Supreme Magus - Chapter 678 Body Modification Center Part 2
The Professors kept their composure and managed to avoid chuckling at the expense of their comrades. Ranger Eari was much funnier to those who weren’t the targets of his rude, inappropriate remarks.
Lith was getting tired of his shenanigans, but being Morok one of the only three people in the entire expedition capable of holding their ground in a hand to hand fight, he soldiered on.
Phloria was used to inappropriate comments since she had joined the army. Every time someone got close to her, people would spread rumors about her alleged affairs.
“Insubordination and slander of a superior officer might not get you court-martialled, but I’m sure that my disciplinary notes will impact the amount of money you will receive for your retirement as well as this mission.” She said while adding the episode to her report.
“I’m sorry, Captain. I was just joking.” Morok inwardly cursed at himself for his stupidity. Rangers had a great amount of freedom, but the army was very strict about respecting the ranks.
“I’m sorry too. I wish I could kick your ass, but I need you alive. Yet. Now, unless you want to overhear state secrets that could compromise our mission and put your life at stake, I suggest you shut up.”
Just because such comments were common, it didn’t make them less annoying nor hurtful. With her perfect record, those who were envious of Phloria could only badmouth her for her personal life, making it even harder for her to find a boyfriend or just a friend.
“What were you saying?” She asked, both her face and voice were stone-cold.
“I know the characters that make up the password, but I have no clue how to make use of such information without screwing up my life.” Lith said.
“Did you discover them with your special eyes or with one of your personal spells?”
“Both. Just as I analyzed your hairpin, I studied the holographic pad. It only has two relays: right and wrong.” Lith had no intention of lying to her. He knew that despite her expression, Phloria was likely to be hurt by his fellow Ranger’s outburst.
Lith had noticed that her mood got worse every time he lied to her and got better when he was honest.
‘She already knows enough about my skills that this piece of information is irrelevant. Besides, she’s putting a lot at stake to help me with the runes, the least I can do is return her trust.’ He thought.
“I can try something, but Dad is likely to get pissed off. Some of the spells he taught me he keeps them a secret even from the army. Just like you do.” She smiled, raising the temperature in the room of several degrees.
“We’re done examining the administrative office and for once, may the gods bless paperwork.” Ellkas said. Those who were able to read the Odi language were translating several pages, giving each member of the expedition a copy.
“The first floor was the medical center for the Odi. Once they were done experimenting on the ‘lesser races’, they would attempt body modifications on their own people.” He pointed at the padded rooms.
“Just like Assistant Ernas assumed, major changes in the life force also brought severe mental damage, that the medical files we found describe as temporary. My guess is that Quylla is right and that these alterations permanently affected their minds, bringing the entire Odi race to consider madness as normality.”
“Below us, there are several underground floors where according to these files, experiments on both incurable diseases and life force modifications were conducted. Those floors are bound to be messier and more dangerous.
“Some diseases may still be active, so before opening the door, everyone put on a safety mask.” Professor Gaakhu handed to each one of them a plague doctor mask identical to the one Lith wore back in Kandria, but this one was enchanted.
“They are Alchemical items, so they are not reusable.” She explained. “They offer good protection from pathogens but are not suited to fights, so in case something goes wrong, retreat is our first priority.”
“Good to know. Our problem here is opening the door.” Yondra said. “Each one of us has managed to discover a few characters of the password, but we have no idea how to piece them together.”
Both Lith and Phloria were flabbergasted. Royal Forgemasters really were on a league of their own.
“Show them to us. If we’re lucky, it’s the anagram of an actual word. If it’s just random letters, we’re screwed.” Ellkas said.
“They missed a couple of them.” Lith whispered in Phloria’s ear after Hushing them again.
“Dammit. Which ones?”
“The M overlapping with the reversed P and that R with a dot in its middle.”
“It’s official, we’re screwed.” Gaakhu said. Luckily, everyone was too busy looking at the password to notice their exchange.
“There’s no word comprised of these letters, so either the password is random or we are missing some characters.”
“Let me give it a go.” Phloria stepped forward, taking her silver wand out of her dimensional amulet. “I was supposed to do this earlier, but someone distracted me.”
She threw Morok a look that gave his future grandchildren frostbite and then she cast one of Orion’s spells on the pad. Just like Invigoration and the Professors’ spells, it was able to pick the residual traces of mana that the repeated input of the password was supposed to have left.
She moved her wand over every single character as silver filaments probed them. Phloria was actually ignoring most of the characters and focusing solely on those Lith had pointed out to her.
It took her a while, but she managed to pick a very faint energy that her spell enhanced, making it visible. She pretended to also scan half the panel before giving up.
“I’m beat, I can’t focus anymore without affecting my ability to fight.” Phloria was panting. The trace was so faint that she had to pour quite some mana to find it.
Yondra performed her spell with her silver wand again, this time focusing only on the new characters.
“Good gods, we really missed two of them. You must have an exceptional perception, Captain, to sense such a small amount of mana.” She said.
“Thanks, Professor, but it’s mostly due to my father’s spell.” Phloria said. Orion’s masterpiece would have also revealed the relays’ position if she hadn’t dispelled it in time.
“Those are very uncommon letters.” Gaakhu said. “They are bound to be rarely used and have the faintest signature. Excellent job, Captain. I believe we have our password. Ascension.”
The Forgemasters scanned the pad’s most uncommon characters again before inputting the password, just to be safe. When the holographic display beeped and the metal cylinders were retracted, the memory of their past failure made the members of the second group shiver in fear.
Lith put on his plague mask and a thin white layer of solid white energy covered every inch of his body.
‘This is Manohar’s spell.’ Lith recognized the effects of Life Ward he had witnessed during Othre’s mission. ‘It seems that the Mad Professor also dabbles in Alchemy, but I doubt he does it of his own will. This must be rare equipment since even in Kandria we didn’t use it.’
Everyone prepared a couple of spells before opening the door. The moment the metal turned on its hinges, a black and green fog invaded the corridor as what looked like veins made of black mold grew with the speed of a hungry beast.