Published at 1st of May 2023 10:44:58 AM

Chapter 604

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Chapter 604

It was impossible to know when Ellen would uncover the truth. However, it seemed that Ellen's attempt to unravel the matter might lead to an unexpected revelation.

There was no one who could stand in Ellen's way.

My actions had provoked the Holy Knights, and the one investigating the case had obtained a clue.

And then they were killed.

It was bound to take a long time to investigate the case without any knowledge of what had happened.

Although the real culprits would not be caught, Ellen would discover an unrelated truth.

It was impossible to know what judgment Ellen would make in the face of that truth.

I could not stop Ellen.

So, I did what I had to do.

And now.

"Why... are you here?"

I watched the commander of the Holy Knights tremble in fear.

"Well, I didn't think I'd be sitting here a few days ago either."

The first one I contacted was the pope of the Als Church.

And at the convened meeting, I confirmed the support of the other four popes for me.

And finally.

Commander of the Holy Knights, Eleion Bolton.

"We are close enough to be honest with each other. Even if my subordinates caused the Gate incident, you know that I never wanted that, right?"

"The great and revered Five Popes have come to understand my intentions. They have agreed to support me from now on, both financially and morally. Of course, they can't do it openly, so... we're negotiating behind the scenes. At least until the right time comes."

"It's sad that I can only gain their trust after the situation has come to this, but what can I do? That was then, this is now."

"Now, we have agreed to establish a strong, close, and intimate relationship."

"From now on, there will be no divisions, infighting, or power struggles. Those things are exhausting."

"Just trust me, the prophet of all of you, and clear your minds."

"The only one left is you, Commander of the Holy Knights."

Eleion Bolton's expression as he listened to the news that the leaders of the Churches had already turned to the side of the Demon King without him knowing was priceless.

It was the face of someone who had lost everything overnight.

"You know, right? If you refuse, the Five Great Religions and the Holy Knights will be torn apart, and the Holy Knights will be divided between those who support the popes and those who support the commander."

"Do you want to gamble with the fate of humanity and the Church?"

"Or, do you just want to join me and pretend like nothing ever happened?"

"You like that, don't you?"

"Maintaining the status quo."

I never imagined I would make such a threatening offer.

It was not that Eleion Bolton didn’t have the right to refuse.

It was just that if he did refuse, it wouldn’t have only been him who died.

A civil war will break out, and a civil war was synonymous with the extinction of humanity.

The chaos would spread beyond the Church and throughout the entire empire with rumors of the Demon King appearing.

To join me would be to betray humanity.

But not joining me might mean the disappearance of humanity.

He had to consider something he had never thought about before entering the meeting room.

In a short period of time, he would repeatedly weigh many things on a scale.

Eleion Bolton did not particularly like change.

But, strictly speaking, that was not the main point.

Not liking change stemmed from fear and aversion to the chaos that lies beneath. Thus, they desire to maintain the status quo.

But if he realized that everything must inevitably change.

If they understood that it was impossible for things to remain the same.

"...There's no choice."

It was those who have such thoughts who change more easily than anyone else in the world.

With a resentful gaze towards the five popes who had carelessly abandoned everything, Eleion Bolton stared at me.

"What do you want, Demon King?"

"Didn't I tell you? To maintain the status quo that you love."

But once again, my abrupt remark puzzled not only Eleion Bolton but also the five popes.


"Just keep it as it is."

My purpose for coming here was to stop the discord between the Holy Knight Order and the five major religious factions.

And to swallow them up in the process.

The popes were preparing to side with me, and the Holy Knight Order's leader was uncomfortable with this development.

Then I must choose one of their sides.

The Empire cannot side with the leader of the Holy Knight Order. Doing so would provoke a backlash from the popes.

However, I can side with the popes. They can suppress the resistance from the Holy Knight Order's leader.

"Well, did you think I would want to annihilate humanity now and order you all to die? That's not going to happen."


"Keep it this way. There's no need to set up a confrontation with the Empire. Basically, I'm saying that I'll be the liver or the spleen for you who are trying to cling to one and then the other."

Swallowing them up is nothing more than an empty threat.

The popes were willing to turn against humanity, but there was only one real reason for doing so.

Because they knew that I have no intention of being hostile towards humanity. Because they knew that I have no reason to make any outrageous demands of them.

In the end, they were merely using me.

"So let's set this nonsense aside and discuss what's most important."

I can obtain cooperation from the Holy Knight Order and the five major religious factions. And if I want to rule, I can. But that was impossible for now.

And these snake-like elderly popes will discard me when I am no longer useful, and if they deem the Empire stronger, they will treat me as the traitor of the century once again.

I didn't particularly find that disgusting or sad.

Their allegiance changed like flipping a palm according to the balance of power.

If you're weak, you'll be ignored, and if you're strong, you can ignore.

Right now, they didn't know what the Empire was doing.

That's why they're trying to take my side. They believed that the Demon King and his forces can potentially wipe out humanity at any time.

And that was also true.

Eleion Bolton had determined that the situation was irreversible, and while he needed to consider it for a long time, he was not given any situation other than making a quick decision.

So, regardless of his true intentions, he decided to cooperate with me for now.

The more important issue.

"Rowan, did you kill her?"

The real culprit behind Rowan's death.

I want to know that.

Just as Bertus suggested, was she purged?


Eleion Bolton shook his head.

"I didn't kill her."

The Empire did not kill Rowan.

Bertus had suggested the possibility of a purge.

But the popes claimed it wasn't their doing.

"It's strange. The popes here said it wasn't their doing, and if you're not the culprit either, who on earth

The commander of the Holy Knights also denied his involvement.

"I intended to kill her. That's true."

At his words, the expressions of the popes couldn't help but change.

"But, even if the other inquisitors didn't know, I couldn't kill Rowan."

"Hmm... So that means..."

There were several possibilities, but if he wasn't lying, then one of the more likely possibilities was:

"Could it be that she didn't die?"

Exactly, a self-staged drama.

"Yes. The corpse was a fake, covered with a cloth."

Rowan was not dead.


A fire had broken out at the scene.

It was strange.

It had been bothering me constantly.

It was too conspicuous.

If it were an execution, it should have been carried out discreetly and all evidence destroyed.

However, if the Popes or Eleion Bolton, or the others had tried to execute Rowan, there should not have been a fire.

The fire itself drew far too much attention from people.

Therefore, if this were an execution, there should have been no fire.

But the fire did break out, and many people saw the flames engulfing the temple. That's why looters swarmed in.

And Ludwig saw it, the information reached Ellen, and now Ellen was pursuing the truth.

"Yes... It's as if the fire was started in hopes that someone would finally discover the torture and killing of civilians in the church basement."

The fire happened, and civilians entered the temple to loot. The horrible scene in the basement went unnoticed, because there were no looters crazy enough to enter the burning building, and Eleion Bolton responded quickly.

But in the end, they couldn't stop Ellen from seeing the basement.

It was an incident designed to draw attention from the start.

The possibility that the commander of the Holy Knights and the popes were lying to my face cannot be ruled out entirely.

However, the fact that they forcibly drew attention was highly suspicious.

And to begin with, Rowan's corpse was a fake.

Inquisitor Rowan was alive.

"Why did you keep that fact a secret?"

The pope of the Tu’an Order glared at the commander of the Holy Knights and asked.

"Have the popes not also hinted at the possibility of such negotiations if the opportunity arose?"

At the words implying that they had betrayed humanity and sided with the Demon King, not only the pope of the Tu’an Order but also the other popes' faces turned red.

"Commander... You must understand that this decision was made for the sake of humanity..."

"Shut up."

The one who spoke wasn't Eleion Bolton, but me.

Disgusting bastards.

I didn't like that they'd come under my command.

I have no desire to do any sort of housecleaning.

I just wanted to resolve this matter quickly and went back to enjoying the jerky Ellen gave me.

"Anyway, it's true that you tried to kill Rowan, right? Although I don't know the details, you failed to kill her in the end?"


At his answer, the archbishop of the Tu’an Order glared at Eleion Bolton.

"Commander, why did you try to kill Archbishop Rowan in the first place?"

Although Rowan ultimately didn't die, it was a fact that Eleion Bolton had tried to kill her and failed.

"I ordered her to cease all investigations, but she didn't listen."

At his words, the popes had no choice but to remain silent.

They knew exactly what Eleion Bolton was talking about.

If one carelessly meddled with the Empire, uncontrollable events might occur.

After returning to the Imperial Capital, Eleion Bolton must have heard the progress of the investigation from Rowan, who had been in charge of the case.

The Empire was suspicious.

Eleion Bolton's command must have been clear. No more digging.

"At a time like this, I believe you would think that digging into the Empire is not the best judgement…"

The five popes showed discomfort, but they didn't directly refute Eleion Bolton's words.

The popes wanted to win me over, but they didn't want to fight the Empire.

The incident that occurred in the underground chamber of the Holy Knights' headquarters.

While tracking it, Rowan determined that the Empire might be the perpetrator of the incident. So, she approached Ludwig.

However, upon learning this, Eleion Bolton decided that if they tried to meddle with the Empire, the entire Church could be destroyed, and he tried to stop Rowan.

But Rowan disobeyed the order of the Holy Knight Commander.

Eleion Bolton devised a plan to purge his subordinate, who tried to tamper with the powder keg, and carried it out.

"I loyally served like a dog, and when there is a clear case of corruption, not only am I prevented from investigating, but there is even an attempt to purge me…"

She must have seen the spectacle of her subordinates being killed by the Holy Knights with her own eyes.

"If her eyes didn't spin, that is an unusual situation."

My words made Eleion Bolton grind his teeth visibly.

It was certain that almost all of the other Inquisitors have been killed, and the Holy Knights dispatched by Eleion Bolton to purge them were almost all killed by Rowan.

It would be natural for her to feel a sense of betrayal towards the Five Great Religions.

Rowan staged a corpse as herself, set fire to the temple, and fled. She faked her death, escaped, and bought some time.

It was unclear what she planned to do with the time she bought.

In the end, Eleion Bolton's actions were at the core of this incident.

But what if I had been Eleion Bolton?

The Empire had nothing to do with the theft of the underground remains at the Temple Knights' headquarters, but they were utilizing the bodies of the fallen soldiers.

Simply digging into the case would create friction with the Empire.

Digging into the Empire was already dangerous, and Rowan insisted that she couldn't stop investigating the case.

In the end, Eleion Bolton only partially succeeded in the purge. He killed all of Rowan's subordinates, but he failed to kill Rowan himself.

Half-failure meant Rowan left a fake corpse behind and disappeared.

"No matter what happens from now on, the fact that it's my mistake remains unchanged. Because I wasn't perfect."

The Holy Knight Commander made the choice he thought was best, but ultimately failed to kill Rowan.

No one knew what kind of ripple effect this will create.

"We don't know what Rowan will do next, but we… Ironically, you are the one we need most."

What does that mean?

I'm needed?

The one who answered was not Eleion Bolton.

"I don't know what the Demon King will think… But Rowan was a radical."

It was the unexpected remark of the Tu’an Church Pope.

"A radical?"

"Inside the Church, especially within the Tu’an and Als Churches… There are many such priests."

"What kind of priests are they?"

"Those who believe the Demon King to be a prophet."


What did he say?

"There are quite a few of them who believe that the Demon King is the true prophet."

What on earth did that mean?

"It's not just those two Churches."

It was the words of the Riter Church Pope.

"That day, at the temple, the Holy Knights and priests who saw you… Surely you know it wasn't a small number."

Even Eleion Bolton said that.

"They were high-ranking Holy Knights and priests of the Church. Rowan was among them, too."

They believed that I didn't want the Gate incident to happen.

The priests who saw me explaining how to deal with the Gate incident since it was already too late.

Only high-ranking priests and Holy Knights with verified skills, as well as divine power, could have been present in that place.

Those who could be considered the future of the Church saw me at that moment.

That meant that at least they knew I truly didn't want the Gate incident to happen.

"Do you understand now that I didn't make this choice simply to preserve my position?"

Although the lower-ranking priests and Holy Knights might not know, the top-ranking figures of the Church must have known the truth of the Gate incident to some extent.

Therefore, they must perceive me differently from how the world perceived me.

"Among them, Archbishop Rowan was particularly proactive in supporting you."

The high-ranking members of the Five Great Religions were gradually being filled with my followers.

Inevitably, there must have been a growing environment where more and more people were supporting me mentally, rather than the Empire.

The Popes wanting to side with me was not just their own judgment.

It was an inevitable choice. In other words, it was public opinion.

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