I Became The Pope, Now What? - Chapter 647
The Hive Project was something Sylvester had started the instant he had gained control over the faith while still fighting for Popehood. It was planned and realised in Miraj City, the known second Holy Land.
According to 'The Hive Project', Sylvester personally formulated a test paper that was meant to test the cognitive abilities of each individual. In simple words, it was meant to test the intelligence quotient of the people across all of Sol.
Within a few months, the test papers were printed in massive printing presses under Miraj City and then were sent off to each and every monastery across Sol. Being the place of worship, people were asked to take the test for free, and whoever came to take the test was offered a tasty, special meal that day.
The lure was enough to attract everyone. While the rich just wanted to take the test to show their support and see if they were smart, the poor merely wanted food.
It had been months since the tests had been concluded. Sylvester had won the battle for Popehood, destroyed the Tower of Godless, and had become a Supreme Wizard. Finally, right at that time, the massive combined effort of countless Bright Mothers and low-ranking Priests to evaluate the papers was finished.
With that, the list was made according to the IQ noted. While everyone was to be awarded a right to education, those above average were to be sent to special schools to study magic and various subjects related to science, arts and economics. Then, the next group, those with high IQs and considered gifted, were to be sent to another school where their talents would be honed, tested and nurtured in a safe and healthy environment under the direct supervision of the Holy Land.
However, despite all odds, the test revealed a few monster intellects hiding in the wild, living the life of a commoner when their minds were meant for something far greater. These individuals were the top scorers on the tests. There were almost fifty people with their IQ crossing the two hundred mark, and the top five were what 'The Hive Project' was all about.
The rest were still to be brought to the Holy Land and enrolled in a special private school owned and run by Sylvester personally as the unofficial Headmaster.
In a small town under the rule of Count Lowtide on the easternmost edge of the Duchy of Zon, a man named Noah lived. Just another normal, average man in the vastness of countless mighty and famed names across the world. Or so he thought.
"...Grandma, this is a declaration of wealth to the Holy Land. You need to write down how much land you own, if you have a house, how many people are in your home and how much money you earn monthly and yearly."
"What?!" The old woman with a hunched back looked at the parchment in her hand, unable to read it. "B-But… I'm just a poor old lady. Why does the Holy Land want such information? W-Will they take my land and money? Did I commit a crime?"
"Wait-wait!" The young, black-haired man in his twenties, neatly shaved and in dirty work clothes, stood by a horse stable as he spoke with the old woman. "I believe this is an idea of His Holiness. Considering the wonderful policies he has implemented in the past months, I can see this as an attempt to calculate how many people live on Sol, how rich they are, and how many are struggling.
"Perhaps he wishes to help the poorest of the society and help them with subsidised food, clothing and education. Like how he subsidised the new miracle fertilisers for farmers."
"Argh!" The young man groaned in pain all of a sudden as a grumpy, heavily built man came behind him and knocked on his head. "Noah, get back to your damn job. Old Yonis warned you not to speak with people when working."
Noah groaned, rubbing his head, "I've already cleaned the stable. The shit is shovelled away. Besides, Granny here lost her two sons in the Pope's War. She can't read, and this is the least we can do."
"Whatever. Don't come to me when the master cuts your pay again."
The old woman frantically tried to apologise, "Forgive me, dear… I don't have anyone else to rely on. They ask for money for a little help, and I have two grandkids to feed."
Noah rubbed his face annoyedly, "Those helpers are paid by the Church to help those who can't read and write understand the Pope's policies. It's blatant corruption—I know the Archpriest is also involved."
"Corruption, you said?"
"Aaaaa!" The old granny screamed at the sudden presence that appeared behind her. She looked back; there was a tall man armoured in a pitch-black suit, his massive black sword tied behind him, and the red cape behind him bore the mark of the Church of Solis.
"Are you Noah?" the armoured, masked warrior questioned.
Noah didn't flinch, "I am."
"Brilliant. I am Felix Sandwall, Saint Viceman of the Holy Land. You took part in a test conducted by the Holy Land in the monastery. Your score of two-hundred and fifty-five has piqued the Pope's interest. You are invited to the Holy Land—Consider this the moment your life changes forever."
"You're 'the' Felix Sandwall?" Noah asked, unable to believe his eyes for a moment.
'I'm famous? I never knew it,' Felix silently gloated in his mind. 'Heh, take that, Max. Even these far-away folks know me."
"Who's Felix Sandwall?" The old granny asked Noah suddenly, stepping on Felix's hidden happiness.
"The right-hand man of Pope Sylvester. Respected Saint, may I know why someone with a rank as high as you came to see me? I'm a nobody who cleans the stables for a living," Noah keenly wondered.
Felix ignored the man and instead took out a small pouch full of gold coins and handed it to the old woman. "Thank you for your sacrifice, my sister in faith. I'm sure your sons are in the embrace of the Lord. The Holy Land will never forget you—the corrupt helpers and the monastery staff shall be publicly hanged to death for corruption.
"And you, Noah. You scored the third highest rank. This makes you quite special, and with a good education, you can serve the realm's upliftment to a better society as envisioned by His Holiness. I came here to validate your intelligence, and I'm satisfied. Pack your bags. We'll be leaving."
"Third in the kingdom? I did better than I expected then," Noah chirped.
"Third in the entire Sol," Felix clarified, placing his heavy palm on Noah's lean shoulder. "Stop with this farce of yours. I know you understand everything before I even speak—you need not act like a fool anymore to fit into society."
Noah sighed abruptly as his shoulders relaxed. Then, he began to laugh a little. "Fine, if I follow you, then what? Once again, be hated for my mind that never stops thinking? Once again, be forced to fit in with others?"
'Holy Solis, Max was right. These are indeed some pitiful monsters in the wild,' Felix thought and revealed a parchment with the Pope's seal on it.
"Upon arrival, you shall be given the rank of Bishop and placed directly under the Pope as his student. You have a gift that His Holiness values—you can cower and continue living in mediocrity, or join me and explore your peak."
"P-Pope's… S-Student?" Noah stuttered.
'So even these smartasses get shocked. But I wonder what the first rank would be like
—May the Lord have mercy on you, Aurora.'
In an isolated village in the Highland Kingdom. There lived a ten-year-old girl named Ella—daughter of a farmer. Poor, but now better, thanks to Sylvester's new policies. It was an average family of a mother, father, daughter and a newborn boy.
It was daytime, and most adults went to work in the fields. Ella remained at home to care for her little brother, as the monastery's school services with meals weren't established there yet.
The little, ten-year-old, thin, and straight-faced girl had a small stature. Clearly, her physical growth was hampered due to the lack of nutrition. Her dirty blonde short hair was meant to make her look like a boy, and her blue eyes lacked any glow of naivety a child usually had.
In the middle of the day, Aurora arrived at the little isolated village and knocked on the door of the modest home made of mud bricks and thatched roof. The proof of poverty was quite evident.
"Hello, I'm here to see Ella. She ranked number one in the tes—" Aurora voiced as soon as the door began to open. But she stopped when the tiny, dirty-blonde head peeked out at her.
The girl stared at her with strange, blank expressions, lacking any emotions, "How much did I score?"
"Three hundred and one," Aurora replied.
The girl didn't react. "I'll go with you if you give me a lot of gold for my family."
Aurora heaved a long breath once she heard that. She had come fully expecting to be mind blown, and yet this was a shock.
"You… How did you know that test would lead to this?"
The girl opened the door fully, "I counted the chances—This felt like the most likely thing."
'She counted the probability of all possibilities? She's just ten.'
Aurora shook her head in amazement before smiling, "Gold, food, a bigger house—the entire village will receive the Pope's blessing, my dear. You are going to be the Pope's Student from now on."
"And help him make plans for the future?"
'She even realised that—May the Lord have mercy on you, Max. I'm afraid she might be too much for even you.'
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