V2 Chapter 117: The Fall of the Fangxiang Clan

“What in the world is happening!?”

In the eastern part of the demon realm, within the heart of the city known as the “Main Temple” – the stronghold of the Light God temple – an elderly man shouted aloud.

The man was one of the four archbishops in the Main Temple, belonging to the Fangxiang family, known for wielding power as a close aide to the Pope.

Normally known for his calm composure, the archbishop’s face now bore a deep expression of confusion and panic.

The cause of the archbishop’s disturbance was the sound of clashing swords coming from outside the window. It was not just a few – the sound of metal striking metal suggested they were surrounded by at least a hundred attackers.

An old man with white hair, sitting across the table from the archbishop, also showed signs of disturbance as he raised his voice.

“Why are the Knights of the Temple turning their swords against the Fangxiang family? Only the Pope can command the Knights of the Temple, and it’s the archbishop’s role to assist him! It’s impossible for the Knights to act without the archbishop’s knowledge!”

Hearing this, everyone nodded in agreement, casting suspicious glances at the archbishop.

All present were influential members of the Fangxiang family, most over sixty, some even in their seventies or eighties. The archbishop, still in his fifties, sat at the head of the table, his past manipulations evident.

Aware of his reputation, the archbishop struggled to defend himself against their accusations.

Yet, in this particular instance, he had not played any part. His earlier cry was genuine. The archbishop slammed the table, expressing his inner frustration.

“There’s nothing I can say if I don’t know anything!”

“Is that something you can be ignorant about!”

The white-haired elder, also a powerful figure and a former practitioner of the Nanashiki style, now served as a elder in the clan. Even in his eighties, he was filled with ambition, his eyes brimming with doubt and hostility as he sharply questioned the archbishop.

“After Utsurui-sama’s death, you boldly claimed that only you could lead the clan out of chaos! What good is a leader who cannot act in times of crisis?”

“That’s for those who recognize me as leader to say! Indeed, I desired to succeed Utsurui-sama – no, Utsurui himself, but you Nanashiki practitioners outright denied it! It’s not your place to question my responsibility as a leader!”

Retorting, the archbishop glared resentfully at the elder and the others seated beside him.

The Fangxiang clan was divided into two factions: the martial officers who practiced the Nanashiki and the civil officers who did not. The elder belonged to the former, while the archbishop was part of the latter.

The archbishop continued, speaking more emphatically.

“the Pope’s anger undoubtedly stems from the recent blunder. The rebellion, into which so much effort and money were poured, was easily crushed by the young Kagari from Nakayama, and to make matters worse, the involvement of the Light God Temple was exposed. The negligence of you Nanashiki practitioners has led to today’s crisis! Don’t bark about others’ faults while ignoring your own!”

This impassioned speech from the archbishop shifted the focus of everyone’s gaze from him to the Nanashiki practitioners.

The practitioners’ reactions varied – some frowned, some let their gazes wander, some closed their eyes, and some smirked. However, none of them seemed to sympathize with the archbishop’s words.

The white-haired elder spoke again.

“That’s a gross misjudgment. The ones who committed the blunder, Shinto and Utsurui, are already dead. the Pope only held Utsurui-sama, the leader, accountable for the mistake. Utsurui-sama took full responsibility and presented his head to the Pope. His acknowledgment of his noble sacrifice is the only reason why others were not punished!”

The sudden mobilization of the Knights of the Temple against the Fangxiang Clan made no sense. Rather than thinking the Pope had capriciously changed his mind, it seemed more plausible that someone aspiring to be the leader of the Fangxiang Clan was taking advantage of the situation to eliminate obstacles – the elder implied this as he glared at the archbishop.

The archbishop retorted angrily.

“Nonsense! You Nanashiki practitioners, always so arrogant, treating others with disdain. Shouldn’t you be the first to take responsibility in such times? Instead, you blame Shinto and Utsurui for your faults and continue to live unashamedly. You should follow Utsurui’s example and offer your heads to the Pope right away!”

The archbishop raised his voice, venting his long-held frustrations.

The discord between those in the Fangxiang Clan who had mastered the Nanashiki and those who had not was deep-rooted. The former mocked the latter as cowards who only gave orders from the safety of the Main Temple, while the latter dismissed the former as brash warriors lacking the vision to see the bigger picture.

When the archbishop learned of Shinto and Utsurui’s blunder at Mount Taikouzan, he was inwardly overjoyed, thinking that Utsurui’s death at the hands of the Pope for his failure would elevate him to the pinnacle of the Fangxiang Clan.

Naturally, he felt no remorse in pushing the remaining Nanashiki practitioners towards suicide if it would appease the Pope’s anger. Sensing the archbishop’s intent, other civil officers began to express their agreement.

However, unsurprisingly, the Nanashiki practitioners refused to comply with the archbishop’s words.

“Stop talking nonsense. Why should we bear responsibility for the mistakes of our peers?”

“I agree. Moreover, the Pope moved the Knights of the Temple without informing the archbishop, essentially ignoring him. It’s absurd for someone so disregarded to speak grandly of the Pope’s deep considerations.”

“Hahaha! Exactly! If someone must take collective responsibility, shouldn’t it be you, archbishop? You civil officers always leave the dirty work to us while you comfortably sit back in the Main Temple. In times like these, you should be the one to act and resolve the situation. Isn’t that right?”

The Nanashiki practitioners countered the archbishop’s argument, which led to a heated exchange. The debate quickly escalated into a shouting match between the civil and martial officers, each side trying to shift the blame onto the other. The discussion heated up rapidly, but inversely, the substance of the arguments grew increasingly hollow.

Even as the threat of armed conflict loomed, no one in the room was proposing any constructive strategies to address it. They were merely venting their everyday frustrations and resentments at each other – a clear case of escapism from the impending catastrophe.

Yet, this behavior was somewhat inevitable. For three hundred years, the Fangxiang Clan had been under the Light God Temple, serving as the Pope’s hidden blade in the demon realm. They handled the sect’s darker dealings, eliminating obstacles to the Light God Temple, whether they were demons or humans.

They were the Pope’s most loyal and knowledgeable servants, the only ones aware of the three-hundred-year-old truth and the Pope’s true identity. The Fangxiang Clan believed they were different from other subordinates; indeed, the Light God Temple had granted them significant privileges and importance over the centuries. It was difficult for them to immediately change their perception of their relationship with the sect, even when suddenly faced with betrayal.

“Could this be some mistake?”

“Is someone scheming against us?”

“Would speaking against the Pope now provide a pretext for our judgment?”

These doubts, not quite suspicions nor hopes, threatened to drag the argument even deeper into a quagmire when suddenly, a voice was heard.

“Ah, a hundred schools of thought contend. How cunning indeed.”

This voice, cold yet pure, seemed out of place amidst the heated arguments. It sounded almost like reciting poetry, utterly mismatching the murderous atmosphere.

The voice, seemingly mocking both sides, would have normally attracted scorn and rebuke from those around. However, no one in the room dared to criticize the speaker. They all recognized who it was.

“The Pope!”

“Ah, Your Holiness, what an honor to have you here!”

“So, this incident is indeed part of Your Holiness’s profound strategy!”

Responding to these voices, the Pope appeared as if materializing from thin air, clad in the white robes of the Light God Temple, with a veil covering the face. While the physical features and age remained hidden, the silhouette hinted at the Pope’s gender.

The sudden appearance of the Light God Temple’s supreme leader was startling. Whether it was a high-speed movement technique, teleportation, or an entirely unknown method, not even the practitioners of the Nanashiki could sense the Pope’s presence beforehand. Yet no one here was surprised by this revelation.

The members of the Fangxiang Clan knew that the Pope was capable of such feats.

As they hurriedly knelt down, the Pope solemnly announced:

“After three hundred years since the last great war, the barrier set by Atori is weakening day by day. Soon, our God will be freed from the detestable chains. It is the time for purification.”

This pronouncement elicited awed murmurs from the Fangxiang Clan, though their admiration was tinged with a sense of following the lead. The attack of the Knights of the Temple hadn’t ceased, as indicated by the ongoing clashing of swords outside.

Even as the Pope appeared before them while commanding the troops, the archbishop, puzzled by the Pope’s intentions, cautiously began to speak.

“Your Holiness, we of the Fangxiang Clan are committed to further refining our skills in preparation for the coming day of return, striving to be of greater service to you.”

“A commendable sentiment. With such sincerity, past transgressions shall be forgiven. You, the Fangxiang Clan, shall lead the way in the purification.”

“Transgressions? Lead the way? Your Holiness, what exactly do you mean by—?”

Before the archbishop could finish his question, a swift, silent line ran across his neck, and his head slid off, confusion still etched on his face. It dropped to the floor with a dull thud, and soon, blood gushed from the severed neck.

The transition from silence to panic was brief.

“The archbishop!?”

“Your Holiness, what are you doing!?”

There was no answer to the cries and questions tinged with horror.

The Pope, having said all that needed to be said, unleashed an invisible attack, severing the heads of those present one by one.

Those still unharmed finally accepted the harsh reality – they had been abandoned by the Light God Temple, by the Pope.

This realization quickly turned to rage, and they collectively raised their voices in anger.

“Three hundred years of loyalty, discarded for a single mistake! How utterly faithless!”

“Those who abandon their humanity end up losing their hearts as well. Do you think the Light God Temple can stand without our support?”

“So, it was you who orchestrated Utsurui-sama’s death, you vixen! Perfect. I’ll cut you down and offer your head to our late leader. Nanashiki Blazing Sword, Red Spiral!”

In response to their angry shouts and drawn weapons, the Pope had only one action to make.

With a snap of fingers in front of the chest, those who were speaking found their mouths sealed, and those who were drawing weapons found their arms immobilized.



“Foolish! How can the Gero Prison not be working…?”

Half of the Fangxiang Clan members were slain, and the other half immobilized. The battle outside had seemingly concluded, filling the room with an eerie silence.

After a moment, the Pope’s stern voice broke the quiet.

“Purification is the divine task of vanquishing the unworthy and cleansing the world. It was always apparent that the Fangxiang Clan lacked the necessary power. From now on, no, as has always been the case for three hundred years, my sole reliance is on the Mitsurugi family alone. I will fulfill the great vow with them. Your long role as a stand-in has been taxing, thank you for your service.”

Upon hearing these words, especially the mention of the Mitsurugi family, intense emotions flashed in the eyes of the remaining Fangxiang Clan members, regardless of their military or civil status.

However, before they could voice their outrage, the Pope clapped hands again. Immediately after…

A crushing sound, like a large fruit being smashed, echoed through the room, and then silence reigned.

Having achieved the objective, the Pope let out a small sigh and slowly turned westward, towards the capital city in Nakayama, located in that direction.

The voice from beneath the veil now carried a completely different tone, not the icy one directed at the Fangxiang Clan, but softer, almost dreamy, speaking to someone not present.

“At last, I can rectify the mistake made three hundred years ago. Once more, to meet you again. Together, we shall regain what was lost on that day, at that time, in that place.”

With those words, the Pope added softly, as if to oneself:

“My beloved Jin.”

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