Lith kept Invigoration active while weaving with his mind the spells he believed could come in handy no matter the nature of the newcomer.
Being paranoid, he assumed the worst and implemented the Scarlett protocol.
Lith knew he was still no match for the Scorpicore, but one particular combination of spells was supposed to give a hard time even to the ancient Evolved Monster.
The person that walked out the Warp Gate was outside even his expectations.
It was a short old man, barely 1.5 meters tall (5\') wearing the light blue uniform of the army that Lith had seen Jirni wear so many times.
Judging by the several wrinkles on his face and the spots on his skin, he had to be at least seventy years old.
Yet his sky blue eyes had the wild vibe of a predator on the chase.
His short white hair and finely trimmed beard of the same color shone like silver fur under the sun, reinforcing Lith\'s impression of staring at a beast of the north.
The man\'s sleeves bore a silver star.
It identified him with the rank of Brigadier General.
His right hand was wilding a staff of unknown design.
It was made from white oak wood, with six violet magic crystals engraved on it in a straight line.
Six more floated above its top, forming a perfect circle that orbited around the staff following its every movement.
Lith gave him a salute, waiting for an order or at least an explanation.
At ease, Lieutenant. Said the man with a voice and a smile one would expect from someone no older than twenty.
I\'m Brigadier General Vorgh, better known as the Master Warden.
I\'m here to take care of the anomaly you reported.
A wave of his hand sent the six crystals floating above the staff all around Kaduria.
As soon as they were equally spaced, they instantly formed a magical circle that made all the arrays surrounding the lost city visible to the naked eye.
Vorgh raised his right hand with his palm open and the gemstones engraved on the staff pulsed in unison.
All the magical formations under their feet shone brighter and a small replica of them was now floating vertically in front of the Master Warden.
The several arrays forming the barrier could now be distinguished.
Vorgh swiped away the ones closer to the surface.
One by one, the upper layers of the magical formation became invisible again and disappeared from the replica.
The pattern became simpler, allowing the General to take a closer look at the magic circles linked to the red array and make sure they had not been tampered with.
Whoever added this detection array is damn good at their job. Vorgh grumbled
Simple but effective, with none of those frills you would expect from a newbie with less than twenty years of experience with magical formations. While talking, he had swiped off all the arrays but the red one.
It was now the only one visible on both the ground and the replica.
See this Vorgh pointed at Lith three concentric layers of runes as he had never seen before.
The external layer insulates the little b*strard from the others, so it didn\'t trigger any alarm.
The middle one drains the mana from our power lines only when it spikes during the shadow phase.
It\'s a damn smart move.
The Black Star attacks the barrier on fixed intervals and when the barrier goes all out even the most precise security system can\'t detect such little amount of juice disappearing.
The inner one scares me a bit.
The Master Warden looked at it with a worried expression, like he expected the rune sequence to blow up in his face at any moment.
Lith waited for him to continue, but the old man liked his audience to be active.
He kept silent until the young Ranger asked:
Because I have no idea what it does.
If it wasn\'t for that, I could remove the parasite array in a jiffy.
This may take a while.
Lith looked at the white staff with greed, wondering when the day would come he could make one similar, if not even more powerful, for himself.
Vorgh recalled the six floating crystals, which surrounded the miniature array preventing it from disappearing.
I\'ll show it to a few colleagues to get a second opinion.
See you in a while. Vorgh disappeared as fast as he had arrived, leaving Lith in a confused daze.
\'Impossible arrays my a*s! The one the floating gemstones generated is one of those Yurial researched for me! The Kingdom knows not only what they do, but even how to generate them without true magic.\' Lith angrily though.
Being a master liar, he hated being lied to.
\'Save your anger for the Shadows.
You\'ve stared like a child at a candy store until now, wasting a lot of time.
If you miss the second phase, all we did earlier will be for naught.
Also, you didn\'t contact Kamila before entering for the light phase raid.
\'You sure like keeping that poor girl on her toes.
She must be worried sick.
You were supposed to call her over an hour ago.\'
Cursing at his own memory, Lith made a quick call pretending it was still the light phase and announced the start of the culling.
\'Damn, I\'m not used to give a report even before I go to the bathroom.
The worst second day on the job ever!\'
Following Solus\'s advice, Lith opened the barrier again and stuck close to the edge in case the Black Star decided to take a second shot at him.
The moment the Shadows noticed the intruder, they converged on the prey like sharks following a trail of blood.
\'I\'m going to try multiple approaches.
Tell me if you notice any method dealing more damage than the others.\' Lith thought while releasing a barrage of different spells against the incoming wave.
The Shadows turned out to be as frail as their human counterparts.
Most of them died at the first strike, shattering into dark flakes after emitting an agonizing scream.
Darkness was effective as Lieutenant Yehval had told Lith, but only in terms of pain inflicted.
The Shadows would emit heart rending cries while their eyes shed white dots that Lith could only presume being tears.
Unlike the human bodies, the Shadows are not affected by the method employed to destroy them.
They have no mana core, no life force.
Yet their suffering is almost tangible.
How can something without a body suffer this much\' Solus said.
Lith was about to ask if she was still talking about the Shadows or herself, but preferred to keep focusing on taking out the enemies from a distance.
Their sheer number was nothing against someone that could cast spells non stop.
\'At this rate, the second part of the mission will be a success too.
However, it feels like a hollow victory.
I\'m not learning anything from this onslaught.
Time to try a different tactic.\'
Lith cleared the next wave with Chasing Lightning, a tier four War Mage spell that conjured a stream of lightning bolts capable of following their targets.