Chapter 180: Death To All Apostates
Annie looked puzzled. This book cafe was actually a sub-store of that quaint bookstore next door that was the stuff of urban legends?
Truth be told, it wasn't that surprising that one of the two stores was a sub-store of the other since they were in close proximity and had a similar nature of business.
However, the issue was that the style of this new book cafe was a world apart from the look of the next-door bookstore, so this came as a bit of a surprise.
The style of this book cafe was novel and elegant, whereas the bookstore gave off a dilapidated, strange and mysterious vibe.
If Athena hadn't said so, Annie would have thought that this style was a deliberate attempt to antagonize the neighboring bookstore and to draw more customers away via a contrast of styles.
"Interesting... Does the owner of the bookstore intend to use it as a counterpoint to the new cafe and then attract more customers over here so that the new store becomes the main source of income?"
Annie wondered out loud.
“Hahaha… You shouldn’t think about everything from a business perspective!” laughed Athena.
She lowered her voice. "Father Vincent is now an apostate and wanted by the church. And from the dream we all experienced, there's more to it than meets the eye... But whatever the case is, he's here as well.
"Think about it, would a place willing to provide him a location to hold this gathering be just plain and simple?"
The Church was still very powerful, so there was no way that the location for this gathering had been chosen at random.
This made sense and Annie couldn't help nodding along.
Athena felt pleased seeing Annie agree.
With a look of excitement, she continued, "Besides, don't you think it's way too much of a coincidence that this book cafe only opened recently?
"As though it was specially prepared for this gathering..."
Annie knew her friend was always fascinated by mysterious or dangerous stuff. Whenever she heard of anything unusual, Athena would always rush to join in the excitement.
There was even a period of time where she often said that Norzin's frequent gas explosions were actually fights between people with extraordinary powers... What a wild imagination indeed.
This time, however, Annie was surprisingly in agreement with Athena.
Although it wasn't because of Athena's a.n.a.lysis of all this.
As Annie was listening to Athena, she had also glanced at the counter where that young cafe boss was quietly watching everyone in the store.
The young girl had a delicate, beautiful face with dark, serene pupils like round obsidian. She wore a black-and-white dress similar to a maid's uniform but more complex and beautiful. With the lace headband in her hair, she looked cute, like a human-sized doll.
However, what drew Annie the most was the vibe this young girl gave off.
She was just standing there, yet it felt like she was as far as the horizon. Though distant, one could still feel peace and tenderness from her, as if being watched over by their mothers.
It sort of felt like... the moon.
Annie’s heart skipped a beat. Yes, the moon.
The previous time she felt something similar to this was when she was baptized for the first time in the Church of the Dome.
This was also why she became a follower of the Church of Dome, believing that the faith held the power to guide people.
Annie discreetly surveyed her surroundings and found that while most present were practically strangers to each other, there weren't any disputes even with so many people present.
Everyone was conversing in a friendly manner with soft, polite tones, without the slightest bit of anger or anxiousness.
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....They weren't whispering, but simply lowering their voices.
"Ahem." Claude cleared his throat. "I believe everyone is here because of that dream, and since you all are already here, you trust in Father Vincent's character and believe that the dream was true.
"Today, all of you will learn the truth."
Claude continued sternly. "We have collected evidence of the Church of the Dome's illicit activities over the past few years. This evidence will shine a light on their evils and reveal the horrors the church is doing to Vincent.
"However, there's one more thing to do before we begin..."
Claude drew out his pistol and pointed the muzzle at one of the tables. "Would you like me to smash that communicator in your hand, Mr. Mole?"
Even though deep down Claude was a knight, his outside persona was that of a policeman. Guns were still standardequipment for him.
Having moles reporting to the Church of the Dome appear here was well within their expectations. After all, the Church of the Dome’s power and influence over the years was not to be underestimated.
The middle-aged man in a leather coat at the table was stunned. He stood up and raised his hands. "Hey, I have no idea what you're talking about. I came here because I believe in Father Vincent and wanted to do something for him. How can you just insult me like this...”
"Oh, is that so?"
A kindly and gentle voice sounded. The crowd saw Father Vincent, his eyes covered with a black cloth, suddenly appear behind the middle-aged man.
"I believe the gun was pointed at the table. Why were you in such a hurry to stand up? Are you that eager to confess?"
As Vincent strolled to the center of the cafe, it became clear to everyone that he wasn't wearing his usual priest robes but a golden robe topped with a diadem that looked more like the Pope's usual attire.
The middle-aged man’s face darkened and he began to panic. "I was... I was just nervous!"
Vincent continued with a smile, "If so, you must be way too nervous... So much that you forgot to hide the explosives on your body properly."
The middle-aged man's expression stiffened, and in the next moment, turned sinister.
"Death to all apostates!" he shouted as he lifted up his leather coat to show a bunch of explosives strapped underneath.
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