A day later, the group finally arrived at the Ellisfell Mountains where the Pantheon of Courage was located. They would need to travel for four more hours to arrive at the temple grounds that were located mid-way through the mountain.
William, who was riding on Ella’s back, took the lead in order to check if there were any hidden dangers along their path. The goats walked behind him, forming two lines, while being vigilant of their surroundings.
“I’ve never seen Angorian Goats this disciplined in my life,” Nana said with admiration. “If this was a week ago and someone were to tell me that Angorian Goats could fend off a Mountain Troll, I would definitely spit on their face.”
“Are Angorian goats really this fierce?” Est inquired. After seeing William battle with his herd, he was very tempted to rear Angorian Goats back at their estate.
“Of course not,” Nana answered firmly. “I have seen many Angorian Goats and all of them were as meek as sheep. The goats under William’s care are quite abnormal, especially the one he calls Mama Ella.”
“Strange.” Est frowned. “During the battle, that goat named Ella took on a different form. She was much larger and more intimidating than her current look. Nana, did you recognize the form she changed into during the battle?”
“Yes.” Nana nodded. “If I’m not mistaken, she took the form of an Angorian War Ibex. In the North of the Kingdom, there is a tribe of warriors that live in the mountain. They are very fierce warriors and the mounts they ride on are the Wild Angorian War Ibexes that live in the great mountains of Kyrintor.
“Those War Ibexes are more fierce, and more deadly than the Warhorses bred for war. Trying to conquer their lands by force will only lead to countless deaths. This is why the King decided to let the mountain tribe retain their autonomy in exchange for an alliance. You can’t imagine how surprised I was when I saw an Angorian War Ibex in the Western Region.”
“Is it perhaps an evolved creature?” Ian asked. “I heard that some creatures can change their appearance once they raise their rank.”
“The possibility exists… No, I think this is the only possibility,” Nana agreed. “From every angle, Ella looks like an ordinary Angorian Goat. it is very possible that…”
Nana’s eyes widened when a realization struck her. She was not the only one. Est, too, thought of the same possibility and it made him look at Nana in disbelief.
“Don’t tell me…” Est swallowed hard. “There’s a possibility that those goats following William will also evolve into War Ibexes?”
Ian and Isaac exchanged a glance. The battle that happened a day ago was still fresh in their minds. They could still remember how Ella fought the mountain troll on even grounds while the other goats attacked from the sides.
The battle back then was a stalemate. However, if all of those goats were to evolve into War Ibexes then the Mountain Troll would have definitely perished then and there!
“Impossible,” Ian immediately refuted. “Very few creatures can evolve and those goats are clearly domesticated animals. I’ve never heard of an Angorian Goat evolving into a War Ibex. Maybe Ella is a War Ibex that was taken from the North. Since William’s Grandpa is a powerful person, getting one isn’t out of the question.”
Isaac nodded at his brother’s conclusion. Even Nana found this explanation very logical. If Angorian Goats could easily evolve into War Ibexes then the Hellan Kingdom would have already had a legion of War Ibexes under its command.
“When we return to the estate, have someone visit Lont,” Est ordered. “We need to learn more about this town that has survived the Beast Tide.”
“Understood.” Nana nodded her head. “Should I also dig into William’s personal information?”
“Yes, but be discreet when doing so. Also, I want you to find out more about William’s Master. The one whom he is bound to as a slave.”
Four hours later, the carriage stopped before the gates of the Pantheon of Courage. The guardsmen guarding the gates told them to disembark because carriages were not allowed inside the temple grounds.
William was worried that the guardsmen wouldn’t allow his herd to enter. Fortunately, the guardsmen didn’t seem to mind and even told the boy that the current Head Priestess that resided within the Pantheon of Courage was very fond of animals, especially goats.
After doing some initial checks, the group was finally allowed to pass through the gates of the temple.
“It’s bigger than I thought,” William said as he gazed at the giant structure in front of him.
Although the temple’s design couldn’t possibly compare to the buildings in the modern world, it still gave William a surreal feeling that made him look at it with admiration.
Suddenly, the main entrance of the temple opened and several priestesses walked out to greet them.
“My name is Sarah and the High Priestess had asked me to welcome all of you, guests that came from afar,” Sarah said with a smile. “All of you, except the goats, may follow me inside the temple.”
Est, and his entourage, followed Sarah as she walked back inside the temple. Another priestess walked towards William and offered to guide him to the stables where the goats could rest and feed while they waited for his return.
“Thank you, Big Sister,” William bowed respectfully. “I’ll accept your offer.”
“Such a cute child,” the priestess smiled and lightly pinched William’s cheeks. “Follow me.”
When they arrived at the stables, William asked Ella to look after the goats while he went inside the temple. According to the priestess, that guided the red-head boy to the stables, William must follow protocol and perform a cleansing ritual before he would be allowed to go into the inner temple to converse with the Gods.
The priestess explained that it would take a whole day for the ritual to complete because it, also, involved a few hours of fasting.
“Mama Ella, take care of everyone for a day or two,” William said as he hugged her neck. “Make sure that they don’t cause troubles for the priestesses of the temple.”
“All of you, make sure to behave, okay?”
After getting his herd’s promise, William followed the priestess towards the temple. The priestess took him to a bathroom where he was supposed to properly clean his body. William took off his clothes and bathed properly.
When he was finished, the priestess gave him a set of clean white robes to wear and guided him to the inner temple where he would begin his fasting.
William sat on a prayer mat while looking at the marble statue of a beautiful knight holding a sword with both hands. Her long hair was tied in a ponytail, and her eyes were filled with mercy and compassion.
William had only just kneeled on the prayer mat for ten minutes when he suddenly felt very sleepy. He tried to fight off the drowsiness, but his eyes grew heavy with each passing second.
‘I guess I’ll take a nap first,’ William thought as he sleepily laid on the prayer mat. A minute later, the red-head boy was sound asleep.
“Ufufufu. Big Brother, if you don’t wake up soon Lily is going to kiss you~”
‘Umm? Lily?’ William’s hazy thoughts slowly cleared up as the familiar voice woke him up from his slumber
“Big Brother, you can keep on sleeping. I promise that Lily will make you feel reaaaaaaaaaaaaly good~”
William opened his eyes just in time to see Lily about to give him a smooch on his lips. If not for the fact that he had seen her true form, he would have gladly accepted the kiss and might have even kissed her back in return.
Unfortunately, what was seen couldn’t be unseen and William hurriedly used his hands to block the loli’s lips from touching his own. 𝓲𝚗𝑛r𝗲a𝒅. 𝓬𝗼ｍ
“Lily, behave yourself,” William said as he pushed the Loli Goddess’ face away from him.
“Che~ Big Brother is so mean,” Lily pouted.
“Wait. Lily?” William’s eyes widened as he looked at the little Goddess in front of him. “What are you doing here? Where am I?”
William scanned his surroundings and found himself floating in space surrounded by countless stars.
“This is the place where Gods talk to their believers,” Lily explained. “You can even say that this place is the boundary between life and death. I believe that you call this place ‘Limbo’ back on Earth.”
“Um? A place where Gods talk to their believers?” William frowned. “If that is the case then why is Gavin not here?”
Lily’s pout increased by a notch and her fingers moved at lightning speed to pinch Wiliam’s waist.
William screamed like a little girl because Lily didn’t hold back when she pinched him. It made the young boy realize that he wasn’t dreaming and the loli in front of his eyes was real.
“Big Brother, you’re so mean. Does this mean you don’t want to see Lily?” Lily narrowed her gaze.
William could tell that if he gave her the wrong answer, another round of pinching would take place.
“O-Of course, I wanted to see you,” William replied.
William wasn’t lying when he answered this question. Although Lily’s true form looked like an old midget, the Loli Goddess had treated him well during his stay at the Temple of Ten Thousand Gods. If William were to look past her appearance, Lily was someone whom he could get along with really well.
“Really? You wanted to see Lily?”
“Yay!” The Loli Goddess jumped and hugged William’s waist. She then looked up at William with upturned eyes looking all cute and loveable. “Gavin will be here shortly. He is just handling a few matters with Issei and David, so they asked me to come and meet you here first.”
“I see.” William sighed and steeled his heart. Deep inside, he wanted to accept Lily regardless of how she really looked.
He then took the initiative to pat the Loli Goddess’ head which made her close her eyes like a satisfied kitten. William continued to brush her hair for two minutes. A few seconds later, he heard a sigh coming from the Loli Goddess.
“Big Brother, you are really kind,” Lily muttered as she lightly pushed William away.
“Let’s sit down first and have a chat. I’m sure that Big Brother has a lot of questions to ask Lily.”
As soon as she said those words, a dining table appeared in front of William. Several dishes were laid on top of the table and all of them looked delicious.
“Let’s talk as we eat, Big Brother.” Lily made a gesture for William to sit.
William obediently accepted her invitation and sat on the chair facing Lily.
“Aren’t you going to eat?” Lily asked.
“Let’s wait for the others to arrive,” William replied. “It would be more fun if we eat as a group.”
Lily gave William a sweet smile that made his heart skip a beat.
“Big Brother, Lily wants to ask you a question.”
“Go ahead. As long as it’s not Math I’m confident that I can give you the right answer.”
Lily chuckled as she rested her chin on the back of her hand. She then looked at William with her adorable, bright, red eyes. She wanted to ask him the question that had been plaguing her mind ever since William had accidentally entered the red portal due to Truck-Kun’s interference in the Cycle of Reincarnation.
“Big Brother, are you happy with your current life?”
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