Meanwhile, in the Shrine Room, Shin’s body had been emitting a pale blue light for nearly five minutes. Most of the time, once the light appears on the child’s body, it meant that the slumbering Spirit was already awake and was just waiting for the user to grasp it. It was usually a simple procedure that could be concluded in seconds. However, Shin had been stuck at this step for much longer than that.
“What’s going on?”
“I don’t know. All of a sudden, the Shrine Maiden gathered all of that energy, but a few moments later, she immediately dispersed it.”
“But it seems that the ceremony is still ongoing…”
“Maybe there are some complications?”
“Yeah! He’s been in that state for far too long!”
“That guy is Shin from the orphan division right?”
“Yes. I heard that he fought Linus to a draw yesterday.”
“Really? Why haven’t I heard of it?”
“It is fairly recent news.”
A commotion started as the children around the altar were beginning to get impatient. So far, Shin took the longest to awaken his Spirit. The younger generation was just making small talk, but the older generation recognised the severe irregularity of the situation.
“Lien is taking far too long. What is going on?”
The Clan Master murmured.
“The Shrine Maiden was on the verge of overusing her spiritual energy, but a few moments after, she dispersed it. Maybe she was tired?”
The First Elder gave his theory.
“No way, I know Lien. She would rather sacrifice herself than to put a child in danger. As I see it, not an ounce of spiritual energy is given to Shin right now. Which is highly unusual for her. Lien knows more than anyone of the issues of not supplying spiritual energy during a Spirit Awakening Ceremony. I wonder what forced her to make that choice…”
“Even though she is not supplying spiritual energy, it seems that her connection with Shin is still there. Something is bizarre about this situation.”
The duo was sharing their ideas on what had happened. Not only were the Clan Master and First Elder alarmed, even the Second Elder, who was quiet the entire time, had a grim face.
With Shin still kneeling and the Shrine Maiden still standing motionlessly in front of him, all that could be observed was the blue light being emitted from Shin. Inside of Shin’s spiritual body, however, was a much different story.
Shin was being confronted by a vast lake. Interestingly enough, once Shin was close to the lake, the extreme cold that was making him lose consciousness immediately disappeared. The water was extremely clear, and Shin could look many meters down. However, there was no sign of his Spirit.
‘Don’t tell me this lake is my Spirit? How am I supposed to grasp this Spirit?!’
Shin was clueless on the next step he was supposed to take. He assumed that his Spirit was this lake as no matter how much he looked inside the water body, there was absolutely nothing.
“Child, what’s taking so long?”
The Shrine Maiden’s voice sounded once more. This time, it was much less gentle, and even a slight impatience could be heard.
“Senior, in front of me is a lake. That was the source of the blue light. But I cannot find my Spirit anywhere!”
“What do you mean a lake?!”
“A literal lake senior! A water body!”
“I know what a lake is, child. I meant why is it in your spiritual body?”
“I’m just as clueless as you are!”
The Shrine Maiden was incredibly shocked. This was the first time she had such a peculiar awakening ceremony.
‘What secrets does this boy hold?’
She wanted to pry but knew that it was not the time or the place.
“Have you tried diving into the lake?”
“What? Won’t I drown? I don’t know how to swim!”
A visible crease could be seen on the Shrine Maiden’s forehead as she heard Shin’s answer.
“Listen, child, how can you drown when you are not even breathing? Your consciousness is here, not your true body!”
“Woah! Senior you’re right!”
Enlightened, Shin immediately answered the Shrine Maiden.
“Senior I will be diving in now!”
“Quickly, or do you want to be stuck here forever?”
“Of course not!”
As Shin replied the frustrated woman, he plunged into the lake.
‘This kid sure knows how to get on people’s nerves.’
Diving down, Shin was introduced to a new world. In contrast to the endless darkness, the lake was vibrant and filled with life. There were multitudes of coral, aquatic plants and fishes. It was weird as it was much different from when Shin looked at the lake before from the surface.
‘Where did all these marine life come from?’
Even though he had never been to an ocean, lake or even a pool, he felt like he could move however he wanted. Unhindered by the water around him. Shin started searching for his Spirit. With so much aquatic life, you would think that he would get confused on which one was his real Spirit. But Shin knew that every single lifeform he had met thus far was not his Spirit. It was a gut feeling but nonetheless, a very accurate one.
Suddenly, a light began to shine from the middle of the lake.
‘So that’s where you were! Damn it! Finding you sure is troublesome!’
Shin scurried towards the light source. At the same time…
“Hey! Isn’t the temperature dropping?”
“Hmmm… Must be your imagination! I don’t feel anything.”
“No! It is getting colder.”
“Hey, why is there water droplets forming on your body?”
“Yeah! On your left shoulder.”
“Wait! There are some on you too!”
In the Shrine Room, there was a noticeable change in the environment. The First Elder was the first to realise what was happening.
“It can’t be? Natural phenomenon again?”
The Clan Master wordlessly agreed with the First Elder.
As soon as the first water droplets were observed, thousands more were seen forming. And once the number of droplets reached an uncountable number, it began to rain heavily in the Shrine Room.
The Clan Master, the First and Second Elders, the Shrine Maiden and all of the other children could not avoid getting drenched. The rain continued to pour into the room without regard to the pitiful cries that could be heard. The water droplets only stopped forming once the water level in the room reaches thirty centimetres deep.
When the rain calmed, the Shrine Room looked like it had turned into an indoor pool.
“What the hell?!”
“Damn it! I’m getting out of here!”
Multiple people were gunning for the door. But just before the entrance opened, a cerulean light started illuminating the indoor pool. The light was dim, but it had a regal aura to it. Soon, the light began congregating in front of Shin.
At this moment, Shin’s eyes opened wide. Using his two hands, he reached down towards the light in the pool and gently grabbed the Spirit hiding within.
“Finally, I’ve got you!”
Shin triumphantly declared.
In his grasp was a cute baby Cerulean Koi. It seemed rather dull and was unaware of its surroundings. All it wanted to do was swim in the pool it created.
“There’s no way I’m letting you run you bastard! Do you know how much trouble you caused me?!”
Shin shrieked at the Spirit.
“Oh my its so cute!”
Emma, who had a soft side for cute things, energetically stated.
“Emma! It caused us so much trouble! Look we are all wet! It must be a devilish fish!”
Ella could not help but retort at her obsessed twin’s reaction.
“What? All that trouble for a feeble Spirit like that? I can’t see how it’s special!”
One of the children from the Second Elder’s division remarked.
“Hahaha! To think that we thought it would be an incredible Spirit! Looking at it, it must be useless!”
His friend backed up his claim.
However, unlike the children, the older generation all had black faces. They did not even know what to say. If one observed the Second Elder right now, they could see that the old man was seething with rage. As if he wanted to run towards Shin right now and tear his head off.
“Hey… Did you know?”
The Clan Master asked the First Elder. She was in too much shock after looking at Shin’s Spirit that she forgot to attach an honorific when talking to the First Elder.
“This… I didn’t…”
The First Elder himself was speechless. He never expected that the child he doted on was…
The Shrine Maiden was also looking at Shin’s awakened Spirit in deep contemplation.
“Senior Edward… Please hold back Senior Ash for now. I’m afraid he might rush out and kill the boy. I will call for an emergency meeting once I get back.”
“Yes, Clan Master.”
As the First Elder replied the Clan Master, his eyes darted towards the Second Elder. Thankfully, the old man was able to restrain himself, but the First Elder could see blood dripping out of his clenched fists.