Part 119: Evil Elodie Moments - Part 9 by BookwormEvil Elodie has been having a lot of fun lately. She's beheaded nobles, incinerated assassins, and laid waste to hordes of helpless peasants. Her servant has been beaten and humiliated. Her friends have been left to gruesome tentacled deaths. Her family, young and old, have been executed for treason. But something is missing from Evil Elodie's life. And that something is true evil...
Elodie spends the early portion of her journey to ultimate evil doing the following:
*Allowing a snake to bite Charlotte
*Becoming a lumen
*Whipping Alice for clumsiness
*Beheading the Ixionite diplomat and sending his head back to the Ixionites as a declaration of war
*Winning the aforementioned war
*Brutally rejecting Talarist
*Executing the poisoner
*Skipping the parade and yelling at Alice for daring to question her
*Killing Lucille by summoning a creeping shade that would later kill an innocent squire
*Hunting at every possible opportunity
Basically, Elodie has been as much of a monster as possible in 19 weeks.
He does not deny the act, but requests a pardon that he might be set free.
If you admit you killed your wife, why do you think I'm going to set you free?
Condemned Man Save me, Your Majesty! Wasn't my fault. Demons made me do it. Everyone knows the power of magical beasties! They used me, they twisted my fingers into chains... My wife found me screaming, she tried to shake me, and the chains wrapped around her... I need the priestesses to bless me and make me clean again!
(Demons? This man is a Lumen! Where did he get a crystal?)
It was a demon's magic that killed your wife? Not your own magic?
Condemned Man ... So you know what I am.
He throws out his hands, and his fingertips elongate into floating strings of gold.
Condemned Man DIE!
Golden chains slash at you like whips.
With so much warning, of course, it is easy for you to resist. His attack bounces harmlessly off your shields, the chains flying back in the direction from which they came... where they find an easier target.
Before your eyes, the renegade Lumen is choked to death by his own powers. After a moment, an orange crystal materialises next to his body.
I guess I'll have to take that for safe keeping.
A few weeks later...
Is it possible to combine that crystal with mine to make it stronger?
Each Lumen can hold only one crystal. The only way to combine their magic is if a living wielder chooses to join its power to another.
So I should destroy other crystals, to stop anyone from using them against me.
That is the traditional policy - but it is a lie. Lumen crystals cannot be destroyed. Rulers claim otherwise to discourage thieves from seeking dangerous treasures.
What am I supposed to do with a crystal, then?
Guard it, or hide it, or give it into other hands to wield. But if the last holder of the crystal was an enemy, the resonance of the crystal will work against you. It will be attuned to a personality as foolish or violent or scheming as the Lumen you defeated.
So anyone taking the crystal would probably become a new enemy. That's useless!
A weak-willed candidate might be acceptable to the crystal and yet still controllable. You could then steer that Lumen away from dangerous paths, making an ally and changing the crystal's resonance. It is, however, a dangerous endeavor and one that requires your complete attention.
(Not really a project I can work on while I'm so busy studying for my coronation.)
(Wait. In the past, all the Dukes and Duchesses of Nova were Lumens. That means all those crystals must be out there somewhere...)
That's nice to know. In the weeks prior to the Shanjian invasion, Elodie spends even more time being as much of a monster as possible by:
*Sending Adair to his grandfather
*Executing Adair's grandfather after his assassination
*Giving Elath to a random commoner for the lulz
*Holding Briony hostage
*Exiling Arisse, Corisande, and Charmion in exchange for Briony's life
*Hunting at every possible opportunity
Finally, her day has come...
A diplomatic delegation from Shanjia has requested access to the castle to discuss terms - most likely, for your surrender. You lack the strength to hold off their armies, and surrendering now will save many lives. It would seem that you have no choice. You prepare yourself as best you can to meet with the representatives from Shanjia. You expected diplomats and a military representative, a general or an admiral. You did not expect the handsome man decked in jewels who now stands before you - a man announced by your servants as Togami, King of Shanjia.
(Is he really their King? Why would a king come all the way here?)
(And he's a Lumen, too!)
My dear young lady. How difficult this must be for you. So much responsibility at such a tender age.
Don't pretend to be my friend while you're killing my people!
Temper, temper, Princess. After all, I am here to save your people. War benefits no one, don't you think? Such a terrible waste. Better to settle things in a civilised manner. A contest. A game, so to speak, with Nova as the stakes. Should I win, then your domain will submit and accept me as Overlord with no further resistance. Should I lose, then my army will leave your domain in peace and shed no more blood.
What sort of game?
It is well known that Nova is ruled by Lumens. As it happens, I too possess the powers of a Lumen. I propose a formal duel. My powers against yours. The winner takes control of Nova, the loser... dies.
Your game by your rules, for my life? That doesn't sound fair to me.
The rules of formal dueling have been passed down for centuries and must be upheld. It is important that we do this by the ancient codes.
Why should I?
If you refuse, then the war will continue. I'll sweeten the deal. If you meet me in a formal Lumen challenge, I'll call off the invasion even if I win.
I swear it by the gods. Nova will be free and safe.
Why take that risk? You're winning the war.
It's not your land that I want. It's your crystal.
It won't work for you!
How little you know. Under the right circumstances, resonance can be changed. To gain your power, I am willing to wager my own. Shall we begin?
(I can sense his power... it's so strong! I've learned everything I possibly could, but he's at least as good as I am... I don't like this... But what choice do I have?)
What choice indeed.
Wait! There's another way!
If you want my power... I can *give* it to you.
You don't have to kill me to take my crystal. I'll let you do whatever you want with it.
You would willingly submit to my every demand?
Let us see.
He points a finger at your father.
Join your power to mine, and I will incinerate him. Then I will know that you are mine.
You close your eyes and will your power into the King of Shanjia, ignoring the horrified screams around you.
And then there is a great rush of fire.