A beautiful corpse was lying on a surgical bed. The body was of a woman with long silky black hair, a pair of hazel eyes and a stunning face. The neck of the body was cracked. It was completely nude.
Directly above the corpse was a lamp. The lamp was the only source of light in this dimly lit room. No windows or gaps were found save a metallic door. The door was shut firm. No man or even air was allowed entry.
Beside the bed were few cabinets and shelves filled with all kinds of dissection and surgical kits. Blood, bones, skin and heads were seen scattered here and there.
A creature was standing beside the corpse. It had 17 tentacles, a torso and a head. The tentacles sprouted from different locations on the torso. They were dark-brown in colour and were coated with a slimy substance. It made it extremely grotesque.
The head contained only a single eye. It was purple in colour. The eye was so big that it covered most of the head. The head contained no other features.
The giant purple eye gazed down intently at the corpse in front of it. It contained immense lust. Not for the body, but for the secrets it contained. It could not wait to dissect the corpse to tiny amounts inspecting every millimetre carefully. It would then rebuild it and dissect it again. It would not stop until all the secrets were uncovered.
The creature was Archbishop Kwalta. The head of the Ultimate Pill Association. The orthodox version of Supreme Seekers.
The room was the personal operating room of Kwalta. Kwalta was addicted to dissecting, especially the living. It would dissect them carefully and make sure they stayed alive for the longest of times. It would test the limit of life in the literal sense of the word. Their screams would sound like music to it.
Its goal was to create a pill to directly reach the Eternal Realm. For that, it first needed to understand life and evolution to a high degree.
Today, it received the corpse of a woman who reached the Law King Realm just by eating a candy. It was extremely delighted. Yet, it also cursed the useless Bishop for wasting such a precious test sample. They could've made great progress if they had the candy on hand.
Kwalta stopped thinking about useless things. Its tentacles searched through the cabinets and shelves and were then armed with various tools. An extremely grotesque scene ensued.
Archbishop John was holding the report sent by Bishop Hector. In Sakshala, Archbishop John's authority was on par with a Cardinal's. He was Pope Lewis's most trusted man. If not for some internal struggle in the temple, John would've been a Cardinal already.
John was a man who looked to be in his 120s. His head was completely shaved and he had a pair of black eyes. Seven bonny sickles came out from his back.
He was in a room standing behind Pope Lewis. Almost all other high-level figures were gathered.
11 Temple Maidens and 13 Hermits were gathered. The six Cardinals were seated as well.
The room had a long rectangular table with the Pope seated at one end. The rest of the chairs were placed on either side of the Pope. The six Cardinals were seated closest to the Pope, three on each side. Five men and a woman. The Hermits were seated on the right of the Pope while the Maidens were seated on his left. Two seats were left empty. They belonged to the two Maidens who were on the road. Matilda was one of them.
The group were discussing Artix's matter.
"He has most likely left a clone somewhere, it is unwise to disturb him."
"Indeed, if we alert him now, he would most likely change locations. It would be much harder to find him then."
"Now we know that he's most likely on E-1984, or his clone is there at least. Several factions would most likely send their people there in hope to contact him. We can use this opportunity to get rid of few rats."
"If we are lucky, we might even capture few Ortuses humans."
"Indeed, even if they are aware of our plans, they wouldn't necessarily be able to escape."
"I suggest we ask for God's help."
"Other Temples should be aware of the situation as well. We can ask for their assistance."
"First, let's ready a barrier around E-1984."
Headquarters of Shadows of Twilight.
21 people were seated in a meeting room.
"Sinful Mortal is most likely in Sakshala E-1984."
"It's most likely a clone."
"I guess he's trying to contact the human empire."
"The temple will most likely use him as a bait."
"But, I am afraid we won't encounter such an opportunity easily again."
Everyone became quiet as they gazed at Warren and Camille. Zelig on the other hand was trying to reduce his presence. He feared that he would be put in the team as a lucky charm. His wives sensed his intention and helped cover up for him.
After sometime, "We won't interfere this time. I have a feeling that we will meet sooner or later," Warren said, "Plus, we are not desperate to contact him like the others."
Camille nodded on the side.
Zelig felt like he was granted amnesty.
Headquarters of Luminous Visage.
Nine statues of naked women were in a circle inside a hall. The women had frightening expressions on their faces. Tentacles sprouted from various locations on their bodies. Some had more than one hand, some had more than one head. Some had multiple eyes and ears. They were extremely deformed.
In the middle of the hall stood a woman. She wore a floor-length black dress. Her head was covered with a black hood. Her facial features were completely covered by its shadow. The only characteristic that she showed were her fair hands. Long slender fingers. Her nails were well-trimmed and were coloured red.
In front of her was a woman. She had long red hair and a pair of blue-coloured eyes. She had a long slim black tail. She wore a purple dress that revealed much of her skin.
She was kneeling in front of the black-dressed woman.
"Your eminence, you have called," she said respectfully.
"Beatrix, you are to go and charm the Sinful Mortal," the black-dressed woman said, "He should not fall in the hands of others."
Beatrix displayed a charming smile, "As you wish, your eminence."
Outside the hall, several skimpy-dressed women were entangled with each other. Their tongues wrestled against each other. They sucked and squeezed each other's chests. Their hands would wander downward as thrill filled their bodies.
Some women were petting men who behaved like dogs. The eyes of men were hollow as they got whipped and stepped on. The women would feel satisfaction when the men barked like a dog and whimpered like one.
Some women were enjoying several men licking them. All of the men were castrated, save a few who were used as toys. Their only purpose was to serve the women. Only disdain filled the women's eyes when they gazed at them.
Several other factions made their own decisions.
Some sent a group to E-1984 to try and find Artix.
Some stayed out of trouble.
Some used the chance when the Temples were distracted to put forward several bold plans.
The Gods Cluster was caught in an eventful period.
Artix was gazing at the ceiling in his room. Suddenly he disappeared as an illusion took his place.
A group of five were making their way on top of buildings. They wore tight, black combat suits that were designed to avoid detection. They had helmets on which covered their entire head and face.
The leader was a woman. The tight clothes helped identify her. She was the only woman among the five. Her name was Diana.
Their group, like many others, was sent to help search for the Sinful Mortal. Diana was the leader of this group because she was beautiful. Since the Sinful Mortal was a man, it was naturally better to send a pretty lady to make communication easier. Unless, there was an issue with his preferences, which the higher ups hoped wouldn't be the case.
Diana herself knew of the reason she was chosen as the leader by the higher ups. She didn't mind, in fact, she hoped for more to happen.
Their group would search for people who recently arrived on the planet. They would search houses and streets. They would then identify irregularities.
Diana and her group were making their way stealthily atop the buildings. Although they could escape most detectors, they could still be caught if they weren't careful.
Along the way, Diana could sense the gazes of her companions landing on her body. Though irritated, she couldn't do anything. Even if rebuked, they would just deny it. This was how they were along their journey.
"If you're irritated, then I suggest you wear proper clothes," Artix advised kindly.
The group got startled and stopped. A man suddenly appeared in front of them. A black suit and a top hat. Four black eyes.
"Forgive me for the sudden interruption," Artix apologised sincerely.
The group recognized Artix immediately. Diana went forward as she removed her helmet. A flawless face with long light-brown hair and a pair of golden eyes was revealed.
"Not at all, It is a pleasure to be able to meet you, my lord," Diana said donning a polite smile.
Artix nodded slightly, "I have a question that I hope you answer," he said directly.
"Anything, my lord," said Diana.
"Do you know were to find humans?" Asked Artix.
"We do," said Diana, which got Artix excited, Diana quickly added, "but, not the humans from the empire."
Artix became disappointed. He shook his head regretfully. "Well, sorry for intruding," he said as he was about to bow.
"My lord, please wait," Diana said quickly.
"Yes, do you need anything?" Asked Artix.
"My lord, would you be able to accompany us for a bit? Our superiors wish to have a chat with you," requested Diana.
Artix pondered slightly. He then raised his hand and looked at the watch that materialised there just now. He then nodded at the five who were stunned by the sudden display, "It just so happens that I have few hours to spare."
Diana recovered quickly as she said, "This way, my lord."
Diana said as she wanted to lead the way, but she suddenly found herself in space. The five were stunned again.
"Forgive me for taking the liberty to teleport us out," Artix said sincerely.
Cold sweat broke on their back. He can kill them with just a thought, was what they thought.
Diana tried to calm herself as her smile became slightly unnatural, "Not at all my lord, please give me a second."
"Take your time," Artix offered generously.
Though Artix said that, Diana didn't dare delay. She first sent a message back. She then took out a small sphere from her storage tool. She then inserted multiple passwords and passed several identity checks before the sphere lit up. A small portal appeared in front of them.
"This way, my lord," said Diana as she bowed like a professional butler, inviting Artix inside.
Artix nodded as he went inside. He appeared on a rogue planet covered with multiple barriers.
A round table with 22 seats was ahead. One chair appeared to be slightly isolated from the rest.
21 people were seated. There were men and women, mostly humans.
Diana and the others followed shortly after him and left promptly.
When Artix arrived, the 21 people stood up to greet him. They went forward and greeted him directly. The men shook hands with him while introducing themselves. Artix didn't shake hands with women as he just bowed at them slightly. The group then returned to their seats, but they didn't sit down yet.
"Please, do take a seat, my lord," said Kolton. He was seated in the middle. He had short black hair, a pair of blue eyes and a thick moustache. He looked to be in his early 160s and had two yellow horns on his head.
Artix then sat down on the isolated seat. He then looked at the 21 figures who sat down after him. "Chadlier Federation?" Artix asked.
"Indeed, have you heard of us, my lord?" Kolton asked.
"No, I have not," Artix said which froze the smiles on their faces, Artix then continued, "I learned it from the memories of a Worshipper."
"I see," Kolton said, "Forgive us for not being able to invite you to have a look."
"It is fine," Artix said, he then paused before asking directly, "What might be the reason you have called me for?"
Kolton didn't beat around the bush either, nor did he dare to, "My lord, can we be bold enough to ask you about the acceptance criteria for Reality and Illusion Laws?"
He then said, "We are willing to fulfil any conditions you might have within a certain range."
"Reality and illusion acceptance criteria?" Artix raised his hand to touch his chin, "Why is it that I do not know that I know?"
The 21 people froze again. A woman by the side said, "You must be joking my lord, are you not a septuple Law Master?" Her meaning was clear.
"I am indeed a septuple Law Master," Artix said, "But, that does not mean that I know how I accepted them."
His tone became serious as he said, "Do you think I am lying?"
The woman shuddered as she apologised quickly, "Please forgive my offence, my lord."
Artix nodded without saying anything as his smile returned to his face. The woman heaved a sigh of relief.
"Have you truly no clue my lord? Not even a hint or direction?" Kolton probed.
Artix pondered slightly, "I can make a guess or two," he said, "but, what I want, you cannot give."
The table became silent. Jasmine, the woman from earlier, was looking to be in her 120s. She had long blonde hair and five blue eyes. She had a pair of red wings on her back.
"My lord, as you already know, we are a thorn in the eyes of Worshippers, if you give us your knowledge, though we won't be able to pose a threat to them, we would still be a bigger thorn in their eyes," Jasmine said.
"So, an empty promise?" Artix said. The 21 people didn't say anything, it was indeed true.
"Since it is so, then how about we play a game?" Artix proposed.
"What game my lord?" Kolton probed.
"Since your proposition is to bet on your future development, then we shall test how much luck you have," Artix said.
A golden coin materialised in his hands. On one side was his face. On the other was the number 902.
"If it lands on my face, then I shall tell you what I know. If it lands on 902, then we shall end it here," Artix explained, "Do you agree?"
The group conversed between themselves and agreed. Since the initiative was in Artix's hands, they could not not agree. They couldn't force him after all.
Artix nodded and flipped the coin. The coin rotated in air and hit the table few times before it landed. It showed Artix's face. The group couldn't help but smile widely. They won without having to pay anything.
Artix nodded he then stated his guesses, "I have mainly two theories, they may be true and they may be false."
"It is still better than nothing," Kolton said.
"One, believe the world is real and live it like it is real. Two, believe the world is an illusion and live it like it is real," Artix said.
"One is for reality and the other is for illusion?" Kolton probed.
"It should be so," Artix said.
"But, are they not contradictory? What do you see the world as my lord?" Asked a man in his 120s. He was thin and had short blond hair and a pair of brown eyes. His name was Peter.
"I do not know," Artix said, "But, I live it like it is real."
"So you do not know if the world is real or illusionary?" Peter asked.
"Indeed," Artix said.
The others nodded in understanding. You need to start doubting your existence in order to accept the them. It did make sense why no one was able to accept them. It would be a miracle if you didn't go mad in the process. The group looked at the seemingly normal Artix. No wonder, they thought.
"My lord, what are your definitions of reality and illusion?" Peter asked.
"Reality is truth irrespective of perspective. Illusion is falsity irrespective of perspective," Artix said.
The group asked Artix several other questions. Artix didn't tell them his title, but they gave him a one-time-use communication tool.
"Any other questions?" Artix asked.
"That was all, thank you for cooperating, my lord," Kolton said.
Artix nodded and stood up. The group stood up as well. Artix then placed 21 candies on the table, "Consider it a late meeting gift," Artix said.
Artix then took off his hat and bowed slightly before putting it back on, "It was nice meeting you all."
The group bowed as well, "Would you need us to accompany you?" Kolton proposed.
"No need," Artix said as he exchanged positions with his illusion, the barrier didn't hinder him in the slightest. With that, Artix dispelled his image, disappearing from the group's vision.
Each person in the group took their candy as they scrutinised it.
Artix returned to his room as he gazed at the ceiling for sometime before it hit 6 o'clock.
"Morning Tom," said Gavin, "How was your night?"
"Good morning boss," Artix said, his smile broadened as he said, "it was an eventful one."