Within the city, they walked on the jade and marble roads.
Little Lyla sat on Little Black's back, patting his head and looking around excitedly. It was the first time she had been within the city. Although the Elvin City had no walls and was continuous with the villages on its outskirts, social standing had placed its own individual pressure on the poor… especially an orphan like Little Lyla.
When Dyon asked Lyla about her past, she teared up a bit, but braved through the story. Her parents weren't very powerful, so they acted as foot soldiers for campaigns. Because of the poor wages, Lyla's mother had no choice but to join the recruitments as well. Usually, Lyla would get to see her parents maybe once a year. Despite this, because of her age, she could only remember a single interaction with each of them.
During a recent campaign, due to what Ri called the incompetence of a young master, the name of whom even Ri didn't know since mistakes like this happened so often, Lyla's parents died. In the end, all Lyla had was her first name… not even able to remember her family name.
Dyon could only sigh. He was so excited to lead and make a name for himself, but he hadn't even put it into perspective that he was a kid with no experience. Would he use the lives of parents who had children just like Lyla just to further himself? What if he made a mistake, costing his army their lives.
Dyon suddenly became painfully aware that he didn't have enough knowledge. He knew nothing about the environments of the gates, and even worse, had no knowledge of military tactics. To add to an already compiling problem, Ri told him a shocking piece of information: the laws of the gates were unpredictable and constantly changing. How was he supposed to plan properly and be prepared if a desert could become a land of ice in the blink of an eye? What about if the land beneath their feet collapsed into an endless abyss of space energy? What if the weak spatial fabric of the gates caused a legacy world to flicker into existence? Suddenly, you'd have to deal with trouble not just from the other universe, but whatever trials the legacy world involved too!
Dyon's face displayed absolute focus as he thought through all of these things, 'in the 6 months between now and my first campaign, I'll learn everything there is to learn about campaigns. What the celestial deer sect has on them. What the Elvin Kingdom has on them. Whatever I can find. I can't give up on wanting to make my name known. But, I can sure as hell make sure that the least amount of allies die as possible.'
Ri watched Dyon's serious expression from his side profile, sighing inwardly, 'at least he knows to take this seriously. Campaigns are not a game. The fate of an entire universe is essentially in the hands of kids. And why? Because we happen to be geniuses? How selfish is that? Can't an older and more experienced veteran, who may be a bit slower at cultivation, lead armies better than we can?'
A light laughter took Ri out of her train of thought. She looked over to find Dyon smiling to himself. She suddenly felt the urge to hit him, "what's so funny?"
"I was just thinking about how funny it is that they really put everything in the hands of teenagers and young adults. Don't they know we're moody? What if the leader of the opposing army is a beauty? Won't I get distracted?"
Ri finally couldn't take it anymore and punched Dyon in the shoulder, "you! And here I thought you were finally going to take something seriously for once."
Dyon chuckled, rubbing his shoulder. His playful appearance turned into a thoughtful one, "don't worry Ri, I'll lead the best campaign in the history of the martial world. It isn't realistic for me to save everyone. Some will die. But, I can promise they won't be forgotten."
Ri, realizing that Dyon wasn't joking around anymore, lowered her hand and smiled, "as long as you know."
Dyon chuckled, but suddenly thought of something, "if gates don't allow anyone higher than essence gathering in, how do you conquer other universes? It's obvious that those universes would all have experts that surpass that level of cultivation. Wouldn't we all just die going to the other side?"
Ri raised an eyebrow, "you really don't know anything. Gates all have key towers within them. Controlling more key towers means having better control over the gate. If any one universe controls all key towers at once, the gate falls completely under their jurisdiction. They could essentially control the laws of the gates as they see fit.
More key towers allow you higher tiers of control. Only the highest tier of control, meaning control of all key towers, allows you to change the cultivation limits of the gates. Which then allows you to invade with armies of real experts.
It's often at this point that some universes decide to negotiate. The full control of a gate is too great of a threat. So, sometimes clans spill over. An example of this would be the Sapientia God Clan and even us Elves. Neither of us originate from this universe. It's just that at some point, some of our ancestors controlled a gate, which allowed us a foothold here."
Dyon had a confused look on his face, "is this real life, or a video game? This is obviously a man-made construct. The universe couldn't have just spontaneously decided all of this, right?"
Although Dyon said this, it made sense to him. The Sapientia God Clan had multiple main branches, yet weren't a cohesive whole. If they were, wouldn't they rule this universe instead of the Royal God Clans?
Dyon had learned recently that 'Royal God Clan' wasn't the name of a clan, but rather a ranking for the ruler of a planet. As such, if the Sapientia God Clan really originated from this universe, it wouldn't make sense for any clan but theirs to be the Royal God Clan of this planet and every other planet in this universe. Although, if they controlled every planet in a given universe, they'd be known as a King God Clan.
Ri could only laugh at Dyon's words, "I guess at some point, however millions of years ago, someone thought this would be a fun game to watch…"
"ah, whatever. I have time to figure all of this out slowly. For now, how about you tell me where you disappeared to for all those days. I was missing you," Dyon pouted as though he was truly hurt by her absence.
Ri rolled her eyes, "don't worry about what I do during my free time. That being said, I did promise to take you around the guilds. I'm not familiar with the blacksmithing or alchemy guilds… but the formation guild, I can help with that."
Dyon nodded. He had already made the conscious choice to contribute as much as he could to those guilds so that his army would be the best equipped. He was taking their lives very seriously already.
Suddenly, Little Lyla's voice came from atop Little Black, "big brother, big sister, I want to go there!" her little chubby hands pointed towards a tower in the distance.
When Dyon realized what he was looking at he chuckled lightly, "it looks like I'll be treating you today after all," he said looking at Ri mysteriously.
Ri raised an eyebrow, looking towards the restaurant in the distance, "Heaven's Wine? You're broke, how could you afford to treat me there? That very well might be the most expensive restaurant on the island… even your original million profound stones wouldn't be enough. Also, aside from Little Lyla, we're not dressed nearly formally enough."
Dyon smiled, "don't worry about all that, let's go."
I guess heaven's wine is about to get a familiar guest, lmao
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