In order to ascertain the possibility that Chloe had become a witch, Momo had to raise her adventurer level. Prince Leddorio went to the head priest to ask for permission to do just that but..
“We cannot allow it, highness. Lady Momo’s sacred mana are in decline. It goes to show how much performing ascetic practices haphazardly could affect–“
“Her sacred mana are declining? What are you talking about?”
All of the priests who saw the sacred mana she emitted at the Saintess Attestation Ceremony had all recognized that she was the true saintess. The dazzling radiance she had displayed made it clear that there’s no other saintess save for her.
“I do not doubt the lady’s position, highness. However, sacred mana is born from a heart of purity. Some circumstances can affect its potency.”
“What? Are you implying that Momo had been sullied?”
“I would never dare! It’s just that recently, she’s not making as much effort in her practices so…”
Momo’s face grew stiff at the seemingly tenuous reply of the head priest. The ascetic practices in the sacred church are strict. After all, it’s so severe that it helped Chloe, who had lived her entire life as an aristocrat, to get used to her newly attained responsibilities at the lodging house.
However, the prince just could not make himself believe that Momo was more negligent than Chloe in her church duties. On the contrary, the prince considered her to be working harder due to the added responsibility of becoming the prince’s queen candidate weighing on her shoulder.
“Enough. I can’t rely on you all inept fools. It’s exactly because you keep Momo holed up in this place that others barely notice her worth. We’ll be warming up in the intermediate dungeon in order to sharpen our sense again.”
“You must not, highness! It is far too dangerous! If something were to happen to the saintess–“
“I will be protecting her myself. I will not let any beasts touch even a single strand of her hair, so save your complaints.”
“We cannot allow putting his highness at risk either!”
As the prince lost his patience to the rigidity of the head priest, he resorted to using his last resort, instead.
“Head priest…, it has recently come to my ears that the church had used the orphanage as a hotbed for prostitutions.”
“What is this sudden…”
“Do you really think I wouldn’t know? When Chloe sent a request for a replacement of a sacred stone, you refused it on the grounds of one of your banished specialists being there.”
“B-But highness, that’s… While it is true that something of that sort happened in the past, it is exactly because of such incident that the sacred church had banished Masrat Grace…”
As the head priest flusteredly attempted to make an excuse, a loud crashing sound reverberated in the church hall. He was scared silent of the prince who hit the table with such vigor.
“Because of your pesky politics, the barrier within the advanced level dungeon had grown weaker, allowing the stronger monster to pass through. There’s no one else who can purify that dungeon other than Momo, the true saintess. We have no other choice but to go in order to clean up after your messes!
If you consider Priest Grace’s issue to be of importance, so much more than the kingdom’s risks itself, why don’t we review the case of his transgressions then? Completely and thoroughly with all the witnesses, victims and all!”
“—!? P-Please wait, highness! Very well, I will acknowledge it. Masrat Grace is innocent and his expulsion from the church is invalid. The ones who commit such improper and foolish acts are those related to the head priest at that time. Due to their fear of being crushed, they used him as a scapegoat.”
The head priest had no other choice but to reveal the truth. He feared that the exposure of the church’s past corruption would result in loss of influence within the populace.
Although the royal family who shares the same bed with the church would also inevitably be affected, the prince couldn’t care less now that he’s been disinherited.
“I care not for the honor of priest grace. Chloe is far more important of a matter than that. I am sure that the head priest is aware of the circumstances of the ancient witch, right? Right now, Chloe, stripped of her queen candidacy and saintess position, resides in a lodging close to the advanced level dungeon. Momo had decided that it’s far too dangerous to let that continue, and put a stop to that as fast as we possibly can.”
Prince Leddorio embraced the shoulders of Momo as the head priest looks at them at loss for words.
(Momo… I will protect you no matter what. I’ll make them see that your ascent is the first saintess’ second coming.)