Chapter 1545 - Phantom Body (Part 1)
"You, instead, are completely alive and with a cracked life force at that. I'm not letting you take any risk." The Shadow Dragon embraced the smaller Tiamat, giving him an odd feeling.
Not only because with his barely 20 meters (66 feet) of height Lith felt like a child compared to Xenagrosh, but also because the contact between their scales allowed them to express their respective feelings in a way Lith had never experienced before.
While Phoenixes communicated mostly through their blood and by sharing their emotions on a telepathic level, Dragons were more physical.
The contact allowed them to feel each other's burden, to realize how tired they were from working non-stop for months, and how worried they were for their respective families.
The hug lasted barely a few seconds, yet its effect was akin to a long and honest conversation.
"I'll teach you the basics and then we'll go meet our sister, Sinmara. I don't care how much you learn or you don't, once I say stop, you stop. Okay?" Xenagrosh pushed Lith gently away to look him in the eyes and make sure that he understood how serious she was..
"Relax. I have practiced Origin Flames a lot on my own and I'm still here." Lith shrugged. "Also, did you say Sinmara? I thought she was a Phoenix. How can she be our sister?"
"No, you didn't, smartass." Xenagrosh snorted a big puff of smoke from her nostrils. "You just breathed fire, that's different. Every Wyvern, Dragon, and Phoenix can do that. As for your question, I admit that she's just my half-sister.
"She and her twin were born from Dad and Salaark, like you. Yet neither of them managed to merge the two bloodlines. They ended up becoming respectively a Phoenix and a Dragon, but they are still full siblings to you."
"Why is it so important that I meet her?"
"Sinmara is Salaark's right-hand and one of the few Awakened who managed to reach the white core. If she likes you, she can not only help you with any issue that might arise with the Overlord, buts she might also impart you the secret of the white core." Xenagrosh said.
Lith whistled in surprise, considering himself lucky for once.
'So far, I've met three white cored Awakened and Baba Yaga being the sanest among them speaks volumes about what eternal life does to people's minds. Sinmara is a Phoenix and one of my siblings at that.
'I doubt she will give me freebies on our first meeting, but if I manage to establish a good relationship with her, I might finally get rid of my cracked life force and solve my reincarnation problem at the same time.' He thought.
"Okay, I'll try to behave, then. What's the difference between the Origin Flames that I regularly use and those you spoke of earlier?" Lith asked.
"It's easier to show than to tell." The Shadow Dragon replied. "It took me and Kigan months of relentless training to reach our current understanding of the Origin Flames. If not for comparing our notes and our ability as Eldritchs to quickly recover from any wound, I would have needed years to learn how to purify metals."
"Who's Kigan?" Lith asked.
"An Eldritch Phoenix. You saw him back when we beat Night's ass into oblivion. He's like a brother to me and a half-brother to you. Don't mention him to Salaark unless you want to get in trouble."
Xenagrosh took a huge lump of metal out of her pocket dimension and placed it between them.
"This is what you do when you breathe Origin Flames during a battle." She hurled a stream of fire that made the metal melt and then boil until nothing remained.
The Origin Flames didn't discriminate, eating at everything they met and turning the sand into glass. The Flames even consumed the world energy in their surroundings until they vanished.
"This is what you need to do to purify metals or to exploit them in battle in ways that your enemy can't even imagine." Xenagrosh took a lump of Orichalcum out and breathed another stream of Flames.
Lith had Solus cover his pupils in what he considered the Contact Lenses of Menadion form. The two of them had the same energy signature and the Tiamat's massive body made her almost invisible.
This time, the Origin Flames struck at the metal, leaving its surface, the sand, and the surrounding world energy unscathed. Lith could see them moving in and out of the Orichalcum as if they were a living being.
The Flames destroyed all the impurities in the metal, reducing it to half of its original size before bursting out of it and disappearing.
Lith had already seen something similar back when he had fought Jakra the Emerald Dragon in Lightkeep. This time, however, the phenomenon had happened slowly enough for he and Solus to study it carefully from different angles as it progressed.
'The good news is that Xenagrosh really is a master of Origin Flames. The flow of world energy is better than what we ever achieved with Orichalcum and she managed to not lose a single piece of Adamant in the process.
'After her treatment, the Adamant has evenly spread throughout the silver, improving both the Orichalcum's magical and physical properties.' Solus said.
'What's the bad news?' Lith could feel her next words lingering in the air.
'That Xenagrosh is great compared to us but she sucks compared to Jakra.' Solus said. 'Back when we fought him, the Emerald Dragon used just enough energy to counter our spells and dismantle our arrays.
'Xenagrosh, instead, wasted a lot of energy to achieve the same result.'
'Well, it's not surprising considering that, according to the Kingdom's records, Jakra has been trapped inside the Golden Griffon for centuries whereas Xenagrosh just told us that she has months of practice.' Lith replied.
'On top of that, she had to be careful not to damage her life force whereas Jakra was immortal. He could afford to test the craziest experiment and to push his body to its utmost limit since the lost academy would fix any damage.'
"What do you think of your big sister's skill?" Xenagrosh's voice was filled with pride.
She had recovered her Origin Flames for just a few years, yet she was already capable of purifying Orichalcum, the weakest and the trickiest among the enchanted metals.
"I think that you are great. I've been practicing for months and I'm nowhere near your level." Lith sighed in envy. "It pains me to admit that I haven't inherited the Dragon Eyes, so you have to explain to me what you did unless you just wanted to show off."
"Don't worry, little brother." The Shadow Dragon patted the Tiamat's head. "Dragon Eyes aren't omniscient. I have them and yet I struggled as much as you do."
"Dragon Eyes allow us to understand the nature of things, but solely of those we already understand the underlying principles. To give you an example, I can reproduce any of your gravity magic spells because I know gravity magic." Xenagrosh said.
'I wish I had a single damn gravity spell!' Lith inwardly griped.
"Back when I started practicing Origin Flames, instead, Dragon Eyes were pointless because I had no idea what I was looking at. Zero times any number is always zero."