Chapter 230: Terror & Defeat
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I boldly stepped past where the door had once been and into the now freezing cold room. As I did I allowed myself to grow in height so that I could further intimidate the very person I had come here to intimidate, the failed empress Qivan. After stepping into the room I reached a height almost twice as tall as the doorway and gazed coldly at Qivan.

Qivan was a human woman and she wore robes designed for sleeping that were covered in arcane sigils that against anyone else would have protected her from most attacks. Not against me, though. As a deity, I was just beyond her ability to protect herself from.

Her husband stood between her and me and I heard him grip his sword a bit tighter as if he were going to be able to protect his wife against me, a deity. He was covered in high-quality armor and he felt confident in himself because he was dumber than Qivan and so he believed that he could do something to me. I sighed and lifted him into the air with my mind, my mental muscles more than strong enough to lift up the man despite the weight of his armor.

He didn't even realize he was being lifted into the air at first. When he did he began to shake slightly in fear and hurled his sword at me. I didn't bother reacting to it, as Sombra sailed past the door and leaped into the air before reaching out hurling a bolt of darkness at the blade. In mid-air, the superior shadow demoness was able to move freely and her shadowy bolt of darkened energy screamed through the air until it collided with and exploded against the hurled blade.

The sword itself was deflected and sent sailing backward, before hitting a wall behind Kovan and falling, harmlessly, to the floor. Kovan snarled in rage when he saw that his attack had been deflected. He was in the middle of mentally preparing a stream of expletives to verbally hurl at Sombra when I began to torment the man using my telekinesis.


Althos was a deity of many things. He was a deity of darkness, magic, minds, and even pain. In his day-to-day existence, he rarely made use of some of the more sinister things that he was a god of. This wasn't because of a lack of evil or maliciousness on his part, he was quite malicious, it was more a testament to how lightly he ruled than any sign of benevolence on his part. However, the events on the world of Retribution, in the Ascendance empire, gave him a rare chance: a chance to inflict intentional, purpose-driven pain.

Kovan, the unintelligent and fairly unambitious husband of Empress Qivan hovered in mid-air before her. She watched, horror-struck, as Althos began to viciously play with Kovan. The powerful, muscled warrior had been just about to curse the strange servant Althos had brought with him when Althos hurled Kovan to the ground with bone-crunching force using the same ability to pick him up as he did to slam him down: telekinesis.

In the blink of an eye, the powerful warrior and skilled conjurer was smashed into the floor of the imperial bed-chamber and for a brief instant, the sounds of bones being smashed and broken were distinctly audible in the intimate chamber. The floor was cracked by the force of the deity's attack, combined with the significant weight of Kovan in his armor. The man was still, but Qivan couldn't bring herself to look away from the frightening, cruel, face of the so-called "Eternal Emperor".

Althos kept his own gaze locked on Qivan. He silently studied her, and though his presence loomed ever larger in her mind he never actually approached her beyond stepping past the doorway. Instead, he silently and motionlessly began to lift Kovan into the air again. When Kovan's still form was lifted enough that he could be seen by Qivan, she gasped in shock and fear.

The invader could see that Kovan's face was bruised and battered, and his nose was clearly broken. He was also unconscious and even Qivan could see that his arms were broken and so were his legs. Blood began to drip off of his unconscious form, and for a moment Althos considered merely discarding him. That said, Althos was not that merciful.

The god rose his hand and pointed it inward towards himself. A split second later he twisted his hand so that his palm was facing Qivan, and at the exact same time as he did that Kovan's head was twisted to the point where he was facing Qivan, which broke the man's neck and slew him instantly. Qivan scrambled backward and let out a piercing shriek of fear, but her enemy wasn't done yet.

Kovan's freshly created corpse began to radiate foul magical energy as Althos reached out with his magic and infected the corpse. The god of necromancy was a cruel deity, and to him, a corpse was every bit as useful as a living person.

"I will replace his lust and laziness with... hunger." Althos whispered, even as Kovan's once handsome and muscular body began to become gaunt to the point that his armor slid off of his body and fell to the floor. Kovan's face paled as his body began to pour out of his now naked body and stained portions of his face, chest, and legs. Qivan rose her hands in front of her face and begin fearfully making geometric shapes in hopes of launching a spell at the corpse of her husband.


I watched as Qivan scrambled to incinerate her now-deceased husband. She was doing it out of fear but it was almost a kind act on her part, albeit an unintentional one. I wouldn't let it work though. I glanced over at Sombra and nodded slightly at her. She, who had been gazing at me in the air ever since dealing with Kovan's sword, nodded back and immediately sailed through the air towards Qivan.

The empress screamed inarticulately when she noticed the shadow demoness sailing towards her, raising her other hand to throw up an arcane shield. I merely shook my head and rejected the usage of the spell using my powers as a god and as a possessor of considerable influence over the abjuration subdomain. The spell failed to work, having been denied by me in my capacity as the lord of magic, and Sombra landed on the bed where Qivan had been sitting before this all started. The demoness began to laugh and lunged at the empress.

Kovan's delayed ghoulification was something I was causing deliberately. I didn't want the man to instantly become a ghoul, I wanted to terrorize Qivan by forcing her to watch his body degrade and rot as he became a ghoul over the course of a few moments. This was a conscious choice I was making to further break the empress's will.

As Kovan continued to degrade and metamorphose into a ghoul, Sombra began to wrestle the empress of Ascendence. Qivan was not an adept wrestler, but her fear and the adrenaline coursing through her gave her a ferocity that one would not have guessed she had given her size. She may not have been able to use magic, but that didn't mean that she was going to quietly accept her defeat, or her downfall. 

I watched Sombra and the failed empress wrestle for a few more moments before pointing my hand at the empress. I targeted her with one of my more unusual powers and grinned when I activated the power. 

A light began to appear on the bed, not far from where Sombra and Qivan were wrestling. The light was a strange silhouette in the shape and size of Qivan, and I studied it for a moment, before bringing together a pair of my fingers and snapping them together. The sound of the snap resounded clearly throughout the room, even as Kovan continued to steadily progress towards becoming a ghoul. 

Qivan froze, which granted Sombra a chance to pin her and expose the empress to the ghoul, who was nearing complete ghoulification. Qivan froze because of my power over her soul, and she began to scream in pain when I mentally tore out a portion of her soul. The suddenness of this was so jarring that even Sombra gazed at me in confusion and fear, as what I was doing was mysterious to her and she knew, intuitively, that I was doing something strange. 

Qivan wailed animalistically and the sound filled the room. She didn't move, partially because Sombra had her quite securely pinned. I gripped the portion of her soul that I had torn out, and I began to use my now conceptual power over healing and souls to repair the fragment of the empress's soul that I had taken from her. 

The fragment of a soul, barely a tenth of it, began to grow in size and power over the course of the next few moments. As it did I began to pump power into it, and memories. I was creating a clone of the empress, and it was nearing completion. Sombra gazed at me and at Kovan and the fear she felt began to grow. 

"Master... What are you doing?" She asked me, her eyes filled with both fear and awe. 

"I am creating a new empress." I revealed, even as I empowered this clone well beyond what Qivan could have done. What had once been the fragment of Qivan's soul was soon so powerful that it was for all intents and purposes a perfected version of Qivan. Or rather, a perfected version of Qivan according to me. 

I motioned towards the silhouette with the same hand that I had used to point at Qivan, and a potent ball of fiery light exploded out of my hand and raced towards the shining silhouette. When the two radiant things collided a bright and intense light filled the room. Everyone in it but myself was momentarily blinded while the soul and the body fused and adjusted to each other. Or rather while the soul adjusted to the body. The body wasn't intelligent in anyway, but the soul was. As the light began to dim, I chuckled and spoke. 

"Hello Empress Qivan. You're looking rather radiant today." I told the clone, grinning all the while. The clone giggled and the light dimmed to enough of a level so as to allow Sombra and the original Qivan to gaze upon the clone. 

The clone was a perfect, identical replica to Qivan in terms of appearance and biology. Where she differed was her attitude and her power. She was perfectly loyal to me and felt a keen urge to serve my every whim. For now, though all I needed from her was to be the empress Qivan never was. I turned to the original Qivan and smiled. 

"You're no longer needed. Though I suppose I can still have some fun with you." I remarked, before reaching out with my mind and attacking her brain. I used my powers over biology to attack her cerebellum and to mess with it a bit. And then I turned my gaze to the ghoul I had created using Kovan's corpse.

The creature opened its eyes, and Qivan began gasped in fear as its blood-red eyes locked onto her body. Droll began to leak out of the undead creature's slowly opening maw. I studied the scene delicately before speaking to the undead monstrosity. 

"What are you waiting for? Go on my child. Eat of this meal I have prepared for you." I uttered, softly, almost lovingly. The ghoul began to chuckle, the sound eerie and hateful, and fell on all fours, its broken neck allowing it to gaze at Qivan with a fully backward head. It walked forward on all four limbs like a dog, drooling as it began to make its way towards the bed. 

Qivan at this point fell silent, as though struck mute by the mind-bending horror of everything that was happening to her. She resisted Sombra, feebly, but could only offer minimal resistance to the demoness. There was no will behind her efforts to free herself, she kept her eyes locked on the undead corpse of her husband as he drew nearer and nearer. 

"This is the price you pay for your petty plots. I gave you freedom and you gave me a dimly thought-out scheme to be insubordinate. Now you will suffer for eternity." I declared, before inflicting Qivan with a few different conditions. Her eyes flashed blue as the system flared to life in her mind's eye, revealing the curse I was bestowing upon her. 

Kovan reached her and he viciously bit her feet, violently tearing off a few of her toes with his initial assault. He began to chew on the toes, a wicked, bloodstained grin on his face as he did. I heard the noise of bones crunching and being torn apart by Kovan's new, ghoulish dental anatomy. Kovan's clawed hands began to tear apart Qivan's sleepwear and expose her lithe, nude body to Sombra and I. Her features were delicate and beautiful, but not tempting to me. Sadly for her, they did tempt Kovan but not in the same way they once had. 

The ghoul's eyes filled with hunger even as he ravenously chewed on the dismembered body parts of the empress he had in his mouth. The taste of her flesh made the nightmarish creature hungrier than he had been before. I rose my hand and pointed it behind Sombra and Qivan. A second later a portal appeared to an impossibly dark forest, to my "home" in the dimension known as the Heart of Darkness, the birthplace of demons. 

"Take your meal. Take it, take her, into your new home. And feast. Feast for eternity." I declared, aware of how Qivan was the perfect meal for a ghoul, a tasty, endlessly regenerating, buffet that can actually handle the sheer intensity of the hunger ghouls experienced. 

The ghoul reached out with its hands and scooped up the petite empress. When it did it nodded at Sombra, who it innately recognized as a powerful servant of a demon lord and god of necromancy, and then stepped into the portal. It proceeded to drop Qivan in the grass, and then lunged at her, ready to take another, bigger bite out of the empress. I grinned and felt satisfied in my victory over the two of them. But I still had work to do. 

I rose my other hand and created an illusion of Kovan, or rather a modified illusion of Kovan, one which would work for me, that I then made fully real with a single snap of my fingers. I gazed at the empress and emperor of Retribution and smiled. 

"Yes... You two will do nicely." I stated, cryptically. Sombra watched all of this in awe of the power I was displaying here. Powers that, in most cases anyway, I had only acquired as a result of the deicide I had inflicted on the universe and the thefts of several dozen tiers of influence on the myriad of domains and subdomains were out there.

"And now... It's time to delegate." I remarked, not speaking to any particular person, even as a portal to Infernius appeared behind me. A pair of mighty vizier devils stepped through, and gazed at Sombra curiously. 

"Dark lord... How may we be of service?" One of them asked, his voice a deep, rich baritone. I silently pointed at the empress and emperor. 

"One of you has the task of serving as the advisor of the empress and emperor. Whichever of you does not serve the empress and emperor shall become the assistant of the high priestess of the faith of the Ascendence Empire. The two of you shall choose which of you does which yourselves." I proclaimed, speaking grandly. I felt an unsubtle burst of excitement well up within the two devils and grinned, even though neither devil could see my face.

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