TPCP – 76

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“When Jacob’s soldiers came and told me to give you up. I let you go right away.”

“Why would I blame you? Everyone would have been killed if you tried to protect me. Archbishop Rosaria at least gave me the chance to study. It is enough that you protected my childhood.”

Elisha calmly answered Rosaria’s qualms.

“Indeed, you remembered everything I taught.”

“You also taught me that blaming others is also a daft human folly. I, myself, am the only person that I can rely on and insure my own safety with. So the best thing my teacher could do for me is to strengthen and empower me. Did you instruct as much?”

“Indeed, you were my favorite student.”

Rosaria looked at her and chuckled. She had a grin that made Elisha think that must have been how she had laughed while on horseback when she roamed the battlefield.

“Lucerne, be kind to this child. She was the most outstanding of all my pupils—foreign languages, ancient languages, etiquette, tactics, and even accounting and management. Even so, I had so much more I wanted to teach her. It’s a pity that I could only instruct her up to fourteen.”

“I’ll help her to study. Of course, there is no teacher like Rosaria-nim.”

Elisha was mildly surprised when he addressed Rosaria with respect and deference. At the same time, if Lucerne was serious about letting her study, she was very tempted.

“Besides, Lucerne was also my favorite student. I am really looking forward to the 2nd generation.”

“My grandfather is already waiting for the 2nd generation. Sometimes the back of my neck has chills from how terrifying his ambition is.”

As Lucerne spoke softly, her heart fluttered and grew warm. They conversed in a surprisingly amicable atmosphere.

“Nora, let’s take a walk.”

Without listening to the rest of their discussion, Elisha excused herself on the pretext of taking a walk.

Elisha sensed Lucerne wanted to discuss something with Rosaria alone. Instead, she took a look around, contemplating the winter scenery of the cold monastery.

‘Is the monastery building I lived in still here?’

She slowly meandered through the monastery’s gardens.

Rosaria’s nagging was a predetermined protocol. Her expression changed as soon as Elisha left.

“Even my ears have heard whispers that Lucerne-nim has started meddling in the temple affairs. Please tell me what this is about.”

“You still have good hearing for your age.”

“Don’t change the subject,”

Rosaria said sternly.

“I taught you to not stand out if you have ambition. Why are you provoking Merha? He’ll probably be the next Pope, so he won’t let you come into contact with Gunner.”

“Rumors these days are very detailed.”

“I know it’s not a rumor. A priest close to Gunner was brought into your house once every two days. Such news can be heard by even an outsider like me.”

Had Rosaria been interested in more secular affairs, she would have heard rumors that Lucerne was crazy about Elisha.

If so, she would have heard the story that he had summoned three high-ranking healing priests and grilled them every day so that Elisha could be rehabilitated. But Rosaria was significantly in the dark about those kinds of rumors.

“Did you hear that from Merha? I also have ears, and I hear he often comes here.”*

“He wants my vote and the votes of the priests who follow me. He’s persistent in pursuing me for his election campaign. It’s rather troublesome.”*

[*t1v: now, when no one is around, Lucerne speaks to Rosaria respectfully, and Rosaria addresses him usually casually]

Quite a few high-ranking priests maintained political neutrality under her wing. So she suffered whenever something like elections occurred.

In addition, Rosaria held the office of Archbishop, an honorary post above the High Priesthood. Therefore, it was only natural for people to aim for Rosaria’s backing.

“I know,”

Lucerne chuckled.

“And I remember your teachings. You instructed me to lower my head and act humble if I harbor ambitions.”

“But for sure, when hunting, take out your claws and show them—that’s what I meant. But if the temple leans towards you, the Duke will suspect you. Gunner is a typical Cartier wolf who revels in money and power. Do you believe that Gaju will just sit back and watch a collusion between Gunner and yourself?”

Rosaria’s face twisted in disgust and loathing when she mentioned Gunner.

“Do you think I will handle this clumsily? Don’t worry too much.”

“… … .”

At those words, Rosaria sealed her lips and swallowed her objections. Even for her, Lucerne was an elusive and challenging opponent.

Instead, she decided to remain content that at least Lucerne had not come to ask for her support to get Gunner elected as Pope. She was already disillusioned with the current predicament.

“I’m tired just speculating how much more Merha will gobble up when he becomes the pope this time.”

Merha was strangely skillful with temple-related businesses. If there was one thing that Merha was better in than Gunner, it was that he was incomparably wealthy. He would not need to deplete the relief funds for the poor as terribly as Gunner would. Nonetheless, both of them were heinously corrupt.

“How odd. Even the nominees for the leader of the religious are only amongst Cartiers. It’s like a secondary succession war—No, it’s no different. When Merha becomes the Pope, he will drive all the temple-related ventures to Marco, and if Gunner becomes the Pope, you… … . will take over the temple’s businesses.”

After a papal election, many new temples were constructed, and many temple events and projects where donations could be eaten were forged. The present-day temple was rotten to its core.

Rosaria’s head hurt when she thought about the situation in the temple. She thought it would be the worst if Gunner became Pope.

“By the way, Lucerne.”

“… … .”

“Did you purposely assign Nora as Lady Elisha’s escort?”

“My wife wanted it.”

“Ah, I see.”

Rosaria looked thoughtful for a moment. Soon she shook her head.

“Moreover, is it really because of Elisha that you came to me?”

She changed the subject, Lucerne was wary, but he couldn’t help it because what he had to say was important now.

“I have something to tell you about Merha,” he said.

***

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5 thoughts on “TPCP – 76

    1. Nothing indicates so far. They do have huge mutual respect, Nora for Elisha’s resourcefulness and intelligence, and Elisha for Nora’s strength and commitment to her moral values – something that Elisha here and there relinquishes to reach her goals.
      I just hope Elihsa can convince Nora to withstand just the minimally enough amount of moral flexibility. No cleaning process can be done without dealing with filth. But this chapter let me more hopeful both Lucerne and Elisha are still on the path to actually destroy the Cartier house, not merely inherit it.

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