Chapter 288 “Who is scheming against whom?” (Part one)
Maximos of course understands the meaning of Du Wei’s word.
This bishop may be the type to appear compassionate and noble on the outside, but Du Wei’s not wrong: the more simplistic he appears, the more likely he’s plotting something big and great!
This was especially true after today. Du Wei had never been convinced the members of the Temple are saints in this world even on the best of days… And now that he learned the truth regarding Mayuba, the founder of the Temple, his opinion became even more conclusive.
Rather than calling this Maximos a priest, it’s more befitting to call him a politician in the temple.
Likewise, Maximos knows that in order to win the support of Du Wei and have this Duke bet on himself, he must let the other side know how handsomely the reward will be by doing so.
“Duke.” Pondering for a while, Maximos slowly spoke: “I believe that you have a certain amount of understanding regarding the rules of succession in the Temple.”
“Yes” Du Wei nodded: “According to the rules of the temple, you are considered to be one of the heirs to the throne. However, I would say, since there are a total of eight of you, you’re not necessarily certain to become the final winner.”
“Oh almighty goddess.” Maximos made a face full of compassion: “It’s not my wish to covet the throne, but since I have dedicated myself to the goddess and the Temple, I can’t idly stand by and watch as those guys from the Xieni faction tarnish the glory of the Temple.”
Despite the wondrous speech, Du Wei remains indifferently deadpan, waiting for the bishop to continue.
“The battle between the Xieni faction and our Mosa faction is long-standing. In this generation of battles, especially over the past two years, their actions have become more than excessive. Our Mosa faction may control only three of the eight dioceses, but our standing contribution points is far exceeding that of the Xieni faction despite the fact that they control over five dioceses. The reasoning for this outcome is because their preaching is too harsh and too bloody. Their methods advocates’ torture against those they deem heretics. For example, a case six years ago in the southeastern diocese, they openly burned six people in the name of purifying the heretics. Then there’s the case three years ago in the southwestern diocese, they hanged a nobleman on charges of blasphemy. These measures are too intense and have already caused many aspects of discontent among the ruling class, especially three years ago when they hanged that aristocrat. That kind of practice was regarded by the upper class as a kind of demonstration by the Temple. As such, there’s a strong level of friction within the noble community living in the dioceses controlled by the Xieni faction. These examples are only one of the few; the worst is the case regarding the taxation policy a while back. Because of the tax problem in the south a few years ago, they kept accusing the empire of being too harsh on their tax collection, forcing the people to hand over most of their income to the imperial officials. As you can imagine, without excessive income in the hands of the citizens, the amount of religious tax and contributions the Temple can receive will dramatically drop, as was the case back then. This greatly strained the relationship between both sides. Moreover, the Xieni faction advocates the teaching of ‘divine authority stands above all others’, naturally, the royal family will not be pleased by this.”
“That is only natural.” Du Wei shrugged his shoulders: “I may not be fully acquainted with the events you mentioned, but I have heard of them.”
“Over the years, our Mosa faction may control only three dioceses, a minority, but our prestige within the Temple is far higher than the Xieni faction. This was especially true within the elder committee where we are heavily favored. But because of the incident two years ago, we were dealt a heavy blow. If not for that, our Mosa faction wouldn’t have fallen into our current circumstances.”
Maximos sighed deeply when he came upon this topic. Shooting Du Wei a look, he asked: “Duke, I’m sure you must have heard of the name ‘Hussein’ right?”
Du Wei’s heart jumped, his face making a surprised expression: “Hussein, of course I have heard of him. He’s the most wanted man in the Temple and the most powerful genius knight on the continent. But didn’t he betray the temple?”
“It is Hussein… Alas, because of him, our Mosa faction became implicated by that scandal. It can be said that due to Hussein’s betrayal, the Mosa faction lost the supportive strength granted by the Pope and the upper echelon…”
“What does Hussein have to do with you?” Du Wei questioned.
Maximos made a wry smile: “Duke, there’s a reason Hussein became what he is: the strongest Holy Knight, one of three leadership knights in the order, youngest genius to likely reach Saint class, and other titles.” Pausing, he slowly spoke: “Hussein… He’s part of the central northern diocese, and to the public, he belongs to the Mosa faction.”
Now that’s news, Du Wei never heard of this. Although Hussein has been with him for a while now, that cold face indifferent man seems to have taken his betrayal to the Temple as his greatest scar and would seldom mention anything related to that topic. If Hussein won’t talk about it, Du Wei’s not going to ask and rip open the wound.
“Hussein was born in the diocese under my rule and was chosen to undergo the Holy Knights training when he’s very young. Now that we’re on topic, I can say it’s unavoidable that our Mosa faction had a hand in pushing him and clearing the way for Hussein to reach one of the three leadership post in the Holy Knights order. After all….” Smiling bitterly, Maximos continues: “Although the elder council has remained neutral for over a millennium, the Holy knight’s order on the other hand had long been out of the Heishan faction’s sphere of influence. Everyone knows that in order to hold authority, one must first control power. As the strongest fighting force within the Temple, both the Xieni faction and the Mosa faction has been for hundreds of years doing their utmost to infiltrate the Holy Knights.
After all, unlike the Holy Knights order, the seats of the elder committee are largely controlled by the Heishan faction. In order to enter the council of elders, there must be a nomination by the Pope himself, and then a vote must be cast within the Council in order to be accepted. Their faction is a very united, so it’s very difficult to have every member lean towards the same direction during the election. Meanwhile, the Holy Knights are different. They are chose from a young age and cultivated throughout their life. As fate would have it, my diocese was fortunate enough to have some gifted children’s capable entering the Holy Knights training camp. As long as these children are chosen, no one can say anything according to the rules of the Temple. Moreover, because of the agreement reached by the Empire with the temple hundreds of years ago, the Holy Knights may not be stationed within the capital other than a select few. Since the majority of the Holy Knights must be scattered across the dioceses to guard the local chapels, it’s very difficult to remain impartial in conditions like that when they are constantly being exposed to the influence of outside sources. Though the Holy Knights haven’t been fully penetrated by the Xieni faction and the Mosa faction, it’s no secret that a portion of the higher ranks within the Holy Knights Order have taken sides. For example, that seventh level knight sent to assassinate me.”
Maximos sighed: “Speaking of Hussein, he was indeed the most gifted and talented of all the chosen teenagers. It didn’t take long for him to stand out while under our care. Then after the selection competition, he was quickly sent off to the headquarters of the Holy Knights Order for training. Since then, his career has skyrocketed and our Mosa faction regarded him as our shining hope!”
Two of the original knight leaders within the order is only loyal to the Pope and is a part of the Heishan faction. If our Mosa faction can install one of our own knights into that post, then it’s certain we will stand above the Xieni faction. But as you know, the catastrophic incident with Hussein occurred and we were forced to take a very passive stance. More importantly, because of Hussein’s betrayal, the Pope became furious and personally ordered the internal cleansing of the Holy Knights Order, thus giving the Xieni faction a big opportunity to suppress us. If that’s not enough… during the process of chasing down Hussein….”
Listening up to here, Du Wei’s mind paid extra close attention.
“In the course of the hunt for Hussein, there was the presiding judge at the time, Lord Murray, and several eighth to seventh level Holy Knights in the pursuit team. But… To tell you the truth, Judge Murray, is also one of the backbone of our Mosa faction. And the eighth level knights like Gefeite and the other seventh level Holy Knights are also our men which we spent many painstaking years to produce… As a result, following the death of Lord Murray in the hunt for Hussein, our side sacrificed a great deal from the trauma and was heavily weakened. The Xieni faction didn’t miss this opportunity and when the call for a new presiding judge was made, they managed to instill their own people into the trial hall and grabbed those important positions…”
Du Wei nodded.
In truth, Du Wei does know about the death of the previous presiding judge because that Holy Knight named Gefeite holds a certain relationship with himself. Back when Du Wei first entered the frozen forest and found the snow grave, the diary he read was precisely that of Gefeite’s. Also, Gefeite was the Holy Knight whom repelled Green Hat from harassing Mrs. Lister.
Based on these alone, Du Wei can deduce Maximos must be telling the truth.
“Reverend Bishop.” Du Wei smiled: “I believe everything that you said are the truth… Just that I don’t understand, why are you telling me this when you are technically in a very dangerous position? Logically speaking, as a smart investor, why should I place my bet on someone that’s about to be toppled over. Oh, please pardon my wording, but if you can’t answer the question in my mind, I’m afraid I can’t make a decision.”
Maximos not only didn’t get angry, he instead smiled and looked Du Wei in the eyes: “You are a wise man Duke! I have no doubt about that. As to why I believe I can convince is because of two reasons: first, a smart person knows it’s easy to tread together during times of prosperity, but it’s often providing help in the hours of need that can move a person. If you choose to support the Mosa faction in our hours of need, I promise you, the Mosa faction will be your most faithful friend in the future! Of course, this is only a small part of the reason. I believe my second reasoning is enough to temp you. This other… think about it. If the Xieni faction is certain of their victory, why would they be so anxious to assassinate me on the road? Once this move fails and becomes exposed, it will inevitably cause an uproar, yet they still chose to take the risk, why? It’s because they are aware of the danger! As soon as I get to the imperial capital, I can turn the whole situation around!”
Du Wei involuntarily nodded.
Indeed, the more extreme they become at killing Maximos, the more apparent they are at fearing Maximos’s arrival in the capital!
“Do you have any bargaining chips in your hand?” Du Wei scoffed a laugh.
“There is one.” Maximos smiled: “It’s just, please forgive me, this secret involves some of the greatest secret within the temple so I cannot tell you.”
Du Wei was silent.
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