Chapter 147 Missionary Mission
Alicia had never thought that she would one day become a member of a missionary mission.
After all, when the Church sent people on such a mission, the group would always be formed from elite warriors who were also well versed in letters and military tactics, since they would represent the face of the Church the entire time they were away. She was very confident in her fighting skills and her etiquette; it could even be said that she looked like… the whole year I’m constantly moving along the defensive line, always holding and waving my double-edged greatsword, can such a woman be good-looking when she has to go somewhere? Thinking of this, her whole body was covered in a feeling of unease.
The Priestess Mira had said, that they had to go to the western border town of the Kingdom of Graycastle, investigating the case of the royal power housing and shielding some witches. In addition to the Priestess who led the envoy, the group also consisted of ten Judges, one of them being the captain who had given her the cold pill during the defense of Hermes.
But it seemed that even away from the battlefield, he was still constantly wearing his cold face, and just by standing beside him Alicia could feel how the temperature drastically fell.
The Priestess instead was the completely opposite expression, she was already over the age of 40, and had a pair of wise and farseeing eyes. Always telling and laughing about anecdotes of the Church, she clearly had a lot of experience, full of passion for others’ interest but never losing her elegant demeanor as she went. Even in the presence of the Archbishop, her aura wouldn’t reduce. More than once, Alicia had heard that she was the likeliest candidate to be the next bishop.
And to the warrioress’ surprise, as a public official, Mira’s riding skills were not much worse than the skills of the Judges. For the past two days, she had spent most of her time in front of the troops, leading them ever further down the mountain trail, bypassing the forests, cities, and towns, so that she could always keep the horses going at the same speed and try to reduce the physical exertion. This technique was just like that of an experienced long-term rider.
When they left the Hermes boundary and entered the Kingdom of Graycastle, one of the Judges asked, “We aren’t going further south?”
“No, the distance between Border Town and where we are is too far, if we take the land route, my buttocks will start to bloom just like flowers.” Mira waved her hand disapprovingly, “We will first go eastwards until we reach the Hidden Valley Town, there is a river which flows to Redwater City and from there it won’t be much further before we reach Longsong Stronghold.
“When was it that you first joined the Church?” Alicia asked curiously. “Not only do you know all sorts of anecdotes about things that’ve happened in the Holy City, but you also know a lot about the world at large.”
“I joined the Church, twelve years ago, when I was thirty,” Mira replied.
“That’s quite late,” Alicia exclaimed, “as far as I know, the older one is, the more difficult it would become to comprehend the doctrines of God, it is even more shocking that it only took you ten years to be promoted from the rank of a believer to that of a Priestess.”
“Yes, well,” Mira smiled, “This is one of the enchanting aspects of the Church. I ah, was originally the daughter of a merchant and traveled together with my father through the four kingdoms to sell goods. Goods that are common at some places at other locations are rare and because of this worth much more.
“For example, the price for green coral, when we bought it from local fishermen in the Seawind Region, we could buy them for a price of only twenty to thirty silver royals. We put them into water tanks and transported them the whole way northward to Imperial Palace of the Kingdom of Endless Winter. If the transport was successful and the corals still had their natural color, and were without any broken branches, we could sell them for five or more gold royals. I often thought, it’s obviously that they are the same item, so how can it be that there is such an enormous difference in their value?”
“Because… in some places they are rare?” Alicia suggested.
“At the beginning I thought the same.” Mira nodded in agreement, “But then something happened that changed my view. One noble secretly harbored a witch who was able to control the temperature, after some tests he finally came up with a way in which he could keep and raise the corals of the Seawind Region in the Kingdom of Eternal Winter. He turned the basement of a house in his garden into a huge pond, setting some skylights into its ceiling, with this he could harvest the corals once a year. His output was ten times more than what my father was able to transport and we were only able to make the journey once a year. So, there were now much more green corals on the market than before. He not only sold them to the palace, but also to other powerful aristocratic families. If the price was only decided by its rarity, the expensive price of green corals should go down.
“But after two years, the palace refused to accept those low-priced green corals, saying that they were counterfeit goods. Not only had my father not cut down on the prices of the green corals, no he had even doubled it. As for the noble with the witch, he became confined by the Church, according to the crime of harboring and kidnapping of a witch he was burned at stake. But I knew that the corals sold by him were no counterfeit products, there was no difference between them and my father’s product.
“Thinking it’s because of the reason that the items are rare, isn’t the wrong idea, but there are many other reasons which also determine the price of goods. Furthermore, this was only one of the simplest examples. Because the Royal Palace thought of the green corals as a symbol of luxury, they artificially set its value to be higher. When more green corals appeared on the market, it would also significantly impact the provisions of the royal family. Therefore at the day of execution, the Queen also celebrated. Don’t you think that these goods are the same as us secular people?”
“Like… what?” Alicia couldn’t follow her thought process.
“Just like the children of royalty and commoners,” Mira spoke without stop. “When they are born, they all get a price attached to them, but this price doesn’t reflect our real value. We are just like those green corals, yet sometimes they can be bought for a low price, but at other places, the price becomes too high to even reach.”
“Too high to be reached… you mean becoming nobility?”
“Nobles are the corals of the Royals Palace of the Kingdom of Eternal Winter,” the Priestess smiled, “when they and we are born there is no difference between us. We both have a pair of hands, a pair of feet, a pair of eyes and a mouth. However, they were artificially classified as beings of the highest value. This inequality isn’t based on their own ability, but on the rule of the royal power. Because of this, I joined the Church. At least in the Holy City, your origin does not limit your value. If we could put the whole continent under the rule of the Holy Church, establishing the so-called Kingdom of God, it would be the case for everyone.
“You are right, that would truly be a good thing!” Alicia wholeheartedly and thought excited. It would be like heaven on earth. If we were able to establish a kingdom under the rule of God. Just like Mira had described it, there would be no difference between the people when they were born, nor would there exist any pariah or slaves.
“A Kingdom of God? Well… do you want to turn all the people into cold-blooded monsters?” The cold-faced captain of the Army of Judges shook the reins of his horse, and joined up with them, “Priestess, how much do you know about the God’s Punishment Army?”
“Hey, you” Alicia was about to remind him to pay attention to courtesy, but she was already stopped halfway by Mira.
“The God Punishment Army is the gathering of the most powerful warriors of the Church. They also possess the strongest faith, willing to sacrifice themselves, only the brave and fearless members of the Army of Judges can be transformed.”
“Them being the most powerful is a good point, that they need to be transformed to be able to join the army is also not bad, but they aren’t the most converted of us soldiers, no they are nothing more than a group of people without any feelings, just like monsters!” After coldly dropping this sentence, he went to his horse and rode it back to the front of his team.
“He is simply a rude one!” Alicia bitterly said, when she had seen him at Hermes, even so, they had to face danger, he was exactly like a general he had to be, both calm and brave. But now… what had happened to him, that he had become such a kind of person?”
“It’s okay, he’s just not in the mood right now.” Mira shook her head. “To build the Kingdom of God, there will be setbacks and sacrifices… but at least we all joined voluntarily.”
It was already late when they arrived at the next town, and as missionaries on a mission of the Church they were allowed to rest in the town’s church. After everyone had eaten. They all went back to their own room to sleep. Alicia was walking behind the captain, but when they reached an aisle, she suddenly called out to him.
“Mira is our leader, what was the meaning behind your outbreak during the ride? Did you forget all the rules and regulations of the church?”
After a moment of silence, he asked: “Your name is Alicia, isn’t it?”
“Yes, and just like you, I’m now a captain in the Army of Judge. At the fight during the Month of Demons I had asked you for your name, but you didn’t give me an answer, are you now able to tell me your name?”
“Abrams,” he said with a blank expression, “as to why I did that… do you have any brothers or sisters? ”
“No.” Alicia suddenly remembered that he had said that his brother was a member of the God’s Punishment Army.
“I have. He and I grew up in the Church, we were so close that we would always know what the other was thinking. Later, he accepted the invitation and transferred to the God’s Punishment Army. Since that day I have never seen him again. The presiding judge told me that his transformation was very successful and that he was now out on a special mission of the Church, I was euphoric for him.” He paused, “Until one day, I finally saw him again in the cathedral, I shouted his name, and when he came up to me, I wanted to embrace him. But can you guess what I saw? ” Asking this, Abrams’ face showed for the first time some feelings, pain, “He acted like a stranger, he didn’t see me at all, he just walked straight past me. Never turning his eyes in my direction, always staring to the front, ultimately acting, unlike a human.”
“…” hearing his story, Alicia could feel a cold chill running down her back, she wanted to shout that he had lied, but when she opened her mouth, no such words could escape.
“The member of the God’s Punishment Army are deprived of their human feelings, they are nothing more than a group of living dead.” He pushed Alicia to the side and walked back to his room, not looking back as he left.