“Giant Serpent Church?” Rafiniya’s expression changed, as sealed memories came to light.
“Leylin, huh…” The scenes in her mind seemed fresh, and it caused Rafiniya to stagger a few steps. The youngest legendary wizard appeared in her mind once more in all his handsomeness, a memory of the shadow that had been cast on her entire life.
‘We’ll meet again...’ Rafiniya thought to herself. The last time she’d met Leylin, she invited him to the north to kill Malar. However, they’d separated on the issue of the sharing of loot, and she’d heard that he beat back several churches to emerge triumphant.
Even more shocking news followed afterwards— Leylin Faulen had taken an army of five thousand men to the natives’ empire, taking the place over completely. He’d advanced into a demigod, and built the Giant Serpent Church!
The news had made it clear that her former leader had already chosen a different path, and walked further down it than she had hers. Rafiniya gritted her teeth.
She was extremely aware that her current status as a legendary paladin was due to Tyr’s blessings. But why would Tyr give her his attention in a church filled with paladins? She hadn’t wanted to think of the reasoning and avoided the issue, but she couldn’t back down anymore.
“I must believe in justice, and fight for what’s right!” Rafiniya said out loudly, as if reaffirming her thoughts.
“Very well. Our Lord is watching you!” Having received the reply he wanted, the cardinal left.
However, Rafiniya clenched her fists tightly. ‘Demigods, blood sacrifices, and filthy transactions. Leylin… If you’re there, I won’t hesitate to pull you out and punish you in the name of justice!’
With Helm’s support, the Church of Justice travelled extremely fast. It had only taken them three days to confirm the location of the Poison Scorpion Church. The two lawful churches gathered their warriors outside a small city.
“This is Cardinal Romese, of the Church of Protection. He’ll be in charge of this operation, we’re to assist him!” A priest on Rafiniya’s side pointed out.
Romese’s eyes brightened after he took a look at Rafiniya. “Lady Rafiniya, the star of hope for the commoners! Please accept our greatest respect for your love and protection.”
Rafiniya was an absolute beauty, and she possessed an aura of purity and holiness as a paladin.
“Your participation in this mission gives us more confidence.” Cardinal Romese expressed his heartfelt welcome to Rafiniya’s participation. This was extremely normal, as no one would reject the help of a legendary.
“Let’s skip the small talk. I will definitely comply with orders. I hope you don’t bear any grudges, eliminating evil is the foremost priority.” Rafiniya spoke icily and meticulously.
However, this attitude caused Romese to appreciate her even more. He waved his hand, and a priest moved forward to present her with a map written on parchment.
“Our intelligence says the Poison Scorpion Church is performing a blood sacrifice, using the bloodline and strength of a deity to revive their false god… The other false gods are supporting them, including the Lion-headed Golem, the Lord of Murky Darkness, and the Giant Serpent of the southern seas…”
Romese spoke briefly of the current situation, causing the expressions of those listening to turn solemn. Demigods were extremely powerful beings that had the blood of many on their hands. Many of their order had fallen to these opponents.
It was a pretty simple affair. Any demigod that was easy to deal with had already been executed by the lawful churches. If they could survive for so long, these false gods weren’t ordinary, possessing great strength and cunning.
“This is the place they chose for the sacrifice. The Tree Castle.” The cardinal pointed to a red circle on the map, the wording extremely clear.
“The baron in the Tree Castle has been brainwashed by the Poison Scorpion Church, so the troops and civilians there are already under their control. We’ve obtained the decree of the royal family— All heretics in the area are to be executed immediately!”
No one objected to Romese’s words. Cultists weren’t human to those on the holy mission, only a group of creatures that had lost their sanity. They had to be purged!
“The garrison troops and the paladins will cooperate with us. Our target this time is the blood descendant of that false god, and the upper echelons of the Poison Scorpion Church.” Romese distributed portraits of Raike and Schliff. The drawing was extremely lifelike, and nobody would make a mistake.
“This is the descendant of the false god, the crux of their blood sacrifice. His name is Raike, and he’s our primary target.
“This wizard is known as Schliff, and he’s one of the church’s core bishops. He’s a high-ranked wizard, not legendary in any domain. He excels at instant teleportation and portals…”
“Our mission is simple. If there aren’t any false gods lending a hand, we can take care of it on our own,” Rafiniya concluded after Romese’s brief. However, they knew that demigods were possibly here, so nobody dared to let down their guard.
“Does everyone understand now? Set off immediately!” Romese got on his warhorse, and the tall, sturdy horse neighed loudly.
*Thud! Thud!* The warhorses bristled with energy as this small group of elites from the churches set off in the direction of the Tree Castle.
The Tree Castle had turned into another wasteland. Black mist covered the area like a creature’s maw, gobbling up the entire region.
A large eye floated in mid-air. Romese seemed to obtain some information from his god, and he said with certainty, “This is the might of a false god… Their blood sacrifice is at its critical point.”
“May the Lord lead our way!” The other clerics prayed fervently, as a weak white glow appeared on their bodies. The black mist was soon dispelled, revealing a concealed path.
“Let’s go!” Romese took the lead, with Rafiniya following closely behind. The scenes she saw had caused her to tighten her grip on the reins. The crops in the area had already withered, and the farms were left empty and in a mess. It was as if the farmers were removed forcibly from the area.
“The castle is there!” Romese turned around and headed towards another direction.
The faint traces of blood told of the merciless situation that had unfolded in the area. Rafiniya gritted her teeth and made an oath, “Vile gods, I’ll never let you go!”
Castles often represented a long history, providing absolute protection to the inheritance that nobles were so proud of. However, the baron of the Tree Castle now stood at the corners of a wall, and his gaze was extremely strange yet fervent. The pride and reservedness that a noble was supposed to have, and most importantly the intelligence, had disappeared from his body.
‘Twenty thousand civilians, and aristocrats and nobles as well. I hope the Lord is satisfied with my offerings!’ The look of zealotry on the baron’s face was reserved for only the most pious of believers.
“The Poison Scorpion Lord will definitely feel your sincerity.” Schliff was carrying a large tome of the church, dressed up in papal attire inclusive of a crown.
“Enemy troops will be here soon. I hope you’ll be able to fight to the very end, all the troops of the church are yours to command.” Schliff handed a golden sceptre with scorpion carvings on it to the baron.
“All for our Lord!” The baron swore as he received the sceptre in a stately manner.
“Very good!” Schliff did not hesitate to leave the castle walls. Why would he fear entrusting this task to such a zealous apostle?
Many of the Poison Scorpion Church apostles remained within the castle. There were many bodies of young ladies and masters of nobility that were strewn across the floor.
The reception hall of the castle had already experienced a huge change. Many items of the core infrastructure had been removed, replaced with a towering altar stacked with dead bodies and flowing with blood.
At the top of the altar was a throne made of white bones that also resembled a cage, locking a youth within it.
Seeing Schliff, the youth eyes brightened, “Schliff, save me! I don’t wish to die!”
“Nonsense!” The malevolence in Schliff’s voice as he berated the boy called Raike to grow breathless, “You’re the seed of the Lord. The purpose of your existence is to be sacrificed for his sake!”
Schliff’s icy speech broke every delusion the boy had had. “But… But I…” Raike’s face turned pale immediately.
“There’s no ‘buts’... The lord will definitely be reborn from your flesh. That will be great glory for you!” Schliff walked up to the pedestal which had many waiting apostles.
“Brothers and sisters. Our Lord hasn’t fallen, only left temporarily.” Schliff opened his arms and decreed, “Now, as long as we chant the name of our Lord piously, he will gather enough energy to change the world and appear before us, leading us into bouts of victories ahead!”
“Lord, O’ Lord! You are everything, my flesh, my blood, my soul…” The apostles here were the craziest of the lot. They began to chant immediately, and even though there weren’t many of them the power of their faith had already converged onto the altar.
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