Chapter 2048 Split in Two (Part 2)
The phenomenon would have surprised Faluel if not for Life Vision telling her that it was magical in nature. The colonel was dead and he couldn't cry anymore. The left eye kept shedding tears that pooled up together, forming a small pearl.
In a few seconds, it had grown to the size of an eye. The pearl was actually a white crystal covered in so many runes that its light was completely blue. The Small World rose in mid-air, emitting short pulses of light as it searched for a new host.
Finding no one among those present who had received the authorization of the Royals, it darted up in the sky and disappeared in the direction of Valeron.
"If my mother hadn't explained to me what the Small World is, I would have probably mistaken it for a cursed object." Faluel mumbled.
Her curiosity as a Forgemaster demanded to know how it was possible to create such a thing and if she would ever be able to craft an artifact capable of retaining the will of its first wielder.
Then, a distant roar of thunder snapped her out of it and she turned to the rest of the survivors.
"There's nothing more than you can do here. Go back to Belius. If you stay here, you'll just get slaughtered."
The highest remaining officer looked at the silvery column that kept advancing, knowing that the remaining soldiers of Varegrave's regiment were too few to even slow it down now that they had lost the colonel and the Small World.
Yet he had his orders and had to follow them. There was no point surviving the battle just to be court-martialled to death.
"She's right. I order you to leave and help the defensive forces of the city walls." Varegrave sat straight, his eyes still closed.
The soldiers looked at him with joy until they noticed a black chain coming from the distance that was now stuck in his chest.
"Colonel, are you really alive?" The officer asked.
"No. I'm not." Varegrave's eyes opened, all four of them. His soul had inhabited his own body, recovering the mana that still lingered around it to fuel his black core without Lith's help.
His skin slowly turned into scales and horns came out of his forehead, but his face remained the same. He called the high command, informing them of their current situation and of his own demise.
"I'm really sorry for you, Colonel." King Meron said.
The situation was absurd. Varegrave's rune had never disappeared but the only reasons the Small World could leave its host were their death or one of the Royals removing it from their body.
"I'm not, Your Majesty. The battle isn't over and I can still fight." The Colonel replied.
The King was proud of the will shown by Varegrave but a quick glance to his wife confirmed that she felt the same way about his apparent resurrection. If Varegrave decided to remain after the battle, he would be the fourth member of an elite force to join Lith's army.
The Royals were afraid that more of the soldiers would follow, increasing the risk of state secrets falling into the hands of someone who was still considered a traitor and an oath breaker.
"Your regiment has the permission to retreat." Sylpha said. "Once the Tiamat joins our Council allies, he would have no use for regular soldiers anyway. There's no point in losing more good people. High command out."
Faluel checked the soldiers one last time and then she joined the others. By the time she arrived by Crank's side, Iata had already escaped and hadn't returned.
"What the heck is going on here?" She asked when she saw Lith standing still with Solus in her proto-Guardian form on his shoulder.
The pillar of light surrounding her emphasized her kind features as much as the blackness pooling below his body gave him a cruel appearance. From the shape of their wings to the color of their scales, everything made them look like one being split into two.
Lith looked at her with a puzzled expression, shrugging in reply to save as much energy as he could.
He was so tired that he couldn't afford to use Invigoration to charge the Golems again and without them, the number of Demons left was already above what he could usually summon.
Much to his surprise, Trouble and Raptor were slowly refueling their Spirit Crystals by staying to his side as the auxiliary cores restored his strength.
The same happened to the souls who had lost their bodies of darkness. Lith's shadow had turned into a black pool from which the Demons would be reborn as soon as they managed to absorb enough of the energy that he radiated.
Varegrave joined them, bathing into the Void as the knowledge about his new condition seeped into his mind and the events of the battle against Ufyl seeped inside Lith's.
'My only regret is to have never had the opportunity to properly apologize for how I treated you back in Kandria. At first, I wondered what kind of monster you were. Then, I could only think, about what kind of man you would become, kid.' The ex-colonel said through the chains.
'I know that it might sound stupid, but I always considered that mistake as the only blemish on my spotless career and I would like to make it up to you. Do you think we can arrange that?'
'We can. After the battle.' Lith nodded.
'Then with your permission, I'll stick around for a while.' Varegrave said.
"I'm doing as you asked, lizard. I'm watching the pup's back." Crank replied. "I expected the cat to come back, but at this point, I think that she bailed."
"That's not it. Didn't you hear the orders from the Council?" Faluel couldn't believe that the Hyperion was without a scratch and yet wasted time like that.
"No, my amulet is silent." He shook his head.
"Same." Lith took his own from one of the pockets of his armor and checked if any of its runes were blinking.
"They would never call you, Lith. You are supposed to be fighting. Crank, are you certain that you exchanged runes with the military before moving out of the city?" The Hydra asked.
"Do you take me for an idiot?" He replied with a snort. "Of course I did. I must obey the Royals if I want to get paid. Exchanging runes was the first thing we did after I signed the contract."
"This makes no sense. Why would they keep you out of the loo-" While the rest of her eyes checked the situation in the sky and on the ground, the eyes of the one speaking with the Hyperion squinted in frustration.
"Where do you keep your amulet?"
"In my dimensional amulet. Where else should it be? It's not like my fur has pockets and I'm certainly not going to shove it up my ass. I don't kink that way." Crank replied.
"Then take it out your moron! How do you expect anyone to contact you if your rune is not available?" She would have kicked his ass, but she knew that she would have just broken her foot.
"Good point." The amulet came out of the dimensional space blinking like a Christmas tree due to the number of missed calls. "If anyone asks, you tell them that we got caught in a dimensional sealing array."