The face of the knight changed at that moment. His figure that was similar to an iron fortress moved forward, smashing the floor apart.
*Hss!* A thin shadow arose from the floor with a vertical blood-red eye. It looked like a tiny black snake.
“Wait a moment! This is…” The butler stopped the knight, placing his hands on the floor in all seriousness. The little snake stuck out its tongue and licked his fingers, moving towards his ears without hesitation before it released soft hisses.
The black snake exploded once it conveyed the message, and the butler’s face immediately changed, “Not good! The Church of Protection discovered our tracks, they’ve been behind us all this while!
“Forget the luggage. We should flee immediately, use the windows!” The butler had made his decision in a moment. The trio left the building secretly after they packed their essentials, leaving a candle burning to make it seem like the room was still occupied.
‘They left? That’s good. Regardless of their reasons, the fight shouldn’t have happened at the centre of the city, it would have affected our reputation significantly.’ A man draped in black robes emerged from the street, looking in the direction the three had headed. A long, thin snake slithered out of his sleeves, looking like the same one that had spoken to the butler.
“Bring this news to the lord, little precious. Those hateful guards of Helm have caught the trail as well…”
The black snake’s movements were as fast as the wind, and it instantly disappeared into the darkness.
“Hoohoo… We should have them suffer this time, letting them know that the Giant Serpent Church isn’t so easy to provoke.” The black shadow laughed coldly.
It was at this moment that an icy voice from behind startled him, “So you people are determined to oppose us?”
A hint of ice-cold killing intent pervaded the place, shortly followed by a dagger being pierced through the robed man’s chest.
“Despicable thing, trash like you belongs in the Nine Hells and the Abyss!”
When the man in black turned around, he saw a thief standing there with a cold expression. There was a condescending look in his eyes, Helm’s logo on his armour abnormally prominent.
“Huh?” Just as the thief was about to pull his dagger back, his expression suddenly changed, ‘There’s something wrong. The resistance…’
*Boom!* The man in black exploded, numerous black snakes scattering as they quickly spread themselves through the street.
“Hoohoo… Helm’s assassin… Just wait as my precious little snakes devour you…” A voice similar to an owl echoed from all directions, causing the assassin to turn grim. His figure disappeared into the darkness, only to reappear in front of Bishop Morand.
“I’ve failed, my Lord.”
“It isn’t your fault.” The bishop seemed quite forgiving, “The Giant Serpent Church chose to get involved, and our men have found traces of the false god’s descendant. Your orders have changed; in the name of the Lord, eliminate the spawn of the vile demigod!”
“In the name of the Lord!” Everyone quietly prayed, even the assassin. Fervour seemed to radiate from their eyes…
*Whoosh!* A massive number of black shadows encircled the fleeing trio as Helm’s Church chased after them.
“Waaaa!” A youngster’s cries echoed through the desolate beach. The butler had decided to use this route since there weren’t any people here even in the day because of frightening whirlpools, but people from Helm’s Church were still on their heels. This was a sufficient display of the church’s abilities.
By the time the youngster came around the knight was already on the floor, cut in two. His kidney had fallen out and his intestines were exposed, a scene surely to plague the youth’s nightmares for a long time… If he could survive, that is.
The kid himself was alive solely due to the efforts of his butler, who’d torn open a protective magic scroll. However, looking at the dense encirclement, the magic would not be able to sustain itself much longer.
“High-ranked wizard?” The knights of Helm opened up a path for Bishop Morand to walk through, and he did so without hurry.
He looked at the butler’s face, a trace of pity in his gaze, “I didn’t expect the Poison Scorpion Church would have a high-ranked wizard remaining. You’re pretty good, to have survived the fall of that vile false god…”
The demise of their god was a fatal blow to any church. It wasn’t just a problem of conviction, the priests of the church would be greatly weakened, instantly revoked of their status. An average body would be unable to bear the pain that followed.
In other words, a pure priest without any other profession would receive a fatal blow once their god died. The same held true for the lower-ranked members of the clergy as well. Only warriors, wizards, or other Professionals at high ranks would be able to survive that loss of power, even then on the condition that they were young and strong in terms of the soul.
This butler in front of Bishop Morand was one such person. The damage done to the bishops of a demigod when it fell was lower, and on top of that he himself was a tenacious high-ranked wizard. He managed to endure the backlash, allowing him to escape while their pope and a considerable number of other bishops had died. The man had taken on the responsibility of protecting his god’s child.
“The Poison Scorpion Lord is a real God, I will not tolerate your blasphemy.” The butler maintained a solemn face, his dignified temperament not betraying a hint of anger.
All devout worshippers held unyielding faith in their gods, making such fervent followers much more frightening than the rest. This butler was naturally one such man, or a high-ranked wizard would never join a demigod’s church.
“I can still give you a fair trial. Surrender, and hand over that spawn of the devil!” Bishop Morand spoke with a compassionate tone, and a giant eye appeared behind his back as he looked at the old butler.
“Don’t even think of using teleportation or a random portal. Our Lord has locked down the surrounding space. You shall be burnt at the stake!”
The youngster looked around him. The knights of Helm had taken out golden crossbows from their backs, the weapons incredibly frightening at close range. Forget teleportation, even if they tried to flee on land or in air they’d be unable to escape the attacks.
“Watch over me, my Lord.” Revealed to be a high-ranked wizard, the butler’s face was solemn as he spread a few tiny scorpions on the ground.
“Enslave!” “Greater Transformation!”
*Roar!* The tiny scorpions roared as they grew in size, becoming five metre long two metre high monsters, acting like tanks in front of the wizard.
"Young master. I’ll make an opening for you a while later, take the chance to escape. Bring that pendant to the Giant Serpent Church or the Faulen Family, and plead for their help.” The butler stood in front of the child, resolved to fight to the death.
“I…” It was already a significant feat for a youngster of thirteen or fourteen years of age who’d never experienced suffering to stay conscious so long.
“Sigh...” The butler could only helplessly sigh, turning around to face his opponents once more.
*Bang! Ka-cha!* The giant scorpions were dismembered rapidly under the knights’ attacks. A paladin had already rushed up to him.
“My Lord… You’re a star of the heavens, and one day you shall return to your throne…” The wizard mumbled, the fear of death absent from his face.
However, this expression changed after but a moment. A keening sound rang out as a black spear broke the spatial barrier to pierce through the paladin whose holy sword was raised.
“The sinister light in the air…” Bishop Morand frowned, turning towards the main culprit. It was a native warrior of the southern seas, short but full of toned muscle.
But then he saw the tattoos of devils bound with iron chains on the bodies of the man and his allies, and he went livid.
“The Giant Serpent Church’s elites, devil hunters! They’re high-ranked devil hunters who’ve sealed real devils!” Morand didn’t even send out any orders. His subordinates were already shrieking.
These devil hunters evidently had an unsavoury reputation in the south sea. Devils themselves were known to be cunning and secretive, with vile powers. How much more powerful did devil hunters have to be to defeat these devils?
Even if they were aligned neutrally, devil hunters used the powers of the devils they captured. It caused people to associate them with the devils as well, something the hunters did not care to explain. Their bad reputation had accumulated, and stories of them caused children to cry at night.
Morand wasn’t as ignorant as the commoners though, and he had a clear understanding of his opponents’ abilities. ‘Devil hunters are very powerful. They need to be high-ranked Professionals to seal devils in the first place, and some of them are even legendary…’
He quickly glanced at the many shadows hidden in the darkness, making the wise decision to reveal his identity.
“I am Bishop Morand of the Church of Protection! What are you lot trying to do?”
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