\'If I leave even a crumb behind, the Kingdom will appropriate it and I can kiss my loot goodbye.\' Lith thought.
\'That\'s not very patriotic of you, young man.\' Locrias scolded him.
\'If not for everything that the Kingdom has done for you, you would still live in your backwater village.\'
\'Locrias\' Lith was flabbergasted.
While the rest of the Demons had disappeared after venting their anger and vanquishing the enemy at hand, Locrias had remained.
His body was reduced to flickering shadow, but his will was as strong as ever.
\'Nice to meet you again, too.\' The Captain replied with a sneer.
\'I always knew you were a jackass, but this is too much.
How can you worry about your loot instead of about your country and even forget about your partner\'
\'Solus!\' Lith suddenly remembered that she was still on the battlefield, pretending to be him.
\'Yeah, her.\' Locrias said.
\'That poor girl risked her life for you and-\'
\'Shut up! I need to think.\' Lith sighed in relief when Syrook\'s corpse disappeared inside the pocket dimension and immediately opened a Warp Steps back to Solus.
\'I\'m not done with you, young man, but I agree that this conversation can wait.\' Locrias\' defiance reminded Lith of the reason why he had given up on the idea of creating higher undead.
There was no such a convenient thing as a being with free will who was also blindly loyal for no good reason.
\'I\'m sorry for taking so long.
How do you feel\' Lith said via the mind link.
Thank you for asking.\' Her legs had already started to disappear, making it impossible for Solus to stand up.
\'The pain is unbearable.
Please, get your ass back inside this armor as soon as possible and me inside my ring.\'
\'On it.\' Lith took her on his hand.
Stop right there! Lith recognized Captain Eman\'s voice and admired him for his bravery.
Where are you taking Major Verhen
Eman and the other soldiers had come to help as soon as they had stabilized the condition of the wounded.
They had barely any strength left, their equipment was almost depowered, and their spells would amount to a mosquito bite and they knew it.
Yet they stood against the Tiamat as if he needed more than lifting his foot to squash them like bugs.
Verhen needs urgent treatment.
After that, we must discuss how to share the Dragon\'s corpse. In that form, Lith\'s voice sounded like a howl coming from an abyss that somehow had learned how to form words.
There\'s nothing to discuss. Eman didn\'t budge.
You\'ll take half of it and the Kingdom will take the other half.
Half The Tiamat laughed, sending a shiver down the spine of those who heard it, no matter the distance.
Then I demand also half of the items that the human and the undead wore.
Quaron is Major Verhen\'s kill, not yours.
I can say the same about the Dragon. Lith snarled.
As for the undead\'s equipment, we are grateful for your assistance, but it didn\'t belong to the Dragon.
It was stolen from the Kingdom and if you take even a single piece, you\'d become a criminal as well. Eman said.
Lith admired his guts and loyalty, wishing that his Demons were all like him.
\'You wish.\' Locrias scoffed.
\'People like me and that lad took an oath because we believe in a cause, not to become puppets.\'
The Tiamat\'s seven eyes brimmed with fury and greed at the thought of losing even a single scale of the Dragon.
\'Please, I need help.\' Solus said, making his anger fade.
Lith Blinked high in the sky and then he flew away.
Solus promptly returned inside her ring and her pain stopped.
\'I need time to recover, maybe even a mana geyser.\' She said.
\'What\'s that\' Locrias asked.
\'Seriously, why are you still here\' Lith checked War and noticed how desperately the Captain clung to the strands of mana he had left.
\'I\'m not ready to move on.\' The Captain sighed.
\'I can\'t just die while the Kingdom is sieged by people like Thrud or the undead.
On top of that, I can\'t forgive the Balkor copycat.
\'That bastard took everything from me, killed a lot of good people, and yet they are still somewhere, enjoying life.
Before I go, I want to see them dead.\'
\'That makes the two of us.\' Lith replied.
\'Yet I still don\'t understand what you want from me.
I\'m not going to keep a Demon always active just for you.
It takes too much energy and it would drive you insane.\'
\'I\'m not asking anything from you, I\'m offering you my help.\' Locrias replied.
His body was made of Lith\'s mana and because of that forming a proper mind link came to him as natural as breathing.
Locrias showed Lith how the Demons rarely worked together, each one only focused on venting the anger or resentment that still bound them to the world of the living.
He also revealed to Lith that Demons inherited his knowledge, making them able to use most of his spells.
Yet the majority of them hadn\'t been mages in life so they stuck to what they knew or used their powers clumsily.
On top of that, the fact that they shared the same energy signature made them immune to each other\'s spells and created countless tactical advantages.
\'I see what you mean.\' Lith nodded.
\'I\'m already working on giving my Demons some leaders but I could use more than two.
I don\'t care how you do it.
You can stick around me as long as you promise to keep my secrets.\'
\'Don\'t worry, kid.\' Locrias replied.
\'I won\'t share your secrets with anyone just like I won\'t share the secrets of the Kingdom with you.
It\'s a fair deal.\'
\'Wait, what secrets is the Kingdom keeping from me\'
Locrias ignored Lith\'s words and let go of the energy that comprised the last spark of his Demon form.
The shadow disappeared, leaving behind a small sphere of light the size of an apple.
Lith expected it to dart toward the sky, like it always happened when a soul moved on, yet Locrias\' sphere of light charged at the Tiamat instead.
Or better, at his only feathered wing.
The red veins on one of them turned from a random pattern to a rune that closely reminded Lith that of Locrias\' communication amulet.
Lith and Solus could sense the presence of the Captain within the feather and tried to talk to him, yet instead of words came visions.
Locrias was at peace, in a state similar to a deep slumber where he re-experienced the happiest and the saddest moments of his life.
The former dreams reminded him of what he was fighting for and kept him from becoming insane.
The latter nightmares reminded him of what he was fighting against and rekindled the flames of hate that kept him bound to Lith.
\'I guess this explains what my feathers are for.
Each one of them can store one soul.\' Lith pondered.
\'I\'m sad for Locrias.\' Solus said.
\'The dreams give him the illusion of being still alive and of going back to his family..
Once he wakes up, the pain will blind him.\'
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