The next day, Artizea was invited to purify her heart and pray in a small prayer room.
The prayer room was narrow and rough. But Artizea didn’t insist that she wouldn’t do it. Because she had nothing else to do anyway.
Hayley, who was angry that this kind of treatment was unacceptable, became quiet around lunchtime.
It was because she realized that this was not an attempt from the temple to simply discourage them.
“Are you alright?”
“I wondered if it was because of the decision to utterly destroy the Dowager Marchioness that came out of the temple.”
Having said that, Hayley was a little grumpy.
In front of Artizea, it was embarrassing to call her mother the Dowager Marchioness, and to associate it with a word like destroy.
Artizea answered casually.
“You think the temple is trying to burn my mother at the stake?”
“Given the current atmosphere, I think that might be the case. If Your Grace’s mediation was to be accepted, it wouldn’t have come out like this.”
“That also makes sense.”
“I would rather…”
Without trying to speak, Hayley bit her mouth. Artizea smiled faintly.
“I know what you mean. Hayley.”
Hayley didn’t say sorry. If Miraila is burned at the stake as it is, Artizea will finally be able to free herself from the burden of having to call her mother.
Considering the future, it would have been much better for Artizea herself.
“Unfortunately, the temple cannot do that. If my mother is burned at the stake, public opinion will be reversed this time, and my brother and I will turn into victims. The so-called intellectuals will accuse the temple’s act of burning at the stake as a barbaric act.”
Public opinion supporting the temple will be split in half at once.
First, the atheists will turn around.
In addition, those who still think the protests are excessive, but keep their mouths shut because of the human sacrifices, will begin to assert themselves.
There are always neutrals who pretend to be cold-hearted.
And what Bishop Akim hates the most is the widespread perception that the teachings of the temple are only followed by the old and the rural people.
“That’s why older brother is stupid. If he decides to abandon mother, he must make things clear, not draw a line as he is now. It would be better if he set the Rosan mansion on fire or burned mother at the temple, then stand before His Majesty the Emperor and weep.”
“That’s a scary thing to say.”
“But that is the least damaging way out of this situation. The case will be closed quickly and all that will be left is the poor son who has lost his mother miserably.”
At Artizea’s relentless words, Hayley bit his lower lip.
“Do you intend to do that, Your Grace?”
“Fortunately, I don’t have to. I don’t really want my brother to make a profit.”
“First, let’s meet with Bishop Akim.”
Artizea said so.
It was long after evening that Bishop Akim found her.
Bishop Akim is a power-oriented person. Whether he himself admitted it or not, he was.
He was devout and well versed in doctrine. He was not only well-educated, he was also fluent in major languages.
He knew well enough to be able to explain any debate on philosophy and theology on the spot.
Even the most trivial sentence in the scripture turned into a beautiful poem with deep meaning at the tip of his pen.
He was dignified, his appearance was elegant, and his preaching skills were excellent. Among the nobles, there were many who only participated in the service he presided over.
Even the Archbishop would step down to Bishop Akim.
‘A man who became a priest because he was a commoner.’
But Artizea regarded him that way.
If he had not been the son of a poor family, if he had been given an environment where he could study to his heart’s content other than the temple, he would have exerted his powers in the imperial palace rather than the temple.
His devotion was more of loyalty to the temple than of piety.
It was also loyalty to his own power base, as is often the case with loyalty to the Emperor.
“Nice to meet you, Bishop Akim.”
Artizea greeted him like so as she entered the study hall of Bishop Akim, which at first glance seemed simple.
The crude wooden furniture did not even have brass, let alone gold decorations.
The only thing that adorned the room was all kinds of books. Books piled up to waist-high, because they could not be inserted to the ceiling high bookshelf.
Artizea didn’t need to make any observations on such things. Without even looking at it, she knew Bishop Akim’s study well.
One of the reasons why Bishop Akim invites outsiders to the study room rather than the drawing room is to create a sense of intimidation.
When an average person enters the study of Bishop Akim, they will be first overwhelmed by the sheer volume of books. And be in awe of his intelligence.
Artizea did not think that Bishop Akim would have designed the study without being conscious of it.
Self-righteous intellectuals are prone to backlash. But he was not a scholar or an intellectual, but a bishop.
The faithful respected Bishop Akim, and those who were not, were daunted by his learning.
Of course, Artizea was an exception. She knew Bishop Akim too well to have any respect.
[“This is for the Saintess.”]
Artizea recalled a story she shared while sitting in this study.
[“I think it is natural for the noblest woman chosen by God to sit in the highest position in the world, Bishop Akim.”]
[“I am glad that someone who has a connection with the imperial family knows such a principle.”]
Bishop Akim was the one who, along with Artizea, led the manipulation of the oracle in order to make Lysia the Empress.
Artizea considered him a good politician and a capable partner. But she had no respect for him as a priest or scholar.
Bishop Akim asked, unable to guess Artizea’s thoughts.
“Isn’t a day short enough to cleanse your mind, Marchioness?”
“My heart is always clean, Bishop. It’s just that I have a poor mother.”
“To be poor means to be like a child who was almost sacrificed. She was such a person who gives birth to a child of a man who is not married to her by the sacrament of marriage, and who intends to make sacrifices to curse the man’s wife.”
Artizea also thought it was strange.
There is no way Bishop Akim was really surprised or shocked by Miraila’s immorality.
He was someone who, if necessary, could cover up the sin casually.
Artizea was surprised because in his manner of speaking, there was no room for compromise, but only hostility.
He didn’t seem to have taken a strong stance in the first place to strategically gain an advantage in negotiations.
She could not offer negotiations to the person speaking about principle in a hostile manner.
Artizea spoke her position in a mild manner.
“The Bishop is a wise man, and you probably know why I call my mother pitiful. It’s embarrassing to even say this.”
“My mother has long been emotionally unstable. It’s my fault that I didn’t take good care of her and let her fall into the devil’s temptations. I feel the responsibility and plan to make full compensation for it.”
She didn’t even bring up any other stories that might arouse sympathy for Miraila.
That’s a story that should be spread only during public opinion hearings. Talking to Bishop Akim was useless.
Instead, Artizea has already informed the amount of donations to be made to the temple through other routes. She simply reminded Bishop Akim of it.
After all, what the temple really wants is not to punish heresy.
There are many fake wizards, necromancers, and prophets in the world. There are also cults that believe in superstitions.
But the temple is not interested in most of them.
In the end, what made this case so big was because the culprit was Miraila.
What the temple really wants is to regain its former authority. And Miraila was the perfect target to show that authority.
However, taking this work to the extreme is burdensome for the temple as well. Unlike protesters who disappear after disbanding, temples are forced to think about the future.
Just as the imperial palace cares about the temple, the temple must also care about secular power.
If Miraila was burned at the stake, the Emperor will still be the Emperor, and he could live up to avenge his children.
Grand Duchess Evron is the daughter of Miraila. Moreover, when Lawrence became Emperor, it was even more difficult.
If they let it slide right now, the temple must bear the burden throughout Lawrence’s reign. He will be able to hit the temple at any time in the name of revenge for his birth mother.
That is why there were many arguments for ending it on an appropriate line within the temple.
Therefore, Artizea’s mediation proposal was the best answer.
Instead of excommunicating Miraila, they announce that she will be imprisoned as one of a demon possessed. Taking care of the madman was originally the job of the temple.
In reality, the home of Marquisate Rosan will be turned into a monastery, and Miraila will be penalized for life in the name of a training nun.
It would be even better if Miraila came to the trial and reflected and shed tears, while Artizea herself went and showed some praying instead.
Otherwise, even if Miraila spit out curse words and went mad, Artizea could show her dignity by showing herself dragging Miraila out of the temple.
If this is done, it will be sufficient to establish the authority of the temple.
Also, since they accepted the biological daughter’s mediation proposal, the resentment also disappears.
It could also comfort the Emperor’s heart because Miraila was not moved to a rough place, but stayed where she is now.
It was a moderate arbitration without harm to anyone.
In addition, Artizea intended to pay the temple as a lump sum of pension, which she was giving to Miraila, as a token of her gratitude.
All of Miraila’s fortune now will be donated.
Besides, the Rosan mansion has history and value as property.
Bishop Akim would already know that the proposal would produce optimal results for the temple as well.
But he had a fierce look on his face.
“Marchioness, what do you think the temple is?”
“A young person who has already developed a bad habit. Even if you are not, there are a lot of people in the temple who are overly biased towards Marchioness, so I did some research.”
Bishop Akim threw a pile of papers in front of Artizea.
“From errand servants to high-ranking priests, there was no one who did not receive the Marchioness’ ‘sign of sincerity’.”
“Do you think you can do anything with money in this sacred temple?”
“…… It’s literally just a ‘sign of sincerity’.”
Artizea consciously kept a faint smile.
“You don’t think Brother Colton is in a partnership with me because of my ‘sign of sincerity’, do you?”
There were two things she could guess.
He wasn’t sure which one it was, so Artizea picked one up and floated it lightly.
And as expected, Bishop Akim’s complexion changed.