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2987 A Disciple’s Struggle (Part 1)

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2987 A Disciple’s Struggle (Part 1)

Xenagrosh and Bytra wore the second-best cloaking device, reducing their magical aura to a deep-red core and hiding their Eldritch aura. Lith wore one cloaking ring and Solus two, making them appear respectively as a cyan and a yellow core.

The five members of the Hand of Fate were invisible to mystical senses thanks to their Darwen-coated armor. That plus Unanna's Silencer device that enveloped everyone, canceling their footsteps and keeping their smell from spreading.

Maergron would have never noticed the intruders if not for the pressure they exerted on the ground as they walked. The ceiling of the tunnels was low and narrow, making it impossible to fly or float.

Due to the asperities on the ceiling and the irregular downward inclination of the tunnels, their sight would be limited to just a couple of meters forward, making the Awakened blind to any incoming threat.

The massive amounts of world energy running through the rock blinded Life Vision and Fire Vision couldn't see past dense rock. Xenagrosh had neither, moving with ease only thanks to her keen sense of smell and the experience of centuries.

Bytra needed someone sharing Fire Vision with her via a mind link to not stumble every other step and that someone was Lith. Solus felt that a telepathic connection was too intimate and didn't want to talk with Bytra unless strictly necessary.

Using a light spell would have been dangerous. It would have made them visible from a long distance while they would only see within the cone of light.

"Whoever the other four are, I bet they are not to be underestimated. The Council would never hire goons without a good reason. The real question is if these people are here for me or if they have stumbled into the Garden by chance and are exploring it.

"Only one way to know." He leaned back on the throne, letting the Ears fully connect with it and putting on hold the ongoing experiments.

Maergron would devote his full focus on the intruders until they had either gotten out of his house or joined his army.

***

"So far so good." Zoreth said to break the eerie silence of the tunnels. "Our mark uses this path often. His smell is so intense that it's impossible to miss."

Lith nodded as if he could confirm it whereas he still had trouble filtering the surrounding world energy from the Eyes' readings. He had managed to eliminate most of the white noise but there was still too much useless information.

The structure of the Garden was filled with random fluctuations and build-ups in the world energy that obstructed his vision. Whenever they appeared, the Eyes gave him a headache and broke his focus.

"Ryka?" Strider asked the Titania, the only one in the group capable of using Earth Vision.

"I'm sorry, boss, there's too much interference." The Hush spell kept sounds and vibrations from getting out, not in. "All I can tell you is that there's moss, the dripping of water, insects, and rodents.

"The echo in this place is strong and the flow of world energy makes things even worse." She showed her burned hands and feet. "I can't connect with the ground for more than a few seconds at a time so I can't focus on anything too distant or unclear.

"The good news is that our mark is on our same boat. It would take a miracle to make a permanent detection array work inside the Garden. The world energy messes up with all kinds of long-range signals."

'A miracle or the Ears of Menadion.' Solus thought as she and Lith shared one Monocle of Menadion each and were now able to pinpoint Maergron's energy signature in the distance. 'It took us quite some effort to adjust the settings and Pharek had centuries to get used to this place.

'I can't shake off the feeling that he chose the Garden of Mogar to tap into the Ears' true potential.'lightsnovel

'If only you could remember what they do, it would be peachy.' Lith replied.

The only good thing about that situation was that now they could establish a mind link whenever they wanted without holding hands or physical contact and no one would notice it anyway.

'I'm sorry if I have amnesia! I have almost died of starvation for centuries. What's Bytra's excuse?' She sneered, angry to share Lith's mind link with the Fourth Ruler of the Flames.

'Good question. Hey, Bytra, what do the Ears do?' Lith asked.

'I don't know, I'm sorry. Menadion was a control freak and would only grant her apprentices access to the pieces of Menadion Set that would make up for what she thought they lacked. In my case, the Fury since she said my technique was wanting.

'I've never used once the Eyes, the Hands, or the Mouth either for the duration of my entire apprenticeship. Being allowed to use one of Menadion's artifacts was considered a badge of honor and each piece of the set had its exclusive club.

'On the one hand, I'm glad Ripha was so secretive. Otherwise my old crazy self would have probably gone insane faster and done something even worse than she did. On the other hand, Menadion was a bitch.

'She made us compete for everything. She rewarded us with her attention and then rubbed her superiority in our faces. She always used the full set whereas an apprentice could consider himself lucky to have access to one piece of the set.

'Ripha was…'

Bytra bit her tongue, realizing how rude and ungrateful her words sounded.

'Please don't tell Solus I said that. I don't want her to think I'm trying to tarnish the memory of her mother to justify my actions.'

'My lips are sealed.' Lith replied and it was the truth.

His lips didn't move, it was his brain relaying the conversation in real time. Solus flushed in anger at those words, wanting to give Bytra a piece of her mind. Yet a little voice in her head reassured Solus that the Raiju was telling the truth.

A deep-seated annoyance from a past she couldn't remember made Solus nod in agreement before she could even notice her own reaction.

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'What else can you tell me about Menadion?' Lith baited Bytra, hoping to help Solus regain more fragments of her memory.

'She was the best person I've ever met. She was a great mentor, a caring friend, and the loving mother I've always wanted.' She and Solus inwardly sighed in relief. 'But once she stepped inside her Forge, Menadion disappeared and only the Forgemaster remained.

'She was cold, demanding, and whenever you made a breakthrough, she would point out the flaws in your technique instead of congratulating you.

'Every time I discovered something, she would pat me on the back and give me enough hints to understand it was nothing new for her and that I was just scratching the surface of the matter. It was infuriating.

'I know she did it to push me forward, but Ripha always made me feel inadequate.' Bytra said and Solus instinctively agreed. 'Just like keeping me from the other pieces of the Set made me feel like she didn't trust me. I'm a terrible person, I know.'