No one wanted to believe their own eyes, but reality was a cruel mistress and couldn\'t care less for their wishes.
Thrud had used her tier five Crystal Griffon spell to encase herself in a thick layer of ice which she had constantly regenerated to protect herself from the Raging Sun spell.
Dark Star and Death Zone had messed up her plan, but her artifacts had managed to keep her alive so that her White Griffon spell was now bringing her body back to its peak condition.
\'She has depleted about half of her life force and mana flow.\' Solus hoped that, by giving Lith a steady flow of information, he could find a way out of that nightmare.
It was the only thought that kept the fear that was gripping her heart at bay.
Lith was honored by her trust, but no matter how many scenarios his brain managed to play, they all ended up in defeat.
\'It\'s not the first time I face a superior opponent, but I always managed to exploit my advantages to came out victorious.
Against Nalear I had allies.
Against Treius and his cursed object, I used their parasitic nature against them.
\'Thrud is perfect.
No visible weakness aside her ego and she hasn\'t activated her vortex even once.
How long does it take to bring that damn barrier downr\' Lith cursed while running more and more simulations with Solus\'s help.
Both Solus\'s mana sense and Kilian\'s Third Eye revealed how close the array surrounding The Mad Queen\'s hideout was to crumble.
Alas, close only works if someone is playing bowls or throwing a grenade.
As long as the barrier prevented them from escaping, they were still in deadly danger.
You have exceeded all of my expectations, Manohar.
It was worth taking my time to put your abilities to test.
\'Was this just a game to her\' Everyone but Manohar thought in unison.
Soon I\'m going to take back my throne and once it happens, a Queen needs a King.
Who better than the god of healing to stand beside a goddess Now your title is just empty air, but my machine can make you stronger, younger, even make you handsome.
It can turn you into a true god like my father was.
At those words, Manohar\'s eyes went wide with rage.
Join me, and together we will rule the Griffon Kingdom forever.
Refuse, and I\'ll kill you where you stand along with your useless companions.
What\'s your answer The barrier protecting the outpost was one of her creations.
She knew she had not much time left and her brave façade hid the harshness of reality.
Thrud Griffon hadn\'t expected to be found out.
Her hideout contained everything she held precious, all the treasures she had accumulated over time as well as the precious mementos from her long lost family.
There were no Carpenters with her because they were storing everything inside dimensional items.
The Mad Queen believed she could easily escape, but she couldn\'t afford to lose centuries of hard work and research.
She had actually gone all out from the beginning of the fight and her inability to take out even a single enemy annoyed her greatly.
Now that her puppies were almost done collecting her things, she wanted to give Manohar a last chance.
Despite his horrible character and not being easy on the eyes, he was the most outstanding man she had ever met.
He was barely over thirty, yet he had achieved a knowledge that surpassed her own, and a magic power that had allowed him to survive in a fight against her.
There was so much they could teach each other.
Their offspring would be peerless and their rule eternal.
\'Killing him alongside the magicless wench, the arrogant farm boy, the old pig, and whats-his-face would be a waste.\' She thought.
Rejected! Manohar replied with a wave of his hand.
This world is already boring as it is, the idea of living forever is my worst nightmare.
Immortality is for losers that can\'t achieve anything without luck, just like you.
Centuries of life and for what A shallow understanding of magic A slightly better version of daddy\'s Madness Don\'t get me started about that stuff. He pointed at Arthan\'s Sword and Armor.
Once again you just copied someone else\'s work, there\'s no shred of originality in everything you do or say.
If you are a goddess, then you\'re the goddess of mediocrity and I\'d rather die than put up with your stupidity for even one day!
Manohar\'s words hurt Lith, Vastor, and Kilian as much as they did Thrud.
None of them was a genius, their achievements were all based on hard work and relentless practice.
In their eyes, Thrud\'s creations were dreadful but great at the same time.
Even Balkor, a genius on par with the Mad Professor had accomplished much less.
Whenever Balkor needed an array or a magical item, he had to study and realize it by himself, whereas Manohar had unlimited funds and plenty of experts who took care of minor details of his research,
So be it. Thrud still couldn\'t believe Manohar being a fake mage like her, so she Blinked close enough to hit with one of her spells while keeping a distance that would allow her to react against incoming attacks.
She had battled Awakened in the past and learned the hard way that they could predict a Warp\'s exit point.
Her plan was brilliant, but it failed to bait the real Awakened due to her defenses being too good.
Lith couldn\'t harm her with his blade, so Blinking behind her was pointless, nor he could take her out with a single spell.
He Warped away like the others, simply choosing a random spot to buy some more time.
Are you really just a man Thrud yelled in outrage.
Her pride refused to accept that life could be that unfair.
Manohar\'s mockery made all of her sacrifices and suffering appear meaningless.
\'Killing him is not enough.
I\'m going to break him first!\' She thought as she Blinked again.
The Mad Queen appeared behind the man she hated the most after Manohar.
She would keep him for last.
Kilian was the one who had removed the seal on dimensional magic, depriving her of victory when it was within her grasp.
If it wasn\'t for him, they would be already dead.
If it wasn\'t for him, she could have activated any of the deadly arrays surrounding the throne room and killed them all in a snap.
Yet while he was hiding, Kilian had isolated the room with an array of his own.
He had ruined everything for her, and Thrud returned the favor.
Her sword went straight through his right shoulder blade, piercing his lung in the process.
The Captain fell onto the ground, drowning in his own blood.
The blinding agony he experienced made him wish for death, but Thrud\'s had planned otherwise.
Next, she went for Vastor.
The old Professor\'s body was battered after using so many high level spells and being ravaged by the Black Griffon.
His years of experience could nothing against age.
His mind was ready to Blink, but his tired hands failed him.
Arthan\'s Blade opened a deep wound that went from his left shoulder to his right hip, revealing both the white of the bones and the pink of the intestines coming out of his large belly.
You can save yourself or you can save them, but you can\'t do both.
Today you\'re going to lose, Manohar.
First I\'ll take your pride and then your life as well.