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Leylin put on a solemn expression.
“If I hadn’t interfered, then they would have gotten authority of Dis as well. At that time, with the powers of three levels of Baator and another third of Avernus, he could have ousted the other lords from their thrones…
“Right now, as long as Asmodeus consolidates his strength, stabilises his position, and ropes in one to two more overlords to his side, he will become the dominant force in the Nine Hells…
“However, this has nothing to do with me anymore.” Asmodeus had indeed lived up to his name as a crafty old devil. He had capitalised on the precarious situation that Dis was in, and carried out a revolution.
Although this had alerted the other lords to his schemes, the devil had already met his goals. His power had grown, and he now held a superior position. It wouldn’t be impossible for him to unite Baator in the future.
“Hmm? He even sent me a message, and wants to speak to me?” Leylin had received a spiritual energy wave, evidently a message from Asmodeus.
“Indeed, getting the assistance of an outsider like me would be best. My position in hell is still unstable after all. However, this devil’s goodwill cannot be trusted at all; and the best way to avoid all negotiations is to leave.” Leylin put on a mysterious smile.
“Your Excellency, I’m here!” When Azlok arrived, he had some of Leylin’s worshippers in tow. The collective armies of the different hells had now returned to their own levels of Baator. Had they remained, Leylin would most likely have assimilated them into his own forces.
“I’ll be leaving for a while. Take care of the affairs in Dis for me. I also have a few missions for you to take care of.” Leylin did not hesitate to hand the tasks down to his men.
Azlok wasn’t in a position to refuse him, and even if he was why would he? This pit fiend was extremely glad to be able to take over an entire hell.
‘Since I’m the one with the authority, when I leave Asmodeus can only look on without doing a thing…’ Leylin turned back and looked at the City of Iron for one last time before leaving Baator. ‘Once my goals are achieved and I finish ascending to godhood, he can only eat back any schemes he’s plotting…’
It would be extremely simple to leave Baator. Even a demigod could traverse planes, and Baator was already close to the prime material plane. There was a portal in the outskirts of Ribcage City whose guards could be bribed.
However, Leylin was now a Lord of Baator. He had the right to move to the prime material plane as he wished. Although many others found it difficult to travel between different worlds, to Leylin it was like taking a walk in his backyard. Before the other lords could react, he had already returned to the prime material plane.
The newly established Faulen Empire on Debanks Island, within the Giant Serpent Church.
‘Almighty Lord, you are the serpent that controls all, holding the powers of massacre.’ The church itself radiated a colourful sheen, and many of the priests prayed piously. Tiff was at the back of the church, meeting a white-robed Leylin.
“Master!” he began a report, his eyes blazing with fervour, “We moved Marquis Jonas and his wife to the empire as per your decree, along with all their servants…”
“Well done,” Leylin nodded his head. This was something he’d planned immediately after he’d become a demigod. He couldn’t entrust things such as this to the Goddess of Luck Tymora. He was always fastidious, and would have these things settled himself.
His family was on his lands now. There was no faith here other than that he approved. Along with his church containing multiple legendaries, totem spirits, and another demigod to help, Leylin could finally be at ease. Were any god or church to make an attempt on this place, they would all gang up on them.
‘You need at least a hundred thousand elites to take over Debanks Island, and they need to travel a long distance over sea. You’ll also need many high-ranked legendaries, and have to sacrifice multiple divine avatars…’ Leylin’s eyes blazed.
‘In fact, if the churches that tried to group up against me tried to do it again, they will definitely suffer heavy losses. Furthermore, at a critical time I can turn to their enemies, forming an alliance with the evil gods… The costs far outweigh the benefits. Even Mystra, as much as she hates me, wouldn’t be so foolish.’
“How’s the empire been faring lately? Has there been anything special on the mainland or Faulen Island?”
“We’ve planted the first batch of rice this season. The plague was controlled by a free supply of holy water as well. There was some commotion on Faulen Island due to the withdrawal of the Jonases. Still, the remaining managers managed to minimise the impact on trade.”
Tiff had only needed a moment of thought to answer. With the Faulen Empire being a theocracy, Tiff was the one with the greatest authority as the country’s pope. With his many years of travel in the mainland, he’d deeply experienced the ups and downs of life. Paired with his strength and knowledge, he’d managed Debanks Island well.
“The churches you had me keep an eye on have been rather dormant, bar the church of protection. Helm has declared that you’re a false deity!” When he came to this point, Tiff had grown enraged. To a pious believer their god wasn’t a mere part of their beliefs. The Lord meant everything!
“Those vile gods, they actually dare slander my Lord like this! One day, I will make them pay the price for this insult. The slate will only be wiped clean with their blood!”
“As it should be,” Leylin didn’t blush in the slightest as he made this promise, despite being a false god through and through. “We only need to endure this for now. Focus all your attention on developing the empire.”
This put Tiff’s heart at ease. He listened to Leylin’s orders with respect and left. As he was leaving, a contemplative look emerged on Leylin’s face.
‘It’s unlikely that they’ll mount a massive invasion, so I’ll need to take precautions against elite squads and ambushes. Another important aspect is the agriculture. I can’t ignore it until after I become a true god, with my own divine realm and a strong foundation. Then I can open the crystal sphere now, letting my main body in along with many more Magi of laws.’
Godhood was an enormous threshold to cross in the World of Gods. True gods were the darlings of the world, and obtained everlasting life and immortality. Even upon death they could revive themselves as long as worshippers still believed in them, emerging once more from the river of space and time. Even the most formidable gods had to pay a great price to breach a divine realm, granting all true gods an extremely powerful defence.
Besides, deities themselves only valued other true gods, and viewed them with equal standing. In other words, Leylin would become a member of the pantheon once he advanced. It would also give him the means to confront the Goddess of the Weave!
‘I already have my godfire ignited, and plenty of divine force. What’s left is my divinity and divine realm. Once those requirements are met, I can accumulate faith to form an exalted throne…’ Leylin was well aware of how ascension worked.
‘My domain will be in massacres. Cyric and Malar are huge problems, yes, but I’ve already offended them greatly. What’s the harm in enraging them further? The crucial point is still the power of faith…’
The ascension of gods in this world was rather peculiar. A new member of the pantheon only needed an echo of origin power with a certain foundation of believers to easily ascend to become a true god.
However, these sorts of gods would always be extremely weak. They could only be lesser gods, living under the asylum of the more powerful.
After all, with the slow development of this world’s civilisation, asking the populace to accept something new would be a bit too forceful. These sorts of gods would need hundreds or thousands of years to develop.
The advantage was that they would not be in conflict with the other gods, and they had rather good potential for development. With Leylin’s knowledge and experience, he had thought of several domains that the World of Gods did not currently possess, with excellent potential for development. It was a shame that he had rejected all of them.
There was reason for this. The plan was far too long term, and he himself would be too weak. This wasn’t in line with his current situation.
Becoming a god of massacres would eliminate these limitations. This divinity would greatly aid his combat strength, and met his requirements for power. It could also develop rather well later, at the very least making him a greater god.
The only catch here was that there were already gods in the domain of massacres. Leylin’s ascension would be encumbered by the conflict.
‘Even if a native is only worth a tenth of a believer on the mainland, I still have enough faith to ascend to godhood. The problem is still the divinity…’ Leylin’s wish for a powerful divinity to support his ascension increased his requirements for faith. He estimated that he already had enough faith to become a god of disease, but massacres required over ten times the faith.
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