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Done with the basic cleanup of the church, they erected a statue of the Winged Serpent God. With Saintess Barbara’s lead, numerous warriors, soldiers, and nobles knelt to pray.
“Praise to our Lord, the Winged Serpent God Kukulkan. You are the serpent of the world that devours everything and grasps the power of massacres. Your body extends across the universe, stretching into past, present and future. Your beautiful eyes are like the clearest of lakes, the water from which can cure everything…”
The statue of the Winged Serpent God began to glow with the prayers, setting the worshippers’ minds at ease.
“Our master has responded, the statue is complete!” Barbara exclaimed in delight, and then began to pray loudly. The power of faith converged to form a tide.
Within this tide of faith, the two eyes of the statue seemed to come to life as they brightened with intelligence. Dazzling divine force spread in all directions across the church, covering the city and even the skies outside. It was as if it was cleansing something, repelling and rejecting a golden glow tinged with dark red.
“This is a battle between faith!”
From the perspective of a god, Leylin could see all this happening even more clearly. A large region, with Dole City at its heart, had now completely escaped Akaban’s control. His own power now filled the area.
Akaban’s regions were now dwindling. From hereon out, the area around Dole City would no longer be his home ground, instead becoming Leylin’s territory. Akaban’s strength would drop if he came over, and Leylin would easily slaughter him.
Maps showed that the faith in Akaban had been reduced to a minimum. All that was left was a tiny region surrounding the imperial capital, the remaining lands surrounded and nibbled away by Leylin. The day they broke into the capital would be the day of Akaban’s death.
This was the tragedy of earth-bound spirits and gods. They could not abandon their territories and followers, for only death awaited them otherwise. And for the same reason, Leylin wasn’t in the least worried that Akaban would flee.
‘Those true gods lead much better lives in comparison. They aren’t limited to specific domains or regions for their faith, and even if they fall they can recover as long as faith in them still survives in the prime material plane, if their worshippers call the god’s name from the bottom of their hearts… They’re basically as tough as Magi of laws.’
As Leylin was pondering, his eyes suddenly shifted.
“Hm? That guy still dares to come here?” His body disappeared, reappearing at a church near the bounds of his territory.
*Chik! Chik! A large golden scorpion was waiting in midair. Seeing him, it took the initiative to move out of the way, stowing its stinger and claws as if acknowledging allegiance to Leylin. Some information was transmitted into Leylin’s mind.
‘Looks like it isn’t here to fight. Beasts have an instinct to follow the strong, huh.’ The demigod golden scorpion was obviously here to pledge its allegiance. Seeing the death of the double-headed lion, as well as Akaban’s constant weakening, this was an obvious course of action.
“Then… prove your worth to me!” Leylin transmitted with a divine glint in his eyes.
He already had plans to take the scorpion in. After all, it was a native god and had so many uses. Since he planned to expand his power and establish a pantheon, he needed to have gods in that category.
Akaban wouldn’t work. He represented all of the natives here, and naturally had the right to succeed and rule over the region. Leylin had to destroy him. However, things were different with the golden scorpion, and he could use it as an example.
“You should be the totem of the Raring Winds, right? That large tribe of natives?” Leylin stared straight at it, “Use all your strength and join my attack on the capital of the Sakartes Empire. That will prove your loyalty. I also hope to see you around in the divine battle.”
This condition evidently did not surprise the scorpion. Without any hesitation, it agreed.
“Alliances are so fragile in the face of disaster…” Leylin lamented as he watched the scorpion leave.
The rapid weakening of the powerful native gods had given him a great warning. When he built his pantheon in the future, he had to consider things more comprehensively. There was a need for firm contrast, and also a requirement for equal opportunity and justice at the minimum. Without these things, even if the gods grew powerful they wouldn’t escape the fate of betrayal and abandonment.
“The last campaign will begin soon,” Leylin looked into the distance in the direction of the Sakartes Empire and made his own prophecy.
With no more defences blocking her, Barbara was planning to take over the rest of Dole City in one spurt. However, that was interrupted by an order from the church.
“I should await orders? The pope and Lady Isabel are coming as well?” Barbara gasped, and then glanced at the emissary, “I will definitely abide the will of the pope!”
No matter how courageous she was, Barbara would definitely not go against Tiff and the others. When it came to status, she was still a native, while Tiff and the rest had been long-time worshippers. Although there was talk of equality and freedom, the natural gap between them was hard to overcome.
In addition, she was a mere worshipper herself. She naturally had to abide by the orders of the church. Barbara knew full well how much influence Pope Tiff had, and she was merely a worshipper who was bathed in their god’s favour and come to be called a saintess. As long as she was not a Chosen of their god, she had no power to go against Tiff.
‘What should I do to gain more of the Lord’s favour?’ Barbara placed her palm under her chin and sank into deep thought…
Leylin didn’t bother with such trifling thoughts of his followers. As long as they wanted a better life on Debanks Island, all beings would side with him for a variety of reasons.
This battle was one that would wipe out an entire nation. A new order would be built on the ruins of Sakartes, and something like that would net a person both fame and fortune. It wasn’t something to give someone like a saintess.
In reality, even Tiff did not have the qualifications to do so. There was only one person that could govern the area to combine both reason and law. And that was someone who had Leylin’s blood flowing in them! For this very reason, once Tiff and Isabel brought the elite army of fifty thousand troops over from Hope Stronghold, Leylin himself arrived at the barracks quietly.
That their god personally came down for them immediately raised the morale of the soldiers to a terrifying degree. In comparison, Dole City was in a dismal situation.
Huge numbers of nobles chose to give up on the rule of Akaban and his children, pledging their allegiance to Leylin in secret. Once the Raring Winds that believed in the scorpion demigod hastened over with their elite warriors and over ten thousand men, they combined forces with Hope Stronghold. With such an army surrounding the imperial capital, even those who had resolutely believed in their emperor now faltered.
The tall city walls could not hinder the spread of the plague, and they could obviously do nothing against the crumbling will of the people.
In a mere three days, the capital of the Sakartes Empire was broken into from the inside. Flames surged into the sky from the imperial palace, causing the army that had planned to fight to halt in their tracks. They could only watch as the palace that represented the glamour and splendour of the royal bloodline vanish.
On that same day, Leylin intercepted Akaban who was planning to escape. He killed Akaban with the scorpion’s help, officially ending the more than five-century rule of the Sakartes Empire. The horrifying news that their god was destroyed shocked the leaders and nobles.
Having lost someone to pledge their loyalty to, few chose to fight Hope Stronghold, especially since it had holy water that could cure the plague. Most quickly chose to side with the Stronghold.
The new capital was now called Faulen, and a whole new empire was formed after the flames of war washed away all filth.
Because it was a country formed from faith, Leylin was unwilling to pass on the responsibility to others. He became the very first emperor, and from then the rulership would be succeeded by those with his blood for all eternity.
The new empire was quickly acknowledged by the surrounding tribes. After everything that belonged to the Sakartes Empire was taken over, and his organisation had expanded to the entirety of Debanks Island, they began the intense effort of eradicating the plague and clearing land.
With the ‘holy water’ and the god’s baptism, the grim reaper that devastated Debanks Island was finally controlled. To the commoners, the Giant Serpent Church was like the sun in the sky.
Since the war had ended quickly, and they’d taken in a large number of tribes, the initial assessment of the population in the region came up to an astonishing 920,000. The plague had taken away about half of the initial 2 million natives, but it also left behind a huge amount of wealth.
After all, the mean wealth was lower when a huge population shared limited resources. This was also the cause for life and death battles between tribes. Now, however, the overgrown lands far exceeded the needs of the population, and the intense societal conflicts were eased.
After organising the clearing and plowing of land, as well as announcing the liberation of some slaves to take charge of their own land, the empire quickly gained a positive reputation. Leylin took in all the faith of the followers, turning it into a firm power that would support his ascension to godhood.
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