\'Undead life force\' Solus was flabbergasted.
\'Could he have evolved after absorbing the darkness magic animating your wolves\'
Lith had no explanation for the phenomenon, yet he noticed that the orc\'s clothes were too big for him.
They were sized for a regular orc, which meant that either his transformation really had just happened or the creature didn\'t care about having them fixed.
After a throughout body scan of the fainted elf-orc, Lith and Solus had no idea what events could be unfolding in the underground lab.
The creature\'s anatomy was almost identical to its corrupted counterpart.
The only anomalies were the slightly different shape of his organs and his mana core resonating with the world energy, making him recover his mana faster than a human would.
After waking the orc up, Lith discovered that all the means of interrogation at his disposal were useless.
The creature would cut off his pain receptors at the first opportunity he got, and even if Lith could easily undo it, the orc proved to be resistant to pain beyond reason.
Since more monsters were approaching, Lith killed to orc while he still had some time left before being discovered.
Just as he expected, death reverted the monster to his original form.
Life Vision revealed the undead life force leaving the body, but unluckily it moved as fast as lightning and passed through the ground.
Lith had no opportunity to follow it before it disappeared from his sight.
\'It was definitely not from your wolves.\' Solus pointed out.
\'Otherwise it would have just faded.\'
Lith nodded and hid around a corner to avoid the next patrol.
It was composed of five ogres.
They were all very tall, above 2 meters (6\'7) with muscular bodies that could have passed for humans if not for their greenish skin, their spiky red hair and the long, pointy fangs protruding out of their lower lip.
Once again, one of them was very different from the others.
He had no fangs and his hair seemed to be made of red autumn leaves.
There was a calm, solemn light of intelligence reflected in his eyes, that deeply contrasted with the brutish appearance of his peers.
\'Is it me, or does this guy resemble the dryads we met years ago\' After meeting the wargs, Lith had started to wonder if even plants and magical beasts were part of the Fallen races.
The reverted ogre\'s appearance seemed to confirm his suspects.
What happened to Caliel\'s unit Said one of the ogres.
He stuttered every word with a pained expression, as if using human language poisoned his tongue.
There is no sign of struggle. The dryad-ogre calmly observed.
And none of us would have wasted so much meat.
Either Yozmogh himself or one of his elite units must have breached the barricade.
We need to split into two teams.
One will bring the corpses to the kitchen and give the alarm while the other will try to slow them down.
I\'ll do the tracking.
The ogre started chanting in an unknown language as two of his soldiers picked up the bodies and stored them inside huge sacks.
\'A barricade Then the monsters are infighting, which would explain why they eat their own.
How did they survive so long, though To spawn fast they need to eat so much that they should have died of starvation long ago…\'
Lith\'s musing was interrupted the moment the ogre-dryad finished his chanting.
Based on its length, it had to be a tier one spell.
Lith cursed when he noticed red marks appearing on the floor, the ceiling, and wherever the bodies of the fallen orcs had touched the walls during the previous fight.
Among the red marks, there was a clear series of footprints leading to his position.
Ambush! The ogre warned his soldiers a second too late.
Ice lances pierced their heads and hearts, killing the regular ogres on the spot.
They would have done the same to the ogre-dryad, if not for two holes opening where the lances were about to hit.
Instead of flash and bones, the creature was made of vines that normally were wrapped together so tightly that they gave it a humanoid appearance.
\'An ogre\'s body is actually made of fossilized plants!\' Solus\'s scientific curiosity was on cloud nine.
\'That\'s why they are green.\'
\'I don\'t really care about that right now.\' No matter if Lith\'s attacks were magical or physical in nature, in its vine form the ogre was as able to split at will and dodge every one of them with ease.
You don\'t chant, which means you\'re an Awakened! The creature\'s voice was filled with surprise and envy.
His body split into five bundles of vines, four of which dug their way into the dead ogres\' bodies and reanimated them.
Lith could see thanks to Life Vision that they were no undead.
The vines were taking root, turning the corpses into clones of the original.
Both their mana cores and life force had an energy signature identical to those of the original body.
Lith struck at them with several flaming darts, discovering that the clones were incapable of turning into vines as well.
The darts left behind burn marks and produced a pungent smell, yet the fire didn\'t take.
The clones\' life force was unchanged, while their bodies shrunk slightly, as if they had been starving for days.
\'I think I know their weak point.\' Lith\'s smile disappeared as he heard five identical voices chanting as many different spells.
He conjured a blizzard, but unfortunately nor the wind nor the injuries opened by the razor sharp hail his spell produced could stop the enemies\' casting.
Vines had no mouths and even if somehow they experienced pain, it didn\'t show.
A small tornado formed around Lith, blocking his sight and restricting his movements.
Wind blades were randomly mixed with the chaotic air currents surrounding him.
Black clouds formed on the ceiling with a low rumble announcing a thunderstorm.
Lith used Life Vision to detect the otherwise invisible air blades, and Full Guard to avoid the other spells incoming from his blind spots.
The enemies had a limited choice of attacks, which he exploited to make them predictable.
His blizzard was still ongoing, making most fire spells lose their effectiveness, while the whole underground complex was shielded by arrays which made it immune to earth magic.
It explained why the creatures had been forced to dig with their hands.
Lith stood his ground as long as he could, strengthening his magical storm by the second.
He Blinked away only when the lightning bolts from above or the darkness spells the enemies threw at him from the sides would force him to walk into the air blades.
It was a stupid move to use water magic against me! The ogre roared as it relocated the tornado for the third time.
You should have used fire instead.
Lith ignored the taunt and focused on defense as he gave his spell one last push.
All of the enemy attacks disappeared at once when the extreme cold froze the abundant water inside the vines and turned them into popsicles.
\'What a moron.\' Lith thought as he crushed the ice sculptures that once were the ogre-dryad.
\'I was right about the reverted monsters not knowing anything about their own abilities.
\'Fire is only good against dry wood, whereas wet vegetation would only produce a lot of smoke and hinder the only one who actually needs to breathe.