"The Holy Church sent an envoy?"
Although the Holy Church had been pushed out of East Mist, they were still the main, most widely believed religious institution of the entire human society and the most important member of the Gods’ churches. Since they were sending an envoy to me, it was only natural that I would view this with importance.
I received that important notification right when I returned to my residence. No wonder everyone had been in such a rush to find me. It was probably because that envoy group asked to personally meet with me.
"Cough! All those tin cans blocking my escape route, you guys must be tired. You can go back and rest now. I won’t play the disappearing game anymore."
"That’s not necessary, Your Highness. We’re not tired at all!"
Although the knights remained orderly, judging by how their voices were filled with pent up anger and complaints, my good intentions only caused them to become more furious.
Perhaps I had vanished too many times recently. Right now, even Elisa and Kelly weren’t looking at me in a friendly manner. If it weren’t for the fact that they still needed me, their tiny fists, which were clenched ever so tightly, would probably be mightily walloping me.
"It’s probably another foreign visitor who wants to meet with me personally. Alright, I shall go meet them now."
However, Elisa and Kelly shook their heads and handed me a document instead. It was the list of the names of those in the Holy Church’s envoy group, and the moment I saw these names, I understood why they were so mysteriously filled with complaints against me.
"Whoa! Cardinal Soros, the Holy Blade Knights’ vice-commander ‘Red-Winged Griffin’ Aivla, and ‘Miracle Hand’ Estrada. Each one of them is a big shot!"
I was immediately on guard when I saw this list of names. I thought that this would only be a normal diplomatic meeting, but the envoys were of too high a rank. It was obvious that the reason of their visit would be no simple matter.
"Soros is ranked seventeenth among the cardinals. Although there isn’t a possibility of him becoming the next pope, his reputation is quite good for a cardinal. He’s also famous for being gentle and amiable. The Holy Blade Knights are known as the number one knight group under the Holy Light’s command. You should understand that organization even better than I do; you were a member of the Holy Church in the past."
Kelly’s tone contained some traces of melancholy. Perhaps she was thinking about the unpleasant past.
"As for Estrada, there’s been no news about him for over the past hundred years. But, from what we can recall, Estrada’s nickname as the Miracle Hand isn’t anywhere close to being as famous as his other nickname, ‘The Strongest Holy Knight of All.’ For three such major figures to come together with no advance warning, this will probably be quite a troublesome situation."
All three of them were part of the highest echelons of the Holy Church. The Cardinal Conference was the highest-ranked authority of the Holy Church, and even the pope would be chosen from among them. In the current era, where belief in the Holy Light was as natural as breathing, any cardinal visiting a country would be able to receive treatment surpassing that of a country’s king.
As for the other two with Cardinal Soros, perhaps they weren’t as highly ranked within the church as he was, but if you went, instead, by their personal reputations and power levels, then Soros, who was still an ordinary mortal, could never compare to them.
"The Holy Blade? Of course I’m familiar with them. After all, I was a member of that group back in the day as well."
The Holy Blade Knights typically stayed at the Holy Church’s headquarters, and would receive a pitifully small amount of combat tasks to complete. Their members also included numerous princes and princesses from various countries, which was why it was often made fun of as the babysitting knight group or the decorative knight group. However, for any of the Holy Church’s enemies, this knight group, which started out with Legend-ranked strength and peaked at the Myth rank, were always destined to become their enemies’ nightmares on the battlefield.
I had heard of the ‘Red-Winged Griffin’ Aivla as well. She was the youngest of the Holy Blade’s three sub-commanders, and it was rumored that she was a Child of the Holy Light who possessed angel blood. She was a natural-born killer of the undead, and the number of liches and undead mages killed she had killed were probably so numerous that one could make a telephone book out of the list’s thickness.
Although she was the least experienced of the three sub-commanders, her power level was definitely significant. And as one of the sub-commanders of the Holy Blade Knights, her status wasn’t less than that of a Cardinal’s at all. Not to mention that the knights guarding this envoy group were all Holy Blade Knights directly under her command.
The Holy Blade Knights was a very strange knight order. All of its official knights were carefully selected ace knights from the entire world, and their squires consisted of not only potential future talents but even various young royals from many countries.
Some came of their own volition, while others were forced. If everything were successful, these young royals would become a method for their home countries to establish a good relationship with the Holy Church, and if problems arose, they would basically become pitiful hostages with awkward statuses.
This was also why the Holy Blade Knights had the nickname of the babysitting knight group. They didn’t have anything to do at all, and the members typically involved themselves in various political events. However, looking at it from a different angle, if a knight order with power levels like theirs had daily missions to perform, then the world would be in utter chaos.
I was one of the potential knights in that group back in the day. However, if I hadn’t managed to become a Legend, I probably would have remained as an apprentice for the rest of my life. As for that ‘Miracle Hand’ Estrada, I was even more familiar with him.
"It’s obvious that they intentionally sent him, that teacher of mine who seems mild on the outside but is actually wild on the inside."
Yep, back in the day, I was Estrada’s squire. And this Miracle Hand had already established his fame more than five hundred years ago, and was the strongest individual out of all the Holy Knights. During the Yongye incident, we even fought with each other.
"One is a Cardinal who represents the pope’s will, one is the boss of the knight order I was in, and one was my knight teacher in the past. Should I say that they really view me with importance? Making such thorough preparations, they really made an effort."
All three of these envoys were obviously specifically picked just to deal with me, but no matter what the Holy Church wanted, sending out such a high-ranked envoy group couldn’t possibly be for anything small.
Kelly and the others also had difficult expressions on their faces. Everyone here knew about the Holy Church’s typical style. The overall statuses of this envoy group’s members were far too high, and no matter whether they had good or bad intentions sending out three veterans like this, where any one of them would be a hugely important personage in human society, wouldn’t possibly be only for a simple greeting.
However, I laughed. What was going to come was going to come. The Holy Church had always viewed itself as the master of the entire human society, and with me causing such a ruckus in the Northlands, if they still had zero reaction, that would have been strange instead.
"Make them wait."
"This is the Miracle Hand we’re dealing with, a real living Myth. Legends about his achievements have already been spreading for several hundred years. He’s basically the living personification of the Holy Light."
"All the more reason to make him wait."
If it was any other envoy, it probably would have been fine to meet them right away. However, since Estrada was the envoy, hurriedly meeting him would obviously be a bad thing. It wasn’t only that—I also faintly guessed at why they were here. Making them wait to show our dissatisfaction and uncaring attitude towards them would be more advantageous for our upcoming discussion.
"Have the tin can knights keep a close eye on them. Don’t let them become too bored and come out and tour around. That would probably cause an incident."
At my command, the tin cans came in, but the knight leader, who looked like a big silly bear, had an expression that revealed he felt this would be difficult to accomplish.
"What? You say that you can’t do it? Stupid, did you think that you were supposed to just block their doors? Go ask that quiet-on-the-outside, wild-on-the-inside old grandpa about combat techniques and holy magic. Go ask that sub-commander about the meaning of Holy Light, and go tell that cardinal about your sins and frustrations. Make four teams among yourselves, and each team needs to ask them questions for a minimum of four hours. I want them to not even have time to eat or drink."
That knight leader, who was as thick as a silly bear, still seemed hesitant.
"What if they don’t teach us?"
"In the Holy Church, one of their teachings is to ‘Never refuse service to anyone who desires the teachings of the Holy Light.’ If they try to use some excuse to not teach you, then just keep talking about this precept and cry while doing so. Let me see just how they deal with that."
Right when I finished speaking, all my knights were filled with an eager anticipation to try. If any of them could learn a thing or two from such famous Holy Knights, it would truly be akin to accomplishing something they could only dream about.
"You’re still not going? This is such a great task. If you guys won’t do it, I’ll find someone else to do it."
Seeing my tin cans rush out the door, I knew that that old man Estrada was going to be really busy. As a living legend among knights, these young passionate tin cans of mine would definitely keep him good company.
"You’re really evil. After all, he was still your knight teacher in the past."
"Yep, it’s not like he’s the first teacher of mine that came trying to kill me, and nor is he my first teacher that’s suffered because of me. It’s easy for me to make him suffer… I’m really not talking about you, Harloys! Stop biting me!"
Alright then, my head was in danger from a certain black cat, and I even felt a glare from behind my back.
"Amelia, don’t glare at me like that! What happened to between in the past doesn’t count! Alright, I apologize—I sincerely apologize! I give my two teachers here my sincerest apologies, which is why—please let go—Milady Harloys! I’ve been quite anemic recently. If this continues I’ll really die!"
I finally freed myself from the "soulbound equipment" on my head, and I organized my things and prepared to head out again.
"Um, in order to avoid being caught by Estrada, I’m going to go out again. If those guys come looking for me, remember to say that I’ve gone somewhere far away… why are you all taking out your weapons? I’m talking about something serious here! It’s definitely not because I want to slack off! I can make an oath! If I’m lying, let Beifeng be struck by thunder!"
"That bastard is often struck by thunder anyways, so let’s not discuss your meaningless untrustworthy oath; today, your task is to finish dealing with all the official documents piled up on these three desks! Before you finish, you’re forbidden to go anywhere!"
"Damned heretics! Damned barbarians! One day, I swear I’ll exterminate all the evil and heretics here!"
In a hotel for foreign guests in Diffindor, the three high-ranked envoys from the Holy Church were currently having a discussion. At the current moment, the youngest among them, Aivla, was currently shouting in thunderous rage. For someone like her who had a deep hatred of the undead, she had been filled with pent-up anger ever since she entered this city.
Soros, who was wryly smiling, was an elderly man who appeared to be a kind individual. He was currently doing his best to try to pacify his companion’s rage, but to be honest, he was inwardly angry as well. In fact, this was his first time getting angry in the past ten years.
High-level undead were actually appearing in public just like that on the main streets, and ordinary citizens even used low level undead as laborers. If it weren’t for the fact that they already received information about this beforehand, they could have mistaken this place to be the legendary Undead Plane.
Just like the female knight who was currently raging next to him, he had to restrain himself from acting to "cleanse" these undead all along the way. After all, based on the information they received, if any of them took action, not only would nobody likely thank them for it, but they would, in fact, be labeled as "murderers" and be marked by Wumianzhe’s Divine Domain. That would surely give them an endless amount of trouble.
"My glorious Gods, why do you protect these evil undead? And, my pure and holy lord of Holy Light, what is your divine will? What are you intending? Why did you send your loyal servant to such a barbaric location?"
Even the most devout believer would have complaints at such a time. At this current moment, Soros was wondering about the mysterious divine will that had sent him here. He also wondered about the undead that were living here just like ordinary people, and he recalled the top-secret information that he had read through. Soros even began to doubt his own belief for the first time.
"The undying Roland? I never expected there to be such an existence."
Unlike Aivla who only had partial information, Soros knew everything about the content of their envoy group’s mission. He also had a high enough rank to be allowed to look through ancient records that had been sealed for several hundred years.
He had read through the darkest parts of the Holy Church’s history that were filled with the light. The Undead King, Forbidden Spell Mage, Divine Child of Light, Law God’s Envoy, The Man Who Betrayed the Holy Light, The Heretic King—all these titles were given to just one person. Just thinking about how this one person had accomplished so many legendary feats, even a cardinal like Soros felt astonished and fearful. He didn’t understand why he had to come to this heretical location, nor did he understand why he had to make a trade with this heretic king.
"My Lord, is this a test of my faith? Please forgive me for doubting your divine will, but looking at all the demons walking around on the streets, I feel like I really am making a trade with demons!"
Just like always, the cardinal’s prayer, which was somewhat irreverent and disrespectful this time, received no response whatsoever. However, for him, he always believed it to be evidence of the inscrutable will of the Gods.
The legend among legends, Estrada, kept reading a book of his. It seemed like he didn’t notice his two companions’ complaints at all.
Estrada didn’t appear to have a Myth-ranked hero’s aura about him at all. His appearance was ordinary, his height was ordinary, his muscles didn’t bulge, and even the evidence of holy power within him wasn’t evident. He seemed almost exactly like an ordinary person, and on the entire way here, he had remained silent to the point that Soros didn’t comprehend. Either he was reading a book or drinking tea. If Soros didn’t know better, he would have mistaken him for a tourist who had come here only to enjoy the sights.
Soros couldn’t do anything about this elder of his who appeared younger than his own grandson. He could only allow Estrada to do as he pleased.
One of his companions was filled with rage, and Soros had to stay on guard and prevent her from drawing her sword and attacking the undead, which would interfere with their diplomatic efforts and the Holy Church’s reputation. Meanwhile, his other companion was living in his own little world, and he was unable to do anything about it at all. Although this wasn’t Soros’ first time as an envoy to another country, at the current moment, Soros felt that he had truly gotten old. He even began to consider whether he should retire soon.
And before his current troubles were even over, new troubles came for him. The sky wasn’t even light outside when a noisy bunch arrived outside his door. It seemed that the lost lambs searching for the Holy Light’s teachings had arrived again.
Although he considered it a good thing that people were willing to accept the Holy Light’s teachings, they had kept him busy until 3:00 a.m. in the morning, which was quite tiring. Not only that, but these youngsters had such sincere attitudes, and kept talking about how the "Holy Light would never refuse anyone sincerely willing to learn." This made Soros, who always cared about his own friendly reputation, to be unable to say anything forceful in response.
However, just waiting around like this wasn’t a good idea since their envoy group was here to discuss important matters, not to spread the Holy Light’s teachings. Being surrounded by all these youngsters meant that they wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything.
At the moment that the youngsters’ voices reached them from outside, even Estrada smiled wryly. Last night, he had been quite pitiful as he was surrounded by them as well. He was also the type who was unable to refuse sincere youngsters, and teaching was a tiresome matter, not to mention he taught several hundred yesterday, which took a great deal out of him. If this repeated itself today, neither Estrada nor Soros would be able to take it anymore.
"It seems that we can’t wait around any longer. Otherwise, Roland will definitely use even more devious tricks. It’s time to go look for him and have a direct discussion."