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Hellion could convey everything from beginning to end because he had previously explained the oracle to the emperor. Celia, whom Hellion had seen in his oracle, was focused on the fact that she had placed a Penina flower in Leonis’ chest.
“……The knight’s armor was engraved with the Dragon’s coat of arms. He also used a spear and a knife to defeat a dragon which was clutching a snake.”
The meaning of the prophecy was clear.
It meant the Cardian family would overthrow the Hermos imperial family and take the throne. Zeppel had wished for it, and Leonis and those who believed in him had prepared for it.
It was difficult to determine whether it was safe to trust Hellion, the High Priest. The church always raised its hands in support of those in power.
“Did you catch what I just said? I may charge you with treason and hand you over to the Emperor.”
“Even if you do, I’ll have no choice but to put up with it. It is my responsibility to obey God’s will because he has spoken through me.”
When dealing with the emperor, Helion had already set a good example for him.
Leonis couldn’t trust Hellion. It was something anyone could do to align his dreams, which he referred to as an oracle. Even if the dream were to turn out to be true, believing that Hellion was on their side was an arrogant assumption to make.
“……What a ridiculous thing to say. Let’s go back.”
Celia was on the same page as him, but she did have one question for him.
“Did you choose me to be a saintess who summons divine beasts? What are the steps involved for a saintess to be able to call forth divine beasts? Through prayer?”
“I don’t know anything about that. However, I know that the saintess is the one who hatches divine beasts.”
After noticing that Celia had chosen to remain silent, Hellion responded with all his knowledge.
“The eggs of creatures are kept at a set temperature by the mother, but the egg of divine beasts feel powerful energy like warmth and hatch by receiving that energy… According to the record, that is.”
Hellion had received his oracle and did not expect Leonis to confirm it. It was not a prudent move to make at that time because the emperor was still in charge.
All that required him was to let Leonis, who would one day become Emperor, know that the time had come.
Instead of cowering and observing the situation, it was necessary to find the courage to stand against the imperial family and announce that the time for revolution was drawing near.
Hellion revealed what Celia had not asked when she enquired about it. He knew it would be hard to ask specific questions from their point of view.
‘If the saintess had already got the egg on her hand, she would have been thinking about how to hatch them.’
That was something that could only be achieved by the emperor and the six high priests. Since not even a high-ranking priest could manage that situation without difficulties, he had no choice but to tell her.
That was how most living things were. According to what he had been told, the only way for a newly hatched divine beast to be able to develop normally as if it was allowed the opportunity to hatch from its eggshell on its own.
Celia wondered if the day would ever come. He said she needed to be near huge amounts of energy, so she reasoned that it would be fine if she were near Leonis or itself.
Leonis’s eyes softened when he saw Hellion, who had given him important information unpredictably. However, ever since the beginning, he has maintained the same position. The church could not yet be considered to be a trustworthy institution.
“Then I will take my leave. Please keep in mind that God’s protection is following the Duke.”
Leonis turned away without answering. Once more, bowing formally, Hellion left the drawing room. The other priest and a paladin who had followed him were waiting just outside the drawing room.
They had no idea what Hellion discussed with the duke and his wife inside because they were obediently carrying out the commands that Hellion gave them.
They just maintained their silence in compliance with the high priest’s request.
When the butler saw Hellion leave the drawing room, he accompanied them until they entered the carriage.
Because Heilion’s story was unusual, neither Celia nor Leonis saw him off. It was a situation that shouldn’t have happened.
“What are your thoughts?”
Celia asked Leonis, who was silent. Celia was met with a blank expression from Leonis.
“It’s as if I’m dealing with a large hand that I’ve never noticed.”
He was brought up by a father with deep-seated animosity against God. It had been a very long time since he had given up his faith in the gods of heaven, yet there was a moment when he felt resentment towards the god of the sky out of pity for his father.
But he said through an oracle that Leonis would become emperor.
He was suspicious of the motive for sending a high priest, a servant of God, to inform him of the situation. On the other side, he could foretell how relieved the forces secretly supporting him would be when they found out that Hellion had received the oracle.
“Zeppel will like it.”
“Alright. If it was him, he would make full use of that fact.”
Zeppel was confident that he would figure out a strategy to deal with the church at some point in the future, and that plan would involve setting up a snare to prevent the church from changing its mind.
Furthermore, they want to leverage the denomination’s name in order to hasten the process of expanding their influence.
When Celia discovered how to lift Leonis’ curse, Zeppel gave her a suspicious look and then danced after Leonis left after hearing about the egg of the divine beast.
“……Leon. I want you to meet the priest who is cooperating with the Cardian family. Regarding Leon’s curse, there’s something I’d like to try.”
Leonis was perplexed by Celia’s cautious words. He had just assumed that the curse was going well.
However, he did as Celia instructed, and seeing as there was no problem with that, he gave his permission.
✦ ✦ ✦
When Celia said she wanted to speak with the priest, Zeppel arrived sooner than anyone else could have. Celia hadn’t yet concluded that she was a saintess, but Zeppel seemed to think she was for sure.
“I am pleased to meet you, Duchess.”
The person who properly greeted her was a high-ranking priest who was a Church of the Heavenly God member. When a merciless massacre of the people living in a territory ruled by a lord was carried out on the grounds of an epidemic, he was the one who risked his life to stop it but was burned alive and almost died.
After he was rescued, he felt betrayed by both the church and the imperial family for not saving the territory. Then the territory ultimately fell under the authority of the Cardian Duchy.
At first, it was said that he had been hiding in the mountains and quietly preaching doctrines to those who came to him for help.
In the aftermath of that incident, burn marks could still be seen on his face and body. It was also proof that he came back alive from hell.
“Did you say you wished to meet me?”
She had no reason to hide the oracle that Hellion had spoken about. Celia went on to describe the findings she made. In addition, regarding her plans for the future.
The priest was surprised.
“……If that is possible, it would be of great assistance to the duke.”
Is there any such thing as a divine spell?”
“Yes, there is, but the curse you have been under comes from the god of the heavens. The confinement will only be for a short time.”
“What if I just keep it and handle it all the time?”
Celia had a ring with magic pockets in it. She believed that if she stuffed it in there and held on to it from the inside, it wouldn’t even come out.
The priest replied and exchanged serious glances with her. Leonis, the topic of discussion, could be seen at the very edge of both Celia’s and the priest’s field of vision.
While he was working, he was able to overhear the conversation that was taking place between the two. It would have been an important advantage to him if Celia had performed as he had expected.
“Then what happens to the process of lifting the curse?”
If Celia’s method succeeds, she won’t have to worry about the remaining bit of the divine beast’s heart within the emperor. After much deliberation, Celia gave her response.
“If you give the emperor Penina powder, it will come out; therefore, it is right to assume that the emperor himself has the last piece of heart. Then how about sacrificing to God with the emperor’s body?”
It would be a fairly cruel sacrifice, but the emperor had already done something crueler to the empire and the people living in this land. Celia believed that they would not feel any regrets about having to kill him.
The priest who witnessed the people of the village being burned to death because they carried an infectious sickness held a similar point of view.
“…… In the past, there was a knight who received an oracle and offered God the head of a person who had committed a crime on behalf of a paladin.”
He was later recognized as a paladin by the New Church of Heaven. However, only once had he been active as a paladin.
The Duke of Cardian was not a direct descendant of the perpetrator but rather a family who became his relations. He also promised to transfer the god’s wrath into the body of another, so it was difficult to say he was safe.
So even if he escapes the curse, offering God the last piece of heart would be right. Whether they sacrifice the heart piece itself or the body of the Emperor holding it.
“If you do that, then I’ll know that the Duke has given permission, so I’ll prepare.”
At the priest’s words, Leonis nodded.
✦ ✦ ✦
Celia was drawn to the part of the oracles that Hellion had received, which described how the knight’s armor changed to white when the saintess placed a Penina Flower in his chest.
She gave it a lot of consideration and came to the conclusion that the aura that Leonis’ curse had released was very similar to the aura that was emitted when Phil, the second prince, vomited up a piece of the divine beast’s heart.
If Leonis eats Penina Powder, he might throw up a curse.
If that happens, Leonis will be free from the curse.
However, just as Leonis’ curse wished to move to the emperor’s body while he was around, it seems that the tangible curse also desired to return to Leonis’ body.
That was why he called the priest and asked if there was a way to withstand the curse.
Upon hearing the news, Leonis’s aides were pleased. If Leonis were released from the curse, they would have more people to deal with the emperor.
Also, if that happens, Leonis, who has a powerful weapon, can step forward and fight. Needless to say, they benefited greatly from this.
Celia had warned him that she might fail, but the priests assisting her and the rest of them seemed to be looking forward to it.
The priest had already drawn a sacred magic circle on the room floor where the ritual would be performed. A holy object settled at the center of the magic circle, where it served to ensnare the curse that had originated from Leonis.
They brought it with them because they believed that it would be possible to ensnare the curse of the heavens using it.
It was one of the collections Leonis’ father had amassed in the past in an attempt to lift the curse by pilfering the power of a holy relic.
The lid of a gold jewelry box studded with rubies was open.
Celia gave Leonis a cup of water that had powdered Penina added to it. Leonis gulped it down and waited for a reaction.
In addition to the priest who had prepared divine magic, five other wizards had vowed their devotion to the ducal family and were in the room just in case something unforeseen occurred. As they watched Leonis, the expressions on their faces revealed apprehensive anticipation.
The look on Leonis’ face suggested that his chest was congested.
“Do you feel it coming?”
“I feel stuffy, but I’m not sure if this works……UGH!”
Feeling as if something was coming out of his throat, Leonis ran to the sacred magic circle. Something sticky and wet seemed to work its way up his throat, and at the same time, an offensive, putrid smell seemed to prickle each of their nostrils.
When Leonis felt Celia’s hand on his arm, he dropped his head over the hallowed magic circle. Something dark slipped out from between his parted lips.