Chapter 1282 - Safe Travels (Part 2)
"Thanks, Rena, but I think Lark is right. Leria and Aran will only get stronger with time which makes teaching them how to control their abilities a priority. What do you say I take them on a short camping trip along with Ryman’s children?
"They could use learning something about responsibility and maybe when they return, they’ll have learned to appreciate the many things that their families do for them instead of taking them for granted." Lith’s said.
The children politely expressed their enthusiasm, having heard nothing but their favorite relative offering to bring them on one of his fabled adventures.
The latest demonstration that Leria and Aran had perfect manners, yet they refused to use them when their parents asked them to, irked Rena and Elina to no end. Seeing them acting all nice and proper for Lark was a bitter pill to swallow.
The forest surrounding the White Griffon, a few days back, after Lith’s return on Garlen.
Scarlett the Scorpicore had finally returned home after five long years of traveling. She had left her lair and relinquished her role of Lord of the Forest after Linjos’s death, to get her revenge on Balkor, the god of death.
His attack had killed many of her loyal friends and servants, including her second in command, M’Rook. Yet after Salaark had taken Balkor under her wing, both metaphorically and physically, Scarlet had been forced to change her plans.
Having failed to achieve a violet core after over 300 years of life and without the means to face a Guardian, she had traveled to the Gorgon Empire to ask Leegaain for advice.
The Father of all Dragons had given her insight about both how to reach the final step of core refining and about her potential rise to Guardianhood. Despite all of her knowledge, despite her traveling throughout the Garlen and Verendi continent, her return tasted like defeat.
She brought with her rich spoils but little progress. She had achieved the violet core and quickly brought it to the bright level, yet in those five years since she had faced Salaark in the Desert, Scarlett had triggered a single world tribulation.
Facing the Lord of War again just because of that would have been suicidal. Aside from white, the color of your mana core mattered like the color of your shirt when fighting a Guardian.
It only affected how fashionable you would look for your own funeral, not the final result.
’I can’t believe Mogar is so picky with me and yet that runt undergoes world tribulations like I eat cows.’ She thought with anger while opening the several arrays that locked her door.
’Lith had one per year ever since he joined the army whereas I only got two since the day I left. He even had the galls to trigger the latest tribulation while he was on Council duty and kick a hornet nest.
’Not only was the silver pillar visible from the merfolk cities surrounding Kolga, but also the whirlpool parting the ocean above the lost city was hard to miss. Lith was the only one who had left the strike team to keep the King busy so it didn’t take the Council long to figure out what had happened.
’Maybe I should attend the next time they summon him and ask him for advice.’ Scarlett inwardly sighed.
’F.u.c.k the Council and f.u.c.k Salaark. I’m home now and that’s all that matters. I wonder how Kalla will great my return.’ The thought of the Wight brought a smile to her feline snout.
"Don’t bother me. I’m on the verge of a breakthrough. Bring something to eat for my children on your way back." Those were the words Kalla had wished Scarlett godspeed with, probably not having listened to a word she had said.
’She may be a bit airheaded, but Kalla is one of the best people I know. I hope she never changes.’
The moment the heavy enchanted Adamant door opened, Scarlett pushed all the sad thoughts aside. She took a deep breath, eager to sniff the familiar symphony of delicate scents she had spent decades decorating her home with.
Her fine selection of aromas was the thing that she had missed the most during her travels.
What she smelled instead were a thick smell of dust that filled her nose, a putrid stench of decay that ruined her considerable appetite, and the sour reek of stale air that reminded Scarlett of the time when she had almost died to the mycotoxins of a fungal creature.
Light magic was useless against the sudden assault and using her breathing technique, Aura, would have just brought more poison into her system. Long story short, she fainted on the spot.
"Death... Star." Said a muffled voice as she stirred from her forced slumber.
Her senses were still clouded by the stupor so when she believed to see a figure donned in black, wearing a strange helmet that gave him a ridiculous heavy breathing, Scarlett thought that whatever poison coursed through her body also gave her hallucinations.
"I’ve been waiting... for you...We meet again, at last." She had gotten enough of her hearing back to recognize a male voice.
"Come again?" Her voice came out muffled as well, allowing her to realize that the heavy breathing she heard was her own.
"I said, you scared me to death, aunt Scar." A majestic black bear at least 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) tall said. "I’ve been waiting five years for you. We meet again, at last."
"Nok, is that you?" She said as the creature that she still remembered as a young cub did his best to clean her body from the dust and cobwebs that covered her with some kind of mop.
The sight of her usually flaming red fur being now ashen grey and of the thick webs that bound her wing together like a rope flabbergasted her.
"Nailed in one. Be careful not letting your mask fall or you’ll faint again." He replied.
"What the heck happened here?" Except for the areas protected by the arrays, her beloved house looked like the perfect scenario for one of the horror stories that the students of the White Griffon told each other during the Mock Exam.
Dark, damp, and with pieces of corpses lying around. Some even moved or emitted wailing noises.
"Nothing much. Just Mom being Mom. She likes bringing her work home and cleaning isn’t her strong suit." Nok said.
"I can’t believe you lived with that thing of your face for five years. You must have gone out hunting or you’d have starved." Scarlett noticed the clean trail in the dust where Nok had dragged her unconscious body.
"I only use the back door. Even before spiders claimed the main entrance, the stench of death was too much. I wear the mask only when I go checking on Mom. You’re lucky that the house is so quiet that I heard your thud."
"Please, tell me that only a small part of my house is in such a pitiful condition." Scarlett conjured several small twisters the size of a garbage bin that s.u.c.k.e.d dust and cobwebs until they become grey from the mass of dirt compressed in their eye.
She threw them out the front door and conjured more anew.
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