Lith\'s problem was that if you toss enough paper at once, it can end up smothering the flames.
\'Fuck me sideways.
I wish I had added the air element to the mix.
A tornado of black flames would be much harder to overpower.\' Lith thought while looking at the incoming avalanche.
\'Again, only hindsight is 100% correct.\' Solus replied.
\'Plus, making two elements coexist is already hard.
If there was a third one, you would be complaining about not having enough mana to maintain it active for long.\'
As she had feared, the container was protected by several arrays.
They were layered one upon the other, to force the enemy to waste their time deactivating them one by one.
It was a perfect plan since with the fungal creature on a rampage, Lith and Solus didn\'t have more than a few seconds at their disposal.
Even an Invigorated Setting Sun could only hold for so long.
I really hope you Odi are all dead, otherwise I\'m going to kill you! Lith said while making the black flames so tightly packed that they almost became solid.
The first tidal wave of spore was turned into ash on impact, but the second one managed to penetrate the barrier, and the third went deeper.
Tons of spores were crashing on him non-stop from every direction, Lith was too focused on slowing their advance to keep his breathing rhythm.
Invigoration had been sealed by the simple raw power of the creature\'s onslaught.
\'Did they really devise this strategy to fight Awakened ones\' Lith thought while the enemy was seconds away from eating his face.
You know the Odi.
Too arrogant to admit that the devil is in the details.\' Solus said as the arrays collapsed in unison, allowing her to destroy the corrupted spores.
The moment the creature was freed from the mind control spell, it stopped its attack.
After that, most of the cloud died, leaving only enough spores to form a humanoid figure that creepily resembled Lith down to the smallest details.
He had no idea it was the creature\'s way to show respect toward a member of another race.
u003c Thanks, human.
Even though we doubt that freeing us was your real purpose, we can\'t argue with results nor justify our attempts to end your life.u003e The creature said.
Unfortunately, Lith couldn\'t understand the beasts\' language, let alone mycetes\'.
He used that moment of respite to rekindle Setting Sun back to its full power.
u003c You have no idea of the pain we endured.
Centuries of slavery spent having our mind violated every day and forced to increase our numbers despite the pain having our consciousness split between such a big colony inflicted to us.
We\'ll hinder you no more.
May the Great Mother bless you.u003e
The Lith-looking creature beckoned with its hand and a small ring floated in the space between them.
u003c We don\'t know if it\'s powerful or not.
Its magic comes from the accursed Odi and it\'s useless to us.
We pray it will aid you in your journey.
Please, forgive us.u003e The creature gave him a deep bow before bolting away.
Only when Solus and Life Vision confirmed Lith that there were no more spores did he lower his spell.
First of all, how the heck did you crack so many arrays that fast\' He asked while using spirit magic to lift the ring before studying it with Life Vision.
Lith had no idea what it was, but he could recognize blue glowing runes when he saw them.
\'It was actually an incredibly menial task.
What do so many powerful arrays need to work\' She asked while studying the ring with her mana sense.
Its pseudo core wasn\'t very complex and the gem on top of it was just green.
It made both Lith and Solus very happy.
\'A lot of mana.
So\' Lith replied.
\'Do you see mana crystals around here\'
Wait, don\'t tell me that…\' Lith couldn\'t believe that an entire race could be so shrewd and yet so idiotic.
\'Bingo! I just cut the mana crystal cable that supplied the arrays with the world energy from the mana geyser and they dissipated.
Easy as flipping a switch.\' Solus wrapped herself around Lith\'s arm before returning to her ring form.
As for the gift the creature left us, it\'s must be a trinket someone lost and never bothered picking it up.
Which is awesome.
It might as well be our Rosetta Stone for studying runes.\' Lith thought, putting the ring inside his pocket dimension.
Lith had already returned to his peak condition thanks to Invigoration.
He flew back to Kulah\'s gates, to check on Phloria and Quylla.
Maybe on Yondra too.
The rest of the expedition might as well die for what he cared.
Let me out, the creature is gone and the area is safe. Lith said once he reached the Death Bastion.
What\'s my mother\'s name Phloria asked.
She wasn\'t leaving their lives up to chance.
For what she knew, someone or something might have been imitating Lith\'s voice.
Your father is Orion and your dog Lucky.
In name and in fact.
Phloria dispelled Death Bastion, giving Lith a solid punch in the stomach right before hugging him with enough strength to squeeze out the little air left in his lungs.
Thank the gods you are alright.
You almost scared me to death.
Again! She quickly searched his body for injuries and when she found none she said:
Please, help Quylla.
She\'s not getting better. Phloria had no idea how he could still be so energetic and couldn\'t care less.
Calil was dead and many others were on the brink of death, Quylla included.
Yondra was deathly pale, her breathing was irregular and she had barely enough life force to remain conscious.
Morok was black, blue, and pale as well.
Once the creature had ceased its attack, Phloria had \'politely\' demanded that he pulled his weight.
Lith first checked on Quylla.
Her life force was so faint that it couldn\'t hold her mana core together.
It was still intact, but her body was already past the point of recovery.
Unless one could use Invigoration, of course.
Lith had her drink a tonic and gave enough life force to fill two bulls.
Only then did her condition stabilise and her skin turn from pale to pink.
Lith then gave a bit of life force to Yondra before moving onto the others.
Phloria\'s soldiers and the rest of the assistants were just unconscious.
The proper treatments and Quylla\'s care had prevented them from dying on the spot but unlike them, the Professors weren\'t so young anymore.
They all need life force and I\'ve not enough for all of them.
I can save one, maybe two, but the rest is up to their luck and constitution. Saving them all would have meant revealing his secret.
Lith wasn\'t willing to put at risk his entire life work for a bunch of self-entitled strangers.
Use mine. Phloria offered him her hand which he promptly examined.
That makes two more tops.
Which means that one or two of them have to die.
Make your decision, Captain. In that moment, he wasn\'t speaking as her friend but as her field Healer.
Phloria didn\'t think twice about her answer and she hated herself for it.
Save those who are more likely to survive.
It\'s pointless to waste life force on those who might die even after getting treated.
On the battlefield, terrible words had been invented.
Resource management, collateral damage, rules of engagement, they were all fancy terms to describe the forms of murder that the human society considered acceptable.