Chapter 179 Conversion Ritual
To become the next Pope, it was necessary to grasp all knowledge about the God’s Punishment Army’s Conversion Ceremony. A year ago, after O’Brian had declared that Mayne would be the one to become his successor, he had given him books about the ceremony to read. Only when he had obtained all the knowledge within would he have the qualifications to succeed him.
Because of this, the contents of the book have long since already been memorized.
To create a new soldier for the God’s Punishment Army, it was necessary to sacrifice a witch’s life. A mixture was made out of her blood and out of the God’s Punishment Stones, which was then injected into a warrior of the Army of Judges. During the centuries the pattern of the ceremony had been improved many times, but the essence of it has never changed – while the number of witches decided the upper limit of the possible number of new member for the God’s Punishment Army, it was the devotion and will of the Judges which decided its rate of success.
After reading this book, he finally came to understand why the Church would accommodate so many young women every year. There was no outward sign to indicated that they would turn into a witch, before the moment they started to gather their magic, they were completely the same as any other human. But once they began to converge into their magic power, their body, organs, and blood would all be changed. So, in addition to expanding the scale of the breeding, there was no other way they could raise the number of witches.
This was also the reason why he had approved of Heather’s way of speaking – everything they had ever done was totally evil, the hands of the people within the higher ranks of the Church were all soaked in blood. They had killed more witches than any executioner. But in order to defeat the Devil, to avoid the destruction of humanity, they had no choice but to do so.
Only the victorious would be qualified to obtain God’s favor.
There were two Judges placed on the conversion table, and Mayne knew both of them, namely it was Dylan from the first battalion and also Tucker Thor, a Holy City guard, who was still a Presiding Judge.
Even though both of them were smiling and trying to display their faith, but because of their tensed muscles and clenched fist, the Archbishop could still see just how nervous they truly were. So he tried to calm them by stepping up to them and patting their shoulders, “Relax, I believe both of you will succeed.”
“Your Excellency, as long as we endure the pain, will we make it?” Dylan couldn’t prevent himself from asking.
“That’s right, you only have to hold on,” Mayne laughed. “Your name is Dylan, right?”
“You remembered my name,” he became totally excited.
“Of course, you are a member of the First Battalion, which had participated in the war to defend Hermes last year. The captain of your unit is… Alica, am I right?”
“Yes,” Dylan nodded over and over, “During the battle, our unit suffered heavy casualties, half of my comrades died under the claws of the demonic beasts. I thought that if I could get the ability to kill those mixed species like I’d seen the God’s Punishment Army do, Your Excellency, I would also want to become a member of the God’s Punishment Army!”
“That’s a firm belief,” Mayne encouraged, and then turned around to look at the other Judge. “So what’s about you, Tucker Thor, what is your reason for becoming a member of the God’s Punishment Army?”
“I want to defend the New Holy City,” said the Presiding Judge. “Furthermore, it seems that each passing year the demonic beasts only keep on growing stronger. They already broke through the wall of the Holy City last year, and if it weren’t for the God’s Punishment Army, it would have been entirely possible that they cathedral would have had fallen on that day. So now I also want to become a powerful shield against the demonic beasts, and pierce them with my pike.”
“Excellent, you are both the pride of the Church,” Mayne, just as it was described in the ancient records, tried to resolve their tension and fear through using encouraging words. When he saw that their faith was as strong as possible, he waved his hand to signal that the ceremony could now continue.
A group of guards came up to blindfold their eyes and used iron rings to fix their ankles and hands to the top of the table, making it impossible for them to struggle free during the course of the Conversion Ceremony. Then the witch was also brought in and placed on the table between the two.
As a witch that belonged to the Church, she had spent most of her life in a monastery within the Old Holy City, but after her awakening, she was then sent over to the core area, waiting until it was time for her to become the material needed for the conversion.
One day before she was to be turned into a sacrifice, she was forced to drink a lot of dream water was. The dream water was an herbal medicine made from boiling sleeping ferns and winter flowers, it ensured that regardless of what happened she would not wake up during the ceremony.
“One, eighteen,” one of the guards replied.
This was just a routine inquiry, only the blood of an adult witch was strong enough to meet their requirements of conversion of Judges into a member of the God’s Punishment Army. After Mayne confirmed that the witch did indeed belong to the right roster he announced that the ceremony would now begin.
On his signal, a fine silver syringe was inserted into the witch’s arm, and soon after her reddish-brown blood began to flow through the tube which was wrapped around the needle, and gather into a crystal basin. The bottom of the basin was covered by a layer of pale blue God’s Stone of Retaliation, gradually becoming covered by the blood until it finally filled the whole basin.
The God’s Stone of Retaliation soon gave birth to some changes. Through the side of the crystal basin they could see how the blue stones were being absorbed the witch’s blood and about half an hour later the stones started to melt gradually until they had completely disappeared. The turbid blood now became clear, turning from a reddish-brown into sky a blue.
Even though this operation seemed to be quite simple, but only after tens of thousands of tests, were they finally able to come up with such a reliable procedure. For example, what was the best age, evaluating how much blood the witch contained, the right method for the needle and skin tube’s production, from which part the blood should be taken and into which part should it be inserted, as well as what quality God’s Stone of Retaliation would work for the best and what would be the right amount to use… In addition to using the ancient records, they also wrote down all of their own failed experiment and their thoughts on how they could make it better. But at the same time they were also explaining the general principle behind the conversion process.
After a witch’s body was changed by their magic, their blood got the ability to strengthen the organs and tendons, but if the blood was used directly, it would only lead to the recipient dying instantly. Because of this, it was necessary to immerse a God’s Stone of Retaliation within the witch’s blood and dissolving the “mysterious power” that was still within. After this it could now be injected into the aspirants – but, even with this, the blood would still damage receptionist’s consciousness, causing them to gradually lose their emotions and intelligence, ultimately turning them into beings which could only survive by using their instincts and a strong will. If they outlived the ceremony, the God’s Stone of Retaliation would give them the additional effect that even without wearing a God’s Stone of Retaliation, they would still be able to ban all magic around them.
He had to say, this was really a fascinating combination. The blood of a witch which would usually cause humans to die and the God’s Stone of Retaliation which, when swallowed would also put the people to death, when combined, their adverse effects would instead be reduced to a minimum.
When the blue liquid slowly flowed over their skin, and was absorbed by the two Judges, the veins in their arms and neck suddenly rose up, and their expression turned grim, as if they had to endure an enormous pain. Dylan was the first to shout out loudly, he struggled wildly on the table, clenching and opening his hands repeatedly, but he couldn’t move his hands or his feet, even though his body soon began to emit a layer of thin sweat.
Tucker, however, wasn’t in a much better condition either, he began growling and foam and blood could be seen at the edge of his mouth as his body twitched.
The fluid inside the crystal basin dropped little by little and soon the bottom became visible, by now Dylan’s voice had already turned into a sobbing, interrupted by shouts of words carrying an unknown meaning. His skin began dissolving emitting a white smoke from his head to his toes. According to the judgement of the ancient records, this signs indicated that his conversion was on the brink of failure. Mayne hesitated, unsure over whether he should continue observing further, but at this moment the Pope stepped in behind him and placed a hand on his shoulder and said, “That’s enough, let him go.”
With these words, one of the Pope’s personal guards came forward, drew a dagger and stabbed it smoothly and cleanly into Dylan’s neck, quickly turning the handle and ending Dylan’s suffering. .
After a painfully long wait, Tucker Thor’s convulsions finally subsided, and his breathing gradually became smoother, and his former rosy skin turned a shade of light blue. Seeing this, Mayne knew that he had survived the conversion ceremony.
One man succeeded while another man had failed, seeing this result Mayne sighed, within a quarter of an hour the Church has lost a devoted Judge and also wasted half of the witch’s blood.
But there were still sixty other Judges waiting for their chance at conversion, so he had to let the ceremony go on.
By the time the ceremony finally came to an end, Mayne was almost unable to stand. he staggered along the table, nearly throwing off the instruments that were lying on it, finally he sat on the ground, with his back to the wall.
The Pope slowly came over until he was standing in front of him, “To tell you the truth, I’m surprised by your performance. The first time I presided over the ceremony, I did it much worse than you. At that year I was still Forty-five years old, but the strong smell of the blood made me throw up directly on the conversion table, almost wasting a whole pot of blood. The former Pope even gave me a ruthless beating, but the moment he was finished he had ordered me to go back on stage and continue to preside over the ceremony.”
“…” Hearing his tale, Mayne opened his mouth, but in the end, he didn’t really know what to say.
“So, if you do not want anything else, you may go back and have a good rest for today.”
“Yes, by your will.” The Archbishop took a deep breath, then went down on his knees and gave his salute, but he suddenly remembered the purpose of his visit today, “Hold on, today the reason you called me to the Mysterious Central Temple was because…”
“Oh, look at my memory,” O’Brien shook his head self-mockingly: “I was looking for you to give you a new poison, which was recently created within the core area.”
“Poison?” The core had devoted their energy into studying the God’s Stone of Retaliation, creating such things as cold pills, fluorescent stones, wild chemical drug and so on. Afterwards all of their creation would be then sent to the Archbishop. But until now he had never heard that they had involved themselves in the production of poison, in Mayne opinion, that sort of thing should be done by the Alchemists who were good at it.
“According to them, its invention was entirely due to luck.” the Pope said unhurriedly. “It only becomes effective after it is sprinkled on rotten corpses and will have an effect on the surrounding population for a long time, compared to ordinary poisons it isn’t necessary for the target to ingest it orally. And without the special antidote, it is completely impossible for it to be cured. For the specific circumstances, you can inquire with Grandmaster Crow Eye. But, I thought that it might come in handy in the battle with the Four Kingdoms.
Hearing its description, Mayne immediately thought of the Broken Castle in the Wolfsheart Kingdom, and the unpleasant stalemate situation in the Kingdom of Graycastle. He suppressed his joy and saluted again: “If the poison is as effective as Grandmaster Crow Eye say’s it is, this should help me a lot.”