Once the old man had been completely drowned, his psychic technique couldn't be maintained any longer, the illusion which clouded Benjamin's mind had all vanished and he regained his composure once more.
"And so that's that."
He opened his eyes, gazing towards the flooding water without the sign of the retaliating old man, and shook his head.
As long as a proper method was established, dealing with a flamen from across the sea became a fairly easy task. However, after Benjamin gave some thought, letting the old man live for interrogation was out of the question, instead, he shot a cold stare at the opponent's struggle, focusing on the gradually drowning body.
People who possess psychic powers were simply too difficult to interrogate, he decided not to waste his efforts on such a matter.
Besides, looking at the siblings' expressions, they seemed to recognize this old man, perhaps possessing information about him…
And so, a few minutes later, the old man perished through drowning behind the solid ice-walled structure. Following this, a spiritual energy apparition began to surface from his body like a pulsing light as if it's entering the state of a spirit.
Benjamin drew a rune, in an attempt to replicate what happened before. Unfortunately, the rune didn't have any reactions, the old man's spirit nearly formed, even began to send out an odd, ear-piercing noise, sending chills to anyone who hears it.
Benjamin could only cancel his spells, dispersing the ice layers and water stream, allowing the sun rays above to directly cast on it.
A shriek later, the spiritual entity dispersed under the intense sunlight, the old man's bloated corpse fell flat on the floor, no more did it set off any gusts of wind.
Benjamin then returned to the siblings' side.
"Do you recognize this person?"
The two listened, snapped back to reality, then nodded.
"...He was the flamen that traveled in the same boat as us, he made his way to the Kingdom of Helius after docking. Each of our missions was kept in secret, we had no clue on why he suddenly came here."
"The Kingdom of Helius? Spreading the religion of your Goddess in that sort of place?"
"Probably… But, you could search him great mage, his body may have the Goddess's insignia. Only the most experienced and wise of flamens would possess it."
Benjamin listened and then furrowed his brows.
He turned to the side of the old man's corpse and searched him casually, he didn't think that he would find something from the corpse — a notebook full of foreign texts, and an insignia with an image similar to a mermaid-like being.
"Take a look you two, what is all this?" He glanced at it, then tossed them to the siblings.
They only extended their hands, however, and meticulously held the insignia, their faces were filled up with bewilderment, "It's, it's really the Goddess's insignia. My God, to think that we could touch it in our lives…"
Benjamin lifted his eyebrows, "Does this thing has any impressive uses?"
"It can help in the recovery of spiritual energy," The young boy lifted his head, then said, "However, truth be told, it doesn't have any other special uses, no more than a symbol of status. This insignia represented the prestigious identity of a great flamen from the islands, even the words they spout were equal to the words of the Goddess."
Was that so…
Benjamin rubbed his chin and suddenly thought of something. He then said, "If this thing is valued that much, then in a letter with this insignia, all of you from the islands would believe it without question?"
"That depends on the situation," The young boy stated, "This sort of secret letters would be delivered to the elders, we don't even have the right to touch it, it all depends on what the elders think."
"Then… in this situation where an insignia is present, can the two of you try your best to forge this flamen's writing, enough for the elders in the islands to believe it?"
The siblings listened and were stunned in the moment as if they just realized something. And before them, Benjamin merely nodded thoughtfully, suddenly his lips curled into a wry smile.
If a letter can be forged, then the significance of this insignia would skyrocket…
And so, the outsiders which blended into Regina were soon eliminated by Benjamin, Benjamin gained an unexpected asset along the way, then returned to the palace.
Under his insistence, the siblings began forging a letter. The texts of the worshippers from across the sea utilized a different structure, it was impossible for Benjamin even if he wanted to do it himself, as long as this letter with its unique texts is returned across the sea, then the elders there would believe that this would be no forgery.
Besides… only those across the sea can understand these texts!
As for the contents of the letter, it contained a fake report from the investigating flamen filled with various inciting messages. As for who to incite, was there even a need to ask?
At crucial times, in order to increase chances of winning, Benjamin even resorted to this kind of methods, hopefully… it'd do some good for everyone.
After that, Benjamin lingered in Regina for another few days. In these few days, word went around that most of the freelance mages, students, and teachers, alike had returned. And so, when everyone finally gathered, Benjamin led them out of Regina and hurriedly made their way toward Rock City.
"We heard some news when we were heading back, the Church's army that was stationed in the wilderness had begun moving in since yesterday. As the army followed the roads, a few small towns were already wiped out, no one knows when they'll reach Rock City."
Along the way, a few students told Benjamin as such.
Benjamin listened and then nodded, his expression grew weary.
The Church's movements were quick; it had already broken through a few cities in quick succession. With only a few days of rest in between, they then had begun attacking again. No one could even take a breather with this kind of pacing.
However, although this placed immense pressure on Icor, at the same time, it'd still be an immense challenge for their troops to take on.
Killing everything as they made haste on their journey, even if they were to reach Rock City, their troops' stamina wouldn't be holding up enough to immediately start another assault… Right?
Uneasiness swirled in Benjamin's heart. It's the Church, after all, if they pulled out some kind of secret weapon at the most crucial moment, it won't be easy to deal with them. Besides, Icor's defenses were all pretty much converging towards Rock City, the Kingdom of Helius met no resistance in their journey, perhaps their vitality was much better maintained than he imagined.
All in all… the situation wasn't pretty, they best make preparations for what was to come.
Benjamin took in a deep breath and accelerated further, bringing tens of mages from the academy with him, finally arriving at Rock City before the Kingdom of Helius's army.
"Is that… the Defense Rune researched by the professors? To envelop an entire city, how many materials would it cost to pull it off?"
Soaring outside Rock City, the students sensed a shapeless, humongous barrier, and couldn't help themselves from commenting as such.
"No clue." Benjamin shrugged, then replied, "It's the client's money anyway."
After they reveal themselves outside the city, the mages within were controlling the runic technique as well, creating a small opening in the barrier, allowing Benjamin to enter Rock City.
As they entered the city, a tense atmosphere stretched throughout. Not many traversed the streets, the ones that moved about were all fully-armored soldiers. The blazing sun rays roasted their faces until they're pale, yet their patrolling gazes never once relaxed.
Benjamin and the mages were influenced by this atmosphere. One by one, gloominess seeped into them, causing their expressions to take a serious turn.
They quickly made their way into Rock City's city hall.
"What's the situation? Where did the Kingdom of Helius assault next?" Just as he entered through the huge doorway, Benjamin directed his question towards everyone in the hall.
"Director, you finally arrived," Upon seeing Benjamin, the executive Prime Minister let off a sigh of relief, and said, "The enemy troops are left with a few kilometers of journey to Rock City, if you had arrived a few hours later, you would've been looking at the triumphant victory of priests and paladins."