After I made the announcement about the impending tournament, I decided to take a nice, long rest. One must never forget the comforts of a soft bed, after all! Anyways, by the time I woke up the next morning, I found that Leowynn had quietly returned to my spiritual realm.
Good morning, father! She called out once she had noticed my attention was on her.
Good morning… shouldn’t you be getting ready for the tournament? I couldn’t help but tilt my head curiously as I asked that to her.
Ah… I decided not to participate. Leowynn shook her head as she gave an unexpected answer. I want to continue exploring the worlds with you, and after asking Terra about it, I learned that I wouldn’t be able to do that if you made me a goddess. If I have to choose between being left behind to be a goddess of my own world, or to explore and help you in your battles, isn’t it obvious which one I’d choose?
Well, if I were given those choices, I probably wouldn’t have chosen the same… but seeing her smiling so innocently like that, I couldn’t exactly point that out. Well.. thanks. I appreciate it. They’re probably getting ready to start the tournament soon, so I should go watch. Of course, there was still a little bit of time left, so I opened up the map of Earth and reviewed what had happened since I left.
The awkward silence between the two parties lasted for several minutes. Neither side had truly been expecting to encounter a language barrier as soon as they met a new race of people for the first time. Soon, the silver-haired kitsune seemed to have an idea, and turned her head to call out to one of the people that had followed her down.
The person that she called was Dis’ni, a woman who held the goddess’s power in her voice. The two held a small conversation that the elves couldn’t understand before the new person stepped forward, and cleared her throat. When she spoke next, her eyes had a faint golden glow to them, causing the elves to immediately understand what she was trying to do.
However, even as they felt the familiar divine energy of the bards, they couldn’t understand the words that the felyn was saying. Instead, knowing that the attempt was a failure, the woman holding a basket of fruits near Dis’ni shook her head sadly. Dis’ni’s ears flattened against her head as she walked back with a sulk.
Neither side had made a hostile action against the other, so it looked like things could still go peacefully. This made the lord of Cau Buhnga nod in relief, as a battle against so many powerful people just might be enough to destroy his entire town. Giving it a bit of thought, he chose to allow his actions to speak louder than the words they could not understand.
Clapping his hands, he drew everyone’s attentions to himself. “Ladies, gentlemen, let’s lead our guests towards a place to rest. The matters of speech can be handled slowly.” His words drew a series of nods from the attendants, who began to motion for the strangers to follow them.
The inviting gesture was quite easy to understand, so Emona nodded her head with a faint smile. Like the lord, she clapped her hands as well to get everyone’s attention first. When they all turned to look at her, she spoke another strange set of words. By her command, one of the larger women in the group, one with round fuzzy ears, nodded and went back onto the ship.
The elves were curious what was happening, but soon saw the woman walking out again, carrying a large wooden crate. Cau Buhnga’s lord soon understood that they wanted to unload their cargo. And sure enough, the leader of the pirates motioned towards the box, and then the ship, and finally looked at the people around with her hands folded in a pleading gesture.
While this was not the most precise method of communication, it was effective enough. With a laugh, the lord nodded. “Alright. Guards, help them unload. Just to be safe, make sure they aren’t bringing weapons or anything like that in the boxes.”
The guards all nodded, and moved towards the ship, while the lord continued pantomiming a conversation with the captain of the ship. He pointed towards the box, and then the ship, and finally the sword at her waist with a curious expression. The silver-haired kitsune quickly shook her head, waving her hands back and forth.
Before he could try to ‘ask’ anything else, she rushed over to the crate and hopped up enough to reach into it, pulling a piece of paper out. Without giving the man time to see what was on it, she spoke again, and the paper turned into a round, blue fruit. This fruit was actually recognizable by the lord, as it was something that grew in elven lands as well.
However, Emona wasn’t sure about that, and decided to prove that it was safe by taking a bite out of the fruit. She smiled at the lord as she chewed, nodding her head in assurance. Her smile only widened when she saw the relieved look on his face.
There was a surprised shout from inside the ship, which caused everyone to immediately become alarmed. They cast wary glances at each other, as if wondering if their people had been attacked on the ship. Soon, one of the guards ran out with a similar paper in his hand, which he presented to the lord.
Upon seeing the paper, the man’s eyes raised slightly in confusion. Naturally, he couldn’t understand the writing of the foreign language… but he could? “Quest, recite the word ‘salvation’. Reward--” No sooner had he read it over then the piece of paper shined again. This time, a small bundle of copper nails appeared in his hand.
Everyone’s eyes were suddenly glued to the lord, and the pile of nails he held. For the elves, it was amazement that he had managed to read the beastkin text. But for the beastkin, it was because the trigger to complete the quest was a word. Although he did not speak any tongue they knew, it had triggered the scroll. Meaning that he had clearly read the scroll in his own language.
Emona excitedly clapped her hands, drawing everyone’s eyes back to her. As she closed her own eyes, a small piece of paper appeared in her hands, which she hurriedly passed over to the lord. The aged man carried an amused smile as he looked at the paper and began reading the unreadable words.
“Apologies for the problems with communication. We hadn’t expected to find anyone at the end of our journey, and didn’t know to prepare. On behalf of me and my crew, I would like to request lodging for a period of time. In the meantime, perhaps we can use the quest scrolls to communicate, and learn to speak each other’s languages? Quest, offer Emona and her crew safe lodging. Reward, Emona’s help securing food.”
This time, the quest did not have a verbal trigger, so the lord had been able to read all the way through to the very end. He smiled slightly as he realized the little trick that Emona had put into the scroll. She had specifically asked for safe lodging, so the quest would not be complete if he planned them any harm.
He gave a small nod towards his men to have them continue unloading the cargo, while he guided Emona towards one of the empty houses. The owners of the house hand long since moved to the west, and there were many others like it nearby to hold her and her people. Once the quest scroll lit up with a bright light and vanished, Emona nodded her head happily.
“Well, that went surprisingly well.” I smiled in satisfaction as I finished watching the scene of the crew moving into the elven city. I had expected it to take them a little longer to discover the secret of the quest scrolls, yet one lucky guard managed to catch sight of them and learned about it.
At the same time, far across the globe, another quest scroll had triggered as well. The Third Queen of Terraria had been staring at a pair of scrolls on after another, waiting for one of them to have a reaction. She had long since suspected that the scrolls had failed them. Either they had been lost, or the distance had simply become too much for the scrolls to activate.
However, when she saw one lighting up and vanishing, her expression had changed. I had been able to see that she was genuinely happy that her daughter had made it to safety. As for the other scroll, she grabbed it and tore it up, as if the very existence of it had caused her endless torment.
“Alright, let’s get this over with.” I stood up from the computer, and made my way towards the living room. Unsurprisingly, everyone was already gathered. Even Tryval, who almost never returned to the Admin Room, was present for the tournament.
Before anyone had the chance to speak, I decided to take the initiative, as the ‘host’ of the event. “Alright. Everyone knows the rules of Keeper’s Cards, so I won’t waste anyone’s time with that. I’m needing to establish a new world, one capable of supporting special materials that will be needed for future projects. In order to decide who will be the leader of this world, we’re going to be testing everyone’s ability.”
“The first player to become champion three times will be crowned the winner of the event. This is to ensure fairness and make sure that everyone gets their chance to improve. The prize for the winner is to become the leader of your own world.”
The contestants’ eyes practically shined at that, making a knowing smile appear on my face. “You’ll still have your normal godly duties that you have right now, so don’t get too excited. Since I’m requiring you to put the materials in your world, I’ll give the winner twice the normal starting funds. That’s up to one thousand points to spend on establishing the start of the world.”
“Any points leftover after the setup will be reclaimed. However, any points you earn through your own world can be used by you as you see fit. My only requirement is that you keep your world’s overall power at or below the level of Earth. I don’t want us to be pushed into the real Keeper’s games before we are ready. Are there any questions?”
Everyone shook their heads, indicating that they didn’t have anything to ask. I was throwing out nearly half of my funds with this tournament, but it should ultimately be worth it. “Okay, then let the tournament commence!”
Following my words, everyone opened up their own interfaces, choosing to join the Keeper’s Cards game. The only ones left out were myself and Terra, as well as Leowynn who was watching the scene from within my spiritual realm. With the system moderating the event, there was no need for us to act as judges. We were merely the audience, though Terra was clearly cheering for Aurivy.
“Come on, little Rivy! You can do it!” She called out from the couch after Aurivy got paired up with Udona in her first match. With Udona acting as the invader, it was no surprise that only one unit had been sent in to fight Aurivy, a single weak goblin army that was easily killed.
In the first rounds, nobody would go for an all out attack, because they needed the time to build their forces. For the second match, Aurivy had been paired against Bihena. This time, Aurivy was the attacker. Like Udona, Aurivy only sent a single card over for her attack.
The third round was when things started to heat up. Aurivy was now defending against Tubrock, who smiled apologetically. “Sorry, lass, but I be wantin’ the prize myself.” In his attack, Tubrock sent a wave of golems and automatons that crushed Aurivy’s world, eliminating her from the first match.
The halfling goddess sniffled as she made her way to the couch, hopping up on my lap and burying her head in my chest. Terra looked on, as if betrayed by Aurivy for clinging onto me instead of herself, and groaned in defeat. “Oh well, there’s still several more matches to go…”
As the game played on, it quickly became one-sided. For the next battle, Udona had been paired against Tubrock, and used a group of spies and ninjas to eliminate both of his worlds. While other people only had one or two worlds under their control, Udona already had three. And the next time she attacked, that became five, and then seven.
The final fight was between Udona and Accalia, with seven worlds to five. The advantage here was obvious, but the system repeatedly assigned Accalia as the invader. Only when it was Udona’s turn did she go for an all-out attack, sending the forces of seven worlds against Accalia’s five.