Chapter 952 The Apprentice Surpasses the Master Part 2
Bytra performed a sharp turn to her left, creating an ash cloud out of her fallen enemies and reliving her memories as an Emperor Beast.
After evolving and learning the Forgemastering arts of the Raiju bloodline, Bytra had gone to put them to the test against the first and the greatest Ruler of Flames, Ripha Menadion.
She had lost in both experience and skill, but not in talent nor love for Forgemastering.
The two master artisans admired each other\'s creations, so Menadion offered Bytra to become her apprentice.
The Raiju accepted and soon, thanks to Menadion\'s teachings and her own talent, Bytra became the 4th Ruler of the Flames.
It was a highly coveted title that identified her as the best Forgemaster of her generation, but the number one spot overall still belonged to Menadion.
Bytra had lived in her tower and watched her work with Menadion\'s Fury long enough to understand the reason why she was incapable of surpassing the first Ruler of the Flames.
No matter how much Bytra tapped into her potential, without the tower she would never be able to craft something like the Fury.
To come out of Menadion\'s shadow, she needed to even the field.
With each failed attempt to close the gap between them, admiration and respect turned into sour envy that poisoned Bytra\'s life as well as her creations.
The memory ended, making Bytra neigh in fury as if the events she had witnessed didn\'t happen centuries ago, but yesterday.
Uria the White Lady exploited her confusion to hurl a mass of water the size of a river.
It covered the ground, dispersing the electricity it stored and making the Raiju crash onto the ground.
The living bolt had finally stopped and the undead didn\'t miss their chance to regain the upper hand.
Wights and Wraiths drained Bytra\'s life force simply by touching her while the rest of the undead used their claws to aim at her vitals.
They were now cursing their own dimensional sealing array that left them with nothing but what they wore.
To shut it down, they would need to reach the control panel that was just two corridors and three rooms past the Shadow Dragon.
Don\'t stop! Memories are everything for a mage. Xenagrosh said.
They bring you pain, but also power and experience.
Remember who you are, Byt! Remember and come back to me!
Bytra whined in pain, torn between the visions of the past from the blood madness and the present threat.
Prompted by Zoreth\'s words, the Raiju embraced the suffering coming from both sources and shapeshifted again.
Another burst of lightning, Chaos, and blood allowed her to stand up.
Her humanoid form resembled that of a woman covered in small black scales, with horns on her head and long blood-red hair dancing in the air as if she was amid a storm.
A burst of emerald flames enveloped her body, covering it with one of her prototypes for the Master\'s Dominator armor, and making Menadion\'s Fury appear in her left hand.
The mystical hammer amplified her natural abilities, turning Bytra into a living Tesla coil that unleashed lightning bolts as powerful as natural ones against her enemies.
Some undead burst into flames, others died on the spot, while the rest bled from all their orifices.
The flow of blood and mana triggered the red drums in her head, showing her another glimpse from the past.
Even though Bytra\'s breakthroughs with Runesmithing had allowed the Forgemasters around Mogar to bring their crafts to the next level, it still was not enough to quench her ambition.
She was sick and tired of being the second-best, to the point of belittling her own achievements.
In her mind, she had just improved something Menadion had created instead of inventing a new Forgemastering technique.
To add insult to injury, Menadion claimed to be her number one fan and always spoke highly of Bytra.
To the Raiju, it meant that her former master didn\'t feel threatened by her talent, that Menadion didn\'t even consider her as a rival.
After one failure too many at crafting her own mage tower, Bytra had enough of playing nice.
The foolish Menadion had never revoked her privileges, so the Raiju had no problems getting inside the tower nor slaughtering all of Menadion\'s precious apprentices, even her so-called successor that she had spent so much time and effort preparing.
By the time the alarms triggered, the tower was painted red.
Menadion was shocked by the betrayal of someone she had always considered as a friend and forced to decide whether to fight Bytra or try to save those who still had a spark of life.
She foolishly tried to do both, giving the Raiju the chance to steal Menadion\'s Fury and run away after piercing her heart with the horn Raijus had on their forehead.
Bytra knew that the tower would heal the wound, but it still bought her time.
Meanwhile, the lightning discharge had ended and Bytra threw the Fury against her enemies, creating an ash cloud.
The undead believed her disarmed, but despite the hammer was still flying in the air, there was another in her left hand.
Menadion\'s Fury had the ability to create a temporary copy of itself, allowing more than one Forgemaster at a time to use its powers and perform four-handed crafting jobs.
It was how Bytra had got her first taste at the hammer and how Menadion taught her apprentices.
The Raiju used the copy to fend off the following waves while the original hammer returned to her hand, mowing down everyone on its path.
Bytra was covered in blood, most of which was her own, her flesh was torn, and her mana cores were almost spent.
The hunger almost drove her insane and forced her to relive her final moments as an Emperor Beast.
After escaping from the tower, the Raiju had run for days while using Accumulation non-stop, to achieve a bright purple core and fight Menadion on equal footing.
There was no way to Forgemaster new relics since as long as the first Ruler of the Flame was alive, the hammer would bear her imprint and be nothing but a fancy paperweight.
Despite the Raiju\'s best attempts to stall for time, Menadion found her and the two Rulers of the Flames fought relentlessly for days, both befalling in worse condition than Bytra currently was.
Menadion was still grieving her fallen apprentices and her life force was injured by her attempts to save at least one of them.
Her lack of focus and vigor allowed Bytra to emerge victorious.
The rush the Raiju felt when she imprinted the Fury, making it finally her own, was only equal to the fear she experienced when her mana core started to crack just a few days later.
The constant strain from the training first and fighting later had pushed the Raiju past her limits.
That had been the day when Bytra had died along with all of her dreams and Korgh the Abomination had been born.
Bytra couldn\'t believe how stupid her original self had been.
She had thrown everything and everyone she loved away for power, just to lose it soon after achieving her dream.
It wasn\'t just the victory that had turned out to be hollow, but her heart as well.
Bytra wanted to throw away the Fury for good, to fall to her knees and cry her eyes out until she found a way to make amends for her crimes.
Yet she stood tall while appreciating Menadion\'s Fury\'s weight, both physical and spiritual.
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