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Morok had been grieving as much as Lith, blaming himself for quitting the army and losing the right to attend the gala.
The young Tyrant also blamed himself for being too weak, for being non-Awakened, and for letting the second person on Mogar he truly cared about die a dog's death.
So, once Deirus had appeared, spreading salt on his wounds with mockery on top, Morok had lost it.
The good thing about being an Emperor Beast was that all Tyrants looked identical to humans. The good thing about having no tie anymore with the Kingdom was that even if someone recognized him, he had nothing to lose.
Alas, his strength and fury were nothing compared to strategy and planning ahead. Deirus had prepared his defenses so that they could handle Lith and Orion at the same time, let alone an angry beast.
The barriers stopped the onslaught of spells, making Morok lose the advantage that the ambush was supposed to give him, yet he still managed to get close enough to strike with his twin battle hammers.
"Are you having fun yet, fucker?" The right hammer crushed both the shield and the arms of the first bodyguard, the left sent the face of the second mercenary flying on the grass, and the eyes sucked all the magic in, neutralizing the protections that Deirus had set up.
"Is that…" Orion asked amid sniffles, without moving a muscle to help his fellow Archmage.
"One of our friends." Friya stopped sobbing long enough to cheer for Morok and point out the weak spots of the enemy formation.
"Good lad. I wish that Quylla dated someone with a spine like him instead of that Morok." Orion nodded, hoping to see Deirus's head crushed under the battle hammers like a watermelon.
Unfortunately, the third and fourth bodyguard blocked the Tyrant's arms while the Archmage unleashed the tier five Battle Mage spell, Needle Storm.
One ray of ice and darkness came out from each of his fingers, accompanied by countless small darts guided by Deirus's will that cut off every possible escape route. The rays hit Morok at point-blank range, without giving him the time to absorb them into his eyes and making him cough out a mouthful of blood.
'Dammit, if not for Master Ajatar's Wyrmguard armor I would have died on the spot. I need to get away from here.' Morok thought.
Death didn't scare him as much as the thought of dying before his hated enemy, as the thought of becoming another notch on Deirus's winning record. Morok managed to use the mercenaries as shields against the rays, but the Archmage didn't pull his punches.
They were hired muscle, not friends. Deirus could always hire more.
To make matters worse, the Royals couldn't stand idly any longer and had sent the Royal Guards to help their "loyal subject".
"Goodbye and good riddance, fucker!" The Tyrant sucked the hail of spells through his eyes at great personal cost and pain, but it gave him the opportunity to fire them back all at once, blasting Deirus away.
It also created a smokescreen that allowed him to Blink away to safety and then open a Warp back to his master's lair with a device that Ajatar had prepared in the case Morok pulled one of his stunts.
"Kid, I barely finished crafted that thing and it's already a broken mess. What am I supposed to do with you?" The Drake took off his giant gold-rimmed glasses to look the Tyrant in the eyes.
He resembled an oversized lizard covered in sapphire-blue scales with a huge white horn coming out of his snout. Ajatar wasn't short-sighted, it was just books being so damn small and paper too expensive to have tomes of a size suitable for a Drake.
"You can help me to Awaken." Morok said after closing the Gate and making sure that no one could follow him.
"Are you insane?" Ajatar was so used to say those words to the young Tyrant that now he considered them a proper conversation starter.
"After I Awaken, I can use Spirit Magic to bypass Deirus's arrays." Morok ignored his mentor and kept daydreaming. "Then, thanks to my newfound strength, I'll kill his bodyguards before taking my time with him. I'll tear Deirus limb from limb, leaving his heads for last."
The image made the Drake shudder, glad that his gonads were protected by thick scales harder than Orichalcum.
"I'll rip his fucking skull and turn it into a chamber pot so that even in death his head will be full of sh*t like when he was alive!" Morok said while panting.
The healing spells and his furious rant had left him breathless.
"Okay. First, what? Second, the fuck? No one Awakens because of a girl they dated once. Is your revenge really worth risking your life? You're a blue core, for Leegaain's sake. Awakening now would be very dangerous for several reasons.
"Your core is too powerful, your body is a mess-"
"Nothing that a breath of Invigoration can't fix." Morok cut him short.
"It's called Foresight and it's my breathing technique, runt! As I was saying, you are a mess even in the mind. There is no way for you to survive Awakening as you are, even if Mogar decides to help you." Ajatar said.
"That's why I'm asking for your help! I know you have a bloodline legacy that would increase my survival chances. I'm sure that Mogar will make the process easy because she pestered me all the time while I was inside the Fringe." Morok replied.
"If this stupid planet wanted to kill me, there are easier ways than inducing me to commit suicide by Awakening."
"You would be right if this was a Fringe." Ajatar sighed deeply while pinching his snout to fight back the massive headache that talking sense into his apprentice usually caused him.
"Look, I'm not saying that your idea is crazy, even if it is, just to lay down and rest. I want you to have a clear mind before taking such a big decision. You can still kill Deirus without Awakening, if you keep training and wait for the right moment.
"Besides, the moment you Awaken, your father will get here and that's not a meeting you're looking forward to. Correct?" The Drake reminded the Tyrant about the tracking spell embedded in his life force that Glemos had marked his son with.
"Correct." Morok nodded. "He's the second person I hate the most after Deirus."
"Then we are on the same page. Let's talk about this tomorrow. Besides, learning Spirit Magic is not easy and I never offered to-"
"Thank you for everything, Master Ajatar." Morok cut the Drake short and gave him a deep bow.
Then, he took a deep breath, followed by another. Morok had learned the secret of Awakening back inside the Fringe, he had simply refused to use it until that moment because he was too scared of dying or to become like Lith.
Something so powerful that no human could relate to him anymore. Being at the academy, in the army, and becoming a feudal lord had all been unpleasant experiences to Morok.
Even back when he was still partially human, everyone had treated him as a monster.
Students, fellow soldiers, even his suitors after he had become a Baron, they all looked at him as if he was either a rabid beast or something to put on a leash.
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