"No. Before that, I have another task for you. Do you know what this is?" The Master showed the black tennis ball to Nandi.
"No, but I can feel powerful Chaos energy coming from it." The Minotaur said.
"Correct. This is a mass of Abomination tissues that I have collected from all of your siblings. Thanks to their knowledge and the mystical instruments Bytra made for me, I've altered its life force so that not it's identical to mine."
The Master snapped his fingers, revealing three of his gene-tanks derived from the blueprints of Arthan's Madness hidden behind the wall on their back. Each one of them was big enough to comfortably accommodate an Emperor Beast and filled with a purple translucent liquid.
The gene-tank on the left was packed with rough-looking young humans, the one on the right was occupied by Abominations, while the middle one was empty.
"This sphere is the best next thing to what would happen to my tissues if I turned into an Abomination. I'm going to absorb it and then enter inside the gene-tank. The nutrients bath will provide me with everything I need to survive the metamorphosis.
"The human scum will supply extra life force in the case something goes wrong while my failed artificial Abominations will sustain my other half. If things go as planned, I'll become the first human-Abomination hybrid." The Master said.
"You can't be serious!" Xenagrosh stepped forward. "There's a reason why we always delayed the procedure. Even with all of our precautions, the success rate is barely around 60% and you have a single attempt.
"What if your body can't withstand the Chaos energy? What if the living matter of the sphere takes over your mind and body? You would die and our decades-long plan would fail!"
"First, with Nandi providing me with endless world energy, the Abomination tissue should always be sated. Without the drive of its hunger, the tissue is nothing but a mindless being. Second, you should know better than anyone how skilled I am.
"I believe that if you and Nandi work together to keep me stable, the success rate will be 100%. Last but not least, I'm tired of waiting. Tired of seeing my human body unable to follow my mind's prowess.
"Even if I die, the creature that will emerge the tank will still retain my memory and knowledge. If you take your time to nurture it, you'll lose a father but you'll gain a sibling." The Master always resorted to Xenagrosh's troll core to recover from the ghastliest of wounds.
The limitless light energy it produced only needed her body to ingest food to produce endless vitality, making her healing spells almost as good as Invigoration.
"But, Dad…" Bytra tried and failed to speak, her eyes watery.
"No buts! How could I call myself a mage if I can't even protect the happiness of a single person? I know that you did what you did to protect me. You endangered your lives because of my weakness and for that, you have my eternal gratitude."
Zogar Vastor, the third greatest Healer of the Griffon Kingdom also known as the Master, brought the black sphere to his chest, letting it seep inside his body.
"Thanks, Bytra. If not for your Dominator armor, I would be already dead. Thanks, Xenagrosh, if not for your healing magic, it would have taken me days to recover instead of seconds. Kigan, Cyare, Hushar, Eycos, Nelia.
"Thanks for your teachings that made me into a better man and mage than I'd have ever been on my own. You may be all older than me, but you've lost sight of what living really is for so long that I had to teach you how to walk, eat, and even use a bathroom.
"It might sound silly of me, but I've always considered you as my children. Whatever happens to this body, take good care of yourself." Professor Vastor entered the gene-tank only when he could no longer stand the agony of the Chaos energy eating at his body.
He had never planned on growing fond of Zinya, nor to put his life on the line along with decades of hard work just to save her life and her children's. Yet in front of the undead, Vastor had found himself incapable of running away.
After losing his seat as the best healer of the Kingdom, after losing the love of his wife and children due to his attempts to best his competition that kept him away from home, Vastor had given up on life for the ideal of helping mankind to reach the next evolutionary step.
However, he couldn't love an ideal. An ideal couldn't smile at him and make him feel appreciated. While facing death, Vastor had discovered what really mattered to him. He was still ready to die, but only because he couldn't stand his empty life anymore.
Zogar Vastor felt the purple fluid flooding his body yet allowing him to breathe as the fight to determine whether the man or the Abomination would prevail ravaged his body.
Ernas Household, a few hours before the undead attack.
After hearing Lith speak about making good memories with Kamila and after Nalrond had dumped all girls in the group to ask Brina out, Quylla Ernas decided that it was time to get back into the game.
As the Rezar had so impolitely reminded her, she had a suitor who had been waiting the last few months for her call.
On the one hand, it flattered her. On the other hand, she was afraid of making the date happen.
Before taking a decision that she might regret, Quylla had summoned her closest friends to the War Room. Which just meant bringing her sisters inside her private quarters after activating all the necessary arrays to keep parents and house staff from overhearing her plans.
"I never dated anyone outside the academy so I'm at loss for ideas. Phloria, you dated in the army. I could use your advice about what I can talk about with an ex-Ranger and first-class weirdo.
"Friya, your life-long streak of one-night stands should provide me with plenty of material about how to end the date without Morok making a scene. Let's start with something simple, where can I bring him for dinner?" Quylla said.
"Wow. Do you really think that's what our love life amounts to?" Phloria said. "Am I just an encyclopedia of how to handle weirdoes and is Friya the empress of shallow relationships to you?"
"Well, you dated a human-beast-Abomination hybrid who's also an Awakened and who shares his body with a pretty woman. I don't see anyone getting weirder than that." Quylla shrugged.
"Also, between Kallion and your exes, you can point me exactly at what not look for in a man. As for Friya, I've seen loaves of bread last longer than her relationships."
Phloria and Friya gritted their teeth but they didn't attempt to deny anything. No matter how heavy Quylla's words were, they were also true.
"If he spent too much time as a Ranger, then a fancy restaurant is off the table. Morok has probably little manners and no taste for gourmet food. You can't go to a tavern either. It would make you more like drinking buddies than two people dating." Phloria said.