“Cardinal, mind your words!” the plump Pope chided in a displeased tone.
Within the Calamity Church, only the Pope could make Kironlo feel apprehensive because, in the whole religious organization, he was the only person on his level in terms of strength. Therefore, when Kironlo was scolded, he immediately realized that he had spoken inappropriately and needed to exercise some restraint.
“He is stronger than I’m!” the six-horned tribal king said in an indifferent voice after he glanced at Han Shuo.
“What? He is stronger than you?” Kironlo was deeply shocked and at a loss. He found the six-horned tribal king’s words very difficult to believe.
Except for the big fat Pope, many of the cardinals in the hall couldn’t conceal the appall in their hearts and stared at Han Shuo with wide open eyes that flickered like strobe lights. They were rapidly turning over in their minds, perhaps recalculating their schemes.
“Yes. He is stronger than I and stronger than every single person in this room!” the six-horned tribal king gave recognition to Han Shuo’s valiant strength, leaving the cardinals no room for doubt.
The crowd in the room knew that the six-horned tribal king was definitely not one to talk nonsense. Their unanimous instinctive response was to be more mindful towards Han Shuo. Some of those cardinals who had reached an agreement with Kironlo in private beforehand even started to reconsider if they should actually honor the agreement.
“Impossible… Impossible… “ Kironlo murmured to himself in disbelief. His heart was in confusion and disarray. Although the two were in the basegod realm, their actual strengths were not precisely equivalent. Having previously fought the six-horned tribal king along with the Pope, Kironlo recognized that as the six-horned tribal king possessed a unique method of attacking the soul, his true strength was slightly above that of himself and the Pope’s.
As the only remaining original cardinal of the Calamity Church, Kironlo had previously dealt blows with the Pope of the Church of Light. He knew that most of the Light Pope’s great power was dependent on his use of divine weapons. However, even in that case, the strength that the Light Pope possessed was around the same level as his and there wasn’t much of a gap between them.
Based on that understanding, Kironlo surmised that Han Shuo could finish off the Light Pope by mere luck, but likely wouldn’t be able to defeat the six-horned tribal king. That was the reason behind his unceasing provocation. He wasn’t just hoping for the six-horned tribal king to humiliate Han Shuo, he wanted to get rid of him.
Never did he expect, however, that the six-horned tribal king had encountered Han Shuo earlier and that the strength Han Shuo possessed was leagues above what he had anticipated. With that, Kironlo realized that snatching the skeletal staff from Han Shuo would be very difficult to accomplish.
“Bryan, come have a seat!” the Pope of the Calamity Church said to Han Shuo, beaming ear to ear. He was greatly pleased in his heart to see Kironlo’s ghastly expression.
No person in a high position would wish to have a backseat driver around them - the Calamity Pope was no exception. But unfortunately for the Pope, as Kironlo was very popular in the Calamity Church and possessed terrifying strength, he managed to forge a rather significant influence over the Church. This influence that Kironlo possessed even sometimes affected his policies and decisions. This made the Pope extremely discontented.
However, given Kironlo’s identity, no matter how resentful he felt, there was nothing that he could do about him. It was only natural that the big man rejoiced to see Kironlo overwhelmed by Han Shuo.
Han Shuo was not overly courteous. He bluntly walked to the big fatty and sat on an empty seat straightforwardly. He showed no reservation.
Meanwhile, as the Pope greeted Han Shuo, Kironlo put on a friendly smile and yelled at the six-horned tribal king of the Soul Race in a cordial manner, “Come, our honored six-horned guest, come sit with me.”
During this period of time, Kironlo had deliberately and constantly tried to rope in the six-horned tribal king, at which he had certainly succeeded. It was his belief that the six-horned tribal king would surely go to him after hearing his shout.
However, in life, not everything goes as expected. Not only did the six-horned tribal king not acknowledge his call, but contrary to everybody’s expectations, the six-horned tribal king walked directly towards Han Shuo as though he didn’t hear Kironlo at all.
Kironlo’s face turned even more unsightly. His cold, gloomy eyes scanned Han Shuo and the six-horned tribal king. No one knew what was on his mind.
After taking a seat next to Han Shuo, the six-horned tribal king looked at Han Shuo impatiently, and hesitated for a moment before he finally asked, “Those energy stones, can you tell me where you found them?”
“There’s no point in looking there. I have taken all the energy stones that place had to offer,” Han Shuo candidly replied so that the six-horned tribal king would give up on that plan.
The tribal king was limp with disappointment. Indifferently, he remarked, “What a pity! Truly a pity!”
The two did not deliberately lower their voices when they conversed. As each and every cardinal in the hall was an expert of extraordinary power, they obviously overheard the two’s conversation loud and clear. By this point, every head in that room understood that Han Shuo and the six-horned tribal king must have met each other beforehand and ought to have fought and come to an agreement. Otherwise, in light of the six-horned tribal king’s savagery and mercilessness, there was no way that he would be so well-behaved.
“Alright. Since everyone’s here, let’s start talking business!” when the fat man raised his voice, all the cardinals stopped whispering with each other.
After all those who had no business in the room had exited the grand hall, the Pope nodded at someone outside the hall, and the doors to the Cardinals’ Hall were slowly shut. Then, when the grand hall was completely and tightly sealed, a barrier was triggered to envelop the entire Cardinals’ Hall, ensuring that no one could listen in to their conversation from the outside.
After the doors were shut, the big fatty looked all around and said smilingly. “Each and every one of you present are core members of the Church. I believe that none of you object to recognizing Bryan and Sixhorn as one of us?”
“Perhaps not!” Kironlo’s sinister voice suddenly sounded. He looked at Han Shuo up and down with unkind eyes as he said, “Sixhorn’s ancestor participated in the great war five thousand years ago. There are records in the Church that could prove this matter. There were even carvings of the Soul Race etched to some of the walls here. Therefore, it’s without a doubt that Sixhorn is one of us. However, Bryan was merely someone who came to possess our Church’s sacred weapon, the skeletal staff, by mere fluke. The Church has tried searching for him multiple times to seek confirmation with him, but all along, he firmly refused to admit that he was one of us. If he himself did not consider himself as one with the Church, why do we have to be so eager to acknowledge him?”
“Agreed. Bryan had not made his stance clear this whole time. Perhaps he was repelled to our Church?” a sacred grade magus that also cultivated in the elemental energy of death hastily echoed after Kironlo. As a cultivator of the elemental energy of death, he had received guidance from Kironlo and therefore stood with him.
“He is the master of the skeletal staff, of course he is one of us. There is nothing to dispute! The reason that he did not acknowledge his identity sooner was because he wasn’t clear about the inseparable relationship that the skeletal staff has with our Church. Bryan has now come here in person. Isn’t this proof enough of his sincerity?” The big fatty always wore a big smile on his face by default. But when his stern face came to light, the overbearing demeanor of one who occupied a high position for a long period of time was instantly unleashed, giving those who were in opposition to him immense pressure.
Han Shuo observed that when the Pope displayed his disgruntlement, many of the cardinals in the hall immediately forced smiles onto their faces and were afraid of voicing their opinion. From this, Han Shuo immediately determined that the Pope indeed possessed absolute, unchallenged influence over the Calamity Church. His stern image at this moment was very much unlike how he usually carried himself. Han Shuo couldn’t help but give a few more glances at him out of amazement.
When the rotund Pope saw that the crowd was too intimidated to speak, he coldly groaned, put on a smile, and asked Han Shuo, “Bryan, isn’t that the case?”
“Of course. The skeletal staff isn’t simply in my possession, I cultivate in necromancy magic. I have come here to make my stance clear to everyone,” Han Shuo said in an honest and guileless manner.
Truly despicable! Many of the cardinals had the same thought in their heads. As they themselves were also the crafty and deceptive kind, how could they not discern Han Shuo’s true intentions behind that seemingly sincere bearing?
“See? Bryan definitely is one of us. There is no reason to suspect otherwise,” the big fatty was in all smiles yet again. It was as though that person glowering just a moment ago wasn’t even him.
“I can’t see any of his sincerity. Who knows if he is coveting for the influence our Church has over the Profound Continent, or perhaps he harbors some other intention in coming here. Hmph, the skeletal staff is a holy artifact of our Church. It is a disgrace to the skeletal staff that it came into the possession of a kid as young as he is. In my opinion, we should ask him to hand over the skeletal staff, and then slowly put him to the test and see if he is sincere in serving the Church.” Kironlo was determined to make life difficult for Han Shuo. When he saw no one dared to speak as they were intimidated by the Pope, he had no choice but to voice his resistance himself.
The Calamity Pope’s face immediately turned black upon hearing those words. He felt truly furious as he gave Kironlo a death stare. He seemed to be considering shedding all pretense of cordiality with Kironlo.
The big fatty knew exactly what his true intentions were. In the end, all that he wanted was Han Shuo’s skeletal staff. He thought that the reason behind Han Shuo coming to possess such formidable strength in the short span of tens or so years was all due to the skeletal staff. Kironlo, as someone who could unleash pandemic disease all over the continent without thinking, was a crazy one to begin with. In addition to the fact that the skeletal staff carried tremendous temptation to him, he just couldn’t restrain his greed.
“Old fart, are you bloody done yet?” Han Shuo impatiently shouted before the Calamity Pope said a word.
Given Han Shuo’s current strength, a mere basegod was nothing in his eyes. The reason that Han Shuo had acted kindly in coordination with the Pope was that he was interested in communicating with the Church’s evil god. Han Shuo was truly sick of this basegod being so rowdy in front of him again and again.
“How disrespectful! As a member of the Church, one must at least behave respectfully towards the cardinals. If you don’t even know this, how are you even qualified to be one of us?” Kironlo said mockingly while he laughed grimly as though he had found something to use against Han Shuo.
“Respect a half-witted fool like you?! A sinner who made a mistake so terrible that it nearly destroyed the entire church - such a person is worthy of my respect? Are you worthy?” Han Shuo looked coldly at Kironlo and reminded everyone of his history without the slightest regard for his feelings.