For many of those participants, the damage caused by Apollo and the Realm of Gods didn’t concern them in the slightest. Some of the organizations who were in conflict with NATO might not even mind if Apollo continued to destroy more of NATO’s assets, or throw the European Union into chaos by assassinating a few western dignitaries.
That was why when Fodessa suggested they joined forces to fight terrorism, many of those present chose to be silent.
With his military dress and dignified countenance, Fodessa narrowed his eyes and cursed them secretly; yet he knew from the very beginning that this was going to be the case. So he coughed, and said unhurriedly, “From our side in France, we think that vanquishing a mysterious and powerful terrorist group like the Realm of Gods can’t just be simply done by one party. Thus, we urgently hope to find alliance partners.
“To be completely honest, the training of France’s special forces is still far behind many of our friends and organizations here. Still, as the first country to be threatened, we need to respond in a forceful manner.
“In order to secure powerful allies, the powers on top decided to use the legendary divine weapon we’ve found recently, the Sword of Thanatos, as compensation. If any of the present company is willing to take charge of the anti-terrorist effort and fully assist the Seventh Bureau, then the jurisdiction of the Sword of Thanatos shall also be your honor.”
When Fodessa had finished, everyone began whispering.
Everyone knew clearly that although France wasn’t as strong as many groups here, it was impossible to take the sword by force. It wasn’t that France was too hard to handle; rather, the other organizations would destroy the sword-snatching group through public condemnation for being ethically corrupt.
No one was dumb enough to stick their neck out even if they knew that France wasn’t capable of holding on to the sword. This meeting held by the French Security Bureau was in fact a clever strategy, proclaiming to large organizations and important nations that the sword is in their possession. This also meant that since it was common knowledge, no one dared to take it by force.
It meant that an opportunity to obtain the divine weapon through fair means was better than anything else. And while France was providing this opportunity, they were also safeguarding their own interests.
Anyone who just wanted the sword without caring for France’s fate risked being denounced by the other groups. Therefore, anyone who wanted the Sword of Thanatos must firstly be strong enough, and show up to defend France.
With this, the organizations with less of a competitive edge had given up long ago; they were only here to watch the top organizations fight over the sword.
“I have a question.” A white-haired man in blue, sitting in the first row, raised his hand lazily and spoke in poor English. It was the general of Takamagahara who was giving Yang Chen a headache just now, Nurarihyon.
His sudden loud question served the function of overriding the disordered whispers below.
Fodessa extended his hand in a welcoming gesture. “Mr Nurarihyon from Takamagahara, please, ask away.”
The katana Nenekirimaru was once more a back scratcher in Nurarihyon’s hand, rubbing against his back.
After a yawn, Nurarihyon asked, “I’m curious to know how you have managed to secure the Sword of Thanatos. Plus, you’ve explicitly asked us to make the effort to cooperate with you, but we’ve not yet determined whether the sword is real or not, so what’s the point?”
After Nurarihyon spoke, a few organization leaders also approved of his question, wanting to see the sword first before getting down to business.
Fodessa smiled. “I myself have only recently learned of the divine weapon’s origin from our director Mr Depney. It was discovered by our scientific inspection team during a marine salvage. After evaluation, it was determined that the sword was no ordinary antique, so it was passed to the Seventh Bureau. We’ve sent pictures of the sword to the Vatican, the Dark Parliament, and the Sword in the Stone. Everyone is certain that amongst us, these groups possess the oldest histories and the largest inventories of ancient documents. We only announced this development after we’ve gotten their replies of confirmation.”
As he spoke, Fodessa gestured to the mentioned parties. “The Catholic Cardinal of the Vatican City, His Eminence Cruyff is here today. Storm Lola from the Sword in the Stone has also brought their best. The Dark Parliament’s Prince Sargeras is also here. If you don’t believe me, they can testify that it looks identical to the sword that they all have in their documents.”
In the middle of the first row, Cruyff nodded and smiled with his red cardinal robes, grey hair, and kind face with a comical bulbous nose.
Lola and the rest of the Sword in the Stone didn’t react much; yet it was a silent acknowledgement. As for Sargeras, he had been smiling gentlemanly since the start.
Everyone began whispering again—Fodessa’s argument was very credible. After all, they knew that the Vatican and the Dark Parliament were sworn enemies; whereas the Sword in the Stone was the ace up England’s sleeve, a nation just across the channel, so their relationship with France was tricky. For them to agree unanimously must mean that it was likely not a hoax.
“Of course, to express France’s sincerity, I will still allow everyone to inspect the sword while it is under our care.” Fodessa smiled, and nodded toward Bolton the aide-de-camp who was standing behind.
Fatty Bolton caught on, and directed the special forces soldiers backstage to open the steel door at the back of the stage.
As the audience watched, a brightly lit passage appeared, and four soldiers rushed in to retrieve the sword.
The design of such links was everywhere on the base. They made it easy to assemble different teams and supplies at different areas, and allowed quick control of the base’s passages to apprehend any invading enemies.
Most of the people present were brimming with anticipation. After all, many of the groups didn’t have a concrete understanding of gods’ deeds, so the divine weapon was something mythological to them. Ut of this world for them
Amongst the crowd, the Vatican’s Catholic Cardinal Cruyff intuitively glimpsed at Sargeras sitting nearby.
The two representatives of light and darkness exchanged friendly, mysterious smiles with a knowing nod.
Just as everyone was full of anticipation, a resounding explosion suddenly came from inside the passage!
Everyone was alarmed and immediately looked at the bright passage, but couldn't tell what had happened.
On stage, Fodessa was the most panicked. I thought everything would go smoothly! Could something have gone wrong in the end?!
“Damn it! Someone must have wanted to snatch the divine weapon while no one was looking!” Someone yelled from somewhere.
“Let’s go! How despicable!”
“We’ll stop them!”
There were about two hundred attendees in total, all of whom possess extraordinary skills. Furthermore, these were the elites of the elites in their own respective organization. Today, they came to see a divine weapon, but it was stolen before they could see it—how could they bear being trifled with?
In an instant, dozens of figures had already rushed into the passage with inhuman speed.
Fodessa was stunned. If it weren’t for the special forces soldiers and Bolton who pulled him aside, he would have been trampled on!
“We’re done for… what happened?!” Fodessa cried angrily.
Of course, there were some who didn’t rushed in so impetuously, such as the representatives of the Vatican, Sword in the Stone, Takamagahara, Panther, and other leading organizations, who didn’t leave their positions.
After most of the crowd had dispersed, and there were only a handful of them left, Cruyff with his bulbous nose suddenly stood up and smiled serenely at the laidback Prince Sargeras. “Prince Sargeras, I’m not sure if you still remember me.”
Sargeras frowned. “Hmm… the Vatican. I’ve not come out for almost a century, so those that I knew have probably long passed away.”
“But I know you.” Cruyff smiled. “Back when I was a ten year old, I met you with my father. More than ninety years have passed and you still look the same. As for me, I’m older than Father was.”
Sargeras displayed a realizing expression, and smiled. “What did you want to say, my child?”
Hearing the centenarian Cardinal Cruyff being called a ‘child’ felt weird to everyone present, but based on Prince Sargeras’s age, it was appropriate indeed.
“My father was the previous Catholic Cardinal of Germany, Belsaid.” Cruyff squinted.
Sargeras went blank and pondered for a moment, then nodded. “So that’s him, ah… I remember now. So you want to avenge your father… haha. The child of the cardinal I killed over ninety years ago has become a cardinal himself. You’re here for revenge? Well it’s not the first time this has happened but still, I‘m interested.”
In the face of Sargeras’s ridicule, Cruyff wasn’t angered, and chuckled. “I’m about to be with God soon, so a battle with you may be the last thing I could do for the Vatican. But before that… there’s a naughty lady—should we stop her in her tracks?”
Cruyff’s words made everyone puzzled. What ‘lady’? What ‘tracks’?
Behind them, Yang Chen raised his head, looked at the ceiling, and laughed without saying anything.
Suddenly, Cardinal Cruyff waved his hand, his red sleeves billowing with powerful vigor, his hair fluttering despite his apparent age. Eye-piercing white rays shone all around him!
Cruyff called out loud, and a gold-white light beam, two meters wide, began from his feet and rose up in a surge!
The light beam seemed to be made of a pure essence. As it came in contact with the meeting hall’s solid ceiling made of metal and concrete, it didn’t stop at all and disintegrated the material!
With its forward force, the light beam penetrated the roof and dissipated the darkness above the island!
“Argh!! Stupid Vatican!!!”
A female scream came from outside the roof, as if someone had received a frightening shock. And quite a few of those present seemed to recognize the voice—isn’t that Sargeras’s daughter, Lilith?!