260 Strange Statues
The history circles of the Northern Continent countries all recognized that the Fourth Epoch was shrouded in thick mystery. It was impossible to tell what it truly was.
The historical records had too many missing pieces and ambiguities for this period of history. There were too few tombs, ancient cities, and literature, that had been unearthed to create an effective confirmation.
However, this didn't mean that no one had done the relevant research. Its rarity implied that there were still some relics and information left behind.
The original Klein was a fanatic towards the history of the Fourth Epoch. He often read journal articles and books, so even now, Klein still remembered a lot of content.
Whether it was the Solomon Empire, Tudor Empire, or Trunsoest Empire, they all had similar architectural styles, architectural styles that went against common sense—they were disorderly, asymmetrical, and they stood out for their frequent use of black.
The most typical characteristic were the candlesticks hanging from the ceiling and the chopped floral pattern marks on black walls.
This was precisely why Klein's first reaction was that the underground structure belonged to the Fourth Epoch when he raised his lantern. He had seen circular metal poles with candlesticks embedded at the bottom, that ran down from the dome, reminding him of the Fourth Epoch which was shrouded in mystery, leaving many historians and archaeologists regretful of the lack of knowledge in that ancient period.
Several journal articles have mentioned that the number of candlesticks within different buildings are different. Although the three Empires find asymmetry beautiful, they seemed to have strict and meticulous rules in every aspect… Three on the left, and two on the right is the highest standards that ordinary citizens can enjoy. This is based on the structure of the buildings and the houses that remain… Klein raised his arm and held the lantern high. He walked slowly, counting the candlesticks on both sides.
The hall was even wider than he had expected. He had walked for at least a hundred meters before he saw a platform half a meter above the ground. Only then did he see the thick wall that marked the end of the hall.
41 inverted candlesticks on the left, and 40 on the right. T-this is a bit of an exaggeration. What level of aristocracy is this? Powerful nobility? Sigh, the Antigonus and the Zaratul families are all aristocrats of the Fourth Epoch… They were also powerful and terrifying Beyonder family clans. The other noble families should be about the same… Holding the lantern in hand, Klein continued onward. He saw the stairs at the side of the half-height platform and saw the scuffing on the black stone tiles.
Is this really a relic of the Fourth Epoch? A thought flashed through Klein's mind. With his keen eyesight and the light from the lanterns, he found two iron black seats on top of the platform that was half a meter above the ground. The huge, ancient seats overlooked the other seats below.
There were two seats!
Two? Why two? According to the layout, the seat here should represent the person with the most power and authority, but there are two of them? A powerful noble of equal strength? A double count, a double duke, or a double prince? Klein slowly began to feel that his knowledge of history was inadequate.
He clearly remembered that many journal articles mentioned that the three empires—Solomon, Tudor, and Trunsoest, had a strict hierarchy. Based on this theory, there shouldn't have been leaders of equal standing within a faction.
"Strange…" Klein mumbled, in a way meant for Miss Bodyguard.
"What's so strange about that?" An ethereal voice suddenly sounded from behind him. In the vast, dark, empty, and silent ancient hall, this voice was exceptionally frightening.
Klein's mouth twitched as he explained the characteristics, history knowledge, and puzzling points that he had observed to her. He eventually added, "The ventilation here is very good. I wonder if there are any other entrances."
Miss Bodyguard, who had mostly blended into the darkness, listened silently as she gave Klein a penetrating glance.
"How do you know so much?"
Because I was a university student in the History department… Klein cursed silently before smiling.
"If I hadn't chosen to be a detective, perhaps I would've become a diligent young historian."
Miss Bodyguard didn't respond, nor did she disappear; instead, she floated up to the platform first.
With the lantern in hand, Klein quickly followed, discovering that the platform was very large. It was about 40 meters in length and 10 meters in breadth.
"The architectural style is grand and enlarged. It's also one of the characteristics of the Fourth Epoch," he said casually as he carefully approached the two huge iron-black chairs. He then raised his lantern and carefully inspected it.
"It seems to be meant for a three-meter-tall giant to sit on… There's an emblem on the back of the chair. On this side, it's a black crown… On the other side, it's a hand holding onto a scepter… I wonder what they symbolize on their own…" Klein said to himself, not expecting an answer from Miss Bodyguard.
However, the lady who was floating suddenly said, "This is the Tudor family's emblem."
"Huh?" Klein looked over in surprise, noticing that Miss Bodyguard was referring to the hand holding the scepter.
Tudor family? Is this a relic of the Fourth Epoch's Tudor Dynasty? Which royal family member owned this palace? Klein frowned and said, "Do you recognize the other emblem?"
To think that it was ranked as equal to a Tudor family member!
Miss Bodyguard shook her head without a word.
Seeing this, Klein had to give up the idea of studying it for the time being and said, "After the Tudor and Trunsoest families established their respective empires, they both maintained the original style that originated from the Solomon Empire, such as inverted candlesticks, scuffed marks, and so on and so forth. This doesn't comply with common sense. If I were the emperor, even if I had to inherit many things, I would still make certain changes to mark my uniqueness.
"Does this mean that the three empires have hidden, unchanging connections?"
He guessed that Solomon, Tudor, and the Trunsoest families wielded the Dark Emperor, which was the Lawyer pathway. Similar styles were needed for acting!
Miss Bodyguard remained silent for a few seconds before saying a few words, "Only an Emperor can be called an Emperor."
Is this a confirmation of my idea? Klein didn't ask any more questions. With the lantern in hand, he circled the two huge iron-black chairs, but he didn't discover anything else.
"Let's take a look ahead," Klein suggested.
Before he finished his sentence, Miss Bodyguard had already floated towards the end of the platform, but the surrounding gloominess and coldness remained unchanged.
A few meters ahead, Klein saw—with the help of the lantern's glow—seven large, heavy, black stone doors at the base of the hall. They were lined up, two on the left, one in the middle, four on the right, perfectly in line with the Fourth Epoch's pursuit of asymmetry.
Klein passed the cane to his lantern hand, tossed a coin at random, and whispered, "I should begin from the left."
The copper penny tumbled down and landed on his palm, portrait facing up.
"Let's go to the left." Klein took the lead.
Miss Bodyguard silently followed until they reached the door on the far left before saying ethereally, "It's the same on the right."
In other words, it didn't matter whether I did the divination… The corner of Klein's mouth curled up as he raised the lantern and examined the symbols and patterns on the door.
With a deep-black background, it was a crimson half-moon that was surrounded by radiant points of light.
This… Klein's pupils constricted suddenly.
This is the Dark Sacred Emblem! The symbol of the Evernight Goddess!
During the Fourth Epoch, the Church of the Evernight Goddess had supported the Tudor Dynasty? He thoughtfully placed his hand on the stone door.
The black stone door slowly opened amidst rough and heavy grinding sounds.
As the light from the lantern shone into the room, Klein began to see the interior, bit by bit.
There was a few meters of open space at the entrance—also paved with dark stone tiles—and a platform nearly a meter high.
Klein cautiously moved forward, holding up the lantern to illuminate the item on the platform.
A few seconds later, a fiery radiance formed the outline of a huge statue. It was about four to five meters long and almost filled the entire room.
It was an extremely beautiful lady with a hazy face. Her right hand supported her head as she laid down on the platform. She wore a layered black classical dress that wasn't overly complex. There was a circle of radiating rays at the bottom of her head.
On this lady's dress, there were sparkling specks of radiance. They were pieces of bright and resplendent gems.
At first glance, Klein felt as though he was seeing the night and the stars.
This was outlined against a circular shape under the lady's head that resembled a full moon.
This… Klein's thoughts seemed to freeze, but a guess immediately plowed its way from within.
"Evernight Goddess?" Miss Bodyguard's voice carried a rare hint of puzzlement.
Be it the symbolism or the actual form, it seemed to be a sculpture of the goddess! Klein's guess finally took shape, echoing loudly in his mind.
He remembered asking Captain Dunn Smith about one of the differences between an evil god and a true god. The former was said to have an image that resembled that of an intelligent lifeform, but the latter only had Sacred Emblems formed by symbols!
But today, at this very moment, in this ancient and bizarre underground structure, he saw a statue that looked like the Evernight Goddess.
What did this mean? Just thinking about it made Klein shudder.
Could it be that the goddess was once an evil god?
No…. Maybe it's some other evil god that falls into the night domain… However, the Dark Sacred Emblem by the door is no different from the one that is being used presently…
Or perhaps, having the image of an intelligent being isn't a standard method to distinguish between true gods and evil gods? After all, the Captain's level wasn't high enough, and his understanding of the situation wasn't necessarily accurate enough.
It was also possible that the Tudors were deliberately blaspheming the goddess!
Yes, it could also be a way of setting up some strange ritual!
Many thoughts flashed through Klein's mind. It left him feeling puzzled, nervous, and tense. However, he also felt a strange feeling which couldn't be described.
After looking around, Klein, who didn't see anything else, took a deep breath and said, "Let's go to the other doors and take a look."
I wonder what the other six doors correspond to. Would it be equally strange and evil… He thought gravely.
Miss Bodyguard nodded slowly.