Idle Mage: Humanity's Strongest Backer -
Chapter 280 Cards Drawn
'Well, it's a good thing that we weren't banking for that formation to work in the first place.' Apostle Matthias thought as he watched the formation crumble from a single blow from Wrath.
Judging by the expressions of his comrades, it is clear that they too expected something like this to happen and they weren't surprised at all. This allowed them to remain calm under the great pressure that they were feeling.
Matthias watched as the maddened dog Wrath cleaved a path for the rest of the Sin Demons. He harvested the lives of lesser Celestials like he was reaping wheat.
It was clear that their numbers were useless against the Sin Demons. Killing one lesser celestial or killing hordes of them makes no difference to them. The lesser celestials aren't fit to be cannon fodders in this fight.
Fortunately, though, the Sin Demons barely paid attention to the weaker celestials. The latter couldn't harm them in any way, shape, or form so they could essentially ignore them completely.
Those who died by their hands were the ones that are on their way, that's the consequence of their stupidity and audacity for thinking that throwing their bodies would do anything against the Sin Demons.
The lesser hypogeans had been alerted by their ambush and are now showing up to defend against the celestial army. It was an explosive clash that shook the very foundation of the Qliphoth.
Wrath and his comrades reached the Apostles. And from the very first clash against them, it was painfully clear to the Apostles how unfair this battle would be.
The Sin Demons in their Sin Takeover State were obscenely strong. The Apostles couldn't even come close to them. Two of them in that state was enough to cause all five of the Apostles to sweat, not to mention all five of them.
Matthias and his comrades already knew this thanks to the intel they received from the Deceiver, but it's still a bitter pill to swallow.
Not even a year before, in this world's time, the rival group were evenly matched, then by a stroke of luck, the Sin Demons suddenly discovered a way to tap into more power, leaving the Apostles behind by a large margin.
The Apostles would lie if they said that they weren't jealous. Why did they not have something like this too? Did the Miraculous Grace abandon them? This was so unfair and difficult to accept. Is this the Miraculous Grace's way of telling them that their mission was over?
If it is so, then why do they feel unwilling? It just doesn't make sense.
But, what can they do, really? Asking for more power was blasphemy. According to their faith, the Miraculous Grace treats everybody fairly. They should be happy with what they have. They're already blessed enough to have this much power and authority, they shouldn't ask for more.
Moreover, it's also possible that this is a test from the Miraculous Grace. A test of their faith and loyalty, to determine their true intentions and their willingness to see this mission through.
This might be a chance for them to prove themselves to the Miraculous Grace. If they succeed, then they might be given a chance to be embraced by the Miracle again. That alone was enough for them to risk their lives to fulfill their duties.
But of course, succeeding in this would be extremely difficult. That is being proven at this very moment.
It hasn't even been five minutes since their clash occurred and the Apostles were already gravely injured.
The Sin Demons were relentless and obscenely strong. They're fast, perceptive, and extremely aggressive. The Apostles could clearly tell if the Sin Demons wanted them dead.
"You dare set up an ambush when you're this weak." Greed sneered as he hovered above the Apostles. "I've seen you all do something stupid before but this? This one drives it home. I can't believe that you'd be this reckless Matthias."
Matthias spat some blood and coldly glared at Greed, saying:
"Not reckless at all. It's a calculated risk."
Matthias then retreated, joining his fellow apostles. He then produced a wooden cane which he then pointed at the sky. He whispered a solemn prayer and yelled:
The wooden cane emitted a strong golden brilliance that enveloped the entirety of the Qliphoth.
Then, the souls of the fallen celestials appeared, sucked by a mysterious force and forcibly fused to the Apostles evenly.
Each soul the Apostles gained, the stronger they get. The Sin Demons tried stopping this process but they failed. As it turns out, once the ritual started, nothing could interrupt it.
Just like that, the Apostles have healed from their injuries and their strength skyrocketed. It reached a point where they were able to match the energy that the Sin Demons were radiating.
The playing field evened out once more. But with a dire cost for the Celestials' side.
"You resorted to Blasphemy to even out the playing field. Wow, I never thought you bald donkeys had it in you." Envy mocked as he watched them.
"As I said, it's a calculated risk," Matthias replied. "And this isn't Blasphemy. We merely joined efforts to defeat you."
"Once all of you are dead, we will lead our fallen comrades to the embrace of the Miracle. We will personally escort them to the Door of Reincarnation and we will celebrate their birth once more." James chimed in.
"You and your flowery words. Just admit it, you were pushed into a corner so you decided to sacrifice the lives of your men to increase your power. It's that simple. Don't make it sound so noble because it's not. 'Escort them to the Door of Reincarnation' my ass! You won't do shit like that!"
"Do you all honestly believe that we would believe that?" Pride continued, "Did you honestly think that this temporary increase in strength would be enough to match our Sins?"
"While we still have no idea how you managed to learn about our Sin Takeover, I would confidently say that even if you were to sacrifice every single man you brought in here to strengthen yourselves. It will never be enough.
"If you want to blame someone, then blame that Miraculous Grace of yours for not believing in your abilities and not giving you sufficient gifts, unlike us."
"I've had enough of you disrespecting the Miraculous Grace! Face your death filthy Sins!" Apostle Matthias roared.
"Bring it on bitch!!!" Wrath snarled as he, once again, took the lead in the aggression.
Their clash this time around was far more explosive than the last.
Even though they fought in the skies, the shockwaves of their clash were still strong enough to cause immense suffering for the ones that are fighting below them.
At a glance, it seems that the Apostles and the Sin Demons were evenly matched, but in reality, the Apostles still fell a little bit short.
The Sin Takeover State was just too strong. And as it turns out, Pride's words were proving themselves to be correct.
Even if they were to absorb the souls of every single man they brought in here for this ambush, it wouldn't be enough. The Sins in this form were too strong and this isn't even their limit.
As they were pushed back still, Matthias and his fellow apostles were forced to reveal another trump card.
Matthias brought out a giant cross from out of nowhere and prayed to it, then he yelled:
At that instant, holes appeared in the center of the Apostles' hands and on both of their feet. The hole burned with a golden fire which hurt them but the Apostle endured it.
Crucifixion is a unique ritual that doubles the current strength of a worshipper in exchange for their lifespan. It's an equivalent exchange if you will.
This was an Apostle's last resort since, even though they are technically immortal, they could only use this ritual once in a while it saps all of their energy once the duration was over, leaving them extremely vulnerable.
But with this, the Apostle managed to snatch the advantage. Since their strength practically doubled in no time, it's the Sin Demons' turn to fall into a disadvantage.
Yet still, even with that, the Apostles failed to kill a single one. Even as they got stronger and unmatched in this form, the Sin Demons still managed to fend off their attempts.
The Sin Demons were growing as they fought. The initial advantage that the Apostles held through the power of their ritual was bridged by the explosive growth of their enemies.
It's like the Sin Demons were using them as a sharpening stone to accelerate their growth. The very idea caused the Apostles to feel endlessly vexed but unable to do anything about it.
They continued fighting, exchanging injuries, and recovering in the next instant. Both parties were tired. This was obviously the hardest fight they've been on and it was exhausting.
Eventually, Matthias couldn't prevent it anymore. He tried his best and his comrades did so as well. Unfortunately, it still wasn't enough.
They only have one last option left, but it was something that he'd like to avoid if he could. Sadly, he had to.
"May the Holy Spirit be with us..." Matthias whispered to himself as he took out their final trump card.
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