In the Cultist' hidden temple, Christopher was going through a new sort of torture called brain washing, it wasn't as radical as making him forget his own world, the reason being that he had 50 points in mentality, meaning that the mage whom was to brainwash him, would need to have at least 51 points in mentality or 165 in magic, meaning that it was impossible to use spells to brainwash him, only skills.
Their target was making him understand that they weren't evil, just desperate, which wasn't hard, they would hit on his compassion and morals.
They would then begin to change his common sense and slowly teach him the ways of Axis, what people in Axis thought as regular occurance, comparing it to earth's morals and common sense and their differences, but the most important thing was making him believe that this world was real.
The meaning of killing being bad, but the important thing being that killing is part of life, a way to survive the cruel world and the conflict between the two gods.
One being Ecclesis and the other being the Demon God, both occuping the 100th floors, both trying to defeat one another, one using people and the other monsters.
In general lines both divine beings didn't care at all about the mortals under their command using them as pawns against each other, there were even rumors that Ecclesis never send the heroes back to begin with, it was all a plot to make them help the intelligent races against the monsters and then simply destroyed them with one sneak attack.
After all there's no way to find out if all those heroes were sent back to their original world or killed, both would seem similar from a third person's view, but were they really sent back?
Even if Christopher wasn't being brainwashed, there were tons of questions that begun to torture his mind, existencial questions, questions concerning what is good and evil, questions concerning himself and his own character.
Were religions a way to control people, a way to restrict people from doing things that they call immoral, a way to make people live in peace.
There was a very nice greek quote to the question
-why do people make war?
-To be able to live peacefully
This is the crux of human society, they cannot live in peace unless all threats are destroyed, after all you can't sleep in peace if there's a thief next door.
Religions were created to unite people and not divide them, of course as times passed, some people begun to monopolize religions, like the kings, the emperors, the pharaohs.
They made themselves children of gods in order to rule over the crowd, that's how it begun and that's how it will end, since it's impossible for people to be completely free from the bindings of religion and morality.
The reason is simple, because they realise what's right and what's wrong, the original sin, the sin of the forefather, the ability to recognize good and evil.
This ability was now being questioned by the cultists as in their understanding there is no original sin, for them good and evil are just understandings, what one calls evil another might call righteous.
One might say that killing a baby is wrong, but another might see it as a sacred sucrifice to their god, another might see it as his duty to kill the heretical hellspawn, another might do so just to survive, another might say that the baby belongs to a different race, thus it's not a sin at all.
There are hundreds of opinions and something that one would call pure evil and condemnable behaviour for another it might be nothing serious, just a daily occurance.
Ethics and morals are things created by man, they didn't exist from the start of time, human nature is to be free, human essence is not in order but in chaos.
The chinese have the Yin and Yang, light and darkness, you could say that Yin is Order the intagible and restricting, the cold and the dark. While Yang is the chaos, the fiery the bright, the ever changing and the free.
As however most of you might know both Yin and Yang contain a bit of one another inside themselves, meaning that in Yin you can find Yang, in Yang you can find Yin and the two turn and become one another, as one is silence and still and the other is the active and moving, like the conversion of energy, when you move an object you give it enegy, but the energy given will at some point return to stillness as the energy is then discharged even further like a tree with thousands of branches.
A week passed and Christopher was now a new person, in the past month he had developed a deep hatred towards the world of Axis, as for the cult, in his understanding they were also victims fighting for their beliefs.
Although he didn't agree with their beliefs, he would still prefer them freely believing in what they wanted instead of being forced to believe in something they didn't want to, under the threat of death.
Of course after Christophe came to an understanding with them, he was quickly promoted in ranks.
He was no longer an initiate, but was now a cleric of the nameless God order, their belief was that God had no face and no name, they called him the High god and he was an equivelent of lady luck or something.
It wasn't strange that there wasn't a holy trinity, since there was no messiah to be born in the world of Axis and no Christian would dare call themself a messiah.
Weeks passed and Christopher was now sitting in his own office, there were tons of documents he had to go through, the faceless God cult's responsibility was mostly management of resources and keeping the temple safe, they were the protectors of the hidden temples, powering up the strange arreys that hid the temple.
Before they would need 10 mages to keep the temple, but with Christopher's addition, they only needed 8, Christopher could do the job of 3 mages with his monstrously high 165 points of magicality.
You have to understand that a talented mage would at most reach a magicality of 150, if he sucrifices his mentality and physique he could even reach 190, but doing so would make him vulnerable to touch, meaning that even a mosquito would be able to kill him, thus most ended their magicality at 150, while their physique ended in the 50s or 30s, meaning that they might be stronger than a commoner or equal to them.
The value 30physique was the common known golden ratio for physical condition, 50physique was commonly known as being strong or sporty, while 60-90 was commonly know as warrior ratio, meaning that only warriors would need so much physique.
Mages would have at least 70 in magicality, while scouts and rogues would have at least a 50 in mentality, while those whom want to go all into stealth would have around 60-90 in mentality and a very poor physique, since their weapon was poison and thievery.
Christopher was stuck doing office work, seeing as he knew mathematics and geometry and other strange arithmetics, he was in charge of keeping books and records.
In the first day he had already discovered that they had already dozens of misconducts in their trading, mostly being taken advantage of by merchants, second there were some doubious people, in simple words they appeared and disappeared, as if they weren't part of the cult, they miraculously survived purges while, but the most problematic was matter was that they were people whom were called eternal initiates, meaning that the cult already had its eyes on them, but a few still had been able to become followers, one such had even become a priest.
In general what the faceless god's followers did was tax collecting or something, they recorded how much everyone had donated and awarded them with equivelent blessings, items and skills.
Christopher for his services was given the honor of sucrificing the traitors to the faceless god, making him rather angry, after all they first convince him that life was precious and then ask him to take it away, it was moronic non the less, non the less he thought once more that this world was not real as he killed the begging followers and priest.
The reason for this was because they offered extremely huge donations, which was impossible to attain from their positions, making them suspects for being insiders, from there it was rather easy to find clues, all of them were found out as inquisition spies and double agents.
The most shocking being the priestess, she was one of the three adventurer women, with whom Christopher had travelled before, it turns out she was also a member of the inquisition, the moment she was revealed she summoned her angel and a battle echoed, for three minutes before he arrived she was holding her own as she was making her way out of the temple.
Suddenly the wing of her angel disappeared, she looked in shock as it turned into specks of light and disappeared when its head disappeared.
"You will never take me alive!"
She shouted, but a sudden gust of mist consumed her, she then took her own life smiling as she shouted curses and damnations in her mind.
"Is she awake?"
Someone suddenly asked, she could feel frosty cold water dripping from her hair, her body was shivering from being soaking wet and she was only wearing the simple robe given to prisoners.
She was shocked to discover that she hadn't died or did they resurrect her somehow?
She remembered losing conciousness after taking her own life through a small pill she hid under her tongue, she was sure that she had taken it before biting at her own tongue.
-Do you think she had already given away this place?
-Probably after all the last place she was at has already fallen to the temple.
-So do we kill her and leave or do we do as commanded by the priest?
-Who knows maybe he will be able to make some discoveries.
-Who cares about him, I say we leave first and let him take care of the aftermath.
-Sounds good to me, lets take a few more as well, after they hear that the place is compromised they will no doubt leave.
The two speaking were priests whom weren't friendly with Christopher otherwise known as Kiris. One used to have his post and the other was his helper, but after Christopher dug out so many moles, they had degraded into his lackeys.
Their plan was rather simple, they would say that the still unconcious woman had already revealed their location, thus they would have to leave, Kiris would lose his authority and become equal to them once more.
Christopher had a rather strange habit, he liked to work hard and make others work as hard as him, a rather sadomasochistic attitude since he suffered the same as them, but he seemed to enjoy it, while they didn't.
If not for his instructions to leave her alive, they would have killed her before announcing the matter, they had no idea why he would want to spare her.
Of course they couldn't have known that Christopher had since learned his 8th skill hypnotism, it was a rather impractical skill, since all it did was make people sleep or at least that was what they did with it.
In Christopher's world however hypnotism had lots of uses as it toyed with the subconcious, used in therapy but also in detectives, where people are made to do things against their will.
Of course the reason he could take the skill was because of his great accomplishments and now he had decided on how he would use it.
He said as he entered her cage and took her hand, checking her pulse and then nothing.
"You know I don't really need to interogate you anymore"
He told her as she lazily opened her eyes, she didn't know why, but after she saw his eyes shine as if he had seen through her, she didn't know why, but she had a bad feeling about it.
"It's a good thing that you haven't told anyone about this place, otherwise I would have had to kill you"
He said with a smile, but to her it seemed as if he was the devil incarnate.
"You know I too didn't like the cults, but out there it's even worse, people eat people, framing them with debts, selling people, burning down villages and the most surprising thing is that even in Ecclesia there are our temples, did you know about it?"
He asked her, making her eyes pop open, she tried to speak but found a strange gag in her mouth making it impossible for her to close her mouth.
"That was created so that you wouldn't be able to commit suicide, you know I think that killing you would be a great waste, I have read that Ecclesians whom were given a guardian angel could summon him again and again, It would be just perfect if you could summon it again for me"
Christopher said with a smile, in truth the angel was a rather good source of experience, it gave him around 400experience points and could be revived again and again, the perfect training dummy.
'How dare you look down on the holy Angel!'
She tried to say but what came out was just some muffled indescernable sounds that couldn't even be called words.
Her angel however was already summoned and ready at her command, only it instantly died the moment she summoned him, feeling a terrible backlash almost fainting instantly.
She glared at him as she tried to form her hand into a fist, but she lacked the strength to do so, not having eaten for two days now.
Of course Christopher didn't know that, but it was questionable if he would have cared at all.
She shouted with a muffled voice, this even an idiot would have understood, but seeing her soaked in water making her siluette evident, her nipples perked looked rather enticing.
There were dark thought passing through his mind, but he was not some evil rapist, he went and fetched her water and something to eat, she probably hadn't eaten yet after all, he too had yet to eat.
Christopher was shocked when he learned that a majority of followers had decided to leave the temple and that rumors of them being compromised had already made their way to the followers and priests, which was a false alarm, but he could do nothing to prove it wrong.
Never the less he decided to stay with anyone whom wanted to stay, fourteen people from the cross martyrs stayed behind, Melodie included.
In the last few days there had been many women whom had tried to charm him, her included, but he wasn't an idiot, he knew that all they wanted from him was a child.
He didn't even know if he could consider a child that appeared out of thin air as his own.
"I've brought you something to eat"
He said as he brought a hot watery soup and water with him inside her cage, he cast the cleaning spell at the cage and at her and then begun to feed her slowly, making it rather hard on her to try and drown herself to death.
In the next few days she experience true despair as she tried multiple times to take her own life, she had hitten her head against the walls, commanded her own angel to take her own life, but the moment it appeared it would turn into experience for her monsterous jailor, he wouldn't ever sleep and had healing spells that wouldn't lose to those of a priest's.
It was rather strange how instead of him torturing her to death, it was the oposite, she was torturing herself as he healed her, fed her, cleaned her and even gave her a warmer outfit to make her stay in jail better.
She of course didn't know of it, but she wasn't the only one whom was suffering the same desperate situation, there were others in the nearby cages.
In the days that passed the headquarters had numerous times asked him to give up on the temple, but after a month passed, they understood that the rumors were false, after all the inquisition wouldn't have left them to evacuate so easily, meaning that it was either some plot or fake.
When however they saw the prisoners they felt bad for them, all of them were doing their best trying to die, one was even being given food through a straw as he had tried to kill himself dozens of times.
They even saw a strange method of hypnosis, he made a person sleep and then asked him questions and he begun to spill the beans, giving away everything as if he was sleeptalking.
In time they brough other prisoners to his temple, laughing as they gave the prisoners hot clothes and conditions that wouldn't be far from those of any commoner, only difference was that they were chained with anti-magic chaincuffs and their mouth gagged.
When they asked him why he threated them so well, he aswered that it was easier to hypnotise someone whom was causy and relaxed.
The cultists were shocked as hypnosis was a rather pathetic skill till that day, after all it was mostly used to make monsters to fall asleep, but it had another use, in order to escape, it used mentality to attack their enemy, meaning that it could even be used if you were in antimagic chains.
In the past months Christopher had only gained 23 levels reaching level 133, but the most important thing was the skill points, he had leveled up his hypnotic skill making it even more dangerous, for people whom like detective stories and sci-fi, you will understand just how deadly hypnosis is in those sorts of scenarios.
At one point even making his prisoners docile and although unhappy with their current captivity, they were slowly but surely forgetting about taking their own lives, instead trying to live until they are set free as he had promised them.
Non the less however he would still have them summon their angels and then killed them for experience.
Mary was the last girl whom went to winoria, she was the one whom suffered the most in her trip there and changed the most as well.
She became cruel and begun to enjoy burning thing, watching other suffer as they burned in her flames.
As a mage she could both cast spells, but more importantly was was that she had acquired the inheritance of a phoenix, it was ultra rare and made her even at low levels a force to be reckoned with since her flames could burn anything to dust, while her wounds would heal in no time.
Although she still had trouble flying it didn't matter since even falling was of no importance to her, she would heal any and all wounds and as she level up she put everything into her phoenix regeneration, which now even allowed her to revive after death, the downside was that she would lose a level and stats each time she did so.
Her cheat power was rather pathetic, she could make her finger burst in flames, the flames were weak, but if she touched someone with it they would burst in flames, of course the flames didn't affect her, but they were as weak as her magicality and she had to touch the person, meaning it was useless to a mage.
Once however her magicality reached as high as 100 she acquired the fire missile cheat, which allowed her to shoot hundreds of fire missiles one after another and their power was substentialy high since her magicality was now 100, so any low rank monster monster was toast, the most however important for her thing was that it made enough light to enable her to see in the darkness of the night.
When she met Marilena and Areti again, they begun to discuss about Areti's idea. She wanted to charge through and kill the Harpy queen, of course the plan had too many holes, thus they begun to abjust the plan.
They divided it into three plans, first being her own and the most difficult of the three.
Mary took it upon herself to kill the Green Harpy queen, of course Areti would take her place and hold the frontlines for her.
The plan was going well at first, but the problem was whether Marilena could accomplish her plan, of course they had already calculated what would happen if she wouldn't be able to accomplish the plan, which would cause a slight stress on the battlefront's line of defense, meaning that they would be pushed back.
The days passed and Mary was approaching the Green Queen's territory, problem was that the monsters wouldn't let her rest at all, she was forced to fight again and again, of course in contrast to the pain she felt before they couldn't even think of driving her back, even cutting her head off would simply cause her to turn into ashes and reform, naked, but alive.
For the past days she had been bringing hell to the eternal night floor as she spread her flames towards the area of the Green feathered Harpies.
Little did she however know that while they were enacting their plan, there was a major even going behind the lines.
The fort where Areti was supposed to be had fallen, the enemy being their former allies, the red feathered Harpies.
They had turned tails and allied with their own kin and since the battlefront was at a precarious situation they found a chance to strike, taking the fort and successfuly cutting the supply route to the battlefront, while also killing most of the mages, priests and wounded soldiers.
There was a large shock when news of the fort's fall came to the battlefront, Areti was the most devestated, blaming herself for this disaster, but the general stuff told them that a single person would be unable to hold the fort even if she was there.
The few soldiers that followed her would have made no difference in a large scale war like theirs, even with her healing powers and buffs there was no way for them to hold the fort.
The strange thing was that they didn't seem to be panicked, only the lower soldiers and officers were somewhat anxious.
The higher ups had already known that this might happen, they were even happy that Areti had fled the fort some weeks ago, otherwise they would have had a little problem since the birdmen whom followed her, four out of eight were bodyguards, whom were charged to protect her.
In general lines they were already prepared for this kind of situation, truthfully speaking the Harpies wouldn't hold the fort for long as at some point they would run out of supplies, at the fort's territory there was no hunting grounds, they had spent years to clean the land of all monsters and even if a monster spawned there it would die of starvation.
By their estimates the Harpies would retreat after a weak of hunger and return to their own territory, problem was that they would have to tighten their fists and persevere through lack of supplies and healing since Areti and a few others were the only healers left in the camp.
Fun fact was that at around this moment Marilena had already killed the Blue feathered Harpy queen, problem was that it had no effect at all since the harpies were monsters, they didn't go by human rules, they were ruled by the strongest meaning that the death of their ruler meant nothing at all, even if all of their rulers died one after another, the role of the leader would be filled in a few hours after the ruler's death, even without them eating the corpse of the ruler, that was sort of like a ritual thing, that didn't exactly have some real meaning, more like a show of one's loafing towards the dead ruler, like saying
"I never liked you in the first place and I only listened your orders because you were stronger than me, but now you are dead and I am alive"
Of course It wasn't as simple, since it also included a test of strength and dominance amongst the strongest of their race.
You might want to ask why they are not amongst the intelligent races and under Ecclesis rule, well there are two reasons, first everyone in the Harpy race is a female and new members of their race simply spawn from thin air, thus they have different values than the intelligent races, they don't see life as something sacred, they don't care about other races and if not for the birdmen's supperior strength they wouldn't even care to trade with them, they would have simply killed them and taken everything for themselves, problem was that they didn't build things, they didn't care to copy the civilized birdmen in building an empire and went on in their savage ways.
It was like refusing progress and burrying themselves in the past, in a way it was battle between the medieval and the primitive, of course there was no question in whom was the supperior of the two, in truth if the birdmen wanted to handle the situation a single elite troop would have been enough to wipe out the Harpies, but since they would either way simply spawn even if they all died they didn't bother to do so, it was simply pointless.
Funny fact is that the monster of the goblins' dungeon pillar were goblins themselves, meaning they were feral goblins that would canibalize their own folk and lived in tribal societies, fighting amongst themselves, instead of the goblins of the Klan whom were more like an empire, they even had a peculiar trading system called the shinies exchange system.
Lets return however to the present, Mary and Areti were now stuck in a rather tricky situation, they would get no reinforcements from the rear and were short on both supplies and healers.
Of course Mary didn't really care since she was practicaly invincible on the first floor, there was no monster that could rival her, even the S rank Gryphon would be useless before her phoenix flames.
Regular flames would go out like candle flames in front of its gusts of wind, of course that was only an estimation since they had yet to encounter one, but the A rank Harpy queen was powerless against her regeneration and flames, although her mental attacks would still daze her, but to no gain.
Their plan was thus changed into a search and rescue mission, their target being Marilena whom had yet to return. Of course they had no way of communication and although they knew that she had the inner compass that guides all birdmen and simply godlike luck they couldn't not feel anxious for her, since in the past few days all hell broke loose, the harpies as if multiplied by the hundreds, other monsters like the Iron beak bird, the Blood Vulture and the Zephyr birds begun spawning like crazy as well, not to speak about the feral wild harpies, whom were subjects to the queen, but in general weren't exactly part of her army, they were more like local tribes that gave in to the Larger tribes like the Red,Blue and Green feather Harpies, whom of course are not wild harpies but Harpy sirens, a superior and more intelligent species of their race, with whom one can even talk, if they are in the mood to do so.
But as the rescue group was assembled a siluette came into view, normaly the guards would have been punished, but since the siluette was revealed to be Marilena and their position didn't exactly allow for such actions, they were pardoned.
The three gathered once more, but this time with the other higher officers and begun forming the next plan of action.