Pointy ears, shining skin.
Were you really an elf when you were alive Lith asked.
Less than twenty minutes remained before the army brought down the house, yet while dealing with a deranged immortal, he needed tact and opportunity to break the bad news.
That or a timely escape pretending to not know anything about what was happening.
Lith had to play it by ear.
What Gods, no.
It would make me a self righteous jerk.
This is just a side effect of draining so many pseudo elves.
It will fade in due time.
I am, or better, I was human. Zolgrish walked to the device, dispelling the barrier which enveloped it with a wave of his hand.
Then, he needed a short chant to turn it off and a longer one to make the spells imbued inside the adamant ring go haywire and destroy the artifact.
Once a forgemastering process was complete, it couldn\'t be redone.
Yozmogh and Dann\'Kah had corrupted the amplifier forever, Zolgrish had no way to amend their tampering.
The artifact\'s destruction freed the souls trapped inside the spheres of smoke which were orbiting around it, waiting to be provided with new bodies.
Each one of them released a small pillar of light that shot toward the sky, filling the lab\'s stale air with a feeling of joy.
Lith instinctively released Death Vision to watch at the scene unfolding in front of him.
In his eyes, the space occupied by the amplifier looked like a black hole collapsing on itself.
Without its constant pull, the souls of the creatures imprisoned within the underground complex were released.
At first, only a few managed to leave, but as the black hole disappeared, more and more souls escaped its grasp until a hail of shooting starts almost blinded Lith.
Yet he had no time to appreciate the light show, nor to wonder why he could feel the souls\' fleeting emotions whereas Solus couldn\'t.
His eyes were fixated on Zolgrish, who under the effect of Death Vision died several times in the space of a few seconds, but always in the same way.
His body would revert into a cracked skeleton before it turned to dust.
Just like the Duchess back at Jirni\'s birthday party.
\'Fuck me sideways! That woman was a lich too.
That must be what happens when you break their phylactery.
The only question remaining is if the Royals are aware of the Duchess\' real identity and if so, how they deal with the undead nobles under their rule.\' Lith thought.
This is a disaster. Zolgrish sighed.
Without Dann\'Kah and Yozmogh I can\'t make another amplifier.
I wasted years to build this place, more years to equip it with all the instruments I needed, and decades to make that goddamn thing!
It\'s the biggest failure of my career. His rage was almost tangible and the mana currents he was emitting were so violent that Death Vision stopped showing his demise.
To make matters even worse, those horny monkeys and their raids have given away the lab\'s position.
Even if they didn\'t, only someone dumb, blind, and deaf could miss all those fireworks.
I need to get out of here.
Zolgrish restored his lab\'s power, making Life Vision and mana sense useless once again.
About my payment… Lith didn\'t like the sudden turns of events.
The lich was in a hurry, turning lots of levers and pressing even more buttons on the various holographic panels which appeared above the various Forges.
The amount of mana in the air was getting thicker by the second, making Lith\'s skin crawl.
I haven\'t forgotten.
Usually I would give you a tour of my treasury and let you pick a reward of your choice within reason.
Unfortunately, I don\'t have much time.
You are a Ranger, right Zolgrish asked.
Lith nodded in reply.
If even Ratpack recognized his uniform, deranged or not, Zolgrish was bound to be able to do the math.
That means the whole army knows about this place.
They will raid this place in hours whereas I would need months to take everything away with me.
I\'m weakened and almost out of mana.
A few hits would be enough to destroy my physical form, and after being away from my phylactery for so long, I don\'t know how much time it would take me to be back at full strength.
Rather than being robbed blind, I prefer destroying everything myself! The determination in his voice didn\'t leave space for debate.
What about me Lith refused to change the topic.
Oh, yes. Zolgrish pushed another button and the holographic interface turned from bright blue to a blinking deep red.
You can keep whatever you took on your way to save me, plus I want you to have this. A clap of his hands made a mint condition Forge appear in the middle of the room.
It\'s the only unspoiled one left and after collecting my most precious belongings I have no space left inside my dimensional items to store something so bulky.
It would be a waste to destroy it.
It\'s pure adamant. Lith put his hand on the massive silvery table, feeling his mana flow through it without encountering any resistance.
Yes, it is, dear Feron.
Now give me the artifacts Yozmogh had on himself.
They are the last batch I made with my treacherous assistants and they are priceless.
They should be…
Zolgrish listed them with uncanny memory for someone incapable of getting Lith\'s name right even once.
\'At least Solus got some time to study them.
The problem is that aside from the mirror, I have no idea what they do.\' Lith thought.
He also had this. Lith handed the lich the silver sphere.
He still considered Clean Slate trash compared to Invigoration.
My Eraser! That bastard even dared to steal my office supplies.
You can keep it.
I produce and lose them in bulks.
Those little buggers disappear like they have a mind of their own.
Now you better go.
The whole place will blow up in less than a minute.
Lith stored the adamant Forge and Warped away.
Only then did he allow himself to smile.
He had given Zolgrish all of the artifacts he had listed, but Yozmogh had actually more.
\'I would have returned the mirror and the sphere anyway.
Ratpack witnessed Yozmogh using them.
I couldn\'t afford being ratted out and then living watching my back from Zolgrish.
\'Now I have a purple crystal, a lot of ingredients the dryads gifted me, and an adamant forge! I have all the necessary to craft a masterpiece!\' Lith thought.
\'Yeah, too bad we have no idea what to create.\' Solus pointed out.
\'Either we get the blueprints for something worth using such treasures, or you need to stop for a few years to devise one of our own and do some tests.
We have only one block of adamant, after all.\'
Lith was about to rebuke something about an improved version of the Gatekeeper when his military communication amulet drew his attention.
Ranger Verhen, do you copy The hologram of Brigadier General Vorgh appeared.
Sir, what are you doing here Lith asked.
We lost your signal about half an hour ago, so your handler sent the Wardens to check the situation.
\'The timing matches with the ambush.
Probably the lab\'s shields blocked the external interferences.\' Lith thought.
They found a small army waiting for them and almost got killed.
Where are you right now
Outside the complex, why Lith said.
Vorgh\'s answer was covered by the rumbling sound of an earthquake which made part of the Broken Spine sink several hundred meters below the ground level.