Episode 154 – Stone Stele


Knowing that soon enough she would faint, Nelaira decides to hide and flee, to return only after she recovers. She creates a large area of effect Morph spell and escapes through an underground tunnel towards the exit of the Valley of Eternal Snow.

After a long escape, Nelaira finally faints. Upon waking up, she realizes she is no longer in an underground cave, but rather in the middle of a shrine. In that shrine, there is a beautiful flower that seems to be the same flower from the story her fiance had told her.

The full image of the plant was so vivid, so bright, that it blinded the eyes with its beauty.

Nelaira felt like she had just taken off tinted glasses. Like she was seeing the world in its full, bright glory for the first time. As if all this time her entire world had been dim and gray, and now, she could finally see color.

Episode 154 – Stone Stele

Just looking at it made one’s body warm up in comfort. Nelaira felt life spread through her stiff limbs. Her strength seemed to be slowly coming back to her.

She didn’t know how long she had spent just staring at the flower blankly. She felt as if she had been stuck staring at that flower for an eternity. She only came to her senses when she caught herself unconsciously stretching her hand towards it again.

She blinked her eyes and shook her head, as if to shake her daze away.

This must be that divine flower from the stories. Nelaira thought. No wonder ancients thought the flower to be the last remnants of a dead goddess. Even she, herself, was starting to wonder whether the legend behind the flower was true.

She didn’t really understand what gods were or how their magic worked. She had never seen a god, nor did she know someone that had. There haven’t been any public or reliable sightings of gods since the Mage Wars ended.

If gods weren’t so deeply connected to the history of Halnea she would even suspect whether they had existed in the first place. But divine magic, for one, surely exists. So, by extension, gods capable of using it should also exist.

Even so, Nelaira was sure that all the legends spreading around about gods had a good dose of fiction mixed within. Unfortunately, with the age of gods long past, no one was able to differentiate the truth within the lies.

She had thought this flower to be just another one of those fables but seeing it firsthand…

Why wouldn’t it be possible for it to be divine?

When it came to gods, everything was possible.

And besides, just look at it. That thing practically radiates divinity.

As Nelaira looked around she couldn’t see any signs of a second person. And when she looked at the ground closer, she could only see her own footprints leading from the place where she woke up straight towards the flower.

There were no foreign footprints, nor any other signs of another person being there.

There weren’t even any signs that her body had been dragged here. It was if she had floated in or was teleported straight inside.

Did the flower bring me here? The idea couldn’t help but pop up.

But, just in case…

“Is anyone here?” Nelaira’s hoarse voice echoed through the shrine.

She waited a bit, and then repeated her question. But she received no answer.

She repeated the question for the third time, paying close attention to the flower, but it did not react in any way.

And thus, Nelaira gave up speaking and instead turned around in a circle, inspecting the simple shrine.

It consisted of a circular stone platform, in the middle of which there was a round hole. The hole was filled with snow from which the flower grew.

The podium was surrounded by seven stone pillars that were decorated by carved images.

There were no walls or a ceiling, and Nelaira could see endless white snow outside the shrine.

It looked like this shrine was situated somewhere in the middle of the Valley of Eternal Snow, for the snow seemed endless from whichever way you looked at it.

Nelaira let out a heavy sigh, her heart dropping down to her stomach.

She had given her entire luggage to Lorafiel, among which was her Wayfinder. Without it she had no sense of direction. She couldn’t find her way back to the trio, nor did she know which way was which.

She looked up at the clear blue sky. Perhaps she could use the sun to gauge the approximate direction? It would probably be more accurate to wait for the sun to set and look at the stars. Judging by its current position, it would only take a few hours for it to set.

But even if she knew in which direction to go, who knew just how far she would have to walk? Without supplies, she would most likely perish inside this icy desert.

She felt a weight suffocate her. Man proposes, fate disposes. What were her plans when confronted with the power of fate?

She couldn’t even struggle.

She looked at that bright yellow sun that reminded her of Zel’s eyes.

I want to see him. I want to see him so much.

But wishes didn’t have the power to turn themselves true.

And if she couldn’t get back home…

She felt the insides of her jacket and pulled out that old little diary that was the cause of all this chaos.

If she couldn’t make it out of here, then she should at least ensure that the truth wasn’t buried with her.

Nelaira approached the flower and crouched right in front of it.

She placed the diary on the stone platform. Under the effects of her Morph the diary sunk into the ground, leaving only the front cover exposed to the air.

Nelaira then conjured ice over the cover, making it almost indistinguishable from the frozen rock around it.

With the important secret hidden somewhere where archeologists will be able to find it in the future, Nelaira decided to look around the shrine.

If she was to die, let her at least die while admiring the ancient architecture that she so loved.

No. Don’t lose hope just yet! Nelaira encouraged herself. Perhaps there was something in this shrine that could return her back to where she came from.

She looked up at the tall pillars around her. Each pillar had a large symbol engraved in the middle. Nelaira instantly recognized the meaning of the runes: “Moon, “Vision”, “Wave”, “Trace”, “Life”, “Fate”, “Sun”.

Ah. Nelaira mused. So those pillars represent the days of the week: Moonday, Visionday, Waveday, Traceday, Lifeday, Fateday and Sunday.

That didn’t come as a surprise to her. For some reason, ancient people were obsessed with the numbers two and seven. No one was sure whether they were obsessed with the number seven because there are seven days of the week or whether the reason why there are now seven days of the week was because they were obsessed with the number seven.

As for the number two…

Sure enough!

There was a stone stele in front of the flower with a large “Azizia” symbol engraved on top of it.

The principle of azizia was something that the majority of Halneans believed in, to this very day. Azizia was the duality of everything. The duality of life and death, day and night, light and darkness, argel and elibu, male and female, beginning and the end. Opposite elements that complete each other. Two that are one.

Azizia was everywhere in everything. Azizia was the governing principle of the world, the law of heaven. Circular, endless, infinite.

Azizia was so omnipresent that it could even be seen in the days of the week. The first and the last day of the week were named as “moon” day and “sun” day because of the belief in the principle of azizia. Moon and sun represented night and day, and night and day were exactly the sources for the name azizia. The name came from the ancient words for night and day – “azi” and “zia”.

Nelaira smiled softly. It was strangely comforting to see that familiar symbol that she had grown up seeing everywhere. Almost unconsciously her hands traveled in front of her and she curtsied.

Even this simple courtesy that all Halneans used as a form of respect originated from the principle of azizia. This salute that consisted of her two hands almost clasping together below her chest looked exactly like the azizia symbol.

As Nelaira stood there, in front of the stele, bowing with her hands curling around each other, she couldn’t help but notice that there seemed to be some writing on the stele below the azizia symbol.

After finishing her salute, she crouched down and traced her fingers along the crevices.

Time had eroded the inscription and now most of the words were faded beyond recognition.

But there were several lines that had been carved in deeper than the rest which she could still mostly recognize.

“Use… Aetherneal… key…” Nelaira muttered, her fingers brushing over the runes. “Open… Aetherneal… gate…”

Below the inscription, there was a decorative section with majestic symbols for sun and moon.

She moved further down and wiped away the accumulated snow to see the next inscription.

“Break… through… five…” Nelaira paused, “What is this?”

Looking at it, the next rune was made from two connected symbols, one resembled chains and the other she didn’t recognize.

“Break through five shackles of something?” Nelaira scratched her head and then continued downwards.

The next five lines were short, consisting of two words each, but out of those 10 words she could only recognize the symbols for “mana”, “body”, “soul” and “heart”.

And after that, there was a longer line, which sadly started with a symbol that was completely faded out, followed by: “five… divine… uh… gifts?”

And then there was another decorative section with majestic symbols for vision, wave, trace, life, and fate.

“You guys really liked the days of the week, huh?” Nelaira smiled wryly, her hands wiping at the last line of runes.

The last line was very short, only two symbols that were the largest two symbols on the entire stele.

“Reach… uh…what?”

The last symbol depicted what looked to be wings. It was similar to the symbol used for flying but not quite the same.

Below the final line she expected another decorative section, and sure enough, there was a beautiful pattern, however, it didn’t quite look like a rune.

As her eyes swept over it she felt her whole body pulse in a familiar yet foreign barely perceptible rhythm.

“What is this? A magic pattern?” Nelaira’s eyes lit up. Perhaps this was the trigger she needed to use for her to be transported back from where she came from?

Full of hope Nelaira got up, her arms trembling with excitement.

She immediately started to cast that strange magic spell over and over again.

She cast it around herself in the air. Cast it on the stone stele. Cast it everywhere around the shrine.

But no matter how she cast it, nothing happened.

Perhaps it was not a transmutation magic spell so she couldn’t activate it with her mana?

Or perhaps the thing this triggered wasn’t in this shrine at all?

Or maybe she was overthinking it and this wasn’t a magic spell, to begin with.

Dispirited, she once again started inspecting the shrine, hoping she had missed something.

She inspected the pillars one by one, this time carefully examining all the images that were carved into the pillars.

The images seemed to be religious, without any deeper meaning. They mainly showed people worshiping all kinds of different things. Some of them seemed to be worshiping majestic looking humanoid figures that were probably different gods. And then, there were people who were worshiping divine beasts, there was some kind of a big bird and a nine-tailed vulpy.

And then there were people who were worshiping a flower that looked similar to the red flower in this shrine.

In fact, the people in the pictures were worshiping everything and anything that they thought to have divine properties, including divine weapons and relics, and strangely, there was even a group that was worshiping a rock.

Nelaira’s mouth couldn’t help but twitch at that one.

After the artist who decorated the pillars ran out of deities to worship, they started carving various miscellaneous scenes. There were some heartwarming scenes, such as a lovely female, that Nelaira found familiar looking, that was snuggling against an imposing lupax. And then there were some violent scenes, among which there were two in particular that caught Nelaira’s attention.

Author Note

Way back there was a reader on Wattpad that asked me if there is any cultural significance to why bookshops aren’t opened on Sunday. This question released a bomb in my mind that ended up with me renaming the days of the week to give each one a cultural significance.
And there you have it, the new days of the week are Moonday, Visionday, Waveday, Traceday, Lifeday, Fateday, Sunday.

Moonday is the first day of the week, representing the beginning and start of work, while Sunday is the last day of the week, representing the end and resting.
So people don’t work on Sunday because it is a day of rest. Fateday, which is a day before Sunday, is also often used to rest, especially in Aelesia, where Envoy of Fate resides.

The reasons behind the names 5 days that have not been explained will be explained in the future.

Initially, I only intended to change the names of the weekdays after I edit the manuscript of the first book, but then I had to give those names early because of this chapter. Ah well, I guess I’m going to start using the new weekdays now then.

Coming up in the next episode:

Her laughing wouldn’t be considered as sacrilege, right? Surely the gods wouldn’t take it against her?

“Are you lonely too?” She mused under her breath. “Do you miss your lover too?”

There are survivors here! Nelaira’s heart fluttered in excitement.

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