The High Priest smiled warmly and inquired.
“By the way, may I ask what brings you to our temple?”
“I was wondering if you knew who the priest was that gave me the holy water during the Flowering Ceremony. I felt a strange energy from him.”
The High Priest lowered his eyelids gently with a warm smile.
“That’s understandable. He was born and raised here at this temple and is one of our most devout and gifted priests. He possesses a strong divine power.”
Asha was a little surprised and asked.
“Did he grow up in this temple…?”
“Well, actually, he is an adopted child of the temple. I still remember the day he was left at the temple gate in a cradle on a snowy winter day, most likely abandoned by his parents at birth.”
Asha’s eyes grew bigger.
Could he be the illegitimate son of the former Emperor…?
The Emperor was known for his debauchery, so it was quite possible.
If a child without royal legitimacy was born, they could be in danger of losing their life. It is plausible that one of the former emperor’s many mistresses brought the baby to the temple just after giving birth.
As he reminisced about the past with an affectionate expression, the High Priest continued.
“Lady Vanessa must have seen him on the day of the Flowering Ceremony, he was a very white boy. A boy with silver hair and silver eyes is not common in the Etzheim Empire. Had he not been left in our temple, he could have faced a life of persecution and isolation marked as evil. His parents may have had the same idea and abandoned him in the temple. But I knew as soon as I saw him that he was a boy sent by God.”
Asha was even more surprised and her eyes widened.
“Did you feel the same energy as I did?”
“Yes, I too felt divine energy from him. It’s uncommon, but there have been people in history who have possessed such unique energy.”
At his words, Asha suddenly wondered if there were other children born with the flower spirit, aside from the emperor.
Does that mean those children were also killed and abandoned like him?
She felt a shiver run down her spine.
But the High Priest let out a small sigh and continued speaking.
“He truly deserved the name of the Lotus Temple. So, I named him ‘Dart Lotus’, which means ‘knowledge of the lotus’. I fed and clothed him. I raised him like my own son. Though he is now a priest, he is still a child to me. He, he.”
Upon hearing the story, it seemed that all the flowers had some kind of tragic tale……
Considering that the man was abandoned here without even knowing his bloodline, it was truly an unfortunate fate.
What was fortunate, however, was that he did not possess the distinct features of the royal family, such as red hair or red eyes.
Although this fact was somewhat curious, it made it easier to sneak him out of the palace and keep him safe from any threats.
In this empire, having red eyes was truly uncommon.
Although hair color could vary, if he had possessed red eyes, he could have become a target for everyone and might have been killed without even knowing it.
Moreover, it was fortunate among all the misfortunes that his scent, like that of a flower, could only be detected by butterflies.
Dart Lotus is a pure white flower that has lost his original surname.
Asha wanted to know more about him.
“Where can I meet him?”
“Oh, he’s currently studying to be the next successor, so you may not see him often.”
Asha asked in surprise, and the High Priest replied with a very satisfied and proud face.
“Yes. That child is not only the smartest among the priests, but also possesses the strongest divine power, and will succeed me as the High Priest. Of course, he is still young, so there will be strong opposition from the elders, but if he passes the test that showcases his divine power, it will be more than enough.”
Displaying one’s abilities in any way possible was truly the mark of a royal descendant.
Upon hearing his words, Asha felt an odd sense of relief.
Although he couldn’t become emperor, becoming the High Priest who represented the temple and living an honorable life was also a good outcome.
“I’ll tell Dart to make some time for you. If he knows that Lady Vanessa wants to meet him, he’ll come running even if he has other things to do. He has a strong fondness for butterflies.”
The High Priest said this casually, but Asha was momentarily startled.
Love for butterflies……
If he was such a clever and capable man, he might already know about his own origins. If he was aware of his tragic past and harbored resentment, Asha couldn’t let her guard down.
“Thank you so much. And while I’m here at the temple, would it be possible for me to use the Lotus Library?”
The High Priest readily agreed.
“Of course. Every space within the temple is practically yours to use. You are free to move around without anyone’s permission. We will inform the priests in advance, so you can come to the temple and use the library whenever you feel comfortable.”
Asha replied with a bright smile.
For now, it would be good to visit the library and learn more about the awakening conditions and abilities of the past butterflies.
Like the interior of the temple, the ‘Lotus Library’ was made entirely of shades of silver and white.
Even the bookshelves were also silvery white, creating the illusion that the books were floating in a space where time had stopped.
Asha frequently sought refuge in the palace library in the past, hoping to find ways to blossom, but unfortunately, she was never able to obtain any valuable information.
Even Karaf, who carried books around with him, had combed the library like a rat for years, but if he hadn’t found anything, there was no reason for her to return.
Thanks to her past experience of avidly scouring through books, Asha could save time in this life.
Undoubtedly, the situation would have been different if it was the temple’s library.
Since Karaf wasn’t particularly religious, he didn’t frequent the temple often, making it more likely that there was information they weren’t aware of.
Compared to the grandeur and size of the palace library, the Lotus Library was quiet, but Asha strolled around leisurely in the clean and spacious library.
The librarian in charge of the library followed closely behind her.
“If there is a book you wish to borrow, please do not take it yourself. Instead, write it down on a notepad, and we will send it to the palace immediately.”
“Thank you. Everyone in the temple is so kind.”
In response, the librarian’s face lit up as if overwhelmed by something.
“Of course, Lady Vanessa. Please don’t hesitate to call me if you need anything.”
Thanks to her past experience of avidly searching through books, Asha no longer needed to lug around heavy, dictionary-sized tomes and meticulously sift through them one by one.
She focused on selecting history books of the empire to investigate whether there was any imperial lineage in history that didn’t have red eyes.
As Asha jotted down book titles one by one in her small notebook, suddenly came to her senses and realized that she had already filled several pages.
It seemed like there would be a mountain of work waiting for her when she returned to the palace.
Karaf said he forced himself to read these boring books to fall asleep, but now she herself didn’t know if she would fall asleep at the desk.
Lastly, Asha headed to the chapel, to pray for Jackal’s safety and hoped to communicate with God Etzheim.
As she looked at the all-white, majestic chapel, Asha’s eyes and mouth widened open.
In the past, Karaf had confined her and she had hardly ever left the palace, so this was actually her first time visiting a temple.
Asha frantically scanned the lotus paintings on the ceiling and the magnificent pillars around her.
The enormous chapel was empty, so her footsteps echoed loudly.
But suddenly, she saw a man kneeling in front of the altar with his hands clasped together in prayer.
Asha’s eyes widened, and she stopped in place.
Wearing a white priest’s robe, an unknown flower scent was faintly emanating from the man.
It was the second flower, Dart Lotus.
Sensing someone’s presence, he raised his head and looked back.
His slightly enlarged eyes were filled with tears.
Asha felt as if she had met a delicate and innocent flower face to face.
As soon as she saw his moist silver eyes, she spoke in confusion.
“I’m…I’m sorry…..I thought no one was here…”
Dart also seemed surprised and wiped his eyes with his sleeve as he stood up.
“No. I’m sorry for startling you, Lady Vanessa.”
He already knew that she was Vanessa, having seen her face once during the flowering ceremony.
Dart politely bowed his head to her.
Asha took out a handkerchief from her bosom and offered it to him.
Dart looked slightly surprised and took the handkerchief to wipe his eyes.
“I showed you a disgraceful sight……”
“No, it’s my fault for interrupting your prayer……”
Asha glanced at him out of the corner of her eye.
Alone in a world as white as the first unspoiled snow, he was offering his prayers to God with tears in his eyes.
Just by looking at him, anyone could feel a divine energy emanating from him.
Similar to Karaf’s charm that seemed to attract people somehow, there was a mysterious and alluring energy emanating from him.
His face also had a strange resemblance to Karaf’s, but the two of them had different kinds of beauty that made them seem like brothers but also unique individuals.
If Karaf was like a charming and flashy flower that seemed to exude danger, Dart felt like a delicate and pure flower.
Unlike Karaf, who resembled the former emperor, it was unknown if Dart resembled his mother more.
Then, Dart said.
“I will wash and return this handkerchief to you next time.”
Asha was about to say that he could just return it, but she changed her mind, thinking that it would be better to create an opportunity to meet again.
“Do as you feel comfortable.”
Dart looked at Asha hesitantly and said calmly.
“I believe in fate, Lady Vanessa. I believe there is a reason why I, as a flower, bloomed in this temple, why you were born as a butterfly to save the world, and why we met here.”
Asha was taken aback by those meaningful words.
Did he already know that he was also a flower…?