Soon fatigue trampled over the renewed enthusiasm from reaching their destination.
The Professors had come prepared, they had all the necessary to set up a few defensive arrays before going to sleep.
I don\'t know how long we\'ll stay here, but we can\'t allow depression to dull our wits.
Give me a few minutes. Professor Yondra said.
After a while, the cave was lit by a sphere of light that resembled a small sun, positioned in the middle of the ceiling.
The array provided both light and warmth, even giving the ceiling a blue color.
A second array made the air fresher, ridding it of the excess humidity.
Despite their simple effects, the two combined arrays made wonders to lift the morale of the expedition.
The Solar Cycle array will reproduce the solar phases, including sunset. Yondra explained while checking her pocket watch.
This way we can recover our normal sleep cycle and have an artificial night with an artificial moon that will provide us light.
Morok had already sealed the path behind them, so Phloria\'s soldiers could now guard the natural corridors without worrying that anyone could escape.
Without Ranger Eari there was no way out and the cave offered no privacy.
The group expanded the building Morok had previously created and split it into separate spaces for men and women.
Once the camp was set, a hot meal consumed around a fire gave everyone the energy they needed to resume their task with optimism.
Now the members of the expedition didn\'t feel lost anymore.
They had a purpose, a roof, and light to guide their way.
While Lith searched the stone door for a way in, he noticed that Phloria and Quylla had joined the rest of the team.
Both of them had what looked like a thin wand made of silver that resembled a conductor\'s baton.
They would strike with it at any unusual rock or apparently out of place detail they found.
Each time the wand hit, it would produce a ding, but nothing else.
Since Forgemaster Professors like Yondra had a similar tool, Lith felt compelled to ask:
Quylla, what is that thing
A Royal Forgemaster tool.
If you cast the proper incantation, it forces an enchanted item to reveal its nature. She explained.
It can tell you what a spell does Lith was as shocked as his voice sounded.
No, silly. She laughed.
It just reveals the magical nature of an otherwise seemingly normal item.
Then it\'s up to the Forgemaster to study it.
We\'re looking for some kind of enchanted secret compartment.
Since when the two of you are Forgemasters Lith asked.
I started to practice it seriously after- you know, I killed Yurial.
I spent the entire year I was cooped up home learning the basics.
It helped me a lot to keep my head clear. Her voice was sad but firm.
Quylla had come to terms with the actions the slave ring had forced her to commit, but that couldn\'t erase the guilt she felt for the death of one of her best friends.
I, instead, started as soon as I finished my boot camp. Phloria was eager to change the topic, she didn\'t want to let Quylla dwelling too long on such bad memories.
I couldn\'t stand my men having poor equipment because there\'s never enough budget.
Plus I always wanted to follow my father\'s footsteps.
Once I got rid of grades, I could finally take my time and learn things at my own pace.
Why have I never heard of such a tool Lith was kind of envious.
He didn\'t need it, but it would have made it much easier for him to justify his findings with Life Vision.
Also, if he had Orion\'s teachings and resources, the sky would be the only limit for his true Forgemastery.
\'You can always dump Kamila and marry Phloria, if she\'s okay with it.\' Solus sneered.
\'Sorry, you are right.
I should stop thinking with my wallet.\' Lith replied.
Because it\'s a secret of the trade. Yondra said.
Only Royal Forgemasters know how to craft one and only they can entrust one to someone else.
Doing that puts in danger their own title and status.
It\'s part of the legacy of Valeron Griffon, the first King.
Are you perchance interested in my offer now
Lith was about to give her a polite but firm hard pass when his nose caught an unfamiliar scent.
Now that the air was clear, his perceptions were back to their full efficiency.
What\'s that noise Morok said putting everyone on the alert.
\'How the heck did he hear something above our voices\' Lith thought while running toward the entrance and activating Life Vision.
The previously empty tunnels were now filled with unknown creatures.
They triggered all the alarms the two Rangers had set along the way before finally coming into the light.
It was a group of magical beasts with the appearance of humanoid crabs, who stood over two meters (6\'7) tall.
There was no head above their shoulders, just a pair of stalks ending with eyes that moved independently, allowing them to have a 360-degree sight.
Their bodies were covered with a thick and pale white chitinous exoskeleton that made them look like stone colossuses come to life.
They had huge pincers instead of hands, big enough that they could easily chop a bull\'s head off.
They had no equipment, but between their bulky size and their bright green mana cores, Lith could tell that they probably didn\'t need it.
The soldiers stuck at the creatures with their blades, but they were easily repelled by the exoskeletons without leaving a scratch.
Then, the soldiers activated the spells imbued in their magical rings, unleashing lightning bolts against the magical beasts while seeking the protection of the array.
The electricity slipped over the humanoid crabs like rain on a window, inflicting no damage.
Using fire magic was too risky inside caves.
The air was thin and the only fresh oxygen was that provided by the ever-present moss.
Fire might made the cave inhabitable or destroy the moss needed for the group\'s survival.
Hence the well-trained soldiers used earth magic to conjure a barrage of earth spikes to crush open the exoskeletons or at least pin the creatures against the walls long enough for the Professors to prepare a powerful spell that would finish them in one fell swoop.
Unfortunately, the creatures only needed a wave of their pincer-hands to overpower the control of the soldiers over the spikes and threw them against the barrier.
The crab beings were smart enough to aim for someone who wasn\'t the one who had cast the spell, so that they could actually hurt them.
Don\'t waste your spells! Dinner here is called Tak.
Their only weak points are the joints and the eyes! Morok said.
One of his twin short swords pierced into the midriff of the Tak in front of him, hitting its white cartilage with surgical precision despite it being almost indistinguishable from the same colored exoskeleton.
The creature tried to crush the Ranger with its pincers, but Morok stepped back, taking out the blade from the open wound as a trickle of blue blood came out of it.
He also hit the creature with a palm strike, apparently using the momentum of the hit to propel himself backward faster.
Right after the dodge, a thud could be heard and smoke came out of all the joints of the Tek as it collapsed to the ground, making them visible.