The day of the Divine Tower auction had arrived in the blink of an eye. Since Michael had acquired the divine portal and returned to the blacksmith guild, he had been diligently forging Arlen's artifacts, which were more aptly called weapons, alongside Rurik. The two blacksmiths worked tirelessly and learned much from each other.

Despite being a five-star blacksmith, Michael discovered many things he hadn't even learned from system. The lessons he learned from Rurik as a blacksmith and from Lane as an alchemist taught Michael that real-life experience played a significant role in becoming better at his specializations.

At that moment, Michael was getting ready to leave for the Divine Tower auction. Rurik had just emerged after taking a shower, wearing a fancy silver robe and carrying a cane. In contrast, Michael opted for a casual black shirt and pants, rolling his sleeves up to his elbows.

"The carriage is ready," one of Arlen's bodyguards entered the forging hall and informed Michael and Rurik.

"Come on, let's go," Ayag chimed in excitedly, perched atop Michael's shoulder.

The grand hall of the blacksmith guild was bustling with activity. Guards and numerous blacksmiths moved about, their clinking tools and discussions filling the air. Rurik had not taken the attack by Kranar's worshippers lightly. After the slaughter, he hired additional guards to bolster the guild's security and many blacksmiths to revitalize the guild.

"Master Blacksmith,"

"Greetings Master Blacksmith,"

"Good morning John,"

As Rurik and Michael made their way through the hall, they were met with nods of respect from the guild members and polite greetings from the other blacksmiths. Rurik was well-respected within the guild, and Michael had earned the genuine friendship of many of its members.

Leaving the guild behind, they stepped outside into the bustling city streets. As they stepped outside the blacksmith guild, Ayag couldn't help but gasp in awe as she saw the impressive line of fancy carriages adorning the street. The city was alive with festive energy, and the streets were bustling with activity due to the start of the Divine Tower auction.

The atmosphere was vibrant, with citizens and visitors alike joining in the excitement of the event. Several youngsters could be heard chanting,

"The Divine Tower auction is this way!" as they proudly carried banners emblazoned with the Divine Tower emblem.

The street was alive with music, the rhythmic beat of drums filling the air. Fireworks erupted in brilliant displays, casting colorful lights and patterns across the sky, adding to the festive mood.

However, amidst the revelry, Rurik couldn't help but express his dislike of the large crowds and the extravagant celebrations.

"All this noise and commotion, it's enough to make one's head spin. I prefer the quiet of the forge." Rurik muttered to Michael.

"Cheer up, Rurik," Michael patted the stout dwarf on the shoulder before following Arlen's armored guard. As they descended the stairs, they were greeted by two awaiting carriages. One belonged to the Silverbrook family, and the other was the official carriage of the Blacksmith Guild.

The Silverbrook carriage was drawn by four majestic chestnut horses adorned with silver-trimmed harnesses. In contrast, the Blacksmith Guild's carriage was hitched to sleek black steeds, its exterior painted in deep black with intricate golden lines that added an air of elegance.

"Good day, my lords," the carriage driver, a middle-aged man with a well-groomed beard, respectfully opened the door of the Blacksmith Guild's carriage for Michael and Rurik.

Meanwhile, Arlen had already settled comfortably inside the luxurious Silverbrook carriage. As Michael and Rurik took their seats on the plush gray cushions, Michael slid a window open to observe the bustling street.

"Shall we depart, my lords?" inquired the driver, awaiting their signal.

"Indeed, please proceed," Rurik affirmed, and the carriage began to move forward.

Michael gazed out ahead, noting the line of carriages ahead of them. They all moved at a snail's pace, their progress hindered by the jammed traffic.

"I never thought I'd be stuck in a traffic jam in this world," Michael mused quietly, finding a touch of amusement in this familiar inconvenience that reminded him of Earth.

"Damn these carriages. This is why I hate the Divine Tower auctions. Every year, I have to deal with this shit," Rurik grumbled, his frustration clear.

As the carriage continued its slow progress, Rurik turned his gaze towards Michael.

"So, John, what are you hoping to buy in the auction? I know we don't know the items they're going to auction, but do you have something particular in mind?" Rurik inquired. Over the course of their work in the forge, the two of them had developed a close friendship, and Rurik was privileged to count himself as one of Michael's friends.

"A weapon, a spell, or something more exotic?" Rurik pressed, curious about Michael's intentions.

Michael leaned back thoughtfully in his seat. "A book, to be honest. I have it on good authority that they're going to auction a book, and I want it," he admitted. There was no need to conceal his intentions from Rurik since he had agreed to purchase one item in the auction for Michael.

However, Michael chose not to reveal that this book might contain information on how to kill a god. After Azazel's message, Michael was certain that this book would prove crucial in his future endeavors.

"A book? What's it about? You don't strike me as the book-reading type," Rurik commented with a chuckle.

Michael responded with a playful smile instead of directly addressing Rurik's inquiry about the book. "Well then, what do I look like?"

Rurik laughed heartily. "I'm pretty sure not the book-reading kind," he teased.

Changing the subject, Michael asked, "So, what are you hoping to buy?"

Rurik's grin widened. "The Thunder King would be a great acquisition," he said, surprising Michael.

"Don't look so surprised. I have my ears all over the city, and I know what's going on. You'd be amazed at how many noble houses and guilds are trying to acquire a mighty dragon like the Thunder King," Rurik explained, his voice tinged with envy and greed.

Michael nodded in agreement. "Not a bad choice at all."

"So, Jon, what do you think of the artifacts we've been forging? Something feels fishy to me. That elf Arlen looks agitated," Rurik pondered as they rode in the carriage towards the Divine Tower auction.

Michael leaned back, contemplating his response. "I'm not sure, but if we don't forge them, eventually someone else will," he replied without revealing anything regarding God Rainar or Kranar.

Rurik frowned, deep in thought. "Hmm. I was thinking that the Silverbrooks worship Rainar, the God of Rain, and he is currently at war against Kranar, the God of Thunder, who wields the power of lightning. These artifacts harness the power of lightning. I couldn't shake the feeling that we're meddling with forces beyond what we can handle," Rurik admitted.

Michael was actually surprised it took this long for Rurik to come to this conclusion. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence could guess the connection between the artifacts and the gods. However, Michael chose not to confirm Rurik's suspicions.

"You look exhausted, Rurik. Why don't you take a break like I suggested? We only have twenty more artifacts to forge, and I can handle it. You deserve some rest; you could go somewhere else, maybe visit another domain," Michael proposed, attempting to send Rurik away before they finished forging the remaining hundred artifacts.

Michael knew that once they completed forging the hundred artifacts, Galathor, the head of the Silverbrook family, would likely send assassins to eliminate anyone who knew about the artifacts, to tie up loose ends. In this case, those loose ends were Michael and Rurik. Although Michael could handle the assassins, and had planned to do so, he didn't want Rurik to become a casualty or to learn his true identity as a god.

"Are you trying to take over the guild or something? This is the third time you've suggested I take a vacation and go somewhere else," Rurik chuckled, amused by the idea of Michael assuming leadership.

"It's better than you thinking we're dealing with gods," Ayag interjected.

Rurik's voice turned serious as he shared his concerns. "I can't forget what happened, John. Someone slaughtered our blacksmiths and guards. Who am I to say they won't return?" he questioned.

"They haven't. Like I said, you deserve a break. We both know that sometimes we need to refresh our minds," Michael insisted as Rurik let out a heavy sigh.

"Maybe you're right. Maybe I should go somewhere. I heard Ladon is great this time of the year," Rurik mused, considering the idea of taking a vacation.

As the carriage continued its journey, it finally arrived at the location of the Divine Towers. The towers loomed tall and magnificent, adorned with colorful banners and brilliant decorations to mark the occasion of the Divine Tower auction. The entire area was bustling with excitement, as people from all corners of the domain had gathered for the event.

The streets leading to the Divine Towers were lined with extra guards, their armor gleaming in the festive lights. They maintained order among the throngs of people who wished to enter and witness the grand event.

Several lines of carriages, much like Michael and Rurik's, awaited their turn to proceed towards the Divine Towers. These carriages were filled with nobles, merchants, and dignitaries, all eager to participate in the auction and potentially acquire rare and powerful items.

"Where did I put it?" Rurik muttered to himself as he rummaged through his pockets. Eventually, he retrieved a golden card, bearing the emblem of the Blacksmith Guild, carefully engraved.

Just as Rurik found the card, two guards dressed in silver armor approached their carriage. The carriage driver promptly opened the carriage door, and Rurik, card in hand, greeted the guards with a mix of familiarity and annoyance.

"Couldn't you people get your shit together and do something about these carriage lines?" Rurik grumbled to the guards as he handed over the card for inspection.

The brown-haired guard responded with a polite smile as he checked the card's authenticity. After a brief inspection, he returned the card to Rurik, declaring, "You are clear to proceed, my lord."

"Come on, John. Let's stretch our legs and walk there." Rurik then turned to Michael and suggested.

"Park the carriage and wait for us." Then, he directed the driver.

With that, Rurik stepped out of the carriage, eager to take a break from the slow-moving procession of carriages and the bustling crowds.

Taking a deep breath, Michael stepped out of the carriage and into the midst of a neat line of carriages. Many nobles were similarly exiting their carriages and opting to walk to the Divine Tower building instead of waiting for the slow-moving procession to inch forward.

"Look at this turnout," Ayag remarked, her eyes wide as she took in the thousands of people bustling around them.

Thanks to their VIP status, they were able to advance through a special line. As Michael and Rurik made their way forward, the imposing Divine Towers drew nearer. Just as they were about to enter the building through a glass door flanked by two guards, a voice cut through the hubbub of the crowd.

"I've been waiting for you," the voice declared. Michael felt as if those words were aimed squarely at him. He halted his steps, turning to see a figure that left him stunned.

The person standing before him, the one who had uttered those ominous words, was none other than the executioner slash angel who had been dispatched by the Pantheon to track him down.