I Became The Pope, Now What? - Chapter 605
What occurred in the Holy Court was mind-boggling. The King of the elves knelt. It was history in the making. With the day upon them, Sylvester wasted no time calling the Sanctum Council for an emergency meeting. The iron was hot, and they had to strike it immediately.
Quickly, despite having been awake and standing the whole night, everyone sat with unwavering focus in the Sanctum Council chambers.
"Gabriel, when the dragons arrive, stall them as much as possible. Only allow them to meet me once the elves are ready to return—I want the elves and dragons to face each other as they cross paths." Sylvester instructed his Saint Wazir first.
Afterward, he looked at all the faces in the room and announced his grand plan. "Everyone, what I'm doing will define the future of the world. The dream of uniting the two continents can't happen unless one side emerges as a clear winner. Compromises will only lead to eternal doubts—who could have won? Who could have ruled the world?
"I won't leave any doubt about it this time. The Demon that's ravaging Beastaria will be the anchor that shall unite it all. The plague that's ravaging the elves will teach them what gratitude is. But it won't be easy, especially the dragons. So, I need you all to prepare for covert operations. We have to incite a civil war among the dragons. There are only two Kings left, and one of them will arrive soon. When the picture is taken, it must also reach Greanpeeks—shaming the dragons and turning their populace against the incoming King."
The members of the council didn't act surprised as they were used to Sylvester's deep schemes and ability to win battles without raising his own blade.
"What of the Demon?" Felix asked. "If we don't do something, all of Beastaria will turn to ruin."
Sylvester sighed and pushed a sheet of paper to each member. "I have a plan, and it will require all of Beastaria to come together under my leadership. The Demon draws its power from solarium, so we'll simply drain it away while limiting its ability to absorb more. After that, carnage shall begin—But I won't go beyond my duty. The Beastaria has to suffer to learn the lesson that in unity, we are strong."
"Your Holiness." Bishop Lazark, now Cardinal Lazark, spoke. Being the new Saint Seer, he was the spymaster with his little undead birds everywhere. "I must change the focus of this meeting. I've received word that Bloodrain was seen three days ago near Mount Primis in the northwest. The report said he wasn't alone."
'Did he find the Chief of Anti-Light?' Sylvester silently wondered. He closed his eyes to try and speak with the man mentally. However, he couldn't find him even when his Solarium Web swept through the northwest.
"Send your larger undead over. Find out what's going on. We can't spare any people to go there at this moment. But if it's an emergency, I'll go there myself." Sylvester ordered and moved on with the meeting.
Other than the major matters, there were several minor things as well. Being the Pope wasn't only about dealing with existential threats, after all. However, after a few hours, he allowed the council to disperse and rest while he prepared for a one-on-one meeting with King Rathagun.
When the sun sank into the horizon once again, Sylvester headed up toward the roof of the Pope's Palace. With Miraj on his shoulder and a bag in one hand, he took the elevator to the top floor and arrived at an open lakeside garden with a pavilion-like sitting area. He saw the lone elven man sitting there, looking at the sky in a daze.
"Dreaming with open eyes?" Sylvester interrupted the man and took a seat in front of him.
King Rathagun turned to stare at Sylvester for a long while. Devoid of any hatred or any elation, he just plainly looked at his son with some confused thoughts. 'He has no reason to see me as his father...'
"Drink this." Sylvester poured him a glass of liquor. "It's called Sunshine Nectar. It's supposed to taste like alcohol, without any alcohol."
King Rathagun picked up the glass and took a sip without even checking. After a moment, he softly coughed, feeling the harshness of the drink.
"I know, it's strong." Sylvester drank some too. "You didn't think I'd poison you?"
A smile escaped King Rathagun's lips as he stared back toward the twin moons, "To be poisoned by my own son? I would accept such a fate rather than living on with the knowledge of it."
'Broken, confused, hopeful, sad?' Sylvester could smell the emotions the elven man was currently feeling. 'Must have woven dreams of a happy family, only to be disappointed...'
"I had a father…" Sylvester replied, his voice somewhat shaking. "His name was Adrik Dolorem… He stood by me since I was a month old… Ready to die for me, ready to fight for me… I had taken him for granted, thinking I could save him… until I failed."
King Rathagun sensed Sylvester's feelings, "Did he die with regrets?"
"None," Sylvester answered. "He died after seeing his dream fulfilled."
"Then he was a lucky man, Your Holiness. There aren't many who get to see their dreams become reality." Said King Rathagun, drawing parallels with himself.
Sylvester sighed and downed an entire glass. He stared at King Rathagun's face and noticed the man's black hair and gray eyes. He clearly understood his blonde hair and golden eyes weren't from his blood but the work of Solis.
"If you leave your dreams hidden and suppressed for too long, they often disappear," Sylvester replied and stood up. He walked out into the open and raised his hand toward the sky. Promptly, a few shining shooting stars appeared in the dark moonlit sky. "I have lost too much in my pursuit of this… I can't rest easy. I can't stop before I fulfill all my obligations."
King Rathagun walked to stand beside Sylvester. He, too, raised his hands toward the sky, and even bigger shooting stars appeared, clearly showing his Supreme Wizard ability to draw in the rocks closer. "Why? Don't you deserve happiness if you have suffered so much?"
"My fate, my dreams, my goals—in the end, I realized they were mere delusions. What I am doing is far bigger than mere preaching." Sylvester said, deciding to reveal some things. "There are gods greater than Solis and Remira, who rule time, space, past, and future. If not stopped, our world is doomed. I can't rest until I've won, father."
King Rathagun abruptly looked at Sylvester's face. His eyes instantly welled up. At last, hearing the word he had yearned for decades. "Then I will stand by you… We will fight and defeat whoever it is."
Sylvester sighed and shook his head. He patted King Rathagun's shoulder, "I'm afraid that won't be enough—not even if the entire world came together. But I have a plan… If things go well, I may be able to defeat them. Until then, I only hope to unite the two continents."
"But… What of Xavia? She wouldn't be happy to see you suffering alone."
Sylvester chuckled and patted the invisible Miraj on his shoulder, "I'm not alone… But this is a burden I must bear. I was born for it. Too many have died to keep me alive until now. I owe debts that I must repay. Besides, you didn't come here for me; I know that."
Sylvester looked behind them, finding Xavia standing in the distance, having just arrived. He waved his hand while walking away from his father, "But everyone's peace need not be delayed."
"Elves won't change so easily, Sylvester. Nor will the dragons." King Rathagun warned. "What if I'm forced to fight you?"
Sylvester didn't look back, "Let me make this clear. From a son to his father—You can't afford to make an enemy out of me."
'Not when I have your species in the palm of my hands with a mere plague.'
Sylvester knew he was the greater evil at that moment, but he had made up his mind long ago. Mere feelings had no power to alter his plans.
With a smile, he reached Xavia and gently tapped her shoulder, "Go on, talk to him. Nobody will come up here."
Sylvester vanished into the elevator room before she could say anything. However, instead of leaving, he stood there for a while, wanting to see if King Rathagun honestly had sincere feelings for Xavia.
Using his solarium sense from Elder Magic, he perceived his surroundings and listened to what went on. In a moment, he noticed Xavia and King Rathagun embracing each other. Both had tears in their eyes and felt shivers on their lips, losing the ability to speak for a while.
"I-I longed to hold you for so long, Xavia," King Rathagun hugged her tightly. "Never again… Come with me, Xavia. Together, we'll live in peace and away from all the chaos."
Xavia wept but didn't lose her sense of reason. She stroked King Rathagun's face, shaking her head, "Your elders will kill us both."
"They can't," Rathagun claimed. "I'll step down, make Avanss the King. We can live on the free island of Libertia together—Just the two of us, away from any prying eyes or responsibilities. A life that could have been ours years ago… Come with me, Xavia."
Audibly crying, Xavia stepped back from Rathagun's embrace, "I can't… All this time, Max fought so we could be together in peace. I can't leave him now… I won't betray him now…"
In the elevator room, Sylvester sighed and stepped into the elevator, 'The aroma of rose and spring, foulness of meat, tangerines, and sunflowers. Words may lie, but scents rarely do.'
Leaving Rathagun and Xavia to speak as husband and wife, Sylvester left the Inquisitor High Lord there, as a guard, so that no one could see the two talking. Then, as usual, he left the Pope's Palace, but this time in his carriage. He arrived at the Bright Mother's housing and went to his room in his home.
Being a Grand Wizard, he did not need sleep. He usually spent his nights reading books, plotting, or drawing blueprints for some machinery. However, that evening, he lay down on the bed with eyes open in the dark room.
A myriad of worries and thoughts haunted him. But at the same time, nothing scared him anymore since his enemies were so powerful that his existence didn't even matter. No amount of plotting could bring down omniscient gods. Only raw power that matched them could pose a challenge—but such power was unattainable in a reality under 'their' control.
With eyes open, staring at the ceiling, he didn't even realize it when morning came, and Miraj woke up from his beauty sleep. With that, he also stood up from his bed, not needing to change clothes.
The scent of a delicious breakfast invaded his nose already. The usual honey pancakes and Miraj's banana with milk. And, of course, Zeke's protein-filled meat salad breakfast. They all gathered at the table as usual and finished breakfast.
Like always, Sylvester got up to head to work. However, this time, he stopped at the door and looked behind him towards Xavia, who appeared somewhat lost, "He's your husband. I won't mind if you live with him, Mum. I'm not a kid anymore. You should worry about your own life. Don't make me the shackles holding you back."
With that, Sylvester left and rode his bicycle like usual. He had realized that in his pursuit of peace, others were also suffering. It was foolish of him because he had centuries of life ahead, but others did not.
"Maxy, will Big Mum go away?" Miraj asked, perched on Sylvester's shoulder as the wind stroked his fur. "Why? We love her a lot."
"Miraj, no matter how much we love someone, we have no right to hold them back from making their own choices." Sylvester corrected his little friend.
Miraj, almost on the verge of crying, mumbled. "But… don't you want her to be with us?"
"Of course I do." Sylvester didn't lie. "But this is a chance for her to live with the love of her life again… not everyone gets such a chance. Anyway, you got me, Chonky."
"And you got me." Miraj sniveled and hugged Sylvester's neck, nestling beside his chest. "I will miss her if she leaves."
Thank you for reading. Gifts and GT votes are highly appreciated.