Warlock of the Magus World Chapter 1031-1032
"Pay the rest yourself! Didn't I reward you with a huge amount of wealth already?" Baalzephon placed his hands behind his back and left, seemingly interested in the unknown flesh being sold on the market.
The smells of all sorts of spiced meat wafted through the market. Baalzephon hummed nursery rhymes in contentment as he seemed to pass the time.
'Not giving subordinates wealth is akin to not giving them strength… Not giving them chances, is akin to not letting them be promoted… If your subordinates have wealth and the chance to advance, then your head will become a decoration in their rooms…
'Seems like superiors controlling their subordinates is a huge trend here…' Leylin glanced at the pitifully tiny soul gem in his hands and snickered.
Unfortunately, all that he'd said had been a lie. While the devils that guarded the Iron Tower were Beelzebub's trusted aides, their loyalty wasn't spectacular, especially when their superior was weakened.
Dis was like his own backyard, and the guard legions were basically like a sieve with numerous holes. Why? It was naturally because of the prime material plane. Leylin had already subdued Beelzebub's followers from the prime material plane, and he'd had some of them return to Baator in secret.
Besides, with the authority he had and the law of devouring, no devil would suspect anything even if he pretended to be Beelzebub himself.
'Baalzephon isn't the only one here. There's still many organisations around laying low, so I can't be too high-profile…' Leylin sighed inside, and arrived at a luxurious residence near the Iron Tower.
A pit fiend appeared and bowed deeply to Leyin, "Master!"
"Mm. There will be huge changes here soon. Take all the subordinates who are loyal to me and leave. Also, get Jack to do what we agreed on."
"Understood, Master of Devouring, Lord of Dis!" The pit fiend pressed his right hand to his chest and bowed, eyes full of reverence and flattery.
"Lord of Dis. I quite like that name, Azlok…" Leylin burst into laughter.
Indeed. The pit fiend standing in front of Leylin was Beelzebub's trusted aide who was in charge of his armies. He was the greater devil in charge of the Iron Tower's guard, Azlok! When he'd seen Leylin's law of devouring and his control over Dis, Azlok had bent the knee instantly. He hadn't even hesitated a moment to betray Beelzebub.
However, even Azlok had no clue of where Beelzebub had gone. The Lord of Gluttony hadn't even contacted this devil before he left. It was evident that Beelzebub had actually never truly trusted him. Or perhaps the word 'trust' was too far-fetched to use amongst devils…
Dark fumes filled the skies, causing the Iron City to be lit up purely by the fires of hell. Groups of petitioners and lemures were guided by imps to all parts of the city, modifying it to fit into the Second Hell and performing repairs. Rumour had it that the city would continue to expand under Beelzebub's wishes, with no end for all eternity.
There was no such thing as sunrise or sunset here, and the devils of Dis used specific devices to record time. However, they had no need for rest. As long as there was an opportunity to obtain souls, many would charge over for it without fatigue.
"It's time. Let's go!" Baalzephon glanced at a crimson pocket watch, and brought Leylin towards the Iron Tower.
Numerous noble residences were built around the Iron Tower, all of them looking imposing and magnificent. However, most of them were now empty, the whereabouts of their owners unknown.
Beelzebub's disappearance had been a huge blow to Dis, even if the the lesser devils hadn't noticed it yet. The greater devils were filled with ambition for the lordship, or were afraid of the unrest and left. Only one legion was still performing its duties. An armoured lower devil watched every person trying to get close to the Iron Tower, regardless of which plane they came from.
"Enter from the west. Jack's guarding that side today."'Leycian' brought Baalzephon deeper into the city, looking like he was familiar with the route. They finally arrived at a steel sentry that had been scorched red with hellfire.
Seeing the guarded looks of them any armoured devils here, Leylin yelled a greeting towards the sentry. "Hey, Jack. Look who's here!"
'Prevent Teleportation, Detect Stealth, and an anti-demon formation. There's also spells boosting the defence of the guards, giving them magic immunity…' Baalzephon's eyes showed awe and a trace of nervousness, 'These defences… Even us of the Dark Eight would need to send out all our legions, spending a month or two fighting before we could get in…'
"Leycian?" a gruff voice sounded, as an enormous devil appeared in front of Leylin and Baalzephon. He was huge and swollen, with disgusting tumours on his skin and scales. His bulging eyes made him look like a toad, and his matching mouth revealed densely packed sharp teeth.
This was the peak form of a greater devil, the paeliryon. Only pit fiends and the overlords of hell exceeded him in might.
"Yep! You look just as strong as before! So… does our agreement from before still count?" Leylin handed over a large number of soul gems.
"Of course! A thousand jingles in exchange for a chance to enter the Iron Tower. I'm always honest!" the huge paeliryon said, its roaring voice causing Baalzephon to frown. Although he didn't mind the tiny loss, it would be terrible if the other devils discovered them.
As if noticing his worries, the large paeliryon laughed wildly, "No need to worry. Nobody here would dare to reveal anything, unless they want to be imprisoned in the dungeons and punished with eternal hunger…"
The dungeons were something all the devils of the Second Hell dreaded. Hunger, in particular, was used on those who made mistakes. With the influence of the law of gluttony, those punished thus would grow incomparably hungry, with nothing that could satiate them. They would grow so frantic they would eventually choose to gnaw at themselves!
While Beelzebub had set the law that those who could endure seven days of hunger would be forgiven regardless of their errors, none had been able to last that long. Most devils of Dis would rather be demoted into ugly nupperibo than take on this punishment, such was the terror it caused.
Hearing what their superior said, the other devils all but wished to sew up their mouths, perhaps burying their heads in the ground.
"Good! I like your attitude!" Baalzephon nodded in satisfaction, preparing to enter with Leylin.
"Wait!" However, an unexpected incident happened. After Leylin entered, Jack immediately blocked the way, "One thousand jingles for one chance. One has already entered, so the contract has been fulfilled!"
"What are you saying?" Baalzephon's brows furrowed threateningly.
"You need to pay an additional amount!" Jack pointed at Baalzephon
"So if he doesn't enter, I'll get the chance to enter?" Baalzephon frowned. He did not want to attack anyone here, especially when this would reveal his identity.
"Keke… My apologies, but no!" Jack chuckled in a strange manner. The surrounding devils quickly picked up their weapons, aiming them at Baalzephon.
"You darned horned devil, I really should have turned you into a nupperibo. How could you have even created a contract with so many loopholes that devils could make use of…"
Baalzephon was in a spitting rage as he glared at Leylin, who was almost scared stupid, "You pay up the thousand jingles!"
"Apologies, master, but I don't have any more…" 'Leycian' sounded on the verge of tears, causing the fury in Baalzephon to blaze.
"You piece of trash!" He now looked extremely grim and took out a soul gem, "Take it, you greedy fiend!"
The huge paeliryon hugged his hands to his chest and answered fearlessly, "Sorry, but there's now a change to the price. It will be two thousand jingles. Also, your humiliation caused spiritual damage to me, so it will be a hundred more on top!"
"Damn it, damn it! If I get a hold of you, I'll definitely demote you to a nupperibo and have you pick up manure in the Rotting Pit for ten thousand years…" Baalzephon's chest heaved, but unwilling he was Jack still urged him into handing over the jingles.
"My- my apologies.." Seeing Leylin right now, Baalzephon couldn't even be bothered to get mad. After all, if he were to kill or demote him to a nupperibo, then weren't all his previous efforts in vain?
The other party was a greater devil after all, and he could be used as cannon fodder while exploring the tower. That was Baalzephon's decision.
After passing through the sentry, they finally arrived in front of the Iron Tower. Beelzebub's lair was so high that it reached the clouds, its body enveloped in a dull light that flowed around as it changed the quality and style of the tower.
'The throne of Dis… Here I come!' Baalzephon gazed at the pedestal within the Iron Tower, his eyes flickering with unconcealed ambition as he quickly brought Leylin in.
'The audience is coming in…'
Baalzephon had yet to notice the glint in the eyes of the horned devil cowering behind him. The Iron Tower was Beelzebub's lair, a place that was filled with danger even for Leylin. While he'd already obtained Azlok's loyalty, Azlok was merely a guardian of the outer regions of the Iron Tower, and he couldn't enter the place himself.
If he wanted to completely scope out this lair, Leylin would need hundreds of greater devils or even many pit fiends. Leylin naturally didn't want to purge his own subordinates, and at the same time he wanted to lure everyone coveting the lordship out of hiding. This was why he'd kept his strength hidden, entering the tower alongside Baalzephon.
Baalzephon's actions would result in a chain reaction, breaking the initial balance in the Nine Hells. With his actions, the Dark Eight and Asmodeus would be besieged from all sides. That way, Leylin could use the powers of other devils to scope out the tower.
Ninth Hell of Baator, Nessus. Deep gorges and valleys filled the area, forming large expanses filled with lifeless rocks. It looked like the land had been formed by a huge explosion, or perhaps a battle between existences compared to gods. Nobody knew the real truth to the day.
Inside a valley that was unimaginably deep and wide was a fort called Malsheem, standing tall with a dark, grand, and hellish beauty. The citadel was extremely large, and numerous miles wide. Its dimensions were unimaginable for all devils.
More than a million devils lived within this city, and conspiracy theorists said that they would one day start killing their way out, drowning out the entirety of Baator in Asmodeus' quest to take over all of Hell.
"Ah, Malsheem. She's so beautiful! I want to possess her and touch every bit of her skin lovingly…" A voice full of greed suddenly rang in the air, and a devil appeared. His upper body was human, while the lower half was that of a huge poisonous snake. He held what looked like a harpoon, and his triangular eyes looked full of avarice.
This was Mammon, the Lord of the Third Hell. He possessed the laws of avarice, and was one of Baator's eight Archdevils that stood tall above the rest.
"Mammon! Long time no see, old friend. It's been five hundred years since we last met, no? I remember it was in Minauros…"
An illusory devil appeared at the peak of Malsheem. He looked like an aged devil with black hair that was combed back perfectly. He had a black goatee, and his eyes shot flames. His courteous greeting was as if Mammon was a friend he hadn't seen in a long while.
"Your hypocrisy makes me want to hurl, Asmodeus!" Another Archdevil appeared next to Mammon, revealing Asmodeus' identity. This one had flames twirling around him, seemingly like fury incarnate that could burn everything in the world to nothingness.
The old devil that had appeared atop Malsheem was the legendary Supreme of the Nine Hells, Asmodeus. This was Baator's ruler in name.
"Oh, it's Samuel! You're just as angry as always…" Asmodeus seemed to think nothing of the power Samuel exuded, and his grin widened.
"When will you abandon this form, and dare meet us with your true body?" Pure white snowflakes fell one by one, instantly freezing a large portion of the valley. A devil that grasped extreme cold walked over, his eyes fearless as he met Asmodeus' gaze with an aura exuding arrogance.
"Oh, so Levistus is here too! Cough cough… Forgive me; with the injuries to my body, it's already amazing that I can appear in this form…" Asmodeus' pale face now had a slight flush, looking like an old man on the verge of death from illness.
Rumour had it that the Archdevil of the Ninth Hell had sustained grievous injuries. He'd now taken the form of a high-ranked projection, an avatar of sorts.
Even so, Asmodeus' power was still the greatest amongst the Archdevils, the sight of which would shock other devils into silence.
Mammon, who controlled the third layer, Samuel who controlled the fourth. Levistus, who controlled the fifth, and the original ruler of the Nine Hells, Asmodeus. Four of the Archdevils had actually appeared here!
Ever since the conspiracies of the ruthless Blood Wars, and the incident where the abyss broke off from the Nine Hells, the Archdevils rarely met. Their fights had even affected the prime material plane, and the gods' divine realms.
With four of them meeting, people would believe that a conspiracy that would turn the world upside down was being hatched. It wasn't as if four lords of Baator meeting could result in good.
"Cough cough… May I know why you have gathered here?" Asmodeus produced what looked like presbyopic glasses as he began to flip through a thick sheepskin book. The book had a black cover, with hellfire atop it. It made it seem extremely evil. Within the book, the paper recorded numerous vile contracts!
"Of course it's about Dis, and Beelzebub!" Mammon was the first to speak, "The rest of us seven wouldn't be able to decide on the appointment of an Archdevil even if we were to have a joint discussion!"
"Is that so?" A poisonous worm crawled out from Asmodeus' goatee, which he then picked up and swallowed. "But… From the contract of our alliance, you don't seem to think that way…"
Asmodeus flipped to a certain contract and pointed at the clause, "So? Need me to read it and explain it to you?"
"That's only when the Archdevil of a layer is unable to fulfill one's task. You have the power to help them, but only temporarily!" Samuel exclaimed in anger.
"But as the Supreme of the Nine Hells… Fine, even if only in name it's my responsibility to maintain the stability and order of Baator…" Asmodeus spoke up for himself.
"Even so, you can't appoint someone to the Second Hell when its Archdevil is in danger. What's worse is that you're choosing from the Dark Eight, who don't even have any authority…" Levistus snickered.
"They might be mere pit fiends, but if they can ensure there is order in the Second Hell, it would make sense to give them some rewards…" Asmodeus still persisted.
"All I see is them plotting and causing destruction!" The flames on Samuel's body leapt into the sky.
"The only one who can stabilise Dis right now is Beelzebub with his authority over the place. Which of you knows where he is?" Mammon's eyes were filled with greed.
"It's said that after getting gravely injured, he's hidden in the prime material plane. One of my followers found traces of him on the surface, and there even seems to be some interesting guide…" Asmodeus spoke nonchalantly, as if this was no secret.
Such honesty and magnanimity had the three overlords puzzled. It took a length of time before Levistus spoke up. "What are you planning?"
"That's what I should be asking you," Asmodeus looked innocent, "You barge into my house and rudely block my door. Why is that?"
"It's obviously for the stability of Baator! You're not to interfere with Dis anymore!" Samuel yelled.
Although it was acknowledged that Asmodeus was the strongest and most mysterious of the eight lords of hell, there wasn't much of a difference between them. Still, he was the strongest devil despite his injuries. Rumours were abound that a fully healed Asmodeus could even unify all of Baator itself!
As the situation was now, Asmodeus would be able to defeat a single Archdevil in combat. Even then, he wouldn't be able to kill his opponent. Two Archdevils working together could even suppress him! With three Archdevils present here, he would definitely lose a battle.
"Give up. The Hag Countess won't help you. Belphegor will stay at Maladomini forever, and can't be bothered to leave and meddle in this. You might be able to rope Mephistopheles in, but you still won't have enough numbers. You won't win a vote amongst the lords of Baator without bribing us, and I'm quite interested in what you're willing to pay.…"
Mammon sized Malasheem up and down, "Give Malsheem to me, and I might consider it. I promise it on the honour of an Archdevil of Baator!"
"Looks like I really have no chance of winning…"
Asmodeus waved his arms around with no other choice. "Alright then. Based on the contract, I'll stay in Nessus! However, Dis does need a substitute. How about we sign an agreement?"
Before the other Archdevils could speak, Asmodeus continued on, "Let's all stay here till everything dies down and order resumes. Let's not go anywhere. How about it? Isn't that your goal?"