The First Legendary Beast Master - C.209 Scapegoat

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Lotus gave Karl a pitiful look, as if he should take the entire fall for this discovery.

Not that it was going to be a negative mark on their record, very much the opposite, actually. But the discovery of a Holy Relic of any calibre came with an intensive interrogation, dozens of reports to be filed, hours of descriptions, and much more.

Karl had been spared much of that last time thanks to Colonel Valerie's interference, but this time it was System Stones.

Actual, functional, System Stones.

If they brought compatible candidates directly here, they could test them without the dangers of the serum. At least in theory. For all Karl knew, it only worked if you already had the System activated to some degree.

Alice sighed and took out her phone, then smirked and handed it to Karl.

"If we're going to do this, we will do it all the way." She decided.

Karl smiled and shook his head, declining the phone, then took out his own emergency phone and dialed the fateful numbers.

777

On the first ring, the same receptionist as last time answered.

"Speak."

"Ascended Elite Karl. 95988."

"Please wait."

Then an older woman came on the phone. "Elite, what is your report?"

"I have found a functional and complete set of System Stones on patrol. I can confirm they are active." He replied, then waited for the woman to gather her wits enough to answer.

"Seven minutes. DO NOT MOVE."

Then the line went dead, but Karl could see that there was a blinking light on it, and a status update that said [Tracking].

He tucked the phone in the pocket of his jacket and coaxed Thor to lay down, so he could use him as a backrest.

"You might as well get comfortable, everyone. We have seven minutes until reinforcements arrive." Karl explained.

"Are we not on guard against monsters?" The now Worgen Rogue team member asked.

"We are, but Hawk is up in the sky for that, and he says nothing dares to come close to this place." Karl explained.

While he waited, Karl began to focus on the items that were stored in the spaces. There should be a new ability to identify what was useful, and Lotus had dumped a huge number of resources into Rae's space.

The Death's Head Mushroom was listed as a Common Grade resource, toxic, useful for enhancing paralysis skills used by the Warlock Class.

It didn't say how, but that was still more information than Karl had to start with.

After a few herbs and flowers that all had basic enhancing abilities, Karl came to the strange mushroom that Rae said drank monster blood.

[Usable by partner: Rae] Combine with Blood Lotus, Shadow Grass and Commander Rank or higher vital fluids to create a sympathetic reaction.

That was somewhat less detailed than he had hoped, but after a short search, he found both the Blood Lotus and the Shadow Grass. Both were Awakened Grade ingredients, and both were in Thor's food piles.

Karl put the three plants together, and mentally created a bowl to mix the blood in with them.

Then he paused. He didn't actually know any alchemy, and there might be more to this than creating a stew.

Rae didn't think so, and once she saw what Karl had assembled, she dipped into her space and quickly munched her way through the mixed group of ingredients.

[What, there's more, if it doesn't work. Eating is the best way to mix magical plants.] She informed him as a powerful surge of energy began to brew in her stomach.

For a moment, the magical energy just kept building, far exceeding anything that the individual ingredients should have provided, and then that energy began to seep through Rae's body, strengthening her, and enhancing her carapace.

She was still a Bloodbath Spider, but an incredibly impressive one, and Offensive Adaptation felt like it was learning a new trick. Karl could feel the skill changing in his mind, where he shared it with her, but he couldn't quite tell what it was trying to learn from the combination of toxic plants and Giant blood.

The sound of approaching helicopters, three of them according to Hawk, distracted Karl from contemplating what sort of changes the plants had allowed Offensive Adaptation to master, and he began to mentally prepare himself for what came next.

The helicopters didn't land, they just hovered and the Inquisition team slid down ropes to get to them, before carefully lowering down what looked like a throne in a box.

Karl had no idea what that might be about, it was a bit ridiculous to be setting up a throne out here in the woods, even if it was the site of a set of System Stones. But as it lowered, Karl realized that it wasn't just a throne, there was a whole set of furniture there for interviews and press releases, including the gold on blue backdrop that the official Government News Alerts were broadcast in front of.

That likely meant that not all these people on the ground were Inquisitors, though most of them were young enough to be among the first batch of Elites, and the rest were wearing the robes of high-ranking members of the Clergy.

Tessa was looking grim as she noticed who all was here, and Karl finally stood up from his resting spot against Thor, before instructing the three beasts to return to their spaces to rest until the boring part was over.

The disappearing Lightning Cerro caught the attention of the clergy, and alerted them to which one was Karl without having to search for the phone that they were still tracking.

"Ascended Elite Karl. We have come in response to your call. Where are the System Stones?" An inquisitor in a fancy pointed hat asked.

"You're standing in between them. In fact, if the man with the knife strapped to his left leg moves another metre backward, he will activate them." Karl replied.

The man took a rapid step to the left and turned, really looking at the ground for the first time and seeing the central circle of the System Stones, with the World Dragon logo on it, and the surrounding rune inscribed blocks.

"Is this how you found it?" The Inquisitor asked.

"No, sir. When we arrived, it was overgrown. Once I stepped on the central location and activated it, the System Stones cleared the overgrowth from themselves." Karl explained.

The team moved to the side of the stones and started to set up their gear, along with the official broadcast screen, and Karl wondered who might be actually giving the speech. The Inquisition wouldn't give a public announcement, but he didn't recognize anyone in the group as a public figure.

Then, once the stage was set up, magic flooded the area, and a portal opened, disgorging a middle-aged mage whose very presence made Karl's instincts recoil at the threat that this person posed.

Overlord Drake was dangerous, but somehow, this man felt even more deadly than that. If it was possible, he might have advanced a step beyond the Overlord Rank, but there should only be one person in the Golden Dragon Nation that was more powerful than the Overlords.

That would be the Great Leader himself.

Technically, it could be the World Dragon's Archbishop, the head of the Golden Dragon Church, but that would be like seeing a mythical creature walk out in front of you and revealing that it was mortal. The World Dragon Archbishop was supposed to be more dragon than human, and though this person radiated power like a mythical creature, he looked quite human.

He settled himself into the throne that had been dropped on location for him, and more people began to come through the portal. First, there were scientists and clergy, then a handful of famous reporters, and the Government's Press Secretary.

Then the man in the throne turned his gaze toward Karl, and his eyes turned bright gold, with slotted black pupils that seemed to see right through a person.

As impossible as it had seemed two seconds earlier, it really was the Archbishop. The head of the church was here in person to secure the System Stones.

[We should have left and called in the location from a distance.] Rae suggested helpfully.

[It's a bit late for that, but making a run for it does seem like a better idea every minute.] Karl agreed.

The Inquisitor in the best hat gestured toward Karl and the soldiers.

"You all need to gather in front of the backdrop. Stand as still as you can and don't say anything." He instructed.

Everyone did as they were told, and after a minute or so of waiting patiently without moving, they were ushered off to the side.

"Excellent, that is all they need you for here, the footage of your interviews will be filmed at a later date. Now, come with us, we have questions for you all and the helicopters are waiting." The Inquisitor instructed.

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