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Before the Dark Eight handed over control over the Bronze Citadel, there was first a majestic round of settling the results. As the devil army had been formed by temporary transfer of personnel, all devils would immediately regain their freedom once the battle was over.
‘It’s not quite right to call this regaining their freedom, because they retain all memories of the Blood War and think it as something they should have done… But while they still hold regard for the higher-ups, the absolute obedience they had as subordinates before has disappeared.’
Leylin glanced at the succubus Hanalin next to him. Her eyes were now clear, and while she looked like she could not wait to sidle up to him, it was obvious that she was scheming even more inside.
This went for the imps and lemures as well. However, before the devils all completely regained their order, there was something more important at hand, and that was settling all achievements and sins here.
The devils sought the beings that were ahead of them all their lives, while those that were behind them caused fear. Their hierarchy was very strict, and there was a unique power system. Hence, their advancement was not like the demons, where they could evolve after getting enough soul energy in the Blood War. Instead, it was a very complicated process.
Usually, a devil needed approval from their direct superiors to promote. However, in all situations, any devils with even higher rankings could revoke the promotion.
In other words, if a lesser devil wanted to advance, it would need approval from its weakest superior who would then perform a promotion ceremony for it. However, if a greater devil was unsatisfied with this, it could revert the recently-promoted devil to what it had been before.
The ones with greatest authority were the eight Archdevils that split up the World Origin Force of Baator. Not only did they manage the devils and the promotion of pit fiends, they could break convention with their might, promoting even lesser devils straight through several ranks.
The combined authority of the Dark Eight was great, and they could even promote greater devils. While the original superiors of these devils had the power to revoke this, most would not dare go against them.
And just like that, Archdevils could demote a devil back to its original status. This would be a symbol of shame, and was something devils feared the most. Any demoted devil lost a part of their intelligence, and would be sent to perform the most humiliating and difficult of tasks. But before that, they would face a punishment.
Pitiful cries resounded in the Bronze Citadel. There was something like a supreme court in the expansive square, where the devils took all the seats. The unlucky beings that influenced this battle negatively were put on the prisoners’ row.
There were spinagon, lemures, and other lesser devils. There were also imps, barbazu, and other lower devils as well, along with a few greater devils. Although their strengths were varied, what was common was the expression on their faces: terror!
Their crimes had been determined, and they were awaiting the punishment of being demoted. Normally only their superiors had such rights, but the Dark Eight possessed a great amount of authority that allowed them to administer the punishment. Such were the rules of Baator.
Unless an Archdevil, someone with even more power than the Dark Eight, came over to overturn their ruling, these devils would not escape punishment. However, why would such a thing happen?
“I declare you all guilty. You shall be demoted.” Zapan, one of the Dark Eight, hammered the gavel. The crisp sound caused strange changes amongst the sinners.
They howled in pain, their bodies tearing apart as an invisible force surrounded them to deliver the most severe punishment. Demotion was a horrifying torture that ripped a part of a devil’s intelligence away. They would become savage and foolish once more, something that devils who flaunted their intelligence found the hardest to accept.
The poor things continued to howl as the laws of Baator took effect. The devils’ bodies were broken apart, and a large number of hell worms crawled out to form their new appearance.
In general, most of the devils determined to have sinned had been demoted by one rank. A bearded would become a spinagon, and a spinagon would become a lemure. Their foreheads were branded with a symbol of shame. Be it here or with their old superiors, they would only take on the most lowly and menial jobs, the chances of being promoted again minimal.
The more unlucky ones were turned into nupperibo, xerfilstyx, and all other devils that had been demoted. Their power was also reduced greatly, and there was also a huge change to their personalities.
Many normal devils watched this with fear on their faces. It would keep them working diligently, abiding by the rules.
“Next is the promotions!” Baalzephon declared after Zapan retreated. Unlike demotions, promotions were something to rejoice over. Few were lucky enough to have this.
To the devils, every promotion was an opportunity. It normally needed a ceremony, held by their superiors who needed to approve it first. A tremendous amount of soul energy would be consumed.
At this moment, the approving superiors would be the Dark Eight, and the soul energy would be that accumulated from the Blood War.
The order of devils was simple. There was the most basic petitioners, and then the lower devils. They were the lemures, spinagons, and then the lesser devils which were the bearded devils, imps, steel devils, kytons, pain devils, amnizu, and then the greater devils that included the bone devils, orthons, barbazu, ice devils, horned devils, dogai, paeliryon and various other forms. The pit fiends were at the very top. Each devil’s appearance was a rank higher than the ones behind them.
Promotions and demotions all followed this order, normally by a single step. A steel devil would become a kyton, for instance, or a kyton would become a pain devil.
A leap in promotions, such as a steel devil becoming a pain devil, was an advancement of two steps! There was also the advancement from a spinagon to a lesser devil, the bearded devil. While it was one rank, it needed a huge amount of soul energy. There were also the erinyes, succubi, and the special cases like the nupperibo and xerfilstyx that only appeared during demotions.
Leylin looked at the devils surrounding him. Most had smiles on their faces. While they would have to deal with their own superiors after they returned, they probably would not go against the authority of the Dark Eight and revoke the promotion. Hence, this was a great profit!
Even without enough achievements to be promoted, the soul energy amassed was worth it. Leylin had killed a marilith and abalor, that alone was enough for him to be promoted. Even his subordinates had a shot.
Honestly, from Leylin’s point of view, this promotion ceremony was not much different from the demotion before. The original body was broken down, and a new one would be moulded. It was just as bloody, and the weak-willed would easily descend into chaos or faint. The promotion may keep memories and intellect intact, but there was a drastic change in personality. Leylin didn’t care about those lesser devils, but the only one worth mentioning was Hanalin.
As most of the lower devils under Leylin had died during the attack of the balor, her achievements were second only to Leylin. She had advanced into a powerful erinyes.
This was a huge leap! Even Hanalin’s previous superior should only be a succubus. Leylin could already imagine the ruckus that would be stirred up after Hanalin returned.
After all, devils were often very strict with their subordinates. Hanalin would probably be filled with hatred towards her own. She would probably constantly be thinking of ways to pull her superior down, and with this strength her plans would be more feasible.
The large-scale promotion got the Dark Eight the praise of all the devils. They were now called benevolent commanders, generous masters, and many other titles; the devils were certainly not stingy with their praise.
‘The way this promotion is hosted is too magnanimous. The merits of many devils are still iffy, and they’ve passed everything… They aren’t even considering the superiors of these devils… Leylin thought inside. He found something different about this.
He could already predict the unrest after this wave of devils that had advanced returned to their superiors. With how scheming the devils were, this was inevitable.
Leylin’s temporary senior officer, Baalzephon arrived in front of him.
“Brave warrior, you killed a balor on the verge of evolving! This achievement should be enough for you to become a pit fiend.” Baalzephon looked truly regretful, as if really feeling indignant for Leylin.
“Unfortunately, your superior, the greedy Azlok, is a crazy person filled with jealousy, so we can’t allow your advancement unless he approves of it…” After these words were said, the gazes of the devils landed on Leylin, ridiculing him.
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