The night of the first full moon of the years was when the annual day of the deity began on that day. It was a day that all people would pray for the blessings of the gods and yearn for them to be given the power to rise in this world that valued strength and power over all else.
Thousands of amateur cultivators gathered at the Phoenix academy preparing themselves for the massive amount of talent that could emerge. The masters made this a huge event for it decided who would stay in the outer court or move up into the inner court which would have enormous impact on the politics of the empire as nobles would try and secure loyalties of powerful new disciples who did not yet have loyalties.
Finally the moment arrived when the gods would enter the various shrines that were set up along the outer edges of the enormous complex. At this moment was when the disciples were allowed to go and give offerings to the shrines.
Rize wandered for a while looking for the specific shrine of the first goddess on her list. She looked over to where a small crowd of outer disciples were all meditating and praying to the goddess Bishamonten a goddess of war. Rize's heart was jumping with joy she clearly choose a popular deity. Quickly getting into position she crossed her legs one over another and began the prayer that would beseech Bishamonten for her blessing if she so desired her as a follower.
"Goddess of war, Bishamonten, I implore you to answer this humble mortal's prayers and to bless me with your might. Goddess Bishamonten this mortal asks to be made part of your familia." Rize prayed earnestly as she prayed for one of the great war gods to bless her.
"I see you child. I am the goddess Bishamonten and I will now assess your request" the voice belonged to that of a powerful women who was speaking from within her skull. It rang out causing Rize to flinch from the sudden sound.
Suddenly a force put an immense pressure on her body as if gravity had increased by several times as fast as it came it swiftly released itself on her body.
"Child I do not accept you into my familia I believe you would not be suited to the blessing I would met out to you. Leave me now and allow others into my shrine."
Rize's heart fell like a rock as she hear those words. Unsatisfied and her pride slightly wounded she got up and decided to go to the next deity on her list. Walking away from the shrine of Bishamonten she quickly walked towards her second choice which was Xarasil one of the more popular gods of fire in the empire. Images of her conjuring flames with her Ki sending fear into her foes as she walked through flames as if nothing happened caused her eyes to shimmer as she pumped herself up for the next shrine, she was seriously glad she read up on the deities before today it was an immense relief knowing she wasn't going to a lesser fire god she wanted the real deal. Minor deities if you were unknowledgeable often took advantage of the ignorance of commoner children who were accepted into the academy to gain followers who normally wouldn’t choose that deity had they known the truth.
She made it to Xarasil's shrine which was equally full of students as Bishamonten's with over thirty disciples all meditating and chanting prayers. As she was about to get into position one of the male disciples suddenly combusted lighting aflame his body looked like a black silhouette in the flames, but was neither screaming or harmed by the flames themselves. Rize quickly understood what had happened he had been accepted by Xarasil and was being blessed with his holy flames.
Closing her eyes she tried again to beseeching the fire god Xarasil. "Great fire god Xarasi---."
"NO!" Rize's eyes snapped open as she heard a voice that sounded like a raging house fire "you are not one I will accept. Be gone child!"
Rize was still dazed she was rejected before even finishing her prayer... WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT! Rize stormed away from the fire god's shrine her feet pounding the ground hard as she went to the next shrine on her list. She felt very much slighted by the rudeness the god treated her heartfelt prayer her lips pursed as she thought about how angry she was at the whole situation. Rejected by two of the major gods on her list, but she still had hopes for some of the others on her list.
Yiseri forest goddess.
Aiur a wind god.
"Not worthy of a wind god! Be gone like a leaf in the winds!"
Yara god of tricks and thieves
"Sorry darling you aren't my cup of tea! As much as I would like you are marked and I want nothing to do with a child of the blue eyed. Sorry lovely!”
“So the heavens discriminate against blue eyes as well…” both rage and anger boiled inside of her as she realized that she could never escape her blue eyed fate.
At this point Rize was fuming she had gone to the last god on her list and even the god of THIEVES didn't want her! If she wasn't so prideful she would have sat in the middle of the path and pout, but she couldn't bring herself to do it. After being rejected by every shrine she came to they all said the same thing a big fat no... She rubbed her forehead to see if someone had actually written no on her head at this point. What did she do so wrong to be rejected by every single deity she had written? She even went to what were considered last resort deities shrines and they rejected her.
Maybe she would be stuck an outer disciple forever and she was cursed to this life of mediocrity she sighed sitting down next to a cherry blossom tree that had just started to bud. The smell of spring was refreshing and helped calm herself.
Is there any other deities out there? She thought to herself. As she was about to resign to her fate and get up and go back to her bedchambers a single name popped into her head. Naga-Jin. Don’t…be ridiculous. How can that deity whose name was so obscure that it looked like someone was erasing him from the tomes.
Maybe the god who didn't have a description would be useful at this point it was better than nothing. She did get rejected even by the god of wisdom and learning Tenjen who would accept pretty much anyone who was rejected, by the cooler deities. Rize stood up and walked towards the direction of where the shrine of Naga-Jin was supposed to be based on the tome.
As Rize reached the small clearing far away from any of the other shrines the trees in this area of the academy were overgrown and not kept up as it was mostly unused and rarely anyone came here.
Naga-Jin's shrine was made of simple wood whose paint had long since chipped off. The stones were withered from years of rain and it was obvious that little to perhaps even not one person had prayed to this god in many years. The wood had moss growing on it the sign with his name was hanging by a single wooden cog. The whole look was that of a homeless beggar of the gods.
Rize stared at the shrine in disbelief "this had to be a joke, this was her last shot?" Her mouth hung open slightly as she tried to process the disaster of a shrine it was. Maybe he is the beggar god? Please let that not be true. She prayed to herself silently.
Perhaps he is a god of poverty or tragedy? Trying to encourage herself as those gods even though they were considered bad omen gods were still widely believed in at least and were powerful in their own right. As Rize approached the shrine she thought to herself maybe this wasn't the best idea... shaking her head ferociously and slapping her cheeks she snapped herself out of it, it didn't matter of if this was a god of sexual perversions of 13 year old girls, she needed a blessing and she needed a patron deity to help her achieve her goals.
Before she crossed her legs she decided to clean up the shrine as best she could to curry favor with Naga-Jin her last hope for a blessing from any deity she could think of in the academy. Rize reorganized the rocks into their balanced state and rehung the sign on the appropriate cogs. She then peeled off the layers of moss that grew on the wooden shrine and lastly she lite a new ceremonial candle that she kept with her just in case she needed it.
Getting into her meditative position she did one final desperate appeal to this unknown god "Naga-Jin this disciple calls for you that you may grant her your blessing and accept me into your familia. Please consider my most humble request! This servant does not know you, but would be honored to be a part of your familia."
Time passed slowly each second felt like an eternity of waiting as she meditated on the words focusing all her desire into the prayer.
After several minutes of waiting her ceremonial candle grew brighter "Who is thisss?" a voice said with a slight hissing sound "after ssso many centuriess a mortal hasss finally assked for me?"
A wicked laugh filled her soul as the mysterious god continued to speak "young girl though I have no dissciplesss I am ssstill going to tesst you to see if you are worthy... prepare yoursself!" his voice spoke with a slight hissing sound that came out like the hiss of a serpent.
Just as Naga-Jin spoke those words a painful burning sensation filled her veins a feeling like molten fire was being pumped through her body around her entire being. Even her soul felt like it had been lite a flame. Rize wanted to scream out, but her jaws were clenched so hard from the pain nothing, but a muffled moan escaped her mouth. The pain rose higher and higher until she arched her back in an unnatural pained expression. After five minutes the pain slowly faded, before it turned into a numb sensation.
"HA HA! Good yesss good" the sinister voice filled her head again "you are worthy mortal receive the blessing of the sserpent god of venom... Naga-Jin!"
Rize could feel a similar burning on her shoulder blade, but this time it was over quite quickly she never would have thought such a sinister god existed in the academy who normally shied away from controversial gods like gods of death or calamity, she was certain this god belonged in that category. What have I gotten myself into?
"Child you will sserve me well. After tonight you have received by blessing, use it wisely. Do not make me regret choosing you as my firsst disciple."
Rize nodded grimly not sure whether to be happy or terrified by her new patron deity. As the presence of Naga-Jin fled from her and the area the candle light flickered off leaving Rize tired and exhausted. Her whole body was filled with sweat and her complexion paled even more than normally.
Crown Prince Ryoma stood in his tower looking towards the direction of the Phoenix academy where his youngest son was likely entreating his desired patron deity. At over seventy years old Ryoma was still youthful looking as if he had barely aged since he was in his early thirties. His ki was so high that he could have over a thousand years to reach the next stage of ascension before beginning to age again. He was nearly seventy years old and his father the eternal emperor's favored son. If his youngest child was shown to be talented as well his father would reward him with many powers that he currently did not have and he would permanently solidify his place as the crown prince of Sato. He smiled as he thought about his son all of his other children had been extremely talented, but he has a special place for his youngest son and daughter.
"Comeback with good news Eizo..." he whispered to himself with a hint of nervousness in his voice.
"I accept you as part of my familia young one. Go now and serve me well."
The young 14 year old boy bowed deeply towards the shrine of the god before turning around a huge grin on his face followed quickly by a look of pure happiness. He had done it, he got the blessing the Phoneix god of rebirth Saisei who also happened to be the patron god of the current emperor his grandfather and his father and was one of the strongest gods in the heavens and led the primary pantheon of the Sato Empire. Nothing could have been better one of the most popular and extremely picky gods in the empire selected him as part of his very small familia. Naturally many of the girls around him were fawning over him, but he didn't care much for the fan girls they all were only looking for an opportunity to try and gain his affections for their own gain. Being the son of the crown prince caused him many headaches over the years only those of similar status could be seen as trust worthy and even then he had to be cautious commoners could not be trusted. They all lusted for power not knowing the responsibility and burdens it came with. Even at 14 he knew that the people of Sato viewed the imperial family as almost mythical existences.
Walking away from the shrine he headed over to Grandmaster Zhou who along with the other masters would be assessing all the disciples that got blessed to see if they could become an inner disciple of the Phoneix academy of the empire. It was common for students to be selected by masters of the inner court some had many students while other masters were much more selective of whom they wanted. Ezio was extremely confident in his ability and never even bothered training as an outer disciples opting to train under his family until now which was not uncommon for high ranking people of Sato to do. In particular in the capital city of Xi’an
As he approached the steps to the main building he noticed out of the corner of his eyes the secret corps that his father sent to protect him should they need to, they were always so annoying, but once he enrolled they would no longer be needed.
Swiftly turning he called out to them "hey! The two of you can leave no this is one of the safest places in the empire I have no further need of you."
Both of them silently listened to the orders and jumped out of view flying into the tree branches before running along the branches out of the academy complex. The black ashes corps were some of the most elite and deadly assassins in the entire empire and he felt it was a bit overkill for them to be guarding him. Ezio was pleasantly surprised that they listened smiling he turned around to go inside.
Ezio's chin collided with someone's forehead sending both of them onto their asses "ouch!" he grunted to himself. Instantly going to rub his chin
"Hey! Who bumped into me!" Ezio got up angrily his eyes fell onto a girl rubbing her eyes forehead with her eyes closed. Ezio's face immediately flushed when he saw the girl before him. Her face was clear and fair like a polished pearl which contrasted beautifully with her midnight black hair. She was clearly shorter than him her nose just barely touching the bottom part of his upper lip if she stood up. Ezio's heart beat began to beat more rapidly as he looked at this extremely beautiful girl before him. He had been surrounded by many beautiful girls in his short life and never had he seen one quite like this.
After several seconds Ezio realized he was staring and went over to lend her a hand. The girl opened her eyes startling him as she gave him a perturbed look, but that wasn't what was so shocking. Instead it was her piecing blue eyes that stared into his own eyes. As beautiful as they were he knew that the legends said people with blue eyes lived cursed lives and it was best to avoid them which caused him to frown ever so slightly.
What a shame. A girl like this being cursed with such an unfortunate mark. He thought to himself.
"I'm sorry for that" he said holding out his hand.
"Yeah? Well you should be" she said sharply batting away his hand she was clearly upset with him even though she was equally at fault for what happened.
She was rather rude even though it was clearly both our faults she didn't even try and politely reject his apology and issue her own as was customary of two people who bumped into each other.
"That was kind of rude you were also not watching where you were going. Were you not?" Ezio said trying to be reasonable.
At this point Rize had gotten up and dusted off her tunic looking back at Ezio "yeah well, whatever just leave me alone I don’t have time to deal with you." She said moving past him heading into the main building where the assessments were taking place.
Ezio looked at the girl as she moved inside his mouth slightly agape as he realized that she didn't know who he was.
"This girl." He muttered to himself as he watched her disappear behind the doors.
Rize entered the assessment as soon as possible she didn't want to waste any time with idle chit chat, the guy outside was as blind as a worm. How he didn't see her was beyond her, but she was too nervous and excited to see if all the pain she went through was worth it for her new deity. She entered one of the testing chambers where a random inner court master would be waiting to assess her.
Entering, Rize, walked briskly into the first available room to see the same young female master she met when she first arrived in the capital so many years ago. She stared at the beautiful woman who was wearing a flowing violet silk robs which were the official robes masters wore to formal events such as this.
"Well look who it is I remember you…it isn’t hard to forget someone with such striking eyes such as those." She said intensely.
"This disciple greets master." Rize said politely bowing before the master.
"This is really a pleasant surprise. Please sit down and give me your hand so I can sense your ki. Please know I am sensing both your level and nature of your ki and blessing."
Rize followed as she was ordered quickly giving her hands to the woman who grasped them firmly putting her thumbs on her wrist where a doctor would normally feel for a heartbeat. As she waited she could feel something in her soul stir as she felt an intense power broiling inside of her.
The woman's eyebrows raised up in a moment of surprise. "Dear, what did you say was the god that blessed you?"
"I didn't say master, but the god who took me in goes, by the name Naga-Jin." Rize stated matter-o-factly.
The woman's eyebrows furrowed as she tried to recall that name, but no memory came to her mind. She didn't think the academy had a deity by that name, at least in the time that she had been here at the academy shaking her head she let go of the girl's hands "you've passed, not extraordinary amount of ki, but satisfactory enough to join the ranks of the inner court. The nature of your ki is not something I have ever come across so I cannot assess you based on that. You may leave now dear" she said sweetly despite the words were laced with criticism.
However in her heart Rize didn't care, she had finally gotten into the inner court after so many years of training and now she could finally go and see her mother regularly as outer disciples had to go through much more strict observation. She exited the door behind the master that signified that she had passed.
Today, was the beginning of her putting all the naysayers in their place she thought as she walked through the door.
Ezio waited in the large circular room along with the other disciples who had passed he observed all of the new inner court disciples carefully that came in anyone of them could potentially be a threat or a rival in the future. Watching for a couple minutes he was quite happy the rude girl had not made it through. Served her right for what she said to him.
Just as Ezio was about to leave his spot leaning against the pillar to look around one of the testing room doors opened and from behind it came the rude blue eyed girl and his head immediately gave him a headache just thinking about that this girl had made it through. He really disliked her a lot, simply for rubbing him the wrong way. Considering her status she should try much more to be cordial with people so they would see their initial impressions of her eye color were mistaken. Choosing to ignore her, Ezio left to speak with some of the other disciples as they waited for their briefing from Grandmaster Zhou.
"EHEEM!" A voice clearing his throat broke through the chatter from the disciples "Welcome new inner court disciples I know it is late into the night and you must all be anxious to rest so I will keep this short. Congratulations on making it you are the upper echelon in the entire empire no matter what happens from here on out, you've done what less than 1% of the people of our fair empire has been able to achieve" he gave a small grin before continuing "take the night to rest well for tomorrow we will get right into it and prepare you for your new lives as inner court disciples.
Rize sat in her new room which to her disappointment was not much different than her old room in the outer court which disappointed her. Stripping off her clothes she looked herself once over in the mirror turning around she looked at her back. In the mirror something shocking was on her back from the nape of her buttocks to the top of her shoulder was the tattoo of a white serpent with red eyes going along the left side of her back. The tattoo had the snakes head opened up with two fangs out dripping what seemed to be a venom. The serpent was simple yet elegant and solid color, but still had a unique and sensual beauty about it despite being a snake. It didn’t look like any serpent she had ever seen before.
'What the hell is this!' she thought as she awkwardly clawed at her back trying to see if it was real. After several attempts to get it off she resigned and accepted that it was really permeant. Was this a byproduct of being blessed by Naga-Jin? She thought as her previously panicked demeanor disappeared followed by curiosity. As she looked at the beautiful tattoo it was considered highly inappropriate to get tattoos in Sato and often caused people to assume you were in some sort of religious cult or gang.
Great…one more thing for people to misunderstand about me.
"Do you like it?" she turned around again to see her reflection replaced by a giant white serpent with pure red eyes "I think it isss quite tassteful if I do ssay so mysself."
Rize grabbed her blanket and covered up her naked body "What do you want!" she said blushing quickly covering up her youthful body.
"Child there is no need to feel embarrassed, as beautiful as you are I am a god who has lived countless millennia. Seeing your body is not something I am lustful towards. You are now my first and most important disciple so I plan on being very active in your development that tattoo is not simply me staking my claim to you. It is a representation of the change your ki has undergone from my blessing."
"Lord Naga-Jin please explain to me why you've never had a disciple before... is it because you are not well known?"
"No child I am very popular, however people do not know my name though even asss they bessseech me. The farmer who wishes to drive away pests or the assassin who uses snakes venom as his weapon all honor my name unknowingly. Countless centuries ago I was once widely known, but not as much today I am nearly completely forgotten…until you came upon my door step."
Rize understood what Naga-Jin was. Basically he was a god that most people would never readily admit to following, but many relied on without knowing.
"Child you will need to learn to cultivate properly, it really isn't much different than what you were doing before, yet you will notice a difference in how it affects your ki and your inner ki sea. I recommend you get a weapon that works well with the abilities my blessing comes with as I have many plans for our future together. Pray to me when you are alone and let me train you, those masters have little experience dealing with the sort of deity I am, but still learn from them as for in the future your enemies will come from many of the major gods and goddess you encountered today."
“Lord Naga-Jin… you mentioned enemies…whom will be my enemy?”
“All in due time child. For now train and become strong.”
Rize nodded listening to her new deity intensely and she started to grow attached to the tattoo as well, gave her a bit of air of mystery, not that she planned on showing anyone. A hint of worry entered her heart, but at the same time she felt that even though she felt an aura of wickedness from Naga-Jin she also felt that he did not judge her at all based on her appearance.
Ezio made his way to his first class where their new abilities were going to be tested to determine which master they would seek tutelage under. Ezio had no qualms about the fact that he was privileged and specially treated considering his background, but many would consider it wrong to use that privilege…his father always told him he disagreed that the point of past generations fighting for the future generations is that they had shoulders they could stand on to reach greater heights. It all depended on attitude.
The fact that he was talented enough to be blessed by the Phoenix god of rebirth was enough to allow him to be confident and prideful. Few deities had as many followers or sheer influence as Saisei which only proved he was cut form a different cloth than most of the other disciples here this wasn't in his mind to be smug, but in this world where only the strong survived it was merely a fact of life.
Ezio made his way up towards the where the masters would be selecting their disciples from among the new inner court disciples. As he approached he became aware of many of the others staring at him with hateful glares. "What are their problems?" He said to himself as he looked at them from the side of his eyes pretending not to care.
"They don't like you!" besides him a young black haired youth spoke his arms crossed over his chest "you came in here after not being in the outer court at all and they feel that you put no work in to get into the inner court."
Ezio turned his head to the young man to get a clearer image of him. The young man must have been his age his hair was pinned up in traditional a hair brace representing that he was someone of importance his face had a noble hawk like feature that made him look older than he was, but Ezio could still tell he was around his age.
Turning towards Ezio he held out his hand "My name is Sun Yun it is nice to meet the youngest son of the crown prince."
Ezio grasped his hand "Sun Yun huh? You must be the youngest child of the great general Sun Shuren. It is a pleasure it seems that we are likely the most prestigious of the new disciples."
He smirked "yes… It would seem. I always expected to be under a watchful eye, but now I feel like you may take some of the pressure off me."
Several moments passed before Ezio broke the silence "So what deity did you receive a blessing from?" He asked curiously.
"Iarae goddess of dusk" he stated bluntly without any hesitation.
"...huh?!? *gak*" Ezio coughed as he was caught off guard "wait... Doesn’t Iarae only accept females into her ranks?"
"Well yes, but apparently she took a liking to me so he accepted me as her first and only male in her familia." Sun Yun smiled as he looked at Ezio’s shocked expression from the corner of his eyes.
Ezio couldn't believe his ears surely this guy was some sort of player who would take advantage of all the females in his goddesses familia why else would he even try to join that familia.
"Well good luck I will see you around" Ezio moved away towards the front of the crowd trying to get a more clear view of the masters up ahead.
Several hundred of the new inner court disciples gathered around the masters that stood on a balcony overlooking them trying to spot any potential students they wanted.
All the masters discussed amongst themselves about some of the more impressive students this year. Naturally all of them were discussing the Crown Prince and General Sun's sons. In the corner a beautiful fox like woman stood who was widely considered one of the most beautiful women of Xi'an the capital of the empire. Her face was emotionless giving her the appearance of complete disinterest in the whole affair.
"Cui Xinya" an old man's voice called out behind her quietly.
"Yes Grandmaster Zhou? How may I assist you?" she said dryly.
"Oh come on Xinya surely it isn't that bad."
"I despise having to take direct responsibility for another human being Grandmaster. Nothing you say will make me enjoy this process."
"You never know. Maybe you will find another talent like yourself" he said encouraged.
"Pfft! from this lot?" her deep black eyes scanned the crowd "only two of them show any true promise and they were obvious."
Except that one girl she had a very interesting aura about her, even with her allegedly cursed eyes. Cui Xinya thought to herself.
"Very well than, but you will have to choose someone so play nicely."
"No promises Grandmaster."
Cui Xinya never tried to be hopeful. It stopped oneself from being let down. She looked up to the east and smiled "Isn't that right Mofeyr?" as she spoke a quiet breeze brushed past her face. “I pray that we speak again soon…”
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Bio: So I am writing one fiction mainly while rewriting on occasion my original story. The Errors I Made. I do fan interaction and will directly talk to you guys via my Minds.com account. Make one at follow me at @ccblazing I am a father and love doing this on my spare time. Thank you so much for reading guys and expect a deep and mysterious story.