“That’s right, nya!”
Hong strongly agreed with Raon’s statement. On slowly moved to Mary’s side and patted her calf with her front paw. Mary opened her arms and On jumped up.
“Excuse me, but…”
Cale, who watched all of this, asked the Pope a question.
“I heard that the Emperor was the only one with the necromancer ability?”
Mary recalled what Cale had told her in the past while petting On’s head.
‘Mary. That is a place where being a necromancer is only reserved for the Emperor.’
An odd smile appeared on the Pope’s face.
“That is because nobody other than the next Emperor survived.”
The mood sank down.
“That is how dangerous the test to pick the next Emperor or the next Imperial Crown Prince can be.”
“Is the test the same each time?”
The Pope shook her head at Eruhaben’s question.
“No, sir. It is different each time. They create a board to discuss and determine the contents of the test every time it is required.”
Furthermore, the contents of the test were revealed when they started to recruit candidates.
“Fairness and preparedness. It’s their way of saying they will look at everything.”
“No wonder the security around the capital is thorough.”
The Pope nodded her head at Choi Han’s comment.
At that time…
“It is inefficient.”
Mary finally made a comment. Cale turned to look at Mary. Although her voice was GPS-like as usual, Mary’s voice was oddly a bit different from how she always spoke.
“It will be more helpful to this world if there are multiple necromancers. I do not think that it is the right choice to make the test difficult enough that only one survives. Furthermore, they would have to focus on the Empire’s affairs once they become the Emperor, so I believe that they would not be using their necromancer powers out on the field very much.”
The Pope smiled bitterly as if she agreed with Mary, but the words that came out of her mouth were stern.
“A necromancer is now the symbol of authority of the ruler.”
Mary closed her mouth and did not say anything else. Cale watched all of this and then started to speak.
“I guess we will need to infiltrate the capital first.”
They had no choice but to go there because the Black Bloods were in the capital.
“Yes, esteemed purifier. The capital is about three hours away from here.”
“It’s closer than I thought?”
“There are naturally some eroded areas within the Iska Empire, and this is the eroded area that is closest to the capital.”
In an area north of the Iska Empire’s capital on the map… There was an area dyed black. The temple was at the center of that area.
“Is it okay to be here when they can kill you on sight?”
“You have to be close to the enemy to prepare for them. Also-”
The Pope’s gaze sunk down.
“There are no regular believers or priests here. Everybody here is part of the battle forces or rear support.”
The Divine Oracle had come down, so the church believed that this was the time for some sort of change regardless of the purifier’s identity.
They only kept the people who agreed with them at this temple.
Cale did not ask for any more explanation. The Pope did not say anything else after noticing Cale’s silence.
‘Our lord told us to treat the purifier as if we were treating him. I just need to follow the will of the purifier-nim.’
The Pope pointed to the Iska Empire’s capital.
“We are usually heavily clad in the armor of purification when we leave this area. We can see the barriers set up by the Empire if we go about one hour using a carriage covered by the power of purification.”
That was one of the defenses against the dead mana fog and was usually maintained by black mages. Even then, they were unable to stop the erosion completely.
“We need to sneak into the barrier and go about two more hours on a carriage to reach the capital. Our temple has a carriage lined up so we should be good to use it.”
The Pope looked at the young Dragon who was overflowing with dignity as he suddenly interjected.
“Oh great Dragon, what do you mean by that?”
Raon looked at Cale and Eruhaben before answering the Pope’s question.
“Let’s just teleport there! Just give me the coordinates! We can get there in one minute!”
The Pope gasped.
“…I see. Our side does not have mages but our esteemed purifier has a mage, no, a Dragon.”
The Church of the Fire of Purification did not have any black mages.
They definitely did not have any regular mages either. Those mages were even more precious than black mages.
The Pope asked a question that popped into her mind.
“Umm, the density of mana is quite low here. Would it be possible to teleport with multiple people?”
“Whether it is here or where we came from-”
Eruhaben spoke in a low voice.
“Mana is mana in the end.”
He reached out his hand.
Golden powder gathered around the Dragon’s hand in the air and created a small whirlwind.
It was beautiful, but the Pope felt a vicious power in that small whirlwind.
It was at that moment.
“It’s okay if the mana is lacking!”
Raon pulled out a large bag from his spatial dimension.
That bag fell onto the table and opened.
“We have a lot of magic stones!”
The corners of Cale’s lips curled up.
Crown prince Alberu had given them a lot of things as they left.
‘Here, take these.’
‘Thank you very much, your highness. We will put it to good use.’
‘Okay. By the way…’
‘…You said that two Dragons are coming to the capital?’
‘Yes, your highness. Aren’t you concerned about the defenses at the capital? Most things should be no issue if two Dragons are here.’
‘…Here are some cookies for the kids.’
Cale could see the Pope’s shaking pupils.
“This is my first time seeing magic stones in person.”
Cale instantly scowled.
‘Now that I think about it, it’s weird.’
The Xiaolen world claimed that he could have a magic stone mine or any kind of mine as a reward.
Was that possible when the land was eroded by dead mana?
Cale felt an ominous feeling but firmed his resolve.
‘If there are none then I will create one in order to receive it.’
There was a determined look on his face. The Pope, who had been looking at Cale, gulped after seeing the determined look while Cale ended the conversation with indifference.
“Then we will move to the capital as soon as the preparations are completed.”
* * *
Going to the capital.
Things proceeded quite efficiently once they decided on what to do.
‘We will provide a guide and a Holy Knight from our side. Could you please wait a moment?’
Cale had said, ‘Yes,’ to the Pope, and Cale’s group used the time to get some rest.
‘I’m going to go look around a bit.’
Eruhaben and Sui Khan left the temple together. They were going to look around.
‘I will go take a look outside as well.’
Shawn and Choi Han followed behind them as well. Choi Han seemed to be following Sui Khan rather than trying to look around outside, so it seemed as if he had something to say to him.
Cale, Mary, On, Hong, Raon, and the Vampire were left in the small resting area the Pope had provided for them.
Cale, who was seated on the couch, looked toward the Vampire who was standing behind him in Choi Han’s usual position.
“…Why don’t you sit down and relax?”
“I’m okay, sir.”
The Vampire with short purple hair was quite gruff. However, she should be quite skilled since Duke Fredo had sent her.
“Your name was Jezna, right?”
“Did Duke Fredo tell you anything?”
Vampire Jezna responded with a gruff look on her face.
“He told me to make a very good impression, sir.”
“He told me to do anything and everything you wanted me to do.”
A determined gaze was visible in her gruff eyes.
“He told me to make sure that my actions benefit Endable.”
Cale did not say anything despite the unsettled look on his face because he knew that Duke Fredo and the people of Endable wanted to solidify Endable’s position.
‘Endable needs to be properly accepted by the Eastern and Western continents.’
His thoughts and Duke Fredo’s thoughts did align on the big picture.
“…You’re quite honest.”
“Yes, sir. I am honest. The Duke-nim told me to keep my mouth shut and not answer even if you ask anything, but shouldn’t I answer?”
“Yes, sir. That is correct.”
‘This Vampire is kind of odd too?’
Cale felt a bit uncomfortable, but Raon sounded quite bright as he spoke into Cale’s mind.
– Human, I think that this Vampire will be a good worker!
Raon and Cale seemed to have opposing thoughts on this Vampire.
Cale stopped thinking about Jezna since he accepted her as an ally and pulled out the divine item, the mirror, from his pocket.
He had come to Xiaolen and met a decent helper organization.
Now he will go to the capital, learn some things about the Black Bloods and decide where to go from there.
‘Mm… Things are going decently, but…’
He felt a bit concerned as he had no updates on the Roan Kingdom.
What if they had been attacked again while he was gone?
‘I wish I could speak to his highness.’
It was at that moment.
The fancy-looking mirror started to shake.
The mirror screen turned on despite Cale not even touching it.
< Currently downloading the abilities of the cintamani. >
< Developing communication routes between the dimensions that the owner of the divine item has visited... >
< 23 hours and 59 seconds left until fully loaded >
58 seconds. 57 seconds. The loading time was slowly decreasing.
Cale let out a short laugh.
The God of Death had said that he would give Cale something to replace the cintamani that allowed him to communicate with Earth 3.
“So this is in the cintamani’s place.”
‘No. Is it an upgraded version?’
Cale’s eyes landed on the words, ‘dimensions that the owner of the divine item has visited.’
‘Looks like I’ll have a way to contact Roan.’
There were about 24 hours left but Cale could pretty much understand the usage of this item.
It was at that moment.
“I am curious.”
Cale turned to look at Mary.
Mary, who had stayed here unlike the others, had been sitting there quietly since earlier.
The children averaging nine-years-old had not been approaching her because she seemed to be deep in thought.
“What are you curious about?”
“I am curious about how the other necromancers might be.”
It was an expected curiosity.
Mary had a lot of friends including Dark Elves, sword master Hannah, and others, but there was nobody in her world who had the same powers as her.
That was why she probably wants to meet the other necromancers living in this world and communicate with them.
Cale could understand how she must be feeling right now. That was why he could anticipate her inner thoughts and added on.
“But there is no need to do something dangerous.”
The test to determine the Imperial Crown Prince was so dangerous that only one person might survive.
Cale reminded Mary about this.
“I am aware, young master-nim.”
Mary had her hood covering her face as she nodded her head.
“But I am curious.”
Knock knock knock.
They heard some knocks on the door at that moment.
“The preparations are completed, sir.”
They heard a priest’s voice and Cale watched as Mary jumped up.
– Human, why are you smiling like that?
Cale shrugged his shoulders at Raon and followed behind Mary.
They then arrived at the location for the teleportation.
“Bishop Durst will be your guide.”
An old priest who looked over eighty respectfully bowed toward Cale.
“Nice to meet you.”
He grabbed the hand that Cale extended. Cale could see that the old priest’s hand was quite firm and filled with scars.
“I am delighted to meet you as well. Oh esteemed purifier. My name is Durst Ren Wishrop.”
Cale looked at him after hearing the long name and old priest Durst smiled before adding on.
“I carry on the blood of the last king of a kingdom that has perished after the land was dyed black.”
Cale didn’t know what else to say to this old priest. The old priest smiled as if it was fine, let go of Cale’s hand, and stood next to him.
There were about one hundred armor-clad individuals behind the Pope.
“We will move by land later, esteemed purifier. Our chances of getting caught will increase significantly if such a large number suddenly showed up at the capital.”
The Pope handed Cale a book with the coordinates, map, and other information.
“The coordinates are for the church’s secret safe house in the capital. The people there will assist you, oh esteemed purifier. We will start to move right after you leave.”
“Yes, ma’am. Then we will be heading out first.”
Eruhaben looked at the coordinates and reached out his hand once Cale finished speaking.
Some magic stones cracked as a gold magic circle appeared underneath their feet.
Then a bright golden light quickly surrounded them.
Cale’s group disappeared into thin air.
The Pope mumbled.
“It really is magic.”
‘There’s going to be chaos in the capital.’
The Pope’s focus was neither on the two Dragons nor the necromancer. It was on the radiantly shining rose-gold light.
“We will move immediately as well.”
The First Holy Knights Brigade, the strongest of all knights in the Church of the Fire of Purification, started to move toward the capital as well. Furthermore, messenger priests who had been at the Grand Temple started to scatter in all directions as well.
The Pope thought about what Cale allowed her to do as she headed toward the capital.
‘Oh esteemed purifier. May I inform the church about our course of action?’
‘It doesn’t matter to me, Pope-nim.’
The Pope had a hunch.
She thought that the time would soon come to show the full extent of the church’s powers.
No, she believed that that time had already started.
* * *
Cale covered his face and body with a robe and joined the rowdy crowd once he arrived at the capital.
“The recruitment information is located in the plaza, sir.”
Old priest Durst, who also had his face covered by a robe, whispered while standing next to Cale.
Currently, Cale, the invisible Raon, Eruhaben, and Mary were following the old priest.
Of course, Choi Han, Sui Khan, and the others were all here but doing different tasks.
“There really are a lot of people.”
The capital was full of people as the ancient Dragon mentioned.
– This place feels like a different world!
Raon was right in saying that this place did not look like a part of a world that was being eroded with dead mana.
“We will finally get to meet the person who will become the new sun of Iska!”
“I know, right?! My heart is already beating crazy thinking about how great that person is going to be!”
People were excited about meeting the person who would become the new Emperor. It was as if they saw this test to select the Imperial Crown Prince as a festival.
Cale’s gaze sunk down as he observed the mood.
“We are now at the plaza.”
The group arrived at the plaza and Cale could see a large notice at the center of the plaza.
“We are going to get closer now, sir.”
Cale and the others followed Durst to the notice about the recruitment.
Cale heard some other things as they walked.
“It looks like everyone in his Majesty’s direct line is participating.”
“I heard that multiple people from the collateral line are participating as well!”
“Hmm. There are people from other kingdoms participating as well. Is it going to be like the last time when they faked their necromancer powers?”
“Who knows? Anyway, look at how the test is going to be. It’s going to be amazing again.”
There were quite a few useful pieces of information.
It was at that moment.
“Did you hear? It looks like having three assistants will be essential for this test.”
“Really? Mm. It was like that two tests ago too.”
“But more importantly, did you hear who the First Imperial Prince is going to be participating with?”
Cale stopped walking.
‘What are they talking about? The Pope said that Dragons went extinct, didn’t she?’
Cale could see Eruhaben already walking toward the direction of the conversation.
Wait, there are Dragons still?
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