As it got closer to the Saint Baptism Ritual, more and more people entered St. Sarl City. With this many people, the logistics of maintaining law and order, as well as assignment of living quarters, became more massive and bottlenecked. Since a week ago, no one else had been allowed to enter the city unless they had a special status or permission.
A large number of believers were now stopped outside the city, didn't want to go back. They began praying toward the direction of St Sarl City. There were many tents set up along the way. All of these people, who were gathered outside the city, were trying to get closer to God, hoping to feel His glory.
The architect Faragrant did a great job with the urban planning and design of the city. He had considered various problems. His city could accommodate this many visitors without crumbling!
Within the city, there were people everywhere. Bards were singing about the legend of the gods, as wandering musicians played happy melodies. All of the shops within the massive St Sarl City began hosting free activities and programs as well. It was a festival that would be remembered for centuries. In the square, under the statue, in the street alleys, the merry crowds gathered everywhere to drink and have fun.
The church had temporarily lifted its prohibition of alcohol, so that everyone could feel the grace of the God and fully celebrate the festivities. As the strings kept strumming and the beautiful melodies filled the air, the ancient legends were recited again and again. The cheers within the city could be heard from many miles away.
On the last day before the New Year, the Pope cancelled all of his duties. In a grand ceremony, he entered the Temple, where they would hold the ritual with the twelve other Saints. The Saintess would preside over the ceremony, welcoming the arrival of God.
Flowers were scattered over the ground, as bells tolled in the background. In the Temple, all of the clergy stood at attention, as the Pope and the twelve selected Saints arrived. In the back, many rulers stood with crowds of nobles. No matter what these people thought in their hearts, they were all presenting themselves publicly as believers of the Church of Light.
All of them walked through the steps and cloisters of the Temple, past the angels carved on the white stone pillars. The Temple was dozens of meters high. Its high dome depicted a painting of the kingdom of God. Those who enter will be overcome with a sense of devotion.
As they walked into the huge temple, it felt as if they were dwarves, entering the kingdom of giants. Suddenly they felt oddly small. When they entered the main hall and approached the tall and solemn statue of God, they couldn't help but be awed.
As everyone took their positions, the Pope walked up and saw the Saintess standing under the statue, wearing a mask. This was the first time that most of the people present had seen the Saintess after she had received God's revelation. Their attention was drawn to the mask she wore, which was a legendary divine artifact known as the Mask of Faross. Many people at the scene could not help but whisper in reverence.
The mask glowed and seemed to cover the Saintess with a soft halo of light. As the Saintess looked over, many of the clergy felt their knees go soft, and could not help but fall to the ground.
Ever since Kelly had received the mask from Lu Zhiyu, her deified cells were synchronizing with Lu Zhiyu's cells. Her cells had become refined by this mask, allowing her to gain complete control over the mask. The power that she wielded now was definitely far beyond what she was able to accomplish when she received the Mask of Faross three months ago.
When the Saintess saw Rooney, she suddenly looked back despite having swept her gaze past him. Her gaze fell onto Rooney as she whispered. Rooney immediately lowered his head. The legendary Saintess was a true kin of the God. Moreover, she was wearing a divine artifact granted by God.
He was just a man, who had obtained a thin inheritance from the Sea God out of sheer luck. He knew that, even if there were a hundred of him, it was absolutely impossible for him to be a match for her.
What's more, this was still the stronghold of the Church of Light. If he dared make any funny moves, or disrespect the Saintess in any way, the Church of Light would not have the slightest hesitation to strike him down immediately even if he was a king.
Feeling the look coming from the Saintess, Rooney's heart thumped in panic, as he feared that the Saintess may have seen something. Kelly was also confused, since she couldn't read his mind. But, right now, the most important thing was the Baptism Ritual. There must be no mistakes to the ritual. Kelly had some doubts, but she immediately retracted her gaze.
As the Saintess took her place at the front beside the Pope, the twelve selected Saints followed behind them, stopping at the foot of the statue. There were many clerics and members of the nobility, who were trailing far behind them.
They fell to the ground, then crossed their hands in prayer. With their eyes closed, they then began to pray to the God. Even if some of them weren't actually devout, at this moment, no one dared to think any sacrilegious thoughts in their heads.
Within the shrine, the choir and clergy ensembles on both sides of the temple began to play, as flowers began falling all around them. The melodies, coming from strings of various instruments, wove together like the opening of a grand symphony concert. Solemn, soothing music brought all of their thoughts to the heavens.
Pure virgins sang hymns with the church orchestra, praising God. The sacred melodies held a gentle beauty. It felt as if these melodies could lift themselves straight into the heavenly kingdom. The pure, simple voice of the girls' singing seemed to wash over the hearts of the audience and cleanse their souls.
Everyone bowed their heads. The expressions of the Saintess, the Pope, and the twelve saints at the very front were solemn and sincere.
As Kelly had demanded, all twelve of the selected candidates were to be devout believers. Otherwise, they may be rejected when they tried to inherit the divine incantations. Those whose will did not align with God would immediately crumble and get devoured by the divine incantations. Only those who could fully accept the will of the God as true believers could become Saints.
Half of the candidates were Cardinals. After the reformation of the church, those who were called Cardinals were dressed in red and wielded immense authority. Most of them were responsible for all of the duties within an area of the Church.
In addition, there was also in attendance the leader of the Knights of Light, the Chief Justice of the Judges of Light, and four Archbishops. They were responsible for assisting the Pope in managing the affairs of the entire Church. These twelve people were members of the College of Cardinals. The selection of the Pope was also conducted via their votes. Thus, they represented the highest echelon of the entire Church of Light.
The music was endless. As night fell, the temple lit up immediately. The lights stretched far into the distance. The orchestra and choirs had also changed a few shifts, as they dedicated all sorts of different music to the God.
At this time, the crowd that was gathered outside the Temple was several times bigger than it had been any of the previous days. People from all over the city gathered around the Temple of Light to pray.
As time passed, when the bell rang at midnight, the first day of the New Year of the eleventh year of the San calendar officially began. The bell tolled, as a glimmer of light appeared from the horizon. The dark clouds above scattered away, as light shone onto the ground, as if the Holy Light was enveloping everyone present.
The warm light dispelled the chill of the night. When the first ray had begun to glimmer, some people noticed it instantly. They immediately looked up at the sky, seeing a red sun that was dispelling the darkness of the moon, gradually illuminating the entire world.