotten the time or the opportunity to put her abilities to the test away from the mana geyser.
Lith used the Dimensional Mirror from the Mirror Hall to cover part the hundreds of kilometers that separated him from the extraction point with the tower's help and save mana, yet the result shocked him.
Fuck me sideways! This isn't a Steps anymore, this is a Warp Gate! The two of them said in unison.
The main difference between a dimensional corridor and a dimensional tunnel was the range.
Now that he had a deep violet core, Lith could cross over thirty kilometers (20 miles) with a single Warp Steps whereas a Gate could lead him from one corner of the Griffon Kingdom to another.
He tried to focus on his own house, hoping that the tower could already cover such a distance without the need of a receiver on the other side.
Alas, it didn't work out.
Too bad. Lith sighed.
I was hoping to not be so dependent anymore on the Gate in the barn, but this is still great news.
He shifted the dimensional tunnel's destination back to the pick up spot and reached it with one step.
The Gate shrunk behind him until it became the size of a pinhole, giving Solus barely the time to slip through in her liquid form before closing down.
She turned into her Eyes form, searching their surroundings for Xenagrosh.
'Xenagrash is not here yet.' Solus said.
'Big surprise.' Lith replied with a sneer.
'Without the Gate, it would have taken us a while to reach our destination even if we used Warp Steps non-stop.
On top of that, Xenagrosh can't afford to get here tired in the case she is ambushed.
'In her shoes, I'll cover the first part of the trip with dimensional magic, drink a few tonics, and then cover the last part by flight.'
What I meant is that we have a bit of us time, dummy!' After one last sweep of the area with all of her mystical senses, Solus assumed her arm protector form.
Or at least, what had been her arm protector form until a few days back.
Now she had gained enough mass to cover both of Lith's arms up to the shoulder blades.
The claws on the fingers could extend up to 30 centimeters (1 foot) and the spikes on the forearms could now extend as well.
The design of the protectors had become more elaborate, looking more like a proper artifact crafted by an artisan than a stone armor conjured with first magic.
Both gloves had a deep blue gemstone on the back of their hand.
The right glove also had one more gemstone on each of its knuckles and one more on its palm.
The left glove, however, had just a yellow and a red gemstone respectively on the knuckles of the index and the medium finger.
'Seven mana crystals' Lith stared in awe at the right glove.
'Does this mean that Menadion had engraved even a Spirit Crystal in her tower'
'That would have been idiotic.
Don't you remember what Faluel told us about Spirit Crystals Once you embed one in an artifact, no one but the original Forgemaster can use it, making it impossible to pass it down.' Solus replied.
'Also, this design is different from that of the Hands of Menadion that we gifted Faluel.
My theory is that I'm the seventh gemstone since I have my own life force.
In a way, our Hands have already surpassed my mother's.'
She was actually a bit disappointed due to the fact that even the right glove didn't have a perfect set of seven gemstones of different colors.
Aside from the blue, which represented her mana core, there were just a red, a yellow, two silver, and two orange crystals.
'The imbalance must be caused by my natural affinities being light and earth.
I've gained the other four only after bonding with you.' She sighed.
'Solus, did you really not notice it' The enthusiasm in Lith's voice stopped her brooding.
'I'm still wearing the Eyes of Menadion.' He said.
'By my Mom!' Only then did Solus realize that her conscience had been evenly split between the two artifacts.
She quickly shapeshifted the protectors into the Hands, sacrificing the defensive properties in exchange for the ability to fine control the world energy in their surroundings.
'You are right! Now I can keep two forms at the same time.
Gods, if only I knew what the Mouth and the Ears of Menadion do, I might be able to keep even three forms..' Solus said.