Chapter 1951: Bait And Switch (part 1)
Theseus felt a sense of kinship toward Bytra.
He had found someone who was exactly like him, who could truly understand what he was going through.
He was about to ask the Riaju if she suffered from blood madness as well when she turned toward Dolgus, shaking her head.
“Please, I dont deserve your apologies nor your praise.” Bytra said, leaving both men confused.
“Ever since I gained the full memories of my original, I inherited not only the burden of her crimes, but also her greatness.
“Korgh was a genius who let her envy and ambition consume her until they turned her into a monster.
What she did was terrible and she gained a lot from it.
I cant undo her actions more than I can forget the source of the knowledge she bestowed upon me.
“For most of my short life, I suffered from fits of blood madness because every time I put Korghs knowledge into practice, I was also reminded of how she had gained it and the suffering she had caused.
“Only after meeting Solus and accepting my responsibilities as Korghs heir did I finally find peace.
Im not doing this because Im a hero, but because its the right thing to do.
“If I just enjoyed the fruits of Korghs crimes without even trying to make amends to her victims, I would be no better than her, and I would deserve your fury.”
You are guiltless.
The crimes of your biological mother cannot fall upon you.
You had no choice in the matters you blame yourself for.” The Griffon replied.
“No, shes right.” Theseus stood up, walking in front of Solus.
“All of you gained your powers through hard work and sacrifice.
Its your achievement, something you deserve and can be proud of.
“People like us, instead, have been granted powers that came at the expense of innocents.
In a way, Bytra and I are Forbidden Magic come to life.
We took our knowledge from our Originals who in turn took it from whoever was unlucky enough to cross their path.
“Just using their powers for our sake would be egotistical.
As Bytra said, we must try to make amends for our past crimes.
This guilt we feel is what makes us truly different from our Originals.”
He took Solus face between his hands, applying Body Sculpting to her.
The changes were minimal.
The shape of her eyes became a little sharper, her mouth fuller, and her hairline advanced a little.
Once he was done, she had become identical to the young Elphyn Menadion in Threins paintings, with all the artistic liberties that Solus father had taken in depicting her daughter as he saw her.
“Fuck me sideways.
If I didnt see the before and after, I would never recognize you, Solus.” Lith said.
“Thanks.” Theseus replied.
“This way, even if things with the Verendi Council go south, you can always go back to your old life, Elphyn.
Everyone will go looking for a painting that came to life.”
“This is amazing!” Solus watched at her reflection in a mirror of ice she had conjured.
“Its still me yet at the same time Im not.
How did you do that”
“Paquut, my original, was an artist as well, but he used people instead of canvas for his works.” Theseus lowered his gaze in shame.
“He turned his victims into flesh puppets and then enjoyed their agonizing moans as they starved to death.
“I know things about Body Sculpting that give me nightmares.
From how to fix a defective life force to how to make a human statue last for months by forcing their body to cannibalize itself, shrinking over time like a candle.”
“Do you know how to fix cracked life forces as well” Lith asked, barely containing his excitement.”No, thats beyond anyone but a Guardian.
A defective life force is still whole whereas a broken one loses pieces that cannot be replaced without Forbidden Magic.
Believe me, Paquut tried.” Theseus replied.
“He cracked peoples life force on purpose, just to put them together.
Flesh puzzles, he called them.
He never completed one.”
“Thank you anyway.” Lith offered Theseus his hand who shook it.
“Knowing it still takes a burden off my chest.
Also, I wont forget what you did for Solus.
I owe you one.”
Bytra and Theseus spent the following hours sharing their respective past and their techniques to keep the blood madness in check.
The Raiju didnt need them anymore and was happy to help someone like her.
Dolgus, Zoreth, Solus, and Lith, instead, discussed their strategy.
They could more or less guess what the Councils reply would be.
They decided to keep their cards close to the vest and reveal them only if necessary.
Rather than making feel the opponent pressured from every side and making them take an aggressive stance, it was better to apply pressure in waves.
To breach their defenses one at a time so that they would be cornered without noticing until it was too late.
It was almost evening when the concierge announced they had a visitor.
Bytra thanked Zyma and tipped her, making the concierge thank the gods for the lateness of the shift change.
Without expecting a reply from either the Shadow Dragon or Zyma, a young-looking woman walked through the door.
She marched along the tables keeping her back as straight as an arrow, exuding an aura of confidence.
She was about 1.80 (511) meters tall, with dark brown skin and eyes.
She was dressed in black and gold, with her long hair arranged in small tresses that sparked under the light due to its silver and yellow streaks.
She had full lips and a stunning figure but for Awakened standards, she was barely an adult.
She couldnt be more than 100 years old and had yet to reach the violet core.
Lith could see with Life Vision her bright blue core and the vortexes that didnt show any sign of developing into auxiliary cores.
Either she had reached the bright blue recently or her mentor didnt plan to teach her the secret of the violet core until she was chosen as their heir.
“My name is Tryssa Mabati, apprentice of the plant Council representative Senara the Firbolg.” She didnt give them a bow nor treated them with any courtesy.
“Ive come here only because your farce piqued my masters curiosity, Shadow Dragon.
“Neither she nor the Council fear you.” She kept standing even after being offered a seat, to keep looking down on the troublemakers.
She considered the matter a waste of her time and was eager to leave as soon as it was dealt with.
“You should better fear me, runt.
You have no idea of my powers.” Zoreth stood up, feigning outrage while she was inwardly smiling.
“We actually do.
You are not the first Divine Beast that lets their ego go to their head and you are not going to be the last.” Tryssa sighed, with the same tone an adult would use while addressing a child not too bright.
“No matter what you do, you are not a threat.
“The Council is older than your forefather and we know how to deal with your kind.
Try to spread your so-called “Dragon Magic” and well know before you have Awakened a single human.
“Then, well end you and whoever even dared to speak with you.
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