Chapter 417 – Gaia (2)
The dazzling light of dawn was so bright that it seemed like opening her eyes wouldn’t be an easy task.
Sarah was involuntarily covering her face.
Even so, the light penetrated between her arms and shone on her face, and the warmth was something she had never experienced before.
[Open your eyes.]
A voice came.
[You deserve it.]
At the same time, Sarah slowly opened her eyes.
It was still bright, but somehow the glare from earlier was no longer there.
It was a strange yet addictive sensation.
Sarah couldn’t understand what was happening, but following the words of the voice, she lowered her hand first.
And then she could see it.
What the world illuminated by dawn looked like.
She was standing on the edge of a cliff.
It was a dizzying height, as if she could fall at any moment, but she was so overtaken by the overwhelming sight that she couldn’t think of fear.
A land of pure white clouds stretched up in front of her.
A feast of light poured in between them.
There were numerous rainbows in the blue sky, and huge birds entwined in flames were roaming there.
It was a beautiful world that could only be seen in children’s books.
However, even such a world was completely covered by one being.
The being was floating in the sky, about ten kilometers away from the cliff.
She was in a white dress that was gently fluttering.
Her blonde hair was slightly curled with a faint sheen, and her pale skin and green eyes seemed to reflect her mysterious nature.
She was already shocked by the appearance of the High Elves.
She was even more shocked that this beautiful creature existed.
So what was this being?
She wondered if all the beauty in this world might have originated from this person.
She had heard of such things before.
All races, including humans, were said to be created in the image of God.
Then, wasn’t that existence the true source then?
She opened her mouth.
[It took you a lot of hard work to get here.]
Hearing that voice, Sarah felt like she would melt.
It was like she’d become addicted.
[I am Gaia.
The Mother Goddess of this land.]
The owner of this land.
Sarah involuntarily tried to bow her head, but something felt strange.
Why would she want to pray to Gaia?
Suddenly, that thought passed through her head, and as that thought passed, she stood still in an awkward posture, as if her body were stiff.
Then, in a hurry, she began to touch her face and arms.
Fortunately, after confirming that everything was fine, she asked Gaia with an absurd look on her face,
“What have you done to me?”
In an instant, it felt like the presence of Gaia had pierced deep into her heart, and she gave strength to herself.
She didn’t realize why she was feeling this way, but she suddenly thought that if she didn’t notice the strange action she was doing, she would become a slave.
Instead of answering, Gaia mumbled with a satisfied smile,
[You are indeed someone who has passed the trial, and you deserve to stand in front of me.]
“What the hell….”
Sarah staggered a little from the sudden dizziness she felt.
It seemed like there had been a huge blow to her head.
She felt something cold run down her nose, and when she touched it with the back of her hand, it was stained with blood.
[All things on this land bow their heads to me.
It is the unavoidable essence of this world, an instinctive act for the Creator.]
“Then what I was about to do….”
[Was a natural action.]
If others heard it, they would call it absurd, but even such a person would act the same and bow to Gaia.
Because she was the mother of all things, the one who created the planet Bless and gave birth to all nature and life that lived on this land.
Everything born under her would fall in love with her, the Mother Goddess, the absolute.
Actually, Sarah was a bit shocked, but she didn’t have any bad feelings toward Gaia.
She was embarrassed, but she only had good feelings for the Creator.
[So those who aren’t qualified cannot stand in front of me.
Even if they don’t want to, they will only be my slaves.
And dolls that have lost their will won’t be of any help in the future.]
They were sharp and clear words, but what Gaia needed wasn’t a doll that moved on her orders.
Those who have lost their objectivity and were stuck on following her orders could never carry out her will.
Sarah could understand what she was trying to say.
“Is passing the trial the qualification?”
I have been waiting for a child who can hold their ego in front of me.]
The mental capacity that doesn’t budge.
It wasn’t strange for Sarah’s mind to collapse in the world of trials, but she overcame it.
Even though she didn’t prepare herself for it, those who had passed the trial had mental strength similar to that of a God.
No matter how strong one’s body was, mental strength was what kept one alive.
Among those who stayed down there right now, if they stood in front of Gaia without going through trials, most of them would become her slaves.
Sarah was horrified when she realized that.
On the other hand, she wondered what would have happened if she had failed the trial.
“What would have happened to me if I didn’t pass the trial?”
Gaia didn’t answer.
She just made a face that said there was no need to explain it.
You put me in such a dangerous place.”
[The choice was yours.]
“Didn’t you alter my fate?”
[Did that elf child say that?]
Gaia spoke like she knew everything.
[Since they are the descendants of Odin, they should have the knack for reading fate.
However, they literally only have a little knack for reading it.
You don’t know how intricately intertwined your fate is.
The fate of life can be changed without my intervention.
It isn’t easy, but it is possible.]
It was completely different from what Hiyan said, and Sarah couldn’t help but be shocked.
And then she noticed that her situation had been assessed incorrectly.
“Then did Miss Gaia intervene in my fate?”
[Half right, half wrong.]
Gaia approached Sarah, making her flinch and step back.
She lightly landed on the edge of the cliff where Sarah was.
[I just gave you the choice.
I mean, it wasn’t like I was guiding you by hand on the direction you should take.]
[That day three years ago.
Do you remember the dandelion seeds that flew from the burned ruins?]
Upon hearing that, Sarah’s eyes widened.
Sarah recalled the ruins.
How could she not remember it? It was the turning point in her life.
The person who was the cause of those ruins.
When her thoughts flowed in that direction, Sarah’s face began to contort with extreme anger.
Her aura radiated.
A level of energy that was too high for a young girl to radiate began to shake the cliff.
Gaia corrected her misunderstanding.
[I don’t know what incorrect things you are thinking about, but I didn’t do it intentionally.
I just turned the route you were going to go there.]
[The reality of the brutal war.
Burned villages and humans turned into black corpses.
Ironically, the dandelion seeds that flew everywhere spread new life throughout the world.
I just showed you that.]
She remembered that day three years ago.
It was the time when she was running away with her mother in a small carriage before she even seriously held the sword.
She had never thought of getting stronger.
She just thought that the nightmare would end if she held onto her mother.
Then one day, they came across a ruin.
It was late at night, and they were thinking of taking a rest there, but for the first time in her life, she saw a charred corpse.
For some reason, the eyes of the terribly dried-up corpse looked alive.
Unlike the skin, the eyes didn’t burn.
And at the traumatizing sight of that, Sarah was dumbfounded.
Until she saw dandelion seeds flying.
‘Life and death are like light and shadow.
They are together, but they cannot coexist.
But as light and shadow change, so do life and death.
That is what a cycle is.
The normal world is maintained by the flow of this cycle.
If this flow breaks and only one of the two exists, the world will perish.’
‘What are you talking about?’
‘… maybe it is still too difficult for you to understand.
I will have to explain it to you when you are older.’
‘I don’t know! Let’s just play house!’
It was a conversation with her older brother that she had a long time ago.
In fact, it was too embarrassing even to call it a conversation.
At that time, she couldn’t understand a single word he was saying, and she just thought that her brother was saying complicated things as usual.
However, seeing this scene for the first time, she understood what her brother meant.
It was also the first time she thought about holding the sword.
‘Because I thought that if I weren’t able to protect my mother, I would be eliminated from the cycle.’
Her father died, and her brother disappeared.
Under that situation, could a mother and daughter survive in this harsh world where women were killed for their bodies?
Sarah didn’t complicate life and death.
She just understood that the moment they both died, everything was over.
[That was your choice.
You were able to follow your original fate.
If you just thought it was terrible, you would have lived like a normal girl taking care of your parents.]
Obviously, she had the option of living a normal life.
Actually, she had thought about it a lot, so she knew Gaia’s words weren’t wrong.
[If even that was an intervention in fate, I wouldn’t deny it.]
It is right.
Certainly, from that point on, I had chosen a different path.”
[But you didn’t.
I don’t know what you felt then, but seeing you stand in front of me now, it seems like I wasn’t wrong.]
Sarah was used to this situation by now.
It was true that Gaia guided her life, which could have been ordinary, by giving her another option, but she wasn’t going to blame her.
She would have regretted it if she had chosen a boring life.
At least now, wasn’t she qualified to tamper with the future?
This was her chance to rectify her twisted fate.
So she was able to ask with confidence,
“So why did you make me come here?”
[Let me ask you a question before that.
Why did you come all the way here?]
To which she answered without a thought,
“I came to protect the World Tree and my family.”
[The path you will take will be tough, it will be terrible, and it will be a tough trial that will lead you to numerous situations of frustration.
I will give you another chance.
Go back now.
Then, I will tell you how to save the World Tree.]
The reason she came all the way here was to save the World Tree, but things have changed for Sarah now.
It felt like she was drawing the line, saying that all she could do was save the tree, and that thought wasn’t just an illusion.
[Head back to your normal life.]
It was her last consideration for her, who would have a thorny life.
But Sarah smiled.
She had chosen a path, and she knew which one she should be walking in the future.
Now that she had managed to confirm many things, she had gone too far ahead to turn around.
I am not going back.”
“I do not have any bold hopes, though.
I only want one thing.”
[What is it?]
“Peace in our family.
I am ready to do anything to make that happen.”
Seeing that determined face, Gaia didn’t tell her to give up anymore.
That was because the two separate destinies had merged into one.
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