16-19. Heraruon Temple
Satou here. There's probably nothing as uncontrollable as pure love in any era. But you've also got make sure not to turn into a stalker even after getting your hands on convenient power and tools.
"Please wait in this room."
The unfriendly Heraruon Temple's priest went away, leaving us behind in a cold dreary prison-like reception room.
There are chairs in the room at least, but they're made of hard stone, so I don't want to sit on one.
Looking around with space magic [Distant View], all other rooms besides this one seems nicely proper.
I'm not misunderstanding here, looks the temple priest earlier really holds enmity toward us.
"Such a simple and sturdy room. I wonder if God Heraruon is a warrior?"
"There was a description stating that on the seats of pantheon, so I inform."
Since Liza and Nana don't seem to have any complaint with the treatment, I took several cushions out of storage bag and put them on the chairs.
Might as well use this chance to get a little revenge and peek on the temple priest earlier with space magic [Distant View] and [Sharp Hearing].
"Miko Surya-sama, the black haired boy who was in the oracle has appeared."
"Is it really him?"
"Yes, I have never seen anyone else with the title 『Challenger of Trials of Gods』."
There's a serene looking girl wearing miko-like clothing sitting in front of the priest.
Her skin is untanned white, unusual for a resident of Sania Kingdom, her eyes are kept gently shut. Perhaps, she's visually impaired.
I thought she had noticed me, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
"I will go and greet him before the ceremony. Please lead the way."
"Understood. However, that guy is an uncouth warrior. We cannot allow anything happens to Miko-sama. Please wait until the temple swordsmen arrived."
That's some verbal abuse.
"That would be unnecessary. He is someone who has come here to receive God's trial. He won't be someone foolish enough to harm a Miko and incur the wrath of God Heraruon."
"You must not, Miko-sama. Warriors are a race that act before they think. They are not people who are careful not to do regrettable acts, but people who regret after the fact."
This extreme prejudice, perhaps Priest-kun has a trauma related to warriors.
Though, right after thinking that, the figures of warriors in this country and the magician girl flashed in my mind.
Un, maybe it's not really prejudice.
Additionally, after checking the Map, I found out that the girl is the sole [Oracle Miko] in this country.
Considering that, it's only natural for Priest-kun to be watchful of her safety.
After waiting for a while, a young priestess showed up to lead us to another reception room where the Miko was waiting.
"Nice to meet you, 『Challenger of Trials of God』. My name is Surya, I am an 『Oracle Miko』 who serves under God Heraruon."
"I'm Satou Pendragon of Shiga Kingdom. I am honored to be given the chance to meet Miko Surya-dono."
The girl who spoke with a calm tone had this solemn feel like an elderly elf.
I could afford to look at her for hours if it wasn't for the sullen looking Priest-kun standing behind her.
After some harmless chatter, I get straight to the point.
"I would like to take on the trial from God Heraruon, what should I do in order to do that?"
"The temple is prepared for it."
It seems like they've completed the preparation since they knew that a challenger of the trial would come via an Oracle.
"If you miss out today as destined, you will have to wait for half a month, Satou-dono, which do you want to choose?"
"I'm truly sorry for being so sudden, I'd like to do it today."
The sullen looking priest-kun reacted to my words.
"Is there any problem?"
"The ceremony is Miko--"
The Miko interjected Priest-kun.
Priest-kun seems like he still has something to say, but he can't go against a Miko's will, thus he falls silent.
It seemed like I shouldn't butt in here, so I explain to them various things to obtain their approval to utilize the techniques I used during Tenion Temple Ceremony.
At first, Miko Surya and Priest-kun seemed reluctant, but the moment I told them that it would decrease body contact to a minimum--.
"That is wonderful! Surya-sama, let us make use of this idea!"
--Priest-kun immediately gave his consent.
Apparently, Priest-kun seems to be in love with Miko Surya.
Miko Surya looked drawn back by his enthusiasm but she gave her approval too.
The Miko left to prepare for the ceremony, and Priest-kun led me to another priestess who helped me change to ceremony clothing.
"Please wait a moment until Miko is ready."
We were told that, so I enjoyed some tea together with Liza and Nana.
A priest came by while we were waiting.
"Earl-sama, I hear that Shiga Kingdom is a very prosperous country. Some even say it's the wealthiest country on this continent."
Err? What's with the abrupt flattery?
So I thought, but then I got what was going on after seeing the AR indication.
He's the person in charge of this temple's fund raising.
"I have no idea as to whether our country is the wealthiest or not, but I do think it is prosperous. By the way Priest-dono, as a gratitude for all the trouble I put on Miko-dono, I would like to contribute to this temple, whom should I refer to for that?"
"Oh then, that will be me."
When I offered that, the fund raising priest burst out with smiles and took the offer.
I wasn't asking for a smile from a good looking guy in particular, but the moment was just right, I took my contribution from the storage bag and gave it to him. 100 gold coins should be enough. And also.
"And this small bag is?"
"That's something for Miko-dono herself personally."
"Personally is it?"
"Yes, Miko-dono of Tenion Temple who took the same ceremony got really exhausted afterward, thus that item is to help her with the exhaustion."
After I explained the extra bag to the puzzled looking fund raising priest, he looked like he got it, called an apprentice miko who seemed to serve the miko and gave her the small bag.
"Earl-sama, the preparation for the ceremony is complete."
I ask Liza and Nana to wait in the waiting room and head to the ceremony room.
I've expected this more or less, but the rate of exposure is also high with this ceremony.
It might be partly due to Miko Surya's visual impairment, but she's not trying to conceal her skin herself, I'm not sure where to look at.
Body contact isn't needed since I'll be using Telephaty and Mind Magic, but I forgot to tell that there was no need to expose her skin.
I can't exactly pause the ceremony now, I should make sure to speak of it next time.
<TLN: If you're reading this novel at any other site than Sousetsuka .com you might be reading an unedited, uncorrected version of the novel.>
I clear my mind and face the ceremony.
The ceremony procedure is the same as with the one at Tenion Temple.
I expressly chant mind magic [Mind Connection] and connect my mind with the Miko's.
I also use Telephaty skill to assist with the mind alignment.
『What a mysterious feeling.』
Miko Surya muttered in astonishment and then she began to plea for God.
『--O God. Great God whom we worship.』
Oh? The plea is a bit different than the one for God Tenion.
It seems Miko Surya's plea has been answered, a bright light falls from above.
Fiery light that looks like it'll cause sunburn. It feels stinging on my skin like being under the midsummer sun in a beach.
Miko Surya's expression loosened up from the ecstatic one before.
Looks like she's entered the trance state.
『You who have come to challenge the trial.』
A dignified sounding male voice echoed in my head.
This seems to be God Heraruon's voice.
『Display your individual might.』
Do I have to fight an opponent specified by the god?
『Soon, a calamity that will shake this very country will occurs.』
Another national crisis huh.... I've been thinking, isn't this world too much of a hard mode for the native people living here?
『Show that you can bring it to an end as my representative.』
A luxurious ornamental golden sword floats in my mind.
Is this sword a proof to show that I am God Heraruon's representative?
『Once people revere my name far and wide, I shall give thee the proof.』
As expected of a god's trial.
That's quite a problem.
『O God Heraruon, what is this calamity like?』
I tried asking, but God Heraruon cut off the connection without a sound just like that.
Looks like he doesn't like playing catch with words like God Tenion.
Or rather, it's like I was listening to a recording.
"Calamity that will shake the country?"
"Yes, perhaps you have an idea about it?"
After the ceremony, during a break, I asked about the calamity to Priest-kun whose attitudes had softened.
"I do have one, but..."
He seems uncertain somehow.
"Please tell me anything, I'm not well informed about this country."
He finally talked after I said that.
"Do you know that this country comes under attack of swarms of Sand Demonic Scorpions twice a year?"
"No, this is the first I've heard of it."
I investigated the Sand Demonic Scorpions on the Map while shaking my head.
There are level gaps between 5 and 30, and they come in groups of 15 and 20.
I dunno how many of them will come attacking, but they indeed possess quite a danger for the scale of this kingdom.
Though, the kingdom probably has a countermeasure against the swarms considering it happens twice a year anyway, I don't think that's the kind of opponent that necessitate me to [Display my individual might].
"Usually, priests dispatched by Heraruon Temple and the kingdom's 『Clan of Wand』 and 『Clan of Sword』 repel them, but..."
Priest-kun faltered to say it clearly.
Come to think of it, there was a coup d'etat or rather, an internal dissension, and the [Clan of Wand] was overthrown.
From the name, [Clan of Wand] is probably responsible for thinning out the Sand Demonic Scorpions from outside the range, but since that clan's battle force has been cut off due to the internal dissension, this might be dangerous.
Normally, you'd have thought that they removed [Clan of Wand] because they'd be fine even without them, but judging from the master swordsman and the muscle brain siblings last night, I'm afraid that there's a possibility of them taking the hegemony in delight without thinking of the consequences.
"Is there anything else?"
"If you don't mind folklores, there's a legend about 『Land King』 sleeping in the withered labyrinth protected by barrier of sandstorms."
According to Priest-kun, Land King was a servant of God's Nemesis that destroyed temples all over the world a long long time before the founding of Sania Kingdom, around 2000 years ago.
This one is a completely folklore level of story, but it seems more likely to be the trial from god.
That barrier of sandstorm is probably the stuff I saw before arriving at Sania Kingdom, going there directly is a simple matter, but I won't be able to clear God Heraruon's order of [Once people revere my name far and wide] if I go and defeat it there.
Since it seems like we have to wait here for the time being, I'll go stealthily tour Sania Kingdom with the girls standing by at Solitary Island Palace and gather some info.
However, before that--.
"One last question."
I asked Priest-kun before I left the temple.
"Do you know about Golden Sword?"
※ Next update is planned for 10/29