As I pulled myself from my thoughts, I heard the soft melodic laugh of Ryone as she entered the room. Through the doorway, I could still see Bihena receiving her ‘healing’ from a rather helpless looking Aurivy. “So, are these the orbs?” She asked with a smile of amusement, looking towards the seven balls of blue light on my desk.
“That’s right. You mentioned before that Terra had been teaching you how to make these… so do you think that you could make copies of them before you go?” I fully intended to train myself in the use of the different energies, just as I had the first tiers of natural energy and ki so long ago.
“Hmm, not right now.” Ryone answered with a shake of her head, shrugging her shoulders and spreading her hands out. “I’ve got to study them myself first. But, tell you what. Give me a day, and I should have enough time by then to copy them over. Otherwise, I’ll probably end up accidentally skipping large amounts of information, and none of it will make sense.”
I gave a nod of understanding at that, and waved my hand to send the seven balls of light towards her. “Alright. Do you want me to send Leowynn with you?” The demigoddess soul was still sitting in my spirit realm. She had been shocked by the transport method we had gone through before, but seemed to just be waiting for the right moment to come out now that we were back.
Ryone put on a bitter smile, even though Leowynn perked up at the question. “Sorry, not this time. If I’m going to get these all copied down within a day, then I need to be able to concentrate. Sorry dear.” She said as she looked to me, but I could tell that she was really speaking with Leowynn. “I’ll drag you along to play once I’ve made the copies for him.”
Leowynn’s mood briefly dropped when she was rejected, though I could feel her nodding her head. “She said that’ll be fine.” I interpreted for her. “In the meantime, maybe she’d like to play with Aurivy?”
Leowynn glanced up again at that, and I could feel her attention drawn towards the hallway. At the same time, Aurivy seemed to notice that her name was mentioned, and turned to look into the room with a hopeful expression. Seeing that, Leowynn laughed, and the familiar grey mist burst from my body, quickly reforming into the elven girl who rushed towards the door.
Bihena briefly pouted when Leowynn rescued Aurivy from her, and then got up with a sigh, moving to enter the room just as Ryone was leaving it. “I take it that means you want me for something?” She asked, leaning against the door frame.
“Well, first I wanted to say thanks. The points you earned really helped us get what we needed.” I turned in my chair to look at her, leaning back slightly while cracking my neck to stretch. “Also, I spoke with Alkahest. StarKiller’s good to enter as soon as we’re qualified and everything is set.”
Bihena looked surprised at that, her eyes opening wide for a brief moment. “Huh… Thought she was hiding something. Good to know. And yeah, I’d like that. She seems like a good kid.”
However, I quickly continued. “Another thing. When you were playing that game with her, I saw you selected a party system. Tell me a bit about that, and why you chose it. Given that it’s you we’re talking about, you had to have had your reasons.”
A small chuckle escaped Bihena’s lips, and she waved a hand. In front of me, a blue window appeared, showing the information of the system I had asked about.
Allows the inhabitants of the world to form parties. The size limit of a party, as well as the method to establish one, is set by the purchasing Keeper. When two people are in a party, they have a general idea of their party member’s health and location.
Game System Required
“It’s something I saw in the Keeper’s cards tournament. On the surface, it doesn’t appear like it provides a great benefit. There is no sharing of experience gained from killing a monster, no long distance communication, just a simple ‘general idea of health and location’. That’s all that the system offered.” Bihena answered with a shrug.
Before I could ask anything else, she continued her explanation. “But then I noticed something. After applying that system, the combat levels of my troops grew stronger. My culture levels began increasing, and even my counter-abilities were increased faster than normal.”
“It wasn’t until after I was eliminated that I took the time to think it over. With the party system, adventuring groups would appear and band together, able to work more fluidly as a team when they could sense each other’s presence and condition. Healers became more efficient. Coordination improved, and people grew stronger with less loss of life.”
“Just think of this from a different standpoint. You create a party with a diplomatic spy before sending them into enemy territory. At any point, you know if that spy has been executed or tortured, or if they have been sent somewhere else. You send a scout into a dungeon, and you don’t hear from him for a worrying amount of time. Rather than advance foolishly, you already know whether he is in danger, or if you should continue to wait.”
As she explained, I couldn’t help but nod my head, agreeing with her. “That… definitely sounds like it would be a good long term benefit. If we can afford it after everything else we need, it will probably be a good idea to look into.”
Bihena gave a satisfied nod when she heard my answer. “Then, is there anything else?”
“No, that’s all I needed for now.” I told her, shaking my head to dismiss her. While she left, I closed my eyes and sent another mental message off, this time to two goddesses. Ashley, Udona, how are your worlds coming along? Do you think you’ll be ready for the gates soon?
Dale! I was wanting to talk to you when you got back! I made some new discoveries that could enhance the card magic! Udona’s hasty reply came back almost immediately.
If you mean about the later tier fusion cards, I already found out at the meeting.
Ohh… I could practically feel the kitsune girl sulking when she heard that I had already learned what she wanted to report to me. Then, yeah. Deckan should be good to go any time. They’re just now starting to learn how to extract specific cards, so they’re at a good level for joining up with the others.
Desbar is fine as well. Ashley reported in once Udona had finished. They have established their worldwide internet, so technology is beginning to boom at an unprecedented rate. Similar to what happened on old Earth.
I gave a relieved sigh at that. Alright. Then we’ll keep the three worlds paused for now. When the gates are created and installed, we’ll start fast forwarding again to let them develop and explore. If we put the gate on Earth somewhere remote, that will put Deckan and Desbar as the two that encounter each other first, and give them time to sort whatever they need to sort out.
Why put the gate somewhere remote? Won’t that mean it’s in monster territory? Udona asked in a confused tone. Thankfully, Ashley came in with the answer quickly.
We can’t have it in any race’s territory on Earth, or they will claim ownership of it. More importantly, Deckan and Desbar don’t have the game system yet. They’re all essentially level one, so any random person could just go through the gate and either destroy or enslave both worlds. Putting it in neutral territory increases the risk levels against monsters, but it allows both worlds to build themselves to an equal footing with Earth before that gate is discovered.
Udona made a sound of understanding, seeming to accept that logic. Udona, one last thing. I’m going to hold off on buying the third tier cards and monsters for Deckan until the gates are installed. It won’t make much difference since the world is frozen, but I don’t want to take the risk that the third tier pushes Deckan over the limit and sends us to the games before we’re ready.
That’s fine. Udona answered quickly. The world is going to be paused until then anyways, so it won’t make much difference. Besides, a single mage can’t even properly use a second tier spell right now. It takes a team of five just to cast one. I can’t imagine how many it would take to do a third tier spell before their mana levels increase…
With that taken care of, I sent out two more calls. Keliope, Accalia, would the two of you mind meeting me in my room?
“Hey Dale!” Accalia called out excitedly from the doorway just seconds after I asked for her presence, when I know she wasn’t standing there before. Guess she was bored. “You need me for something?”
Before I could answer, the large bear of a woman walked up behind her, patting Accalia on the head between her canine ears. “Outta the way, pipsqueak.” She said in an amused tone. “Boss wanted both of us.”
Accalia stuck her tongue out playfully while making room for Keliope to enter. “First thing’s first… Accalia, as the Goddess of the Hunt, what types of combat have you taken as your specialty?” I already knew that Keliope loved martial arts, so I figured I should ask Accalia.
The lycan goddess tilted her head in thought at that. “Hmm… Archery and magic. Those are the two main fields I usually specialize in. I like to attack from a distance. I’ve also combined archery with the various different energies to test their results, and started the Arcane Archery legacy with the humans. Of course, I know how to defend myself in close combat, but I’m not as good as muscles for brains.” Keliope rubbed her fist against the crown of Accalia’s head while she laughed, causing the girl to squirm beneath her.
I felt a sigh building up as she gave the answer I was expecting, but held it down for now. “Good, that’s what I was hoping. I already bought the tiers of energy that we need to make the gates. Once Ryone gets them back to me, I plan to study them. After that, I want the two of you to be my combat partners.”
“Ooh, another spar like the last time?” Keliope asked with some excitement, while Accalia simply looked at us curiously.
“Sort of. I found a game while I was at the meeting that lets you build yourself to a specific level of power and fight an opponent in a deathmatch. To help me train for the games, I want the both of you to join me for that.”
“There’s more to training than just battling.” Accalia pointed out quickly towards my statement, drawing a laugh from Keliope.
“I know, and I don’t plan to fight constantly. I’ll be doing my own training, but whenever I improve, I want to test myself against you. It’ll help me get real combat training, and maybe even pick up some of the skills you two use.”
Hearing that, Keliope gave a nod. “It’s fine, Accy. He did this once before with me. There’s nothing to worry about.”
Accalia had a hard to read expression on her face, but finally relented with a small nod. “Alright. I’ll help you train, Dale.”
Finally, that sigh I had been holding back escaped me, and I smiled towards the two of them. “Thanks. I had a taste of real Keeper combat at the meeting. And while I might be able to hold my own against an invasion, that’s only if they don’t do anything unexpected. Just in case, I need to make sure that I’m ready.”
Both goddesses gave a nod of understanding at that. With their support, my confidence towards being ready for the invasion increased drastically.