At those words, everyone unleashed the darkness spells that they had kept at the ready.
The agonizing shrieks rose in intensity and made their stomach churn, but their survival instinct beat their compassion by a landslide.
The air turned immediately clear, but the flesh tentacles at their feet reacted with violence, attacking Lith\'s group from all sides.
Luckily, centuries of feeding only on the light element that seeped through the two layers of arrays blocking the door had left the creature severely weakened.
Each one of their hits was quick and well-aimed, but it lacked the strength necessary to pierce the enchanted protections.
Life Ward further protected the expedition members, inflicting deep burns to the entrails whenever they struck at the white membrane.
A second volley of darkness spells killed the attackers and cleansed the air enough for the ward\'s in-built lights to allow the Professors to read the documents they had brought along.
This should be Project Evolution. Professor Ellkas read.
The Odi had discovered that Abomination don\'t suffer from aging nor diseases, so they attempted to fuse the Abomination\'s life forces with that of members of the \'lesser races\' before infecting them with incurable ailments.
I\'d say they failed big time.
Idiots. Lith was enraged by the Odi\'s reckless approach to science.
They failed to understand that if creating hybrids was so easy, everyone would do it.
Their foolish experiment didn\'t bond the Abomination with their specimens, but with the diseases!
How do you know that Phloria asked.
The Professors were flabbergasted as well.
None of them was a Master Healer, but Lith\'s comprehension of the Odi experiments was too accurate to not be creepy.
\'Oh crap!\' Lith thought.
\'I forgot that the others don\'t have Solus to explain everything to them almost in real-time.
I\'ve got to play my genius card.\'
Isn\'t it obvious Lith acted smug.
The fog is clearly alive and has been feeding on our lights ever since we stepped down here.
The moment you told me that Abominations were involved, all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.
No, it\'s not obvious at all. Gaakhu said.
How do you explain the things that just attacked us That was no disease.
\'My money on a partial success.\' Solus came to the rescue.
\'Probably one of their victims partially fused with both the Abomination and the disease.
It gave them the edge they needed over their competition but at the same time it trapped them in here.\'
Lith repeated her words and added:
That\'s why we hear screams and why the door upstairs was still standing.
Probably the hybrid has a real body somewhere and can\'t get too far from it.
His brilliant deduction surprised everyone, Phloria included.
She knew that Lith was brilliant, but not that much.
Yet she said nothing aside from praises and kept her questions for later.
The carpet of entrails led them to a cell near the access leading to the next underground floor.
Just as Lith, or rather Solus had predicted, the heavy metal door had been ripped off as if it was made of paper.
Nothing remained of the arrays or the holographic pad.
The only thing left was the mana crystal cable, around which the only healthy tentacle was tightly wrapped.
I guess that explains how the hybrid survived for so long. Lith said while pointing at it.
Inside the cell, there was something of vaguely humanoid shape.
The creature had a spongy look, as if a black and green moss had entirely covered a man\'s upper body, from the head to his midriff.
Yet it wasn\'t moss and there was no underlying body.
The creature could twist all of its parts like a rag doll, forming unnatural angles while it tried to escape from the shining red chains that bound its arms to the wall.
Its pseudo skin bubbled like a boiling liquid at each attempt.
The creature was featureless, with only the red eyes made of pure energy typical of Abominations and an open mouth.
It allowed Lith\'s group to see that there was nothing inside its body, just a uniform mass of moss.
The tentacle-innards were generated from its midriff, the creature had no lower body.
Seeing the fresh, juicy prey willingly stepping inside its cage, the hybrid twisted its arms with enough strength to rip them off at the wrist level to get rid of the chains.
Yet the enchanted item created red lines of power on the creature\'s body, forcing it to heal and reattaching it to the wall time and time again.
The hybrid gurgled in outrage while the group decided what to do.
Suddenly, a humane voice made came from the creature\'s entrails.
u003c Please, kill me.u003e It spoke in an unknown language, but for some reason, Lith understood its words.
A human head was emerging from the tentacles that the creature had amassed, preparing for an attack.
u003c I beg of you, don\'t let it...u003e The creature roared, cutting the person short as it stretched its neck enough to bite the newborn head off, causing red blood to spray through its cell.
Good gods! What was that Gaakhu asked, on the verge of puking.
I was right, the fusion is incomplete. Lith explained after consulting Solus.
This is a pathogen-Abomination hybrid and that was its host.
The hybrid is the dominant one so it treats the host like a parasite.
Neither of them can kill the other.
Anyone wants to take scans of this horror Phloria asked.
Her question was followed by pent up barfs and shaken heads.
All those in favor to put it down
Everyone raised their hands.
Half the group kept the creature away from the mana cable while the others bombarded the hybrid with tier four darkness spells.
Once the creature\'s body disappeared, so did the living fog and all the black veins covering the floor.
The ward\'s lights now allowed Lith\'s group to take a good look around.
Now that the living entrails were gone, they could see that dozens of corpses littered the floor.
The first underground level was a mass grave for both prisoners and Odi guards.
All skeletons had been sucked dry, but the Odi\'s were easily recognizable.
They had no imperfections, with ivory white bones that seemed out of an anatomy book.
All males were identical to each other and so were the females.
If not for the struggle signs and the black aura of undeath that Life Vision revealed, Lith would have thought they were just mass-produced skeleton mannequins.
What\'s on the next floor Phloria asked.
This was the Immunization Ward.
Next should be the Body Enhancement Ward.
I think it refers to their enchanted human program. Ellkas said.
Can we go outside and take a break Morok asked.
I\'ve seen a lot of disgusting things in my life but this one takes the cake.
I wish. Neshal explained.
Once we take our Alchemical protection off, it will be gone.
We could rest here.
Everyone looked at her as she was raving mad.
I mean on the ground floor, not here-here.
They went back to the Odi ward, but the nightmare followed them.
Even though the place was pristine and with perfect lighting, they kept seeing everything in shades of green, as if the living fog was still there.
Only when the creature\'s screams stopped resounding in their ears and their steps emitted squishy sounds no more did they go for the second underground floor.
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