Chapter 78: The Sun God, Yoten no Mako
Although it was just a single-story house, there was a half-story staircase and we had been walking on a wooden walkway.
The King of Poleinia came to a halt and announced that we had arrived at a door-less entrance referred to as a torii.
Auglia-sama and I were unfamiliar with this term.
Although it was expected to be open, I felt a formidable pressure, as if I was not permitted to stand in the center or enter on my own.
Two massive beams, resembling objects, supported the thick, red pillars that leaned outwards.
The name of a deity was inscribed in the Poleinian language on those beams, and behind the torii stood a grand, yet petite abode.
The garden stones were white and large, polished stones were laid out, and stepping stones were arranged to lead to the tiny house.
It appeared to be positioned obliquely behind the torii, as if it was a sign of disrespect to directly face the gods from the front.
“You may proceed normally here.
This is known as the first shrine, and the main shrine of our deity, the True Child of the Sun, Yōten no Mako-sama (Goddess of Mercy), is located further within the second and third shrines.
If you are a visitor, you are only permitted to visit the first shrine.”
“Thank you for your clarification.
So, to put it simply, the deeper location is where the god is revered, and this serves as an entrance, correct?”
Additionally, there are numerous sanctuaries in our nation that consider this location as the primary temple… In the Baratonia style, it’s referred to as a temple, and it’s a familiar concept, correct? If written as “Jinja”, it’s called a shrine.
Are you familiar with Sinn Fe country? The religious differences can be a complicated issue, but our country’s gods are benevolent.
There are no strict rituals for worship, for instance, simply joining your hands in front of your chest and bowing suffices.
By speaking while bowing, it transforms into a conversation with your inner god.”
The King of Poleinia demonstrated the act of joining his hands in front of his chest and bowing.
At that moment, his eyes appeared to be closed.
I had only acquired surface-level knowledge of celestial bodies, religions, gods, and such topics until now, as I believed that my life would be confined within my own country.
However, since my marriage into the Baratonia Kingdom and my involvement in the central government of a godless country, I have had numerous opportunities to interact with various religions from different nations.
Although I was aware of the diverse cultures that existed beyond my homeland, actually experiencing the ambiance, beholding the architecture, and touching the intangible elements of religion has been nothing but exhilarating for me.
Despite this, I have no inclination towards belief and firmly believe that the religion of my birthplace has been corrupted by human hands.
Still, for some inexplicable reason, I cannot help but hold a sense of reverence, even for the gods worshipped by the Poleinia Kingdom…
Auglia-sama, Hillian, and I crossed the stepping stones as instructed, and arrived at a small, magnificent house named “Ichinomiya.” Beyond the ornate walls, similar houses could be seen in the background, with increasingly elaborate decorations as one ventured deeper.
As we were instructed, the three of us aligned ourselves in front of the first shrine, and, with our hands clasped in front of our chests, made a slight bow, bending at the waist in reverence.
(Greetings, Yoten no Mako-sama.
I take this opportunity during my journey to pay my respects.
Please bless Auglia-sama, myself, and everyone accompanying us, so that we may safely complete our journey and reap its benefits.)
I rarely communicate with the divine in my heart like this.
One of the major reasons I was skeptical about the distorted Lina Religion of the Faithnum Empire was due to my distrust of those who claimed to be spiritual leaders.
It is a poignant realization, especially from the perspective of the royal family.
Nonetheless, despite being revered to this extent, the King of Polenia proclaimed, “inner God.” The prayers and devotions offered here are intended to be a conversation with one’s inner self, rather than with the enshrined gods.
I was intrigued to learn more about the religion of the Poleinia Kingdom.
Although we are residing in the castle, we have been granted the privilege of visiting the major cities for a week, of course under the supervision of the Poleinia Kingdom.
There are certain areas that are off-limits to us.
As I was pondering these thoughts, I prayed without any intention.
Suddenly, my chest felt as if it was ablaze, and I was taken aback.
I quickly released my hands and opened my eyes.
Beneath our garments, Auglia-sama and I both wore a delicate necklace of rubies and pearls that I purchased in the Baratonia Kingdom.
Our gazes met, exchanging the hue of each other’s eyes.
The gems radiated heat and light, visible through the tiny crevices in our attire.
There was no discomfort, only surprise.
Hillian watched the scene with his eyes wide open, while Auglia-sama and I exchanged confused looks over the difference, and the light subsided.
King Poleinia rushed over, his rotund form jostled by the motion.
“Uh, what was that…! Oh, excuse me, but is there something hidden beneath your clothing…?”
“I have a pearl and my wife has a ruby, each with a small stone, but what exactly just happened?”
King Poleinia’s eyes were thin, like threads, and were buried in his round face.
With his eyes wide open, he made a grand bow, a show of deep respect.
“That is correct… it is due to the protection of Yoten no Mako-sama.
The ruby is said to embody the sun itself, while the pearl resembles the moon that reflects the sun’s light.
I am confident she has granted you both her protection for a safe journey…!”
Auglia-sama and I exchanged puzzled glances.
Despite the fact that it’s being touted as a divine miracle, there’s a sense of ambiguity, but we now have to acknowledge that something peculiar has occurred.
Before engaging in sightseeing, it seemed like we needed to learn more about the religion and deities of the Kingdom of Poleinia.
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