Chapter 351: The Saint and the Golden
Olivia Belch drank her tea peacefully in a private room at the Cathedral.
As the tea ran down her throat, a warm sensation spread through her viscera, and she felt like she could finally breathe. Her skin, filled with tension, gradually regained its softness.
Yes, her daily life these past few days was truly tense. She didn’t have a single day to relax.
That one act at the Royal Castle, an encounter with the Protector Jace Brackenberry…She also tried several other things; some were successful while others were unsuccessful.
However, there was no doubt that each of them tormented Olivia’s spirit. She hardly slept at night. Somehow, she managed go through despite everything that was going in her life.
She was a strong woman. She was worthy of being called an aristocrat.
However, that didn’t mean she didn’t feel fear or tension. That sensibility influenced both the strong and ordinary people.
The many things she accomplished were to solidify her position in the Cathedral and, at the same time, to join hands with the Gharast Kingdom and the Great Holy Church. All of this was for the benefit of the Belch Family.
The connection between the Cathedral and the Belch Family was far stronger than that of other nobles.
The Cathedral aimed to strengthen its influence with the Gharast Kingdom through the Belch Family, and the Belch Family wanted to expand their mercantile interests in the territory under the direct control of the Cathedral.
If the influence of the Great Holy Church was strengthened, the prosperity of the Belch Family would become even greater.
That’s why Olivia took advantage of this catastrophe. With it, she sought to increase the Cathedral’s influence over the Gharast Kingdom.
Some would call it a betrayal to the motherland. If it was for self-interest, then that statement would be right. Olivia had no intention to deny it. Aristocrats were outdated people who were always burning with ambition for self-enhancement.
And perhaps that ambition satisfied Olivia in a way. As soon as she placed the cup on the table, the door opened and someone unique appeared.
She brought two guards with her, but it should have been a rule of the Cathedral rather than a lack of trust in Olivia.
Olivia gave a friendly smile and opened her mouth.
「It’s been a long time. Things went naturally well. 」
Stepping inside the room from the opened door, Saint Ariene smiled and replied. The way she smiled had never changed from the past.
「Yes, Olivia. His Majesty the King Ameraitz kindly entrusted the handling of the Bastion Beast Zebrililith to the Great Holy Church.」
With a bright smile on her face, Ariene sat down and smiled at Olivia.
It was just her smile that seemed innocent. Her demeanor carried the heavy burden of the country’s pressure by baring the title of saint.
Of course, Ariene was still a candidate to be a saint, but even so, when she was selected by God, she was almost the same as a saint. Her words were so heavy that they were incomparable to those of her average senior aristocrats.
With this, it would be difficult for the Gharast Kingdom to take aggressive action against the Bastion Beast Zebrililith. Of course, self-defense measures should be taken, but the Protector Brackenberry should no longer command such measures.
Naturally, the Bastion Beast Zebrililith was going to continue to roar with its gigantic body.
Olivia said in response.
「I wonder what the Cathedral will do from now on…or rather you. 」
She spoke as if she were asking.
To be honest, Olivia thought that the sovereignty of the Cathedral was already in the hands of the saint who stood before her eyes.
The Pope was not a fool, but he was a true believer of the Great Holy Church. In a way, she could say that he was a blind believer.
For the Pope, just being able to stand in front of the saint was the ultimate honor. Olivia once saw the Pope’s face as if he were looking at a myth.
Therefore, if Ariene wished for something, the Pope would take every action to achieve it. In that case, there was no one in the Cathedral who could oppose Ariene anymore.
After receiving Olivia’s question and having tea in her mouth, Ariene spoke.
「That’s right. A Great Beast is a thing that brings a large disaster. It will cause damage to the Gharast Kingdom and other countries since it’s the superior form of the magical beasts’ species. In the meantime, we will finish the pilgrimage to the west. 」
Only then will the influence of the Great Holy Church be strengthened. The position of the Cathedral will be more secure than ever. Then, Ariene explained that the world idealized by its doctrine would expand.
There was a madness of faith in her eyes that showed how much she truly believed in it.
One of the guards, the Cathedral Knight named Garras Gargantia, listened to her words with a slightly stiff expression. He was probably thinking deeply about the saint’s words.
「A Great Beast and a disaster. It feels like a mythical world. You can even call it a fairy tale, but…is it even going to destroy each country in the world?」
Suddenly, Olivia raised her long eyelashes while talking.
It was only natural that the Gharast Kingdom would be damaged by this upcoming threat, but did that mean the surrounding countries would be damaged as well?
Olivia wondered if the evil that was coming was something that sprung up from the bottom of the earth.
「Because that’s what magical beasts are. Those who have the competence and perseverance to endure will be chosen, Olivia. It won’t matter if you’re near the Great Beast or far away from it.」
Ariene spoke so naturally. It felt as if her words were written in a divine book or something similar.
Olivia nodded slightly and looked at Ariene’s large eyes. Her golden eyes stared at her without any malice. Somehow, she even showed a sense of intimacy. It was as if she had forgotten what she had just said.
Olivia and Ariene had spent their days together as nuns in the Cathedral, although there were some quarrels and disagreements here and there.
At some point, Ariene began to call her Olivia because of the affection she felt for her, and so did Olivia.
However, that’s why Olivia could think and speak freely in front of the Saint. A suspicion appeared at the edge of her thoughts as she wetted her lips.
“…By the way, who is this? This woman in the form of Ariene.”
Olivia did not possess imprudence to ask that question out loud. She had a soft smile on her face as she talked with the saint.
However, she still wondered. Olivia knew Ariene well; she was a brave girl who strived for the best no matter where she was. Yes, Ariene was a girl with a strong will.
It was not like she was gone. But sometimes Ariene became what she was now.
From time to time, Olivia saw Ariene staring into the distance, spitting out words as if she were acting in a play.
It was as if two souls lived together in Ariene’s body.
Was this what people call a “Saint”? A saint was said to hold God in its body. If the one who became God was called a saint, then perhaps this was her rightful form.
Although she felt some doubts and worries, Olivia did not stop being friends with Ariene.
The reason Olivia was able to build a friendly relationship with the Cathedral was undoubtedly thanks to Ariene’s connection, but Olivia herself liked Ariene genuinely. She liked Ariene’s eyes and voice more than anything else, and also her true nature.
That’s why the current situation was a little unsettling. It was not strange to see Ariene with her escorts.
Thinking about that, Olivia suddenly raised her gaze. Ariene’s escorts were always the same people. Her escorts were the Cathedral Knight Garras Gargantia and his adjutant.
However, today, Garras and an unfamiliar human stood by Ariene’s side. Apart from not saying a word, this unfamiliar human had a terribly cold expression and eyes. It was as if those eyes had no heat. Perhaps, a resolute expression was the right description.
Somehow, a slight sense of incongruity filled Olivia’s throat. But she didn’t say a word.
“…That escort is the same as Ariene. It has golden eyes and hair.”