Ves didn ’t know what kind of deal that the living prophet had struck in order to be allowed to enter the courtroom.

Even though he claimed to be the current incarnation of Prophet Ylvaine, the authorities all considered him to be a terrorist leader and a menace to society!

He should have never been allowed to walk in the open like this, let alone barge into the courtroom of an incredibly sensitive tribunal!

To the Ylvainan Inquisition, the living prophet was their biggest enemy! The New Ylvaine Dynasty he headed was responsible for leading many Ylvainans astray! His very existence as an organically-grown clone of the true prophet was a walking violation of the orthodox faith!

Yet as the living prophet calmly entered the courtroom and approached the bench, none of the Protectors or the inquisitorial staff on guard moved to halt the terrorist.

They received instructions to leave him alone!

Both High Inquisitor Xefin Lin Poxco and High Inquisitor Kelly Ixef Poxco glared at the living prophet.
Their hands were itching to strangle the bogeyman of the Protectorate.
Yet their superiors already issued their orders! The living prophet was allowed to join the bench!

As for Ves, he couldn ’t even fathom why the supposedly risk-averse living prophet decided to expose himself all of a sudden.
He heard that the living prophet was delusional, but this was something else!

Every Ylvainan remained silent as the living prophet finally took his seat.
His presence contrasted starkly against the other three judges.

The sight was so incongruous to many Ylvainans that they even forgot about the prototype for a moment!

The living prophet benevolently smiled.
”My fellow Ylvainans.
While I have many things to say to you, I have promised to keep this short.
I am here today to issue my own judgement.
I have already predicted what would come to pass this day.
I cannot allow my Bright Martyr to be subjected to persecution by my own flock! ”

Many people doubted his claim.
Ves momentarily expressed some doubts as well.
Did the living prophet really predict the tribunal would proceed in this fashion? It might explain why the living prophet smuggled himself onto Kesseling VIII ahead of time! It also explained why the True Believers exerted so much effort into stealing the first prototype!

Perhaps the living prophet truly foresaw the need to intervene in this fashion!

Yet Ves quickly shook his head as his habitual skepticism asserted itself.
There was no way this delusional clone could predict the future!

Ves wasn ’t gullible enough to buy this story.
He suspected that the living prophet moved to Kesseling VIII and stole the prototype for other reasons.
Yet once the tribunal took place, the living prophet must have seen an opportunity to make a splash and spontaneously decided to join the fun!

This possibility sounded much more likely than the claim that the living prophet foresaw everything!

The living prophet continued with his speech.
”My will to be defied! The Ylvainan Inquisition is doing their best to stifle the revelations spoken by my chosen vessel, but I cannot allow them to proceed with their transgression! Let me be clear.
The Bright Martyr is innocent! I acquit him of both charges! ”

This judgement didn ’t surprise anyone.
His attitude towards Ves already expressed his inclination! As long as the tribunal accepted the living prophet as its fourth judge, then that meant that the majority was in favor of acquitting Ves!

Ves would be allowed to walk out of the court building alive and free!

Yet would the Ylvainan Inquisition really accept the judgement of a terrorist leader without doing anything to stop it? Ves and many Ylvainans continued to listen with rapt attention as the living prophet commanded everyone ’s attention!

”The Bright Martyr may have admitted to taking away and promptly destroying the object enshrined in one of my cathedrals, but as far as I am concerned, he has not committed any sacrilege! What the Bright Martyr has confessed to was something that really should have been done in the first place! As much as all of you revere me, it is absurd of you to worship my trash! As far as I ’m concerned, the nutrient pack wrapper should have been destroyed a long time ago! ”

Many Ylvainans looked at the living prophet strangely as he offered this explanation.
To those who weren ’t sympathetic to the living prophet, they truly became astonished by how deeply the clone believed he was the actual prophet!

Part of the reason why most Ylvainans hadn ’t become swayed by the living prophet ’s claims was that the man lacked the sacred aura emanated by the prototype.

While the living prophet was an excellent speaker and knew how to handle a crowd, he didn ’t exhibit any of the gravitas carried by Ves during his tirade.

It was like watching a clown wearing the costume of the prophet! If not for his current role in saving the Bright Martyr ’s life, most Ylvainans would have hurled insults at him already!

”As for the second accusation, I think the Bright Martyr ’s work speaks for itself! Does the inquisition truly dare to declare the mech that is standing outside this courtroom to be a blasphemous existence? ”

High Inquisitor Xefin Lin Poxco kept his head down and did not offer any reaction to the living prophet ’s attack.

He really didn ’t dare to speak against the Transcendent Messenger design when a copy of the mech made many Ylvainans feel as if they were in touch with Ylvaine ’s will once again!

”The Ylvaine Protectorate has entered into dire straits. ” The living prophet grimly warned.
”Even as my children continue to bicker amongst themselves, you are all blind to the threats outside our borders! The Star Faith Collective is the least you should be worried about! ”

Many Ylvainans expressed a lot of surprise when they heard this.
Ves himself thought that the living prophet was one of the most extreme proponents of the traditionalist agenda.
Who knew he was actually more inclined towards the reformers!

”Mechs are the ultimate weapons of war! This age is defined by them, and the ages following it will always offer a place to them! It is my will that the Protectorate should learn how to harness this weapon better.
As the Bright Martyr is also a mech designer, I have tasked him with a holy mission to enlighten you all to what mechs our people truly need! Take a good look at the mech standing outside, and you will know the difference! ”

Ves didn ’t know whether he should appreciate the free advertising or not.
Having a terrorist promote his mechs was a mixed blessing!

Still, even if most Ylvainans didn ’t believe in the living prophet, they accepted his acknowledgement of the mech.
It truly appeared as a blessed creation!

At this time, High Inquisitor Kelly Ixef Poxco couldn ’t help but interrupt.
”Your time is almost up. ”

The living prophet smirked at her.
”Impatient, are we? It is insulting for the inquisition to regard me with so much skepticism.
While I truly want to teach you all a lesson, I do not require nor demand your obedience.
I have never forced anyone to become my follower and I never will! Unfortunately for you inquisitors, while I have agreed to place myself at your mercy, I did not specify in which state! ”

High Inquisitor Kelly Ixef Poxco ’s quickly suspected what was about to happen.
”No! Protectors! Restrain this terrorist! ”

It was too late! Even before the high inquisitor reached out to grab the madman, the living prophet cackled madly as he pressed a button on his comm!

”Hahahaha! Do not be afraid, my children! I will return to you once again! ”

His entire body lit up in flames! The fire that engulfed the living prophet was so hot and scorching that the other judges on the bench immediately jumped away as best they could!

The hand of High Inquisitor Kelly Ixef Poxco suffered an awful burn as she hastily drew it back! If she hadn ’t reacted faster, her arm and the rest of her body would have gone up in smoke as well!

The accelerants the living prophet carried burned the clone so thoroughly that even the fastest fire suppressant couldn ’t do anything to save the terrorist ’s life!

The self-proclaimed incarnation of the prophet and the delusional head of the New Ylvaine Dynasty sacrificed his life without any hesitation!

As the Protector guards tried to assert control over all of the unrest that ensued, Ves and many of the Ylvainans watching the proceedings didn ’t know what to think anymore!

Ves was thoroughly confused.
The moment the living prophet entered the courtroom, he was already destined to fall into the hands of the authorities.
His subsequent treatment in their hands would definitely be awful, because despite his many claims to innocence, the True Believers were still terrorists who killed many Ylvainans over the years!

From this perspective, Ves understood that the living prophet would rather die than suffer through the indignities that the Ylvainan Inquisition had in store for him.
Since he would definitely die in their custody, he might as well make another point and die on his own terms!

Yet why did the living prophet feel the need to sacrifice his comfortable life on the behalf of Ves? Did the living prophet delude himself into thinking that standing up to Ves would help him and his forbidden dynasty?

”There ’s little point in guessing the motives of a madman. ” He whispered to himself.
”The living prophet is too crazy to comprehend! ”

Regardless of the reason why the living prophet behaved so altruistically, Ves shouldn ’t look at this holy gift horse in the mouth! He directly benefited from this selfless and seemingly benign intervention!

Ves glanced towards the judges.

High Inquisitor Kelly Ixef Poxco looked pained and furious.
She glanced at the pile of ashes that used to be the most infamous Ylvainan in the state as if she wanted to burn it again!

However, the living prophet was already dead, and there was no way she could extract any information out of the man.
She currently looked back at her severely-burned arm as Protector medics applied emergency treatment to triage the wound.

The other two judges looked uncomfortable, but they didn ’t do anything else.
While Judge Kelber Kronon quietly conferred with the Protector guard captain, Judge Okin Fillis quietly exited the courtroom while everyone else was distracted!

The lawyer sitting next to Ves jerked.
”Now that Judge Fillis has left, the tribunal is over! The verdict it has issued should be final! ”

Ves looked hopeful.
”Does that mean.. ”

”The vote is two against one in favor of acquittal! Congratulations, Mr.
Larkinson! You are free! ”

The word quickly spread among the Ylvainans in the gallery.
Many of them stood up and cheered!

”The Bright Martyr is saved! ”

”The living prophet redeemed himself before he died! ”

”This is absurd! Why should we accept the judgement of a terrorist?! The foreigner is guilty! He deserves to be executed! ”

Although not every Ylvainan supported the narrative that Ves was a vessel of the prophet, the ones who believed in the Bright Martyr enthusiastically supported this result!

The entire city district that hosted the court building erupted into festivity as the millions of citizens who took to the streets celebrated the outcome of this epochal tribunal!

The Ylvaine Protectorate would never be the same from this day onwards!

No matter how much the stubborn inquisitors, Poxcos and traditionalists opposed this development, they could hardly reverse the verdict.

Too many people believed the Bright Martyr! With one of his mechs continually allowing everyone to bask in its sacred presence, the amount of people who sided with Ves continued to grow!

It was no longer possible for the Ylvainan Inquisition to invalidate the living prophet ’s judgement and change the verdict!

”You should be free to go now, Mr.
Larkinson! ” The lawyer happily declared as he regarded Ves with an increasingly more intense stare.
”Or should I say the Bright Martyr? It is an honor to represent the newest Martyred Follower! ”

Ves became increasingly disturbed by his counsel! It was as if the laywer couldn ’t wait to kiss his shoes!

”Aren ’t the Martyred Followers regarded as such posthumously? ” Ves asked.
”You Ylvainans only started calling them that after they died one after another during the First Calamity and the Great Flight. ”

A martyr was someone who died due to their beliefs! Ves valued his life to an incredible degree, so he would rather not be called by this ridiculous name!

Unfortunately, his lawyer and many other Ylvainans disagreed!

”Even if you die today, you will still be the Bright Martyr to us! You have already made your contributions! ”

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