‘Officially, the ‘Great Archmage’ left seven true inheritances in Morgen World.’ Mordred recalled, seeing his past self with significant detachment. ‘[Aperture Refinement] of the west, [Human Refinement] of the east, [Mortal’s Wisdom] of the south, [Alistair] of the central and… what else? [World Weave] of Galatreon, [Supercarrier Shakuras] of Richtofen, and [Violet Lightning] of Murasaki… I guess that’s all of them.’
‘According to my memories however, he left at least 9 True Inheritances, and that does not include [Lemegeton] of Al Arsy. The remaining inheritances must be located somewhere hidden even to me… but how much does Annalise know about [Human Refinement] I wonder?.’
‘The Human Refinement True Inheritance is all about refining infertile human clones, Replicants, which are typically used as manual labor or slave soldiers. Since this is considered a true inheritance, it contains a deep profundity of biology and that knowledge’s practical uses. Therefore, it naturally contains methods on how to breed biochemical suits and some clues on biochemical titans… but the question remains; why did that horny Kaiser, Reinhardt, give his descendants free reign on using my Human Refinement True Inheritance? He paid a steep price to take it from my hands… unless Annalise secretly took a portion of it?’
Mordred dismissed those thoughts. He can theorize anything, but the truth could either be close to his hypothesis, or completely the opposite. After all, she is the descendant of a Sovereign, the pinnacle. A Sovereign’s schemes sometimes run so deep that they’ll never be known until it is concluded, or never see the light of day at all. Mordred would know; his survival is its own proof. ‘I’ll find out later after refining the [Heaven Prying Eyes]...’
“Master, was there something on my face? A- are you interested in m- my body…” Annalise hugged her body as if she’s afraid with an exaggerated motion.
In response, Mordred flicked her forehead. At least the Weeb of a Seigneur had taught him something useful.
The girl quickly overcame her fear of him after becoming certain that he wouldn’t kill her, so long as her pranks didn’t cross a certain line. Therefore, she was testing Mordred’s limits. “I have no interest in vampires, especially immature ones. How many times have I told you that?”
Annalise rubbed her forehead to ease the pain. “Hmm… if I alter my body into a tall, mature woman with a large chest, slim waist and plump bottom, would that excite you?”
Mordred faked a cough, avoiding her gaze. He doesn’t want to get tangled too deeply with her karmic luck and she has never done anything that goes against his will, that’s why he has been putting up with all of her shit. But if she does that… “You’re not making any sense, let’s return our experiment.”
There was a sharp glint in the silver-haired girl’s eyes, but it quickly faded. “Fine. Let’s proceed with the third phase…”
Mordred nodded as he quickly recovered his attention.
It’s been almost a week since the death of Lord Erebus. They are currently in an underground portion of the castle within Erebus’ Gorod Krovi, having an experiment on refining, well, humans.
Or rather, replicants.
Almost every biologist knows that a human is primarily composed out of six chemical elements which are oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon, calcium, phosphorus and other countless minor constituents, but one can’t simply make a human by mixing them all together in a bucket. The chemical composition of rank 1 replicants are far more complex than mortals, so the difficulties in refining them are significantly more difficult. Even for expert biologists, refining a replicant is completely different compared to refining chimera.
That being said, there are also myriad methods in refining Replicants, and the one being used right now is the glass tube method, similar to an In Vitro Fertilization process. In what used to be Erebus’ lab when he was still alive, there’s now a hundred glass tubes housing unfinished replicants, sleeping with closed eyes while their bodies submerged in translucent liquid, undergoing genetic therapy.
Naturally, Mordred is an Armored Soul Tribe, he cannot produce sperm, though he produces a substance similar in shape alone. Even if he tried, Mordred does not have genetic material to speak of. Thus, the replicants being bred here aren't his.
Rather, they were Annalise’ replicants.
Petite, silver-haired immature vampire girls are being bred en masse, their purpose was for manual labor slave as Mordred really need a significant amount of manpower to reclaim the micro-plane after he killed all the surviving vampires. The dead vampire’s corpses who are killed by Mordred’s hands are now being recycled for breeding replicants.
At first, Annalise voiced her concern in breeding replicants with herself as the base, would they be effective in manual labor? Because her physique isn’t developed as a Martial artist in the first place, her replicants wouldn't be able to produce the strength necessary to do heavy lifting or endure this cold world without protection. This was true, as replicants would take on the feature of their base. If their original is weak, then the replicants wouldn’t be effective and efficient. It is economically preferable to clone ultra-powerful people as even if they are weaker than the original, the replicants would still be more powerful than normal people.
However, the Human Refinement True Inheritance also contains the necessary information and methods to augment the physical specification of the replicants. After all, their original purpose was either slave soldier or for manual labor. The existence of gene therapy using genetic serums made it possible to breed replicants far stronger than their base. Naturally, this would cost them their limited lifespan, but why would anyone care about the lifespan of disposables?
Annalise’ gene therapy methods are limited to making her replicants two times stronger than herself, which is not much because her foundational strength isn’t that strong to begin with. As a Biologist Explorator, she has deep spiritual foundation but lacks physical strength, even as a vampire. Thus, Mordred’s assistance allowed the gene therapy to strengthen them into the realm of rank 1 martial artists. Due to this, her attainment in refinement has been increasing by leaps and bounds, and Mordred also benefited from this.
He wanted to use Annalise’ identity as a casus for using Human Refinement True Inheritance. It's not about her relatively mediocre skills, but her identity. Soon when the micro-plane is reconnected with the main world, he could use her identity as a shield, so no suspicion is aroused when he suddenly uses replicants.
However, just because she had, probably stole, some portion of the Human Refinement True Inheritance, and had grandmaster attainment level in refinement-path with decades of experience, doesn’t mean she can instantly grasp the profundity of refining replicants. Her experience might help, but it needs far more experience and knowledge to successfully refine replicants. Otherwise, Human Refinement would be categorized as Minor Inheritance instead.
Although Human Refinement is a refinement-path true inheritance, it contains wisdom-path, blood-path and many other paths’ profundity. Thus, only polymath experts can fully grasp the profundity of refining replicants. In the first place, this was a true inheritance that should be inherited by Epics or Sovereigns.
“Master Erebus… You’ve never told me you’re familiar with the cultivation system of the Land of Sand and Fire…” Annalise suddenly voiced her opinion after seeing Mordred’s great understanding of genetic engineering. In the land of sand and fire, one’s bloodline ability and martial arts has been developed to the point of arts, using genetic drugs is quite common. “I thought you were more of the Mecha-faction instead of Bio-faction… considering you’re an undead machinery yourself.”
The girl isn’t an idiot, her trained eyes and deep experience living in the Land of Sand and Fire was able to determine Mordred’s true nature as an undead machinery. In the first place, Mordred did not purposely act like a human at all. Once in a while he would reveal his mortal shell’s nature as a machine, such as the action of replacing energy cells for his core reactor.
“They both contain refinement-path profundity.” He simply answered. “Do you know the origin of enslavement-path in Morgen World?” He suddenly asked, diverting her attention.
“Un!” Annalise nodded, “Historical records indicate that the Second Generation Hero was a strength-path and refinement-path dual cultivator. He invented what is now known as Body Runes! One of his Braves, his disciple and the progenitor of enslavement-path, wanted to steal the racial traits of the strongest being in Morgen World; dragons. Unfortunately, they failed in that endeavor but inadvertently invented enslavement-path instead after deriving the profundity of Dragon’s Might. Why do you ask?”
“Did you know that the progenitor of enslavement-path was from Kaiserreich, a Kaiser a few generations before the current?” Mordred paused. “The Jaeger’s ‘Bio-faction’ emerged six thousand years ago, they are getting more attention and clout under the banner of the said Brave, well, former because they have perished long ago. That’s why, after the age of the second hero, the existence of human variants, demihuman and beastmen become more prevalent, especially in the Land of Sand and Fire.”
“That’s because in the Land of Sand and Fire, women are treated like goods. Large quantities of women are being used as subjects of genetic experiments…” Annalise sighed. “My neo-vampirism is the result of such experiments.”
Mordred acted as if he didn’t hear her. As a refinement-path quasi-transcendent, he naturally knew about her neo-vampirism, despite not knowing the specifics. He had flicked her skull multiple times. From that simple action, he was able to gain a significant amount of information through bone induction, but things regarding her bloodline abilities require deeper inspection than just flicking her.
“Do you resent your family?” Mordred asked. Despite being one of the most ruthless magus in Holy Terra, he was still a human who possessed a bit of sympathy somewhere in the corner of his dead, cold, chained-up heart. He felt a bit sympathetic because her condition was quite similar to him and his brother. “As a Jaeger, there’s no way the Kaiser wouldn’t be aware of his descendant being kidnapped and used as an experimental subject. Knowing the nature of Sovereigns, it wouldn’t even be strange if he was the one who ordered it in the first place.”
Annalise wasn’t a direct descendant of a Sovereign for nothing, her talent and intelligence was inherited from her father. She sighed once more, “I reached the same conclusion seven years ago… but how can I fight against my father.”
Mordred reveals a faint smile. Her condition was quite similar to his own back on Holy Terra, but she doesn't have his do-or-die attitude to defy her own fate. Perhaps, she’s like this because she does not have a big brother who would support her unconditionally.
Nevertheless, a sovereign’s daughter is still highly related to the sovereign. Perhaps, her façade of helplessness is a method to gain Mordred’s sympathy. She had successfully gained Mordred’s sympathy, but he did not act on feeling alone. While the two continued the experiments, both trying to pry each other’s past, the progress of refining replicants is getting close to completion.
A week later.
A few dozen immature girls donned in simple work clothes are sowing the frozen land. The cold air which could kill mortals doesn’t seem to affect them despite their thin clothing.
“If they are taken out in the main world, I’m pretty sure they’ll sell well…” Annalise muttered, her tone containing pride of successfully breeding replicants. “Even if they are not used for labor, my figure could attract rich perverts who would pay a hefty sum to play with underaged girls…” Of course, Mordred’s role in the process is irreplaceable, but it was still mainly her achievement.
He brushed off her comment. “The first batch of your replicants are genetically engineered to withstand cold. Because we lack the necessary resources, we can’t give them balanced genetic features. If you took them out in the main world, they would quickly fall into a heatstroke unless you brought them into the Seas of Eternal Winters.” Mordred corrected her, not even looking her direction. He’s busy tinkering with a technological tool in the shape of a pair of headphones. “And rich perverts? They can’t be used as sex toys, their genitalia are too fragile and insensitive due to the lack of training. Even as a single-use consumable, they won’t sell as they’ll break too easily.”
“Say, Master Erebus, aren’t you a necromancer?” Annalise nudged at Mordred who’s busy using his fingers as a welding tool, with small pieces of electronic parts floating around him, held by telepathic thoughts alone. She acted as if she didn’t hear Mordred’s assessment of her replicants. “Can’t you give them souls?”
The replicants plowing the frozen soil are actually soulless. For Mordred whose senses are sensitive to the existence of souls, they were blanks, like mechanical puppets.
“Depending on their technique and level of material, replicants can vary from rank 0 to rank 5. However, the limit of soulless replicants is rank 2. If you can grant them soul, then there’s a high chance of them gaining self-awareness and gaining the ability to learn, breaking through into rank 3 replicants!”
Mordred is still working on the headgear, “Where do you think we can get the materials to refine rank 3 replicants? Do you think their rank 1 bodies could support souls? Even if I specifically treat the rank 1 bodies with special methods so that it can accept a soul, do you think those two components would fit perfectly?”
“Ah- So you can’t put souls into replicants and grant them personality of their own?”
“Did you think it’d be that easy?” Mordred chuckled. “Even if we ignored the resource expenditure, we lack souls of any value. If you put the soul of a dog into a rank 3 replicant, you’ll have a dog in a rank 3 human body. You’ll be wasting those precious rank 3 materials used to refine it, if that’s even possible in the first place. If I use the souls of the vampires that I killed, that wouldn’t be much of a difference from resurrection methods. You want me to resurrect our enemies?”
There was a glint of amazement in Annalise’ eyes. After all, resurrection methods aren’t easy to come by. Not just because they’re complex, but also because they are taboo and banned from being used in the Main World. Research regarding resurrection methods isn't widespread. Although she is faithless, she knew the gods wouldn’t allow the existence of true resurrection. “Th- then, can’t you take a fragment of my soul and put them into a rank 2 body?”
“You want a split soul?” Mordred stopped in his works and gazed at Annalise in considerable shock.
“So that’s a split soul…” Annalise touched her chin. “Please! I’m willing to make the sacrifice!!”
Mordred rolled his eyes, but he considered her proposal. There’s a new soul experiment that he had in mind recently, and if she wanted to be the experimental subject, then that would be completely okay with him.
“Let me calculate the feasibility of the procedure first.” Mordred replied. “A split soul will put a great burden on the soul. However, you’re a rank 2 Biologist Explorator. If I design the experiment properly, then there shouldn’t be any problem.”
“Ah~ master you’re the best!” Annalise acted like a child, hugging Mordred’s back more like a clingy daughter than anything. In response, her forehead got flicked by Mordred who dislocated his arm so that it could reach his back, as principal.
“Stop acting like a kid. What do you even want?” Mordred asked once she released her hug.
Annalise revealed a cheeky smile after threatening Mordred with more skinship. “A combat-oriented split soul! I’ve always wanted to have someone protect me… but men are no good!”
‘Hmm, it would be funny if I split her soul and put her into a male replicant body… but where can I get a male genetic materials… Erebus? Nah, it’s not worth it, the corpse cannot produce fresh genetic materials, it should be used somewhere else more important than pranking her.’ Mordred shrugged his shoulders. “You’ll have to work hard. It wouldn’t be long before this micro-plane is reconnected with the main world, I’ll try to design the replicants in the meantime.”
“About that, und- master, I want to show you something!” She said, grabbing him and lightly tugging him.
Mordred compared it to being dragged around by a child. ‘Whatever, she’ll be working her ass off for me anyway, it wouldn’t be bad for morale to give her what she wants, since I’m in the middle of deduction for my rank 2 advancement anyways.’ Mordred stood up and let her drag him into the underground facility underneath the former Gorod Krovi once more.
As soon as he stepped into a room she had lead him to, he recognized what he saw, “Wait, you must’ve been planning this from the start.” Mordred shook his head as he analyzed the scene.
In this secret underground room that Mordred never bothered to check, there’s one glass tube which contained a tall, mature woman with a pair of large breasts and slim waist. The woman has pale skin and long silver hair that turns into red around the edges. Her facial features were nearly a carbon-copy of Annalise, with a hint of maturity instead of baby fat like the original. On her neck, shoulder, waist and thigh, there were a bit of soft reptilian red scales. Her feet are also digitigrades similar to a lizard, with claws instead of nails. Behind her waist, there was a thin and long reptilian tail covered in dark red scales.
The most eye-catching feature of hers was the pair of curved red horns that turned darker around the edges on her forehead. She had long ears like that of a knife. Her eyes are half closed, but one could see the amber eyes with a vertical slit. With all those features combined, she looked like a military general who had both might and intelligence to lead an army.
Annalise tapped the glass tube. “Master, I’ve been pouring all of my knowledge on this replicant. Please inspect whether it can house my split soul…”
The origin of the genetic material came from herself. Theoretically, there shouldn’t be any incompatibility, but since she altered the replicant’s physique, there might be inconsistencies. Just as he had expected, after using multiple investigative methods, Mordred found out Annalise’ modification isn’t perfect, there would be complications if her split soul, if that’s even possible in the first place, is put inside this replicant.
“A rank 2 fire-path replicant… This smell, isn’t it a Longma bloodline…Where the fuck did you get the necessary resources?” Mordred glanced at Annalise only to see her eyes gleaming in expectation, if she’s a dog, her tail would wave incessantly.
‘It must be from one of the dimensional rings hidden within her rib cage. She must be very rich, what did I expect?’ Mordred had acted as if he didn’t know about the resources she had, curious of how she might act.
To his knowledge, Longma is a type of rare beast similar to unicorns or pegasus, it is difficult to breed them in Morgen World so their breeding facilities are often in other dimensions. To think she had sufficient Longma genetic materials to refine a lizardman replicant of herself, she’s truly resourceful. “Whatever, I’ll fix it up.”
“T- then, is it possible?” Annalise inquired with great expectation shining in her eyes.
“I need around a day or two to properly treat the replicant’s body so that it can host your soul. In the meantime…” Mordred extracted a lump of True Meaning from his crystal processor. “Splitting one’s soul is extremely dangerous, especially since your soul foundation is low. You’ll have to learn this technique so that your split soul wouldn’t want to kill you due to the existential rejection. Since your spiritual foundation is strong and this is quite similar to an enslavement-path technique, you should be able to learn this quickly.”
Annalise nodded as she accepted the true meaning. It was similar to a minor inheritance, but only contained one technique.
“[Soul Link]? What’s this?”
Mordred did not reply as he had busy himself with treating the replicant. There was a ghastly purple fire burning the replicant’s body despite it being submerged in transparent liquid. Witnessing the spectacle, she tried to ask Mordred about it but was either ignored or not heard at all. So, Annalise could only listen to what Mordred had told her. She left the room and began learning Soul Link.
It is as Mordred had said, the technique is quite similar to an enslavement-path method to enslave other beings with spiritual foundation. She mastered a near-identical method which was used to control her chimeras. However, Soul Link is more focused on establishing said connection rather than the control.
A day later, she had completely grasped Soul Link. Of course, this was because Mordred has been generous enough to give her some of his soul-path true meanings. Although it is not enough to even make her soul-path attainment reach ordinary, it was sufficient to understand why Mordred told her to learn this.
‘Split Souls and its Main Soul inherently share the same nature. There’s a psychological dissonance and incongruence when the main soul and its split soul meet. For some, it would be minor like an instinctive rejection towards each other’s presence, but as cultivators get stronger, this feeling would be amplified even further to the point of existential rejection. If I have a rank 2 split soul… she would reject my existence just like how I would to hers, unless we connect each other through Soul Link. This way, our way of thinking would be the same. Our personalities wouldn’t be branching out as we grow… This method is truly profound!’
“Master, I’ve learnt Soul Link. What should I do next?” Annalise returned to the secret room once more.
“What a coincidence, I was also done with the treatment.” Mordred beckons her to a bed prepared near the glass tube of her replicant. “Come here.”
Annalise laid her body, expectant of the future.
“Don’t resist. Sleep.” Mordred waved his hand, using a minor wisdom-path method to hypnotize the girl. Since she was told not to resist, she relaxed her high resistance to hypnotism and allowed herself to fall asleep.
“Let’s begin.” Mordred muttered to himself.
For him, splitting a person’s soul is extremely easy as he has deep experience in this. The only question is whether the main soul would be able to endure the burden of having their soul split.
There are techniques to reduce the burden of Split Soul, for example, a method similar to grafting can be used. By taking a small piece, around 10% or so of the main soul and then nurturing the split soul into the same level of the main soul, there’s no need to literally ‘split’ the souls into two equal halves.
However, the soul is not like the physical body. A person can still be alive when one’s arm is being amputated. Having lost 10% of their body mass wouldn’t be a problem to a man but this wouldn’t work on the soul. One cannot simply ‘split’ the souls like how a person amputates a leg.
The ‘soul’ is a whole existence, ‘cutting’ a portion of it could make the soul destabilize and crumble. Furthermore, you simply can’t get ‘used’ to have your soul being split. Thus, there’s actually a limit of how many times one’s soul is being split. Naturally, one’s soul foundation allows the soul to be denser and more robust, allowing greater frequency of splitting one’s soul, but she’s not even a rank 1 soul cultivator with proper foundation.
“The first step is to raise her soul foundation into rank 1…” Mordred used the souls of vampires to nurture her foundation quickly into the realm of rank 1 soul cultivator. The method used isn’t like his Soul Runes, but an inferior one. This would be more difficult if she’s a martial artist, but she has a deep spiritual foundation that supports some level of soul foundation. Thus, Mordred’s doesn’t have to raise it by this forceful method by too much.
“The next… is the ‘grafting’…” Carefully using a profound soul-path method, he split 10% of her soul foundation and fed it into a lump of 100-man worth of souls. He also constantly heals the main soul so that it wouldn’t crumble after splitting it, but it was clear to Mordred that this is the limit for Annalise. If her soul is being split once more, her ego and memories would be messy at best, or immediately collapse at worse.
On the other hand, he also carefully nurtures the split soul so that it can grow into the same ‘level’ as the main, expending more souls in the process. Then, he began treatment so that it can inhabit the body, not forgetting to proceed with the experiment that he had thought a while back.
It was a few days later that the procedure had been successful and Annalise finally opened up her eyes.
“Hmm?” What she saw was two Mordred sleeping on a chair. There was a cold expression on his face, but she recognized those are his ‘default’ settings, the man must be exhausted after the life-alteration surgery. Mordred’s slumbering figure was betrayed by his open eyes, which didn’t even notice her yet.
When she looked to her left, there was her naked replicant doing the same thing as her. She instinctively tried to look at her right, only to see her petite body looking the same direction.
“This is almost like… like having two bodies?” Annalise and her replicant whispered in amazement, simultaneously.
That whisper was enough for Mordred to wake up. “Hmm. It seems like my surgery is successful. How do you feel? Any inconvenience with the replicant?”
“M- master, do I have two bodies now?” The girl and the woman spoke together in tandem.
“Pretty much, yeah.” Mordred did not tell her that it was the result of his experiment designed for his advancement. Thanks to her selfless participation, he was able to accelerate his deduction for his rank 2 advancement. Fortunately, it was a successful operation. “You should get used to having two bodies together… You can think of it like your right and left hand. You are ambidextrous, yeah?”
“Y- yes… but getting used to having this is… quite difficult.”
“Difficult, correct, but not impossible. You should practice a bit so that you can connect or separate the soul link depending on your needs. After that, you should be able to properly control both bodies effectively. One thing you need to take note is, if one of you is dead, the other one would siphon that soul so you wouldn’t die, similar to a death-mitigation method.” Mordred took out a thin headset. “Anyhow, during the operation, the 2nd batch of your replicants has been born, you can use this artifact to communicate with your replicants effectively.”
He also took out a thick book, “These are the things that I need you to do for me. Follow my arrangement to recycle this blood-path micro-plane into an ice and snow-path micro-plane.” After giving the two objects, he stood up and headed out of the room.
“Master, where are you going?” The two inquired as Mordred went past the door.
“I’ll be cultivating a bit. Just do what you are instructed.” He then closed the door, becoming undetectable to the Annalise’ senses.
“Verstanden!” Annalise nodded happily in tandem as she began experimenting on how to control her two bodies, blissfully unaware of what she had- literally- signed up for.