I Became The Pope, Now What?
Chapter 136: 136. Tree Has Seen Some Bull****

Sylvester left the Pope's Palace and headed to the Bright Mother's housing on his horse. He needed to plan things out for the coming years and find a way to get stronger fast.

"Chonky, you're supposed to be a thousand years old. Don't you have some secret technique worth learning? Some funny drunken master, monkey art, or swan dance martial art or something?" He jokingly asked the cat, who enjoyed the wind while sitting on the horse's head.

Chonky looked back at him and nodded. "I do.... Eat banana, and you will get strong."

"Of course, lord Chonky, what else could I even expect from your wisdom," Sylvester muttered and rode in silence. That was until he was stopped by another man on a horse, wearing clothes not akin to a clergy. Instead, the white-haired, tanned skin and bearded old man was wearing a noble's attire, a super wealthy noble, above all.

"Respected clergyman, can you point me to Saint Wazir's house?" The old man asked.

Sylvester wondered who this could be, as he appeared very important. But he didn't pry too much. "Sure, just take a left from the road ahead, and you will reach the Administration building. Saint Wazir lives in the mansion beside it."

"You have my gratitude." The old man thanked him and trotted away quickly.

Sylvester just saw the man leave in silence. "He looked rich."

"So shiny... I wanted to take his rings and chains." Miraj added, drooling at the same time.

...

Riveria Kingdom.

The Riveria Kingdom was many things good, but also bad. Being the wealthiest kingdom in the world ensured that the people and the nobles had a lot of disposable income, so much so that it could be used to tap into businesses otherwise thought to be too violent.

Slavery, forced labor, prostitution, assassinations, and all such dark industries were thriving with the grace of the nobles of Riveria. Even the King knew about it, but as long as he received his share of the taxes, he didn't mind.

All this eventually resulted in the appearance of the assassin guilds, one stronger than the other. They then created an extensive bounty system and combined it with many other organizations around the continent. This guaranteed that they always knew who wanted someone dead.

There were assassins and bounty hunting groups as weak as a group of lowly knights and as strong as a few arch wizards. The work paid really well, so it was a lucrative business for even men of high morals.

Sylvester's bounty was initially a hundred thousand Gold Graces, and his initial bounty rank was set at C-grade because it was widely known he was a bard and a light wizard. Now, he may be highly dangerous against dark creatures, but against other men, he was considered weak.

At least, that's what all thought until the news of the massacre of the Sneaky Stormers bounty hunting group came. When the news of it reached other hunters and assassins, immediately the bounty was increased, and the rank was upped.

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However, they still made it an A-Grade bounty only. There was a mystery as to what Sylvester was capable of doing, and that would cost many lives in the long term.

...

Holy Land

A day had passed, and Sylvester had submitted his report and also told Saint Wazir about his experience with the Void Keepers.

Then a scheduled Sanctum Council was called, and all got to read the report about the rise of Bloodlings, their powers, their effects on the mind, and also the presence of demons. Only a few details were omitted from the report, such as the underground castle, various wealthy tools he used, the Void Keepers and his meeting with the Crown Prince of Riveria.

"They crossed a line this time to threaten to kill him." Lord Inquisitor spoke first this time. "A good insect is one that knows what can stomp it, so when it bites, it's time to end its misery."

Saint Seer, the Spymaster, interrupted, however. "They do what we can't do openly. They are as important to the faith as the Bright Mothers and the Holy Army."

The Pope raised his palm and silenced everyone. "They did go too far--killing more than five thousand people for just a 'what if' is not how we want the people to remember the faith. They will be punished accordingly but not killed. They will be re-educated and informed about the new laws."

Saint Keymaster and Saint Medico gulped their saliva in the room. The two were the most non-battle-related Saints, so they were not as face to face with the violence. But they also knew re-education was just another word for 'mentally breaking and reengineering'. It was an excruciating process.

The Pope continued after letting them digest the information. "There is no more need to talk about the Void Keepers. The real matter is about the bloodlings. Lord Inquisitor, can you handle them or not? Otherwise, a crusade may be the only option."

Not overestimating his own abilities, Inquisitor High Lord replied honestly. "I do not believe just the Inquisitors can handle so many Bloodlings. We may need to eventually launch a crusade against them at the right moment... but we must also ensure they don't turn violent. Otherwise, the ravaged villages will only become new hotspots for future Bloodlings."

Pope sighed in frustration and looked toward Saint Seer. "What's the news from the ongoing war?"

"It's as bloody as we expected." the chief Spymaster replied, "Grand Duke of the Patch has overwhelmed the Sorrow Kingdom. The refugees from the Sorrow Kingdom have swarmed the Highland Kingdom and are in one way or another trying to reach Riveria and eventually the Holy Land."

"If I may." Saint Keymaster spoke suddenly. His name was Cardinal Helix Steelworth, and he was the chief economist of the Pope. He was responsible for maintaining a steady flow of money, so it was rare for him to meddle in such war-related discussions. "The various monasteries across the East-Sol have been asking for aid so they can help refugees. If we proceed to help them, then the coffers of the faith will dwindle to an all-time low."

Saint Medico, Cardinal Nos Leeds also spoke up. "A higher demand for more medical supplies and help is being noticed as well. Not only that, but crimes against Bright Mothers have also been noticed to be on the rise. Those people have nothing to lose, so they are not even trying anymore."

It was a mess of large proportion that left the Pope angered. "First of all, kill anyone who harms a Bright Mother. There shall be no compromises in those laws. And preach to them what will happen if they touch these poor women.

"As for the price of all this. Put it on the Grand Duke's head. We allowed him to break the Sorrow Kingdom into two and create his own Grand Duchy, and now he has started an unprovoked war, so he better pay. Saint Scepter, take a delegation to the Patch. You will find the Ninth Guardian there as well."

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Saint Scepter was the publicly known second strangest man in the church and likely among all the kingdom. So him going was a huge message. 'Pay up, or we'll take the money ourselves.'

"It will be done, your holiness." Saint Scepter accepted the task.

After that, the last matter was on the table. It was not really a matter, however, because the decision had already been taken by Saint Wazir. It was just a low-level administration thing, and the council didn't need to discuss it. "So the next is a request for a clergy promotion by Priest Sylvester."

...

Sylvester had come to the Soul Tree once again to see if he could observe another divination. He was also hoping to see Grandpa Monk. But first, he decided to explore the tree more to see if the first Pope wrote any more messages.

"Maxy!"

Sylvester quickly moved to Miraj, as the boy seemed to have found something. "What is it?"

"Look, more words."

Sylvester, excitedly, landed on the branch and read it quickly. But in an instant, his shoulders fell as the words were not something he expected, nor were they something he wanted to read again.

The words were. "Oh Lord Solis, why did you make me like this? Not only did I copulate with the Count's wife, but I did it with his two daughters as well. Please have mercy on my soul, for I do it not from the heart, but it just happens... I hope you will guide my soul after my time comes to an end--trust me, I am no fiend."

"..."

Sylvester was speechless at the words and felt disgusted. This Knight was first of all related to the faith, and second, he was somehow high enough to reach the Soul tree unsupervised. Who was he, Sylvester thought.

"Chonky, how sharp are your claws?" he asked.

Miraj quickly showed one hand and the sharp claws on it with a grin. "Maxy wants someone's blood? Tell, I slit!"

"..."

"Chonky, just use your mighty paw and scratch this name off. I despise it." He ordered.

Miraj quickly got to work and started scratching. "Okie!"

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Meanwhile, Sylvester looked around but found no more words of the first Pope. Seeing his time was coming to an end, he decided to go and meet the Grandpa Monk before meditating.

Knock Knock!

"Come in!"

Sylvester opened the door of the wooden shack and entered. It smelled like heaven inside, as various herbs and some sort of tea were brewing in a pot. The old man was the same as the last visit, happy and calm.

"I knew you would come here soon enough. The guards informed me of a blonde boy entering the peninsula. Come here, drink some tea. It's good for your heart."

Sylvester was careful since this was one man he could not sense the emotions of. "Thank you."

He looked around and noticed a few new things were on the various wooden shelves. "It seems you found more herbs?"

Grandpa Monk smirked. "I am an enthusiast, after all. Trying to make a non-alcoholic beverage that also gives you the same effects is extremely hard. But I have made some progress. What about you, young bard? What adventures did you go on?"

Sylvester mumbled a few words. "Killed a bloodling, saw my first apprentice die, and nearly got killed. Anyway, Grandpa Monk, do you know some knight by the name Billworth?"

"Pfft..."

The old man spat his tea. "So you found the carvings? It's maddening, truly... nobody knows who this Knight is or when he lived, or which Count he talked about. All we know is that he has fornicated with the Count's wife, his two daughters, Count's mother, Count's wife's mother, Count's niece, Count's servants, and even Count's sisters, and every time he writes an apology here. Many Popes in the past have launched a manhunt for him but had no luck."

"..."

Speechless!

Sylvester was just speechless and felt somewhat worried for the mysterious Count's sake. He wondered if he had also found the god of debauchery by mistake.

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I Became The Pope, Now What? Chapter 136: 136. Tree Has Seen Some Bull****
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