LTBE: Chapter 67: The Path of Justice

Chapter 67: The Path of Justice
Caras’ voice echoed loudly within the massive hall, but what awaited him wasn’t the words of approval he expected but a lengthy silence. While he hadn’t explicitly mentioned what that incident referred to, Holy Eminence John still understood what he was referring to.
Within Holy Capital Loren, there was no transcendent who could escape from John’s eyes and defy his will. He was fully aware of everything that was going on. This was also the reason why Carter felt assured leaving Roel alone in the capital.
Needless to say, the Mythril Priory knew it too, which was why they had headed over to negotiate with John on this matter. They hoped to obtain John’s implicit approval by offering him benefits that he couldn’t reject.
“We won’t hurt the offspring of the Xeclydes, and we dare not do so either. We can give you our assurance on that. We also understand the current political situation in the Theocracy, so we have already made preparations for the cleanup. Roel Ascart will not die in Loren. Everything is nothing more than an accident. The Ascart House will not be able to find any evidence to hold against the royal family.
“If you are still worried about that, we can even help you hold back the Elric House to a certain degree. At the very least, we’ll be able to buy ten years for the royal family.
“Our target is not the Ascart House but the prophesied son. The current patriarch of the Ascart House, Carter Ascart, is still in his prime, and he still has the ability to pass down his bloodline. The Ascart House will not be without a successor. Chaos and imbalance will also not occur amongst the Five Eminent Noble Houses.”
Caras’ respectful and humble voice echoed loudly in the hall.
Without a doubt, the Mythril Priory had made ample preparations for this operation. The cleanup they had proposed was near perfect, such that any negative influence on the Theocracy would be reduced to the very minimum. On the contrary, the Theocracy and the royal family had much to earn from accepting this deal.
Any rational man would know what to choose after weighing the pros and cons, not to mention that the Xeclydes was a massive noble house. Caras was still very confident in the terms that their Mythril Priory had offered.
It was true that John Xeclyde was the Holy Eminence, but more than that, he was also the patriarch of the Xeclyde House.
A noble house couldn’t just survive on one’s hot-bloodedness and emotions. More often than not, it was the composure and rationality to make the hard choices that maximized the house’s interests and brought about the best outcome. Such choices came at a cost. Sometimes, it meant fracturing kinship and severing friendship.
If one thought that serving as the patriarch of a noble house was just playing house, one couldn’t be more mistaken.
A patriarch’s sole responsibility was to develop his house and bulk up its influence. Any patriarch that failed to put the noble house’s interest first would, strictly speaking, be considered a failure.
If the Xeclyde House accepted the deal offered by the Mythril Priory, it would mean sacrificing the successor of another noble house for ten years of stability in the Theocracy. Even a fool could tell that this was a beneficial deal to the Xeclydes!
Furthermore, the Xeclydes had greater leverage in this deal because what awaited the Mythril Priory if they dared to go against their promise was relentless vengeance.
Not even the vilest of evil cults would dare to fool the Holy Eminence. The gains and risks were simply too adversely skewed.
The Mythril Priory had shown sufficient sincerity and offered an acceptable reason, but to Caras’ surprise, Holy Eminence John didn’t show much of a reaction. The old man leaned back into his chair and closed his eyes, reminiscent of an ordinary old man napping under the afternoon sun.
John Xeclyde was thinking about his earlier meeting with Roel. The boy was a peculiar child. Despite his young age, he had eyes that seemed to have seen much of the world yet still carried innocence. That child’s attitude toward him was neither fawning nor arrogant. He could feel the purity and righteousness in that child’s heart.
“Caroline Ascart, Winstor Ascart, and Ro Ascart, those names should be familiar to you, I suppose.”
Holy Eminence John spoke all of a sudden.
Those were names that once struck fear into the hearts of others, but they had long since disappeared in the annals of history. Caras couldn’t help but frown after hearing those words. This, in turn, brought a faint smile to John’s face.
“You fear them, their bloodline, and their spirit. You’re afraid that they might bring some things out of history that you wish not to see once more. For that, you wouldn’t even let a child who is only showing signs of the prophecy go.”
“… That might be the case, but isn’t keeping the Ascart House under control advantageous to the Xeclydes too? I believe that our interests are aligned here.”
Caras’ words made John Xeclyde fall silent for a long while. The old man gazed into the distance, seemingly peering through the river of time, back to the moment when that ancient contract was made a thousand years ago.
“The Xeclydes shall protect the Ascarts; this is a promise that the two noble houses made at the inception of the Third Epoch. Over the past thousand years, the Ascarts have been through several rises and falls, but the Xeclydes never broke that contract. Why should I abandon it now?”
“Because times are changing. Because the world is no longer the same as it was. There’s no such thing as an eternal promise in this world. Someone as wise as you must know that a personal promise means nothing compared to an entire country.”
“… You’re right. From the perspective of a ruler, the interest of an individual should never outweigh the interest of a country.”
John nodded slightly, which brought a smile to the face of the man on the screen. However, this smile was destined to be short lived.
“But, I reject your offer.”
Those words froze the smile on Caras’ face.
“Mythril Priory, why do you think the Ascarts came to the Theocracy to seek our protection back then?”
“What… do you mean?”
“Courage, justice, and fairness. To seek a future for the living, and to redress grievances for the dead. This is the responsibility that those of their bloodline have chosen to take on. The unabated battering of time might have worn down their powers, but they still refuse to yield on their mission. Why do you suppose such a house would seek the help of the Xeclydes?”
The old man had been leaning comfortably back into his chair, but now he slowly straightened up as an air of solemnity and majesty drifted from him.
“That’s because they thought that we were alike. They acknowledged the values that we stand for, and they had faith that our clan will be able to stand firm in the face of temptation. They believe that the promises made by those with the Angel’s Bloodline can persevere even before the erosion of time.
“The interest of an individual is indeed minor compared to that of a country, but what do you think the purpose behind the existence of the church is? There are plenty of people who resort to evil as they pursue their greater interests. Unscrupulous men and women in search of immortality and authority tyrannize the masses. In the face of all this, the church is the ray of hope for the weak! From the day of its establishment, it has already been decided that it would never waver from its purpose in the face of greater interests!”
John Xeclyde’s calm voice slowly grew more and more impassioned. From a benevolent old man, he transformed into a ferocious lion.
“As a ruler, I am compelled to agree to the deal you have proposed. As the patriarch of Xeclyde House, I should have prioritized the interests of the house and put it before all else. However, I am first and foremost the Holy Eminence, the leader of the Genesis Goddess Church! The very value of my existence lies in my compassion and impartiality. Mythril Priory, your actions have insulted the church and the justice I hold dear in my heart!”
Before John Xeclyde could finish his piece, Caras’ face had already turned ghastly pale. He couldn’t comprehend the so-called justice that John stood for, but he could feel an invisible power pulsating across the whole of Loren. In places where he couldn’t see, the high priests, who were in the midst of their prayers, opened their eyes, and the inquisitors, who had devoted their lives to fighting evil cultists, picked up their weapons.
“Since you are already here, you might as well stay for good.”
John Xeclyde declared imposingly before he turned his sights elsewhere. He peered through an entire half of the Holy Capital before his eyes finally fell upon a room within the Labyrinth Villa.
“But thanks to you, I was able to hear what I wanted to hear.”
John added with a benevolent chuckle.
His body began to glow as his bloodline ability traversed across space to fall upon a golden-haired girl within that room.
“Child, use your powers to protect your friend… then bear witness!”
His words echoed in Nora and Roel’s ears
Following that, a powerful burst of light exploded within the studio, causing the monstrosities lurking all around to scream in horror.
“Grandpa, this is…”
Nora was still perplexed at the start, but she soon realized that the ones embraced by the light weren’t just her but Roel too.
Roel’s eyes were wide-open as an intense headache assaulted him once more. Inside the secret chamber of the Labyrinth Villa, a colorful gemstone released a blinding radiance that swept away Peter Kater’s bloodline ability with a powerful explosion.
The labyrinth had been activated.
Translated by StarveCleric. Edited by Welmar.