Silence reigned within the forest.
All the elves had surprisingly unanimous expressions as they stood dumbfounded, their dull eyes staring blankly at the unbelievable, fantasy-esque scene that unfolded before them.
Who am I?
Where am I?
What am I doing?
Only these three profound philosophical questions lingered in their minds, as everything that made sense had seemingly crumbled in an instant.
The two humongous Destructive-rank beasts had turned into helpless little kittens and were crawling about meekly.
The ravaging blaze that devoured the forest and everything in its path had also instantly vanished.
Most freakish was the transformation of dead trees and scorched earth back into the initial lush and fertile environment. It was as if someone had removed a canvas of ruins over the initial appearance of the landscape; the past was all an illusion and the present was actual reality.
They were now doubting their entire elven lives, for their perception of everything seemed to have been thrown out the window.
However, this couldn't possibly be an illusion because the injuries they sustained as well as the Elder Sign marking their clothes were still present.
After a brief moment of silence, a chaotic commotion followed.
“What… what happened?"
"Is it Lady Silver's arrival?"
"It's a miracle!"
"Hahahahaha, eternal glory to the Iris!"
“Did-did you all hear… hear something just now?”
“Yes! Yes! I think there was a hard-to-describe sound coming from the direction of the High Priestess. It was… muffled and unclear. It sounded like someone speaking or maybe it was the overlapping of many voices. I get a splitting headache whenever I attempt to make out the message but I just could not resist trying to…”
“That magnitude of strength is unnerving. Could it be the work of a Supreme-rank?”
“No, I’m afraid it’s beyond that…”
Scattered conversations like these broke out within the ranks of the elves.
The alarmed elders at the altar came out to survey the surroundings in bewilderment, wondering to themselves if they had been dreaming.
With a complicated look on her face, Doris surveyed her clansmen who were all busy in discussion. Currently, she could no longer detect Lin Jie's presence.
He had probably done what he felt was necessary and wasn't willing to engage in any additional interactions, displaying the typical caprice of those sorts of higher beings.
But just like before, she could still feel a gaze on her.
This let her know that the mysterious bookstore owner hadn't left yet.
God said, let there be light.
And there was light.
Out of the blue, these words appeared in Doris' mind.
Staring at the forest which had regained its usual tranquility, Doris listened to the orchestra of nature; a euphony of bird song, insect chirps, and leaves rustling. She could still feel the searing heat lingering in the night breeze as she struggled to calm herself down.
This is already a miracle…
"Is he really Lady Silver's Blessed One?"
Doris also had doubts when she had first paid a visit to Lin Jie at the bookstore.
Back then, she was dubious of his legitimacy as a businessman and was worried that he would rip her off with counterfeit or shoddy goods.
But now, she even felt that Lin Jie might even be an entity similar in status to Lady Silver who had been hidden away in history.
After a moment's hesitation, Doris looked in the direction of where the gaze was coming from, with the intention of expressing her gratitude in words.
However, she was interrupted by an approaching elder.
The feeling of being watched disappeared at this instance. This time, it was truly gone.
“What exactly happened here, High Priestess?”
All the other elves fell silent when this question was asked.
They too were all eager to know what had just transpired.
Doris took a deep breath, recollecting her thoughts and composure. With the air of a High Priestess, she proclaimed, "The great Lady Silver who controls snow and ice has descended from her dream realm and has favored the one chosen by the stars."
She suppressed whatever other thoughts she had running through her mind.
Regardless of what level of existence the Blessed One was, since he had been willing to save them, it meant that he was willing to help the Iris Clan.
This was the only way for her clan to survive on!
They needed to cling on to it tightly!
“Previously, he handed us the Elder Seal to resist the dream realm. Just as the Primordial Witches built the high wall to isolate the dream realm, the Elder Sign prevents us from being harmed by dream beasts.”
The elves listened intently, and the words of their High Priestess made it seem as though they could feel the will of the Primordial Witches.
Yes, it all felt like history was repeating itself.
In the past, the Primordial Witches isolated the dream realm beyond the high wall. Today, the dream beasts were being expelled by the Elder Sign.
“As of now, he is here by our side…”
A commotion started stirring among the elves when this was said.
An elder asked with a trembling voice, “All that happened just now, was it the power of the great Blessed One?"
Doris paused. Then, to her surprise, she noticed that the iris flower on the top of her scepter started to emit a faint glow as a second iris flower bloomed, followed by a third...
The flowers swayed in rhythm with the wind as though Lady Silver was encouraging and approving of her words.
The elves watched this scene with excitement.
Doris shut her eyes. With this 'Predictive' omen appearing, she exclaimed involuntarily, “It is him, who extinguished the catastrophic fire and restored the light of life. Protecting all believers and holding the key to all knowledge. He, who holds the power of time and space in his hands and capable of transcending the boundary between life and death.
“His name is unknown and he isn't the blessed one chosen by the stars. Rather, he is the shepherd that has been tending to successive generations of stars."
As she recited, shadows on the ground started dancing as though something was being awakened.
Elven shrieks of alarm rang out.
“Priscilla… a-aren’t you dead?!”
The elves had just emerged from within the forest, seemed equally puzzled. “I don't know either... I remember perishing in battle, but I don't know what happened next and I suddenly regained consciousness out of nowhere..."
"That's wonderful! It's surely the doing of the great Blessed One. He answered the High Priestess' prayers and resurrected all of you!"
Doris’s eyes widened in shock and disbelief.
Shepherd... of the Stars.
She was probably the only one who knew how much this conversation had elevated the status of the bookstore owner.
The elven High Priestess stared at her returning clansmen, no longer capable of comprehending the logic behind all of it... She was astute enough to realize that digging any further would lead her to uncover things that she shouldn't.
The more she knew, the more dangerous it would be.
Thereupon, she broke into a gratified smile and joined in the jubilation of her clansmen in a bid to invigorate their morale.
“I will visit the bookstore again soon. I’m sure that I will be able to gain Lady Silver's recognition this time.
“For now, we will have to reorganize ourselves first…”
Doris instructed everyone to perform their duties duly. However, when she returned back to the altar to inspect the elven clan’s stronghold, she stopped in her tracks.
The various shadows on the ground had stopped dancing and had gradually settled themselves into what seemed like the strokes of handwritten characters.
Lin Jie sat upright on his bed and rose for a stretch before admiring the warm, radiant sunshine from the window.
His mood for the day seemed to brighten up.
He stroked his chin with a grin and muttered, “A nightmare turned into a pleasant dream. Doris must be really happy."