Chapter 871 Old Enemies Part 1
How did you find the undead\'s base of operation Lith asked.
I was lucky.
I stumbled upon the vampires during my patrol, while they were assaulting a travelers\' caravan.
I was about to intervene when I noticed that the bandits were freaking undead.
I let them do their job and then I followed them back to their hideout.
They had taken the humans alive, so I thought that I could save them later.
Worst case scenario, they would have been collateral damage.
The Kingdom sometimes requires sacrifices. Acala shrugged.
After alerting the Headquarters, I tailed them in an underground network of caves that led me damn deep.
That plus the arrays shut down all communications.
I got stuck there because, after performing the ritual to turn their prisoners into thralls, the guards resumed their positions while I was still studying the odd machinery they built.
I had to wait for their next expedition to get my opportunity to escape.
After days without sleep and eating, not only was I so tired that they spotted me, but I had also the pleasure to learn that **ing Baroness Margrave and all the **ing nobles I risked my ass for a decade to protect, didn\'t trust me enough to get the job done and had their golden boy meddle with my hard work. By the time Acala was done talking, the veins on his neck were bulging in outrage.
\'This explains a lot.
The vampires didn\'t let anyone escape, they were just unlucky.
Also, deep underground caves Machinery\' Lith had no interest in Acala\'s rants, only in figuring out what he was about to deal with.
You talked about a ritual, but making a thrall doesn\'t take one.
Can you describe it in more detail He asked.
The members of the nest formed a circle around a stone table where the victim was strapped.
Then, their bodies emitted a white light that formed an array which empowered a white mana crystal.
The crystal was embedded in a big bundle of metal wire and pipes.
After a while, the energy was accumulated and amplified by the crystal and then injected inside the victim.
That\'s all I\'ve got. Acala replied.
\'From his description, it sounds like an Odi lab, but this still doesn\'t make sense.
The Odi despised undead and weren\'t able to use tier five spells.
Even assuming that all the undead I faced had their original personalities replaced, where the heck did they learn modern magic
\'Also, the fact that the vampires fueled the array needed to empower the machine is another inconsistency.
Without enough people that know the ritual and how to operate the device, the whole thing is just a piece of junk.
\'There\'s no way a group of recently awakened Odi can overpower an entire nest of vampires to steal their bodies.
Moreover, why would a nest even be here in the first place\' Lith thought.
You said the machine turned them into thralls instead of vampires.
How can you be so sure Since the undead he had encountered were able to withstand sunlight, Lith was able to distinguish between thralls from vampire only thanks to Solus\'s mana sense.
Acala\'s words confused Lith to no end.
You ask too many questions.
How the heck did you manage to join the army with such an attitude A soldier only needs to obey his orders and let his superiors do the thinking. Acala said.
As for your question, the ritual involved the exchange of blood between victims and vampires so I assumed they became thralls.
Undead don\'t feed upon other undead.
You ask too few questions and assume much. Lith replied.
No wonder you remained a grunt your whole career.
Blind loyalty is only good for foot soldiers, whereas initiative is required from officials.
Or do you believe that you get the permission to think for yourself along with the promotion
The exchange of insults continued until they reached their destination.
It was a pile of rocks leaning against the side of a mountain.
That\'s just a landmark formed after a landslide.
Follow me and shut up. Acala cast an array detecting spell to make sure nothing had changed since his last visit.
Then, he led Lith toward the south-east, following the mountain range.
Even with his 3D map, Lith had trouble understanding where they were exactly.
The Serpent Tongue derived its name from the mountain range splitting into two smaller branches at some point.
The mana geysers at his disposal were located respectively at one of the Tongue\'s ends and another near the Kusha Route, whereas Acala had brought him somewhere near the root of the Tongue.
The Ranger signaled Lith to expect two guards and be careful.
Then, he flew up until he found a mark in the stone that resonated with his mana.
It was a common trick among Rangers that Lith had learned from another veteran, Morok.
A whisper and a series of hand signs made the rock wall open, revealing a tunnel.
Yet no one was there.
Acala had a shocked expression for a few seconds before regaining his cool and casting a Life Detecting array.
No guards Where did they go He said after confirming there was no one around them.
Acala sheathed his weapon while turning to Lith.
When Acala\'s eyes met the red blade of Ruin, he was barely able to contain another burst of swearing.
As any competent mage, the Ranger could perceive the blade\'s powerful mana flow and appreciate its elegant design.
Purple mana crystals were embedded in both sides of the hilt, on the guard, and the pommel.
Smaller blue crystals the size of a nut were placed in a vertical line along the middle of the flat sides of the blade, to ensure that the enchantments stored within its pseudo core were evenly channeled throughout Ruin\'s surface.
Even though runes couldn\'t be seen by the naked eye, Acala was close enough for his mana perception to feel the complex pattern of mystical words that covered the sword and gave it its red glow.
Either I scared the ** out of them or they are making new puppies as we speak. Lith sheathed Ruin and started to take small bags of food out of his pocket dimension.
Once we get in, our storage items will become useless.
You\'re the one who knows the complex.
How much food do we need to safely complete the mission without starving
How do you know that the arrays start right inside the cave and where did you get that sword Acala ignored Lith\'s question.
He was too busy cursing how life was unfair to answer him.
I don\'t. Lith lied.
Getting prepared in an open space instead of inside an unknown cave is just common sense.
As for the blade, I traded a piece of my own for it with a fellow Forgemaster.
He avoided telling his drooling colleague that Ruin was just a prototype.
Lith couldn\'t risk Acala having a stroke out of envy.
Not until he had outlived his usefulness.
I heard you come from farmers and serious Forgemastering requires money.
A lot of it.
How could you afford to take such specialization
For someone who claims to not be curious, you sure ask a lot of questions. Lith replied.
I don\'t plan on having an official biographer so it\'s none of your business.
Take out the food and make way.
Acala grumbled non-stop until they stepped inside the cave, each one of them carrying five days\' worth of provisions stored inside special bags that trapped smells and sounds.
The cave was dark, damp, and recent.
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