It didn’t take me long to find the door I had created that lead to Irena’s room in the Underworld. In fact, I wasn’t even entirely sure how this door worked myself. Whenever I normally descend to the world, I have to have a body created for me. However, when walking through the door that is not the case. Perhaps, a body is automatically created based on whatever form I possess at the time?
What I see on the other side of the door is the normal scene of Irena’s bedroom… which still almost perfectly mirrors mine and Terra’s room in the Admin room. Disregarding that, I turned down the hall to quickly make my way towards the throne room where Irena handles most of her business. Of course, I pressed my ear to the door to listen for a moment, in order to ensure that I wouldn’t be interrupting anything by entering.
“Come on in, Dale.” A tired, yet pleasantly surprised voice called out to me from the other side of the door. Nodding to myself, I pushed it open and walked in. Thankfully, there really wasn’t anyone else here aside from myself and Irena, who was sitting atop her throne with a weary expression.
“Everything alright?” I took the initiative to ask, seeing her current state. From the looks of things, she has been quite busy. Her shoulders are sagging slightly, and her expression seems as if it were a normal person that hadn’t slept in days.
“Yes… yes. Sorry, but things have been pretty hectic here. I got your message, but couldn’t afford to leave at the time.”
Well, that didn’t sound good. “What’s the matter? Surely, it shouldn’t be something too bad, given your status here and all.”
“Hmm?” She looked at me, slightly surprised. “No, not really ‘bad’. It’s just been busy. Some of the spirits coming in are trying to form their own factions and avoid mingling with the others, and our total population is nearing what we need to start sending out regular squads to the living world.”
I blinked in surprise, my mouth hanging open for a moment before I came to my senses. “I thought it was going to be a while yet before that was ready?”
The goddess on the throne smiled in a tired manner. “It was, originally. I failed to take into account the centaurs’ appearance, and the population increase of the living world. Either way, the population is nearing the point that we need, but the standards of the spirits and daeva are still far from what I would be comfortable sending.”
“Ah… I think I get it. Do you have a plan for that?” I had to assume that this was the main reason why Irena was so busy, having needed any time she could get to set up this plan she was working on.
“Yes, I have something, but it’s not quite ready yet. I had planned to slowly build up to it for another hundred years, but my plan had to be accelerated.” With a slow wave of her hand, the floor of the throne room exploded in a grey mist, slowly reforming into a new shape.
What appeared was a scale model of a wide building with many floors. At a glance, it reminded me of a pagoda, though one dimension had been considerably widened. “This is my Spirit Academy, where I am setting up the foundations for the future patrol squads. Right now, each floor represents a different difficulty.”
As she spoke, the first floor of the academy seemed to glow green. “On the bottom floor, I have pulled in the weakest monsters that would be encountered.” From there, the second floor began to glow as the light from the first floor faded, and the light continued to climb to the highest floor. “All the way at the thirteenth floor, I have one of the ‘Chimera Souls’ trapped.”
That set off alarms in my mind, and I quickly turned to look at her in shock. “Isn’t there a chance of it getting out, and destroying the nearby area?”
However, Irena simply shook her head. “No. That is one of the things that has kept me busy lately. I have anchored it to that location, and am preventing it from leaving. Originally, I had wanted to assign instructors to the academy, and turn the floors into classrooms and training areas. Perhaps, in time, I can do that.”
Saying that much, Irena let out a sigh. “However, it seems I don’t have that long to wait. Disregarding the need to send patrols to the living world, we have need of our own police force. The racial factions are causing unrest to spread throughout the Underworld. Already, some have split off to form their own kingdoms. Although they will bow their heads to me, and will associate reluctantly with the daeva, those kingdoms will not work together with the other spirit races.”
Irena glanced over at me, seeming to understand what I was thinking. “Yes, I could simply eliminate them if I wanted to. But doing so would set a bad precedent of me abusing my power. At the same time, if I do nothing then I will seem to be silently agreeing to the formation of those kingdoms. Instead, my answer is to build a police force formed from all the different races. Not only will they patrol the living world, but they will also keep the peace in this realm.”
I nodded my head, understanding her reasoning. “So, the higher level someone reaches in the academy, the higher their position within the spirit army?”
At that, Irena smiled bitterly and shook her head. “If it were that simple, perhaps I could have been there to see Udona. The academy merely acts as a starting point. It tests someone’s raw combat ability. However, there is still more to consider when assigning ranks. Most importantly, their loyalty and ability to command troops. For the former, I am working with a merit system. The more missions they accomplish of varying difficulties, the more merits they accumulate and the faster they qualify for a promotion examination.”
Taking a deep breath, Irena continued. “The promotion examination requires three things. First, they have to be able to challenge a particular floor in the academy. For the first rank, which everyone starts at, they must be able to defeat the simplest monsters on the first floor. The second aspect of the examination measures their accumulated merits. The third is a test of command. I am still working out the details for this one, but so far I am setting up tests for each rank that offers questions to prove their ability.”
I had to admit that I was impressed by how she was handling this. “I get it, I think. How far has anyone gotten in the academy?”
“Right now, the sixth layer is the highest anyone has managed to go on their own. Those monsters should be around level eighty or so, so it is no surprise. Once the standards are raised a little more, and we have some suitable teachers, I will set up a proper learning facility. I’ve spoken at length with Terra about the types of ‘schools’ and ‘colleges’ that your world had, and think that we could benefit from something similar here.”
“I see..” Well, at least the situation was mostly under control, it looked like. “If you need any help with anything, just ask, okay?”
Irena smiled gently, nodding her head. “I know, Dale. This is just a matter of time at this point. Once our army is set up, I can begin working to integrate the various kingdoms back into the fold. Thankfully, the arrival point for the spirits is still this city, so it isn’t so easy for them to recruit.”
“Alright. I’ve got some things I need to check on back at the Admin Room, so I’ll head back now. Depending on how things go, there might be another world under your jurisdiction soon.” When I said that, Irena’s expression froze, looking at me questioningly. “Another world appeared in orbit around the sun that is capable of supporting life. I’ve got to go check on it when I return and see if anything became of it.”
Irena slowly nodded her head. “I see… Please, keep me informed about that world. If we suddenly have another set of area to govern, and more spirit races to manage, things will become more difficult on this side.”
“Will do.” I smiled to her, walking back towards the door at the back of the throne room. Honestly, I was glad that the issues keeping Irena from visiting the Admin Room weren’t more severe, but it was still quite a lot for her to handle on her own. Next time I see Terra, I should see if there’s anything she can think of for me to help with.
Nodding to myself, I returned to the Admin Room and sat down at the computer. Given that time was flowing normally in the Underworld, it stands to reason that the weird flow of time because of the new planet should have ended. Pulling up the map, I found that that was indeed the case. However, the notification that appeared dampened whatever hopes I may have held towards this planet.
Extinction Level Event(Supervolcano) has eradicated life on this planet. Planet deemed no longer suitable for the development of sapient life forms. Planet may be purchased at any time for 160 points.
Why would I even bother spending the points to buy the planet now? Unless it’s possible to have events altered afterwards to make it habitable again. Still, right now it isn’t worth it, at least. Shaking my head, I closed out of the notifications and moved towards the ‘training’ area in the basement. Terra should still be talking with Udona now, so there was no real point in trying to find her. Instead, I might as well see if I could come up with anything in my magic training.
To my surprise, Ryone was not in the basement this time. Most likely, she was either in her own room, or she had descended to the world to try out a new spell. From experience, I could say that it was hard to measure exactly how much mana you were using, and how much power a spell had, when you had unlimited energy. At most, I could limit myself to a small trickle of mana being released at a time, and measure the amount used by how long it takes.
Regardless, I found a corner of the training room that had not been covered with her spell diagrams, and created a small chair to sit in. Closing my eyes, I focused on one of the more complicated spell diagrams I had learned. This particular spell was a variant of the homing fireballs, except that it used the first tier lightning element instead of fire.
Just when I was going to pull the mana to test the spell for errors, I noticed something strange. Not with the spell itself, but rather with my own energies. According to what I had learned, in the Admin Room I should possess three energies. Ki, representing the training of the body. Spiritual Energy, representing the training of the soul. And Mana, representing the training of the mind.
However, what I currently felt was not three, but five energies lurking within my bodies. Three of them I could easily identify as the ones I was already proficient with. The last two, though, were far more mysterious. One felt like an all-encompassing glow that permeated my entire being, but seemed difficult to grasp. The other seemed to well up from inside my body, yet felt foreign. As if I was simply a conduit for a larger power.
Great… more questions. Likely, these two energies were somehow related to new classes that had been unlocked in the world below. However, I could not think of two classes that would use new energies. Perhaps the Cleric class might, if one of those energies was divine. If so, it would probably be the energy that made me feel like I was simply channeling it from elsewhere. But, out of all the classes I could remember selecting, there did not seem to be another that would use a different source of energy.
Mentally, I opened up a notepad window in front of me, and began writing down my questions. They were starting to pile up, and I felt like I would surely forget something if I did not take such measures to prevent that. Hopefully, Terra is able to take care of Udona soon, and I can figure out what is going on.