“Listen, it really isn’t as bad as you are thinking.” Irena said with an awkward smile while I quickly set the living room back to the way it used to be. “It’s honestly a little embarrassing that Terra brought it up. But, well, I can’t think of anything else she could be talking about.” It was honestly refreshing to see the normally businesslike Irena flustered like this.
Once a couch existed in the room, she immediately went over to sit on it, and I sat down next to her, causing her to direct a soft smile at me. Naturally, Aurivy decided to sit in my lap, leaning her back against me and closing her eyes. I wasn’t sure how, but she managed to fall asleep like that almost immediately.“You know how most of the gods live in the Admin Room, but I don’t, right?”
I gave a brief nod at Irena’s question. “Yeah, because you need to be in the afterlife in order to properly manage things, right?”
“Right…” Irena agreed. “However, there are certain problems that come up with doing so. Problems that the people in the Admin Room don’t really need to face.” Seeing the confused expression on my face, she continued explaining. “Primarily, the passage of time. From my understanding, the gods here split a portion of their consciousness in order to track the prayers and events of the world in real time, so that they aren’t strained too much when you fast forward. But me…”
Suddenly, it hit me. “You’re not in the Admin Room… So you don’t fast forward with the rest of us…?”
Irena nodded her head. “Right… I’ve been going by the world’s time since the Underworld was created. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad or anything!” She waved her hand quickly, as if to dismiss that notion. “It’s a bit lonely at times, but I’m kept pretty busy, you know?”
I couldn’t help but sigh when I heard that, reaching over and patting her hand on the couch gently. “You know, you could have told me sooner. We can work out a way for you to stay in the Admin Room without causing the work to stop in the Underworld… can’t we?”
Irena gave a bitter smile when I asked that. “I’ve thought about it a bunch, believe me. I was actually planning to tell you all about this later, after I settled the faction issue. I’ve got a plan, I think.”
I raised an eyebrow at that ‘I think’... “Explain, please.”
She nodded obediently, and began telling me the plan. “I want to create an illusion. A great castle in the sky of the Underworld, where I will ‘live’. At least, that’s what everyone will think. At the same time, I’ll set up a system for someone to take over the day to day jobs in the Underworld, so I can come live here. But, there are some requirements before this plan can be put in place.”
Irena took a deep breath, returning to her typical business mode. “First, the Underworld has to be united. We can’t be on the brink of a civil war when I install what is essentially a new system of government. Second, we need to have enough patrols to regularly monitor the living world and prevent an overflow. If I am staying in the Admin Room, then I can’t hop down to the world every day to collect souls during a fast forward.”
“The second part of that we have just about covered, as long as we play it right. By my estimation, a soul should have no problem staying a week or so in the living world before it is brought over. Even a newborn’s soul could last that long. So, after the civil disputes are settled, I am going to set up a program to patrol the world in shifts. Every day, one of two groups will patrol a section of the world, and then spend the next day resting while the other group patrols the other section. Like this, it’ll be pretty thin coverage for the first few years, but will steadily grow as the population increases.”
Hearing that Irena already had a plan to address the issue, my worries were relieved, for the most part. “Well, now I kinda feel like a jerk for only visiting you twice in over all those years.” I said with a self-deprecating smile.
“No, not at all.” Irena shook her head. “You had a lot on your own plate, and were realistically unable to visit me more than you had. Due to the advancement of the world, there was a need for skipping ahead. Honestly, I believe we are due for another one. It would help greatly if the world was able to advance further than it already had.”
I gave a nod to that. I had been planning to do a fast forward for a little bit now, but I wanted to get these things out of the way first. “By the way, on the topic of putting someone in charge of the Underworld… Why aren’t the spirits able to become Priests?” It was something that I had noticed back when I first became a daeva, that my class levels for that class had not transferred. I could understand most of the other classes, but that one didn’t make so much sense.
Irena pursed her lips when I asked that. “It took me a little while to understand it as well. From what I believe, almost none of the classes gained in the living world can be taken to the afterlife directly. This is because the bodies and energies used in the afterlife are completely different than what they would when alive. Everything is handled with spiritual energy, rather than mana, or even their muscles.”
“When their entire body is essentially made of mist, they can’t apply the same muscle control techniques they had in the living world. Naturally, if they don’t have mana, then they can’t use that either. The same thing applies to Priests, and I am guessing Clerics. Priests use mana in order to channel the divine energy of a god. For Clerics… maybe spiritual energy isn’t compatible with raw divine energy. As for purely mental classes like Leader or Scholar… I’m not entirely sure what stops those from transferring. Maybe something about the brain itself?”
It did make sense to a degree. Ever since I made chakra, I knew that the base energies would often repel each other unless they were mixed in the proper amount. It would only be reasonable then, if raw divine energy and raw spiritual energy couldn’t coexist in the same body. Though, that made me wonder if there might be a mix that would allow that.
“I see. How long do you think that it will take to finish dealing with the factions?” I asked, believing it would be best if I set my fast forward to match her predictions. That way, she could move right into the Admin Room as soon as she was done getting stuff ready.
Irena sank into thought at my question, going silent for quite a while. “Thirty… no, give me fifty years. That should give me time to train the army, deal with the factions to a satisfactory degree, and then appoint an intermediary leader.”
I couldn’t help but wince when I imagined her living another fifty years alone. However, this fifty years was nothing compared to what she had already been through. And from what I could tell, just the talk of being able to live with the rest of us has brightened her mood, bringing her out of ‘business’ mode for a little while.
“Okay. You go take care of your business. I’ll set a room up for you so that you can move in once everything is taken care of. If you get done while the fast forward is still going through, feel free to go ahead and come in.” After I said that, Irena gave a small nod, slowly fading into mist. With her smile the last thing to disappear, it reminded me of a certain cat from a certain fairy tail.
“Well…” I spoke to Aurivy, still leaning back against my chest while sitting on my lap. “Are you actually asleep, or are you just having fun.” I couldn’t be sure, but I thought I saw her lips twitching when I asked that. Reaching up, I pinched her cheeks, causing her to immediately start flailing her arms. “Nobody sleeps that peacefully while people talk around them.”
“Heeey!” She cried out, tried to pull her head away from my hand. “That’s cheating, you know! You’re supposed to wake me up nice, right? Like gently shaking my shoulders, or telling me dinner is ready. Or even just carrying me back to bed. Why’d you have to go and ruin it like that?”
“What… are you even talking about?” In my confusion, my fingers loosened their hold of her cheek, letting her pull away from me. Quickly, she jumped forward to her feet in front of me, spinning around on one ankle before pointing a finger at me.
“It’s in the rules, the rules, you know!?” She held up her other hand, and a thick blue book materialized in it. On its cover, in big red letters, ‘Big Brother Rules’ was written. Quickly, she opened it up to the first page, which had a crudely drawn Aurivy sitting in an equally crudely drawn me’s lap.
Next to the picture was the words ‘Thou shalt not pinch the sleeping sister. Absolutely never, ever!’ As if this proved everything, she pointed at the line, and looked at me. “See, the rules!” Her head nodded heavily as she closed the book, causing it to vanish again.
“You’ve been spending a bit too much time watching anime, I think… Maybe I should have Terra cut you off for a while…” Although I said it under my breath, Aurivy’s eyes went wide in pure terror. She immediately lowered herself to her knees, wrapping her arms around my legs while looking up at me with watery eyes.
“No, please! Not that! I’ll be good! You don’t have any idea how boring it is with nothing to do but listen to prayers all the time. I need my anime, and my manga, and my movies, and my stuffed toys, and my tea set, and..” She began listing off, well… basically everything she had, and then some. I’m pretty sure some of the items she made up purely to list as things that she needed.
“You… are pretty spoiled, aren’t you?” I asked with a raised eyebrow, to which she pulled back, having a look of mock insult on her face.
“Me? Spoiled?” She asked, making a dramatic gesture of pointing at her chest. “Absolutely not!” Honestly, I couldn’t understand what Aurivy was thinking sometimes. “But I finally got big sis to agree to making a big library of shows and movies for me to watch when I get bored.”
I could only give a helpless sigh, shaking my head. “Anyways. You heard what Irena and I were talking about, right? What do you think.” From her input back when we were creating Udona’s personality, I knew that Aurivy was a bit smarter than she let on. Even if the plan didn’t work out exactly as we intended, it wasn’t her fault.
“Hmm… Well, I think Irena’s handling it, right? Is there anything you can even do to help?” She asked, looking at me in genuine curiosity.
I thought about it, but honestly, I could not come up with anything to help with either. In terms of raw power, my Keeper levels give me enough strength to flatten most resistance. But personally, I haven’t trained in any classes enough to make me truly strong. My highest level was still fifteen, only a fraction of what other spirits or daeva would have.
And in terms of politics or army management, I was even more clueless. The most I’d ever commanded people was a boy scout group when I was a kid. Even then, I managed to get us lost for hours, and they had to send people to find us. “Okay, I get it. I’m not really that useful for things like this.”
Aurivy grinned mischievously when I said that. “It’s okay, Dale. You’re still good at a lot of things. You’re a thinker, not a doer. And, from what big sis says, being a thinker is perfect for being a Keeper. Just don’t forget to do when the doing needs done.” She nodded her head to herself, as if that last line made any real sense.
“Yeah, yeah… Well, go on. You’ve got shows to watch, don’t you?” I smirked down to the halfling goddess, and she smiled back. Aurivy hopped to her feet, waving to me once before running off in the direction of the bedrooms.
Seeing as I was now the only one left in the room, I went ahead and headed for the bedroom. I checked a few things with the world map, seeing if there were any issues that needed cleared up. Once that was over with, I set the world to fast forward for fifty years. Hopefully, Irena’s little rebellion will be taken care of by the time this is over.