A particular trio of deities had once again gathered to view the events in the mortal world, and especially the actions of a particular mortal they had all blessed. They all watched her register and then get in line to be tested by the stone that checked their ability to use holy power as well as what the deities considered the rank appropriate for their servants.
“Oh right they have that thing. I completely forgot.” Lumen said genuinely surprised.
“Yeah didn’t occur to me either.” Umbra shrugged. “What happens when the stone tests someone with multiple blessings by the way?” The question had most likely been answered before, but the two goddesses had not bothered to find out before this.
The old man grumbled a little under his breath. Something about ignorant brats. “The stone shows the highest rank given by any of the gods that has blessed that particular person. By default at least. The stone can be set to also show the lowest, but that takes quite a bit of tinkering, and I doubt a random stone used during a mass recruitment event has that function.”
“Have any of us actually assigned her a rank?” Lumen asked. It would only take a momentary thought on their part to do so, but she was curious if the other two had bothered. It wasn’t really something she herself had considered.
“I just ranked her according to what she can do with the power we have given, although she hasn’t figured most of it out yet.” Umbra shrugged.
“Wait, just my blessing alone would rank her above the immortal rank of ten. That sounds like a really bad idea to rank her according to skills and abilities she doesn’t yet know how to utilize.” Lumen protested.
“True, but her future potential should influence her rank, no? That’s a fairly important factor, even if her current skills aren’t there yet.” Umbra argued. Interestingly, none of the three actually had that much experience with ranking people as they rarely doled out blessings.
“Her current skills aren’t even close. But you’re right; the future potential should have some influence.” Lumen agreed, chewing her lower lip in thought. Or at least that’s what it looked like, though with a being of pure light it was hard to say for sure.
The old man finally interrupted. “I know you want to prop up your little project and all, but it would be pretty bad if you gave her the rank of immortal when she can’t stand up to that evaluation. It would draw too much attention of the wrong kind of attention. Not that it’s very likely she can avoid attention seeing as she is also trying to get the attention of that Alpyran man. Not to mention the difference in strength with the other applicants, although she hasn’t quite realized it yet. That said, there’s the normal kind of attention and there’s attention from the immortals. She isn’t ready for the second kind.”
Umbra sighed. “Alright, let’s bring the ranking down a bit. Lumen you should probably do the honors, seeing as she’s using you as cover for us anyway.”
Lumen did a poor job of hiding her gloating at that fact. “She is, isn’t she? Such as shame that you’re such an embarrassment.”
The old man simply sighed once again, grumbling to himself. Something about annoying brats spending more and more time in his domain.
Dee was nearing the font of the line for the holy power test. She was honestly kind of curious what would happen during the test, while she was also considering possible ways to avoid the test completely. She also found it incredibly ironic that the supposedly holy people had named their rankings after precious materials. As with all the other ways of ranking one’s strength, the first nine rankings had their own names and meanings, while the tenth rank was simply called immortal. The ranks above that were special.
Mazatl had taught Dee the rankings during their lessons. In the case of priests, paladins and templar the rankings were rather simple. The rarer and more precious the material, the higher the ranking. The rankings went: copper, bronze, iron, silver, gold, platinum, white gold, mithril, moonstone and finally immortal as the tenth rank. She considered herself somewhere around the gold and platinum range, according to her ability to use holy power.
So far only two people had gotten a ranking from the stone. The others simply got the glow that signified one’s ability to use holy power. The first had been a girl dressed in weird golden colored metal armor covering a white tunic, who also had a striking red hair. She had gotten the iron rank, which had elicited some hubbub from the crowd. According to the rumors, the girl had been the representative sent by the Lacademonians.
The other had been a wolf beastman with a fair amount of wolf features for a werebeast type beastman. He had a long silvery white hair that almost looked like a coat of fur while cascading down his back. As usual, he had the wolf-ears of his kind, but he also seemed to have his legs and parts of his arms covered in silvery white fur. The legs and arms were hard to confirm as his legs where mostly covered in leather armor and his open coat covered parts of his arms. Not that it stopped many of the female applicants from giving admiring gazes his way towards his bared and muscled chest. Even Dee had to admit that he had this weird type on animal magnetism.
The beastman had only gotten the bronze ranking, but he had still created a stir as he seemed to be one of the rare people that got blessed without going through the Ritual of Joining. That meant that one of the deities had gone out of his or her way to find him and bless him. Certainly rare, but not unheard of, it was something reserved for people either with a spectacular affinity with the deity in question or a grand future ahead of them. Or both. Many of the so called heroes that had spawned the Authorities named after them had carried blessings like that.
The guy ahead of Dee in the line had just gotten himself approved by the testing stone and was moving on deeper into the headquarters, when a commotion started behind the crowd, near the door to the large room. According to Dee’s senses, someone was skipping in the line behind her. Dee started cursing about the bothersome person not picking another one of the eight lines, before a plan suddenly appeared in her mind. Perhaps this rude person was her ticket out of the test?
“Out of the way! Out of the way! The heir of House Griffin coming through!” The guards of the man in question kept yelling as they shoved others out of the way. The master of the two guards looked like he belong to nobility, and Dee judged him to be about the strength of a rank four warrior according to the ki running through his body. The guards seemed of similar rank.
As the trio came closer, Dee rather theatrically moved her hand towards the stone as if to take the tests she was here to take, before being interrupted by another yell from behind her. “Did you not hear beast!? Make way for the heir of House Griffin. Or are you just too dumb to do what you’re told by your superiors?”
‘Beast? I know he means me, but clearly the tails should hint at a demonic origin, even if they are under my cloak and mostly hidden. Are they incompetent in addition to being rude?’ Dee thought to herself. She didn’t really find it denigrating to be put on the level of beastmen, as she considered them her closest cousins actually, but it was slightly annoying to always be mistaken for one of them. Call it pride if you will.
As the man reached for her shoulder, Dee grabbed the outstretched hand and tossed the man on the table with the testing stone. Or at least that was her plan. The order had seen multiple attempts to cheat during the tests and now always took precautions against that. The guard rammed straight into a wall of golden energy in front of the table, and slid down the wall head first, clearly unconscious from the impact. There had also been the sound of bones breaking.
‘Didn’t mean to throw him that hard.’ Dee thought to herself. Ever since she had woken up after the events with the rift, her physical strength had increased greatly, and she wasn’t quite used to it yet. She simply hadn’t had time for it.
Another angry voice spoke from behind her. “You! How dare you?”
As she turned around, Dee noted that the one who spoke this time had been the noble himself. He didn’t look all that impressive by her standards, but she guessed some humans might find the effeminate man attractive.
“Don’t you know who I am?” The noble demanded indignantly.
‘Well that’s a classic.’ Dee thought to herself. “Don’t know, don’t care. Your rude actions speak loudly enough.”
She waved her hand as her telekinetic powers squeezed at the two and lifted them into the air. Normally they could use their own power to resist, but she had surprised them, and could simply overpower the two even if they tried.
“You..cough…you’re making a bad mistake. My father is one of the chapter masters of the order!” The noble managed to squeeze out.
The order was divided into units that were called chapters. Dee vaguely remembered Mazatl teaching her some gobbledygook about them supposedly each being a chapter in the legend of the Radiant Sun. However, that had been during one of those times Dee had been busy banging her head against the table during the lessons out of sheer boredom and frustration, so she might remember that one wrong.
Supposedly there were twelve chapters in total, one assigned to each of the four cardinal directions of both Day city and Night city, for eight in total. One was assigned to the headquarters, one was the emergency deployment troops and one held the groups that were independent of other chapters and were grouped under one chapter for organizations sake. The scouts were an example. The last chapter took care of the more shadowy business of the order. In any case, each chapter was led by a chapter master.
“I don’t really care. He must not be much either, seeing as his heir is so useless.” Dee said simply.
She moved close enough to whisper in the noble’s ear. “Did you notice the woman I came here with? She’s like a sister to me, and her brother is the grandmaster of the order. Oh and one of the ten Blades of the order is here to recruit me personally. I’m guessing both of those outrank your daddy.” She had modified the truth a little, but she hadn’t lied strictly speaking.
“Now scram.” She waved imperiously, and her telekinetic power sent the two out of the building, towards the back of the line. Funnily enough, many of the other people surrounding them clapped for Dee’s actions.
‘I guess this goes with Moirai’s orders of stomping the other applicants.’ Dee shrugged mentally.
She turned around and casually spoke to the clerk overseeing the test. “My apologies. Was there anything else here?” She tried to pass it off as if she had already taken the test.
The clerk however was not fooled. They were used to cheating attempts, and while Dee’s would’ve been fairly elaborate, they’d seen worse. The clerk simply tapped at the stone’s rim, signaling Dee to take the test.
“Oh right! Almost forgot.” Dee decided to hold her bluff until the end. She had guessed she had failed the moment the guard still laying on the floor had not landed on the table.
She touched the stone, praying in her mind for a normal result, but her prayers were not answered. The stone gave a deep blue glow signifying the highest rank below the immortal rank, the moonstone rank. Dee felt like banging her head on the table.
“Goddess damn all three of them.” She mumbled to herself. “Bloody brats of an old bastard.”
“I resent that implication.” Lumen said playing at indignation, though her amusement betrayed the attempt. “That was a rather appropriate rank in my mind.”
“Weren’t you the one that said we shouldn’t rank her too high?” Umbra asked, amused at the mess that was about to break out.
“I lowered her rank by fair bit!” Lumen frowned “Although I actually gave her rank seven. I’m not sure what happened there.” She looked accusingly towards Umbra.
“Don’t look at me! I didn’t do anything.” Umbra defended herself with a chuckle.
Both of them turned towards the old man.
“You forgot about the effect of my blessing, didn’t you?” The old man asked Lumen.
“How should I know the effect?!” Lumen protested. “You never told us what you did, and you haven’t blessed enough people for us to draw any conclusions from!”
“Oh. Oops.” The old man said in a completely emotionless voice.
“Applicant Haydee, would you be so kind as to follow me to the other room.” One of the observing high ranking templar said, not really asking.
“I suppose I should.” Dee replied, still feeling like banging her head against the table.
As the templar noticed Sarfina following them to the side room, he of course had to ask about her identity. “And who might you be?” He was at least relatively polite as he noted Sarfina carrying the uniform of the templar, as well as a captain’s rank insignia.
“I’m this girl’s guardian and guarantor. I am Captain Faylen Sarfina, also of the Radiant Sun.” Sarfina replied.
Something clicked in the templar’s mind. “Faylen, as in previously Arazana, the sister of Lothar Sendar, also previously Arazana?”
Faylen simple nodded in reply. She didn’t like to advertise that particular relation, but she recognized the possible usefulness in this case.
“Well, with the sister of the grandmaster as your guardian, we can take your word for what happened. So, an explanation if you would be so kind. I doubt someone as young as you is truly a moonstone ranked…priestess?” He changed it to a question at the end, since theoretically Dee shouldn’t be any rank templar yet.
“My goddess is a cunt.” Dee replied a little peeved.
Sarfina couldn’t stop a burst of shocked laughter, while the templar simply looked shocked. “She…is? Would you mind telling me a bit more detail?”
“I’m not sure on all the details myself actually.” Dee replied, trying to weasel her way out of answering.
“Another naturally blessed person?” The templar asked half to himself. It was surprising enough to see one person with a natural blessing and now they had two the same year? “I’m going to request a high priestess to come here and read your blessing.” He said simply before exiting the room.
“You sure you want to call Lumen names?” Sarfina asked with a raised eyebrow.
“After what she just did? Yes.” Dee replied firmly.
“Well this was ahead of you soon enough anyway. One of the first things the headquarters do is to have you go through the ritual. They want to start your holy power training right away. Might as well get your blessing read now.” Sarfina explained with a shrug of her shoulders.
They had to wait for about twenty minutes until the door opened again, letting in the same templar and an elderly dwarven priestess. The priestess greeted them with a warm smile. “Greeting and welcome to the order. I’m told that I’m supposed to read your blessings.”
She didn’t wait for an answer and puller a chair right across from Dee and sat down. Before Dee managed to protest, the priestess placed a finger on Dee’s forehead, and Dee felt a slight trickle of power flowing between them. Not into her, which she would’ve stopped on instinct, but between them.
Few moments later, the priestess removed her hand, and her smile had become strained. “Brother Darius, would you be so kind as to leave the room and make sure we aren’t disturbed.”
The templar was about to ask questions, but decided against it and simply left. As soon as he was out, the priestess rose and gave a deep bow, before speaking. “My apologies your Grace. I didn’t realize.”