Lith could notice that his appearance resembled the one he had assumed in the past while trying to save Protector and when he faced the Clackers in the forest.
It lacked the horns, the wings, and the tail.
His face was a black slate with no nose or ears.
Two yellow eyes were open, while the slits for the other four, albeit being recognizable, were wide shut.
Lith tried multiple times to open them but to no avail.
Damn, I look like a demon. When Lith spoke, he revealed a mouth filled with sharp fangs.
It wasn\'t visible before because the scales covering his face matched to perfection.
Remarkable. Kalla said.
You\'ve already learned how to shapeshift and you did it on your own at that.
Scarlett tried to teach me, but it was too complex.
Plus, I deemed it useless.
I have no desire to change my physical appearance just to please others.
I didn\'t learn anything. Lith was deeply confused.
Protector explained to me how to do it, but I always failed in the past.
After my core has become blue, I seem to have developed a second kind of life force.
Do you have one too, Kalla
No, or at least is what I think.
Before today I never heard about life force, but I\'m pretty sure that not even in Scarlett\'s crazy stories was ever mentioned someone capable of natural shapeshifting.
It\'s something that has to be learned.
You can\'t just take any form you want.
Before shapeshifting, you are supposed to be able to visualize every single detail in your mind.
To know your imaginary body like the back of your paw.
Let me check one thing. Kalla placed one of her claws on Lith, using Invigoration on him.
Whatever this form of yours is, is useless.
You are not stronger nor faster than before.
Even your mana core is unchanged.
Sure, the scales may offer you some protection, but I can\'t see any value in sticking out like a sore thumb.
After checking his condition with his own Invigoration, Lith agreed with a sigh.
Unless I want to murder someone in broad daylight and pin it to a monster, this form is as useless as a third nostril. He activated Scanner again, focusing on the original melody and returning to his human form.
Right after the transformation, Lith coughed uncontrollably for a few seconds.
What\'s wrong All those present asked in unison.
An Awakened one getting sick was something unheard of.
I don\'t know. Lith replied with a hoarse voice.
Seems my new form suffers from acid reflux or something.
I had a burning sensation in my throat the whole time.
Lith left Scarlett\'s lab after giving everyone a present.
A book about Body Sculpting for Kalla, a lot of food for Nok, and a glass of his blood for Nyka.
Kalla\'s blood was toxic for the undead and she had explained to him how Awakened blood was a powerful delicacy for vampires.
Much to Nyka\'s dismay, Kalla stored it for a rainy day.
For a vampire, even a small amount from a blue cored Awakened was the equivalent of several liters of blood from normal humans.
Lith returned the teacher ring to Marth before going back to his living quarters in the military camp.
He spent the hours left of his day leave sleeping, to recover part of his strength.
Between the breakthrough and treating Kalla\'s life force, he was exhausted.
The next day, when he went to Berion\'s office to announce his final decision, the Commander had a deep frown and his fingers were drumming on a thick folder.
Berion grumpily replied to the salute and left Lith standing on attention for a few minutes before talking.
Lieutenant Verhen, do you know what Article 16 of the code of military justice states
It is forbidden for any soldier, NCO, and officer to assault in any way a fellow member of the army. Lith quoted from Soluspedia.
So you do know the code. Berion stood up, piercing Lith with a steel gaze.
Then how do you explain what you did in the mess hall of Regharos\' boot camp
I simply gave Sergeant Proudstar our mother\'s regards. Lith couldn\'t believe the Commander was making a fuss for such an insignificant reason, nor that Trion could be stupid enough to report him.
It would only make a fool of himself.
I don\'t care about your brother.
I\'m talking about all the people you sent to the hospital. The Commander\'s icy tone left Lith unfazed.
His words, not so much.
I beg your pardon I didn\'t throw a single punch nor spell.
Son, I have been young and stupid too.
I can understand that you wanted to teach him a lesson, but you went overboard.
Only active soldiers are trained to withstand killing intent.
Kitchen staff are basically civilian.
Your little show made some faint, some puke their guts out, while the less fortunate now have white hair and blabber about monsters dwelling in the shadows.
\'Oh f*ck!\' Lith thought.
\'I was so angry back then that I completely forgot about kitchen staff.
Yet it\'s hard to believe that a sliver of killing intent could have done so much damage.\'
This folder contains the medical files of all the people you have injured.
Their medical bills will be deducted from your pay. The Commander\'s index tapped on the stack of paper.
Lith pretended to be contrite, but he couldn\'t care less.
He could make as a Healer in a day what the army paid him per month.
At ease, Lieutenant.
I hope you have made your decision.
Otherwise, a few days in solitary will teach you not to disgrace our uniform.
Lith took out from his pocket dimension the map of the Griffon Kingdom and showed Berion the Etochian region.
The frown disappeared from the Commander\'s face and was replaced by a worried expression.
Are you certain, Lieutenant I wanted to assign you a harsh environment as punishment but that\'s too much.
Noticing Lith\'s confusion, Berion smirked.
I\'m not worried about the borders.
There are plenty of good soldiers there that can help you if the necessity arises.
Nor I\'m not worried about monsters or magical beasts.
I read your file, I know you\'re a survivor.
What worries me are these.
The Commander pointed at the various ruins Lith and Kalla had studied earlier.
Do you know why we give to the Rangers the passcodes to the lost cities Because they are part of your patrol duty.
Does someone live there Lith was more confused by the second.
Of course not.
No citizen of the Kingdom lives there.
Have you ever wondered why even though so many centuries have passed, the arrays are still working How we managed to learn how to bypass them safely
It didn\'t take any effort on our side.
Everything was engraved in multiple languages on the pillars surrounding the lost cities.
Those who created the arrays, left all the necessary instructions to keep them active.
Your duty consists also in checking that the magical formations are functional and not letting the ruins become a threat to the Kingdom.
Those arrays weren\'t built to keep people out, but to keep the things that spawn in the lost cities in.