Chapter 123 The Invitation of the Church
It was already the fourth day since Roland had taken over the castle, today nearly all nobles in the surrounding areas were gathered inside the castle Grand Hall.
Although most people already knew of the news, Roland still felt that it was necessary to tell them personally that the Western territory now had a new ruler.
After he informed them about his intentions to move back to Border Town and that the eldest son of the Honeysuckle Family would now rule in his stead, everyone had suddenly started to discussing the news. Of course, no one was willing to take the lead at this time to stand up and object to it, after all, the Duke’s head was still hanging above the city gate and news that King Timothy had suffered a great loss and couldn’t send any external forces was now also known to everyone.
Furthermore, all the knights of the Honeysuckle Family had already been redeemed, while at the same time he hadn’t accepted any ransom for the other knights, so that the knights, together with the mercenaries, could all come back with him to Border Town. In Roland’s plan, the mercenaries would be sent to the mine, where they could work to earn their freedom, and the knights would get a job offer in case they showed their repentance and had good manner – after all, most knights were literate and could thus also be used as teachers. Of course, for the rest of their life the wouldn’t ever be allowed to ever use a weapon again.
If it was handled like this, the Honeysuckle Family should have enough power to hold the other four noble families back, and they should also have enough troops to defend Longsong Stronghold and their own territory as well, Roland thought. As for the invisible stirring undercurrent, it’s a problem that Petrov will have to worry about on his own.
In the past few days, he also took the time to send some Border Town residents back who had rebelled during the winter where many people had died out due to hunger and the cold, including the former Finance Minister Ferrero, they would all face trial in Border Town. His only regret was that the mastermind behind the attempt to burn his food and the death of Grayhound, Count Medde had already been killed on the battlefield.
Today, the traffic between the Longsong Stronghold and Border Town has finally been restored, which meant that until the end of next week many ships would sail upstream to Border Town to deliver the gathered supplies. Roland guessed that Barov would be very busy for the few next weeks, he had not only received a lot of looted gold coins, he also had to organize the resettlement of the large number of immigrants. Also it was still unknown whether Karl had built enough wooden sheds.
Thinking of this problems, he could not help but want to return to the Border Town as soon as possible, in addition, the great farming operation also needed to start soon.
After entertaining all the nobles to lunch, Roland intended to take a nap, but then one of his guards announced a special guest.
The High Priest of the Church in Longsong Stronghold.
Hearing this, Roland suddenly had no thought of sleep left.
Longsong Stronghold was completely different from Border Town, here the Church had already been rooted for a long time, they not only had a church, they have even dispatched a High Priest to this place. This was also the Prince’s main reason that he had decided to further develop Border Town rather than staying further in Longsong Stronghold – here the people were already under the influence of the church for a long time and any of the civilian could become their eyes. Here his plan to manipulate the people’s view would become complicated and the risk that the witches would be discovered would also become much higher. Unless he completely unrooted the Church, his reforms would never get a chance to work.
Paying attention to the replacement of the ruler of Longsong Stronghold is a normal thing for the Church, so Roland wasn’t too surprised that they would send him a representative to come into contact with him. However, the identity of the person they send was a bit special, as the High Priest of the Church he belonged to the most influential people of people, the area under his jurisdiction was of a similar size to that of a Duke.
Once more he decided to use the Grand Hall as the meeting place.
The High Priest Tylo seemed to be around 40 years old. He was dressed in the typical church-style with a with a white underrobe and a blue robe above it, giving him a very neat appearance and a behavior that was just like a courteous aristocracy. If he wasn’t a member of the royal family and allied with the witches, Roland believed that holding a conversation which such a person would have been a pleasure.
As the High Priest he had to be in possession of a high-quality God’s Stone of Retaliation, so in order to avoid any accidents, Roland specifically told Nightingale before the meeting, that she should stay away from him during it.
After Tylo gave him a salute, Roland invited him to sit at the table and ordered some tea.
No matter what he thought, he had to at least show a welcoming atmosphere on the surface.
“Your Royal Highness, I’m here as a representative of the New Holy City,” Tylo said with a smile, “You have become the veritable master of the Western territory, may God bless you.”
“Thank you,” Roland said in a relaxed tone. “You do not seem to care at all that I’ve gotten rid of Duke Ryan and taken over Longsong Stronghold.”
“We rarely intervene in secular disputes, as long as the people can live a good life, he has to be a good ruler. So in which family he was born, or if he belonged to the royal family, it is not important to the Church. In fact, I think the church is much more open minded in this respect, previously I was only a farmer’s son, and now I have became a High Priest,” he smiled. “Excuse me, my Lord, but I don’t believe that a mere farmer could become a Duke, right?”
If he launched an uprising to overthrow the royal family, he can even become the King. Roland thought, so he never spoke it out, instead, he went straight for the topic, “So why did you come today, was it only to deliver the blessing?”
“The blessing was only part of what I have come for, I also want to offer a cooperation between us.”
“Cooperation? What kind of cooperation?”
“We would help you with whatever you need to expand your territory or your forces.”
“Hold on…” Roland frowned. “You just said that the Church rarely intervenes in secular disputes.”
“Rarely intervention doesn’t mean no intervention,” said the High Priest, still casually. “I have said that as long as the people in this world have a smooth and peaceful life, we will not intervene. But the struggle between your brother Timothy and your third sister Garcia has resulted in widespread poverty throughout the south. In the beginning, we thought that Timothy deserved it and would become a respected King, but now we think he isn’t any longer worthy, you are such a man.”
Roland got a thoughtful look, it seems the Church has the desire to help me fight for the throne. He subconsciously asked. “Why?”
“You lead the people of Border Town to resist the demon beasts, and spend the whole Months of the Demons with them in Border Town, this all proves your courage and ability. And from the large amount of food you purchased from Willow Town everyone can see do not want your people to starve, which shows your kindness. With this you have the three grandeur characteristics a noble should have, furthermore, you are even of royal blood. All this are the reason why we chose you.
Roland didn’t believe one word the High Priest said, but at least it proved that, even if Border Town was at the edge of the country and was an independent island-state during the winter, they were still under the close watch of the church.
“How would you help? Would you dispatch an Army of Judges to fight for me?”
“Even though we want to quell the warring state in the south as soon as possible, but if we were to do something like you suggested we would arouse the resentment of most of the nobility. So we can only help you materially,” the High Priest took two pill out of his pocket, one was black the other was red, on both the sigil of the Holy City had been etched, “This is our equivalent to the drugs produced in your Alchemy Square. The red pills will temporarily make your men stronger, while the black pill reduces the feeling of pain and coldness and instead increases their endurance by several times. With these drugs, your army should become unstoppable, and the Church would only charge you the production cost,” for a moment Tylo paused, “One gold royal. These two pills, can be presented to you as a test product to prove that my statement is the truth.”
“What is the reward you are hoping for? Expanding the reach of the Church and building churches in every territory?”
“Of course this would make us happy, but our main intention is to end the war. As long as the people can have a peaceful life, they will naturally come into God’s arms.
Roland accepted the offered pills. “This sounds amazing, but for the time being, I have no intention of competing for the crown of the Kingdom of Graycastle, Both Timothy and Garcia are my close relatives and I do not want to hurt them.”
“I can understand your point,” the High Priest smiled reassuringly, “but sometimes the bonds of family cannot stop the temptation of power, especially when you become only a stumbling stone on the road to power for others. These pills will only be the beginning, there are still many other possibilities of how we could help you. If you decide to take that step, you can always come to the Church to find me.” Having said all of this, he stood up, bent down in salute, “With this I have already informed you of the Church’s intentions, may God be with you, Your Royal Highness.”