Supreme Magus - Chapter 804 Smokescreen Part 2
Chapter 804 Smokescreen Part 2
“Exactly. Now our problem is how to share this information without revealing Solus’s existence. I’m here for over two weeks and I’ve failed to make any breakthrough, like anybody else.
“I can’t take credit for the discovery simply because I wouldn’t know how to explain it. What about you?” Kalla asked.
“I’m already too famous and I’m not even supposed to be here. They asked for Quylla, not me. I have no plausible excuse either nor do I want more fame. We’ll have to lead the research group by the nose and make them stumble on the discovery.”
Kalla nodded and guided him back upstairs. She pondered the revelation, in search of a way to share it or at least use it to find a cure.
Erlik the Draugr Treant’s Headquarters, now.
Even though over a century had passed since Erlik had become a Draugr, he still hated his condition’s guts. If not for the fact that he would have long been dead otherwise, he would have never accepted to be turned.
As all Draugr, he was a creature of greed. During the day he was forced to remain inside his burial ground to keep watch on his possessions even though both his body and mind were paralyzed by the presence of the sun.
Even his minions were forced to speak to him through the heavy door of his apartments, such was Erlik’s fear of someone robbing him after laying their eyes on his treasures.
The greed of a Draugr didn’t reflect only on their sleeping habit, but also on the way they fed. Draugr weren’t content on sapping their victims’ vitality, they also had to rob them of something they held precious.
Erlik’s room was filled with trinkets of his past victims, who he had devoured whole in his envy for all the things they had and were now denied to him. His new lodgings in Laruel were filled with the earth from his original burial ground in Jiera.
Another part of his curse was his inability to get too far from it without his powers growing weak by the hour.
“What’s the status of our research on Bugbears, Gremlik?” He asked. During the day, even speaking required sheer willpower and a control over his blood core that it had taken Erlik decades to acquire.
“A complete failure, master.” Replied the Grendel Dryad through the door. “Animals don’t seem able to reach a symbiosis with your tissues. They don’t obtain any power after being infected.
“On the contrary, the stronger your tissues grow, the weaker the infected become, until their body gets overcome by your saplings and die.”
“What becomes of the saplings?” Erlik’s experiments were twofold. He wanted to check if the same method he meant to use for conquering the plant folk cities could be applied to the human’s as well and if it could overcome the undead course of being sterile.
He had no desire for offspring, but if he managed to artificially spawn even Treantlings who would share part of his abilities, they would make excellent pawns. Erlik wasn’t content with Laruel.
His real aim was to use the city as a stepping stone to a high seat in the Undead Courts and then use it to change their policy. Erlik had already lost a home due to the foolishness of humans and he wasn’t willing to see it happen twice.
Humans were just dumb beasts who needed to be tamed and he was willing to be the one putting them to the leash once and for all.
“They die along with their host.” Gremlik replied. “Some of the biggest specimens almost resembled you, but none of them managed to stabilize. There is something missing, but we have no idea of what.”
The problem was actually simple. Erlik had used light and darkness magic to fuse his tissues with Jiera’s plague, making them capable of thriving even inside a foreign body.
Undeath boosted their vitality while the plague gives them the ability to fuse with living beings, yet neither could change the fact that tissues alone couldn’t create a real blood core.
Once their host died, Erlik’s monstrosity would follow due to the instability of its pseudo blood core and the lack of nourishment. Unlike Abominations, who were able to feed on any kind of energy, undead were very picky eaters.
Monsters or even humans provided to the Draugr such a poor meal that his saplings needed to feed on the local flora to survive. That was the reason why the Bugbear’s cave Friya had found was completely devoid of vegetation.
“Dammit!” Erlik roared, yet even though he was beyond furious his body didn’t move an inch. “I’ve invested most of my riches in this research. If we fail to capture Laruel, I will be left with nothing.
“No home, no status, and even more importantly, no money!” A Draugr stinginess was such that compared to them, Lith was a spendthrift.
“I have more bad news, sir.” Gremlik stepped away from the door, just a split second before an inhuman roar made it tremble. Erlik was certain that the Grendel delivered him bad news only during the morning to be safe from his master’s anger.
And he was right.
Erlik had a temper, but by the time the sun had set, he would have regained both his ability to move and his cool.
“Another Awakened has arrived in Laruel today. We identified him thanks to the Night Court. He is willing to help Leannan as well, but the silver lining is that he is a human.”
Erlik finally had a good laugh after so much cussing. He envied Awakened above everything. They had power, unlimited stamina, and longevity. Erlik had never forgiven his parents, whoever they were, for abandoning him, nor the Awakened he had met when he was still alive for not sharing their secret with him.
He was aware that stealing the secret of Awakening was out of the question, yet having the opportunity to kill not one, but two Awakened was too good to be true.
Technology was an appendix of magic on Mogar and was used only by those in the field of state-of-the-art magical research. Hence only Quylla knew how to use the Alchemical tools and Forgemastered devices to further scan the various crystal encased samples.
To Friya and Phloria, all that pushing buttons and turning knobs made no sense. While everyone worked, moving from one instrument to another, they were just standing dumbly while waiting for instructions.
It made them feel left out and reconsider their offer for help.
“I think that Kalla really looks good in her human form.” Friya said, hoping to make some conversation to pass time.
“What do you mean her human form?” Phloria asked, receiving a grunt of agreement from Quylla who was studying all the samples at her disposal before reading the other Healers’ findings about the disease.
She wanted to face the problem with an open mind, without being influenced by their conclusions.
“Seriously? You don’t know? I mean, how many Kalla that call Lith Scourge do you know?” Friya was shocked. She had always thought that after being together with her sister for that long, Lith would have opened up with her at least a bit.
“Are you saying that woman is our Kalla? The bear, I mean the Byk, I mean the Wight?” Phloria asked.
“Yeah. Emperor Beasts can shapeshift into humans. Prot…” Only then did Friya remember that she was the only one to have witnessed to Lith’s reunion with his old friend.