V2 Chapter 167: The Holy City

To the south of the Kingdom of Canaria lies a mountain range known as the Rem Mountains, stretching from east to west.

Beyond this mountain range lies the Caritas Holy Kingdom.

Though “Kingdom” is included in its name, Caritas is actually a theocratic state governed by Pope Noah Carnelius of the Temple of the Law God.

The Holy City of Ordo, where pope Noah governs, is home to the headquarters of several major sects of the continent, including the War god and the Earth Mother god, making it arguably the religious center of the continent.

Thus, the nations of the continent have been careful in their relations with the Caritas Holy Kingdom, striving for friendship. This includes the Adoastera Empire, which, despite being in a hostile relationship with the empire, has countries that seek to build a friendship with the Holy Kingdom as a way to check the empire’s power.

Noah comes from the Carnelius family, one of the three prestigious families of the Adoastera Empire, and there are those who suspect that the current pope might be acting in the empire’s interest. However, such suspicions have not grown louder because Noah’s governance has been fair in all matters.

Now, Noah was welcoming a visitor to her private room. The visitor was Ayaka Azurite, the eldest daughter of the Azurite family, one of the empire’s three prestigious families.

The Carnelius and Azurite families, along with the Paradis family, have intermarried many times over the years, and for Noah, the person before her was akin to a cousin. Indeed, Noah and Ayaka, being close in age, played together often in their youth.

Their relationship was severed when Ayaka moved to Demon Island as the fiancée of the heir to the Mitsurugi family. Afterwards, Noah, as a follower of the Law god, rose through the ranks to become pope and was assigned to the Caritas Holy Kingdom.

On the surface, their relationship was completely severed.

However, Ayaka had been serving as Noah’s eyes and ears, sending information from Demon Island to the Holy City through the Temple of the Law in Shuuto.

And now, by Noah’s command, Ayaka had resigned from the Mitsurugi family to return to the Holy City.

Needless to say, even as the sovereign of the Holy Kingdom, Noah had no right to command Ayaka over the head of the empire or the Azurite family. Yet, Ayaka complied with the pope’s order to return to the Holy City, bowing deeply as she reported the events that had taken place on Demon Island.

To an outsider, this scene might seem odd, but neither of them harbored any doubts about their current relationship.

After listening to Ayaka’s report, Noah nodded quietly and spoke.

“―I have duly noted the circumstances leading to the disappearance of the previous priestess and the dragon. I thank you for your report, coming all this way, Sister Ayaka.”

With Noah’s polite words of thanks, Ayaka bowed even deeper, silently showing her respect. This gesture could be seen as a sign of reverence to Noah, but it could also be interpreted as avoiding eye contact with her.

Noah slightly narrowed her eyes as she continued.

“It has been three hundred years since the priestess of Kamuna sealed the dragon. The spatial barrier she created is reaching its limit. If the barrier collapses, the dragon of that land will soon seek to re-engage in battle as it did three hundred years ago. In that case, the Sword Saint cannot remain passive forever. They must choose whether to contribute to the purification of the world or to oppose it. That was what we had anticipated, but―”

Noah chuckled softly as she spoke.

“Who would have thought he’d remain unshaken and yet pass on the mantle of head of the family to his son? Sister, did you anticipate this?”

To this question, Ayaka, with her face still lowered, silently shook her head.

Seeing this, Noah’s smile deepened even further.

“Mitsurugi Sora. When I had the opportunity to speak with him in the Kingdom of Canaria, I saw in him a swordsman of rare kind, possessing the power to slay Mythical Creatures and a heart unafraid to face the world as an enemy. Sister, your report mentioned he was exiled due to a lack of strength, but if he has honed himself to that extent in just five years, it is indeed remarkable. Even your keen insight can be clouded at times, it seems.”

The pope quickly added another comment, “However, it was not only Sister but also the Sword Saint who viewed the son as weak and exiled him. There must have been reasons for them to make such a judgment. It’s ironic, isn’t it? Had he not been exiled, he might have been dealt with sooner as a dreaded dragon host.”


“Or perhaps, Sister, knowing everything, you and the Sword Saint conspired to send him off the island before he caught my attention? If so, I must admit I’ve been thoroughly outmaneuvered by you.”

To this inquiry, or perhaps accusation, Ayaka responded without raising her head.

Her voice was steady, betraying no emotion.

“I swear, I have never conspired with anyone from the Mitsurugi family against your holiness.”

Her words rang clear and untainted to Noah, who was using the divine magic “Truth Sense Lie” to detect any falsehood. It was evident Ayaka was not lying, but whether her words were entirely truthful was another matter.

“Truth Sense Lie” had its loopholes.

Ayaka’s claim of not conspiring with the Mitsurugi family against Noah might be true. However, if Ayaka had plotted against Noah without involving the Mitsurugi family, it wouldn’t trigger “Truth Sense Lie.”

Sometimes, responses are coincidentally structured to avoid detection, or the respondent might intentionally give an answer that is “not a lie but also not the truth” to evade the magic’s detection.

Hence, when interrogating criminals, it’s common to ask similar questions from different angles repeatedly.

Noah could have done the same, but as the pope of the Temple of Law God, she chose not to press further, instead placing her hands on her chest and exhaling in relief.

“I’m relieved to hear that. Yes, it’s unthinkable that you would betray me.”

Noah’s cheerful voice suddenly took on a slick tone.

“Because, originally, it was you, Sister, who should have become the pope and governed the purification of the world. Yet, you fled, leaving me to bear it all. It would be unforgivable for you to betray me. Isn’t that right, Sister?”

As she said this, Noah, still before Ayaka, who kept her head bowed, knelt down and gently reached out to lift her chin with her delicate hand.

Though the gesture was gentle, the force in her arm compelling Ayaka to raise her face was undeniable.

A smiling Noah and Ayaka, her expression as impassive as a mask, locked gazes at close range.

The right eye of Noah, reflected in Ayaka’s view, emitted a chillingly cold light despite her serene expression. Her emerald eyes, sharp as arrows, stared intensely at Ayaka.

And then, there was her left eye.

Noah, known as the one-eyed child of god, had lost her left eye in her youth. As a result, she usually wore a prosthetic eye matching the color of her right eye for most of the day.

Therefore, Noah’s eyes should both be emerald green as they looked at Ayaka.

However, the left eye now shone not with emerald green but emitted a light far from it—a venomously bright, deep crimson.

That it was not a man-made prosthetic eye was clear from the serpentine, vertically elongated pupil that moved erratically.

Anyone else would have been shocked, possibly screaming out loud, forgetting they were in the presence of the pope.

But not a trace of surprise appeared on Ayaka’s face.

Naturally, as Ayaka knew the true nature of what dwelled within Noah’s left eye.

Ayaka had learned of it long, long ago, before she was betrothed as the heir of the Mitsurugi family and went to Demon Island.

To Ayaka’s silence, Noah—or rather, the entity within her—spoke mockingly.

“Or do you plan to run away again? No matter how much you flee, you cannot escape. Indeed, you once fled but had to return before me. Whatever you’re plotting, it would be wise not to engage in futility.”

After saying that, the entity slightly twisted its expression, adding,

“However, I’ve come to know you humans a bit. Creatures who would not hesitate to destroy the world just to ensure their own survival. Should you align yourself with such ilk, you would not hesitate to turn a traitorous blade, blinded by your own rationale.”


“Your actions are disrespectful and bold. I would desire to atone for your sins with your life for the irreverence of defeating me earlier, but my priestess does not wish for that. Therefore―”

As it spoke, the entity kept its right hand on Ayaka’s chin, and with its left index finger, it pointed up gracefully.

Immediately afterward, with a speed invisible to the eye, the entity thrust its index finger into Ayaka’s left eye socket.

A squelching sound of something soft being crushed echoed, followed by a spray of blood.

Even Ayaka couldn’t maintain her expressionless facade, her face contorting with intense pain as she clenched her back teeth tightly.

The entity, observing Ayaka’s distress, laughed merrily.

“As punishment, I shall take your left eye. There is sin, there is punishment, and then there is forgiveness. Ayaka Azurite, your sins are now absolved.”

Having said this, the entity pulled its finger from Ayaka’s eye socket, a crushed eyeball stuck on the tip of its nail.

As it released its grip on her chin, the entity then hovered its right hand over Ayaka’s bleeding left eye socket. In the next moment, dense magical power flowed from its hand into her left eye, rapidly sealing the wound.

“The whereabouts of the detestable dragon are already known. Only one more of Kamuna’s bloodline remains. The humiliation of the previous battle shall not be repeated.”

With unwavering conviction that its wrath would soon cleanse the world, the entity fixed Ayaka with a piercing gaze from its crimson left eye.

“Ayaka, from now on, you shall be my limb, risking your life for the purification of the world. Should you sin again, even the priestess’s wish cannot save your life.”

“…I will bear that in mind.”

With a stiff voice, Ayaka nodded, not bothering to wipe the blood streaming from her left eye, and bowed her head once more.

The entity did not truly believe Ayaka’s gesture of reverence. Instead, it naturally assumed that she would betray it again.

As previously mentioned, to the entity, humans were nothing more than death-bringing parasites that consume their hosts to survive. Unless they were as devoted as Noah Carnelius, who sacrificed an eye, the entity had no intention of trusting someone like Ayaka.

Yet, the entity refrained from harming Ayaka not only because Noah did not wish for her death but also because it had considered her a reserve for the priestess role.

A priestess is someone who can contain the entity, and such vessels are rare. The simultaneous emergence of two priestesses in the same era was almost a miracle, and destroying one would be a loss for the entity.

Therefore, it spared her. Regardless of Ayaka’s intentions, her potential value as a priestess made her actions tolerable.

Additionally, Ayaka had a not-so-shallow connection with the dragon’s host.

Humans, though often parasites, sometimes exhibit self-sacrifice for others.

Three hundred years ago, the entity used this human trait to kill the dragon’s host, thereby preventing the dragon from materializing in this world.

Given this, there was no reason not to employ the same strategy again. Even if this plot resulted in the loss of a valuable reserve, it would be worth it if it led to the dragon host’s demise.

The entity smiled at the thought of the approaching moment of its grand wish fulfillment.

Unaware that Ayaka, now out of its sight, bore a similar expression as she deeply bowed, the entity never realized that the reserve shared its sentiments until the very end.

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