It didn’t take me very long at all to find my way to the door to Udona’s room. A part of me remembered back when I was visiting the Admin Room during my voyage, when they mentioned that she had ‘redecorated’ her room… Well, now or never.
Opening the door, the first thing I thought when I got inside was quite simple… Soft… The entire floor of Udona’s ‘room’ was covered in blankets. No, to call it a room wouldn’t be accurate anymore. She had done more than simply redecorate, she had expanded. Her area was a hill of blankets, atop which sat what I assume was meant to be a log cabin.
Only, the cabin itself was made entirely out of pillows. Stacked pillows, held together by some unimaginable force to form the walls and ceiling. Even the door was a tall, wide body pillow. Each pillow and each blanket had a variety of mixed patterns. Some were blank white, some were a dark color, others had patterns of flowers or rivers.
“Well… this is interesting.” I said to myself, glancing around to see if there were any other changes. At first, I didn’t particularly notice the sky, because it seemed fairly normal. However, upon closer inspection, I realized that it was actually just a massive television screen that covered the horizon of her little landscape.
Aurivy must really love it here. As I thought that, I moved towards the pillow-door of the log cabin. I considered knocking, but just how much noise would knocking on a pillow really generate? “Udona, you in there?”
“Hmm? Oh! Dale! Yeah, sure, come on in.” Udona called out from inside, seeming surprised by the sudden intrusion. Taking the invitation, I walked inside, where unsurprisingly I found everything to once again be made of either pillows or blankets. The wallpaper along the pillow walls were simply blankets hung up, the chairs were large fluffed pillows big enough to sit on. Perhaps the only thing different was the TV screen I saw.
Udona’s cabin only had one room, so it was easy to see everything at once. In one corner, there was a pillow table with pillow chairs, and in another was a bundle of pillows arranged like a nest, which I assumed was the bed. In the center of the room, perhaps the most ordinary feature, was a pillow fort. A pillow fort within a pillow house atop a mountain of blankets.
And in front of the pillow fort’s one opening was a large, wide-screen television that had a scene from some television show I didn’t recognize paused. Seeing that I knew Udona was inside, but couldn’t see her, I walked towards the pillow fort. “Sorry about popping in like this, but I wanted to get an update on your world.”
Sure enough, Udona poked her head of golden hair out through the opening of the pillow fort. Aside from when we were playing Keeper’s Cards before, this was perhaps the most awake I had ever seen her, her eyes wide and shining. “Oh? Didn’t expect you to come around about that for a while yet. Well, thankfully I have learned a few interesting things, though the world itself is still in the stone age.”
As she said that, she pulled her head back into the fort, and stuck a hand out to usher me in. Raising an eyebrow, as the pillow fort was clearly not big enough for two, I moved closer. Once I lowered my head and squatted down to crawl into the fort, I was surprised to find that it led into a rather large room.
This room appeared more like a theater than anything else, and one not made of either pillows or blankets. Rows of seats sat facing me, Udona in the front row at the very middle. The entrance that I was crawling through seemed to be the viewing window for the television in front of the fort.
“Okay, I’ll hand it to you. This is creative.” I muttered, moving to sit in one of the seats next to her. “So, you were saying?”
“Ah, right.” Udona nodded, seeming a bit distracted. “Sorry, I was organizing something.” She lifted a hand, inside of which was a remote, and pressed a button. On the screen outside the fort, which now looked positively massive, the anime scene faded. Instead, there was a rather ordinary-looking, large wolf frozen in time walking through a forest.
“So! I have been spending the last couple days researching into the possibilities and limitations behind the systems we set up Deckan with. And I’ve found a few things. Tricky little secrets, hidden away behind the system’s explanation of the cards.” Udona grinned mischievously, as if she were a child solving a mystery.
“First, the cards that are dropped from the bodies of the dead are not really random at all! Well, they are in a way, but not as one might expect. Take a look at this.” She hit another button on the remote, and an information panel appeared in front of the wolf.
“See? Those soul elements are the big secret, that you won’t even notice until after you buy the system. Every creature, man and beast, has random soul elements when they are born. The higher on the list the element is, the more likely you will get that card. For example, killing this wolf would most likely give the Fire element card.”
“But that’s not all. The way the cards are captured are quite ingenious. In Deckan, I noticed that there is a peculiar new energy type, one that doesn’t exist on Earth. It is found in all things, and suffers none of the typical rejection that other energies exhibit. However, I haven’t found any way to merge it with mana yet. So it might be a solitary element like divine energy.”
“Anyways! What this energy represents seems to be space as a concept. Whenever someone wishes to store an item, and that item is neither too heavy for their control, nor attended by someone else, the energy warps that item into a small pocket space, leaving behind the card as the ‘key’. Once someone wishes to release what is inside, the card opens the pocket space and deposits the item once again.”
“Now, when the object to be stored is a recently deceased creature, the process of storing the card has a chance to carve out one of the creature’s soul elements while it is being stored. The storing process itself destroys all of the soul elements, so the only way to make use of it is on the first try. But if it works, that element is carved out and stored in its own special space.”
As she spoke, the scene of the wolf shifted, and a card appeared to cover the screen. There was no writing on the card, just an image of fire. “I’m sure language will be added in once people develop an understanding of it themselves, but that is what the fire element card looks like now.”
“That card connects to a separate space, which generates a magical energy until full. Once full, the energy can be used to call out the element of magic, and either add it to a sequence for a spell, or be used in its raw form. Once depleted, the magic takes time to recharge.”
“It’s hard to properly gauge the mana costs, since they don’t have such clearly defined mana numbers as on Earth, but if I had to guess, the cards only use about one tenth of the mana that a similar spell would take on Earth. On the other hand, the inhabitants of Deckan can only expand their mana pool through training manually, since they don’t gain levels. Unless they get the extremely rare Comprehension card.”
It took me several long moments to process all of the information she had rapidly explained. And when I had finished, I saw her looking at me with a smile, as if expecting to be praised. “You really put a lot of work into your research, don’t you?”
Udona chuckled lightly, nodding her head. “I’ve been sending in incarnations and constantly fast forwarding until their deaths. Each lifetime takes about a minute, and then I spent a while studying the information. For your information, I’ve only ever found one Comprehension card. With it, I was able to gain mana roughly equal to a tenth level mage, after several years of mana training.”
Well, at least it was a relief that those cards were so rare. If stat cards actually became more common, then the people of Deckan would grow even stronger than the ones on Earth! And that’s before they even get any game system. “Alright, anything else you can tell me?” I glanced towards her, having a feeling that there was more to this.
“Well, there is a little. Since I am able to identify the possible soul elements in a target, I can easily hunt down the cards I want. I’ve found out how fusion spells work. Like normal magic cards, they hold a dimensional space, constantly filling with energy. However, a card that has been through fusion has a larger space, growing bigger with every card sacrificed in the fusion. This means that it takes longer to fill up, has a higher mana cost, but also that it is more powerful.”
“As a drastic example… I combined nineteen fire cards into one with the help of two fusion cards. Each has a limit of ten cards to fuse, see? Anyways, nineteen is the absolute limit. Because third tier cards aren’t unlocked, trying to put in one more after that causes the card to explode, which killed that incarnation…”
“But, back to the point. Nineteen fire cards had nineteen times the space inside of them as one. The fire that it pushed out was able to burn a hole through a cave wall… and one of my incarnations. Okay, I lost a lot like this.” Udona shook her head, as if trying to cleanse a bad memory.
“But remember, nineteen is a hard limit. Whether they are the same, or different cards. Six fire, three shields, and ten heals was another maximum power card, creating a shield of fire around me while quickly stitching together skin and bone. Add in a twentieth, and boom.” That one actually made her laugh lightly, as if the memory was amusing.
“Different cards even have different values, so you have to study each one to figure out how strong it is. Let me show you.” Udona hit another button on the remote, turning the television off. Then, with a wave of her hands, she produced a series of floating cards. “I’ve been collecting these whenever an incarnation died and left them intact.”
With that brief explanation, she passed one of the cards to me. “Take a look.” When I did so, an information window appeared in front of the card, making me thankful that I would be able to use this to ‘cheat’ in the Deckan world.
Magic Element: Light
On the front of the card was a shining ball of golden light, much like the sun if it were in front of a black background. And… on the back of the card was an image of Udona herself, smiling outwards towards the viewer. “So… if I get this right. This card would have a total value of twelve?”
Udona gave a small nod at that. “Right. Once it hits ten, the tier goes up by one. By the way, it is actually possible to get cards with a value of zero. But, they’re trash, and take five just to turn into a value one card. The only thing that they can do is add very minor effects to spells without taking a full value’s worth of space.”
I nodded slightly, glancing over towards Udona. “Have you experimented with summoning, or enchanting yet?”
Hearing that, she pouted slightly, and stuck out her tongue in complaint. “Like I said, I wasn’t expecting you so soon! I asked Tubrock to make me some items I can test enchanting with, and my current incarnation is hunting down creatures with the summon soul element to farm a few of those cards.”
I gave a small chuckle, shaking my head. “Alright. Keep me updated. And thanks for the information, it looks like your world will have quite a lot of room to grow in the future.” I waved my hand towards her while she nodded happily, and saw her appear to zone out as I transported myself back to my room. Likely to return to her ‘studies’. I was surprised with just how passionately she was behaving with this.