Chapter 219: Choices
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We had succeeded in capturing the darkness in the Church, the leader of the Executives Department and the Human Supremacist group, Dongahaha as well as who I suppose is the number two … Bulltooth, alive.
Our original aim was to rescue and protect Catherine-san so we had already achieved that goal the moment we rescued her safely from the darkness of the Church.
“Ah … Dispel.”
Catherine-san was surprised at the sudden Dispel cast on her but if she had some kind of curse placed on her, I would be tangled in some other troublesome matter again.
I would honestly rather not have to go through that so I took action immediately.
Well then, since we’ve achieved our goal, I would like to tell them to deal with the aftermath themselves … but if they could do so, the Church wouldn’t have reached such a corrupt state.
Dongahaha mentioned that the Church became corrupted even without him doing anything.
Even though lately the reputation of the Church has improved, nothing much had changed.
For example, the knights were like new company hires, they mistake the company’s rating as their rating of themselves as they swing from joy to sorrow depending on the rumors.
As the people who propped up the core of the organization suddenly disappeared, the middle-management squad captains and healer leaders, the priest, didn’t want to rock the boat and didn’t take up responsibilities. (TL: I take it he meant they disappeared because they were lost in action during their attempts to conquer the labyrinth.)
Those in branch manager and sales manager-like positions, the Archbishops and the various Healers Guild Guildmasters gave up on training the ones below them … or it can’t be said to that extent but they chose to maintain their authority and power.
And Pope-sama who didn’t manage them even though she should have dealt with them strictly.
If what was recorded in Rainstar-dono’s biography was true, his reason for creating the Church was because he hoped that he could hasten the creation an era where it was a matter of course to save the lives of those that can be saved just like in our previous life.
That belief was the entire goal of the Church and the Healer’s Guilds were founded.
I’m sure everyone was moving in the same direction and were united at that time but because they achieved their huge goal, there wasn’t anybody to determine the direction of the organization after that so it resulted in the formation of a crack in the function of the organization.
Originally, the Pope or the Archbishop-rank individuals should have taken the helm.
However, there weren’t any such talent in the core of the Church or perhaps their talents were forsaken and not raised.
A rudderless organization is brittle. Even more so when the organization is enormous …
As everyone set their own respective goals, moving forward to this day, it turned out as the situation we had now. Looking at it objectively, that was the only impression I had.
Just like how rotten large enterprises are still large enterprises, a rotten church is still a Church.
Once the Church disappears, the Healer’s Guild would find it difficult to survive and once that happens, a lot of people would probably be troubled.
It would still be fine if there were other Church-like organization that could replace it.
However, because such an organization doesn’t exist in this world, the Church can’t be shut down.
If Pope-sama remained as the Saintess who healed the people with potions and a charismatic individual like Rainstar-dono served the Pope, the present day situation would have probably been different.
Well, that’s just a futile hope for what we don’t have now.
The majority of the knights here believed the rumors that I was punished by Gods for performing an evil act.
Even though in my point of view they are loathsome people, their feelings towards the Church might be the real deal for all I know.
Even for the large enterprises that caused problems, because they didn’t decently control the actions and thoughts of the employees at the bottom, even though they are trying hard, it instead causes unnecessary problems.
I took a deep breath and concentrated on what I had to do now.
“Shisho, Lionel and everyone, please keep watch over Dongahaha and the demonized knights.”
Shisho and Lionel nodded and they split the work to gather the demonized knights.
“Lumina-san and the Valkyrie Paladin Corps, please gather all the staff in the Church Headquarters here.”
” … Understood.”
Apart from Lumina-san, everyone else also nodded and agreed.
“Garba-san sorry but could you dig up information on the Executives Department and return here? Ah, Kefin, could you help Garba-san too?”
“What should we investigate?”
“Since we’ve already talked that much about the labyrinth, it’s no longer a confidential information but this Church Headquarters has a labyrinth. It was a labyrinth that appeared about 50 years ago but please investigate around the time they decided to give up on conquering it.”
“Understood. We’ll go to the Executives Department with someone who knows the location.”
“Thank you. Now then, for the knights, please line up here. I’ll escort the Pope here. Catherine-san, please come along with me. Also, it would be troublesome if there were remnants of the Executives Department around so Nadia and Lydia please come along too.”
After I gave out instructions to everyone, I looked at Paula and Dolan.
“Paula, nice golem. Dolan, I’ll leave this place to you too.”
“Thanks for the magic stones.”
“Together with Paula, I’ll capture those who act violently or try to escape.”
” … Please try to keep within not killing them.”
After Paula nodded, she began watching over the knights.
With a wry smile, I began walking towards where the Pope was located.
Along the way to the Pope’s room, Catherine-san thanked me.
“Luciel-kun, I’ve been saved by you once again during this incident. Thank you.”
“Don’t mention it, Dongahaha’s target was me so I also have to apologize for involving you too, sorry. Moreover, I came to rescue Catherine-san because of Garba-san’s request who I owe a lot to. So if you wish to thank someone, please direct it to Garba-san.”
For Catherine-san who has too many elements of uncertainty, I truthfully didn’t want to have too much contact with her until the whole situation settled down.
I do believe that it is important to converse and be sociable but I spoke while drawing a definite line.
“I see … Nevertheless, it looks like Luciel-kun has steadily grown. Since before, nobody could catch up to your Holy Attribute Magic but now even your combat ability is stronger than me. Perhaps even stronger than Lumina too …”
Catherine-san was praising me with a smile but because there was a troublesome portion involved now, I only spoke a little about my true feelings and ended up building a wall between us.
” … I’m sorry for sending you flying with a kick the other day. I only knew of your circumstance after reaching Meratoni so I had thought Catherine-san had also turned into my enemy.”
“Fufu. Going down to the root of it, it just shows that I lacked power. Leaving that aside, what do you intend to do now?”
This was most likely the question she wanted to ask the most.
“For Pope-sama to remain on the Pope seat or to express her intent to resign, I’ll let herself decide to step up or down.”
“You intend to ask Pope-sama to vacate her seat! I won’t let you do that!”
I said it during the fight but after I said that I will entrust the decision to Pope-sama, Catherine stood in front of me and stopped.
Nadia and Lydia observed my and Catherine-san’s next move and didn’t move.
“The one to decide will be Pope-sama. Furthermore, if this continues, the Church will quickly decay and sooner or later the Church will walk down the path of destruction. No matter how noble the philosophy was it built on, after getting weathered by time, it’s obvious that there is no longer a clear doctrine left.”
After saying that, I tried to cross Catherine-san’s side but she blocked my path once again.
“You should understand as well how much thought Pope-sama put in for the sake of the Church and the people. Even then, you still deny Pope-sama!”
“I am not denying her, I just don’t blindly accept her. It’s true that Pope-sama is kind and thinks of the Church more than the others. I can tell that too. However, no matter how much Pope-sama prays for the happiness of everyone, is there a person in this Church Headquarters who can inherit that and make it take shape?”
Without a clear vision or plan, just speaking of feelings alone will not solve anything.
Catherine-san probably actually understood that too.
This time, she didn’t stop me but continued walking.
I don’t know the reason why Catherine-san was so fixated on Pope-sama but there was probably a reason for it.
However, I kept to myself that it would probably not be that simple for Pope-sama to step down from the Pope seat.
When we reached Pope-sama’s room, Estia? came out from within to greet us.
“Luciel-sama, I see you’ve returned to the Church.”
It was not the Darkness Spirit but regular Estia.
” … Yeah. I am sorry for leaving Estia in the Church and placing a burden on you.”
“Don’t worry. I like Pope-sama so it’s not a problem.”
I felt apologetic to Estia who said that with a slight smile as I entered the room.
Pope-sama’s room was properly tidied up but there were only the figures of Rosa-san and Estia inside.
“Pope-sama, we meet again after two days. I don’t see the attendants?”
“Luciel, I’m glad that you seem well. The attendants are currently substituting Rosa at the canteen. Hn? Catherine is with you too.”
“Yes. She and the Valkyrie Paladin Corps were about to be executed so I rescued them.”
“What do you mean!!”
Pope-sama and Catherine-san raised voices of surprise at my unexpected words but there was a proper reason why I spoke of the facts this time.
I wanted to know how the Pope faction who believes in Pope-sama would act once they know the truth of the danger they are exposed to.
“Catherine-san, I won’t come all the way here to tell lies to Pope-sama.”
“Well done Luciel, truly thank you for saving them. But why were they facing execution?”
Pope-sama was delighted that Catherine-san was alive but it looked like she wanted to know the reason for their execution.
“Before that Pope-sama. As I had requested, have you told the Church Headquarters’ personnel and all Healer’s Guild that I have become a Sage?”
“Umu. I told the Archbishops and Healer’s Guild guildmasters whom I could contact using the magic communication bead.”
“I informed the Healers and Maids.”
It looked like Rosa-san helped out too.
“Is that so? The orders for executions was on the suspicion of being a double spy but that was because of the fact that Catherine-san dove into the darkness of the Church, the Executives Department on her own, was discovered.”
“She tried to wipe away the Church’s darkness but unfortunately failed, even so, Pope-sama, do not forget to punish Catherine-san for acting on her own. Well, as she acted for the sake of the Church, I believe it would be fine if she was given an amnesty …”
” …… ”
Catherine-san was really glaring at me but did she not consider the risk of being a double spy? I could only think of people who met all kinds of unfortunate ends.
Does Garba-san like her for that? I ignored the glare and explained to Pope-sama the mastermind behind the chain of events in an easy to understand manner.
” … I found out the mastermind who spread rumors about me.”
“What!? Who was it?”
The Pope leaned forward in her seat.
“Led by the leader of the Executives Department Dongahaha, under the command of the former Priest Knight Captain Bulltooth, the Human Supremacist knights have been arrested at the large training ground.”
“Dongahaha … I see.”
She showed an expression that said that she couldn’t believe it but didn’t she make the association when she heard that the Executives Department was involved? I had slight doubts but I told Pope-sama the truth that Dongahaha said, word for word.
“Yes. He planned to execute the girls in order to lure me in. At that moment, he used an evil magic that demonized the knights.”
” … Demonization? Not in other countries but inside the church?”
“Yes. Actually, I’ve seen the usage of the demonization evil magic here and there lately. But I never could imagine that demonization would take place inside the Church.”
” …… ”
Pope-sama was desperately trying to think but I told Pope-sama the main subject before she tripped herself in her own whirlpool of thoughts.
“Now we should head to the large training ground and Pope-sama should judge them. I will accept whatever judgment you give. I don’t mind even if you forgive all of them.”
Catherine-san raised a shocked voice but I didn’t really deviate from what I said before and even if I said I will accept it, I didn’t say that I will agree with it.
“I know that Pope-sama places great importance on the Church. It is a place founded by Rainstar-dono so Pope-sama most likely has strong feelings towards it.”
“But Pope-sama is just too kind. You’ve been too kind and have crossed the border to end up being too indulgent. I think that kindness is a wonderful thing. I have also been saved many times by Pope-sama’s kindness. However, kindness is different from indulgence.”
I recalled the words Shisho and Lionel said to be before and I was just conveying second-hand knowledge but I altered it with my own words and said it to Pope-sama.
“Kindness and indulgence?”
“Yes. For example, if a child does something bad. What will that child’s parent do?”
“They will scold him.”
“Yes. But will they scold him with feelings of hatred?”
“No. They will teach him what is bad so that the child can know what is bad in the future.”
“Yes. In that example, it is the parent’s kindness that considers the child’s future. However, indulgence is when the parent doesn’t scold the child even when he does something bad and instead tolerate and accepts it. What happens to the child if that occurs?”
” … He won’t be able to recognize that act as bad.”
“Has Pope-sama experience being scolded before?”
“Scolded … I’ve been scolded a long time ago.”
Pope-sama answered with a smile and a somewhat lonely expression.
“We are not Gods. So there will be times when we are wrong. However, after committing an error, we must correct it. I feel that the current complicated situation the Church is facing is a result of having left the errors alone without correcting them.”
” …… You are referring to how I should have done something against Dongahaha and the people under him?”
Pope-sama started trembling.
“Yes. It is easy to let others decide for you. However, I would like Pope-sama to decide what to do this time. If you can’t come to a decision no matter what, you can discuss it with somebody but please hold responsibility as the Pope to make the decision in the end. As an atonement for lying.”
I heard a ‘Shing’ as Catherine-san drew her sword but she was stopped by Nadia and Lydia pointed her staff at her.
“Take that back.”
Catherine-san probably wanted me to take back my accusation but I had no intention of doing so.
I ignored Catherine-san and spoke to Pope-sama.
“Pope-sama already knew that the barrier around the Church Headquarters … no, around the Holy Capital no longer exist right?”
That instant, only for a moment but I certainly saw Pope-sama’s body jerk.
In the first place, it would be weird if Pope-sama didn’t notice the disappearance of the barrier.
Pope-sama, as the child of the out-of-the-ordinary reincarnator Rainstar-dono and a High Elf of legends, would definitely have noticed it with her Magical Power Perception.
Even if the Holy Capital is attacked by monsters, Pope-sama definitely has the magical power to protect the Holy Capital and there is no doubt that she is skillful in magical power, spells and magical power manipulation.
I wondered why Pope-sama acted incompetent but she was probably too kind to the point that she was afraid to pass judgment.
Thinking about it, for a free-spirited person like Rainstar-dono who constructed Nelldal and Rockford, there shouldn’t be any reason for him to lock away his daughter’s freedom and force her to live in a bird cage.
“You acted like you did not notice the disappearance of the barrier so that you don’t have to punish the people responsible for it. You didn’t leave the Church because there’s a possibility that you can’t protect the Church Headquarters and Holy Capital if anything happens right?”
I still clearly remembered the mystical feeling I had of Pope-sama the first time I met her.
That’s why, now that the demons have infiltrated the Church, I wanted to know how Pope-sama will deal with it and for her to decide on the Church’s direction for the future.
“From now on, do you intend to live up to the noble ideals set when the Church was established or do you wish to slowly let the Church rot away, please tell me your intentions, Pope-sama.”
I bowed deeply.
Thank you for reading.
TL: Sigh, suddenly a huge chapter of difficult sentences.