Warlock of the Magus World Chapter 1158-1159
The skies of the Fugue Plane were a misty gray. The Styx flowed smoothly on the ground, wiping the memories of the occasional listless soul clean to induce a calm lifelessness.
A city of black granite and rotting mud was erected in the wilderness. This was the City of Judgement, under the jurisdiction of the God of Death Kelemvor.
Countless beings with no faith were half embedded into the Wall of the Faithless, wailing as they seemed to be getting swallowed by it. The faithless in the World of Gods were treated worse than the worshippers of rival gods, demons, and devils. They wouldn't be accepted by any divine kingdom upon their death, only able to suffer eternally on the wall.
It was too late for these souls to pledge faith to any god. Kelemvor gave them three choices upon their arrival, and the other two were even more torturous for the faithless than the Wall. Only the Abyss or Baator would accept these beings, but even they only wished to turn them into soul nourishing bugs.
The City of Death was deathly silent and quiet despite being littered with sluggish souls. Even liches would wish to leave this place as soon as they could.
*Boom!* A large golden gate opened up all of a sudden, radiating divine light. The glow carried the power of salvation, seemingly adding a ray of hope in this land of death.
However, reality was the exact opposite. The wandering souls shrieked in shock at the appearance of the holy light, avoiding at all costs despite only seeing a single ray. This light held the power of a mighty god, and it wasn't something they could face directly. Had they not escaped, they would have been wiped out of existence without a trace left behind.
"Damn it, a god is descending. It's the Goddess of the Weave…" The City of Judgement bustled with activity as many of the souls hid underground and in towers. Even the liches, devils, and demons cursed loudly as they escaped, portals beginning to flash throughout the city.
Mystra's figure slowly walked out of the bright golden door. Looking at the activity in the city, she smiled meaningfully.
"Mystra!" A giant voice boomed throughout the city, and a middle-aged man in blue robes came to stand before her. He looked extremely common, seeming like a nobleman, but his eyes shone an all-seeing black. A strong death domain was spread out with him at the centre, as if he was the ruler of death in this entire world. This was the king of souls, the Greater God of Death Kelemvor!
"You always bring me trouble!" he said as he saw the city rustling. His death domain reverberated with a tranquil power, soothing the agitated souls and rendering them calm once more.
This was a mutation of the standard death domain, Eternal Tranquility. It served to protect and soothe the dead, giving them respect.
Kelemvor was a neutral god, and he'd always tried his best to provide peace to the dead. He opposed those who tried to extend their lives, and despised the blasphemous arts of necromancy. His symbol was that of a skeletal arm holding up a balance.
There were rumours that Kelemvor and Mystra once loved each other as mortals. Their relationship seemed to have stalled after they ascended to godhood. Although the two had never admitted it, the current scenario suggested that the rumours were true.
"Why have you come to disturb the peace of the Fugue?" Kelemvor looked at Mystra.
Their current relationship was different from before, and it was partially because Kelemvor hated magic. He felt that magic had disrupted the peace of the dead. There may have been other reasons as well: many liches and devils guessed that Alustriel was a daughter born to Mystra through a mortal named Elminster.
"It's naturally for that God of Massacre… Kelemvor, aren't you angry at the fact that someone is eyeing your throne and prying into your powers?" Mystra laughed coldly.
"He's just a new god, his power is far from Nephthys and Segojan…" Kelemvor said after a period of silence. These other gods he'd mentioned were also gods of death, but they were intermediate gods themselves! Leylin was only a lesser deity, and without even a full comprehension of the law of death he didn't pose much of a threat.
"Really…" Mystra's expression changed, and she made up her mind. "Have you ever heard of the legend of the Nightmare Serpent?"
"Is this what you foresee?" Kelemvor grew silent once more. "For you," he started after a while, "I'll lend a hand once more. However, I once made a pact with the circle of gods, and it prevents me from doing many things…"
Kelemvor was a neutral god, and without Leylin even being a God of Death yet he couldn't just charge into his divine kingdom. It would be considered blasphemy, and if he tried it the other gods of death would ally together to suppress him. Such was his fate as the strongest God of Death.
"That's enough… I only need you to…" Mystra smiled beautifully, and spoke of her purpose.
"My worshippers are being detained by Kelemvor?" News from the Fugue Plane soon reached Leylin's ears, and it caused him to frown.
This was indeed a troublesome issue. Worshippers would normally enter their god's divine kingdom after death, and this was a pact that could not be violated. However, some things could still be done in between.
While pious worshippers had enough strength of faith to directly move to the divine kingdom after death, and priests would directly become powerful holy spirits, things didn't work the same way for regular worshippers. They first had to be sent to the Fugue Plane, being judged by Kelemvor. The False would be placed on the Wall, and the remaining would be sent to emissaries of their respective deities.
Kelemvor was acting up on his contract with the circle of gods that solidified his position as a neutral god. It would cause Leylin some trouble, after all only a small number of his worshippers were fervent enough to be transported directly.
"The emissary questioned him before, but Kelemvor answered with a condition. He expects you to make a trip to the Fugue Plane yourself before he releases their souls…" the valiant spirit reported, trembling in fear.
Leylin waved the man away before falling into deep thought. He smelled a conspiracy brewing, and it caused him to smile wryly.
'They're clamping down hard… Not even allowing me some time…' Even if he wanted to rest now, they would most likely not give him this chance. His laws clashed with Kelemvor's own, so the bias would be hard to fight. On top of that Leylin had no friends among the gods, only those who would watch upon his situation with schadenfreude.
'Thankfully I don't have many worshippers in the prime material plane. Most of them are here in Debanks Island, and their souls don't need to enter the Fugue Plane when they die…' He felt somewhat relieved at this thought. The best way to fight his opponents' schemes was to avoid walking into the trap, if not his outcome could only be miserable.
Having confirmed that Kelemvor intended for him to travel to the Fugue Plane where he could cause even more problems, Leylin prepared to ignore all matters and hole himself up in his tortoise shell of a divine kingdom. So what if his reputation would be ruined? So what if his faith in the prime material plane would be halted? Most of his operations were within the divine kingdom, hence there was nothing to fear.
Moreover, Leylin was someone from the Magus World. Becoming a greater god was of no use to him, and the more concern he showed about the threat the easier it was to deal with him. He would only end up losing everything if he acted. Instead, he would enter a battle of attrition.
Of course, he still had to attend to the shortage of faith that would be caused as a result of this suppression. At the very least, Leylin knew clearly that the faith from the prime material plane would drop drastically soon. His worshippers in the divine kingdom would slowly turn into petitioners over time, an irreversible process that would rob him of new faith. Although there were profits to holing up inside the divine kingdom, his main source of new faith had been cut off!
Although his worshippers being in his divine kingdom would benefit him in the short run, over time they'd be whittled away. It'd be akin to a slow suicide.
However, Leylin didn't care about that in the least. What he lacked the most was time, and the longer he could drag things out the more benefits he would get.
As long as he could finish becoming a God of Death before the faith from his worshippers dwindled to nothing, he would be able to bring his true body over and restart the Final War. The greater gods would be forced to deal with peak rank 8 Magi, and Leylin wouldn't have to worry about them anymore.
'But I seem to need something more to comprehend the law of death…' Leylin's eyes flashed, deep in thought, 'It'll go faster if more souls are provided as experimental subjects…'
However, it wasn't easy to find the massive number of souls needed for the A.I. Chip's simulation. Leylin estimated he'd need roughly ten thousand regular souls for every stage of progress, and the total count would need him to sacrifice all of his worshippers. Even he couldn't do such a thing.
"I can only look to the prime material plane, the Abyss, or Baator…" Devils and demons were both formed from soul bugs, so they qualified for the A.I. Chip's requirements. Leylin didn't want to help the demons or devils start a bloody war in the prime material plane— even if it supported his comprehension of death and fit his role, it wouldn't be of much benefit to him. After all, he was a god as well, unlike the other Lords of Baator.
There was no need to fight the demons either. He already had a third of Baator in hand, and with that amount of origin force sustaining his divine kingdom there was no need for him to dither around.
"With that said… It seems like I only have one choice left?" Leylin's gaze pierced through his divine kingdom, looking at the edge of Phlegethos.
"They seem to be thinking the same…" The place was packed with an army of devils. Leylin's worshippers recognised him as the Lord of Baator, so it was a given that he would take over the other levels as well. The remaining lords would definitely prepare against him.
Although all of them remained guarded against each other, and with their leader-in-name being lost scattering them further, they still maintained a unanimous front against Leylin. They'd managed to stop him from advancing into the Fourth Hell, the powerful Samuel most likely able to escape even if Leylin tried to use his flying city. By that time, the other lords would come to aid him and stop any other sneak attacks.
Now, the armies at the border had grown even more massive. They didn't seem complacent in defense, instead going for the offensive as they moved to attack Leylin's divine kingdom!
"Interesting… The armies of pride and lust as well?" The presence of the other lords' aid was extremely obvious to Leylin's divine will, "They finally decided to ally together against me, huh?" he smirked.
'Even if Asmodeus was in peak form, he wouldn't be able to bring them together like this. They wouldn't join up even if I continued to parade as the Supreme… Furthermore, how could Asmodeus recover so swiftly without a greater god helping him?'
Leylin immediately understood the danger this time. Asmodeus had definitely obtained the help of a greater god, unifying the other Lords of Baator to deal with Leylin. The gods would need to train another ten thousand years to be able to scheme against him.
'So then… Is it Gruumsh, or Mystra?' Leylin had immediately listed out the greatest suspects, and his personal opinion shifted more towards the latter. 'The chances that it's Mystra are extremely huge. She's been after me for a long time.'
Anger welled up in Leylin's heart. He immediately saw through her intentions, 'First she colludes with Kelemvor and stops my supply of worshippers. Next she uses the help of the devils and turns the tides to attack my divine kingdom… She's prepared to bleed me dry until I'm forced to make a trip to Fugue. Then she'll ambush me?'
"However… The only miscalculation you made was my strength…" he laughed coldly, his conscient travelling through his divine kingdom to bring two people before him.
"The devil hunters are prepared and awaiting orders, my Lord…" Isabel was dressed in crimson armour and what seemed to be a cape of flames, radiating an aura of valiance. She'd grown much more powerful than before, seeming like a massive beast of ancient times as the dragon blood in her body was further purified by Leylin. She was now at the peak of the legendary realm.
Beside her was the former Lady of Hope, Phoenix. The more devout someone was before their turn, the more power they would acquire with their fall. Rafiniya's staunch faith had pulled her up to become a high-ranking legendary when she turned.
Although Phoenix could adopt the appearance of a pit fiend, Leylin ended up choosing to model her after Glasya. The erinyes form gave her strength equivalent to a greater devil, and Glasya's expression if Phoenix eventually evolved to become an Erinyes Queen would be delightful to watch.
"Good! Remember, your mission is to defend and not step out of the kingdom's boundaries. My avatars will assist as necessary." Handing command of the devil hunters to the two of them, Leylin continued with his plans.
The greatest strength of devil hunters was in their ability to seal devils to use their powers. With a constant war against the other Lords of Baator ongoing, they would prove to be extremely beneficial. As long as they stayed within the divine kingdom and remained protected by its laws, they would only grow stronger with every wave of devils fighting them. And if they lost numbers? He could just recruit some more from among his worshippers.
Leylin had already considered all problems when he designed this profession, so the natural talent required of a devil hunter was not high. Their strength depended almost solely on the devils they sealed. Thus, the devil army was like paradise for those who wished to improve!
At the same time, the Queen of Lust was bowing towards an older devil in the endless void, "The preparations are complete, father," the Lady of Malbolge said.
"Cough… Very good, Glasya…" The old devil seemed frail, wrought with illnesses. He had black eyes, a goatee, and a horn on his head. This was the Lord of the Ninth Hell, the Supreme of Baator— Asmodeus!
"Samuel, Levistus, Baalzebul, Mephistopheles… Thank you all for making it here, we Lords haven't met in a long time…" Asmodeus looked at the figures of the other devils nearby. With all the remaining Lords of Baator gather together, even the space around them was screeching with agony under the burden.
"There's a few faces lost and another gained. Beelzebub, Mammon, and the Hag Countess are here no more, but my beloved daughter is now amongst us!" Asmodeus spoke incoherently.
"Enough!" Samuel roared, flames of anger blazing on his body, "We're gathered here for one purpose, and that's to deal with Kukulkan!"
The other lords here may just be fulfilling their curiosity, but he himself could not remain relaxed. Phlegethos was right under Leylin's divine kingdom, putting the greatest pressure on him. He'd had to hide within the depths of the Fourth Hell ever since Leylin slew Mammon, holing himself up in his fortified castle with curses and traps so he could retain a sense of safety.
"Indeed… We need to kill the God of Massacre, bringing Baator back to its former self." Asmodeus' expression hardened. Although he didn't need to face Leylin's pressure directly, the new god gave him a very strong sense of danger. Not to mention that Leylin's worshippers declared him the Ruler of Devils in their prayers day and night, a resounding slap to his face as Supreme of the Nine Hells.
"Hehe…" A strange sound travelled, causing Glasya's face to sour.
"I suggest we sign a contract immediately, splitting the tasks amongst ourselves and the united front. I can guarantee that I don't need any of the first three Hells after the war, I only wish for Baator to regain its former self as we bury that God of Massacre in the dirt." Asmodeus flipped open the black contract book in his hands.
The elated lords did not seem to notice the icy gaze hidden deep in his eyes.