Jake was transported once more together with Reika and the others as they went onto the teleportation circle pointed out by the demon. He hadn’t even gotten the name of the horned guy but assumed they would probably meet again sometime in the future if he was in charge of the teleportation place.
When he and the others arrived at the other side of the teleportation circle, they found themselves in a new hub of sorts. They walked a bit forward as they all stopped and just looked around.
“Move,” someone said, as Jake and the others just stood there. Jake looked up and saw a large figure around four meters tall with an incredibly bulky build. Jake used Identify as he stepped to the side, the others hurrying after him.
[Ogre – lvl 178]
The ogre grunted and went on the circle they had just gotten off. Jake didn’t like the attitude of the ogre but didn’t wanna start shit five seconds after arriving. Instead, he hurried the group forward as someone walked up to them.
“New arrivals of the ninety-third Universe for the academy?” the person said as Jake confirmed it was yet another demon.
[Demon – lvl 192]
It was a woman with red skin and glowing orange eyes. She was wearing close to nothing but had at least covered the essential parts. She had two wings on her back and a tail as well as two small horns, with her proportions on the plentiful side, and Jake instantly knew.
It’s a gosh darn succubus!
The group behind him looked a bit uncomfortable, but Jake just answered. “That’s right, we just arrived.”
“Great! Please follow me. You are the second-to-last group we expect today. Oh, and be advised that no violence is allowed within the meeting room and will be met with swift execution,” she said with a bright smile as she led them towards a wall with a magic circle on.
She took out a token that flashed with light as the magic circle was replaced with a magical rectangular gate leading into what looked like a large leisure room. “Just through here.”
Jake took the lead as he gave her a nod and thanked her in passing, Reika and the eight other alchemists following behind closely. He noticed Reika and the others looking around with expressions of fear, interest, and curiosity, but most of all carefulness. Jake himself had also been rather curious as he saw many interesting creatures, but maybe he was a bit more used to it than other humans?
Going through the gate in front of them, Jake instantly felt the warmth hit him as the interior was quite cozy. It was a large space, and Jake saw it already contained around two hundred people. All eyes landed on Jake and his group when they entered, at first with little interest, but in tandem with Jake feeling the Identify’s hitting him, their eyes lingered.
It made sense. Currently, Jake was showing himself to be level 181, which made him instantly stand out. As he inspected them back, the first thing he noticed was just the sheer diversity. He saw all kinds of races, all of them of humanoid build, but their power and appearances varied greatly.
There were several smaller groups, which Jake guessed were groups that had come together. He quickly Identified a bunch of the leaders of the groups and saw their levels.
[Elf – lvl 142]
[Human – lvl 138]
[Dwarf – lvl 135]
The levels were relatively high, though lower than Jake’s by a fair deal. Also, one had to remember Jake had really not progressed as much as he probably should in recent times. As a reference, Reika, who walked with him, was comparable to these leaders at level 139.
However, he quickly noticed a discrepancy. The room was split into three parts. One part was with these leaders in it, but the further in there was another part slightly elevated by walking up some stairs, with a final smaller part at the top. Up at the second level, Jake felt the auras of those present and instantly knew that every one of them was powerful. Definitely good enough to give him a good fight.
The first of which was a scaled man, but not the usual scales. It was fish scales, and at his neck, he had gill-like growths. His body was dark blue, and Jake’s Identify made it clear it was quite the exotic race.
[Gillkin – lvl 165]
Jake had no idea what a Gillkin was before today, but hey, now he knew. The gillkin was one of five leaders of groups in this elevated area, with the next two a bit more human.
[Human – lvl 159]
[Elf – lvl 166]
They were a bit more human in that one of them was literally a human, while the other was an elf. Seeing the elf confirmed to Jake that elves were just humans with pointy ears. They were also perhaps a little bit thinner, but nothing really noticeable. Either way, these two were not overly interesting. The human was strong, sure, but compared to someone like the Sword Saint? Eh.
He was probably about the level of Caleb or Carmen, maybe? Probably not even that, if they were equal levels. The next three leaders were a bit more interesting.
[Risen – lvl 149]
First of all, a Risen. It was a man who looked very human, but Jake felt the man’s aura, and instantly one thing was clear… he was blessed by the same god as Casper. Why would someone blessed by the Blightfather be here? Also, how the hell do I know that he is blessed by him?
Not questioning it more than necessary, Jake regarded the last one on the second level of the hall.
[Harpy – lvl 168]
It was a woman with feathers growing on her body and two wing-like arms. So, yeah, a harpy pretty much as described in most fiction. Jake had to admit she did look a bit off with a beak for a mouth, and the claws on her hands made it look hard to do proper alchemy, but what did he know?
These people on the second level had all been interesting in their own right, but the one who stood out the most was the man who stood alone at the highest section of the room. A reptilian figure with black and dark green scales that instantly gave Jake certain flashbacks, and he had to admit… he was taken by surprise.
[Malefic Dragonkin – lvl 185]
Jake stared up at the man who looked back and met his gaze. For a moment, the world stood still as they sized up each other, and Jake was certain.
Incredibly strong. The aura he displayed was on another level from anyone else present, and moreover, Jake felt something more impressive. A Divine Blessing, given by Villy himself. A cursory glance made it obvious that if anyone in this room was the Chosen of the Malefic Viper, it was the guy in front of him.
Jake couldn’t help but wonder where the hell the guy had come from.
“Villy... who is this guy?” Jake asked.
“Someone who got very close to becoming another Progenitor and one of my better investments so far. Comes from a pretty small and shitty planet, though, where relative peace has already been established as the few C-grade beasts reached a stalemate. The guy was originally some weird moleman or something, and I must admit I like the dragonkin look more,” Villy explained casually, adding on. “And before you ask the obvious question of how all these people managed to teleport here when I said it was so difficult to you, the reason is that the monument is a two-way teleporter. These people went on a one-way trip and have effectively abandoned their planets for good.”
Jake listened and acknowledged the Viper’s words as he kept staring at the Dragonkin. The man stared back as Jake smiled beneath the mask. He teleported across the room with a single step, and another took him up two flights of stairs as he appeared right in front of the menacing figure at the highest level of the room.
Two auras flared in the room as the Malefic Dragonkin tried to exert his dominance, but Jake just smiled as his legendary Pride of the Malefic Viper activated to boost his own presence. Jake felt the attention of someone who had been observing the room but paid it no mind as he expected it to be some peacekeeper. The attention was not hostile but more curious at what was happening.
With Pride, Jake was ashamed to admit that his own presence barely matched the other party. He was naturally still unaffected by what the other guy did, and he consciously tried to avoid mixing in anything Bloodline-related, but still. The two of them stood there for a few seconds as both their auras flared before they both calmed down, ending the metaphorical dick-measuring contest.
The dragonkin looked at Jake as he smiled. “Draskil.”
Jake, assuming it was the guy’s name, answered in kind. “Hunter.”
With a small change, of course. Jake had decided to not go with his real name but just went with Hunter. Hunter was a real name anyway, so it should be fine, right? Heck, he had a kid at his school called Hunter while growing up, so it wasn’t that weird.
The dragonkin just nodded as Jake felt the gazes of everyone present upon them. Jake knew this wasn’t a good strategy if the goal was to stay inconspicuous, but he also knew that was never going to happen. He wasn’t good at acknowledging authority, and with his level displaying himself at 181, it didn’t make sense for him not to stand at the highest level either.
Even non-chosen geniuses would be a bit arrogant, right?
He did feel a bit bad about leaving Reika and the others at the lowest level. She didn’t even try to follow but just led the others to stand at a nearby wall.
As he stood there, the dragonkin turned to him. “Challenge Dungeon?”
Jake was a bit surprised but nodded. “Yeah.”
Jake nodded again. “Yeah.”
“Scary god, but powerful,” Draskil said, and by now, Jake was sure of one thing.
“Villy… is this guy… you know?”
“Simple? Hell yeah. He was a half-beasts-like creature just half a year ago, and the mole people’s language was very simplistic. But don’t misinterpret him as stupid,”Villy answered.
“Also, you had more challenge dungeons?”
“I had a bunch of old ones stashed away that I decided to toss out there after I decided to return the multiverse, and the system happily accepted them. It likes to spread powerful legacies to new universes, and mine were pretty scarce,” the snake god answered.
Jake mentally acknowledged this as the teleportation gate lit up again, and a crowd of people walked in. It was a mixed group of humans and elves, with the strongest two, a human man and an elf woman, at the front. Both were only around 140, so nothing interesting there.
With them also entered the succubus from before. She threw a look around the room and lingered a bit on Jake and Draskil before regarding all the others too.
“Alright, with everyone here, let me begin the preliminary instructions. First of all, have one of these each,” the succubus said as she waved her hand and sent crystals flying out into the room. “On those, you will see the rules of the academy and some other practical information. Regard it in your own time.
“Before you enter the academy, there will be a test. This test will take place within a dungeon designed specifically to perform these tests for outsiders and will give the Order an understanding of you. This trial is performed on an individual basis. You will get a final score from the test that will determine your placement in the academy. Ah, but don’t fret, you can’t fail this test per-se, so even if you perform horrendously and manage to complete the dungeon, you will still be allowed access to the academy. Note we only do this as you are natives of a newly integrated universe, so you all have it a bit easier.”
Jake nodded along as he listened, not sure if he should be surprised at the use of a dungeon to perform the test. Because damn, was that smart. With the dungeon’s ability to have a “save state” of sorts, everyone would enter with the same premises. It was a bit like the Altmar thing in the dungeon under Haven, actually.
This also made him consider what more ways the system could be made use of. He already knew a lot of architecture was based on spatial expansion, and teleportation seemed quite commonplace. Man, what else was there?
He was starting to get a bit excited to see what kind of trial or test the Order could have conjured up.
“Now, please follow me to the location of the dungeon,” the guide demon said as she took out the token again, and the door they had entered from initially lit up with runes as a new gateway opened.
As he looked on, Jake began to have a feeling teleportation circles and gates were more commonplace than actual doors within the Order.
An earthquake struck the area as the entire mountain shattered from the pressure. The screams of beasts a symphony of his making. The large, pathetic worm rose from the ground as it squirmed, attempting to hold onto life. A futile attempt as the power difference was too massive. Nearly as massive as the difference in size between the creature only slighter larger than a man and the worm over two hundred meters long.
Flesh was crushed as the beast fought back. Earth moved as the world became a weapon, pillars of earth rising as if to spear the sky. Yet when they hit the impenetrable shield, they shattered like feeble sand.
The body of the worm hardened as the telekinetic power was interrupted, sending the beast falling to the ground. A worthwhile effort that was ultimately futile as his claw turned golden. A flash lit up the environment as the massive beast received five gashing wounds in its side, creating a torrent of blood that made it rain crimson.
Perhaps it was time he got done playing around. Another ivory claw was raised as the world was enveloped in gold that soon collected itself into a singular golden orb crackling with energy. With a simple motion, it was crushed as a beam shot out. The worm tried to block as a new mountain of rock appeared, but it mattered little when it faced supreme power.
*You have slain [Earthern Wormlord – lvl 198] – Bonus experience earned for killing an enemy above your level*
Levitating down to the ground, he used a simple motion to disperse all the soil and dust, revealing what had been hidden and protected within the mountain. A single crystal that had served as little more than a nurturing natural treasure. Truly a pathetic underutilization.
The ivory claw touched upon the now unbound Pylon of Civilization as a new master had claimed the territory. The environment instantly changed as the authority of a King was established. A level was gained as he walked his path of conquest and took yet another domain under his control.
Just one of many for the Fallen King to rightfully claim.