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God's Descent

God’s Descent: Chapter 11

Nightingale and The Rose

“Knock, knock—” Huang Jinghui rapped on the wooden door.

After a short while, a young man with brown hair, blue eyes, and draped in a black robe pushed the door open.

Upon seeing Huang Jinghui, his face registered surprise for a moment, “Hello, may I ask who you are?”

“We’re tourists who came to the island,” You Rongyi stepped forward from behind Huang Jinghui and replied softly, “It’s really cold outside. Could you let us come in and warm ourselves by the fire?”

You Rongyi’s face was dusted with specks of snow, his lips were pale, and his voice flowed gently. As his eyes met with the man’s gaze, his eyelids blinked languidly, momentarily catching the man off guard.

There was a brief pause between them.

[System Prompt: Island NPC Dylan’s goodwill towards player You Rongyi +15, current goodwill 75] [Goodwill Description: Slight Infatuation]

Beside them, Huang Jinghui was in shock: !!!

Holy crap! Is this even possible!

These Gods’ Descent NPCs are way too obsessed with appearances! —This critique was brought to you by Huang Jinghui, also an appearance-oriented individual.

The man gazed at You Rongyi’s face in a daze for a few seconds, his face suddenly flushing red. He then nervously waved his hand, “Sure, sure! You’re welcome! You must be freezing out there! Come in quickly!”

He opened the door, and a warm current of air rushed out from inside.

Inside the house, it felt as warm as spring. A fire crackled in the fireplace, and a table displayed a spread of steaming food. Behind the door hung several thick winter coats, obviously just hung up as the snow hadn’t melted yet. It was an everyday scene.

You Rongyi’s eyes skimmed the interior and finally settled on the dining table.

Seated by the table was a young girl similarly dressed in a black robe. Upon noticing the newcomers, she adjusted her own robe and regarded You Rongyi with a hint of caution.

[System Prompt: Island NPC Angelina’s goodwill towards player You Rongyi -15, current goodwill 45] [System Prompt: Island NPC Angelina’s goodwill towards player Huang Jinghui -20, current goodwill 40] [Goodwill Description: Guarded]

In Huang Jinghui’s mind, he was screaming: How come, even though the feeling towards the both of them was guarded, his goodwill dropped less than than mine! This bunch of face-con NPCs!

“Dylan,” the girl asked the man who returned, “who are they?”

“They’re tourists who came to the island,” Dylan explained in a hushed tone, “It’s too cold outside, they want to warm up by the fire.”

“Tourists?” The girl muttered, her gaze fixed on You Rongyi, her expression holding a touch of hostility, “Who would be so bored to come here for sightseeing in the dead of winter?”

“Angelina!” Dylan admonished her in a low voice, “Don’t be so impolite to our guests!”

The girl made a face, then dashed up the stairs and disappeared.

Though her black robe seemed quite heavy, she leaped and ran like it was woven onto her body, extraordinarily light and not bulky at all.

“She’s my little sister. She’s still young, please don’t mind her rudeness,” Dylan sighed helplessly and apologetically as he poured water for the two, “There aren’t many outsiders visiting Nightingale Kingdom. She’s a bit wary, please forgive her.”

“Very few visitors on Nightingale Kingdom?” You Rongyi asked, “But isn’t this island known for the winter rose phenomenon? Why are there so few visitors?”

Huang Jinghui looked at You Rongyi in astonishment—his speed in getting into the game was impressive. He had already started delving into character settings and extracting NPC information at such an early stage. He didn’t seem like a newbie at all.

Dylan’s water-pouring action paused, “Are you here for the winter roses?”

Sensing Dylan’s change of expression, You Rongyi turned his eyes slightly, “What’s wrong? Is there an issue?”

“…Not really an issue,” Dylan put down the kettle, his tone hesitant, “These winter roses, which bloom in the winter, are precious plants unique to Nightingale Kingdom. They are extremely rare and valuable. They only grow in the Nightingale Palace Rose Garden Museum at the center of the island, part of our collection of rare flora.”

“However, the Rose Palace only allows permanent island residents to enter and isn’t open to the public.”

Dylan looked apologetic, “You might not be able to visit.”

“We are university students studying the history of Nightingale Kingdom. We’re simply very interested in this phenomenon of the winter roses,” Huang Jinghui hastily explained, “We just want to see the roses and won’t cause any damage!”

“But…” Dylan laughed helplessly, “If you had come a few days earlier, I might have been able to help you inquire. Unfortunately, these past few days have been rather inconvenient.”

You Rongyi asked, “What do you mean?”

“These few days, the Rose Palace and other Nightingale Kingdom relics are hosting the island’s annual festival,” Dylan lifted the kettle from the table and began pouring water into the cups. His head was lowered, his tone light and mysterious, “—The Winter Rose Ceremony.”

[System Prompt: Player gains key information about the background of the instance — (Winter Rose Ceremony)]
[Instance Background Completion: 8%]
[Completing instance information unlocks the Priest Boss Mission, find the trace of the Descendant of the Gods]

“The Winter Rose Ceremony?” You Rongyi paused slightly. This should be the ceremony mentioned in the mainline mission of the instance, he asked, “What’s this ceremony?”

Dylan turned away, pouring water for Huang Jinghui, his black feathered robe facing You Rongyi.

Perhaps it was You Rongyi’s imagination, but his peripheral vision swept over the feathers on Dylan’s robe—he had an inexplicable feeling that each feather’s base on the robe was trembling ever so slightly with his breath.

—It was as if they were growing through the fabric from his skin.

Dylan spoke softly, “The Winter Rose Ceremony is a grand tradition on Nightingale Kingdom that we’ve upheld for over two hundred years.”

“A traditional ceremony?” You Rongyi inquired, “Is there any history behind it?”

Dylan explained, “Nightingale Kingdom is located in a remote area with unpredictable weather. The annual agricultural yield varies year by year.”

“Since ancient times, the citizens of Nightingale Kingdom have offered sacrifices to the deities during the harsh winter, holding this ceremony in hopes of abundant harvests in the coming year. This tradition has endured and evolved over time, now known as the Winter Rose Ceremony, becoming the grandest event on Nightingale Kingdom.”

You Rongyi had read about such ceremonies in books, they were common in many places. In ancient times, humans couldn’t comprehend natural changes like weather and rain, so they linked the abundance or scarcity of crops to the blessings of the gods. As a result, they held annual ceremonies at the end of each year, offering sacrifices like cattle, sheep, poultry, and more to the gods. In some extreme cases of ritualistic worship, fervent believers even used living beings as sacrifices.

Of course, these ceremonies were superstitious and ultimately futile, as gods didn’t actually exist in reality, and a couple of decaying animal parts wouldn’t bring any special favor.

However, in “Gods’ Descent,” things might be different—according to the setting, it was a realm visited by divine beings.

You Rongyi’s gaze shifted slightly, “Why is it called the Winter Rose Ceremony? This ceremony doesn’t seem to have much to do with roses at first.”

Dylan slowly lifted his head, his face carrying an extremely enigmatic smile.

“Of course, there is a connection,” he murmured, “The offerings we present to the gods are roses.”

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