“ How can you not know? ” I asked but Zask made no reply.
“ Sigh, fine what were you thinking of saying to me? ” I had a suspicion about what it was but I still asked.
“ Umm, that it was Lord Lucifer who gave us wisdom. At least that is what I was told when I was but a hatchling myself by the elders of the tribe. ” Zask said.
“ I see and when was that? ” Again I ask but it probably won't matter what he says. If I am right then some indoctrination was used on his people.
“ From the stories I have been told, it was before his rebellion that he gifted us with wisdom. Since then even after his fall from Heaven we have been on his side. Although before the Divide we still had our own Magic and only the strongest of our tribe fought for him. ” He said with pride in his hoarse voice while in lizard form.
“ Ok, and how is the situation after it appeared and tell me how this Magic World now exists? ” Best I squeeze as much as possible from him.
“ The Magic World, umm… the best way I can describe it, is that it's a lot like an illusion layered on the Real World.” Explained Zask at first. “ It's more like if you're staying here in the Real World then if you could switch to the Magic World then you would see the same geography but a different scenario. ”
“ How intriguing, give me an example. Take our current location. How would it look like in the Magic World then. ” I asked.
“ It would be similar but there is one major difference. There are more trees and grassland available since there are no Humans that destroy everything in this region. ” Trees?
“ Even if there are no Humans, there shouldn't be much of a difference. Is the weather system different? ” Wonder how that would work out?
“ No, the weather is similar but it is the Magic affecting the vegetation. They are more resilient to the environment and it's easier for them to adapt due to Magic overload. ” Said Zask, but now even more questions appeared.
“ Ok, what is the Magic overload? ” It's exciting to be learning new stuff, still I didn't show my excitement on my face.
“ Nobody knows. ” Zask said. “ It's one of the mysteries of the Divide. For some unknown reason the amount of Magic present has increased rather than decreased over time. Some say that it's due to the Magic vanishing from the mundane World and that when it's totally gone it will go back to the level it was before the Divide came to be. ” There he stopped but then added on it. “ That increase of Magic is one of the reasons why the Magic Society is the strongest right now, at least in influence. ”
Hearing that I ignored Zask and started to think for a bit. ` I don't think any type of power can just start to increase without a reason. It's either being drawn from somewhere or something. If my current theory of Aspects is right and Zask practically confirmed it for me, the Aspect of Mother Nature or maybe the planet switched from Life Essene to Magic to sustain itself but now even that supply is drying out. It would explain my presence and the type of Power I am using. `
` Since its being denied Life Essence and Magic it had to use drastic measures to change the World, hence the Original me with its boundless future potential. But somebody didn't want that change and offed him, which resulted in me appearing. It also explains the amount of Potential Chaos he gained as a substitute for having his future destroyed when they offed him. `
` Now that I have somebody that could give me answers about the preparators, should I ask and risk being discovered. Hmm, while Zask is in my presence they probably can't spy on me but let's not risk it for an answer which doesn't matter to me anyway. `
` I am already here and my goal is clear. To shape the World in the image I want. ` With that inner declaration to myself I turned my attention back to the lizard humanoid.
“ So, how does one go between one World to the other? ” This is the most important question after all.
“ There are three ways. ” Oh, three? “ The first one would be to have access to the Divide. With it one can just switch whenever one wants. Provided of course one is sure that when one switches there is nothing standing there, otherwise depending on the scenario one can and will be in a lot of pain. ”
“ Really? ” I asked but he continued. “ Yes, in the early days after the Divide it was the number one method for accidental suicide. For that purpose a scrying spell was invented that worked on the Divide. ”
“ Right, of course they did, it would be foolish otherwise. ” Still I motioned for him to continue his explanation.
“ The second one would be to use the permanent gate that was established for that purpose.” Said Zask. “ But for this to work one needs to be either influential or born into a wealthy family. ”
Raising my eyebrow at that I ask. “ Why only those two? ”
“ Maintaining the gate is heavily regulated by the Magic Society. Without their permission none pass through. ” He answered but one thing was on my mind. ` I wonder if my Stealth Cloak will work. `
“ Ok. ” I nodded and asked. “ What is the third? ”
“ The third is the hardest of them all. ” He said. “ First one would need a lot of Power, then a lot of knowledge about the Divide and Teleportation or some other type of transfer and do it on one's own. ”
“ Oh, how much Power are we talking about? ” I asked.
“ Umm, I said before that the Divide was made to cut off the Heavens faction from the mundane World, right? ” When i nodded he went on. “ Well, it wasn't to stop those at the top of the hierarchy but those at the bottom. Still, if one had to compare the factions well, from the Magical Society it's only those of the 6th rank specializing in Dimensional Magic and higher for those that don't. It's the same for Heaven/Hell factions, as for Cultivators I don't know. ”
` Obviously they have a measurement of one's Power, but I am oblivious to what those ranks mean. `
“ Right, I have no idea what those ranks mean. Start with the Magical Society and tell me how their ranks function and give me an example of their Power. ” This time I gave an order instead of asking.
“ Yes. ” Said Zask, and I gave him a bit to find the correct thoughts for the information I need. “ The Power ranking is divided into 9 ranks. The 1th rank is for those that have touched any type of Power. The Magic Society has adopted the circle system. They use Magical circles to represent their influence upon the World, like rituals or similar staff. I don't know how it works, all I know is that they are able to somehow inscribe a Magical Circle onto their Souls. With that done they can use that spell with but a thought. The downside of it is that the first 3 circles determine the direction in which they will grow their power. If they deviate from that path its death in many cases as the Soul explodes. ”
` Very interesting. If I think about it for a second they probably use the inherent ability of Life Essence to affect the Soul and scribe onto it, probably through rituals. `
“ Tell me this, Zask. Why does your tribe not try to use their method? ” I ask him.
“ Umm, we have tried, as did many others but they kept the secrets hidden. ” He answered. “ Almost all that tried it died and those that didn't at the moment of inscribing, died at the first moment of the spell casting. Many have theorized that after generations and generations their bodies have adapted to that type of Power, and it is one of the many reasons they cherish their bloodlines so much. ”
` Bloodlines, of course they would appear. If I consider how I achieved my own Power it's nothing new, still wonder if I will be able to create a core to specialize in that type of power. Would be interesting to find out. `
“ So according to you, the initial circles determine the path progression and the later ones determine spells of that path? ” When he nodded I continued. “ And it's at the 6th rank that those of the Dimensional path gain the spell needed for transferring through the Divide. ” Again he nodded. “ Then tell me this, if one has the Power but not the ability to affect the Dimensions then one is doomed to never cross it. ” Again he nodded.
` Sigh, looks like I will need to learn how to affect dimensions with Auril, as I probably have the Power needed for the act. `
“ Tell me Zask, since you belong to the Hell faction, do you have access to the Divide? ” Asking him I hoped but still he shook his head and denied it.
“ No, since I am still a lowly rank 2 Demon I don't have it. ” Zask said. “ I would need to be at least at the 4th rank to be given access. ”
“ Oh, right. Tell me how the ranking system works for you guys. How do you gain Power? ” The more I know the better I can prepare for them, naturally.
“ Umm, when Lord Lucifer rebelled in Heaven, he stole their Seed creation method too. ” Must have been one hell of a rebellion then. “ The only problem is that to escape the influence of Heaven he had to focus on the negative emotions to grow the seed and that influence follows us through our whole life. No matter the amount of power, that does not change. But unlike the blasphemous God, Lord Lucifer's desire for freedom made it so there are no bindings to one's thoughts. ” There he stopped for a second and prayed at the end. “ Bless you be Lord Lucifer in your magnificence and may you one day free us all from the blasphemous One. ”
` I wonder how much of that story is true. ` At the end I didn't interrupt him and let him finish his prayer. “ You still have not told me how you guys gain Power? ”
“ It is easy, mister. ” He said. “ The more we further the cause of Lord Lucifer the more power we are granted, although those with talent still advance faster than others. ”
` Perfect slave system, I will have to take some inspiration from them as I make my own system. Now begs the question, is there anything else I want to know from him? `
“ Ah, there is one more thing you will tell me. ” I declared. “ Tell me the Power comparison between factions. ”
“ Power comparison? ” He said confused for a second but he understood what I wanted to know. “ Umm, at the first 3 ranks it is us Demons that have the advantage. As we usually are of different species and most of us have bigger and stronger bodies. It is only after we reach the 4th rank that we can use true magic spells. Before that it's all about the manipulation of the Demonic energy. The same applies to the Angels but since their numbers are made up of Humans, we usually win in single combat before the 4th rank. It is reversed if it's group combat as we Demons focus more on individual combat. ” There he stopped again for a second. “ For those of the Magical Society, they are the weakest before 4th rank in both single and group combat. But after that if they are specialized for combat they are stronger than everybody else in group combat but still a bit weaker in single combat. ”
“ And what of those at higher ranks, since it sounds like the 7th rank is the next power threshold. ” I ask.
“ For those of higher ranks, all I can tell you is the general stuff I heard as it's quite hard to reach that level of power. ” Nodding I motion for him to continue. “ I have heard that when those of the 7th rank or higher fight, that the environment changes. To what degree, I don't know but there are many stories of that happening. ”
` Yes, that's how it should be. Anything else would be boring. Now I only have to figure out my own Power rank but if I consider the amount of raw Power I possess it should be in the upper ranks. That means all I am missing is Power understanding and combat experience. `
Nodding to myself I ask one last question. “ And how do the Cultivators rank in comparison? ”
With more hesitance he replied. “ All I know what is told about in stories. ” Again I motioned for him to continue. “ In every story I have heard it goes that Cultivators are the strongest in single combat, but ever since the War there are few sightings of them appearing, at least in the Western part of the World. ”
` So, a bit fat maybe, of them being the strongest in single combat. Good to know since it's them I seek for now. From what Zask just said it will be hard to find them. `
With that thought I stood up and made my way to Zask the Lizardfolk creature. Standing in front of him I made up my decision.
“ Zask, thank you for telling me what I wanted to know and let me tell you one more thing. ” I let him hang on that as I looked at him. As I did that I could see the dread on his face. The more I stalled my declaration the more it was apparent that I had bad news for him.
At last I placed my hand on his huge head and used Auril to pluck the Soul from his body. The moment I did it and took the Soul outside the body, a command imbued into the genetic code of any lifeform that had a Soul activated. It was a kill switch, where the body automatically starts to shut down on its own.
As I took his Soul I used my Auril to observe his body as it killed itself. ` Once I learn to manipulate the genetic code I will remove it from my own body, even if it's impossible for it to do anything to me, as this body is mine unto eternity. `
Watching how it all went I saw Zask slowly lose consciousness into the endless sleep. Once it was dead I observed the Demon Soul for a bit. Noticing nothing new so far it was stored alongside the others.
“ I may not know if it was the Demon Soul or your Master that made you kill all those people but the least I can do is give you a grave. ” That said using my Auril I made him a nameless grave and buried him there.
Done with it I almost went away when I heard Mobius address me. ~ Master, every literature you have bestowed upon me says that the Soul goes to the afterlife when the body dies. Since Souls are foreign substance upon any lifeform and you have removed his, what would be the meaning of Death now? ~
` Hmm, Mobius has a point, but the truth is there is no point to Life or Death. The only thing that matters is if one can carve a big enough sign to show those that come after you that you existed, otherwise all you will become is fertilizer for the next generation to come. `
“ Mobius, There is no Life without Death and there is no Death without Life. There are only two things one can do. Either try to become Eternal or be fertilizer for the next generation. ”
~ Master, that sounds tragic when you say it like that. ~
“ Indeed, still it is the truth. But I will tell you one more thing to not make it sound so tragic. ”
~ Master, please I wish to hear it. ~
“ The goal to reach Eternity is not Eternity itself but the Journey to reach it. ”