Chapter 11:

Our Lady of Light’s Power [Pt.2]

A Moribund Hero

"Hurry, the sermon's about to begin." A young man knocked Leon's arm as he went past. He was hastily pulling his mother along for the square's center.Bookmark here

Leon gazed further across the crowd to do a deeper scan of the area.Bookmark here

Like most of the outer area buildings, the town square was a collection of weathered bronze walls, iron doors, and silver windows with various digital patterns across the surfaces. A few of the buildings were colossal structures to hold a small population. The main and obvious structure was the pantheon. A square building supported by a solid bronze triangular roof balanced on milky-silver columns. It emitted a faint hum and oily sheen.Bookmark here

"The Eleutherian Council Chambers and Our Lady of Light, High Fane." He noted to himself when he recalled the building information from his knowledge base.Bookmark here

The pantheon building was the High Fane, where Our Lady of Light faction presided and declared the country's common-sense code of conduct. His stored knowledge also hinted that the pantheon was the source of the city's power supply and allowed the virtual reality connections.Bookmark here

His attention was drawn to the polished white marble statue of a benevolent woman in a flowing full-length gown. She had a star crown on her head. Her outstretched left arm was holding a flaming torch. The statue was at the head of a wide podium raised sixty feet, so the population below would have to stare up to see her. It was so spotless, it gleamed proudly before its people below the podium.Bookmark here

"Eleutheria," he whispered aloud.Bookmark here

"Our country's deity." Lucy nodded.Bookmark here

They moved further into the crowd to see what held everyone's attention.Bookmark here

A white-robed woman of importance stood boldly on the podium stage before the statue. An enormous free-floating display screen hovered over her head, so the masses could see privileged close-ups of hers and their deity's face every so often. She was appealing to the eye. Flawless skin with gentle green eyes and a delicate smile of painted red lips. Fine silver earrings dangled from her ears. Her blond hair was demurely styled in a platted bun, with a modest silver version of the deity's crown on her head.Bookmark here

"She's so beautiful." A young girl in the crowd squealed with delight.Bookmark here

"Hush! Our Lady's sister is about to speak," said the adult next to her.Bookmark here

The white-robed woman patiently waited for the crowd's noise to ease into silence. She began her speeches.Bookmark here

"Good people of Scarf City. Our Lady has seen your good deeds. Please accept her praises and love for you all." The white-robed woman stretched her arms before the masses.Bookmark here

Leon frowned, finding her voice charming almost like a charm spell, but not so much that he was enthralled.Bookmark here

A hearty cheer and roar bellowed from beneath the podium when showers of blue light rained upon the crowd.Bookmark here

He felt his blood energy become excited. So much so, that the telltale aches of oxygen deprivation surfaced. He carefully removed two blood capsules, swallowed them, then reset his watch. The good doctor was true to his word; the capsules were effective in replenishing his levels.Bookmark here

"Here." Rabbit slipped an aloe vera leaf into his free palm. He gratefully ate it.Bookmark here

For everyone else in the crowd, it seemed the shower of energy had boosted their vitality. Especially their VR capacity. Leon's glasses were showing full green bars on the charge level, and its storage size had increased by at least half a percent.Bookmark here

Wolf carefully explained that people had bandwidth quotas for their VR CPU, which lasted for a month before being reset. Everyone defaulted to a regular quota for basic impressions and viewings. However, attending sermons by Our Lady of Light faction, sometimes granted boons for premium upgrades; a temporary increase in capacity and additional features otherwise not available on regular consumption.Bookmark here

"So, being here for the sermon has benefits for the VR mode." Leon summed up.Bookmark here

Wolf nodded. "More or less. Most of it is like having a prettier VR face or fancier looking home."Bookmark here

Lucy added that the power was also akin to a trippy pill in low dosages. This happy shower quantity wasn't harmful to human health, per se, but likely would be to someone of his condition. Since it would excite his blood.Bookmark here

Leon nodded and continued to watch the white-robed woman's sermon.Bookmark here

"However! Our blessed divine Anti Pope has noticed more biodefects sneaking into our borders to taint our lands with their magic filth. This must not continue! We must purge our lands from this foul evil. When the GCE lords tricked humanity with their foul medicine, we saw the truth with Our Lady's grace and wisdom. They continue to try and trick us. But I say, they will NOT!"Bookmark here

Heads were nodding, which empowered the woman's voice to be bolder.Bookmark here

"So, I employ each one of you to tell us of anyone who uses magic. Tell us if any of their foul numbers slip into our great realm. Be our eyes for our goddess and be rewarded with her blessings. We must keep our families and friends safe. It's up to us to do this!"Bookmark here

The crowd bellowed with their agreement, cheering on the decree wholeheartedly.Bookmark here

"Magic is a sin! The abomination of mankind. Report a magic-user. Do this for your families to keep everyone safe!" One woman passionately cried out in the crowds.Bookmark here

"Yes! The woman knows. The imperials are villains. They torture their children. Turn man into machines. This is against the will of the gods, of our great goddess. The empire must never set foot here. Together, we can keep our lands free. This is the will of our beloved Anti Pope! The will of Eleutheria! For freedom!" The white-robed woman's preaching continued to incite the crowd's frenzyBookmark here

Leon and Rabbit clung to each other, doing their best to stay inconspicuous.Bookmark here

"Purge the evil!" A man added to the frenzy.Bookmark here

People whipped out their guns and began shooting in the air.Bookmark here

Wolf tapped Leon's shoulder for him to follow. He carefully led them into a quiet and safe corner to speak.Bookmark here

"Who was she?" Leon soberly asked when he felt safe to speak.Bookmark here

"An Ordained Sister for the city's Our Lady of Light order. Lass's role is to speak the will of our Anti Pope and goddess." Wolf informed him.Bookmark here

"Code are her words where the people's hearts follow." Rabbit shivered. "Our kind are a bane to purge, magic or no."Bookmark here

Leon gulped.Bookmark here

She added. "Imperial machinations we are. Bits of a failed machine. The Biodefects. To purge all is to save all. For a sin is a sin, so they believe."Bookmark here

"Let's go," Lucy interjected to stop the conversation and get them moving.Bookmark here

They walked through the quieter lanes and the street edges to avoid attention, especially from the city's guards.Bookmark here

Hungry Sheep
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