I Became The Pope, Now What? - Chapter 624
Sylvester had spent almost two months inside Nehilius' realm. He tried to eat as much as possible, but in reality, it still wasn't even a millionth of the whole body. It was appalling to eat, and even gulping it down in his throat felt like an impossible task, tougher than any battle he had fought.
But alas, the time to head out had arrived. And for the final task, he decided to test Miraj's ability to grow in size. For that, Nehilius was gracious enough to create a mega-planet in the void entirely made of water. Simply put, it was just a round drop of water for Miraj to swallow. But, since the thing was so massive, it acted like a planet as well.
"Chonky, just do what you did that time and drink all this water to grow," Sylvester instructed the excited cat as they sat on a small wooden boat on the water planet. "Go all out."
"Aye, aye!" Chonky meowed and opened his mouth wide. He activated his powers just as he did the last time and began sucking in all the water.
His size also grew rapidly, and Sylvester found it troublesome to stay beside him. So, he had to move away a little to avoid being pulled in himself. As time passed, the speed at which Miraj drank the water grew, and within a few hours, he emptied the entire water planet to the last drop.
And, there was now a massive-sized Miraj.
"I… feel… full!" Miraj's voice rumbled as if a giant was speaking in slow motion.
Sylvester sweated, a distance away from the furry body. "H-He's… The size of a small planet or moon… Can he even hear me?"
Sylvester felt a force of attraction from Miraj's body. Yes, the cat had its own gravity at that size. However, at that point, Miraj looked more like a blob than a cat. So it was clear he had stretched the ability too much. Without maneuverability, it was useless.
"Chonky!" Sylvester shouted. "Start releasing water until you feel you can move around!"
"Haaaa?" Miraj questioned, as it was hard to hear Sylvester. "Release the water? Why? I can just…"
Suddenly, Miraj's size began to decrease rapidly, much faster than it took him to gain his size. In no time, Miraj lost it all and returned to his regular small size.
"Where did the water go?" Sylvester questioned in shock.
Proudly, Miraj thumped his chest, "To the Chonky Bank! Hehe… I can now get big with water whenever I want. Isn't that awesome, Maxy?"
'What in the gods' name is he?' Sylvester questioned himself much more severely. There was no biological lifeform that came close to being similar to Miraj. There were no cats like him, let alone occult things.
"Your companion is peculiar. The more feats he shows, the more I come to believe that he is one of us—an Elder God with his own void where all the things vanish into his mouth." Nehilius commented, revealing a hint of interest in Miraj.
Sylvester nodded and grabbed Miraj to leave the void. Even if Miraj was an Elder God, it didn't change anything about their relationship. "Thank you for helping with the experiment. I should head out now."
Right away, Sylvester left the void. But he also took a chunk of the Elder God's flesh with him, hoping to find a way to make it tasty by cooking it. He didn't have much hope, but at least coating it with honey was one of the ideas.
"Maxy, what else can I eat? Can I eat the moon as well?" Miraj suddenly asked, interested in knowing how far his abilities could go.
Sylvester rubbed his hairless chin and wondered. "It depends. Because to eat the moon, you will have to have enough suction power in your mouth to crack its entire surface and draw it inside."
"Hmm…" Miraj wondered silently about it.
Sylvester, in the meantime, arrived at the Holy Court. It was time to return to regular work and listen to the various issues faced by the people or the nobles. Anything from food, water, or safety was something he could solve with a simple order.
In reality, Sylvester did not need to conduct so many Holy Court sessions, as no other Pope had previously done so. However, he wanted to do it to spread his name and create an indestructible positive image in the minds of his people.
The soldiers saluted as Sylvester walked into the massive hall. There were a few more people since the Season of Solis officially began. Soon, the Holy Land was going to be covered with pilgrims, and more people would wish to see him. Although commoners couldn't stay in the Holy Court, nobles were allowed to take visitor's seats on the extreme sides of the hall, where a raised platform was set for them. It was Sylvester's way of teaching them how to govern things.
Court was quickly in session, and some of the Guardians and Sanctum Council members arrived. Gabriel stood beside Sylvester's throne and began reading through the names of the people who were permitted to meet the Pope that day.
"This one is a little unique, but I allowed him to see you," Gabriel whispered to Sylvester. "It's a ten-year-old kid who traveled from Count Midsnow's region."
Sylvester's brows rose in surprise, "A ten-year-old? Call him in."
Right away, Gabriel gestured at the herald at the large double doors, and the doors opened. Then, a young boy walked in, timidly looking left and right. He sweated profusely the whole time and tried to keep his gaze lowered to the floor. Thin-bodied, black-haired, and dark-skinned, he was the definition of a kid from a poor family.
Resting on his ordinary throne, Sylvester still looked too majestic with the mitre. "Young man, it's bad manners not to make eye contact with the person you've come to meet."
"Forgive me!" The boy almost cried and looked up at Sylvester. For a few seconds, he felt overwhelmed because the Pope looked so young. But then, he gathered himself and tried to voice out what he had practiced. "Y-Your Holiness… My name is Ulang village… No, I mean I come from Ulang village, and my name is Hector… I-I am looking for a cure for my Mum… Please help me save my Mum."
Sylvester nodded his head and looked at Gabriel to confirm something, "Isn't Ulang village at the border of Raftel County?"
"That's right, Your Holiness."
Sylvester looked back at the boy, "Hector, do you not know about Grace Hospitals? One of the biggest Grace Hospitals is in Raftel County. Despite that, what brought you here?"
The boy clasped his hands together and stared at Sylvester with desperate eyes of hopelessness, "W-We… We can't go there… The Baron won't let us!"
A strange, soft sigh left the mouths of the Clergymen in the massive hall. As for the nobles who were watching, they facepalmed themselves, showing their frustration with their fellow noble. Clearly, they already knew what was going to happen next.
"What is the name of this Baron, and what did he do? Tell me everything in detail." Sylvester requested.
The boy found some confidence in Sylvester's humble tone. Being a kid, he had seen how nobody ever took him seriously before. "Your Holiness, Baron Oolaf keeps my family in the basement. Many more too! He only brings us out to work in the fields and then locks us back in. I ran away to come here—I went to Count Midsnow too, but they didn't let me speak with him and beat me for entering the castle. Your Holiness… I… My Mum is very sick… They'll kill her but won't let me take her to ho-hopinal…"
Sylvester sighed and waved at Gabriel. Immediately, a small table was brought before Sylvester with some paper and a pen that he had made. He began to write, as well as speak with the nobles who were in attendance.
"If nobles do their job correctly, children and people such as Hector would never have to come and seek my help. If nobles truly fear the wrath of God—they'd hold daily courts like I do and hear the problems of the residents of their regions," Sylvester said and started to speak about what he wrote in the papers. "As per the Constitution of Light, enslaving someone is a crime punishable by death—This Baron, if found guilty, will be replaced."
At last, Sylvester stamped the letter, which was almost a death sentence to a noble. "Saint Viceman should be the fastest. Send him to Baron Oolaf, and if he's found guilty—the judgment is written in this paper."
At last, Sylvester glanced back at the boy, "Hector, was your family called slaves before?"
Hector nodded frantically, "Yes, Your Holiness. We were more free before and lived in our little house. But then the Baron locked us up."
Sylvester glanced at the nobles, "So that's how some nobles want to ignore my order? Hiding the ex-slaves and keeping them as forced laborers? Saint Gabriel, send a letter to Count Midsnow, tell him to give me a reason why I shouldn't treat him similarly to Baron Oolaf."
With that, Sylvester took out a healing potion from Chonky Bank and floated it to the boy, "Hector, this is a healing potion. If this doesn't help your Mum, then take her to Grace Hospital. As for the Baron—He will be punished. My good friend Felix will go with you back to your village, so rest easy."
The ten-year-old silently shed some tears as he looked at the glass vial as if it were a treasure. He understood that the little vial was worth decades of income for his family. This was a new experience for him since people in power rarely acted kindly to him, as far as he had seen in his short life.
"You're a courageous boy, Hector. Never forget what you did today. Now, go to the waiting hall and eat something, it's all free. Saint Felix will meet you there," Sylvester dismissed him.
Right away, a Bright Mother came and guided the boy out to the waiting room.
"Resume the court," Sylvester ordered.
With that, Gabriel looked at the sheets of paper he had gathered. His face showed a sudden scowl, but he didn't speak with Sylvester as he already knew what would happen soon.
Like before, the gates were opened. Seven men walked in this time. All of them were fatter than cows and couldn't even walk properly. Draped in the finest, expensive silk robes, gold jewelry, and leather boots, they used fancy canes to walk. Their faces had so many folds of fat that it was surprising they could even look around, as their eyes were nearly closed shut.
"What is this?" Sylvester looked at Gabriel. "I don't remember a ritual needing pig slaughter today."
"But you still might want to do it," Gabriel answered.
It took some time, but eventually, the seven men stopped near the stairs leading to Sylvester's throne. The men couldn't kneel nor salute, so they verbally praised the lord and got to speaking about their issues.
'Scent of greed is there, but worship is missing.' Sylvester sternly glared at the seven.
"Speak, children of Solis. What has brought you here?" Sylvester questioned.
A blonde-haired member of the seven stepped forward with great effort, "Ah… I am Quartis Roland, Your Holiness. Collectively, we are known as the Septem Council—A merchant group that generates more money annually than the entire Kingdom of Highland."
Sylvester watched them with suspicion. 'Why have I never heard of them before?'
"And what brings you here?"
Quartis smiled, or at least tried to, "Your Holiness, I mean no disrespect to any, and this is merely a suggestion. But due to a recent policy of the Holy Land, our trade has suffered drastically. We used to earn more than five million Graces in a month. But now we barely make a million—Please, I beg you to change your decision… just a little."
'I smell fear.'
"Speak clearly," Sylvester ordered.
Quartis began sweating, but he still tried to smile. "We are willing to offer twenty percent of our income to the Holy Land. It's just… we hoped that… Not human! But the sub-human slave trade could be resumed. It generates a lot of revenue, Your Holiness. And I vow to strictly trade with subhumans onl—"
Quartis shut up suddenly and looked around. To his shock, from Clergymen to the nobles in the back, they all facepalmed themselves.
Right away, he and his friends began sweating, and their strained hearts tried to scream, telling them to run. However, their fat was so thick that those screams took too long to reach their minds.
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