A shiver went down Shin’s spine as he looked around in confusion. His senses were telling him that someone was watching him. After a cursory scan of the room, he saw that nothing was awry and calmed himself.
‘Maybe it was my imagination.’
Currently, the Shrine Maiden was finishing the rites for the last Frie Clan member. After the kid in front of the altar concludes her awakening ceremony, it would be the orphans turn.
“Soon it will be our turn… I’m getting really nervous now…”
“Yeah, there’s something about being the last to go that freaks the hell out of me.”
“It’s like all the pressure is on you.”
“What pressure is there? No one expects much from us anyway. I mean after Ariel, most of them want to get this thing over with.”
“Well, I’m not nervous because of the surroundings. But about what Spirit I would awaken!”
“Ella, you would probably get a plant Spirit like your favourite sister Lily.”
“Hey! Stop that!”
The banter continued is a soft whisper while the Shrine Maiden was finishing up her current ceremony. A short while later, the girl in front of the altar concluded her awakening and happily thanked the Shrine Maiden.
“Okay next. From the orphan division, Emma! Please step forward.”
“Ahh! It’s me first!”
Emma jumped in fright when her name was called. With anxious eyes, she looked at her friends for help.
“You can do it!”
Ella cheered her on.
“Emma, you will probably do better than your sister, so rest assured!”
“Hey! What is that supposed to mean?”
“Didn’t you say before that Emma was the most talented among all of us here? Don’t tell me you didn’t mean it?”
“That’s not what I meant!”
Starting to quarrel again, Ella and Shin threw insults at each other.
“Hehehe… Don’t quarrel too much! Okay, I’m off!”
Emma cheered up instantly and sauntered towards the altar.
Ella, seeing her twin sister walking off with less anxiety, thanked Shin. She knew that Shin’s prior insults were to up the mood of her twin.
“It’s only natural that we help each other, Ella.”
“Hmph, you seem to always know how to cheer Emma up.”
“Of course. We’ve been together for such a long time!”
“Is that so, then how would you cheer me up?”
“That requires the help of Lily. No one else can do that.”
“Is that so?”
Smiling at the coy reply of Shin, Ella felt that even her nervousness was slowly going away. No matter how much she disliked Shin on the surface, Shin was part of the orphans, and that group was the closest thing to family she had.
“Let’s see what Spirit Emma would awaken.”
Shin wordlessly nodded.
Meanwhile, Emma had already knelt in front of the altar and prepared herself for the ceremony.
“Emma, close your eyes and look deep inside you. I will assist you along the way. Don’t be nervous child, I will be with you always.”
The Shrine Maiden repeated her words to Emma as she released a torrent of spiritual power.
“How many times can she do that?”
Shin was amazed. The Shrine Maiden had been gathering massive amounts of spiritual energy and using that to assist in the Spirit Awakening Ceremony for each and every child present. Thus far, she had awakened forty-one children’s spirit, and she still had spare for the orphans.
“As expected of the Clan Master’s best friend… She is even more amazing than the rumours.”
“Do all the higher-ups of the Frie Clan possess this much strength?”
“I doubt it. The Shrine Maiden’s Spirit specialises in awakening Spirits. So I bet she has an ability to quickly restore her spiritual energy.”
“Even so, she is incredible.”
Once the duo finished their conversation, a pale white glow began to shine from inside of Emma.
“Emma, do you see it? Reach for it and grasp it!”
Whispering to Emma in a voice only she could hear, the Shrine Maiden instructed Emma.
With a low shout, Emma reached for the light. Once her hands touched the light, a blurry figure could be seen forming. As the light began to dissipate, the figure became much more clear.
An Ice Bow with a crystalline string lay still on Emma’s hands. As if untouched by any blemish, the bow reflected all light that touched its body, and the string emitted a frosty aura.
“A mutated elemental Spirit!”
The Shrine Maiden gasped. All Spirits had their own elements with the five major branches being Fire, Water, Earth, Wind and Lightning. However, there were occasionally Spirits that take an element mutated from the original elements. The ice bow in Emma’s hands was precisely that. Ariel’s Lava Warhammer could also be considered a variant mutated elemental Spirit.
‘This year’s batch is exceptional. First was Ariel’s triggering of the natural phenomenon. Next is Linus’ Niji Swift. And now this girl with her mutated Ice Bow!’
In all her years as Shrine Maiden, she never had such a crazy Day of Spirits. Of course, the crazier, the better. Having more talents in the Frie Clan is never a bad thing.
“Next, could Ella from the orphans please step forward?”
The Shrine Maiden calmed the shaking Emma and sent her back while calling for the next participant.
“It’s my turn!”
“Hmph! I don’t need luck from you!”
Although she said that, Ella was smirking. Being cared for warmed her heart.
As Ella reached the altar, Emma returned, seemingly tired.
“How do you feel?”
Shin asked the girl who awakened her Spirit seconds ago.
“A little drowsy. It’s as if my perception of the world has increased. The abundance of spiritual energy sure is intoxicating.”
“What do you mean?”
“You will find out in a bit.”
Emma vaguely replied Shin’s question.
“Hmmm… Whatever, look it’s Ella’s turn.”
“Knowing Ella, she would surely get a killer Spirit!”
“I think she might get the same Spirit as you.”
“Since you guys are twins?”
“That doesn’t mean she will have the same Spirit as me!”
“Just guessing! Why are you getting so agitated? Wouldn’t it be nice if the two of you have the same Spirit? That way you would get to train together.”
“Oh! You’re right! That means I should pray that we get the same Spirit!”
With her signature laugh, Emma said a silent prayer before diverting all of her attention to Ella kneeling in front of the altar.
‘She sure is easy to tame…’
Shin thought to himself.