Chapter 1217: Divine Condemnation
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Fina listened to Zhang Zian’s narrative. Its first reaction was that he was talking nonsense. The sun rose daily in the east. How could it not set and return the next day? Even if he wanted to spout lies, he should at least follow the basic laws of physics.
Zhang Zian saw that Fina did not believe him and felt very hurt. Why didn’t she believe him even when he spoke the truth?
“Really, it is the truth! I was not the only one that discovered it. If you don’t believe me, go and ask the rest!” He pointed to the sky, wanting to take an oath to prove his innocence. Yet even if he took an oath, he doubted Fina would believe him…
“It was the first thing that was noticed by the old man.” Old Time Tea backed Zhang Zian up.
At that time, Old Time Tea was standing beside a collapsed wall. He was casually admiring the beautiful scenery when he heard Zhang Zian calling for them to gather. He was just about to leave when he was suddenly alerted to something that did not seem right.
His level of vigilance had always been very high. He glanced in all directions but failed to notice anything amiss. As they were at the top of the hills, neither man nor animal would escape his eyes.
Old Time Tea, despite not finding anything, kept up his alertness. He scanned the landscape in greater detail.
When his eyes fell on the shadow of his feet, his beard trembled. He saw something that horrified him. Earlier, when he’d jumped on the wall, his shadow had been at the edge of the wall. It had since been about ten minutes. Within those ten minutes, much like him, the position of his shadow had not moved at all.
Old Time Tea was cautious. At first, he thought that it was a mistake. Perhaps he had unconsciously moved and thus the shadow stayed in the original position. However, he thought hard and found this impossible. He had a known stance for standing and sitting. He would never twist and turn when he had no business moving around.
Thus, he decided to tell Famous and Vladimir about his discovery and asked if they were aware of this abnormality.
After listening, Famous and Vladimir did not believe him either. However, Old Time Tea looked very serious, and it did not seem like a joke.
Even if the sun had set, it was still not directly visible, despite its rays being considerably weaker than they had been at noon.
Zhang Zian and the elfins didn’t want to leave. They did not know where Fina was, and they couldn’t leave for the time being.
The three elfins then stood in formation, held their breath, and watched each other’s shadows. They held their positions for more than 10 minutes. They noticed that the three shadows pointing in three different directions had not changed a bit.
They looked at each other. After a little discussion, they thought that this matter was extraordinary. They quickly went to Zhang Zian to discuss further.
Zhang Zian was playing with his mobile phone, and from time to time, he shouted Fina’s name. He wanted to send a message online, such as, “If your boyfriend claims that he is going to Siwa to pursue the glory of Alexander the Great, then you must be careful.” His intention was to catch the attention of his friends online in the hopes of getting many young girls to notice him…
He listened to Old Time Tea and the other elfins. At first, he could not believe what they said, but upon closer scrutiny, he could not think of anything wrong with their explanation. He also felt like today’s sun was taking a very long time to set.
It was at this time that he saw Fina jump out of the spire. He quickly told her about the discovery. Fina didn’t believe Zhang Zian, but the elfins were unanimous in what they said. That made it difficult not to believe.
Was this…was this the work of the god Amon?
She used her peripheral vision to quickly glance at the sunset near the horizon. They were at the highest point in the vicinity, and it was the best place to enjoy sunrises and sunsets. Was this the reason, therefore, that the temple had been built here?
Fina’s heart beat fast, and bursts of ecstasy poured into her heart. The god Amon had responded! Her prayers had really been heard!
So… Was it possible to see the living god once more?
The elfins were engaged in deep discussion about the phenomenon, but they reached no conclusion despite all that chatter.
“God… This is really God…” Fina murmured. “Back in the old days, Alexander the Great must have seen such a god…”
Zhang Zian sighed and said, “In my opinion, this has nothing to do with gods.”
Fina, who had been secretly happy, felt like she was being doused in cold water. She asked coldly, “Why?”
Zhang Zian did not notice the strangeness in her tone. He immediately said, “In my opinion, this is similar to a mirage. It’s nothing to be alarmed about.”
He knelt down, picked up a small stone, and drew two concentric circles on the ground. “This is the surface of the earth and the atmosphere.”
Then he drew a triangle at the end of the inner arc. “This is the hill that we are currently at.”
“This is the sun.” He drew a small circle at the other end of the outer arc, and the circle did not touch the arc.
From that small circle, he drew a dotted line to connect to the triangle. “It is reasonable to say that the light from the sun has been blocked by the ground. We cannot see this, but…”
He drew a solid line starting from the small circle that intersected the outer arc, and then he changed the direction to connect with the triangle.
“Unusual atmospheric conditions will cause the light to refract, so the sun that has already set can still be seen by us. From how we see it, the sun seemed to not be moving, though it still is.”
When he’d finished, he threw the small stone on the ground. He felt immensely proud.
Old Time Tea was stunned and said, “This is akin to watching fish in the water from the shore. Where we see the position of the fish is not the real position of the fish.”
“Yes, Old Time Tea is very smart.” Zhang Zian deeply admired his practical wisdom—when he was young, he must have caught many fish in the mountains.
Famous and Vladimir also understood his schematic diagram. It made sense to them. They were relieved and did not worry about any abnormal happenings.
Only Fina’s face became increasingly distorted. She said, “This is merely your guess. Is there any abnormality in the atmosphere? How do you know?”
Zhang Zian spoke enthusiastically, like he was solving an extremely difficult elementary mathematics problem. “The extreme environment of the desert is inherently prone to rare weather phenomena, such as the super storm that can make the sand dunes shift, the rainstorm from the past three nights, the mysterious mirage, et cetera. The most reasonable explanation will be as such. Otherwise, can there be any other explanation?”
Fina, deep in her heart, did agree with what Zhang Zian said. After all, she had lived much longer in Egypt than he had. Yet for this exact reason, she could help but feel defensive and angry towards him.
She probed further. “Even if it is as you claimed and this is caused by abnormal formation in the atmosphere, why, out of all the possible times for it to occur, did it occur now?”
In fact, she left out an important point—why was there an abnormality just after she had prayed to the god Amon?
“Well, this…” Zhang Zian shrugged. “Maybe it is just a coincidence. In fact, similar anomalies often occur here, but few people notice them. After all, there are few tourists here, and no one will stare quite as long at the sunset. The locals may be as ignorant about this as well.”
The more he said, the more he felt that his guess was reasonable. He felt a sense of superiority towards the elfins, as he thought that he was smarter, and he grew more smug about himself.
The other elfins secretly observed the exchange, and all of them stayed silent. They noticed that Fina had an extraordinary attachment to this anomaly. Usually, Fina would not care about anything out of the ordinary. Yet only Zhang Zian failed to understand her unusual behavior.
“I…don’t believe in coincidence,” Fina said stubbornly. “You don’t believe in coincidence, either. So why do you come to such a conclusion so casually?”
“Because sometimes there is just such a coincidence! The type of coincidence that I don’t believe in is that between people. How can one predict the weather? Perhaps you have a better explanation?” Zhang Zian said with a slight smirk across his face. He crossed his arms and held them tightly across his chest. He was confident in his argument.
Old Time Tea and Famous gave him a stern look. It was a hint to him to indulge less in Fina’s stubbornness. If he took a step back, it would be no blow to his ego. However, the arrogant Zhang Zian failed to notice them.
Fina was furious just looking at the smirk across his face. She reluctantly suppressed her anger and tried to maintain her composure. She said, “Perhaps there are other reasons that cannot be explained by common sense. You see, we are standing in a sacred place…”
She did not finish what she wanted to say before Zhang Zian interrupted her.
“No, no. I know what you want to say. Let me repeat myself. This is not the work of god. Occam’s razor—the simpler the explanation, the better. Instead of adding an unknown factor to explain the problem, we are better off explaining things with known facts,” he said, vigorously shaking his head.
Fina finally couldn’t bear it and screamed, “I will skin you alive!” Before she finished, her sharp claws cut through the wind, flashing across the sunset like a streak of light.
Zhang Zian was extremely frightened. However, he was quick to respond. It was lucky that he was not very close to Fina as well. He instinctively took a step back to escape her claws. He did avoid significant harm, with only his jeans shredded a little. He did not spill a single drop of blood.
“Hey! What are you doing? Please be more civilized!”
He squinted his eyes and ducked his head. He ran to Old Time Tea and hid behind him.
“Please calm down! I also think that it is too far-fetched to explain it by sheer coincidence. There are no absolutes in this world, and there are still many things that cannot be completely explained by science.”
Old Time Tea hurriedly came in to save Zhang Zian.
Vladimir also offered his two cents. “Where the matters for debate are purely ideological, regardless of man or cat, we can only approach it through discussion, criticism, and persuasion. We cannot use force or repression. That is no way to solve it.”
“The truth is out there!” Famous quoted the classic line from “The X-Files,” suggesting that the truth was still somewhat inconclusive.
“Meow!” Galaxy offered his sympathies as well.
Fina was still angry. She shot him an angry look and, with a rapid movement, flicked her tail, turned around, and walked away. “I am going back!”
She meant what she’d said. Within seconds, she had walked off the hill and disappeared in the direction of the small town.
Once Zhang Zian could confirm that Fina had left, he heaved a sigh of relief. Earlier, his heart had been all the way up in his throat. He had been very nervous. He flapped his sleeves and shouted out indignantly, “I will not stoop to your level ever! Or else… Ha!”
He looked down at the fresh cuts made in his jeans. He comforted himself. “With these new cuts, I look so much more on point! Oh yes, by the way, who made Fina angry?”
The rest of the elves were speechless upon hearing this. They didn’t know what to say.
“Hey!” Richard landed on his shoulder and said rather sympathetically, “No wonder you lived for so many years and are still single. This is the exact behavior of a singleton!”
“What do you mean?” Zhang Zian replied, somewhat stunned.
Richard sighed. “Don’t you understand? You cannot reason with any female creatures. They will force you to lower your IQ to their level and thereafter beat you with their own unreasonable reasoning!”
Zhang Zian carefully thought about what he’d said. He understood the meaning and said, nodding, “That seems to be the case…”
“So men should be with men! Let all the females go to hell!” Richard said while he flapped his wings.
“Well, that makes sense… No, wait!” Zhang Zian finally realized that he’d been just about to fall into Richard’s trap!
He remembered a previous score that he had not settled with the bird and was just about to grab at his claws to beat him silly. However, Richard was ready and immediately took flight.
“Hey! You fit young man, run toward the setting sun! We shall have the fight of the century in the town below! However, make sure to take protective measures!” Richard said as he fluttered his wings and flew up high, circling the spires of the ruins.
Zhang Zian picked up pebbles from the ground and held them in his hands. He hesitated, debating whether he would throw them at Richard. He was not afraid to take him out. He was more worried that his pebble would hit the spire, causing it to crumble in the midst of their fight. With the collapse of the spire, two thousand years of antiquities would go with it as well…
In a logical sense, he did not think that the gods truly existed. However, as Fina had said, they were standing on a piece of sacred land. It would be better for him to stay cautious than risk everything.
What if he incurred the wrath of the gods, and he was cursed to be alone forever?
Richard had just circled the spire two to three times and suddenly felt an urge to pee.
To reduce weight while flying, many birds, including parrots, did not control their bowel movements and released them whenever and wherever. When Richard was at home, he tried his best to do it in a civilized manner. However, once he was in this wilderness, he couldn’t care less. A bright arc appeared across the sky, and pee landed amongst the ruins.
Zhang Zian and other elfins hurried to find a place to hide from the pee.
“Ah! Ah! Feels so good!”
He did not finish speaking before a sea of black rose up in front of his eyes. It was very sudden. Apparently, he had accidentally slammed into the steeple. It was a hard knock, so hard that he felt giddy. With a scream, he fell toward the ground like a rock.
Fortunately, Richard was able to slow his descent with the help of his wings. He ended up not falling too badly. Nevertheless, it was still a reasonably significant impact. He fell directly into his urine, and his feathers were entirely covered in that liquid.
Zhang Zian and the elfins felt sympathetic to the self-serving bird, yet they were highly amused by his actions. Suddenly, right in front of them, their sight turned black.
He and the elfins looked towards the west in unison.
The sun, which had been on the horizon for a long time, had suddenly set completely, all within the blink of an eye. It was rapidly changing from bright to dark. This caused Richard’s night blindness to surface.
He and the elfins faced each other. Had they just seen what they thought they’d seen? Had Richard peed on the holy land only to immediately suffer retribution?
Was this a coincidence or… God’s condemnation?