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Under threat of imminent death, the natives succumbed to the devilish snake that had slain their ancestral spirit, giving it their faith. Although with some unknown contamination, massive and unbridled power of faith surged into Leylin’s body through the Weave.
“Reverence turns into faith…” Reaping this new power, Leylin now understood the path of the gods better.
A contract between gods and mortals was just the base of divinity. Another important requirement was reverence. If reverence was lost, it was only a matter of time before the power of faith moved to someone else. And murder and death were the most efficient ways to command this reverence!
‘It’s just that these natives’ faith is incomplete…’ Detecting a huge amount of contamination that would erode his own divine powers and eventually destroy him, Leylin smirked, ‘But how can my quintessence be so easily tainted?’
*Buzz!* Dark red runes crawled over Leylin’s body. The Nightmare Eye opened between his brows, beginning to absorb the contamination and refine it into pure dreamforce.
‘Dreamforce is definitely the most accommodating of different powers…’ Leylin nodded his head in satisfaction.
With his abilities as a Warlock in addition to the Nightmare Absorption Physique, he could absorb the faith of these natives easily.
“However, I need some time to properly digest this much…” Leylin could feel the intertwined emotions of his worshippers through the Weave, and the instability of their faith. Still, this was only the beginning, and he’d gotten it through murder. Leylin was satisfied with the result.
‘What matters is the other tribes. I need to change my strategy next time…’ Leylin recalled the knowledge from his previous world. Blood and tears proved time and time again that war would always occur. No matter how much one drove for peace, someone would always strike at their enemy’s lowest point.
The only way to conquer them was a display of force, constantly killing off their forces until they finally assimilated. There were many unorthodox ways to go about it as well, but they were easily countered.
The theory was simple, it was just a dog eat dog world!
Had Leylin been a simple leader, he would have decided to kill off all the tribes. After all, he already had a disadvantage in numbers. No matter how much they were assimilated, even smaller groups caused problems to large communities, let alone in this situation where the numbers were reversed.
The glory of the bald eagle, of the United States of America, had come on the back of blood, sweat, and tears. However, from a god’s standpoint, Leylin had to adopt a different approach.
Gods transcended humanity. Having stepped into such a realm, their vision was no longer limited to that of humans. With everlasting life, the conflict between tribes was trivial.
To put it bluntly, even if he had to use all of the incomplete power of faith that came from these natives to match the power of gods, Leylin would be willing to do it. He thus absolved himself of all conflicts between tribes, only focusing on the power of faith. The more a person worshipped him and provided power of faith, the more glory they would get.
Even a native would be able to become a cleric or even a bishop! As long as they were devout and prayed piously, of course.
Leylin recalled a famous proverb from his previous life, ‘Everything between heaven and earth is but a stray dog!’
Although there were many interpretations of it, Leylin himself knew that everyone was treated equally by the divine, with no bias. That was the approach the gods of this world had adopted, at least.
However, the truest lack of bias could only be attributed to the various World Wills. Realistically speaking, as long as a majority of his faith came from the pirates and devil worshippers, Leylin would favour them. However, in the future he would have to rely on the power of faith from Debanks Island once he conquered it. The scales would be adjusted then.
It was only pragmatic and necessary to pick up natives and make them priests or saintesses, showing that everyone was equal and giving them hope. Leylin turned his attention to the field using his divine sense.
The battle continued, with not every native being cowed by the fear in their hearts. When a change of faith was forced, ‘heroes’ were wont to step up time and time again. Be it man or woman, youth or elderly, the only similarity was the unwavering resolution in their eyes, and the spirit of martyrdom.
The pirates simply beheaded them, the fresh blood pouring into the battlefield striking more fear into the natives’ hearts. Beautiful woman who did not comply were a way for them to flaunt their manhood as they slayed the old and young.
Isabel did not stop these acts. A change of faith had to be ignited by fresh blood, and those who wouldn’t comply even superficially would only have death awaiting them. If their faith could not be forced from their soul, they would disappear in the flesh.
Before humans grew civilised, killing eliminated problems without solving them. As culture progressed, this method was abandoned. However, the laws of the jungle still prevailed in the World of Gods, even on the mainland.
‘There won’t be thorns sticking out anymore, but there should be some who’ve only complied on the surface. They’ll be scheming something else in the background…’ Leylin mocked this train of thought in his mind. Like the proverbs went, one would grow accustomed to kneeling. Once they swore loyalty to him, he could acquire their faith and strengthen it in the future.
The hidden problems were easy to solve. As a divine being, Leylin could tell deceit and true reverence apart. Those fellows would never climb up the hierarchy, and once they exhibited any signs of rebellion they would be executed immediately.
Using the method of the carrot and the stick, Leylin would convert them completely, making them unwavering in their devotion.
‘It’s just that I don’t have enough time…’ Leylin shook his head.
At this moment, many black-robed clerics flooded the battlefield, soothing the natives like they were lambs. “Forget the false gods you believed in, and put your faith in our Lord. Even your family will experience salvation for your choice.”
A threat to one’s life left them vulnerable in many ways. Tiff understood this himself, having sent the acolytes out to soothe the natives without instruction to. With the gentle words of these acolytes, even more of the natives pledged their faith to Leylin, which strengthened his connection over the Weave even more than before.
A native girl looked up at Tiff, her eyes betraying her apprehension. “If...If I choose to believe in your god, will father be saved?”
Tiff smiled gently, kneeling down. “Who is your father, and where is he?” he asked the girl who had pale yellow skin and dark hair. There were traces of mud and coal on her face.
“He… He was a brave warrior of the tribe. He died today on the shore…” the little girl said timidly.
“He will be,” Tiff stroked her hair, “Our Lord has mastered the massacre domain. All souls that perished under him can definitely be salvaged. If you pledge your faith…”
“Then, I choose to believe!” The girl knelt before the statue and kowtowed with utmost sincerity. It was so much so that her forehead began to bruise, and blood appeared.
“Almighty bishop, I know where a group of the tribe’s warriors have gone, including the chief. They are in a mountain-hole at Bakala.”
The natives stirred in unrest, shocked by the little girl’s betrayal. Her calmness surprised even Tiff.
“Very well, you shall be rewarded!” Tiff eyed an acolyte at the side, who relayed this important information to the other leaders. He looked at the little native girl fondly, trying to think of a reward.
Before he could do that, though, a golden light shone out of the Targaryen statue. The power caused everyone to kneel unconsciously.
A divine aura seemed to come to life under the holy light, and a beam of it entered the native girl’s body.
“You are kind yet resolute, you shall be blessed!” The golden light circled the girl’s body, leaving a mark on her forehead.
Once the light dimmed, Tiff looked solemnly at the girl. “Your name?”
“I am Barbara! Barbara Morui!” The girl repeated her name.
“You have received the blessings of the Winged Serpent God. From now, you are the saintess of our church!” Tiff hoisted the girl onto his shoulders, “May the winged serpent always be with you!”
“Kukulkan! Kukulkan!” The numerous acolytes cheered Leylin’s divine name in zealotry.
At the same time, this atmosphere, with Barbara hoisted up high, renewed the hope of the natives. Leylin felt the power from their faith surge again, and the web of their faith grew sturdier.
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