How many butterflies could be multiplied in a forest? The answer was hundreds of millions.
An adventurer team was standing upon a high hill, observing the storm of demonic butterflies in the distance. They were hovering, flying, and thundering their wings, corroding the surrounding trees to ashes. Their poisonous scales drifted in the sky, turning a radius of dozens of meters around them into dead land.
However, in the center of death, there was a ball of light that never weakened, it never expanded nor contracted, it just moved forward at a gentle pace. The butterflies whistled toward it, then poofed into dust. The highly toxic demon fog released from their bodies also seemed to be purified, vanishing into gold-like dust.
When the light ball moved farther away, the group of demonic butterflies followed, giving great relief to the team hiding on the hill.
“Look at that! Light God above, I can’t believe my own eyes!” The team’s guide pointed below and exclaimed. Everyone rushed forward to get a look and were also stunned.
They saw that every place the light ball team passed left a green mark, it was the color of recovered vegetation, full of vitality. This scene would not be surprising hundreds of years ago, but the demon fog was raging all over the continent, this strip of green running through a sea of black was a miracle.
“God, who is that light priest? He’s too strong!” The crowd speculated.
“I think this man should be Priest Joshua of the Sagya Kingdom. Didn’t you hear? The God of Light himself baptized him at his baptism ceremony, and when he walked out of the holy pool, he had a unique scepter and was dressed in a godly gown. He is the messenger of the Father in the mortal world.” After observing, the knowledgeable guide deduced.
“Quickly quickly, catch up to that team!” The captain didn’t hesitate to order the group, they jumped on their horses and galloped down the hill, travelling along the green path, but they also didn’t chase too closely, in fear of the numerous demonic butterflies surrounding the golden light circle.
They chased for one day and one night, and the light circle stayed up the whole day and night, they could see just how unpredictable the strength of the light priest behind it had to be. This also confirmed the credibility of the rumor.
Bowen’s team followed Zhou Yun Sheng’s carriage on both sides and kept quiet for more than 20 hours. They silently observed the boy’s every move, the more they saw, the more scared they felt, and the more suspicious they felt.
He was not like Boel Britte described him, a despicable, jealous and powerful villain. On the contrary, he was very quiet and peaceful, gentle and amiable, and although he was occasionally very cold, he had more devout faith than anyone, he dedicated a lot of time to pray every day.
The light circle he supported was indestructible, even under continuous attacks from hundreds of millions of demonic butterflies for such a long time, it actually didn’t have the slightest damage. Wherever the light circle covered, the grass would sprout, the flowers would bloom, and the trees turned green and stood upright, there seemed to be an endless stripe of green behind them.
Plus, a surge of power seemed to stir in the air, causing the racially in tune with nature elves and beastmen to feel very comfortable. Now, they were anything but disgusted with Priest Joshua, and they’d even begun having doubts about Boel.
As long as there was light, the demonic butterflies wouldn’t retreat, unless they were all dusted with divine flames. They wouldn’t disperse for a long time, and the team was tired, so they had to find a flat open space to rest.
Zhou Yun Sheng didn’t feel tired, on the contrary, supporting a light circle was easy for him. He could judge from the expressions of the High Priest Bowen and the Pope that his strength should be far above theirs, in conclusion, Joshua was now one of the most powerful priests on the continent.
Only at this time did he sincerely thank Brainless Sheng for his stupid actions. If he hadn’t acted so shamelessly and somehow managed to hook in the Light God, he absolutely wouldn’t be able to travel so carefreely on the mainland today.
He walked to a tree, and before he sat down, a warrior laid a gorgeous mat on the ground, so he wouldn’t stain his white priestly robes.
He smiled and thanked the man, then turned around and noticed a thick devil vine hanging down from the treetops. These types of devil vines had a huge bud, the bud opened and closed, revealing sharp teeth, and sticky black venom flowed from its teeth. It was the most common yet most frightening devil plant in the forest, as long as there was a hint of one taking root, it was treated as a harbinger for the destruction of the surrounding area.
The High Priest Bowen’s expression changed greatly. He knew that Joshua had already supported the light circle for dozens of hours, if the demonic butterflies attacked together with the devil vines, a big event was inevitable.
He and the other light priests immediately took out their scepters and was about to inject light power into the light circle, when they saw Priest Joshua lightly shake a finger, launching a small golden light into the huge devil vine’s flower bud mouth.
They was a loud boom, then a sea of fire suddenly appeared, and the countless vines hidden in the treetops burned up until not even ash was left. The demonic butterflies saw the dazzling fire and quickly crowed forward.
A few minutes later, a shower of golden powder was falling from the sky, and the green trees and grass that had been cleansed by divine power were not even a little bit damaged. They rustled vigorously under the streaming gold dust, causing the elves to smile in joy.
The adventurer team following behind also saw this magnificent scene. They reached out to catch the sky powder, but it turned into light and disappeared in the air, only leaving behind a warm feeling.
Joy, warmth, and hope, feelings that the races still living on the mainland had not felt so strongly for hundreds of years. They were excited enough to cry, but desperately held back their tears.
“Excuse me, is that Priest Joshua up in front of us? We are an adventurer team of the Grand Duchy, Dorados. We want to help escort the priest through the Elf Forest, would we be able to receive such honor?” Saying this, the captain’s cheeks burned red, finding his own offer pointless. If it was any other light priest, they would naturally need powerful warriors and mages for protection, but since it was Priest Joshua, he was strong enough to travel through the whole mainland in leisure.
He knew that the others must be mocking him for his cheap offer. But he really admired Priest Joshua, and if he could see his charms upfront, he would die without regrets.
“Please join us. The demon fog is raging throughout the continent, all creatures should be banding together to fight against it. Thank you for your generosity and selflessness.” It was his prayer time, the peak of Zhou Yun Sheng’s good-naturedness.
The ears of the members of the adventurer team couldn’t help but shake. The boy’s voice was so beautiful, even the Elf King’s singing would pale in comparison. Because the light barrier was blocking their line of sight, they couldn’t see Priest Joshua’s appearance, but his voice was already intoxicating.
If human beings were so affected, forget about the elf clan that were very sensitive to sounds. Bowen was the High Priest, he had excellent control, so his ears reddened and his hair stood on end, but he didn’t exhibit any other shameful physiological responses. A few of the younger ones were dizzy and had difficulty walking straight, they had to stop to sit down and rest occasionally, but they still bickered over who got to sit closer to Priest Joshua, and a fight almost broke out.
They seemed to have forgotten that just a few days ago, he had used light arrows to shoot them into sieves.
The adventurer squad tried to touch the boundary of the light circle, and after slight shaking, it accepted them, a warm feeling spread from the tip of their fingers to the bottom of their hearts. They walked excitedly into the camp and saw a boy sitting under a tree. They felt that the bards’ praise of him was not accurate, the person himself was even more spectacular.
He was like a beam of light, illuminating everything around him, they only knew that he was beautiful, but couldn’t find any language to describe him. The adventurer team immediately bowed and greeted him with the highest courtesy of Dorados, and after a quick glance, they no longer had the courage to look again.
The boy smiled and waved at them, then continued playing with the carved puppet in his hands.
The air in the boundary was very fresh, with the astringent smell of rich grass, the pleasant fragrance of flowers, and the sweetness of ripe fruit. An elf picked a few wild fruit, wrapped them with leaves and gently placed them beside Priest Joshua. Because they had almost hurt him before, they didn’t dare talk to him, even if their hearts were anxious enough to grow grass.
The Pope was the most powerful man on the continent, his portraits were in all the temples, and most of the civilians had his portrait posted in their homes in order to bring good luck. Every few years, he would travel around the continent to spread the gospel, so very few people on the mainland didn’t know his face.
The adventurer team naturally instantly recognized him. If it was the usual circumstance, they would kneel in front of him, trembling with fear and excitement from the honor, but now, they only nodded, calling out ‘His Holiness the Pope’ with implied contempt.
The Pope and Boel had been punished and humiliated by the God of Light, these things had spread among the people, only the reclusive elves and beastmen who stayed in their forest didn’t know about it. What Darling of God, what most powerful light priest in future, just saying it made people want to laugh out loud until you could see all their molars.
Bowen noticed that the humans’ attitude towards his old friend was very problematic. These days, the doubts in his heart were getting heavier. Boel and Herman repeatedly suggested that Joshua had tried to kill them with despicable means in order to compete for the Bishop position, but after seeing Joshua’s strength, Bowen was naturally skeptical of that claim.
Forget about Bishop, if Joshua wanted it, the Pope’s position was also something he was worthy of. So, wouldn’t Herman and Boel feel a threat from Joshua and want to kill him? And Joshua had said that they had angered the Father, losing all the power the Father had gifted them, was that true?
If it was, the elves and beastmen who were sheltering Boel and Herman would probably incur the Father’s wrath.
Bowen was so disturbed that he took the Pope aside, saying that he would try and heal his wound, then he casted a sleep technique in between the healing techniques. A few days had passed, the last light power in the Pope’s body had vanished without a trace, he was now just an ordinary man, so he easily succumbed to the sleeping spell.
Bowen immediately grabbed his wrist, entered a slight power of light to search along his meridians, and was stunned to find that his body had no light attributes.
This was his old friend, no one was clearer than Bowen about how dazzling his power was. Who could turn a man who had half a foot in the realm of the demigods into a mortal? Except for the Father, there was no other possible option. If Herman was rejected by the father, then what about Boel?
Bowen’s sensitive nerves couldn’t stop twitching in pain.
He dropped his friend’s wrist, then casually walked to the fire pit to sit down. Joshua was tired, so he had curled up on the grass and a mage was tucking a blanket around him. But even asleep, he still instinctually supported the light circle. His strength was beyond a doubt.
Bowen withdrew his gaze, his expression complex. He still remembered how Boel Britte looked dressed in white robes, standing under the Mother Tree, using his pure light to rejuvenate it. As he withdrew his hand, a ripe fairy fruit fell to his palm and broke into two halves, then, a thumb sized fairy flapped its wings and flew up to kiss his white cheek. It was the first newborn in the fae clan in nearly a thousand years.
At that time, he was so holy, charming, gentle, and kind. He brought hope for the desperate elf clan. How could he be rejected by the Father? Just what did he do?
Bowen felt very unwell, he frowned tightly until his face deformed.
The adventurer team from the Grand Duchy of Dorados and the Sagya Kingdom’s team were already becoming familiar, they were chatting while drinking around the fire.
A man asked curiously, “Is it true that the Light God himself baptized Priest Joshua?”
“Of course it’s true. When the priest walked out of the holy pool, he was wearing the same holy robes as the God of Light, and red rose petals fell from the sky, blocking the sun. That was such a grand occasion, I can never forget it in my lifetime.” A Sagya Kingdom mage described it with a nostalgic tone.
“I also heard that Boel Britte, to become the Bishop of your Kingdom, secretly seduced the Pope. Then the Pope disregarded the opposition from your Elder Bishop and robbed the title of new Bishop from Priest Joshua and gave it to Boel. Is it true that they even offended the Father on the day before the coronation ceremony, and the Father himself descended God fire to burn them to death for their sins?”
“The truth is hundreds of times more sordid than you think. Boel Britte’s clothes were burnt off by the God fire, exposing his body full of love marks, he looked like a lustful horny bitch. The Pope refused to admit that he had an affair with Boel, saying it was done by the Second Prince. The Second Prince, who was demoted to a civilian, immediately stood up and accused him.”
“He said that Boel ‘openly welcomed as a guest in his house’ not only the both of them, he welcomed the Beast King, the youngest prince of the Beast clan, and even the…” Here, the man paused for a moment and sneaked a glance at Bowen and the others. When he saw that they weren’t paying attention to them, he continued in a lower voice, “Even the Elf King. No one is cleaner than the other. Everyone is expecting the heavenly Father to burn them all to death sooner or later.”
The adventurer team’s eyes widened as they hissed out in disbelief, they couldn’t imagine how charming Boel Britte had to be to suck the most powerful people on the mainland in between his legs. Is he just that good in bed?
All kinds of erotic pictures flashed in their minds, after they fantasized for a while, one of them exclaimed, “How can such a lewd man be qualified to serve the Father? No wonder the Father was so wrathful. Hey, I’m starting to think his God’s pet identity was also fabricated.”
“Even if it was the truth, what he did was tantamount to betraying the Father, he deserves to be burnt to death. I heard he escaped, do you know where he fled to?”
“Don’t know, but I heard that a powerful demon rescued him. And judging by how strong everyone said he was, he should at least by a Devil King from the Dark Abyss. Perhaps he is now a dark priest, shaking his ass under that devil.” The people from Sagya Kingdom sneered.
The elves and beastmen had particularly sensitive eyes and ears, even if these people had lowered their voices, Bowen and the others could still hear their dialogue clearly. His face was gloomy and his heart was trembling, he desperately wanted to deny these words, but all his doubts automatically jumped out to tell him that all they said was the truth.
Boel was rescued by a demon, then, who is the Duke Hubert that has been inseparable from him the past few days? Is he really human? And the Elf King was also one of Boel’s ‘guests’, how is this possible?
Bowen covered his face, feeling that he was simply trying to deceive his own self. The king and Boel always had an ambiguous air between them, all the elves had noticed it. He’d seduced so many men with his flesh and betrayed the Father, his soul was already filthy. In the human society, he represented filth and wickedness, an existence that would be completely rejected by the Father.
And such a person was now living carefreely in the elves and the beastmen’s land, holding the Elf King and the Beast King’s love in the palm of his hand, so disgusting! Bowen’s stomach began to cramp in pain.
“Wah!” An elf screamed, causing everyone to glance at him, even making the sleeping Priest Joshua hum.
The elf quickly covered his mouth and stared at the priest’s slightly frowning brow in guilt. Another elf immediately walked to the priest’s side and sung a lullaby for him.
Slowly, the priest once again fell into a deep sleep, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief while also giving the elf a look of condemnation.
“My quilt shocked me with static.” The elf was very young, his pitiful expression was able to win sympathy.
“If you continue fussing about and bother the priest, you’ll have to leave immediately.” The leader mage said in warning. Herman was still the Pope, they couldn’t do anything to him, so they wanted these elves and beastmen to take him away.
The elves were reluctant to leave Priest Joshua. It was so warm and relaxing around him, just like being around the Mother Tree.
Bowen apologized for him, so everyone nodded and continued chatting like before, then he whispered, “What’s wrong?”
“High Priest, have you noticed a difference between the Elf Forest now and the Elf Forest half a month ago?”
Half a month ago, the Elf Forest, although it was still suffering from demon fog erosion, the situation was not as far gone as it was now. At that time, as long as Bowen toured the forest every day and casted a few purification spells, he could effectively curb the spread of demon fog. But half a month ago, from the day Boel arrived, the demon fog in the whole Elf Forest seemed to be stimulated, it started expanding out faster than before, in almost a blink of an eye, it had swallowed a third of the forest. Everywhere they looked was black land and waters, it was like a scene from hell.
Bowen was very worried about it, but he didn’t think on the reason behind it too much. However, now that the elf had reminded him, a frightening idea had emerged in his heart.
This disaster, he suspected, was brought by Boel Britte. He’d angered the Father and the elves and the beastmen had taken him in and given him asylum, then they treated Priest Joshua, whom the Father loves, as an enemy. The omniscient Father must be angry with the two clans.
So the demon fog became uncontrollable.
Even more worrying, Boel’s savior was a Devil King, and as they all knew, when a Devil King wanted to conceal his identity, even the Pope in his heyday wouldn’t be able to see through him. This Devil King had followed Boel to the Elf Forest, the demon fog would certainly flock to his call.
If his speculations were true, the elves and the beastmen were at risk of extinction.
Bowen was scared enough to cold sweat, and the young elf shrunk beside him, shivering, he was on the verge of tears.
“High Priest, we must go back immediately!” He rubbed his eyes while anxiously urging.
“If it’s truly a Devil King, I can’t deal with him. We must bring Priest Joshua back with us.” Bowen waved his hand, sighing at his incapability.
“But he has probably guessed that Boel is in our land, he won’t go with us. He, like the Father, must hate us.” The little elf choked.
When they had attacked Priest Joshua, they had said that they were taking revenge for Boel Britte. If they didn’t know what had happened to Boel, why would they be so angry, they must’ve certainly had contact with Boel after his escape. Boel Britte had been completely rejected by human society, except for escaping to the Elf Forest, he had no other possible shelter. Any fool could guess it.
No wonder these humans were trying to get rid of them. They must have already decided that the elves and the beastmen were blasphemous.
The little elf was even more fearful, he cried uncontrollably into the High Priest’s arm.
The other members gathered around the High Priest silently, showing despairing expressions. How could two races hated by the Father win in the dark war? If the Elf Forest was completely swallowed by demon fog, that would mean the end of their races.
“It’ll be all right, Priest Joshua is kind. He wouldn’t look at a death and not try to stop it.” Bowen assured them, but his heart was somewhat uncertain. He hadn’t forgotten how Joshua had stood idly by when the Pope’s life was in danger. He noticed that Priest Joshua was at his friendliest only when he was praying, for the rest of the time, he was unusually cold.
So they had to wait until his prayer time to plead.
The next day, Zhou Yun Sheng was awakened by his biological clock. He determine that there was no danger outside, then lifted an index finger to retract his golden circle of light. A plume of gold seemed to swirl around him like a dragon, scrambling to dive into his fingertip. The scene greatly shocked Bowen, the Pope and the other light priests.
Others may not feel it, but as light priests, no one knew more than them just how difficult light power was to control. Once it was released, it would certainly dissipate, it was absolutely impossible to withdraw it. Only the Father himself had the power to expend and retract as he pleased.
Just what was the real state of Priest Joshua currently? Full saint? Demigod? Or was he already a god?
Bowen trembled, strongly suppressing his inner anxiety. Now, Priest Joshua might not even glance at them.
Sure enough, while the rest of his team were finishing packing up, he sat on top of his carriage’s shaft and didn’t even glance at them before opening, “The danger has lifted, you can leave.”
A group of elves and beastmen rushed to his side and looked at him with watery eyes, as if to say, “Please pity us!”
Zhou Yun Sheng simply got into his carriage and ordered, “Depart.”
The guide hurried to drive forward.
Bowen called back the people that were about to pursue them, waited for the team of humans to leave, then said, “Let us secretly keep up with them, we’ll wait for when Priest Joshua is having his prayer time to ask.” Then he turned to the Pope and mercilessly said, “Herman, go back to the Central Church, I will not escort you.”
“Why? You know my current situation, and I don’t have the manpower to safely walk out of the Elf Forest.” The Pope shouted. He only had one mage and two warriors with him, and they were seriously injured, they didn’t even have the ability of self-protection, they couldn’t protect others.
“We have something urgent to do. Herman, you have to pay the price for your choices. The Father is looking down on us from heaven, none of us can escape his eyes.” Bowen said this sentence then quickly disappeared into the jungle with his people, leaving the angry and despairing Pope screaming in place.
Fae – Point of confusion here as elves usually aren’t born thumb sized with wings, so I called them fairies (since elves are fairies) and used the catch all term fae. Fae include elves, pixies, gnomes, goblins, nymphs, etc.