Chapter 285: Operating Room (Part 2)
I need food to evolve." Gadorf snarled.
"You really are an idiot." The Master sighed.
"Attack magical beasts and Evolved Monsters will kill you.
Attack humans and mages will do the same.
They are many while you are one.
Not a particularly brilliant one at that."
Gadorf growled, but didn't reply.
He had always picked on humans because he was scared of meeting Evolved Monsters.
The wyvern had always considered the humans as the weakest link, yet their fake mages had almost killed him several times.
The Master was a human and a fake mage, yet had single handedly defeated him.
Those words deeply wounded Gadorf's pride, yet their truth was undeniable.
"This lab costs money.
Giving you power cost me a lot of money.
This isn't a bard's tale where you get riches simply thanks to the writer's pen.
If you want your 'food' and get away with it, if you want your gold, you've got to earn it."
The Master taught him how to feed only on the weak and the poor, those whose disappearance would cause no alarm, if not call for celebration.
The Master also showed Gadorf how to alter his life force to assume a human form.
It was something called "Body Sculpting".
Last, but not least, the Master introduced him to the criminal underworld.
Someone like Gadorf, capable of opening illegal Warp Gates crossing hundreds of kilometers at once thanks to his arrays, of transporting people and contraband alike, was a money-making machine.
Drugs, fugitives, stolen goods, there was nothing Gadorf couldn't slip over the Griffon Kingdom's borders unnoticed.
Even some of the most powerful noble families used his services to get to safety their endangered members, like the ex-Headmistress of the Lightning Griffon Linnea or Archmage Lukart did.
Thanks to their support and protection, his criminal empire had grown over time.
The reports about his activities were constantly covered up or downplayed if hiding them was impossible.
Sometimes, leading figures of human society would use him to get rid of overzealous officers, like Captain Yerna, or to settle their grudges away from the Crown's eyes, like in Lith's case.
Yerna's execution was already scheduled, Lith's was just the icing on the cake.
An opportunity to kill two pests with one stone.
Gadorf needed food, they needed a killer, it was a win-win situation.
The wyvern gladly indulged in such favours.
He would get powerful mages to feed on, together with huge sums.
The only sour note was that half his profits ended in the Master's pockets, to fund their research.
'I would have already acquired a treasure worthy of a dragon, if not for that leech!' Gadorf hated sharing, but the Master kept him on a tight leash.
A single Eldritch was enough to chase him to the darkest corner of Mogar and put him down like a rabid dog.
While Gadorf was assessing his losses, watching his treasures boil and his priceless furniture turn to ashes, Lith was back at his peak condition.
'Where the heck are the reinforcements' He had no idea that those sent to their aid were of no threat to the wyvern, nor that they had been sent to the wrong address.
One hand washed the other, and both hands washed the face.
'Who's left' Among the smoke and flames, it was hard for Lith to see.
Thanks to air magic, breathing was not a problem instead.
'You, Red, the Captain, the Sergeant, and the only two orange cored members of the unit.
I suspect the wyvern did it on purpose.' Solus replied.
'No sh*t, Sherlock.
We must be his full course.
Time to go all out.' Lith actually had several attack plans, but none of his liking.
The wyvern was bigger and stronger than him.
Between the fire breath and the tail ending with a talon-like extremity, Lith was tempted to curse at the unfairness of the match.
'Could as well got a broom up his a*s, so he can sweep the floor and kick my butt at the same time.' Lith focused on Solus's ring, making it grow until it covered his whole right hand.
Now it looked like a stone gauntlet with a yellow gemstone shining at the center of the back of the hand.
Then, he used darkness magic to cancel his presence and fire magic to spread the smoke while making it thicker.
Thanks to Life, Vision Lith could easily see Gadorf through to smoke and circle around him waiting for the moment to strike.
The wyvern kept turning his head, sniffing the air in search of his prey.
The array hindered his mana perception.
Gadorf was sure to have left alive the right ones, but couldn't pinpoint their exact location.
He tried multiple times to extinguish the fires and clear up the smoke, but someone was opposing him.
'I could force my way through, but this could be some kind of trap.' The resistance he felt made keeping control over the burning environment a tug of war of willpower.
To prevail, Gadorf needed to focus.
Such a focus would diminish his awareness of the surroundings.
'Bah, I'm overthinking.
I have nothing to fear from some weak humans and unharmed kids.'
Lith felt his grasp over the smoke weakening and smiled for it.
'He is no Awakened, otherwise the smoke wouldn't hinder his senses.
Finally a piece of good news.'
The moment the air cleared, Lith struck.
He charged towards the wyvern's exposed back, his hands pulsing with electricity.
Gadorf had centuries of battle experience, as soon as he smelled traces of ozone in the air, he reacted boosting his reflexes with air fusion.
His tail lashed toward Lith with the bone stinger aimed at his shoulder.
The ritual required a living prey, not a healthy one after all.
Lith took out the Gatekeeper bastard sword at the last second, boosting himself with fire, air, and water fusion.
The sword's appearing took Gadorf by surprise, while Lith's movements brought complete shock to him.
They were too fast, leaving him no space do dodge.
Too strong, cutting through his scales, flesh, and bones like a hot knife does with butter.
Too fluid, allowing his arms to move up and down like a slithering snake, amputating one chunk of flesh after the other.
When Gadorf managed to pull the tail back, half of it was already painting the floor red.
"My tail! How Why" Had Lith cut it once, reattaching the two severed parts would have been a piece of cake.
Now the wyvern's only options were to collect and reattach the pieces one by one or regrow the tail.
The latter solution would leave Gadorf drained.
He didn't dare to leave himself more exposed to such a cruel sword.
"Why" Usually Lith wouldn't talk.
This time he knew his opponent was getting weaker by the second because of the blood spurting from the amputated extremity, while as long he was allowed to use Invigoration his energy was endless.
"Because this isn't a fight.
This is just another operating room..." He infused the Gatekeeper with darkness magic, slashing the chunks of tail again.
"…and I'm the healer." Lith taunted the wyvern with his sword, while the flesh rotted at a speed visible at the naked eye.
"Curse you!" Gadorf charged in outrage, his blood boiling from fury, his hatred taking physical form, engulfing him with an armor of living fire.
Red and the surviving members of the team couldn't believe their own eyes.
None of what was happening made any sense.
Yet Lith's next move surpassed it all.