Everyone saw what occurred from afar. "Claire..." Katherine cried out, rushing over. Lashia also hurried over. Roger followed from behind, his face grim. Emery was also aghast and hurried over, but he was pulled back with force. His arm was almost pulled out of its socket. Emery turned to face Charles's cold face.
"His grace said you are to stay quietly here with me." Charles had not been surprised at all, clearly aware of what would happen beforehand. He had an iron grip, not letting Emery move half an inch.
Before Claire could compose herself, the ground below her feet began to shake. Bright rays shot out. Claire's vision blurred, and as she leaned against a tree, she realized that the light below her was actually from a huge magic formation. It was a giant, 12-star magic formation. The white light it emitted grew stronger and stronger.
"Father, what are you doing?!" Katherine ran over madly, about to dash into the magic formation also.
"Katherine, calm down." Roger grabbed Katherine and pulled her into his embrace.
"Grandfather, what are you doing! Why are you attacking elder sister?" Lashia was both angry and worried. Seeing Claire pale even more within the magic formation, her heart tightened and she too want to rush in, but was stopped by Duke Gordan. White Emperor and Black Feather, who had been on Lashia's shoulders, lept onto Claire's shoulders. Both chirped and peeped worriedly.
Duke Gordan's expression was completely cold. He watched Claire in the magic formation with no hint of warmth in his eyes.
"Roger! What are you doing? Let me go! Let me go! She is our daughter!" Katherine struggled with all her might, kicking fiercely and even biting, but Roger, although looked pained, did not let go.
Claire stood within the magic formation and wiped away the blood from her lips, laughing coldly. "The Temple of Light sure has its ways, going so far as using this Grand Devil Slayer magic formation. They sure regard me highly." Claire recognized this magic formation, because it was carved on the wall that honored the goddess. This magic formation was used to kill those of devil race, except in the carving, the magic formation was controlled by twelve eight-winged angels.
Gradually, twelve cardinals donned in white appeared from different directions. Each wore a necklace, the Calm of the Goddess. It was shaped like a small water droplet, yet it had a powerful ability - concealing one's aura! This was why Claire had not been able to sense their presence.
They all wore the exact same expression, cold and indifferent. They were all chanting, controlling the Grand Devil Slayer formation. Although it was far less powerful than the one in the carving controlled by angels, it was enough to kill a wounded and poisoned sorcerer. The magic formation trapped those within, leaving them to be killed by those outside.
Claire had spoken indifferently, her eyes without fear. Her gaze never left Duke Gordan. It was he who had viciously attacked her without mercy. If Claire did not practice Dou Qi, she would have been gasping for air weakly by now.
When Duke Gordan returned her gaze, a cold feeling arose in his heart. Claire's gaze seemed to be able to see right through him. Sorcerers were no ordinary people. If he had tried to attack her with Dou Qi, he would have definitely failed. The pope had already foreseen this, which was why he had specially given him the dagger.
"Father, what exactly are you doing? Do you know what you're doing right now? Why are you doing this?" Katherine cried, struggling with all her might.
Claire slowly let out a breath, controlling her breathing. She leaned against the tree and watched Duke Gordan coldly.
"Elder sister..." Tears streamed down Lashia's face.
"What agreement did you and the Temple reach?" Claire could not leave the magic formation, but she could heal her wounds with the Lotus power. But this time, it was unusually slow. The poison was not just corroding her body, but also her spiritual power!
Claire was extremely aware that she had been betrayed!
By this supposed "Grandfather" of hers!
"Someone who is about to die doesn't need to know," Duke Gordan said coldly. But when his eyes met Claire's, they flashed with fear.
"Father! Claire is your granddaughter, how could you..." Katherine was on the verge of collapsing.
Duke Gordan coldly watched Claire. For some reason, he laughed, sounding strange as he said, "Granddaughter? I don't have such a resolved granddaughter!"
"Grandfather?!" Lashia's eyes widened. Was Grandfather really betraying her sister for an agreement with the Temple?
Claire did not say anything, concentrating all her strength on using Lotus power to heal herself. The magic formation was not at the peak of its strength yet, but she had to break out of it as soon as possible. But what was wrong with the wound in her back? Her strength seemed to be slowly seeping out. What exactly was the poison on the dagger?"
"Katherine, Lashia, thinking carefully. How was Claire like originally? An idiot who chased after men is all. Why did she suddenly change after falling off the horse? Because she is not Claire! She is only using Claire's body. It was she who killed Claire's soul and took over Claire's body!" Duke Gordan's expression was icy. He watched Claire almost with disdain.
Katherine froze and stopped struggling, while Lashia was shellshocked. But Roger only had a complex expression. Katherine and Lashia watched Claire blankly, completely frozen.
Claire raised a brow, but then understood. The old fox already knew long ago? But he did not expose her, letting her grow and develop instead because she was valuable to the Hill clan. Now that the Temple was giving him a better offer, he was going to discard her without a thought?
Such cunning, such patience, such scheming!
Such a person was why the Hill clan stood at such grand heights!
Claire's gaze gradually shifted to Katherine. Katherine looked dazed, her face deathly pale. Roger sighed in his heart and let her go. Lashia watched Claire incredulously, frozen in place.
"Is... is it true? Claire, you are not my Claire?" Katherine was stupefied, her gaze unfocused.
Claire gently sighed. She looked into Katherine's eyes. "It is true that I am not the original Claire." Now, there was no point in continuing to talk. Claire closed her eyes and continued to circulate the Lotus power throughout her body.
The twelve cardinals continued to chant and the light of the magic formation grew bright and bright. White Emperor and Black Feather hopped up and down on Claire's should, evidently understanding that this magic formation was nothing to laugh at.
Katherine continued staring at Claire rigidly.
"Katherine, let's go home." Roger could not bear to see Katherine watch Claire be killed. Even if it wasn't their daughter, it was still her body. She also did indeed rescue Katherine. Roger was not completely indifferent.
"You should also go back, Lashia. Everything will be over soon." Duke Gordan patted Lashia's head, gently pushing Lashia towards Katherine.
Roger took Katherine by the hand, about to leave.
Suddenly, Katherine turned and ran into a cardinal madly. She cried out, "No matter who she is, she is my daughter, she is my Claire!" The cardinal she ran into faltered in his chanting, and the magic formation's light dimmed slightly.
Claire was stunned, everyone was stunned.
"Go, Claire, go!" Katherine was like a raging bull. Before Roger and Duke Gordan could register what happened, she ran into the other cardinals. Before she left the Li clan, she had destroyed her own cultivation, so now she used the most primitive ways to destroy the concentration of the cardinals, clawing, biting, kicking. For a moment, no one came back to their senses.
The twelve star magic formation gradually dimmed more and more.
Claire gritted her teeth, her heart filled with indescribable warmth. She gathered her strength, about to rush out of the magic formation. She could not let Katherine's efforts be in vain!
Seeing this, Duke Gordan roared. Without a moment's hesitation, he emitted deep violet Dou Qi. Duke Gordan was at the peak of a grand swordsman and was about to ascend to swordsman sage! His expression cold, he punched towards Claire with all his might. He knew this would not be able to kill Claire, but it was enough to force Claire back into the magic formation.
"No-" Like an arrow, Katherine suddenly shot in between Duke Gordan and Claire. Claire successfully dashed out of the magic formation.
Everything happened in a split second.
No one expected Katherine to display such strength at such a time.
Blood splattered onto Claire's face. Katherine was reaching out towards Claire protectively. Her expression was so gentle, so loving. Duke Gordan had originally planned on punching Claire, but he ended up striking Katherine's back. This strike was with all of his strength, punching through Katherine, leaving a gaping hole in her chest. Blood splattered on Claire's face, body, and the ground.
"Noooo!" Rother's painful cry reverberated into the night sky.
"Mother!" Lashia screamed desperately.
Claire watched the gently smiling woman with shock. Her heart seemed to have stopped, her mind blank.
Claire reached out and caught Katherine's soft body.
Katherine was still smiling, her gaze still so gentle. But she would never breath again. The warmth of her body gradually left.
Duke Gordan froze for only a moment before immediately attacking Claire again.
He could not let everything go to waste just because of a woman's death!
Claire raised her hand, but this slight movement caught Duke Gordan's powerful fist.
Duke Gordan was shocked. Seeing the fist he put all his strength into stopped so easily by Claire, his mind went blank. Sorcerers were indeed strong, but... but did they have such power?!
Claire had already lost all mercy, her gaze cruel. Without a word, she slightly strengthened her grip.
Duke Gordan broke out in cold sweat! His hand! His hand was destroyed!
"Die!" Claire coldly humphed. She infused power unto her hand and Duke Gordan was sent flying. He landed heavily, smashing a deep hole in the ground that sent up clouds of dust. Even more terrifying was the fact that although Duke Gordan's fist appeared normal, when he landed and the skin was broken, a thick mixture of blood, flesh, and bone sprayed out, and his fist deflated! Claire had shattered the innards of Duke Gordan's hand while leaving his skin perfectly intact.
Duke Gordan lay without moving. His barely heaving chest was the only indication that he was alive.
It was such a terrifying scene.
At this time, the twelve cardinals returned to their senses. Their incantation had already been stopped, the magic formation gone. Now that the magic formation had failed in trapping Claire, it was time for direct combat.
The twelve cardinals surrounded Claire in a circle with her in the center. Roger appeared to have lost his soul, frozen in place. Lashia looked towards Claire, who was encircled, and then looked at their mother in Claire's arms who had died a tragic death. In the end, she pulled Roger away. She almost lost her sanity!
The twelve cardinals all raised their right hands. Each hand shot out white light, intersecting overhead, then shooting down, creating a giant net of light over Claire.
But Claire had not moved, only gazing at the person in her embrace. Katherine was already losing her warmth. The blood on Claire's face also lost its warmth.
Claire still did not move, but someone else did. Fire magic attacked one of the cardinals. The cardinal stumbled, coughing up blood, but did not stop in his actions nor chanting.
"Claire!" Emery ran in a sorry state. It had been difficult for him to defeat Charles, who had been obeying Duke Gordan's orders to not let Emery out.
But just as Claire looked up to see Emery rush over, she saw something that made her blood run cold.
The pope descended from the sky, and without a word, killed Emery with a wave of his hand. White light pierced through Emery's head, slicing him into two!
Claire felt her body grow cold, all the way to her bones! Anger exploded from the depths of her heart.
"Futile struggle." The pope descended onto the ground, his expression indifferent. He was already casting magic. The dagger he had given Duke Gordan had deadly poison that slowly drained away one's strength and consciousness.
Rage, let rage take over you. That way your consciousness will be swallowed even quicker.