“Immortality is Death.” Delias read aloud. The room chilled. The dim fire crystals flickered. Delias turned the page, the course paper rough against his fingers. He reached the table of contents, searching for the word ‘Koplas’. He turned page after page, until he found it. Skipping through the book, he reached the section he had been looking for. And he read. He read and read, engrossed in the reading; and time seemed to be lost.
A creature of mystics. A creature of Death. Koplas are born soft, but harden over time, their exoskeletal frame growing as strong and tough as rubies. No one knows where they come from. Are they derived from the averati? Are they a species of demon? Or perhaps a beast of the netherlands? But one thing is for certain. Koplas are dangerous.
The danger of the Koplas stem from the way they feed. They feast on the flesh of most species that have the ability to self-reflect. To understand interaction and emote in ways explicable only to humans, averati, immortals, demons, beasts, and other high functioning creatures.
As the Koplas feed, they consume the organism and digest the flesh. Once the organism fully assimilates with the Koplas, a body is reforged out of their own bodies, generating a stronger and optimal version of that particular organism. The problem lies in not the feasting of the flesh, but the aftermath.
After the Koplas combine together to create a singular organisms, from many, the wonder gate of that organisms rises. A gate that leads the organism to the afterlife after death. The soul of that organism is ejected through the wonder gate, where they reach reincarnation. While the Koplas are left with a new body. A powerful body with sentience, but one on the path of destruction.
Researchers have found a way to halt that process which is why the Koplas are of the most forbidden of creatures for use. Their existence has almost been wiped out, placing them on the path to extinction and making them extraordinarily rare.
When the Koplas summon the wonder gate due to their process of feeding, the gate becomes momentarily untethered, unbound. It is at this point that it can then be hijacked. As cultivators of high power go against God’s will, they are condemned to a fate of permanent death, with no chance of reincarnation if they die. In the past, many cultivators on the the path to immortality have used this procedure to hijack wonder gates so that they can reincarnate, leaving the the soul of the organisms consumed by the Koplas in the world.
As the soul could not be ejected, it maintains ownership of the reforged body. But that body or that ownership would last at most for ten years before the Koplas reawaken to separate and eat again, casting the soul into oblivion…
“I did not expect this.” A voice said, casting Delias from his reading. Delias slapped the book shut. The book was thick, but small enough for Delias to slip it in his new acquired satchel. The satchel was something that he found in the house that the headmaster had provided him with.
Delias turned around. Behind him stood a dark figure. The shadows seethed around him, and a black tar like substance dripped from his body, dissipating into the darkness beneath.
“I should be asking you the same thing. To break through the various arrays is one thing. That could be explained by having a powerful talisman on you, but to not only break into this room, you have been able to open that tome! Who are you… What are you?”
Delias froze at that. Yes. What am I? If the tome is right, then my body is just thousands of those Koplas that devoured my flesh. I am just temporarily taking over. A cold sweat dripped down Delias’s back. Ten years. At most. I have ten years. How could they do this to me? This wasn’t what I wanted!
Delias’s mind reeled. Why me then? There were many he could trick. He could of gotten other gates, or whatever, much earlier instead of waiting almost fifteen years.
“Not going to answer. Well, once I pull that hood off you, I will have some insight.” The figure snarled.
The already dim fire crystals grew dimmer. Crack. Pop! The crystals shattered, one by one. The darkness growing. Delias had nowhere to go. The figure blocked the only entrance.
What do I do? What do I do? Delias had heard of reincarnation before. When he was growing up it was a term thrown around at times, but was not taken seriously. Everyone believed that they had one life and they needed to treat it as such. But now, a book, of apparent powerful origins, was telling him that reincarnation was real. That along with the portal he saw when he first woke to his new body, it all came crashing in, all echoed in his mind. To know reincarnation was possible and then to find out that you can no longer reincarnate, and must live a life of impending death? That was just too cruel.
And now the ten years that was given to him was now being shortened to just ten seconds. Ten seconds until that shadow consumes him and he is dragged into whatever pit of hell that figure cares to inflict.
Delias’s hand trembled. Think. Think! You gotta do something! Do something now!
But it was too late. There was nowhere to go. The darkness encroached on him like a loach. Delias felt nothing as it grew, covering him. Delias slowly sank into the ground, into the darkness. He tried desperately to free himself. To push off the ground with his hands and climb out, but as his hands pressed down, they too disappeared, locking themselves below.
Delias roared. He roared a defiant roar. He felt helpless. As helpless as he did back then, on that battlefield. That memory came to him in flashes. It filled his mind.
“I want you to watch. You will live and suffer as you do.” A voice he had wished to never hear echoed in his mind. Delias’s throat constricted. His heart trembled.
The most traumatic moment of his life. The destruction of the ones that put their utmost trust in him. Their faith in him. The darkness that shrouded his heart erupted. That hatred. Hatred for himself. Hatred for that man. A man he knew he had to kill. To destroy!
I can’t die now! I have been given a chance. A chance at revenge! I must live. I must kill him! I must get STRONGER!
He sunk deeper and deeper. Black tendrils climbed up his body. Wrapping around him, sinking into his flesh. Dragging him in deeper. His roars muffled as he went below.
The dark figure standing by the door was calm. “I thought it would be a much harder fight. But it appears this guy was only good at bypassing security. Maybe he was from the Linay Family. But my sources say that a naked man ran into the room that that fool was said to have rented out before he came to the city.” At this moment the dark figure had doubts. Delias was still alive, but he did not want to kill him just as yet. If he killed him now, then if it turned out that the brat was really from the Linay Family, then things would be messy. Killing him outright was not part of the plan. If he dies, then we can still fix it up somehow, but if that is not really Linay, but a hired underling then we have major problems. I need to find out more about him before I kill him. I need to know who knows about what we’re doing here!
The dark figure walked with ease on the dark floor that swallowed Delias up. He was comfortable in his position. He reached below, his hand merging into the dark wood and going in deeper.
It was then that the figure stilled. His dark eyes widened with disbelief. And he dashed back quickly.
BOOM!! The entire underground shook. Blue and black fire erupted, washing the entire area in flames. The books burned, their symbols flashing, howling like demons.
The children that were in the library was quietly vacated. They waited outside. They were told that the library that was always open was temporarily closed. They came outside slightly annoyed. Annoyed that their studies have been disturbed, but also interested in what was going on. There was not one of them that did not believe that the sudden closing of the library did not have anything to do with that cloaked figure.
But the library was quiet as they walked away. They slowly walked to their dorms until…
The earth shook. The building rocked. And wails like demons crying and humans being stripped of their flesh echoed across the campus. Everyone’s blood froze.
Teachers had reached the area. Few of them seemed like they were hurried, rushing to the scene only now. Some were battle ready, in armor. Others were pact with talismans.
A few ushered the students to leave in a hurried manner, shock and awe on their faces as a blue fire grew and erupted forth, billowing out smoke and flame from the windows as the shattered glass rained from above.
In moments, the headmaster arrived. Alongside him was Undapa.
The headmaster’s face was placid and pale, but Undapa had a deep frown on him.
Both did not dare approach the building.
An inexplicable rage burned within Delias. He drowned into it and there he was. Back in that black void. Darkness all around him. He felt lonesome. A pressure of unbelievable pain ripped at his heart. The people he lost; the people he would never see again. The pain filled from the disappointment in the eyes those who now doubted him, now hated him.
And that smile. The smile of the man who took everything from him. Cast him into the abyss to live and die in torment, in a world that has no place for cripples or invalids. A world that scorned him. An army that he fought for. An army that abandoned him.
That dark world grew hot. The blue and black flames reaching from below, like it did that last time. Spreading across the dark world, encircling him. The flames roared, no longer silent. The heat was grating, no longer cool.
A face formed in the flames. Its hollow eyes watching him. Its mouth opened wide. A wail sounded. The mouth drawing closer. Drawing to consume him.
And a whisper. A whisper came to his ears as that fiery mouth closed on him. As he was swallowed in that dark pit of a maw. A whisper so sweet, so lovely, so vile. It spoke to him. It shook him at his very core.
Immortality is Death. Forge the Body. Reach for Eternal Plight!!
FORGE THE BODY! The voice roared.
The flames grew quiet. Everything grew quiet. And darkness was all that existed.