The Legion of Holy Knights was forced to start fighting again when the demons reached the mainland.
Even if they were still tired after fighting for 3 days and 2 nights, war awaited no one and the outcome which was death was not something the members of this proud legion wanted to know even if their souls were supposed to be safe as faithful subjects of the Lord.
The battle was at least ten times bloodier and crueler compared to any other war the Legion of Holy Knights had ever experienced. Even the battle they had just suffered and in which they lost 15% of their troops as well as much of their treasure paled in comparison.
On the first day, Grand Knight Fabius fell in battle. This marked a before and after in the history of the Holy Church, because since the beginning of the apocalypse they had never lost a Grand Knight.
However, the cruel news did not end there.
Approximately 6 hours after Grand Knight Fabius lost his life, Grand Knight Agatha whose power was the summoning of all kinds of light-like beasts was decapitated by the tail of a Third Order demon.
Two of the 10 Grand Holy Knights lost their lives in the first 24 hours after the arrival of the new army of demons. This could be the first time since the birth of the Legion of Holy Knights countless years ago that two Grand Holy Knights fell in combat so quickly one after the other.
Four days after the battle broke out again.
Israfel spat out a mouthful of blood and fell to one knee. He gasped for air with his eyes wide open as he stared at the ground stained by his blood.
The Supreme Pontiff was so physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted that he didn't even care about the gruesome looking blackish dots in the blood he had just involuntarily expelled.
After an unknown amount of time, Israfel looked up with great difficulty and gazed at the body of the First General of Hell Azazel currently prostrate on the ground.
"Impressive-" The powerful Fourth Order level 340 demon spat out a large puff of purple blood along with pieces of shattered internal organs. His own blood burned over his body as if it wanted to set him on fire, but Azazel seemed to feel nothing and while looking at the white smoke rising from his wounds he muttered with great difficulty, "That spear.... I didn't expect it..."
A few minutes later, the terrifying First General of Hell Azazel whose power had long made the Earth tremble at the mere mention of his name countless years ago finally succumbed to the severity of his wounds.
This level 340 demon who had lived for thousands of years lost his life after fighting tirelessly for a total of four days and three nights against a level 200 human who was less than 100 years old. However, only those who did not know the truth of the battle would think that Israfel was more powerful since the two involved knew in their hearts that the real reason behind Azazel's defeat at the hands of Israfel was the spear that the Supreme Pontiff used during the battle.
With great difficulty, Israfel tried to stand up only to stagger and fall back to his right knee. He gasped heavily and shakily moved his left hand wrapped in a flash of white light towards his chest: "... Luminous Healing..."
His voice sounded as weak as his current state, and although his skill Luminous Healing was powerful it still didn't seem to be enough to heal him at all from the damage the First General of Hell had inflicted on him.
His internal organs had been shaken so badly that they were all damaged to the point where both kidneys were almost turned to pulp after receiving hundreds of heavy blows from Azazel's hammers. The demon used his two upper arms to wield 2 extremely long swords, and each slash that managed to break Israfel's defense not only cut through his skin and flesh but allowed an extremely terrifying poison to seep into his blood and weaken him more and more throughout the battle.
If not for his armor, which was an artifact left behind from ancient times, a Rank 4 defensive item, Israfel would definitely not have spent more than a day fighting the First General of Hell before experiencing a horrible death.
Israfel looked down at the ground, straight at the bronze spear that he was holding with all his strength in his right hand.
"... Had it not been for this Longinus it would have been impossible for me to kill that demon." The Supreme Pontiff muttered with lingering fear.
This spear was one of the two greatest treasures of the Holy Church. According to legend, this spear named Longinos was the spear that pierced the heart of Jesus when he was crucified by the Roman soldiers.
According to the legend, the divine blood of Jesus bathed the spear of the Roman soldier, and after countless years of being nourished by the divine blood of a deity it turned into the Godslayer Spear, or Sacred Spear capable of piercing any defense and killing any living creature in existence; even demons and gods!
As to whether the legend was true or not? No one knew, not even Israfel as the records of Longinus did not mention anything of the sort.
Being a Rank 6 weapon, its pure damage was unquestionable. However, the runes this spear had inscribed on its bronze body were undoubtedly terrifying; enough to frighten some Higher Existences if wielded by someone with sufficient power.
Most shocking of all aside from its Rank, however, was the fact that this spear had been forged using a Sixth Order Soul Stone!
Had it not been for the fact that Israfel's weapon was overwhelmingly superior his life would have come to an end days ago. He could only feel lucky in his heart and thank the ancestors of the church for leaving behind such a godly treasure.
Suddenly, Israfel felt a new wave of relief and his wounds began to heal much faster. In addition, that dark mist and poison that continued to damage his internal organs began to be purified quickly as if they met their natural enemy.
Israfel looked over his shoulder, and there he saw the mightiest priest in the entire Holy Church.
Grand Holy Knight Naomi.
Her other alias was Mother of all Angels. She had been born with healing abilities, and after being raised and educated by the Catholic Church throughout her life, her power was already enormous by the time the Soul Record came to Earth.
Her natural talent plus all her training added to her high level and the Seven Jeweled Sacred Baculum in her right hand, Naomi was by far the best healer Israfel could hope to have behind his back.
However, Naomi's condition was not good. She had clearly crawled from somewhere to get to Israfel as she was currently on the ground. Her eyes were barely open as she extended her right hand with which she was shakily holding the Seven Jeweled Holy Baculum from which a faint but warm white glow was emanating.
Israfel, with great difficulty, stood up. Ignoring the pain he felt he walked several steps until he stopped in front of the defeated Azazel, and after inspecting the only remaining good sword after facing the Rank 6 Longinus he kept it in his storage ring as it was a Rank 4 sword even if it did not have good runes.
His eyes glinted slightly at the sight of the Cyan colored orb. This was his first time seeing an orb of this color personally, but thanks to the records of an ancient book left behind by the ancestors of the church he understood what such an orb represented.
"Legend grade treasure..."
With this Legend grade treasure, Israfel felt that the pain of the losses would be at least somewhat lessened.
Two hours later, Israfel gathered all the remaining members of the Legion of Holy Knights. Seeing the lineup in front of him, the Supreme Pontiff felt his heart bleed horribly.
With a severed arm and some wounds on his body, Matthew Sanchez and the other 4 Grand Holy Knights still alive knelt with their heads lowered.
"Your Holiness... Our legion has lost more than 40% of its total numbers."
When Israfel heard these words coming out of his main general's mouth he felt as if the world around him was spinning and he staggered, causing panicked screams that he ignored as he gently clutched his head with his left hand.
The apocalypse had barely begun less than 2 years ago. This new era was still new but the Catholic Church's greatest trump card, the Legion of Holy Knights, had already lost almost half of its power.
Not to mention the enormous amount of consumed resources, single-use treasures, and artifacts that were destroyed during the past two wars... This was a blow so hard that for the first time since his birth it provoked despair in the heart of the Supreme Pontiff.
All this had barely begun but his losses were already so tremendous... How was he and the humans he needed to guide in the midst of all this darkness supposed to survive the events to come?
Israfel had many faults as a human being, one of them was the fact that he could not really communicate with God as he claimed. However, he never thought this was a vile sin since he never did it with bad intentions; he only wanted to unite everyone under the banner of the Lord and lead them to a better world.
Under the surprised eyes of everyone, the person that everyone admired since despite his appearance everyone knew he was a man of more than 70 years old who fought for the common good raised his head towards the sky.
With tears of sadness, pain, and a bit of despair running down his face, Israfel asked, "Dear Father, what am I supposed to do now...?"
Everyone was in shock at the sight of the Supreme Pontiff's tears. This was undoubtedly the first time they had seen him cry, and the ones who suffered the most were people like Matthew, Naomi, and all those who saw him as a father.
They all clenched their fists tightly and hung their heads in shame.
Israfel and all the others had always had their way too smoothly. With such a large base left behind from ancient times and magical powers that gave them great advantage over all other humans and races, this was the first time they tasted how bitter could be the ever sweet victory.
The bitter taste of victory was normal for someone like Bai Zemin and his team who had advanced step by step like newborn babies, growing up experiencing stumbles and falls that hurt their bodies and hearts. But for these church warriors who had always dominated from the beginning, that bitter taste was one they never wanted to taste again if possible.
Suddenly, as if out of a movie or fantasy book, the red clouds in the sky slowly opened up to give way to a great halo of white light that illuminated the bloody battlefield.
The white light seemed to calm the hearts of everyone present, filling them with a warmth they had never felt before.
Startled, Israfel squinted his eyes and faintly caught a glimpse of two silhouettes slowly descending. In normal times, he would react negatively considering the place and the circumstances; but this white light, this feeling of warmth he felt...
When the white light disappeared along with the weight they all felt on their chests, the image of two winged figures descending and stopping before them was firmly imprinted in their eyes and hearts.
"Y-You are..." Israfel stammered as he looked at the silver-haired man with four pairs of angel wings.
Medes smiled warmly and said in a gentle voice, like that of a father whispering to his son, "My child, your efforts and griefs, I have seen and felt them deeply."
Israfel's knees so proud that they never touched the ground before any living being or with much life remaining automatically gave up and like a limp rag he fell to the ground as he looked at the winged man with tears in his eyes.
Medes, the God described in the bible and the one and only ultimate deity of the Christians, nodded with a warm smile before looking towards the horizon beyond the ocean.
"My dear child, I'm afraid those vile creatures will not leave us in peace to discuss the great changes that are about to take place."
Medes could sense that while the demons were not going to attack soon, it would not be long either. Therefore, he had to do something about that first.
The wheel of fate had begun to rotate.
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