Adelia’s remarks had a big impact. Eustaf’s face, which had always been gentle in front of her, hardened.
“What do you mean it’s not hers?”
Eustaf’s voice was full of doubts. It was a natural reaction. At that moment, Eustaf’s face darkened as he recalled the terrible history of the Vishna religion in the past.
“Yes, there are many suspicious things about Hestine’s divine power and the Valkyr family.”
Adelia glanced at Ivan. Then Ivan nodded quietly. It was a sign that he wouldn’t mind her releasing the information.
“The truth is…”
Adelia gave Eustaf a detailed account of what had happened. As Adelia continued, Eustaf’s expression gradually collapsed.
“That’s what happened…….”
Eustaf’s voice sank low.
“In fact, I’ve known for a long time that there are disturbing forces in the temple.”
Eustaf looked at Adelia as if confessing.
“Where this level of power gathers, desire inevitably arises.”
Ivan spat out in an indifferent voice, as if it was nothing. Eustaf smiled bitterly at this.
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t help you.”
Eustaf knelt down in front of Adelia, apologizing. The white priest’s clothes were spread on the floor. Eustaf’s fingertips trembled slightly. But his gaze remained unshakable. Adelia could get a glimpse of his true feelings. He’s very honest.
“You don’t have to apologize. I’m the one who didn’t say anything. And this is enough.”
Eustaf looked up at Adelia with emotion. At first glance, it seemed like water was reflected in his eyes.
“But is it possible to use divine power that is not yours?”
Eustaf’s face darkened again at Adelia’s question. He seemed troubled for a moment, then opened his mouth heavily.
“It was a plot by the predecessor of the current Pope, Severence-nim.”
Eustaf began to talk about the name of the current pope.
“Regardless of any religion, divine power is the center of religion. The influence of religion naturally increases when a person with a powerful divine power emerges. So, we committed a taboo.”
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Eustaf’s voice sounded calm, but his eyes were filled with indelible emotions. That’s guilt. Eustaf bowed his head as if he had dared to do something he shouldn’t have done.
“As you’ve already expected, we conducted a study that artificially transplants the divine power of others.”
“Did you succeed?”
Eustaf gave a vague answer. Half-successful? Does that mean they succeeded in transplanting the divine power?
Ivan frowned at the vague answer and demanded a more detailed explanation.
“What do you mean by half?”
“I don’t know the details, but to put it simply, I know there were efficiency and ethical issues.”
Eustaf took a short breath and continued his explanation.
“Once the power was implanted, it produced only half the original amount, or even one-tenth of the efficiency.”
“The efficiency is terrible, but if it’s for a specific person, it might not be the least foul. What’s the ethical issue?”
Eustaf chose silence instead of answering. Adelia felt an unknown ominousness in his tacit consent.
“Since the study was concluded to be a ‘failure’, it has been kept strictly confidential within the temple. Like a study that didn’t exist at all. There is only one reason why we covered it up with all our might.”
Adelia focused on Eustaf’s voice, swallowing her dry saliva.
“The divine power used to transplant must be pure. The divine power assimilates into the owner’s body over time. The divine power is characterized in this way. So what this study needed was … children under the age of 14. To be exact, they extract the vitality of the children.”
At that moment, Adelia was able to complete the last piece of the puzzle.
Why did the green branches kidnap children for years? Now she can see why. They needed an unspoiled, pure life force. Hestine can then be implanted with divine power.
“As I just said, this study was very inefficient. It took 30 children at a time to produce a valid level of results. But this was also a temporary effect. They needed more children to have lasting effects. Of course, if they had continued the research, there would have been improvements, but …….”
“You stopped it before it caused more damage.”
Eustaf couldn’t bear to say that. Even though the practice was stopped along the way, it was still taboo.
I feel guilty.
Adelia clicked her tongue at the sight of Eustaf, who looked distressed. To be honest, he was not at fault with this study. All of it was the fault of the former pope and his aides. As a devotee of Vishna, he was burdened by the past of Vishna’s religion.
“Do you know who is involved in the study?”
“It’s been quite a while, so most of the believers involved are already out of this world.”
“No. Someone must be still here. If they know what the temple is hiding, someone who must have been involved back then is still here”
“……I suppose so.”
“And the companion of the man named Kale Ferris, one of the members of the green branch, was able to use divine power.”
As Eustaf listened to Ivan’s words, he asked with a grave expression.
“Do you know how old he is?”
“I didn’t see his face in person, so I’m not sure, but he looked quite old in your voice. Approximately seventy.”
“70… If he participated in the study at that time and is still alive, he is likely to have been a young assistant priest.”
“And one more thing. The man, who seemed to be his companion, seemed to have a problem with his body and was no longer able to use his divine power.”
The list of suspects has been narrowed down. Eustaf stood up and said something to Ivan and Adelia.
“I’ll look for it right away. If I check the list of priests at that time, I will probably find it easily.”
“I’ll leave it to you.”
Eustaf bowed to Ivan and Adelia and left immediately. After he left, Adelia rose up.
“Let’s get ready to leave, too. I left the capital empty for too long. By the way, when will Bishop Berg arrive?”
If he had completed his mission, he should have arrived by now. Did he fail? Maybe it was too much for him.
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When Adelia showed a worried expression, Ivan gently tapped Adelia’s nose with his index finger. Adelia looked up at Ivan with her eyes wide open.
“Too much worry is not healthy. For now, let’s wait for him to arrive. If he does not succeed, there will definitely be a better way.”
“That’s right. I was thinking too much.”
Adelia smiled and shook her head. As he said, nothing can be solved by being worried. It was time to think about the next move.
“Let’s go back to the capital for now.”
In the wobbly carriage, Rowena looked down at her red, rough hands with an uneven expression.
What’s this? It’s gotten rough!
Rowena, who had grown up without any difficulties all her life, was very hurt by the fact that she had done what the servants had to do.
What an ugly hand. She was too ashamed to stand in front of her friends. She didn’t want to go back to the academy after thinking like that.
“You don’t look good.”
Professor Dert, who noticed Rowena’s complexion, said in a worried voice. Rowena tried to raise the corners of her mouth and shook her head.
“I’m fine. I guess I’m a tad tired.”
“That’s true. You did a lot of work during Selcred, so you’re bound to be tired. Of course.”
For Rowena, Dert’s words sounded as if she really had to suffer. Of course, it was purely Rowena’s misunderstanding, and Dert was just worried about his student. Rowena’s already exhausted mood grew darker.
“Rowena worked really hard.”
Emily smiled and said, as if Rowena was great. It was just an acknowledgement of Rowena’s diligent work, but it sounded ridiculous to Rowena.
Rowena looked at Emily with her eyes wide open.
“You’re comfortable with her… It must have been pleasant to rest in the guardian’s room.”
Dert’s straight forehead wrinkled at Rowena’s thorny voice.
“Rowena Haven: No matter how tired you are, you shouldn’t undermine other people’s efforts.”
“……but Emily was really comfortable. This is all because of that girl!”
Rowena didn’t forget. The unqualified person who became the guardian of the torch. She assigned Emily a comfortable job and only gave her a nasty one. Thanks to this, she had to suffer the shame of ruining my hands.
In an instant, the atmosphere in the carriage became harsh. The other children sighed inwardly as they saw the three people who had a terrible atmosphere around them.
“Stop the carriage.”
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Eventually, Dert got out of the carriage with Rowena and Emily. It was to be considerate of other children who would be inconvenienced by them.
“Rowena, do you see what you’ve done wrong?”
Rowena would have moved on to acting cute and reflective, but she didn’t want to back down for some reason today. No matter how mature she was, she was a child after all.
“But…! The place belonged to Hestine-nim. I can’t believe it’s been taken away by someone like that…. I can’t accept it!…”
“Someone like that?”
It wasn’t Dert’s voice that stopped Rowena. The voice was dreary and low.
Dert, Rowena, and Emily’s eyes naturally turned in the direction where the voice came from.
At the end of their gaze was a man with long blue hair in a crooked position. Berg Chihen. One of the pillars of the Vishna religion and a hidden follower of Adelia.
“There’s no way you’re talking about that person?”
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