2988 A Disciple’s Struggle (Part 2)

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2988 A Disciple’s Struggle (Part 2)

'No, you were a terrible person. There's a difference. Also, Menadion was a piece of work.' Lith replied, leaving both women flabbergasted. 'First, she drowned in her sorrow for Threin's death for so long that she alienated Elphyn.

'Then, she let her inner conflict between being a good mentor and hiding her secrets sour the relationship with her apprentices. It's no surprise that no one looked for her murderer, people only cared about her tower.

'Don't get me wrong, the old Bytra was a monster, but Menadion contributed to making it. Instead of giving her apprentices a taste of a power they could never obtain, she should have shown them solely what she was willing to share.

'The tower was already temptation enough. Revealing the Set of Menadion on top of that was like playing with fire. Rivalry and secrets can breed resentment that can fester for centuries due to the Awakened's lifespan.

'It was only a matter of time before she got burned.'

Bytra pondered his words but said nothing, fearing it would sound like self-absolving. Solus, instead, thought deeply about it and compared Menadion's teaching methods with Lith's.

Aran and Leria knew about the tower but not what it did or how hard it was to make one. Whenever Lith taught them something, he showed them both the harshness of the beginning and the prize waiting at the end of the journey.

Menadion, instead, let people believe they had reached the finishing line just to reveal it was just one stage and they still had a long way to go. It allowed her disciples to focus on the matter at hand but, at the same time, made their accomplishments feel hollow.

'I wonder if I ever got to use the full Set myself.' Solus pondered. 'I regained a lot of memories by holding the Fury but when we got the Eyes, the Hands, and the Mouth I felt nothing. Why did mother-'

"Watch out! Something small and smelly is incoming." Zoreth's warning snapped Solus out of her reverie.

"Can you be more specific?" Strider unsheathed his blades and started weaving a balanced set of spells.

"Yes. They're smaller than a fist and smell like garbage." The Shadow Dragon replied with a sneer. "It's pitch black and the echo messes with my hearing, dimwit."

Strider's Fire Vision couldn't see further than ten meters and his feline ears fared no better than Xenagrosh's. Even if a Rock Dragon was charging at them from below, he wouldn't be able to notice it until it was too late.

Of course, Leegaain's offspring had better things to do than chase small mice in narrow tunnels. What came at them was a cloud of bats flying so packed together that they appeared as a single huge creature to Fire Vision.

"We're dead! We're all dead!" The Zouwu said with mock terror while putting the swords back into their scabbards.

The group exuded a powerful killing intent, enough to drive any wild animal away and give them a stroke were they to dare come too close. Yet the bats seemed to not even notice the blue-violet luminescence and kept charging at the intruders.

Lith kept his guard up and his paranoia rampant as the Eyes scanned the opponents.

'Deep red core, negligible life force, no enchantments.' He furrowed his brows while reading the report. 'Then how can they resist this pressure? Zoreth managed to stop the Hand of Fate with her Dragon Fear.'

Only Solus and Bytra shared his thoughts and with them his doubts. The rest of the group fired first magic spells at the bats. They were mostly wind blades and ice spikes, but more than enough to decimate them.

The flying critters fell like flies but the survivors relentlessly charged forward as if in a frenzy.lightsnovel

"Maybe they are running away from something." Xenagrosh used tier zero Chaos Magic to shoot energy bullets that opened deep holes in the living cloud. "Something so scary that they have lost their minds."

"Scarier than an Eldritch Dragon?" Strider said, finding her theory to be unlikely.

"Point taken but what's the alternative? What threat do they pose to us? If there's a mastermind behind this 'attack', what's their goal?" She asked and no one knew what to answer.

The whole situation made no sense. The bats died long before reaching the group, their mangled forms welcomed by the little insects and scavengers scurrying the cavern's floor in search of their next meal.

The group resumed its advance without Zoreth's nose or the Eyes spotting any more nearby threats. They had taken just a few steps forward when it happened.

"Ouch!" Ryka was in the middle of the formation and at the center of the remains of the clouds of bats. "Something bit me!"

The small corpses emitted a blood-curdling screech as they writhed in undeath. The red light from their small eyes made the corridor look even bloodier than it was. The undead bats jumped on their surrounded prey from every side.

They clawed, bit, and scratched with a nonsensical strength for their size. One undead bat would have been nothing to the powerful Awakened and their equipment but there were hundreds of them.

'This doesn't make sense.' Xenagrosh and everyone else thought. 'Necromancy spells need you to be close to a corpse and know its exact position. There's no one else but us here and our enemy had no way to know where the bats would fall dead.'

Lith too couldn't believe his eyes, but he trusted Menadion's.

The artifact showed him that the energy signature of the spell animating the undead was the same as the man they were after. The Eyes couldn't explain to him how Maergron used magic from kilometers away, only that he did.

And that wasn't even the worst part about the readings.

"Don't underestimate them! The Garden gives them strength!" His words were as unbelievable as long-distance Necromancy but reality brooked no argument.

The undead bats were hurting everyone despite their magical equipment, even Xenagrosh. Their little teeth pierced through metal and flesh alike and their claws shaved Adamant like it was wood.

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In such an enclosed space, using powerful magic was bound to hit your teammates and even violence wasn't an option. A single wide swing from Lith, Solus, or Zoreth would kill dozens of bats and anyone unlucky enough to be on its path.

"Everyone, hold position and don't use magic!" Strider said as his body disappeared in a bolt of living lightning.

His twin blades moved in a blur, turning the air around him in a high-speed moving blender. Lith could see through the Eyes the secret of the Zouwu's speed and the difference between his bloodline ability and Bytra's.

The Raiju used her connection with the air element to give the ground an opposite charge to her own and make her gallop speed as fast as a maglev train. It brought the attrition with the ground to zero and used the repulsive effect to keep accelerating as long as she increased the current.

To use such technique, however, she needed space of manoeuvre and the time to build up her acceleration and set the charges along her future path.

Strider, instead, didn't run. He performed short dashes by supercharging himself, his starting and arrival point.