Michael’s gaze followed the direction of Augustus’s finger for a brief moment, then frowned. “Raziel?”
He was unable to clearly perceive the destinies of those of an equal rank. Furthermore, going against that bookstore owner who was detached from fate meant that the original trajectory had been botched and had become extremely blurred.
He only had an uncanny feeling that the one Augustus was referring to was his fellow comrade who was researching homunculi.
This gave Michael a headache.
He vaguely realized that his comrades were inevitably being drawn and converging to the bookstore — Michael himself was no exception.
As a high-ranked who had grown weary of observing and manipulating the destiny of others, Michael knew very well that this was a peculiar situation.
The founding members of the Path of the Flaming Sword were all ancient Supreme-rank beings that had existed for ages. Their level of mysticism had long surpassed 99% of transcendent beings in the world. Yet now, they were like droplets of water in a funnel, gravitating toward the hole in the center — the bookstore owner.
There were only two possibilities.
The first was that the bookshop owner far exceeded their collective mysticism, drawing them irresistibly closer in the trajectories of fate.
The second possibility was that the bookstore owner was deliberately plucking their threads of destiny as part of his plan, similar to what Michael had done in the past.
Michael was more inclined to the latter.
Because when his clone was at the bookstore, he witnessed the bookstore owner casually revealing all the codenames of all ten members of the Path of the Flaming Sword.
That was an absolute secret! Even the original members themselves were unaware of the codenames of others!
Till now, Michael had to be the sole point of contact between collaborating parties within the Path of the Flaming Sword. Among these people, some were eccentric, some were extreme, and some were uninterested in the identity of the other members.
They had merely created a false sense of unison by all operating under the Path of the Flaming Sword’s banner. In fact, the upper echelons of the organization were exceptionally fragmented.
Unity held no purpose to them. After all, their individual abilities were more than enough to crush anything in their paths.
That, however, was in the past…
When up against the bookstore owner, even Supreme-ranks appeared to be as fragile as a newborn child.
Michael getting absolutely walloped was understandable since he had been using a clone to test waters. Yet, Gabriel had gone up against the bookstore owner in his true, physical form.
Though Michael had forecast Gabriel’s fate of an eventual death and intended to recruit Lin Jie as a replacement for that codename before that, Gabriel being eliminated without accomplishing anything had been way beyond his expectations.
Perhaps, the long established Church of the Dome would follow suit and be thoroughly wiped out, and be assumed by the Sun’s Faith. Evidently this had all been Lin Jie’s plan.
Moreover, from his conversation with Augustus and Lin Jie's familiarity with the ten codenames, Michael had reasons to suspect that Lin Jie was in fact an emissary sent by the Primordial Witches to prevent them from prying open the dream realm fissure.
If that's so… the probability of successfully recruiting him is close to none,
Despite thinking this way, Michael’s gaze turned even more resolute.
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Primordial Witches, so what? They constructed the Wall of Fog to isolate the dream realm yet chose to hide there… This clearly proves that my path is the right one; the dream realm is the true land of divinity. We lost the opportunity to embark on this path due to our initial fear of the dream realm back then, but now we have to claim that opportunity for ourselves.
Lin Jie… Even Augustus is unable to detect his strength. Seems like the Path of the Flaming Sword can no longer persist as it was before. We must stand united!
Michael gazed into the distance, his expression unreadable.
Right now, the odds were stacked against Raziel who was gravitating toward the bookstore…
He could sense Raziel's destiny had gotten blurry. Shortly after, he turned back. “Giant King, would you be keen to join us?”
Augustus guffawed and the entire mountain range shook violently. “Have you given up that angel comrade of yours?”
The word “comrade” was being stressed upon sarcastically.
Augustus understood that Michael had already made up his mind to forsake Raziel. This would open up a vacancy among the ten positions, which was the reason behind this invitation to the Giant King, Augustus.
Michael, seemingly unaffected, replied, “Since even you are afraid of snooping on him, we do not stand a chance against the bookstore owner with our individual strength. Raziel’s fate is sealed and we should not expend any more resources.
"There are bound to be sacrifices on the path of realizing our ideals, don’t you think so?”
Augustus stopped laughing and cast a dark look at Michael. “Old friend, do you really think that your ideals are right?”
“Of course, they are. I stand by my answer to you many years back,” Michael responded without hesitation.
“Just because you came across that book at the fringes of the underground dream realm?” asked Augustus.
“Isn’t that book sufficient?” Michael retorted indignantly.
He opened his arms and, in slight revel, argued, “Everything that was described in the book was a totally new world. Heaven, Eden, God, Angels, Kabbalah… which were all unheard of. The realm beyond the physical world… That must be the dream realm’s path to divinity!”
Smiling weakly, Augusted replied, “In that case, I have answered your question many years back as well — I am the Giant King, the eternal king. This spot marks my kingdom, and I will neither leave this place nor join the ranks of anyone.”
Michael yanked his crimson cross from the ground and scoffed, “Reclusivity… might not necessarily be a good idea.”
“The dream realm fissure has already been enlarged by us. It is only a matter of time before the Wall of Fog collapses. Till the next time we meet.” Michael gradually disintegrated into light and completely vanished.
Augustus let out a heavy sigh as he watched Michael vanished.
Behind the giant’s throne,were the high Wall of Fog that enclosed the entire Azir. Should the high walls crumble, the darkness from the dream realm would engulf him first.
As the mountain peak continued to crumble, Augustus’s lower body on the throne was revealed. Even his shriveled flesh had already attached itself to the throne and the mountains.
The giant had been reduced to skin bones. As he sighed, his aged eyes betrayed him. He appeared like just a gaunt old man.
As a giant, he had already lived for far too long…
Augustus extended his fingers and wrote some words in the air, conjuring a winged-envelope. He then removed the gemstone from the ring on his finger and placed it inside. With a frail smile, he set the envelope on its path. “Godspeed, my final disciple.”
“Margaret’s sister approached the bookstore for help?”
Raziel adjusted his golden spectacles resting upon his nose ridge, listening to the trembling Jerome’s report. With a wave of his hand, the mirror before him revealed an image resembling the vicinity of the bookstore.
Yet, his gaze was fixated on the neighboring cafe.
Through the glass mirror, the young lady appeared busy inside, but to Raziel, she resembled a stunning red gem.
“Clay Idol S-277?”