Weekly chapters (2/2)
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Chapter 117 – Church’s Dark Side
[Fumu… so the one that will be sent to Grants is those working under Cecil Griffith… is that it?]
[Affirmative. Grants is a land of heresy. It basically has no believers at all. Sending our precious subordinates to a place without believers is… and this subordinate of Cecil was someone who doesn’t hesitate to refuse our order. No matter how I see it, there must be something going on here.]
The hooded man, Romani, reported to the person in front of him.
Romani is the 10th archbishop of the church. He’s currently in his fifties, but he still hadn’t abandoned his ambition to climb higher yet. To become a cardinal, or even the Pope.
He had a flabby fat body, and his fingers were decorated with jeweled rings… at a single glance, nobody would be able to tell that he’s a servant of God.
In front of him were the four Cardinals of Sierra Hazard. All four of them, along with the Pope, were like the kings of the church.
The leader among the four Cardinals was a man named Vandeus. He was originally an aristocrat and held the greatest influence among the four. He’s also currently the closest person to become the next Pope.
Right across to him was the second Cardinal, Lucius. Unlike Vandeus, Lucius was originally a commoner. Thus for the former, the latter is essentially a blemish that can’t be easily gotten rid of.
Other than the two were the third place Johannes and the fourth place Bowden. Both were members of Vandeus’ faction.
And lastly at the center was the pope himself, Zelgius, as the topdog of the church.
He had been serving as the pope for nearly 20 years. He was known as the Emperor Sephiros’ colleague before he became the eponymous Pope. But in recent years, apparently his already advanced age had finally caught up to him as he’s been acting like an entirely different person.
[Fumu… what’s going on here? Lucius-dono. Didn’t this Cecil report directly to you?]
Vandeus didn’t leave the opportunity to push the blame on Lucius to pass so easily. His eyes staring sharply at the person sitting right across him.
[Even if you say that… I also have no idea what is going on. Maybe because there are no believers there, he decided to do something on his own volition?]
Ignoring the piercing gaze, Lucius exclaimed.
[Apparently he has been intending to go there for a while… Grants is known as a barbaric country infested with monsters. An average person would only become prey. In that respect, this Cecil is a person of valor, yet he chose to become an Archbishop at such a young age. Perhaps that’s why he took the initiative to go there.]
Lucius stared back at Vandeus, then continued on.
[If you find it to be so important, then why didn’t Vandeus-dono send his own subordinate to go there? To be frank, I have no intention to send any more of my subordinates to that plac.e]
Vandeus and his ilk were rendered silent by those words.
In fact, the church had sent people to breathe in the church’s beliefs on Grants before this… but all of them ended up missing or returning as corpses.
That’s why, nobody else in the church was willing to go to that… forsaken place called Grants.
[Moreover… that Cecil you denigrate so much is also one of the biggest donors for the church. Eliminating him will be the same as tightening the noose around your own neck… do you understand?]
Vandeus could only stay silent. Meanwhile, his fire of hatred only grew hotter.
The pope Zelgius finally spoke. In response to that, all other people whose rank is lower than cardinal attending the meeting quickly bowed their heads.
[It has been decided that we will be sending our people to Grants. We cannot change that decision so easily. Therefore we will still send a priest as planned… his name is…]
[This priest’s name is Felix.]
[Then, so be it. This meeting is now adjourned.]
[Please wait, Your Holiness! What about her highness 『Saintess』…?]
Zelgius interrupted Romani before he could finish.
[The meeting is adjourned. We will not discuss any more topics today.]
Zelgius stood up from his seat and left. Lucius followed after him in a hurry, while the other cardinals stayed put while gently lowering their heads. As for Romani… he also bowed, albeit while biting his lip.
[Great work. Romani.]
Within Vandeus’ living quarters, Bowden and Johannes invited Romani in.
[Vandeus-sama! That Cecil is a dangerous man. We must stop him from becoming an archbishop at all cost!]
Romani naturally became restless. Not only was Cecil more popular among the people, he’s also one of the biggest donors for the church, making a lot of the higher ups take note of him. In addition to that, Cecil’s valor and talent in sacred arts can become a major hindrance in the future.
Romani simply couldn’t allow himself to be outmatched by someone so young.
Vandeus muttered while sending Romani a cold gaze.
What a scumbag. This man had been making an enemy out of this Cecil Griffith purely out of jealousy. But even scumbags still have its uses.
[It is certainly not a good idea to let this Cecil Griffith become an archbishop. He’s after all, one of Lucius’ ilk.]
Johannes spoke up.
[If that Ares Schwarzer gains even more power in the future… it will also affect your effort to succeed in His Holiness. After all, he has that much strength, money, and fame.]
[And… who would’ve ever thought that he would be betrothed to the 『Saintess』?]
Vandeus’ face turned bitter upon hearing that last part.
Cornelia was known among the commoners as the 『Saintess』. At first, her presence was insignificant… but lately her fame could no longer be ignored.
Cornelia, being a Royal clan member and having a reputation among the higher ups as someone with great talent in the sacred arts, also helped cement her being recognized as a 『Saintess』. But the good thing was that the other aristocrats weren’t aware of it as it’s not announced extensively.
Vandeus once tried to tie down Cornelia before, intending to marry her to his son. The fact that she’s famous among the commoners and well-versed in sacred arts while having the lineage of the Arcadia Empire was too precious to pass up.
However, no matter how he tried, the answer remained the same. NO. But he didn’t give up so easily.
However… the suddenly-appearing Ares Schwarzer swooped her away in the meantime. When he found out about this, he could only grit his teeth in regret.
But there is no use crying over spilled milk.
In a way, he also found it fortunate that the 『Saintess』 was pushed out to the frontier.
[Now… our major concern is the existence of the 『Child of God』. Have we not found him yet?]
The child of God was mentioned in an oracle. The upper echelon tried to hide this existence, but the smoke still escaped nonetheless.
The rumour spread and now many believed in that oracle.
It says… a 『Child of God』 has been born to guide the people in his reign.
[It’s good if we can make use of that person. Otherwise he’s nothing more than a hindrance. He must be eliminated at once.]
[We’ve dispatched a lot of people to look for him… but we haven’t even caught a single trace so far. Is the oracle wrong this time?]
[The oracle shouldn’t be wrong. There have been a lot of cases where it’s proven right… Moreover, complaining about its credibility is like questioning our faith, which is a foolish thing to do for people like us.]
Having said so, Vandeus showed a nasty smile as he continued.
[We should keep searching. Also… send more people to Grants in case he’s hiding there. And if push comes to shove, we might as well consider erasing Ares Schwarzer.]
Those present nodded their heads in agreement.
Cardinal Lucius was alone in his private room, reading a letter. It was sent to him by none other than Cecil Griffith.
[Good grief. Sending someone like Felix to Grants… that kind of man? What is Cecil thinking?]
Lucius thought back on what kind of man Felix was.
That man graduated from the same seminary as Cecil did; a very talented man.
It could be said that… he was right next to Cecil in terms of capabilities.
They were both friends and rivals. He climbed to the bishop position around the same time Cecil was made an archbishop.
He was a good man. But the reason why he was slower in his climb… was due to his attitude to the higher ups.
He’s a man who disliked forced authority.
[Fufufufu, but the young lord should be able to handle him fine. There is also Her Highness Cornelia-sama as well.]
That said, Lucius brought the letter to a burning candle, and let the fire burn the paper until there was nothing left of it but ashes.
[Well then, should I send Sirius over as well? Right now, Grants is pretty much the safest place in the continent.]
Lucius smiled as he imagined the face of his apprentice.
[Well, that fellow. He’ll do just fine. Right now… we just have to wait. The 『time』 will eventually come so better be prepared…]
Lucius muttered to himself while cleaning up the ashes.