Chapter 1879: Only Idiots Never Share (part 1)
The secret lab had been built above a mana geyser, ensuring Jirnis research team all the power they needed to fuel the cloaking arrays that their job required.
Vastor couldnt step inside the Desert without the risk of Salaark or her nest hunting him down while Balkor had the same problem with the Kingdom.
Despite his years of inactivity, he was still the most wanted criminal.
Lith had recently joined the list and even though he could move freely throughout Garlen thanks to the Tower Warp, he had no intention of letting anyone discover his secret.
Orion was in theory the only honest man there, but just being in the same room with two traitors without attempting to arrest them made the Commander of the Knight Guard guilty of high treason.
None of them could expose the others without implicating themself.
It was the principle behind their mutual trust.
It was also the reason that made them all furrow their brows at the presence of an unknown member.
Jirni had told them that Lith would have brought someone along, but they had expected Tista or a powerful mage worthy of his trust.
Not a petite and pretty young woman of unknown origin.
“Im glad to see that you are alright, Lith.” Orion said, shaking his hand and patting his shoulder.
“Hows Raaz His wounds looked terrible in the broadcast.”
“His body is as good as new but his mind is still trapped in the torture room.” Lith replied with a sigh.
He noticed that Orion was worried about Raaz and the bad news only made it more awkward to ask Lith for an explanation about the stranger in the room.
“Lith, my boy, you are free to date whoever you want but you shouldnt bring your girlfriend along when you meet your fellow conspirators in a secret location.” Vastor said and the others nodded.
“Solus isnt my girlfriend, she is my partner.” Lith shook his head.
“Weve known each other for years and she studied under Salaark.
Shes an amazing mage and a great Forgemaster.
Also, shes an Awakened.”
He knew from Quylla that now the entire Royal Court was aware of the existence of the Awakened Council, Orion included.
Vastor was an Awakened as well while Balkor was one of Salaarks Feathers.
There was no harm in mixing lies with that truth.
“Salaark” Lith could hear a tinge of fear in Vastors voice.
“Dont worry, Ive shared with her not only what I know about you, but even my own research.
I trust her with my life.” Lith said.
“Thats more than enough for me.” Vastor sighed in relief.
“I knew that she couldnt be just a pretty face if you brought her with you even at my wedding.
I have a Yggdrasill staff as well.” Solus smiled as she pointed at her pendant.
Thanks to the Sage Staff and the mana geyser, she would be able to keep her human form indefinitely.
Even though she didnt like Vastor much for taking in Bytra and Balkor for the horrors he had perpetrated, she was excited like a schoolgirl.
She could finally work together with the most powerful mages of the Kingdom without the need for Lith to act as her proxy and take credit for her ideas.
Solus felt butterflies in her stomach and brain as she remembered Ripha introducing her to the second and the third Ruler of the Flames.
Then Solus remembered the day she had met the fourth, and her smile disappeared.
“No offense, lass, but you look quite weak for an Awakened your age.” Vastor knew that looks didnt matter and could clearly feel that Solus core was deep blue.
The laboratory was perfectly insulated from the mana geyser below to not interfere with the energy of the spells that the researchers used during their work.
It also allowed Awakened to use Life Vision and Solus to use mana sense.
Vastor, Balkor, and Orion, however, were veterans who needed nothing but their instinct to gauge someones prowess.
The mana pressure that Solus exuded was the weakest among them, making her look like a fountain amid raging rivers.
“Its because I Awakened recently.” Solus blushed in embarrassment.
“But I can guarantee you that I make up for my lack of magical prowess with my technique and deep knowledge of Forgemastering.”
She was also a terrible liar.
They could all tell that she was hiding something.
Practicing Forgemastery at a high level was impossible without a power to match, yet she claimed to have somehow overcome the issue.
Yet they were all conspirators so having secrets was the norm.
Lith and Jirni had vouched for Solus and that was more than enough for the three Archmages.
“I can guarantee you that her technical skill is even superior to mine.” Lith said, leaving them all with their mouths hanging.
His fame had reached even the Desert and Balkor had always been curious about his talent.
Now, however, fate brought to him not one, but two geniuses.
“Also, if we have to argue about sheer magical power, Im inferior to the rest of you as well and I may be stuck like this forever.” Lith lowered his gaze in embarrassment for his own weakness.
“What do you mean forever” Even Orion now knew how Awakening worked.
“People like you are supposed to become as strong as Manohar with time.
I mean in terms of pure strength, not skill.”
“What you say is true for regular Awakened, but Im different.” Lith shapeshifted into his Tiamat form and the three gods of the Kingdom unconsciously took a step back.
“When I reached adulthood, I also became like this.
A new race.
“Along with the powers of a Divine Beast, I also got limits that I seem to be incapable of overcoming.
What you see now might be my apex.
I already peaked and everything might be downhill from here.” He said with a sigh.
Vastor could feel Liths deep violet core turning light violet for a split second and then go back to a weaker state.
It was akin to a simple dance, one step forward and one back, performed over and over.
With each cycle, the mana core emitted a pulse that to the Masters Abomination senses felt like a scream.
Yet where Xenagroshs core radiated envy and Kigans fury, Liths core sounded sad.
The grieving voice of someone who had lost everything.
“We both will help you to the best of our abilities, but our main contribution will be theoretical.
Theres nothing we can Forgemaster that you guys cant do better.” Lith said.
‘At least not without the tower. He inwardly added.
“Dont worry, Lith.
After losing Manohar, brains are what we need the most.
His analysis skills and creativity were the best among us.
Without him, our research is slumped.” Orion said while patting his back.
“What exactly is your research about Jirni refused to give me any details until you accepted us in your ranks.” Lith asked.
“We are devoted to resolving a very ancient and difficult conundrum that so far only Tyris, the First Queen, ever managed to crack.” Orion handed Lith one of the pseudo cubes, but he had already studied them in secret with no result.
“And what would that be” He asked.
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