"Still naïve." Zoreth clicked her tongue in disapproval. "We are leaving them alive. This way, the army of this country will have to split their forces to deal with us and call back part of their forces.
"Also, the bigger the bounty on our heads, the fewer people will chase Theseus. They will look for the apparently easier and nearer target."
"And here I hoped you had learned the importance of mercy, Zor." Bytra said with a sigh, making Solus' eyes go wide in surprise. "Violence isn't always the answer."
"You are right, darling. Violence isn't the answer, it's the question. The answer is yes." Zoreth said, obtaining a reproachful glare from her wife. "Now, time for phase two."
A black portal appeared, swallowing the four of them. Once they walked through the Chaos Gate, Lith noticed a familiar landscape.
"This is where we started our search in the morning! We are hundreds of kilometers in the wrong direction from our mark." Lith was flabbergasted by Zoreth's decision.
"Correct. I don't trust second-hand information. I want to know our ally's exact position and create a diversion at the same time. Watch and learn." The Shadow Dragon focused on her two cores, having the black and white mana spread outwards.
A black pillar erupted from her body, piercing both the sky and ground below. It filled the air with a melody whose volume increased by the second. It was something loud, filled with rage and aggression that reminded Lith of some kind of heavy metal.
It was similar to the song that Nandi had used in Lightkeep to summon Vastor.
Bytra did the same, releasing a second pillar that resonated with the first, making them both grow in size and intensity. Her melody was sweeter, but still violent. Lith could feel a tingle in his body, yet aside from that nothing happened.
"Let me guess, using that technique forced Theseus to create a pillar as well." Lith said once the Abominations were done, receiving a nod in reply. "He exposed his position, but your pillars will act as a diversion.
"You brought us near the border so that two more countries could witness the phenomenon. Now they'll mistake us for Theseus and call back their respective armies as well for a wild goose chase."
"You're a fast learner, little brother." Zoreth winked at him and created another Chaos Gate that brought them back outside Necram. Then, she conjured a second dimensional opening that led them inside a cave.
"You must be Theseus." She said to the two flabbergasted men who had yet to understand what had just happened.
"Who the heck are you?" The hybrid asked as one powerful Chaos spell materialized over each of his hands.
Dolgus felt no threat from the newcomer, but her power couldn't be underestimated. Even an Elder Divine Beast like him could feel his skin crawl in the presence of the Shadow Dragon.
He injected himself and Theseus with a bit of Life Maelstrom, just to be safe. The silver lightning coursed through the hybrid's body, doubling the size and destructiveness of his spells without even being imbued within them.
"Oh, sorry. I just knew your original quite well so to me it's like we've know each other for a long time. To you, instead, I must be a stranger." Then she turned around, ignoring the spells that were supposed to threaten her.
"Bytra, you were his handler. See if you can talk some sense into him before I do it by force."
Lith, Solus, and Bytra came out right after Zoreth and the Raiju greeted the still confused hybrid with a warm smile.
"Long time no see, Theseus. As I promised, we came to your rescue as soon as we heard your call." She offered her hand, but it was ignored.
"So it was you who forced me to generate the black pillar again? Do you realize the danger you have put us into? We spent the last few days putting some distance with our pursuers but your stunt ruined everything!" He said in outrage.
"Yes, it was us." Bytra nodded, taking her hand back and steeling her gaze. "Because you needed help and we had no choice. You think you have lost the humans, but they were already close. Someone spotted you."
She conjured a powerful gravity spell that bent the light, allowing them to watch at a great distance without moving. An army was coming from the west and several platoons of mercenaries and mages were approaching the cave from every direction.
"Besides, you are in no danger. Now that we are here with you, those people pose no threat." She said. "We are here to help."
Theseus looked at them with diffidence. He remembered well who they were, what they had done in the past, and the fact that they had been Paquut's allies. It was their leader, the Master, who had created the clones like him just in order for the Eldritches to consume them and become stronger.
They knew what kind of monster his old self was and yet they had no qualms in helping someone as deranged as Paquut to become even more powerful. If not for the blood madness making his life a waking nightmare, Theseus would have never called them for help.
On top of that, Bytra was like him, a clone who had conquered his original. Theseus felt that he could trust her, to an extent.
"Okay, fine. Take me away and fix whatever you screwed up with me. I can't turn into either of my forms without falling into a fit of hunger that leads to blood madness." He said.
"That's odd." Bytra said. "Once you fused with your original, the hunger was supposed to be contained and your powers enhanced. You look crippled instead."
The weakness of his aura, the patched skin, and how everything was weakened in his presence, even a Griffon, were the proof that something had gone terribly wrong.
'Dad never made such a mistake before. The black core of Paquut the Bastet and the Kobold core were supposed to be a perfect match.' She actually thought.
"What are we waiting for? Let's go!" He urged them.
"We are not going anywhere." Zoreth shook her head, leaving him flabbergasted and making Dolgus sigh in resignation. "We still have a mission here and we can't move you in this condition.
"Even if we Warped to a different location, to provide Dad, I mean, the Master, with our dimensional coordinates we'd need to conjure the pillars and give away our position.
"By the time he arrives, we would have to relocate again because he needs time to perform his tests and cure you.
"Which is a massive waste of time and energy since there is a much better solution. Kill everyone who's looking for you. No one will notice the black pillars if there's no one left to notice it."
"What?" Solus and Theseus blurted out in unison while Bytra just bit her lower lip in stress. "You can't just make a massacre because someone disturbs your job! Those people are innocent soldiers who are just doing their job."
"Solus, I've been honest with you from the beginning." Zoreth's sisterly tone turned into the stern voice of a leader reprimanding a rookie. "We are Abominations. We don't care about the reason our enemies stand in our path, we just kill them."