Chapter 288 “Who is scheming against whom?” (Part two)
After deliberating for a moment in his heart, Du Wei finally straightened his back and asked in a whispering voice: “How much do you need me to bet?”
Maximos smiled: “Duke, I know you are not a believer, so I thought… It would be my great pleasure if I had the opportunity to personally preside over your baptism.”
Du Wei laughed: “Dear Bishop, you’ve set your sight on my head now?!”
Indeed. As a duke who controls the military power of an entire province, also a famed magician of the Empire, leaving his true strength aside, Du Wei’s basically regarded by the general populace as one if not the most talented individual of the new generation. This outlook has been ironed out ever since his outstanding performance at the day of the coup.
Such a man, who holds enormous power and deeply trusted by the royal family, imagine what it would be like for the individual that can convince this person to become a believer of the Temple!!
This feat would be far greater than spreading the word of the goddess to tens of thousands of ordinary people.
As a bishop, their main duty was to preach the teachings of the goddess and make more people believe in the Temple, which was also an important criterion for earning merit. But if all you bring in was people of the ordinary class, it would be pointless for they hold no power. On the other hand, bringing in a prominent figure would be another story. And Du Wei… Who on the continent can possibly claim they are more favored in the eye of the current regent?
Du Wei didn’t agree at once, instead he continues to ask, “And what else?”
“I have heard that in your territory the attitude towards the temple is not very friendly.” Maximos smiled: “I think, it’s pointless to bring up the past now. In the future I will personally send some clergymen to your territory to preach the teachings of the goddess. My request to your lordship is that you show a friendly attitude towards the members of our Mosa faction.”
“Haha! So you want to also pull my Desa Province into your diocese too?” Du Wei couldn’t resist a laugh.
“It is as you say.” Maximos didn’t try to conceal his intent and came clean: “According to the custom of the temple, for a piece of virgin land that hasn’t been developed yet, it will be zoned into the diocese of whoever can pioneer it. The clergymen sent to your territory before were merely small characters from the main cathedral in the capital, hardly high enough to warrant that reward. I will later send my own people from the central northern diocese…”
“But you have to understand that the Desa Province is a barren land without many riches to be found. I can hardly force my impoverished citizens to pay religious tax atop of my own.” Du Wei frowned.
“In order to express my friendship, I am willing to exempt Desa Province from religious taxes for three years. As the archbishop of a diocese, this is within my power and authority. And once three years had passed, if….” Maximos smiled: “Of course, it’s just hypothetical. If I could step up to that position, the tax-exempt decree would be extended.”
“Hmm.” Du Wei nodded: “Fine then, aside from having me convert and allow your missionaries into my land, what other request do you have?”
Maximos’s smile now was mildly adrift: “Duke, you see, I am not an insatiable old man. My request is not too much, if you can promise me two points, then I will be extremely grateful. Of course…… If you are generous, I would like to add just one tiny bit of a request, just a very small one.”
Maximos’s eye beamed with delight: “According to the decree of the Temple, all of the Holy Knights stationed in a diocese is controlled by the local archbishop and is obliged to insert fresh blood each year into their ranks. Although… The Holy Knights are loyal to the Pope, they are after all stationed many miles away. With time, it’s hard for anyone to remain pure to their cause. So, I believe it’s my duty to do what I can to control the Holy Knights within my watch. Umm… What I mean is, in due course, I need the assistance of your army when a time of crisis arrives.”
Du Wei furrowed his brow: “Have you gone mad? According to every decree in the Empire, no military official or army is allowed to involve themselves into the dispute of the Temple! You want to bring imperial authority into the Temple’s dispute? If that happens…..”
“No, no, no, you misunderstand me. What I mean is… Once some kind of ‘urgent or special’ circumstances arise, I think I can give you a name.” Maximos laughs: “For example, let one of your army under your name put on the armor of the Holy Knights Order, what do you think?”
Du Wei was really shocked this time.
“You… Maximos, are you sure you want to do this? This is already far beyond the boundary!” Du Wei warned.
“Beyond the boundary?” Maximos’s old face revealed a glimmer of fortitude: “The Xieni faction dares to openly issue a disorderly decree. Is this not way past what is allowed without the Pope’s permission?”
“But you don’t have this authority.” Du Wei shook his head: “You are only the bishop of a diocese. The establishment of a new Holy Knights company must be ordered by the Pope himself! The local bishops can only control the existing Holy Knights, not form a new one! Your Excellency, even if you give me this name, it is unlawful and illegitimate.”
“Duke, that’s why I said ‘special’.” Maximos softly spoke: “I mean, if one day I succeed in that position and my Holy Knights are not enough to suppress the Xieni faction, then I will need more power! As the ‘Pope’, I would have that power and authority to immediately authorize the formation of a new Holy Knight’s company!”
Du Wei inhaled deeply at those words. He suddenly found the courage of this peaceful looking old man to be exceptionally big!
He immediately bellowed out a laugh: “Of course! If the Pope gave the order, then it is lawful. As a believer, I would have to offer my aid to the Pope, this is only natural.”
After both men exchanged an understanding laugh, Du Wei was the first to retract his smile and happy looking face: “Bishop, for you to make this request… I would like to know what benefit I would receive by making this investment. Hehe, please don’t say anything like friendship and that sort, I’m a very worldly person. I expect real tangible benefits!”
“You’ve already received the benefit.” Maximos made a faint smirk: “Duke, think about it. Imagine you having a Holy Knight’s company in your ranks; wouldn’t your situation in the Northwest improve magnificently? I know your biggest enemy right now is Rugaard of the Northwest Army Legion, right? Let’s say one day you do declare war on Rugaard, what would the enemy soldiers think when they are surprised to find the banner of the Holy Knights in your army? To the enemy soldiers, this would be tantamount to declaring war on the Temple itself! I think…. Such a benefit is beyond the measures of mere money or other conditions I can give.”
“I need to get a guarantee from you.” Du Wei declares.
“I accept.” Maximos made a big grin: “If I became the pope, then you, Duke Tulip, will receive the sacred badge of the Temple from the Pope himself! With such a badge, you will have a legitimate post in the Temple and your wishes will be equal to the will of the Temple itself in the Northwest! If anyone were to be your enemy, then they would be the enemy of the Temple. This is my final promise.”
Du Wei’s heart suddenly began to laugh maliciously!
How awesome it would be to hang the banner of the Holy Knights Order on one of his cavalry division! Only I can hit someone and they can’t retaliate; otherwise, it would be declaring war on the Temple of Light!
At this very moment, both men were joyously laughing at their agreed deal, and each with their sinister under thoughts.
After the dinner, Du Wei graciously sent the bishop back for rest while he himself immediately sought out his personal bodyguard, Old Smoke.
“You take a small boat and return ashore at once! Then swiftly mount a horse and return to Loulan City, along the way there cannot be any delay.” Du Wei’s voice was stern as he peered into the eyes of this loyal bodyguard: “Go find Sir Rodriguez and tell him I underestimated the situation and that great changes are coming. I need a powerful and strong support for my return to the capital. Pass my words to him and have him rendezvous with me in the capital, hurry!”
Old Smoke accepted the order and bolted out the door. Meanwhile, QQ’s voice drifted over from the back room: “You have to be careful, the people of the Temple are not easy to deal with. They are undoubtedly tigers in disguise!”
Du Wei bellowed out a laugh: “Tiger? Humph, we will see whether it is they who will skin me or me skinning them!”
Night finally came and the stars twinkled with light in the sky like they should. While their ship treaded slowly down river, Du Wei’s heart became more and more excited as they got closer to their destination.
He originally thought his trip back to the imperial capital would be a smooth one without any big event, but from the looks of it, other than the coup of the royal family from last time, he’s going to experience another coup, but this time it’s the Temple’s turn!
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