Chapter 1128 The importance of stress training
The cathedral in Vaduz was the most typical representation of Gothic architecture. The complex structure exuded a mysterious and solemn look.
From pointed arches, pilaster columns, and ornate window lattices, multiple elements came together to form the final appearance of the cathedral. 61 spires pointed into the sky like a dense forest of towers with humanoid statues perched atop each of them.
“Who are those statues on top of the towers?” Ren Xiaosu looked up at them.
“They’re the archmages from every generation of the Berkeley family,” An’an answered. “Actually, the cathedrals in other counties place the statues of the most outstanding magus order archmages up on their towers. Only the cathedrals in the Berkeley family’s territory use the sculptures of their own archmages. Not only that, but the 601 statues that adorn the Vaduz Cathedral are also all the Berkeley family’s own sorcerers.” “When was this cathedral built?” Ren Xiaosu asked.
“It was built more than a 100 years ago, but it only became what it is now after a renovation 60 years ago.” An’an stared at the sculptures on top of the towers and said, “It was at that time that they demolished Russell’s statue.”
Ren Xiaosu glanced at An’an. “How is Russell related to your organization?” An’an shot Ren Xiaosu a look. “What has that got to do with you?”
Ren Xiaosu smiled and did not say anything else. If the organization that remained behind in the Kingdom of Sorcerers did help Russell through The Cataclysm as Ren He had instructed, the two sides should have a very close working relationship.
Based on Melgor’s guesses, Russell was assassinated by the aristocrats of the old guard. This reason also seemed to be why An’an and her companions hated the magus order.
But all of this was just speculation for now. Ren Xiaosu would have to find out the truth himself.
However, Ren Xiaosu was sure the Berkeley family’s ambitions had started brewing 60 years ago. By removing all monuments of the other sorcerer clans’ archmages, they were signaling a revolt against the existing order.
As for the internal strife that would come, Ren Xiaosu was looking forward to it quite a bit.
“What will the archmage do in front of the cathedral at 6 AM?” Ren Xiaosu asked.
“They’ll perform miracles.” Chen Cheng answered calmly, “They’ll put on a display of powers that don’t belong to the secular world to enhance the citizens’ faith.” “So they’ll just be casting some dazzling spells?” Ren Xiaosu said disdainfully, “If they have the energy to do all that, wouldn’t it be better to think about how to make themselves stronger? No wonder they’re afraid to reintroduce scientific knowledge to the masses. They’re worried that their low-level deception will get exposed by the citizens. C’mon, we’ll come back at 6 in the morning.”
Divine authority was the foundation of the Kingdom of Sorcerers. To protect this foundation, sorcerers would not allow the appearance of anything that could challenge their authority.
As a native of the Central Plains, Ren Xiaosu felt that all of this was extremely abnormal. However, the citizens here took it for granted ever since a cultural gap appeared in their history.
When Ren Xiaosu returned with Chen Cheng and An’an to the relay station on the north side of the city, Melgor and the sheeple were already asleep.
Melgor, that sweet idiot, even left a note in the room which he had assigned to Ren Xiaosu: “Wake up at 5:30 AM to attend service at Vaduz Cathedral. Don’t sleep in late.”
Ren Xiaosu muttered, “What a sweet guy.”
In summer, dawn broke very early. At 5:30 AM, the sky had already turned from dark to light.
Melgor came to Ren Xiaosu’s room and knocked on the door. “It’s time to get up, I’ll take you to witness a miracle.”
Ren Xiaosu opened the door. “You’re a sorcerer too, so why do you also believe in those miracles?”
“I’m just kidding.” Melgor smiled. “We junior sorcerers also tend not to want to miss out on these worship services at the beginning of the month, because it’s the best opportunity for us to observe how an archmage casts their spells.” “Oh.” Ren Xiaosu nodded. “So it’s just observing and learning.”
Initially, Ren Xiaosu thought Melgor and he would be the only ones going to watch the ceremony. But to his surprise, almost half of the trade caravan’s members got up early and rushed off to the cathedral.
Not only that, countless residents of Vaduz City also came out of their homes and converged on the cathedral like a stream.
Everyone was dressed in red robes with their faces hidden underneath hoods. The entirety of Vaduz City resembled a red sea from above.
Melgor had Li Chengguo take out a few pieces of loose-fitting red fabric from his luggage. “We didn’t bring any red robes with us, so I told Li Chengguo to buy some red fabric to use as temporary outfits. Quick, put it on, and make sure to cover the top of your head.”
Ren Xiaosu had a look at it. The red fabric was so big it looked like a bedsheet. “Why do we have to dress in red?” Ren Xiaosu asked.
“If you don’t put on a red outfit, that’s disrespecting the gods.” Melgor said, “If your family is well-off, you also have to carry a lamp to attend service. The lamp oil used is also something that has to be observed. It needs to be oil extracted from goat milk fat.”
Ren Xiaosu looked around and saw a few red-robed worshipers holding butter lamps walking slowly.
Religion was definitely not just about providing a god for people to believe in. Strict rituals needed to be observed, and the more rituals there were, the more mysterious the religion could seem.
But what Ren Xiaosu thought when he saw this sight was that since everyone was wearing red, it made it very easy for assassins to carry out an assassination. After killing someone, they could just put on a red robe and leave with the crowd.
For example, if he wanted to kill the archmage conducting the service, he would only need to fire a shot at him with a gun from within range and throw it away before blending in with the crowd.
If the sorcerer could use sorcery to shield himself from bullets, Ren Xiaosu could also use his black sniper rifle. And if that didn’t work too, he still had the black bullet as backup, which was quite a cruel method of assassination.
When Melgor saw Ren Xiaosu not saying anything, he asked curiously, “What are you thinking about?”
“Oh, nothing.” Ren Xiaosu smiled innocuously back.
A sea of people dressed in red had already gathered at the cathedral’s entrance. Five sorcerers in baggy red robes were already standing on a red carpet laid at the door with their hands dangling by their sides.
The difference between the sorcerers’ outfits and the residents’ was that the sleeves of their red robes were embellished with white mink fur.
At 6 AM, a loud and clear bell pealed in the belfry behind the huge clock at the top of the cathedral.
The five sorcerers standing on the red carpet opened their arms at the same time as though they were embracing the gods in Heaven.
“Is the person standing at the front the head of the Berkeley family?” Ren Xiaosu asked in a low voice.
“No, the patriarch stopped participating in these ceremonies.” Melgor said, “Stop talking. The service is about to begin.”
When the bell stopped ringing, the archmage standing at the very front on the red carpet took out a red Eye of True Sight from his sleeve. All of the residents held their breaths.
The archmage chanted in plainchant, “There is no such thing—”
In the early morning light, a black Shadow Door suddenly opened in front of the archmage. Then a slender but powerful hand reached through the door and slapped him hard in the face, interrupting his incantation.
Ren Xiaosu muttered under his breath, “So do you think stress training is important now?”