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Dorian froze as he stepped onto the first step, shocked.
'It actually doesn't affect me at all?!' His thoughts were thrown into disarray as he considered this. After a moment, he went over the unique feeling he had sensed earlier, where his soul seemed to be interacting with the stairs. His Jade Memory made sure that, even though it happened in an instant, he had the entire exchange memorized.
'It… it's definitely because I have at least one Demonic Law that I've studied. It seems like it has recognized that law, and is letting me pass through?' His mind raced ahead as he went to the most logical conclusion.
After all, this planet was once considered the home base of the Demonic Race. It actually made perfect sense for there to be areas restricted to only Demonic Practitioners.
'But it still let Fabian move upward, despite being a Law of Might user. Maybe it's not entirely because of the Laws I practice. It might be something more to do with my soul itself.' Dorian instinctively felt like there was more to this.
Every time he underwent a baptism of the Laws of the Universe, his soul was transformed slightly. Right now, his soul was very good at sensing any Laws related to the Seven Great Sins, or the Laws of the Demonic Race, and what Dorian personally called the Seven Great Virtues. He didn't know if there was an Angelic Race.
'I'll ask Ausra about that later.' He cut his thoughts off here as he realized he had been standing still for more than a couple seconds. The Shades in the background were all watching with bated breath. He even saw one Shade pull out a sort of crystal ball Artifact that Dorian had read was used to record things via some type of Glass Magic.
"Hup!" He took another step up the stairs.
"Wooo! Masterful Lord!"
"Praise the Great Hero!"
"Crush those steps!"
The Shades all cheered, Fabian included as they watched Dorian move. All of them seemed to have great faith in his prowess.
As Dorian saw this, he realized this was an excellent opportunity to cement their opinion of him.
"Grr!" Bravely, he took several more steps, each one seemingly causing him to tremble and shake. His shoulders hunched as he began to climb forward, a Valorous Aura burst out around him.
Slowly and steadily, Dorian began to climb the stairs. His steps were full of serene grace and power, moving without hesitation. As he crossed the 10th and 20th stair mark, all the cheering Shades quieted, their eyes watching Dorian's every movement.
Several of them stepped forward towards the stairs, tensing up as they prepared to try and rescue 'Lord Inigo' if they needed to, small seeds of worry spreading.
After all, the mighty and powerful King Class Mystic Martial Artist, Fabian of the Spear, an elder of some renown, was unable to cross the 50th stair mark. If 'Lord Inigo' truly pushed himself, it was possible he might get seriously injured or even die.
Despite their worries, all the watching Shades looked on as Lord Inigo ignored all of this, nobly pushing onward.
When he reached the 30th step, Dorian's shoulders quivered slightly.
That shake alone almost sent all the Shades to the floor as they called out,
"Holy Highlord, careful!"
"Don't push yourself too far, Great hero! You are only still Lord Class!"
"Our faith in you shall remain unchallenged!"
Several of them had voices filled with concern. Even Captain Fabian joined in, trying to encourage Dorian to go slowly. After all, even he had been thrown down, and he was a King Class fighter.
At that, Dorian paused. Slowly, he turned around, looking down at the Shades that were poised to come rescue him.
"Who do you all think that I am?" His voice boomed out, shaking the air. Dorian twisted on Fate slightly, willing for it to sound as majestic as possible to the Shades down below.
The Shades all stood, transfixed and frozen as they were swept up in Dorian's Aura and words.
Mello simply rolled his eyes.
"My name…" As he spoke, his voice fluctuated with raw power.
"Is Inigo Montoya."
An explosion of energy rolled off his shoulders as he finished the sentence, almost causing some of the Shades down below to faint.
"I am here on a mission to cure my wife and kill the being with 6 fingers on his right hand."
"I am here to cleanse Moria."
"I am here to do what is right."
Ever successive sentence rocked the onlookers. Even Mello seemed affected, glancing at Dorian with worship in his eyes for a moment before he caught himself and then glared at Dorian as if it was his fault.
"Have faith." Dorian finished speaking, turning his back to them.
"We are not worthy!"
Several of the Shades broke out in tears, yelling apologies as they bowed and backed up. Fabian looked on all of this proudly, his arms crossed as if he hadn't, just a moment ago, been yelling for Dorian to be careful as well.
With the cheers of the Shades at his back, Dorian strove on proudly. He soon passed the 30th step and crossed onto the 40th, his plodding progress seemingly inevitable.
When he reached the 50th step, the place where the pressure on Captain Fabian had greatly increased, everyone became hushed, not daring to make a sound.
"Hup!" He bravely kept walking forward.
For Dorian, all of this had been a breeze.
'There's really no pressure.' He smiled internally. This was quite a convenient way to impress his followers.
The higher up he moved, however, the stronger the ominous Aura that he could sense became. It weighed down on him, filling him with unease. It didn't feel dangerous… just… he couldn't quite explain it in words. To him, it felt like something tragic had happened here in the past, long ago.
While his thoughts were muddled, Dorian absentmindedly climbed all the way to the 80th step before he realized it.
Down below, all the Shades looked on. Their eyes no longer held a trace of shock. Instead, it was pure, fanatic faith.
His ability to move past the step that had thrown back even a King Class warrior like Fabian, famed for his power, and bear it steadily all the way up so high had won them all over completely, putting to rest any doubt that any of them may have sheltered in their hearts.
All of them now, one and all, believed that Lord Inigo could truly do anything he attempted. Not a single soul there, with the sole exception of Mello, thought otherwise.
"He is… the Greatest Hero of the Shade Race…"
"Praise the Light… Praise Lord Inigo…"
"He is the chosen one…"
Some of the Shades were even tearing up. Dorian actually felt kind of bad for them.
Mello eyed all the fanatic Shades askance and then turned his eyes up towards Dorian, as if impressed by his handiwork.
If Mello had known Dorian had never intended for all of this to happen in the first place, his opinion might've been a bit different.
When Dorian reached the 95th step he took one last glance at all the Shades. He made his entire body shake, as if he was bearing a burden so great it was death-defying.
He slowly raised his hand in a fist.
"PRAISEEE THE LIGHT!!!"
As if by some hidden signal, a cacophony of cheers was unleashed from the crowd, pure pandemonium.
Dorian nodded gravely as he saw this, and turned back to his quest.
He put his foot on the 95th step. Then the 96th. The 98th.
And finally, the 100th step, the one that was part of the platform itself.
As he stepped on it, he could finally see the platform. It was set as a large, grey square of stone, finely cut and sharp edged. It was devoid of almost any decoration, save for two visible objects.
One was a throne, set in the back of the platform. It was a tall creation, covered in circular symbols and markings.
The other object was a large, black tube that was stuck out of the ground, surrounded on the sides by a cage of metal. As Dorian looked at it, the ominous Aura that he sensed almost overwhelmed him, his mind rocketing.
'It's coming from that tube!' He realized instantly.
He raised his other foot and set it down as he came to that conclusion, fully stepping onto the platform.
The instant he did, as he moved forward out of sight from the Shades down below, a flash of light blinded Dorian's eyes. An image of the stark throne in front of him filled his eyes for the briefest second.
Right after that, he fainted.
When he came to, he found himself in a mysterious room full of scantily clad women.
That was his present situation. Surrounded by a trio of luscious girls that were barely clothed, all of them looking at Dorian with intense desire.
'What?!' As he sat there shocked, trying to come to terms, a piece of innate knowledge appeared in his mind.
This was a Magic Array of some sort, one that had trapped him, created by a combination of complex Spells and Artifacts. To get out of it, he would need to complete the challenge it held. The knowledge of what he had to do had instinctively appeared in his head thanks to the Array itself.
It wanted him to take these women in some kind of magic fantasy orgy. The wet dream of many a schoolboy back on Earth. By doing so, he would complete whatever challenge or trial this was and be rewarded.
"I refuse." Dorian outright put his foot down, his eyes enraged as he looked around.
'Hmm?' A voice appeared in Dorian's head, humming with confusion.
As Dorian heard this voice, once more, innate knowledge appeared in his mind. It seemed that the Magic Array he was in would inform him of certain things if he was confused, something he found rather convenient, though also unsettling.
'How is it doing that?' He thought, his eyes narrowing.
Meanwhile, the voice continued to speak. A voice that he now knew was an 'Array Genie,' a similar creation when compared to Ausra. A relatively autonomous consciousness of Magic.
'Why are you resisting the Inheritance ceremony? You have been found worthy. Please proceed with the ceremony.' The voice echoed in his head.
'Ausra, can you hear that?' He queried, asking his own Soul Spell Matrix Genie.
'Yes. It is an energy signal that communicates directly with your soul, through a connection that was formed the moment you entered this Array.' Ausra replied, her voice cool.
'Can you do anything about this situation?' He asked, hopeful.
'No.' Her reply was rather deadpan.
'Do you know anything else about Arrays?'
'Alright never mind.' He rolled his eyes and smiled. His Soul Spell Matrix Genie only seemed to ever know anything about creatures, using the knowledge inscribed upon his Soul Spell Matrix.
If she really was a remnant of the Wise Lady's Soul Spell Matrix, he couldn't fault the autonomous Genie.
'You have been invited here freely, yes? Then accept the Inheritance! This is a huge opportunity!' The Array Genie's voice was full of irritation as it spoke again, a voice that felt decidedly intelligent, like a real, living being.
Before Dorian's eyes, a translucent bubble appeared in front of him in the fancy room. This bubble had a rather ethereal air to it, slowly bobbing up and down.
"I can't accept this Inheritance, not when it's like this." Dorian shook his head, staunch in his refusal as he looked at the bubble.
'W-what?' The Array Genie controlling the array stuttered.
"I'm kind of seeing someone right now." Dorian continued, shrugging.
'…' The voice of the Array Genie
'I can sense that you're lying from the wavelengths in your soul!' The Array Genie's voice seemed to be filled with a sensation of victory, as if it would convince Dorian to accept now.
"Okay, well, it's not official yet, but it's pretty close." Dorian freely admitted, shrugging a second time,
"Trust me, I got this one in the bag. Hehe."
"Oi, don't you judge me, you freaky ghost bubble. Romance takes time, you gotta take it slow. Especially if the girl you're interested in is a freakishly talented warrior."
'…my mission…' The Array Genie's voice seemed almost as if it was broken before it continued,
'This is a grand Inheritance setup by the Demon Emperor HIMSELF!' The Array Genie continued,
'Something that would vastly enhance your power! You can gain access to an entirely new Law! That's right, I can sense you already have some Demonic Laws, you could follow in His Glory's footste-'
"Yeah, lemme stop you right there." Dorian shook his head,
"The way things have been going, I highly doubt I won't be able to get this Law on my own. I'm kind of lucky, you know? Things usually go my way." With his ability to manipulate Fate and extremely unique soul, as well as all the other Laws he had picked up, Dorian was confident in what he said. His Jade Memory meant he just needed a single taste of a Law and he would be able to achieve it.
"So this is gonna be a no from me, dawg." He waved at the floating bubble dismissively,
"Now tell me, how do I get out of this place? Can I just break it down with some laser beams?" He ignored the scantily clad women, figuring that they were merely illusions and not real people at this point, not that that changed his mind.
'…I'm sorry, but you are getting this Inheritance whether you want it or not…' The Array Genie seemed to sigh, its voice defeated.
"What?! No, I already told you! I don't consent!"
'It's a magical Inheritance, the ceremony was triggered the moment you stepped in here, even I can't stop it. There is certainly nothing you can do to stop it. If you won't take it in the willing form like this, then you will receive it in the traditional energy transfer way.' As the bubble spoke, the scantily clad women blurred and then all reappeared, standing around Dorian in various seductive poses.
All three were gorgeous, like women from Dorian's dreams. Each one was a perfect 10 in pure looks, a ravishing beauty in their own rights.
"Bubble! How could you! I trusted you!" Dorian glared at it reproachfully. At the same time, as he kept its attention, he began to gather his will, ready to fully defend himself.
Only, he found that everything he tried to do had no effect. His soul, his powers, they all seemed to have vanished. It was as if only his mind was here, for something he had no control over.
In fact, he couldn't even physically move now.
'Accept this Lustful Inheritance!' The bubble yelled out, its voice full of righteous indignation, as if it had never encountered a situation like this before where it was unjustly accused.
"Noooo!" Dorian's eyes widened as he felt the girls reach out for him. Panic filled his heart as he thought of Helena. After all, he was technically a virgin in this world. It was kind of dumb, but he had decided that he wanted his first time to be with her.
"Noooooooooo! My chastity! I refuuuusseeeee!" His eyes pulsed as he pulled at everything, trying to make his body move, all to no avail.
The three girls all laid a hand on his head. Immediately, dark, scandalous knowledge and energy flowed into his mind.
As the knowledge and sensation of energy flooded into Dorian, he also felt something else… Another source of energy that he could just barely sense, one that tapped into the very edges of his awareness.
At the exact same time, Dorian felt two completely opposite sources of energy appear at the corner of his mind. One full of sultry, riveting energy, while the other was full of devout, chaste power.
Somehow, in the same instant, Dorian managed to simultaneously grab hold of both the Law of Lust and the Law of Chastity.
.. .. .. .. .. ..
Back on Shaptle, in the depths of the city of Cracktyl, in a fancy inn room…
Helena abruptly sat up from her meditation, her eyes blazing.
After a moment, she paused in confusion.
"Why do I suddenly feel like I should be murdering someone?"
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