I Became The Pope, Now What? - Chapter 633
The hall instantly fell silent. All the elders stared at their fellow elf with some confusion and admiration. To cause such tension with two Supreme Wizards sitting there was something none of them felt they could do.
Sylvester cleared his throat and stopped Bloodrain and Soulbreaker from reacting to the tension. Then he addressed the crowd with some actual facts that he had spent so long creating, "Forgive me, but I don't remember a plague ravaging through Sol. Nor do I remember a Demon of Supreme Wizard rank expanding its darkness in the land of light—I am not here for a cure, nor to request help—I'm here as a possible friend on equal terms."
Feeling the unease, King Rathagun clapped and called the servants to serve the food, "Let's carry on with dinner. The serious matters can be discussed later in my private chamber."
Unsurprisingly, the servants who brought the food were human slaves—the men were tall, handsome, and clean-shaven with elegant clothes, and the women were beautiful, curvaceous, with light makeup and gowns akin to a human noble in Sol.
As they entered the hall to clean up the table off the gifts first, they took glances at Sylvester intently, as if they were pleading for help from their expressionless but screaming eyes. The scent of desperation, hope, and sadness raged wild in the air as they walked around the table.
"The future of this world depends on this exchange," Sylvester muttered enough for King Rathagun, Queen Delimira, and Avanss to hear. His eyes remained focused on the slaves walking around, wondering how life was for Xavia when she was a slave.
Soon after, the slaves returned with trolleys full of utensils. The plates were set around the table, and then the food was served. The elders didn't mistreat the slaves, nor did they even glance at them. They spoke softly for whatever they needed, and the slaves placed it on their plates.
'Slaves are made to wear gloves so they don't taint the food?' Sylvester wondered at the attire and the actions of the slaves. 'They seem gruesomely trained for this.'
"Your Holiness?" A female slave came to his side and offered to scoop something from the large saucier onto his plate. She looked to be in her early thirties, was slightly shorter than six feet, and beautiful enough to shame most noble women of Sol. Her brown hair was delicately tied behind her head, and dark raven eyes looked at him with glaring focus.
He couldn't talk to her physically, so he decided to speak mentally. He relaxed in his seat and nodded, allowed her to move forward, and poured the dish, which seemed to contain a lot of thick red gravy and minced meat of some creature.
'My sister in faith—'
The moment his voice rang in her head, she was startled and almost dropped the heavy saucier from her hand. However, with a mere twitch of a finger, Sylvester let the saucier float right where she let go.
'Calm down. It is your Pope speaking into your mind through the magic bestowed by Solis. Tell me, how much do they torment you here?' He asked while she resumed moving as usual. 'Speak in your mind, and I will hear.'
Her response soon came, her voice gentle like a siren, 'A lot, Your Holiness—they don't torment us physically anymore because we need to look good. But they abuse us, starve us, and… play with our bodies.'
'These men on this table? Have they abused you?' Sylvester asked.
'No, not these, but the other elven soldiers and cooks—they use us for entertainment and make us do things… Lately, because of Elder Zelphar, the abuse has decreased. Otherwise, before, we weren't allowed to sleep at night until they were satisfied—but I have it easier. There are many more with worse fates. The previous week, Ursa died from her legs being stretched apart so far her body was split in half.'
'Who did it?'
'It was Knight Captain Kharis Trafir. He fancied her and used to take her along to his bed chambers every evening—she would usually come back all bruised up, but since that night, she never returned… Are you here to help us, Your Holiness? I want to go back home.' She honestly answered while doing her work with focus, but in the end, she couldn't help but cry out for help; the fear in her mind was clear. The fear of suffering the same fate as the woman named Ursa.
Sylvester nodded and began eating, 'Thank you for speaking with me, dear. May I know your name?'
'I'm Claire Stone, from a village near Forever Port in Riveria.'
'Claire, I have outlawed slavery in Sol and wish to do the same here, so have faith in me and tolerate this suffering for a few days more.' He assured her, for he had come up with a contingency plan. A plan he didn't wish to act on since it came too close to being genocide.
She nodded while walking around, 'I can do a few days, Your Holiness. I will never forget this kindness.'
Sylvester hummed back and stopped speaking with her. Instead, he told Bloodrain and Soulbreaker to snoop around about this Knight Captain Kharis.
"What is this dish called?" Sylvester voiced to lighten up the mood. "I taste tomatoes."
Queen Delimira spoke before her husband could, "It's called deer soup, Pope Sylvester. Meat from each part of the body of a deer is used with tomatoes and milk cream."
"Hm…" Sylvester rubbed his chin and made Chonky throw up the strategic taste-saving box, a little box that they carried around that had small jars of all sorts of spices and seasonings in it. "This will make it much better."
With no reservation, he poured some chilly flakes in it, added more salt, black pepper from the Sand Continent, and then, at last, a little bit of dried honey chili powder—a creation of his own.
"This is the peak!" Sylvester tasted the meat again, and it was perfect this time. "Here, why don't you try tasting some, Queen Delimira?"
"Oh, thank you," Queen Delimira leaned forward on the table, as did Sylvester while extending his plate. The elven woman took a spoonful of meat and ate it. However, when she saw King Rathagun raising his spoon to taste some, the Queen took another bite and pushed her husband's hand away.
'She's trying to annoy him?' Sylvester inwardly chuckled.
"This… is unique." Queen Delimira muttered after tasting the food. "I don't believe I have tasted this flavor before."
Sylvester nodded smugly and stored the strategic flavor reserve back, "I understand why. The spice trade between Sol and Alfia is non-existent. The dragons, meanwhile, buy an extensive amount of chili from Sol."
"Those damn lizards!"
The elders unanimously hated the dragons and cursed them together.
Sylvester simply smiled and ate his food. He had no idea what most of the dishes were, but they didn't taste that bad. There was definitely more meat than vegetables. From what he understood, it appeared the elves were fine with eating harvest from only those plants that grow like trees and don't require it to be uprooted. That meant no potatoes, onions, carrots, and such.
Thankfully, the dinner didn't last too long. As the night dawned, the elders soon retreated to their chambers. Sylvester was left with King Rathagun, Avanss, Elder Ellitran, and First Elder Florian.
They all retreated to the King's personal chambers and took seats around the marble table by the window. The air was tense due to Ellitran, as he constantly seemed hostile toward Sylvester.
"Let us conclude this visit of the Pope before the word spreads through all of Alfia," Ellitran suggested to the King while sitting away from Sylvester, with Avanss in the middle.
King Rathagun folded his arms and scoffed, "Pope Sylvester is a guest, and he shall remain one as long as he wishes to. We have signed a peace treaty beforehand, so there is no need for animosity anymore, Ellitran. But I do wonder what brings the Pope here. The Demon?"
"And more," Sylvester replied, taking out something from his pocket, a book written in elven tongue. "I found this deep under the Pope's Palace, lost in a pile of forgotten artifacts. Please read the first page, as the rest you won't be able to understand without the knowledge of Elder Runes."
King Rathagun picked up the book and turned its page. He invited the First Elder and the rest to stand behind his chair and look while he read in a low voice.
"...Elroth is the name of my Kingdom, home of the elves… I am the last King. The curse mother Remira has warned of remains unchanged… May the one who comes next beware—do not fall for the tricks, or you shall suffer the pain you cannot bear…" Rathagun finished reading and looked at Sylvester. "What are these last words?"
Sylvester replied, "The King of Elroth, Ayre Zaerin—year ten thousand six hundred and fifty-eight."
The four elves looked at Sylvester with confused expressions.
"You are rightfully confused, for I felt the same when I read it. We are a century above 'year five thousand' in this age." Sylvester continued speaking, "Which means this could be the answer to why your library was abruptly burned away five thousand years ago and why your oldest elders died mysteriously. Why I'm yet to find any written history beyond five thousand years in the Holy Land."
Bewildered, King Rathagun looked at the book, "You suggest that this Kingdom of Elroth precedes Alfia?"
"The possibility is high," Sylvester answered. "Over the years, I have had experiences that have led me to believe that we all have been fooled by this mysterious entity stronger than what we can imagine. I now firmly believe that the Thousand Year War was not a natural occurrence but rather instigated to cause harm to our continents. Why? I have yet to learn—but the evidence suggests so."
"Dragons?" Ellitran exclaimed. At last, the man showcased some of his maturity by not dismissing Sylveser's doubts.
"No, they aren't strong enough. But I'm searching for answers, and I wish to meet with all the patriarchs of every species in Beastaria. I wonder if they have any ancient artifacts they can't read, which I can through my understanding of Elder Runes," Sylvester respectfully suggested, not demeaning or mocking them in any way. "If my doubts are correct, then I fear this 'curse' mentioned in the book..."
"I'll accompany you," Avanss immediately showed interest. "The giants of Gantis have been the species that has mostly remained closed off within their walls for most of the history that we know. I'm sure they know something, or worse—fear something."
King Rathagun nodded and looked at his father-in-law, "What do you think, Elder?"
It was surprising that despite their differences, Rathagun and Ellitran forgo their animosity when needed.
The elder responded carefully, measuring each of his words, "I… Your Majesty, as someone older than a millennium, I have seen the question about the death of our past elders and the burning of the library arise time and time again. I do not wish to, but I find some sense in Pope Sylvester's… theory. The dragons lost their ancient elders at the same time, as did the dryads and fairies—it's unnatural that the occurrence was natural."
King Rathagun silently stared at the book for the next few minutes. However, after seemingly making up his mind, he looked back at Sylvester, "Everyone, leave us be. I wish to converse with Pope Sylvester alone."
"As you wish," Avanss left first, dragging First Elder and Ellitran with him.
As soon as the door was closed, King Rathagun smiled widely and stood up to walk toward Sylvester's chair.
"I have also deciphered the book Avanss gave me during the t—"
However, King Rathagun cut Sylvester's words off and placed his palm gently on his shoulder.
"Max… How is my Xavia?"
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