Hello! As promised, this is an extra chapter for every 10 subs on Tapas!
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A little note: everything on this chapter is merely fiction and fantasy, and it DOES NOT REFLECT reality. I may have based in real life but it's totally not connected.
Sorry for that, do continue ٩(＾◡＾)۶
When everyone was finally at their place, Icarus officially started the baptismal ceremony. With a procession of priests and clerics, the Royal Rex Hall was filled with the presence of faint mystical powers. Each of the white-robed priests held artifacts and relics, while clerics waved their staffs.
The hall was silent, paving way for the divine to envelope everyone. A delicate chant sounded, almost like a prayer making hearts and mind gently shiver with devotion. A soft singing ensued when the procession stopped in front of the stage.
The Duke and Duchess carried us, standing in front of the procession while the rest of the royal entourage remained at their place. I glanced at Mother who wore a nervous expression on her face.
What now, Mother? There shouldn't be anything going wrong, right?
"Ladies and Gentlemen," Icarus started. "Today, we are witnesses in welcoming Emilia Kinsley and Ethan Dunne of the Redgrave House, unto God's embrace."
The crowd chanted, "We welcome them unto God's embrace."
Why is it like an initiation to a cult or something?
Two priests stepped forward and presented a small earthenware jug and pots. Although it may not look as fancy as gold/silver, the artifacts seemed to carry a sense of divinity with their intricate details and patterns.
The soft singing still sounded while Icarus continued to speak and held his staff high. "With God's authority, this ceremony shall baptize Emilia Kinsley and Ethan Dunne, and be called God's children."
The crowd answered, "They shall be called God's children."
Amidst the aria getting louder, I heard faint footsteps and noticed that King Henry stood beside Mother - his face indifferent but his stance said otherwise. The other royalties appeared to be confused as he did not need to be there.
Is he worried? Oh no, I'm getting more worried too! Why so tense!
Albeit the small scene, Icarus proceeded in his speech. "This holy water, taken at the Sacred Lake, will be poured upon you. Raise your hearts and open your minds! And hereupon, receive God's blessing."
The song gradually softened once again and the crowd repeated, "And hereupon, receive God's blessing."
I'm getting nervous. Can't help the beating of my heart! It's too fast.
Icarus gave his staff to another and carried the jug. He beckoned to Mother and I saw her stiffened for a second and slowly went closer to the old priest. Mother made Ethan lay in her arms, his head hanging over the earthen pot. Icarus held my brother's head and it was surprising that he was calm.
It seems that I was thinking too much? Ethan appears to be okay.
"We welcome Ethan Dunne to this beautiful world," Icarus declared loudly.
And the crowd answered, "Welcome, Ethan Dunne."
Icarus poured the water onto my brother's head. And unconsciously, I gripped my hand too tight, seeing Mother's and the King's expressions. Were they waiting for something to happen?
A few seconds passed. And I saw Mother holding her breath, her eyes teary.
And then, Ethan made a sound.
Ethan cooed, his voice soft, his face smiling, and his eyes sparkling. Wait, I know that expression...
My dear brother, you're not taking a bath, okay?!
He always wore that expression on his face when we were taking a bath. Ethan especially loved having poured water over him. He would always giggle, feeling the water slide down his forehead, his eyes, nose, mouth, chin, or wherever.
When Ethan let out another satisfied murmur, Mother smiled so beautifully and kissed Ethan on his cheek. The King also let out a small sigh of relief.
Well, I was worried about nothing.
Without waiting for Icarus, Father stepped forward and gently made me lay on his arm, just like Ethan. My beating heart went back from fast to relaxed.
"We welcome Emilia Kinsley to this beautiful world," Icarus spoke, and the crowd replied.
The moment the cold water came in contact, I was inflicted with such sharp pain. I never expected this, and I unconsciously let out a cry.
My eyes habitually closed because of the sudden headache while I heard my father comfort me. What's happening!? I thought everything was alright.
When I felt Icarus stop pouring, the pain intensified, and my tears fell down. A hand caressed my face and wiped my tears. And then I heard a voice, a whisper - almost as if it was right beside my ears.
"Child, it's time for you to start thinking about your future. You will be in high school now and the probability of someone adopting you is lower than the others who are still young."
High school? Adopting?
Who is talking?
Suddenly, with my eyes still closed, a memory flashed. Images were moving inside my head and they were creepingly familiar to me.
This is my past life? My memories?
An old woman sat behind a desk, her short white hair tucked behind her ears. The expression she showed was that of an elder giving advice but her eyes still gave a sense of sadness.
Does she pity me?
This was the first time she called me to her office. I was not a troublesome child but I was also not a carefree one. Maybe, because of the environment I was raised in, this is how I grew up.
In my memories, I have always been in this orphanage. There were no clues about who I was, not a single object, nor a letter, nor anything at all. I was simply abandoned, and that was it. I grew up and I found myself not caring about my identity.
I was immersed in my studies since education was the way I could free myself and be successful, said the dean.
The dean gave me the name Jenny and carefully raised me since I was a baby. The orphanage has always been my home ever since I could remember. It had decent facilities and sufficient funds, enough for shelter, necessities, resources, and even leisure.
One thing I remembered that I was always grateful for was the education system the orphanage implemented. There was a public school near us and for every high grade and achievement a child achieved, the dean would give pocket money which she encouraged us to save.
And since then, I would always study hard and find ways to save more money. Though that money would be spent on more books. The thought of having a family didn't even cross my mind. Anyways, there was the dean, the staff, and the children around me that I did not feel sad at all.
That is why, even though the dean told me that I have a low chance of being adopted, I did not care.
The flashback stopped and I opened my eyes. I saw the Duke looking at me with a worried expression.
But now, I have my own family.
The pain gradually receded, and I returned to my senses. I perceived my father holding me gently and making me hug him. I saw my mother with Ethan, walking close towards me, and Emma with the others looking my way.
The warm feeling inside of me made me fully realize that this was how it felt being taken care of.
Icarus spoke, finally stopping me from my reverie. "We have officially welcomed them. May you have a beautiful life with God's embrace."
That holy water sure does have its magic. Though why did it make me remember my past memories?
A blessing from God?
That holy water suddenly made me have a flashback of my past life.
Although the memories are slowly integrating into my mind.
How did I come here as Emilia?
I remembered being in a cave.
Why was I at a cave, you ask?
It seemed that I was on an expedition for my fieldwork at college. I was in my last year of the Archaeology Program that I took. The cave was first discovered by a team and the university had requested slots for students and volunteers.
And of course, I was raring to go.
I was so engrossed with artifacts, relics, and cultures of different civilizations from various timelines as they held a lot of stories. The lores were just so profound and deep, I could almost imagine how people live their lives.
At that time, I was inspecting the writings on the wall when suddenly there was an earthquake. It was so sudden and we were hit hard that the cave walls and floors broke down. And then... I had a vague feeling that I fell down into a hole and all turned to black.
So... I died that time? I guess I died considering what happened.
Tsk, didn't even let me graduate! At least let me finish something great, won't you?!
God, if you're there, why?!
Is that why I was given a second chance? And I was reborn as Emilia?
Or was there something inside the cave that made my soul transport here? A relic? An artifact... a magical artifact!
A real artifact on Earth that could actually shift souls between worlds and dimensions! It was the discovery of a lifetime. It could even change science and technology! Heck, Earth will surely be thrown into a mess.
Tsk, if I didn't die, I should have discovered it first, and maybe that should have been enough to make me famous and profit a lot of money...
Or... is this all a dream?
There were a lot of similarities between here and on Earth, like the story of Lucifer, God, and the European ambiance. I could even understand their language, fortunately. Albeit there was magic called divinity, which supposedly came from God, and there were demons in this world which I never saw before.
A dream or not, this present is my reality.
Applause echoed inside the hall as the nobles cheered at the end of the ceremony. Father was still carrying me, walking towards King Henry who had a cold expression on his face. Father nodded and greeted him.
King Henry looked at me with an indescribable gaze and I recalled that I cried unexpectedly. I also sensed that there were still tears in my eyes. I hurriedly wiped my face with my small hands to show that I was fine.
It was just memory overload for my small brain, okay!? Don't overthink things!
However, it was my mother who broke the tense atmosphere. "How is Emilia, is she okay? Why did she cry? Usually, Emilia doesn't cry," Mother nagged and she was obviously worried.
"She's fine. I think she was overwhelmed with the water suddenly pouring down," Father replied while patting my arm.
I unhesitatingly voiced out my agreement, hoping the King would not jump to conclusions.
Ethan then reached out to me, seemingly concerned as well. Did he see me crying? Well, that's embarrassing. A 22-year-old soul in a child's body...
I can't help it, it's hard to control my own body.
King Henry interrupted, "The baptism has ended, you should let the children rest at the Summer Wing. The guests from the Noria Empire are still here. We shouldn't let them wait lest more trouble comes."
The Redgrave couple bowed and curtsied in response. Emma and the others took us while Sir Ian trailed behind.
The gifts were also carried by the knights, some chests were big and heavy that they needed to be transported by wagons. They also did not forget about Alva. The dog was so obedient to whoever possessed the whistle.
Nobles greeted us when they saw the procession. They were still influenced by the previous atmosphere of the ceremony, and they still behaved as if in worship.
It took us a couple of minutes from the Royal Rex Hall to arrive at the Summer Wing.
In passing, we saw the Sundin performers, standing out with their bizarre outfits, props, and large drums. Princess Barbara talked to them with a smile on her face, praising their performance while Prince Harold stood by her side.
I only gave them a quick glance before turning my gaze towards Ethan who was now blinking his eyes in sleepiness. Every after bath, though, he would always be comfortable and go to sleep.
I also think I need a rest. Memory overload made my body tired.