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Book 7, Chapter 62 - Controlling Belial

 Chapter 62: Controlling Belial

Belial awoke to find his hands and feet bound. Before him loomed a figure, who the Elder greeted with a scowl steeped in hatred.

His appearance was human, however the truth was very different.

The Elder artisan was a master, wearing skins like one might change clothes. The one called Wolfblade, however, used a different method. His transformations were far more clever and complete, turning him for all intents and purposes into a human. However, the sinister chill of his soul could not be hidden. Legion's dark presence was unmistakable.

Wolfblade sat opposite Belial with a cup of tea in his hands. Three more stood behind him; a god, a demon, and a man - The Cloud God, Abaddon and Frost de Winter. As Belial looked them over no thought of escape crossed his mind. This was not because he lacked confidence in his abilities, nor because he thought the others were stronger. Rather, Belial knew himself.

Even though Wolfblade possessed only a tenth of his former power, and had transformed himself into a mere human, the sense of oppression the Elder felt was just as strong. It was the same feeling a mouse felt when faced with a cat. Sitting before him with such calm and poise, Wolfblade must know he has the situation well in hand.

"Good. You're awake, and I won't waste time with nonsense pleasantries." Wolfblade set the cup aside. A small blue bead surreptitiously appeared in his hand. "You understand the plight you're in and the decision you have to make. All that remains is whether you will make the choice yourself, or if I will have to help you."

His tone was even, but the implications cut like icicles. Belial felt cold to his bones.

Legion's methods were in no way inferior to Belial's. He could deprive the artisan of wisdom, intelligence and power. If he wanted, the creature known as Wolfblade could turn Belial into a mindless husk to do his bidding.

But a husk like that held no value. Belial wanted to avoid that dire fate as much as he wanted to avoid being Legion's enemy. All he did was merely for his own betterment - he cherished his will, intellect and life above all else. For this reason, his choice was clear.

The pearl Legion held was an item from Gehenna. A relic, but also a kind of medicine.

When used, the bead dissolved into subatomic particles which permeated one's spirit. Once it infected the host there was no cure. It became a permanent shackle. With it Wolfblade was able to accurately pinpoint his target's location, leaving no corner for them to hide. The briefest thought, and the poison activated. Death in an instant.

In other words, Belial had to make a very difficult choice.

He was silent for a few minutes. Finally the choice was made. The bead dissolved into countless motes of light and entered through the pores of his hand. Pain wracked his body as the particles spread through every inch of him.

Thankfully, it was over quickly. When he opened his hand the pearl was gone.

Demons showed no expression through their armor, but it could be seen in their eyes. Grief. The virulent poisons from the pearl seeped into his soul and became part of him. From this moment forward, Belial was wholly under Legion's control.

He was master.

Belial's body contracted as it shifted once again from demon to human. The elderly skin he wore was renewed. With a respectful expression he approached Wolfblade and awaited instruction. After all, he was a creature who had lived for more than a thousand years. He knew what was proper. "What are my orders?"

The artisan was at least more willing to follow his kin than the brash and unreasonable successor to the Demon King. Legion's prestige was not tied to who held the mantle of leadership. Were he to return to Gehenna now, his followers would far outweigh anyone who would swear fealty to this human King.

Wolfblade made his decree. "It's time for the rite. This body is too weak."

Wolfblade looked at his hands. Indeed, this shell was inadequate. It couldn't wield enough of his true power. It was time to move on.

The next Great War would soon begin. From what the Cloud God was able to ascertain, the divine army would arrive in roughly half a month. As Wolfblade, Legion did not command enough strength.

Belial understood. "The Rite of Reincarnation?"

Belial knew that Legion and the former Demon King had captured the Sarcophagus of Rebirth. How exactly they managed that, he wasn't sure. All he knew was that the relic was priceless. Even the gods could not find another.

To avoid the God King's gaze, Legion had used the Sarcophagus to reincarnate himself many times over the last thousand years. Wolfblade was only his latest shell.

The Demon Elder of the Second Seal nodded. "Yes. The Sarcophagus of Rebirth."

Belial felt his heart flutter. Suddenly a strange look crossed his face and he whispered. "Has the Elder found a suitable vessel?"

Wolfblade's eyes stared at him, unblinking. "You have a suggestion."

"Your subordinate would not presume. My Elder would not need someone else to point out the right path, especially not from an outsider with little prestige." Belial was weighing his words carefully. "The former Demon King must have selected Cloudhawk because their wills resonated. Were you to take the human's body, you would be the next Demon King. Without question, it would be a welcome ascension to all of Gehenna."

Small but significant changes appeared in the eyes of the Cloud God, Abaddon and Frost de Winter. Would Legion take Cloudhawk's body and assume the mantle of King? If he did, their master would take Cloudhawk's talents of spatial manipulation. With Legion's own mental powers his strength would surge. Demonkin and human kind would be unified. It would be an army worthy of fighting the Great War.

"Hehn... a fair proposal."

Pleased with the compliment, Belial was about to go on when a wave of corrosive agony swept through him. It was like someone had injected the deepest parts of him with acid. The pain was indescribable, even a demon's iron will could not withstand it.

Belial screamed and collapsed onto the ground. Acrid smoke rose off his body as veins bulged and burst all over him like agitated earthworms. He croaked his pleas, rasping from a throat that felt full of coals. "No! Elder, I beg you..."

Wolfblade's icy glare was pinned on his newest slave. "Know your place. Dare to ever again make such a suggestion, I will end you."

Deep within, Belial was indignant. What had he said wrong? What right did that human have to call himself Demon King? It didn't matter how strong he became, he would never be one of them!

Of course he would never be so foolish as to say this out loud. "Yes, yes my Elder. Never again!"

Wolfblade continued, his tone in check. "I need nothing from you for now. From today forward you will loyally walk by our King's side. If I learn that you have done anything except fully comply with his wishes, you know what the consequences will be. You will regret having ever come to this world."

Belial had to obey. His very spirit was in the hands of another. After he left a cold smile spread across Wolfblade's face and he put the artisan out of mind. He was far too busy to trouble with the likes of him.

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