Jack was eager to go through the portal, but he was polite enough to stay behind and wait for either Mihos or Paytowin's lead. The two just stared at the open portal silently.

"What's wrong? Hurry up and leave!" Callan uttered. Another tremor shook the temple again.

"They are about to break through. Ancestor Odvah won't be able to hold for long. You all must leave now!" Callan urged with a stern expression.

Paytowin turned and said, "Your Holiness, leave with us!"

"No, my role is here. I live and die with this temple," Callan replied.


Callan sighed. His countenance softened. He placed his two hands on Paytowin's shoulder. "I know you meant well, but each of us has our own roles to see through. Mine ends here. Yours do not. That's why you will forgive me."

"Forgive you? Your Holiness, what's there to forgivveeee....!!"

Paytowin's words trailed off as his body was picked up and flung into the portal by Callan.

'Holy shit! That's one way to urge someone to leave,' Jack uttered in his mind.

"Mihos, take care of him and take care of yourself. Do not be reckless," Callan said.

Mihos just nodded silently. He then walked towards the portal. He stopped before entering, as if struggling about something. In the end, he didn't turn back or say anything. He stepped into the portal and disappeared.

Another tremor. This time it was bigger. Jack was looking around the room when the tremor happened. After it stopped, Jack realized Callan was staring at him. His face was amiable. His two hands came to Jack's shoulder.

Jack immediately moved to the portal. "I can leave by myself," Jack said.

When he almost went through, he stopped. He turned back and said, "Your Holiness, there is something I need to tell you. Your God didn't abandon you."

"Hm...?" Callan lifted his eyebrows upon Jack's words.

"Your God didn't abandon you," Jack repeated. "He was simply unable to answer you because... because he no longer exists."

Callan stared at Jack silently. His expression didn't show anger or indignity upon Jack's words.

He sighed again. "I have suspected so, but how are you so sure about it?"

"Because I know it as a fact. Besides your God, the Goddess of Joy had also been erased. And the person that was responsible for it is the same person that has goaded Fear's cult to attack this place. He is an outworlder that goes by the name Master and he is outside trying to get inside here."

"Preposterous! How can an outworlder defeat a being as powerful as our God?" Callan uttered.

Jack felt the air around him turn heavy. This was the first time Jack saw this divine priest lose his cool. There was also another tremor again. Jack couldn't tell if the tremor was because of the outside's attacks or because of the priest.

"There is something about this world that you are unaware of," Jack said. "Something that most of you who inhabit this world are unaware of. You might think that you need to die here to uphold your virtues. But the fact is, you don't have to follow any rules. You are free to do what you think is right. Come with us! I will tell you all about the secret of this world. Even about your God. You might not like what you hear, but it will be the truth!"

"He is telling the truth, your holiness," Peniel reinforced Jack's words.

Callan stared into Jack's eyes. Jack saw turmoil inside those orcish eyes, but the turmoil only lasted for a short moment. Clarity and calmness soon returned.

Callan was just about to speak but at that time, Jack saw three people entering the hall. Callan also sensed them. It was Master, Spring Crown, and Arlstraxx. Callan whirled and cast a rapid spell. A thick beam of pure light shot at the three.

Both Master and Arlstraxx also cast a spell upon seeing Callan take action. Master cast Ice Wall while Arlstraxx cast Bone Wall. The two walls were erected before Callan's beam arrive. But once the beam touched the walls, they were completely shattered. However, the brief pause on the beam allowed them to move to the side and out of the beam's path. While for Spring Crown, he was already out of the way before the beam was even fired.

"I will help you!" Jack uttered.

"No, leave!" Callan shouted. His palm shoved Jack's body. Jack felt a strong wave push him away. He was helpless as his body was carried by an invisible force. He plunged into the open portal. Once he did, Callan waved his hand and the portal disappeared.

Callan then turned back to the three trespassers and yelled, "Transgressors who have deviled our holy temple, prepare to face my wrath...!!"

A flash of light and a long golden staff appeared in his hands. He made a rapid eight-runes spell while thrusting the staff into the ground. A wall of light radiated outward. With the wall of light came a horde of beings made of light. Each of them had wings and carried flaming swords.

"Heaven's Army," Master said after recognizing the spell.

But before the wall of heavenly beings was upon them, a wall of thick dark fog blocked the light's advance. The two opposite elements resisted one another. Neither gave way.

An ethereal came into the hall.

"Lord Strah," Arlstraxx greeted the ethereal deferentially.

Strah didn't spare Arlstraxx a glance. His eyes were on Callan. His mouthless face formed a mocking smile. "It has been decades since we meet, Callan. You never expect our next meeting will be like this, don't you?"

While he was talking, the dark fog wall he had conjured enlarged and covered the outer part of the entire room while half of the inner part was dominated by Callan's Heaven's Army spell.

"Spare me your mocking, fiend! I will take you down with me if I have to!" Callan uttered. His body started to shine with an intense glow.

"He is not kidding...," Master said after seeing the scene. "He intends to sacrifice his divine force. The resulting explosion can obliterate everything here. We must stop him!"

"Quit your yapping, outworlder. He won't have the chance to," Strah responded.

He lifted his two arms. He didn't use a magic staff. Instead, he wore a pair of skeletal gloves. At the center of these gloves' palm sections were embedded a ruby-like stone. These stones emitted an ominous light.

He cast a spell and several shadow needles formed from the dark fog wall and pierced through Callan's wall of light as well as the light creatures it hosted. The needles extended a long way and headed towards Callan, but a bubble appeared around the divine priest that stopped the needles. The needles tried to puncture through but they couldn't

None except Strah was aware that one of the shadow needles was wider than the others. This wider shadow needle came behind Callan. While this large shadow needle was also unable to puncture Callan's protective bubble, a lump appeared near the tip. This lump continued to bulge until it became as big as a person's size.

When Callan noticed something was wrong, the lump had turned into a human woman that carried a knife as dark as the deepest abyss in the depth of the ocean. This knife was thrust just as Callan tried to turn. His bubble was unable to stop the knife. It penetrated the bubble like it was a piece of paper and plunged into Callan's back.

"Arrgghhh...!" Callan cried in pain as tendrils of dark energy sprouted from the wound and spread around his body.

"Lady Korku!" Arlstraxx called after seeing the woman that had sneaked onto Callan's back.

Callan's spells collapsed after suffering from Korku's stab. Without heaven's army spell blocking his dark fog, Strah rushed forward and joined Korku in assaulting Callan. Both Strah and Korku were Mythical-grade and had similar levels to Callan. Against these two opponents, a wounded Callan was unable to resist much.

Callan soon fell weakly onto the floor. His HP at critical. Korku's knife had caused a wound that negate mythical-grade's innate HP recovery ability.

"Finish me, fiends! Do not humiliate me by prolonging this!" Callan uttered.

"Hmph, Callan. That's the problem with you fools who follow the ones you called good Gods. If you learn to fight dirty as we did, then you won't have suffered this fate," Strah said mockingly.

"Pah! Don't you lump me together with you dishonorable villains. I would rather die than act cowardly!"

"You can't die yet, because this altar will self-destruct when the divine priest it's linked to is dead," Master said and walked towards the altar.

"You... How do you know that, outworlder?!" Callan asked.

"How do I know? Because I know all there is to know about this world, including this place. About its protective barrier, about its defensive Brave statues, about the absence of your God, and your faction's ludicrous stubbornness of refusing to ask for help even in the face of destruction. Why do you think I chose this place as a target?"


"Yes, among all the divine factions. You might not be the weakest one, but you are the easiest to raze." Master placed his hands on the altar and a complex rune diagram appeared. "And I need the divine heritage concealed inside this altar."