The blinding light flashed for a moment before disappearing.
Christie struggled to open her eyes, her blood raging and seemingly flowing against her bloodstream. Then, an odd sensation sprouted as if something was trying to escape her body. What appeared before her was not the luxurious palace she'd remembered, instead, it was a chaotic and eerie world. She looked around frantically but wasn't able to see the sky nor the ground she stood on as a thick fog shrouded everything. Lightning would flash in the fog, giving the impression that it was the end of the world. Even though this oppressive atmosphere left a sharp pain in Christie's heart, she somehow felt some kind of familiarity to it.
The little girl clutched her chest painfully, but it did nothing to soothe the agony. A raging storm churned in the tiny body of hers, flowing and crashing against her fleshy walls as it tried its best to escape out of its shell. Just when Christie was about to succumb to the pain, a loud clap rang suddenly.
Pop! The rampaging force in her body instantly stopped. She immediately felt a wave of relief spreading throughout her body like a cooling spring breeze after a storm. The girl subconsciously lifted her head towards the sound and widened her eyes in shock.
Not too far away from herself was another little girl hovering in the air - to be precise, it was Christie herself.
They looked completely identical with regards to their physical appearance; the only difference was Christie's clothes. The unknown girl was wearing a gorgeous dress while Christie donned a plain set of clothing.
The unknown girl's lacy black dress tied with a red ribbon accentuated her slender neck. Then, a pair of black wings seemingly formed out of shadows grew from her spine and wrapped her entirely. She stared at Christie quietly with a mesmerizing pair of purple eyes that were filled with a mysterious aura.
The girl revealed a gentle smile and hovered gracefully towards Christie before taking her hands into hers.
"... Who are... you...?"
Christie asked the unknown girl curiously, but she only smiled without saying anything. Then, she extended her finger and placed it on Christie's lips.
Christie tilted her head to the side, puzzled.
But even so, the girl didn't speak a word. Her hand slowly slid towards Christie's cheek and caressed her gently before backing away, then waving goodbye.
Along with her actions, the dark fog began to swirl around Christie, absorbing her within.
Followed by a dazzling ray of light reflecting in Christie's eyes, her body began to descend from midair. After the strange incident, she no longer detected any dark fog nor bolts of purple lightning; instead, she saw Lydia's radiant face.
"Christie, are you okay? "
Christie stared at Lydia's face blankly, not knowing what to say. The world was spinning and was unable to recall what just happened. The last thing she remembered was her closing her eyes before being consumed by the darkness. Though she vaguely recalled speaking to someone important, Christie could no longer describe how that person looked like anymore as if someone erased fragments of her memory.
Rhode quickly entered the room and bowed to Lydia before turning his attention to Christie. However, before he could speak, Lydia spoke with a bitter smile.
"I'm sorry Mr. Rhode. It appears that I can't fulfill your wish."
Rhode was shocked. He stared at Lydia wide-eyed, waiting for her to explain.
"I'm not capable enough to remove the dark energy within Christie's body, but you don't have to worry as possessing dark energy doesn't necessarily mean it is inherently evil. This child has a flawless soul, I think that she will be fine."
If an outsider were to hear Lydia say that, it would definitely cause an uproar. Still, what the Archangel said was the truth. As a servant of the five creator dragons, they did not associate light and darkness with justice and evil. Their definition of evil were demons and devils; this was the difference between the Munn Kingdom and the Country of Light.
The Country of Light continued to spread its doctrine that darkness was naturally evil and thus the Country of Darkness were all evil beings. However, the Munn Kingdom believed in the ancient teachings that darkness and evil weren't necessarily linked together. Instead, they used a rational method of educating the people to distinguish the evil darkness from 'normal darkness.'
While it was true that evil tended to lurk in the darkness, it can't be said that all beings that lived in the darkness were evil. So, when the Country of Darkness invaded the Munn Kingdom, the soldiers and civilians fought more aggressively as they knew how to differentiate between good and evil.
The Country of Light was the total opposite. The populace had been brainwashed by the Parliament to believe that light must always vanquish the darkness. But these falsely instilled doctrines were built on fragile ground. Once the people realized that the ideals that they had fervently believed in were totally different from the truth, their morale immediately crumbled which later led to the deserting of many troops. Just because they were afraid of being tarnished by the 'evil,' they would never receive peace in their lives ever again.
The Parliament utilizing the term 'evil' to describe the Country of Darkness was to safeguard their own benefits. This was the simplest and most effective way, but was also a double-edged sword. Once something goes wrong, the whole organization could collapse with a domino effect. If one didn't have the real Intel of their enemies, there wasn't a need to discuss fighting them.
Lydia lowered herself and gazed warmly at the little girl. Then she stretched out her hand to retrieve a silver bracelet before placing it on Christie's hand.
"This is the 'Bracelet of Blessings.' It will protect you from many illnesses. Christie, that's the best I can do for you. But I believe that as long as you continue to be determined..." Lydia paused for a moment and shook her head, bringing back the warm smile to her face.
She then stood up and turned towards Rhode.
"Mr. Rhode, I wasn't able to grant your wish. To make up for it, I will give you another chance for a wish. It doesn't matter if it is now or later, as long as you ask for it, I will fulfill it."
After speaking, she nodded to both of them and said.
"Mr. Rhode, I have something else to attend to at the moment. I hope that both of you will enjoy the banquet later."
Rhode stared at Lydia in astonishment as he watched her leave. Then he let out a sigh before turning to Christie beside him. She looked up at him curiously and said, "What's wrong Rhode? You don't look so good..."
"It's nothing... I'm just a little tired."
Upon hearing Christie's uncertainty, Rhode displayed a kind smile and caressed the girl's hair.
"Let's go. Lize and the others must be worried about us."