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Professor Kal Professor Kal original

Professor Kal

Author: Mungknut

© WebNovel

Chapter 1: Success (Edited)

"Finally! After all these years!" A grating voice echoed in a large laboratory.

A robed figure was standing in the middle of a large magic circle, ancient runes engraved on the floor. He was holding a large gem; runes were also engraved on the surface. The runes caused the blue gem to surge with magical power, wisps of light swirling on the inside.

With a wave of his hand, the robed figure summoned a skeleton. The skeleton broke through the stone floor as if escaping from a subterranean burial mound. As soon as the skeleton took its final step out of the floor it mended itself as if nothing had happened.

The sound of two boulders rubbing against each other came from the robed figured voice. "Go to the garden, bring me half a fist of yew shavings and just a few grams of lavender."

The skeleton nodded, then trotted off into the halls of the underground lair. The robed figure skimmed around the edges of the magic circle, checking, and double checking the engraved runes. Still holding the glowing blue gem, he bent down to brush some dust off the edges of the circle, then nodded in satisfaction. Soon, the click clack of bones on stone was heard from behind him, the skeleton had brought the required ingredients.

Taking them from his summons, he waved his hand once more, the skeleton melding into the stone floor without a sound. He placed the gem in the center of the circle, being mindful not to disturb the engraving. He stuffed some yew shavings, along with the lavender, into a large pipe. Sprinkling some tobacco on top, then proceeded to light it and draw in the calming mixture.

Khorag hadn't felt nervous in hundreds, maybe thousands of years but today, his bones were clanking against each other. Today, all his hard work, his countless years of experiments, centuries of trial and error, would come to fruition; or he would die. When he set out on this journey, he was just a newborn Lich. He was maybe only five hundred at the time. The world was at war, wizards and witches were fighting against the undead. A never-ending struggle that claimed countless lives.

Khorag never bothered himself with the outside world, none of the Liches really did. The world took notice of them though. Being undead put targets on their backs, many of his acquaintances were being hunted down and killed before his eyes, their phylacteries shattered or burned. That is what drove him into hiding, and to begin his research into solving his only weakness.

Before he hid, the Undead King had started to fight back against the 'heroes' that made it their sole purpose to kill his subjects. Cities burned, famine, disease, strife, were unleashed onto the world, making the war even worse. Heroes were sacrificing themselves to stop the Undead King, burning their souls for explosive power.

That was the last he knew before beginning his research. He had been cut off from the outside world, not receiving any updates on the war. He didn't even know how long he had been in his lab. It felt like a long while, but time didn't have much of a meaning to him. He just hoped that his research bore fruit, that his only weakness would be solved, making him truly immortal.

Once his dried-up nerves had been settled, he cleaned his pipe, then set it off to the side. He took position on the perimeter of the magic circle, clearing his long-neglected throat. After a short pause, he began to chant. The words were an ancient tongue, not many knew of their origins, let alone the proper pronunciation. He spoke it fluently, like most all the languages of the world.

The runes in the magic circle started to flash, barely visible, even in the near total darkness of the laboratory. The more of the ancient verses he spoke, the brighter the light was flashing from the runes. If anyone was to hear Khorag, they would find the words he was speaking to sound like a song, a song that was being sung by the wails of the damned. His voice would be so low that it was almost inaudible, then go so high as to make you wince in pain.

Soon, the crescendo of the spell arrived, Khorag's black robe fluttering in a torrent of wind whipping through his lab. A tear in the fabric of space opened above the blue, rune engraved gem. Its jagged edges opening and closing slowly, almost as if it was a breathing, living being. A red and black light could be seen on the other side, the red light trying to overpower the black that was sucking it in just as fast as the red light was being made. A never-ending power struggle between the two.

A few more haunting words came from his dusty mouth, causing the gem to gently lift off the ground. It continued to rise, navigating towards the rip in space. If the undead could sweat, Khorag would be swimming. His very soul was inside the gem, the swirls of light being the physical manifestation. Should the gem be destroyed, he would quickly follow. He didn't know what would happen but was willing to risk it all.

The gem broke through the invisible membrane that separated the tear in space from the 'real' world. The two lights entered an armistice, both surrounding the alien artifact, keeping their distance. The red light was the first to act, sending tendrils of red light, probing the gem. Khorag could feel the heat and the pressure deep inside his mind. The black light joined the red, exploring the foreign intruder. Its touch was cold, causing Khorag to feel fatigued, something he had long forgotten how to feel.

He dropped to one bony knee, his strength almost leaving him. He never stopped chanting though, should he stop, the tear would close and retrieving his phylactery would be impossible should something go wrong. He watched as the two lights' tendrils caressed every inch of the gem, not attacking each other, only focusing on the gem.

After what felt like hours, but only seconds had passed, the two lights' tendrils started to retract, only for the gem to create a suctioning force, similar to a black hole. Not being able to retrieve their probing tendrils, the two lights both besieged the gem, causing Khorag great pain. He didn't retrieve his phylactery, he waited to see if his theory was correct.

The attacks from the red and black light caused the gem to hum, increasing the force dragging the lights into itself. As the light continued to enter the gem, Khorag could feel his soul brimming with energy. The red light gave him so much power his soul was on the verge of exploding. The heat was almost unbearable, that was until the black light started to be overcome with the force, pulling it in as well. The black light offset the red, adding its cold void to Kho rag's soul, allowing him to use the red light's power as his own.

He started to laugh, the feeling of power coursing through his dried-up veins felt immensely pleasurable. Although the pain was still there, he continued his peel of mirth. Having stopped chanting, he allowed the fissure to slowly heal, watching as his phylactery soaked up the two opposing energies. As the tear sewn itself back together, the lights in the magic circle dimmed as well. Soon, the laboratory was back to its original darkness.

"This is wonderful, even better than I had hoped." Khorag said, looking at his withered arms start to pulse with life.

"It's unexpected though, to bring my withered husk of a body some semblance of life. No bother, with my phylactery hidden in the separate plane, no one will ever be able to kill me. Also, with the constant supply of energy, my power has become unimaginable!"

Although it was much more distant, he could still feel the constant influx of power entering his phylactery from the alien plane. Before, if he wanted to increase his power, he had to find either a few humans or many more animals, then take their souls to power his own. This was not only troublesome, but also drew much attention to his actions. Now, he no longer needed to worry about finding human batteries to recharge, he had a never-ending supply.

With just a thought, he summoned two skeletons out of the stone floor. He nodded his head in satisfaction, before he had to chant the words in his head to complete the summoning, now just a single thought was needed. He was very pleased with this; he was in a great mood.

"Go, prepare to go to the surface, it's time to see the outside world!" He ordered, the two skeletons scampering off to prepare his things.

Even though he was a lich and loved to hole himself up in his lab to do research, after such a long time, even he was feeling the isolation. He was considered the least crazy of the liches he knew, often being the butt of many of their jokes. He was known to avoid experimenting on humans, using animals most of the time. Humans were much better at being test subjects, either in magical or body modifications. The other liches just couldn't understand why he would make it harder on himself when it came to collecting test subjects.

It wasn't because he was repulsed by the idea of experimenting on humans, it's just that he knew better. Take too many, or the wrong one, and then you'll have a whole village of people banging on your laboratory doors. This was the main reason he had seen so many of his peers hunted down and killed, he learned from their mistakes.

"I hope Ronald is still alive, he said my idea was crazier than Old Kushim. Now I can rub it in his smug face, Ha!"

Soon, the two skeletons returned, one was holding a traveling pack, the other a gnarled black staff. He cast cleansing magic on himself, still tickled that it didn't require a chant, grabbed his staff and pack, then headed towards the entrance. His underground lab was quite large but didn't have many rooms. The lab itself was in the back, furthest underground, and where he would spend the majority of his time.

Right off the lab was the library, shelves reached high, touching the ceiling that was some thirty feet high. The room was so deep that you would have trouble seeing the end. Thousands and thousands of books sat quietly, waiting for the day they would be picked up and read. He would regularly visit, picking a few books relevant to his experiments, casting preservative magic on the rest.

The largest room was his garden, it housed the equivalent of fifty acres of arable land. An artificial sun hung in the sky, providing the rare herbs and trees sustenance. This was his most outstanding achievement, until today. To be able to recreate the sun, to find the right balance of all the energies that made up the star took him half a millennium to complete and was the only one he knew of. He paused, appreciating his work, watching the skeletons till the land, taking care of some of the world's rarest ingredients. He was certain that there wasn't an herb that he didn't house here. Many of them were the last of their kind in existence, making this a treasure trove.

This was the end of his humble abode, right outside was the hidden entrance, separating this world from the outside one. He stood tall, his withered flesh sticking to his bones. He summoned a wall of water, its surface growing still, making a perfect mirror. It had been such a long time since he looked into a mirror, he had forgotten what he looked like. It had been even longer since he was alive. Looking into the still water, he just saw a skull with skin stretched over it, like a mummy. The light in his empty sockets used to be a soft, wispy blue, but now it was a mixture of red and black encased in a shell of stark blue light.

He knew he couldn't walk around with his current appearance. He could use a cloaking spell, or an illusion to hide his undeath, but he wanted an even better disguise. With just a thought, his stretched, dry skin, started to bubble. It looked like worms were writhing around underneath. Color started to come back to his pale white skin that hadn't seen the sun in countless years.

The flames in his eyes were replaced by flesh, green eyes looking back at him in the mirror. His flesh was now plump and rosy, not a trace of his Lich-hood remained. His brown hair hung in his eyes, causing him to brush it to the side. His face was handsome, but not so much as to remember him. His build average, not too tall or short. He could blend in with a crowd, not standing out at all.

"Not bad, not bad at all." He said, turning his head in the mirror.

"I don't even feel the slightest strain keeping this form. This is just too wonderful; I could stay like this forever!" He smiled in the mirror, showcasing his perfect teeth.

Cloaking would be the easiest to do, it required just bending the light, making him invisible. It was a simple spell, with very little mana expenditure. An illusion would be the opposite, bending the light in other ways, making him appear different than he really was. This required more mana but was good at fooling people from a distance and was quick to cast. The only downside was if you were inspected up close, it would change the appearance, but not the actual body.

What he did was use mana and converted it to actual matter, putting flesh on his bones. This was very mana expensive, usually he could only sustain it for half a day, but he could fool any test thrown at him. It was because he would have an actual living body, there was no difference between him and any other human. Now, with his phylactery supplying him power from the other plane, he had endless energy supplying his transformation, he could keep it indefinitely.

Impressed with himself, he patted himself on the back mentally, then chanted the words allowing the entrance to be revealed. The wall started to shake, small pebbles and mounds of dirt falling from the ceiling. A door three feet wide and seven feet tall slid into a recess in the wall, without knowing of its existence, any passerby would never find it, no matter how long they searched. Centuries of overgrowth and roots blocked the entrance, causing him to be a little puzzled.

He had built his lair on the side of a small hill, deep in the north of a little explored continent. There were no trees or bushes, just wide-open plains with a few boulders and wandering wolves. Now not only were there roots, but the entrance was completely sealed off with dirt.

Not wanting to dig it out himself, Kho rag summoned two golems from the stone floor and ordered them to dig. Transforming their arms into large shovels, the seven-foot-tall golems started to excavate the entrance. The dirt and pieces of root started to pile up behind the two golems. Khorag cast some dimensional magic, sending the dirt to his garden, where it would be put to good use.

After they had dug in a straight line for six feet or so, daylight broke in from the surface. Streams of light, the first natural sunlight he had seen since before he could remember, struck him in the face. The golems evened out the passageway, making it easy to traverse, then stood to the side waiting for further orders. Khorag took slow, measured steps until he was fully out in the open, letting his eyes adjust to the light.

It was warm outside, his mana infused skin feeling comfortable in the breeze. Birds were chirping, and small animals were climbing the tall trees that surrounded him. He shielded his eyes, looking up at the treetops, several hundred feet high. He was in the middle of a forest, a vast difference to what he remembered going into seclusion.

"I think I was away much longer than I thought." He said, shrugging his shoulders.

"Reinforce the tunnel, then stand guard. I'll be back when I'm back." He ordered the two stone golems that were standing silently.

After sealing up his home, he took off in a random direction, ready to explore. After being engrossed so long in his research, he was anxious to find out what new things there were to study. He figured after so long, many exciting breakthroughs must have happened. He had a matte-black staff in his hand and a pack on his back, along with his plain black robe, made him look a little strange, but he had never really cared what he looked like, and he wasn't about to start now.

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