"Ok, I will give you an insignia for you to mobilize the Temple of Darkness's personnel whenever you wish. I will have them memorize your appearance. If you wish to contact us, find the boss of the slave market in the capital." The Dark Pope materialize a crest from his storage ring and handed it to Claire.
Claire accepted the insignia, surprised. "The Temple of Darkness operates the slave market?"
"Correct," the Dark Pope nodded.
The slave market was making buckets of gold daily. Who would have thought that behind the scenes, it was actually the Temple of Darkness!
"You should be controlling other businesses in the capital, correct?"
"Yes. Tailor shops, jewelry shops, and weapon shops, we have them all," the pope nodded. Of course many resources were necessary for the Temple of Darkness to function. It was so large, it would be impossible otherwise. Unlike the Temple of Light, no one was donating money to them for doing nothing.
"If you want to find me, go to the Hill manor. Say that I ordered clothes or something and need me to take measurements."
"Yes." The pope nodded. Bill had already reported her identity to him, the granddaughter of all-mighty Duke Gordan!
"Tell other people to send me off now. Make sure my two companions are sent out as well. As for other people, I don't care." Claire naturally did not care whether the Divine Princess lived or died.
"Alright." The pope walked towards the door. "Come with me, I will find people to send you out. I will tell others to lead those two you mentioned out instead of facing them."
"Sorry for troubling you." The pope almost cried. It was the most polite thing this penny pinching girl had said all day.
As they entered the hall, the original chattering instantly died down.
When the pope announced Claire's new position, many people were accepting. The memory crystal had already explained everything.
However, as everyone bowed, Claire felt a bit uncomfortable. Such a huge crowd of people in black was bowing to her.
Once the crowd dispersed, Claire settled down. Xi Shaosi poured a cup of rugosa rose tea for her.
Claire eyed Bill. "Old man, can you teleport me to the capital of Lagark?"
"What? Divine Princess, what do you need to go there for?" Bill already addressed Claire differently, his voice respectful.
"I need to find someone, it's very important." Claire had already made a decision in her mind. Find senior Astral Feng! If she wanted to break through the ninth level, even if she was able to comprehend it right now, she wouldn't be able to block the lightning. It was better if she cultivated at the strange old man's place. Perhaps he might even be able to give advice. As she was thinking, Feng Yixuan's confident, smiling face suddenly appeared in her mind. How was he doing?
"I cannot," Bill said apologetically. "The spell the god of Darkness gave us can only teleport people into the Illusion Forest, nowhere else."
"Oh, is that so." Claire pondered for a moment. "Then where does this place lead to when you leave?"
"The border of Amparkland," Bill answered. "You two companions have already made their way out of the Illusion Forest and led out. You pets are also safe." He sounded shocked, evidently not expecting Leng Lingyun and Jean to be able to make their way out the Illusion Forest safely.
Claire stood up. "I will write a letter that you will send to my companions, then leave myself."
Hiding temporarily wasn't a bad idea. Who knew what that pope of Light, that old fox, was planning. Claire was apprehensive. If things continued this way, the Temple of Light was bound to face the Hill clan. Divine right and royal authority had been at odds for quite some while.
In the dead of night, a figure flashed past the city wall of a border city. The shadow slipped away into the darkness, unnoticed.
Claire started her journey to Lagark. She had to find An Lisha first before finding Senior Feng Astral.
However, Claire was unaware how much the mysterious island had changed from before.
It was night. Cold wind blew, small flurries of snow flying in the air, making it difficult to open their eyes.
Passing through Nirvana Forest was the only way to travel to Lagark from Amparkland.
A carriage stopped in a small clearing. Seven or eight men in uniform stood with their backs to the carriage, watching their surroundings alertly, their swords unsheathed, ready to attack at any given moment.
Inside the carriage, a middle aged man was hugging two little girls tightly. Both were beauties, one appearing seventeen to eighteen years old, the other fifteen or sixteen. The both shivered, fear evident in their eyes.
"Father, can we return safely?" The younger girl trembled.
"What are you afraid of? There are guards outside," the older girl rebuked. Her voice also shook, but she tried to draw up her courage.
"Nothing will happen to us." The middle aged man hugged the two girls tighter, but his heart sunk. He was uncertain they would make it out live if a fourth grade lightning leopard were to attack. Lightning leopards were named not because of their ability to use the lightning element, but because of their lightning fast speed. These magic beasts were troublesome because they were so fast, their movements were hard to see, even harder to defend from. And lightning leopards were ruthless. Once they spotted prey, even if they were not hungry, they would still kill them all!
"Ahhh!" There was a scream outside the carriage. One of the guards was attacked! His arm had been clawed, completely crippled.
"Father!" The younger girl curled into a ball in the middle aged man's embrace, shaking fearfully. The older girl was deathly pale. Now she didn't have the courage to repeat what she had said. The middle aged man was pale too, but all he could do was draw the girls closer.
Although one of their members had fallen, the guards did not panic. They encircled the carriage more tightly. They could not let anything happen to the people inside!
The middle aged man's heart was filled with remorse. He shouldn't have left with only eight guards, traveling so lightly. Whether he died or not did not matter, but he could not let anything happen to the two children in his embrace.
"Father, I'm scared..." The younger girl shuddered. She raised her head, eyes filled with fear.
"Don't be afraid," the middle aged man said. But all he could do was pat her back and comfort her. His regret grew. Why did he refuse to let his daughters learn magic or Dou Qi? Now there was no chance of living. Did the heavens truly want him to die now?
Then came another scream.
The two girls curled up, the younger one already crying. "Father, if only elder brother were here."
The middle aged man said nothing. His son was talented, so he was now part of the Hidden Sect. It had been many years since his son had last been home.
There came another scream, this time accompanied with painful groans.
The middle aged man closed his eyes, sighing. Was he really going to die today?
But then, there was a commotion. They could hear the whisperings of the beast and the surprised exclamations of the guards.
"Sir, we are safe now." The curtain of the carriage entrance was raised and a young man's face appeared, relieved and in awe.
"What happened?" The middle aged man asked with astonishment. They were one foot in the grave just a moment ago. How were they safe now?
"A young man suppressed the beasts," the guard answered emotionally. "Before we could even see what the young man did, the lightning leopard was already crouching beneath his feet, whimpering."
The middle aged man hurried off the carriage. What he saw left him astonished.
A young man in black with a wide brimmed hat stood next to the large lightning leopard. He reached out and patted the leopard's head. The leopard simply stood there obediently, not moving an inch. Even more shockingly, the leopard's legs were trembling ever so slightly!
"Young man, you saved our lives. Thank you." The middle aged man bowed.
"I was merely passing by. I just so happened to be needing a mount," the young man waved offhandedly. He mounted the leopard, about the leave.
"Wait, benefactor. It is already dark and there are no inns ahead. Why not stay with us?" The middle aged man sized up the young man. He didn't have anything on him. In such icy cold weather, how was he going to camp?
The young man did not respond, but he did not leave immediately either. The wide brimmed hat hid the young man's face, so there was no way to read his expression.
The middle aged man continued to pursue. "Benefactor, I still have not thanked you properly. I don't even know you name. Tonight, there will be a large blizzard. Please stay and camp with us. We have extra tents." If such a strong young man traveled with them, they would be safe. Although they were traveling light in order to avoid attention, there was no way to knowing if there would be mishaps in the future. If the young man stayed, it would be easier to convince him to travel with them in the future.
Afterall, there was an important piece of information he had to tell the Madam!