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The five high priests were each standing on one of the sides of the hexagon and staring up.
The throne sate no less than 200 meters above them.
There was someone proudly sitting up there looking down at those below.
The Sultan of the Aman Kingdom and the supreme priest of this ominous and secretive organization, Saloc Pun Aman.
He didn’t look at them as equals but the five high priests paid their respects to him as they knelt on the ground.
Even while paying their respects, Dana was watching the magic circle and stone coffin in front of him rather than Sultan Saloc up above.
‘It was always right in front of me anyway.’
A bitter smile.
Titled the ‘traditional death squad’ amongst the high priests, the organization’s main purpose was the stone coffin right in front of his nose.
The deceased individual sleeping in that coffin was the one that held the grudges of everyone present here.
If they could just damage the body of that deceased person, it would be the same as finishing the last mission of the exams.
But that was impossible.
No, it was only surmised that that was impossible.
The stifling aura emanating from the stone coffin even made it stop the great Dana from trying.
The only reason it could do so was because that stone coffin and magic circle was all created by the one asleep within it.
The world’s greatest dark magician and necromancer.
Even so, the truth of that was hidden from everyone. He was the first and greatest dark magic practitioner.
That was the deceased person in the stone coffin.
“The time is imminent.”
Said Sultan Saloc from his throne up high.
His voice strangely rode along the walls of the hexagon and spread everywhere.
“I have now made the decision to wake him up.”
The five priests, Dana included, raised their heads up to the throne.
Of the five high priests, Dana’s master Aprit said.
“Oh supreme priest. But the amount of soul fragments we have gathered so far are not yet sufficient.”
Said Sultan Saloc.
“But we have passed the minimum needed. We have reached the minimum required to start.”
“But the minimum point is something we found out from our own research, it is not according to his will.”
“That is why I have waited this long. But see here. How many are there through the orders of the skies (the gods above) that are interfering in our great work? They even managed to kill high priest Allan.”
“The stabs of the impertinent have reached just below our chins, how much longer are you saying we should wait.”
It seemed the Sultan was very shocked by Allan’s death.
In the past hundreds of years, there has never been an instance of a high priest being killed by someone.
‘He isn’t wrong. No, they are actually bone-chillingly accurate words.’
Dana looked up at the throne as he laughed inside.
‘I’m right under your chin.’
Even while thinking such thoughts his act continued.
“Oh Supreme Priest. Do you not think that he did not know of what we found out later? When he was alive, don’t you think he had reason for the quantity requirement he left in his will? I fear there may be some kind of adverse reaction if we do not follow his will.”
“Then how much longer are you saying we should wait?”
Said Sultan Saloc with anger. His frustrated voice filled the hexagon shaped room.
“Who do you think our adversary is? Those that have come from another world? No! It is the gods. The gods are plotting to ruin us. Minute by minute they are choking the breath out of us. Are you saying we should give them more time to kill us?”
“That is not what I meant.”
Aprit’s disagreement was a notch weaker.
Sultan Saloc said.
“We cannot wait any longer. There is no more room to wait. Today, immediately, we will complete our work.”
As soon as that announcement was made, the high priests prostrated together.
“We accept your order.”
“We accept your order.”
But there were two people whose expressions didn’t look too good.
Aprit, who had opposed it, and his disciple and examinee Dana Litalin.
Hundreds of years ago, there was an absolute monarch that achieved something great that would never happen again.
The 3rd Sultan, Kajad Pun Aman.
He conquered the continent and took humanity to its peak, he was considered the king of kings.
He was a great dark magic master, but he hid that truth from all magicians. His status was so high that he was able to reign over the whole continent and unite it into the one single kingdom and ruled it his entire life.
But all his life, he saw the future.
A truth that couldn’t be handled by someone not as great as the Sultan who ruled the whole land and all the people.
He treated his sons and daughters of his direct descendants and even his branch family the same as he taught them how to rule. By sadly, no one had what it took.
A figure like Sultan Kajad wasn’t in his family.
“When I die, the world will split again and fight.”
The sad Sultan Kajad used his own great necromancy skill and prepared one plan.
His very own revival.
Not just the revival into an undead.
A truly alive body and mind!
And a life that would never grow old!
Gathering soul fragments and turning them into fake souls, this occult technique was created by Sultan Kajad, and he made an organization to carry out this plan.
He made a covert and austere and holy organization that wouldn’t sour over time and could reach its goal.
That was the Second Advent Life-or-Death Association.
As Sultan Kajad predicted, after his death, Aman kingdom’s unified country collapsed.
A Sultan with the charisma he had never appeared again and the country continued to experience split after split until it became what it was today.
The ensuing Sultans of the Aman kingdom inherited the country and also the Second Advent Life-or-Death Association and whenever the situation became difficult, recalled Sultan Kajad’s great work.
If Sultan Kajad were to return, the belief that all difficulties would be overcome was deeply engraved in the Sultans’ brains.
This was the result of the holy aspect of the association’s faith according to Sultan Kajad.
Generations of Sultans after him researched if there was a faster way to fulfill the great work.
They continued to research, and the result was finding the bare minimum of soul fragments needed for the soul.
Sultan Kajad personally analyzed the techniques for the stone coffin and magic circle so he knew he could be revived with a lesser amount of soul fragments than he stated in his will.
But that wasn’t what Sultan Kajad wanted and because of that discovery, discussions happened and eventually the great work was postponed to this day.
And also right now, Sultan Saloc Pun Aman coincidentally wanted to open the lid that had been kept closed for so long.
Was the current Sultan Saloc is in a rush?
Learning of the existence of the examinees was something Sultan Saloc found out after he came to power.
That the heavens, the gods, were plotting to bring down the Aman kingdom shocked Sultan Saloc to his core, causing him to feel pressed for time.
Reviving a dead person back to life.
Birthing an absolute being who would never fade.
All those things defied the order of nature.
In a way, the existence of examinees trying to stop it could be seen as the natural order of things.
Because of that, Sultan Saloc had decided that the examinee group and the will of the heavens was too much for him to handle by himself.
Despite their irrational numbers they carried out work beyond their means and eventually came to today.
Allan had been a high priest within the Second Advent Second Advent Life-or-Death Association for almost a century. His death decimated Sultan Saloc’s remaining patience.
“Perform the ceremony.”
At Sultan Saloc’s words, the high priests made firmly determined somber faces in reply.
‘Now what do I do?’
Dana felt a stifling nervousness that caused him to hold his breath.
The crossroads between life and death.
He knew what he needed to do but by causing a scene here there was no way to know if he would survive.
He didn’t think anything of Sultan Saloc but the problem was the other four high priests.
And amongst them, the real problem was master Aprit.
‘If the stamp of subordination is engaged, my dark magic circle will be completely shattered. It’s like I’m starting with one wing ripped off.’
And while he had another wing, that alone might not be enough.
He needed something else.
A way to resist and escape from those gathered here.
He was trying to consider all scenarios and calculating the success rates but there is was no good answer.
Unheeding to Dana’s heart that was growing restless, the ceremony began.
Ohn- the high priests pursed their lips and began making a strange noise.
Their voices resonated.
Aprit gave Dana a glance. Only then did Dana follow the other priests.
Five voices resonated.
With them, the dark magic that was settled in a circle in their heart, began to flow out.
Five strands of dark magic intertwined.
As if creating a circle in the heart, their dark magic forces gathered into one knot.
‘Now is the best chance!’
While all their dark magic power was knotted together, he could shock all 4 priests at the same time by making his move.
For a very brief moment they wouldn’t be able to attack him as they tried to manage their dark magic power.
He could take advantage of that ‘brief moment’ and kill one of them.
Outside the room, corrupt examinees like Lee Chang-wee were camping out so that would be impossible.
There was only one viable escape route, through the sky.
Past the throne that was sitting 200 meters up was the dome at the top of the palace.
He would pierce through that if he was able.
But while he’s going up he’ll be attacked by Sultan Saloc.
And then he’ll be attacked by the high priests who have managed to gain control their dark magic power again.
‘No matter how I think about it, it’s not possible with one wing.’
There isn’t even a slim chance of victory.
With just this, it was an unreasonable task.
As if reacting to the dark magic forces that was entwined around it, there began to shine a red light from the magic circle drawn in red.
The fake soul marbles placed above the magic circle followed suit and began to light up as well.
Then, Dana stared blankly at the marbles.
‘Maybe with those?’
From a 0% success rate, a variable has occurred. What the cost will be simply couldn’t be predicted.
But he deemed it was worth a shot.
Dana made up his mind.
Then calmly he sent a telepathic message to his master, Aprit.
-Are you crazy? I said to never speak to me telepathically.
-Please forgive my disrespect. I have something I must tell you, it could not be helped.
-We are carrying out the most important ceremony of our organization right now. Talk later.
-I have to tell you now. It is more important than this.
-…… what is it?
-Master, you said a magician is greater the longer he remains in secret?
-That’s right. The opponent not knowing you is proof you have the upper hand. The great Sultan the 3rd Kajad Pun Aman in his life and even after, never was revealed to any magician that he was the father of dark magic. But why are you asking that?
It was long winded but since it was through telepathy it was relayed less than 1 second.
-In that case, I have to tell you something I’ve wanted to tell you for a long time.
-When I first met you, I was already a better magician than you, Aprit.
Inside his white mask, Dana was smiling.
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