Chapter 1554 - Perfect Body (Part 2)
Luckily for Morok's group, between the Balor's discomfort and the lucky surprise, she had been too busy to perform a thorough search of the walls.
When she took the final check to make sure that no trace of the tunnel opened by the goblins remained, it was too late.
Nalrond and the others had already cooled their bodies, matching their heat signature to that of the wall they hid in.
'Do we wait for them to leave or do we follow them' Protector asked.
'If this place really is a metal mine, then we'll never find the way down on our own.
We need an unwitting guide.' Protector said.
'Agreed.' Nalrond said while listening to the vibrations in the ground to check for any more surprises.
The goblins had no problem moving in the dark thanks to Earth Vision and the Balor used a rough version of Fire Vision whereas the invaders were completely blind.
Any of their mystical senses would make their eyes glow and betray their presence due to the absolute darkness that filled the tunnels.
Quylla was the only one capable of seeing thanks to Orion's enchanted goggles.
To make up for it, she shared her sight with the others via the mind link while Nalrond shared his hearing.
His Rezar's senses filtered the echoes of the caves, allowing them to understand several conversations at the same time instead of just hearing jumbled words.
The only downside was that to covey so many sensory inputs, their mana slowly poisoned Protector and Morok.
They followed the Balor for several minutes, going deeper and deeper in the ground as the monsters moved past several junctions and side corridors.
To be sure that they would find their way back, Protector rubbed his hands on the walls from time to time, leaving a smell that he could trace back despite the stench of sulfur, sweat, and dirt that became more intense as they moved forward.
Suddenly, the Balor's collar turned to a bright shade of green.
Her body started to writhe, making her emit moans that sounded like a mix of pain and pleasure.
Her muscles shrunk and her bones popped as she underwent a complete metamorphosis.
The Balor was now slightly over 2 meters (7') tall, making the sash that previously covered her breasts into a top that went from under her armpits to her waist.
The armor on her legs had now loosened into a black metal gown so long that it brushed against the ground, making sparks with each step she took.
The towering monster had turned into a delicate woman with pale blue skin and a cascade of long silver hair that reached the small of her back.
Her body was that of a goddess, with curves and muscles of perfect proportions.
The red eye on her forehead had split into two, one red and the other blue that now rested at the sides of her pretty nose.
The red membranous wings shone like suns as they became covered in feathers made of pure energy.
Each wing took the same color of the element that they fueled their respective eye with.
Unbeknownst to the flabbergasted group of invaders, the remaining four elements that had been previously fused with the Balor's body converged to her midriff, where along with the energy from her wings they formed a rough mana core.
'By the Great Mother!' Quylla said.
'That's why the fallen Balors can't have more than three eyes.
They need to merge two into one to make up for their lack of wings.
One draws in the world energy and the other focuses its element.'
'The transformation must be due to the collar and the depth we have reached.' Morok said.
'Here the flow of world energy is much stronger, allowing not only the smaller goblins, but also the huge Balor to revert to their original form.'
'Man, if she's hot!' Nalrond blurted out, making the others turn towards him.
'The boy needs to get laid.' Protector said after sniffing the Rezar's raging pheromones.
'Big time.' Morok said with eyes filled with such empathy that it made Nalrond feel even more like a creep.
'If you keep staring at me, we'll lose them.
Let's move.' The Rezar said in embarrassment.
When he finally managed to move his eyes from the Balor's ass to her delicate neck, Nalrond wondered if the collar might help him with his problem.
The artifact seemed to be capable of fixing more than one kind of life force and he was eager to try its effects.
'This explains why earlier she was so disgusted by her own appearance but not how Ajatar ccould have missed a magic metal mine.
Didn't he say that this geyser was unproductive' Quylla asked.
'It is, or better, it was supposed to.
He brought me here to teach me how to identify the signs of magical resources but his spells all came out negative.' Morok said.
'And I think that's the reason why.' Nalrond pointed to a spot of the wall where several collars had been linked together, forming small circles in the stone.
Near each one of them, there was a group of fallen Balors whose members collectively had access to all six elements.
Some groups just required two three-eyed Balors while others needed six of them with a single eye.
They would unleash six elemental pillars at the same time against the metal circle, causing an amazing phenomenon that made the jaws of Quylla's group fall to the ground.
The enchanted ring focused the abundant world energy of the mana geyser at its core and when the Balors added the power of their eyes, a small mana crystal formed at its center.
The gemstone was barely the size of a pea and of a tinge of red so deep that it looked like an old bloodstain.
Yet forcing the germination of a mana crystal in seconds rather than decades was something that mages had tried and failed to do for millennia.
On top of that, the Balors continued to shoot pillars of elemental energy until their eyes bled and they were incapable of keeping them open anymore.
The ring focused the mix of elemental energies generated by the monsters, adding them to the world energy from the geyser before forcefully injecting them inside the crystal.
By the time exhaustion forced the Balors to stop, the gemstone had grown to the size of a nut and became of a brighter shade of red.
'By the Great Mother!' The group of intruders thought in unison.
'We need to inform Ajatar and Faluel as soon as possible.
If these monsters can refine crystals up to white and use them for their crafting, there's no telling how dangerous they might become.'
'I mean, this is something that not even Solus can-' A powerful nudge to the ribs from Protector cut Nalrond short.
'Why did you do- Oh, **.'
Quylla and the Skoll were both pointing at the Tyrant who had no idea of either who Solus was or what her abilities were.
Nalrond was so used to hanging with people that already knew her that he had forgotten that Morok wasn't part of the club.
'Who's Solus' He asked.
'A friend of ours who's been trying for a long while to make artificial crystals.' Quylla managed to lie only by omission, hoping that Morok would drop the subject.
Luckily for them, things were about to get even more interesting.