While dodging the clubs\' swings that were raining on him non stop, Lith still couldn\'t believe how things had escalated quickly.
When the specimen had proved to be able to shapeshift, he had prepared contingency spells to restrain or contain it, not kill it.
It was their only lead and it was seemingly harmless.
It could change its appearance, but not create weapons nor use magic, which together with Manohar\'s light barrier\'s protection made it nothing more than a creepy talking head.
Lith had hoped that whoever was controlling the flesh puppet, would say something that he could use to find the real source of the made mages.
He would have never expected the guards to believe that something could happen to Tista on his watch, nor that Manohar could be so arrogant to not have prepared any kind of protection for himself.
Lith had seen the Professor ready another spell, but Manohar had been so focused on the specimen to not even glance at the wannabe heroes.
\'Humans\' stupidity never ceases to amaze me.\' He thought while rolling under one of the deformed arms and striking with the Gatekeeper at the human hands, disrupting the spell.
\'Its behavior doesn\'t make sense.\' Solus was dumbfounded as well.
\'If its aim was destroying the specimen, then it could have just self destructed.
If it wanted to escape, why ignore the open door What does it gain by fighting us\'
Lith was too busy avoiding to get cornered to even try to find a proper answer.
The creature was physically stronger than him and its fighting skills were better than most of his instructors demonstrated when he had trained in the army.
\'If this person is so good while controlling a makeshift body that wields improvised weapons, I don\'t think I could win against their real body without going all out.\'
Meanwhile, Tista had finished healing Manohar and was waiting for the right moment to strike.
Her eyes were brimming with mana because of Life Vision.
\'Why it doesn\'t activate the vortex\' She thought.
\'Lith can\'t focus on a spell as long they are so close, but I can.
Spirit magic is invisible to fake mages and I\'ve conjured enough to kill it in one go.
\'Without the vortex, though, it would just give it a strong blow and reveal our ace in the hole.\'
Much to everyone\'s surprise, the Carpenter was getting weaker by the second.
Most of the accumulated mana was spent and a green core couldn\'t sustain its abilities for long, not without the vortex\'s boost.
\'Before attacking, the creature said something about not having much time left.
Maybe the vortex has some limitations we are still unaware of.\' Solus pondered.
Lith grunted as he deflected the stone club coming from his left.
He then raised the Gatekeeper while switching to a two-handed grip before chopping off the deformed hand at the wrist\'s level.
The Carpenter\'s movements were getting sluggish.
It tried to reattach the hand with tendrils of flesh, but the darkness magic the Gatekeeper was infused with was corrupting the hand faster than the creature could regenerate it.
Seems I have underestimated you a bit. The creature said with Manohar\'s voice while taking several steps back.
Both heads were wheezing, gasping for air.
Lith didn\'t let it get away.
He kept close to the creature while swinging the Gatekeeper.
With its only arm left, the Carpenter couldn\'t keep up with him.
The bastard sword was infused with darkness magic and with each hit the creature\'s vitality dwindled.
Yet its mouths continued grinning.
The vortex reappeared, sucking all the world energy in its surroundings and filling the Carpenter with new energy.
Its wounds closed, even the stump started regrowing a new hand.
Tista unleashed all the spirit magic she had accumulated while Lith stepped back and conjured some of his own.
The Carpenter\'s heads kept their eyes on the siblings, ready to shut down the vortex the moment they cast a spell or activated a magic ring.
Yet nothing happened.
They are both frozen in terror.
This has been a waste of…\' The creature\'s train of thought was cut short by a massive amount of foreign mana flooding its system.
The Carpenter stopped the vortex, but it was too late.
Lith\'s could only produce filaments on such short notice, but Tista\'s spirit magic had been densely packed.
Her mana reached the creature\'s green core, degrading it quickly to yellow and then to orange.
The Carpenter laughed despite the pain, still looking around for the source of the attack.
Brilliant! I didn\'t even notice you setting up this trap. The creature while staring at Tista.
Too bad it\'s not enough!
The Carpenter reactivated the vortex, uncaring of the consequences.
The moment Solus informed Lith that the creature\'s core was down to red, he resumed his attack.
Even under the effect of mana poisoning, the creature\'s muscles were still growing, its wounds healing.
Lith unleashed all of his rings and the creature sucked the spells just as he expected.
\'Grey and fading, now!\' Solus gave him his cue.
The moment the Carpenter\'s eyes stopped glowing, Lith used fire, air, and water fusion on himself with all the strength the had left.
His movements turned into a blur, each slash was perfectly chained to the following one with no delay thanks to water fusion.
Lith was like a human blender, even Tista couldn\'t follow the Gatekeeper\'s speed.
The only thing she could see was a flash of light each time a part of the Carpenter flew away.
First Lith decapitated both heads with a horizontal slash while jumping.
Then, he adjusted the blade\'s angle and while falling down he amputated the creature\'s right arms.
The moment Lith touched the floor, he changed stance again.
He pivoted on his feet, chopping both legs at once while spinning on himself.
Lastly, he used the momentum for removing the left arms with an upward slash as he returned facing the creature.
When the second green core went online, the Carpenter was still full to the brim with mana.
Unluckily, being limbless it could do nothing as Lith stabbed the chest and flooded it with darkness magic until it turned to dust.
Two assimilated guards, hence two cores. He explained to Tista\'s disgusted look.
Rule number one, never stop until the monster is…
He was about to wipe out the Carpenter\'s remains when a blue pillar descended from the sky and pushed him away, like he was just a speck of dust.
Under their astonished gazes, the pillar enveloped their enemy and sucked away all the mana it contained.
\'What the heck This isn\'t at all like when a magical beast evolves, nor like when I refined the blue mana core.
It feels empty, like Kaduria after I destroyed the Black Star.
Could it be…\' Lith\'s reasoning was interrupted by several mages storm the lab.
What they saw was a bloodbath where the living tissue had assimilated the guards, Manohar lying unconscious on the ground in a pool of his own blood, and most of the lab equipment trashed.
The colleagues they had come to help were nowhere to be seen, whereas Lith and Tista were standing unscathed.
Nobody moves! Screamed Thane, the Great Mage leading the backup unit.
Drop the sword and get on your knees, now! If you so much as to say a single word, I\'ll not hesitate to put you down.