443 Thing Part 2
The housemaid introduced herself as Hessie from Namar.
She was a plump woman in her mid-forties, with brown hair and eyes of the same color.
Her maid uniform covered her from neck to toes.
It consisted of a black dress with a full skirt and a white smock apron.
"I'm Lady Lanza's personal maid, it's my duty to serve and follow her." Hessie had a high pitched voice, which fear made it sound almost childish despite her age.
"Her ladyship and her father have quarreled several times because he has falsified the numbers of missing people for months before the Association took charge of the problem."
"That would explain why we underestimated the seriousness of the situation until it was too late" Dorian pondered.
"This information may help us to incriminate him later, but right now we have other priorities.
I'm really sorry."
His eyes were sincere and he meant those words, but there was nothing he could do.
"No, you don't understand.
The problem's not only that people disappear, but also that some come back." Hessie's eyes dilated from fear, her voice trembled to the point she started stuttering.
"One of my neighbors, mister Roza, went missing a month ago.
He returned a week later, saying he had left Othre for a job he had been hired to do.
Yet he wore the same clothes that he disappeared in and he was as broke as the day he left."
"I'm sorry, but I fail to see the relevance of your neighbor to our investigation." Jirni said with a kind tone.
"I know this will sound crazy," Hessie stuttering got even worse.
"but ever since people started going missing, everyone in my neighborhood is afraid to leave their homes late at night.
Odd folks with glowing blue eyes walk around the streets.
"Once, I watched outside my window and I noticed several of them moving towards the old temple.
I could swear that mister Roza was among them."
Jirni took note of everything Hessie said just to be polite and reassured her they would look into it.
The housemaid gave them a deep bow and left in a hurry to catch up with Mynna.
"Have you heard this nonsense before" Jirni asked Dorian once they left the Lanza household.
"Many times." He nodded.
"It's related to an old legend about a necromancer that would send his revenants to capture people for his experiments.
Whenever there is a draught, a bad harvest, or even a harsh winter, the people of Othre start claiming that blue-eyed creatures are responsible.
Suddenly their communication amulets received a call at the same time.
According to Dorian's secretary, there was something wrong with the underground lab.
Unlike Treius, the thing didn't wait to be fully formed before attacking.
As soon as it finished its taunt, the creature jumped toward Lith with a maniacal laughter.
At the moment it was a humanoid skinless creature, about 2 meters (7') tall with two heads, four arms, and two legs.
The flesh and muscles were laid bare as they rearranged themselves to fit the new body.
Veins as thick as a finger ran from its exposed twin hearts to its six limbs.
They pulsed with a steady rhythm despite the frenzied assault the creature was performing.
Its first set of arms was human-like, while the second one had been fused with part of the legs of the second guard.
The result was a pair of deformed arms coming out of the creature's shoulders, that ended in hands as big as coffee tables.
Each hand only had three fingers that resembled the talons of a huge bird of prey.
Thanks to Life Vision, Lith could see that, just like a made mage, the creature was now generating a vortex to suck all the world energy from its surroundings.
'Idiot!' He inwardly sneered while conjuring a stone pillar from the ground which struck the creature while it was still in mid-air.
'The vortex can grant you endless mana, but it also absorbs mine.
One spell is all that it takes to kill you by poisoning your core!'
'No, not really.' Solus pointed out.
'The moment you cast your spell the vortex disappeared.
Whoever is controlling that creature can switch the vortex on and off at will.'
The creature ripped the pillar off the ground with its deformed arms and used it as a mace trying to squash Lith.
"Tista, snap out of it!" He yelled while dodging with a roll.
The pillar came down smashing the table full of expensive equipment they had used until a minute ago.
Shards of wood, glass, and stone flew across the room.
If not for their enchanted armors, only Lith would have survived the rain of deadly projectiles thanks to his enhanced physique.
Tista only felt a prick on her skin, but it was enough to make her regain her cool.
"Hang on, I…" She tried to speak, but Lith interrupted her.
"Watch out! Remember the eyes and watch out for its chanting!"
'Why my first monster has to be this hard' Tista cursed her bad luck.
'I must always pretend to chant and use hand signs because even if we kill it, the puppeteer will survive.
I can't blow up our cover.'
The creature split what was left of the pillar in half, the room was too small for such a huge weapon.
A simple earth spell turned the rocks into clubs, which the creature swung around displaying a level of mastery that sent shivers down Lith's spine.
One mouth kept laughing as the other one was chanting a spell while the human-like arms performed the hand signs.
'The silver lining of this nightmare is that at least we are not fighting an Awakened one!' Lith thought wielding the Gatekeeper with one hand while performing hand signs with the other one.
"A Mage Knight" The first head stopped laughing from surprise.
"That wasn't in your file!"
Lith didn't bother replying and charged forward instead.
The Knight Mage tier four spell, Full Guard, enveloped his body with a spherical blue aura with a radius of 1.65 meters (5.41 feet).
Thanks to Full Guard, he had no blind spots.
Whatever entered the sphere would be detected, allowing Lith to strike and dodge without looking.
'I can't use fusion magic whereas with its four arms mister Carpenter here has no trouble casting and fighting at the same time.
I need all the advantages I can get.' Lith thought.
Even if the situation was dire, Lith's name of choice for the creature made Solus chuckle.
'You are insane.
You know that, right' She said while using all of her senses to find a way to quickly kill the Carpenter.
'I would have died years ago if I was any saner.' Lith replied as he also conjured a tower shield made of ice and earth to block the enemy's tier four Lightning spell.
Mage Knight's spells only required one hand and had a short cast time compared to other specializations.
Their major downside was the very short area of effect, but in such an enclosed space it didn't matter
Lith had trained with Phloria countless times, he knew the basic spells of her specialization like the back of his hand.
The Carpenter's left arm tried to block his advance, but Lith needed just a thought to send the tower shield intercepting the attack.
The right arm swung its club with inhuman speed as the left one swatted the shield like a fly, shattering it into frozen pebbles.
Lith managed to dodge by a hair's breadth, but was quickly forced on defense.
The Carpenter roared in triumph while it was driving Lith into a corner with its superior physical prowess and technique.
The creature would finish him as soon as its next spell was ready.