Within the pantheon, the six remaining Apostles sat around a now much more empty table as they fumed with rage.
“They actually dare to provoke us! Do they really think they’re so great after just a few victories?!”
“Calm down. This is obviously a trap. Otherwise, how could they be so confident? We must silently endure and wait for the Lord’s instructions.”
“Wait?! And let them believe we are cowards that have submitted to them?! Absolutely not!”
“So what are you going to do? They’ve already proven multiple times that they can defeat us, so how do you plan to get the vengeance you speak of.”
Many opinions circulated as the Apostles expressed their views on the situation. In fact, the number that wanted to immediately charge to the given location and fight it out had largely outnumbered those who wanted to wait and endure.
Proto sneered when he heard the cautious comments of his comrades.
“Please, if it weren’t for that brat from before, how could they have the power to challenge us? Now that he’s been dealt with by the Lord, those two little girls can’t harm us at all.”
“And who decided that? Haven’t you seen the recording of that Phoenix girl’s battle with Kroa?”
“Ha! And how can Kroa compare to me?! In the end, they’re all just women. When faced with a true man like me, they have no choice but to submit and kneel at my feet.”
“Proto, don’t go too far. Do you believe I won’t kill you here and now?”
Of the six remaining Apostles, only two were women, but they both were glaring at Proto with surging killing intent as he spoke. When it came to physical power, it was guaranteed that he was above them, but in terms of mana, he didn’t come close to them at all.
If they fought for real, it was undecided who would win.
“Tch. As if the two of you count. Your power comes from the same source as mine! You are subordinates of the Lord, so naturally you aren’t considered the same.”
The two women furrowed their brows but said nothing in the end. Although they wanted to refuse his indirect jab, they couldn’t. After all, it was true that they were borrowing power from their Lord. They didn’t have the capital to argue that women were on the same standing as him.
But Porto’s attitude had always been like this, and frankly, they were sick of it. Perhaps, in the bottom of their hearts, they were secretly waiting for him to go challenge those two girls and die by their hands. That would be the greatest proof of their point.
“Whatever. I will stand by my statement that we should wait and see. Regardless of your personal beliefs, our numbers have already dwindled to this extent. We can’t lose more due to foolishness.” Another Apostle sighed.
The rest silently agreed after looking around the table. It was hard not to notice how much emptier it was now than it was a few months ago.
“Tch! You can do whatever you want! I’m leaving!”
Proto harrumphed loudly and stormed out of the hall. Looking at his retreating figure, the rest of the Apostles sighed.
“There’s no way to stop him. Even if we tried to convince him otherwise, he wouldn’t listen. And the origin of our power prohibits us from using force on each other.”
“What should we do then? It’s clear that he’ll die if he charges in there alone.”
“Someone has to go with him. Although he isn’t the strongest, the power of his fist can’t be underestimated. If he is allowed to fight the enemy one-on-one, he might come out victorious.”
“So who will go?”
When the question was raised, three hands shot up at the same time. The three Apostles glared at each other, not willing to back down.
“All three of you can’t go. Let’s decide this fairly and draw lots.”
The drawing was soon completed, and another burly Apostle was chosen to accompany Proto. The other two sighed in defeat, but accepted their loss.
In usual times, they’d fight for the position. But the number of Apostles was already so low, they couldn’t act arbitrarily. It wasn’t up to them anymore.
“Nali, I guess it’s you. Don’t let us down and bring us back the heads of those wenches.”
“If you die out there, I’ll make sure to recover your corpse and humiliate you even after death.”
The Apostle named Nali nodded firmly. He had no plans to be defeated. Taking one last look at the four remaining Apostles, he left the pantheon and chased after Proto.
“Sigh, this is the most we can do. We need to conserve our numbers in case any unexpected situations arise.”
“If those two don’t return…”
The Apostles were silent. They didn’t want to imagine it, but if the scenario came true then…
“There’s nothing else to say. We’ve been placed in a disadvantageous position for the first time in our lives and things have developed negatively ever since. We have to learn from our loss and make sure we move precisely and decisively from here on out.”
The four of them nodded in determination. They were the only ones left to serve their Lord and carry out his plans for now. They no longer had room for mistakes.
There was a large forest not far from Astoria that spanned for many kilometers on end. It was one of the many similar forests that constituted a large portion of the Trial World’s space.
This forest, however, was special, as it was the chosen location that was mentioned in the letter that was sent to the Apostles a few days back.
“Do you think they’ll come?”
A soundless transmission traveled through the air and landed in Qing Tan’s head. Her awareness was spread to its limit, surveying any movement in the area.
“They’ll come. I noted them when we were fighting in Acier. At least one of them is guaranteed enough to fall for our provocation even if he knows it’s a trap.”
“Oh? Who is he?”
“How am I supposed to know his name? All I know is that he’s unnecessarily muscled and grotesque looking. I remember him well because of the annoying look he had on his face.” Qing Tan’s expression was cold as she recalled the face of a certain Apostle.
“I wanted to kill him at that time, but then that unexpected situation happened and I couldn’t do anything. This time, I’ll be sure to end it.”
“Oho? Someone actually annoyed you to this extent? That’s unexpected.”
“Tch. It can’t be helped. Even though I’m like this, I’m still a woman too. That bastard kept going on and on about how women are weak and all this bullshit. If he really shows up as I expect him to, then I’ll make sure I treat him very nicely.”
Feng Qing’er shivered at Qing Tan’s tone. The last time she heard this tone, 10 Demon Generals had been tortured gruesomely.
With nothing else to say, she turned her attention back to the forest and spread her awareness as well.
‘This time, we’re doing an assassination. They’ll be expecting a frontal battle because of the way we lured them here, so we need to entertain them somehow.’
Qing Tan spread her shadow and called her three Shadow Generals, letting them roam into the forest and take position at three different points.
As the two girls waited patiently, they finally sensed some movement on the outskirts of the forest.
Qing Tan flashed a chilling smile. Like a silent predator stalking its prey, she melded into the shadows, disappearing from the perception of even Feng Qing’er, who was right beside her.
“Finally, they’re here. And it looks like that bastard really decided to show up.”
Feng Qing’er nodded heavily and moved as well. They had already planned everything for this day. Now, all they needed to do was carry it out.