Before coming to the Divine Hall, I had always assumed that it was a colossal, western cathedral.
A spacious plaza with a towering prayer hall filled with religious decorations—yup, something like that.
But in reality…
When we got to the outer ring of the Divine Hall, what greeted us was an undulating set of single storey buildings forming a teeth like formation. Each building had a giant doorway that revealed an empty hall within.
The faithful meandered around the surrounding streets, praying to the Divine Hall from time to time from outside.
Breman: Entering these buildings signify that you wish to perform the Sacred Rite and have submitted your application. If you enter without possessing the requisite wealth, that would be extremely inappropriate.
Di Qi Ju: I know they wish to limit the number of applicants, but what do they do with the money of the faithful?
Breman: I heard that they spend it on the clergymen’s expenses.
Di Qi Ju: Their Engel’s coefficient is pretty high…
Breman: This is the entrance to the outer ring. Where we are headed to is the middle ring.
As we circled around the outer edges of the Divine Hall, the silhouette of a large palace became clearer and clearer within our sights.
Judging from the map I saw before, that must’ve been the palace of Reitdarke’s king.
It was medieval european style palace that was surrounded by right and proper castle walls and even had those pointed steeples you saw in fairy tales. Compared to the flat structures of the Divine Hall, this looked a lot more like the Divine Hall I had in mind.
At the intersection between the palace walls and the outer edges of the Divine Hall was an unusually vast hall. Its doorway alone must’ve been wide enough to allow four automobiles to pass through.
Breman: This is where the Sacred Rite attendees for the middle ring are received. Most faithful don’t even have the qualifications to enter this hall.
Di Qi Ju: By the way, is the outer edge of the Divine Hall full of these type of open halls, isn’t there a proper entranceway or gate?
Breman: If entrance was so easily accessible, the masses would find it vulgar and lacking in mysteriousness. Sometimes these qualities are necessary in order to maintain the faith.
Di Qi Ju: Theology seems pretty fussy about the details.
Breman: Haha, that’s exactly what I thought when I first saw the Divine Hall.
As we passed through the doorway, what greeted us was a conspicuously empty midsection surrounded by rows of chairs neatly stacked along the sides of the wall.
A number of people were already present, sparsely seated around the hall in pairs as they quietly whispered to each other.
Some were dressed opulently while others adopted a more reserved tone. Even so, their strength and air of superiority wasn’t so easily erased.
The wealthy, the influential, the powerful…every one of them exuded one such aura.
Compared to me, dressed in clothing modified by Miss Poppy, I almost seemed like a beggar. In front of these men, I didn’t even dare to look them in the eye.
Like an officier looking for his subordinate, Breman confidently swept through the room with his eyes before walking off towards in his chosen direction.
Breman: Isn’t this Master Three’floral Dawn? What a coincidence.
??: Oh, you are…Breman?
The person he took the initiative to approach was a short portly old man. If he were to stand up, he would probably be shorter than Breman, but his girth was wider than me and Breman combined.
The old man wore the opulent garb of the wealthy. He had a full head of white hair and a clean shaven face. Based on his looks, I would say that he was around 60 or so but his lethargic voice made him sound like an 80 year old who was about to kick the bucket.
Breman: I remember our first meeting was when we exchanged a few words while I was preparing for my own Sacred Rite in the middle ring. Who would’ve thought that we would meet again. I’m honored that you still remember me.
Three’floral Dawn: You’re too humble. This old man is able to remember such an outstanding man like you with both looks and character, with just a simple glance.
Breman: You speak too highly of me. By the way, this year are you also…performing the Sacred Rite with the Finance Minister?
At this, a stern looking middle aged man seated next to Three’floral Dawn turned his head away wordlessly, ignoring us completely.
Three’floral Dawn: Don’t mind him, that workaholic doesn’t talk about anything other than work.
Breman: Ah hah…
Three’floral Dawn: Speaking of which, Breman have you already taken over the reins of the expedition?
Breman: Thanks to your help, the transition went smoothly. Recently we’ve even managed to finish our first expedition. Right now we’re on a short respite.
Three’floral Dawn: So you’ve just finished an expedition…
The old man’s eyes glinted at those words, his originally faint smile becoming noticeably wider.
Three’floral Dawn: I take it you are in dire need of money.
Breman: Ha ha…
Breman: Let’s not talk about the affairs of the mundane world in such a sacred place.
Breman: If it’s convenient, how about we have dinner tonight? We can have a slow chat then.
Three’floral Dawn: ……
Three’floral Dawn: Haha—maybe you should be a businessman instead of a soldier!
Breman: About that, I’ve lost all confidence in becoming a businessman after coming into contact with a formidable personage such as you.
Three’floral Dawn: Hah, you make it sound like this old man is the culprit.
Breman: Oh—that’s right, I haven’t introduced my companion over here…
After a round of socializing, Breman suddenly decided to push me onto the center stage.
Breman: This is Di Qi Ju, he’s my companion as well as my bodyguard for this trip to Reitdarke’s Corridor.
Di Qi Ju: Greetings…
Breman: This is Master Three’floral Dawn, the “Father of Economics” in the Country of Numbers, he controls the economic lifeline of several of the neighboring countries.
Breman: I had the pleasure of meeting him on my first trip to the middle ring, he’s an extremely affable senior.
Three’floral Dawn…sounds pretty similar in style to “One’day High”, as expected of their unique culture.
Three’floral Dawn: Oh my—is this little brother a countryman as well?
Oh my—your reaction is the same as One’day High’s. Are all citizens of Number so attached to their homeland?
Di Qi Ju: My apologies, but it isn’t so.
Di Qi Ju: “Di Qi” is an ancient surname. Recent generations have instead abandoned the number and adopted the surname of “Di” instead.
Di Qi Ju: Households such as mine who still use this ancient surname are rare…
Three’floral Dawn: ……
Three’floral Dawn: This old man has heard that during the middle ages, the Country of Numbers punished exiles by removing their names from the records and prohibiting them from using a number in their surname.
Three’floral Dawn: Your ancestors must’ve once been a part of our bloodlines. It’s such a pity they’ve lost their roots.
Di Qi Ju: Mhm…
While I wasn’t technically lying, what I said had more to do with a different world than yours. The change in my surname has absolutely nothing to do with you guys!
I don’t know if I should laugh or cry at having this sudden national affiliation attached to me because of a name.
Three’floral Dawn: Oh right Breman, where’s your referrer? If the clergymen were to see you without one, they might just throw you out.
Breman: Referrer? Ah…you misunderstand me. I’m not here as a Sacred Rite attendee.
Three’floral Dawn: …?
Breman: I’m the referrer for Di Qi Ju.
Three’floral Dawn: Hoh…
His eyes were still squinting but the smile on his face had completely disappeared.
Three’floral Dawn: This kid who seems even younger and more inexperienced than you really has the qualifications to enter the middle ring?
Di Qi Ju: ……
Breman: Haha, I’m sure he’s nothing compared to someone like you but as for whether he can enter the middle ring or not, that’s up to the clergyman.
Breman: However…Di Qi Ju’s position in our country could be said to be akin to a “Savior”.
Di Qi Ju: ……
Breman: Eh hey.
Aren’t you exaggerating a little too much Breman?! Don’t you think that this bit of boasting has gone a little overboard?
Furthermore, your volume seemed to have gotten significantly louder when you said that. Look, everyone is staring cautiously at us right now.
And what’s with that wink and “eh hey”! That uncaring attitude is causing me a lot of trouble right now!!
Three’floral Dawn: Savior…
Di Qi Ju: Err, about that…
Breman: —looks like Master Three’floral doesn’t believe me. As a special service, I’ll make an exception for you and let you have a gander at this.
Breman slapped the giant chest next to him before leaning in and whispering into his ears.
Breman: This is one of the fruits of his hunting. Outside of the expedition, you’re the first person in this world to witness it.
Three’floral Dawn: Hoh…what object is it to warrant such secrecy. This old man has seen a number of strange things having lived this long.
Three’floral Dawn: Don’t think you can pull out some trivial object and fool this old man.
Breman: Don’t worry, I, Breman, still don’t have the audacity to do so. Besides, my inherited wish ability won’t allow me to lie to you.
Three’floral Dawn: …alright, I’ll reserve my judgement until I’ve seen it.
Breman moved the giant chest to the front of his body before taking out a string of silver keys.
It was then that I noticed the row of keyholes. Perhaps this chest wasn’t just as large as it seemed on the outside.
He inserted a silver key and gave it a slight twist. Roughly half a meter long section of the cover began to loosen.
He gently lifted the cover, revealing a tiny crack for Three’floral Dawn to peek through.
Three’floral Dawn: ……?
Three’floral Dawn: ……!?!?!?
Three’floral Dawn: This is—?!
Special thanks to Steve Granger!!