Chapter 814 Laruel“s Secret Part 4
This place feels… wrong. Kalla shapeshifted into her human form.
She doubted the house could bear the weight of her Emperor Beast body without incurring in even more agony.
Also, keeping active the Float spell would divert focus that she preferred to employ to clear the mystery at hand.
I know nothing about plants\' life force, but still I\'ve got the feeling that the big guy has been turned inside-out.
Things get even worse downstairs. Friya said, causing a perfectly circular hole to open in front of her.
What about the stairs She asked, yet the house remained silent.
Friya jumped down the hole, using air and earth magic to soften her landing, quickly followed by the others.
\'Solus what the heck is the brown\' Lith asked, trying to make sense of the dense fog that Life Vision perceived in their surroundings.
\'Based on your memories, we\'ve met this only once in the past, but back then you weren\'t able to see it.
It\'s the mold.
Remember that even according to Earth\'s science, fungi are not plants.\'
\'So I\'m seeing spores\'
\'Nailed it in one.\' Solus modified Lith\'s sight to highlight all the mold patches that on a closer look were eating at the treehouse\'s roots.
\'I think we should get rid of them.
It will help the tree to recover.\'
\'I think not.
This is the city of plants, not of fungi, hence Erlik must have brought or engineered it on purpose.
Once we discover why Erlik wants to keep us away from here, we\'ll need the mold as evidence.\' Lith thought.
We need to be careful. Kalla said while looking Lith in the eyes.
I don\'t like this place nor the infestation.
Traps can have many forms based on their intended prey, so the enemy might have left something behind that would not bother plant folks but that might prove lethal for us mammals.
As for the mold, it\'s not supposed to be here.
Places like Laruel are intended to be a paradise for plants.
I would understand if it was a symbiote, but the fungus is clearly a parasite.
Lith had learned his lesson and used only one diagnostic ability at a time.
Life Vision confirmed to him that the treehouse\'s life force was even weaker underground, where the infestation was at its worst.
Invigoration continued to make him experience part of the living structure\'s distress, but whatever the tree was trying to communicate, Lith could only understand its screams of pain.
Last but not least, when he used Scanner again, he focused on a small area instead of trying to examine the whole place at once.
He chose a spot free from the mold, to avoid having interferences and because Kalla\'s words made his paranoia go full throttle.
The memory of the fungal creature from Kulah was still vivid.
Lith remembered how such creatures could move their consciousness at will, turning what looked like harmless patches of mold potential into the body of a powerful creature.
Until he had a clear understanding of Erlik\'s resources, Lith wouldn\'t underestimate the enemy.
Scanner showed Lith that the life force of the treehouse was like a river with countless tributaries.
Since studying a still point of such a dynamic phenomenon was pointless, he stopped focusing on the physical tree in front of himself and followed the life flow it generated instead.
It allowed Lith to understand that every single branch, every single leaf created its own flow, contributing to shape a powerful stream that coursed from the top of the tree to its deepest root.
\'Dammit, I\'m way out of my area of expertise.
Plants and animals are too different.
I need to speak with Quylla.\' Yet Lith didn\'t stop his work, hoping to find a lead for their suspicions.
Scanner was the only spell that he had in common with fake mages, so whatever he found, he would be able to share it with everyone.
Friya used a few of her personal diagnostic spells, but to no avail.
They simply were ineffective on a life form so different from those they were intended to.
Scanner was the only one that provided her with some data, but just like Lith, she had no idea how to interpret it.
Her hands ran down the bark, feeling the fluctuations in the tree\'s life force, allowing her to discover that it didn\'t become weaker near the patches of mold, it actually became stronger.
It made no sense, hence it piqued her curiosity.
Friya considered herself a dimensional mage, but she had never stopped honing her skills as a Healer.
Being the guild master, she always led the most difficult missions, and being the only one with a specialization, the life of her people depended on her.
After making sure that no one needed her assistance, Phloria used the Royal Forgemaster spell, Tinkering Soul.
It allowed her to pick up the lingering energy signatures that only powerful artifacts would leave after their prolonged use.
Silvery threads came out of her wand that slowly filled the air.
Then, they started to amass and compress, taking the ethereal shape of devices she had never seen before.
Most of them had been used too briefly to leave behind more than just a shadow, while others were so definite that she could almost see their runes.
Alas, their design was as alien as its users were.
Jiera\'s runes and Forgemastering techniques made no sense to her.
The only thing Phloria could determine from her spell was that several artifacts had been applied in-between patches of mold.
\'By the Great Mother, these kids are impressing.\' Kalla thought, almost regretting not having taken her time to attend the academy.
She wasn\'t much of a Healer, and now that Scarlett had left, she found herself envying the fake mages\' legacy.
\'I doubt I can find with light magic something that Scourge can\'t.
I\'d better focus on my Necromancy and see what we\'ve got.\' She activated her personal spell, Restless Echo.
It allowed a Necromancer to assess how badly the balance between the light and the darkness element had been upset, plus to gain insight of the kind of spell undead creatures might have used.
Much to her surprise, the place was pristine.
She couldn\'t even sense the traces of Erlik and his followers gorging on the tree\'s life force.
If not for the fact that both Lyta and the plant folk living in the neighborhood had pointed the place has the Draugr residence, she would have had a hard time believing it.
\'This doesn\'t make sense.
Down here not a single undead has been created, no major darkness spell has been cast, nor the tree has been used as a means to nourish the undead\'s blood cores.\' Kalla thought.
\'Then why is the life force at its weakest here What was the purpose of the devices that Phloria\'s spell shows if they weren\'t intended to spread Erlik\'s plague\'
She left the others to their investigation and cast Restless Echo on all three floors of the house.
To access to each one of them, a hole would simply open in the ceiling since plant folks had no need for stairs, they would just elongate their legs and reach their destination with a single step.
What Kalla found made her worry even more.
Despite the terrible state the building was in, not a single Necromancy spell had been employed.
On the contrary, the light element was dominant, making the lack of darkness energy part of the reason why the tree had troubles recovering.
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