The Record of Unusual Creatures
800 Holy Blade
Hao Ren was the only one who knew about the secret connection between Vivian and the goddess of creation. The others were just puzzled by the indigenous man's reaction. Perhaps, the man was mistaken or something. Or maybe, someone whom he highly respected in this world looked like Vivian. It was the most natural explanation for them, but to Hao Ren, it was not as simple as that. So, he decided to stay away from the topic. "Could you please play along, Vivian?" he asked.
Vivian was dumbfounded. "Play along what?"
"Pretend that you're what he thinks," Hao Ren whispered into her ear. Then he came up to the man. "Get to your feet. I have questions for you."
Vivian followed Hao Ren but still could not wrap her brain around it. Only after a long while, she began to mumble to herself, "I am the almighty, I am over ten thousand years old..."
The 'tribal warrior' was like a lost ball in high weeds; he looked at Vivian, and then Hessiana, and repeated that. At the same time, he kept his eye on the short knife in his hand. The short knife glowed brighter when Vivian and Hessiana came closer. Hao Ren pointed at the sharp blade. "What is that?" he asked.
The tribal warrior did not answer. He just bowed his head at Vivian, and his face looked fearful and reverend. "Goddess, what is your purpose of coming?"
Vivian froze for a long while. She did not know how to respond. Hao Ren nudged her arm and said, "Say something. He is asking you."
"Err... err…" Vivian had tied herself up in knots as she tried to fudge. "I... I just come down here to take a look. I was merely passing by."
Her baffling reply did not bother the tribal warrior. He was still behaving reverently. "This world will prosper as you wish, and the spirit of all beings will welcome you with joy."
Sensing that the man was ignoring him, Hao Ren hemmed and said, "Why not you introduce yourself?"
Only then, the tribal warrior looked at Hao Ren puzzledly. As if the tribal warrior suddenly came to his senses, he said, "I am the great warrior of the Hanuk Tribe of West Wind, Gezer."
"The Hanuk Tribe of West Wind?" Hao Ren's brows pulled together. "Are there more people like you?"
Gezer did not seem to understand Hao Ren's question and appeared a little hesitant. "Every tribe has less than ten great warriors. The Goddess has gifted us a limited number of holy blades. Not everyone is qualified."
What Hao Ren meant was a question of the population, but Gezer had misunderstood it for something else. When the tribal warrior mentioned about the holy blade, Hao Ren could not help but look at the short knife. "You mean this? Can I see it?"
Gezer looked a little wary. He was still suspicious of the strangers that came with the Goddess. Noticing his hesitation, Vivian finally knew what she should say. "Let him take a look. We need to examine whether the holy blade is all right. After all, it's been a long time."
The short knife glowed even brighter when Vivian was talking. The glow seemed to be some signal; Gezer relented and handed the weapon to Hao Ren respectfully.
Hao Ren took over the short knife and examined it curiously. It was one foot long, had a non-gold, non-woody odd grip and the blade was curvy like a dancing flame and had complicated reliefs that looked like hieroglyphics and simple patterns. The translation plug-in had interpreted the trends; they were words of prayer that praised the wind and the water.
It was an exquisitely made short knife; the texture of the reliefs was almost like a high-precision, industrial product. The rough leather coat and hand-made bow that Gezer carried were a stark contrast. It was hard to imagine this tribe could have made such a precision weapon.
Perhaps it was as he said; the holy blade was not a human-made item but a gift from the Goddess.
"You have an impression of this?" Hao Ren turned away from Gezer and showed the short knife to Vivian.
Vivian was a little confused. "No, I don't remember I have had this kind of thing. What's more, I was so poor at that time that even if I had such an expensive knife, I would have sold it for food. This kind of fine weapon worth a lot of money even hundreds of years ago."
Hao Ren ran his hand across the reliefs on the short knife that was still glowing in red. "But it's responding to your presence."
Vivian placed her hand on the short knife, and it glowed at maximum brightness. A strong vibe, a kind of vitality was felt on the sharp blade as the metal pealed as if it was in joy. It wondered Lily. "Did you say that it's not yours?" she asked.
"The energy felt similar to mine, but the knife is not mine." Vivian looked at Hao Ren. "You do know something, don't you?"
"I'll tell you later," Hao Ren said as he turned around again and handed the knife back to Gezer. "It's in good condition. Now, can you take us to your tribe?"
It was a common sense that no sane person would travel in the grassland alone, and Gezer looked like someone of importance to his tribe, the Hanuk Tribe of West Wind should be nearby. Perhaps it was in a particular location where the probes had not managed to reach.
Gezer agreed. But he looked at the ruins around him hesitantly. "I still haven't completed my mission here…"
"Oh, in that case," Hao Ren nodded. He had also noticed Gezer's hesitation. He nudged Vivian who then nodded. "She has agreed." Hao Ren said.
Gezer was relieved. He first went to retrieve his quiver and arrows that he had dropped, and then went up to the stone platform as they watched curiously. Reaching into his cloth bag, he took some spices out and burned it on the stone platform, as if it were sacred. The smoke from the burning spices drifted to the nearby slates while Gezer observed, his face serious.
Also, at the same time, he seemed to be a little self-conscious and embarrassed.
His embarrassment stemmed from the stare of Vivian.
Hao Ren believed that Gezer was performing some religious ritual. He might have come to this ruin alone tasked with an assignment, such as praying to the Goddess. And, Vivian, whom Gezer deemed a Goddess, was watching nearby and that made him nervous. After all, not every goddess was like Raven 12345, and not every pope was like Hao Ren who would get into a shouting match with the goddess.
The ritual took not very long. When Gezer finally got to his feet, Hao Ren walked up to him and said, "Let's go. And tell me about your tribe."
He then issued an instruction to the MDT in his mind. "Bring all probes down from the clouds and the surface, and focus on scanning this underground world. This space is a lot more interesting than we could imagine."
Gezer did not even ask who Hao Ren and his entourage were. It seemed that as long as his Goddess trusted them, he would also believe them. Gezer had mentioned some things about this world, but Hao Ren was not sure if Gezer knew about the crust and the First Born, his scope of questions became limited. Anyway, he now knew about the tribe from where Gezer came.
Vast grassland and sparse forests covered the underground world. In Gezer's understanding, it was a world where the sky was round, the earth was square, the magnificent mountain called the Pillar of Eternity—aka the Heaven's Pillar—supported the world, the Goddess gave everything between heaven and the earth, and no one should question the Goddess. Gezer's tribe lived on the grasslands, migrating as seasons changed the rivers and the lakes. They were semi-nomadic people. The underground weather had a pattern, but these people also followed a particular faith.
Other than the Hanuk Tribe of West Wind, there were also tribes living in the forests, mountains, and swamps. But these people barely contacted each other.
A couple of questions later, Hao Ren started to have a rough idea. These tribes had a small population, which always stayed at a bare minimum level. But it was not just the population; the tribes lived a primitive life. They did not have cities and infrastructure, even though they could have built that, and preferred the simple way of life.
At last, their conversation turned to the holy blade of Gezer.
Gezer believed that the holy blade was the object that the Goddess gave to mortals in ancient times. It had an invisible connection with the power of the Goddess.
"Only the chosen warriors are qualified to wield the holy blade," Gezer said as he placed his hand on the knife and held his head up high in front of Vivian. "Those underserved shouldn't touch the holy blade; their blood will boil and die if they do. When the power of the Goddess comes near the holy blade or when the holy blades are adjacent to each other, the power will increase. But I've never seen such intense glow on the holy blade like today. In the records of the tribe, the Goddess has been absent in the world for many years."
When Hao Ren heard the 'blood boiling' theory, he could not help exchanging a look with Vivian; they did not doubt its nature.
The nature of the 'discriminate power' of the holy blade also explained how Gezer had identified Vivian. It was not by guessing, but by sensing the power in Vivian.
It seemed that things were getting more and more interesting.