50 50. No Mercy!

Sylvester was still with one arm tied with thick dressings. He was called for an interview by the investigators to record his statements.

As he entered the dimly lit room, he noticed a long wooden table at one end of the room, behind which Marshals sat, each wearing standard robes with a rank plate of Master Wizard or Golden Knight.

There was also the Inquisitor High Lord, surprisingly. The man was menacingly standing at the right corner of the room as if a statue.

"Deacon Sylvester, tell us what happened in Norman's office in a chronological order in as many details as you can." A Marshall asked him.

Sylvester decided not to act like a child as the Inquisitor High Lord was here, and the latter knew him well. Besides, he had to be careful with words as he remembered the tall man stating he could discern a lie.

He articulated himself smartly. "I was confused and frustrated by what Bishop Norman had done to my exam. He asked me how to cast Elder Runes. Nobody knows that. And then he failed me…after all my hard work. I wanted to ask him why he did it and went to see him using the One-Time Token from the Headmaster.

"He was eating in his office when I entered. But he allowed me in, so I faced him directly. But he shouted at me, using profanities, calling me a low born, a rat, and even my mother a who… I don't want to say that word.

"He said even the Holy Father could not get him to change the results. He said many Archbishops across the Church are backing him? And called the Church weak? Then when I confronted his unholy words, he stood up angrily and pointed his finger at me.

"Then, suddenly, I felt an invisible push, backing me and slamming me into what I thought was the wall, but it was a window, and I fell out of it."

He stopped and looked at the Marshal's faces, wondering if they believed him. He purposefully revealed what Norman said about him and Xavia because he knew that many of the clergy members were originally orphans. Some of the Marshals were likely the same.

He tried to sense the smells in the room to discern what was going on. He first felt the spiciness of anger from the Inquisitor High Lord. Then there was some disgust from others and even hate.

"Deacon Sylvester, can you tell us how you survived the fall?" One of the Marshals asked.

Sylvester quickly replied. "I used the air rune by casting it on the ground before my fall so that it wouldn't hurt too much… but I didn't come out unscathed, and the fall broke my arm."

"Thank you for appearing before us, Deacon Sylvester. Would you like to add anything else about Norman?" One of the Marshals asked.

Sylvester stared at the table for a moment as if he was thinking. Then quickly chirped. "Yes! He once called me to his office and offered me fifty thousand Gold Graces if I chose to leave the God's Favored class, even the Church, and live somewhere remote. But, as I am Lord's bard, I reject that there is nothing outside for me; money is useless for a child."

Sylvester noticed the Inquisitor High Lord nodding his head in the corner. The Marshals nodded as well and allowed Sylvester to take his leave. "Thank you. I shall return to my next class."

However, Sylvester was merely the first of many to be interviewed that day. Soon, other Deacons from the class were called.

The first one was Augustus Steel, one of the most talented wizards in the class, but he belonged to no faction. So he gave an honest reply. "Bishop Norman was particularly antagonistic towards Deacon Sylvester."

Other Deacons voiced similar things. That was until Romel Riveria arrived, being the boy for whom Norman did most of it. But by now, even Romel was told to throw the Bishop under the cart.

"In your runes examination, you only answered three out of five questions, yet you received full marks. Why?"

Romel nervously moved in his chair. "I-I was… I don't know. Bishop Norman did it himself. I don't know him at all. He's just a teacher. We may be related, but he's not supposed to help me. I know it."

As expected, kids are kids. Under pressure, they say useless things. As apparent by Romel talking about things he shouldn't. It was clear by now that Romel knew it.

After all that was done, Sylvester's friends were called in. Felix was the first, and he spoke truthfully, even turning up a notch a bit as he also had a personal grudge. "Oh, Bishop Norman gave me a question about Elder Runes, too. But, of course, I did not know the answer."

"Describe what you saw in the garden."

Felix quickly answered. "We were eating lunch when suddenly the sound of glass breaking came. I looked and saw Deacon Sylvester falling out of the ninth floor, his back facing the ground, while Bishop Norman had an evil smirk on his face."

Marcus was the same and added some more spices. "Bishop was always angry about Deacon Sylvester. He would try to criticize Sylvester at every chance he got, despite him answering all questions. Nobody likes his class."

Then Gabriel came, and as he was a very religious boy, he did not say false things. But he said something that shocked the Marshals and even prompted the Inquisitor High Lord.

"I don't know why Bishop Norman did that, but he's never been kind to Deacon Sylvester. In contrast, he showed favoritism to Deacon Romel. I don't know why he does that, as Deacon Sylvester is the only likely to be the God's Favored among all of us." said Gabriel.

"And why do you think he's the one?" Inquisitor High Lord asked suddenly.

Gabriel's jaw fell at that instant as he had not noticed the big man standing in the dark corner before. His voice took a turn for the worse, and he stuttered. "I-I just believe that… to be God's Favored one n-needs wisdom and strength. S-Sylvester has the most of it in the class… There is also Felix, but he is dense."

"Haha, you can go now, Deacon Gabriel. May the light enlighten your paths." Inquisitor High Lord dismissed with a slight chuckle. What Gabriel said was clearly what most adults saw, but it soothed him to know that Sylvester's friends felt the same.

With that, the interviews ended, and the investigation had gathered a dozen small booklets.

"What shall be the verdict, Lord Inquisitor? Bishop Norman clearly did everything he's been accused of." A Marshal asked.

"That is for Deacon Sylvester to decide whether he holds the man guilty or not."

The next day, in an underground prison, Sylvester was brought to an open area where a few Marshals, Inquisitors, Inquisitor High Lord, and the Headmaster were present. He was the only Deacon there, and therefore felt out of place.

He looked at Norman. The man only wore a small piece of cloth that hid his manhood. He was tied in chains, both hands held apart. His face had darkened, and his eyes were sunken and had turned red. There were various marks of injury over his torso, showing his days here were not very kind.

There was hate and anger in the air from the clergy and Norman. Even more so from Norman when Sylvester appeared there.

The Inquisitor High Lord spoke solemnly. "Deacon Sylvester, he sinned against you, so you shall decide to forgive him or not. Shall he continue to serve the light, or face the consequence of his sins against you, against the slight."

'What the… why are they asking me? I thought the Church had a robust justice system with various enforcers and judges?' Sylvester was in utter confusion.

He looked around at everyone's faces. There was also Sir Dolorem, nodding at him. From the scent, he felt the latter's anger toward Norman.

'Ah, isn't Norman also a spy? Does this mean this is a test? Should I kill him or not?' He wondered what the purpose of calling him here was. Was he supposed to show kindness or wrath?

He glanced at Norman and remembered everything the man had spoken to him from day one. Calling him strange things and, to Xavia, a harlot. But above all, he also disrespected the faith and spoke negatively about the Church.

'No, for my own peace of mind, I can not let this man live. Today he may show remorse for his actions, but he will always remember that I caused this. He will always remember what I did in his office. Not today, not tomorrow, but whenever he gets an opportunity, he will strike like a viper waiting for the perfect opportunity… No Mercy!'

He took a long breath and tried to minimize the effect of his words, just to be sure if they were expecting him to be lenient with the man. He was the judge of the life or death of a Bishop, after all.

He carefully sang a short passage hymn, instantly turning the anger of all Marshals and Inquisitors into worship. The warmth from the halo and his hand reached all, even Norman.

But the ex-bishop had a strange reaction to it. He shouted and cursed, "Damn you and your hymns… you are bard of none!"

'Thank you, Bishop Norman. You've made it easier for me.'

♫You sin or not; the Lord sees it all.

There is no hiding, be it big or small.

There is no cure for sinful illness.

Insult the faithful, and receive forgiveness.

Abuse the faith, and accept destruction.

Burn the sinners, states the Holy Inquisition!♫

Sylvester stopped and blankly stared at Norman's terrified face. What he had decided was clear from his little passage.

"N-No, no! Don't do this! I did not push you! I didn't try to kill you." cried Norman.

Sylvester shook his head. "This is not about what you did to me, Bis… Norman. I forgive you for what you did to me. But the words you spoke against my Lord, the supreme Solis, there is no forgiveness, no repentance."

At those words, everyone in the dungeon nodded. The Inquisitor High Lord a bit more, as the hymn had his beloved Order of Inquisition in it, making him deeply proud.

Sylvester turned to face the big man and conveyed his verdict. "Lord Inquisitor, Sylvester forgives him—but the bard does not!"

"It has been decided then!" Inquisitor High Lord slammed his metal staff on the ground once, making the sound reverberate.

"Burn he may in the depths of the unholy abyss, may his sins blow away with his ashes, away from Lord's warm bliss. In the year 5109 of the Holy Sun, I, Inquisitor High Lord, with the power and duty bestowed upon me by the Supreme Pontiff, declares Norman Spring excommunicated for heresy and condemned to be burned!"

As soon as his order came, three men entered the dungeon. They were wearing black hooded robes with no rank plate. Their faces were also covered in black metal visors. One held a book and started reciting a few words, while the other two stacked wood around Norman after locking his feet.

The man screamed, cried, and prayed for forgiveness. His face contorted in ways unimaginable as he tried to free himself from the confines, ignoring the harm to his own body being done. His wrists seemed to rip apart slightly while his feet broke utterly.

In the blind rage to be free, he forgot nothing could save him once the announcement of the decree.

Woosh!—In seconds, the fire engulfed the man, and his flesh melted like snow. His screams echoed across the entire prison, sending chills as the other convicts could only listen.

Seeing the flames reaching the ceiling, Sylvester noticed it was already darkened. He reckoned this wasn't the first burning that hall was witnessing.

"Damn you! Aaaa!… You will stand… here… one day!..." Norman managed to utter a few words before his face wholly burned down. His eyes popped out and disappeared in flames. From now, Norman Spring was just another among the heathen names.

Sylvester was not affected by the view and merely scratched his face as he looked.

'Great, this should send a good message to all future mentors to not mess with me. And once I'm done with my education, I'm out of here.' He thought, planning for a future.

"Deacon Sylvester, return to your school." The Inquisitor High Lord ordered him.

He quickly saluted and left. Nothing was amusing about remaining in that suffocating dungeon anyway.

'Without any protection, it's time to subjugate the Crown Prince of Riveria now… haha.'

Today, despite seeing burning flesh, he felt utterly fresh.

"Ah, you're back! Look here, Sylvester! A Running Man left a package for you." As soon as Sylvester arrived at the dormitory for Deacons, he was called by Felix to their room.

"Me? Who would send me something? The only family I have is here." Sylvester looked at the package received. It appeared to be about five feet long and was thin, about 2 feet in length and breadth.

"Open it! My greedy sense is tingling! There has to be something valuable in it." Felix, as always, was talking nonsense.

But Sylvester shared the enthusiasm and opened the cloth wrap first. Then he found a wooden box. It was red with a lot of golden embroideries, appearing extremely luxurious.

"Woah!" All four exclaimed.

'Who would send me such a thing?'

He quickly opened it, and… four jaws fell to the floor.


[A/N: This school arc will not go on for long, as there is little left to do. Sylvester learned his lessons in this examination, and as someone whose priority is to live in peace, he will be cautious with the next exam quests and play safe until he's decently stronger.

Soon, the last Time Skip to a few years will happen. There is so much more left to explore and do for Sylvester. Spending a hundred chaps in just school would not be fun to write or read, honestly.

I suppose you don't want the chapters to turn into -> He opened the bag of chips. He took a potato chip. And he ate it! XD]

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