Breathing heavily, Vainqueur raised his hands and unleashed his magic for the sixtieth time. “[Terraform: Landmass]!”
His power spread across the desert beneath his and his minions’ feet; but instead of green grass, the sand transformed into bright, multi-colored sugar. A hill of cream appeared to his left, a chocolate lake to his right. Candy flowers bloomed across the land, next to licorice trees and cake boulders.
In a few seconds, the area had transformed into a baker’s paradise.
You have transformed the [Desert] field into a [Candyland] field! You increased local [Diabetes] rates!
Cooking-based abilities will be greatly enhanced—
“How?!” Vainqueur complained, interrupting the notification. “How does this keep happening?!”
He had been trying to make the desert green for hours, only to make it multicolored!
The dragon glanced at the previous transformed landscape behind him, a patchwork of floating islands, snowy mountains, metal tinfoil dungeons, and other aberrations. Worse, not once had he managed to create a golden land worthy of his rule!
“Obviously, Your Majesty’s [Unstable Magic] creates fields at random,” Untasty Allison declared, turning towards the other minions. “We had, what, thirty different types of fields so far?”
“In total, we have four [Lost Woods], three [Crystal Caverns], one [Magical Lake], two [Floating Islands], one [Gear Factory], two [Onsen], one [Grave Canyon]...” Tasty Malfy kept reading a list, rejoicing at the next item on it, “one [Demonic Sanctuary]!”
“We are still unsure how the [Outer Space] and [Outremoon] nodes even work,” Corpseling Jules added.
“Your Majesty, this cannot continue,” Untasty Allison argued. “The local climate will be in complete chaos!”
“Rolo happy with this,” the farmer replied, opening the sugary ground to find mochi growing inside it. “Rolo can work this land!”
“Our citizens would welcome more environmental types,” Corpseling Jules said. “But I agree with Allison. Adding so many different fields next to one another will create ecological problems in the future.”
“I shall not stop,” Vainqueur decided. “I said I would not stop until I have kicked the desert out of my empire, and I will not compromise!”
Not even in the face of so many cakes!
“Your Majesty, I understand the sentiment, I truly do,” Untasty Allison kept arguing. “But what will happen if an [Acid Lake] causes poisonous rain to spread through the [Slime Paradise] and [Gear Factory] nearby? We cannot control the entire ecosystem!”
“Manling Victor can,” the dragon replied, trusting his chief of staff to handle the boring minion parts. “He will do the thing.”
“Oh, good idea,” Corpseling Jules nodded. “With his [Weathermaker] levels, he could create magical weather conditions.”
“But [Control Weather] has only a limited duration,” Allison pointed out.
“Not if [Permanent Enchantment] effects are applied,” the ghoul replied. “He should be of a high enough tier to cast this.”
“That’s how our Corporate Overlords covered up climate change,” Malfy added.
“And once more, I want to remind everyone that there is no scientific proof that releasing necrotic magic in the atmosphere negatively impacts the environment,” Corpseling Jules said.
The dryad raised a finger, lowered it, and then realized that Vainqueur’s logic could not be argued with. “High-tier magic is absurd.”
“The universe bends to my imperial will!” the dragon declared loudly, swallowing his [SPeroid] barrel before wiping off the liquid from his mouth. “Next!”
Victor had missed TV so much. And Seng had a full-size plasma-screen one!
“... and this is why no Princess Hunter goes hunting in the cold north without camouflage,” Grandrake explained behind the screen, as he stalked a group of giants while hidden beneath a cover of snow. Why the dragon was talking to himself remained a mystery, but it made for good television. “If I make a wrong move, they will notice my warm breathing and attack. For Ice Giant princesses are half-knight, half-giant... one hundred percent princess!”
“Wow, I didn’t think ice giants even existed in this world, let alone had princesses,” Victor noted, sharing a sofa with Seng. Both slouched over it like slobs, a glass of alcohol in hand, and the remains of a fish pizza in a corner of the room.
“Democratic climate change destroyed their natural habitat,” Seng said.
“Aren’t you the goddess of revolutions and freedom though?” Victor asked, curious. “Why are you watching a show about saving outdated monarchies from extinction?”
“Guilty pleasure,” Seng admitted. “I hate nobles, so I love watching Grandrake capture them.”
“Do you know that Vainqueur saved me from most of his current ‘wildlife reserve’?” Victor smiled. “He put them in a bag like candies!”
“A bag?” Seng laughed.
“And then he tried to call a dragon veterinarian!”
The two exchanged their outlandish stories about their adventures in Outremonde, from Victor’s escape from the Loli House to Seng helping aliens after a UFO traffic crash. “... and he tried to pay for the damage with seashells!”
“Really?” Victor couldn’t stop laughing. “That’s hilarious!”
“Yeah, the town was never the same after that Lightning Gun Mexican standoff,” the mermaid said. “I think it’s where the Moon Man got the Chaos part of his portfolio. Then there was a big pillar of light and poof, Valhalla time for him.”
“And he was still high when he ascended?” Victor asked while looking into his cocktail glass, Seng nodding while restraining tears of hilarity. Damn, it made his own drug trip look restrained in comparison. “Also, is it me, or is the alcohol working? I’m supposed to be immune to this stuff.”
“Not in my planar realm, you aren’t!” The goddess and the Vizier toasted. “Where the Hell were you, best slime?”
“Happyland,” Victor replied. “And where were you, best mermaid?”
“Now come on, don’t be a corporate sellout,” she laughed, before looking a bit sad. “I don’t get it. How do the other gods get so many nice followers to hang out with?”
“What do you mean?” Victor frowned, “Aren’t you, like super popular already?”
“No, I’m just before Sablar and the Moonies, and tied with Isengrim!” Seng grumbled. “Yeah, Camilla is sexy and brooding, with that outsider charm, but come on, Mithras? He doesn’t have a stick up his ass, but a spear! So why does every twoleg love him?”
“Well, I gotta hand it to Mithras,” Victor said, even if he doubted they would ever get along. “He showed up to personally defend one Claimed when he probably has a dozen more important tasks to deal with. I don’t remember Dice ever doing the same for me.”
Maybe he was stern and stiff, but Mithras clearly cared about helping people. Victor respected that.
“I’m trying to help too!” Seng complained. “I’m trying, but I always screw up!”
“Your Godliness,” Victor said, identifying her problem. “You can’t make people believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself first.”
She looked at him, as he had casually delivered an ancient universal secret.
“What you need, Your Godliness, is someone constantly reminding you of how amazing and caring you truly are,” Victor said, remembering Vainqueur’s lesson about raising young wyrms. “Until greatness becomes second nature to you. You ‘screw-up,’ and I use the term loosely, because you believe that you will.”
“Your Godliness.” He put his glass out on the sofa’s side, took her hands in his own, and looked at her straight in the eyes. “Believe in yourself... for I believe in you.”
She became so red, he could almost see the steam coming out of her forehead.
Charisma check successful!
How does licking boots taste like? Because she has eight legs!
“Victor…” Seng trailed, one of her tentacles brushing against his thigh.
If she asks “Do you like Hentai?” I’m teleporting out.
“Do you want to be my prophet?”
Oh, thank Dice! “Yes!” Victor hurriedly responded before she changed her mind and asked for something obscene; he was drunk enough to accept the job. “But, full disclosure, I already serve half the pantheon and Vainqueur.”
“I know, being a prophet is like being a sidekick,” Seng said, apparently too drunk to realize the insensitivity of her words. “You have a lot of experience!”
He felt something burn against his thigh, where Seng had brushed against him. A new symbol probably.
Congratulations! You earned the [Claimed by Seng] personal perk.
[Claimed by Seng]: When you level up, you have an additional 10 percent chance to gain a Skill or Agility point. You can breathe and survive underwater, and you always benefit from aquatic terrains’ bonuses; you are immune to the negative health effects of alcohol, but you can still get drunk.
Damn it. He had become a professional lackey.
“Your first mission will be to oversee Kia Bekele’s redemption, according to the tenets of my faith,” Seng said, trying to sound like a dignified, forgiving deity, but utterly failing at it. “And then you will remind everyone that I am a great and caring goddess, until I believe it myself.”
“I will,” Victor said, taking it as the price to lift Kia’s curse.
Someone knocked on the TV room’s door. It was Camilla, from the voice. “Victor!”
“Yes, vampire Mom?”
“We’re leaving!” She must have finally stopped arguing with Mithras.
“Can I come back to this place?” Victor asked Seng. He wouldn’t mind hanging out with the mermaid more often; she was a lot of fun, and she had a TV.
“Anytime!” Seng replied, before switching channels.
Victor walked to the door, finding Camilla and Mithras waiting on the other side. While the god of justice remained still like a statue, the [Reaper]’s patron had her arms crossed and looked ready to murder someone on the spot.
“Have you made progress on your [Paladin] friend’s case?” she asked Victor.
“Yes,” he said. “I’ve got the authority to solve the case.”
“Good,” Camilla replied, glaring at Mithras. “At least my chosen is pulling his weight.”
Victor sincerely hoped his friendship with Kia would never follow the same path as these two.
“Thank you,” the god of justice told Victor, ignoring Camilla. “I am grateful for your good deed.”
“Do I get a Perk out of it?” the Vizier asked, pushing his luck.
“You already received one,” Mithras replied, before teleporting away. “Do not get greedy for doing the right thing.”
Well, Victor was half-dragon now. Greed was part of the package.
“And he wonders why I dumped him,” Camilla replied angrily, before waving her hand. In the blink of an eye, Victor found himself back in his pocket dimension’s laboratory, where his [Fetch] was busy tinkering with the Soulcrest.
“Are you okay?” the Vizier asked the dark elf goddess, sensing her anger and frustration.
“No,” she replied, quickly changing the subject. “Victor, have you Grandrake and Chilled with Seng?”
“We watched a documentary, but no, we didn’t chill that way.”
“Good, because even if I appreciate you, I won't tread anywhere Seng has gone first. I have standards, and I need to blow off steam right now.”
The Vizier froze. “What does that mean?”
Camilla looked at Victor, then at the lab’s undead operation table, then back at him.
[Herpes], [Syphilis], and [Succurus Warts] negated by [Claimed by Cybele]. Warning: you have taken super-effective damage from the blood loss! You have fallen below one-third of your HP!
Congratulations! For your charming ways and deeds, you have earned four levels in [Fiendish Rake]! You earned the [Curse of Diarmuid] and [Emotion Magic I] Perks.
+ 120 HP, +10 SP, +4 VIT, + 2 SKI, +4 AGI, +3 INT, +8 CHA, +1 LCK.
[Curse of Diarmuid]: technique, 60 SP. You can cause your naked face to become cursed for five minutes, which manifests as a spot on your cheek. During this duration, anyone looking at your visage must succeed on a Charisma check or become obsessed with your face, dropping everything to gaze at it. This is an [Curse] effect that will affect the victim until it is magically lifted.
[Emotion Magic I]: You can learn and cast tier I spells; additionally, you can learn spells with the [Mind] or [Emotion] descriptors, even if you do not have access to their relevant specialized school. This stacks with other tier access perks that you may have from other classes.
The night had long fallen and the cursed Moooon risen in the skies, when Vainqueur unleashed his magic for the… hundredth time?
In truth, he had lost count.
Once more, the desert bent to his will, all the way to the stone coast separating it from the sea. A layer of moss-covered the sand, while giant mushrooms the size of trees and houses grew all around them.
You changed the [Desert] field into a [Fungi Forest] field!
[Plant] creatures will gain a boost to all stats, while [Plant] and [Poison] effects will be greatly strengthened. Physical ailments will last twice as long.
“Next,” Vainqueur declared, unhappy that he had yet to create a [Gold Farm] field.
“Yer Majesty, there is no next,” Rolo the golem replied.
“I have plenty of energy left,” the dragon argued proudly.
“Yer Majesty, there is no next,” the tinfoil creature repeated. “That was the last patch of desert in Ishfania. We reached the frontier.”
His dryad friend looked at the ocean with a strange, serene face. “It is done,” she said, the weight of her words heavy on her. “It is done.”
Vainqueur gathered his breath, raised his arms, and shouted the following truth to the sea.
“VAINQUEUR BEST DRAGON!”
Congratulations! For reshaping ALL of Ishfania on your own, in one go, you earned four levels in [Geomancer]! You earned the [Terraform: Non-Magical Terrains] and [Nature Wonder] class perks.
+120 HP, +80 SP, +3 SKI, +2 AGI, +4 INT, +3 CHA, +1 LCK.
[Terraform: Non-Magical Terrains]: 50 SP per fifty meters radius. You can permanently terraform an area around you into the following [Fields]: [Forest], [Marsh], [Desert], [Hill], [Snowland], [Plains], [Tundra], [Rock Mountain], [Ice Mountain], [Volcano], [Beach], [Lake], [Flower Garden], [Canyon], and [Oasis]. You need to be grounded to activate this effect. This replaces [Terraform: Landmass].
[Nature Wonder]: Technique, 100 SP. You can draw upon ambient natural energies to boost all your stats by two stages, and cure any physical-based ailment affecting you. You need to be grounded on natural soil to activate this technique.
Thanks to your levels in [Geomancer] and [Dungeon Breeder], you can combine both classes into the prestigious [Fisher King] class!
“Where are my other minions?” the dragon asked since the ghoul and the fiend were missing. It irked him that only two of his lackeys witnessed his triumph.
“Malfy went to sleep, and Jules is updating the country’s map,” Allison replied. “He has a lot of work ahead of him.”
“The work of Akhenapep is undone in Ishfania,” Rolo said, looking at the distant landmass beyond the sea. “Other countries remain covered in Sablar's sand, but today? Today, we served the goddess well.”
“I was reincarnated to repair you and this land, Rolo, and half of the work is done,” Untasty Allison replied, a tear in her eye. “I am sorry, this… this is really an emotional moment for me.”
“Cry tears of joy, my servant,” Vainqueur gave her his imperial permission. “Today, I have granted your wish. For I am good and generous.”
At long last, he had spat in the eye of this worm Sablar, and molded his empire into a place where all creatures could live to serve him.
As if to ruin his mood though, a storm gathered on the horizon, covering the sea. The dragon prepared to boast again, when he realized that the clouds were flying straight at him.
“This is not a natural storm,” Vainqueur realized, as the pressure in the air grew stronger. He immediately understood the situation. “Minions, hide.”
“Hide,” the dragon replied more firmly, the golem and the dryad retreating away. Untasty Allison fused with a giant mushroom, hiding within the plant, while Rolo moved behind it. Vainqueur refused to allocate funds to revive more minions.
Soon afterward, a flock of winged, false princesses surrounded the dragon, announcing their gigantic leader’s arrival. A fomor titan looked down on the dragon from atop his flying horse.
“Dragonsbane.” Vainqueur glared back.
“Knightsbane,” King Wotan replied, his spear crackling with wild lightning. “You have ten minutes.”