Second World - Chapter 996
Early morning before John and Jeanny led their members towards the capital, Duke Alfredo had come to visit Jack again. He was again using a disguise so no one was aware he had been visiting Jack. He told Jack then that he would go with Jack's plan.
Jack gave him his Cloak of Shadow, which gave the duke the ability to hide in the shadow as long as he remained still.
Although the rune diagrams in the jail cell prevented Jack to access his inventory, the Cloak of Shadow was on his body. So, he had no problem removing it manually and lent it to the duke.
After the duke synchronized his plan by proposing all combat-capable personnel head out to face the outworlders and persuading Mason and Sindral to have a private moment with Jack, he had gone to the room where the execution device was prepared. He then hid in the corner and let himself meld into the shadow and waited.
The soldier that had gone to pick Jack up from the cell was his trusted underling. The soldier was instructed to tie Jack but in a way that Jack could easily unbind himself.
Duchess Isabelle was also aware of her husband's plan. Alfredo confided with her the night after he visited Jack. It was due to her supporting this plan that Alfredo decided to go with it.
Duchess Isabelle had followed the others out to meet the outworlders. When anyone asked the duchess where the duke was. Why didn't he go with them to face the outworlders outside? She simply answered that he would be joining soon, that he had something else to take care of first.
Now, inside this execution hall, seeing Princess Sindral's lifeless body, Duke Alfredo couldn't help but think that he had taken the wrong decision. He was now an accomplice to the person who had eradicated the last of the Themisphere's royal line!
His mind was blank at the time. He couldn't fight this regret that was eating inside him.
Mason, who was bound by the duke's Myriad Ensnaring Chains, used the human race's skill, Willpower to break the chains' hold. The chains came back soon but he managed to cast a movement spell that brought him away from the chains' area.
Mason was a level 50 rare elite. He knew that he was not Jack's opponent. But he had the execution tool in his command.
"Fire!" He exclaimed while asserting his mind to the crystal above. Yet, it remained dormant.
He realized then, that the control of the crystal was never set to him. The soldiers who had set up the device were Duke Alfredo's people.
"Traitor…!!" He cursed at the duke who was still dazed in the corner.
"Guards!!" Mason called while running to the exit, but no one responded. Duke Alfredo had arranged so no soldiers were in the vicinity of this hall.
"Hold!" Jack was about to cast a spell to prevent Mason from fleeing, but the door to the hall suddenly opened. A large blade pierced Mason who was running towards the door.
Mason looked at the person who had ambushed him. His eyes were wide with surprise. "But… But… Your Majesty… I have done everything you instructed… Wh–Why…?"
A large armored man with a pale face came into the room. His steps were heavy and strong. His armor was dark gold in color. There was a dark golden crown on his head. There were many runic symbols surrounding his body.
"That's a rune technique!" Peniel uttered.
The runes slammed into Mason, who was still pierced by the armored man's sword. White flame erupted from Mason's body and burned everything in the vicinity. Mason screamed from the burning. His HP dropped rapidly. It was not long before his HP was zeroed and his body turned into a char.
"King… King Themos…?!" Duke Alfredo uttered.
"So… It truly is you…," Jack said. "King Themos, you are the one behind all this…!!"
"Hehe… Haha… Hahahaha…!" Themos laughed loudly.
"But… Isn't your condition…," The duke's words trailed off.
"My condition… Yes… It's amazing what one might do for his mortality," Themos said.
"What do you mean, Your Majesty?" Alfredo asked.
"Use your Inspect, duke," Jack told him.
Alfredo did so.
Themos (Mythical Vampire, Fledgling, King), level 78
"Vam–Vampire…?" Alfredo Stammered.
Themos grinned, revealing his two sharp vampire fangs.
"He is the true culprit behind all this mess, duke," Jack said.
"But… but… your sons…" Duke turned to Sindral's body and added, "… your daughter."
Themos looked at Sindral's body. "Good. You save me time from doing it myself," he said. He then looked down at the charred corpse under his feet. "Don't forget my loyal aide here."
Themos' foot mercilessly stomped on the charred head, breaking it completely. "They are just the remnants of my old self. They meant nothing to me now. Hahaha!"
Both Jack and Alfredo were speechless at Themos' ruthlessness. Jack didn't know the king. This was the first time he laid eyes on the monarch. But the duke was different, Jack could see the shock on his face.
"You… You are not the king!" Alfredo uttered.
"If you are referring to that weak useless human you called the king, then yes, I am no longer that Themos. I have now been reborn, by my master! Hahaha!"
"Master? Care to tell us your master's name?" Jack asked.
"You are not worthy of his name," Themos returned.
"Then do you mind explaining what all this is about?"
Themos watched the two with his grin. He then said, "I suppose I can tell you a bit. Consider it my last confession. You will take them to your grave anyway. As this country knew, my body had been deteriorating for some time. About one year ago, I got a visit from an exalted being."
'One year ago, about the time when outworlders started appearing,' Jack thought. In this case, he could rule out World Maker in this scheme. Despite their knowledge, they were still powerless at that time. This meant what conspired here was caused by a native force.
"By exalted, I guess you mean your current master, right?" Jack asked.
Themos just sneered for a reply. "He offered me a choice for an immortal life free of illness."
"I'm pretty sure he demanded payment, didn't he?"
"Of course, there is no free lunch in this world. What he asked in return is something unimaginable to me at that time. He gave me time to think about it. I considered just rejecting him and being done with my life. But I guess my old self is not only weak but also a coward. In the end, I succumb to the fear of dying and agreed to his terms."
"… What terms are they?" Alfredo asked.
"Wiping out all my descendants," Themos answered.
Alfredo gasped. He couldn't believe his ears. "And… and you agree to it…?"
"Of course, I was told to do it inconspicuously. The people will revolt if I simply publicly executed all my descendants. Hence, all this scheming. I have heard what you said to Mason from outside. Most of what you said is correct. Except it was not Sindral who drove a blade into Alonzo and Quintus. It was me. Haha!"
"So, these two who helped you with your scheming. You have always planned to kill them?" Jack asked.
"Of course, they knew too much. Furthermore, Sindral was included in the descendants I need to get rid of. As you said, the country is in so much turmoil that they will most likely accept any leader who can bring stability back. Even one who is a vampire. I will appear to the public as that leader, exposing my vampire race as a blessing from heaven."
"Don't you get it? You have sold your country to a foreign force!" Jack uttered. "You might continue to rule this kingdom but at other's bidding! I bet that master of yours is a noble from the Sangrod Empire, isn't he? He had you wipe out all your descendants just to make sure that his rule through you is unchallenged. This is no more than a different kind of invasion!"
Themos' grin didn't diminish. "So what? All that's important is that I live. This country is mine. What's wrong with selling it in exchange for my life? This country should be happy that they can serve their king in this way. Since my turning, my life has been my master's. This country and all his subjects will now be his as well. Hahaha…!"
"You…!!" Duke Alfredo was lost for words. The shock on his face now turned to anger. Anger at a betrayal by the one he had pledged his loyalty to.
"I must admit, you are more than what I expect," Themos said of Jack. "When Mason told me a report regarding you, I was the one who asked him to recruit you into our kingdom faction. By accepting you into our faction, I can better observe the outworlders so I can judge how wary I should be toward them."
"I guess you have now decided that outworlders are too dangerous?" Jack asked.
"Hehe, the old me that is still human did follow the Gods' instruction by accepting your lot among us. But now, after watching your progress, I change my mind. My master agrees with me as well."
"He agrees with you, or your mind is simply influenced by his?" Jack asked.
"Hehe," Themos simply chuckled at the question.
"The news leak about Jack murdering Prince Alonzo, was that also Mason's doing?" Alfredo asked.
"It is, following my instruction. I want to push the court to a swift ending," Themos answered. "It is boring getting cooped up all the time in my chamber, you know. Only having Mason and Sindral to talk to. Now, this wait is over. I will reveal myself to the public and be this country's savior, eradicating the outworlders who are the menace to this country!"
"No. Everyone will know that you've betrayed your own kingdom!" Jack said. He then turned to Alfredo, "Duke, you are still recording, right?"
"I am," the duke answered.
"Recording?" Themos asked bewilderedly.
Instead of answering, duke Alfredo shouted, "I will punish you for our kingdom!" He activated the execution device above. It shot a thick yellow beam at Themos.