Chapter 1986: Tower Core (Part 2)
"Without your lessons about Creation Magic, I wouldn't have ever learned how to switch light and darkness, let alone the other elements. If I ever become a Magus, it will be thanks to you. Consider this as my way to thank you and repay a part of my debt." Lith said.
The Guardian's eyes were veiled with tears. She wasn't used to gratitude, only to veneration or fear.
Those who Salaark bestowed power upon usually just demanded more while those she protected considered it the price that she had to pay in order to have their obedience.
She had chosen the way of the tyrant because centuries of experience had taught her that no good deed went unpunished.
Salaark knew that there was no real blood relationship between her and Lith, that his origin was part of one of Mogar's ploys. Yet there he was, ready to share his legacy with her like only her direct children did.
It was a gesture that touched her heart and made her feel like he really was one of her own.
"Thank you, but I can't accept it. This isn't only about you, but also about Solus. Ripha's legacy is all she has left of her mother and you can't make such a decision for her." Salaark's face remained stern as she returned the Mouth.
"Don't be silly, Grandma." Solus stepped forward, holding the Guardian's hands as well. "Lith would have never done something like this without my consent. I'm happy to share part of my mother's work with you.
"After regaining my human body, I wouldn't have been allowed to live in Lutia if not for the fake identity you fabricated for me. You taught me my mother's Mana Well technique, you have helped me to retrieve the memories of my past life and my father's works.
"Bytra may have given the Fury to me, but it was you who returned my mother's heirloom to me. Without you, it would just be a useless piece of metal with Bytra's imprint.
"On top of that, you updated and upgraded the Fury even though it wasn't part of your promise with Mom. You didn't do it because you wanted something in return, only because you cared about me.
"For everything you have done, not only for Lith and me, but for all our family, this is nothing. Besides, as Faluel always says, only an idiot never shares. I'm sorry I can't give you more, Grandma." Solus stood on her tiptoes to hug the Guardian and avoid her belly bump.
"You have done plenty enough, my child." Salaark let the tears stream from her eyes while she caressed Solus' soft hair.
They remained like that until Solus let go of the Guardian and Salaark focused her breathing technique, Mother Sun, on the Mouth of Menadion.
Contrary to Lith's expectations, it took her a while to study it and he remained shocked when he saw the Guardian focusing so much that she frowned.
'Fuck me sideways, I decided to share the Mouth with Grandma because she deserves to know about Menadion's secrets at least as much as Vastor does, but it seems that I'm the one who'll profit the most from this exchange.
'If the artifact is such a tough nut to crack for a millennia experienced Guardian, I bet that even with my bond with the tower it would have taken me months just to understand the basics.' He thought.
"This is very interesting." Salaark said after she was done examining the Mouth. "Your mother was indeed a genius, Solus. Her work is something beyond what I have ever made. Even though I have no need for it, I think that I'll make a tower of my own."
"What do you mean?" Solus asked with a puzzled expression.
"You see, normal power cores are just the result of the merging of several pseudo cores. While a pseudo core can only have one function, the power core can combine the effects of the pseudo cores it is comprised of to create complex spells.
"The synergy of the components generates a power that is bigger than the sum of the single parts." Everyone present nodded at Salaark's words that were the common knowledge about power cores.
"You mother, instead, found a way to make every pseudo core amplify the power of those below. Their energy doesn't stack, it multiplies. The secret of your mother's tower lies in a tower-like core."
"I'm sorry, but you lost me." After Salaark, Faluel was the most expert Forgemaster, yet she had failed to understand a word.
"It's easier to show than to tell." The Guardian projected a hologram of a regular power core that consisted of several spheres of mystical runes perfectly overlapping between them.
This way, the boundary between the single pseudo cores disappeared. The versatility of a power core lay in its ability to combine the runes belonging to different pseudo cores and rearrange them in new forms, each with a different effect.
Then, Salaark projected another hologram depicting the tower's core. It started from a single and simple pseudo core to which she added a second. The two spheres didn't merge, they simply deformed enough to allow their runes to flow into each other.
When Salaark added a third and a fourth pseudo core, the phenomenon happened again. Instead of becoming a chaotic mess until a specific function of the power core was activated, the runes kept their orderly nature.
Some strings would never change, acting as foundations and bearing walls of the structure that was slowly forming. The limit of a power core was that keeping the collective energy of too many pseudo cores tightly packed made it unstable.
For that reason, there was a cap to the number of pseudo cores that any Forgemaster, even a Guardian, could merge. It also limited the length of the strings of runes that the power core could form and with it the number of enchantments an artifact could conjure.
The way Menadion had arranged her pseudo cores, instead, allowed the runes to freely flow between the different levels while also leaving them enough space to form strings of runes as long as the whole structure.
"As you can see, this explains why the size of the tower is proportional to its power." Salaark said. "With every breakthrough, Solus is actually recovering more of its pseudo cores. Each floor is a part of the power core and allows it to stretch further.
"Thanks to this phenomenon and to the energy from the mana geyser, there's virtually no limit to the complexity of the enchantments that the tower can bear."
"Let me get this straight." Lith felt his knees quivering in front of the magnitude of the revelation. "For all this time I believed that the tower's core was weakened whereas it was actually incomplete?"
"Exactly." The Guardian nodded. "Also, since its energy and Solus' are now one, whenever she gains a new floor with its corresponding pseudo core, she can upgrade it by replacing old runes with modern ones.
"On the other hand, she can't tap into the full potential of any of the tower's enchantments until she regains all the necessary pseudo cores.
"The missing gems on your version of the Hands must be due to the still missing floors that are supposed to fuel its true power. The same applies to the Mouth as well."