"What exactly is the point in doing this?"
After Liu Li and Bai Shixuan arrived at Dragon City Guard barrack area, driven beyond the limit that she could handle, Aya asked a question that has been puzzling her for a long time.
"I agree with your idea to use Bedivere’s wife and child as a breakthrough. But what exactly are you doing now? Letting Liu Li and Bai Shixuan close to them, then what? Yes, Ms. Marina really valued and cherished Liu Li and little Bai, but do you really think she would betray her belief for two people? She is the church’s Holy Woman, her faith is firm. Even her beloved Bedivere could not shake it. Your thinking about people is too simple!"
Wang Lu casually smiled and looked at Aya with great interest.
Aya sighed and said, "I don’t want to blame you, but this is only a waste of time. Moreover, the more they continue to make contact with her, the easier for her to see their flaws. Because of her obsession, Marina wants to take this opportunity to build a bridge with the Dragon City Master, plus they were recommended by her daughter Irene, that’s why she doesn’t doubt Little Bai and Liu Li. But if she observes carefully, she could find the clues. Many of the Holy Women of Holy Light Religion are high order professions, so their eyesights are not so weak."
"Aya, when did I ever say I want to shake Marina and Irene’s faith of Holy Light?"
Wang Lu said, "The devout faith in Holy Light has never been the focal point of contradiction. The spiritual essence advocated by Holy Light is the good character of human beings, tolerance, kindness, universal love, and so on. How could these qualities be the culprit that hinders Marina and Bedivere from being together? Bedivere is not a demon from the abyss. It is not the faith of Marina that causes the marital conflict, but the church that she is in. If there were no Holy Light Religion, how could there be so much trouble!"
Aya was startled. "You want to drive a wedge between her and the church?"
"Actually, there’s no need for me to drive a wedge. There are irreconcilable contradictions between the concept of Holy Woman and the church. The concept of Holy Woman, is, in fact, an idealized product. It requires a woman to have an affinity with the Holy Light and a pure heart, not tainted even by a speck of dust, so as to have a pure and holy power, to show the world the beauty of the Holy Light. However, when people walk in the world, how could they never be tainted by dust? The so-called Holy Woman is simply the product of abnormal growth and excessive protection, completely unaware of the viciousness of the human world. As for Holy Light Religion, although it was established due to the faith of Holy Light, in essence, it is still an organization with its own interest. And any organization with interest is absolutely not clean."
Aya sighed. "These words of yours do make sense."
"Therefore, the conflict between the Holy Woman and the church will erupt sooner or later. Then either the Holy Woman chooses to accept the reality, or the church forces them to accept the reality—therefore, the career of a Holy Woman is generally very short. By managing to hold this position even when her daughter is already so big, Marina is already overage for her position; behind this, there’s definitely a credit by Bedivere."
"Bedivere?" Aya closed her eyes. "Indeed this kind of thing is something that he will do."
Wang Lu said, "But this contradiction will erupt sooner or later. So what we must do is to gently push it a little bit."
"Sometimes, a few words of rumor can have a big effect. For example, Marina is taking advantage of her missionary work with the new recruits as a cover up for her secret collusion with the Dragon City Guards to make a disadvantageous move towards Holy Light Religion."
"... Is this low-level rumor going to help? No matter what, Marina is, after all, the church’s Holy Woman."
"Of course, because this is an immutable human nature!"
Wang Lu paused and then, as if saying with deep emotion, "Compared to the truth, people will always prefer rumors."
"This is a completely groundless accusation!"
In a solemn assembly time at Dragon City Cathedral, under the eruption of consternation eyes from many of the clerics, the voice of Holy Woman Marina, while slightly trembling, contained a boiling anger.
"Yulia, say out loud to everyone what you just said in secret!"
The woman called out by Marina was a glamorous female priest. Upon hearing her name being said, she was slightly startled, but then she revealed a malicious smile. "It’s nothing, I just said that these last two days, there are many rumors, saying that you and two Dragon City Guards have gotten very close. Every once in awhile, you would meet with them, but no one knows what secret talk that you held with them. Other people said that through the missionary time, you secretly collude with the two Dragon City Guards and Bedivere, probably to do something detrimental to the church…"
"I secretly collude with the Dragon City Guard, to do something detrimental to the church? You actually dare to say this ridiculous rumor! If I really want to collude with the Dragon City Master, in the past how could…" Upon speaking to this, Marina was suddenly awakened and stopped herself. Trying to hold back her anger, she said red-facedly, "Yulia, telling lies is original sin!"
Yulia airly smiled. "Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mean that to be serious. Initially, I just wanted to tell our sisters the jokes that I heard, letting them know how ignorant common people are. Unexpectedly, it landed in the ears of Holy Woman and thought that it was true. You are the church’s Holy Woman, the Archbishop himself personally awarded you with that title, who dares to doubt your faith to the Holy Light and to the church?"
Upon hearing this, Marina’s anger was increased instead, but she felt that she was unable to take action about it.
The other priests reacted differently. Nevertheless, everyone knew what happened between the two. Yulia basically deliberately took aim at Marina. Initially, she and Marina came from the same monastery. In various aspects, her condition was above Marina, so when they met, she felt superior to her. Afterward, when they both competed for the position of Holy Woman, Yulia thought that she would be the winner. However, in the end, she unexpectedly lost to Marina, whose all aspects were not as good as her. This caused her to form a grudge.
It was just that, a lot of the people present have heard the rumors said by Yulia, which actually came in many versions. Some were laughable like what Yulia said, but some have struck the dark psychology of many people, and thus were taken seriously by many.
In these days, the fact that Marina had often met privately with two Dragon City Guards in her own private dwelling was the truth that has been seen by many people. It would be ridiculous to say that Marina was plotting something—even if it were, it wouldn’t be in the cathedral. But what about other reasons? For example… they have heard that the two Nine Regions girls were absolutely beautiful. However, the Holy Women of Holy Light Religion was perhaps a group of people in the continent with the highest proportion of homosexuality...
The various rumors that were circulating recently vividly described the scenes in their private meetings.
As the main character in question, Marina was naturally angry. However, she was not angry for her damaged reputation, but that the communication bridge with Dragon City Guards that she had painstakingly built was interrupted because of this… She could hardly repress her anger whenever she thought about it.
After the end of that meeting, she had wanted to return to her private dwelling to rest, but instead was called by the Archbishop Rowan.
The Archbishop has always been like a father to her, dignified and kind. Now that she was troubled, she did want comfort from the Archbishop.
However, when they met, Rowan’s words sent her into an ice hole.
"Marina, I want you to stop seeing those two Nine Regions girls."
"Why?" Marina said in disbelief, "Your grace, do you actually believe those absurd rumors?"
"Of course not, and no one believes them either. However, ultimately, the impact is not good."
Marina anxiously said, "Your grace, Liu Li and Bai Shixuan are the two best compatible-with-the-Holy-Light candidates that I have ever seen. Their qualifications are far above me. Even the Holy City’s paramount Holy Woman may not necessarily be able to top them. If we can get them to join us, it would be the church’s greatest harvest in recent years. Moreover, at the last meeting, they have already expressed their desire to join the church!"
Rowan sighed. "I know. For you to regard them so highly like that and to not even hesitate to meet them many times, there definitely is something special about them. However, the rumors have already been circulating too widely."
"Those are just rumors!" Marina, filled with grief and indignation, argued, "Why do you care about rumors?"
"Because there is power in rumor! Many times, a person’s success and failure often can be influenced by one or two rumors!" Rowan turned solemn. "I personally promoted you from the monastery, so I have high hopes for you!"
Seeing that the Archbishop has turned serious, Marina felt powerless. After a while, she calmed down a bit. "Then wouldn’t it be enough if we can just put down the source of these rumors? I can guess who are the ones who circulated these rumors...Yulia? Judith? Carrida? Those who know about my relationship with Bedivere are not too many…"
"That’s enough!" Archbishop Rowan suddenly roared. "How could you be so cynical about your own sisters in faith?"
Marina said, "But they…"
"Yes, they believe the rumors, they add fuel to the fire, they take pleasure in others’ misfortune, and they gloat. But that’s because they are not mature and they need constant discipline. But you are the church’s Holy Woman, so you can’t have the same standard as them!" Rowan sternly reprimanded. "Moreover, it’s not them who spread the rumors."
"No matter who he or she or them are, that’s not of your concern. Marina, your heart is already in disarray, this is not how a Holy Woman should look like!"
Marina was silent for a long time. "I am sorry, my heart is indeed shaken."
"Go back and calm yourself, may the Holy Light be with you."
"... Yes, Your Grace."
The next half a month was an unprecedented torment. Marina suddenly seemed to have been thrown back to several years ago, when she broke up with Bedivere. It was that kind of torment and pain.
Actually, she had only made a total of five times contact with Liu Li and Bai Shixuan, or two full days, so it was impossible to really accumulate deep feelings. Perhaps, most of her anger came from her unwillingness to being wronged.
What have I done wrong? Why… must there be someone vicious who doubted me and attacked me! Why would someone who has nothing to do with me create this disturbance? Why is even the Archbishop unwilling to support me? What exactly is the problem here? Have I made a mistake or… someone else?
"Mom, are you unhappy?"
When the daughter came to Marina with a worried face, she could finally stretch her brows.
"It’s nothing." Marina tenderly touched her daughter’s head. "I’m not unhappy."
"Oh, yeah, in two days, Sister Liu Li and Sister Bai Shixuan are coming over."
In two days? Marina looked up and felt somewhat pained. Two days later, she had to say goodbye to them.
If nothing unexpected happened, those two intelligent, well-behaved girls would become her unforgettable memories.
At the same time, far away in Dragon City barrack, the secret manipulator behind the scene was holding and examining the freshly printed newspaper. Gradually, his facial expression became excited.
"Everything is ready; the eastern wind has arrived!"
In the newspaper, the news of the attack on the eastern church by the heretics of Nine Regions cultivators was printed on the front page.