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CHAPTER 248

UNCEASING LIGHT

A rectangular, compact room was tiled and walled entirely in white, pure without a single blemish to be seen. Light blast off its every inch, covering the whole space in blinding radiance, one where whoever dared open their eyes should also dare to live without them from then onward. Within the swirl of light, faint edges of a body could be seen, tingling in and out.

At the center of the room, sitting cross-legged, was a young-looking woman, stark naked. Her hair was purely golden, as long as half her body, freely let go like a waterfall down her back. Her cheeks were rosy, lips full and blithe, eyes currently closed. Above, running straight across her forehead, was a convoluted set of patterns tattooed into her skin, golden in make.

She was fairly tall, slender in build with faint outlines of muscles across her body. Her breasts were full and plump, waist narrow with wide hips beneath. A pair of legs stretched long, also covered with a swirling set of golden patterns radiating pure, golden light. Above her rested a wide, circular halo, and beneath it she appeared starkly holy, untouchable, ineffable in make -- entirely ethereal, as though not belonging to the world.

Her eyes suddenly jolted open, revealing behind a golden pair, with irises in a shape of a cross, rotating slowly within her pupils. A radiant shine burst out, dominating over all other light currently present in the room for a moment. With a still indifferent expression, she let go of the breath she was holding and slowly got up, turning toward the room’s exit.

She walked with even and brisk steps, each additional one seemingly summoning additional pair of clothing; from her underwear all the way to her incandescent armor layered marvelously with carved out runic patterns connecting each piece. In addition, behind her back, a set of stacked crescent blades rested, at their center a spherical ball of warm, golden light, seemingly reminiscent of the sun repeatedly rotating.

As she left the room, she had found herself sitting among the clouds, overlooking the western descent of the sun as it began to fall beneath the mountains in the horizon. She took a brief, full breath before looking down and leaping off the edge of the platform atop of which her single-roomed house rested.

Piercing through the clouds, she fell on freely for nearly thirty minutes before at last hitting the solid ground. She had landed on a flat, mountain-top, chiseled away clearly by a hand. Almost immediately upon her landing, hundreds upon hundreds of people who were standing knelt down and plastered their heads to the paved earth beneath.

She looked around for a moment until spotting a familiar face, a faint smile creeping up on her lips, moving forward.

“Seya, follow me.” her voice was barely audible, yet it seemingly stirred all those currently kneeling, as they seemed to have shoved their heads even further into the ground.

“Y-yes!” a young, jovial-looking girl shot up to her feet. She seemed no older than fourteen, and had a boyishly-cut, black hair and a pair of honest-looking purple eyes. She wore somewhat tattered clothes, with seemingly the only thing of value on her being the necklace strapped around her neck. It was eerily reminiscent of the bejeweled object behind the woman’s back.

“We are going on a trip.” the woman glanced back at the girl who followed closely by, smiling freely.

“Really?!” the young girl exclaimed, her lips parting into an honest, innocent smile.

“Yes, really.” the woman nodded faintly.

“Yaaay!” Seya exclaimed freely, running up and grabbing the woman’s hand, holding it tightly. “The Mother spoke to you?” she asked.

“She did indeed.” the woman nodded, clasping at the small, bone-fragile hand in her own tightly yet gently. “I have to report to the Elders first, though, but then we’re off.”

“He he he, I can’t wait! Where are we going? Somewhere far away?”

“Ah, yes, it’s quite far away actually,” the woman chuckled. “I hear it’s a nice place this time of the year.” all the while the two walked and talked, all those they’ve surpassed on their way down the steep mountainous road bowed and remained so until the two were well out of their sights. “But, you have to promise me you won’t run off like the last time!”

“Eeeeh-- but I met Stinky like that!” Seya pouted for a moment.

“... ah, that poor boy will never live that name down, will he?” the woman laughed bitterly for a moment as a face of a young boy covered in mud popped inside her head for a moment. “Where is he anyway? I can take him too if you want.”

“Ah, I hear Master Anvel had taken him on an expedition.” Seya said after a short thought.

“Hm? Ah, yes. He did have fine affinity with fire. Making him an Apothecary can’t hurt. Wait for me here. I’ll be back soon.” the two parted shortly after reaching the mountain’s bottom whereupon the woman suddenly disappeared.

A majestic hall spread far and wide, adorned with gold-shining chandeliers, hand-carved pillars, variety of mosaics spread over its walls and domed ceiling as well as a variety of beautiful, hand-woven rugs. Hundreds of stone tables and chairs were seemingly randomly spread about, all orbiting the hall’s far end where a golden set of the two lay stoned to the elevated platform.

Above, hanging from the wall, nearly a hundred meters tall, was a painted piece of cloth depicting golden sun, with crimsoned surface beneath. The woman glanced at the massive banner for a moment before shifting her eyes over onto the elevated platform where six present, yet not-quite-corporeal, people sat in chairs. Their faces, features, and even their ages or genders were entirely indiscernible, but the woman approached calmly and went up the stairs leading to the platform, sitting onto one of the free chairs.

“I am sure the Mother has already told you,” the woman said with queer indifference, her demeanour a complete contrast of what it was like while she was with the young girl. “But I will be absent for the following few months.”

“She indeed has,” as it was always the case, she had no way of determining who spoke out, as seemingly all of them did in a unified choir at the same time. “But, Eos, these are really turbulent times. Remember not to stay out too long.”

“It should not take too long,” the woman, named Eos, replied calmly. “Mother has merely asked me to check up on Hannah. She has been running incognito for a few years now.”

“..... humph, that little brat again.” the voices said. “She has been nothing if not trouble, entirely undeserving of the honors.” though Eos said nothing, her eyes flashed strangely for a moment, yet quickly returned to their prior indifference.

“She is the youngest, after all.” Eos said calmly. “She only needs some time to adapt. If you recall, I was not much different.”

“... very well,” the voices spoke out after a short silence. “Try to locate her quickly and return. Although we do not know why, there is currently a ceasefire order between the Eternals and the Aeonians. Our spies tell us that the Sword Maiden visited that old rabbit Alex, but even if she did convince him to end the war temporarily, we do not know what for.”

“Hm? Elanor has returned?” Eos’ eyes flickered with interest. “Isn’t that more interesting than her reasons for stopping the war? It is most-likely the simplest explanation; had the war went onward for much longer, her Clan would have been forced to assist the Eternals. And, no disrespect to them, but if Qe’ll’s engaged in a war right now, their removal from the Holy Grounds would be all but guaranteed.”

“... possibly,” the voice said. “Though we cannot know for certain. Hers surfacing back, though, is indeed very interesting. While you search for Hannah, try and see into the Maiden as well.”

“... is it true that Erebus had mastered the 20th Law?” Eos asked before leaving.

“... it is,” the voice replied, a faint hint of anger within them. “We do not know how he managed it... but he has, nonetheless.”

“... who thought that the Crypt would have underwent such an evolution within a single generation? From nearly going extinct... to becoming second only to the Sons... haah... life is really full of mysteries, all around.”

“Do not get dispirited, Eos,” the voices said. “Mastering a few more Laws matters little in the grand scheme of things. And, regardless of how talented the boy may be, he will have no choice but the wait for the rest of you to join him on that pedestal.”

“... yeah.” Eos said, getting up. “If you could inform the Master I’ll require more [Sun Drops] when I return, I would be thankful.”

“We shall.”

“Farewell, Elders.”

Eos walked off the platform with a calm visage, yet her mind was in quite a turmoil. For someone chosen by the Light itself, she had never felt more enshrouded in dark as she did at the moment; first it was the appearance of the two new Eternals as bearers that to this day no one could explain, then the appearance of the Empyrean, then it was the Devil’s invasion, then it was the Dark Child uprooting the whole continent in search of the Empyrean, the escalation of the war, surfacing of the now mythologized Sword Maiden... the world was spinning on and on, yet she seemed to have stopped spinning with it, still living in the ages gone by where she could see the whole of the story clearly.

She had also decided she would not only search for Hannah and information about the Sword Maiden, but also try to look for the undercurrents of the rapidly progressing story she is currently unable to make heads or tails of... even if she clearly is not supposed to, for some reason.

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About the author

beddedOtaku

Bio: Bad writer, worse painter, terrible singer. Accumulation of all things gone wrong. Rather proud of it, actually.

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