Nathan and the young man arrived at the Village Hall.
It was a two-story building made up of wood and stone.
'His stats seem to be average…'
On their way here, Nathan was observing the young man.
One of the things he did was increase his speed only a little bit -- he didn't want to tear his sacks and end up wasting precious time picking the nuclei.
Nevertheless, it showed that the young man moved like a normal human.
'But I can't be sure yet. After all, some of them are capable of creating things using the nuclei…'
"This is the Village Hall. Come," said the young man as he made his way to the entrance.
Nathan followed suit.
"By the way, you're really strong. Despite having carrying those things, you can still move normally and fast. If I had even half of your strength, I would leave this village and travel around the world or perhaps even participate in the Holy Night Ceremony as well."
'Travel around the world? I wonder what type of monsters or magical beings outside of this village. Also, he would participate in the Holy Night Festival? Does that mean it's safe? But thinking about what happened earlier…' Nathan thought. "It's nothing --"
"There's one more traveling mercenary left?" It was a woman's voice.
"G-Good evening, Priestess," said the young man as he quickly offered a bow and his cheeks blushed.
'Priestess?' Nathan looked at the woman referred to as Priestess.
It was a beautiful and pure-looking Caucasian woman with red hair and eyes and looked like she was still about 16 years old.
She was wearing a crown made of white flowers, a long white robe that covered her entire body and touched the ground with intricate golden symbols and patterns embroiled on it, and gold pieces of jewelry.
Some of the symbols Nathan couldn't make out of, while the others represented the shape of leaves and feathers.
"You should thank God that I was ordered by the High Priestess to return here and pick something up. No one is left here inside the Village Hall. Everyone, the Village Chief, the other priestesses and elders, all went to the Holy Temple to conduct the ceremony. Follow me right away for the marking."
"Wait. What --" Nathan was about to ask some questions regarding the ceremony but after thinking about the warning from the System earlier, he decided not to and just followed the woman to one of the rooms.
"I'll just wait here," said the young man and waited at the hall.
Nathan was brought to this spacious room. In the middle, there was a white orb sitting on top of the pedestal that was about 4ft high.
"Place your hand on the orb."
Nathan put down the two large sacks of nuclei on his left hand touched the white orb.
The moment he touched the white orb, it shined brightly with this blinding golden light.
He also felt this intense burn on the back of his hand.
Seeing the golden light, a warm glint flickered on the priestess' eyes.
"Ugh!" Although Nathan was stronger compared to non-Chosen humans, especially for those who didn't even increase their level, his sense of pain was still no different from every other human.
He tried to pull his hand away from the orb, but he couldn't.
'What the hell is happening?!'
The orb continued to shine and the back of his hand continued to burn.
The process lasted about 5 seconds when the light emitted by the orb dimmed down until it returned to its previous state, the burning sensation vanished, and his hand free.
"What the fuck was that?!" Nathan shot an angry gaze at the priestess.
The priestess offered a deep bow.
"Please forgive me, oh powerful one. I didn't know you were a Chosen One."
'These people are aware of Chosen Ones?' Nathan squinted his eyes. "What do you mean?"
"The orb will only emit a golden light if the traveling mercenary is Chosen One. To those who aren't, the orb will emit a white light."
"And what about this?" Nathan pulled out the glove of his left hand and showed the golden mark printed on the back of his hand.
The golden marking was a pentagram of some sort with some strange symbols that Nathan had no idea about.
Truth be told, he felt like an animal being branded for some sacrifice.
"That's a marking from God, showing that He has granted you His divine blessing to enter the portal at the Holy Night Ceremony."
'Blessing?' Nathan scoffed. "What if --" He was about to ask what if he entered the portal without having this mark or what if he refused to enter the portal but was afraid it was against the rules. "Tell me about the rules and where can I trade the nuclei I brought."
The priestess looked at the two large sacks on the floor. One of the reasons why they, the villagers, looked forward to the Holy Night Festival was because of the nuclei that were an important tool in their everyday life.
"The rules are simple. Killing, stealing, using of magic with the intent of causing harm, and causing chaos within the village is prohibited and punishable by death. Also, now that you've received God's blessing, you have no choice but to enter the portal or you will face the wrath of God. As for the nuclei…"
"Wait! Wrath of God? What the -- You didn't --"
The priestess pulled out a ring from her finger and gave it to Nathan.
"Take this ring. The ceremony will start in about 15 minutes from now so the people in this village are heading to the Holy Temple to attend the Holy Night Ceremony, which includes the shop owners so no shops will be opened until the ceremony ends. I will try to ask the High Priestess to delay the ceremony for 10 minutes. That ring represents us, the Priestesses, so the shop owners will have no choice but to open their shops for you."
'I've been duped…' Nathan frowned as he held the ring on his palm. It was an ordinary golden ring with an insignia in the form of a feather imprinted on it.
The look on the priestess was so sincere that it didn't look like she was lying about facing the wrath of the so-called god she was referring to.
'Looks like I have no choice but to enter the portal, huh,' Nathan thought. "I didn't catch your name."
"When we joined the Priestesses, part of our vow is to discard our name in honor of our God. You may refer to me as Priestess, oh Chosen One."
The Priestess bowed once more.
"Sure, sure. Whatever."
Nathan didn't mind the respect, but he felt a bit weirded out from being called "oh Chosen One". Even with his petty pride and all, it seems a bit too cheesy for him.
He picked up his two large sacks of nuclei before going out of the room while the priestess followed from behind.
When he got outside of the room, the young man was still waiting at the hall.
"I will be going now. May God bless you in the Holy Night Ceremony, oh Chosen One," said the priestess before leaving Nathan and the young man.
"What are the shops here that are vital to the traveling mercenaries who are about to enter the portal?" Nathan said to the young man.
Given that he had so little limited time left, despite the fact he still had so many things to ask and investigate, he decided to ask right away about the vital shops that could help traveling mercenaries before entering the portal.
"Umm… There's the Blacksmith Shop, Item Shop, Magic Shop and the Tavern. They're just right outside of the Village Hall."
"Show me the way."
The young man brought Nathan to the Magic Shop first.
When they got there, there was a skinny old man and a young kid already preparing to close down the shop to attend the ceremony at the Holy Temple.
The old man noticed Nathan and the young man.
"I'm sorry, but I'm already closing to attend the ceremony."
Nathan took out the ring and showed it to the old man.
The old man looked at the ring and recognized the insignia.
"Forgive me for my transgression. Please enter my humble shop, Great Chosen One."
'Heh~ This ring is that effective? Plus, it seems people have high respect for Chosen Ones. I must admit, I kind of like them compared to the ones outside of the Divine Tower who think they're my equal.' Nathan thought as he entered.
Meanwhile, the young man who was acting as Nathan's guide was wide-eyed from the revelation.
Not only did the priestess gave Nathan her ring, but Nathan was also a Chosen One.
As for the reason why the magic shop owner knew Nathan was a Chosen One, it was really simple. The Priestess will only give special privileges to such beings.
The young man has heard stories about the Chosen Ones among the traveling mercenaries before.
According to what he has heard, their overall stats are higher compared to the ordinary traveling mercenaries. Moreover, although they only had one skill, each of their skill is unique. And in most cases, almost cheat-like so they usually have a lot of nuclei to spend on.
And given that nuclei are an important tool they use in their everyday lives, in the eyes of the people especially for the business owners who cater to traveling mercenaries' necessities, the Chosen Ones are viewed as the best customers.
'I should've realized he was a Chosen One right away when he was carrying those two large sacks filled with nuclei…' The young man thought.
The place was filled with books placed on shelves.
"Please have a look at our collection of spellbooks."
Nathan abruptly stopped and looked at the old man.
"Spellbooks? You only have spellbooks here and nothing else?"
"Yes, Great Chosen One. This is a magic shop after all. But the spell books that I offer are useful for your companions --"
"Use--" Nathan was about to curse before realizing something. "Hmm… Given that you know I'm a Chosen One, do you know a way that I can learn skills or upgrade my Chosen One skill?"
"As far as I know, it's not possible. However, the world is full of mysteries so there could be a way that I'm not aware of."
"Useless!" Nathan said as he stormed out of the shop.
"Thank you for gracing my humble shop with your presence, oh Great Chosen One!" The old man said with sincerity and offered a bow to Nathan.
"Thank you!" The young kid who worked at the magic shop offered a bow as well.
"Is that the Blacksmith Shop?" Nathan asked the young man.
"You're one of the Chosen Ones? Wow. May I --"
"Not now, I don't have much time!"
"I'm very sorry. Yes, it is, Great Chosen One."
When they got to the shop, it was the same as the Magic Shop.
The shop owner, who was an old man with a robust body, and a young man who looked like his son were closing the shop to attend the ceremony.
The son noticed Nathan and the young man approaching.
"I'm here to check your shop." Nathan flashed the ring right away.
"We're closed already. Go away!"
"Do you see this ring?"
The son looked at the ring on and recognized the insignia.
His eyes widened and he ran to his father.
Nathan stepped inside the Blacksmith Shop right away.
There were medieval-type weapons and equipment displayed around the shop.
He approached one of the items and touched it.
'[Grade D]… [Unawakened]… What?'
He touched another item.
'[Grade D]… [Unawakened]…'
He touched another item.
It was also [Grade D] and [Unawakened].
'What the fuck is this shit?'
"Great Chosen One, how may I be of service?" It was the owner of the shop.
I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter. Thank you for reading!
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