Chapter 653 Moonlight Temple
Garan Continent. Central Mountains.
The main temple of the Goddess of Moonlight.
As an extraordinarily massive Goddess' will descended upon the towering idol in the center of the temple, the entire place was bathed in a cluster of faint and silent moonshade.
The Temple Officiate Aurora fearfully kneeled in front of the idol, silently enduring the chilling glare her Goddess was giving her. Even though the Goddess hadn't opened her mouth, Aurora could feel the intense dissatisfaction and wordless blame in her eyes.
"O' Revered Goddess, has news of Lady Xenia's fall been confirmed?" Aurora mustered up her courage and asked in a soft voice.
The authority and rank of the god messenger were far above a temple officiate like herself. That was why she needed to confirm the news about Xenia with the Goddess personally.
After a long period of silence, the sweet and cold voice of the Moonlight Goddess finally echoed in the minds of all the temple priests.
"Xenia is utterly dead! Her soul did not return to the god-kingdom. Instead, it has been wholly captured by the enemy."
The Goddess' reply stunned everyone.
They had conceived of many terrible scenarios, but they still didn't imagine the situation to be as severe as it was. This…this was the absolute worst scenario that they didn't even dare to think of!
The Moonlight Temple was only a small faction in the entire elven pantheon. A Third Grade god messenger was already the most potent force that they could put together. If Xenia really had died at Jintha'Alor, the impact on the Moonlight Temple was undoubtedly going to be horrifying. It was so terrible that a 'mere' temple officiate like herself would not dare to imagine it happening!
The Moonlight Temple had long figured out the details about this Calamity of Witches.
The only Fourth Grade powerhouse that the evil witches had sent was stationed upon Shadow Island. She had not entered Garan at all. The various temples had already stationed their elite guards and powerful god messengers at the frontlines to keep a close eye on the enemy's movements and deal with this Fourth Grade Pale Witch.
Under such circumstances, the number of witch squads that the enemy could send into Garan to wreak havoc and raid was limited in not only quantity but also quality.
It was because of their perfect grasp of the situation that Temple Officiate Aurora hastily reported the destruction of one of their followers' settlements to the Moonlight Goddess. She had intended to use this operation of exterminating the witches to demonstrate the might of the Moonlight Goddess to all her followers across the continent, as well as the Goddess' love and concern for her followers.
According to Aurora's original calculations, an army of a hundred combat professionals was already a powerful army. Add to that a Third Grade god messenger that possessed the divine power of the Goddess, and you had a group that was already enough to deal with any evil witches that snuck onto Garan.
Sadly, regardless of how she calculated and estimated, she would never have guessed that a god messenger army of this level would be defeated in the Fantasy Forest. What made things even worse were the facts that they had not only lost, but they had landed themselves a near complete defeat.
The news of the loss had been brought back by some fortunate survivors. They all claimed to have personally witnessed the fall of God Messenger Xenia.
The only Third Grade God Messenger Xenia had died to the combined attacks of a Third Grade evil witch and a Third Grade thunder dragon. Her broken body had even become the enemy's spoils, with the elves failing to get it back.
This terrifying news immediately threw the entire temple into a state of shock and panic!
Even though Aurora knew that the Goddess would punish her, she still pressed on and contacted the Moonlight Goddess far away in her god-kingdom. The latter had personally chosen to descend to the temple's idol upon obtaining the news.
The descent of the Goddess!
Such an event had never happened in the seven thousand years since the construction of the Moonlight Temple.
If one were to find a full account, the last time the Goddess had personally descended upon the world was during the ancient wars between the elven and human pantheons. Yet today the Moonlight Goddess, high above in her god-kingdom, had chosen to descend once again for a Third Grade god messenger. The circumstances and implications behind her actions were evident to all even without a single word of hers!
The impact to the Moonlight Temple this time was severe and overwhelming.
The loss of manpower and military force was secondary. More crucial was the severe shaking of the faith and trust that the elves put in the Moonlight Goddess. The latter was undoubtedly the foundation and basis for the former!
Losing over a hundred believers with combat professions was nothing to a large organization like the temple of an elven god. However, a loss like that was akin to a broken spine for a small group like the Moonlight Temple. It was a pain that could be felt all the way in the bones. The fall of the high-grade god messenger also meant that the Moonlight Temple would henceforth lose any influence amongst the forest elves.
Before the new god messenger was cultivated, the strongest force that the Moonlight Temple had in the outside would have to be taken on by a group of Second Grade elves! And what kind of status would a Second Grade god messenger have before Third Grade or even Fourth Grade god messengers? Who would take her words seriously!?
Moreover, Xenia's soul had not returned. It meant that the witches might obtain inner secrets of the Moonlight Temple that she was privy to. When that happened, the evil witches would use this information to stir trouble and cause chaos. That would undoubtedly be an even more significant loss and greater concern to the Moonlight Temple and the Moonlight Goddess.
It was because she realized the severity of the situation that the Moonlight Goddess chose to descend upon her main temple personally.
This way, she could quickly affirm the shaken faith of her believers, while also making it convenient for her to arrange for the follow-up attack against the evil witches.
Indeed, she wanted to arrange for another battle immediately and use a glorious victory to wash away the shadow that this defeat had cast upon them. However, before that, she needed to borrow some things from a 'friend.'
There's no need to be surprised. Even in the realm of the gods, there were all sorts of strange relationships and different degrees of intimacy between the gods. Much like the mortals, the superior gods would have inexplicable allies and enemies depending on their profession and personality.
Within the elven pantheon, Meve the Moonlight Goddess had an especially close relationship with Yurga, the Heart of the Forest; they were almost like siblings. Yurga was the elder brother, and Meve was the younger sister. The two gods might not have worldly blood ties, but the intimacy of their domain of authority caused the two to be drawn to each other naturally.
Yurga, the Heart of the Forest was an elven god that all druids within the elven kingdom would worship. That was why he was a true Fifth Grade god with a stable group of believers. His domain of divine authority also included the 'forest,' apart from 'nature, druids, and flora and fauna affinity.'
Meve, on the other hand, also had 'forest' under her own divine authority.
If this had been the realm of the evil gods instead, a clash of domains in this manner would have triggered a terrifying and bloody battle of the gods. It would be a battle that would only end when one party had complete control over that particular domain of the world. However, within the peace-loving elven pantheon, the overlapping of divine realms not only didn't result in conflict between Yurga the Heart of the Forest and Meve the Goddess of Moonlight, but it had even caused the two gods to develop an inexplicably intimate relationship.
According to some legends of old, Yurga, the Heart of the Forest's previous incarnation was the first Fourth Grade Great Druid born in the Faen Plane. To allow himself to continue protecting and contributing to the Fantasy Forest after death, he had his juniors bury his corpse under the largest oak of the woods.
His deeds, while he was alive, had deeply moved many people who came after him and he became the idol of worship of the new druids to come.
Finally, after thousands of years had passed, the immense amount of faith collected beneath that towering oak, giving birth to Yurga, the Heart of the Forest.
Meve, the Moonlight Goddess, on the other hand, had appeared two to three thousand years later than Yurga.
It seemed as if her appearance had been actively guided to some extent by Yurga. That was why Meve naturally treated Yurga as her brother after her will and consciousness formed. Their relationship was even closer and purer than the other elven gods.
Their true forms necessarily rested high up in their god-kingdoms. Their normal interactions and communication were through mental connections or a visit paid by a clone. It was extremely rare for them to visit with their actual forms. No god would ever enter the god-kingdom of another true god with their true body unless they had absolute trust between them.
That was because the god-kingdom of a true god was equivalent to an extension of the domain of their divine power. Even a true god, several grades higher than the god in question, would not be able to compromise the authority and might of that god while in their domain. That was why a Sixth Grade chief god, when entering the god-kingdom of a Fifth Grade true god, was practically handing their life and soul to the opponent.
The massive risk involved in this was not something that any god dared to attempt!
The Moonlight Goddess, upon descending on her Moonlight Temple, only needed to will her mind slightly and was already connected with another sacred druid land in the central mountains- the Emerald Dream.
It was a mysterious and peaceful stretch of greenery.
A large, tall oak stood in the middle of the field.
The height and size of this ancient tree were beyond the imagination of mortals. Just the old and aged trunk of the tree was several dozens of meters thick. The massive umbrelllike canopy was jade and emerald-green, full and plentiful with leaves. One look and the only thing that you could feel was the overwhelming aura of life.
As the place where Yurga, the Heart of the Forest was born, this tall oak tree naturally became the area where the druids most liked to congregate and live. Several hundred druids of various ages and grades were scattered in the forest around the oak.
When a trace of Meve's godly will arrived here and transformed into a beautiful elven girl, the ancient tree trembled slightly. An old man draped in clothes woven from vines and grass walked out of the tree.
"Welcome, esteemed Lady Meve!"
The old man held an oaken cane in his hands. His face was withered, his skin was bronze in tone, and his head was full of braids. A seed or an animal tooth-even something simple like a small rock-was tied to the end of each braid.
"Lord Yurga's most devout follower, Fandral, pays his respects!"