Lith\'s answer came in the form of maniacal laughter.
There was no joy in it, only mockery and spite.
The seven eyes blinked and so did Lith.
This time Jarok quickly turned around and looked for its opponent while weaving dimensional and Chaos spells.
The Abomination cursed when it discovered that Lith wasn\'t behind nor above.
Jarok knew that even a split second could be fatal.
A movement on its right made the creature turn its head just to see the Gatekeeper sword fly on its own with a stone gauntlet on its hilt.
The Abomination cast the Chaos magic tier five Hollow Mist spell, conjuring around itself a corrupted space that would destroy the blade on contact.
\'Moving the sword with spirit magic is just a diversion, he must be coming from the opposite direction.\' Jarok thought while turning around.
Its mouthless face deformed in what would have otherwise been a grin when its reasoning proved to be true.
It raised its left hand and released another Howling Void aimed at Lith\'s head.
The Abomination chocked on its own triumphant shout when Lith dodged the spell by steering right and instead of approaching he kept his distance.
Only then Jarok noticed that both Lith and his sword were moving in synch, like sharks circling around their prey.
It took the Abomination a second to understand what was happening.
\'An array! I need to get out of here.\' It thought.
Yet the realization was a second too late.
Lith and Solus were casting it together, reducing the time required to materialize the magical formation.
Jarok attempted to Blink away and failed.
Darkness was one of the elements necessary to cast such a spell and it was now sealed.
Jarok then took off, but another Burning Prison cut off all the possible escape routes.
The explosion sent it back to the middle of the array as a Checkmate Spears materialized and pierced it from every direction.
The Abomination tanked the damage and managed to escape from the array.
Its body shapeshifted into a smaller form to offer a more difficult target while it darted toward the forest.
Jarok needed to feed.
Unlike Awakened ones, Abominations had no access to Invigoration.
Mogar had turned its back on them, the only way they had to gain world energy was stealing it.
Trees also meant shadows, and once Jarok reached one its powers would make it almost impossible to find it.
Stealth was its specialty, after all.
It was how he had escaped the detection of the Evolved Monsters.
The downside was that it had no value as an offensive maneuver.
Once fused with them through Chaos magic, Jarok would be unable to attack or cast spells and it could only move from one shadow to another if they made contact.
Thanks to the setting sun, most of the forest was now enveloped in darkness.
Jarok had lost any fighting spirit, its priority was to get away from Lith enough to have the time to Warp itself to safety.
The scales on Lith\'s face opened, revealing a mouth full of fangs.
During the fight with Treius, he had understood why his throat felt weird while transformed and how to use it.
Lith breathed a jet of blue flames that set the closest patch of trees ablaze.
Jarok couldn\'t afford to take a detour.
Abominations had no vitals, their whole bodies were made of mana, which meant that with every spell they cast, with every wound they sustained they would grow weaker.
Using so many dimensional and Chaos spells was taking its toll.
Jarok finally understood why Lith had laughed at its threats.
\'That accursed Awakened must have noticed my energies dwindling after the first Howling Void.
If only the Master had made me an Eldritch, I would never lose to a human.\' Its train of thoughts derailed when it noticed that the blue flames wouldn\'t stop burning.
With its body invaded by the flames, all shadows would disappear as soon as Jarok came close.
Lith understood the enemy\'s intentions and conjured a sphere of light that crushed all hopes the Abomination had of escaping.
Jarok had nothing to lose anymore.
Its only wish was to not die alone.
Lith slashed with the Gatekeeper aiming for the head, the blade infused to the brim with darkness magic.
Jarok willingly took the hit and managed to catch Lith unprepared.
Its two arms fused, forming a single blade with which the Abomination performed a riposte.
As the Gatekeeper sliced Jarok in half, the shadow sword cut Lith\'s arm off at the shoulder level.
Yet not a single drop of blood was spilled.
Black tendrils came out from both the arm and the shoulder, reconnecting them while the amputated limb was still in mid air.
Jarok couldn\'t believe its own senses.
Its dying mind refused to accept such an insane reality.
In a last ditch effort, it grabbed Lith\'s scaly shoulders and tried to suck away his vitality prolong its existence of an hour, a minute, or maybe just a second more.
What it found was an unyielding hunger, that sucked Jarok\'s vitality as fast as the Abomination sucked Lith\'s.
Lith infused even more darkness inside the blade, wondering why the creature looked for affection during its final moments.
What-what are you Jarok asked while its body slowly faded away.
Lith answered with a final burst of energy that turned the enemy into dust.
\'Why did you shapeshift\' Solus asked.
\'I don\'t know.
It just felt right.\' Was the only answer Lith could think of.
\'Do you think this Master will get the message or will they bother my family again\'
\'I think that they already got the message.
That\'s why that thing tried to talk you into returning the crystal.
Just like with the orcs, they can\'t afford to alert the Crown.
Attacking your family would mean revealing their existence.\' Solus replied.
Lith nodded and Warped home.
The fight with Jarok had helped him to clear his mind and vent his rage.
He was now able to look past his wounded pride and realize how lucky he was to be born into such a loving family.
\'Maybe the third time really is the charm.\' Lith thought.
\'Speaking of charms, remember to call Kamila.
You promised to do so once you reached home.\' Solus pointed out.
\'I promised nothing, she asked me to.
Yet I would have done it anyway.
After what I did to her, I owe her that much.\'
Where have you been It\'s almost dinner time. Elina said as soon as Lith walked through the door.
She was clearly worried about his earlier outburst, yet she pretended everything was fine.
I\'m sorry mom.
I\'m okay now. Lith hugged her tightly, hoping that one day he would be able to make her feel as special as she made him feel.
Uncle! Big brother! The kids yelled as one while tugging at his legs.
You have to tell us a story!
Yes, he does! To Lith\'s surprise, Rena joined them in their plea.
The story of the Ranger\'s new clothes and the princess waiting for him in the north.