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Supreme Magus - Chapter 222

Published at 14th of September 2019 08:49:10 AM


Chapter 222

Chapter 222: After the Storm


 

"I don't understand . What is that thing? How did you manage to survive the explosion?" Scarlett was happy to see Kalla alive, even if she was heavily injured .

Most of the shadow that usually covered her massive skeleton was gone, leaving it completely exposed . Only a faint mist covered the zone where her internal organs were supposed to be .

One of her front paws was missing and the red light that usually burned inside her eyes was almost gone .

When it started blinking, Kalla collapsed on the ground .

"Survive is a strong word . Let's just say I'm not completely dead . As for your questions, it's a bit complicated to explain . After my evolution, I have been shunned by humans and magical beasts alike .

"They don't see beyond my physical appearance, that's why I started spending so much time with the various tribes of higher undead . I felt like I didn't belong in the forest anymore, so I was searching for a new family . "

"Why didn't you tell me that earlier? I would have taught them a lesson!" Scarlett roared in outrage .

"To what end?" Kalla sneered . "Nothing would have changed . They would behave in front of you and keep ostracizing me as soon as you turned your back . I don't need anyone's pity nor protection . "

Her voice was feeble, but filled with determination .

"However, greater undead always treated me with respect . After I adopted my daughter, I was seriously considering turning myself into a true undead instead of being stuck in this half baked form .

"So, I started researching the blood cores, experimenting on myself to see how they interact with a living body with an intact mana core . Worst case scenario, I would have become a real undead . Nothing would have changed for me .

"I would still be an Awakened one and Nok would follow me even if I had three heads . The actual result was quite underwhelming . The second core does nothing except take enough energy from me to sustain itself .

"Since it didn't seem to have any side effects, I kept it as a study subject for my research on how to cure Mina . It pains me to admit that I hope the same cure will help me too . It's so frustrating always being alone . "


Kalla paused, the shadow inside her body kept getting thinner .

"It's only thanks to my experiments that, when I recalled the darkness magic animating my undead, I was able to avoid the overload by splitting the energy between both cores . That way even if one shattered, the other would remain .

The problem is that now that they have almost the same strength, I don't know which will prevail . "

"How can I help you?" Scarlett asked, wishing she could do the same thing Lith had done for Protector .

"Not much . Just wait for me to come back and be my friend no matter what the result is . Also, I would greatly appreciate if you helped me find a safe place for me and Mina to live . Your forest doesn't suit any of us . "

Kalla finally succumbed to exhaustion, the light in her eyes went out completely . If not for some shreds of darkness still lingering over her, it would have been impossible to distinguish her from an old carcass .

Scarlett felt a deep pain inside of her . By choosing to help the humans, she had endangered the lives of her underlings, causing the death of many of them . M'Rook had died fighting the Valors, leaving her without a second in command and many more had been gravely injured or maimed .

As long as they were alive, she could heal them, but it would take a long time for the forest to recover from its wounds . In just two days, the combat prowess of her turf had been halved .

Her dear friend Kalla was now on the brink of death, Protector had almost died, and she couldn't help but consider it as her fault . Her arrogance had blinded her . She had been so confident in her strength that she almost lost everything she had .

- "Now I understand why the members of the Council are so detached . The longer you live, the more painful it is when you lose someone . I've known M'Rook and Kalla since they were just cubs, and I raised them both like they were my own .

"Now M'Rook is dead . Kalla will survive or turn into a true undead, either way she will leave the forest forever . I've been so obsessed with the Abomination threat, by pursuing my 'master plan' and always thinking big picture that I've disregarded the details .

"Those small, precious details that make my life worth living . I've neglected both the lives of my subjects and their happiness . Maybe I have become too old to be a Lord of the forest . Maybe Leegaain is right, I should leave my turf to someone better than me and strive to become a Guardian .

"By the Great Mother, I never thought the day I would get tired of living could ever come . "– Scarlett was lost in thought when she heard a movement from her right .

Protector was getting up and for the first time since they had known each other, he seemed to be out of his mind with rage .


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"Don't worry, Protector . Your friend is fine, I made sure of that myself . " Scarlett tried to calm him down .

"Fine? How dare you to call losing decades of his life being 'fine'? Why the heck didn't you stop him?" He pointed his muzzle to Lith's shrivelled body . He had lost so much of his body weight before losing consciousness that he was unrecognizable .

Protector was still as weak as a baby, his life hanging by a thread while his core could never recover completely from the damage it had suffered . Yet his rage was stronger than all that .

"You wanted him to die, you crazy f*cker! Did you think I have gone deaf? I heard your whole conversation with that pompous a*s, whoever she was . You can forget me helping you again in the future! If you don't want to make an enemy out of me, you'd better do as I say . "

Scarlett nodded . Her guilt prevented her from even trying to defend her foolish actions .

"As soon as Lith wakes up, you'll tell him that I'm dead . "

"What?" Scarlett didn't see that coming .

"What he did was stupid, reckless, and immature . He may act all wise and mighty, but his earlier actions were those of a child throwing a tantrum . " By sharing their life forces, Protector had been able to see Lith's life just like Lith had seen his .

He still couldn't believe his friend was actually older than himself and an alien from a gods forsaken world at that . Yet the revelation hadn't changed the feelings Protector harbored toward Lith .

Quite to the contrary, it made them even deeper .

"He has gone through a lot of pain, maybe too much, but that's not justification enough to put an end to his own life in a mad attempt to save me . If Lith learns about my survival, he will not hesitate to repeat the same mistake .

I would have died, leaving my mate alone, but so what? He didn't stop for a second to think about what he was throwing away . All he cared about was keeping life and death in his own hands, like it was all a game and he refused to accept defeat .

His obsession with control will sooner or later kill him . He needs to experience the pain of loss again to appreciate what he has . His family, his friends, the little female, and you, Solus . " Protector said to the ring at Lith's finger, leaving Solus shocked .

"Solus?" Scarlett asked .


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"The female that inhabits the ring . That's her name . "

Scarlett pondered for a while . The name didn't ring any bells . She had no idea it was something Lith had come up with years ago, so all of her knowledge was useless in solving the mystery behind her existence .

"You too must keep my survival secret from him, otherwise he'll never change . So far, he has lived pushing everyone away, never letting people come close to him and making up one excuse after another to justify his actions .

He has lost years before appreciating even his own family . If he keeps acting like this, he will understand how much he cares for those around him only after he has lost them for good and then he will turn into another Balkor . Is this what you want for him, Solus?

A life of self-inflicted isolation followed by killing sprees with no care for the consequences?"

Even if Scarlett had allowed her to respond via a mind link, Solus didn't know what to say . Earlier she had tried to stop Lith, but she was too exhausted to push through the barrier the world's will had put him into to prevent her from interfering .

"Please Solus, listen to me . " Protector continued .

"This is the only way to help him . By telling him of his success, you would be enabling his obsession . It would only be a matter of time before he does it again . He will suffer for my loss, yes, but it should act as a wake up call .

 "He needs to stop indulging in his obsession . We exist to pass down our hopes and dreams for the future through our actions . Our lives are like rivers that cross paths, sometimes briefly, sometimes for a long time creating a bond .

Those bonds are what allows us to leave a part of ourselves behind .

"Our legacy is not limited to our offspring . Every person we meet changes us, as we change them . I know he will suffer for my loss, but it's not the end of the world .

Either he learns to open himself up to others, instead of trapping himself into plans and preparations for what may or may not happen, or he will end up cutting his ties with everyone to avoid getting hurt .

Whatever he decides, at least he will find his way in life . What we are going to offer him, is a chance to understand every day is precious and it should not be wasted on revenge and recrimination . "

Solus didn't say a word, crying the whole time .


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 "Solus, these are my last words, so please find a way to pass them to Lith . Hate is a double edged sword . It can give you the strength to face your enemies and protect those you love . Yet if it becomes your reason for living instead of just a tool for survival, it will turn into a venom that will consume you .

Even if we met late in my life, even we aren't even of the same race, know this . I've always loved him as a son and I always will . "

Solus was still hesitant, lying to Lith was something she had never thought about before . She didn't even know if she was capable of doing it .

"How many people has he ever called a friend?" Protector's voice resounded in her mind .

"Just you and me . " She replied .

"Then you know that I'm right . Scarlett, send me back to Lutia . I'll move away with my mate to not let him discover the truth . "

Scarlett dispelled the dimensional seal, sending Lith to the field hospital through a Warp Steps before opening another one for Protector . She decided that, if she managed to survive the third and final night, as soon as her forest was restored, she would hunt Balkor down like the monster he was .

***

Just as Balkor had predicted, the anniversary of the day his family died was the worst day that everyone in the four remaining academies had ever lived . The Professors spent the morning treating the injured, counting the dead, and notifying the families of the victims .

After the events of the last night, the survivors felt hopeless . Several Professors, including Trasque, had died, others, like Nalear, were so badly injured that they were not able to take part in the final stand .

The White Griffon academy had suffered the fewest casualties during the first day, but now its occupants felt like they had got the short end of the stick . Their academy was the only one to have lost all of its evolved monsters except the Lord of the forest .

Without Kalla, there would be no protective arrays to weaken the enemy or her undead army to take the brunt of the damage . Without Protector running like lightning through the battlefield, any delay in sending reinforcements could prove to be lethal .

Lith, Phloria, and Yurial were hospitalized and kept away from the battle . Phloria woke up around noon . Aside from crippling exhaustion, she felt fine . She had no idea what had happened after she had been struck by the lightning .

When she saw Lith laying in a bed nearby her own, her heart skipped a beat . He was deadly pale and he looked like a sixty year old man, his hair had become completely grey and some spots of his head were bald . With skin pulled tight over his bones, he appeared skeletal . His entire body burned with fever, drenching the bed with sweat .



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