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Supreme Magus - Chapter 225

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

Chapter 225

Chapter 225: Awakening


 

Griffon Kingdom, Tyris's underground dungeon .

 "Please, tell me that you found the time to go and check on the anomaly this time . "

Leegaain was burning with curiosity .

"Yes, I did . " Tyris nodded without moving her eyes from the archives' records of the last ten years . She was investigating those who had access to the remains of Arthan's Madness, hoping to find a clue about the mastermind behind the Abomination threat .

"It was nothing special . It was a male human Abomination hybrid, just as we sensed the first time . The only odd thing about it is that he underwent a tribulation similar to our own . The second test was about self control, like for evolved beasts . "

"What happened then?" Leegaain was eager to hear the whole story .

"I don't know . " She shrugged . "I left while he was in the middle of an elaborate suicide attempt . He chose to trade his life to rescue someone from death . I don't have time to waste with the small stuff . He has failed the tribulation or he managed to save his friend, either way he is dead now . "

"What?" Leegaain jumped in surprise, the combined impact of his four claws on the ground sent a small tremor through the Gorgon Empire's castle . Its inhabitants went into a panic, since floating castles weren't supposed to be affected by quakes .

"Tyris, old friend, after hearing your words I'm almost tempted to rule a country for the first time in my long life . It seems that between civil wars, plagues, gods of death, and the internal strife between the nobles and the Crown your life must be really exciting .

"Otherwise, how the heck could you brush off the existence of a new life form that has already undergone two tribulations within such a short time frame? What if he survived? What if he isn't Guardian material, but something else entirely?

"Very few beings manage to pass the second tribulation . Getting a hold on your own desires is one of the hardest things to do . We could likely have a being that could side with the Abominations and upset the balance permanently on our hands .

"If the anomaly is still alive, we must absolutely keep watch on his next tribulations to understand what the heck is going on . A human Guardian would already be a shocking enough piece of news, let alone a hybrid!"

Tyris froze for a second . Aside from his stupid jokes, Leegaain's words always held great significance .


"Maybe you are right . " She replied trying to cover her blunder .

"I seem to remember he wore a White Griffon academy uniform . I'll send someone to keep an eye on him so, in case your fears come true, we can take him out before he becomes too dangerous . "

***

During the following days, life was hectic for most of the Griffon Kingdom's upper echelons . Countless scouts were sent to the Blood Desert to search for Balkor's whereabouts . Killing him was the safest way to prevent the next attack from happening .

The Alchemists of the Mage Association were having a hard time studying the toxins extracted from the undead . With each passing year, the god of death would make them more complex and harder to cleanse . If they didn't keep up with him, their antidotes would become useless .

This time, the Healers had collected a great number of tissue samples from the captured undead . It had allowed them to discover the Abomination fragments mixed with the flesh, causing an uproar in the field of research . Until that moment, Abominations had simply been considered another species of monsters, a twisted evolution of magical beasts .

However, thanks to Balkor's effort to stabilize them and the ten year long experience of the royal Healers in preserving the samples, the human scientists managed to gain a deeper understanding of their nature .

Researching Abominations became the top priority . It would help the Wardens to create new defensive arrays capable of weakening, if not killing, Balkor's thralls .

The remaining four of the six great academies were in desperate need of staff . Between the injured, the dead, and those who had resigned to look for a less dangerous job, like hunting dragons or defusing explosive arrays, there were many classes left unattended .

Balkor's shadow made serving as Professor in an academy less of a prestigious position and more like a death sentence .

Among the Headmasters, Linjos had gotten the short end of the stick again . Not only did he have to find trustworthy mages to replace the Professors he lost during the attack, but he was constantly bothered by the other Headmasters .

His plan had saved their academies, their careers, and most importantly their lives .

They no longer saw him as a young, arrogant brat that had become the youngest Headmaster ever only because he was the Queen's new pet project . They finally recognized his worth and the brilliance of his mind .

They were willing to set aside their pride along with the old ways, often asking Linjos for advice about who to hire and how to change their academies for the better .

He was really flattered by all their attentions, but he was forced to spend half his time taking care of their academies instead of his own . Yet Linjos could only grin and bear with it, he knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity .


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If he managed to obtain their trust and cooperation, the academy system could finally be changed for good . Once the Council of the Headmasters made a decision, the nobles could only comply .

It would solve one of the most pressing matters that had plagued the Kingdom for years . Sure, it would still take decades to iron out all the details and to win over enough of the old noble families to prevent other sabotages from happening, but it would still be a great start .

***

House Ernas, five days after the attack

Lith's condition was getting better with each day . The fever was gone and thanks to the constant care he received from both families and Solus, his shriveled body was slowly returning to normal .

Yet he still looked like an old man and gave no sign he would wake up any time soon . Jirni proved to be an amazing host, providing Lith's family with the best rooms and with everything they could need .

She had taken her time, showing them around the house little by little and telling them about its history .

Phloria spent a lot of time with Rena and Tista, since they would either help her to take care of Lith, or force her to take a break and rest while Elina and Friya would relieve her .

When Lith regained his senses in the afternoon, he already knew about his failure . His last memory before fainting was of Protector's still cracked core . Even burning his life force had not been enough to repair such extensive damage, not with his own core already running on fumes and his body on the verge of collapse .

Yet he had to ask .

- "Solus, is Protector…"

"Yes, he is gone . " She replied, carefully avoiding to lying to him . "I'm so sorry for your loss . " She wept remembering Protector's parting words . She had to find a way to pass them to Lith .

"I knew it . No matter how hard I work, no matter how much I try, I always fail when it really matters . "- Tears ran along his cheeks, they were the first sign of life in more than five days .

"Lith, are you awake?" Normally, he would be surprised hearing Phloria's voice, but now he was too tired to care . His mind kept replaying Protector's last moments of life . The grief overwhelmed him again, making him feel like his heart was getting squeezed in a vice .


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"Yes . " Lith was unable to recognize his own voice . It was hoarse and feeble, like a hiss . He tried to get up, but his arms were too weak for the task . The attempt almost made him pass out from overexertion .

Lith took a deep breath, yet even that was too much for his current condition . He felt his lungs burn and he coughed uncontrollably . He heard the footsteps of someone running away and felt someone helping him lie down comfortably .

Lith recognized Tista's scent as soon as she got close .

"Don't push yourself, lil brother . Your condition is getting better every day, but you need to rest . Dad is going to be here soon . "

Lith was too sad to ask why Phloria was in their home, or what had happened to him . The only thing he could think about was finding a way to make the pain stop . Ever since his rebirth, he had made sure to keep everyone and everything under his control .

He knew he wouldn't be able to endure what had happened to Carl again . His unquenchable hunger for power had started as a way to escape from the madness his death and rebirth cycle represented .

Over time, the love he had developed for his family had changed it into a way to create a small ecosystem where he was god and all those he cared about were bound to be safe .

First, he had taken care of the hunger, then he had cured Tista, and got rid of every single threat the new world posed to his family . Magical beasts, wanted felons, Abominations, he had taken care of them all, permanently .

With every success, Lith had grown more confident of his plan until he had managed to reassure himself that, as long as he followed that pattern, everything would be alright .

Protector's death had crushed that illusion, shattering the beliefs on which he had based his whole existence up until that point .

He kept weeping, not only for Protector, but also for himself .

- "If someone as strong as Ryman died so easily, there's no way I can keep my family safe . They are all so weak . It's only a matter of time before I lose them all . What's the point of trying so hard if I'm destined to fail? No matter what I do, I can only delay the inevitable . "-

His constant weeping and sobbing were only interrupted by the cough .

Raaz arrived at his bedside, holding him to his chest to calm him down .


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"Does it hurt so bad? Do you want some pain medication? Please, speak to me . Tell me what's wrong . "

He was holding back his tears . Raaz had never seen Lith so weak, both physically and mentally . He was afraid that his condition could be even more severe than it appeared, but he didn't know what to do .

It was the first time that his son needed his help, yet Raaz felt completely useless . The only thing he could do was to stay strong in front of him . He didn't want to add himself to the list of Lith's worries .

"It's not my body that hurts, dad . It's the loss . My only true friend died today . "

Phloria felt hurt by those words, but she kept silent . Lith's relationship with the evolved monster seemed to be deep and he was clearly confused, believing it was still the second day of the attack .

Before his brain could realize what he was doing, Lith let everything out . Telling Raaz about how he and Protector had fought when he was still four, how they had become friends when he was eight after he killed Gerda, and how from that moment onward they had spent more and more time together .

 He told him about how Protector had taught him to be a better hunter, about all the creatures that they had fought together to keep the Trawn woods and their families safe until Lith had joined the academy .

Even if he managed to leave Solus and the Awakened ones out of his story, every memory he shared worsened the pain . Lith second guessed everything he had done to and with Protector .

"When we met, I just thought of turning him into warm fur for the winter . After he attempted to befriend me, I belittled him, only considering him as a means for an end . I exploited his kindness to bring food to our table and keep our family safe .

"When I understood he was much more than a tool, I never told him how important he was to me . How precious it was to have someone I could share my burden with, someone who I could talk about all the things I had to keep secret from you and mom to keep you from worrying .

"Now it's too late . I failed him the only time he needed me and now he is dead . It's all my fault . He wouldn't have left the Trawn woods if I didn't tell him about the academy .

"He wouldn't have died if I wasn't too weak to save him . He will never know how sorry I am for all the bad things I thought about him nor how meeting him has changed my life . All of it happened because of my weakness and cowardice .

I should be the one who died . "

Lith was incapable of accepting that some things were inevitable, that life wasn't a game where he could save and load until he obtained the desired outcome . He needed someone to blame and his first choice was himself .

All those in the room were shocked to the bone . The events that Lith considered as fond memories were a parent's worst nightmare . He had candidly confessed how he had put his life at risk time and time again, revealing that his family's wealth was built on a pile of lies and bones .



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