I Became The Pope, Now What? - Chapter 634
"Max… How is my Xavia?"
Sylvester sighed and looked up at the man's face. He could still see the strange obsession, "She's well and in a much better condition than ever."
"Sylvester, I regret not leaving everything behind to be with you two. I'd give anything to have my family back—to see us being together again." Rathagun said, almost pleadingly.
Sylvester picked up Rathagun's palm from his shoulder and set it aside. Then he stood up. He was now taller than Rathagun, as well as overbearing in aura, "I don't understand why you feel this way. I have no recollection of having a father around, nor have you spent time with any of us—how long were you with Mum? A year or two at most? What's fueling this obsession?"
"My desire to be with my family! That is all I feel—I try my best, but every moment, my mind reminds me of my mistakes. Of how greatly I desire to be with Xavia and you—my own blood," Rathagun replied passionately.
Sylvester wanted to get back to talking about the main thing, but he decided to address the current issue. "You're an elf, and even with my Supreme Wizard might, you will outlive me, let alone Mum, who I fear won't last a hundred years—You talk of love, but it's not something you impose on another. If it's meant to be, it will grow on its own."
"Then let me help you find a way to make her live longer," Rathagun suggested. "We can look around the entire world! There has to be a longevity elixir somewhere."
Sylvester shook his head and pointed at the diary, "I wasn't suggesting a mere theory, King Rathagun, but a fact. There are beings above us, Supreme Wizards, whose might we cannot fathom. And they have something against our world, which means we have very little time. While finding a way to defeat them, I'll also look for an elixir. As for you, I suggest you let your actions speak for itself."
He couldn't help but feel how strange it was that he was speaking to Rathagun as if he were the older and wiser man.
"Both of us have duties to our people, and to abandon them now would be the worst form of betrayal. I suggest you take the job of a King more seriously and give this kingdom a prince before thinking of retiring and leaving—Mum would have said the same," Sylvester added, hoping the man would think with logic and not with emotions.
Rathagun sighed and wearily returned to his seat. Taking a long breath, he rubbed his face with his palms and brushed back his hair. "You are indeed right. We cannot leave things behind. Xavia has a limited lifespan, and you have too many responsibilities—but nothing will change the fact that we are related."
"I never denied that," Sylvester responded. "We form connections over time, slowly and steadily. We care for each other, fight for each other, and earn respect, admiration, and perhaps love—we are adults, Father."
Sylvester didn't want to, but he strategically used 'father' to calm the man down. In reality, he still felt unsure if he wanted to see the elven man as a father.
Rathagun nodded and steered the conversation to the serious topic, "So you wish for me to end slavery and return all the humans?"
"I ended slavery in Sol and expect the same from Beastaria. I will not see humans being caught and enslaved anymore—I'm prepared to go to war for this," Sylvester clearly stated with a hint of a threat in his voice. "For this world to prepare for the greater threats and to push our society to a better future, we have to start acting more civilized."
"It won't be simple. The use of slaves in Alfia is a necessity, not a choice. Most of the jobs have been relegated to slaves, and to push the populace back to menial work will cause an uprising. Slaves are an important part of society here," Rathagun replied, giving his reasoning.
Sylvester walked back and forth before the table, "Of course… So important that your Knight Captain is allowed to rip apart a poor woman by her legs and kill her. So important that rape is a culture among you—all this is leading me to believe that elves aren't that civilized after all. I've seen mountain barbarians have better social culture and honor than here."
Rathagun annoyedly stared at Sylvester, "You don't come to my kingdom and call us uncivilized. I know what occurred to elven women slaves in Sol too."
"A mistake I am attempting to solve while you are merely giving me excuses. You are the King, a Supreme Wizard. Your word is supreme in Alfia—what scares you then? Remira? She would have wanted you to end slavery too." Sylvester took a hard approach to make the man agree with his plan.
Rathagun groaned and clenched his hand on the table. He found himself in a dilemma where his morality told him to end slavery, but at the same time, logic told him he should not. Slaves were needed to do almost all the minor but essential tasks. Without slaves, Alfia would be dirty, food wouldn't be cooked, and so much more.
"I will speak with the Elder Council about this," Rathagun decided, unable to give a concrete answer. "I do want peace between us."
Sylvester scoffed, seeing how weak his father was when it came to control of Alfia. Even after being a Supreme Wizard, the man doubted everything and wanted to discuss it all.
"I want peace too, King Rathagun—But if we go to war this time, it will be to end slavery, and I shall have the moral high ground. All of Sol will stand behind me, as well as the Sand and Central Continents, perhaps even Libertia and Beastkins—Let's not forget, I have another Supreme Wizard in the Holy Land, and perhaps another soon." Sylvester warned Rathagun and decided to leave and rest for the night.
Though, to ease the tension, he took out a box from the Chonky bank, "Ah, I forgot to hand this over. Mum sent this for you and said you loved this dish."
"Xavia?" Rathagun immediately chirped like a happy bird. "Let me guess, sweet and sour honey glazed chicken?"
'There's honey in this?' Sylvester only now found out what was inside it.
"By any chance, do you enjoy honey too?" Sylvester inquired out of curiosity.
Rathagun nodded vigorously as he opened the box of chicken as hot and fresh as when it was cooked in the Holy Land. "Indeed—I can't live without honey."
'I sure am his son.' Sylvester silently chuckled and stepped back.
"I'll find a room to rest." Sylvester left the room, leaving the man to enjoy his food happily in silence.
With a mouth full of food, Rathagun looked at Sylvester and waved, unable to say the words normally. "Umm… Avassh whill bhe there… Ashk whim… Thish ish good!"
'Was I too harsh on him?' Sylvester wondered after seeing the man's goofy side. 'But I can't afford to be too gentle for now.'
With that, he left and found Avanss outside. The others were also standing there, waiting to be called inside.
"He's busy. Prince Avanss, will you please show me my room to rest?"
"Of course!" Avanss chirped and led Sylvester away with delight, talking endlessly about the adventures he wanted to go on with him. "Now that you're a Supreme Wizard, I'm sure you can help me explore some of the more dangerous parts of the world. Perhaps we'll find more clues of the past there."
"But first, we need to establish peace and deal with the Demon in the Divider Swamp," Sylvester reminded him why he had come. "If things go well, perhaps you will be able to visit Sol more openly next time."
"Can't wait! I couldn't try out the cuisine of Sol in the past." Avanss had stars in his eyes already.
'He'd be great friends with Chonky if he could see him,' Sylvester thought, considering the personality.
Eventually, they arrived at the end of a higher-floor corridor. Avanss led him into a massive room decorated to the teeth. The room also had giant windows on one side of the wall, covering floor to ceiling from the left edge to the right. Outside, he could see the vast wilderness and the moonlight from the sky.
"The room overlooks the royal gardens and the distant resting grounds of deceased elves. All the trees you see in the distance are deceased elves on whose bodies a seed was planted. Good night, I'll see you in the morning. Ring the bell beside the bed to call a slave if you need anything," Avanss explained everything and left the room swiftly after, not wanting to disturb Sylvester.
"Maxy! I'm hungry!" Miraj abruptly meowed since he couldn't eat anything at the dinner table. The risk was too high.
Sylvester patted the furball and placed him on the bed. Then, he asked Chonky Bank to give him some ingredients. With them, he cooked a hearty meal for Miraj and a banana smoothie to go along with it.
"Here you go, Chonky. While you eat, I'll be out there in the garden. Fly to me after eating," Sylvester locked the door of the room with runes and then opened the window before jumping out into the royal gardens.
'The trees seem different here,' he mumbled as he noticed new varieties of plants. 'Quite tall and strong—definitely something to do with elven corpses.'
Nonstop, Sylvester walked through the neatly planted forest with equally distanced trees. However, he soon came across a vast empty field with tiny saplings planted in the soil in a similar fashion as the trees.
However, the strange part was that he felt no trace of an elf's body underneath the saplings. But it didn't take him too long to realize this was the graveyard of the elves who died from the plague that he had spread. Since the bodies had to be burned and destroyed, only their ashes could be used to plant the trees.
He walked closer to a sapling and raised his palm toward it. Using his Elven Magic, Elder Magic, and control over solarium, he made the plant grow faster and turn slightly bigger. He then raised his head and looked around, measuring the number of saplings—there were thousands.
"Your sacrifices will lead to a long-lasting peace," Sylvester mumbled with a heavy heart and used more of the same magic. Instantly, he turned all the thousands of saplings into five-foot-tall trees.
He didn't take their death lightly, and the sight of the graveyard did make him question if spreading the plague was the best decision. The elves already had a hard time procreating, and now he reduced their numbers even more.
But on second thought, he also couldn't bring himself to feel true guilt, as he understood how uncompromising the elves were and what it required to make them kneel.
With a sigh, he looked at his palm and wondered. 'In my pursuit of the end goal, I wonder if I'm becoming the monster everyone warns themselves not to foster?'
The sound of a twig being stepped on resonated behind him.
Sylvester didn't need to look back as he sensed the presence already. He smiled and greeted yet another troubled soul senselessly being hurt by his mere existence in the world. Of all the people, he pitied this one a bit more.
"What brings you here this late, Queen Delimira?"
Thank you for reading. Gifts and GT votes are highly appreciated.