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86 Saint Baptism Ritual 3

"Of course, with Goddess Maria above, no one can escape the judgement of God. Those who oppose God will be punished." Elliot VIII was also a devout believer of the Church of Light. He not only had relations with the Church of Light, he was standing in front of the head of the Church of Light. He immediately showed his standpoint to Pope Hodap.

At this time, an elegant young priest walked in and whispered a few words to Pope Hodap, before handing a piece of paper into his hands. The Pope turned immediately to face Elliot VIII. "Oh, what a coincidence, I just received news that is quite relevant to the topic we were discussing. I believe Your Excellence would also be very interested."

Elliot VIII showed a trace of bewilderment. "Am I allowed to know of this matter?"

Hodap nodded. "Of course. Continuing on the precious topic, these are details of the Gathering of Nobles. The initiator of this gathering is someone from a certain strong noble clan from the Crete Empire. Many of the members are your officials. I just heard that this group is plotting a heinous plan. The target is you, Your Excellency."

Hodap placed the paper on the table. "They have placed an assassin by your side and will most likely take action by tomorrow night."

Elliot VIII picked up the paper with a face full of skepticism. As soon as he saw the text, his expression changed dramatically. The name on the slip of paper was his lover of many years. He had brought her with him to the Church of Light this time. "What? Them? How dare they to do this?"

The lover, who he had a relationship of many years and trusted deeply, was actually an assassin sent by someone else, the key element in the plan to kill him. This enraged Elliot VIII. His privacy as the Emperor, and especially the matters of his bedroom, were probably closely monitored by these people.

Thinking about the evil forces surveilling him from the shadows, Elliot was both embarrassed and extremely fearful. They had probably begun planning these matters many years ago.

Hodap gave a frigid laugh. "Of course they dare. They want to actualize their plan in St. Sarl City and assassinate you, the great Elliot VIII, then blame the death on the Church of Light. After causing chaos within the entire Crete Empire, they would usurp your throne, the position that should belong to your son in the future."

Elliot VIII looked at Pope Hodap. "Your Eminence, you definitely wouldn't allow such a thing to occur, right?"

Hodap nodded immediately. "Of course, this sort of filthy schemes would not be tolerated by any man of God, especially when the target is a gentle, heroic emperor, who is so loved by his people. I will deploy a guard from the army of the Knights of Light for your safety. Please cooperate with us. This time, we will not only catch all of the gutter rats, but also the mastermind behind them."

Hodap looked back at Elliot VIII again. "Of course, even heroes are susceptible to the temptation of beauty. How you handle this matter is in the hands of Your Excellency."

Elliot VIII had a rather soft personality in general, but since his life was being threatened, he hardened his heart and his expression grew distant. "It's fine, as Your Eminence has stated, we must catch all the gutter rats at once, along with this covert Gathering of Nobles."

Elliot VIII never thought that this group would actually target his life to usurp control over the Crete Empire. His life was on the line. Elliot VIII had originally just thought of the Gathering of Nobles as a threat, but now, they were enemies that would hunt each other down till death. They were not only targeting his life, but his throne as well. That was something he definitely could not give them.

Hodap and Elliot VIII continued to talk about other topics. Though they did not mention the subject of the Gathering of Nobles anymore, they had already reached a consensus: Elliot VIII needed the support of the Church of Light, while Hodap hoped to deepen his relationship with Elliot VIII.

This meeting concluded within one short hour. Pope Hodap met a few other Grand Dukes and a King, as well as an ambassador from the Tuten Dynasty afterwards, finally completing all he had to do for the day. The Gathering of Nobles might be a grave event endangering lives and the position of the emperor to the Crete Empire, but to Hodap, it was not something that required much of his attention. Right now, for the Church of Light, the Saint Baptism ritual on New Year's was of utmost importance.

Other than that, there wasn't anything worth doing for his great Church of Light. San Calendar Year 10 would soon turn into San Calendar Year 11, meaning that Hodap had already been Pope for eight years.

Over the last ten years, Hodap, who was not young anymore, had aged beyond his years. His eyes had become murky. He could no longer ride a horse for days, as he had been able to with his former vigor.

From his position, things like money and power no longer swayed him the slightest. The closer he was to death, the stronger his faith toward God became, as he was certain that he would ascend to the kingdom of God after his death and become his Disciple.

The ritual this time was an opportunity for Hodap. Death was unavoidable, and therefore there was nothing to fear. But being able to live a little longer as a Saint and spread the message of God was one of Hodap's deeply held desires. Hodap had dreamt of Heaven countless times. He was extremely jealous of the Saintess, who had become a deity and was constantly watched over by God.

That combination of envy and jealousy exploded when the Saintess was summoned again by God and received the mask of Faross. He thirsted for the attention of God, and he, too, wanted to receive divine revelations and incantations. If he could meet God, Hodap was willing to pay any price.

After finishing his duties as Pope, Hodap immediately changed into a plain gray robe and headed to the main hall of the Temple of Light. The ritual and chanting had already begun.

Within the temple, there were many kneeling members of the clergy. There were rows of white robed priests on the steps below. Even further away, the mountains of believers were shocking. But the only people who could pray at the very front were the Saintess and her maiden acolytes.

These acolytes were picked from a young age, chosen among the daughters of believers to follow beside God, and to dedicate their lives to God.

After the arrival of the Saintess, all of the handmaidens were reassigned under her name. The Saintess managed them. She was also in charge of the ritual and ceremony within the Temple of Light, as she was the blood kin of God.

Hodap approached the statue of God, his hands crossed in prayer, and knelt before the figure.