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    Asianovel

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    Chapter 168

    Amidst the continuous applause, God on Earth smiled and said, "That concludes our mission report."

    "A fine job indeed." A bearded old man turned to the cardinal and said, "To find such an excellent successor is truly enviable."

    "Haha, you're not the first to say that." The cardinal maintained a composed demeanor, but his eyes betrayed his pride. Primarily, God on Earth's flawless completion of the mission had significantly boosted the reputation of both him and the new cardinal before all the organizations.

    With the intelligence investigation concluded, the assembly naturally moved on to the second part of the meeting: discussing how to deal with the enigmatic Miskatonic University.

    Logically, there was no longer any role for God on Earth or Maron in the proceedings. However, due to their involvement in the mission and their understanding of Miskatonic, they were granted additional seats. Now, they sat quietly in their places, observing the discussions among the high-ranking members.

    "We can't just give up. How else will we fulfill the mission entrusted to us by our Lord?"

    "Needless to say, but the question now is how to confront Miskatonic University."

    Initially, when these cultists learned of Miskatonic's existence, they had planned to invade Arkham and assault the university. However, upon discovering the intricate situation in Arkham and Miskatonic's profound background, they found themselves constrained.

    Gathering forces to infiltrate Miskatonic... They might not even make it past the fog before being eliminated. Sending agents into Arkham to spread their faith... There was the formidable presence of the Secret Church to contend with.

    It seemed like an impossible situation; the only options appeared to be maintaining the status quo or attempting to isolate transportation to weed out the cultists within their ranks.

    This suggestion was put forward, indeed the most secure in the current stage. However, the high-ranking officials present exchanged glances, all falling into a collective silence.

    "Usually, meetings exhaust me, but for some reason, watching this excites me."

    "I know, right? It's probably because they're plotting so openly (dog emoji)."

    "Didn't that proposal just now sound good? Why isn't anyone supporting it?"

    "Emmm, from a cautious standpoint, it's not bad. But have you considered that these are cultists we're dealing with? Such a conservative approach is practically passive defense. Will the people below accept that?"

    "I get it, hhh. If I were a cultist, I wouldn't tolerate such injustice! I'd be sacrificing a dozen people a day!"

    "There's no choice. The false information disseminated by the big shots has made it too risky for these cultists to invade Arkham and Miskatonic University. They can't reach the university's headquarters, and the players arriving at the New Port seem even crazier (expression of disbelief)."

    "Funny, they pose no real threat."

    The chat messages echoed the awkward reality faced by the cult organizations. Playing solely defense would portray them as weak, unacceptable to their followers. Launching a holy war, on the other hand, risked their annihilation by the monsters in the mist before they could even locate Miskatonic University. Who could they turn to for justice?

    "We might attempt to reach out to the Secret Church," someone suggested cautiously. "From the intelligence Austin and his team brought back, it seems that Miskatonic and the Secret Church are adversaries, with Miskatonic being at a disadvantage. That's likely why they've kept their school hidden."

    "Our new bishop tried that a long time ago," the cardinal sighed. "Their church leader despises all forms of heterodoxy. Besides, they operate in secrecy, rarely making any moves. It's doubtful they'd agree to our request."

    "Still, we have to try. We can't just sit idly by."

    "Not saying we won't, but we haven't figured out how yet."

    At this moment, God Amongst Men raised his hand. "Well, I have an idea."

    Everyone turned to him. Normally, someone of his rank wouldn't be qualified to speak at such a meeting. However, given the current situation, his recent outstanding contribution, and his extensive knowledge about Miskatonic, he was granted an exception.

    The cardinal spoke up in support. "What's on your mind? Speak up."

    "I believe that Miskatonic's greatest threat to us lies in the institution itself," God Amongst Men began. "As long as Miskatonic exists, there will be a constant stream of investigators hindering us. Moreover, due to Miskatonic's foundations, their graduates are of a quality unmatched by ordinary investigators. Even the Bureau's inspectors, to be honest, pose a significantly smaller threat than those Miskatonic students."

    "Isn't that obvious?!" someone grumbled impatiently.

    "Hold on, let me finish," God Amongst Men's lips curled into a familiar smile, alerting his live stream viewers that he was about to stir things up. "If that's the case, why don't we establish a school of our own?"

    "Hmm?"

    At this remark, everyone present turned to him in surprise. The cardinal perked up with interest. "A school?"

    "Yes, why do you think Michigan University poses such a significant threat to us?"

    The leader of the Secret Order spoke, "Because they aren't afraid of death."

    "And every one of them is cautious yet daring."

    "Each individual is exceptionally talented."

    "They have means of communication and intelligence sharing that we're unaware of, and they're highly united."

    "Hehe, if you keep praising us like this, we'll be embarrassed."

    "What praise fest? Praise more, praise more!"

    "Seems like we're quite remarkable, huh (puffs out chest)."

    "No, did nobody pay attention to the big shot's suggestion? Building a school!"

    "Hehe, I've been thinking about a school too. I'm sure the big shot has the same idea."

    "Upstairs, we're on the same wavelength."

    "What's going on? No riddles, please!"

    "Patience, you'll know soon enough."

    "Yes, all these qualities come from their training at a university," God Among Us surveyed the crowd, speaking deliberately. "Alchemy, history, potions, combat – at that university, students are groomed into capable investigators. But what about us? Our followers come from the bottom rung, many of them even illiterate. Our only advantage is being locals. How can we compete with them?"

    The cardinal pondered, "So that's why you propose establishing a school for us? A school to nurture cultists?"

    "Exactly. Education is the key to securing the future. Otherwise, they'll gain the upper hand, and sooner or later, we'll all end up in jail or at the bottom of the sea. Since we can't launch a massive assault now, our only option to resist them is through steady progress. For that, a talent incubator is necessary. We can establish a school like they do, not necessarily a general education university, but a vocational college or night school would suffice to hone our cultists' various skills."

    God Among Us looked at everyone present and said gravely, "This can't be accomplished by a single organization, not even by our new bishop. But if all the churches join forces, it might be possible."

    "Oh, how hilarious! You mean Bicester University, the mortal enemy of Miskatonic University, right?"

    "What?"

    "The University of Michigan's archrival from the Cthulhu universe, only they produce cultists instead of investigators."

    "This school isn't nearly as renowned as Michigan. I looked it up; it doesn't exist in the game world."

    "So, the big guy is going to build it himself? Wow, that's hardcore gaming!"

    "But it sounds interesting! Those who don't want to be investigators can join this school and become cultists!"

    "Oh, I get it now. Could this be the early blueprint for faction rivalry?!"

    The live chat had caught on, while the other high-ranking cult members in the conference room pondered the feasibility of God Among Mankind's proposal.

    After a moment of silence, they realized it might actually work!

    The cardinal asked with intrigue, "You want to improve the individual quality of our cultists so they can compete against those from Michigan?"

    God Among Mankind nodded. "I believe they're moving forward, and we can't fall too far behind."

    "A most intriguing notion," the cardinal said, casting a glance around the assembly. "So, my esteemed colleagues, do any of you have objections to this idea?"

    "The Order of Secrets has no qualms," the leader of the order replied, "but who would assume the role of headmaster, and how would we select the faculty?"

    "That can be discussed once the proposal is approved," the cardinal responded. "Very well, then, those in favor, please raise your hands."

    Almost four-fifths of the attendees raised their hands, particularly the smaller churches that had suffered the most at the hands of players, some on the brink of annihilation. They could endure no more.

    "Very well, the motion is passed. We'll convene a separate meeting to discuss the details. Aside from this proposal, are there any other measures against the Great Secret?"

    Divine On Earth hesitated before speaking again.

    The cardinal encouraged, "Say what's on your mind. Who here would deny you the chance now?"

    "I do have another suggestion," Divine On Earth continued. "Founding a school is for the future, but right now, our priority should be to cause some trouble for the Great Secret, to retaliate in some manner. I believe that's what everyone is hoping for."

    "Of course, but the issue at hand is that we don't know how to retaliate effectively," the representative from the Church of the Depths said helplessly. "If we could directly assault their headquarters, we wouldn't be having this meeting right now."

    "In truth, there are ways to inconvenience the Great Secret without resorting to open warfare. We could, for instance, expose their existence, even promote them in some fashion."

    The leader of the Secret Order was slightly taken aback. "Are you out of your mind promoting Miskatonic University?"

    Divinity on Earth replied with a hint of helplessness. "Of course not. Think about it. If you found out that a university's library houses a treasure like the Book of the Dead, what would you do?"

    "The obvious choice would be to seize it," the leader promptly answered, then suddenly realized something.

    "Exactly. Miskatonic holds extremely valuable treasures for both wizards and historians. We can exploit this fact to publicize the university's existence. The more people know about Miskatonic, the more they'll find ways to navigate the fog on their own. Based on our experience, Miskatonic's students will rescue those ordinary folks who get lost in the mist. Isn't that their headache?"

    The high-ranking members present suddenly saw the light, and some even thought it was an excellent plan!

    "Furthermore, we can infiltrate their ranks, not with a full-scale attack, but by individuals blending in, causing trouble at Miskatonic," Divinity on Earth added hastily, fearing they might object.

    This time, no vote was necessary. Unlike before, this plan wouldn't cost much while still posing a problem for Miskatonic. Thus, the cardinal immediately approved it.

    Seeing this, Divinity on Earth couldn't help but smile, while the live stream chat burst into laughter.

    "Genius! Making your enemies advertise for you!"

    "Awesome! With this, the Miskatonic Descends mission should finally be a success!"

    "Of course, as long as the promotional impact is achieved."

    "I never thought that if left to us players alone, we wouldn't know when we'd finish promoting it. Now, we don't have to, thanks to our rivals (doge)."

    "Heretics and investigators, truly a love-hate relationship that persists eternally. You've made it possible for Miskatonic University to descend! Well done!"

    "hee hee, rest assured, fellow heretics, when Bletchley University is established, we players will lend you our support too!"

    "I'm super excited about players' second university, to be honest. Can the deity among us take on the role of principal?"

    "Upstairs, we're on the same wavelength. When are you going to become the principal, big shot? hhhh"

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