I made sure to maintain my focus on speeding the ships forward for well over an hour, until the strain of that focus began to take a toll on my mind. I could feel a dull headache building, which made me finally relax my control over the wind and water pushing the ships. Though, even after I stopped we kept going. I could only look towards the other ships and assume that they had taken over the burden.
Thankful for the respite, I leaned back in my bench and closed my eyes, allowing myself to rest for a little while. I thought back to the journey so far, and felt my consciousness becoming heavy. It had only been one day, yet so much had already happened.
When I awoke, it was to the morning light hitting my face, causing me to raise a hand to shield my eyes. Honestly, I hadn’t been expecting to be able to sleep at all after seeing the Sea Terror, so that had been a bit of a surprise to me. Glancing around, I saw that a few other people had just woken up as well, coming up from below deck. At the same time, the night-time scout descended from the crow’s nest to allow the other to take his place.
After a bit of investigating, I managed to learn what the five lower level people were here for. Well… I say investigating, but really I just watched them do their jobs. As mentioned before, there were two scouts. One monitored during the day, and the other did so at night.
There was also naturally a chef, a young man who brought me my meals after they were prepared. He seemed rather nice, so I had a pretty good impression of him so far. Next was the carpenter, who kept appraising the condition of the ship after every minor event to ensure that no repairs were needed.
Finally, the last of the lower level people was a young felyn woman, who seemed just barely into her adult years. Given how she would often walk across the deck and sing, inspiring the other crew members to join her, as well as how she recorded everything in a thick journal, I could only assume that she was a bard.
Two scouts, a chef, a carpenter, and a bard… and then twenty combatants. Was this really enough for everything that we were going to end up facing? I couldn’t help but worry, before my gaze turned towards the other ships. It took me a moment to remember that it wasn’t really twenty combatants. Rather, it was a little over a hundred, if my estimations of the other crews was accurate. And these were all among the strongest people that the beastkin could produce.
I got up from my bench with a sigh, moving towards the wheel of the ship where I saw Emona standing, her eyes on the horizon ahead. There were clouds gathering, so I might get to see my first storm soon. But first, I wanted to go talk to her about something.
Hold it, Dale. Udona’s voice rang in my ears as I had been moving towards her incarnation. Whatever you wanna talk with Emona about, it’s probably not something that should be mentioned where others can hear, right?
I paused in my steps, giving a faint nod. There was a slight sigh after that. She can’t leave the wheel right now, and that means that privacy really isn’t an option. Best bet would be to just talk to me about it directly.
Alright… what is up with that Kraken from yesterday? I couldn’t help but voice the biggest thing that I had been wondering about the entire time. If I had to guess, it should be the equivalent of a monster in the three hundreds, right? How did you guys manage to make that?
There was a hint of pride in Udona’s voice as I returned to my bench. That was something Ryone and I came up with. Union Summoning. You see, there are two methods to binding an Aeon once it has been created. The first is to bind it to yourself, which is what most summoners do for their primary Aeon. The second is to bind it to an object.
I got to thinking, what would happen if multiple people joined forces to summon the same Aeon? To test it out, I created the Kraken. It’s possible to create an Aeon beyond one’s ability to control, but doing so runs the risk of the Aeon turning on its creator. But if there are multiple summoners controlling it…
You increase the level of control. I nodded my head at that idea. It made a little sense… sort of.
Right! So I split the Kraken into twelve parts when I was done creating it, and bound each one to a cutlass. Though, even like that, we’re all still just barely able to keep control of it…
Okay, that answered that question, but now… How are Aeons even created? There was something else that was bugging me about that…
Udona’s tone suddenly became a bit awkward as she struggled to answer my question. Well… you see. We need a considerable amount of Spiritual Energy in order to create a strong Aeon…
Udona… what did you do? I couldn’t help but worry with how she was saying this.
Well… people may have figured out a way to tap into the afterlife, and pull some of the ambient spiritual energy. It’s totally safe, though! The connection isn’t big enough for anything to come through. And Irena redirected the pathway that summoners use so it only connects to the monster side of the Underworld, meaning that there is no danger to the spirits!
Hearing her hastily try to explain herself, I groaned slightly, shaking my head. And you are absolutely positive that this connection can’t be used as a door for something to come through? You know what’s on the other side of that, right?
Err… yeah. Irena already showed me, just to make sure I understood. It’s not a pretty sight, Dale. But trust me! Even when I was making the Kraken, it only ever pulled a small amount of ambient spiritual energy at a time. It took me hours to get enough to actually work with. Maybe summoners at a higher level can establish a larger connection, but it’s not possible with what Earth has right now.
I felt like I’d need to get a second opinion on that later. But, given the fact that the system hadn’t alerted me to another one of the chimera souls breaking out of the afterlife, I had to believe that she was right. I knew that something had to be strange with summoners, due to my experience seeing how much spiritual energy it took to create a body.
If it were before I created the World Spirits, that would be one thing. But now, most of the residual spiritual energy in the world would have been soaked up by them, so there would be nothing left for summoners to use. Though, this did raise an interesting idea for me.
Udona, what determines how much control a summoner has over their Aeon?
Unfortunately, the response that I got back was not what I was expecting. Dale, I know what you want to really ask, so let me stop you right there. An Aeon that is bound to a person resides in their personal spirit realm. Where you have Leowynn. You might be able to bind one to an item like I did, but it wouldn’t be worth it.
Before I could question why she thought that, she took the initiative to explain. In order to control an Aeon that strong, you’d need to release a good portion of your Keeper levels to make up for the lacking summoner levels. By that point, you’d already be stronger than the Aeon you summon. You can keep an Aeon or two in reserve for the games later on, but it’d probably be best to wait till your available summoner level was high enough, or have it divided among many parts.
She raised a valid point. I had simply been considering the kind of creature that I’d be able to summon if I brought out all my Keeper levels. However, I still don’t have an accurate grasp of my own strength when I am powered up like that. Like she said, it’s very possible that I’d be quite a bit more powerful than any Aeon that I could control in that state.
Though, now I had another idea… Have either of you considered creating a union summoning like this, but on a larger scale? The idea of an army unit working together to jointly summon one massive creature flashed in my mind.
My question was answered with an almost joyous laughter. I knew there was something that sis saw in you. Yeah, Ryone and I are still thinking about doing that, and it was the original idea behind all of this. The Kraken can be considered the prototype. Once the beastkin and elves join together, we wanted to use the Kraken to fuel the passions of the next generation of summoners.
I nodded my head slightly, admiring how far ahead Udona and Ryone were planning this. Out of curiosity, how strong of an Aeon can Emona control on her own?
Hmm? Her personal Aeon is mostly just a messenger. Something she can send over short distances when voice transmission isn’t enough. But as for the limits for her… it’d be a bit below the level of one sea prince.
As I considered that, I let my eyes move towards the horizon again. The clouds that I had spotted before had begun to gather, yet the crew of the ship didn’t seem the least bit worried. When I looked back, even Emona herself had a carefree smile on her face while she sailed us directly towards the gathering storm.
Okay… so nobody is concerned. Makes sense, druids should be able to protect the ships from the storms. No pressure at all, right?
Once again, I got up and moved towards Emona, passing by the happily singing bard as she danced around the mast. No, she was not pole dancing, so get that thought out of your head! “Captain.”
“Aye. What’s the matter?” Emona called out from behind the wheel as she looked down at me from her elevated deck.
“There wouldn’t happen to be any large monsters that we have to be wary about that like to hang around in storms?” I asked, glancing meaningfully towards the storm that we were approaching.
“Hmmm…” She seemed to give it some serious thought. “Haven’t the foggiest!” She grinned broadly as she declared that, nearly making me stumble back. “We’ve never had need to go out past the sea princes’ territory. Your little stunt with getting us out of there put us ahead of schedule by near a full day! Nice goin’ with that, by the way. Guessin’ ye caught a glimpse of the beast below.”
I gave a somewhat stiff nod to confirm that. “So… we basically have no idea what we’ll be running into from now on. Completely uncharted territories from day two onwards…”
“Aye!” Emona responded with a wide grin. “Unknown monsters and dangers behind every turn of the tide! Lands unseen awaiting past every horizon! Isn’t that the best part? Doesn’t it make yer heart burn for adventure!?”
“Well, it makes my heart burn, alright.” I grumbled slightly at that, shaking my head. “Please tell me that one of these ships has a shaman or something?”
“Aye.” Emona nodded her head. She turned to glance at the ship directly to our right, one of the inner three. “The Jaded Lady be carryin’ a shaman. He’s in charge of findin’ any land along our course.”
The Jaded Lady… I let out a small groan when I heard the name of one of the other ships in this fleet. Well, as long as we did have a dedicated shaman, that meant that things would be a bit easier on the journey. I couldn’t help but glance back, my eyes looking towards the dark clouds as they gradually approached closer.