"So this is really Hela…" Jilroan looked at the staff with wonder. He didn't use an ounce of his own power throughout that demonstration. Using the staff's power alone, he was able to take and grant life force. He didn't think that any of the divine items in Stok's treasury could rival its power.
"Hela is Hell's staff. Its power is not as simple as the manipulation of life force. Instead, it grants control over necromantic energies itself. Hell is after all the god of death. Most spells in necromancy are related to him." Logg used Magus's Hands to toss the puppy out of the basement. "This peak necromantic spell is in itself an incredibly strong summoning spell for undead. With the formation and the staff, not only will you be able to control this spell, Hela would also be able to counteract the negative effects of using the spell. It will also be a great boost to your life force."
"Where did you find this?"
"In hell. It is, Hell's belonging, after all."
Jilroan didn't say anything more and merely glared at Logg for a good while. Logg kept his calm and stared back, giving Jilroan the assurance he needed.
"If you dare to lie to me, I'll make sure you pay a heavy price!" he snapped, "Nobody can go against Stok, not even a myth-realm magus."
"But a myth-realm magus is exactly what you need to save it, right? I don't stand to gain anything by lying to you. I need the empire to provide me with the materials I need for my research, whereas the empire needs me to save it. It is a cooperative relationship."
Jilroan finally made up his mind. If Logg had humbled himself and pledged his loyalty, it would instead stoke the fires of his suspicion. While a myth-realm magus wouldn't be able to take a whole human empire on, he would still be able to cause undesirable changes to it.
Jilroan approached the core of the formation and looked questioningly at Logg. While he had a guess as to what he had to do, he wanted to make sure he did it right as the fate of his empire depended on it.
"Configure Hela into the staff of death and slot it in that groove. Then, infuse mana into it," Logg said.
Jilroan carefully placed the staff into the small slot near the core and infused his mana into it gradually. The mana flowed through the circuits of the formation and lit them up with a purple glow. When the formations in the core were activated, they began to oscillate automatically. Jilroan could feel a weak will connect to his diatagi and submit itself to him.
Jilroan continued to infuse mana. Most of the formation had been charged by Logg's magic crystals and all the emperor had to do was to activate them.
But even the act of activation itself was quite a huge burden to the magus. Thankfully, Jilroan was covered in countless minor divine gems that continually replenished his mana and even leave enough for a level-six spell in times of emergency. As the emperor of an empire that had lasted more than a thousand years, even his underwear would have some kind of enchantments for warmth and softness, to say nothing about his other clothes and equipment. With all the treasures' help, it wasn't hard for Jilroan to activate the formation.
The charging process was at 90 percent. So far, Jilroan felt that everything was proceeding normally, so he decided to activate the formation fully, in anticipation of feeding the northern barbarians to his necromantic army.
Right at the last moments of the activation, something out of his expectations happened.
When Jilroan tried to push through the last of the formation, it suddenly became a black hole that devoured his mana. The rampant loss of mana almost caused him to faint.
However, he managed to hold on and tried to cut off the flow of mana into the formation, however, he was bound. He couldn't shake it off and tried to halt the flow of mana with his enthymema the best he could. Only when he finally managed to slow down the mana loss could he afford to ask, "What is this about?"
"Isn't it obvious? I've tricked you," Logg said with a snap of his fingers at Jilroan's pitiful sight.
Two chains made from pure mana shot out from the walls and bound his two arms like coiling snakes before pulling back and raising him up into the air.
With Jilroan's will, the level-six dispel sealed within his robes was unleashed, however, it was no different from tossing a sponge to suck up an ocean. There was little to no difference at all.
"You are sealed in by every part of the formation. No amount of low-level dispels would work." Logg burst out laughing.
"What are you trying to do?!" Jilroan roared.
His handsome and elegant face shifted into an image of evil. "I want… revenge!"
"Who are you? Who do you want payback against?"
Logg looked at the suspended emperor and let out a mocking and tragic expression. "You've forgotten me so soon? My… principal…"
Jilroan's expression changed gradually. He looked as if he had seen a ghost. The old emperor's anger from being deceived shifted into endless fear. He struggled and grunted while howling in terror. "It's you?! Impossible! You're dead! How could it be?! You're long dead! You should be dead long ago!"
Logg's looks shifted into a handsome, dark-haired youth. "That's right. I'm dead. I died more than 20 years. I even met Hell, you see. However, he said I had something I had to take back from you. So, I'm back from the abyss of the dead to take back all that you all owe me!"
"Nidhogg, you madman! Forget it! Even if Hell made you an extraneous lifeform, what can you do?! Extraneous lifeforms can't interfere with normal lifeforms! Your death has nothing to do with me! After killing me, you won't have enough strength left to seek vengeance! The punishment of the planar laws will wipe you out!"
The youth called Nidhogg looked at Jilroan. "This formation is far more powerful than you can imagine. Activating it is enough to wipe out Chino!"
"Then, you will--"
"No, the planar laws won't punish me," he interrupted, "You were the one who activated this formation, so the one to bear the consequences to these actions is you. I only made the formation and goaded you into activating it."
"Then, do you want me to use this formation to wipe out Marolyt and the rest? Sure thing. I-- Aaaaaah!"
Nidhogg triggered the formation to once more suck away at Jilroan's mana.
"Ack, barf!" He spat out two mouthfuls of blood due to directly affecting Jilroan. He was punished by the planar laws as a result. He wiped the blood off his mouth and shot Jilroan a frenzied gaze. "I don't need your help… I want… your life!"
"Noooo!" All of Jilroan's enthymema and life force was drawn out and converted rapidly into mana.
He cried out in agonizing pain as he was reduced to a withering corpse. By then, the formation was finally fully charged. It lit up and the figure of Hell, wielding his signature scythe, appeared before Nidhogg. However, he knew that it wasn't merely a manifestation of Hell's power. The divine consciousness of the deity was inside that manifestation!
"The last sacrificial offering you need, a high-order magus's soul," Nidhogg said as he took two steps back.
The formation Jilroan activated drew out all his life force and energies for the summoning of a shadow of Hell. Since he was the one who activated the formation willingly, his soul was the one used as an offering.
Nidhogg could have just sat by as the last of Jilroan's strength was drawn out of him without activating the formation himself to speed up the process. As a result, he got punished by the laws, but he could not wait a second longer after nearly 20 years.
"To all those who abandoned me… I'm back…" he muttered.
Within the forest inside the Stokian Magic Academy, a hand dug out of the leafy ground, followed by a head. A corpse with a missing eyeball gradually crawled out of the ground and wiped off the dirt on its body before spreading out.
Soon, the sounds of countless more corpses bursting out of the ground reverberated throughout the forest.Previous Chapter Next Chapter