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Chapter 5 – Young Pope (Part 1)

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Author: Sasaki Ichiro Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 2743 characters
Translator: Tanaka English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1102 words
Editor(s): Hydra

The discussion within the hidden room of the Cathedral’s chapel was known to very few. Fewer still had ever ventured inside. After all, the only one permitted to enter was the ‘Grand Pope’, the ultimate authority of the Holy Kingdom of Aeon.

At present, three figures were seen praying at the altar.

Usually, one’s gaze would be immediately drawn to the mural at the back of the altar, illustrating the intense battle between the Azure God, the Otherworldly Demon King, and the Beastkin. Yet, tonight, that mural was oddly split down the center, revealing a narrow passageway with a faint blue glow emanating from it.

The three individuals — a young boy leading, with two elders behind, forming a triangle — seemed to be awaiting someone. They soon lifted their heads in unison.

“…… Welcome, Your Grace,” whispered one of the elders kneeling behind the boy.

The elders wore purple sashes, denoting their status as Sacred Cardinals, whereas the boy wore a sky-blue sash, the emblem of the Cathedral’s highest authority.

Footsteps echoed from the depths of the open passageway, growing louder with each moment. Soon, the owner of those footsteps emerged before the trio, who bowed deeply in respect.

Sweeping their cloak aside, the figure stood proudly before the altar. Following them, another figure, wings spread wide, landed and positioned themselves behind, as if in a protective stance.

On one side stood a young, blond-haired knight in gleaming silver armor, adorned with intricate decorations. Beside him was an angel, a young girl with fiery red hair and snowy white wings.

“Great Pope of the Holy Kingdom of Aeon, Werner Burni,” the angel announced, stepping forward ahead of the knight.

—Yes,” the young boy replied, his head bowed low.

“Also, Cardinal Aleshio Danton. Cardinal Sandro Bragi.”

” “Yes.” ”

“Raise your heads.”

Once they complied, the angel gave a brief nod of approval.

“…… Your identities have been verified. You may proceed.”

” ” “As you command.” ” ”

Having confirmed this, the angel took a step back, standing behind the knight.

“I wish to be briefed on the current state of affairs. How are matters progressing, and what steps does the Sacred Church plan to take?” the knight, the young boy, inquired.

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“Yes, Your Grace. Bernardo Gloria Casas, the ‘Saint’ and leader of the dispatched Cathedral Crusaders, along with his 5,101 subordinates, have failed to return,” Elder Aleshio managed to report, despite his palpable tension.

“We’ve also verified that the miscreants and unholy creatures remain active in the Yuz Grand Duchy. Based on these findings, we believe the expeditionary force failed their mission and were, presumably… entirely wiped out.”

A heavy silence filled the chapel.

“And?”

The young knight and the angel, seemingly unfazed, pressed for a continuation.

“…… S-So, we are currently organizing a second expeditionary force,” Cardinal Sandro interjected in place of Aleshio.

“We’re mobilizing 10,000 holy knights from troops 5th to 8th as the main force, complemented by 50,000 conscripted and volunteer soldiers. Moreover, five individuals of bishop rank or higher will participate. We intend to invoke the ‘Jihad’ edict.”

‘Jihad’, the formidable tool—or forbidden technique—of the Holy Kingdom of Aeon. When invoked by elite clergymen, it transformed the entire Sacred Army into an indomitable force.

Even novices, under the ‘Jihad’s influence, would exceed their limits, displaying extraordinary power. But it was a perilous tactic, typically leaving the allies decimated post-activation.

—The prospect of facing 60,000 frenzied warriors might intimidate an average foe, but against the likes of Nidhong, they might merely be fodder.

The cardinals seemed resolute in their desperation, but Lubbock, the young knight, bore a look of dismay. Lubbock’s eyes darted to Grand Pope Wernes, who remained silent, shaking as though terrified.

—Considering Hiyuki’s unparalleled strength, it would be ideal if she chose to intervene. Yet, expecting her to aid unfamiliar faces seemed unlikely.

The creatures of Imperial Crimson, at present, fended off lesser vampires encroaching Cres territory. Yet, their stance was purely defensive, suggesting no inclination to actively engage. It resembled a game, where they delighted in rebuffing adversaries.

—The best course of action would be a slight tweak to our rules and allying with Imperial Crimson. Yet, those stubborn, old-fashioned church elders will never sanction such a move. Sigh, if this young one showed even a shred of leadership, a top-down decree might have been feasible. Just rotten luck he lacks the spine and grandeur necessary.

Facing the grim circumstances, Lubbock internally sighed and solemnly said, “I convey the Azure God’s edict. We cannot ignore the ongoing crisis in the Yuz Grand Duchy. Those abominable creatures defy divine will. Eradicate them, regardless of the means.”

His words likely didn’t surprise them, but the real challenge lay ahead.

“For the sake of righteousness, it becomes imperative to collaborate with forces from other nations.”

As the two elders listened to the divine mandate with reverent expressions, they exchanged bewildered glances. Seeking clarity, one ventured to ask,

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“So, essentially, we are to form an alliance with… the forces of the Graviol Empire?”

In response to Sandro’s query, Lubbock nodded firmly, “Among others.”

“Others…?” Sandro’s brow furrowed in confusion, struggling to grasp the implication. Meanwhile, Aleshio’s face rapidly drained of color, suggesting a dawning realization.

“It… You can’t mean to collaborate with Imperial Crimson? Those monsters we vowed to eradicate…!?”

Lubbock turned to the two elders, who seemed paralyzed by shock, their words trapped in their throats.

“You’ve hit the mark. Our sacred scripture declares that non-humans are undeniably wretched sinners, blind to God’s grace. But in these dire circumstances, the Azure God offers unprecedented mercy. This doesn’t imply we abandon our intent to purge them. Rather, the Azure God wishes to grant them a chance to earn some virtue in this lifetime, perhaps bestowing those unfortunate souls a modicum of leniency in the next.”

“B-But that’s…”

The senior Cardinals, wanting to voice their dissent, were silenced by the unyielding stares from the young boy and the angel and quickly bowed in deference.

“It is the Azure God’s divine decree. Ensure its unfaltering execution.”

“Y-Yes… as our lord desires.”

Overcome by a force that felt as if it gripped their souls, they bowed deeply, cold sweat forming on their brows.

“Grand Pope Werner, in these challenging times, the Azure God has directly conferred an oracle. Its sanctity prevents casual discussion here. We shall relocate to a more suitable venue for the oracle’s reception. Accompany us.”

Silence followed.



 

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