As we continued to explore, we found a number of other hidden rooms. Like the transportation room, each one had its own unique function. In one room as the control for the Citadel’s main weapon, a magical cannon that harnessed Ryone’s divine power for truly devastating results. In another was actually a complete map of the Citadel itself, using the power of Udona showing the location of everyone inside of it.
Of course, that map did not differentiate between people, monsters, or animals. Thanks to that, I learned that we had a rat problem in the lower level, which Tubrock coughed nervously and promised to take care of right away. Maybe it was because the Sky Citadel was his pet project, but I got the feeling that he couldn’t stand the thought of there being pests infesting it.
Oddly, even the ‘master bedroom’ was one of the hidden rooms. However, it was not hidden using the highest level key. That way, even if I led someone back to it, they would not have the magical key to get into the secure areas.
Unsurprisingly, the pantry was fully stocked when I arrived in it. A variety of different meats stored in a room that I could feel had been enchanted. I wasn’t able to tell the exact property of the enchantment, but it was no doubt related to preserving the food inside. Aside from meats, there was a fully stocked garden on the uppermost level. Golems could be seen on standby against the walls, one of their arms reshaped into a basket at the end.
By the time we had finished the tour, it was almost time to retrieve the three representatives again. In order to shake things up a bit, I briefly ascended to the Admin Room, swapped my body to that of a halfling, and descended again. Once I was back down, Aurivy squealed happily, rushing over towards me and wrapping her arms around me.
“You’re me sized!” She cried out in surprise. “I don’t think I’ve seen you be me sized in ages! Do I really have to disappear when they come back?! I want to play with you like this for a little while first.”
I thought about her request as I felt her nuzzling her head against my cheek. It was definitely different to find myself suddenly at eye level with Aurivy. And moreso… “You can stay. I wanted to have a word with them anyways, and your presence here would make that more useful.”
Aurivy pulled back from the hug to beam me a wide smile. “Oh thank you!” And then immediately pulled me right back into the hug.
I could only laugh as I was once again wrapped in her arms. “Come on, Rivy. Back to the throne room first. We’ll see about playing some after everything is settled.” Preferably where the representatives can’t see the Keeper as what looks like a child running around playing games… Talk about bad for public image.
“Aww… fine.” Aurivy finally released me with a huff. Grabbing me by the hand, she walked side by side with me back towards the throne room. Along the way, she was swinging her arms and humming happily, a wide smile on her face.
Once we returned to the throne room, Aurivy immediately released my hand, rushing over towards her own seat and planting herself down in it. As for me, I moved at a much more leisurely pace, heading to my throne and watching as it shrank to fit me once I had sat down in it.
“Okay, you can bring them back.” I told the halfling goddess, who quickly nodded in agreement. Three strands of golden mist extended from her hands, stretching out onto the floor. Once more, they pooled together, forming three small clouds.
As the clouds dissipated, they were replaced by the representatives. The kitsune and halfling both stood there, looking the same as before, carrying a small satchel in their arms. The halfling looked at me in surprise when she saw my new form, and then again at Aurivy.
The human woman, on the other hand, had not only packed considerably more, but had also changed her outfit as well. Her dress was equally as tight fitting as before, but had considerably less… fabric. Her sides, her outer thighs, and even just beneath her bust were now bare, her new dress leaving very little to the imagination.
She looked up at my throne with a seductive smile, but blinked curiously when I was not as high up as she thought. Her eyes drifted lower, until she caught my form in the throne. Her face seemed to pale for a moment before she collected herself. Her seductive smile switched into a warmer, almost motherly one. But, looking at her surface thoughts, I could tell that this was all still just an act to try to get closer to me…
Unlike the small satchels that the other two had brought, she had three large bags hanging from each arm. Since I could see pieces of paper sticking out of the top, I knew that the actual amount she had packed could likely fill up a room…
I let out a sigh, shaking my head as my gaze shifted to encompass all three. Since I had not thought to spend another point before descending, I had Aurivy and Bihena translate my words for me. Thankfully, the kitsune needed no translation, so I didn’t need to bother Udona for this. “Now, let me go over the rules here.”
The three women looked up at me suddenly, all taking on a more serious and attentive expression. “You are all equals here. I do not care what race you are, what your social status is like, or anything of that sort. Here, all three of you are my representatives for your respective races.”
“You are not above the gods. If you try to treat them as if you were… They will not suffer fools, and I will simply need to find a new voice to represent me.” I had the feeling that these two rules would be especially required for the human representative, who had her eye twitching as she tried to maintain her attentive mask.
“As I have said before, I do not spend all of my time here. In fact, at times I may be absent for years, decades even. There is every possibility that I may only ever visit once or twice in the lifetime of a single representative. I have other places where I need to be at times, and other tasks I need to tend to.”
“Similarly, although the gods may visit this place from time to time, they also will not be staying forever. Hoping for such will only lead to disappointment.”
“Now, when we are done here, I will be showing the three of you to the important facilities within the Citadel. You will see the communications room and be taught how to use it, shown to your bedrooms, and taken to the kitchen.”
Once more, my eyes roamed over the three of them. “The matter of cooking shall be left for you to decide. If one of you wishes to cook for another, you are able to. However, that is entirely by choice. If all three of you become friends, then indeed one of you may choose to cook for all three. However, should that not be the case, then it would be best that each of you are able to do so for yourselves.”
Udona… as the Goddess of Education, you should be able to make the quest books to teach them English pretty easily, right? I asked, letting silence fall over the room as the three soaked in the rules that I had given.
I… think so? She responded back in a quiet tone. Do you want me to go ahead and make one for all of the reps, and just get it over with?
Please do. It seemed as if she was starting to feel better, though it would be a slow process. A flash of light entered the room, and when it passed both the human and halfling representatives found a new book in their hands.
The kitsune maid looked at the book curiously, and then to her own hands as if wondering why she did not receive one. However, my next words changed her expression to a proud one. “These are your language guides. You should study them so that you will be able to communicate with one another.”
As I said that, I stood up from my chair, walking down to stand at the same level as the representatives. “Now… let’s start the tour.” While the human woman seemed to push her chest out more, forcing me to look past it to see her face, the maid seemed more withdrawn. She was holding her skirt down subtly with her hands in front of her, as if to make sure that I did not accidentally see anything.
As for the halfling, she just seemed happy not to have to crane her neck to look up at me anymore. When I walked, the three of them followed behind. They moved in silence, waiting for me to first speak. And likewise, I stayed silent as well. The only sound came from the humming of Aurivy that walked next to me.
Thankfully, the communications room was on the same floor as the throne room, and actually quite close to it. Once we arrived, we all saw the blue sphere hovering just above a stone pedestal. “This should go without saying, but attempting to damage any part of the Citadel would be… unwise.”
“Now, this is a tool handcrafted by the Goddess of Magic herself. If you place your hand on the crystal, and think of a person you want to contact, the tool will connect you with them. A display of that person will be created in the room, and you will be able to talk to them. However, while they can hear you and reply, they will not be able to see you.”
“This can connect you to any person you know in any of the worlds, and will even contact the deceased, so long as they have not been dead for too long.” At that reveal, the three representatives shared a gasp. Even the kitsune seemed to be eyeing the orb covetously, though I could tell that her thoughts were mostly on reconnecting with lost loved ones.
Next, I walked them towards the library, where there were large rows of bookshelves arranged in wide aisles. This was actually a recent addition, apparently. Added when Tubrock remodeled the Citadel to use the third tier knowledge.
The representatives seemed a bit confused as they were led here. No doubt because I didn’t actually mention the library as part of the plan. In truth, I had been internally debating on whether or not I should bring them here or let them discover it themselves. But, I thought it best to bring them.
“This is the library, contained within is knowledge of magic, ki, engineering, and various other subjects. You can study from the books as you wish. However, you may not damage any of the books, nor may you attempt to hide them from the other representatives. If you wish, you may also transmit the information within the library back to your people, to help teach them as well.”
The human and halfling representatives seemed rather bored with the library, but the kitsune on the other hand. “M-master.” She hesitantly spoke out, as if not sure if she would be allowed. When I glanced towards her and waited for her to continue, she gave a brief bow. “May I be allowed to remain in here for a time? I am already familiar with your language, so I believe that I should be capable enough to read these texts.”
“If it is not too much trouble, perhaps you could assign me a room at a later time? If need be, I can simply find one on my own that is unclaimed. As for locating the kitchen, I have already found the scent of the stored ingredients, so that will not be a problem.”
Curious, I probed into her surface thoughts. Primarily, she seemed interested in seeing if there was any new information on chakra in any of the books, as well as information on mana or ki that could be transmitted back to her people.
That was what the library was for, after all, so I gave a brief nod. She offered a deep bow, and for a brief moment I thought I saw a hint of metal beneath the fabric of her outfit. How many weapons does she have hidden on her person…
“Now… let’s show everyone the kitchen, and then I will send you to your rooms.” I said as I walked off, the remaining two representatives following behind me while the kitsune maid moved towards the nearest bookshelf.