Chapter 1987: Build Up (Part 1)
"How? I mean, the tower has always been a powerful artifact. Sure, I knew about the missing floors but I never suspected that even those I have already recovered were crippled." Solus asked.
"Think about it. What was the first floor that the tower recovered?" Salaark said.
"The Forge." Lith replied.
It had also recovered the living quarters, but aside as a place to rest in-between experiments, they had never mattered much.
"What then?" Salaark gestured for him to continue.
"Then it recovered the Mirror Hall, the Heart, the Mine, the Crucible, the Library, and the Greenhouse. Only recently-"
"That's enough." The Guardian cut him off. "Now, stop seeing them as separate floors and consider them as a whole. The Forge is the foundation of Menadion's work because she was a Forgemaster and the whole tower is a Forgemastering tool.
"The Mirror Hall's true purpose is to grant you the ability to focus and manipulate the world energy freely. The Heart isn't a mean for attack or defense. It was intended as an array holding device so that you could use more than one while crafting one of your pieces."
At that point, Salaark explained to them the Elemental Flow bloodline ability and how Fenrirs and Leviathans used it while Forgemastering.
"Ripha made the Heart to be her own version of Elemental Flow. She couldn't create a mana organ, but by combining the effects of the Heart, the Library, the Firing Range, and probably of other floors, she created the next best thing, the Mouth."
She gave it back to Lith before continuing her explanation.
"The reason you can conjure it easily while in the Heart is that this floor is the foundation of the Mouth. The Mine acts as a power source along with the mana geyser while the Library and the Firing Range are but an extension of the Heart."
"What does it do, exactly?" Protector asked, eager to know.
"At the moment, the Mouth has only one function, but it's still impressive." Salaark replied. "It can store any kind of spell you know and cast it with but a thought whenever you need it."
"So it's just a spell holding ring?" Lith found it far from impressing.
"No, I mean any spell. Arrays, Blade Magic, Spirit Magic, anything can be stored in the Mouth for later use." The Guardian shook her head.
His eyes shone with greed for but one second.
"What's the catch?" Lith had learned for a long while that perfection wasn't a thing.
After all, if Menadion truly was that powerful, saving Solus' life wouldn't have been so complicated and she wouldn't have been killed by her traitorous apprentice.
"It's nothing like a spell holding ring." Salaark replied. "The Mouth can only store the runes, not the actual spells. Once you activate the Mouth, they have to be cast. Not only does it take time, but you also have to spend the mana necessary."
"I'm sorry, but what's the point?" Lith shrugged drawing several cold and envious gazes on himself. "It would be an amazing artifact if it could instantly cast any stored spell without burdening my mana reserve, but as it is, the Mouth is no big deal."
"No big deal?" Faluel said with a scoff. "Kid, do you remember what I told you about normal Forgemasters? That they need someone to prepare the Forgemastery circle for them or have their prowess halved?
"Well, the Mouth is like a Hydra's second head. It allows any Forgemaster to have their own Solus who takes charge of the world energy while they can fully focus on crafting the core.
"On top of that, if you are a violet core, you can stack it with the other casting methods to weave four spells at the same time, one of which doesn't even burden your focus.
"It's great not only in the Forge, but also on the battlefield. Imagine being able to cast your best spell or array even in the heat of the battle. For a fake mage or an Awakened without the violet core is the equivalent of body casting.
"For those like us, instead, it's the same as doubling its effects. Don't get me started about how convenient it is while Forgemastering a power core to store the most complex spells in the Mouth so that you only have to control their effects.
"Even I can't employ more than one Forgemastering array for my craft due to the massive strain that keeping magical formations at the ready takes on the mind whereas you now can.
"The Mouth is a game-changer because with it you can prepare one array for each critical juncture of your projects, switching between them at will and greatly increasing your odds of success."
"My point exactly." Salaark said. "The more I learn about Menadion's set the more I'm convinced that its purpose is to allow a mage to Forgemaster alone without the need of help.
"The Hands control the mana flow, the Eyes study the procedure and find its weak points, and the Mouth handles the arrays on its own. You are underestimating the Mouth because you could already do all these things with Solus' help.
"Now that you have recovered another piece of the set, however, it's the same as if there are now three of you. If you combine it with the Fury, the only limit to your creations is your own skill."
Lith conjured the Eyes, noticing that now the burden on his mind while using them was further reduced. Then, he wore the Hands, discovering that another elemental gem had appeared on the left glove, increasing the amount of world energy it could handle.
"You are right and I'm an idiot." He said. "I now understand why Solus knows how each floor works and yet has no memory of the single pieces of the set. It's just that they are like the tower, incomplete.
"Until all the floors related to each one of them are recovered, Solus has no access to their full enchantments. She doesn't know how to use them because they are not supposed to be used until they are fully restored."
Now that he knew how it worked, Lith gave the Mouth a go. He stored Ruin and Silverwing's Hexagram which were instantly assimilated despite their complexity. When he tried adding a third spell, Yurial's Hexagram, the artifact rejected it.
'I wonder if it's because of their complexity or two is just the Mouth's current limit. Only one way to find out.'
When he cast them, they were weaved much quicker than usual, as if he was just reading words from a text without bothering to understand their meaning. Both the Hexagram and the Blade Tier spell came out imbued with Lith's willpower, but took him no focus to control them.
Just like Faluel had said, the Mouth acted as an auxiliary brain, allowing Lith to handle multiple spells at the same time with no effort. Then, he stored tier one spells but once again the third one was rejected.
"Well, the Mouth will be of great help while crafting my Golems." Lith said. "Between this and the understanding that Grandma granted me of the Heart, things will be much easier.
"This also brings us to the final item of our agenda. My wedding."