I Became The Pope, Now What?
Chapter 135: 135. Is This... Crusade Time?

"I meant the murals, holy father," Sylvester quickly elaborated. However, he was also a bit shocked as to why there were so many naked men on the walls and the ceilings. This was not art, this was simply annoying public indecency, and the fact that all men must go through this hallway to reach the Pope's office ensured that everyone saw it every time.

So he could feel that the 24th Pope must have some hidden desires for making this. Or maybe he was the opposite of those horny Bright Mothers.

"Bwahaha... of course... I was just kidding with you. Come, let's go to my office." The Pope laughed it off and led him to the big but plain office of the Pope.

Sylvester took a seat behind the table while the Pope took his throne-like seat on the other side. The old man was smiling at him and showing a genuine proud face. "I heard a great many things about your work this time, son. Especially from the Inquisitor High Lord. Did you create a new method for growing food in the Highland Kingdom? That is brilliant!"

Sylvester knew that the Archpriest of Fallshoot village must have sent a letter to the Holy Land long ago. Though he knew that the Pope didn't know about Sphinx Town since everyone was dead and only his own report contained the details.

"It was not that hard, just some basic alchemy concepts. I hope they can survive there. The climate is not very kind in those parts, Holy Father. I did, however, punish a noble of the region who was hunting the people for fun." He revealed.

The Pope shrugged. "I trust you, son. Some people get far too comfortable with their sick tendencies once they taste some power. Wealth is like a curse sometimes, one of the reasons why we don't offer excessive amounts as salary here."

'Why did you call me here?' Sylvester wondered instead.

The Pope then turned serious. "I heard you killed one of the thirteen Void Keepers."

'So this is what he wanted?'

Sylvester clarified immediately. "Because they threatened to kill Sir Dolorem, Gabriel, and Bishop Lazark while holding Felix and me down after we had just returned from killing a Bloodling."

The old man frowned instantly. Clearly, he didn't know the whole story, and only the death was reported to him. "Tell me everything, priest. Do not omit anything."

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Of course, Sylvester would never tell the man about the underground cave and the large castle. But he didn't hide the other details. "Firstly, the reason for the madness and the people of Sphinx Town falling out of faith was the faith itself."

Sylvester told the Pope about the whole scenario of the sacking of Sphinx Town by cannibals and how an archpriest caused it. Then, he revealed how the madness spread, slowly bringing up the current details. "Shane Kolt was a young eight-year-old with only a mother left, suffering from madness. He was an honest, hard-working child. Inspired by me, he wished to become my apprentice—a bard. Above all, he had the talent to become an Arch Wizard and Golden Knight.

"By the time I went to kill the Bloodling, the entire town had started to believe in the faith again because of my hymns and work to protect them. But… When I returned, it was all gone, razed to the ground. That child… he died in his mother's arms, in fire, melted like wax!

"All because a man named Jax stayed in the town fifteen years ago and helped the people defend against the r*pist, massacring cannibals."

By the time Sylvester stopped telling the Pope the details of his journey, the old man looked visibly enraged. He was tapping on the table as if trying to stop himself from speaking and disturbing. "Do you know that Jax is the head of Anti-Light? If he wins, all of us lose."

Sylvester looked into the old man's eyes and replied. "From what I see, he's already winning. Holy Father, who are we going to rule over? Who are we going to preach to? Who will pray to Solis—when we've killed all the believers? Now the words of faith killing more than five thousand people will spread like wildfire, and villages and towns will fall out of love with the church.

"Is that what we want? Because that's exactly what the Anti-Light wants. Our fight against the Anti-Light is not just of arms but also of the mind. We win as long as people keep praying to Solis. We lose once they stop."

He knew that the Pope was not a dumb man and obviously understood this much. All of the higher clergy understood this much. The church was feared and respected because it was strong but also compassionate. What happens when it becomes cruel? Nothing—all becomes nothing.

The Pope fell silent for a few minutes and thought about the future of the faith. Even to him, it was undeniable that killing people left and right was not the way. "What the Void Keepers did was abysmal, there is no denying. They killed innocents for no reason. Indeed, if we're to kill everyone that has come into contact with Anti-Light, we'd end up killing most of the population. What happened to Sphinx town is irrevocable and disheartening…"

Sylvester nodded at the man's comments but was disappointed that he didn't hear him say he would take action against the Void Keepers. By now, he had understood that the Void Keepers were like the CIA. They work on behalf of the top boss and sometimes don't even have to tell the top boss before doing something. Everything goes as long as the work is done to further the interests of the top boss.

But at least the Pope's feelings seemed genuine enough, as the scent of hope and sadness backed them. "Holy Father, I will submit my report tomorrow to Saint Wazir… and also put in my request for a promotion."

The Pope sat straight in his chair as the topic changed. "That's well due, Priest. You are already a Master Wizard and will soon reach Arch Wizard rank. You should have been a Bishop by now."

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'Yes, I should have focused on elevating my clergy rank. I planned to run away from the church all this time, while the church just kept inching closer and weaving its designs—all around me.' Sylvester thought, a regret for sure because maybe, just maybe, with more authority, he could have done something to save that boy.

"Then I will go and write my report, Holy Father. I am also being taught by Lady Aurora now, so I must also prepare for that." Sylvester stood up to leave as he felt his confidence in the Pope dwindle to an all-time low. Even though he understood why the man could not do something, there was no denying Sylvester was highly disappointed about losing a talented student—who could have been loyal to him.

As Sylvester was leaving, the Pope interjected. "Son, there may come times when the future looks bleak—but it's our duty to keep moving, for the light at the end of the dark tunnel is what we seek."

Sylvester nodded and saluted. "May the holy light enlighten us."

The Pope added more before Sylvester left. "You did well this time… I am proud of you."

'And I am ashamed of you.'

Sylvester thanked the man and left the office. Once out of the door, he just sighed and left the Palace. He looked around and now felt disappointed instead of in awe because all he saw sent the message of might and authority. But what good was it?

'The landscape of upper echelon clergy is full of politics. I need to be careful with my rise, or I'll end up making enemies I can't afford to fight.' he reminded himself.

Meanwhile, back in the office, the Pope spoke. "Did you hear all that?"


A man donning white robes with golden edges and holding a large golden glowing staff appeared out of nowhere—more like he appeared out of invisibility. "I did, Your Holiness."

The Pope stood up, walked to his window, and looked at the sea and the Magna Sanctum in the distance. Its shining golden beauty and warmth were the best calming medicines to ever exist. "Such experiences could dwindle one's belief in the lord, Saint Scepter. The Void Keepers have done irrevocable damage to our—my reputation this time."

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Saint Scepter nodded and spoke minimal words. "They shall be reeducated, your holiness."

"Keep them in sensory deprivation and starvation for two months. And form a new policy for Void Keepers—for what the young bard said had some truth to it. With our hurtful actions, we are handing over villages and towns to Anti-Light on a silver platter. From now on, Article 66 can only be issued by me, you, Lord Inquisitor, or Saint Wizard. No Cardinal Suprima will hold this authority anymore."

The Pope ordered. He was somewhat grateful to Sylvester for bringing light to this matter for him. As the Pope, he was a man who was constantly busy with a thousand everyday things. The entire continent was at all times on the verge of a big war. There were enemies in the East and the Anti-Light. He can not micro-manage all things, leaving room for mishaps.

"Also, ensure the next assignment Priest Sylvester gets has nothing to do with faith. He needs a break from constant preaching—I know I'd need it if I were to lose my prodigy student—speaking of him, where is he currently?"

"The ninth guardian is sent to watch over the war between The Patch and Sorrow Kingdom." Replied Saint Scepter.

The Pope nodded his head. "Good, he needs experience. Unfortunately, despite being my first student, he can't rise to my level. Priest Sylvester is my only hope… keep an eye on the young bard for me—protect him if he faces something too big for him."

Saint Scepter saluted and bowed before vanishing once again. "I shall do as you command, your holiness."

With that, the room fell silent, and the Pope returned to work at his desk. The documents revealed reports of Bloodling appearing here and there every few days.

There were, in total, twelve thousand reports of bloodlings and further thousands of suspected cases. But, of course, not all of them were as strong, and most of them go unnoticed. Most of them could also be dealt with by low-level clergymen from various monasteries too.

Still, the situation was getting out of control now, and he feared he'd have to launch something he despised personally. As the plan had a very high chance of turning violent intensely.

"I hope Lord Inquisitor can handle this—Or I'd be forced to launch another crusade."

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I Became The Pope, Now What? Chapter 135: 135. Is This... Crusade Time?
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