"There's gold painted on his mouth."
Damian was the biggest player in the pope candidates' speech event. The other candidates criticized the factions, the Yatan Church, and showed their political colors, while Damian emphasized charity.
By calling up the basic doctrines pursued by the Rebecca Church, it stimulated the nature of the clergy and reminded them of how wicked Pascal's behavior was. It was a speech technique based on Huroi's teachings that if the audience's attention was scattered, it was better to approach them indirectly.
The effect was big. Pascal's supporters stood indecisively as cracks showed, and some showed a small affinity for Damian. In the past two weeks, Huroi had thoroughly trained Damian. But Pascal was scornful.
"Your ideals can never be realized. Most of the existing senior priests are already dirty because of Drevigo. Charity? Why are you so obsessed with that meaningless act?"
"What do you want to say?"
"It means that flattering the junior priests are useless. The senior priests with the right to vote won't agree with you. Your speech targeted the wrong people."
Damian wasn't upset at all.
"That might be the case right now. However, it will change slowly. Most of the priests aren't rotten to the core, unlike you. I will try my best to help the priests recover their past. Today is only the first step."
Damian's atmosphere had changed significantly over the past two weeks. He was more proud and didn't know fear. A firm belief was giving him confidence. He had unwavering eyes since Grid emerged.
He was becoming more like that dirty Grid. Pascal shrugged and said with a sigh. "Well, you might believe in Grid now, but that is just short-lived. Sooner or later, you will realize reality. I look forward to it. In a month, I will become pope and treat Rebecca's Daughters harshly. You will be helpless and have to watch with despair."
Isabel, standing next to Damian, flinched. Her past hell-like days surfaced when she saw Pascal's snake eyes. She felt the fear more strongly because she was at the crossroad of life and death just a few days ago. Damian hid Isabel behind his back and declared, "Even if you are the pope, I will protect Isabel-chan."
"You still haven't grasped things to the end. If you don't have the strength, you should shut up and sit down. It's providence."
Only the strong could reign, while the weak existed to be trampled on. It was the value of the empire that conquered many colonies and turned the people into livestock. If Pascal became the pope, the Rebecca Church would be transformed into a religion that followed the interests of the empire.
Damian covered the frightened Isabel. Pascal laughed at them and left the room. Damian shook his head and reassured Isabel.
"Don't worry. Isabel-chan will be happy. I will make it so."
The young man's pure and true heart started to reach the girl.
The elders' meeting room.
23 elders were having a drinking party in a place that oversaw the divine affairs of the Rebecca Church. Some people had naked women beside them. They were prostitutes that Earl Chirita brought from the empire.
Pascal's face twisted. "What are you doing? Have you forgotten how many people from all over the world are coming to see the Vatican today? You should be careful today when there are a lot of eyes!"
"Now, now. Don't be so angry. Aren't we in a secret place?" Earl Chirita rose from his seat among the elders. He pulled Pascal down into a chair and smiled at him. "That guy called Grid, he should be dead by now."
Pascal suppressed his temper.
"Are you sure?"
"Isn't it obvious? 19th Knight Fulito is capable of killing thousands of soldiers alone. As soon as Grid became his target, there was no room to escape, no matter what tricks he used."
There was no doubt. The Red Knights might be less than the ones of the previous generation, but the power of the knights in the 10's was absolute. They couldn't be defeated.
"Let's drink to my son, he will become the father of 80 millions members in a month."
Pascal received Earl Chirita's drink. They were father and son, but their behavior was quite natural.
Grid was an eyesore. He couldn't help feeling pleasure at the thought of Grid being dead. It seemed like new hair would grow out from his bald patches.
'I am finally free from that damn hair loss.'
Pascal was feeling invigorated over the glass of alcohol when the door burst open. Was it Fulito returning after his mission? Everybody thought so.
Ku tang tang tang!
Someone crossed the door without permission. No, one of Earl Chirita's knights came flying. He was one of the six knights guarding the entrance. He was already dying.
"R-Run away." The knight stuttered. He was frightened. It was like he had witnessed the grim reaper.
This was the meeting room of the elders. As one of the most sacred places in the Vatican, its safety was guaranteed for hundreds of years. This was the final stronghold that people escaped to, not run away from! So what was this person saying now?
A drunk elder rose from his seat.
"Who dares intrude on this sacred place?"
"Is this a sacred place? I thought it was a rotten place?"
Then a sarcastic voice was heard from behind the door.
The steps came closer. It was someone that nobody expected. The identity of the intruder...
Pascal and the elders looked like they were seeing ghosts. Wasn't Grid supposed to be killed by the Red Knights and Black Knights!?
'It can't be!'
A chill went down Pascal's spine.
'Grid defeated the 19th knight?'
As the confusion spread, Grid looked over at the prostitutes. There were some women with large breasts, and usually his gaze would be fixed on them.
"Look at this."
At this moment, Grid was convinced.
'Goddess Rebecca is wrong.'
They broke the doctrines and committed wicked acts, but they still had divine power as long as they sincerely believed in her? She was a very narrow-minded and careless goddess.
'No, the goddess might just be pure.'
The problem was with those who abused the purity of the goddess.
'Whatever, it doesn't matter to me.'
Now there was only one thing Grid wanted. "All of you will die here."
Pascal and the elders flinched with fright. Grid grinned at them with a hard expression in his eyes.
"Didn't I tell you? I'm in a different position from Damian, so I can deal with you as I like. This is the truth, but thank you for aiming at me."
Pascal and the elders turned red. The system recognized that they had sent the Red Knights and Black Knights as assassins. Therefore, he could attack them without fearing the Goddess' Curse. Earl Chirita yelled at the grinning Grid.
"You dumb bastard! Don't you know who I am? Who are you to come her and say such random things?"
Thanks to his son, Earl Chirita had lost his sense of reason. He thought that everything would always go his way.
"What are you doing? Go and kill him!"
He ordered the wounded knights. They were going to die anyway. The knights of Earl Chirita rose up again. Then they immediately struck at Grid. They didn't feel fighting spirit, or the will to live. They only felt fear. However, they weren't in the 200's yet and couldn't be Grid's opponent.
The biggest advantage of a greatsword was its destructive power. The superb sword cut the knights to pieces. The blood of the knights scattered all over the table filled with delicacies.
The prostitutes and Earl Chirita fell back down.
"R-Really... He is stronger than Fulito..."
Earl Chirita muttered blankly, while Pascal tried to calm Grid down.
"Duke Grid, what happened that made you in such a rage? First of all, let's settle down and talk out the misunderstanding."
Indeed, Pascal was a real trickster. At this moment, his acting was really natural.
Grid snorted. "What should we speak about when you sent the Red Knights and Black Knights to assassinate me? Just stay silent and die."
Pascal angrily denied it. "No, was there such a thing? I don't know anything about it."
"Ah!" Grid didn't believe him, so Pascal glanced towards Earl Chirita. "Earl Chirita, was it you? Did you send assassins to kill Duke Grid?"
This guy was trying to sell out his own father? Earl Chirita received a big shock and was speechless. Pascal whispered to him, "Sacrifice yourself. I am the one who is going to be the pope."
"Pascal...! How can you do this to your father?"
Pascal's expression became angry as he gazed at Earl Chirita.
"Over the past decades, you were able to become a favored lord thanks to me. Haven't I done my best as your child? On the other hand, what about you? Have you done anything for me as my father?"
"You should be a father once before you die. Isn't that right?"
Earl Chirita finally shed tears. It wasn't due to fear of Grid. He was shocked and sad when he was treated as insignificant by his son, who was his only pride. As he bowed his head and sobbed, Pascal grinned towards Grid.
"Haha, it's like this. Earl Chirita seems to have done something foolish. Now Duke Grid. Pour your wrath towards the earl and receive my glass of alcohol..."
The fundamental reason why Grid hated Pascal was because he was the type to trample on the weak. He was in a bad mood whenever he saw Pascal, because he was reminded of the people who taunted and bothered him in the past. But at this moment, Grid found another reason to hate Pascal.
Grid was born and grew up in the East. He was a filial son who gave the chicken legs to his parents whenever they ate chicken. Pascal sacrificing his father was unacceptable, causing Grid to feel extreme hatred.
"Don't try these tricks on me. In any case, I am the only one who can leave here alive."
Grid clearly changed as he equipped the mask and eye patch. Pascal was threatened by the red light and shouted.
"Quit being stupid! The Saharan Empire will punish you if you touch its ambassadors! Aren't you afraid of them?"
"Of course I'm afraid."
He couldn't become the enemy of the Saharan Empire just yet. Reidan would be crushed in half a day if it had to face the power of the empire.
"So I have to kill all of you. The fact that I killed the Red Knights and Black Knights can't be passed onto the empire."
"You should be worried! Even if you kill us, things would go out of control! Do you think there is no one who witnessed you heading here? You will die after being pinpointed as the criminal, and Damian won't become pope since he has ties with you!"
"There's no need to worry about that. 'I' am currently chatting with the church members in the Vatican's gardens."
"I have the perfect alibi."
"I don't know what you're talking about!"
"It doesn't matter. You will die soon."
Grid's killing intent thickened. Pascal realized the battle was unavoidable and shouted to the elders.
"We can endure if we use buffs and heals! The paladins will rush over once the turmoil grows!"
Pascal's divine power was currently close to former pope Drevigo. It was truly great to have pope level divine power despite not being crowned pope yet. What if Pascal and the 23 elders decided to join forces?
'We won't die!'
As long as they weren't killed by a single blow, they could continue to heal each other. It was a fairly rational thinking. But the problem was that the opponent was Grid. Divine power and black magic power were the antithesis of each other.
[Your black magic power has increased.]
[You don't have any black magic power. It will be replaced with demonic power.]
[While Blackening is activated, your species will change to half-demon.]
[As a half demon, your maximum health is reduced by 50%. Your attack power, magic power and agility will increased by 20% each.]
[All attacks will be converted to the black magic attribute.]
Blackening. This was a skill that belonged to the legendary rated accessory, 'Dark Bus' Earrings.' It had good compatibility with Grid, who possessed demonic power.
His skin became pale white and there were no whites in his eyes, as it became entirely black. The black hair fluttering with demonic energy made him look ominous. Grid's current appearance wasn't much different from the demons imagined by humans.
A berserk demonic power filled the room. The elders' meeting room was filled with fear.