Calendar of the Gods, Year 37671. With 5000 pirates, Leylin Faulen had taken down Debanks Island which had a population of more than two million people, destroying the Sakartes Empire to create his own country. He himself had become a demigod, becoming one of the higher-ups in the World of Gods.
Many were astonished. This youth was only 26 years of age, and yet he'd achieved something so astounding; they could only look up to him now.
Numerous elite devil hunters and native knights surrounded a group of luxurious horse chariots in the new Faulen City. The knights' crests and the caravan's flag were symbols of a giant serpent, indicating the might of royalty.
"The plague's been taken care of, and we're beginning to plow the land for spring. We're doing great!" Leylin pulled apart the curtains of the chariot, gazing at the green fields with a hint of satisfaction on his face.
Saintess Barbara knelt at his side along with beautiful maids, their eyes full of an unconcealable fervour. The empire would be governed by the blood of its god. This was the decree of Leylin's Giant Serpent Church.
To get a more stable foundation, this god himself had brought a few natives around. Almost right after the new country was established, the twenty purest and most beautiful refined girls of Debanks Island had been sent to the palace. It didn't seem like such things would stop any time. Leylin never rejected such matters. Besides, this suited his standards better.
He was currently travelling to proclaim his strength to the entire empire. The view of his fleshly body would also draw in more worshippers. Leylin had developed a better understanding of the island's situation through his travels, and at the same time imprinted the might of the empire deeply into the hearts of the natives.
"This is the most fertile land in the empire, and it's close to the imperial capital. It's understandable for them to have such results..." Barbara said, her eyes glinting.
"It's great that they have knowledge in this area, especially when it comes to these matters..." Leylin understood the schemes of his worshippers like the back of his hand. Hearing what Barbara said, he had no idea whether to laugh or cry. However, such things were also a part of the path of faith, and Leylin had to consider his options carefully.
"Based on the way things are going, we should be able to get past this year's famine well..." After patrolling the entire country, Leylin was in a better mood. While the plague had greatly affected societal order, activity was slowly resuming normal levels. Thanks to the accumulations of the Sakartes Empire, this new country was headed in a better direction.
'A lot of things determine the strength of an empire. There's the population, agriculture, economy, military, and faith...' Leylin stroked his chin, 'I have 50,000 soldiers stationed in the capital. With Debanks Island itself only having 900,000 residents, it's definitely the greatest military. On the other hand, my finances are a problem... The agriculture and economy were affected by the plague, and it will take some time to return to normal. Most importantly, there's faith...'
Leylin had dealt fatal blows to Debanks Island's totem spirits and nature spirits. All those unwilling to serve were wiped out along with their tribes. With the golden scorpion at their head, the rest became subordinate to Leylin. That took up a portion of the faith in the empire.
Leylin was more than happy for this to happen. After all, his church was still the majority with more than 80% of the faith. The nature spirits could only divide the remaining fifth amongst themselves.
On top of that, he was a demigod now. His priests had divine spells, something that the shamans of the native gods could not compare to. He had a huge leg up over the competition, and was obviously unafraid of competing with them. These gods would likely be forced to hang around near him with no other choice.
'Then there's governance. I've already rewarded the pirates greatly, with land, slaves, and noble status. However, they are still fewer in number than the original native chiefs and nobles...' Leylin shook his head.
From his position as a ruler, the population of the natives was terrifying. On the other hand, there were less than five thousand who'd followed an outsider like him. The difference was like that between a drop of water and a lake.
Leylin had no doubt that if he did nothing, basic governance would fall to the natives in less than thirty years. Outsiders could only join in, be it passively or actively. To change this he had to bring some new people in, and kill some others. Only by bringing people from Faulen Island and killing natives could he ensure the stability of his power.
Unfortunately, Leylin wasn't just a ruler. His bigger priority was his godhood, and a massacre that dropped the number of natives would only reduce his power of faith. It would not benefit him. While he was conquering them, these natives were his enemies and it was essential to reduce their numbers. Now, however, they were part of his ascent to godhood. Killing them lost all meaning.
A god didn't care if the one governing the empire was a native or an outsider. All that mattered was that he received the same amount of faith. With the support of the church, his descendants wouldn't fall to the level of mere symbols or puppets. That would be enough.
"There is no eternal empire, but the gods have long lives," Leylin muttered. Compared to the long life of a god, even the most glorious of empires in history seemed short-lived.
[Beep! Response to today's prayers completed. Handled a total of 348,761 cases, bestowed 13,286 spells.] The A.I. Chip's prompt caused Leylin's lips to curve upwards in a smile.
Gods had to take care of their worshippers' prayers, and bestow divine spells every day. While his now divine soul could process fast enough to take care of this himself, it wouldn't be a walk in the park. The effort would drain him.
With over 900,00 followers, a following even more enormous than that of some true gods, the amount of work he had to do was vast and complicated. However, the A.I. Chip took over the tedious work, which made things more convenient for Leylin.
Even for a true god, such difficult work took more than just their bodies and avatars. Some even designated subordinate deities to the task. The A.I. Chip performed these tasks better than most gods, and on top of that Leylin could trust it absolutely without fear of betrayal.
"Your Highness!" Heading all the way back to their emperor, the numerous youthful and beautiful maids greeted Leylin immediately. Most of them exposed their bare arms and lower abdomens, showing their smooth skin with a heated gaze.
Leave alone the girls the tribes had offered, even the maids in Leylin's palace were rather good. Some could even be the heads of noble families. Leylin didn't mind a cordial conversation with them on the average day, but now he had something more important to do.
The centre of the capital's power had been Akaban's church. It had been remodelled into a headquarters for the Giant Church after the war, dedicated to Leylin's worship. Leylin was standing on the location of the old altar, observing a gigantic piece of obsidian on the pedestal.
This rock had a metallic luster to it, and looked like a black brick. However, Leylin's astute senses found something different with it. If not for Akaban's statue being destroyed, it would never have shown itself.
'I've finally found it... Is this Akaban's trove?' Leylin placed his hand on the surface of the black brick, immediately linking his divine will to a huge space. Divine force surged in the air, clearly beginning to dissipate already. Numerous translucent souls looking to be sleeping on the surface, with some still withering away. They filled an entire layer of the place.
'The souls of Akaban's followers... I never thought I'd be so lucky as to find a semi-plane containing them. While it isn't all that large, it's still much better than most demigod weapons...' Guiding the souls of followers was the task of divine souls. Whether pious worshippers turned into petitioners, valiant spirits, or holy souls, they were all of great help to their gods. Naturally, they wouldn't easily be abandoned.
Demigods lacked their own divine realms, so many built their own demigod weapons or other items to be containers that could store the souls of their followers. Akaban was obviously very lucky to have found a semi-plane.
'There are at least a million souls...' Having estimated the number of souls within the brick, Leylin was shocked once again by Akaban's accumulations.
A semi-plane was no divine realm. No matter how hard one tried to protect them, the worshippers within would still die. Akaban would only guide the most devout of followers into the plane, which eliminated a large number of natives with more general faith. Akaban's fall had killed most of the souls, and those left over were actually the best of the best. They were the essence of the millions of native souls over the empire's centuries of existence!
'This is what true gods count on. I am far too weak in comparison...' Leylin sighed and observed the semi-plane. These souls evidently only worshipped Akaban, and they were useless to Leylin unless he destroyed them to take their soul origins. However, that was too wasteful.
Instead, his greatest harvest was the semi-plane itself!