…and if they stall us long enough, reinforcements could destroy the bodies we left behind.
If that happens, we\'d end up surrounded and killed in no time.
Luckily for me, I\'ve got a better idea Lith said.
He was so used to relying on Solus\'s mana sense and on Life Vision that using Fire Vision felt wrong.
It was one of Lith\'s oldest skills, that he now used mostly to cook since Life Vision had proved to be superior in combat.
Fire vision granted him the magical equivalent of thermal goggles, allowing him to see in the dark in a scale of colors according to the temperature of his surroundings.
The lab was lit by light crystals that didn\'t emit heat, otherwise he would have been blinded.
Fire Vision provided no information about the strength of the enemy, but still could identify their position and size.
Lith stood still for a while, studying the patrols\' timing and routes.
\'I can\'t afford to make mistakes.
One false step and we\'ll be swarmed.
Meeting Ratpack was a blessing in disguise.
Without his information, I would have taken my sweet time opening the doors and who knows what could have happened.\' Lith thought.
He worried more about the orc shaman than the Balor.
As far as he knew, only the former could block his dimensional magic thanks to orcs\' innate ability to manipulate mana crystals.
Dimensional magic was a powerful tool.
Lith relied on it for both offense and defense.
Most of his contingency plans were impossible without it.
After he was sure that he had a clear understanding of their situation, Lith went upstairs and followed one of the patrols.
He cursed when he saw that they were all orcs reverted to their elven state.
They moved lithe as cats, with lean limbs more fitting for a professional dancer than the brutes they were.
The enemies would have spotted Lith\'s group immediately if not for the Hush zone and the smell canceling spell he had enveloped them with.
Lith kept several spells at the ready while intently following the patrol movements with Fire Vision.
The moment the orcs met a patrol of reverted ogres, Lith unleashed the spirit magic tendrils he had prepared and snapped their necks.
Then, he waved his hand, making a Warp Steps appear below their feet.
It moved the corpses into one of the cells on the seventh floor, of which Lith had memorized the coordinates and closed the door before leaving.
Ten elite enemies were swallowed by the dimensional corridor and locked away in one fell swoop.
No one could destroy their bodies now.
Quick! We must move before the other patrols notice their disappearance. Lith said.
Zolgrish nodded at what\'s-his-name ingenuity and followed his lead.
Together they quickly cleaned the external corridors of patrols.
Even in his weakened state, Zolgrish had no problems using water magic to freeze his opponents and dimensional magic to lock them away.
Once they reached the lab\'s nearest door, Lith made way for the lich.
He didn\'t need Life Vision to know the door was enchanted.
The many mana crystals fused into its surface couldn\'t be just for decoration.
Zolgrish raised his skeletal right hand in front of the solid silver door, making a holographic spiral made of runes appear.
Interesting. He said after the door refused to open.
They have managed to tamper with my code.
I wonder if their newfound intelligence comes from reverting the effects of the falling or from mastering the connection with my essence now inhabiting their bodies.
The latter possibility is kind of disturbing.
The tinge of worry in the lich\'s voice made Lith even more paranoid than usual.
While Zolgrish worked the door\'s command panel, he checked their surroundings again and prepared a few extra spells.
\'My preparation was meticulous and the execution of my plan flawless, yet I can\'t help being worried.
If Dann\'Kah and Yozmogh really are this smart, then they\'re bound to be close.\' He thought.
\'To make matters worse, they just need to tamper with one of the elements composing the world energy to seal my dimensional magic.
There are too many things that can go wrong.
Solus, be ready to intervene.\'
She was careful to shapeshift slowly from under his sleeve, while the lich was still focused on the door.
When her arm protector form manifested, she made it appear as though he had simply taken it out from a dimensional item.
Zolgrish finally cracked the code and turned towards Lith.
We\'re in. The lich said while looking at him like it was the first time they met.
You seem different, somehow.
Have you done something with your hair
The door opened, revealing the biggest Forgemastering lab Lith had ever seen.
It extended as far as the eye could see, taking up the entire floor.
There was no room or wall separating the various sections of the lab, only pillars to keep the ceiling standing.
The stone walls had been carved into bookshelves and each one of them was filled with ancient tomes or scrolls.
The richly decorated spines of the books were the only element of color in the otherwise honey hued stone surface.
A blue translucent force field covered all the bookshelves, protecting their content from the energy employed and released during the Forgemastering experiments.
Lith counted at least twenty Forges.
Forge was how Forgemasters referred to the silver tables they used for their work.
Every forge inside the lab was covered in runes of power, which formed magic circles still pulsing with blue energy.
Some circles were complete, others were works in progress, but all of them had an object resting on their center, ready to be enchanted.
Much to Lith\'s surprise, the books were arranged according to a color code that went from black to white, going through the complete light spectrum.
\'What the heck Could he have split the books according to the mana core required Solus, are you sure he isn\'t an Awakened\' Lith was already worried about orc shamans always being Awakened ones.
The idea that even the Balor could become one by accessing Zolgrish\'s memories was enough to reconsider his plan and call the army to have them raze the area.
So far he has chanted all of his spells and his mana flow is static.
Either he is a fake mage or he has lost his status of Awakened together with most of his powers.
My money on the former.\' She replied.
What does the color code mean Lith asked.
He needed to make sure it was just a coincidence.
What code That would be an idiotic thing to do.
The books are in alphabetical order.
I had them bound that way so that each Forge has its own room. Zolgrish walked double time towards the Forge at the north west end of the room.
Unlike the other silver tables, there was nothing on it except five concentric circles of runes that glowed with a golden light instead of the common blue.
Where\'s the device Lith said while sighing in relief.
You\'re looking at it. The lich replied.
Only amateurs use common silver tables for a masterpiece.
True Forgemasters use adamant.
It conducts mana as well as silver but it\'s hundreds of times more resilient.
Plus, you can shapeshift it into any form you may need.
It makes it much easier to inscribe runes with perfect symmetry on the vessel for your spell since you have an ample surface that you can later rearrange in the shape and size of your choosing.