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Hope Stronghold and the baptism of its god was the only salvation of the natives of Debanks Island. Only where the light of the Winged Serpent God shone could they avoid the plague. They could even continue living healthily, unafraid of suddenly vomiting blood and ending up dead by the roadside.
Once Tiff exposed these suspects of their crimes, it immediately drew public outrage. The masses jeered and shouted, and if not for the peacekeeping troops on standby these convicts would long since have been ripped into shreds.
These unlucky suspects were adjudged guilty. Not only did they spread rumours and dig for information on Leylin’s background, they were even looking for the origins of the holy water, an extremely important mission. Each and every one of these acts was an attempt to smear the reputation of the church.
As expected of the holy protectors, these suspects whom the natives had seen on a daily basis were quickly captured. All evidence pointed towards their guilt. Although they wanted to deny these alleged crimes and confess to their other wrongdoings, they discovered that nobody would believe them.
The stereotype that bad people committed more misdeeds was a prevalent one, and the truths they spoke were dismissed. Very soon, Tiff righteously announced the crimes of these spies, and sent them to burn at the stake. This was accompanied by jubilant cheers from the public. The rumours floating around were very soon suppressed by this event.
Leylin had less and less interest in the dealings of mortals these days.The natives only had two choices anyway; they could either convert to his faith or die from the plague. With the only options offered death and salvation, it was extremely easy to conquer Debanks Island.
Having lost their worshippers, the totem spirits had turned into a thing of the past. They had no more chances to turn the tide.
However, these spirits were no fools. With their existences threatened, they would choose to gamble with their lives…
The very night Tiff ordered the execution of the criminals. The sky was bright and clear, with not a single cloud blocking the vast river of stars and the silver moon. Moonlight and starlight dimly shone upon Hope Stronghold, giving everything they touched a silver glow.
Tiff and Isabel had just ended their daily duties. Suddenly, they felt their hearts constrict and palpitate, as if some prehistoric beast was drawing towards them from the distance. A nervousness made their hair stand on end as they made their way to the windows.
“This is…” they gaped.
A trail of fire lit up the sky, its dazzling rays lighting up the horizon and basking Hope Stronghold in its radiance. At the end of this golden light were several figures with monstrous auras that left the two of them somewhat suffocated.
“The tribal gods! They came here directly…” Tiff cried hoarsely.
These totem spirits weren’t foolish enough to let Leylin chop them apart. With the immense pressure he put on them, they decided to band together in a ferocious counterattack. Their sources had confirmed that Leylin was the one behind all this. If Leylin’s main body was killed in a holy war, then everything would be over.
“God…” Tiff clenched his crest subconsciously, with apprehension in his eyes.
Even if those spirits had left their strongholds, they were still demigods. Although their powers had waned, they planned to overcome Leylin with sheer numbers. Although Tiff knew he couldn’t lose his grip in such times, his heart still skipped a beat.
“It’s the Flaming Guardian!” “Almighty Akaban, the sun god…”
The phenomenon in the skies had alerted the natives, and when many of them looked up into the skies they saw the demigods they had forsaken. They cried out in fear, calling the names of the gods they used to worship.
“There is no need to fear, children…” A voice sounded from the Targaryen statue, travelling to the depths of each worshipper’s soul. It seemed to come to life, the voice carrying a soothing energy which calmed them down immediately.
*Hss!* A phantom Targaryen appeared in midair, facing the enemies.
“Leave this to me. Focus on the natives’ fight on the other side…” Leylin transmitted into Tiff’s and Isabel’s minds. Done with that, he raised his head and sized up what would be the most powerful opponents he’d faced since his arrival in the World of Gods.
‘Once I eliminate them, the entire Debanks Empire will fall into my hands…’ Leylin’s eyes reddened as the Nightmare Eye appeared on his forehead. Splendid golden rays lit up his body, seemingly on the verge of burning up. The powerful aura caused a few opposing totem spirits to change their expressions.
*Ooo—* Few totem spirits had come in the first place, they likely knew that divine beings could do little to him. The ones here were all demigods, blazing with their unique godfires.
At the middle was a gigantic flaming chariot with a half-naked native on top. He wielded a golden lance and had a grave face, emitting the distinct aura of a king as his eyes glinted with wisdom.
What was more surprising to Leylin was that the blazing horse that pulled his chariot was also a demigod, yet it stayed under the native and allowed itself to be used as a mount. On the sides of the flaming chariot were a double-headed lion with golden fur standing on end as well as a scorpion that seemed to be made of pure gold.
‘Four demigods… Is this all the hidden divine power of Debanks Island?’ Leylin met their gazes without weakness nor fear.
“Intruder, undo this sickness! I, the founding emperor of the Sakartes Empire, the Sun God and King of All Kings, Controller of All Flames, Mountains and Rivers, Akaban, can grant you a dignified death if you comply!” the demigod on the war chariot exclaimed in his tongue, holding onto the reins of the blazing horse. Since demigods could comprehend all languages and writings, there wasn’t an issue with communication.
‘Hm? His mind isn’t corroded by the faith of the natives?’ Leylin was slightly surprised, ‘Is it because he was a native soul who merged with the faith of the empire, becoming a valiant soul after death?’
As Leylin pondered over Akaban’s threats, the demigod lion and scorpion snarled terrifyingly. Scanning him more closely, Leylin could not help but feel great pity. ‘What a pity… While you’re doing all you can to comprehend godhood, you’re too ambitious. That won’t help you break through the restraints of the natives and become a true god…’
Akaban was obviously very wise in strengthening his domain, but he was still unable to become a true god. It showed how tedious this path was. Leylin conjectured that there were two plausible reasons for the failure. Firstly, there were the flaws with the natives’ souls. On the other hand, Akaban himself might be too ambitious.
The domains of the sun and moon could actually contend against greater gods, but Akaban still wasn’t satisfied with them. He wanted to spread over into other roles, becoming an overlord. Pitifully, the meagre bit of faith the natives could provide wasn’t enough to do so. It left him stuck as a demigod.
Had Akaban chosen domains related to the natives or savagery, he might long since have become a true god. If that were the case, Leylin would have had nothing to do with Debanks Island.
‘Akaban… your misfortune is my greatest fortune!’ Having thought this through, Leylin seemed to hold the pearl of wisdom. The look of absolute confidence he had evidently stabbed at Akaban’s ego.
“What can a mere divine being of another race, someone who isn’t even a demigod, do to resist attacks from all sides?” Given that he was a founding emperor, there were no such words as modesty or consideration in Akaban’s vocabulary. He looked at convenience and benefits.
With a wave of his hands, the double-headed lion and golden scorpion surrounded Leylin. Akaban himself rode the chariot to roam the battlefield, bundles of golden flames splashing everywhere and forming a resplendent scene in the night.
The blazing horse, itself a demigod, whinnied, and a shadow of a sun rose up behind Akaban. The imposing aura curbed much of Leylin’s energy, and Akaban prepared to deal Leylin the final blow.
*Chik! Chik!* The golden scorpion cried out without end. Its tail shot forth, containing toxins within that were much more potent that the wizards’ Finger of Death. The double-headed lion roared as well, using its innate skills. One head spat out flames, while the other spat out blue lightning.
Most importantly, their domains rippled out, beginning the process of crushing Leylin.
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