Crowley's oratory wasn't particularly outstanding. It neither caused their blood to boil nor attracted their attention. By all rights the speech was a failure that couldn't even fool little kids.
Fortunately, he had great assistance. The Shadow Empire's recent actions had enraged the heavens and the peoples. Project X and the Tree of Life Project were too wide-spread, affecting everyone be they nobles, peasants, or prisoners. The upper class couldn't be blamed for instigating a rebellion.
If someone was disturbed in the comfort of their home by a stranger who told them they were but clones who would be assimilated to a whole, and that they'd become complete idiots, it was only to be expected that they'd grow mad. This was just a disaster occurring in broad daylight.
Although this wasn't really the fault of the imperial family, the others would still lump them together. The Empire had already disparaged the Bloodline Alliance and other organisation, causing great distrust from the public. Now it seemed like they were psychopaths plotting to bring about the end of the world.
This situation endangered ordinary citizens and government officials alike. Rebel funding grew greatly, developing further. If they'd planned such a huge counterattack on the outskirts of the Empire before, they would've been killed by the imperial guards who came knocking on the door. Now, however, things were different. The refugees who's jumped ship felt bitter as well.
They had to support the rebel groups with all they had. What would assisting the Empire achieve? Good politicians would never believe that the empire would leave their souls free after assimilating them into the whole.
As a result, it could be said that the Empire had given birth to the rebel army.
"Down with the Empire!" "Overthrow the Empire!" Under the pressure of death, the heads of several major organisations had quickly reached a consensus.
"Excellent!" Seeing the many faces flushed with righteous indignation, a smile bloomed on Crowley's face. He pressed a button, and a map was projected behind him.
"This is the imperial capital!" Unlike before, the city was now devastated. The surrounding regions had been thrown into disarray as well, "We only have one target this time, the Imperial Palace! We have to thoroughly destroy the core of all evil!" Crowley vehemently clenched his fist.
"There are at least 300,000 troops surrounding the capital on normal occasions, not to mention the police and the Special Forces. We'd never be afforded such an opportunity in that case. However... General Clive!"
"I will only say two things!" The grey-haired Clive was filled with bloodlust, and like a true military man he didn't mince his words. "Firstly, the horrific disaster hurt the army greatly. Many soldiers are still participating in the relief efforts, and their information network has been broken up. While us old fellows who are held in some prestige cannot incite the troops to march with us, temporarily stalling them won't be an issue...
"Second. As a result of a lack of support for the royal family, our people have already maneuvered themselves into key positions, including several major transport hubs and the Ministry of Defence."
Hearing Clive speak, the eyes of the audience came alive. With so many favourable conditions stacking up, they finally saw a glimmer of hope for success.
"We can't delay. Let's plan this operation out immediately!" Bobbi said. She then glanced at Crowley, "We should also designate a chief for us."
Kerallen, within the Imperial Palace.
Emperor Aragon was sat on his throne, glancing down at a rare scene of numerous royals enjoying a sumptuous dinner in one place.
The Empress was here, alongside his several sons and daughters, the Secretary of State, the Minister of Maritime Affairs, and the Minister of Defence.
'Which of these people is truly loyal to me?' Emperor Aragorn suddenly felt a sense of melancholy. He completely lost interest in the wine within the crystal flask.
"Father!" Ling walked in just then, dressed in military uniform. Javis was following behind her like a loyal dog. She performed a salute before making her report, "The Special Forces learned that the Bloodline Alliance is conspiring to attack the palace."
"Hmm?" Empire Aragon's brows twitched, and Javis immediately knelt down, "I can vouch for the credibility of the news with my life!"
"Sigh... These are truly troubled times!" Aragon put down the crystal flask, massaging his brows with his right hand in helplessness. The entire hall was silent, as if they could only hear the heavy breathing of their monarch.
Just when everyone assumed that the Emperor would order the capture of the rebels, he instead made a shocking decision, "Alright then. Initiate Project X and the Tree of Life Project immediately!
"Sigh... Everyone please follow me. All the entrances of the palace are to be shut. Without my orders, no one is allowed to enter or leave!" A long sigh escaped from Emperor Aragon. Upon bringing a wave of important ministers out of the palace, numerous high-ranking guards followed after.
All the forces of the Empire, be it the Special Forces, the intelligence team, or other elites fell into order under Ling's command. The whole place wound up, as if a machine.
"It's ready!" The other royal family looked at each other, and a strange silence soon followed. The older princes' gazes were fixed on Princess Ling, their thoughts unknown.
The princess herself told Javis to leave, moving alone to another meeting room. A few miserable cries sounded out, and complete silence followed them.
"I didn't think that the Minister of Defence would have betrayed me. Ha, and to think he was my best friend..." Emperor Aragon walked out a few minutes later, sighing as he used a white handkerchief to wipe the bloodstains off his body.
"My path is destined not to be understood by others, but I have no choice!" Emperor Aragon couldn't help by sigh as he looked at the only child to whom he could entrust this task.
"All preparations have been completed, father. Please follow me." Ling didn't betray any emotion on her face, the calm in her eyes making it impossible to guess her thoughts. The two arrived at the imperial garden, all the vegetation within flattened to form a huge plaza.
"Let's begin!" Emperor Aragon commanded, holding back the excitement in his heart.
The entire plaza began to tremble, the earth gradually splitting open as it formed a box. A fantastic white tower appeared from the ground, its interior completely solid while its exterior was filled with light. It dazzled with a gorgeous lustre.
Twelve bright pearls could be seen atop the tower, forming a circle connected by thick black metal chains to the centre. A girl was sleeping in each pearl, and Jill was amongst them. They were curled up like babies in their mothers' wombs, and their eyebrows furrowed from time to time. And just like a womb, there was a large amount of translucent liquid around them, a crystal clear thread from within connecting to their bodies.
"The console of the Tree of Life!" Emperor Aragon looked at the metal console in front of him with a crazy and fervent expression. "Look at it, Ling, such a beautiful crown..."
"Yes," Ling's eyes were filled with a radiance as well. She had to admit, the brilliant tower with its twelve pearls looked like a massive crown.
However, she was very clear that this was a test for her father. If the Mistress of the Night appeared here at this point, she and her father would be fated for death.
'No... Perhaps father might survive, but I'll definitely die.' Ling looked at her father's hands. Only she knew that the array from the strongroom had been transferred to his body, Kalle's eyes and the mermaid scales on his person.
Before he continued, Emperor Aragon called out to his daughter, "Go activate the final X mutation before the Tree of Life Project begins. No matter who our opponents are, they're likely to face great trouble."
Ling's body trembled as she received this command, one that was equal to setting the devils loose. Still, she managed to retreat respectfully from the place.
"Sword Saint, Night Devil, follow closely!" Emperor Aragon commanded immediately after. Two silhouettes appeared behind his back, his final line of defence. Right now, he'd sent the two of them out.
The two old men saluted to Emperor Aragon, slowly blending into the breeze. Emperor Aragon looked at his surroundings and revealed a trace of smile as he walked into the plaza.
*Ding!* A layer of pure white energy instantly separated the plaza from the outside world.
"All the unstable factors have been removed." Emperor Aragon looked around, seeing that he was alone at the console tower. He couldn't help but reveal a smile of satisfaction, "I will definitely be able to devour the assimilated soul body, becoming a God!"
He walked towards the centre of the metal tower with unswerving determination.