Hao Ren observed the disintegrated scroll before him as a confused look appeared on his face. He did not know what had exactly happened. "What's this... Did I tear it apart?"
"An intelligent spiritual signal came from the scroll, but it was destroyed with it." The MDT flew out of Hao Ren's pocket and scanned his body as well as the pieces of the scroll. It was only after a few sweeps that it realized what was going on. "Ohhhh... I understand now. The attack was imbued with divine power."
Hao Ren felt goosebumps forming all over his body. "Divine power?!"
"I know this may be a bit much to digest," the MDT suddenly swapped to telephatic speech. "It seems like the scroll carried some sort of divine power, however it is very weak. Perhaps it's been touched by a real god before and was imbued with a little bit of divinity. But, is enough to inflict indefensible mental damage."
Hao Ren looked up to find everyone staring at him. The pope and the cardinals' gazes made him especially uncomfortable. He quickly waved his hand. "Uh, I'm fine... Let me study this further."
As he spoke, Hao Ren took the MDT to an empty corner. With the tattered remnants of the scroll in his hand, he said, "This is from a real god? Don't tell me it's a holy relic of the goddess of creation?"
"That's the only possibility." The MDT was busy scanning for any remaining traces within the scroll. But by then, whatever energies that were imbued within the scroll had dissipated, and the scroll was nothing but a piece of paper. "Seems like the heretics somehow managed to get their hands on a real holy relic. There's little wonder why they dared to proceed with the assassination attempt. If it had been successful, they could've announced that the pope received divine punishment for turning his back on the goddess' teaching. But that's a goner now."
Hao Ren pursed his lips. "The heretics are certainly capable, however this scroll is really suspect. If it had been your usual enchantment scroll, it wouldn't be too big of an issue. But, divinity? ...Don't tell me that the goddess has used this before?"
"Not exactly. It showed attributes of a secondary reaction. That means it was used in a ritual related to the goddess. Perhaps an ancient race used it as a ritual item a long time ago." The MDT took the opportunity to impart some knowledge about divinity to Hao Ren. "Divinity is a rather complex concept... It's an extension of the information projection theory, and information disruption. Divinity doesn't necessarily require a real god's touch, and not everything a real god uses will be bestowed with divinity. This requires a rule for the projection, and one of it is rituals. Sometimes, the items used during a ritual by mortals may catch the attention of a god, and it is then bestowed with divinity. It's not considered a holy artifact of course, but it's also not something normal. The scroll in your hand is something like that."
"A ritual item used by an ancient race..." Hao Ren demurred. "The Ancient Magic Kingdom? That can't be right... They don't use Letta Runes, and faith in the goddess back then was not comparable to the present... They probably couldn't have produced something like this."
The MDT shook itself. "This scroll is probably not from this planet... Its material is very special; a mix of very complex synthetic fabric. This needs high-level technology and that doesn't match the technological level of this planet or the Ancient Magic Kingdom. I suspect that this thing came from the same place as the summoned brain."
Hao Ren nodded, and frowned almost immediately. "So, if this is a holy artifact of the goddess, why did it attack the Pope? I'm pretty sure there's no one more pious than the Pope?"
"What if it attacks indiscriminately?" the MDT suddenly suggested. "The goddess of creation in this world is clearly unstable, and everything related to her seems to go haywire. It's very hard to determine the volatility of any holy artifact related to her."
Hao Ren nodded again, and agreed that it was a possibilty. He then took a curious glance at the shredded pieces of paper in his hand. "Why did this thing tear itself apart?"
"Because it used divine powers to attack you." The MDT bumped Hao Ren on the chest. "And you're an apostle."
"You're an apostle, the kind that signed a contract. So technically speaking, when the attack happened, it was between the goddess of creation and Madame Raven. And clearly, Madame Raven is ranked way higher than the goddess of creation, thus your rank is higher than the scroll. Divinity is something like hierachy; it's effective, yet rigid. If a power of lower authority tries to challenge the information signal of something of higher authority, it will only bug out."
Hao Ren was perplexed, but felt like a big shot because of it. "Why did it sound like I was forced to do this?"
The MDT smashed itself against Hao Ren's head. "Nonsense! You're a member of the clergy! And you're the type that reports directly to a goddess! So, even if you're a no-good, cocaine-snorting, chain-smoking, womanizing excuse of a human being, you're still a member of the clergy. Therefore, can you for the love of god have some self-awareness and act like you fit the status?!"
Self-awareness was not Hao Ren's strong point and he pretty much lost the whole image of a clergyman the moment he said "hi!". "Heh, I never knew... This status actually has some real effects? What can it do aside from trashing that scroll? Hao Ren asked as he pointed at the scroll.
The MDT pondered for a bit. "Does having a longer designation than most when you print out your ID count?"
Hao Ren was speechless.
He the stored a few pieces of the scroll into his Dimensional Pocket before he went up to the pope. After some deliberation, he decided to hide the part about "divinity" to prevent a large scale collapse of their faith. "This thing only works once. It was ruined the moment you withstood it."
The pope took the tattered remnants of the scroll and found that it indeed did not pose any further threat. He quickly passed it to one of the cardinals beside him. "Put it aside. I speak for the Church and I apologize to all of you for what happened today. Also, you have my gratitude for assisting us in taking down this heretical creature. Cardinal Malfoy, take this heretic to the penitentiary. Perhaps it can still speak."
Y'zaks made way to allow a few Church Knights to tie down the still-struggling monster. After some effort, the knights finally managed to secure it before they stuffed it into a cage. Before they left, Y'zaks asked as he frowned, "You plan to interrogate this thing?"
"We'll do what we can." The old priest in white robes called Malfoy nodded. "If it can still understand us, I hope it'll admit its crimes to redeem itself."
It was clear that even the priests manning the penitentiary were not confident about getting the monster to actually divulge anything useful. This was the headache that the Disciples of Glory faced. Most of the time, the heretics only used such foul amalgamations of blood and flesh, or magical rock monsters to do their bidding. The true perpetrators were never seen. It took multiple sweeps by the Church and Royal Knights to actually threaten the core of the cult. It was the hardest task they had faced so far.
Y'zaks pondered for a bit before he asked, "What do you think about the interrogation of a soul?"
Hao Ren felt that Y'zaks finally said something befitting his status as a demon king.
Holletta had a brief understanding of souls, and some who were expectionally powerful could even sense them. However, their understanding and research had not reached the point of extracting a soul to beat it senseless. So, both the pope and Cardinal Malfoy were rather dumbfounded. Y'zaks quickly expalined, "I have the ability to control souls, and if you find it necessary. I can pull out this creature's soul. If my guess is correct, one of the souls inside is dominant, while the rest are just simply trapped within the shell, Knight John included. Maybe I can still save the innocent. Does that go against your teachings?"
Vivian prodded Hao Ren by the arm. "Seems like ole Y'zaks is doing something befitting a demon king."