The gods possessed the strength to turn the heavens and the earth upside down. Leylin’s divine ability, Warp Reality, made a joke of things such as innate talent or aptitude.
Even as the boy was stupefied, some changes manifested on Lonce’s body. Before the youth even had the time to express his gratitude, Leylin’s prophetic words ended and he fainted immediately.
The incident caused a stir all around them. The priests saw the imprint Leylin left behind on the boy, and knew what to do next.
‘I’ll most likely get another zealot once news of Eric’s end reaches his ears…’ Leylin stroked his chin.
Gods had a myriad of complex tasks to accomplish everyday, and from one point of view Leylin’s actions just now were a net loss. However, his worshippers needed a boost in morale from time to time. Since Eric and his family were being destroyed anyway, he chose to reveal his divine presence.
“Let’s use their demise to announce my arrival.” A freezing radiance was emitted from Leylin’s eyes.
Umberlee had put him in contact with the orc gods, and their greater god Gruumsh welcomed his arrival. Though, that being said, the orcs wouldn’t reject anyone who wanted to team up with them to fight two greater gods.
However, things were different when Malar was brought up. Gruumsh had an ambiguous attitude at best, expressing helplessness in Leylin’s conflict with the God of the Hunt. The most he could do was remain neutral.
However, his reactions made Leylin feel like Malar’s relationship with the orc gods was closer than his.
However, that was quite easy to understand. The orc and beast gods were of the same faction, and there was an intrinsic foundation for their cooperation. Malar had been a longtime ally, and he would be more reliable than a stranger like Leylin. However, these gods had misunderstood Leylin’s thoughts. Malar didn’t qualify to be Leylin’s enemy. He was mere prey, and not something he paid any mind to.
Leylin’s gaze instead pierced through space, entering New Silverymoon, ‘Ignorant plebeian, you dare eye my property!’
The body and soul of a saintess were the personal property of the deity they served, and this was true across all alignments and churches. Eric daring to harbour thoughts of defiling Barbara was blasphemy!
Leylin hadn’t found a suitable opportunity to establish his presence and dignity before, but Eric had now come knocking on his door. Wasn’t it akin to committing suicide? Even with all its legendaries and hidden branches, the dukedom was just a bunch of ants in the eyes of a god.
“Well, it’s about time to let my main body through, so I’ll need some test subjects as well…” Leylin smiled, as if seeing the fall of Eric’s house.
Earl Eric had no idea of this star of death shining brightly over his house, and his high spirits hadn’t been dampened in the least. His malicious schemes and plans had led Rafiniya and the paladins under her to clamp down on the Neon Merchant Group, and they’d obtained fantastic results. His rage had calmed down.
‘I won’t have to wait much longer before Anya comes knocking on my door, do I?’ Eric stroked his chin, anticipation in his eyes. He’d been longing for the rose of the Bane Family for a while now.
‘That saintess won’t be long either… I haven’t tasted a saintess yet…’ Suddenly, Eric’s body seemed to blaze with passion, and a small stream of heat flowed to his lower abdomen.
“My lord!” a voice interrupted just as Eric was about to get some maids to vent his lust. It was his old butler.
“What is it?” he asked with impatience, “Speak!” If the old butler had nothing of import, he would be taught an unforgettable lesson.
“The master is back. He’s waiting for you in the study.” However, the butler only took a sentence to calm Eric down immediately. It was like cold water was poured down on the boy.
Eric’s grandfather was a duke of the Silverymoon Alliance, a legendary wizard who managed the city’s consulate. He was on the same level as Old Mage Elminster, the two having studied together in the past. Put bluntly, he was the pillar of support for the entire family.
Eric seemed very powerful as he flaunted his authority, but he was nothing before his grandfather. Just a word from the man would strip him of all authority.
“I… I’m on my way!” Eric straightened out his clothes in a hurry; the duke never liked his descendants being tardy or messy. At the same time, the burning desire in his eyes was replaced by a fawning gaze.
It didn’t take long for Eric to stand before his grandfather in the study. The duke had a goosefeather quill in hand, and was continuously scribbling away at a pile of documents.
“Eric…” It took over a dozen minutes for Eric to hear his grandfather’s voice, his knees on the verge of buckling. It wasn’t loud, but it carried a strange power that caused the young noble to straighten his back immediately.
“I hear you’ve been quite happy recently, forging close ties with the paladins of the God of Justice. Especially Rafiniya, you’ve allowed her to gain many contributions!” A hint of mockery appeared in the corner of the Duke’s eyes.
“Forgive me, Lord Grandfather. I’m only doing this for the sake of work…” Eric replied feebly.
“Let me make this clear first: the Lady of Hope holds power equivalent to mine, she isn’t someone you can covet. Now moving on… Have you been clamping down on the Neon Merchant Group as of late?”
Eric’s body trembled as he tried to reply, his back being drenched in cold sweat, “You know, Grandfather… They’re fugitives from New Silverymoon, I’m only performing my duty—”
“No matter what it is, stop now!” the duke interjected.
“But why?” Eric felt somewhat repressed. Although he had his own plans when dealing with the Neon Merchant Group, he’d also kept the expansion of the family in mind.
“The Neon Merchant Family is backed by the Giant Serpent Church. One should always show respect when dealing with a god!” Had the old duke known of Eric’s lust for Barbara, his words would not have been this calm. Right now, he only felt extreme weariness. His work in the consulate took up too much of his time, and he’d remained stagnant without advancing.
“I’ve expanded the family enough. We don’t need to grow further, we should focus on stabilising ourselves.” The duke rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Think carefully about what I said… Do not try to provoke a faction that has the backing of a god! The results will not be pretty…”
“Yes, Lord Grandfather.” Eric bowed and retreated from the study room…
The youth only started howling after he’d returned to his own room. “WHY?” he roared like a beast, “When I’m just about to succeed…”
“My Lord!” the maidservant Eric doted on the most ran in, her face filled with worry, “What happened?”
“Who let you in?”
It was then that the maid saw a pair of bestial eyes staring at her, icy and filled with murderous intent. An ear-piercing scream sounded out, but it quickly faded as everything returned to normal...
A hidden passage opened up some time later, and the Shadow Hound Gloff walked out.
“Master…” The owner of the Blackmoon Merchant Group took off his black robes, revealing animal hide and a body laced with fat as he greeted Eric with respect. The corpse on the floor did not faze him at all.
“Hurry and dispose of it, do not let it taint my room any further…” Eric kicked the maid’s corpse away, her once soft and supple body already growing brittle.
“As you wish, Master!’ Gloff moved to obey. However, he stopped for a moment in hesitation, “Also, Master, do we continue suppressing the Neon Merchant Group?”
“Hmm?” Eric frowned, before throwing a flower vase at Gloff’s head. A loud shattering noise sounded, and blood spilled to the floor. “So you got the news too. Well, aren’t you quite loyal? Don’t forget who it is that reared a dog like you!”
Fear entered Gloff’s expression as Eric bellowed in rage. However, the halfblood was instead feeling more misery than fear in his heart. No matter how powerful he seemed in the darkness, Gloff knew he was only a lackey that Eric could dispose of anytime. If Eric grew annoyed with him, he’d end up like the maid in a matter of seconds.
“Of course not, Master, how could I have the guts?! You’re the greatest power in my eyes!” Gloff bowed his head and put on a fawning expression. He was almost licking Eric’s boots.
“Listen up…” Eric’s breathing resumed a regular pace. He viewed Gloff with a higher importance than the maidservant earlier.
“Our plans must go on… Only now, it should be kept secret from the others. Continue with our actions until the Neon Merchant Group yields. Is that understood?” There was no way Gloff did not understand Eric’s intentions. However, if he did not obey he would die. The Shadow Hound valued his own life over the duke’s commands, so he immediately agreed.
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