\'Now!\' Solus used a bit of her energy to nudge Lith out of his daze.
There was no time to weave new spells, but as long as he was conscious, Lith would retain all those he had prepared beforehand.
He clapped his palms together and then spread his arms wide, making sure the core of the spell traveled through Solus\'s mystical glove.
Both the gesture and her help were necessary to attempt such a quick cast.
A huge Warp Steps appeared in front of him, the biggest he had ever conjured.
The ruby dragon\'s fist disappeared inside the portal and came out from the exit point located in front of his snout.
Treius had stepped forward while performing the attack, putting all of his weight into it.
His own punch had been turned into a cross counter, doubling its strength.
The impact was so violent that the neck twisted, snapping like a twig.
Not even the ruby armor could withstand the strain and several gemstones shattered, hitting the ground with a silvery sound.
The Steps closed a split second later, severing the arm at the elbow.
Pain and shock made Treius fall to his knees, screaming toward the sky at the top of his lungs while holding the stump with his remaining hand.
A fountain of blood painted the collapsing room red.
The neck was already healed, but regrowing an arm would be much slower.
\'Do you have no shame\' Treius\'s pain was the Black Star\'s own, yet it ignored it like it was a gentle spring rain.
\'Pick up the arm so we can reattach it! There\'s no time to lose, our enemy…\'
The mind link allowed for quick communication, but Lith\'s speed was nothing to scoff at. Solus\'s plan had been implemented down to the last detail.
To sacrifice a bishop to capture the king.
Lith had allowed himself to fall into a disadvantageous position to bait an all out attack.
Yet the cross counter and the mutilation were just the preparatory steps.
Lith exploited the literally blinding pain to Blink without the opponent noticing it and appeared between the dragon\'s eyes.
The Gatekeeper penetrated the cornea until only the hilt was visible.
Lith gave everything he had to the sword, channeling air magic which generated a lightning that gave the dragon a violent seizure while a wave of darkness magic made its way toward the brain.
Lith had done everything he could, his execution had been flawless.
Yet it wasn\'t enough.
Treius used darkness fusion to suppress his pain receptors and became able to move again.
With earth fusion countering the lightning and the Black Star repairing the damages the moment they were dealt, darkness magic was just too slow.
Treius tried to catch Lith, but he Blinked away exploiting the dragon\'s blind side.
He twisted the Gatekeeper while pulling it out and left behind enough fire and darkness magic to slow down the eye regeneration.
Why are you doing this Lith\'s opponents screamed as one.
You are bound to a powerful artifact.
You pillaged Kaduria for power.
You kill with no remorse to pursue your own ends.
You are just like us! We should be allies, not enemies.
Those words irked Lith to no end, making his blood boil and his rage seethe.
\'I\'m nothing like you!\' He thought as he appeared next to the severed limb and used the darkness still coursing through the Gatekeeper to rot it into oblivion.
Without any life force inhabiting it, the arm offered no resistance to the hungry energies devouring it.
\'Solus is not a monster, I am.
Yet not even I prey on people\'s suffering for petty reasons.
The Black Star has turned a whole city into a nightmare version of my own life and that idiot who fused with it is willing to set it free.\'
The memories of the Kadurians Lith had assimilated earlier resurfaced.
Their hopelessness, their despair, their constant grieving until their hearts were replaced by the endless void of the abyss were things he knew all too well.
\'You two are worse than any Abomination.
You are a cancer to this world and someone has to wipe you out like the disease you are.\'
Black clouds formed inside Kaduria while the whole city trembled.
Even though the Black Star was still paralyzed, the light phase had reached its limits.
The shadow phase was about to begin and the living artifact rejoiced for it.
\'I\'ll get back the energy I wasted to rebuild the city and reanimate those flesh bags.
If you can\'t squash a single bug with that much power, then I will terminate our deal.
I have no use for a weakling like you.\' The cursed item had long regretted fusing with Treius.
The only silver lining was that thanks to the Freeze spell the bond had yet to become permanent.
Black clouds formed outside Kaduria too.
The whole area quaked lightly as the world energy gushed from both the ground and the sky, piercing the barrier like it was a piece of paper.
A world tribulation had just begun.
Griffon Kingdom, Royal palace.
Lady Tyris was pondering about the recent news she had received.
During the last four years, she had enjoyed the relative peace after decades of struggles.
The academy system had been reform thanks to Linjos\' legacy.
The Headmaster hadn\'t lived for long, but his actions had earned him an important place in the Kingdom\'s history books.
After Nalear\'s attack, the last embers of civil war died out.
The Crown restored his authority by cutting off all the dead branches of nobility that spread corruption to keep themselves afloat.
With the Master and Balkor ceasing their attacks she had not much to do.
Kaduria sounded like a lot of trouble.
It was an ancient problem, older even than the Griffon Kingdom.
Tyris was already a Guardian back then.
She and Leegaain had helped set up the barrier.
Both could have destroyed the High Lord, but chose otherwise.
Tyris because she wanted it to serve as a reminder of the foolishness of men.
It was the era when there was no such thing as forbidden magic.
Humans kept exploiting the less fortunate in their quest for power and longevity.
No matter how many she killed, hundreds of others were ready to pick up from where her victims had left their research.
Only one thing seemed to be able to stop them: fear.
Lost cities were popping up like mushrooms as the legacy of Lochra Silverwing was abused in every conceivable way.
The only silver lining was that every monstrosity born from those experiments was a common enemy that allowed people to put aside their differences and rethink their way of life.
The mages who lived in the same region of a lost city became more judicious, while its inhabitants were inclined to topple any ruler who made the poor disappear instead of praising them for it.
All of them had learned to do the right thing, albeit for the wrong reason.
Leegaain hoped to find a way to free the Kadurians without killing them, instead.
\'I recognize the design of this array.\' She shook her head, making her long golden hair danced in the sunlight.
\'This is the work of one of the Awakened one of Salaark\'s turf.
I will not let the people of my Country suffer for the mistakes of others.\'