Over the next few years, people began seeing a remarkable change within the world, though few were able to guess at its cause. The sparse undead that had roamed the lands at night, the souls of countless restless creatures, stopped appearing. Instead, some new creatures emerged in the world, as if guided by an invisible hand.
The first type was a small, humanoid creature that could fly through the air with the greatest of ease. At first, the truth behind these creatures was called into question, as they primarily appeared only in front of small children. However, a few lucky adults managed to catch glimpses of them as well, fleeting glances before the small creatures vanished as if they were a lie.
Some sought to capture them for study, to learn their secrets, but soon realized that such a thing simply couldn’t be done. Whether it was the sealing spells of a mage, an isolated prison formed by a druid, or even manufactured equipment, the strange creature could simply vanish from within. And for those that sought to truly harm them, not bothering to try to capture one alive and wishing to study a corpse…
The wrath of nature was a terrifying thing. And when these small, innocent looking creatures were angered, there was no better description for what happened. A shrill cry would fill the air, followed by dozens, maybe even hundreds of tiny winged people appearing in the skies above. The clouds would darken and twist, the skies coming alive. The earth shook, the very ground seeming afraid of their power. And when the sky descended in a vortex of wind, the offending party’s body was torn to shreds. While a single creature may be weak alone, word soon spread… they were never alone.
The second type of creature that spread about the land seemed far less benign. Stories spread of beasts made of blood sneaking into the cities, feasting on the livestock. Some would ambush adventurers, draining the life from their bodies and leaving them an empty husk. These beasts came in varying shapes and sizes, but any who saw them soon began to run.
Unlike the fairy-like beings, most of these creatures did not travel in a pack. They tended to remain alone, with one or two companions at the most. However, they were individually strong. They never seemed to appear in front of an opponent that they could not defeat, and each victory only increased their strength.
And unlike those strange fairies, these beasts could also be captured or slain, when caught by surprise. Though, when one of these creatures were killed, their bodies would dissolve into a pool of blood, earning them the title of ‘blood fiends’. Nobody could tell where these creatures came from, or how they came to be able to do what they do. And nobody noticed the lost children who could be seen playing at the outskirts of the human villages from time to time…
After I woke up from my rest, I fast forwarded the world by another fifty years, keeping an eye on both the World Spirits and Martial Spirits. In truth, the growth of these two new ‘classes’ surprised me a lot.
First of all, the World Spirits. Within fifty years, they seemed to have spread across the globe, increasing their numbers by using the remnant spiritual energies that hadn’t been collected. Whether it was in the oceans, the forests, even in some larger cities. They would travel in pairs, a mentor and student.
The mentor would show the student how to create a World Spirit, and then leave to make another one, whereas that newly created spirit would become the student to the one left behind. Like this, their numbers rose exponentially, until it seemed like all of those minor spiritual energies had been swept through by them. A quick look was enough for me to see that their numbers had stagnated at just over five million by the end of the fifty years, though it looked like it wouldn’t be able to increase any more than that for a while.
As for their strength, I had watched a few hundred of them come together, and summon a tornado that tore apart a high level human. From what I saw, the tornado carried with it some spiritual energy, which caused the winds to condense and become bladelike. Though, the few hundred that did that were all the ones with the highest levels in their World Spirit class, so it made sense that they’d be able to do that if they worked together.
On the other hand, the Martial Spirits surprised me even more. The lower ranked spirits acted like mindless beasts, attacking other animals and monsters until they were able to grow physically larger through absorbing their strength. Sometimes, after a hard fought battle, they would let some of their own blood drip into their victim. A few hours later, an ‘infant’ Martial Spirit emerged from the body of the victim, of the same rank as its ‘parent’.
The fifth rank spirits were a bit better, as they mostly kept away from inhabited areas and preyed purely on monsters. By the end of the fifty years, they had built a small tribe far from the beastkin lands. They were still far from the level of intelligence that the sapient races possessed, but it was enough that they were able to survive on their own..
Finally, the tenth rank spirits. They by far had the greatest personal growth, but at the same time the lowest reproduction. In fact, they had yet to create a single extra rank ten Martial Spirit even after the full fifty years had passed. They traveled the borders of the human lands together, often playing with the children that wandered away from their parents.
When alone, however, they showed that their ferocity was no less than that of the other spirits. Once they began to level up, they seemed to discover a new ability. In battle, they would turn into blood giants, tens of meters tall with individualized weapons. Alternatively, they were able to release a blood mist, and condense it into a physical item to puppeteer.
The part that was the least surprising was how the two types of spirits leveled up. Both Martial Spirits and World Spirits showed that they could take on other classes as well. The Martial Spirits naturally became proficient with the Monk class, while the World Spirits easily picked up the Druid class. I had expected them to also pick up either Reaper or Spirit Hunter as another class, but it seemed like that wasn’t going to happen.
Of course, this didn’t extend to the first four ranks of Martial Spirits. In the eyes of the system, they seemed to be treated purely as monsters, their level determined by the level of their class. Part of me wondered whether they would count towards the maximum level for the Keeper stats, but I doubted it. Most likely, it would only select between the fifth and tenth ranked Martial Spirits.
“Okay, that is not quite how I expected that to turn out.” I heard Accalia speaking up from behind me after I finished fast forwarding, and turned around to see her standing there, her arms behind her back.
“Yeah, it was a little surprising.” I couldn’t help but agree, nodding my head. “Though, I can’t say that they are the worst monsters that have been produced so far.”
“Hmm?” She looked at me in confusion. “Oh, you mean the little beast ones? No, they aren’t that bad overall. And, I get the feeling that there is something else that can be done with them, once its discovered. You could probably look it up on the Keeper forums. I was talking about the children, and the fairies!”
“Anyways, I didn’t expect the fairies to spread that fast! I mean, each one is still probably weaker than your average lycan or elf, but they work together really well! If I had to guess, they are able to make some sort of hive mind when they are in close proximity.”
Her voice seemed to hold some genuine praise as she said that, but she just continued. “As for the kids, they are behaving a lot better than I thought at first. When I saw you make them, I half expected them to go on a rampage, given the strength they were born with.”
Well, that’s not too surprising… They were born from the ki of something around a level one hundred and fifty monk, at the very least. I imagine their base stats must have been ridiculous. I nodded my head again at that. “Yeah, I’m rather happy with how they’re acting. Though, I’m more surprised that they haven’t made another one of themselves yet.”
“I… don’t think they actually can.” Accalia said, her expression becoming complicated. Seeing my confused look, she explained. “So, the others all use fairly strong monsters or people to create their next generation, right? That’s because they have to condense the ki of those people to form the necessary essence blood. They use their own blood as a catalyst, drawing all of the ki and spiritual energy of their target into just enough blood to start the creation process.”
“But, the kids can’t do that. They just simply haven’t run into a monster that has enough ki to create a essence orb. And if they do, as they are right now they might not be able to kill it. Thankfully, it looks like they don’t have to worry about aging, so they’ll have plenty of time to find a suitable host.” Accalia looked relieved as she finished her explanation, nodding slightly.
“Does… that mean that the people who are used as a host have their spirits devoured?” I glanced back at the screen briefly when I asked that. “And that they won’t be able to go to the Underworld?”
“Well… if their entire spirit is used for the process, yes. A lot of times, they will simply end up with a fragmented soul. As long as there’s still a piece of it left, Irena’s armies can still take them to the Underworld. They’ll just be a bit weaker than normal to start.”
Well, that’s a relief, I guess? I had worried that there might be problems if this went out of control, and the lower ranked spirits were allowed to continuously multiply and consume dead souls. “Alright, I think I get it. Anyways, thanks for filling me in on that.” I hadn’t been expecting her to come in here after fast forwarding, but her input was pretty helpful.
“Anytime!” She said with a bright, toothy smile. Suddenly, her eyes opened wide, and she looked out the door to the room, which was hanging open. “Sorry, boss! Udona is calling, so gotta go see what she wants! Talk to you later!” With that, she turned and ran out the door with a light laugh, heading towards Udona’s room.
Well… I guess I should go ahead and take a look at the Martial Spirit information on the forum, like she suggested. I thought with a light shrug, turning back to my computer and pulling up the forums. It didn’t take me long to find what I was looking for, as there were several threads discussing the class. Some asked how to obtain it, and others were simple explanations. I pulled up one that was aptly labeled ‘The Guide to the Martial Spirit class’.
Martial spirits are a powerful existence, but how do they work? How are they made? Well, let’s go over it, shall we! First, let’s talk about how to make them, as this is a step where many civilizations fail to discover.
Okay… skipping a bit past that part, since I already figured that bit out. And, from skimming over it, it didn’t tell me anything for that I didn’t already know.
Now, onto how they are used! Martial spirits can be utilized in one of two ways. Either as an individual existence akin to that of a sapient race or monster, or as a tamed companion.