Tower of Babel
Author: Isaac Woulms

Chapter 36

Fewer columns clouded their view with each level of the divide Ben’s team advanced. This floor of the divide had one massive column at the center of the room and the building’s frame decorated with marble. The windows turned to thick glass, making the temperature rise back to bearable degrees. “Any details on the interior design?” Ben asked Trisha.

“Not sure. I know it has something to do with the Demon ritual.”

“The first level,” Samael began, “the Demon candidate stays there for two days without food or water. The glassless windows allow cold air to get in and the cool temperature is supposed to hold off dehydration. It begins the second after midnight on the first day of your ritual, so you’re expected to be well hydrated and stuffed full of food before you show up. It sucks.

“At the second midnight of your ritual, you have to perform all of the techniques that you’ve been taught so far before you can take an hour break to eat and drink. If you’re asleep or unconscious during the second midnight then you've disqualified yourself. There's a Demon member standing by to report your failure if anything goes awry during the ritual. They usual alter your perception in your weak state of mind so you never really see them there.”

“That's crazy. It's kind of like some special forces training,” Ben said.

“I prefer the term specialer forces,” Samael said.

Trisha held back a laugh and cleared her throat.

“Watch out Ben I'll steal your gal from you.” Samael shot a glare at Ben, searching for his reaction.

“She's not my gal, she's just helping me out.”

“Did you hear that? You’re just helping him out.”

“Do you always try to piss people off?” Ben asked.

Just trying to make it easier on you when you tear this dude’s heart out. I'm such a nice guy, Samael thought to Trisha. “The second level is an obstacle course. There's nine designated areas that the candidate is supposed to stand while a Demon member test their abilities. You have to travel to every location and try to overcome each telekinetic technique as it’s used against you. Once that’s complete you get thirty minutes to catch your breath and pray to whatever imaginary friend you put your faith into then move on to this level.”

“So you have to be adept at all of the techniques to become a Demon member?”

“Sorta. I always sucked at anything other than self enhancements and manipulating my Kevlar wraps. These things were a godsend. All that other junk is for bitches.”

“Using his brains in a fight is too complicated for Sam,” Trisha said.

“What about the level we’re on right now?”

“All of the current Demon members stand before you and the candidate picks who he’s going to fight. The candidate is limited to only using one telekinetic technique of his choice during the battle. There's no time limit or rules. You fight, win or lose, and the Demon members decide whether you go on to the final stage of the ritual. Not only are you tired, thirsty, hungry, and slightly retarded at that point, you still have more to go.”

Ben saw the markings on the columns and the spider-webbed cracks scattered along the floor of the level.

Samael walked over to a small crater at the base of one of the pillars and pointed at its center. “I made this one. Should have kicked his head off, but he moved out of the way.” Ben walked over to the hole and realized he was standing blow for blow to the person who made this scar on the floor. “Don’t get a warm fuzzy. My muscles and mental strength have shrunk since then. Once I’ve stretched out I’ll knock your head off properly.” Samael shook his head and said, “You keep leaving your thoughts open like that and you’re going to get into a lot of trouble someday.”

“I’ll take your advice into consideration,” Ben said. “How long until we reach Lilly’s room? It couldn’t be too far off, right?”

“That’s exactly how far we have to go. Not too far off if you use the metric measuring system.”

Ben knew exhausting the rest of his telekinetic energy would make him fall short of saving Lilly but Samael’s smart comments made it harder to resist. “So what’s the point of you reaching the top of the Tower? Do you just want to annoy me?”

“You got me. I want to piss in your cereal and maybe say hi to Lilly. It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other. Killer cyborgs are walking around so there’s an interesting conversation piece.”

“Never giving a straight answer I see.”

“There’s a shadow in every conversation that takes place in the Tower. You should know that by now.”

Ben was finished talking to Sam. The three walked onwards to the back of the room towards the exit in silence.

How are you doing so far, Benjamin? he heard. It was Baal's voice. As you travel with your former enemy Samael, does it feel like at any moment he's going to turn on you? You still have Trisha following you; she was a former enemy as well, right? Do you feel alone?

“Does any-”

No, they cannot hear me. It seems that our last conversation left an impression. It's easier now to talk to each other, just the two of us.

Is that so? Ben thought. He was still walking to the end of the room.

True as true can be. Speaking of truth, let us talk about that for a bit.

I don't trust you, Ben replied.

You don't have to, but let me remind you that you've surrounded yourself with enemies within the center of the enemies main base. You were not even invited to this Tower were you? Nope. How's Samael doing? Is he behaving himself as per request?

The thought of everyone having access to his mind was on the verge of enraging. He's trying to get to the top of the Tower for some reason. What is so popular about the top of this Tower?

That's the million dollar question, Ben thought.

I'm sure you'll all have a blast when everyone reaches the top. How much do you know about the Bio-Machina?

Not enough, Ben thought.

Seven members came to the Tower. I recall Samael giving them nicknames in an earlier conversation you had with him.

The memory came to Ben's mind.

That's the one. Now remember carefully. The cannibal go's by the name Gulo, tall and ugly looking. The arsonist is his handler, Ignis, a genial man. The samurai, you've met Magnus, he's getting a little close, mind the swords. A crow, Corvus, you've also met him and you've met the crossbow women, Sagitta. The second to last on the list is the zombie, Senium. His title is self-explanatory.

Why are you telling me all of this?

I've taken a shining to you. Poor little Ben. It must be unsettling, fumbling around in the dark.

So it's pity?

You could say that. Also, the Bio-Machina leader go's by the name Deus. His mind is very hard to pick up, more machine than man. This has been your friendly bit of advice from yours truly.

Wait. Hold on. There was no reply. “Damn.”

“What?” Trisha asked.

“It's nothing.”


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