(Lian Li POV)
Manami had told us about Master's Divine Request.
This is a holy mission that we must not fail.
While Manami was going to recruit the fox youkai from her village, I will be looking for a different group of people.
Manami had dropped me off in the outskirts of Jin city along with Eris and Diao Chan, letting us make our way into the city.
Leading my two sisters towards a deserted alley, I pushed aside one of the boxes and removed a small brick in the wall, revealing a concealed lever on the other side.
I pulled it without hesitation, the action causing the wall nearby to rotate open and revealing a hidden staircase that led downwards.
With the other two girls flanking my sides, we descended the staircase just as the walls rotated back into place behind us.
Two men were waiting at the end of the staircase, guarding an unassuming metallic door.
"High Priestess Lian Li, High Priestess Eris, High Priestess Diao Chan. It is an honour," one of the men greeted with a reverent bow.
"Cut the formalities," I waved my hand. "Is Alpha in?"
The other man bowed, "Yes, High Priestess. Priestess Alpha is currently with Priestess Delta in the Cathedral for today's sermons."
I nodded to him in thanks, "Perfect. Keep up the good work. All for Master."
"All for Master."
We continued through the doors, moving through the torch-lit passageways to our destination.
An intricately decorated stone door lay at the end of our destination, its presence so out of place in this dimly lit tunnel.
I pushed open the doors without hesitation, revealing what seems like the interior of a church to us.
Rows upon rows of pews sat facing towards a grand altar, where a picture of Master reaching out his hand towards the masses was painted on the wall.
A young woman with long, flowing silver hair stood at the head of the altar, spreading her arms wide with her head tilted up in prayer. She wore a black dress that stretched to her ankles, her long sleeves reaching past her wrist.
A black silken cloth acted as a blindfold was tied around her head, looping behind her distinctively long, pointed ears that accentuated her sharp features.
She was Delta, the currently appointed Head Preacher of our Church.
"And thus, Master is truly the greatest being in existence and we, unworthy as we are, shall cleanse this world of its impurities for Master."
She clasped her hands together in front of her large, pilowy chest, the masses mimicking her actions below.
"All for Master."
"All for Master."
The three of us echoed, joining in with the prayer.
Another woman who had been standing to the side walked up towards the elven girl, whispering something in her ear. She was dressed similarly to Delta with the exception of the blindfold.
Her hair was midnight black that ended just past her shoulders, a pair of wolfish ears poking out from the top of her head. That was Alpha, the current official second in charge of our little group of believers.
Delta nodded her head and Alpha stepped back behind her.
The elf raised her arms to gather everyone's attention again, "Today is a blessed day fellow believers! Rejoice! For the direct apostles of our God has graced us with their presence!"
As one, the masses stood and turned towards us, all of them gasping out in surprise and joy.
"It's High Priestess Lian Li!"
"High Priestess Eris as well!"
"Even the new High Priestess Diao Chan!"
I greeted the ones near us alongside my fellow sisters, moving along the aisle towards the altar at the end of the hall.
"High Priestesses, we bid you welcome," Alpha greeted, bowing her head low.
Delta mimicked her actions, though her bow was slightly off to the side, "High Priestesses, we thank our Master for this honour. Is there something we can do for you?"
"Divine Request" Eris stated plainly.
Alpha's eyes widened, looking towards me for confirmation.
I nodded at her.
"Is Is it true?" Delta asked, her head leaning towards me.
"Yes Delta, it is true. Diao Chan, if you would?" I gestured towards the altar.
Diao Chan stepped up towards the altar, lifting her arms high up into the air, "Hear me dear believers of our most benevolent Master! Our Master, who we so worship, has heard our prayers and issued a Divine Request for us!"
There was a moment of stunned silence before the entire hall filled with a thundering cheer, every one of them bursting out in celebration and joy.
Why wouldn't they?
To have Master make a Divine Request for us is like receiving a Commandment from god. It is a testament to his will and his acknowledgement of our prayers for him.
For he who has already given us so much that we could never dream to repay him, we must do our utmost best to spread his holy name.
Diao chan waited for the cheers to die down before continuing, "Heaven Sect will be organising a New Year Festival soon and our most glorious Master has seen fit to grace it with His ideals and presence! What He lacks now are the devout believers who would campaign in His Name!"
The crowd cheered even louder.
"I will go! Let me spread Master's name!"
"Let us go! We will not fail!"
"Glory to Master!"
"We will teach the unenlightened!"
Diao Chan raised her hand to silence them, "We have but less than two weeks to send the best of the best to participate in the event. Both Eris and I will be in charge of tutoring you in the art of entertainment and only those we think qualified will be sent there."
Eris stepped up to the altar, "This is Master's first order to us, we must make sure to give our very best!"
The crowd cheered.
"For the next few days, this one shall use all of this one's humble skills to tutor you. Expect nothing but the best from yourselves, for we must not disgrace Master who has placed His trust in us."
Now it was my cue to step up to the altar beside them, "Remember, Master will be present there. You will have to put your best foot forward if any of you wishes to bask in his presence."
The roar from the crowd was deafening.
"Now prepare!" I thrusted an arm forward, pointing towards the door. "We will begin our training right after your interlude! All interested parties should gather at the Divine Hall after this, I will see you there!"
I watched the believers stood up to leave after offering another round of prayers.
The numbers we have right now were few, at most a scant two hundred believers in total that were spread out within the city. But these numbers were more than enough to staff the event that Master had proposed.
"High Priestess Lian Li?" Delta asked from behind.
I turned towards her, "Yes, Delta?"
"By any chance Could I participate as well?"
I reached up to caress her cheek, staring straight into her blindfold where I knew a pair of lifeless eyes lay.
Elves were a rather lucrative commodity amongst the more unfriendly youkai. They have exceptionally high Elemental Quark concentration within their bodies which makes them extremely desirable as cultivation materials. It was an open secret that elves were freely traded around within the circle of some youkai communities.
The poor girl had gotten herself embroiled in a Dark Sect's attempt to summon some kind of demon.
Her village had been raided by a Dark Sect when she was just a baby, her entire village being taken to an underground facility for the Dark Sect to conduct their ritual.
They were trying to use the elves as catalysts to summon the demon. But because the information on the ritual they had on hand was incomplete, they had to go through many tests in their trial and error to get the ritual right.
Delta had been the last one.
It was with her that the Dark Sect managed to summon the demon.
But instead of doing their bidding like they had wanted, the demon had instead possessed Delta's eyes, giving her the power to turn any living thing she saw into dust.
She managed to use her new power to escape from her decade long prison, using her instincts to survive in the wild.
We found her alone in a cave during our trip with Master when we went out for a stroll by pure luck.
She had been living near Jin city and surviving on her own for another decade, using a blindfold to hide her eyes' curse when meeting with people.
But as she knew about her value as a cultivation material first hand, she was quite reclusive and never had many outside contacts.
Manami had been intrigued by her, spending several days to slowly coax her out of her cave before extolling Master's virtues to her.
With nothing to hang on to, she took our gospels with reverence, clinging on to us as her new sisters.
We accepted her as one of our own, taking the time in between our lessons with Master to teach her how to worship our Master properly.
We had also baptised her with a new name, joining the ranks of the new group of Cardinals that we had formed to spread Master's name to the masses.
We had asked Master if there was a way for someone like her to have her sight restored and he had answered, "It is difficult, but not impossible. Demons are extremely troublesome things, believe me. But if one has enough faith, even the darkest of places will seem bright."
With that belief, she took our lessons with absolute devotion, memorising all the contents from the Holy Text we had read to her.
She believes that if she worshipped Master enough, the demon could be expelled from her body.
As to her question if she could participate.
"Of course, Delta. Master's benevolence extends to all of us."
She got on her knees, "Thank you Thank you Praise be to Master"
I patted her head before turning to look at Alpha, "What about you Alpha?"
She showed a sad smile, "I'm afraid I have to stay behind to tend the flock, High Priestess Lian Li We just had another batch of believers joining our group and if Delta is going, I'll have to stay."
"Pity" Eris sighed. "Another time"
Alpha nodded, "I will make sure I am fully worthy of being graced by Master's presence then."
"Mmm Work hard for it and you shall be rewarded," Diao Chan clapped her shoulder encouragingly.
With that, Master should be able to get the personnel who will man the stalls and provide security, all we have to do is train them to a satisfactory level within the week.
I would say we have our work cut out for us.
Speaking of which Manami had suggested we prepare a performance of our own as well.
Diao Chan was already quite well-versed in the arts of entertainment from her time as a retainer while Manami was a natural crowd pleaser.
Eris has multiple 'minds' to speed up her learning process and I have my own experience in entertaining.
As for Cai Hong Well, she's a cute dragon loli. Who doesn't like cute dragon lolis?
Double workload for us but it's going to be worth it.