Chapter 526: Knowledge of People
In the duke’s study room in Mindis Hall during the afternoon…
“You do not know why you are here, yes?”
After hearing the question, Thales looked up in the study room. There was faint puzzlement in his eyes as he looked forward.
Before his eyes was an old lady. She sat casually across him. Her face looked old but she looked elegant. The nun who followed and served her behind her was merely around sixteen years old. She had a veil over her face. She stood there with a strict expression.
The symbol of Sunset Goddess on their robes reflected a dark gold light. That ray of light was actually exceptionally befitting of the classic and modern interior design in Mindis Hall.
The only thing that was not right was that Gilbert was sitting with his back straight at the other side of the room. He stared at Thales’ guest with a hostile expression.
Just now, when Mallos expressionlessly escorted the instructor sent over by Sunset Temple into the study room, Gilbert had rushed over in a hurry right behind them, and he looked at the old lady with his eyes filled with surprise and caution.
“I know, this is a theology lesson.”
Thales sent Gilbert a questioning glance as he tentatively called out the woman’s title.
The old Lady Melgen shook her head and remained smiling.
“No, you do not know.”
Melgen pointed at her head with a casual smile, but her eyes showed great respect.
“You thought that you are here merely because of the arrangement of your curriculum and because tradition requires you to, but in truth, it is the will of God that you sit here and I came to this place.”
The priestess’ voice sounded mysterious, it was the mysteriousness characteristic of priestesses.
‘The will of God?’ Thales forced himself to smile out of courtesy.
‘All right. All right.’
Over the past few days, the teenager had been wondering how his theology teacher would look like. After all, the number of priests and priestesses he came into contact with had been very few ever since he was young. The Dark Night priests he met back when he was still a child beggar had been enthusiastic and neurotic. The brethren of Sunset Goddess were compassionate and full of awe-inspiring might, and the priests of Bright Moon Goddess in Northland were cold and distant. They kept people at arm’s length.
But from the looks of it now… there seemed to be nothing unexpected in the prince’s theology lesson as well.
Thales sighed gently deep down in his heart.
The priestess was still talking. “Sunset Goddess has witnessed it. Our fates have been intertwined for a long time in an unseen manner.”
After saying that, Melgen’s face suddenly turned pale. She lowered her head soon after that and coughed violently into a handkerchief.
“Niah…” Melgen revealed a miserable expression on her face.
Thales was slightly shocked. But the young nun who served behind the priestess seemed to have prepared herself a long time ago. With a calm expression, she immediately stood up and took out a box, took out a few tablets, and helped the old Melgen take them with water to ease her intense coughing.
Thales and Gilbert looked at each other for a moment.
Around ten seconds later, Melgen’s coughing gradually died down.
“My apologies. Sunset Goddess wants me to go through the trial of suffering in sickness to cleanse myself and come out as a better version of myself.”
She put away her handkerchief and spoke to Thales with an apologetic tone. “This is a merciful gift given by the goddess. There is nothing to be said about it, but you are forced to endure it as well.”
‘A merciful gift given by the goddess?’
Thales could only smile courteously, and he shook his head to show that he did not mind.
“As long as you are healthy…”
But before the duke could say anything else, Melgen, who completely recovered from her coughing, shut her eyes. The expression on her face suggested that she was feeling grateful as she gently spread out her fingers, and she made a few gestures to show that she was praying, even though they were so fast that Thales could not see them clearly. She muttered something, “Sunset Goddess knows better of what I should be cautious of.”
The young nun with the veil over her face also hurriedly put away the medicine back inside the box and did the praying gestures quickly. She seemed very sincere.
Thales, who had been interrupted, felt a little embarrassed deep down his heart, and he quietly gave this comment in his heart.
Thales looked at Gilbert, who was in the distance, had the same feelings as Gilbert, and he hoped to get some agreement from him. But Gilbert remained solemn as he looked at the old priestess who came to provide lessons.
This was rarely seen.
Melgen, who was done praying, was aware of the way Thales looked at her. She turned around and looked at Gilbert.
“Are you not going to leave then, Count Caso?”
The old priestess smiled. She sounded casual. People who did not know would mistake the two of them as old acquittances over many years.
Then, Gilbert snorted softly.
The response that Count Caso gave was quite rude. “Based on the letters we wrote to the church earlier, the prince’s instructor should be Vicar General Stylia Nydis of the missionary department. He is a friend of mine for many years. He has broad and profound knowledge, and he is sincere in his beliefs. He is very suitable to be the person who enlightens students and show them their paths.”
Melgen knew what he meant, and she took it with a good heart.
“But the person who came is me?”
Thales narrowed his eyes.
“Based on what I know, priests and missionaries are not subordinates to each other in Sunset Temple. The ritual master would lead the priests to accept oracles and listen to the will of God. The bishop would lead the missionaries, handle temporal affairs, and manage the church.”
Gilbert’s tone was rather rude, and it caused Thales to furrow his eyebrows.
“Since when was the holy Head Ritual Master Liscia interested in the temporal affair of providing lessons for nobles, which is something of the missionary department? Does the great Bishop Zenon in your church know about this?”
‘The priests and missionaries were not subordinates of each other?’
Thales suddenly found out that Sunset Temple was not as simple as it seemed, even though they were servants of God.
However, Melgen remained smiling as she said a few words softly. “Hig Majesty knows.”
At that moment, Gilbert and Thales’ faces changed at the same time.
Priestess Melgen retained that smile of hers, where no one knew whether it was sincere or polite. She moved her fingers and did another prayer gesture.
“The will of Sunset Goddess has always been mysterious. It might seem surprising at first glance, but when you examine it, it will appear logical.
“I hope you do not pay it any mind, Your Grace.”
The nun behind her quickly followed her and performed the prayer gesture. Her movements were the same as the priestess.
Gilbert had his mouth twitch. He looked like he was not used to be beaten.
The Foreign Affairs Minister only pursed his lips gloomily for a few seconds before he said resentfully, “I will request for verification from Renaissance Palace. Hmm… perhaps I will provide some suggestions as well.”
Priestess Melgen gave him a smile that either said, “Please, do so.” or “Go on.”
Thales also frowned.
Gilbert snorted. But he did not seem to have the intention to leave.
“Then, I believe that the forgiving Sunset Goddess would surely not mind that I listen to His Highness’ lesson and share the grace of God. Is that not so, Priestess Leaf Melgen?”
Priestess Melgen merely curled up the corners of her mouth. She did not give an answer.
She only paused for a moment before she stopped acknowledging Gilbert. She looked toward Thales instead, who was sitting behind the study table.
“So, how much do you understand god, Thales?” the old priestess asked warmly.
At that moment, Thales’ memories were stimulated.
A familiar voice that was pleasant to the ears echoed in his mind. It was a voice he had not heard for a long time. It brought him back to a memory in the past.
“‘When you think of gods, what is the first thing you think of?”‘
Thales was in a daze for a moment.
“It is Prince Thales.”
Gilbert dragged Thales’ mind to reality with his displeased objection, which was full of hostility. Count Caso spoke to Priestess Melgen unhappily, “Please address him with his title.”
Melgen was smiling, but she thought nothing of it. “Of course.”
But the priestess’ eyes were fixed on Thales, and she waited for him to respond to her words.
‘About the gods…’
The teenager gulped and made sure that he was not in a certain chess room in Dragon Clouds City. He then said resentfully, “Urk, a very very long time ago, there was a man-god called Bright God.”
Melgen’s expression did not change. She remained silent as she waited for him to continue.
Thales tried hard to recall all the general knowledge he learned over the past six years with his best effort. Regardless of whether it was from Little Rascal’s enthusiastic rambles or from reaching uninteresting ancient language of The Holy Decree of the Bright God.
“The supreme Bright God created the world. With a bang, heaven and earth were separated. The sun and the Hell’s River stood far apart across each other. All living things and souls were slowly formed in the rift between them.”
But as his attention was being distracted by his memory, the prince’s tone sounded more and more casual.
“After that, Bright God clocked off work-I mean, rested. The earliest gods began to take their turns going on duty. I think I remember them being Bright Moon, Dark Night, God of Mountains, Guardian of the Ocean, Desert God, Harvest, Cold Wind…”
Thales scratched his head a little.
“Of course, the one with the greatest background would still be Errol the Holy Sun. According to the legends, he was the sun itself, and I suppose he can be considered Bright God’s son…”
Gilbert’s coughing suddenly rose loudly across the entire study room.
“It is alright.” Against their expectations, Priestess Melgen only said a few words to absolve the interruption, showing that she did not feel offended at all.
“The casual remarks you hear from rumors will not influence our respect toward the gods.”
Thales who stopped for a while raised his eyebrows at that moment and gave a mischievous look toward Gilbert.
“Ever since then, the Holy Sun acted as the leader of the gods and ruled over all gods. He acted in place of his dad and protected all living things in the realm. Our world was then named Errol.
“Later on, the calamities came into the world, the Battle of Eradication happened, and it was followed by the Great Crack and Sink. Errol lost his job just like his father-I mean, he rested. His daughter took over his duty and protected the world together with the remaining gods. That would be Sunset Goddess…”
‘Yes, that’s right.’
So, in Thales’ eyes, once the history of the world was mixed with the classic myths passed down from the Empire about Bright God to Holy Sun to Sunset that was from the period of the Ancient Empire’s Bright God Church, to the Final Empire’s Holy Sun Church, and the current Constellation’s Sunset Temple, the myths in Errol could be considered as a version of a painful family business history related to the Empire’s territory.
The first god created his business with great difficulty, and he finally had his hard work bear fruit.
The second god ruined the Empire the first god built, and he died halfway.
The third god managed things miserably, and she went bankrupt-no, Thales could not curse himself like this. He was the Prince of Constellation. He meant that she was on the verge of a renaissance.
Even though the building was in ruins and she was filled with sorrow, for some reason, she satisfied the people, which was strange.
Also, when Thales came to his conclusion based on these points, the priest of Bright Moon Goddess who was in charge of teaching him history in Eckstedt had been displeased. Meanwhile, Regent Lisban had been listening with great interest, and he nodded repeatedly.
Thales said all this with the tone someone would use when he or she haggled in the market.
He smiled when he looked at Gilbert, who revealed a strange expression, and Priestess Melgen, who seemed to be pondering.
“You understood quite a lot.” Melgen’s eyes seemed calm. She seemed to be thinking about something.
“Thank you.” Thales shrugged.
“But you do not have detailed knowledge.” Melgen calmly finished her words.
‘Of course not.’
In truth, most of those myths and legends designed to deceive people were told to him by a girl in spectacles and an immortal demon.
Yes, perhaps he would also need to thank a late king of Northland who gathered a large number of books for his Great Dragon Queen, and who knew where the heck he was right now.
“So, do you believe in god, Thales?” Melgen spoke again. Her eyes sparkled in a lively manner. “Do you believe that our meeting is god’s plan?”
Thales raised his eyebrows and cast a glance at the Foreign Affairs Minister.
This time, he was able to gain the sense of identification he had been waiting for a long time from Gilbert’s face. Gilbert sighed without bothering to hide it.
‘I know, right?’
But Thales was still a prince. Regardless of how boring was the person he had to face in this lesson, he must at least maintain the relationship between the royal family and the temple as well as ensure that both sides remained working together.
The prince cleared his throat. He schooled his expression again.
“Of course I believe in Sunset Goddess…”
“No, you do not believe in them.” Melgen coldly interrupted him.
The old priestess stared at him. Her eyes were intimidating. The wrinkles on her face were exceptionally obvious at that moment.
“You do not believe in those ridiculous myths and legends as well as the verified scriptures of the church, much less believe that gods like Sunset should be our masters and where our beliefs lie.”
Thales was instantly stunned.
Priestess Melgen snorted. Her eyes were bright, and her tone sounded serious.
“You would rather believe that this is politics, a plot, and a fight. You would rather believe that our meeting is merely a means for Sunset Temple to try and influence the royal family and the future king, just like Count Caso, who is regarding us in disdain, but still pretends to be stern.”
Gilbert, who was initially curling up the corners of his mouth in the distance while he drank his tea, choked for a moment.
“You all are just like most of the people with high statuses, who hold a little power, have slightly higher positions in life, have little knowledge, and have little achievements in your education but are conceited. You behave courteously on the outside, but on the inside, you disapprove of gods. You do not believe in them.
“You look down on gods.”
Those words were too straightforward and harsh. She left no room for argument.
Thales had no choice but to put away his smile. Gilbert had also put down his cup of tea.
Melgen’s tone was extremely cold. Even the nun behind her could feel the awe-inspiring presence. She glanced uneasily at the prince and the count.
“So, you would not know how it feels like to live in a world where gods exist. You would not know what the gods and beliefs brought to the world. You would not know how the true believers of the gods live.”
Melgen stared at Thales expressionlessly and met his gaze.
“You would much less know just what you will discover if you try to understand gods and beliefs with a sincere heart.”
At that very moment, Thales feel slightly suffocated. It was as if Melgen was the true master of this study room at that moment.
He took a deep breath. “I…”
“Then, you will be forever missing a piece in your world.”
Melgen did not bother herself with the prince’s authority. She did not give the duke the slightest chance to talk. “This is very bad.”
She leaned forward and looked into Thales’ eyes. “Very bad.”
It was as if her eyes were about to pierce through his pupils, pierce into his heart, and interrogate his soul. “Very, very, very bad.”
Her voice was deep. Her eyes were cold.
Thales’ expression also darkened.
He sat behind the study table and remained silent for a few seconds. Then, he slowly pushed away the book Sunset Goddess Apostles’ Acts, which had been deliberately found for this lesson.
Gilbert wanted to ease the unfriendly atmosphere, but Thales had already spoken right when he made his first cough.
“So, what do you plan to do?”
The young Duke of Star Lake also did not avoid the Sunset Priestess’ intimidating eyes. He just stared back.
“What would you do if I do not believe in God?” Thales smiled a little as he spread his hands. “Burn me?”
Those words caused the entire room to fall silent.
Priestess Melgen frowned as she sized up Thales.
A few seconds passed.
Melgen just snorted coldly. Her tone was hostile. “Yes.”
Thales was the one who was stunned this time.
‘What, what the hell?’
The little nun who stood by the side to attend to Melgen started to feel anxious. She had not seen this kind of situation before, and she looked toward the stunned Duke of Star Lake with fear. It seemed like she was afraid that he, who had great power, would angrily say something like “off with her head”.
Gilbert’s coughing suddenly became loud.
“Ahem, Your Highness, about today…”
But this time, Count Caso’s inappropriately timed attempts of interruption were not effective.
Priestess Melgen revealed a mysterious smile on her face. That was the third time she ignored Gilbert as she continued to say what she had yet finished saying.
“… A long time ago, yes.”
Once she said those words, Thales’ eyebrows, which were furrowed tightly, immediately relaxed.
‘Come on, could you not have such a big gap in between your words?’
The priestess slowly leaned against the back of the chair. Her tone became gentle once again.
“So, Thales, would burning you change your beliefs?
“Would it make you believe in the existence of the gods, the glory of the gods, and the greatness of the gods?”
Gilbert, who was in the distance, exhaled in relief. Apparently, he had already given up on trying to correct her term of address.
Thales blinked as he forcefully quirked up the corners of his mouth.
Priestess Melgen smiled and picked up the teacup beside her hand.
“Then, why do we need to burn you?”
Melgen took a sip of her tea.
“You must understand that faith is not something born from burning, much less slaughter.”
The priestess spoke slowly, but they no longer sounded as aggressive as before.
“If I burn you to death because you do not believe in God, it will only increase your hate and spirit for rebellion. It will also strengthen your stand and determination. It will not be helpful for the spreading of our beliefs, and it is also against the original intentions of the gods.”
Melgen put down her cup and stared at him fixedly. “Because beliefs that are stemmed from fear are not constant. Instead, it will gradually accumulate into endless hate that will spill out of a person in the end.
“Believe me, history has long since borne witness to this.”
Melgen cast a glance at Gilbert, who was also frowning, but no one knew whether she did this intentionally or not. She said faintly, “And on the contrary, the trials, in reality, will usually bring about ascension in spirit. Many mighty prophets and messengers of the gods over the years have gained an epiphany while they were under persecution and suffered through hardships. They managed to have the truth of their beliefs spread deep into the people, and their beliefs spread to even further places.”
Thales cast a glance at the Sunset Priestess in shock.
‘Her attitude is unlike those believers I have in mind.’
Melgen turned her head around and smiled faintly.
“That is why, Your Esteemed Grace, only evil gods, demons, and arrogant humans will be passionate about spreading bloodshed and violence. They are the only ones who will enjoy massacres and destruction. They rely on oppression and brute force to seize power and benefits, as well as eliminate those who are different from them. They rely on this to win, and they are also proud because of it.”
This was the first time she used a polite title to address him, even though her words later became stern. But with the content she decided to deliver to him in a tame version and her cordial tone, Thales noticed that no matter what, the stiff first impression he had toward the priestess had gradually disappeared.
Thales subconsciously sat up straight.
“However, real gods, such as our Sunset Goddess, are tolerant of all lives. They are forgiving toward all, and they will provide mercy and forgiveness to all lost lambs, even toward those who believe in different beliefs. They will provide them with help and guidance.
“This is the significance of the existence of beliefs—salvation.”
Priestess Melgen smiled faintly once she finished speaking. “So, please set aside your hostility, Thales. Open up your heart, and turn from a skeptic to a tolerant person, because that is how the gods treat you as well.”
Thales looked at her with a frown.
Gilbert heaved a long sigh in the distance. He mumbled softly, “I knew it, I miss Stylia Nydis.”
Or something along the lines.
A few seconds later, Thales heaved a long sigh. He had to adjust his attitude.
It was strange. Even though the way they spoke was as different as night and day, but for some reason, Thales remembered the situation where he met the Old Crow.
“So, are you trying to teach how to believe in your goddess, Priestess Leaf Melgen?” the duke asked with a serious face.
Melgen smiled and took a sip from her cup.
When she put down her cup, her tone turned profound and mysterious again.
“Hundreds of years ago, there was a young man who was laden with misfortune, whose family trade fell into decline, and whose future came to an end.”
Thales was stunned. He was taken aback by how the priestess just started telling him a story.
“When he was forced to a corner, he obtained god’s teachings.”
Melgen had an expression that could not be read. She looked as if she was in the story itself.
“Hence, the young man headed west with the setting sun on his face, according to god’s will.”
‘Is she… telling me about a young man who saved the world after he obtained god’s teachings?’
Thales cast Gilbert a glance, and he noticed that his expression had changed slightly.
Melgen’s voice turned somber. “The day was about to come to an end, but the young man did not stop moving west. The road ahead of him became darker and more dangerous. His eyes became more clouded with perplexity and confusion.
“In the end, when the sun was about to set completely, he ran out of strength, and his mind was in a daze in the darkness. There was no moon and no light around him. He lost consciousness and hope. In his daze, he stepped into the center of the cold Shepherd’s River.”
Then, the priestess’ tone changed. Her voice became serious. “And when the merciless water was about to go over his head, the world seemed to have obtained an order. During that moment, the clouds and fog dispersed in the dark and long night, and light appeared once more in the misty world.”
The twist that was similar to those that can be found in traditional plays attracted Thales’ attention. He listened to the story in interest.
“In an instant, stars filled the sky and shone for him. The endless stars shone brilliantly.”
Priestess Melgen’s expression became awe-inspiring and stern. It was as if her god was right in front of her. “Just like how Bright God created the world, just like how Holy Sun opened up the heavens, and just like all lives were reborn after they come to an end. The stars aroused the teenager who was both unfortunate and fortunate from despair and sadness.”
Melgen’s eyes sparkled brilliantly.
Thales coughed softly.
“Creation and opening up the heavens?
“When the sun sets, the world will become dark, and the stars will come out,” Thales mumbled softly, “I thought that this is general knowledge about nature, and it cannot be considered as a miracle.”
Melgen paused for a moment, she looked toward the duke who could not help himself but spoke up to interrupt the story.
But the priestess only had her mouth twitch before she continued on with the story.
“Hence, on that miraculous day, the teenager stood under the starlight that filled the world and sensed god’s will. He understood his own mission, and he swore a solemn oath.
“He will pull himself together and encourage himself to move forward under various hardships.
“And he will not just restore his family trade, which has fallen and has sunken into decline for a long time.”
Melgen stared straight into Thales’ eyes.
“The teenager will also restore the glory of the Holy Sun during the apocalypse, where all gods perished, and when calamities filled the world. He wanted to restore the god who used the brightest light and the greatest heat to turn into millions of stars and spread himself over the night sky to provide light for the people for eternity to save all lives and beliefs as well as chase away cold and despair.”
‘All gods perished, and when calamities filled the world…’
Thales looked up when he felt that there was something off.
“So, are you telling me that before this, there were no stars in the world, and there was only darkness at night?”
But Melgen ignored him.
“From then on, the teenager believed in Sunset, and he turned it into the national religion. He built a holy temple for it, and he spread his beliefs across the nation.”
‘Wait. National religion?’
Thales’ expression changed. He originally had his elbows propped on the table, but now, he sat up straight.
‘Are you saying…?’
And as he expected, in the next moment, Melgen used a subtle and strange expression to stare at the Duke of Star Lake before her. She said calmly, “Hence, Tormond the First’s great cause started here.
“Constellation grew into prosperity from here onwards.”
Melgen finished speaking.
The study was silent for a few seconds.
Then, Thales chuckled awkwardly.
“This is a classic passage in Sunset’s Holy Scripture. It was personally written by Mohazzard, a prophet and messenger of the goddess. He is a priest from seven hundred years ago.”
Melgen smiled faintly as if she was teasing him and reminding him of something.
“You should know a little more of your ancestor’s story, Thales.”
Thales lowered his head and cleared his throat. He pretended to not have heard her words.
‘Visions, seeing light again, opening up the heavens, swearing an oath…
‘Are you telling me that this is the story of Tormond the First meeting a miracle and swearing to build the country?
‘Isn’t this too over the top?’
“Even the internal members of Sunset Temple have debates over this story, especially when it comes to the oath, Priestess Melgen.” Gilbert cast a glance at the guest, and there was a warning look in his eyes.
Melgen just returned Gilbert a glance. She seemed displeased, but she also seemed to be mocking him.
“Our count is displeased with the story in Sunset’s Holy Scripture that is used to teach our believers, but that is alright.” Melgen looked at Thales gently.
In the next second, Melgen’s expression became stern once more. “Because no matter how utterly absurd it is and how it cannot withstand being studied, when this story was spread out seven hundred years ago, it had already rooted itself in the people’s hearts.”
Melgen said faintly, and the words she said caused Thales to frown. “Tormond is no longer the remaining prince of that evil Empire, he is no longer a brute from a foreign land who invaded other people’s lands to eat and drink from their pastures, he is no longer a bastard who is of a lowly blood and whose bloodline is questioned, and he is no longer a cruel warlord who is ambitious and ignores the rules set by the country just because he has an army with him.”
When he heard those adjectives, Thales felt shocked.
This time, Gilbert no longer decided to be polite. He stopped the priestess sternly.
But Melgen ignored him. Her gaze was distant.
“Instead, he became the King of Renaissance. In the eyes of the believers, he was a man who was acknowledged by the gods who stood up high and could not be touched. He was praised by helpful friars as someone who received enlightenment from Sunset and sensed Holy Sun’s remaining glory. Then, he swore an oath that he will work hard and build a utopia on earth.”
Thales’ expression froze.
Gilbert still had his lips pursed. By the looks of it, he was very angry.
“From then on, Tormond no longer brutally executed the locals who were displeased with his rule as a warning. He no longer needed to be wary of whether the water from the wells in the villages were poisoned to ensure his safety, and he no longer needed to be troubled by searching for the next reliable accommodation or source for soldiers and make a comeback.”
Thales’ expression became even more serious.
He understood the meaning of her words.
“Then, on the day he successfully built the country and his nation became stable, Sunset Goddess became the protector of the Jadestar Royal Family, and she bore witness to the crowning and death of each king.”
Priestess Melgen said sternly, “From then on, Sunset Temple’s fate was intertwined with Jadestar Royal Family’s fate, and it cannot be separated.”
‘Intertwined with Jadestar Royal Family’s fate…’
Thales quietly repeated those words, and he suddenly realized to his surprise that there was a strange sense of familiarity with this.
Melgen paused for a moment. Then, she began speaking faster.
“During the beginning of the first century of the Calender of Eradication, Peace King Kessel the First renovated the temple so that it could take in a large number of believers. It could be used by the people to sing praises to their god.
“King of Blades Tormond the Second appointed Bishop Layden as the prime minister. He obeyed god’s will and spread his beliefs. He was blessed with the achievement of expanding the country’s territory.
“Benevolence King Sumer the First was a devout believer. He practiced what he preached, and in the end, he touched the goddess’ heart. She gave him the miracle of rain, and the disaster of the great drought came to an end.
“Six-fingered Horace the First swore in front of Sunset Goddess’ statue and obtained the goddess’ protection. The people’s hearts were united so that they could fight against the heathens from the other side of the ocean.
“The Jackal, Sumer the Third proclaimed in his writings to announce the national religion once more and affirmed the people’s beliefs.
“Virtuous King Mindis the Third promoted theology classes and printed the holy scripture en masse. It benefited the friars greatly.”
With each example Melgen mentioned, Thales will find his thoughts jump, and he was forced to dig through related knowledge from his history lessons.
But at the same time, he could not help but notice that as the priestess spoke, Gilbert frowned even more, and he coughed louder with each moment.
“On behalf of the country, Thales, if your heart is not on the same page as the people, you will find that you cannot unite your strengths. Might I ask you this question? If you do not have the same beliefs as your people, do not respect and care about the same person, and cannot fit into their world, then how will you rule the country when you sit on the throne in the future?”
Her words caused Thales’ expression to gradually darken.
He suddenly came to a realization that the theology that she spoke of and the theology that he understood were completely different things.
“And the truth behind these stories is that we have been living in a world where there are gods, regardless of whether you acknowledge their miracles and understand their might.
“They might seem as if they are beyond our reach, but they are not far from our world. They affect our lives deeply.”
Melgen’s expression was solemn. “They affect us in ways that are sometimes mysterious, but sometimes easy to see. They seem to have signs of their miracles around, but we cannot surmise them.”
Priestess Melgen smoothed out her priestess robes and said softly, “Their words are as strong as an army of ten thousand. This is the power of beliefs.”
Thales was silent. He did not speak for a long time.
But a few seconds later, Melgen’s tone became light again.
“Hence, Thales, my duty in this class is not to encourage you to believe in anything, neither am I to tell you where the real gods are, much less teach you on how to memorize the scriptures and regulations. Instead, during the process in which I discuss this problem with you, I am to help you explore your relationship with the gods and understand the distance between you and the gods.”
Melgen stared at him.
“I am to help you understand yourself even better, regardless of whether you are a commoner right now or the future king of the country.”
Thales frowned slightly.
The words she said at that moment made him remember that strong Mystic he met in the proximal world, who could not be described with words and was incredibly mysterious.
‘Understand myself based on my understanding of the gods… is it a coincidence?’
“Because we are exploring a knowledge that is not just related to gods, but also related to people,” said Melgen with a smile.
Thales had a thought appear in his head.
“So this theology is actually a field of study related to people?” he asked with a degree of interest.
Melgen smiled and did not answer directly.
“You can also reduce your hostility. Have the pitiful Count Caso over there be the one to harbor that hostility instead.”
Gilbert coughed unnaturally a few times once again.
A few seconds passed. Thales looked up with a weight on his chest that seemed to be physically present but was actually not. He smiled awkwardly. “I suppose… it’s alright?”
‘Alright, I have to admit at least one thing, she’s a real orator,’ Thales said in his heart.
Even Gilbert could not butt in.
At the very least, Thales no longer dared to look down on this elderly priestess. He no longer looked on theology classes, which sounded as if it would be filled with people rambling nonsense, but actually carried great and profound meaning.
But he still underestimated her capability.
“Then, Thales, for our first lesson, let us talk about something that has been troubling you for a few years, and a problem that has been troubling us a few thousand years.”
‘Has been troubling me for a few years, and a problem that has been troubling you for a few thousand years?’
The Duke of Star Lake looked up in puzzlement.
In the next second, Leaf Melgen, the Sunset Priestess who seldom used respectful titles to address him, spoke with her usual expression.
She said one noun in a casual manner, “Magic.”
The prince’s expression changed in an instant.