V2 Chapter 118: The Barrier City

“Hmm, so it’s true that the Light God Temple crushed the Fangxiang Clan,” I exclaimed in surprise upon hearing the tale of the purge at the main temple from Kagari, all while riding atop a chariot drawn by a black kirin across the wilderness.

I had assumed that the Light God Temple’s apology in the Western Capital was just lip service, but it seems that wasn’t the case. The youngest of the Nakayama brothers, with a shrug, continued his story.

“Yes. After that, I heard from brother Hakuro that right before he came to the Western Capital, a faction within the Temple had been annihilated by the temple knights. Brother Hakuro said he couldn’t be certain since they weren’t openly declaring themselves as the Fangxiang Clan, but he believed it was likely them.”

The reason Hakuro thought so was that the faction was too large to be sacrificed as a human offering. Apparently, this faction had the oldest history within the Temple and had been favored by successive popes.

The pope, maintaining the barrier sealing the serpent, seldom appeared in public. Therefore, when conducting public ceremonies or rituals, one of the four archbishops was chosen to oversee them, and it was always an archbishop from this faction who was selected for significant ceremonies.

The disappearance of such a powerful faction overnight caused considerable chaos in the main temple when Hakuro was leaving for the Western Capital.

Crossing my arms and tilting my head, I pondered, “I thought it was just a farce to escape responsibility, but if they went to such lengths, it’s not just a simple case of cutting off the tail.”

I don’t know how much the pope is revered in the Light God Temple, but if it becomes known that a clan trusted until yesterday was destroyed overnight, the other believers won’t be at peace.

“The Pope, if deemed unnecessary, will discard even faithful followers like dust,” I thought. If such fear spreads, it’s inevitable that the Temple’s administration will be hindered. At least, things can’t stay the same as before the purge.

If the pope carried out the purge with such determination, it means he has an extraordinary resolve regarding this matter.

Kagari, hearing my thoughts, neither agreed nor disagreed, responding with a somewhat amused expression, “Who knows? By disposing of a large faction, they might intend to explain to the Nakayama that they were unrelated to the conspiracy. Or simply, the Fangxiang Clan had become too large and troublesome, and they seized this opportunity to eliminate them. Well, we’ll understand whether we like it or not once we reach the main temple.”

Saying this, Kagari laughed, adding, “Really, this kind of role should belong to brother Hakuro.”

True to his words, Hakuro, a bishop of the Light God Temple, was not accompanying us to the main temple this time. In fact, neither were Azuma and Douga. The only one from Nakayama heading to the main temple was Kagari, without a single soldier accompanying him.

I hadn’t asked the reason, but likely Azuma and the others were preparing for a possible conflict between Nakayama and the Light God Temple. If the hostility between Nakayama and the Light God Temple becomes evident, it’s certain that the Temple’s followers within Nakayama will be agitated. In such a case, having Azuma and the others in the Western Capital could minimize the chaos.

Moreover, if the connection between the Light God Temple and the Mitsurugi family that I heard from Klimt is true, then it’s possible that the Green Woods Eight Flags might attack using this opportunity. In this scenario, having Azuma and the others in the Western Capital would also be significant.

As I was contemplating these matters, Kagari suddenly pointed ahead and said,

“Once we cross that hill, you’ll see the main temple. I think it’s worth a look.”

There was no need to ask what he meant. His mount, the black kirin, swiftly ascended the slope, and soon I was witnessing the sight Kagari described as “worth a look.”

— It was, in a word, a wall of light.

Presumably originating from the city that I assumed to be the main temple, walls shimmering in silvery white extended in both the north and south directions. The ends of the walls stretching north and south were out of sight, appearing to continue beyond the horizon.

The sight was astonishing enough, but the height of this wall of light was equally staggering, soaring vertically as well as horizontally. It dwarfed even the golden walls of the Imperial Capital, Iniisium. Not just double or triple, but at least five times taller, if not more.

The wall was adorned with countless large and small magical symbols, indicating that it was constructed of magic.

In this sense, comparing it to the man-made golden walls might be meaningless. Unlike a physical wall, which is complete once built, a barrier wall maintained by magic requires an immense amount of magical power. And this wasn’t a recent endeavor. The wall had likely been standing for three hundred years. The total amount of magical power expended to sustain such a vast barrier for three centuries is unimaginable.

Above all, what kind of being was the serpent—a Mythical Creature, the king of its kind—that the Light God Temple went to such lengths to seal? I had no clue.

As our chariot approached, the gates of the main temple opened with a noise. It seemed that the walls of the city portion were man-made. They probably didn’t bother to verify our identities, recognizing Kagari’s presence by the sight of the black kirin.

Even as we proceeded, the ancient gates of the city, boasting a three-hundred-year history, continued to open, making a terribly grating noise.

After a while, the gates fully opened, revealing the entrance to the city. The gaping entrance appeared to me like the mouth of some unfathomable monster…

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