Chapter 38 – Twilight Temple (2)
He wasn’t fully asleep.
Hyun’s consciousness stopped at the boundary between dream and reality.
Hyun became surprised after turning around.
All the people that had been present in the temple had disappeared.
The whole world was dyed red by the sunset.
Hyun looked at the sun rays that came through the window.
The of the sun was black.
“What is this place…?!”
He almost thought that he was on another world… Or another planet.
Even he, who had eight years of experience, had never known that a place like that existed.
The priestess kept talking while looking at Hyun, who was looking around.
“I just told you the story of the priest that prayed, right? The secret that nobody knows is that he didn’t serve angels… He served demons.”
“What does that mean…?”
“While praying to the demons, his Empathy reached them. He crossed the borders of consciousness and entered a world closer to the demons. Everything in this world is symmetrical. If there’s a place close to the angels, there’s one close to the demons. This place is parallel to reality.”
Hyun couldn’t easily trust what the priestess was saying.
“That’s right… This place is closer to hell rather than heaven, and that’s why the prayers reached the demons!”
Hyun looked around.
The temple was completely destroyed, and the forest had disappeared.
The sun shone with a black light, and the scenery was tainted red.
It was as if a filter called apocalypse had been applied.
“A parallel world…”
Hyun groaned while murmuring.
After that, he walked for a while but couldn’t find any animal that was alive.
From time to time, he saw unidentifiable life forms moving.
Was that a demon?
Since the place was close to hell, it wouldn’t be weird to think that demons existed there.
“We can go back, right?”
As the female priestess finished speaking, lightning struck inside Hyun’s brain.
His consciousness began to ascend.
—He could again hear the birds singing.
Instead of an ominous sunset, bright sunlight illuminated the temple.
It took him some time to come back to his senses.
“Just now… How?”
“It’s possible if you learn how to pray! Are you interested?”
As soon as she asked that question, Hyun nodded.
What had just happened had left a huge impression on him.
Hyun still couldn’t easily believe what the priestess had said.
—But he couldn’t say anything since he had seen it with his own eyes.
He was surprised that there was a place he hadn’t heard about, but on the other hand, he was excited.
A parallel world.
Why was it that no one knew about that place in Asra Online?
There was something Hyun had wondered from the moment he began playing that game.
—Was Asrian Online a perfect re-creation of Asra Online?
He could understand it if that ‘parallel space’ was a place newly added on Asrian Online.
—Although he didn’t get why they had added the place.
‘I’m glad I came here.’
Was that the reason the message had asked him to go to the ‘Twilight Temple’?
To make him, the Support, learn how to pray?
He could understand why they had asked him to go to a determined place if that was the reason.
—To teach him the relationship between Empathy and praying.
Maybe it wasn’t a coincidence that he had met the female priest.
He didn’t think that she, who could travel through different spaces, was an average priest.
“Me? I’m just a normal priestess.”
She didn’t answer properly.
‘Is she hiding her real identity on purpose?’
There was no way to reveal it if she wanted to hide it.
Since it seemed that Hyun had made up his mind, the priestess smiled.
It was by far one of the most useless skills.
Even most users that had chosen jobs related to a priest didn’t learn how to pray.
That’s why what the female priestess said sounded so different.
“The truth is that even among priests, there aren’t many people that know how to pray properly. That’s why it will take some time to learn it properly.”
[You’re learning the principles of the ‘pray’ skill!]
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“Praying is a skill that uses Empathy. It’s important to empty your consciousness but not fall too deep into the subconsciousness!”
The voice of the priestess sluggishly entered his ears as if it were some kind of religious chanting.
To be honest, Hyun couldn’t understand most of what she was saying.
Hyun felt that the more he concentrated, the faster the skill’s progress rate would go up, so he tried to retain as many things as possible.
While hearing her explanation, he naturally started to understand how Praying worked.
<Your sincere prayer will reach the Transcendent! Pray from anywhere you can!>
– Your mind will become clearer.
[This skill increases with proficiency rather than points!]
“Oof… This is all I can teach you.”
The female priestess seemed satisfied by looking at Hyun, who had learned to pray.
Thanks to her, he had obtained more information about the Support job and Empathy.
Leaving aside the first impression, she seemed to be a surprisingly good priestess.
Before he left, the priestess told him one more thing.
“If you want to increase your praying proficiency faster, you should use the temple’s chapel!”
The priestess kindly lead Hyun to the chapel.
Unlike the clean outer appearance, the chapel resembled an old medieval building.
Whether it was because the place was old or it wasn’t time to pray, there wasn’t anyone there.
As soon as she left, Hyun tried to use the skill he had just learned.
‘How did she tell me to do it…?’
He slowly tried to remember what she had told him.
Since Asrian Online used real brain waves, some skills required the user to understand how it worked.
Hyun closed his eyes.
He tried to get his consciousness to a near-sleep state.
—He had to avoid falling asleep.
That way of doing it was what the priestess called the ‘proper way of praying.’
According to her, most priests weren’t able to do it.
‘Damn, it’s hard.’
Hyun discovered that the praying skill was surprisingly hard to learn.
In Asra Online, everything related to skills could be solved by pressing a button.
But in Asrian, which used brain waves, even though they were the same skills, it was harder to learn.
Trying to remain in a near-sleep state… He never thought that the way to use prayer would be so ambiguous.
—He fell asleep by mistake a few times.
He couldn’t concentrate because his consciousness floated to the surface whenever he tried to do it.
[The skill’s proficiency has reached 100%!]
[‘Pray’ has reached level 1!]
‘Oh, the proficiency definitely goes up very fast.’
He achieved the first level up after 10 minutes.
He wasn’t sure if the chapel made it easier or if it was because he was doing it properly, but the leveling up speed was really fast.
Hyun didn’t stop praying.
Translator – Daniel Shin
Proofreader – ilafy
* * *
Now that he had gotten a grasp on how to do it, he planned to increase its level as much as possible.
He thought maybe he would have some special merits to praying thanks to his high Empathy stat.
‘She told me to emphasize with a Transcendant’s presence. Right?’
He tried to remember the priestess’s teachings again.
—Emptying the mind and accepting the waves of the air.
The traces of the Transcendent could be found in everything around the world.
The people who pray try to resonate with that and sympathize with the will of the Transcendent.
—That was why Pray was more effective the more Empathy you had.
Hyun, who was praying, frowned.
He suddenly began feeling stuffy.
He was having a hard time breathing.
He wondered if he should stop praying but decided to keep going.
[The skill’s proficiency has reached 100%!]
[’Pray’ has reached level 2!]
He suddenly got those messages.
Only a few minutes had passed, yet he had leveled up the skill again.
Hyun had decided to resist if he felt a sudden discomfort while praying.
‘Wait, what’s happening?’
Suddenly, Hyun’s shoulders began moving up and down.
His body was shaking on its own.
Anxiety was added on top of the stuffy feeling.
He was so surprised that he stopped praying.
‘Is this normal?’
At first, he thought that there was something wrong with his capsule.
But it didn’t matter how hard he tried… He couldn’t find an answer.
He opened his status window and gulped.
It hadn’t been that long since he had reached level 2, but the proficiency bar was already at 30%.
Hyun tried praying again.
He wanted to know what that feeling he had just felt was.
When he closed his eyes and tried to calm down, he felt as if his body was slowly being tightened.
That suffocating feeling once again became anxiety and fear.
—But he didn’t stop praying.
What was going to happen?
[You’re sympathizing with a Transcendent that’s near!]
Although a system message had appeared, Hyun couldn’t see it since he had his eyes closed.
Suddenly, Hyun was walking somewhere while praying.
Just like a sleepwalker, he was walking through the temple with his eyes closed.
He didn’t know the destination.
He just walked to where his feet were taking him.
A strange feeling stirred his heart as he got closer to a certain place.
Hyun opened his eyes after he opened a door and entered a room.
—He opened his eyes at the same time he stopped praying.
At that moment, his weird emotions disappeared, and his body stopped shaking.
It was a room he had never been to.
It was full of dust.
It looked older and shabbier than the chapel.
It was like a neat, spacious warehouse.
Hyun turned his head around and looked at one side of the room.
In the corner of the room, he saw a chair.
A small kid was sitting on top of it.
‘Who is she?’
Hyun looked at her again.
She seemed to be around 10 years old—she looked like a third-grader.
Even though her clothes were torn apart in some parts, they were quite luxurious.
But that place was an empty warehouse; it wasn’t a place where a kid should be.
Was she maybe an apprentice priestess who had escaped from lessons?
He thought so at first, but soon he discovered that he had made the wrong assumption.
Two chains tied to the chair were restraining both of the girl’s legs.
It was as if she was a prisoner.
Their eyes met, and the girls made a short exclamation.
Hyun flinched a little bit. The reason was that the girl’s gaze was out of focus.
A lot of different thoughts crossed through Hyun’s mind.
‘Who is she? Why did they leave this kid here tied up to a chair?’
‘And how did I get to this place?’
Hyun kept looking at the girl for a while, but she didn’t say anything else.
She just looked at Hyun with a blurred gaze.
Suddenly, the sound of the door opening echoed through the space.
Hyun reacted fast.
He subconsciously threw his body to the side of the room and hid behind a column.
He peeked while trying to hold his breath.
Tap, tap, the sounds of the footsteps were getting closer to where the girl was tied up.
Soon, he saw who they were.
The two men were priests.
They were wearing normal priest uniforms…
But their actions weren’t normal at all.
They stood in front of the girl and began talking to each other.
They put a wand in front of the head of the little girl, and Whap! a dark green cloud covered the girl’s body.
Ah…! Hyun almost spoke out loud. He knew what magic the man was using.
It was a mental status interfering skill.
Then a lot of different magics began activating.
Hyun knew most of them just by seeing their effects.
Then he noticed something.
‘There’s a magic circle!’
Various patterns were surrounding the kid.
He hadn’t noticed it before because the magic circle only began emitting light once the priest activated his magic.
Whir- Whir- The magic circle resonated while making an unpleasant noise.
‘Were they applying all these to that little kid?’
She clearly wasn’t there out of her own volition.
You could see that by her groaning in pain from the priest’s magic.
Hyun’s heart began beating faster than ever.
A virtual reality that’s very close to real life…
Even if it was a game, seeing a little girl cry in pain gave him a bad sensation,
Hyun’s breathing became slower.