When it came to Baator, there were less than ten devils with as much knowledge as Leylin. He knew extremely well how far Asmodeus’ influence extended.
Although Asmodeus was the most powerful devil, his might was restricted to the Ninth Hell. The other seven Archdevils did not bother with him. Him appointing a lord of Dis? That was just a huge joke!
Even so, many of the Dark Eight were lured by him; at the very least, they wanted the reputation of having taken over the Second Hell. Although it would be a false reign, it would at least be supported by Asmodeus.
‘In comparison, Baalzephon is more pragmatic!’ Recalling the plan that he had revealed, a smile appeared on Leylin’s face.
Leylin looked around, and quickly saw a city of iron ablaze. Red hot hellfire scorched the inner walls, and thick smoke rose to form great amounts of black fog that covered the entirety of Dis. The walls were red, and the slightest of contact with them would result in grave burns.
Even the metallic pebbles that used to form the road were experiencing high temperatures. Without immunity to fire or special shoes, the pedestrians would soon be thrashing around on the ground in pain, before burning up.
The drafts around the street corners often carried miserable cries that seemed to come from the depths of hell. This was the lament of the prisoners in the large underground prison, including slaves, petitioners from the Blood War, and even mortals that had been kidnapped from the prime material plane.
Once the souls grew ripe with the torture and suffering, the better goods would be sent to the lofty residences around, to be enjoyed by nobility.
Many noble devils liked holding banquets. They would gather together, discussing which portion of a prisoner was more delectable, and then come up with even more exquisite ‘cooking’ techniques.
Just standing on the street, Leylin could feel the breathing and thumping of hearts under Dis. Unlike Avernus, he felt like he could use all the power of this plane, as if he were its owner in the first place.
The turbulent origin force of Baator moved to Leylin’s will, with only the slightest bit of resistance. That was Beelzebub, still alive and possessing that last bit of laws and authority.
‘Dis! If I completely devour Beelzebub, I’ll be like a god in his divine kingdom!’ The authority Archdevils had in hell could definitely compare to what true gods were like in their divine kingdoms. Of course, this was limited to the territory they were lord of.
Leylin sighed inside. This was Dis, the second layer of Baator. It was a huge city of iron, so huge there were no boundaries at all. The city made up an entire plane!
“What are you standing there in a daze for? Aren’t you moving yet?” A grey-robed person standing beside Leylin berated him.
“Yes, my lord!” Leylin bowed humbly, while actually snickering inside. This person in disguise was naturally Baalzephon. The pit fiend obviously had not followed Asmodeus’ game, expanding the territories of Avernus. Instead, he had secretly arrived at the Second Hell.
However, his goal was abundantly clear. The pit fiend, who was one of the Dark Eight, intended to take over lordship of this hell. He wanted to find the missing Beelzebub and take him prisoner. He would then extract Beelzebub’s strength, becoming the true Lord of Dis!
Asmodeus’ orders would be nothing to him then, the lords of the Nine Hells were on the same level as the Supreme!
Evidently Baalzephon had already betrayed Asmodeus in secret, but Leylin was not the least bit surprised. After all, betrayal and schemes were nothing new to the devils, especially when it came to their superiors.
‘Honestly, Baalzephon’s going in the right direction, but there’s something wrong with his plans. He’s not the only person thinking of doing this… Whether it’s Asmodeus or other lords, they’re all probably planning to lay their hands on Beelzebub…’ Leylin sighed inside.
“I’m preparing to sneak into the Iron Tower and investigate. Do you have any plans?” Baalzephon pointed at a conspicuous at the centre of the city that towered into the clouds.
This was the Iron Tower, Beelzebub’s palace. He seldom left the place, but it had already been decades since there was news of him last. Once tens of attempts at communication failed, and there was no reaction even when they barged in, news of Beelzebub’s mysterious disappearance began to spread.
However, with how cunning the devils were, nobody knew if this was some scheme by the Archdevil. Even Baalzephon was not quite sure himself.
Of course, Leylin had given him enough confidence that he was even entering the Iron Tower to take a risk and investigate it. He hoped to gather information regarding Beelzebub’s disappearance.
Leylin was egging him on to serve his own purposes. After all, finding Beelzebub and devouring him before the other Archdevils did was his main purpose in coming to Baator.
“Lord Baalzephon, there are some fairs and markets around Dis. We could find a way to sneak in from there…” Leylin earnestly gave a suggestion.
As his personal stronghold, Beelzebub’s Iron Tower had a large amount of tricks and traps inside. There were golems and contracted beings guarding the tower, and within the Iron Tower itself Beelzebub was basically invincible. This was why he rarely left the area, nor did he allow any devils to enter.
From Leylin’s perspective, the reason he never left was out of caution and cowardice. It was also because he was using the Manderhawke Plate to connect to the prime material plane, spreading faith and contaminating souls.
Obviously he’d also tried to make contact with many other places, finally succeeding in escaping the crystal sphere. Had his timing been right, he could even have surpassed Asmodeus in strength, using an unending supply of souls to become a true Supreme of the Nine Hells. Unfortunately, he’d met with tragedy in the form of Leylin.
‘From what I sense, there’s no sign of Beelzebub in the Second Hell…’ Leylin thought as he followed Baalzephon. ‘With him covering me, there won’t be much suspicion. The other Archdevils should be furiously trying to find traces of Beelzebub, so I can temporarily use their powers…
‘The Manderhawke Plate is also an important target inside the Iron Tower…’ The Manderhawke Plate was a mysterious item that could weaken the crystal sphere. Even a mere imitation of the patterns in his memories helped Leylin enter the World of Gods, so in his view this plate’s uses surpassed even most divine weapons.
“Market? Are you trying to make a fool of me?” A dangerous glint appeared in Baalzephon’s eyes, and the green flames of the contract appeared on his hands.
“You’re part of the guard corps of the Archdevil serving under Azlok, one of Beelzebub’s lackeys. That pit fiend manages the safety of the Iron Tower, do you not have any methods to enter it? Huh?”
The flames on Baalzephon’s hands flickered, causing a look of pain to appear on Leylin’s expression. Of course, this was fake.
“Please wait, my Lord! I’m supposed to be away right now, so it’s impossible for me to get approval from Azlok…” Leylin sounded like he felt wronged.
“That’s your problem. I need to enter the Iron Tower within three hell hours. If you can’t do that, you’ll become a foolish and ugly xerfilstyx!” Baalzephon threatened, showing the natural temperament of devils.
Devils like to treat their subordinates harshly, and even give them impossible tasks before punishing them. This was usually done to the subordinates closest to them physically, in order to ensure that nobody could pose a threat to them.
Those subordinate devils could only complete every task in fear, and grasp every single opportunity to ascend. They would use all their power to climb up the social ladder, betraying their superior at the appropriate time and staging rebellion. They would want to reach the peak of power in Baator to rid themselves of this suffering.
In Baalzephon’s eyes, however, the horned devil called Leycian still had his uses. This tactic was used unknowingly.
“Alright, I’ll immediately come up with a way!” Seeing Leylin darting away like his ass was on fire, Baalzephon grinned in satisfaction. Only if he used a whip and viciously lashed at these devils would they obediently listen to him. It was also necessary that shackles were placed on them, which would prevent them from attacking their masters.
Baazelphon was actually abiding by all of a certain devil’s maxims.
Two hell hours later, Leylin had returned.
“My Lord…” The horned devil now had a flattering look and a modest smile on his face.
“I’ve done my best to get Azlok to believe that I’ve found clues regarding the whereabouts of the Archdevil, which is why I’ve returned to Dis. I’ve also made contact with some of my people and bribed them. I managed a chance to enter the Iron Tower for a thousand jingles…”
Devils could obviously be bribed, but the price caused Baalzephon to frown. “What a greedy guy. Are you sure that his promise is true, and he won’t sell you out to your superior?”
“I can promise that. Jack even signed a contract, and swore an oath.” Leylin looked resolute.
“Good. Take this!” Baalzephon tossed a gem full of soul energy inside, and then saw the hesitant look on the horned devil’s face.
“There’s only a hundred here, but he wants a thousand…”
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