Chapter 1958: The Die is Cast (part 2)
“If in my previous battle I needed to check how I fare against a human army, now I can experience the Awakeneds tactics and put mine to the test.
Royal Pardon or not, Im going to fight Thrud and I need all the practice I can get against an Awakened army.”
“Is it still worth risking your life for” Solus fiddled with her hair, finding it uncomfortable having only two colored streaks due to Body Sculpting.
“Im going to risk my life anyway in the War of the Griffons.” Lith shrugged.
“At least now I have three powerful Eldritches and you by my side.
Its much safer than on any battlefield I will ever step into.”
“Why not just leave it to the Council” She looked unconvinced.
“Because the Mouth is yours, Solus, and if they knew about such a powerful artifact, they would take it for themselves.
As Ive always said, nothing thats worth having comes easy, but once you reach our level, you often have to fight for it.
“People will not let you have good things out of the goodness of their heart, not even those you deserve.
If you dont stand up for yourself, theyll take everything away from you.”
“Is it an artifact really worthy of shedding so much blood How are you any different from the Council” Theseus chimed in, feeling conflicted.
“The artifact No, but thats not on me.
We gave them proof of Solus rightful claim, we gave them a choice to end things peacefully, and they turned it down.” Lith replied.
“Im different from the Council because Im not the one seeking battle.
“I cant decide how people live, but for sure I can decide how people who raise their hand against me die.
I dont enjoy violence, but if you start avoiding conflict, youll end up with nothing but the clothes you wear.
If you are lucky.”
Solus was still mulling over Liths words when Bytra approached her.
The Raiju kept her distance until Solus allowed her to come close.
“What do you want” Her voice came out way ruder and colder than she intended.
“This is going to be a difficult battle and I will need to use the Absolution.” Bytra replied while offering Solus the hammer once again.
“To do that, I need your permission.”
“Why do you need my permission to use your weapon” Solus furrowed her brows in confusion.
“Because I consider the Absolution a part of Menadions legacy.” The Raiju said.
“I could only make it because I stole the Fury and studied it for years.
Like you always said to me, I have no creativity.
“I upgraded your mothers runes to become the Fourth Ruler of the Flames just like I simply upgraded your mothers hammer to craft the Absolution.
It belongs to you not me and I dont want to take anything away from you anymore.”
Solus flushed in embarrassment at the rudeness of the words of her past self.
After spending years with Lith and working hard to understand the secrets of Forgemastery, she knew how hard it was to upgrade something.
Most of their best pieces were “just upgrades” like the Orichalcum Skinwalker armor from which they had derived all the others.
On top of that, the Raijus thoughtfulness moved her.
Bytra was willing to put Solus feelings first and her own survival second in order to redeem herself.
‘I really was a jerk to Bytra. Solus thought and was about to apologize when rage replaced shame.
Seeing the Absolution and its bare aura of power that matched that of her Fury, filled Solus with anger.
‘Jerk or not, Bytra is right.
Shes no better than those bastards of the Verendi Council.
She stole the Fury and the Council the Mouth, using enjoying the artifacts without a care for how they got them.
‘Neither of them is entitled to Moms legacy.
The Mouth is mine and so is the Absolution.
I cant believe that Vastor managed to create something so powerful that it might even be better than my mothers work. She thought.
Then, before cruel words that she wouldnt be able to take back left her mouth, Solus stopped for a second, putting her wounded ego aside.
‘I stand corrected.
Bytra and the Council are not the same.
Shes offered me the Absolution twice already and it was my choice to refuse it.
Shes here to fight for me, risking her life to get back the Mouth and try to fix our relationship.
‘The Verendi Council, instead, even after learning who I was and how the Mouth ended up in their hands, want to kill me just to keep their new toy.
Lith is right, they dont deserve my compassion.
“Please, Bytra, use the Absolution and do everything you can to come out of this battle alive.” Solus said after taking several deep breaths to calm down and take the edge off her words.
“You have stolen the Fury, but you also returned it to me the moment you learned that I was still alive.
Theres no way we can change the past, but theres no point in our enmity.
“The old Bytra is dead and you seem a great Forgemaster.” She pointed at the Absolution and at the enchanted equipment that the two Abominations now wore.
“Even if I had died that night, Riphas legacy would still live through you.
“The Absolution is the proof that you didnt just uncover my mothers secrets, you also understood the spirit of her teachings.
So stand up and fight.”
“Thanks.” Bytra hung the hammer at her hip and wiped her tears.
“You have no idea how much these words mean to me.”
“Believe me, I know.
They mean a lot to me too.” Solus still couldnt stand the Raiju, but she felt that the burden on her heart had lessened.
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The scar that her mothers death had inflicted upon her would never disappear, but it had finally started to heal.
Theseus overheard them talking from a distance, feeling Bytras relief as his own.
The bond between Vastors hybrids allowed him to perceive her sincerity and how Solus partial forgiveness had soothed her spirit.
He had walked more than one mile in her shoes and now pondered whether to wish that none of his victims was still alive or to meet at least their descendants to make up for the suffering that Paquut had inflicted.
The rest of the time passed in silence.
Everyone was tense and aside from eating and drinking, in order to retain their peak strength, they spent their time meditating.
Dolgus had tried for a while to change Theseus mind and avoid the conflict, yet the Bastet had been adamant in his decision.
After that, the only thing that the Griffon could do was to plan an escape route and keep his distance from the group.
The emissary of the Council came dead on time.
Senara the Firbolg, plant representative of Verendi, stepped through a Warp Steps that had appeared at a safe distance from the hill.
She looked like a beautiful woman in her early thirties, about 2 meters (67″) tall with bright green skin, crimson red vines for hair, and full lips.
The Fae exuded a bright violet aura that made everyone but the Abominations feel pressured.
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