A sudden fire, the charred corpse of the Dark Moon Apostle’s attendant, and the shouts from clergy members outside.
Vincent was a victim of the church's plot and had reported the anomaly to his superiors. Moreover, he had the heretical Sun Scripture in his possession which had caused this disaster and death.
What should he do in this sort of situation?
Run, of course!!!
After a moment of panic, Vincent calmed down in an instant and decisively leaped out of the room window to escape as clergy members rushed over.
He was the only one present besides the attendant at the scene. Now, one was dead and there was a dagger lying on the ground. Anybody that came across the aftermath would visualize the most likely scenario.
Vincent too had already realized the reason for the attendant appearing there — Vanessa must have guessed something, or had dispatched the attendant to kill him, due to the amount of uncertainty regarding his situation.
Thus, it was clear which side Vanessa would lean towards. Only death awaited Vincent if he was caught!
His only remaining alternative was to flee!
“Where did he go? …He’s escaped!”
Vincent flew out of the window, landing in an awkward roll. As he staggered away from the sea of flames, he heard the crash of the door being broken down followed by the metallic chink of armor.
Glancing back, Vincent saw that the entire room had collapsed and at least a dozen sword-wielding evangelists clad in silver armor stood outside the door.
The lead evangelist glared icily at the burning room and the charred remains of the corpse before meeting Vincent’s gaze. He then raised his sword and barked out, “Attendant Hyman has been killed. The murder and arsonist is there, the apostate Father Vincent! After him!
“Split up and flank him. Inform all clergy members of the Seventh Parish and the Inquisition Office to seal off the area!”
Goddamn it! They are after me!
Vincent scrambled away, giving himself various magical augmentations as he silently cursed Vanessa’s vicious methods.
All would have been well if Hyman succeeded. After all, Vincent was just an ordinary priest with neither status nor power. Such a person dying during an unfortunate exorcism wouldn’t be out of the ordinary.
The Dark Moon Apostle Vanessa had a thousand and one ways to conceal the truth and make everyone forget him completely.
Furthermore, she might perhaps have the entire church behind her!
If Hyman failed and was slain, she would immediately turn the tables and get the evangelists to slay him on the spot for the crime of heresy.
Therefore, no matter what Vincent did, his eventual outcome was death. It was hard to imagine that Vanessa had come up with such a foolproof plan to crush him as if he were a mere ant.
Perhaps the only thing Vanessa hadn’t taken into account was the still-glowing Sun Scripture in Vincent’s hands.
The bookstore owner told me to report to him if I discover anything amiss… Right, that girl in the dream seemed a little like his assistant in the bookstore. Could it be… Could it be this was all in his calculations and is all part of his plan?!
Don’t tell me that the dream where the sun was put in my hands indicated the power of Sun Scripture? It was this power that saved me from Hyman’s dagger and caused this fire!
Vicent tripped then scrambled back to his feet, aware that he had either become a fortunate or unfortunate pawn in this chess game played by great beings.
Vanessa had easily grasped what he was up to, yet after everything that had just happened, it seemed that the bookstore owner had already accounted for all of Vanessa’s moves.
“No, perhaps he has already seen through the Church’s motive…”
Clutching Sun Scripture nervously, Vincent eyed the surging sea of flames before him. The shouts and chinking of armor filled him with a sense of danger and tension, making his heart pound wildly.
The strength of an evangelist far surpassed his own. If it wasn’t for the raging flames holding them back, Vincent wouldn’t have been able to get away.
It was Sun Scripture in his arms that continuously radiated heat and boundless power, making the sea of flames around Vincent part so that he could pass through smoothly.
The flames were the evangelists’ greatest obstacle, but they didn’t impede Vincent in any way.
However, the evangelists had surrounded him and their encirclement was getting smaller by the minute. If Vincent had no way of breaking through, he would ultimately be caught and put to death for heresy!
Vincent, who had only been an ordinary priest before, had never witnessed anything like this and could only grit his teeth and flee. But now, his legs had gone soft and his entire body was shaking.
There were over a hundred evangelists ranging from Abnormal- to Pandemonium-rank in the Seventh Parish. Just any one of them alone could easily kill Vincent ten times over and the Inquisition Office was an even scarier existence.
Right now, the whole Seventh Parish had been sealed off and all members of the clergy were out to kill him.
This is surely a dead end...
Vincent’s vision faded and he swayed for a moment. Then, he stared at Sun Scripture.
The thick and heavy book emitted an intense glow, forming a golden sphere that flickered continuously as though some great power was brewing up a massive storm.
Open it… Open it!
A voice was calling out from somewhere. Vincent took a deep breath and smiled bitterly. He had no other choice.
Breathing deeply, he put his hand on the cover of the book and slowly opened it up.
At the very same moment, the evangelists broke through the wall of fire and surrounded him. In formation, they raised their weapons and pointed at him. The lead evangelist raised his right hand and brought it down without hesitation. "Kill him!"
Weapons and magic were unleashed.
Vincent flipped open Sun Scripture and light burst out. The pages turned on their own even though there was no wind, and strange golden letters flew from the page and floated up around him as the power within the book flowed into his body.
Time seemed to have stood still.
Vincent felt his entire body was burning. His skin and flesh seemed to turn into scorched earth and his blood into lava. His eyes burned with unbearable pain and his body was like a volcano about to erupt but with no means to channel it out. Under this continuous suppression, he remembered the sun he had grasped tightly in his dream.
The moment he thought about it, Vincent felt his hand heating up and raised it for a closer look. There was indeed a small sun-like ball of fire in his palm. Twisted light and flames poured out of his hand, making the fire ball even bigger.
Vincent relaxed, feeling like he had found a breakthrough.
All the power surged into the 'sun' within his hand and it got bigger and bigger...
The evangelists watched in astonishment as the sun-like fireball swelled from the center of the heretic's outstretched hands and surging with terrifying power.
One meter, three meters, ten meters...
The brilliant shining sun exceeded the height of a three-story building and lit up the entire night sky!
Abnormal-rank, Pandemonium-rank... Up till Destructive-rank!
The evangelists dropped their weapons to the ground and some started to cower and retreat.
Floating in midair, Vincent was completely blinded by the incandescent white light. Parts of his skin had cracked and light came through the gaps, emitting tremendous heat.
He gazed up at the ball of fire, feeling a sudden warmth and relief. With a hoarse voice, he shouted out, "Praise... The Sun!"
As if in response to his call, the giant sun contracted suddenly, then unleashing immeasurable light and heat that engulfed everything!
The lead evangelist was the first amongst them to be bathed in the red light and was instantly reduced to ashes mid-scream.
Following that, the spherical field of fire and heat expanded in all directions like a tsunami, destroying and flattening everything that it touched.
"That's how it is. I suspect that the bookstore is a heretic's stronghold and he has discovered how Holy Moon Essence works and wishes to use it to shake the faith in the Moon..."
"Understood. Continue to pay attention to him. This bookstore isn't as simple as it seems and we need to plan for the long term. Remember, caution is of utmost importance."
Vanessa bowed respectfully. After the image in the water mirror disappeared, she received a report from an attendant that Hyman's assassination had failed and that Vincent seemed to have some sort of hidden ability.
However, she didn't place too much concern on the fire and explosion. In her opinion, an Abnormal-rank priest being able to kill Hyman was already the limit so there wasn't much to worry about.
Vanessa sat on her seat in the confessional, propping up her head in her hands, waiting for news from the evangelists.
The entire building started to shake and Vanessa stood up in alarm, sensing a wave of Destructive-rank force. A glaring red light shone through all the windows of the church as they shattered one by one before a huge force broke down the walls and pillars, as fire and light covered her field of vision.
"What's going on?!"
Vanessa's face darkened. She immediately activated her power to calm the surrounding aether down, but the furious aetheric power was rampant like a riderless horse. Moreover, its extent was so vast that Vanessa could only form a completely still space around her to withstand that horrific power.
She gritted her teeth as she held up, but there was a sudden, second wave of light. The hastily put-up 'Silent Domain' was broken by a stream of hot flames which enveloped Vanessa, causing her to lose consciousness.
The earthshaking rumble only came after.
The Seventh Parish Church was leveled!