In any society, it seems that there’s various different rites of passage.
I’m at the head temple of the Ar Xia church, the Great Shrine of Misorua, which basically surrounds the royal palace here in the royal capital. I’ve been kneeling in the dark for some time, thinking about various things instead of the confession I’m supposed to be doing.
In the Arxia Kingdom, this is a rite of passage for seven year olds, a turning point in one’s life. This is also the age at which one can be punished for one’s own crimes under the law. Meaning, I’m supposed to make an oath to follow the laws of Xia for the rest of my life, and I shall take the responsibility for being punished in accordance with the law if I break any laws.
While commoner children can just go to wherever the closest church is and listen to a recitation of the contents of the Sacred Code, it’s different for nobles.
I had to schedule a date beforehand with the Great Shrine of Misorua for the ritual, and perform a purification ceremony by myself in a dark room by confessing for half a day. After that, I have to recite a passage from the Sacred Code, and swear to protect and uphold the law in front of the god Misorua and the priests.
At the same time, this ritual is also meant to formally induct me as a member of the Ar Xia church.
Before seven, I’m only considered an interim member. Well, there’s a very high proportion of children that die before reaching seven, and children aren’t considered to know right from wrong here until they’re seven years old.
Thanks to various detailed memories from my previous life, I felt like everything religion related seemed really shady, and I didn’t believe in it at all. Spending half a day shut inside a dark room, I found this confession thing to be rather ridiculous, and I merely remained here in silence.
Whether or not the god Misorua exists, I don’t care either way at all. Even if I belong to the Ar Xia church, whether or not I really believe in what they preach isn’t important at all. What’s important is keeping up appearances and going along with society.
Six months ago, when I kept sleeping constantly for an entire month, I kept dreaming about things from my previous life.
I recalled many things that I had once forgotten. But, rather than feeling like it was something that happened to myself in the past, it felt more like I was reading a book with someone else as the protagonist, or maybe a ghost whispering information to me.
I’m currently Eliza Kaldia from the Arxia Kingdom, not a young girl that used to live in Japan.
In the darkness, although I took a pious pose of reflecting on my past sins, I mostly spent the time saying my farewells to and making a break from my past life.
After the time allotted for confession finally finished, I looked around the main hall of the Great Shrine for a while. My guardian, Earl Terejia had come along with me to the Great Shrine, but he has his uses.
We’re finally supposed to be able to invite a bishop that can hold church rituals to my domain. To keep track of the bishop’s movements, for the necessary paperwork, and the conditions that would need to be agreed on, this is where the earl comes in. By the way, although the term bishop reminded me of high-ranking clergymen from my past life, here in Arxia it just refers to a much more general educator. Bishops are responsible for teaching reading and writing.
A priest guided me into the shrine’s main hall. When I entered, I was struck by the extravagance and magnificence of what was before me. There were exquisite stone sculptures of unrivaled craftsmanship on wooden pedestals and there was also two fountains of flowing water by the main platform. The ceiling had large panes of stained glass in flower shapes, giving the inside of the church an amazing array of colors.
On top of the a main platform was an altar to honor the remains of St. Ahar, and even more surprisingly there was a spring coming from it. The water flowing from it was enclosed by a circle of stones, and a coffin was placed in the center.
“It’s amazing, isn’t it.”
The priest guiding me seemed to be quite proud of it all. I could only nod in agreement. Seeing such beautiful construction, I haven’t ever seen anything like this even in my previous life.
I finally looked away from all the splendor, and started focusing on the priests here. The priest next to me watched me in silence. It feels like he might watch me like this for quite a while, to the point of boredom.
Then, as I looked around at the fine details of the craftsmanship on the ceiling and floor, I heard a voice from behind me.
“Oh my, aren’t you…… the Kaldia girl?”
It was a voice that sounded neither young nor old, neither male or female, a very mysterious voice. It sounded familiar. When I turned around, it was a person dressed in white priestly garments.
“It seems that you’re about to swear your oath. Although, you have quite a terrible expression for someone going through their purification ceremony and confession……”
This is the priest that presided over my birthday celebration last spring, Faris had an ambiguous smile. Although I haven’t seen Faris in over a year, there’s no change in Faris’s appearance, and my cheek involuntarily twitched at this priest’s appearance.
“……Well, I guess it’s because you have to shoulder such a terrible burden when you’re still so young.”
Is something funny about all this, that you’re making snarky comments, and don’t touch my shoulder like that without permission.
This enigmatic priest, I can’t tell what he or she is thinking at all, yet somehow Faris always seems like he or she can see straight into my heart, I felt extremely unsettled.
“Head Priest-sama, please don’t tease Viscountess Kaldia so much……”
The priest guiding me remonstrated Faris. Priest Faris shrugged lightly, and headed for the altar.