Second World - Chapter 861
With the divine ancestor blocking the way, it will take some time before this temple was breached. Jack unsummoned Arlcard and Therras before following Mihos and Paytowin into the temple.
The temple was empty, everyone was fighting outside. Mihos took them past several corridors before passing a vast courtyard and entering a large hall with a podium. An altar was on the podium with a background wall that had a carving similar to the giant statue of the God of Courage outside.
Callan was seen kneeling before the altar. He was no doubt praying.
Mihos came before him and knelt as well, and so did Paytowin. Jack ended up following their example because he felt weird being the only one who didn't kneel.
They stayed silent like this for some time, which made Jack feel uneasy. 'Do you people aware that there is a battle raging outside?'
He kept on glancing to Paytowin, Mihos, Callan, and back again to Paytowin. The three seemed utterly devout in their expressions.
To Jack's relief, Callan finally lifted his head and stood up. Callan let out a long sigh. "I still can't hear the voice of our God. Perhaps he truly had abandoned us… The time of turmoil is indeed at hand."
There was a deep sadness in his voice.
"Your Holiness, I have brought Paytowin as you requested," Mihos said as he rose.
"Good," Callan said and turned to them. Jack saw the divine priest had a tired expression. Jack didn't blame him. He even thought the priest was especially calm considering his house was burning.
"I'm sorry, your Holiness. The defensive mechanism failed to repel the invaders," Paytowin said with regret.
Callan sighed. "Although it is a pity, it is not your fault. You have carried out your duty when the Brave Statues were awoken. We just never expected that the enemy already has a contingency against them."
"Your Holiness. Now that my task is done, I ask for your permission to go back out there and rejoin the fight," Mihos said. His steely face showed his eagerness to resume the fight outside.
"Permission denied. Your part in this battle is over. You have a new role ahead of you," Callan said.
"But… Your Holiness, many of our comrades are still fighting outside. I need to lend them my aid!"
Callan waved his hand over the altar, and a large 3D projection appeared above them, showing the map of Daminos Square Garden. Many red dots spread around the map, with a number of blue dots. Everyone knew that the red dots represent the enemies.
"As hard as I am to admit it, we are losing," Callan said.
"Then we fight to the last! I won't stay back and cower!" Mihos declared.
"You are not wrong. As followers of the God of Courage, that is indeed what we should do. However, if we lost everything here, we won't be able to face our God in the afterlife. Someone needs to carry on His teachings. Someone needs to survive this disaster. You, young Mihos, are our brightest young generation. You and Paytowin will carry our hope and represent our future from now on."
"Me?" Paytowin said with a surprised expression.
Callan nodded. "You might be an outworlder, but you are a part of our Council of Virtus. You might be weak for now, but we saw great potential in you. You have an unyielding spirit and the courage to brave the uncertainties, that's why Myson invited you to our faction. Despite our apparent disregard, we actually have our eyes on you. You are hardworking, faithful, and devoted. You possessed all the virtues of our faction. Hence, after much consideration, I want you to be the one to safekeep the legacy of our faction."
"M–Me…? But… Shouldn't Mihos be the one…"
"He will carry our name in the open," Callan said and turned to Mihos. "After this place fall. Not all of us fall with it. We have many others who are out there. Including the elite team that is currently in Liguritudum. I want you to carry our banners and reassemble them. Once you do, I want you to rebuild our faction. Not necessarily at this place. Our new faction can be anywhere. The most important thing is that you guide the others to continue to uphold our values."
Mihos was silent. He didn't know how to respond. This was a big responsibility. He preferred to just go out there and fight with his brothers and sisters. Even if he fell, he fell honorably. This task that the divine priest asked of him, it carried great weight. He was afraid that he was unable to meet the divine priest's expectations and let him down.
Callan seemed to understand Mihos' struggle. He placed a comforting hand on the champion's shoulder and said soothingly, "Do not worry about what you can or can't do. As long as you have courage in your heart, nothing is impossible."
"I… I won't let you down!" Mihos uttered. His expression showed conviction.
Callan nodded. He patted Mihos encouragingly on the shoulder. He then turned to Paytowin. "As for you," he said. "I was serious about you being someone of worth, but I will honestly tell you the reason I pick you to safekeep our legacy is because you are an outworlder."
Paytowin gave Callan a questioning expression.
Callan smiled and took out a golden orb. Both Jack and Paytowin remembered the golden orb to be the one Callan used to take out the reward items for the winners during Outworlder World Tournament.
"Inside this orb was the collection of items the Council of Virtus had gathered throughout its existence. The one thing that can be called our faction's legacy aside from our teachings, is this orb. I want you to safekeep this orb. You, outworlders, have the magical storage that kept your belongings safe from the risk of being taken. Mihos will venture out to carry out his duty. In his journey, he will meet many dangers. Letting him carry this orb will just invite unnecessary danger. I hope you can help him keep this legacy orb safe, at least until he is strong enough to receive the burden of safeguarding our legacy."
Jack's ears perked up hearing it. Did Callan just offer a trove of treasure to a player? That was either blind trust or inconceivable optimism.
Paytowin, on the other hand, was having a solemn face. He was like Mihos. He saw Callan's request as one heavy burden. Jack saw his friend's seriousness and understood that Paytowin had already considered this place as his home. Paytowin never coveted the treasures inside the golden orb.
While Paytowin was contemplating, the temple shook. The battle outside must have become fiercer. Most likely Odvah's light dome that was protecting this temple must have become weaker for the temple to undergo such shaking.
The shaking reminded Paytowin of the precariousness of the situation. He didn't have the luxury of being hesitant.
"Your Holiness, it is an honor that you regard me so high. I know my power is limited, but I swear to you. As long as there is still breath in me, I will keep our faction's legacy safe!"
Jack looked at Paytowin, wondering if Paytowin picked that line from some movies?
"It eases my heart for hearing that," Callan said.
The golden orb floated from his hand and slowly glided over to where Paytowin was. Paytowin bowed respectfully when he received the golden orb. When the golden orb touched his hand, an interface appeared. The orb was called Legacy of courage. The interface asked if he wanted to accept the legacy and establish a link. He accepted.
The golden orb glowed and tendrils of light came out and wrapped around Paytowin's body. The process was short. The tendrils soon evaporated and the glow died down. The orb sat on Paytowin's hand like a normal item. Paytowin stored the golden orb in his inventory.
Callan nodded after seeing Paytowin finish the process. "There is one other thing I need from the two of you," he said to both Paytowin and Mihos.
"We heed your words," the two answered.
"You two are the ones I entrust my hopes on. Hence, you two have to work together. Paytowin will need protection, while Mihos, you need to grow faster. With our faction in tatters, you need strength more than ever. Only by gaining the outworlder's ability of fast-leveling can you fulfill your duty."
Mihos looked at Paytowin, who was looking back.
Although Mihos respected Paytowin as a fellow faction member, he never thought of Paytowin as strong. Hence, he was hesitant. What he truly respected was strength. If only it was Jack instead of Paytowin, then it would have been easier for him to accept. Still, Callan had spoken, and this might be his last request. Mihos wasn't going to let the person down.
"Paytowin, do you accept me as your companion?" Mihos uttered.
"I do," Paytowin replied.
Mihos took out his companion token and the two went along with the process. Soon, the binding was completed. The companion token glowed in Paytowin's hand. He stored it in his inventory.
"With you two carrying my wish and hope, I will be able to face my fate with relief," Callan said. He then went to the altar and touched it. A rune diagram appeared. Callan worked on it. Not long after, a yellow portal appeared next to the altar.
"Go. This portal will take you all away from here. Promise me that you two will not go looking for revenge until you are strong enough."