Wuxiaworld > Release that Witch > 123 The Offer of the Church

123 The Offer of the Church

On the fourth day after Roland had conquered Stronghold, he summoned all the nobles in and near the area to the hall of the castle.

Although the majority had already known the news, he thought that he still had to make it clear before all of them—the Western Region had a new lord.

When he said that he would go back to Border Town and had asked the eldest son of the Honeysuckle Family to take charge in his stead, all the nobles started to argue immediately. Of course, nobody was willing to take the lead to dissent at that moment while the head of the duke was still hanging high in the gate and Timothy's defeat made speculators decide to seek for external help.

After the knights of the Honeysuckle Family were ransomed, the rest of the captured knights from other families could not be ransomed. Together with those mercenaries, they would be escorted to Border Town. In Roland's plan, all the mercenaries were sent to the mine for labor reforming while the knights would be considered for employment based on their repentant attitude—after all, most knights were literate and could be the first teachers of universal education. They, of course, were forbidden to use weapons for the rest of their lives.

As a result, the Honeysuckle Family's power would be much greater than the other four families'. They had enough armed forces to defend Longsong Stronghold and their own Earl territory, Roland thought. And as for small confrontations in their interests among those five families, they were Petrov's responsibility to worry about.

During the past few days, Roland had taken some time to order his guards to capture some officials who were held accountable for causing residents of Border Town to starve and freeze to death two years ago; the Treasurer, Reynolds, was included. They would receive a people's trial in Border Town. The only pity was that Earl Hirte Medde, who attempted to burn Roland's army provisions and killed Greyhound, was dead on the battlefield without standing trial.

Now, the traffic between Longsong Stronghold and Border Town had been fully restored. Each day over the coming seven days, more than 10 sailing ships would carry material resources to Border Town. Roland guessed Barov would be very busy in taking over coins looted from the duke and resettling a large number of immigrants, and he wondered if Karl had built those temporary wooden sheds as he told him to.

Thinking about it here, he could not wait to return to Border Town as quickly as possible to take charge of the forthcoming farming project.

After accompanying the nobles to have lunch, the castle ushered in a special guest when Roland was about to take a nap.

It was the High Priest, Tylo, in the Longsong Stronghold church.

Suddenly, Roland's sleepiness was killed.

Different from Border Town, the church had been rooted here for a long time. They not only built a church but also had a high priest stationed here. This was also the main reason why the prince made up his mind to return to Border Town to develop it—Longsong Stronghold had been indoctrinated and influenced by the church for such a long time that any civilian could be their informer. And his public involvement plan would be constrained and the risks of witches being exposed would be multiplied. Unless the church was uprooted, his reformation would be going nowhere.

It was quite normal for the church to keep an eye on the changing of the Longsong Stronghold's lord. But what made Roland feel strange was that they should wait till today to send a representative to make dealings with him. However, the representative's identity was not simple. Believers of high priests were senior figures in the church and responsible for supervising one area which was similar to the secular duke's.

As usual, he met the representative in the hall.

As a middle-aged man about in his forties, High Priest Tylo wearing a church-customized, white robe with a blue border was very neat in his dress and appearances and he behaved like a courteous noble. If Roland were not in favor of witches and the royal Family, he would be glad to talk with such a person.

The high priest must wear a high-quality God's Stone of Retaliation. In case of any accidents, Roland told Nightingale before the meeting to stay far away from the representative's location.

After Tylo saluted, Roland invited him to be seated and ordered his attendants to serve tea.

No matter what he was thinking, he must behave properly.

"Your Highness, I send blessings on behalf of Holy City," Tylo said with a smile on his face. "You've already become the Lord of the Western Region as entitled, and may God bless you."

"Thanks," Roland answered in a relaxing tone, "and it seems that you don't care if I've killed Duke Ryan and seized Longsong Stronghold."

"We're rarely involved in those secular disputes. Whoever can provide the people a better life is a good king. Whether he's born to a particular Family or from the royal Family isn't the church's focus. In fact, promotion in the church never looks at believers' identities. I'm just a son of a farmer, but now the high priest." He smiled. "With all due respect, Your Highness, I'm afraid that sons of farmers can't become dukes, can they?"

If he launched an uprising and overthrew the royal Family, he would be the king. Although Roland thought this, he did not retort and changed the topic directly. "So why are you here, just for sending blessings?"

"Sending blessings is only part of it. I'm also here for cooperation."

"Cooperation? Cooperation of what?"

"We can provide whatever that can help you to expand your domain and influence."

"Wait…" Roland frowned. "You just said that the church was rarely involved with secular disputes."

"Rarely involved doesn't equal non-involvement," the high priest calmly said. "Nowadays, the fight between your elder brother Timothy and Princess Garcia has led to a miserable life for the people in the Southern Territory. "I've mentioned that the church considers whoever can lead the people to a peaceful life to be a respectable king. And you're exactly the kind of person."

Roland was stunned and wondered if the high priest was implying that they wanted to help him fight for the throne. He asked subconsciously, "Why?"

"You've led the people to fight against demonic beasts in Border Town and survived the Months of Demons, which proves your courage and ability. The amount of food you've bought from Willow Town shows that you don't want people to starve and suffer, which is a sign of kindness. The three noble qualities and the royal blood are the reasons why we choose you."

Roland did not believe those reasons at all, but it at least showed that even though Border Town was covered by heavy snow and isolated from the outside, the church was still staring at this remote place.

"But how? Dispatching the Judgment Army to fight for me?"

"We want to quell the war as soon as possible, but it'll raise most of the nobles' resentment, so we can only help with the material resources." The high priest took two pills from his bosom, one red and one black. "This is from the Holy Prayer Room in Holy City—which is equivalent to your alchemic workshop. The red pill can make your men temporarily have formidable strength, and the black pill can multiply their pain, cold, and heat tolerances. With these drugs, your army will be unstoppable. And the church only charges the most basic production costs." He paused. "Each pill is worth five gold royals. I can give you the two pills for free as test samples to prove that what I said is true."

"What do you ask for in return? Expanding the scope of the congregation and establishing a church in every territory?"

"That's good, of course, but it's our intention to quell the war. As long as the people live a peaceful life, they'll naturally come into the arms of God."

Roland took the pills. "It sounds fantastic, but for now, I don't want to compete to be the King of the Kingdom of Graycastle. Besides, both Timothy and Garcia are my closest blood relatives and I don't want to hurt them."

"I can understand." The high priest smiled. "But sometimes Family affection doesn't stop the temptation of obtaining rights, especially when you become an obstacle to their rights. Pills are just the starting point, and we can provide a little more help. If you decide to go that way, you can come to look for me at the church anytime." At this, he stood up and bowed down. "I've brought the resolution of the church, and may God be with you, Your Highness."