Ceres took a deep breath and addressed me, “Look, you had once told me that you would try to find a cure for my faulty eyesight, right?”
I had no idea why she was bringing that up now but I nodded my acceptance.
“Well then, how did you plan to do it?”
I didn’t know where she was taking this but I humoured her, “The Cult of Bubastis in Egypt is renown for their medical expertise. I presume that they might have a solution to your particular case.”
“And why do you feel that they would be willing to treat me upon your request when they deny so many of similar or even loftier status?”
“Mother’s bloodline originates from them? So, they would be more likely to give us favoured treatment?” I probed.
“And that is where you are wrong. I’m guessing that you are in the dark about the fact that they denied your Mother treatment for her infertility after giving birth to you.”
My eyes widened in surprise. “What? Why would they do that? Even if they didn’t wish to pay attention to her bloodline origin, they should have taken her status into account. Offending a Marquis of Regiis for no good reason is surely quite idiotic.”
Ceres shook her head. “It was because of her bloodline that she was turned away.”
She settled back into her pillows and continued, “You might think that the commonality in their bloodline origin would provide convenience to your mother in dealing with the Cult. But the fact is just the opposite.
“The Cult is very secretive and exclusive. It likes to keep its secrets closely guarded. Now, what do you think would happen if a person with their bloodline runs up to another country to marry and settle down?”
I was suddenly enlightened. “They would want to recover her.”
“Right. That was their condition for treating her. She would have to leave Regiis and join the Cult, leaving her family behind. As expected, this condition was flatly rejected. After that, relations haven’t been harmonious between the Cult and your parents.
“That is why she wrote down Egypt as a foot-note in her text.”
While I was surprised at the revelation, I could see where she was trying to take the topic. But Phobos was faster than me.
“Oh? So, you mean to imply that if Husband becomes the Emperor, then his parents will be raised to the status of Royalty. Then, the Cult would have to cave in to their demands or spark an international incident.”
Ceres nodded. “Exactly.”
I rubbed my nose. “Be that as it may, I don’t believe that my parents have any plans to give me a younger sibling. Even if they could. So, your argument isn’t quite convincing.”
Ceres turned to me. “Don’t you find it strange that your Father promoted to Tier 5 before your Mother did, despite her talent being higher than his?”
I fell into ponder. Mother had always led Father in the promotion of Tiers. She had been promoted to a Tier 4 mage almost a year earlier than Father.
It also wasn’t a matter of diligence as in her position as the Chief Healer of the clan, she was worked to the bone nearly every day.
Her training was no less intense than Father’s. Yet, there she was still stuck at Tier 4 while he advanced.
I questioned her, “Does it have something to do with her bloodline and the Cult?”
“Right.” She replied. “The fact of the matter is that promoting from Tier 4 to Tier 5 requires a turning point. In the case of most ordinary bloodlines involving carnivores, a tough fight is generally enough to stimulate their bloodline and trigger the promotion.
“Case in point, your Father’s abrupt advancement after his Duel.” She paused to gather her thoughts and then continued, “But, in many cases, different criterion are to be met for successful promotion.
“As you would expect, these conditions vary with the bloodline of the subject. Information on Tier 5 is classified so what I know is quite limited but I have read that the condition for some hare bloodlines is to break through the limits of their speed.”
I indicated for her to go on and Ceres continued after wetting her throat from the glass of water on the bedside table. “Here, most of what I am going to say is speculative, as, if Tier 5 information is restricted, Tier 6 is nigh unavailable.”
She shook her head. “In fact, my sources are mainly fables and the mythos of various cultures. Take for example the Huaxia belief in the Divine Beast known as the Dragon. They say that a python after long years of cultivation grows claws and horns, transforming into a flood dragon. The flood dragon in turn has the possibility of cultivating and turning into a true dragon which is a Divine Beast.
“In my opinion, the flood dragon is basically a python that has cultivated to Tier 5 and is able to use mana manifestation to change their shape, while the true Dragon is what they turn into after promoting to Tier 6.
“So, your Mother’s case, is quite special. Her bloodline originates from a sacred beast, in other words, a beast whose ancestor had once reached Tier 6, the legendary level of Demigod.”
Piecing together what she had revealed, I realised that she was referring to the fact that the advancement condition for Mother would be even harsher and obscure given how honoured her bloodline was.
I said, “So, you mean to say that without the help of the Cult, mother won’t be able to promote?”
She nodded. “The Cult obviously knows the method of promotion required for members of their own bloodline. Your Mother, through her extensive research and novel approach to Healing is trying to recreate what the first ancestor of her clan must have done: calculate the advancement condition. But, that is obviously easier said than done. If luck doesn’t side by her, she has the possibility of never succeeding for her entire life.
“Also, I’m sure that she would love a chance to visit the Cult’s stores of medical knowledge.”
Phobos and I looked at each other and were silent.
A chance to be of help to Mother was quite appealing to me and the matter was quite serious. A promotion to Tier 5 meant a leap in the lifespan from a hundred years to almost a hundred and fifty. Let alone, due to her bloodline origin, she had a high success rate and even a small possibility of promoting to Demigod in her lifetime. If I allowed Mother’s cultivation base to stagnate because of this, I would in effect be shortening her lifespan.
If I didn’t know of this, it would have been fine but now that I did…
I exchanged glances with Phobos. I found resignation in her eyes.
Turning to Ceres I said, “I have one last question.”