The disciplinary corps was the most elite squadron in the entire holy city. Every snakeman there was a blood descendant of the Stewart family, and possessed strength at least at Morning Star. The leader of the disciplinary corps was the Stewart family's esteemed second elder, who had no faults as a commander.
If these troops were appropriately deployed, they could indeed reclaim the perilous situation they faced, and would at least bring the battlefront to the same level.
However, Aegnis felt a fluttering feeling lingering in her chest.
"What's happening?" She climbed onto the tower and immediately saw the disciplinary corps. Compared to the last few times she had seen then, the disciplinary guards had an even more tyrannical aura around them, and Aegnis could not help but breathe a sigh of relief.
"The preparations for the guardian technique have been completed!"
"Activate the technique, and initiate activation of the holy city protection matrix!"
"Rank 2 Alchemy Cannon is ready, and can fire at any time!"
Commands were continuously issued, and a spell formation that permitted free movement into the holy city was engraved onto the disciplinary corps' armour.
"Attack!" At the heart of the guards' square formation, where a large golden flag waved in the wind, a gentle but firm voice rang out.
"Disciplinary corps, move out!" Standing at the very front was a white-haired elder shouting, an explosive aura at rank 6 undulating from him.
'No, this is wrong!' Aegnis finally realised that something wasn't right. All of a sudden, her eyes widened and even her voice became shrill, "Second uncle's aura, how could he have suddenly grown so strong? Even if he used forbidden magic it wouldn't be possible, unless..."
Aegnis suddenly roared out, "Be careful!"
However, it was too late.
"Disciplinary force, with me!" The numerous soldiers of the disciplinary corps roared. Their bodies secretly swelled, and ghastly demonic energy erupted from them in an instant.
With a loud rumble, many spells were fired out, and the power of the guards were concentrated into one force, merging together in the second elder's hands.
"Thunder of discipline!" The second elder cried in a frenzy, and a massively destructive attack landed straight on the city gate. Several deafening crashes could be heard, and black lightning swept across the area with a blazing radiance.
The guards on the city gate were vaporised in an instant, burnt to ashes. Then, they were obliterated right down to the atomic level. Soon after, the holy city's entrance was also destroyed by the spell, and many protective runes began to fall apart completely.
"No, not this!" Aegnis held her head as tears began to subconsciously flow from her eyes.
The holy city's defensive techniques were extremely powerful, with even laws being inscribed in the arrays. Even the disciplinary corps would have found it difficult to take it down in one strike; it was the method they were most confident in for obstructing the gluttonous beasts.
Now, however, the disciplinary corps had the defensive array's approval, and it was destroyed from within. Immediately, the holy city had lost its greatest defense.
It wasn't just that. The ones who had suffered the most under the earlier attack were the elites of the Stewart Family, Aegnis' clansmen! Even her father, the patriarch of the Stewart family, was there.
"In the name of gluttony, kill!" The traitorous second elder began to laugh wildly. His body exploded into a gruesome three-headed python, with deeply twisted blood vessels rooted in its irregular scales. It looked inconceivably horrifying.
Afterwards, the turncoat disciplinary corps immediately began to attack the stunned allies around them. Blood-curdling screeches could immediately be heard as the carnage began.
"Why? Why?" Aegnis rushed in front of her uncle. She was lucky that the area she was responsible for wasn't the most important section, and it had suffered fewer losses. However, the most important defensive array had now been destroyed. The battle now had lost all its meaning and suspense.
"Why, second elder? Why did you betray our guardian family's honor?" Aegnis' eyes were full of tears, and she was still in disbelief.
"Why?" The three headed python's slit eyes were full of ridicule and madness.
"The guardian family?" he chuckled, "Do you rejoice in being the Matriarch's guard dog? With our bloodline shackles and chains, unable for all eternity to break through our roles as gatekeepers... I have had enough!"
The three-headed python hissed menacingly, and the snakemen who couldn't escape in time were swallowed up. Its blood vessels incessantly circulated blood-red energy throughout its body, making the python grow even more demonic and enormous. It even appeared to reach the peak of rank 6, sprinting towards rank 7.
"This is true power, how amazing!" The three-headed python had an intoxicated expression in its slit eyes.
"Gluttony, the power of gluttony! So you've been contaminated by the Sovereign King of Gluttony?" Aegnis felt slightly relieved. If her uncle was being manipulated, then it would make her feel a little better.
"Contaminated? No, I asked for this! This is the only way I could become strong. And it wasn't just me, every single guard of the disciplinary corps chose this." As the second elder spoke, the disciplinary corps' guards all laughed wildly and transformed into giant serpents. They too had grotesque appearances, and had clearly been contaminated by the power of gluttony.
"Aegnis, retreat! He has gone completely mad!" With a giant crash, the ruins of the city gate exploded, and the figure of an elegant three-headed python emerged. The scales on its body had begun to come loose, and it had severe injuries.
"Father!" Aegnis cried in surprise.
"Teehee! My beloved brother! You haven't died yet?" The second elder laughed.
"Demon who actively sought the power of gluttony, you are no longer a clansman of our family. I want to correct our family's mistake!" The three headed python charged immediately at the second elder.
At the same time, a tremendous force flung Aegnis far away and called to her, "Leave immediately!"
"Teehee! Elder brother, now I will prove that I have always been better than you, and better-suited to lead our family!" The three-headed python that had been transformed by gluttony aggressively tangled with the patriarch.
The rank 6 beast's bloody crushing ability had instantly created a blank space and isolated area. Whether it was guard or gluttonous beast, all who approached it were shocked to death.
Deafening roars filled the air as many gluttonous beasts immediately poured through the gap into the holy city. The surviving guards entered bloody close-quarters combat.
Aegnis' face was filled with tears, and in the end she could only faintly see the tremendous smoke that filled the air as her father's powerless body fell, accompanied by the second elder's mad laughter.
The sounds of explosions filled the air. As gluttonous beasts devastated the holy city, the giant statue of the Snake Dowager at the center began to emit dazzling light, as if she had heard the innermost prayers of her citizens.
In this layer of light, the entire holy city seemed to experience an enormous earthquake and many deep cracks began to appear in the ground.
Many buildings in the holy city began to twist and collapse with loud crashes, as if the heavens were torn and the earth had been split asunder. The giant statue of the Snake Dowager began to sink down without stopping. Finally, an immensely deep hole appeared in the ground.
"The power of gluttony, and the concealing power of chaos! Beelzebub, have you joined hands with the Nefarious Filthbird?" A coiled ball of snakes floated up from the depths of the hole like a star. Many giant snake heads uncoiled, exposing the Snake Dowager's puzzled face.
Overwhelmingly powerful undulations spread out at rank 8, and the entire holy city grew quiet in an instant. Many gluttonous beasts were engulfed by the shadow and burnt to ashes.
At the holy city's most critical moment, the Snake Dowager finally appeared!
"The Matriarch!" "Almighty dignitary!" "Invincible ancestor!"
The surviving inhabitants of the holy city immediately knelt down, and tears of joy began to overflow from their eyes. The one who had just appeared wasn't a phantom image or a clone from sacrifices; it was the real body of the Snake Dowager!
Every scale on the Matriarch's body had the most realistic feeling of true flesh, and even exhibited the aura of laws. Just the aura that emanated from her body gave innumerable benefits to her descendants.
"Dowager! It was you who first violated our agreement, and began to meddle with my affairs!" Accompanied by wild laughter, a demonic python emerged from the gluttonous beast army outside the holy city.
No, calling it a giant python would be inaccurate, as it had only the body of a python. However, it had grown a pair of extraordinary demonic wings, and its purplish-brown muscled arms had sharp talons at the end of its legs. It had many compound eyes just like an insect.
It looked as if Beelzebub had fused his soul with a mixed-breed snakeman's body, whose power had reached the limit. It could even meet the Snake Dowager as an equal.
After seeing Beelzebub's form, the Snake Dowager's eyes flashed with amazement.
"Haha! This body's raw material appears to be your descendent, but my gluttonous power has made it even more perfect than before. That's all thanks to a gift from a certain little fellow," Beelzebub split open his huge mouth, a purple-black barbed tongue licking his sharp white teeth and said, "In return, I'll swallow him up later and let him forever be part of the almighty Beelzebub..."
The impulsive power of gluttony and the omnipresent power of shadows began their confrontation with the holy city's walls as its boundary. In a moment, many guards and gluttonous beasts turned into ashes.
For two rank 8 existences to cross swords, it could be said that this bout decided the Purgatory World's future to an extent. Many powerful conscients descended here, and the faint chirps of the Nefarious Bird and traces of the Trial's Eye's power appeared.
"That crafty little fellow, I didn't think that he would bring me this much trouble!" The Snake Dowager's eyes became a little dispirited, and she looked directly into an area within the holy city.