By the time we returned to the city of Honor, there was only a quarter of the sunlight left.
As we passed through the central plaza, a field of litter entered our sights as if a major celebration had just taken place here.
Looks like they’ve been busy while we were out risking our lives…
The carriage bearing me and Mo Chuan soon came to a stop in front of a four storey building. As my feet landed on solid ground once more, I took a closer look at the towering structure in front of us. It was a pristine-looking looking inn with an spotless storefront ready to greet us. While this wasn’t some five-star hotel from Earth, the owner’s diligence was communicated clearly through its cleanliness.
The room rented for us was a tiny two-man bedroom on the top floor of the inn. It was a bit of a squeeze for the hulking seasonal wolf, Mo Chuan, and I but it was still miles ahead of what we had in the expedition camp.
By now, the fatigue from our harrowing experience had piled on both physically and mentally; the last thing that mattered to me now was the state of our room. As I opened the door, I leaped into the soft embrace of my bed and soon fell asleep.
Such a vacation is nice from time to time…
As for everything else…I’ll settle them tomorrow…
The Second Day…
For breakfast, we had a vibrant assortment of seasonal vegetables sent to our breakfast. At the side, was a tiny bowl of salad dressing to go along with it. The tangy yet sweet liquid caressed the crisp fresh vegetables in a slick sheen that tantalized our tastebuds.
That peaceful night of sleep had done wonders for the fatigue. It was as if the chains binding us down these past two days had been released all at once, giving me an euphoric sense of lightness.
I don’t want to get up…
Like the first day of the holidays, I didn’t want to get up.
As I turned to the neighboring bed, I found Mo Chuan sitting upright reading a book.
Di Qi Ju:…where did you get that book?
Mo Chuan: Room service sent it along with breakfast. He said it’s to help us pass time.
Mo Chuan: He probably thought that we would be infirmed for a while.
Di Qi Ju: Being infirmed after spending a night with another man…sounds scary just thinking about it…
Mo Chuan: What does that mean?
Di Qi Ju: Oh err…nothing.
Di Qi Ju: By the way, what are you reading?
Mo Chuan: One of those hero novels.
Mo Chuan: It’s about a strong but brainless male lead who uses his lower half to think…
Mo Chuan: The voluptuous, beautiful but equally brainless female lead simply falls in love with him and offers up her body…
Mo Chuan: The talented but also brainless female support spends her entire day loitering around the male lead. From time to time, she would be saved by his antics…
Mo Chuan: …the formidable looking but strangely brainless antihero who frequently throws out a few condescending taunts only to get casually beaten the very next second by the male lead…
Di Qi Ju: I counted at least four “brainless” in there…
Mo Chuan: …is this the kind of book that you humans like to read?
Di Qi Ju: Don’t just casually stereotype us.
Mo Chuan: I’m done reading. Do you want it?
Di Qi Ju: …was that on purpose? You know I’m illiterate.
Mo Chuan: That’s good…if you enjoyed this kind of novel, I would have seriously reconsidered our friendship.
Di Qi Ju: Well, that’s the first time I’ve had a friendship potentially fall apart because of a book…
Mo Chuan: Aside from this novel, they sent up several other useful books as well.
He gave the stack of over ten books next to him a couple of solid smacks.
Mo Chuan: For example, this <<A brief account of the Divine Hall and their Clergymen>>. A suitable book, no matter what kind of person you are.
Mo Chuan: Want to have a look?
Without waiting for my reply, the book was already thrown over, landing on my chest with a smack.
Di Qi Ju: I already said I’m illiterate! You’re definitely doing this on purpose!
I sent the book flying back at him, its pages flapping in the air as I did so. Just as I thought I would succeed, his bushy wolf tail shot out from under the covers and blocked the book as it was about to hit his face.
Mo Chuan: It’s a book explaining God’s will, such a disrespectful attitude is an affront to God.
*smack* Back at me—
Di Qi Ju: Isn’t throwing it at my chest with lethal force an affront to God as well?
*fwoosh* Back at him—
Mo Chuan: You’re just taking revenge on me because you weren’t able to catch the book—
Di Qi Ju: So you’re saying it’s my fault then?
Mo Chuan: Just hold onto it like a good boy—
Di Qi Ju: This is the third time I’m telling you, I’m illiterate!
Alvin: Ahem, you guys…
Di Qi Ju:…
The book landed between the cracks of our two beds.
I don’t know since when but, the similarly burly Alvin was already standing at our doorway, looking at us “read” the book with a slightly surprised look on his face.
Alvin: You guys have fun together, I’ll just be leaving…
Di Qi Ju: What’s with that “I don’t to spoil the mood” kind of attitude—Ah! Get back here—!!
Alvin: I was recuperating in the nearby hospital so I decided to pay you guys a visit.
Di Qi Ju: Hospital?
Alvin: Yup, I got injected with too much toxin so they had to put me under intensive care as I metabolized the toxin over these past few days.
Alvin: I heard you guys got a three day vacation? If everything proceeds as planned, we should be able to leave together.
Alvin:…putting you in such danger, was completely my fault.
Alvin: Please forgive me…
Di Qi Ju:…
Mo Chuan: Somehow…I get the feeling that there’s something I should be angry about but I just can’t seem to get angry.
Di Qi Ju: Mhm, I have that same feeling as well.
Di Qi Ju: Alvin, our first meeting with you could be considered pretty disastrous right?
Alvin: Err, I’m like that when I’m drunk.
Di Qi Ju: However, since the second time I met you, I’ve felt some force preventing me from hating you.
Di Qi Ju: Don’t tell me…that’s your wish ability?
Mo Chuan: If it’s really your wish ability, I wish to know what it is. Once you’ve done so, you can take it as we’ve forgiven you.
Alvin: Alright…but don’t tell anyone about this.
Di Qi Ju: Definitely, we’ll keep your secret safe!
Di Qi Ju: Mo Chuan, is there some salad dressing left? My throat needs a bit of lubrication, it seems a bit too parched to leak a secret.
Alvin: Don’t tease me…
Alvin: My hometown is in a country known as “Reitdarke’s Corridor”. It’s a long and narrow country bordering the Divine Hall.
Alvin: That country is famous for its booming tourism industry. Our family owned a generations old inn, at least it was so till my generation.
Alvin: Originally, this family business should’ve been succeeded by my brother Ethan but instead he decided to run away from home. By the time we found him, he was already a high ranking officer in Faith’s expeditionary force.
Alvin: And so, my family had no choice but to let me succeed the inn. They even half-coerced me into making a wish…
Alvin: An “ability to make our guests feel pleasure mentally”
Di Qi Ju: That’s…a pretty occupation-specific wish ability.
Di Qi Ju: In that case, why aren’t you working in your family inn?
Alvin: Two years ago, I secretly ran away as well…when I met my brother, I told him that the family had found another successor…
Di Qi Ju:……
Alvin: Do you think that I got all these muscles from being an innkeeper? If it wasn’t my drunken behavior, I would’ve been a soldier of the expedition by now!
Di Qi Ju: I got it, don’t get so worked up.
Alvin: Alright! I’m just here to say hi, it’s almost time for my medicine so I’m heading back to the hospital.
Mo Chuan: Bye…
Di Qi Ju:……
We quietly stared at his slowly disappearing back.
Di Qi Ju: Hmm…do you think he’s throwing a tantrum because his secret was exposed?
Mo Chuan: Mhm…but with that stature of his, it’s kind of awkward.
Di Qi Ju: I know right, it would’ve been a different matter if it was a cute girl.
Mo Chuan: Come to think of it, wasn’t that book fight kind of girly?
Di Qi Ju: I know right…
Di Qi Ju:…
Mo Chuan: Want to read some books?
Di Qi Ju: Only if you read them to me.
<<A brief account of the Divine Hall and their Inquisitors>>.
Mo Chuan: The primary function of the clergymen in the outer ring is to interact with the faithful. There is nothing noteworthy about them but they form the bedrock of God’s faith.
Mo Chuan: On the other hand, the clergymen in the middle ring all have an important duty assigned to them. They represent the will of God in certain fields.
Mo Chuan: For example, agriculture, sicknesses, climate and etc. They are essentially the representatives of God.
Mo Chuan: The more important that field is, the more competent the clergyman has to be in order to take up that duty. In other words, they must be of sufficient character and have a lot of wish points.
Di Qi Ju: Isn’t Hilda Carlyle an inquisitor from the middle ring? I remember her saying so that day.
Mo Chuan: Hilda Carlyle…I think she is a clergyman representing the field of “sin”.
Di Qi Ju: Sin…sounds likely. Drugs, weapons, blood, these all had something to do with crime.
Mo Chuan: Under normal circumstances, the masses wouldn’t be able to interact with these clergymen. They were after all, the servants of the Divine Hall and not the masses.
Mo Chuan: The only exception is if someone had gotten a special recommendation to perform the Sacred Rite in the middle ring.
Di Qi Ju: Special recommendation?
Mo Chuan: Normally, you would only need the approval of a clergyman in the outer ring and a certain amount of donation in order to perform the Sacred Rite in the outer ring. However, for the middle ring, you also need to have a special recommendation from the clergymen in the middle ring.
Mo Chuan: The recommended person has to be a country’s leader or someone who had previously undergone the Sacred Rite in the middle ring. Furthermore, they must’ve undergone a character inspection by the clergymen.
Di Qi Ju: I guess that means only a handful of people are able to get in the middle ring.
Mo Chuan: Let’s go back to the topic about the middle ring’s clergymen. If Hilda Carlyle is really a clergyman of “sin”, then the wish abilities she hasn’t revealed are really scary.
Di Qi Ju: Scary?
Mo Chuan: In order for a clergyman to represent “sin”, they need to not only be able to screen for sins, they must also be able to understand and sanction sinners.
Mo Chuan: Sins doesn’t just refer to crime cases, it also refers to sin in the broader sense of humanity itself.
Mo Chuan: Anyone with that much capability is bound to be a clergyman of the inner ring sooner or later…
Di Qi Ju:…
Mo Chuan: Is it that hard to understand? Here’s an easier example.
Mo Chuan: For example, in order to represent “language”, that clergyman must first possess an ability to communicate with every intelligent life form in this world who uses language.
This ability is…
Mo Chuan: At the same time, he must have the ability to control the communications of others.
Di Qi Ju: …control their communications?
Mo Chuan: That’s right, he has to be able to control any organ or body part that is required to produce a sound.
Mo Chuan: From their face muscles, tongue, throat to even the nervous systems in the brain that control speech; anything that has to do with “language” will fall under their influence.
Mo Chuan: Only by reaching this standard will a person be able to become a clergyman of the middle ring and represent the will of God in the field of “language”.
The main street of Honor…
Alvin was on his way back to the hospital having just left the inn.
Due to the toxins left over in his ankles, he had difficulty balancing his burly frame as he walked.
He had to slowly limp his way back to the hospital because of this.
Having been injected with some medication to aid his recovery, he was now able to purge out the toxin faster by exercising. As such, this slow limp back wasn’t something he particularly hated.
After all, this actually allowed him to recover faster although it seemed to have earned him the ridicule of the passersby. With a turn of his head, he gave them a disdainful glare and scared them away.
While it aided his recovery, these stares were annoying.
Suddenly, a slender figure appeared a distance away from him. She wore a hood and a set of clothes that covered up her entire body.
While the majority of her face was hidden, judging from the strands of red hair, this person was probably a girl.
And this girl was definitely was gunning for him.
Alvin: Ah? What’s up?
Alvin’s mouth suddenly tightened. There was an unknown power forcing his tongue to roll back onto his throat, causing him to spasm in pain.
He wanted to scream for help but something was forcing his mouth shut, not even allowing him to shout in pain.
His brain was suddenly thrown into turmoil, causing his sense of balance to be disrupted.
The lady walked right up to him and lightly slapped him on the waist, signalling him to follow her into the narrow alley nearby.
In the darkness of that alley, she tugged on his shirt. Her strength wasn’t that great but for some reason he couldn’t move his lower jaw.
He couldn’t move…or even resist at all.
Alvin : wughhwughh—–!
He couldn’t speak. Whether it was to question her or even to beg mercy, he simply couldn’t speak at all.
??: I don’t need you to talk. You just need to nod or shake your head as necessary.
The lady lifted her head and revealed her face.
Normally, this face could be described as beautiful. It looked to be about over 20 years of age and possessed a charm that those prostitutes simply couldn’t compare with.
However, to Alvin, this face was even scarier than those adventurers’ face.
Her face even had a ferocious expression on it right at this very moment!
??: First…did you cause the death of two laborers in the expeditionary force?
??: One of them is called…Di Qi Ju.
Special thanks to Steve Granger, Ichitsuzen, and LaRue Martin!!
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.