The Villainess Lives Twice - Chapter After Story 12
Artizea finished the audience and headed to the library.
Hannah was in the library. She was one of Evron’s vassals and was one of those who arrived with Mel this time.
Even in Evron, only a few knew why Hannah was named and called. She was a commoner, and her position was not high.
Those acquainted with the secrets assumed that she was going to receive a silver award this time for the Karam crop, Melbon.
After Artizea brought Melbon to the public world, Hannah did a lot of work in spreading it to the North.
Researching farming methods in the North for several years was not in vain.
Of course, it was also a diversion. The first diversion is the vassal itself, the second diversion is Mel, and the third diversion is Hannah.
The real ‘guests’ from the North were those waiting with Hannah in the study.
Artizea took a deep breath in front of the study door. And she opened the door with her own hands.
Wearing long cloaks and wearing hoods up to their heads, they were all the same size.
The Northerners were also tall compared to the Mainlanders, but they were about one head taller than the general Northerners.
By comparison, Artizea almost looked like a little girl.
There was one person who gave away his face. He was covering his forehead with a hood.
Hannah and the hooded man got down on their knees and bowed to Artizea. Behind her, the guests, who pressed their hoodie down, bowed their heads awkwardly.
Before answering Hannah’s bow, Artizea first spread the hem of her skirt, bent her knees, and greeted politely,
“Ka il paja quie.”
It means “come by my fire” in Karam’s language, and it was a welcome word.
Hearing those words, the guests took off their cloak. The third eye on the forehead and a number of thick hairs running up to their neck were revealed.
The upper arm, protruding from the cloak, moved in the air according to their etiquette.
Its pronunciation was awkward, like a parrot mimicking a human voice. Perhaps, Artizea’s pronunciation sounded that way to them as well.
Artizea was not afraid and smiled.
Ignorance is fear. She was astonished when she first saw Karam, but now she knew Apua.
She read all the hundreds of letters he exchanged with Cedric. In the first letter of the year, Apua also sent the first flower that bloomed in the far north, untouched by human feet, in an envelope.
Artizea has been learning Karam’s language over the past two years. And now she can understand Karam, even though she can’t speak.
She memorized faster than others and had a talent for language. She had memorized every sentence of the scripture, and was acquainted with doctrine and history.
She has used her talents only for the vilest things she has done.
But she was moving towards the future, this time she committed no crimes.
She exchanges languages, determines the manner of diplomacy, and acknowledges each other’s existence. A foothold for official exchanges will be laid here.
The Archbishop was stubborn. He hadn’t thought of leaving yet, even though he eventually put on his robes.
“You go alone.”
“It is the order of the Saintess.”
Bishop Nikos* sighed and said,
It sounded like the Archbishop was whining. And he looked up at Bishop Nikos with a face that said he had much to say.
But the grievance never came out of his mouth.
Artizea renounced almost all her powers as she became Empress.
Her intelligence organization was immediately disbanded, and was incorporated into the Imperial Intelligence Service of the Emperor through Freil.
When she became Empress, she renounced the title of Marquis Rosan, and her property was put into a trust and left in the custody of her heirs’ guardian.
She made no effort to shape her power as Empress.
As long as the Emperor’s love stays in the Empress’ Palace, she will be able to resume her activities at any time. But it was also true that she didn’t have it in her hands right now.
But she never let go of the temple. It was the same even after she declared that her mission as the Saintess was over.
The powers of the temple were informal and a kind beyond external control. Faith was deeper than ever, and the influence of the temple was strong.
There was also Artizea’s own fault. Religious power was empowered to intervene in the secular world when she falsely recited the oracle, ‘the Saintess shall be the Empress.’
After that, Lysia cured the plague. That work continued to this day. There were also many witnesses that she had prevented the flood.
Even those who did not believe in the oracle could no longer say that they did not believe in the Sainthood. The atheists did not deny it outwardly though she didn’t know what it was in their mind.
She could not leave the temple alone where the momentum had risen like this.
Artizea could not entrust the temple to Lysia. She loved and trusted Lysia, but she did not believe that she had the power to control the temple.
Especially considering Karam’s work.
The goal was not to legally cultivate Melbon and keep the half-bloods from being stigmatized and killed as monsters.
Karam is needed in order to save the North.
Artizea remained unchanged in her opinion that humans should retreat to Alia Wall. If they can’t, they must accept and interact with Karam’s migration, at least to the North of Grand Duchy Evron’s estate.
As a result of welcoming the mixed race over the past two years, creating a family register and actively accepting them, cultivation and labor force have increased dramatically.
Only now did the North see the potential to go beyond survival and develop industry.
The temple must cooperate in this work. If the temple continues to shout that Karam is a servant of the devil, the entire North will be ostracized once again.
The first thing Artizea did was to intervene in the Council of Bishops and to place the Bishop of Evron’s stronghold in an important position in the temple.
In his place, she again selected one of the Northern priests and ordained him as Bishop.
Soon, the first two northerners took their place in the Council of Bishops.
Up to this point, the Archbishop accepted it with a smile on his face. Since the Emperor came from the North, it was a matter of course that the Northern influence would grow stronger.
But Artizea didn’t stop there.
She had academic priests study at which point theological theory began to call Karam the servant of the devil.
In fact, she already knew the answer. The Archbishop was not a person lacking in studies either. Like Artizea, he knew the answer.
It was during Karam’s great migration to the south when the Duchy Evron still existed as a principality.
The defense line was pushed almost to the central region. Duchy Evron recognized its inability to maintain independence, and the Empire built walls.
It was then that the natives of the Empire met Karam for the first time.
Their unfamiliar appearance and fierce war like never before were enough to make Karam be remembered as a monster.
Artizea had to study the records of earlier times in order to prove that their interactions with Karam did not go against the temple.
The Archbishop was a person who valued faith, but he had to raise his voice here.
[“Your Majesty, this is a complete overturn of doctrine!”]
[“Archbishop, I did not command you as the Empress.”]
Artizea said with a face cold enough to freeze.
[“Nowhere in the temple is there a direct reference to Karam. Is the word “Devil of the North” coined by the temple, the Imperial Family, or Duchy Evron?”]
It is natural for fear to spread.
But what had become a perpetual fear, not understanding, became an effective means of domination, for hundreds of years.
[“It is a doctrine created based on interests, so it can be reinterpreted.”]
[“You must not do it this way. Your Majesty, I acknowledge that the Karam half-blood is listed on the temple’s registry. Even now, we are condoning interactions with Karam in the North.”]
That was for political reasons. At the right time, they would be able to receive compensation from the Imperial Family as much as they had conceded.
However, Artizea had no intention of engaging in politics with the temple.
[“If you think that it requires the Archbishop’s consent, you are mistaken.”]
[“I am the Saintess, Archbishop.”]
[“Your Majesty has already finished your duty as the Saintess…….”]
[“Will Archbishop deny that I am a saint?”]
[“I didn’t say that.”]
[“I, who was Grand Duchess Evron, received an oracle to become the Empress as a saint.”]
The oracle would be a lie. The Archbishop knew. But he couldn’t deny it.
It was he himself who guaranteed that Artizea had received the oracle before the previous Emperor.
[“To me, this feels like something God has commanded me to do.”]
Artizea looked down at him. The Archbishop was taller than Artizea, but he certainly felt that way.
[“So, I have no intention of negotiating with the temple on this matter, Archbishop.”]
Because there were too many weaknesses for that. If the temple was allowed to say yes or no, that alone could turn things around at any time.
Artizea thought she was lucky to be the Saintess.
She was different from Lysia in her past. She was the Saintess with worldly power itself. She had both the cause to present it to the faithful and the real power to press on the temple.
So, with a cold face, she forced the Archbishop.
[“Karam called themselves ka ersa, children of God. It would be quite theologically interesting to see how their God relates to our temple.”]
Eventually, the guests from Karam entered the Imperial Palace. The Saintess, who became Empress, sent an invitation to the Archbishop.
If he refuses, he rejects the Saintess’ invitation, and if he accepts, he meets Karam.
So the Archbishop was being stubborn.
Bishop Nikos sighed and comforted him.
“If the Saintess says that this is an oracle, that alone completes the cause. Even if the temple disobeys, she will keep going.”
If she makes a new doctrine established through Brother Colton or the Northern temple side, the balance of power in the temple will be completely tilted.
Rather, it would be better to follow the will of the Saintess and engage with the closest aides. Politics is not only done with the Imperial Family, but also within the temple.
The Archbishop knew.
“Haa……. Well, yes. I can’t let her have it her way.”
The Archbishop finally lifted his heavy hips.
In any case, shouldn’t it be safe to sit in the Archbishop’s seat? He did not want to become an Archbishop who was brought down by the Saintess.
*Bishop Nikos was the one who treated Tia nicely while she was fabricating the heresy charge to get rid of her mother.