Kilian cast the tier five Warden spell Disarray.
His will overrode the commands programmed in the magical formations, twisting the energies coursing through them into chaos and turning their mana flow against itself until their structure collapsed.
When he was finished, the Gate\'s edges had already started flickering.
The team managed to cross it before it disappeared, while the Captain used his Third Eye to scan their surroundings for more traps.
Lith noticed that Kilian\'s spell was able to reveal all kinds of enchantments.
Under his gaze, the equipment of his teammates glowed, even Solus, and so did the doors along the stone corridor.
No more arrays in sight and Manohar is not here.
Let\'s move before our Mad Queen sends her thralls to kill us. Jirni signaled Kilian to take point, following him closely.
There was a wall right behind the Gate\'s exit point, so they could only move forward.
Lith immediately understood what she meant.
To be able to pull the giant hologram stunt, the Professor must had escaped from his captor.
There was no trace of battle along the corridor and the doors were intact.
Thrud Griffon knew of the incoming attack, she wouldn\'t waste time repairing her base.
She would either run away or prepare for battle, and since her arrays were still functional, the latter was the most likely scenario.
No one would be so foolish to leave behind the rare and expensive mana crystals needed to fuel them.
\'I don\'t like this place.\' Solus thought.
\'It\'s built over a mana geyser.
If our enemy knows how to harness its power, there\'s no limit to the mana at her disposal.
Even most of the furniture inside the rooms is enchanted.\'
\'What do you see\' Lith moved to the rear guard, to be able to use Life Vision without the others noticing his glowing eyes.
\'The first part of the corridor was a storehouse, while all these doors lead to labs for different specializations.
This woman must be an eclectic genius.\'
\'Or maybe she just had a lot of time to learn.
What about Manohar\'
\'Sorry, I have no idea.
Between the arrays, the labs, and whatever there is on the other floors, it\'s like looking into the Sun.\' Lith tried to use Life Vision, only to be blinded by the sensory overload.
The silver lining was that among all that white, he had caught a glimpse of red wind living beings emitted coming from below and a sea of it coming from above.
His problem was how to share the information with the others.
I was glad to hear you found someone after joining the army. Vastor blabbered again, making Lith inwardly gripe.
You know, he brooded for a whole year after your daughter broke up with him.
Really Jirni was really interested in the matter.
It took some effort to convince him to get back in the game.
Him getting turned down multiple times didn\'t make things easier.
He kept hitting on the staff instead of the students and… Luckily for Lith, the corridor wasn\'t that long.
They found a flight of stairs leading to the upper and the lower floors.
I think we should go down. Lith was eager to change the topic.
Prisons are usually built on the lowest level, to make it harder to break out.
Jirni inwardly laughed at his efforts.
Knowing Vastor, it wouldn\'t take him long to start talking again on his own, giving her plausible deniability.
Oh gods! Kilian cursed as he saw that there were arrays on the floor, the ceiling, and the walls.
I\'ll exhaust my mana way before we reach the next floor if I\'m forced to disable every trap we met.
Kids these days. Vastor snickered.
I\'ll show you how it\'s done.
While Kilian\'s Third Eye revealed the magic circles\' lines of power, Vastor struck them with darkness magic.
His ability in using simple first magic to disrupt their critical nodes with surgical precision amazed Solus.
\'I can see them thanks to mana sense.
How can he do it\'
Kilian shared her feelings.
His mouth was almost touching the floor in surprise.
Arrays are just like Forgemastering.
You can\'t afford the privilege of getting old in the Queen\'s corps if you don\'t learn a thing or two about them. He answered to the Captain\'s silent question while shrugging.
Both Lith and Solus learned a lot during their descent to the lower level.
Vastor disabled every array they met by expending a negligible amount of mana.
Not only did he always strike at the right spot, but he also adjusted the strength of his spell at every node.
His method destabilized the arrays without triggering them nor leaving any trace of their passage.
Then, a sudden smell of ozone and death put everyone on alert.
The heavily enchanted metal door in front of them was intact, but all of them recognized the stench of rotten flesh mixed with enough static to make the hair on their necks stand up.
They were signs of a big fight.
This is odd. Vastor said after Third Eye assured them there were no more arrays.
Why haven\'t we met any resistance And why Manohar didn\'t open this door This smells like a trap.
\'What the heck does he mean\' Lith thought.
\'According to Solus\'s mana sense, the pseudo core of that thing is quite complicated.
Its aura protects even the walls.
Forcing it open, even with magic, would have disastrous consequences.
I could do it with Invigoration, but…\'
Stay back! Vastor said as he cast the tier four Forgemaster spell Clean Slate, which generated a combined pulse of light and darkness magic.
It temporarily short circuited the imprint on the door and released its lock.
How did you do that Lith couldn\'t believe his own eyes.
During his fourth year at the academy, he had spent months learning how to open Hatorne\'s boxes.
It\'s a secret spell, I can\'t teach it to you.
Just know we are lucky there was no self destruct spell, or this thing would have blown up in our face.
Vastor didn\'t cross the threshold, not even when Third Eye confirmed there was no danger ahead.
The door led to another long stone corridor which was lighted by magical stones hung along the walls.
The cells on the right side had bars, allowing Lith\'s group to see that most of them were occupied.
The people inside looked clean and well-fed, but there was no life in their eyes.
They just stood with a blank stare, uncaring for the bloody mess in front of them.
The cells on the left side all had solid metal doors and what reminded Lith an air conditioning system on the outside.
They were all closed but one.
In front of it, there was a huge hole in the ground and what seemed like the set of a slasher flick.
The area was littered with blood spatters, various body parts, and enough corpses to make it almost impossible to see the floor.
Manohar, are you in there Jirni yelled.
Finally! Replied a familiar, petulant voice coming from behind the opened cell.
Stay away from the door.
I\'ll be there in a second.
Lith and Jirni kept a close eye on the prisoners.
They were all potential Carpenters, allowing the enemy to watch and listen to everything they did.
Keep casting. Jirni ordered the mages.
Something is off.