Chapter 84 – The Disturbing Teachings of the Angel Cult
In the Ark Cathedral stood Benedict, who had just returned, and Archbishop Amanda.
Together they prayed to the “White Celestial Statue”.
They knelt in meditation for a while, worrying about the future of the Angel faith, with a solemn silence surrounding them.
Eventually Benedict stood up and turned to Amanda.
He said, “….His Majesty seems to be distrustful of the Angel Cult… I can understand why.”
“No! We who follow the teachings cannot be wrong.”
Amanda, who corrected her posture, ended up shouting.
‘I guess that means our actions have backfired. Not everything goes well. This is also a trial. There is no growth in life without trials. We should be willing to accept it.”
Even when Amanda acted emotionally, Benedict politely admonished her, as if he were telling a child.
‘But we have many followers who believe in our teachings. We cannot accept all the demands of the kingdom. Therefore, I have taken the decision to move the…. holy site.”
“….I think it is a wise decision.”
Amanda supported Benedict’s claim, even though a pang of regret struck her chest.
Benedict was Amanda’s father and benefactor, who discovered her and appointed her as the archbishop.
‘Ho-ho-ho, you don’t have to be so anxious. This is a new start. This way, I can fulfil the holy son’s order to fortify the isolated island. He must be so frightened of that man (・・・・).”
Amanda had never seen him, but several archbishops had been told of his existence by Benedict.
They were told a story that would be very hard to believe if it were not told by Benedict, the Supreme Bishop.
“But I agree, because I understand that feeling painfully, but… I think it’s better to be sure.”
“Are you sure…?”
Amanda didn’t know everything, either.
She didn’t understand everything Benedict said.
But she never let doubts seep in. She only obeyed his words with no questions asked.
“The power of the next generation of heroes, the mysterious existence of the Black Knight……. Maybe we should prioritize them for now, rather than whether the [Black Demon King] really is the One.”
Leaving aside the Black Knight, the question arises as to why the hero is-
-So weak, even considering his young age.
Aren’t the heroes of today no different from ordinary people?
But Benedict went on to preach without hesitation that there was an emergency.
“The alteration of the color of magic power is a rare phenomenon, but it is quite possible with the amount of strength the [Black Demon King] possesses. While it is reasonable to fortify the defense of Mephiss Island… Maybe it would be better to see if the hero and the Black Knight could be a threat… That’s what I think.”
She waited for Benedict’s next words, with the feeling that if she was going to be at odds with Benedict, he would tell her now.
“I’m going to try to persuade Prince Alto first, but… I will probably use the secret passageway that I have prepared just in case and leave this country with all the main people.”
“I’m going to take some people who are likely to meet persecution along with me to the city that I got through heated negotiations…. There were some conditions, but it’s a good place. Of course, you can come with us, if you want to.”
“Oh! …Oh, Benedict-sama… I’m honored…”
There were some parts of what Benedict said that struck odd in her mind, but soon the questions she had dissipated.
If they increased their allies with the Gospel that Benedict gave them, they could feign ignorance even in a situation like this one. That was probably what Benedict had in mind.
More than that, the pleasure of being able to serve Bendict dominated her mind.
“…..You leave the hero and the Black Knight to me.”
“Oh, yes, I was halfway through the story…. No. I want you to be in charge of conveying my instructions.”
The tears stopped, and pure surprise took over her face.
She had heard the same phrase from Benedict several times before.
Each time was when an order was supposed to be given to a person in the name of a request.
“No way… Are you going to use him?”
“There is no one else who is qualified to deal with the hero and the Black Knight and to perform several missions.”
“…Okay, I’ll go to him right away.”
“Oh, thank you. I admire and have gratitude for your faith.”
“Oh… It is my duty.”
This night, a malice… Madness was unleashed.
In the royal castle of the Kingdom of Light, the “Royal Castle Establishment” festival was held.
With the help of magic techniques and fantastic architectural knowledge, the royal castle was built high and beautifully.
In one of the party halls in the castle, many famous people of the kingdom were gathered to enjoy the banquet.
This Festival was an annual event for which the nobles of the Kingdom of Light, as well as wealthy people from home and abroad gathered.
“–Your Majesty, I am honored to be invited.”
A tall, rotund, elderly woman.
Excessively heavy makeup.
She decorated herself with luxury rings and bangles adorned with dazzling jewels, and wore a dress that was the height of glamor.
The famous “Madame Ritchen.”
“You have kept supported this country economically. I will always continue to invite you. Enjoy your stay.”
“Well, that makes me very happy. I’m a fool who lost everything to that girl, but hearing you say so eases my aching heart.
King Light was flabbergasted by the Madam’s persistent winking at him.
The little crown on top of Alto’s head was shriveling up.
“….is so pretty.”
A new wave of excitement surged through the audience.
People’s hearts were burning, as if they were set on fire.
“Well, it looks like they came. I didn’t think she would accept the invitation… I’m afraid of what she’s going to say, but I’m looking forward to it.” King Light muttered, as if he were talking to himself.
The entirety of the audience, including King Light and the sullen madam looked at…
“…is not bad. Not bad at all.” Hildegard, the president of the Scarlett Chamber of Commerce said.
Her black hair was tied up in a knot, and she wore a red and black dress, which hid her feminine and youthful body.
The coloring of her dress was too eccentric to be worn to the banquet hosted by King Light.
Her breasts and legs were boldly exposed, and the gap between her childish appearance and her supple features captivated the men in the hall.
Her contradictory appearance made people rate her no less than Celestia, who was under house arrest to ensure her safety.
“….Your Majesty, I’ll get going.”
“Well, I’m sorry to bother you.”
“No, no, no, I’m glad I could be here.”
Madame Ritchen bowed politely to the king, then bowed to Alto, who had remained silent because he did not want to get involved, and left.
She went straight to the front exit.
Hildegard headed straight for the king with her companions from the exit.
Wearing ornate hair ornaments and accessories, and daring dresses, the two, who were somewhat alike in every possible way, were drawing closer to each other.
Everyone who knew of their connection pretended to be immersed in their respective conversations, never shifting their gaze, but taking in deep breaths to stabilize their minds.
Hildegard looked at the Madame.
“You’re still alive? I thought you were dead.”
“Is that what you say to the person who saved you from dying in the wilderness?”
“I don’t owe you a favor. Money is power. Power is right. The ones deprived of power are the ones in the wrong. These are the exact words that you have uttered to those you have crushed.”
It is all too well known among aristocrats and the wealthy that the Scarlet Chamber Of Commerce used to have a different Madame at the top.
However, many people think that Hildegard built the Scarlett Chamber Of Commerce in one generation because it only became big and famous after the change in leaders.
“…Oh, no. I am not as dangerous as you. You’re character will only drive men away, won’t it?”
“Nonsense. You spend your days consoling the wound of losing your company using a man you bought with money.”
A cold gaze of pity.
Her words finally made lines appear on Madame’s forehead.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman. All men fear me and follow me blindly, not even letting the thought of disobeying me pass through their minds. Dependence on others is only a sign of weakness. Proof of this is that I have never been attracted to others. All I want is power. The power to make my hopes come true.”
“You never change. You really…. are a sad, pathetic little girl.”
The clearly overwhelmed Madame snickered and sneered in retaliation.
“Did you say pathetic? How’s life working out for you?”
For Hildegard, the Madame was practically a nobody.
“You’re moving your money around a lot, but has it increased?… I guess this is your way of doing things. You lay the ‘groundwork’ and keep on dropping money in until you lose all of it. You just can’t seem to get out of the habit of spending money, even though it’s been years, can you?”
That was the end of the conversation. Hildegard was just playing along till now.
No longer interested, she walked past Madame.
“You will fall…. The only thing you can do is fall. Well… accept it as the consequence of the karma you’ve gained from all those you have abandoned.”
The accessory-type magical tools she had purchased to counter Hildegard began to glow.
They glowed in various shades, coloring Madame Ritchen like a rainbow.
Hildegarde exuded a vague red magic power.
The tables and tableware in the hall shuddered with deafening noises.
Some of the guests even fainted.
Just a little bit of inner magic leaked out, and things already became like this.
“Are you going to resist me with that plaything? Against me?”
Madame was also blessed with a great amount of magic power and had a history of dealing with numerous assassins with her own hands.
She had as many grudges as the stars.
She survived them all without a single fatal wound up till now.
“….I have a feeling we’ll be seeing each other again. Keep working hard, until then.”
“If you had actually attacked me in public, I could have buried you in one fell swoop. Too bad.”
Madame turned away and left, ending their conversation.
“You really are a monster….”
Her opponent was Hildegard.
No one knew the secrets of the source of her bottomless power, and even if they did, they would never be able to reach her.
As it stands now…
“….Oh? I believe you are….”
“I’m… I’m… I’m…”
“Are you the son of Shiro, Commander of the Kingsguard?”
“Yes!” Hakuto replied, looking miserable and frightened. Madame instantly donned a calm expression on her face.
The king had arranged for the inexperienced Hakuto to be put in charge of guarding the exit area in order to give him a taste of this kind of atmosphere.
“Hohoho, you shouldn’t use honorifics for a plain old lady,” she said.
”That aside, you seem to have grown much braver, compared to when I saw you before…“
He received a much more favorable response, compared to last time.
“Hearing a famous person such as yourself say that gives me a boost of confidence.”
“I wonder if I need to be as pure of heart as you are.”
Hakuto tilted his head lightly, and for a moment the Madame let her thoughts wander…
“…it’s nothing. Forget about it.”
“Well then, I will see you again.”
After bidding farewell to Hakuto, the Madame left the hall, her huge body swaying.
Hakuto, who had been tense all day, felt his whole body relax as the Madame left in a dignified manner, her escorts following her closely.
‘…That was scary. I don’t think I can beat Madame, let alone the woman who easily dominated her… [TLN: It probably refers to Hildegard.] If she… slapped me, my head would fly off, wouldn’t it?’
The attention of the entire hall was focused on the King and Hildegard, rather than on the short exchange between Hakuto and the Madame.
“The black knight, huh? The fact that you trust him so much because he saved you once is something that I can never understand.”
“It does not matter. However, as reported by the Black Knight and the [Sword Saint] Lilia, there is a strong possibility that the [Swamp Demon] has fallen into the hands of the [Black Demon King].”
Making sure that no and heard, the King and Hildegard had a secret conversation.
For the king, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Hildegard, who normally never accepted invitations, was lured in with a large sum of money that was given to her in secret.
This was a chance that the Light Kingdom could not afford again.
“I think a threat such as this should be communicated about to you, who is considered one of the most influential people in our country. It is a common threat to both of us.”
“The [Black Demon King].”
So far, things had gone as the King had expected.
No one had anything to say to Hildegard, who had lost all sense of respect, and King Light was rather relieved that the negotiations (…) proceeded smoothly.
But Hildegard’s next words startled not only the king and Alto, but all those to whom her words reached.
“Here they come.”
“…who is here? What do you mean?”
Hildegard told the King and Alto, whose comprehension lagged behind hers, in a simple manner.
“The Black Demon King came to see me a few days ago.”