"Please be quiet. I am honored for so many people to be bearing witness to the goddess's guidance." The pope's dignified voice sounded once more, successfully quieting everyone down and making them look his direction. Everybody's gaze concentrated intensely.
Then, the pope turned around swiftly, staring straight at Claire and without a word. And like so, his gaze landed on Claire and didn't move away. The hall instantly silenced, all not understanding the scene before them. What was that supposed to mean? Was the goddess's guidance related to Claire? The pope was silent, his expression completely solemn. Duke Gordan started feeling nervous. Was the temple going to make a move against Claire? Strangling Claire before she even matured? It couldn't be. The hall was deathly silent, nobody dared to speak. They all watched everything silently, waiting for the pope's next action. Many people's hearts had jumped to their throats. Was the pope's action favorable to Claire or not?
"Today, with everybody present as witnesses, I sincerely invite Claire to be a member of the Temple of Light as a priest for the benefit of the people, for the country. This is the goddess's guidance. Also, this is the gift the goddess has bestowed upon Claire Hill. This is all the goddess's will, the goddess's favor." The pope's unhurried voice echoed in the hall, echoing in everyone's hearts, staying for a long time.
The news was like a bolt out of the blue, shocking every single person senselessly. Instantly, the hall was so silent, you could hear their hearts beating. The goddess's will, the goddess's favor?! Claire had actually received such favor?! Why? Why?
Duke Gordan's expression finally changed! The Temple of Light actually had made such a decision at this occasion! Publicly recruiting Claire under the the Temple of Light! And they had used such a dignified excuse. The goddess's gift? And the position of priest? He had never heard of such an abrupt awarding of position!
The next moment, the main hall became extraordinarily noisy, the atmosphere so enthusiastic, the roof was going to blown off. Such a shocking scene happened and they couldn't believe it! Also, the pope had actually given the goddess's gift to Claire, the unique, one of a kind treasure that could give rebirth to another physical body? They had heard about it, but never seen it. Now, the pope had suddenly given it to Claire? Given it to a girl who had just turned fourteen?! And it was the goddess's will? Why would the goddess favor Claire so much?
The intense gazes all landed on Claire, almost burning her. What exactly was so special about Claire that the goddess had given such favor?!
Claire felt the burning gazes. Her expression didn't change, but her gaze was already dark.
That old pope already figured out that she was the person who had stolen the goddess's gift! And now he actually came to trap her! She didn't understand why he was trying to recruit her, but she was sure of one thing: the old pope had already discovered that she was the person who had stolen the goddess's gift, and the box Lawrence was holding up high was definitely empty. This trick of his was pretty high level! Too high! Claire was about to explode. Never had she been conned by other people, but she had unexpectedly been ensnared before so many people and so righteously. Most importantly, there was no way at all for her to retort!
Liuxue Qing's complexion paled, staring blankly at the scene before her, completely unable to accept it. Didn't the pope come to expose the black clothed man's identity, then punish Claire afterwards? Why had the situation turned into this? Instead, Claire had advanced to a more brilliant position! While seen by everybody! Everybody's gazes and actions had already explained everything. Claire's brilliance had stunned everybody once more.
"You holiness, this....." Duke Gordan was attempting his last struggle. In an instant, his valuable granddaughter was going to become a member of the Temple of Light, how could he accept it? Royal authority and divine right had always had subtle relationships and never interfered with others, but now the pope had done this. What was his purpose?
The pope turned to Duke Gordan and asked solemnly, "Your grace, this is all with accordance to the goddess's guidance. Are you doubting the will of the goddess?" After saying this everybody turned their attention towards Duke Gordan.
"No, of course not. How could I doubt the goddess's will?" Duke Gordan hurriedly waved, but internally, he was deeply worried. The situation had already developed far beyond his control and expectations. Was he just going to watch as Claire became part of the Temple of Light?
The pope cleared his throat, then said, "Then, please may everybody present bear witness." His voice had an infallible dignity.
Panic flashed through Duke Gordan's eyes. He never would have thought the Temple of Light would make their move during such an occasion, completely catching him unaware. There was no way to stop it. In front of so many people, how could he openly disobey the will of the goddess? But what Duke Gordan didn't understand was why the Temple of Light would pay such a huge price and use such prestige to recruit Claire. Did they find out Claire's potential? If so, they would have discovered it long before the competition with Lagark and wouldn't have waited until now. Why exactly were they trying to recruit Claire? No matter how he thought about it, Duke Gordan couldn't understand, Now he only hoped that the banquet would end quickly, then think of a counterattack afterwards.
The envious gazes all fixated on Claire, about to pierce through her body. Claire smiled faintly and slowly walked forward. She locked gazes with the pope, both of them understanding each other's intentions.
Under everyone's gazes, the pope gave the elaborate box to Claire along with the attire and badge of priests. Everybody's gazes were locked on the embroidered box her Claire's hands. The precious treasure was given away just like that? And now Claire's status was shocking: the Temple of Light's priest, the city lord of Niya city, the rising member of the Hill clan, and Cliff's disciple. With so many halos casted on her, how could she not be envied?
After bending down slightly to receive the pope's baptism, Claire stood up and smiled brilliantly. "Your holiness, with such a precious thing left with me, it would be hard to avoid robbery. I hope that your holiness can hold it for safekeeping for me?" Claire wasn't stupid; the empty box was ticking time bomb. She knew, the pope knew, and the higher ups of the Temple of Light knew, but the Temple of Light had completely sealed off all information. Outsiders wouldn't know that the gift was already gone. Leaving it with Claire would naturally attract thieves and it would be best leaving it with the pope.
Naturally, the pope understood. He nodded, smiled, and accepted it back. Seeing this, everybody in the hall sighed.
With this banquet, Claire's fame was raised to another level. A fourteen year old girl had become favored by the goddess and held the position of priest! What an honor. A long time after, everybody who had attended the banquet still remembered, remembered the golden haired green eyed girl that seemed like the sun, radiating light, stunning everyone.
Before the ruckus had calmed down, a chamberlain came from the entrance hurriedly to report, looking pale with fright.
"What are you so flustered for!" Currently, Duke Gordan was in a bad mood, so he berated the chamberlain.
"If, if your grace sees himself, he shall know." The chamberlain seemed to be somewhat excited.
Duke Gordan frowned as he walked out. Everybody else in the hall followed.
Once everybody saw the line of carriages, they all froze. There were so many carriages, they couldn't see the end, and every carriage was filled roses, extremely dazzling and gorgeous. On the first carriage were a few, impressively large words: Claire, happy birthday.
Who was this crazy?
Everybody was once again stunned by the scene before them. Just then when the pope had appeared and announced the goddess' guidance, their hearts were almost unable to bear it, and now with such a spectacular sight, everybody felt their minds were about to break.
"Claire?" Duke Gordan turned and called Claire, wanting to inquire what was going on. Only then did he discover that Claire, who had been following him by his side, had already disappeared.
And like so, Claire silently disappeared from the birthday banquet. Disappearing along with her were Summer, Qiao Chuxin, Jean, Walter, and Ben.
Outside of the east gate, a very ordinary yet of small stature girl was wearing clothes that couldn't be any more ordinary. On her back was an exquisite and small bow. Followed behind her were a group of people also wearing ordinary clothes. And so, their journey started.
"White Little Moon, why would you change your name to that?" Summer stroked her chin, watching Claire, who was walking ahead over them, a little suspicious,. Then she turned and looked towards the beautiful man smiling like wind, squeezing out from the corner of her mouth, "Also, why did your teacher, Camille, also come here?"
"Each person has their own interests and hobbies." Claire said vaguely.
"Haha, I also have my interest. It's too boring in the capital, so I came with you guys to play." Camille smiling kindly, a shine flashing through his eyes. "Also, I'm even your secondary commander. If you don't listen to me, I will punish you...."
The last few incomparably gentle words echoed in everybody's mind. Clearly, it was extraordinarily gentle, but hearing it made their blood run cold. Will punish, will punish.... The endless echo seemed like magic was making them hear it.
"Yuan Bao Mercenary Corps?" Summer was holding a sheet of paper, the credentials of registering as a mercenary group just now. "Why are we registering with this strange name? What a really strange name. Yuan Bao, Yuan Bao, what is Yuan Bao?"
Claire, who was pretending to be an ordinary archer, said faintly, "That's because of my interests."
Summer was wordless. After she put away the credentials, she followed silently without speaking any more.
(TL: , an ancient currency in China. The things that dumplings' shapes were based off of. Literal is like 'treasure yuan' and yuan is the current Chinese currency, which doesn't exist in this world, but the treasured part is probably what made Summer speechless.)