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“Sophia seems to be recovering well, she doesn’t need to come here anymore!” Leylin reclined on the deck chair and spoke leisurely.
“Mm, thank you very much!” Belinda’s eyes seemed to become a little emotional. For some reason, ever since Sophia began drinking the mysterious ‘tea’ Leylin made from his little green tree, her condition had greatly improved. She had become much more mature and intelligent.
“By the way, what is this ‘tea’? Is it some sort of medicine?” Belinda was puzzled, but at the same time was filled with gratitude towards Leylin. She naively believed that Leylin had grown the tree in order to treat Sophia, and Leylin obviously would not uncover this beautiful misunderstanding.
“Oh! It’s just the name of a drink from my hometown. It’s made from plants, where the essence of leaves is extracted through liquid. It is rather similar to this drink,” Leylin obviously did not want to elaborate.
“Is it the culture of some overseas isle? I really hope I can travel there with you one day…” Belinda’s eyes seemed to be luminous and sparkling.
“Mm, there will be chances!” Leylin yawned, not seeming to be in good spirits.
“Alright, Sophia. What stories have you brought for your Grandpa Nick?” He turned to Sophia. She had already drained the tea.
“Oh! I heard from sister Aegnis that the holy city is preparing for a huge counterattack. Even the disciplinary corps will be moved…”
“Also… The entire holy city is now under a strict curfew. There are even plans to gather all the residents and manage them all together.”
“Thomas is really incredibly stupid! If I just throw a random tantrum, he’ll divulge all the sensitive information he knows. Isn’t Sofia amazing?” Sophia raised her head arrogantly with a crafty glint in her eyes.
“Yes, Sophia is the best!” Leylin nodded slightly in praise. He had gained a lot of information about every corner of the holy city from her daily accounts. However, the more she spoke, the more his head began to droop, until his eyes finally shut as he sank into a deep sleep.
Sophia immediately stopped speaking when she noticed this, and her eyes reddened with emotion.
“Let’s go,” Belinda’s voice trembled as she draped a fur coat over Leylin. She then led Sophia away. They were very busy everyday, and their free time was limited. Perhaps it was also because they were unwilling to see Leylin in this state.
However, after they had left, Leylin’s eyes sprang open brightly and animatedly, “So it’s already come to this? It seems like the big decisive battle is approaching soon, it’s about time to start my plans.”
“Meanwhile… I’ll take care of a few little rats,” Leylin’s eyes slanted to the side, as if he could see through the wall to watch another place far away.
After that he closed his eyes, and like a tired old man sank into a deep sleep.
*Clatter!* A valuable crystal bottle fell to the ground, shattering into fragments.
“At a time like this, as a noble of the Stewart Family, even I have an obligation to fight on the battlefield, and yet he stays there doing nothing. I have no idea what sister is thinking!” Thomas huffed. The armour he wore was covered with bloodstains.
“Young Master Thomas, our Stewart family has been part of the garrison over generations in the holy city. Protecting the holy city has always been our duty! As for that man, he is just a free resident…” The white-haired middle-aged butler advised. He had completely lost one eye, and there was only a deep hole left there.
“Furthermore, my Lady seems to have discovered that he he is hiding some trump card and ordered us not to offend him. I believe that with the Madam’s foresight, she won’t be wrong!”
“But… I can’t take it! And then there’s those two b*tches… It’s not just Sophia but even Belinda goes over to visit him so regularly. What do they take the Stewart Family for?” Thomas yelled, and the butler could only sigh.
They were clearly free residents, and Belinda had even taken the initiative to help out with the guarding of the holy city. She was merely taking some time to visit her friend, and there was no reason to get mad over that. Of course, this good-for-nothing young master wouldn’t listen anyway.
“I can’t take it! I can’t take it anymore! Mumbas, find a way to make Nick disappear forever! It should be easy since it’s wartime!” Thomas’ expression turned dark, bloodlust evident in his eyes.
“Yes, honourable young master! Your will is our command! However, the second elder is now preparing to lead the counterattack of the disciplinary corps. Please be patient…” The old butler bowed a full ninety degrees.
“I know, I know! This damned situation!” Thomas groaned in annoyance but did not retort further, allowing the old butler to heave a sigh of relief. What he did not realise was that the bloodlust in the depth of Thomas’ eyes did not fade. It instead grew more forceful…
Night had fallen. Aegnis was wearing her crystal armour as she stood on the walls of the holy city. Her line of sight extended past the triumphal arch, fixed on the dense army of gluttonous beasts outside.
They had already been contaminated by the law of gluttony, and it was difficult to make out what their original bodies looked like. The only similarities they shared were their terrifying and powerful energy undulations, as well as their desire for food. Aegnis shivered in fear at this sight.
Days were short in the Purgatory World, which was why many beasts were more active at night. These gluttonous beasts rarely rested, and when their physical strength declined they would feed on their own kind that had died in previous sieges, which was why they seemed even more full of vigour than ever. What this meant was that their appearance was even more frightening at night than during the day.
Watching this uproar at the frontlines by the nearby beasts, the experienced Aegnis knew this was a signal for them to attack.
She abruptly turned to watch the soldiers on the city walls with her. They were mostly the troops that the Stewart Family were in charge of. Some of them were volunteers, and some were labourers who were forcefully conscripted.
Aegnis took a deep breath, her voice spreading through the frontlines. “Mighty Matriarch! My blood brothers, can we allow those filthy and despicable beasts to set foot in the holy city and pollute the glory of our dignitary, the holy mother?”
“No!” “No!” “No!” The residents in the holy city were now so loyal that they were ready to die for the Snake Dowager, and they naturally howled loudly in denial.
“Very good. Tear them apart for me, our holy city must be victorious!” Aegnis brandished the nine-tiered whip in her hands that had a snake head, thundering.
“To Victory! “To Victory!” “Long Live Stewart!” “Long Live Stewart!” Many soldiers shouted loudly, the atmosphere heated to the extreme.
Seeing that she had taken care of the soldiers’ morale, Aegnis sighed in relief and retreated from the city gates.
“You did very well, Aegnis!” Belinda walked over in martial attire.
“Is that so? I feel that it’s far from enough though,” Aegnis smiled wryly and draped an arm around Belinda’s shoulders, “How are the second elder and the disciplinary corps?”
“Preparations are complete. We are prepared for battle anytime!” Belinda did not struggle against her and sounded calm, “If all goes well and this operation is a success, we can probably push the battle line close to the Crescent Lake…”
“Hah… if it goes smoothly?”
Aegnis chuckled, pressing her lips close to Belinda’s ears, and spoke to her in a low voice, “Belinda, leave! Take Sophia and maybe even Nick. Leave this place; go as far as you can!”
“Why?” Belinda was stunned, Aegnis’ warm breath tickling her ears as they flushed red, “Do you have no faith in the holy city?”
“If my enemy is an army from another dignitary, I wouldn’t be afraid even if they surrounded us, but…” Aegnis shook her head, “You know how the gluttonous beasts work. Belinda, what’s most terrifying isn’t their strength but that they are infectious! 14 of our own family have been infected by the power of gluttony in battle. In order to prevent the infection from spreading, we had no choice but to obliterate them.”
“So that’s what happened!” Belinda’s eyes widened, extremely shocked.
“If that damned Sovereign King of Gluttony isn’t eliminated, there will never be a victory over those gluttonous beasts. Do you get it now?” Aegnis coquettishly lifted Belinda’s chin.
“Then come with me!” Belinda gritted her teeth. After all, she had treated Belinda and Sophie quite well, and Belinda wasn’t willing to watch her die here.
“Hehe… you can all leave, but I can’t.” Aegnis laughed, though this gave a bad feeling.
“For your family?” Belinda’s expression was complicated.
“Yes. Our Stewart Family has been protecting the holy city generation after generation. As the next in line, how can I leave now?”
Aegnis pushed Belinda while laughing maniacally, “Go! Pursue your freedom!”
“This is giving me an ominous feeling!” Belinda’s eyes reddened, on the verge of tears. So many things had happened recently, and even this strong girl could not really endure it.
‘Mighty Matriarch, please show mercy and save us all!’ Belinda looked towards the statue erected at the heart of the holy city and could not help but kneel piously, making a silent prayer.
The mighty statue watched everything expressionlessly, as if it had seen through everything with a slight smile. It seemed like everything was guided by her hand, but nothing really changed. The wind blew, and Belinda felt a chill come on, a sense of terror rising within her.
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