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Breman closed the chest having gotten the reaction he wanted from Three’floral Dawn.
Three’floral Dawn: What…what was that thing?
Breman: A fang, Master Three’floral.
Three’floral Dawn: …what kind of beast could possibly possess such a terrifying fang?
Breman: Beast? You’re mistaken, that was an insect’s fang.
Three’floral Dawn: ……
Three’floral Dawn: Insect?
While he was able to mask his expression and retain a measure of composure, his pale face and trembling voice were dead giveaways for the shock he felt.
Breman: That’s right. Just storing this fang alone took up half of this container’s upper section.
Three’floral Dawn: That…
Three’floral Dawn: Then the inner section holds the rest of that insect’s body?
Breman: This container is only able to store one of its pincers or two of its limbs.
The rest of it’s body is still lying in the expedition’s research lab.
Three’floral Dawn: ……
Three’floral Dawn: Your expedition has certainly stirred up a commotion…
Breman: Haha, please excuse us for that. News regarding this will spread here through Number and Skill within the next few days.
Breman: By the way, are you interested in a round of drinks tonight?
Three’floral Dawn: About that…
The shock and fear was apparent within his eyes as the two vied evenly for dominance.
It was at this moment that the atmosphere in the hall underwent a sudden change. A hissing sound echoed in the hall as the air itself rippled like a disturbed surface of water.
A tear ran down the air revealing a pair of pale hands that spread outwards as if they were pushing apart a pair of tent flaps.
The owner of these hands was an equally pale lady who stepped through the crack as if she had just crossed into our dimension.
She wore a white priest gown that was only rivalled by her fair skin, white brows and white ruffled hair. Even the pupils in her eyes had a glint of white in them.
Her radiance temporarily blinded me as I struggled to keep my eyes open.
The hall fell silent as everyone focused their attention on the newcomer.
??: Dear visitors, welcome to the 16th reception hall of the middle ring.
??: This one is known as Conney, the clergyman in charge of “Contacts”
??: Please hold while I inspect everyone present for the requisite referrer and wealth; after which point I’ll lead everyone to today’s examiner.
Di Qi Ju: …
There was no follow-up questioning after that, instead, she merely glanced around the hall, her eyes stopping momentarily at each of the referrer’s faces before quickly nodding.
Conney: Very well then. This way please.
She stepped to the side and, with her hands, invited us to enter the dimensional tear.
This is…where we are entering from?
So Westrealm’s “omnipotence” is even able to realize such a high fantasy setting, looks like I have to update my views on his limits.
Three’floral Dawn: Breman, we’ll leave this discussion for later tonight.
Breman: …I’m honored that you’ve decided to accept my invitation.
The crowd lined up to enter the dimensional tear one by one, stepping into a new dimensional space as if they had passed through a hole in a wall.
While Breman and I were situated right at the back of the line, I still felt surprisingly nervous despite being some distance away from the tear.
Breman: Relax, it’s like stepping through a doorway.
As he said this, he disappeared into the dimensional tear and there was only me and the clergyman left.
Conney: Go on, Little Mad Dog.
Di Qi Ju: Mhm…
…hmm? Little Mad Dog?
Did I hear her wrongly…why did she address me in such a strange manner?
At the other end of the tear was an indoor hallway. The sides and the ceiling were entirely sealed up, giving off a sense of oppression.
It wasn’t a particularly long hallway, and it led to what looked like vast hall. Within it was the vague silhouette of a human waiting for us.
Conney: Will the applicant and his referrer enter the hall as a pair to meet the examiner. Everyone else, please wait patiently outside.
Three’floral Dawn: Lady clergyman, if I may?
Conney: Go ahead.
Three’floral Dawn: This little one has a question he wishes to clarify, who is the honored clergyman in charge of examining us today?
…little one? Weren’t you calling yourself old man just a while ago? What’s with the sudden change…no matter how you look at her, there’s no way she is older than 20.
Conney: Today’s examiner is Lady Hilda Karlyle.
Di Qi Ju: ……
Three’floral Dawn: Oh, that’s the same examiner you had when you performed your Sacred Rite, Breman.
Hilda Karlyle huh…we’ve met her before…not a really easy person to deal with…I just hope nothing goes wrong…
The examination proceeded at a rapid pace. Before we knew it, there was only four people left waiting in the hallway. Those who had entered weren’t seen again which probably meant that they left through a different exit.
Conney: Three’floral Dawn you may head on in with your referrer.
Three’floral Dawn: Ah ha, it’s this little one’s turn?
Three’floral Dawn: Breman, where will you receiving this old one tonight?
Breman: …how about Reitdarke’s famous “National Fragrances”? I’ll await your arrival at half past the day.
Three’floral Dawn: Alright, then I’ll make a move first with the finance minister.
Breman: Take care.
Di Qi Ju: ……
Di Qi Ju: So is he a little one or an old one…
Breman: About that…I guess it’s understandable for you to find it strange…
Di Qi Ju: Can you not beat about the bush…
Breman: Honored Clergyman Conney, may I trouble you to reveal your age?
Conney: Once we enter into autumn, I’ll be 618 years old.
Di Qi Ju: …
Di Qi Ju: ……
Di Qi Ju: This ant knows his mistake now…please forgive it…
Conney: It’s alright, I don’t mind it at all, Little Mad Dog.
Di Qi Ju: Ah haha…
Di Qi Ju: Ha?
There she goes with that name again. Exactly when did I get such a nickname…
Conney: Di Qi Ju and your referrer, please head on in.
Breman: Di Qi Ju, it’s our turn.
Di Qi Ju: …mhm.
As we stepped out of the hallway, we came into a vast rounded hall. Unlike the reception hall on the outside of the Divine Hall, it had the feel of a western cathedral.
As the sunlight streamed in through the ceiling, the golden rays washed over the clergyman, accentuating the sacred feel she radiated.
She took off her hood, revealing a familiar serene face and a head of faintly golden locks.
Perhaps it was just the lightning but she seemed even more assured of herself than usual as if this whole situation was under her control.
Hilda Karlyle: Welcome to the Divine Hall, participant of the Sacred Rite.
Hilda Karlyle: I’m the clergyman in charge of “bounties”, Hilda Karlyle.
Di Qi Ju: “Bounties”…
So it wasn’t “sin” that she represented. Looks like Mo Chuan’s theory was wrong.
Hilda Karlyle: —looks like my self-introductions were a little unnecessary; everyone’s an acquaintance here.
Breman: However, it seems like you’ve become the host while we instead, are the guests this time.
Hilda Karlyle: Come now, even though it’s an official examination, there’s no need to be so formal.
Hilda Karlyle: Whether or not one has the qualifications has nothing to do with their performance. Before a sacred rite participant had even stepped into the Divine Hall, their examination results were already set in stone.
Hilda Karlyle: Let’s have a look…there’s no issue with both of your minds. Wish abilities are kind of a blur to me but they can still be controlled.
Di Qi Ju: …
Breman: So do we pass?
Hilda Karlyle: I need to verify a certain matter before I can pass you guys.
Hilda Karlyle: Di Qi Ju, open your mouth.
Di Qi Ju: …hm?
Breman: Are you hiding something in your mouth?
Di Qi Ju: No, why would I…
Just as I was distracted by his question, Hilda Karlyle took the chance to close in on me and latch on my face firmly with her hands.
Hilda Karlyle: This is the continuation of last time.
Di Qi Ju: ——huh!!
My mouth was suddenly sealed by a pair of icy cold lips.
As her gaze swept over me, she locked onto my mouth, never leaving it for a second as if she was afraid she would miss something.
Within those icy cold lips devoid of any emotions, an equally cold tongue shot out from within and slithered around my mouth like a snake.
As it came into contact with my tongue, it suddenly stopped.
Di Qi Ju: ……!
I initially tried to evade her tongue but no matter how I moved my tongue, she was able to lock onto it.
Di Qi Ju: ……
The unpleasant shock created by the entangling of our tongues was a difficult one to handle but as time passed, I soon gave up the will to run away and merely allowed her to do as she wished.
She paused for a long while on my tongue before finally loosening her grip on my head and withdrawing her saliva coated tongue from my mouth.
Di Qi Ju: *pant* *pant*
Hilda Karlyle: ……
Her face maintained the same icy cold expression as when she had stuck her tongue in my mouth while staring right at me with eyes devoid of any emotion. It was a serious gaze that seemed prying and judgemental.
Hilda Karlyle: Di Qi Ju…
Hilda Karlyle: Where is Poppy?
Di Qi Ju: …—!?
A name which I never thought I would hear from her mouth had just been uttered.
Hilda Karlyle: The mark on your tongue was left by Poppy.
Hilda Karlyle: Tell me, where is Poppy?
Di Qi Ju: ……
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.