Warlock of the Magus World Chapter 1020
First Hell of Baator, Avernus.
A nightmare trod across the barren land that was littered with shattered rocks. Its blazing hooves left a deep imprint wherever it stepped.
*Boom!* A meteorite crashed into the ground, leaving a large pit. However, the horse nimbly avoided it.
This nightmare had a human on its back, the very act of taming a beast such as it indicating that this was no average person. That simple line of reasoning had saved Leylin from many problems.
The roads in this area were filled with regular souls, and even petitioners. It told Leylin that his destination was near.
Lawful evil humans from the prime material plane, if they prayed to devils, had a very high chance of entering Baator after they died. Their souls would morph, making them petitioners or even lesser devils. Some devils liked contorting these souls into grotesque forms, expressing a form of aesthetic view like they were ornaments. These creatures had rather appalled Leylin at first, but after seeing a few of them he came to ignore it.
He stopped the nightmare in front of a soul. This one had pale skin, with twisted eyes and a nose. It seemed to be suffering, but still looked at Leylin with vigour. This was the reverence it had when looking at a powerful devil.
"What's your name? Do you remember your past?" Leylin noticed that this soul was rather plump, and the originally lavish robes indicated that he'd led a rather good life back in the prime material plane.
"Lucas… Or something else, who knows… Poor me has to arrive at the Bronze Citadel in three blood days, or my owner will not forgive me…" the soul lamented, "I was just a small merchant from the north in my previous life. I even prayed piously to the Goddess of Wealth…"
Leylin rolled his eyes inwardly. It was extremely common for merchants to turn to Waukeen. Even normal worshippers, as long as they didn't commit heinous crimes in their pasts, would likely be redeemed and sent to her divine realm. As for Lucas, he was either lying, or pretending to be a worshipper; hence his current predicament.
This very exchange showed that these souls had learnt the trademark of the devils, of pretense and deceit.
"Bronze Citadel? It's where I want to go too!"
In Beelzebub's memories, the Bronze Citadel was the core of Avernus. It was a citadel constructed boorishly, an inflexible structure. Many devils who were ready for war are housed in it. As they were often under siege, the constant expansion of the citadel and repairing had been ongoing.
"So then, esteemed lord, do you need a map or someone to guide you? Someone as magnanimous as you, won't refuse a chance to give a reward, will you?"
The eyes of this soul, Lucas, spun quickly. Even with a contorted face, the intelligence and greed that it showed was still apparent, "Or maybe… a small trade!"
Lucas's thumb and index finger grinded against each other, giving off a very wretched look.
"As expected… your disposition is suited for hell. You're a soul filled with greed, why didn't you enter Minauros immediately upon death?"
A pillar of evil light rose from Leylin's body, and the surroundings had been dyed crimson, turning all to a standstill. Even the meteors which came crashing down stopped in midair.
This was a Devil's Beam! Beelzebub's powers, which had been devoured by Leylin and stored in some corner of his soul, had finally been revitalised in hell again.
The A.I. Chip provided the data.[Devil's Beam: Passive Domain Ability! Belongs only to powerful devils! It allows the host to obtain a natural buff to impose fear onto others. Any lesser devils in the vicinity will be under control, confusion and even fear! Note: The beam will attract hostility of other powerful devils! If the devil controlled has already an owner, there will be a negotiation!]
"This light that belongs only to pure evil…you… are you a pit fiend?"
Lucas' body collapsed helplessly to the ground, his eyes radiating fear, "Master…Lucas' master!"
"As expected, the effects of the Devil's Beam in hell is different, as it's unable to vanquish the devil in sight immediately…"
Leylin shook his head.
As Lucas wailed for help, a contractual force rose from its body, finally forming a figure of a hag wearing a pointed hat.
"Jiejie… Ancient and powerful devil, has my slave offended you?"
The hag's voice sounded coarser than the chips of owls, making one shudder in fear.
These hags often appear in hell and the deep abyss during transactions, taking on the roles as a merchant. Collecting souls was their favourite pastime.
Although it was just a phantom that appeared, but the strength it had shown was at least a rank 15 wizard and above.
This hag could not see through Leylin at all. Although Leylin seemed to be just an evil human, but the Devil's Beam and his alignment could not be faked, hence the hag assumed that this was a powerful devil who had assumed the form of a human. The divine force that Leylin had owned had masked his identity. Coupled with his alignment to evil, even if an Archdevil came here in person, they would not be able to unmask his identity.
"Yes! It seems to be a little out of it, having his intelligence corrupted by greed… It had actually wanted to strike a deal with me…"
Leylin shook his head, "It could not even understand the underlying trait of a trade. No wonder it is only a mere soul, never able to turn into a lesser devil…"
"Jiejie… I do hope to be someone worthy of a trade with your distinguished self… As the price for offending you, I can sell him to you with the value of a contract. The price would be one regular soul…"
The hag looked at Leylin, yet was regrettably declined by him. "How foolish do you think I am, to use the value of one soul to trade for this fellow…"
He pointed nonchalantly at Lucas who was shuddering in fear. "It's obvious that you cheated him or used some kind of underhanded means to null the original contract with its owner…"
"What a pity…"
The hag did not show the slightest form of wanting to repent. Just as Leylin said, this soul was just someone it picked up along the way. It was not worth anything much.
"You can deal with Lucas in any way that you like, but remember that you have to repay me after this!"
The phantom flickered, and was about to vanish.
"Wait!" Just then, Leylin spoke and held the hag back.
"Although I don't have much interest in this soul, but there is something you own that I very much like…"
Leylin continued, "I am a traveller from Dis, the second level of hell. Many information regarding Avernus are now out of date. I need the freshest information about this place, and also the information of the Blood War, and the most detailed of maps… You will definitely be satisfy with the price that I'm paying…"
"Jiejie… I do like generous customers!"
The hag let off a cackle that sounded like an owl. "There have been an influx of devils from the second layer recently, ever since their overlord, Beelzebub had disappeared…"
The hag continued to hand over information to Leylin, and seemed to even added some details regarding the plane of Diz as if on accident. To be privy to such information, the being have to be both strong and someone who had resided for a long time.
However, Leylin had only Beelzebub's memory. He knew his territory at the back of his palm, so the deceit that it had planted had no effect on Leylin at all.
"Hehe… okay then! Powerful traveller from Dis, I require the compensation of three regular souls or something similar in exchange for this information and the map!"
A green parchment floated beside the hag, there were a phosphorous glow surrounding it, giving off a mysterious vibe.
"A space-type spell? It seems like there are some good stuff in hell!"
Leylin's eyes flashed, and three souls in slumber appeared beside him.
"This…" The hag gave off a fervent gaze, as if seeing good liquor. She stepped forward immediately and continued to give her approval.
"Jiejie! Very powerful souls! A pity that they have the branding of gods in them. This is a very huge problem, I want at least five of them to make up for the defect!"
"Are you kidding me?"
Leylin said indifferently, but the Devil's Beam grew even more intense and pushed the hag away.
"The souls of pious worshippers are pure and powerful. Furthermore, the gods that they pray to are now dead, there wouldn’t be able consequences. These souls are worth at least two to three times of a regular one! Now, I am willing to give you three of them, yet your greed knows no boundaries. Mammon, the lord of avarice, will be a better lord for you!"
After being exposed, the hag was not embarrassed at all. To devils, haggling was the most basic form of nature.
Finally, it still agreed to the trade, but Leylin declined signing any form of contract with it.
Devils were experts in deceiving people through contracts, and Leylin was not in the mood to engage in wordplay with a hag.
"Jiejie…Generous guest! We will meet again…"
After receiving what it wanted, the hag vanished into thin air, and the soul, Lucas, was gone.
After bearing the cost of the teleportation and positioning of the spell, all of its energy was sucked dry, and its body was crushed by the void.