Devon has stood by his tutor countless times to help him complete complex experiments and learn more from them. However, this time was different. Now there was a pile of meat lying on the test-bed. The tutor called this experiment the soul construction.
Devon and his tutor were both necromancers, and Devon was the nephew to his tutor. They lived outside the crowd and hid their true identities under the guise of magic pharmacists. When the tutor was old and Devon had grown up, he thought that he would not make a fuss about any experiments until he heard the saying about ‘soul construct’.
Many researchers had tried to make magic constructs — tough, powerful magical constructs that can be used for daily service or for fighting. They can be made of stone, metal, or even corpses.
Devon and his uncle made flesh demons, which were made of fresh bones. They looked very much like living creatures. They were made up of different parts of different races, combined with the magic aids that ordinary people can’t imagine, and finally turned into a monster.
Devon’s uncle never gave names to their works, only serial numbers. But this time, his uncle called the semi-finished product ‘Durat’.
“Durat, are you ready to get stronger? Are you ready to wake up?” As his uncle said that, Devon’s heart was filled with laughter.
Durat was originally the name of a baby, the son of his uncle. The child was abandoned by his mother and used as an experiment by his father. He died before he was three years old. His short life could not be called life at all. But now, his uncle gave this name to a construct… What was the point of the flesh demon then?
A few days before he was ready to wake it up, Devon began to realize that the construct was really different, with tiny differences in many details.
Finally, when it was time for Durat to be awakened, it was surrounded by the skin of different animals.
With the incantation, it moved and then slowly sat up. Devon didn’t pay attention to the changes when he was helping to recite the mantra. When he could finally make an observation, he felt that something was wrong again.
The construct came down from the altar, showing a look of fear on its stupid face. Devon had read the experimental data of each stage of the construct before. He thought it was not the most powerful one made by his uncle. But now, he had to change his mind.
“Durat.” His uncle called the name. In front of him, he swayed his head like an old mage. “Durat, that’s your name, my dear child.”
The construct knelt down slowly, opened his mouth that had fangs and asked, “You… Who are you?”
Devon was startled and almost dropped what he was holding to the ground.
What he was shocked by was not that the construct could speak. Of course, mages could make magic images that could answer questions. However, they could only answer questions or show obedience according to established rules. They could respond, but they had no thinking ability. That is to say, it was impossible for this flesh to ask questions first!
His uncle instructed Devon to pick up the prepared potion, and Devon approached carefully.
“Take it, my child,” his uncle told the construct, “take it, and drink it.”
He opened his mouth and swallowed. Then he looked at the ceiling and began to shake uncontrollably.
In the past, Devon had also concocted a stabilizing potion, which was used to stabilize the body of the Juggernaut in the final step, something that was only required for earth and flesh demons. This time, the potion was not made by Devon, but made by his uncle.
“Devon, look, this is a miracle of creation,” said the old necromancer, looking at the changes in the work. “I believe you also find that it is different from the past creations. It has a soul.”
Durat’s trembling stopped, and he was on his knees and elbows on the ground, panting violently. After calming down, he slowly raised his head.
He looked more normal now; the features of different corpses had fused into the same contour and he looked like a hybrid, instead of just looking like a patchwork corpse.
Durat had a pair of Tiefling horns. His height was similar to that of an orc, but his physique was more like that of a human. His eyes and ear tips had the characteristics of elves while his facial outline was the structure of Southern barbarians. His waist was long and similar to ogres while his genitalia was in the shape of a human. His fingers and toes had one more knuckle than those of human beings, and there was a characteristic tail of a Tiefling behind him. 1
Now he no longer has stitches, but his skin was still uneven. His hair was messy and soft, and the texture seemed more akin to fur, not human hair.
“Who are you?” He knelt down in front of the necromancer, with his head tilted, and his manner was really like a child.
“I am your Creator, your master and father. And you are my magic creation, my precious treasure. Child, remember, your name is Durat.” The old man reached out and stroked the flaxen hair.
“Durat…” The construct repeated the name.
“Yes, you can call me ‘father.’ You must obey my orders.”
That night, Devon got some explanation. His uncle closed the thick cow leather notebook in his hand and took the tea from him, “Now you have the basic concept. This is the so-called soul construct.”
It’s impossible, Devon thought to himself. Magic can build living things, but not souls. This should be the most basic common sense and rule. It’s like, maybe someone can be strong enough to kill all the troops in a city, or they can use magic to destroy or transfer the enemy, or even turn them into something else, but it is impossible to make something return to the state it had never been to before.
Some mages had been studying life-related magic all their lives, but they couldn’t use it to create souls. They could transform the body of a creature, or extract the soul and put it into an object to create artificial life, but it was only as an aid, not a creation from scratch.
Mages made various constructs. Broadly speaking, maybe the constructs had life, because there was a difference between ‘life’ and ‘death’ in them, but they couldn’t have souls or have their own consciousness, and couldn’t become a social creature.
Or, to put it more bluntly, the creation of the soul is the domain of God, which human beings cannot get involved in.
His uncle seemed to see Devon’s doubts and fears, and he laughed triumphantly, “I know what you’re thinking. It’s unbelievable indeed. It’s an achievement of God. I have devoted my whole life to these things, and now I can finally see a little return. Elaine and Durat, their deaths were not meaningless.”
The Durat he was talking about was the dead baby, his son. And Elaine was his lover.
Devon once suspected that the baby’s soul was actually infused with the magic construct. He secretly detected this, but the result showed that it was not.
Mages could create living creatures from a lump of earth, metals, and corpses. Now, it seemed that his uncle could build souls out of nothing.
Every day after that, his uncle continued to study his new creation, while Devon was responsible for the life of the construct, including delivering food, dressing wounds, recording work and rest, and teaching it to clean its body and use simple tools such as spoons. Devon was shocked when he found out that the thing actually needed to eat. Constructs usually don’t need any food.
“Devon, I’m in pain.” On that day, Durat’s tall body huddled in the corner of the wall and it spoke pitifully. It just went through an experiment and a physical test.
“I know. I’ll give you some medicine.” At first, Devon was a little afraid, after all, Durat was different from the constructs who only knew how to obey orders. But now he was not afraid, because Durat was obedient and even a little timid.
“The medicine may sting when it’s applied, but it is not serious. It will be good after a short time. It can relieve pain and stop bleeding. You have to bear with it.”
Seeing the construct nodding, he quickly completed the work in his hand, and then comfortingly touched the corner of Durat’s head.
“Devon, I’m hungry.” Durat tugged at the young mage’s clothes.
“It’s not time to eat yet,” said Devon with a smile. “But here you are…” He took some crackers from the bag and handed them to Durat.
Durat’s hands were large and it had black nails that stretched and contracted like a cat. It was just about to put a few small pieces of the crackers in its mouth when Devon pressed its wrist.
“Wait a minute,” Devon pulled out another vial and poured a little of its contents on the cracker. “It’s honey. It’s actually my casting material. But it can be eaten. It’s delicious.”
Devon looked at every lab record, test data, and every day he could see those strong muscles and hard skin. Devon knew that Durat was strong enough to tear a ferocious bear in half with its bare hands, and that it could sprint as fast as a cheetah, but at the moment, it was just like a simple child.
Later, his uncle found out about Devon’s behavior. He found out that Devon had given Durat painkillers and therapeutic potions without authorization, and even fed him snacks secretly. Devon had even told Durat some stories about fighting between wolf dogs and lions.
His uncle whipped Devon’s hands.
“Don’t forget why you survived, son,” said the uncle. “I like talented children. You’re lucky you are one. If it wasn’t for your magical talent that helped me, I wouldn’t have saved such a vulgar guy like you. Now, get down on your knees.”
Devon knelt down. He guessed the degree of his uncle’s anger. If he was not too angry, he might not torture himself with magic
“Do you like your cousin, Devon?” His uncle asked.
He didn’t think that he was going to die right away. “Yes, tutor. I like him very much. He is a miracle.”
“What else? Do you think he’s a construct, or is he your cousin?”
Devon didn’t know how to answer. He couldn’t guess the answer his uncle wanted. Durat was locked behind the grates, staring blankly at him.
“He’s a monster, but it’s not just that. In my opinion, I can’t generalize what he stands for. So…” Devin replied speciously.
The old mage sneered and said, “Is it a magic construct? So, why would you tell a story to the construct? Can you chat with the constructs?”
Then, suddenly, he spoke in the plain language, because Durat could only understand the common language, “You shouldn’t open a window for him. My child will not resist without desire. You’re doing dangerous things, as dangerous as feeding a violent animal. You show him too much that he shouldn’t know.”
Devon did not dare to answer back, but thought silently, if uncle knew that I treat the experimental construct and small animals in the same way, I’m afraid that my knuckles will be torn off.
He thought his teacher’s anger would soon pass, but he was wrong. His uncle went towards the prison door and began to cast dharath. Durat shrank back, eyes full of fear, but unable to resist.
As Devon knelt down, he could recognize that this was a dominant spell. For a certain period of time, the subject would obey the caster completely.
Then his uncle opened the prison, said, “Good boy, be obedient” and so on, and brought Durat out.
“Sit here and don’t move without my order.” When his uncle finished, he read another spell, and another magic construct came in from outside.
The structure of that thing was not humanoid. It looked like a multi legged creature, the size of a sheep, and was made of metal. It was a mobile toolbox, which contained a lot of research necessities, some of which were not suitable for dimensional bags.
“I’m glad to see you and your cousin get on well. It’s just that I have another experiment to do recently. Although it’s not very important, I have to take it seriously,” his uncle sat down in his chair and began to tidy up his things. “Devon, I wanted to find someone else to help me with this experiment. But first, I don’t have the time and energy to find people. Second, it seems that you are suitable.”
“Yes, sir.” Devon figured out when to stand up.
“Durat,” the old necromancer said in a soft voice as if he were talking to a child. “Now, you’re going to have sex with Devon until I say stop. Begin.”
“What?” Devon stood up in panic, but was immediately seized by the hand of the construct beside him, and his head was pushed to the ground.
“Durat! Come on! Tutor, don’t do this! I can’t do this…” Devon struggled in a flurry, but at this point Durat would only listen to orders and ignore him.
While reviewing the records, his uncle said leisurely, “Many basic concepts were implanted into his mind at the construction stage. Now we are going to verify them to see how complete his soul is. Because of those early implants, he could understand the common language, accounting numbers, and the relationship between words and actions without learning. And, in the construction stage, his design model is an adult, and he also integrates many ethnic characteristics. Remember the last time we tested his anti-poison ability and magic immunity ability? And we also tested how strong his bones were and his mental strength as well. You see, his sexual ability also needs to be verified.”
Durat’s understanding of the word was clearly correct and direct. He put one hand on the back of Devon’s neck, and the other had torn his trousers to pieces.
“Tutor! Uncle, don’t do this. Fertility should be… with women…” Devon knew that begging for mercy would not be useful. The only hope that he could still have was to persuade his uncle not to do useless work.
“Fertility? It doesn’t need to be tested. I just need to take samples and study them in the laboratory.” The old mage seemed more like he was in class, rather than abetting a cruel act. “And you know how difficult it is for us to obtain human female test subjects and risk being caught. Boy, cooperate.”
When giving orders, the necromancer’s words were very straightforward and not obscure. In the concept of Durat’s early implantation, the explanation of this behavior was obviously only at the sensory level.
A construct with a soul will experience feelings like a human being. Even from his expression and movement, he seemed to be able to feel the pleasure beyond the purpose of reproduction. He had life, had the basic needs of being a humanoid, and was dominated by magic, ignoring Devon’s pleas. In the end, Devon couldn’t even find a position to relax himself.
While this happened, the old mage was calculating magic, sorting out scrolls, filing previous research records, and writing down the current performance of Durat.
Devon didn’t remember when he lost consciousness. When he woke up, he was in his room, listening to the click of the mechanical clock, and felt the cold wind leaking through the window, just like every morning he spent there.
Since then, Devon was not as good as he had been to Durat, and even paid little attention to him. Devon didn’t think that he had a family relationship with his uncle, so he was not surprised by his uncle’s attitude as if nothing had happened.
He still assisted each experiment, still followed his uncle, and still concentrated on his study and research. He was not sure whether Durat had any memory of that time, because the monster looked at him and became very timid, and he never asked him about the outside anymore.
One day Durat held out half his hand from the crack in the prison, “Devon, just once… Please. I’m in pain.”
Devon was cleaning up the bottles and jars outside. He stopped for a moment but did not pay any attention to him.
“I’m in pain. I don’t want a potion. If it decreases, my father will find out. Honey… Can I have honey?”
The hand holding the book shook. Devon didn’t know whether his anger or shame was burning. He didn’t look back, he just whispered, “Really? Be patient. Your pain is coming to an end.”
Durat, of course, did not understand what he meant. After Devin left the room, the construct with a soul kept crying and groaning because of the pain of the experiment.
On the next night, the young men of the city, on the other side of the river, surrounded the old necromancer’s manor with many knights.
The two stood at the window, and could hear the knight’s voice reading out their crimes from a distance. These armored brains were always like this, liked to do something more for formality than content.
The old necromancer was a little surprised. For a moment, he didn’t know why these Knights suddenly got permission to arrest him. He lived in his ancestral manor and never even showed his horse’s feet. Many people in the city knew that he was a mage, but his public identity was as a magic pharmacist, and the matter of necromancy had been closely concealed. Even if someone suspected something, they had no evidence.
But now it was different — the guys in the city’s shrines were ridiculous, and what they were reading was a pile of shaped accusations and evidence.
The old mage didn’t want to fight with them, so he planned to pack up the necessary items and then use magic to escape.
Devon folded his hands and walked up the stairs in silence. Suddenly, the old man held his breath.
From all sides of the house came the sound of incantation, and the necromancer recognized that they were going to cast a magic force of silence, which was large enough to cover the whole manor and prevent him from casting any magic himself.
Of course, he didn’t dare to run out, so he had to use the time before the other party’s chant was completed to display a few protective spells for himself. He ran upstairs to the study, ready to immediately escape into the normally prepared transmission array.
As soon as he stepped into the study, he regretted it. Outside was the realm of silence that was being woven, and the anti magic field was functioning in the study; a small but more powerful enchantment than the silencing one.
The old necromancer withdrew from the spell range and stood in front of the study door.
And Devin was standing in the anti-magic field. The old necromancer gave up casting completely. Devin had a dagger strapped to his waist, and raised his crossbow at the old necromancer.
The old man was not too surprised by Devin’s betrayal. “Child, you are quite stupid.” He took a step forward and raised his hand.
“Don’t move. If you cast a spell, I’ll kill you. You’re close, I have confidence.” Devon said.
The old mage laughed and said, “You can try.” He seemed to suddenly think of something. He rubbed his fingers over the carved wood on the wooden door and recited a short spell.
Devon shot the crossbow, which looked as if it had hit his uncle’s back, but the crossbow did not go through and deflected from his body. Obviously, the old mage had prepared a lot of protective measures for himself just now.
The short mantra just now was to open a certain cage. Devon heard it and the whole manor began to echo with strange howling and scraping sounds. The deepest dungeon was opened, and many creatures that had been cultivated and transformed were released.
“Although I’m not going to talk head-on, I can’t make it too easy for them.” The tutor rubbed his hands and went to Devon again, who was loading another arrow on his crossbow.
Perhaps because he was nervous and not used to using weapons, he missed the second time, and his master’s ability to remove the anti-magic field was successful — of course, Devon’s ability was limited, and the old necromancer could successfully suppress his magic.
After the anti-magic field was suppressed, the teleport array returned to normal. The tutor didn’t give Devon a chance to escape or enter the array first. He bound him with a spell and planned to take him away. From his uncle’s smile, Devon can see that he would not let him die happily.
Outside the house came the sounds of fighting and screaming. He thought it was the monsters who fought with those knights.
The old mage gave a sly smile. As soon as he grabbed Devon’s collar, he heard the window shatter and two Templar knights on their horses rushed in. The old necromancer was ready to send a ray to attack. But just as he was about to cast the spell, he began to tremble.
He felt that the sphere of silence began to work. In the realm of silence, once it was cast, you would be eaten by your own spell.
In such a chaotic situation, the caster, who was in the same boat with the knights, insisted on completing the spell. However, the old necromancer hadn’t given up. The realm of silence couldn’t affect the previously placed spells. He could still enter the teleportation array immediately.
The two knights didn’t know what he was going to do. They just stepped in. The old mage pushed Devon away. As soon as he turned around, a sharp pain came from above his crotch. A short dagger was firmly wedged into his waist. Devon had struggled to do it.
“Kill him, he will run away!” Devon called to the Knights.
Later, the old necromancer was also stabbed by a spear, and his body directly fell into the teleportation array. The templar knights and other soldiers and mages in the city also took some time to find his body.
Devon, whose leg was injured by the spell, sat on one side, quietly watching the people busy in the manor.
A middle-aged Knight came to him and saluted him solemnly, “Mr. Devon, we are very grateful for your help. If you hadn’t provided clues and evidence all the time, we wouldn’t have found any reason to punish him.”
Devon leaned weakly against the wall and shook his head, “Don’t thank me. I am his servant. I’m to blame. Every day I watched these things happen, but I didn’t have the courage to stop them.”
Then others comforted him, other mages came to ask him various questions, and the priest of the temple came to examine his wounds. Devon closed his eyes and faced it all with the gesture of being a victim.
After all the monsters were wiped out, Devon was taken to the city. He asked if the knights had killed all the monsters in the manor, and the Knights said that there should be no fish left in the net.
Devon asked about the lab with its thick walls and the prison inside. The Knights said that the reinforcement magic metal of the prison was destroyed, and the contents must have run out, but no monster left the manor alive.
Devon was upset. He knew that Durat was not dead, and from the looks of the Knights and casters, they did not see excessive wrath.
As a servant who served the necromancer all the year round, Devon must have the scent of a necromancer. However, the people in the temple did not find any casting tools on him. He didn’t even have the ordinary protective magic commonly used by mages. Moreover, his fingers were rough and scarred. In short, the temple believed that although he knew some magic knowledge, he was not a caster.
Devon took a break in the city. The old female priest from the temple kindly kissed him on the forehead and told him that the darkness was finally over. The white robed mage who participated in the judgment of the necromancer’s action repeatedly talked to him, hoping to accept him as an apprentice. Devon didn’t accept it. He said he would go to another city to look for other relatives and friends. Before leaving, he found the temple Knight Commander and said that he needed help.
He said he had forgotten something because of the confusion when he left the manor. It was a portrait of his mother and his young self, and he wanted to leave with it.
The knight agreed, and sent two young knights to go with Devon. Devon found the framed portrait, which had been thrown on the floor of his study.
The two knights accompanied him at the same time to watch him. When they saw that he did not take anything except the portrait, they were relieved to escort him back to the city. The next day, Devon packed up his things and left with his portrait.
In the suburbs, he took out the things he had hidden in several debris and tree roots, and then took out the storage convenience bag which was also hidden outside, and put all the things in it. He traveled day and night away from the city, and on the third day, he arrived in a village. After a rest and grooming, he removed the portrait in the frame and took out the tiny pieces of cloth in the interlayer.
After casting a spell on it, it slowly expanded and returned to its original shape. It was a leather notebook. It was his uncle’s notes on magic research. It was used to reduce and camouflage and prevent detection, and was usually hidden in the portrait. Devon had found out a long time ago, but kept pretending he didn’t know.
At last he burned the portrait and the frame. The woman and child in the painting were his aunt and his long dead cousin, the real Durat.
Devon moved away from the past and began a new life. He got to know the mages on trips, learned about adventurers through them, went on the road with the people he had talked to, and made magic potions and scrolls.
A few years later, he settled very far away from his hometown and lived with a brother and sister he had met on the road. The brother Mark was an archer who was good at hunting, and the sister Alita was a mage who was good at magic.
However, Devon never gave up necromancy. Like his uncle in those days, he hid his true colors and appeared weak and modest in front of others.
Six months after living with the brother and sister, they had their first quarrel. Mark accused Devon of sometimes being too cruel for the sake of magic, believing that he would pull Alita into the abyss of evil, while Alita thought her brother was too fussy and didn’t understand magic enough. But she also tried to persuade Devon that life is to learn and control magic, not to be dominated by magic.
Devon was not good at shouting and quarrelling. He rubbed his eyebrows and ignored them. He locked himself in his study, reading and copying scrolls until he was so tired that he fell asleep at the table.
The next morning, Alita knocked on his door and said she would go to town with her brother, and asked Devon to have breakfast. Devon was awake, but ignored her. He heard the brother and sister go out of the door, arguing.
Soon after, Devon fell asleep again. At noon, the sound of footsteps woke him up. He got up lazily and opened the door, but he didn’t see Alita.
On the floor in front of his door was a plate of breakfast that Alita had prepared in the morning, some fruit, some cold milk, and two waffles. In the past, Alita didn’t know how to make snacks so Devon taught her how to do it. The waffles were coated with raspberry pulp and today they were sprinkled with honey. They looked like they were so sweet.
Devon bent down to pick up the tray and saw honey on the floor next to him.
Walking along the plank to the corner of the stairs, he went down to the first floor of the house. He saw that the candlestick and fruit tray had fallen to the ground, and there had probably been no sound because of the carpet. A chair had fallen against the table, the bread basket had also fallen from the extinguished fireplace, and there was honey on the carpet.
Devon walked into the kitchen doubtfully and saw that the jar containing honey was still in its place, but a lot of honey had stained the shelf and was also beside the mouth of the jar.
He stepped back, leaned against the doorframe, and looked straight at the small wooden window in the kitchen. The lock of the window was open wide and the curtain was half-caught in the open window. There was some soil on the windowsill and under the window, and the trees outside the window were still shaking.
He ran back into the room, examined every window, and sat back at the table, pressing his forehead.
Alita liked raspberry sauce, or fruit syrup. She never dripped honey directly on waffles.
“Durat…” Devon bowed his head and thought of the hand that had come out of the prison in the laboratory. The construct Durat was not dead, and he was far away from the manor. If it was really Durat, how did he find him?
Devon went back to his study to look for the records of the experiments he had brought out, looking for all the characteristics of Durat.
From this day on, Devon seldom went out of the house and had no patience when talking to people. He shut himself in his study almost every day, immersed in those things day and night. After so long, his understanding and application of magic was more proficient than before, and he could also learn more about his uncle’s research notes.
Alita was worried about him, while Mark thought he was becoming more and more dangerous. Alita wanted to have a good talk with Devon several times, but Devon ignored her.
In recent months, livestock had been stolen by wild animals in villages outside the mountain forest. People had asked Mark, the hunter, to discuss countermeasures. There was only Alita and Devon left in the house.
Alita wanted to take the opportunity to have a chat with Devon, but Devon just ate something casually, pushed aside the plate and said, “I’m full. Thank you, Alita. I think it’s time for me to leave.”
The girl felt it was very sudden, “What? Where are you going?”
“Leaving,” said Devon, standing up by the table. “Where I go will be decided after that.”
“What’s the matter with you? Devon, we… Two months ago, you tried to test me to help me measure the thickness of my fingers. You said you wanted to make a magic defense ring for me, but I saw through your purpose, and you admitted it. At that time, you said we would be together…”
“Your brother won’t agree, will he?” asked Devon.
“He didn’t disagree! You two are friends, right? He just… I’m the only sister, and he may be hostile to you. But since he is willing to live together, it shows that he is willing to accept you!”
“He used to be, but not now. I don’t want to talk about it. I’m leaving tomorrow.”
Just as he was about to turn back upstairs, Devon suddenly heard an unnatural rustle in the woods outside. Alita also noticed it and picked up a magic missile wand hidden in the leg of the table, and looked at Devon.
The sound came from behind the house, from left to right along the wall. Devon’s hands were full of sweat. If it was Durat, did he hear the conversation? Considering Durat’s sensitive hearing in the experimental data, this was not impossible.
“Could it be a beast?” Alita asked. The sound had gone again, and as they approached the door, they heard a scream in the woods.
“It’s Mark!” Alita opened the door and rushed out.
Devin, reflexively, wanted to follow, but stopped as soon as he stepped out of the door. If it was Durat… If it was Mark who met Durat… even Alita had run out now. This was his chance to leave.
He didn’t want to see Durat, not at all. Devon’s mind was full of these words. He ran upstairs quickly, packed up his things, put the important information into a bag, and tried to be light. As he quickly counted the scrolls, he heard Alita scream.
It must be Durat. It couldn’t be anyone else! If it was just a wild animal in the mountain, Mark and Alita could take care of it completely. The brother and sister were once experienced adventurers, so they wouldn’t make such a cry of panic.
It was only then that Devon really realized that he could not be with Alita. Fear actually diluted his love for her, and now he was not worried about the safety of the girl. He just wanted to leave quietly. He knew that he had never loved Alita, nor had he ever been actual friends with Mark. Just like the Knights of the temple, these people could accept him, believe in him, give him shelter and warmth, so he stayed for a while and gave them a little cheap love.
Devon packed up and ran downstairs to leave through the back door of the house’s storage room. But as soon as he got out of the bush, he stopped.
At that time, his legs trembled and he had to almost rely on the trees to support his body.
Durat stood not far in front of him, taller than ever, with soft, withered hair that had grown to his waist. He carried Alita on his shoulder and Mark in his hand. Both of them were still, and whether they were alive or dead was unknown.
Devon knew Durat. He was the same as an ordinary construct, and except for the maker himself, most of the magic of others used on him would be invalid. It was the talent given to him by the maker. Although some spells could slow him down temporarily, even if he could succeed, Devon was not confident enough to escape. He didn’t expect to meet Durat so soon. He was immersed in the peaceful life for too long. He didn’t even prepare the magic to help him escape.
“Devon.” Durat took a few steps forward.
Devon leaned against the tree and couldn’t move for a moment.
The construct put the brother and sister on the ground and said, “Don’t worry, they are not dead, but they should be injured. I can only do that. Mark found me when I was sneaking away, and then Alita came along… They saw me.”
Devon was surprised to find that Durat knew the names of the brother and sister, and that his tone of speech was more normal than before. Although he could master words before, he could not speak long sentences.
“You… How did you find me?” asked Devon.
Durat smiled. He laughed very much like a human being, perhaps because his facial skeletal structure was human. “I didn’t find you all of a sudden, Devon. I’ve been with you all these years.”
When he heard this, Devon felt a chill on his back.
“My father was killed, I know. Strangely, I don’t feel sad at all. You have told me about ‘father’ and ‘mother’ before, but I find that I don’t love my father. Moreover, I was made, not born by a loved one, so I don’t have a mother… ” As he said this, Durat took a coil of hemp rope from the ragged leather bag around his waist, squatted down and tied up the brother and sister. “Do you mind? I’m afraid they will wake up. Although I guess not for a while.”
Devon noticed that Durat was wearing leggings, a leather waistline and a wool cloak that was a little small for him. He had a rucksack, a water bag hanging from his waist, and a long scar on his forehead than he must have gotten a few years ago.
He had lived in human society and that fact made Devon uncomfortable. Durat seemed to know a lot about the way humans lived.
“Later, I saw you being taken away from a distance,” Durat continued. “I was scared. I was afraid they would hurt you. But I saw that they gave you food and took care of you, so I didn’t show up. They killed many of father’s pets, so many, many. I can see that they hate people like me. I’ve been wandering outside the city, hungry and cold. When I see the animals in the mountains going to hunt, I know what I should do. Devon, thank you very much. You once taught me about bobcats, bears, badgers and boars. Even gave me a book with their pictures.”
Listening to this, Devon remembered that he had taken care of two Durats, a child under three years old, and a strong monster who would cry like a child. He once told the present Durat about the outside world, including what mountains were and about animals. Durat couldn’t imagine it at that time, so Devon showed him an illustrated guide.
“One day, I saw you go back to father’s house with someone else and get something, and then you went away, farther and farther. I wanted to follow, but you’ve been on the road and there were a lot of people on the road. I could only follow from far away. In fact, I was discovered along the way. I wanted to explain, but they refused to listen and attacked me. I killed them. They were very vulnerable.”
Devon couldn’t imagine how many similar things happened in the places he passed by. He was calmer now and asked, “Why are you following me?”
Durat, as usual, tilted his head when he was thinking. He said, “At first I wanted to protect you. Later, I found that everyone hated me, only you could accept me.”
“You… What do you want?” asked Devon.
“I want to be with you, I want someone who doesn’t hate me.”
However, Devon’s eyes clearly said that he did not want to. When Durat saw him hesitating, he held out his finger and his long fingernail rested near Anita’s neck, “If you don’t agree, I’ll kill her. I’ve done such things all these years.”
You think I care.
At that time, this was what Devon said in his heart. But he didn’t say it. What he was worried about was not Alita and Mark, but his own safety. He was afraid that if he refused, Durat would attack him in anger.
He had a chill. Some memories, like poison, accumulated in his body, which enlarged his fear infinitely.
“All right. I agree. But where do you want to go?” He asked.
Durat’s posture softened immediately, “I don’t know, I want to stay. I want to stay here. You can marry this girl and get along with her relatives and friends. I just want to stay here with you. Can you introduce me to them? Whenever I appear directly, others will attack me without saying anything. If you are willing to introduce me to them, maybe they will accept me, and I will get along well with others.”
Devon thought it was disgusting and funny. It was childish. He agreed, only temporarily. A cruel thought slowly took shape in his mind.
Durat helped Devon move the brother and sister back to the hut, and then went back into the forest.
For a little while, Devon suddenly wanted to get rid of the brother and sister secretly, because they might leak out about the construct. He was frightened by the idea. Although he knew his feelings for Alita were limited, he thought he liked her very much.
After a while, Alita woke up first. She was over exposed by Durat’s face, and seemed to be stupefied. Devon touched her hair to comfort her, and then Mark woke up.
Devon knew that Durat’s hearing was very sensitive, so he told the brother and sister to speak as low as possible and took them to the second floor. He didn’t know if Durat was really far away from the house.
He told both truth and false, and then discussed with the brother and sister how to kill Durat.
Just the next day, the breathless Mark let the news out. Although he didn’t say clearly what it was, the whole village knew there was a monster in the forest. People didn’t know Durat’s horror. They only regarded him as a beast that ate livestock. Several farmers and hunters went to search the mountain rashly but only one person escaped alive. The people in the village were afraid. This time, the soldiers tried to kill the monster, but the casualties were also heavy. The body of the dead looked so terrible that people thought the devil was here.
Devon once again hid in the study, behind closed doors. He knew that Durat was always patrolling the mountains, and he could not sneak away. Since he couldn’t escape, he could only find a way to kill Durat.
Devon knew that even if he joined forces with Alita, he would not be a match for Durat. He was very clear about Durat’s ability, and the results of those experiments were still fresh in his memory.
The most likely way to kill Durat was to make another construct.
Devon had the research records left by his tutor, which contained a lot of information about Durat. Devon knew that he could not make the so-called ‘soul construct’. He could not cultivate another soul like raising a child, but he could design a construct specially used for destruction according to Durat’s weaknesses.
But Devin had a problem: he didn’t have enough material. Potions and magic preparations could be extracted by themselves, but he couldn’t find enough metal, wood, etc., even if he wanted to do it with corpses. No matter what he went to collect in the village, people would find out. He didn’t want to be found out that he was trying to make a construct.
After several days of weighing and thinking, he came up with a solution and began to work hard again. Every afternoon and night, Devon and the brother and sister could hear Durat moving in the woods. The guy seemed to be trying to tell them about his existence.
One day, Devon finally decided to go out to the village. Durat suddenly appeared in front of him and asked if he had mentioned about him to the brother and sister.
Devon, of course, mentioned it. He didn’t lie. Durat began to smile, his smile full of expectation, and before he let Devon go, he said, “Can I have waffles and honey again? You can put it in the open space behind the house. How I want to go to your room and have dinner with you, but maybe it’s not the time to…”
Durat went back into the forest.
One morning, half a month later, Alita discovered that Mark was missing.
The young hunter had taken his bow and quiver, put on a full suit of leather armour, and took with him a pile of tools, such as daggers, reverse curved blades, trip bags, etc. His room was clean.
Alita and Devon looked for him nearby, but dared not go too far into the forest. Finally, Alita told the news to the people in the village. Mark’s partners ventured to search, but only found a long bow and blood stains on a stone in the mountain.
Alita was so sad that she almost fainted from crying. And Devon took her hand and said, “Be strong, we have to find a way to end him.”
Devon put a few snacks and honey in the back of the house every day. This behavior reminded Devon of what he had experienced in his uncle’s manor. He was cold all over, and even if he went back to lie down, he would lose sleep. He simply stepped up the production of the new magic construct, tirelessly day and night.
Alita couldn’t do much to make the construct, so she was responsible for strengthening and checking the magic protection around the house every day. Devon agreed that she could go into the study to help, but would not let her near the research room.
Half a month later, the new construct was made and could be activated at any time. Although the stabilizing potion has not been used, it was only a small step away. Devon had been suffering from a low fever and overwork recently. In the early hours of the morning, he fell asleep on the research bench.
Before he fully slipped into sleep, Devon was awakened by the sound of a horse grunting. He noticed that someone was near the hut from the sound of the horses and footsteps. It didn’t sound like Durat.
He put on his robe, put on his casting materials and scrolls, did not light a lamp, and carefully opened the door. Next to the study was the research room. Seeing that the door of the research room was still closed, and his magic lock was still in effect, he was a little relieved.
Devon whispered for Alita but no one answered. He went downstairs and found that the door of the house was open, and there was a flickering torch light outside.
The people outside apparently heard the movement in the house, and a long gun was used to open the door. Devon stood at the dining table and saw the house surrounded by the village guard and a team of templar knights. Alita stood by them.
“Devon Sidra,” said the captain of the guard, a serious middle-aged man who had not liked him before, but who was basically friendly, “we have solid evidence that you are a necromancer and are engaged in very evil and taboo research.”
Devon’s hand was hidden in his sleeve. His knuckles were slightly sore. He didn’t know if it was because of the low fever or anger. He stared at Alita, who looked at him fearlessly.
“You betrayed me,” said Devon, gnashing his teeth.
“No, you betrayed us first. You betrayed the kindness of all of us to you, betrayed our past…” The girl’s voice was firm, but her voice trembled, “You really didn’t notice? I… I was in your lab. You killed Mark.”
Devon was stunned. He set up the magic to prevent anyone from sneaking into the research room, and even checked on it every day. If it was not opened by himself, no one else could enter. Even if someone went in, there would be signs when he checked again. Alita was just a magician with ordinary abilities. How could she…
“You’re too conceited, Devon. You don’t understand how I saw it? It’s just invisibility, which many casters use. I went in after you.”
Mark was a hunter. Alita was a mage, but she had learned how to sneak as quietly as possible with her brother. She pretended to leave the house, but actually used invisibility to follow Devon. When Devon opened the door of the lab and walked in, she was right behind.
She saw the new magic construct — the bodies, metal accessories, and the bodies of large wild animals from some ghost graves outside the village… and Mark’s body.
The body and metal parts of the large animal had been found by Mark for Devon, who revealed to him that he was going to make the construct and said he didn’t want to frighten Alita. After that, Devon killed Mark and got a strong and fresh humanoid corpse, which was an indispensable element in his works.
When she saw the twisted object that clearly had Mark’s appearance, in an invisible state, Alita bit her lips and pinched her arm so hard that she didn’t cry out. She endured, pretended to have seen anything, lived in fear and disgust every day, and secretly told the guards and the temple about it.
“You betrayed me…” Devon held the table, shaking slightly. Tired and surprised, he felt dizzy and could hardly see the things around him.
In a trance, he felt that he was standing in the luxurious but empty and cold old manor, in the study decorated with the anti-magic field. Now he was in the same position as his uncle at that time, and what Alita did to him was just like what he had done.
The Knights politely dismounted and then walked in. They then divided into two teams to surround Devon. Devon closed his eyes tightly and opened them again. He heard them say, “I hope you don’t try to resist,” and so on.
Meanwhile, Devon broke the loop on his wrist that had a trigger spell on it.
He woke up the construct, Mark.
That thing was just a general magic construct, with no soul, no personal will, so it broke the door of the laboratory, and directly jumped down from the second floor.
The knights were shocked by the strange and ugly appearance, but they fought bravely. This construct was quite powerful. Although Devon could not reach the level of his tutor, his research notes provided him with many shortcuts. With the instinct of killing and destroying, his works attacked any enemy in front of him.
Some of the knights were torn in two, and some fell to one side, and it couldn’t be told whether they had fainted or were dead. Alita used the missile wand to attack Devon, but was blocked by Devon’s protection spell. The girl knew that she could not surpass Devon in magic cultivation, so she turned and ran away.
From the depths of the forest came the sound of horses’ hooves, which Devon thought might be reinforcements. He uttered a curse and a ray shot from the tip of his finger, hit the girl’s back as she fled, and she fell to her knees with a moan of pain. Devon knew that he could only escape now. If he was pursued by the knights, the consequences would be unimaginable.
However, a pair of hands caught him by the shoulder, with a grip so powerful that it could crush him. And then he was thrown to the tree outside the door.
Devon gritted his teeth and saw that his new work, which was now covered with blood, was coming to him in a murderous manner.
For a moment, Devon felt inexplicable fear. He almost thought that Mark’s memory was still in it, so he wanted to kill him for revenge. But then he realized that the construct did not have Mark’s memory.
It’s just that he had activated the construct too early, didn’t instill basic instructions into it, and didn’t mix it with a stabilizing potion. Now it’s instinct was to attack, and it would destroy all living creatures close to it, no matter who it was.
All of a sudden, a tall shadow jumped out of the woods.
Durat came forward, knocked down the new construct, and fought with it.
The feet and four hands of the new construct were made of animal corpses and metal prostheses, which were more stable than Durat, but it lacked combat skills. During the years of following Devon and wandering around, Durat had not only improved his language and living ability, but also his thinking ability had become more and more powerful.
As reinforcements approached, they saw a girl crouching on the ground, a wounded Devon leaning against a tree, and two terrifying creatures fighting: an abyssal demon that looked like a mixture of racial traits, and another that looked like a corpse that was forcibly stitched together.
When one of the knights just picked up Alita, Durat tore off the forelimbs of the new construct. The new construct entangled Durat with it’s other limbs, but all of them were torn apart by Durat. He disassembled the construct with his bare hands.
Devon was not surprised by the results. If the new work had been fully completed, perhaps Durat would have no chance to win. But not now, it had no stabilizer, and it had no magic because it could only be blessed after its awakening. It was definitely not Durat’s opponent.
Looking at the battle, Devon felt that Durat seemed to be getting stronger, even if it was impossible to measure it now, it could be felt by naked eyes.
Durat had real life, and was not just a magic construct. He was a height that human researchers should not reach. Of course, things with souls would learn, grow and change.
Because of the injury and his recently prolonged illness, Devon was more drowsy. Before he lost consciousness, he saw the reinforcements coming. They ignored Devon and surrounded Durat.
After that, Devon didn’t know anything.
When he woke up, Devon first heard the sound of water drops. There was cold water falling to his mouth. He licked it and opened his eyes.
Not far away, a bonfire was burning, making the area around it warm. He was wrapped in a blanket and a fur cloak, and his head rested on a small silk pillow.
Devon pulled himself up with difficulty, and Durat sat beside him, having just smeared the water from the water bag on his lips.
They were in front of a cave in a valley, with simple tables and chairs in front of them, as well as household goods of different styles that Durat had brought from different places over the years — such as clothes and silk pillows.
“Is this where you live?” Devon felt less dizzy. He looked over his head. Beyond the valley, there seemed to be a forest. The trees were thick enough to block most of the light.
Durat nodded, “But not there.”
Devon didn’t understand, “Where?”
“It’s not the forest where you lived with that brother and sister. Devon, you’ve been burning up and sleeping for three days, and I’ve taken you out of that place.”
“And what is this place?”
“My other home.” Durat went to the bonfire and took down the small iron pan on top of it. He then took a wooden bucket cup that looked like it had been stolen from a pub, poured hot water into it, unscrewed a jar, picked out something with a stick and stirred the hot water with it.
He handed the cup to Devon, who could tell it was a cup of honey water from its smell.
“It’s a good place, Devon,” Durat sat in front of him. “It’s desolate and nobody passes by, and there’s water, forests and animals nearby. Look at that cave, it leads to the stone house next to the valley. The stone house is very old. It’s been without people for a long time. There were many skeletons in it. I remember very clearly that you taught me what a skeleton is. I can live here. Over the years, I’ve had a lot of homes like this. I don’t have just one home, but I have many.”
“And the knights? And Alita…” Devon asked.
“Alita isn’t dead. Two knights and a priest survived,” said Durat with a smile.
Devon frowned. He didn’t want anyone alive. “You should have killed them,” he said. “They already know I’m a necromancer. They’ll want me. They’ll kill me!”
“I know,” Durat tilted his head. “When I first saw Alita, I had just knocked Mark unconscious. I said to her, ‘Girl, your brother hates Devon, right? But you’re not going to leave Devon, and you’re not going to tell your brother that, or you will die’.”
Devon looked at him in shock.
Durat went on, “And then she screamed and she attacked me, and I knocked her out. Then you came.” He laughed and began to look more and more like a common living creature; a strange face of a combination of human, tiefling, elves, orcs and so on. “She’s a strong girl who has endured with you so long. She knew her brother didn’t know how to cheat, so she never told him that. However, she had already informed the village guard and the temple in the distance. When you killed Mark, I saw it, Devon. What were you going to do that you had to collect the carcasses of those beasts? What were you going to do that you had to kill Mark? I know, I knew what you were going to do…”
He leaned forward and approached Devon, “You were going to make a juggernaut, something like me, but not as powerful as me. You wanted to use that against me.”
Devon’s arm was shaking. He couldn’t imagine Durat growing to this point. Durat’s mind while he was in prison was like a child. When he met him again in the forest, his speech was still very childish and ridiculous — now it seemed that he had just been pretending.
“You almost killed Alita, Devon, but she wasn’t dead when I left. She has knights and priests around her. They’re not seriously hurt. They’ll soon be able to stand up. They’ll save Alita and take her away. They’ll go back to the village and to the temple, and then they’ll start looking for you, Devon.”
“What do you want…” Devon stepped back slowly.
Durat approached, kneeling in front of him, with his head tilted, as he had done years ago when he came down from the altar, “I want, I want you to be with me.”
Devon looked at him in disgust and stood up from the ground. But as soon as he moved, something heavy that seemed to be attached to his right foot almost pulled him back down.
The blanket and cloak were thrown away, and Devon saw an iron shackle on his right ankle, and a cotton cloth that cushioned the space between his skin and the shackle. The shackle was attached to a thick chain with a metal block the size of a human head.
The chill climbed up from his ankle and almost froze him in place.
Durat’s strong arm reached over to carry Devon on his shoulder, while the other hand picked up the metal block to prevent it from tearing off his feet.
“You can’t make a fire in a stone house, or the smoke will kill people. That’s why we’re here. But now you’re awake,” he said, carrying Devon into the cave. Once again, there was a faint light shining around them. After a moment of going up and down the completely dark corridor, they reached the stone house above the valley, one of Durat’s ‘many homes’.
“Devon, I miss you all the time,” Durat put him down and half-knelt in front of him. “In my heart… Yes, I know now. I mean it. The way I feel about you has been changing. Once upon a time, I hated my father, but I loved you. I wanted to protect you. But later, I didn’t know why… I still loved you, but I began to hate you.”
“You don’t love me! Do you know what love is? If you really care about me, you should kill the Knights and the woman!” Devon cried in despair. He wanted to hide, but the heavy weight on his feet restricted him from moving.
“I don’t really understand,” Durat tripped Devon, caught him and kept him from falling, and pressed him against the stone floor by the chest, “but you don’t understand either, do you? Do you love Alita?”
Devon was cold and his lips were shaking.
“I don’t need to really love you,” said Durat.
His voice was very gentle, if he did not have the appearance of a monster, his voice sounded like a real human’s. “I remember you told me a lot of stories and showed me books about the world. You gave me something to eat secretly, honey on waffles. I liked it very much. I remember when I lay on my father’s bench and screamed, as you and he continued to hurt me. I also remember… What happened in my father’s lab that time.”
“Please, I can continue my tutor’s research, and I can help you… Make your appearance more acceptable to people! Really! Then you can live like a human being!” Devon knew that the struggle was futile and hoped Durat would yearn for his promise.
Durat ignored, and he brutally suppressed Devon. He had once done Devon under the domination spell. After that time, he was so miserable that he hardly dared to look at Devon again. But now, he found himself looking forward to doing it again, and he intended to leave Devon here with him forever.
“Let me go Durat, you should know that I can really help you…” Devon was shaking, and he knew how terrible the next thing would be.
“I don’t need it,” Durat put a hand on Devon’s shoulder, moved close to his ear and said, “and I don’t believe you.”