Chapter 1955: Climbing the Ranks (part 1)
“At that point, no matter how long it takes, Ill find the Mouth of Menadion and give it to you, Solus.” Bytra said
Griffon Kingdom, above a mana geyser in the Nestrar region, Golden Griffon.
Thrud came several times a day to check on the Arthans Madness pods where her generals were being injected with the ambrosia in order to become Divine Beasts.
The academy was automated and Hystar checked on their vitals 24/7, ready to alert her in case something went wrong.
Yet it wasnt enough to keep Thrud calm.
After spending so much time with those Emperor Beasts before the start of the war, being their mentor, friend, and leader, they had become more than mere soldiers in the Mad Queens heart.
They had had countless opportunities to defect once outside the Golden Griffon or whenever she removed the effects of the Unwavering Loyalty array from their bodies.
Instead, they had served her faithfully, putting their hearts and souls into her master plan as if her life dream was their own.
Her soldiers would often return from the battlefield with mangled bodies and leave after a single night of sleep.
Even when they met one of the old monsters of the Awakened Council, they would fight until their last breath and appear in the academys regeneration chamber after having been shredded to pieces.
Not one of the Mad Queens champions had put their own pain above the mission, sacrificing themselves, again and again, no matter how traumatic their death would be.
Thrud considered them as her friends, people who she wanted to share the final victory and its spoils with.
She felt responsible for the lives that they had once again put into her hands without a second thought, and the burden was almost crushing her.
Thrud knew how dangerous the procedure was and had set the Madness settings to as slow and steady as she could.
Emperor Beasts were usually bigger than a human, but compared to a Divine Beasts they were mere pups.
For their body to grow in size so much, to develop strong muscles and bones capable of sustaining it, they usually needed Mogars help.
It was the planet that would rearrange the body of an evolving creature, making sure that their organs wouldnt collapse due to the strain and keeping their proportions perfect.
Mogar wasnt going to help Thruds soldiers, though, and it was up to the Mad Queen to make sure that everything went without a hitch.
One small mistake and her generals would emerge with imperfect bodies.
Xedros procedure had taken half that long, but once he had come out of his pod, his new mass was the same of a non-Awakened Dragon, with no trace of body refinement and he had died for it.
Iata and the others, instead, had developed their new body slowly, allowing them to use Accumulation during all that time and filtering the impurities from their flesh and bones the moment they formed.
Just like when she had given birth to Valeron, the closer the final day the more anxious she would get.
The Madness wasnt her womb, but it was still Thruds life work and the legacy that her father had entrusted her with.
Her generals were about to be reborn through her own version of the Madness and that made them her children as well.
Now that the timers counted down the minutes before the pods would open, she couldnt stop pacing nervously in front of the line of Arthans Madnesses, biting her nails in frustration.
“Is this how a father feels” She thought out loud.
“Completely helpless while waiting for the dice to roll”
“Calm down, mother.
Im sure that everything will be alright.
Worst case scenario, the Unwavering Loyalty array will fix them.” Protheus, the First Doppelganger said.
He looked like a mix of Thrud and Jormun, with silver eyes and light green hair.
The androgynous features of his human body made it hard to understand his gender and usually, he had none.
Protheus took from his stepfather when he needed to console his mother or play with Valeron while from Thrud when he had to deal with the troops.
“You dont get it, Protheus.” She shook her head.
“Worst case scenario, they will be trapped into faulty bodies that will make their life an eternal nightmare.
Chronic pain, dementia, and madness are only a few of the-“
The sound of the liquid filling the pods being drained told Thrud that the procedure was over and fear cut her short.
The beeping of the capsules as air filled them sounded like the executioners steps to her.
As the safety locks were released one at a time with a click, Thrud became so nervous that she was covered in a cold sweat, eager to know if years of preparation and almost one month of motherly care had paid off.
“Good morning, my liege.” Iata the Scorpicore said, walking out of the pod in her human form.
“Or is it evening already Its hard to track time in here.”
“Who gives a damn about the hour and the weather Just tell me how you feel.” Thrud walked to her, using her breathing technique, Regal Flow, to check the condition of each and every one of her generals.
“I feel incredible.” Iata replied.
“All I need is a real meal and Ill be ready to train with my new body.
Im sick and tired of drinking goo.”
“Nonsense.” Thrud shook her head.
“Training can wait, you need rest!”
“We spent the last month sleeping most of the time!” Ufyl the Hydra said.
“If I see a bed or a **ing bathtub, Ill go nuts.
Ive been soaked for so long that a little dirt and sweat sounds nice.”
“Dont worry, Mom, well be fine.” Leari the Firebird said with a mocking tone.
“I promise you that the moment we feel something is wrong, well tell you.
The past few weeks felt like death.
What we need now is to live a little.”
Th word struck the Mad Queen like a punch to the guts, freezing her in place until all of them walked out of the room in search of food and company.
They had spent a lot of time sealed in a transparent capsule alone and their stomachs werent the only part of their bodies that demanded its due.
“Gods, they grow so fast.” Thrud said as a silent tear streaked down her eyes.
“Yeah.” Jormun replied while carrying their baby between his arms and handing Valeron to her to calm her down.
“From 20 (66′) to 30 (100′) meters in one month is one heck of a growth spurt.”
“Take your time and enjoy being a kid, Valeron.” She said while lulling the baby.
“Grown-ups have lots of work and sacrifices to do.”
The Doppelganger looked at the family scene and the Madness with envy.
Everyone was growing more powerful while his mana core had just entered the green.
With so many potential Divine Beasts, Protheus feared that now he had become irrelevant.
Death didnt scare him compared to the idea of being left out of the war and watching powerlessly from the sidelines.
Thrud noticed his distress and patted his shoulder.
“Dont worry, my child.
We have still much to do.”
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