~ Chapter 96: The Nundaba Ritual (Part 3) ~
“Let us begin, this part is: Myo Sho Fu Mon. It means 'the profound law'. And this is Myoho renge kyo, the wonderful law of the lotus sutra.” he explained.
“Hm? This part... is... Sho Buh Chi E. Jin Jin Mu Ryo. Go Chi E Mon. Nange Nan Nyu?” I asked.
“Yes, but you pronounced Bu' as Buh, that's incorrect. Here, when you see this sign, you pronounce it like this...” he explained.
One and a half hour later, I managed to understand most of the weird symbols and their pronunciation. The priest tried to explain their meaning as well, but I found the idea of stagnant enlightenment or conditioned enlightenment as somewhat illogical. I didn't tell him this, though, for I didn't wish to cause any trouble.
“Only by reading this every day and every night can a disciple one day learn to surpass his own limits and conquer the lives which his soul brings into this world. The mental state one achieves at this point is called an Enlightened One.” he explained in his zealous way.
“Are there any Enlightened Ones on this continent?” I asked curiously.
“Yes.” he nodded with a smile. “They are powerful warriors who follow the teachings of the Gods and honor the word of our Emperor.” he bowed his head.
So... a Breakthrough-er? It is indeed a fact that they see the world with different eyes, but I wouldn't go so far as to say they have reached some sort of spiritual zenith. At least, I don't think any of them have... I thought as I looked back at the book.
“Maybe this is just a simple guide? A story which could help you learn and understand the world better rather than give you a word by word law which you need to obey.” I wondered out loud.
“Hm... those are wise words, Lady Seryanna, but I fear that they are deceitful. The words of religion must be obeyed not doubted!” he declared with a happy smile.
Obeyed? That was the only word thought that popped in my mind when I heard him.
The obsession towards following a certain doctrine was present both in religion but also in state politics. As for those who belonged to the army, it was part of their lives. We all had to obey the Queen and the King.
I left this thought be and focused instead on the days of prayer that were to come.
When the toga arrived, I was surprised by how thin the material was. It was similar to spider silk, but it lacked its resistance, and I felt no Magic Energy coming from it. Even so, I highly doubted it was something a commoner could buy. From what I saw while walking all the way here from the Palace, the most common fabric was linen, followed by animal skins. There were no places where they could harvest cotton or forest where they could raise spiders.
Import was out of the question as well, so maybe they had some other ways to produce this silk?
Putting on the toga was a bit difficult for me, so I asked one of the priestesses at the temple to help me out. My wings and tail were in the way and made it rather difficult for her, but in the end she managed somehow to wrap it around me. My back was bare, and the allure I gave off while wearing it made me wonder how much I would have excited Alkelios with it. If I struck a more seductive pose and maybe gave him a wink, then he would have picked me up in his arms and took me to our bedroom.
“Starting now, you will stay here for the following three days. If at any time you wish to give up, just pour your Magic Energy into this enchanted polished rock. It will let us know, and we will come to pick you up.” she said as she handed me the stone.
I looked at it curiously and wondered if it acted like a beacon for them.
“Thank you, but there won't be any use for it.” I told her and wanted to give it back, but she stopped me.
“It's part of the Nundaba Ritual, milady.” she said quickly and lifted her palms up.
“Is that so?”
“Yes. Now, once I close the door behind me, the ritual will begin. I wish you luck, Sir Seryanna.” the priestesses made a polite bow and then walked out of the room.
Before she closed the door, she pulled back the bridge, cutting access to the other side.
I didn't see an hourglass when I came inside, so I assumed that they must have one outside. In here, the high temperatures could have damaged it.
Without anything else left for me to do, I sat down on the ground and began to chant the weird prayer I was given.
Just as the High Priest said, the temperature went up during the first hour and continued to rise for the next four hours until it stabilized. It was so hot now that water evaporated when it was poured on the ground and started to boil within moments if left in a bucket. For me, it was just a bit warm.
I was a Superior Draconian of the High Flame with a Power Number over 850. There was no way I would allow myself to succumb to temperatures just a little above boiling water. It was ridiculous!
After another three hours had passed, the temperature went up again, and by the end of the second day, I was already starting to sweat. I was sitting in the middle of an oven.
Just a bit more... just one more day... I thought as I focused on the prayer.
The temperature wasn't that unbearable, but there was something in this place that combined with the prayer drained me of my energy. It weakened me and made me feel as though I was in some sort of trance. Maybe exhaustion was taking its toll on me?
It was at this time when I heard the door to this Room of Prayer open up.
[Mush'Nomv'Azer's point of view]
[Right after Princess Elleyzabelle's group left the Audience Room]
These strangers were truly impressive. They didn't flinch when they stood in front of me nor wavered when they felt the oppressive killing intent of my guards. Maybe it was so weak for them that they didn't even bother to notice it?
The Princess was also something else. The way she carried herself and looked into my eyes was akin to a Queen who ruled over countless kingdoms and across vast seas. I felt the sort of strength within her which I had always dreamed of seeing within a true ruler. Sadly, it appeared as though I did not possess such a strength myself.
“Your Majesty, are you sure about this Nundaba Ritual?” one of the nobles asked me.
It was a young tribe leader from the far South.
“Certain? Why shouldn't I? These strangers, although they came not long after our time of great turmoil, they bring about good omen!” I nodded and rubbed my beard.
If I could open a new trading route with the Dragon Continent, maybe I could do the same with the Relliar Continent. Our economy would grow and the dwarfs would stop being known as recluses. If I then managed to bring back the outcasts, I could enrich the knowledge of the dwarfs with information gathered from outside.
The old rulers feared contact with the other species, but I embraced it. As my wife often said “An isolated state had no hope for growth for it rejected any change that may come, be it from within or outside.”
While I pondered about this, I noticed that my old friend, Andu'Yang'Ores, the most prominent blacksmith in our country was muttering something under his beard.
“Ores, my friend. What troubles you?” I asked him.
“Your Majesty, their armors and weapons, have ya notice'em?” he asked.
“Hm? What about them? They were fancy and well built, indeed. Probably an old heirloom?” I wondered.
“I doubt it. Even as isolated as Trindania used to be, I would still have heard of'em, your Majesty. The weapons appeared to be made of multiple moving parts just like the armors, but by the Spirits, I have no idea how they were bound together or how they work. As for Magic Enchantments, let us just say we were lucky they didn't decide to test'em on us.” he shook his head.
“Lucky? What do you mean?” I furrowed my brow.
Whenever Andu'Yang'Ores was really serious about something, especially when it came to blacksmithing, his accent tended to slip.
“Your Majesty, no offense, but they make our Godlike items look like nothing more than simple toys when compared to'em. Whoever made'em had a terrifying blacksmithing skill!” he declared.
“Is that so? Hm...” I said as looked towards the door and rubbed my beard.
This news was troubling on one side and interesting on the other. If the dragons possessed such marvels of craftsmanship, then it was far better for the dwarfs to ally with them than end up fighting against them.
The Nundaba Ritual had one more part about it which was never told to those who participated in it. Basically, after the first and second day had passed, the Emperor could step within the Room of Prayer and ask the one inside a few questions, but not something that would pull them out of their trance. It was forbidden to do so.
Although I wasn't allowed to stay in more than a couple of minutes, within that time, I had to determine whether they were friends or foes. If they were the latter, after coming out exhausted from that place, we could easily finish them off.
The first to interrogate was Sir Seryanna.
On the morning of the third day, I put on an armor enchanted with spells that would help me survive the high temperatures inside.
“Your Majesty, for what it's worth, I don't believe they are evil or ill intended toward our nation.” said High Priest Klen'Ashin'Tark.
“If they have your backing as well, then there's nothing to worry about! Kuhahaha!” I laughed and then stepped in front of the sturdy stone door.
One of the priests cast a spell on it, and the door slowly started to open.
I stepped inside and jumped over the molten river. The temperatures here were so high it made my beard sweat. The enchants were barely hanging on.
Oi! Oi! Isn't this a bit too much? I thought as I saw the boiling lava in the moat.
“Your Majesty?” the dragoness asked with a weak voice.
“Yes. That's me. Part of the Nundaba Ritual is a small chat with me. It needed to be kept a secret, but there's nothing to worry about.” I said with a smile as I approached her.
“I see...” she replied.
Despite the incredibly high temperatures here, she was still hanging in there. The sweat on her body soaked the toga completely and made it highly transparent. Her red scales were visible through the thin fabric and made it hard for me not to lay eyes on her. The way she looked at me with those flush cheeked and tired gaze only added to her charm. It was like having a seductress trying to tempt me, or rather a snake.
“I will be quick, so as to not disturb you. I wish to ask what you think about the dwarf empire.” I told her.
“The dwarf empire... Trindania... It's far away, strange... yet beautiful. It's weak and simple, but... the people don't seem to be against your rule. They accepted you. They are happy... I like that.” she replied with absolute brute honesty.
I wasn't expecting such an answer... I thought.
Normally, a foreigner would have tried to flatter me in any way they could, to raise their own value in my eyes. This dragoness, however, didn't seem to care about that, she expressed her honest and to the point opinion.
I already had a good impression of her.
“Then, can you tell me if there are any Human Heroes on your continent?” I asked since I had heard from my wife that the God-like being told them that the Dragon Continent was very scary and dangerous for them.
“Yes... my husband and another... They fought against each other, terrible battle... My husband won, but I killed the other Human Hero.” she said as she struggled to breathe because of the heat.
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
This is the first chapter after my break! 😀
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