Claire sighed. What could she say, that she was the offering for the god of Darkness? No way!
"I am on the god of Darkness's side. I'm only in the Temple of Light to spy," Claire lied on the spot. But Bill completely believed the lie. The god of Darkness himself protected her, so how could this be false?
However, Xi Shaoqi was doubtful. He felt that things were not as simple as they seemed; the way god of Darkness treated Claire was too strange.
"What is your plan?" Claire asked, walking next to Bill. "Get rid of the believers of the Temple of Light one by one and weaken their power?"
Ben nodded, his expression solemn. "Yes, the plan is indeed as you say. The day will come when the god of Darkness will replace the goddess, that hypocritical bastard."
Claire envisioned that oddly satisfying scene once again: the goddess, originally worshipped by millions, spited by millions, and the god, originally hidden in darkness, revered by all.
Hmm, it seems interesting.
Claire followed Bill and Xi Shaoqi out of the Illusion Forest. The underground zone they were in was incredibly spacious, a large, golden disk hanging from above, providing light with its glow.
"That over there was made by our pope and black robed cardinals," Bill said, smiling, seeing her gaze on the glowing disk. "We call it the Sun Disk."
"Impressive," Claire praised genuinely. What a magical item.
"There's no other way. Aboveground, we can't appear before others." Bill sighed softly.
"Perhaps you will soon." Claire smiled faintly.
"We will." Bill nodded resolutely, his eyes filled with determination.
When Bill brought Claire to a stop before the Temple of Darkness, Claire was once again impressed. The temple before her was no less grand than the Light's. Only, this temple was underground.
"Miss Claire, please." Bill guided Claire in. On the way there, there were many curious glances.
Once they arrived at the main fall, Claire sat down and sized up her surroundings.
"Miss Claire, your tea," said a gentle voice. Claire turned to see someone who looked identical to Xi Shaoqi. He had brought the rugosa rose tea Claire had demanded.
"It was you who was watching me, correct?" Claire accepted the tea without bothering to be polite. She smiled happily. Although it could not be compared with Camille's tea, it was the best tea she'd had in awhile.
Xi Shaoqi smiled, neither confirming nor denying.
"The Temple of Darkness sure is talented. The old man even knows how to read lips." Claire's eyes glinted as she sipped her tea. "His tea skills are not bad either."
Xi Shaosi maintained his smile. "Miss Claire, my name is Xi Shaosi."
"Please rest here for a while, Miss Claire. I am going to report to his holiness, the pope," Bill said politely.
"Sure." Claire set down her tea, and her gaze landed on the people who were supposedly just passing by, but secretly taking glances at her. Their gazes were all full of confusion and disbelief. Claire understood that the status of Bill and the Xi brothers must be pretty high in the Temple. Bill's special treatment must have left them curious.
"Claire, you are actually a double classed magician warrior!" Xi Shaoqi pulled up a chair and sat.
"You underestimated the enemy too much," Xi Shaosi said.
"That's right, uncle. If it weren't for your master, you would be in the underworld right now." Claire raised the now empty teacup, raising it in front of Xi Shaosi. Xi Shaosi was speechless, understanding. He picked up the teapot and refilled her cup.
The underworld? Although Xi Shaoqi had never heard of this term before, he knew it could not mean anything good. It must be the equivalent of death.
"Am I really that old? Why do you call me uncle?" Xi Shaoqi protested.
"How old are you?" Claire took a sip of her tea, her eyes slitting.
"Twenty two," Xi Shaoqi answered truthfully.
"As I thought. I'm only fourteen," Claire said shamelessly. Her real age was past twenty, but her appearance was only fourteen, so technically, she wasn't lying.
"There's only an eight year gap, so why do you call me uncle!" Xi Shaoqi squirmed in his seat. But the movement strained his injury, making him grit his teeth.
"You lost to a person eight years younger than you," Xi Shaosi added.
Xi Shaoqi wanted to explode.
Claire smelled the tea, smiling as she watched. Those brothers sure were entertaining.
Just when Xi Shaoqi was going to retort, there came the sound of footsteps at the door.
The people outside started to stir. Someone important had come.
Oh? So the [BOSS] had come? The pope of the Temple of Darkness?
Claire shifted her gaze to the door. An elderly man in a completely black robe appeared in the doorway, darker than any fabric. His hawkish eyes glinted. Although his hair had greyed, his steps were steady, his breathing controlled. Clearly, he was a powerful expert.
But the first words he said to Claire left her stunned. Everyone else was stunned too.
"Divine Princess, you've finally arrived!"
The Divine Princess of the Temple of Darkness?
Claire stared fixedly at the pope as he walked towards her, his gaze also on her. She pointed at herself, saying incredulously, "Are you talking to me?"
"Of course, Divine Princess." The pope laughed and walked towards her.
"Don't you have the wrong person?" Claire's mouth twitched.
"Who else would be able to summon our mighty god of Darkness?" His voice was loud, audible to everyone else in the hall.
Claire watched the powerful old man without a word.
The Temple of Darkness's structure was different from the Light's. In the Temple of Light, the Divine Princess had a lower status than the cardinals, while in the Temple of Darkness, the Divine Princess was only second to the pope, much higher in status.
"Please follow me. I want to speak with you, Divine Princess." The Dark Pope smiled, motioning politely.
Claire did not decline, unexpectedly. She stood up and followed the Dark Pope inside, leaving the crowd in the hall looking at each other with confusion. Only Bill was smiling faintly.
"Reverend, what is happening?"
"Wasn't that girl from the Temple of Light?"
"Is what his holiness said true? That girl can summon our god of Darkness?"
"How could that be? Reverend, what exactly is the situation?"
In a short moment, the crowd had surrounded Bill with questions, ignoring formalities. But this impoliteness was somewhat justifiable. Afterall, the position of Divine Princess had been vacant for so long and all of a sudden, a young girl had appeared to accept this heavy responsibility. Furthermore, she appeared to be from the Temple of Light! This was too difficult for them to accept!
"His holiness speaks the truth," Xi Shaosi said indifferently. "Come, everyone look into this memory crystal." Xi Shaosi placed the small memory crystal on a table in the hall, then infused it with magic. The scene of Xi Shaoqi facing Claire appeared within.
Xi Shaoqi shrieked and scrambled to snatch away the memory crystal, but Xi Shaosi stopped him.
Xi Shaoqi glared at Xi Shaosi, murder in his eyes, but Xi Shaoqi ignored it.
Once everyone saw Claire had defeated Xi Shaoqi, they exclaimed. After all, the strength of the Xi brothers was well known, yet Xi Shaosi had been completely overpowered. Even if it was because he had underestimated her, Claire's strength was still surprising. When they saw Claire call out the god of Darkness and the memory crystal go black, their hearts almost stopped!
It was definitely their god of Darkness descending. They had all been present at the offering ceremony, an experience they would never forget!
The hall went deathly silent. They all stared fixedly at the memory crystal, unable to speak.
"Any thoughts?" Bill sat down, rapping the table quietly.
"Reverend! That means that girl really is the envoy of the god of Darkness, our Divine Princess!"
"Is it our time to shine?"
Everyone was now suddenly excited, the atmosphere enthusiastic.