I Became The Pope, Now What? - Chapter 608
A day later, the docks of the Holy Land appeared crowded. Two ships left the docks, both heading east, but in appearances, they couldn't be more different. King Rathagun had a massive elven ship covered with vines, draped in various shades of green. Meanwhile, King Malisius had a small ship, but it was incredibly fast with wing-shaped sails.
From the docks, Sylvester gently waved his hand. A constant smile was plastered on his face. This was perhaps one of his greatest achievements that would be remembered by history.
"You do understand that he will try to kill you when you visit Beastaria to kill the Demon later?" Felix warned. "I've spied on the dragons for a while, and they aren't the bunch that easily forgets their grudges."
Sylvester continued to smile and wave, "I know. He will probably wait until I deal with the Demon and then strike. But I'll be prepared when that happens—Don't worry, Felix."
Turning around, Sylvester looked at all the high-ranking Clergymen, "With this historic meeting concluded, now is the time to celebrate! Three days of festivals shall be observed in the Holy Land—Spread the word to the nearby towns and villages. The future is now filled with warmth, hope, and happiness!"
Surprisingly, the Clergymen didn't jump in joy or cheers. With solemn smiles on their faces, they looked left and right at each other. What Sylvester had done didn't seem a lot at first glance since it occurred so quickly and smoothly. However, when looked through the lens of a historian, the kneeling of two heathen monarchs was a grand event.
For a thousand years, they had battled for superiority. After the murder of Pope Desmond, the living conditions in Sol continued to deteriorate as the war ate almost all of the resources that could be used to elevate the people's lives.
Now, at last, it seemed that the realm was finally moving in the right direction.
"Long live His Holiness!"
"Love live Pope Sylvester!"
A sudden, unified chant ensued at the docks. From the clergymen of the highest ranks to the normal workers at the docks, everyone shouted together. Unlike in typical circumstances, Sylvester hadn't planned this one; he hadn't planted anyone in the crowd to start the chant.
In truth, this was the greatest badge of honor for him. Proof that his actions were being perceived in the right way, regardless of propaganda. And hopefully, things would continue to develop in that course.
"Your Holiness," Gabriel arrived behind Sylvester and spoke in his ear. "The Guild Masters of all the major assassin guilds have arrived in the private hall."
"No need to give them food and drinks; they won't take it. Did they see the photographs?" Sylvester asked while wondering what to do with the assassin guilds. He obviously didn't want them to continue existing in the peaceful world he hoped to make. But at the same time, dismantling them would be annoying since the top guilds likely had a few Grand Wizards.
Of course, he could kill any Grand Wizard with ease, but the issue was about preserving strength at that point, not reducing it.
"Then let's go and meet with them," Sylvester waved his hands at the crowd and slowly made his way out of the docks.
The private meeting hall was on the same floor as his office. Sylvester entered the room with long strides, not bothering to spare a glance at any of the visitors. They all appeared almost the same in any case. Black-robed, and face covered with a mask or cloth. They all sat behind a table, and each had a placard placed in front of them stating the name of their guild.
There were many big names, such as the ones from the Isle of Men.
But Sylvester didn't care about their ranks. He just wanted answers from them. "I don't care about what you did in the past. What I want is an answer—Who put the bounty on my and my mother's head? Was it the Emperor of Masan? Someone from the Holy Land?"
"Neither, Your Holiness," a man spoke up, the name of his guild being Weeping Men, an SSS Class assassin guild, some of the best on the continent.
Sylvester frowned, "Then who was it? I want a name."
"That we do not have," another man responded. "The bounties placed on the previous Pope's head were from the Emperor of Masan. However, the bounties on your head came from anonymous sources. The money was deposited in our vault, and the bounties were made open for all—anyone who was to complete it would receive the amount."
Sylvester sighed and stood up, "So you can't give me an answer? Is there no way to know who placed the bounty?"
"No, Your Holiness. In fact, the bounty is still in place. It can't be stopped since we don't know who placed it."
Sylvester shook his head and proceeded to leave, "All of you have one week to turn into adventure guilds instead of assassin guilds. Failure to comply will invoke Article 66—And you probably know I've never failed to enforce this one law."
There was no discussion, no negotiation. Sylvester's decision was final. He was willing to forgive the assassin guilds for their past actions, but they had to change their ways.
Sylvester spent some more time working in the Pope's Palace before deciding to return home. Despite the mostly dull, mundane life, home was one thing he looked forward to. The food and peace of mind it offered were incomparable.
On the bicycle, with Miraj singing on his shoulder, the two made their way back home in the night.
♫Hello pretty kitty, please come here,
Maxy sings the best songs you'll ever hear.
Oh, you're deaf? There's nothing to fear,
Maxy can heal you in a jiffy, my dear.♫
Sylvester had never heard that one before, "What kind of song is this? A deaf girl?"
Miraj giggled, "Hehe… I made this new song… It's about a sad little girl whom Maxy helps. Wanna hear more?"
"Go ahead," Sylvester didn't mind hearing Miraj's cute voice. It was heartwarming, as always.
♫Nya nyo nya—This is my lovely chant.
Your life, with my voice, lemme enchant.
No matter you be human or a plant—♫
"We're home." Sylvester interrupted Miraj's song and entered the home. It was still dark inside, so he ignited the solarium crystals he had placed around. In an instant, every corner of the house was bathed in light.
Miraj jumped from Sylvester's shoulder and ran to the kitchen with his nose twitching, "Big Mum! I'm home… What's for tasty dinner?... Big Mum?"
However, after searching the entire house, Miraj returned empty-handed and confused. He stared at Sylvester in wonder, "Maxy, where is Big Mum?"
Sylvester, also looking dejected, picked Miraj up. "The elven ship left today. Did you forget?"
"NO!" Miraj growled. "She left us? Maxy, she's gone? Why? Where is she? Let's get her back!"
"Calm down, Chonky. It's her choice." Sylvester rubbed Miraj's head and went to the living room to settle down and calm his mind. "I told you this could happen."
"What can happen?"
Sylvester and Miraj's head turned to look at the door. In the usual golden white clothes of a Bright Mother stood Xavia, with a bag full of vegetables. She entered the house and went to the kitchen to place the items.
Sylvester quickly stood up, "You didn't go? I thought you'd go with King Rathagun."
Xavia looked surprised but soon continued to work, "I was tempted, and he tried his best to invite me along. To a dreamy life, he talked about, somewhere away from both worlds, somewhere in the middle."
"Then why stay? Isn't that what you want?" Sylvester asked.
She chuckled with a hint of sadness, "I'm not a fool, Max. What is he? An elf. What am I? A human. He loves me right now and finds me attractive. But in a few years, I'll grow old and ugly. In contrast, he would remain the same for thousands of years. Then what? He'll find someone new… I have no desire to be a nameless member of his harem.
"He has a queen already, a beautiful one at that. I told him to focus on her instead of chasing after the past—What's gone is gone. I've already chosen to live my life with the person I've spent most of my years with—My dear son, Sylvester Maximilian."
'Rotten meat—pain and sadness.' Sylvester picked up the scent.
He didn't say anything, and simply went ahead to hug Xavia tightly in his embrace. Hearing her words, he felt a weird ticklish sensation in his chest and gut. It was an emotion he wasn't used to.
'So I'm not cursed to be alone in this life?' He muttered, looking toward the night sky through the large window at the side. 'Do you see this, Diana? I didn't give up…'
Sylvester hugged Xavia tighter, understanding her broken heart. No words could ease the ache in her heart. He could only hope the warm embrace would help.
"It's okay to cry," he muttered.
She tried to speak, but almost choked, "I-I… I almost… Went with him… I'm not a good mother, Max… I almost left you… for something so… insignificant."
He emotionally chuckled, "True, you're not a good mother—you're the greatest."
And with that, she simply wailed without words. A woman who suffered so much, bore a child at a young age, was forced to run for life, and almost raped for merely existing. She had suffered through a lot as a hidden pillar of support for him. One rarely talked about, but the one he never dared to forget her contribution.
'I have to find a way to make her live longer… I don't want to be alone in this life.'
Sylvester reminded himself—one of his deepest insecurities.
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