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The name of a group of devious warlocks went by.
“Recently, there has been news that some of the priests have been disappearing, so there’s a good chance of them been involved with that garbage.”
“What have they already said?”
“Utter nonsense. They’re absolutely insane. They were planning to sacrifice the saint to their god? One confessed they planned to kidnap the saint and paralyze her body with poison.”
The more he spoke the louder his voice grew—as if vomiting the voice with repulsion:
“How dare they storm the Founding Banquet! This is like a declaration of war against the Empire.”
While the Emperor lost his temper and started to rant and rave, Alastair calmly reexamined the situation.
“Well… I don’t think it’s a declaration of war. It is highly probable that they planned this on their own.”
“What do you mean?”
“If Facius had been after the saint, would they have planned such a shoddy operation? It was a disorganized undertaking that looked like it was doomed to fail. Their actions will instead intensify the safety of the saint.”
“Perhaps they are sending out their discarded cards to declare war?”
“Isn’t this too different from their typical strategy? They like to impress with particular horrors, and they hate being disparaged for looking foolish—being taken seriously is important to them.”
The emperor agreed.
He glared at the wretched warlocks and wrinkled his face in displeasure.
“It’s no use if you hold your tongue! … Um, it looks like even if I continue to torture them, no more will be divulged. These supposed Facius don’t know anything!”
“Looks like it’s the end.”
Alastair had anticipated such a conclusion.
“We need to capture all of the members of Facius…!”
They had been on the decline but they were too strong for his comfort.
“Duke Agernia, what say you? Do tell.”
At the emperor’s question, Alastair held in his bitter retort.
As a rule, this should have been discussed with Hypron Aites, not him.
He was the first commander of the Imperial Knights Templar. But here the emperor was asking for his opinion.
Perhaps because as Hypron Aites’ reputation increased day by day so did his connections and the number of people cheering him.
He was now more popular than the emperor.
The emperor entrusted him with the impossible attempting to destroy his prestige, but Hypron Aites always accepted those missions without complaint and always produced successful results.
Therefore, the emperor is trying to solve the Facius problem to raise his popularity and public sentiment.
Asking for opinions… Perhaps his ideas would become tools to enhance the emperor’s reputation.
If he wanted to, he could fool the emperor and trap him.
“Use the saint as bait.”
“Recently, I’ve heard some interesting information from a priest. Rumors that they’re researching divine powers.”
It was confidential but there had been a priest who was captured by Facius and then escaped. However, he was caught again shortly after running away.
The group holding the priest was not Facius.
They were a part of an unnamed group in the underworld.
A member of the gang, upon secretly investigating Facius, had learned about the runaway priest and abducted him.
The priest risked his life to escape from Facius, but he died in the end. Because the group that kidnapped him tortured him horribly to get information.
Coincidentally, the power behind the gang that tortured the priest was one of Alastair’s forces.
“It’s a fact I heard while conducting a reconnaissance by chance.”
He made up the source of the rumor without blinking.
“The fact that their outliers were aiming for the saint would be proof of a general yearning for the saint within the group.”
“So what are you trying to say?”
“There’s no harm in using the saint as bait. It’s worth seeing if she’s what they want, and if it proves to be true, she’ll be a considerable help.”
The emperor frowned as he listened to Alastair.
“Duke, are you crazy? What if others find out the saint was used as a lure? In the Empire, more than half of the population follows the saint herself!”
The approval ratings and support of the temple were certainly impressive.
Whispering sweet words saying that if they believe in God, something will happen— and indeed when good tidings came they laid claim to it as if it was God’s plan.
It would be hard not to believe. Especially for citizens who needed peace of mind.
Therefore, even if it is an emperor with a higher authority than a saint, the ruler would not be safe if it was revealed that they were using the saint.
“I would never suggest a high-risk tactic to your Majesty.”
The emperor’s thick eyebrows rose upward.
“Because they’ll come to you on their own.”
It was reported to Alastair that the tortured priest was said to have muttered half-mad before he died: Must protect the saint.
A display of incredible devotion.
Summarizing up all the words he uttered, Facius was aiming for her saint.
They would be making their move soon.
In the history books, it was written: The warlocks couldn’t be pushed back in the first place. Their power was overwhelming. However, as the temple entered the war, they began to lose ground.
It was truly an effective force against magic.
It was natural for Facius to plan for the downfall of the temple.
“So, how do you intend to use a saint as bait?”
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