Chapter 251: Manifesting Soul Lantern
A man in a black butler uniform was standing alone in a snowfield located to the north of Belacia City. He was tapping a small hourglass in his left hand. Within the hourglass, instead of the sand regularly trickling down, the sand slowly floated up and entered the upper glass bulb.
It seemed the sand would soon fill the upper bulb. Sebastian was waiting for that exact moment. If things went as Sila had told him, his prey would soon emerge in the next few minutes.
Sebastian stood while humming amidst a cold snowstorm. The cold from the curse didn’t affect him though. The troublesome part was the waiting. He didn’t like waiting without having anything to do. Well, he was willing to wait this time since it was his master’s order.
“The time has come,” Sebastian muttered to himself. The hourglass was placed in his pocket and replaced by a long pale scythe with a blade that curved beautifully like a crescent moon.
Both his hands gripped the scythe tightly as he raised it up. A tremendous amount of magic power reinforcement continued to surge within his weapon.
Sebastian didn’t want to miss the timing even by a second.
“Five... Four... Three... Two...”
Killing intent flashed through Sebastian’s eyes. He exerted all his strength into slashing the scythe downward. The attack seemed to be a meaningless one as he was alone.
Something glowed in front of Sebastian just as the scythe was reaching the intended destination. The body of his prey, who Sebastian had been waiting for, suddenly appeared out of thin air. Before the prey could realize what was happening, the grim reaper’s scythe had already cleaved a wing and an arm. It continued to dig into the prey’s flesh.
“ARGHHH!!!” The prey let out a pained cry. He immediately raised his defense through magic power reinforcement, blocking the scythe from damaging his heart. Still, he was dumbfounded as he was clueless about what was going on.
“Ah? Unfortunately, you didn’t die,” Sebastian muttered a complaint as he clad his foot with magic power reinforcement and kicked his prey. As the Vampire Earl was sent flying, Sebastian removed his scythe from his body with a second slash.
Ballock, the Vampire Earl, received another wound on his chest. His blood spilled out and dyed the snowfield below. He was greatly confused. “Who the hell are you?! Why am I...?”
Sebastian replied with a smile on his face, “Honestly speaking, I would like to have a fair match. Sadly, you seem to be a combat type. I, who can’t use magic spells, won’t stand a chance against you, so I had to rely on a little gimmick.”
Since Sebastian had lost all 666 spells of Death Magic, what he had left was only his gigantic pool of magic power and some supporting skills which he had been re-learning. He would be at a total disadvantage if he had to fight Ballock, a monster of the same rank as him, who seemed to specialize in melee combat. Thus, Sebastian decided to rely on one of his special abilities to severely injure Ballock.
It was the ability to sense lingering death. Normally he could only feel a faint presence. However, with Sila explicitly telling him the time and place that Ballock was killed, Sebastian could easily observe the traces left behind to figure out where and when the Vampire Earl would respawn. He relied on the best timing to hit Ballock at the very first moment of the battle.
Even though his body was severely injured, Ballock showed no signs of concern once he had calmed down. He muttered a chant and his blood on the snowfield transformed into red particles which floated back up and entered his body. The wounds on him were recovering at a rapid pace.
“Mending Blood Infusion.”
“Mending Blood Infusion, I take it? In that case...” Sebastian muttered even before Ballock’s chant was completed.
Sebastian dug his nail into his left palm before flicking his finger. A few drops of his blood flew into Ballock’s pool of blood. Soon, the red particles turned black and spread over Ballock’s body like a plague.
“Arghhh!!” Ballock screamed as he quickly canceled his recovering spell. He glared at Sebastian, his eyes filled with bloodlust. On the other hand, Sebastian was looking at him with compassionate eyes, like he was looking at a helpless child.
“W-Who... e-exactly... are you...?” The Vampire Earl choked on his own black blood.
“I’m just a mere butler, sir. I’m doing my job according to my master’s command. Could you please just be obedient and die? It will be easier for both of us that way.”
Ballock couldn’t bring himself to laugh at Sebastian’s bad joke. How could someone just casually ask the other to die obediently? Still, he was now aware that his opponent had knowledge of the weakness of the previous spell he cast, Mending Blood Infusion. It was possible that this butler had investigated him beforehand.
Sebastian proceeded to give a short lecture. “Blood Magic is a subset of Death Magic. Most of the spells in this type of magic are powerful and versatile, yet possess some restrictions aside from requiring an incantation. Failure to overcome the restrictions causes the spells to be ineffective or even harm the user. The spell you previously cast was Mending Blood Infusion, which transforms blood into a remedy that exerts a powerful healing ability, but with the condition that the blood has to come from physical wounds on the user’s own body. Else, the blood will simply turn into poison instead. My recommendation is that you should keep a safe distance from your opponent before using this spell, though it seems I’m too late.”
Ballock gritted his teeth. He exerted his magic power to temporarily stop the blood loss from his severed left arm and wing.
‘Blood Magic breaks down into 70 spells. I don’t believe that you will know the weaknesses of every single one of them!’
As he had lost one of his wings, Ballock couldn’t take off and fly in the sky like he usually did. He had to resort to fiercely flapping his remaining wing while using magic power to help levitate his body. He flapped his wing so hard that the blood-stained mass of snow flew toward Sebastian.
Sebastian showed a mild smile as he used his scythe to sweep the snow below him, blowing it up and into the way of the incoming attack. At the same time, the scythe was strengthened with magic power reinforcement and swung forward, sending an energy wave to sever Ballock’s left ankle and a portion of his remaining wing.
From the beginning, Sebastian was decent at seizing the right timing to cast spells. Death Magic was extremely difficult to use, the timing like a puzzle he had to solve each time he wanted to cast a spell, so he had been having an enjoyable moment utilizing them at any particular place and time. Even when he had lost every spell in his possession and ultimately had to heavily rely on a weapon art and magic power reinforcement, his sharp senses still remained.
Better yet, with the weapon art—Subjugating Halberd—his physical ability far surpassed the old him as he now could unleash powerful strikes.
Losing his balance, Ballock fell and crashed against the snowfield.
Sebastian slowly approached his prey. His scythe was casually hung on his shoulder.
“Bone-Biting Blood changes blood into a lethal acid that can severely burn flesh and equipment. Regardless, it’s useless if it strikes something belonging to nature.”
Ballock used his one remaining hand to crawl, dragging his body away from the approaching grim reaper. His magic power helped to tend to his wounds, but his missing limbs couldn’t grow back in such a short period of time.
That was unfortunate from him, because the grim reaper had already stepped closer. The distance between them was just three meters—the distance at which a long weapon could show its full potential.
With no hesitation, the scythe mercilessly descended and struck Ballock. His blood sprayed up like a fountain and fell down like rain. His body twitched. The outcome of the battle seemed clear.
At that instant, something bizarre happened. A mysterious power surged within Ballock’s body and his missing organs miraculously grew. He got back up on his feet and inspected his body, feeling confused. Even he didn’t understand what had happened.
“What’s going on? Why did I suddenly become stronger?” The question left the Vampire Earl’s mouth, though the same question emerged in Sebastian’s head.
‘No spell classified as Blood Magic can create this result. Is this some trait of the vampire race? No... even he is confused.’
Ballock wasn’t the type to deeply ponder over things that had already happened. As his strength returned, he now had a chance to get revenge. He shot up into the sky and silently whistled. Seeing his action, Sebastian was aware that Ballock’s minions—vampires and bats—were being called forth to this place.
If it was the Sebastian from before, he would love for there to be more prey for him to kill. However, now that he had no Death Magic, the increase of creatures simply meant more blood, which would result in Blood Magic becoming stronger. Only defeat awaited him.
‘It seems I really have no choice but to use it,’ thought Sebastian.
After confirming that there was no one else in this place, his mind was finally at ease.
“Manifesting Soul Lantern.”
At the end of the sentence that invoked the Demonic Armament, a small lantern glowing faintly like a firefly flew out from his suit. Its light glowed and dimmed in sync with Sebastian’s heartbeat.
Along with the butler’s heartbeat, the rate at which the lantern gave off light gradually increased and became brighter. The light projected past Sebastian down to his shadow. Standing on his shadow was another Sebastian who had a transparent body, his soul. The soul soon enlarged and distorted, before being replaced by a totally different being who spread the massive-sized shadow. The being was a floating giant skull with a crown on his head. There was no other body part aside from floating arms, which held the scales of justice in his right hand and an hourglass in his left. The light-blue light emitting from the skull’s hollowed eyes briefly stared at Ballock, which suddenly made him shiver.
A second later, the lantern lost its light and everything it had projected disappeared, leaving only Sebastian who was standing weakly as if he had lost a significant portion of magic power.
Although Ballock didn’t know what had happened, the only word imprinted across his mind was ‘Death.’ Feeling that this place was no longer safe for him, Ballock believed in his instincts, which were screaming at him to run away.
With his strength fully returned, Ballock poured every ounce of his magic power into his wings and started flying. He instantly regrouped with his minions. Despite this, he didn’t stop and continued to fly further.
“No one can escape from death, child.” Sebastian’s mouth moved but the voice that came out from it didn’t belong to him. Instead, it was a voice that was imposing and emotionless.
Ballock’s heart sunk. His eyes almost flew out of their sockets as he spotted Sebastian levitating in front of him.
‘How is this possible?! I’m using the shortest route. How can he block me? Did he use a teleportation spell? I saw no sign of him using one though...’
Sebastian shot a side glance at Ballock. His eyes seemed vacant yet were illuminated by a faint blue light as if they held tiny souls within.
In that moment, for Ballock, nothing made sense anymore. The only idea in his mind was to go back to the castle, which was less than five hundred meters away. Inside the castle, there were five more Vampire Earls like him as well as the Vampire Queen, who was a Level 1,000 Lord Rank monster. No matter how strong Sebastian was, he didn’t believe he alone could take them all down.
The common vampires and bats were all afraid of Sebastian and avoided him. As one group they took a detour and flew back to the castle, which Sebastian didn’t do anything to prevent. He didn’t even stop Ballock, who relied on the commotion to flee into the castle.
In the moment of crisis, Ballock no longer cared about manners and etiquette. He stormed into the throne room while ignoring the complaints coming from the other Earls.
Entering the hall, Ballock spotted his ruler on her throne, joyfully sucking blood from some prey.
“Your Majesty! We are under attack!”
The Vampire Queen removed her beautiful lips from the prey’s neck. She slightly furrowed her brows with a feeling of displeasure as her blissful moment was interrupted. She tossed her prey away while stepping down from her throne.
“The first was that annoying human, then that golem. Why are we getting so many guests lately? Ballock... how many are there and what kind of enemies await us?”
“He is... a human’s pet, My Queen. He is alone.”
“Alone?” the Vampire Queen’s eyes gave off a dangerous light. “He is alone?! Yet you ran away?! What is he?! Why didn’t you just kill him?!”
“So you dare to kill me, little bat?” A stranger’s voice rang out from behind the Vampire Queen. Everyone in the room panicked as someone had infiltrated without they noticing.
Turning their heads to where the voice came from, they spotted Sebastian, sitting on the throne with his chin rested on his palm. His glowing light-blue eyes swept past everyone.
The Vampire Queen lost strength in her knees. Even though she didn’t recognize this person’s appearance, there was no way she would ever forget the fearsome aura that was lingering around him—the aura belonging to the Lord of the Gods of Death.
She quickly went down on her knees and bowed her head deeply, refusing to make eye contact. Her action stunned the Six Vampire Earls.
“Your Majesty!! What are you doing?”
“Ballock, you fool! What have you done to make this great one step into this place?” The Vampire Queen asked with a shivering voice.
“I have done nothing. I have really done nothing!!”
“He indeed did nothing. This kid, Sebastian, just summoned me. He apparently summoned me through Anubis’ Manifesting Soul Lantern. Even though this kid is unconscious, his will and desires still remain. Through the lantern, they also becomes mine. I get to choose how to make them a reality though. His first desire seems to be acquiring the 70 spells of Blood Magic in your possession. Can you obediently give them to him?”
Ballock’s mouth processed faster than his brain. He made a slip of tongue that he would regret for the rest of his life. “I don’t know all 70 spells of Blood Magic. We, the Earls, divided and learned them separately.”
The five other Vampire Earls were startled. Sadly, words are like water. Once spilled, they can’t be taken back. If Ballock could be killed with a glance alone, he would have already died a hundred times as the five Earls were staring daggers at him.
“Mn... So you all need to die, it seems.” Once the words left Sebastian’s mouth, the six Earls immediately ran to different corners of the room, each hoping they would be the one to be left alive.
“You fools... No one can ever escape from Lord Yama’s magic,” the Vampire Queen muttered to herself.
Sebastian casually lowered his hand.
Abysmal Punishment Magic — Judgement Bolt.
The six bodies were instantly crushed by an invisible force and became puddles of blood. The mass of magic power containing the 70 spells of Blood Magic flew into Sebastian’s body. He then stood up from the throne and stopped his feet in front of the Vampire Queen.
Sebastian extended his hand to her. On his hand was the butler’s brooch. “Drop your blood on this.”
The Vampire Queen didn’t dare to question the great being’s intention. She bit her fingertip and let several droplets of blood fall onto the brooch.
Sebastian stored the brooch back in his uniform.
“Sebastian also desires to help his master by getting help from monsters. I’m not him so I can’t form a Monster Follower’s pact in his or his master’s place. Anyway, you must accept the call when he summons you. Is that clear?”
“Yes, my Lord.”
“Mn. There is still some time left before the lantern runs out of power. I will use this time to visit the other monsters in this region. As for you, just stay in your territory for the time being. Don’t cause a problem.”
“Yes, my Lord.”
Then, Sebastian instantly vanished like a disappearing shadow. Seeing that he had left, the Vampire Queen slowly stood back up, her legs still shaking. Her body was drenched in sweat despite the cold temperature of the room.
With the system unlocking many features of the game, the world of Monster Soul was undergoing impactful changes. In any case, when Sila came back into the game, he would soon discover that the place that was affected the most was this exact northern region. Furthermore, if he tracked down the origin of the changes, he would come to know that they were started by none other than himself.