It was only some 5 hours after the meeting that the army started marching again. Although tired from the constant battles, the soldiers were in very high spirits after the victory against the two kingdoms.
Aethion had managed to successfully divide the souls of Lieara and the demoness and had started with interrogating her, the other two demons, and the two kings.
The kings were the ones that started talking first. It wasn't as if they were weak-willed, but that torturing the soul was many times more painful than torturing one's fleshly body. The demons were used to manipulating souls, torturing them, getting tortured sometimes by other demons and such, which made them more resistant to this kind of 'interrogation'.
Unfortunately for Reign, the two kings had no idea what the final plan of the demons was, or where the final demon was located at as they only briefly talked with him. They mostly let the demons do that, which led to them not knowing a lot at all.
As for the demons, they resisted the torture. They sometimes laughed out loud, while screaming or weeping in pain at other times. They still resisted and told Aethion nothing, but all of them knew that it was only a matter of time before they would be forced to speak.
All three of them knew that Aethion was a being far above them and that he definitely had many methods of getting answers, it was just that he was enjoying the whole process and that Reign didn't need answers in this very moment that was keeping the demons sane at this point.
The demons still had to admit that these 'light' methods that Aethion was currently using were miles ahead of any pain they had ever experienced in their entire lives. Aethion himself knew that if he was to take it a level up, it could potentially threaten their lives and could even damage their consciousness, which could lead to incomplete information given.
So, while Reign and the others were making their way to the enemy capitals, he was continuing to torture the three demons without giving them any breaks.
Reign was currently going to the capital of Ios. That was the one kingdom that still had some of its higher-ups intact, and they could potentially cause some big losses to them if left unchecked.
He was going with the king, while Lios and Eisenhorn were going to the other capital.
The trip would take them a couple of days, which was why the king and Reign were speeding ahead of the army and other higher-ups. They were first going to check ahead and see in what state the enemy capital was before waiting for the army to arrive.
With their speed, they would need about a day to arrive at the enemy capital. If Reign was alone, he would arrive a couple of hours earlier, but that didn't make that much of a difference at this point.
They periodically rested as they wanted to make sure they were in their best state when arriving at the capital as neither one knew what to expect there.
It was after traveling for about 15 hours that Reign suddenly furrowed his brows and motioned for the king to stop.
They had just crossed the border of Ios, and Reign was already sensing something.
"Demonic energy, I thought I sensed it about an hour before, but now I'm certain, it's present everywhere in the area."
"That's … not good." The king said with a solemn look as the two decided to make their way to a nearby village in order to check it out.
Upon arriving, they couldn't find anyone present inside the village.
There were no people present, and not even any animals that they were raising were there.
They continued making their way toward the capital and stopped by any villages, towns, or cities they came across.
They were empty.
Even cities that usually had tens or even hundreds of thousands of people were empty, all life was gone from them.
"What in the world happened here, where are all the people?" The king asked with a heavy face as he and Reign walked through the streets of a city they had come across.
There seemed to be no signs of any battles or any struggle anywhere. Even when they entered some houses and shops, everything was in order. The only weird thing was that they could see dust everywhere, it seemed like nobody had been present in quite some time.
Wind blew through the empty streets, making dust rise from the streets and making the visibility worse while the creaking of some doors and windows echoed through the city. No life at all was present, not even rats could be seen inside the city.
As Reign and the king walked deeper inside the city, Reign suddenly stopped before closing his eyes. He focused his attention on trying to sense mana and souls, before suddenly sensing something.
"There!" Reign shouted out as he suddenly blitzed past the king and entered a small shack that was present between two normal-looking houses. He burst through the door before stopping inside and staring down.
"I won't do anything to you, I just want to ask some questions." Reign said in a soft voice while still keeping his eyes down, staring at the floor.
"I know you are there, I can sense your soul, I can sense the demonic presence that is on you, come out, or I will bring you out myself." Reign said as lightning started flickering around him.
"As you wish." Reign said before moving a rug from the floor. He took out his sword before quickly opening the hidden door that was present below.
Upon opening the hidden door, his eyes constricted slightly before widening as much as they could in shock.
He put back his sword.
He stared down at the floor in horror.
"What's wrong?" The king asked as he entered the shack.
"Reign?" The king asked again as he came closer to Reign and took a look at his face.
He stared confusedly at the horror on Reign's face for a moment before looking down. His face soon became the same as Reign's.
It only lasted for a few seconds, however.
"You know what this means, right?" Reign asked as he clenched his hands into fists, his mana slightly going out of control and lightning flickering around him again.
"I do, but first, let's get her out of there." The king said as he still stared down.
Through the hidden door in the shack was a girl.
She was around 5 or 6 years old. Her body looked slightly malnourished and dirty. The rags she wore were dirty and torn in some places. She stared at the two with fear as she clenched her dress.
Seeing a child in such a state wasn't what shocked and enraged the two, however.
A horn could be seen sticking out of the left side of her forehead while her left arm was pale purple and scales could be seen on it. Half of her face had turned demonic and one of her big brown eyes had turned completely black.
It was a process that could happen with all beings in the universe.
They would be turned into a demon, a sort of subspecies of the demon they formed a contract with, but it could also be done without the other party agreeing as demons could use a lot of demonic energy to forcibly corrupt someone and change them into demonic monsters.
"We are not going to hurt you girl, come out, you look hungry." The king softly said as he crouched down and offered his hand to the girl that looked hesitantly at him.
Reign suddenly took out some food from his inventory and showed it to the girl who gulped before climbing out of the hidden space below the shack. She grabbed the king's hand with her small, weak hand and got up before sitting down on a chair.
Reign and the king both waited for the little girl to finish eating before asking her some questions.
"My name is Reign, what's your name?"
"Nice to meet you, Skye, tell me, why are you alone, where are your parents."
"I don't know?"
The girl simply shook her head left and right before looking at Reign.
"Mama told me to hide, she was scared, she was yelling and talking to the man that lived next door, but then a boom happened and they all started screaming."
"I was afraid, but mama told me not to go out, so I didn't."
"When did that happen?"
"I – I don't know." The girl said as tears started flowing down her face.
"Uncle, do you know where my mama is?"
"She, she has a lot to do, she said she will bring me to the park after finishing it, but, but I haven't seen her for so long."
"I was hungry, but mama told me not to go out, so I stayed down, there was some food, but there was only a little." 𝐢n𝑛rℯ𝒶𝚍. 𝑐o𝘮
"Thank you for the food, I – I was really hungry."
The girl spoke quickly, barely taking a breath between her sentences as tears started falling down her face.
"Will my mama return?"
"I- I don't know what happened to me, my arm, and my leg, they started itching when mama started screaming, and they became like this." The girl said as she pointed at her arm and leg before sobbing.
"I – I don't think mama will like how I look now, it … it looks ugly and … and"
"It's going to be alright, little one, you don't look ugly, not at all." The king said as he took the little girl in his arms and hugged her.
She seemed in shock at his actions before suddenly grabbing his jacket and crying loudly while burying her face in his chest.
As for Reign and the king, their anger at this moment was making it almost impossible for them to control themselves. They knew now why they couldn't find anybody in the villages and other towns, and they believed that they wouldn't be able to see anyone in the whole kingdom.
'Aethion, I don't care if you have to break their souls into little pieces, I want answers now!'
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