Chapter 0312 Arrival
The Holy City of Marlomar is surrounded by several satellite towns, and further outside of these cities are dungeons in the north, south, east, and west.
The dungeons are not at equal distances… the north dungeon is about a three-hour walk from the Holy City of Marlomar.
The area around the north dungeon had developed into a small town.
As adventurers come to the dungeon, stores were built to cater to them.
Along with inns for both adventurers and merchants.
And apparently, there are also guild offices for these adventurers.
As for whether they were the same as the ones in the Central Nations was anyone’s guess….
At any rate, the mission would be heading straight to the Holy City of Marlomar.
They didn’t even enter the town, which is conveniently called the North Dungeon Town, but continued down a road that runs a short distance away from it.
“I wonder if the Great Tidal Bore also occurs in that dungeon.”
The priests, Etho and Zeke, replied, “That’s a good question”, to Amon’s muttering as they flipped through the ‘Travel Guide’.
However, it seemed that there was not much information on it.
“I certainly hope not.”
Niels then nodded and muttered to Etho’s wishful thinking.
“It’s not easy dealing with that event.”
Three hours later, the mission arrived safely at the north gate of the Holy City of Marlomar.
The Holy City of Marlomar is a megacity with many gates, of which the North Gate is one of the largest.
And above all… the ones guarding the gates….
Ryo exclaimed unintentionally.
Two on each side of the gate, a total of four Golems were standing there.
Three meters in height… almost the same size as the golems of the Duchy.
They stood with their swords thrust into the ground in front of their bodies, their hands on the hilts.
However, they seemed to be motionless.
“Huh? I thought the golems would do some kind of identity check or search for suspicious objects…”
“It appears they don’t.”
“I heard that the gates of the Holy City of Marlomar are always open. It says here that believers from all over the Western Countries can enter the Holy City at any time.”
Ryo looked as if his guess was off, Niels affirmed it, and Etho provided information from the ‘Travel Guide’.
“F-Fine then. If they won’t move, I can always get up close and take a good look at…”
Niels grabbed Ryo, who was trying to approach the golem, and dragged him back to the line.
The somewhat familiar scene was being repeated.
“Niels, please don’t stop me!”
“Like hell I won’t. The mission is about to enter the castle.”
The Empire delegation, the Union delegation, and the Kingdom delegation were to enter the Holy City of Marlomar in that order and attend a welcoming ceremony at the Papal Palace.
“Then go ahead. I’ll stay back and observe the golem…”
“Give it up.”
Ryo resisted, and Niels caught him.
After several exchanges, Ryo eventually gave in.
“Well, the golems aren’t going anywhere.”
He told himself that and backed down…
The other six were smiling as usual.
The welcoming ceremony for the mission of the Central Nations at the Papal Palace.
Ryo and the others stood in line, waiting for the ceremony to get underway.
The Kingdom delegation was behind the Empire’s and the Union’s, with Room 10 and 11 at the very end of the line.
The carriages were, of course, parked outside the banquet hall, and the civilian officials who rode in the carriages were also in line.
It was quite a distance to the Pope from the very end of the line….
“I can’t see the Pope’s face at all.”
“Not when we’re this far out.”
“Being the head of the Western Church, I guess his magic must be amazing too.”
Niels blurted out, Etho affirmed, and Amon expressed his excitement.
The three from Room 11 also nodded their heads.
Only Ryo, however, was tilting his head repeatedly.
Priest Etho saw that and asked:
“What’s the matter, Ryo?”
“Hmm~ how should I say this, it’s hard to put in words, but… something feels strange.”
“Yeah. I don’t really know how to put this, but… the Pope… kinda feels hollow inside.”
Niels and Amon, both tilt their heads in a questioning manner.
From what the six people other than Ryo could see, the Pope’s face was barely visible, but his movements seemed normal as was the way he addressed the Commanders…
In the end, Ryo’s unsettled feelings remained unresolved, and before the six of them could even understand it, the welcoming ceremony for the mission ended without incident.
The Empire, Union, and Kingdom delegations moved to their assigned lodgings.
The assigned inn was huge and adjacent to the Papal Palace.
The inns of the three countries were side by side.
Since the Holy City of Marlomar is the headquarters of the Western Church, it often receives envoys from abroad.
The inns adjacent to the Papal Palace were often used on such occasions.
Priest Zeke was the one who obtained the information.
Since he’s very capable.
“Finally… we’re here, aren’t we?”
Niels opened a dialogue with that as they entered the inn and got to their rooms.
“Yeah. It took more than a month one way… yeap, that’s quite long alright.”
Etho nodded as he answered.
“Yeah, but it wasn’t any harder than a regular escort quest, was it?”
Amon answered happily.
“Surely after this, meteorites will rain down from the sky, rivers will turn blood red, a plague of locusts will descend, and the nightly cries of parents whose eldest sons have been killed will fill the Holy City.”
“Please quit making up sinister tales.”
Ryo frighteningly narrated the story and Niels denied it with a frown.
“…Anyway, our work as escort adventurers is basically over until the Pope’s inauguration ceremony in three months. I mean, since they said that matters relating to security in the Holy City, including lodgings and transportation of the civilian officials to and from the Papal Palace, will be the responsibility of the Van De Vie Theocracy.”
“Put another way, we’ll be under surveillance… though, they’ve been watching us since the moment we entered the Theocracy.”
Etho said, to which Niels replied, remembering how people were watching around the inn every night after they entered Van De Vie Theocracy.
“I don’t blame them. They’re letting a suspicious person like Niels into their country under the cover of one of the escort detail of the mission. The least they can do is keep an eye on your movements.”
“Me, you mean you, right?”
“Perish the thought, a harmless and gentle water-attribute magician like me, like, take a look at me.”
Ryo said proudly and dignified.
But none of the six present there acknowledged it.
Ryo lamented the lack of understanding of those around him….
The quarters assigned to the Union delegation.
The commander’s room.
Inside the room was former king Roberto Pirlo, the commander of the Union delegation, and Guard Captain Groen.
“So that’s the Pope, uh…”
Roberto Pirlo muttered as he recalled the welcoming ceremony earlier.
Guard Captain Groen called out to him.
“He just might be… a double.”
“A double? You mean that wasn’t the real Pope?”
Groen was surprised at Roberto Pirlo’s words.
It’s only natural.
It would be unthinkable to have a fraud welcome for a delegation that had finally arrived after such a long journey.
Then again, what is common sense in the Central Nations may not necessarily apply in the Western Countries….
“He is too ordinary to be a pope, nah… worse than ordinary… more like a puppet…”
“B-But, he spoke to all the commanders of the delegations, including Your Majesty, right?”
“Yeah. That’s exactly why… I just can’t for the life of me believe that that was the pinnacle of the Western Church that unites the Western Countries…”
Roberto Pirlo shook his head several times when he said that.
Roberto Pirlo was a former king, but he was also a well-known magician in the Central Nations.
No, not just well-known…but a top-class magician in the Union.
Which was precisely why he could tell.
The Pope’s impotence.
“As the head of the Western Church, he must be able to use light-attribute magic. Far better than the average person, too. Naturally. And if you are a magician, you will inevitably leak a little bit of magic from your body… or should I say, emanate magic. And that goes double the stronger the magician. But I didn’t feel any of that at all from the Pope…”
The undeniable magic leak that’s emitted by strong magicians….
But then Roberto Pirlo remembered.
The only exception he knew of.
Then, smiling slightly, he said:
“No, the premier duke of the Kingdom doesn’t leak magic, come to think of it…”
He remembered that Ryo, unexpectedly, did not leak out magic as he sat around the stone table at the coffee party that evening.
Of course, he knew beforehand that he was a powerful magician….
“I guess there are exceptions like him…”
It was the first time in his seventy-plus years of living that he had ever experienced such a thing.
The powerful magicians he had fought… such as Ilarion Baraha of the Kingdom, or Arthur Verasis, were ‘clad’ in magic.
Of course, it was on another level compared to that of the run-of-the-mill magicians today… it felt like they were veiled in intricately woven magic….
Just confronting them was so terrifying that he felt as if his blood was freezing… as he recalled.
The premier duke of the Kingdom, Ryo, however, was different.
“Yeah, he felt… gentle… I didn’t feel any magic, but… perhaps, it was his aura…?”
Thinking about it, Roberto Pirlo shook his head several times.
Then he continued.
“No worries. We have three months until the inauguration. That’s more than enough time to dispel some of our doubts.”