I blanked out for a moment when Aurivy said the name of the plan, then looked at her incredulously. “Who’s been teaching our little sister naughty things?” I asked, causing her eyes to widen. Terra also looked down at her, her eyes suddenly seeming awake.
“Yes…” She said. “Who corrupted my little angel?” Unlike when I asked out of curiosity, Terra’s words caused a chill to go down my spine, and I could practically feel the killing intent from her.
“Uhm.. uhm… We don’t have angels!” Aurivy suddenly spoke up, looking side to side as she tried to change the subject, before she let out a long breath. “Guys, goddess of love here? You didn’t think I’d stay innocent and naive forever, right?” She asked, looking between myself and Terra.
However, Terra simply shook her head, squeezing her arms around Aurivy to bring her more into her embrace. “Not allowed. You are the little sister.” As she spoke now, her eyes seemed to haze over slightly, showing that she had gone back to focusing on her incarnations. “Rivy... cute and innocent little sister.”
Hearing that, Aurivy smiled gently, nodding her head. “Okay, okay.” She reached her hand up to pat Terra’s arm. “I’ll be the cute and innocent sister. I liked doing that, anyways.” As she said that, she looked over to me, her smile widening. “That okay with you, bro?”
I nodded my head, signalling that it was fine. Honestly, I don’t think my heart would be able to take it if Aurivy showed off her more adult knowledge more often. Of course, I knew that she did have that knowledge now, but to see it was something entirely different. No matter how old she was really, or how grown up, she was still a halfling, and that meant that she still looked like a preteen girl.
“Yay!” She cheered for herself, stretching her arms out as much as she could within Terra’s embrace. “So, what are you working on now, bro?” She asked as she looked over to me curiously.
“Well… Right now, I am trying to figure out how to go about this war so that the centaurs won’t get totally wiped out. No offense, but your people get pretty vicious when they are mad like this.” I glanced towards the screen as I explained that to her.
“Yeah…” I heard a somewhat melancholic voice from the bed behind me. “I’d help, but we all agreed not to use our godly powers to get directly involved. Maybe Tryval’s incarnation will be able to do something about the war on his end?”
I nodded my head slightly at that, though I didn’t really have much hope. Among the gods, Tryval was likely the least informed about the various classes and systems, as he had spent all of his time in the plains below instead of speaking with the others. At most, he would be able to become a decent monk or mage, depending on whether he incarnated as a variant. He wouldn’t be able to pioneer new territory like the others so easily.
Suddenly, Terra began speaking, her voice barely above a whisper. “The problem… isn’t how to end the war. That… that will be pretty easy.” After letting out a low yawn, she continued. “The problem is what comes after. The hatred… hatred that can last for centuries. That’s going to be the hard part.”
I raised my brows at her words, but nodded nonetheless. Even in the history of my world, a single war could create lasting conflict. And, this was after the world had advanced, and modern morals had set in. I could only imagine the kind of hatred that would spring up from an archaic civilization having these kinds of conflicts.
Still, I could only put that out of my mind for now. Even if I began making preparations for that right now, nothing would come of it for a while. It would ultimately be better to wait and see how things play out, so that I can come up with a more effective response. In other words, so that I know who to ask for help.
...What? I’m new to this, okay? Stopping a blood feud this deep is NOT an easy thing to accomplish. But at the same time, I can’t just stand by and let it continue on until a second war breaks out. While I won’t use my powers to tell them not to go to war, I can still do my best to prevent unnecessary wars from starting in the first place.
Suddenly, Terra’s ears perked up, her eyes widening. “Dale. Interesting thing just happened.” She spoke, her voice still groggy. I quickly turned back to look at the screen, but I could not see anything happening of importance, whether it was with the scouting team or the main forces of either side. “No… Not them.”
“Details would be appreciated.” I said with a sigh, figuring that it had something to do with her other incarnation, then. Aside from knowing that she had chosen to incarnate as a beastkin, likely a felyn like herself, I didn’t know exactly where she was. And doing a search to find out would take far longer than her just telling me where she was and what happened.
“Ninja village… New discovery.” She spoke with another drawn out yawn. Why was I not surprised that she chose to be born in that village? With a sigh, I changed my view on the map to cover the ninja village instead. Well, I haven’t checked them out in a while, so I guess it’s a good way to take a break from the war?
The Village of the Hidden Fog, the name given to the ninja village since long ago. Not because of any recurring weather patterns, but instead the fog that had rolled through near its creation, seeming to deposit people at random. Nobody could explain what had happened, so they had simply taken it to be divine providence.
Ever since the founding of the village, those living in it had been training diligently in the ninja arts. And of course, that means that they were stumbling around blindly, trying to adjust to this unfathomable power. Not only did they have to slowly discover the key aspects of chakra itself, but in order to truly understand it, they had to understand the features of its component energies, ki and mana.
As such, this is what they spent their focus on. Not on exploring, or fighting, or even developing their culture. They were led here by the gods, so why would they want to leave? The mastery of not one, but two energies gave them a complete advantage over the surrounding monsters, so what did they have to fear in a fight? As for their culture, it could be said that the ninja way was their culture.
With this in mind, they advanced. Farther and faster in the field of researching the energies than any other species. Although they did not strive to figure out the symbols that governed magic, they were ahead in terms of understand exactly what magic was, and what ki was. Inevitably, this led to some rather unusual leaps.
It was a widely known fact among the village that it was impossible to store either ki or mana outside of the body. One came from within the body itself, while the other was a manifestation of thought. But at the same time, chakra was both similar and different. Unlike either of its parent energies, it was not created within the mind or the body, but outside of it. So, many people began experimenting, trying to find ways to store chakra.
This research carried on for over a hundred years before any kind of breakthrough occurred, and what sprouted was a mere theory. If ki and mana can be stored in the body and mind, than could not chakra be stored in something with aspects from both? However, to get something that had the aspects of the body and mind was still a very difficult task.
At least, until they discovered enchanting. This branch of magic opened up a whole new world for them, one which they had been striving for all their lives. Solving the aspect of the body was easy, as it simply required blood from a creature capable of using ki. Some would use their own blood for this, while others would use the blood of monsters.
However, the aspect of the mind was something that they had no clues for until now. This was their first real test of the theory, to determine whether chakra could be stored for later use. For the components, they used the blood of a monster, and a length of vellum that had been enchanted.
The village leader, Hanbe, stood in the center of a circle of beastkin. Standing before him was a statue of a golden kitsune, painted with various dyes that they had found throughout the forest. At the statue’s feet was a stone bowl of blood, a single feather, and the vellum.
Hanbe walked forward, and grabbed the feather, dipping the sharpened tip of it in the monster blood, and began writing on the vellum. It was determined that the contents of what he wrote did not matter much, as long as the blood came to rest on the vellum. Some had even considered simply dipping the entire length in blood, but Hanbe had a different idea.
‘Dayl, may you watch over us now and guide my hand. Bring us the wisdom to complete this trial, as you brought wisdom to our ancestors.’ Hanbe wrote these lines on the vellum, and clasped his hands in prayer to the statue. Although most races had allowed the legend of the unknown god to fall into darkness, the ninjas were different. They found it no mere coincidence that a stranger appeared before them, teaching them the powers of the ninja, and then the gods sent them to live together and grow with this new power. To those in the Village of the Hidden Fog, Dayl was the hidden god, and many even believed he was the one responsible for the fog itself.
After he was done writing the message, he placed his hands on the corner of the vellum, and began generating chakra to send into it. He was not seeking to activate any hidden ability, or any secret power, merely storing his energy within. Those witnessing could see the vellum sheet beginning to glow blue, the words shining brightly. There were many who wanted to cheer, but held themselves back so as not to break Hanbe’s concentration.
However, that glow soon faded, and with it the hopes of the audience. All but one, as Hanbe opened his eyes wide to stare at the vellum. The others were too far to notice, but he could still clearly feel the power of chakra resting in the object before him. To be sure, he pulled his hands off of it, while keeping his senses focused.
Although the sensation was dulled slightly when he wasn’t directly touching the vellum, he could still feel the presence of his chakra. It was not breaking up or fading away, but instead resting peacefully inside its new container. For the final test, he placed one hand back on the vellum again, and attempting to connect with that energy to draw it back to himself. Once again, there was a slight glow to it, before he felt his chakra returning.
Although the process was slower than he would like, it proved that they were right! Chakra could be stored. It was at that time that one of the lycan men nearby came up and put his hand on Hanbe’s shoulder in a consoling matter. “It’s alright, you don’t have to keep trying.” He said in a somewhat disappointed tone. To everyone else, the second glow simply looked like he had tried to put more chakra into the vellum.
“Huh?” Hanbe looked at him curiously. “No, you misunderstood! It worked! Try it yourself!” As he said that, he stepped back to allow the lycan male to step up to the statue.
And he did so, skeptically. While he was hopeful that their experiment had succeeded, he also did not want to doubt his own eyes. So, as Hanbe did, he generated chakra and sent it into the vellum. And, like Hanbe, he could feel its presence remaining in the parchment. His eyes widened as he stared at it, reaching down and picking it up as if it were a precious artifact. “This… this is it!” He let out a sharp cry. “By Dayl, this is what we have been working for!”
“So?” Terra asked, and I could detect a grin in her tired voice. “What do you think?”
“Why…” I asked, my head buried in a pillow. I wanted to just hide from the world right now. Of course, I had already been hidden from the world for a long time, but that’s not the point! Why was there an entire village that worshipped me?! I could easily recognize that statue that they were gathered around, and the words that they had written.
“Advancement… Energy storage. It’s important, right?” She asked slyly. “Now, they can make things… like talismans. Very important for their development.”
I had long since left the computer, hiding in the bed under the covers as if worried that the people in the screen would be able to look up and see me watching them. However, that allowed a certain excitable goddess to wander over to it. “Oh? What’s going on?” She asked curiously, looking at the screen. Although the goddesses could not use any of the Keeper functions on the computer, they could still easily read the display.
“Waaa, bro, you have a cult!” And thus, the halfling delivered the final blow. Can I go back to watching midgets and horsemen killing each other now? That sounds really fun compared to this.