A Third Circle Spell, Profane Allure enabled its caster to become the very embodiment of desire, glory, and perfection—making all those that glanced at them entranced and inflamed with a mixture of maddening passion and zealous devotions. The caster controlled the spell's scope. But at full power, if used before a group, the members would tear one another into pieces for the right to kneel before their living dream.
As one of her favorite spells, Jezebel often used it in conjunction with her natural charms to cause the downfall of countries throughout various worlds. Although she possessed some selfish motives, the spell's toll on the caster's will was relatively low for its category, and would undoubtedly help Kilian familiarize himself with fehl magic.
Since he already possessed significant destructive means, Kilian naturally welcomed this utility spell. One of the many perks of fehl magic was how little time it took to master spells. Since there was no incantation to digest, fehl magi could directly move on to forming the spell's pattern through their will—a hazardous process for the unprepared.
"I still have about four hours before the backlash strikes. I will use them to conduct some transactions in the Hellforge, produce my first set of nano-spiders, and get acquainted with the spell." Kilian stated and again closed his eyes to retreat into his soul and the Hellforge lying therein. Across those 68 hours, when they came to seek Kilian's assistance, Jezebel used some minor tricks to prevent Bjorn and Lena from figuring out what truly went on in the former bandit den.
Deceived by her illusions, the two discussed the slums' billowing issues with a brick, got some fictitious answers, and returned from whence they came. Meanwhile, as the slums faced a tide of catastrophes, Kilian spent 300 kp on a nano-spider blueprint and another 500 for 50 sets of parts. Now, only 443 remained.
[Race: Human Fehl Mutant]
[Magus Rank: top-level Lesser Emissary]
[Battle Prowess: top-level High Emissary]
[Dra Reserves: 11,000]
[Knowledge Points: 443]
[Mutation: Eye of Fehl]
[Innate Abilities: Dimensional Rift]
[Unique Disciplines: Lv. 3 Fleshcrafting\u003c\u003eLv. 3 Transmutation]
A technomancer-only ability, just like fleshcrafting, transmutation magic scaled on dra level and control. The higher those two stats were, the more Kilian could accomplish with the disciplines. At the third level, he could already match a High Emissary.
Relying on Overdrive's double-edged boons and his dra control, Kilian split his focus in two, putting the first half into the construction task, and the other half in familiarizing himself with Profane Allure's mental pattern.
Four hours thus passed, and after draining himself of 750 dra, Kilian produced 50 nano-spiders. To the onlookers, well, there was not much to look at. The platinum spiders all appeared less than 0.1 mm wide, making ants look like giants. Kilian's eyes, however, could perfectly see the 49 spiders circling the 50th.
Those nano-spiders could release nanobots in their targets' organ systems to either examine, heal, or take control of them. Of course, the scope of their effectiveness depended on who they targeted. As Lv. 1 nano-spiders, they could control anything from Lesser to High Emissaries. Beyond, failure was the best outcome.
Pulling the 50th nano-spider, Kilian pressed it against his forehead, making it dive into his brain. As the mother spider, this little thing would enable him to flawlessly control the behavior of the other 49 - and remain in communication with their host - regardless of distance.
In less than three minutes, the fourth hour would reach the end. But as Kilian readied to exit, a thought flashed within his mind, and he halted his steps.
"Hellforge, I've been meaning to ask. How did you take me into this world?" Kilian inquired, speaking the words that'd been troubling him since his execution. If not for the Eye of Fehl, Kilian didn't doubt his life would have ended right there. For the artifact that'd supposedly saved his life, the Hellforge's performance left him unimpressed.
"Master, you are mistaken. The Hellforge does not have such an ability. All it did was preserve your memories and knowledge of your previous incarnation. You died on Earth, drifted through the reincarnation circle for 78 years, and reincarnated in this world as part of the natural process of life and death. When you turned one, your past memories awoke." The Hellforge explained, making Kilian's eyes contort into a frown.
The figures of Viktor, Alina, and Klaus flashed within his mind, and with a step, he left the system to return to the outside. Jezebel stood right before him, holding his shoulders to ease what was to come.
And then it came.
A deafening blast rang within Kilian's head, ripping his body and mind asunder. His eyes widened, his lips trembled, and as his muscles spasmed, black fumes burst from his pore, draining 375 years of lifespan as they went.
Initially, Jezebel injected her dra into Kilian's body to weaken and soothe the blow. But the fehl bond binding them kicked in, making her experience all that he did, and she too felt her mind getting torn to shreds by myriads of poisonous blades. Although the mind and will of fehls vastly surpassed that of humans, having never experienced such a blow, Jezebel didn't know how to face it.
Typically, fehls could numb themselves to anything they didn't want to feel. The bond was one of the rare few exceptions - and battered by the phantasmal blows - a spasming Jezebel collapsed on Kilian's lap.
"Minor league player," Kilian jested as he wrapped Jezebel in the comfort of his arms. After the initial shock, it'd only taken him five seconds to recover from the blow. Now, even as the black fumes left his pores, they couldn't destabilize him.
"How...why are you so…" The quivering Jezebel stammered, wondering why she still bore the brunt of the blow while Kilian appeared free from woes.
"Pain is just a measure of endurance. When you reach the highest threshold your mind can bear, it will naturally go away. Just breathe." Kilian replied while running his hand through Jezebel's hair. For the next ten minutes, Kilian babied Jezebel, helping her get accustomed to the backlash, and wait for its natural end.
But even when it did, Jezebel acted as if she experienced the worst of tortures, using the backlash as an excuse to enjoy Kilian's pampering.
Knowing that he owed her more than that, Kilian didn't expose the shameless goat—merely curling his lips into a smile.
Meanwhile, the epidemic reached startling proportions. Of the slums' 30,000 iniquitous, 9,000 already contracted the mysterious disease, with more than 3,000 deaths, and many more stepping into Hades' gates.
Emerging from his dwelling, Kilian located Bjorn, who now stood beside Lena, tending to her affliction. Indeed, the gang leader didn't escape her fellow iniquitous' fates, also contracting the mysterious disease.
But as Kilian landed on the scene, he was surprised to see another sharing her fate. Even as he desperately tended to her, Bjorn broke into coughing fits. He, too, didn't escape the disease.
However, Kilian ignored him, stepping toward Lena and stealthily sending a nano-spider into her nervous system. The spider released hundreds of nanobots that scoured Lena's body and made a clear map of her condition.
When the info reached his mind, a strange glint flashed in Kilian's eyes. In silence, he repeated the same process on six other nearby afflicted, gathering consistent results. Only on Bjorn did the disease show a different structure.
"A 5% survival rate. Those that survive will emerge with top-level Lessar Templar bodies and the innate desire to overthrow the state. 452, like Lena, have taken the survival road. But even they cannot compare with Bjorn's condition. His evolution predates the virus, it's just the trigger," Kilian realized. Throughout Arcadia, who possessed the knowledge to create such a thing? The fallen Technocracy aside, Kilian couldn't think of anyone else.
But at that time, the descent of night sent dusk to sleep, and darkness covered Ostria's sky.
Kilian's nose twitched, and to his horror, he felt the dra throughout the slums flowing in reverse!
"AAAAAAARGH!" Lena and the 451 other afflicted that proved compatible with the virus screamed in tandem. Though scattered throughout the slums, though previously agonizing in coughing fits, though the majority never met, they all uttered that one scream.
The scream that welcomed Fehl!
It dived into their bodies, but not content of triggering eldritch mutations, it went far beyond! Before Kilian and Bjorn's startled eyes, Lena morphed, not into a fehl mutant, but straight to fehl beast!
Her pale skin became jet-black, with fur sprouting at various parts of her form. Her teeth became fangs, her nails massive claws, a tail emerged from her back, and as she morphed into a hellhound, her sclera turned red!
Lena rose from the bed, daggering Bjorn and Kilian with brand-new eyes, slit, hessonite eyes shimmering with feral wrath!
"Didn't this...escalate too quickly?!" Bjorn stammered, and Kilian couldn't help but agree!
Arching her back, Lena released a guttural roar, and pounced at the two!