The door was completely broken. A crowd rushed into the house and found Sylvester. They caught him by his tiny legs, hung him upside down, and went outside.

Quickly running away at fast speed, they headed straight to the biggest village intersection. Xavia cried and tried to reason with those remaining. She fought to get him back. "No, don't do this! He's not possessed."

The last man to leave her house was the same man, Chief of the village, Osbert Deserte, who grinned at Xavia. "You had to spoil my night. It's because of you that they took your boy. I am the king of this village, my family has been running it for centuries, and you dared to disobey me? You could've had everything just for sharing the bed, but you lost the chance. This time, once I am done playing with you, I will let my loyal men have fun!"

"He's just a child! It's not his fault..." Xavia pleaded to him, crouching beside his feet.

Deserte kicked her away. "Even if I want to, I can't stop them now. The crowd trusts my words with full faith. I say he's demon-possessed; they believe it."

Seeing no point in pleading, she ran out quickly, hoping to save her son. Maybe someone will hear her, or so she thought.

But when she arrived, she found that the villagers had become fanatical. A mountain of wood was gathered in the village square. Two women's bodies were already on the pike, burning lifelessly. Their skin had melted, and the organs were slowly falling out.


"MAX!" She shouted, her face paling beyond humanly possible. She used to think the chief was a kind man, but he too was like most other animalistic people in the world.


She chased after the low voice, splitting apart the crowd as quickly as possible. But as she reached the fire, two arms stopped her, grabbing her from both sides. These were women themselves. The worst part was that Xavia had helped these women deliver babies a few months ago.

"What are you doing... he's my son!" She cried and struggled.

"Don't be mad, Xavia. No baby can speak so early. A demon surely possesses him," the woman reasoned.

The collective madness of the crowd was only intensifying with each moment. They passed Sylvester as they cursed him, each accusing him of being a demon.


Sylvester felt pain from all the twisting and pinching on his body. He screamed and shouted, but the voice fell on deaf ears. The crazed eyes of the people made it clear they had left their humanity tonight.

'What kind of messed up world have I come into?' Sylvester thought as he was slowly tossed closer and closer to the fire. All kinds of smells pierced into his nose, each worse than the one before.

The crowd had gathered around in a circle. Xavia was constantly shouting, her voice ever breaking up. Finally, the village chief walked to the front and held Sylvester upside down by one leg. "This is the demon-possessed boy who we shall burn today as a tribute to the Lord. With his grace, we fight evil, and he may bless us with a good harvest. Tomorrow, I will call the Church to reward us for this service."

He looked at Sylvester's face and coldly whispered, "Boy, you sure can scream. Let's see how loud you can get when your skin melts."

Sylvester coldly looked back. However, he felt fear inside. Now, he was out of options. What can a baby even do in such a situation? Maybe if this was some superhero novel where he could send out a magic blast and make all his enemies burn… But sadly, this was his reality, and he was helpless in the face of it.

Thus, Sylvester awaited being burnt, then possibly being reborn. However, he hated parting ways with Xavia. She was so kind—like Diana. He just hoped that she would run away and save herself from this beast.

Deserte got closer to the fire to throw him in. His face still had the same ugly grin. Indeed, almost always, the worst men get to hold influential positions. Because the good folks fear falling to the level it takes to attain that power.

'I wonder how many lives it will take me to actually live.' Sylvester had resigned to his fate.

But fate—had something else in store for him.

Thud Thud Thud...!Almost immediately, silence took over the entire village. All shouts and curses calmed down. People lowered their burning torches and pikes. Then, they felt the ground shake rhythmically. The fine dry sand jumped as if the land was a drum.

"THIS..." Deserte's eyes widened in shock and terror combined. Distant voices of heavy chanting echoed throughout the village and the mountain behind.

♫Marching through the heathen land,

We are the mighty Lord's men,

Second son and orphans, men of such brand,

We sing to the Lord. All say Amen.♫

♫March along, sing our song, with the soldiers of the Lord,

Count the brave, count the true; we only fight for God.

We're the soldiers and proud of our name

We're the holy men and proudly proclaim.♫

♫Find the witches, demons and possessed,

Forsaken worldly craving, for only holy hymns we're obsessed.

No tainted desires, our honour, you can't question.

We are the mighty men of the Holy Inquisition.♫

Gradually, everyone heard the voice loud and clear. Now it was not just the village chief whose eyes were full of terror.

Clank! Whoosh!—One by one, they all threw away their weapons of choice, torches of pikes. They ensured to make no noise.

"KNEEL! It's the Order of the Holy Inquisition!" Chief Deserte shouted. Wasting no time, he threw Sylvester onto the ground, making him squirm in pain.

Following him, all 1,269 villagers kneeled, some even prostrated. Then, they started chanting prayers simultaneously. But in all honesty, with two bodies burning in fire, and them praying, they looked as if they were trying to summon the Devil.

Xavia was having none of it, however. She ran past the crowd and picked Sylvester in her arms, his body had gotten dirty, and there were bruises all over him. She kissed his forehead. "I-I'm sorry, baby. Forgive your mother... I-I am weak... I will heal you quickly."

She sat down and put him on her lap. Then she started hovering her hands over all bruises visible on his tiny naked body. Astounded, Sylvester saw this for the first time. Some sort of green light was coming out of her palm.

'I don't feel any pain now. Is this… magic?' he wondered silently.

In the middle of this act, Xaiva was interrupted. "Woman, how dare you not bow to the Inquisitor High Lord? KNEEL!"Xavia looked up. Nothing scared her anymore. "My baby is injured. Please let me heal him."

"You disrespect the lnqui..." The man had taken out his sword to strike her, only to get it magically taken out of his arms.

Then came a heavy thumping noise, followed by weighty footsteps and the clanking sound of metal on the ground. "Back down, knight. To hurt a mother caring for her child is a sin beyond the salvation of a lifetime."

Xavia and Sylvester looked up. The man standing in front of them was a behemoth, wearing dirty red robes. Over his shoulders was a red, wide, metal pauldron. There was also some metal covering over his one leg. However, the most striking feature was the large, conical helmet with a face covering. White peruke fell from its sides.

With heavy steps, the man walked forward, supported by a giant metal cane.

Not just him, there was an army of thousands of knights behind the man, all clad in armour, their blades unsheathed.

Sylvester was utterly shocked to see this 8-feet tall human. He had no idea what this thing even was, a man or a beast of some sort. Xavia kneeled as if she knew something about the man. "I pay my respects, Lord."

The tall man looked around. He sighed at the sight of the burning bodies on the pyre. "Leader of this village, come forth."

Deserte crawled on his four limbs to reach forward. "My lord, I am Village Chief Deserte, at your service."

"What is all this commotion?"

Deserte glanced at Sylvester and Xavia. "It's them, my lord. That boy, he's possessed by a demon. He's young and speaks like a man."

"What about these two bodies on the pyre? Only the Order of the Holy Inquisition has the authority to burn. Or do you have permission from this province's bishop?" the giant man asked.

Deserte started sweating, "M-My lord... this boy... he's a demon, we must kill it before it can har-"

BAM!—The giant man put one metal-shielded leg on Deserte's back, pressing him down. At the same time, a knight clad in beautiful silver armour and a red cape walked forward. He pointed his sword at Deserte's neck. "Do not try to fool us, lowly scum. We know your kind. You are in the presence of Inquisitor High Lord, Crimson Fire, the 3rd Guardian of the Light."

As soon as these words were spoken, every single villager started shivering. Instead of just kneeling, they were now lying flat on the ground with arms stretched towards the Inquisitor High Lord. Their eyes had tears, hearts full of terror, for they knew a single mistake could mean the doom of the village.

Deserte felt his life had already left his body. The red-robed man in front of him was one of the peak powers in the world.

"G-Great Lord Guardian, w-what are you d-doing in this faraway village on the outskirts?" Deserte asked. He couldn't make any sense of why a being who should not leave the confines of the Holy Land be here.

"We shall know soon. Hans, bring that boy to me," the Third Guardian ordered. Hans was his close aide, an assistant of sorts.

The golden armour-clad man went to Xavia, and forcefully took Sylvester away as she pleaded softly. Her throat had been damaged from shouting all this time. But no matter how much she resisted, the man was way too strong.

Soon enough, Sylvester found himself in the arms of the giant scary man, but for a change, he was not held by his leg. He tried to look beyond the small gap for eyes in the Inquisitor High Lord's visor. The man also stared at him. Sylvester's golden irises were too uncommon. There was some beauty in them that made the man pause.

But the moment he spoke, Sylvester nearly shit himself. "Speak your sermon and prove you are not a demon, or you shall be purified in this holy fire. But know that I can sense a liar."

Sylvester closed his eyes and cursed his fate once again. 'Why? Why can't I have a normal life for once? Is this because I am an atheist? Because I don't pray to God? What is this mad religious world I'm in? Fine, I will pray, but make sure you give me a better life next time.'

After experiencing death and reincarnation, Sylvester truly believed that God or some higher power existed somewhere. So he hoped this time to get some heavenly help.

But shockingly, the moment he started reciting, he felt his scalp tingle.


[A/N: I sometimes add some example illustrations to help you folks imagine. They are usually in the para comments. If you miss them, you can find them on my discord as well.]

Ape together strong. But Stone where?