Chapter 370.1

Enoch and Patrick exchanged incredulous glances as they processed the recent revelations. Sang-je’s favoritism towards Anika wasn’t up for debate, given Anika’s scarce presence and the arbitrary circumstances of their birth. However, the news of Anika being forcefully ushered into the Holy Palace was beyond belief. Despite the lack of credible sources for the vague rumors circulating among the aides, the idea was simply implausible.

Enoch asked, “What reason was provided for bringing Anika into the Holy Palace?”

“The knight who received the order reported that Anikas were singled out, but the exact motive remains unknown,” responded the informant.

“It’s a relief that Jin is not within the Holy Palace, Father,” Patrick remarked, his expression growing serious.

Patrick, wearing a serious expression, pondered, “It seems ominous.” 

“Are you suggesting that something else might occur?” 

“I don’t know. I can’t predict Sang-je’s true intentions.”

“Many trading houses, rooted in the Holy Capital, have united in submitting petitions. The Holy Palace can’t ignore the unanimous stance of everyone. If the petition doesn’t yield results, we’ve also contemplated more forceful measures,” Enoch declared confidently.

Enoch believed in the influence of the trading houses, whose donations formed a substantial part of the Holy Palace’s vast wealth. Disrupting the flow of goods into the Holy Palace alone would pose a significant challenge to maintaining the livelihoods of its inhabitants. However, Patrick’s foreboding premonition soon proved accurate, as the blockade of the Holy City marked only the beginning of a more ominous turn of events.

Sang-je chuckled cynically as he perused the petition presented by the priests. The document bore the desperate plea of the trading houses in the Holy City, warning of impending bankruptcy if the current situation persisted. It was interlaced with a subtle threat, alluding to the potential financial repercussions on the Holy Palace. Ignoring such a petition could invite further, more explicit threats, but Sang-je dismissed it with amusement, considering it nothing more than a jest.

“Human beings have become too affluent,” Sang-je remarked, a wry smile playing on his lips. “Even centuries ago, they faced nakedness and starvation, yet they endured and survived.”

Sang-je, well aware of human adaptability, understood that people adjust to their circumstances. They find a way to live without what they lack. Even if all the trading houses in the Holy Capital faced bankruptcy, reducing today’s meat-eating humans to subsisting on dried bread crumbs, survival would endure. In fact, adversity often becomes a resilient force for humanity.

Indifferent to the potential decline in the lives of the Holy Capital residents, Sang-je saw no issue if the fire scorched his own feet. At this moment, he found himself overwhelmed, teetering on the precipice of his towering ambitions. Both of his Anikas, crucial to fulfilling his grand designs, had slipped through his fingers. Yet, he couldn’t afford to dwell on this failure and wait for another opportunity. The realization struck him abruptly that his remaining time was finite.

Even the figure crouching somewhere in the desert presented uncertainty. Sang-je constantly depleted his life force to sustain magic, create seeds for the knights’ consumption, and despite the life force supplementation through Anika, it proved insufficient. With time, Mara would grow even more formidable.

In comparison to humans, Sang-je found himself on a downward slope, while Mara had the potential to ascend higher. The balance of power would inevitably shift, and Sang-je faced the stark reality that time was not on his side.

Sang-je resolved to unveil his final gambit, acknowledging that the time had arrived to set in motion the contingency plan he had prepared, albeit reluctantly, for the worst-case scenario.

In Sang-je’s possession remained pivotal pieces: the Holy Capital, its inhabitants, and, most notably, the Anikas. With meticulous management, Sang-je effectively sealed off any trace of the ancient lineage of the vanished tribe from departing the Holy Capital. While many complied amicably, those who defiantly sought to leave faced mysterious accidents.

Consequently, individuals with the bloodline of the ancient tribe now exclusively resided within the confines of the Holy Capital. This meant that Anikas could only be born within these walls, and without Anikas, the royal bloodline would cease to perpetuate.

Kings can never forsake this Holy Capital. As long as I maintain a firm grip on it, they remain powerless to intervene, Sang-je declared confidently.

The only force in the world that Sang-je truly feared was the kings. Despite never confronting one personally, the instinctive fear instilled in him during his upbringing persisted, unyielding to the passage of time and his own strength.

However, holding the Holy Capital hostage alone was insufficient. In the event of a king’s daring attack, there needed to be an escape plan. Yet, Sang-je had a solution to this looming predicament.

Sang-je addressed the priest before him with deliberate words.

“To mitigate chaos, I’ve postponed revealing the truth for a while, but the lack of patience is truly lamentable. Now, I shall publicly declare the divine trust bestowed upon me by the great one.”

The priest knelt in astonishment, humbled by the weight of Sang-je’s words. “I dare to listen to the words of the divine.”

“My pitiful children, who embrace my will as darkness descends upon the world, heed this command. Build fortifications and stockpile provisions in preparation for the impending darkness. The Holy War is upon us.”

The priest, hands trembling and clasped together, raised his head in inquiry. “The Holy War, you say?”

“A sacred battle against the encroaching evil that blankets the world is imminent. All must unite with a single heart for this fearsome and grand war. This is the divine will and the path to safeguarding us all.”

“Oh… Your Holiness.”



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