Sylvester felt the hostility in the air and unleashed a storm of manipulated solarium in the air while staying seated. The solarium was heavy enough to be noticeable by everyone in the room, making it harder for them to breathe or even move, as their senses kept screaming that they stood at the jaws of death.

"I won't repeat it—sit down," Sylvester ordered, lacking the usual relaxed and kind tone to his words. "I made an offer to Julius when we fought at Mount Primis. The church wronged him and many others throughout history. Hence, I invited him to watch as I change the world for the better—he will not serve the light or the faith, but rather, he shall serve the people of this world. If something happens to me, Julius and Emperor Raz will ensure no new Pope ruins the world as those in the past did."

"But… You're just twenty-seven," Felix exclaimed as he took his seat. "You're going to be the Pope for the next few hundred years."

Sylvester shook his head, "Remember my words. Never take things for granted, never be too relaxed, never be lazy, for anything can happen at any moment. None of us here can see the future. We all are mighty, but ultimately, we're controlled by the same strings of life that no one can control. You can never know when one of those strings will break under tension."

"There is truth in His Holiness' speech," the Inquisitor High Lord agreed. "A moment of lapse is enough for the darkness to breach. No matter the interpretation—constant vigilance and honest duty to the faith is our only path to salvation."

Julius respectfully glanced at the Inquisitor High Lord and agreed. "I see you have surrounded yourself with the best of servants of the faith. Men like Lord Inquisitor are rare, and so are others around me. But always remember, Pope Sylvester, you are the root that nurtures this tree—If this tree begins to rot, my patience and kindness I cannot guarantee."

Sylvester sighed, taking the threats seriously. But he no longer feared the man as he knew his strength would only increase in preparation for the real threats of the Primordial Gods. "Thank you for understanding. Aurora, will you please guide Julius to the Administration department so he can receive his church robes and the identity token of a Cardinal? Maybe tell him all the rules and give him a print of the Constitution."

Aurora sprang to her feet dutifully. She was, after all, still a trainee Inquisitor High Lord. "Understood, Your Holiness."

Julius and Sylvester nodded at each other, and with that, the man left the room. Right then, the rest of the Sanctum Council took a deep breath of relief.

"Don't be afraid. I can defeat him," Sylvester reassured the members.

"I suggest you reconsider this decision, Your Holiness," Gabriel spoke with worry in his tone. "Keeping him here is akin to an explosive that can erupt at any moment. The definition of 'rot' he spoke about is too vague, and we know the church will always have some level of corruption. It's a disease that can't be eliminated."

Sylvester ignored their worries and brought their focus to a more critical topic, "The corruption will soon be reduced to none, so don't worry about that. Instead of worrying about Julius, we have bigger matters to focus on. The realm needs to be under our constant probing eyes. Troubles such as what happened in the West will keep arising. The Tears of Solis is still spreading, and I'm sure there are more matters we aren't aware of yet.

"These issues need to be dealt with constantly; you solve one, and another will arise. That's what ruling is all about. The moment we relax, decay will start. I can lead and suggest, but I need you all to implement my ideas while I focus on a larger, more threatening matter. When the time is right, I'll tell you who our real enemy is… but let me be clear, that enemy is not in this world."

"Demons?" Felix abruptly asked.

Sylvester shook his head, "No, worse than them. I need to confirm a few things before I can propose a theory, so I won't make assumptions right now. But I want you all to start acting like who we are—the rulers of the world. We are the provider of peace and the spearhead that guides—Sol, Beastaria, Sand Continent, or the Central Continent—we are supreme."

"Amen." Lord Inquisitor interjected out of sheer marvel at what Sylvester had accomplished.

"You can return to your work now—except for Saint Lazark."

Quickly, they all saluted and left the room. Outside, they all received their packed combo meals Sylvester had ordered. Even the Inquisitor High Lord took one since it was just so delightful. He still had an inferno in his body, but at heart, he found himself at a calm peace.

Back in the room, Bright Mother Anya brought the meals to them. Sylvester opened one and placed it under his table first since the cat was getting quite grumpy. Then, as they ate, he spoke with Lazark about a little spy project.

"How is Project Skyeye going?"

Saint Seer, the spymaster, Lazark proudly answered the inquiry, "After experimentation, I was able to make it. Now, we just need to mass produce it and distribute it to all of the Clergy members."

"Brilliant! How will the information be gathered? It's useless if we're going to require a thousand people to record it all."

"Emperor Raz helped me create a new undead creature based on spiders for this purpose. We created an enchanted underground hall for it, where the undead mother spider, with its thousands of smaller spiders, acts like an interconnected machinery. They will organize all the information gathered from the Clergy member's identity token, which we will distribute later.

"Since all the tokens will consist of a small undead insect, all the information will directly reach the mother spider—it was quite a complex thing to do involving various runes, enchantments, and dark magical knowledge. Without Emperor Raz, this would have been impossible."

'Did they just create a computer… but with magic?' Sylvester wondered and hoped to see the thing working soon.

"Where is Emperor Raz?"

"Let me check," Lazark closed his eyes for a few seconds and looked through the eyes of various undead birds in the sky.

"He is…" Lazark took a few seconds. "He's in the Blackhart Kingdom, building irrigation canals."

"Haha!" Sylvester laughed. "At this rate, he'll be more beloved by the people than me."

"He longed for someone to talk to for thousands of years. I'm sure he cherishes this new life."

Sylvester liked that everyone was working their hardest. So, he stood up to fulfill another one of his duties. "Inform me when you reach the final stage of the project. I'll go home and see Mum now."

"Understood, Your Holiness."

"Oh! Bring the five selected people for the Hive Project to meet me tomorrow," Sylvester added just before he left through the door and in the opposite direction from Lazark.

Sylvester arrived at the Bright Mother's complex and knocked on the door. His clothes were a little dirty since he never rested, traveling continents and kingdoms over the past few weeks.


The door finally opened, and Xavia stood there with her arms crossed and face looking grumpy. However, it didn't help that she was just too beautiful to look threatening.

"Meow?" Miraj jumped at Xavia right away, asking for hugs.


But Miraj received a light knuckle to his head from Xavia and then lots of tight hugs, "Why didn't you bring him home faster?"

Miraj snuggled in her arms, "Maxy is not easy to handle, Big Mum. He never listens to me… he thinks he's older than me."

'Is he blame-shifting?'

"Oho… How are you, Mum?" Sylvester smiled as if there was nothing wrong and went in for a hug. "I missed you so much."


Sylvester also received a soft knuckle on his head. Though Xavia looked cute instead as she had to rise on her toes to reach his head. But afterward, a warm hug came.

"If you actually missed me, you'd have returned to me before going to the west," Xavia argued and shut the door, leading them to the living room.

Sylvester felt completely relaxed as soon as he entered his home. With a smile on his face, he went over and sat down in front of the couch seat instead of sitting on it. "I had to stop a war, Mum."

"Why are you sitting on the floor?"

"Because I need my relaxing head massage," Sylvester requested. Something that Xavia used to do all his life whenever he appeared nervous. Her hands scrubbing his scalp used to almost always put him to sleep. And she was the only person he trusted enough to touch his head like that.

Xavia melted in nostalgia and quickly came over to sit on the couch behind Sylvester, "So you still remember those? I thought you forgot about it."

"Never," Sylvester eased back, feeling Xavia's hands sinking into his long hair. "Yes! That's the spot… you're the best, Mum."

Xavia giggled, even more so when she remembered this was the Pope. A terrifying figure for the world, but now… simply her son.

"Nyoooo!" Miraj suddenly meowed as he returned from his home inspection. "Where is my massage?"

Sylvester called his furball, "You sit in front of me. I will give you a massage."

"Nyo! I want one from Big Mum."

"She can't see you, Chonky."


Silently, Miraj came over and sat down on Sylvester's lap and let his back trust-fall on Sylvester's belly, relaxing happily. Soon, he began purring as Sylvester's gentle but firm fingers rubbed his head.

"That's that's the spot," Miraj's one leg twitched from the heavenly feeling.

'This is the sort of peaceful life I want to last forever… this is so perfect,' Sylvester closed his eyes and allowed his back to rest on Xavia's legs.

"Did your mission go well, dear? Did Rathagun trouble you?" Xavia inquired, clearly dying to ask.

"Not at all, Mum. I won against all of them. The Demon is gone, King Malisius is dead, and even Rathagun lost to me," Sylvester didn't think before replying, "In fact, we bonded quite well. On top of that, I found out that my stepmother is quite a sweet yet troubled lady."

"You what?!"


Sylvester's eyes sparked open instantly, and he looked up at Xavia's inverted face. Immediately, he smelled something in the air, something intense—sour and salty.

'I-I smell… Jealousy?'

Thank you for reading. Gifts and GT votes are highly appreciated.