Chapter 20 — Sons of God
The night was eerily silent in Amber City.
Ever since the skinning incident, no one dared to leave their homes at night; even the grunts of the Grey Realm were hiding in their own territories. Those who belonged to the Dark Realm were all evil maniacs, and even though those of the Grey Realm often had dealings with them, both sides still kept their distance.
The Amber City guards were unsuccessful in their search and investigation. Not only were the nobles pressing them for results, the Church was also starting to put pressure on them.
It did not take long before the Church decided to take action. As the whole city was in a state of fear and terror, the Church sent out its own shrine knights and paladins to investigate. Contrary to their expectations, they failed to find any clues and even lost a member—his skinless body was hung at the city gates the next day, with a perfect sheet of human skin next to the corpse.
Terror dominated the dark nights.
The believers of the evil gods angered the Church by killing one of their shrine knights. The shrines of the three lawful deities in Amber City began dispatching high-ranked shrine guards for investigation, and even the bishops who usually only held rituals joined the operation.
At the same time, a group of fanatics wearing black robes were gathering in a hidden underground chamber, kneeling and praying in front of an altar with their arms crossed. There was someone wearing a red robe on the altar, but his face was concealed by his clothing.
The walls in the chamber were decorated with uncanny runes and pictures depicting skeletons, lava, demons, altars, and the shadow of an evil god. The dim flames made the atmosphere even spookier.
The man wearing the red robe held a crystal ball in his pale white hand while chanting something in archaic Demon Language.
"According to the prophecy left behind by thee my lord, the first Descendant of Fear should soon awaken due to despair and fear!
"However, we have yet to feel the aura of the Descendant of Gods.
"The skinning ritual has begun! Fear and terror are rapidly spreading through the city!
"But the shrine guards dispatched will find us sooner or later. We have already lost some men.
"Now, should we continue the ritual and wait for the Descendant of Fear to awaken?"
A ghastly lilac flame appeared out of thin air. With a neutral voice which sounded androgynous and of undeterminable age, the flame seemingly 'spoke,' "Something has interfered with the prophecy!!
"The gods and goddesses might have noticed thy lord's arrangements."
"Continue the sacred skinning ritual and spread the power of fear within the Southern Principality. The second Descendant of Fear will awaken someday in the future!"
The priest devotedly knelt down and looked firmly at the flame.
"The ritual shall continue! Let my lord’s will enshroud the Abyss."
Beneath the altar, the kneeling fanatics began praying in synchrony, gathering evil energy within the chamber.
No one could enter Amber City at night under normal circumstances, and the rule was even more strictly enforced ever since the skinning incidents began. More guards were stationed at the entrances, and those who were coming in and out had to be questioned and bodily searched first. For this reason, Soran had to camp outside the city and find a way to enter the shrine district the next day.
The Dawnlight Shrine gave off a dim aura, giving people hope, relief, and peace of mind. It was a stationary blessing spell powered by the divine power gathered through the shrine and could grant the followers spiritual satisfaction.
The tiny figure of a child was kneeling in front of the tall and majestic statue of the Dawnlight God. Annalynne, the priestess-in-training, slowly opened the door and saw the little girl.
"Vivian, are you praying to the God of Dawnlight?"
The little girl lifted her head, glanced at the young lady behind her, and said, "Yes, I'm praying for brother's safety!"
Even though Soran did not tell her what he was going to do, Vivian knew it must be something dangerous. She did not try and stop him as she trusted him, but she still prayed for Soran and hoped that the gods would bless him with luck—any one of the deities was fine with her.
The young priestess walked to her side, patted her head, and slowly said, "Then you should come and pray at dawn. The God of Dawnlight will surely listen to his believers' prayers at that time."
Unable to fully comprehend her words, Vivian still nodded her head and replied, "Big sis, please pray with me together at dawn then."
Annalynne looked at the cute girl in front of her and smiled as she said, "Vivian, are you willing to believe in the God of Dawnlight? I can feel it. You have extraordinary talent, and perhaps you could become a priestess. If you are willing to serve the God of Dawnlight, the shrine will also take care of your family. With his reflexes and abilities, Soran could surely find a proper job!"
Vivian was deep in thought and did not reply. She looked as if a part of her wanted to immediately accept the offer, but she eventually replied, "I want to consult my brother first. If he agrees, I don't mind trying."
Vivian felt rather complicated when she said she was willing to try. She had had sharp perception ever since she was a child, but for some reason she was strongly against the idea of deities. She and Soran were both atheists, and they did not fake their beliefs even on the surface. Vivian always felt awkward when she tried to worship any of the deities. The dim aura was supposed to soothe people, but instead she felt uncomfortable and did not like it—if not for praying for her brother, she did not even want to take a single step into the worshipping chamber.
"Okay!" The young priestess smiled as she helped Vivian to her feet. "Perhaps you should try and understand some basic divine spells.
"Just like this—UA!"
Annalynne pronounced a single syllable which sounded weird, and a ball of light appeared on her fingertip. Like a candle, the ball of light lit up the surroundings.
"This is the spell Light." The young priestess smiled at the little girl, who widened her eyes in surprise, and said, "This is a very simple divine spell. If you have the talent to become a priestess, you should be able to cast it soon after practice.
"However, you will first have to be baptised. The holy ritual will grant you the ability to sense and utilize the gods' powers."
Baptism was a key process to becoming a priest or priestess—it was a process which enhanced one's perceptions, allowing those with talent to perceive the deities' powers. Paladins, shrine knights, rangers, and those of some other professions could cast basic divine spells after being baptised. This was only the first ritual though, and priests had to undergo other rituals before they could be promoted.
The priestess's speech was interrupted by a loud voice from outside the shrine. A fully armed shrine guard entered the shrine, producing clangs as he walked. The guard, who had blood on his face, spoke in a grave voice, "Marcus is injured!
"We found the lair of the fanatics, and Marcus was pierced in the chest during battle!"
Annalynne kept a neutral look on her face as she faced Vivian and said, "Go back to the room yourself later, okay?
"Larcus, please lead the way!" Annalynne said to the shrine guard, and the two of them left immediately.
Recently, the evil fanatics had been running rampant in the city. A lot of shrines were concerned about the skinning rituals and dispatched their own troops to join the search, and Dawnlight Shrine was no different. Marcus was a Grade 3 shrine guard with profession levels above 10; the evil fanatics must be really strong if they could severely injure such a strong shrine guard.
Vivian looked at the two shrine officials until they were out of her sight. Making sure they were no longer around, she lifted her tiny fingers and muttered, "I wonder if I can cast the spell as long as I can pronounce the weird sound?
Her question was soon answered when a bright ball of light appeared on her fingertips.
The little girl's jaw dropped as she looked at the floating light in disbelief. As if she was afraid of it, she shook her hands in an attempt to dissipate the light. After a short while, Vivian calmed down and began looking at her fingertips curiously.
"Eh? Is it really that simple? You can use divine spells with just that?"
Hope you like the chapter! Next chapter will be on Sunday, 11th March. (Chapters are out at 1am UTC)
If you like the novel so far, be sure to vote here for the series for (potentially) more releases!
Comment down below and let me know what you think about the chapter as well!