“Mama, is this the statue?” Mo Na flew up to the statue and started picking up apart the vines wrapping the statue with a tenacity that could have only been fueled by curiosity.
Seeing my little baby approach those vines like that immediately gave me the shock of my life. One had to know, those were the exact same vines who, until recently, had been attacking the queen ant –what if they were to harm my little sweetie?! But before I could say a word to stop Mo Na, she touched them. Thankfully, the worst didn’t happen as the vines were of the docile variant.
“Doesn’t seem all that special.” As she said that, she gathered mana into her palm, causing it to burst into flames and coalesce into a blade. With blade in hand, she quickly made short work of the vines and was finally able to touch the statue itself. Surprisingly, nothing happened. She had even given the statue a couple of light pats and yet it didn’t respond at all. “It’s just rock, Mama. Do you think that black kitty was lying to us?”
‘Sweetie, that little kitty you mentioned is probably even older than me…besides, she was right in saying that there was a statue here. Even though I still can’t really make out its facial features, it should be a Fallen Angel statue.’
There was no way Purgatory would have a complete depiction of any Angel other than a Fallen Angel. Thus, Meisian wasn’t lying to me and this had to be the statue she mentioned. More importantly, even though she hadn’t been here before, she knew that there was a statue here! Just based on that alone, I could tell that she wasn’t tricking me.
If I had to guess why it wasn’t reacting, it was probably because we hadn’t uncovered the right mechanism yet.
“Mo Na, get back here, don’t touch that statue.”
“Alright, Mama.” She obediently flew back to my side.
For some inexplicable reason, the statue just struck me as odd. After having my daughter return to safety by my side and having Big 4 and No.3 watch over the queen ant, I called out to Sinmosa, Sasani and Nola: “Be careful everyone. Sinomsa, Sasani, Nola, I’ll leave my daughter to you all. Best if Cinderel stays near her as well.”
“What’s up? Is there something wrong here?”
“I’m not sure, but it just feels like this statue is calling out to me…” That was the best explanation I could give for now. My gut just knew that it was calling out to me; from the very moment I laid eyes on it, I had the urge to touch it.
“Yes…there is something off about this place…perhaps…perhaps we should leave first.” For the mighty Nola to be so apprehensive was truly a little out of character for her. Normally, she would be the first one to charge into the fray, just like how it was when we first met her…
“If we back away now, all that we’ve done would have been for naught…” I shook my head and rejected her proposal. Placing my little baby onto Sinmosa’s back, I gently kissed her on the forehead and said: “Sweetie, remember to stick close to Aunty Sinmosa, don’t run about, okay?”
Unable to understand the meaning behind my words, she tilted her head to the side in confusion: “Mama, what are you up to?”
“I’m not sure as well, all this just feels off to me, that’s why I don’t want you to run about for now.”
As if I had just settled my dying will, I took a deep breath and then exhaled. Despite that, my heart refused to calm down in the least bit. I was worried. Extremely worried that something bad might happen the moment I touched that statue. But if I didn’t touch it…wouldn’t all that we had done thus far been pointless? All those brushes with death…weren’t they for this very moment?
The statue was definitely calling out to me. I could feel that from the very depths of my soul. It wanted me to go over and it wasn’t my place to reject it.
Slowly walking up to the statue, I breathed in deep and then reached out with my right arm, gingerly pressing onto the statue with my finger…
Suddenly, just as my finger made contact with the statue, a blackish-purple dome barrier blasted outwards and rapidly enveloped the surrounding area with that statue as its center. In the time it took for me to blink, my entire field of vision was covered in it.
Panicked, I nearly tripped on myself as I stumbled backwards. I turned my head to look at Mo Na and found that not just her, but the rest as well, had all been frozen there as if some curse had caused time to stop for them…no…to be precise, time had indeed stopped for everyone except me…only me…
‘What’s going on…exactly what has happened…why aren’t they moving? Why am I the only one awake…’ My legs started to soften and my body crumbled powerlessly to ground. I hurriedly tried to break my fall with my arm but I still ended up landing butt first anyway.
The ancient plants beneath me cushioned my fall somewhat with a crunch. Even in their frozen state, I could sense and smell them crumbling before my body weight. There I laid, a complete wreck, torn apart by anxiety and doubt. What was happening to Mo Na…what if she…what if…
In the midst of all that anxiety, regret and hatred for myself, I heard a confident boom from high above me: “Scared?”
“Who’s there?!” I raised my head and found nothing but that black statue.
“You can’t see me? Aren’t I standing right in front of you now?”
‘In front of me…but there’s only a statue in front of me…a statue…’
“You…you can talk?”
I couldn’t see what expression I had on now but without a doubt, it had to be a silly one.
“That’s right, it has been 80 000 years already. I’ve forgotten that I can talk too…”
“Err…may I know the name of the Almighty Divine I’m speaking to? Also…what about my companions…are they alright?”
“Almighty Divine? Hmmm, that’s a rather interesting name. As for your companions, worry not, they’re fine. I’ve just stopped their time for now. They’ll be fine, at least while I wish them to be so.”
‘In other words, you’re saying our lives are in your hands right now.’ To be honest, even if the statue didn’t say that, I knew it from the beginning. After all, everyone other than me wasn’t able to move at all. If the statue could stop time, it could definitely kill us easily.
“Alright, how about we get down to business then. I’ve been waiting here for you for 80 000 years already. Do you know how boring that is?”
“…you’ve been waiting here for 80 000 years? For me? Don’t tell me you’ve known of my arrival since that long ago?”
‘Holy potatoes, don’t tell me my whole transmigration is because of this statue here? But why did it summon me here 80 000 years ago? Or rather, why did I only end up here 80 000 years later?’
I was overwhelmed by the information bombarding me right now. Suddenly, it felt like I had unknowingly gotten myself embroiled in some devious plot… ‘Come to think of it, am I going to be pursued from now? In all those novels I’ve read so far, guys like me always end up getting pursued and getting progressively stronger after each encounter…assuming they didn’t die of course…crap, I really hope it’s the former…’
Just as I was preoccupied with all sorts of nonsense, the statue suddenly fished me up from that miasmic abyss: “Strictly speaking, I wasn’t waiting for you but rather I was waiting for someone who could awaken me.”
“…so that’s why…”
‘I just knew all that talk about plots and schemes didn’t suit me…what a relief.’ Purely out of curiosity, I blurted out the following: “So what are the conditions for awakening you?”
“Simple, that person would have to be my direct descendent or have some kind of direct connection to one of my descendents.”
“Your descendents are devils?”
“To be exact, the Fallen Angels.”
‘…why does it feel like I had just been thrown back into Plot & Schemes Central? Am I really doomed to be stuck with such a fate?”
“Let’s have a look see, exactly what kind of connection do you have to my descendents…hmm, a fiance? Hah, how amusing, to think you made it here by reincarnation. Oh, what’s this, there’s another soul in your body…a direct descendent of Asmodeus? Haha, I would have never thought that you had so many secrets hidden in that tiny body of yours.”
Like some sort of grisly dissection, my secrets were all slowly picked up and laid bare for all to see. Every word he spoke seemed to strip off one more layer of secrecy I had.