I Became The Pope, Now What? - Chapter 648
While Aurora was shocked by how smart the little girl was, the fifth-ranked boy was present in the same kingdom. However, this one was different, as he lived in extreme luxury yet had a kind nature and empathy towards others. His belief in the faith of Solis was unquestionable, and his bond with the Pope was personal.
"Bwahaha! Take him. I don't care as long as the Pope teaches him," bellowed King Atrox of Highland in laughter.
In his private chamber stood Saint Elyon with the results and a letter from Sylvester.
"Prince Rex was found to have scored one-eighty, but when we adjusted it to fit the criteria of his age group, it was amended to two hundred and thirty. Prince Rex is quite gifted, and His Holiness believes it's likely due to both his parents being Grand Wizards." Elyon explained that this particular case was different from the rest. The boy was the next King of a Kingdom and likely gifted in magic.
Queen Trinity looked at her son standing beside her chair, "His Holiness did promise to teach him personally. He's been asking to go to the Holy Land as well. As long as you don't make him a celibate Clergyman, I will allow him to go."
"YES!" Rex jumped in triumph. "I'll go and pack my luggage. Bye-bye, I love you, Mother, Father—lots and lots!"
The mighty King and Queen warmly smiled at their son's words. They didn't mind him going as the Queen was about to give birth to the second blessing to their family. And they understood the newborn would demand all their attention, leaving Rex to feel left out.
"What is the situation in Beastaria, Saint Elyon?" King Atrox inquired with his sword hilt firmly in hand. "If you ever need me to assist, my sword is always prepared."
Elyon diplomatically smiled and gave a few details, "His Holiness has defeated the Demon. King Malisius of the dragons is dead, and His Holiness has brought down the elves into a contract favouring us. He shall be returning to the Holy Land very soon."
"I'm not even surprised," Queen Trinity said as she caressed her long, ashen blond hair with her hands. "After he became a Supreme Wizard at such a young age… I don't believe there is anything he can do that would shock me."
"Indeed!" The King interjected. "You said Rex was fifth. Who are the other four?"
"The number one is from your kingdom itself, Your Majesty," Saint Elyon replied.
For a few seconds, Atrox was taken aback. "Why? I'm proud, but… How did my kingdom become this blessed? His Holiness is from here. Many Guardians have been from here. Sir Dolorem was also from these lands."
At the same time, the fourth-ranked person was approached in Riveria's southern coastal village, newly set up to house the Beastkins that came from Beastaria, to live in Sol under the Holy Land's guarantees.
The Newland village was quickly built with the help of wizards and master craftsmen from the Beastkins themselves. But this fourth-ranked intellect was someone of a rather larger size, slightly bigger than the Inquisitor High Lord's eight-foot stature.
It was an elephant beastkin named Noby, one who was already sixty years old. He was the wisest member of his tribe when they lived in Beastaria, but now he lived as a mere retiree. When the Holy Land contacted him, he merrily agreed in search of something new and more meaningful to do.
But it was the second-ranked person who had suffered the worst of fate before being finally found. Living in the slums of the Marashia region, formerly known as the capital of the Masan Empire.
Where the poorest of the poor lived, where even the city's soldiers feared walking through the filth and the crime, a poor family of five lived: a mother, a father, two sons and one daughter. They all lived in a single-room home with no place to cook or relieve themselves. To call life miserable was an understatement since this was hell in the land of the living.
"You're my fucking wife! Why would you hide money from me?! I'm trying my best… There are no jobs! Do you think you're greater than me just because you earn?"
The commotion sprang up in one of the narrow streets. It wasn't rare to hear of such fights across the entire slum, as strained relationships were more common there than money in people's pockets.
A door opened, and a woman was thrown outside, slightly tanned in skin colour, with curly black hair and a tall height with an attractive frame, covered in simple brown robes.
She fell hard on the dirty street and groaned in pain while trying to stand up. There were tears in her eyes as her children soon peeked out at her in fear from the sides of the door.
"I earn that with my hard work. It's for our children! And you only know how to waste money on liquor… How will we afford food?" The woman cried in a broken voice while the crowds of passersby merely watched, enjoying the show.
"Tsk! Hard work? Whoring yourself isn't hard work! Ugh… Now, you forced me to say it in front of the kids. See what you did?! Just for a single bronze mud—Did you forget everything I did for you when we were slaves?" The man of the house, a dark-skinned man with the facial features of Warsong natives, howled to shame the woman, his own wife.
Her tears didn't stop, feeling betrayed and stripped of her dignity, "I… I'm not a whore! I count the money for the brothel… I'm not a whore…"
"MOVE ASIDE OR BE KILLED!"
Right then, loud orders from soldiers started resounding behind the massive crowd. The clanking of steel boots and swords made it clear the numbers were huge. However, the peculiar, loud metallic thump on the streets was unique.
Soon enough, a tall, red metallic conical hat became visible when the crowd parted aside. Eventually, the crowd ran to their homes and peeked out from their windows and doors at the presence of the tall-framed Inquisitor High Lord.
"No ordinary woman sells her body until she is helpless and all paths appear closed. They take such steps after a great battle with their self-respect, their mind fervently opposed." Inquisitor High Lord's deep, burning voice reverberated throughout the narrow streets. "Thus, a whore has more respect in my eyes than a lowly man who lives on lies."
The Inquisitor High Lord knelt slightly and gently hovered his palm over the woman's shoulder, healing her injury. Then, he grabbed her arm with his massive hand and pulled her to her feet.
"You were slaves once?" He questioned. "Speak. You stand before a servant of the light. I am the Inquisitor High Lord and stand only for what is right."
The woman had heard Lord Inquisitor's name and knew how high he was in the chain of command. She had a thousand questions about why he was there and why he was so kind to her.
"I-I'm Emara, my Lord…"
"Your eminence!" An Inquisitor barked from the side, scaring the woman.
Lord Inquisitor glared at the Inquisitor, "Twenty lashes for misuse of power and intimidation of the victim—The sound must echo beyond your training ground."
The Inquisitor shrank his neck and hid behind his brothers. His fanatic worship and loyalty were appreciated, but not to the point of it being a nuisance.
"Continue, my child." Lord Inquisitor insisted.
Emara nodded and timidly spoke, "Y-Your Eminence, we were slaves until quite recently when the Pope… His Holiness abolished it. He is my husband. I married him while working on our Lord's farm. We had three children from our marriage."
Lord Inquisitor glanced at the man standing at the door frame, and his eyes flared red. "The scent of devil's nectar has him shrouded. No doubt, his mind is utterly clouded. Tell me, my child, are there no jobs? For I remember the Pope starting an employment counselling service from the monasteries for this cause."
"No, no!" Emara shook her head vigorously. "There are plenty of jobs, Your Eminence. He just won't do any… He says they are too beneath him now."
"A man who does not contribute to his family is nothing but a walking calamity. Emara, the Holy Land calls on you for the highest duty. A work that insults all the others with its beauty. Bring your children as well, they shall find homely refuge and warm meals in the land where everyone kneels," Lord Inquisitor firmly commanded.
Emara looked at the holy man in confusion, "B-But… I'm not chaste, Your Eminence."
"You took the test in the monastery months ago. That action led to this moment to show."
Emara gasped, having almost forgotten about it, "T-That? I only went because my children could eat a good meal there… Was it a test for holy service? I can work at the Holy La—"
"Stop!" Her husband suddenly spoke up. "I have a say in this. She can go if she wants to, but the children remain with me."
legs began to shake in fright. "A man must know when to speak and when not. Yet again, you have proven to be nothing but filthy rot. You will sell them, I know your mind—It's a crime worthy of death, must I remind?"
The man cowered in fear and stepped back, shoving his kids in front of him.
Lord Inquisitor felt even more enraged but held back from burning him, "By the powers vested in me by my oath and the Pope—I dissolve this marriage and cut this fate's rope. Emara, my child, gather your goods and follow behind. Not by this, but by your future you are to be defined—no more living in lowliness, you shall be the student of His Holiness."
"What?!" No matter how calm and collected she tried to be, this was something she couldn't accept just like that.
For this was beyond her wildest fantasies, something that only ever happened in stories. She didn't sense any foul play either since she had never seen the Pope, nor the other way around. The test was genuine, and the probabilities spoke with a rush of adrenaline.
"...The Thousand Year War now comes to a permanent end as per the amicable agreement reached between Sol and Alfia. No more shall our young elves die in a battle that has brought us nothing but pain for a thousand years. No more shall the dragons attempt to wage war against us. Peace shall prevail, and with it, so will our numbers—Glory to Mother Remira!"
King Rathagun Xeek Eldaron finished his loud speech from the balcony of the royal castle. As per the plan, none were told what happened in reality.
Sylvester watched it all from behind, feeling satisfied with the outcome. The journey was long and took a lot of manipulation and sacrifices, but finally, all the pieces were where he wanted them. Lord Inquisitor walked towards the door, scaring the man until his The elves had a lot to lose if they chose to oppose him now.
"Your Holiness," Soulbreaker came to him and whispered behind his head. "A missive came from the Holy Land. Saint Wazir wishes to know what to do with Marcia and Sorland in the West. The two kingdoms have officially waged an all-out war for the goldmines."
"So the mediators failed," Sylvester sighed, his arms folded. "It's alright. I will speak with Wazir myself. It's time we return to the Holy Land and focus on some important reforms."
The matter of war wasn't something he even felt worried about, for it was something he could easily stop.
'Maybe Nehilius can help me travel to the demon realm—he should at least have a solution.'