Chapter 79: The Daughter of Satan
Long, flowing locks of maroon hair were complimented by a pair of sinister blood-red eyes. Flames arose, as dark as the fires of hell – and among this, that terrible suffocating aura! The entirety of the area grew bleak and dim.
This was Mika – the Stygian Succubus.
“The Dark Tower. This is Satan’s stink?” The young woman who’d moments before retreated at her mistress’ behest drew closer once again. The wings splayed behind her reacted to the scene, glowing with a dim white light. It pulsed and shook when confronted with Mika’s devilish aura.
The Moonfiend Empress looked on with narrowed brows, and a golden light shimmered behind her eyes. Her own presence – previously majestic and overbearing – changed. She grew bright, and exuded a sense of unfiltered holiness.
“Mika… are you sure you want to square off against me?”
The Succubus snorted derisively. “If you dare approach my boss again, I’ll tear your palace to the ground.”
“Alright, Mika… relax.” Lan Jue lifted his red hand and placed it soothingly atop Mika’s shoulder. The dancing, ethereal flames that surrounded her began to snake up his arm like a cancer.
Mika gasped, startled. The murderous light in her eyes and the flaming color of her hair gradually dissolved back to normal. The sense that had crawled over the area – that demonic oppression – also dissipated in to nothing.
The Empress bore a clearly displeased expression, and glared daggers at Lan Jue. “You fool. You come all this way, suffer all the pitfalls and bring three jealous little girls with you. It bores me. Enter, if you must.” As she spoke, she lazily turned that curvaceous form back towards the palace. She began to walk in, swaying tantalizingly as she did. It was enough to drive any man to do irrational things.
The lapping flames surrounding Lan Jue’s hand grew small and vanished. He patted Mika’s shoulder once more comfortingly.
Mika dropped her head a few degrees. “I’m sorry, boss,” she said sheepishly. “I saw the Pontiff’s lackey and… I couldn’t help myself.”
Lan Jue adopted a serious tone. “Over the last several years you’ve done wonders keeping that darkness at bay. Don’t let all that effort go to waste.”
“Yes boss,” she said dutifully. There was no further trace of that unrestrained evil from moments before.
Lin Guoguo and Ke’er were at her side, then. Each took up one of her hands in comfort.
Lin Guoguo leaned in. “Sister, there wasn’t any need for that,” she whispered to her. “You have me and Ke’er here. Together we can protect the boss just fine.”
Ke’er nodded her head in agreement. “That’s right! Sis, don’t give in to your impulses. I remember what you were like before, violent and unpredictable.”
Lan Jue shot them a bitter smile. “Last I checked I still have hands and legs, ladies. I’m perfectly capable of handling myself. Let’s go.” He rubbed his nose and made for the palace entrance.
Luo Sang looked on as the four left, walking towards the palace. She watched carefully as Mika followed her boss. Her sharp, clear eyes never left the Succubus’ form, even after she disappeared through the gates.
“Such potent evil,” she muttered to herself. “How could it be? Even in the core of the Dark Tower there were only a few who could possess such pure vileness. Could she be close to that wicked Satan? Who on earth is she? And how is it she came to be that man’s servant?”
“Luo Shang.” The voice arose from beside her, and shook her from her reverie.
“Hm?” She raised her head, looking towards the golden-robed man at her side.
“There are some things that don’t bear looking in to,” he warned. “There is no benefit for you – only risk. All I can tell you, is even as dangerous as that woman is – her master is worse.”
Luo Shang looked to where they had vanished in to the palace. Who was he?
The palace had no elevator or means of transport. The only way up was the ancient stony stairway, which the four ascended with the Empress in the lead. Eventually, they arrived at the pinnacle of the castle.
Here, there was no entourage of silver-hooded men. There were no guards or servants. Only the Empress and her guests.
The highest point wasn’t large, and after pushing open the wooden door there was revealed an area of only about two hundred square meters.
The floor was covered in a pure white shag carpet. Situated around the floor was antique furniture. On the walls, the eyes of countless portraits followed them as they entered.
Mika shuddered under their gaze, and the slightest hint of red light flickered behind her eyelids.
“Mika,” Lan Jue warned.
Mika gritted her teeth, and pushed her black-rimmed glasses higher on her nose. Her eyes cleared.
Lan Jue looked towards the Empress. “It’s been so long since you left the Pontiff’s employ, little Yue. Why do you still hang this gaudy things?”
Their host spoke softly in response. “Once mustn’t forget where they came from. They may have lost faith in me, but my belief in the Lord hasn’t changed. If it hadn’t been for that belief, after so many years I’m sure I’d have fallen to corruption.”
Lan Jue’s brows wrinkled. “And what of that girl, Luo Shang? Unless I’m mistaken she’s an acquired Talent, newer generation. And her Angelism is an Archangel, no less. How’d she get here? Aren’t you afraid the Pontiff’s Castle will come looking for trouble? I wouldn’t be surprised if they already know you’re here.”
The Empress’ tone took on a dark note of violence and disdain. “If they dared leave their lofty towers, there’d be little chance of returning to them. As a matter of fact, even if you hadn’t told me about their true selves – awakened me to their real intentions – I’d likely still have broken free of their control. But that is what it is. I watched Luo Shang grow up, and convinced her to join me. That’s the gist of it. The Pontiff’s Castle has no idea. You should know that my control over this place is absolute. You’re the first person to have seen her and lived to talk about it.”
“Hmph.” Mika snorted angrily.
The Empress shot her a look. “And what are you grunting about? I left the Pontiff’s Castle at this man’s request – didn’t you do the same from the Dark Tower? You and I certainly aren’t alike – you are Satan’s daughter, heir to the Dark Tower. And still you turned your back on him and left. If the Dark Tower were to ever find him, I can only imagine the trouble. You don’t understand how enraged the tower was the day you left. But I am curious how you all managed to hide all traces of yourselves for so long. And controlling that evil nature of yours so well.”
“None of your business,” Mika spat.
Four eyes met, challenging, and again that dangerous fire welled up behind Mika’s eyes.
Helplessly, Lan Jue interjected. “Alright, you two don’t need to go toe-to-toe every time you meet, ok? You may have very differing beliefs but neither of you are what you used to be.”
The Empress rolled her eyes at Lan Jue, but even that action bore a distinctly flirtatious undertone.
“So what is it you want me from this time? There’s obviously something or you wouldn’t have bothered. You coward.”
Lan Jue continued as though he hadn’t heard the insult. “I need the most recent star maps of the Shattered Starfields. Name your price.”