"I'm curious. Since you plan to integrate the Imperial Academy with Olaf's sponsorship and wealth, his son naturally had to die. Otherwise, many would question why the father ignores the arcane-gifted heir to sponsor an outsider. But you could have just killed him. Defenestration, public execution, there were so many ways to handle this. Why did you choose to have the father murder the son?" Jezebel inquired while holding her chin in confusion.
From the moment Kilian stepped into the room, the father and son pair were doomed to destruction. In one way or another, Kilian would enslave Olaf, and get rid of his son. However, he didn't have to do so in such a theatrical manner.
It was almost as if he sought a laugh.
Did the taint affect him? Did the fehl daemon trapped within his mark influence him? Or was his ruthlessness just that deep? But as Jezebel's words echoed, no ripples flashed on Kilian's face. Tilting his head to the left, he closed his eyes and pulled in a deep breath.
"I was just curious," Kilian stated with his eyes shut. "For the sake of survival, would the father kill the son? Would the son kill the father? If survival isn't enough, what about power? I am curious. Some say that no matter how evil, a tiger will not eat its own cub. That of all vices, being unfilial is the worst. What then does it take to make a man turn on his progeny? To make a son smite his father?
What truly are the basis and worth of kinship? I am curious," Kilian stated, opened his eyes, and lifted Olaf's corpse to lay him on his viscount seat.
"My foster father was a man of iron will and exceptional moral integrity. The type that'd rather die than suffer humiliation. But for my mother's sake, he endured. My mother wasn't much different, so for my father, she also endured. The likes of them don't seem to fit the reality of this world. Why, why couldn't they be more selfish? If any one of them had one-tenth of Olaf's selfishness, they'd still be alive. Instead, their deaths make the lives of factory-farmed pigs look like a comedy show." As the words left his lips, Kilian's third eye opened. But instead of the usual crimson, it now took a dark-grey shade.
His nails turned into claws and he got to work, using his fleshcrafting abilities to tear apart and remake Olaf from scratch.
Men didn't need a soul to live. Emotions, desires, existence, none had anything to do with the soul. The soul departed when the body perished, but the body didn't perish because the soul departed. Arcane scholars studied the topic for millennia and came to the conclusion that besides acting as storage bags for certain spiritual forces, souls didn't have much use. For example, Kilian's daemon was trapped within his soul.
In his deadpan words, Jezebel felt a silent rage and sorrow suppressed under a mountain of nightmares. In recent days, she came to realize that Kilian primarily derived his fehl high from vindictiveness. All fehls possessed a primary source for the high, typically linked to hedonism and decadence. Sex alone rarely fit the bill.
Jezebel, for example, got hers from sadistic oppression. Ashera, from corruption. Mazdan, Jezebel's half-brother, from domination, and so on. But clearly, Kilian derived his from vindictiveness, a trait Jezebel had never seen till now. And while the primary source could change over time, it rarely did.
"I really wonder who made you the way you are? But beware, the daemon inside of you is probably a Fehl Noble. Give him an opportunity and he will turn the tables, making you prisoner instead of host," Jezebel squatted beside Kilian and cautioned with utmost seriousness.
"Oh don't worry, vindictiveness cannot cloud my mind. Nothing human can," Kilian stated as if reading through Jezebel's thoughts. By now he'd finished his modifications of Olaf's organ systems and readied to reassemble him.
"Oh? What about me?" Resting her cheek in her palm, Jezebel stared into the corner of Kilian's eye, nailing him with her amethyst hues. Her words seemed laced in a mixture of playfulness and an inquisitive tone.
Kilian paused his work, turned to face Jezebel, and placed a soft kiss on her forehead.
"You're not human," he stated with a lopsided smirk, then returned to work. Having not expected such a response, Jezebel blinked in confusion. When she felt she got to understand Kilian better, he'd subvert her cognition—almost as if purposely teasing her. Not that she minded. Getting teased by this poised lunatic held an irresistible appeal.
"If you keep doing things like this, I might really fall for you."
"My heart is an abyss, with no shortage of space. It can accommodate many. If you dare dive in, I dare receive you. But do you?"
"Why wouldn't I?"
As Jezebel challenged Kilian with her calm words, tension surged within the atmosphere. By now, he'd finished the remodeling, and used his dra and flesh control to erase all of Olaf's scars. Instantly, the dark-grey shade of his third eye reverted to crimson.
"Because once you do, burning is inevitable, and never ever will you be able to escape." At that time, Olaf's eyes opened, and he rose from his former seat to kneel at Kilian's left—awaiting commands. However, Kilian's hazel eyes now faced Jezebel, nailing her with an intensity that she received without flinching.
"But I can promise you one thing," Kilian whispered while bringing his face closer to Jezebel's, and only stopping when his nose brushed hers, "If you hurt, I must be the cause. No one else will be allowed to elicit the tiniest bit of pain from you." The words echoed with such madness that for a second, Jezebel's eyes narrowed. But even as they did, she approached her lips toward Kilian's.
"Oh? But what if anyone succeeds?" She couldn't help but ask, clearly undisturbed by the blood stench lingering in the air.
"I will rip out their tongue to ensure they can't beg me to end their sufferings," Kilian replied, but as Jezebel's lips brushed his, he turned his face away from hers and stood up, "But of course, we're not there yet."
Feeling played the fool, Jezebel rolled her eyes and huffed her "indignation."
"Tease…" She whispered.
But at that time, the clatter of hurried footsteps echoed from beyond the court hall. With no door to block his entrance, a herculean figure barged in, sweeping the scene of gore with his incensed blue eyes. Once his gaze fell on Kilian, he stopped, frowned, and shot toward him with bared fists!
The man was Bjorn, and right before he arrived, Jezebel made herself invisible. It hadn't even been three hours since Kilian left him, but Bjorn now boasted a physical strength that put Lesser Templars to shame and pursued that of Core Templars. Perhaps, even he didn't realize it yet.
Of course, before Kilian, such strength was meaningless.
Bjorn's fists turned against him, smashing into either side of his face. Stopped mid-air, he dropped onto the ground. But even as blood dripped from his nose and lips, his incensed gaze remained locked on Kilian.
"Oh, you know," Kilian stated and walked toward Bjorn's trembling form.
"WHERE IS LUKAS?!" Bjorn bellowed, and even without sound magic, his voice thundered within the castle.