Chapter 177 The Will of the Church
Within the Cathedral at Hermes.
The Pope’s place remained vacant.
The three Archbishops sat side by side, and it was once more Archbishop Mayne who opened the discussion, “I heard that some unrest has broken out within the Kingdom of Eternal Winter?”
“Under the leadership of High Priest Coburn, the Judges stationed there are already dealing with that matter,” replied Tayfun.
“In the end, what was the reason for the unrest?”
“If it hadn’t been for those dregs that had been taken into the Church,” Heather whistled, “after the Queen has been beheaded, most of the nobles have joined the Church and were integrated into the upper echelons of the Church because of your plan to compromise, Mayne. They turned a blind eye to the plundering taking place under the guise of arresting witches by the city guards. But, the common people cannot accept this procedure which also naturally birthed resentment.”
“Heather, that had not been my plan,” Mayne responded in annoyance, “This was a decree ushered in by the Supreme Pontiff. This way we can take over and control the kingdom within the shortest amount of time, rather than having to continue fighting against the nobility. Furthermore, there are also some outstanding talents amongst them, winning them over should be a great help to us. As for those vermin, since their descendants can’t inherit their privileges in any case, they should be all eliminated within the next generation.”
“Alright, since you were only following the decree of the Supreme Pontiff, I won’t say anything about this any longer,” Heather shrugged, “but those violators who have corrupted the reputation of the Church must be handed over to me.”
Mayne looked at Archbishop Tayfun, who was muttering to himself hesitantly, “I propose that for the time being we do not try to deal with them. When the turmoil has come to an end, it will still be possible for us to place the aristocracy under house arrest, but doing so now, so soon after they have joined the Church, it will only create an unease within their rank.”
“No!” Heather pounded on the table. “We can’t permit them to go against the fundamental rules of the Church. Any looting taking place in the name of the Church is a felony, and it is me who is the one in control of the rules and arbitration!”
“This time, for the purpose of the overall situation…”
“What I’m saying is in accordance with the big picture.” Heather directly interrupted the words that were about to come from Tayfun, “Do not forget that we have relied on our established image of being both fair and just to conquer the Kingdom of Endless Winter! If at this time we don’t strike a severe blow against those scum, the people of the Kingdom of Endless Winter will lose all of confidence in us! This is the foundation that the Church is relying on and not those group of damned aristocrats. If you do not agree with me on this, I will directly go to the Pope and ask for his ruling!”
The Pope has no time to worry over such matters, nor is the foundation of the Church in the hands of the ordinary people, but rather it’s decided by how powerful we are. Mayne sighed and decided to reach out to her so that she wouldn’t get too excited about this matter. “Then will we ask the High Priest Coburn to escort them back to New Holy City so that they can face trial?
“That won’t be necessary, I will personally head out,” Heather said, “Recently, I’ve been rushing my matters here to get them finished. Furthermore, I should also be able to come back within two or three months. It is naturally that the more people who see a trial the better it will be, and King’s City of the Kingdom of Endless Winter would be the best place to hold it.”
“Are you sure about that?” Mayne frowned. “Right now, we have no free conductor who can protect you during your stay in the Kingdom of Endless Winter, if you are to encounter an extraordinary witch, you will be in great danger.”
“Where should so many extraordinary witches be coming from?” Heather didn’t accept Mayne’s opinion as being worth considering, “Just give me a team of warriors from the Army of Judge that should be enough.
“If you insist.” Mayne did not want to quarrel over this subject any longer, “There are still some other bad news I have to tell you. The Church’s army had been unexpected repelled in the Wolfsheart Kingdom near to Broken Castle. We have already lost more than twenty members of the God’s Punishment Army and more than a hundred warriors of the Army of Judges, even with all of these losses we still weren’t able to conquer Broken Castle.”
“Twenty members of the God’s Punishment Army?” Tayfun couldn’t believe what he was hearing, “Who was the conductor?”
“Bell, and she’s already confirmed dead.”
“The conductor was killed? It seems that they actually met with an unexpectedly tough challenge.” Heather interest was piqued, “The loss of so many members of the God’s Punishment Army must really have given Lord O’Brian an intense headache.”
“We cannot blame this on him after all, the Broken Castle is placed in special terrain. Their gate entrance is high up in the middle of the mountain, the distance between the road and the gate is around ten meters. Furthermore, they had also destroyed the wooden bridge using some unknown alchemist solution.” Mayne explained, ”According to the reports, they put up wooden ladders, and every time the God’s Punishment Army tries to crawl up them, they would suffer under a strange flame attack. The defender would spout a white solution out of pipes installed above the gate. Soon after they sent it out, it began to vaporize and catch fire, changing into a blazing flame which would cling to a person’s body.
“No matter what they tried to do, they still couldn’t take it off. It only ended after they were completely burned through. Our troops are now trying to get into contact with our believers of the Church that are within the city, their trying to see if they can start an attack from inside and outside at the same time.”
“I dare say the church in the city has already become a bloodbath,” Heather twitched her mouth “If we want that our attacks to get through, the right move can only be to send out more people. The Alchemist will never be able to produce their solution on masse, sooner or later they will eventually run out of supply.”
“You are talking about our God’s Punishment Army!” Tayfun became so enraged that his beard started to tremble, “Do you know how difficult it is to convert someone into a member of the God’s Punishment Army? Right now, we don’t even possess one thousand of them, and if we have to use force to unify the country we will lose more than half of them, what should we then use to resist the demonic beast attack during the Months of Demons? Not even to mention our fight against the Devils afterward.”
“Do not fight,” Mayne said, “I will tell you this one piece of news, so it will be unnecessary for you to argue over the method of attack. At this moment, the Church needs as many members of the God’s Punishment Army as possible, and now that the Kingdom of Endless Winter is under our control, some things can be done that will be a bit more justifiable. In the past, those “seeds” had been delivered twice each year. But now, I have requested an additional delivery. With the Months of Demons even influencing the spring, its length is no longer as consistent, so from summer onwards, every season a new batch of seeds will be sent to the New Holy City, and the transformation ceremony can also be held correspondingly. The task to handle this matter will be handed over to you, Tayfun.”
“But there aren’t enough orphans and babies to provide the required number, ah,” the old Archbishop stroked his beard. “After all, not everyone will choose to abandon their child and send it to the church.”
“In that case, you had to find another way to provide enough. The Kingdom of Endless Winter is the kingdom in which we have operated for the longest time, because of this, most of the population are already part of our believers. In case that even within this land you’re still unable to provide enough manpower, swallowing the other three kingdoms will take even longer. Don’t forget, if there is ever be any unrest during the reunification process of the continent, we have to rely on the Army of Judges and the God’s Punishment Army to suppress them.“
“It isn’t the case that there aren’t enough people,” Heather explained with a smile, “There are as many children wandering the streets as there are stray cats and wild dogs. I have even heard that there were black street rats who especially went to hire those children. They are then trained into pickpockets, contractors, smugglers or scapegoats.
“Previously the nobility hadn’t gotten rid of them and instead offered them some places to hide, but now, thanks to Mayne’s gift, they’ve all become a part of the Church. As long as we cover the sewers, where can those mice go to hide? The only task left will be to send out the Army of Judges and try to clear up the underground, that way we can catch everything in one net. Doing it like this means you can harvest a lot of children, while the removal of those dregs will still gain us a good impression from the civilians at the same time. If we can also deter those who are beginning to stir up the nobles, we can succeed in three objectives in one go, can’t we?”
This is indeed a good solution, Mayne thought, no matter how extreme her temperament was whenever she was faced with had to face a problem, she would be the fastest person to come up with a countermeasure, so if for this ability he only had to ignore a few words coming from her, he would consider it a small price to pay. “Just carry on with this method. In short, before the fall, it is important that we conquer the territory of Wolfsheart Kingdom. So, that with the exception of the troops we need to maintain order, we can transfer all other warriors of the Army of Judges back to Hermes. During this year’s Months of Demons, The enemy will only become even more powerful.”
Tayfun, although reluctantly but he still nodded his head, “Also, the Kingdom of Dawn has already noticed the development in their neighboring kingdoms. The aristocracy within many cities are pointing their spearhead at the Church, there were already situations where they have plundered the churches then burned them down. I suggest we think about organizing a temporary evacuation of our believers. It really isn’t necessary to waste them in such a conflict.”
“No, that won’t do, they have to resist,” Mayne said, “The more sacrifices we have to make, the more reasons we will have later to retaliate.” This is not a waste, but the seed of fire. They already don’t have much faith in the Church, if we retreat out of the kingdom now, the Church will only appear to be even weaker.
“Well, I just wanted to mention it, nothing more,” Tayfun gave up, “Lastly there is the Kingdom of Graycastle… ah, it is better if you see it yourself,” saying this he took out a scroll from his sleeve and threw it in front of Mayne.
Mayne unfolded it and swept his gaze over the letters with his two eyes, the letter had unexpectedly come from the Queen of Clearwater, Garcia Wimbledon. It didn’t take long, and his eyebrows wrinkled up.
“Did she even hang her priest?”
“Not only him, she even fed all of our believers to the fishes,” Tayfun added, “and the church was then completely broken down even to the last stone. Plus, she should have already discovered the side effects of the pills.”
Heather smacked her lips, “I had already told you that it was only a matter of time. Even if they supplement their soldier unceasingly with those toys, with each new pill taken the effect would become smaller, until they die in the end because of weakness. Taking those pills and using them to destroy their armies was a good idea, but when its effect came to the surface, they will immediately discover what kind of game we are playing. The true problem is, if I remember correctly, that our spies had reported that only a small group of her soldiers have taken the pills, right? Instead it were the barbarians from the south who have eaten a lot of them.”
“Not more than a thousand, and she said that we will have to pay for them.” Mayne put the letter down, “It’s ridiculous, without the support of the Church, how could she have ever become the Queen of Clearwater? Where is Timothy Wimbledon right now? He also received our pills so why is he still delaying his attack on the South?”
“He is currently plundering the North, he had set out to handle the attempted rebellion from the Protector of the Northern Border. He has to first stop this rebellion, to prevent any instability later. He probably wants to first take down several Duke’s, and only then he will go face Garcia.” Tayfun replied, “I just don’t know if the new King, after capturing the North, will really make a beeline to the South or if he first goes to the Western Border, trying and take it back.”