Rather than unsealing the path to the bedrooms, I created a new door along the wall. This way, no matter what happens, there will be zero risk. And opening the door… I quickly closed it again.
“Dane?” Balu asked curiously from behind me, peeking her head around me to look at the door. “Is she still sleeping?” There was a tinge of disappointment in her tone as she asked that, very much as if she just came over to a friend’s house and found that they weren’t home.
“No, no, she’s awake.” I muttered, bringing a hand up to rub against my temple. Mentally, I began to count down the seconds, until I heard a scream from the other side of the door.
“Dale!” Bihena’s voice echoed out, and moments later the door was flung open. There was a hint of red in her cheeks as she glared at me, while Balu hid behind me. It took her a moment to spot the quivering mass of white fur behind me, after which she seemed to calm down a bit. “Sorry, Balu, you didn’t need to see that.” She said with a sigh.
“See what?” She asked curiously, her voice trembling as she poked her head out from behind me.
“Exactly, there was nothing to see at all.” Bihena spoke with a smile, as if nothing had happened. “Would you like to come in?” When Bihena stepped aside, Balu sprinted into the room. “Nothing to see at all.” She repeated, sending a meaningful glance towards me before she closed the door.
I definitely did not see the goddess of war trying on cosplay. Nope. I’ll have to have words with Aurivy later about what she’s teaching Bihena… Anyways, with that taken care of, I moved back towards my own room.
Once I arrived, I found that Terra was starting to stir, her body slowly rising to a sitting position. “Hmm… Have fun?” She muttered, still seemingly exhausted. Though, the fact that she was taking the initiative to talk showed that it wasn’t as bad as it was before.
“Yeah, you could say that.” I told her, before creating a copy of the list that Balu gave me. “I know that you really can’t go too far with your advice on how to improve my world, so I got a consultation from the Gilded Branch. They gave me this list of energies, and strongly suggested that I never practice the Perfect Self class.”
While I may not need to consult Terra with every little thing that happens, it’s still wise to keep her up to date. Especially when she is guaranteed to know more about all of this than any Keeper alive. She raised a curious brow, taking a look at the list. “How much did she charge you?”
“Five hundred points… though I’m not convinced whether she’ll remember to collect payment.” I answered honestly, causing Terra’s eyes to open wide in surprise for a brief moment.
“You got a good deal. But, I can tell you that you’re on your own when it comes to practicing these energies.” She said, handing me back the list. “They’re too high level for the people of your world to comprehend, and if they did so, you’d be pushed into even higher level games.”
“But it won’t if I train myself in it?” I asked, a bit confused. Terra gave a small smile at that, nodding her head.
“If you alone are trained in it, then that’s alright. But if you teach anyone, even one of the gods, then that opens your world up to advancement, because it becomes an asset belonging to your world.” She chuckled wryly as she said that, reaching her arms out to her sides to stretch. “So what’s the plan now?”
“Once the rest of the gods get woken up, we’re going to go back down. I want to collect a representative of each race and have a more personal introduction.” I told her, moving to sit down on my computer chair.
Terra pursed her lips in thought at that, before letting out a long yawn. “You want to unlock everyone’s third domain slot.” She confirmed, nodding her head slightly. “Have you thought about what you want to give us?”
“Somewhat. I want to have everyone gathered to get their opinions on it before I make anything official. I learned my lesson on that the last time.” I glanced off to the side and gave a low, bitter chuckle as I thought about Aurivy’s crying face when she suddenly got the Travel domain.
“I see… I suppose I’ll just wait my turn, then.” Terra said in a singsong tone. “Oh, and don’t worry about Starkiller. I’m keeping an eye on her now. As for the energies she gave you, they aren’t exactly dangerous, but I’d still practice them here first. You already saw what happens when you try to force a bad mixture back in your early days.”
A groan escaped my lips as I remembered being blasted back from just a small chakra test. “Right… and these are all more complex and powerful than that. Going in blind could very well kill me.”
Terra gave another nod at that. “Alright, that should be enough for now. Are you wanting us for something special in this little audience?”
“I was hoping that you could translate to your respective races.” I answered with a small shrug. “It would save a lot of time. Or would that use too much energy?”
“Hmm.. if you just want us to sit there and fill in the chairs, and translate what you say, that shouldn’t be a problem. Well, for most of us. It might be an issue for Tryval, since he’s the least connected to the Citadel, but he didn’t use much of his energy earlier. He’s probably still up and trotting around just fine.”
I couldn’t be sure whether Tryval had just not participated because the amount of divine energy being exerted was already overwhelming, or if he just felt that it wasn’t needed. Either way, it worked out better for us in the end. Closing my eyes, I sent a message out to everyone, letting them know what I needed from them.
Eight pools of golden mist sprang up from the floor of the flying Citadel. From each, a figure appeared, each figure of a different race. One of every sapient race found on Earth, though only one representative was present for the beastkin as opposed to one of each race.
The eight figures looked around in confusion, especially the one on the far left. A merkin suspended in a floating bubble of water, confused at the sight of the other people around it. Likewise, the seven other figures stared at the merkin as well.
A familiar voice spoke out from in front of them in a language that none of them knew, drawing their attention. However, each one also received a message directly into their minds as well. Greetings.
In front of them was the sight that everyone had seen in their minds just recently, a sight that had shaken the entire world. Their Keeper, their unknown god, sitting upon a high throne atop a set of stairs. One step below him was another eleven thrones, each containing a figure.
The gods and goddess stared down at them impassively, and even the beastkin queen was forced to quell her urge to lash out against the human king. Their war had ended for nearly a hundred years, but the hatred that the beastkin held for them still ran deep. Deep enough that the felyn woman wished to tear the man to shreds. She even felt hostility towards the Keeper himself, as he appeared to be the same type of human in her eyes.
When the Keeper’s eyes fell upon her, the queen felt her entire body stiffen. The weight of his gaze pressed down, and she felt like she might collapse before he even spoke. Only when he turned to regard the others did she let out a breath of relief.
And when he spoke again, the gods and goddesses spoke into their minds. I have brought you all here today to properly meet each and every one of you. You are all the children of this world. And I hope that in time, your descendants will become its guardians.
The imposing power that everyone had felt from the gods was no longer present, as if subdued to allow those gathered here to behave rationally. However, instead they had to deal with the pressure exuded by the Keeper himself. A pressure one felt whenever they met a pinnacle fighter, except that it felt a hundred times stronger.
On the far right, the large green heroc seemed to be doing somewhat better than the rest. He looked straight at the Keeper, unafraid to meet his eyes. “Then tell us. You wish for us to cooperate with the other worlds, and have placed a gate for us to do so, did you not? Where is this gate?”
A low chuckle filled the halls, the Keeper having a strange smile on his face as he regarded the heroc champion. There is indeed a gate. The gods translated for him. However, I will not tell you where it is. It is up to you yourselves to find it. There is still much of your world that you have not yet explored.
For thousands of years, most of you have been content to stay on the pieces of land you were born on. However, if you wish to continue to grow, you must venture outwards. I have already removed the level limit that was restricting your growth. From now on, you may become as strong as you are capable. But to do so, you must leave your little homes.
Slowly, the Keeper’s eyes regarded each of them in turn. In doing so, I expect that some of you will come into conflict. In fact, some of you have done so before. I will not command you to find peace with your neighbors, but know this. Every war has its limits. If anyone attempts to wipe out another race, we will intervene.
There was a dead silence throughout the room as the Keeper’s words sank in. Especially between the beastkin and human representatives, who briefly turned to regard each other. However, it was the halfling that was the first to speak. An old man who had to rely on a thick stick to support himself.
“It was you… the one who brought the great beast and ended the Blood War… wasn’t it?” Although most of the others were not able to understand his words, the questioning tone and the Keeper’s nod of confirmation was enough that many understood. He had intervened in the wars before.
“The ancient war… The actions of the forest dwellers.” The beastkin queen spoke as if in shock, only to be answered by another nod.
From now on, I ask that every race appoints a priest or priestess, someone who will act as my voice among your people. I may at times be required to be silent for tens, or even hundreds of years. But when I need to speak, I trust that there will be someone to speak in my name. If my speaker speaks falsely… He glanced meaningfully towards the gods and goddesses seated below him as he let his words trail off. The message, however, was clear. Lie about the Keeper’s words, and the gods themselves will show no mercy.
Now, one last thing… I will be placing more dungeons in the coming days. Places for you to train your champions. It will be your job to locate them, however, and their difficulty will vary. If your champions survive, they will earn great riches. If not… only death awaits those who fall in the dungeon.
Wait, and listen for my words. As he spoke, the mists rose up from the floor again, engulfing the eight figures and returning them to where they had once been.