She’s awake now, Dale. Irena’s voice came to me a few hours after I had begun training, making me let out a long breath. My clothes were ragged, but quickly patched themselves up with a thought as I stood, stretching my arms.
I’m on my way. I responded mentally to her, before focusing on shifting myself back to my room. My progress in the training… well, there was a reason that the room I was leaving was full of blackened craters.
I had managed to find the measurement for a single unit of natural energy, thanks to repeated attempts with elemental magic. However, the method to merge all three energies was still eluding me. Naturally, simply pushing them together didn’t work. Blending them didn’t work. Letting them saturate into each other would have blown me to pieces if I was descended at the time…
So that was going to be something I’d revisit later. For now, I appeared next to my bed, finding Irena and Leowynn still on it. Irena smiled gently down at the elven girl, who was slowly opening her eyes. Leowynn let out a groggy groan as she sat up, putting a hand on her forehead.
“How long was I asleep?” She asked, her brows furrowed and eyes narrowed in discomfort.
“About six hours, I’d say.” I responded quickly, moving to sit on the other side of her from Irena. “How are you feeling?”
“Aside from my head feeling like it’s about to burst open… actually pretty good.” She seemed surprised by her own words, looking up towards Irena and myself.
“That’s just your spirit adjusting to the influx of energy that you received.” Irena pat Leowynn’s leg gently as she explained. “This is the first time that you’ve ever taken in that much energy, and your spirit wasn’t able to cope with it at first. Once you fully recover, it should be less painful next time, so long as you make sure to stop in time.” Her words contained a tone of warning as she said that, as if reminding Leowynn not to take things too far.
“Next time…” However, the girl in question only became more determined, her fist clenching at her side. She lifted her head up to look at Irena. “How long will it take me to recover so we can go again?”
Irena simply sighed, shaking her head. “That depends on your own will. It could be an hour, a day, or even a week. The sooner that you adjust to your new power, and make it your own, the faster your spirit will adapt to allow you to grow further.”
As soon as her words finished, Leowynn’s body popped like a balloon filled with grey mist, the mist rushing into my own body. Irena jumped back in surprise at the scene, before letting out a low groan. Lifting her head, she looked straight at me, her face softer than usual. “Make sure that she doesn’t push herself too hard, alright?”
I nodded my head, a small smile on my face. I could already feel Leowynn training herself inside my spiritual realm, practicing her different abilities. “Will do. If you can get the information sphere for the first tier of spiritual energy ready, that will give her a pretty good distraction for a while.”
That earned me a light chuckle, as well as a nod from Irena as she stood, her wings flexing now that she was moving again. “I’ll get back to that now. Let me know if anything happens?”
I easily agreed to that, and Irena left through the doorway, a tired expression on her face. Moving back towards the computer, I did a quick check, seeing how much time I had left until the first round of the Keeper’s Game.
So it’s been almost four days since then… I wish I could say time flies, but really it’s been doing the exact opposite. I let out a breath when I saw the amount of time that was left. Technically speaking, there was still more than a Standard Month left before the match even began. It wouldn’t be until after the next Keeper Meeting.
I took a look at the Sky Citadel, wondering if I should descend to spend a bit more time with the representatives. However, after six hours of training, it seemed that the three of them were all in bed now. The only one left awake was the martial spirit, which simply walked back and forth in Trixy’s room.
With them asleep now, there was no particular reason for me to visit the citadel. Alright, Aurivy, what was it you wanted to do for training? I sent the message off to the halfling goddess, closing my eyes to do so. When I opened my eyes, I found the pink-haired girl sitting in my lap, grinning widely at me.
“Finally! Let’s see… Why not get you some basic training in the advanced classes?” She asked. “Summoner should be a good one for you, with your practice with spirits. And you’ve already trained as an elemental monk, just back before the class was a thing!”
“And let me guess… you want to personally train me?” I asked in an amused tone, to which she nodded her head heavily.
“Of course! I’ve been getting ready for this for hundreds of years! I might not be as good as Udona or Ryone, or big sis Terra, but I definitely know my way around the advanced classes that we have so far!” She slapped her chest as she said that, lifting her head proudly.
However, a moment later she lowered her head again. “The only question is where to have you descend. I can’t make a dungeon to specialize in training you, since your level of power is just way higher than anything that the dungeons can create right now.” Suddenly, her eyes widened. “Oh! I know just the place!”
Aurivy turned around in my lap, looking at the screen of my computer. Suddenly, a different image appeared, not on the computer itself but above it. “Terra made it so only you can use the computer, so mind finding this spot? Eight degrees north and sixteen west on Deckan. That’ll make the perfect spot to train, assuming that we get there before it leaves.”
“Before it… nevermind.” I groaned, shaking my head as I pulled up the coordinates on the map. My question was soon answered when I saw a large island, roughly a hundred kilometers wide and sixty long.
What was special about this island was that it wasn’t resting on top of the ocean, but rather above it. Slowly, the island appeared to be moving north-east, its base less than a hundred meters above the ocean floor. “What makes this place so special?” I couldn’t help but ask as I selected it as my descent point.
“It’s a naturally occurring symbol of travel.” Aurivy explained simply. “If I were to descend somewhere to teach you, it would have to be somewhere that has a connection to one of my domains, or I’d get worn out really quickly! But most of my domain locations would be in or around inhabited areas, so we can’t go there.”
“The Floating Isles of Deckan, though, are another story! It’s only recently become possible for the inhabitants to begin to occupy them, and they haven’t worked out the method to do so safely yet. This one in particular is in the middle of the ocean, far away from anyone that would be able to feel the power you release.”
“Makes sense.” I nodded my head, choosing to descend as a kitsune, just in case. If, by some miracle, someone did find me here, I’d be keeping up the appearance of changing forms regularly. “Let’s go, then.”
When I hit the button to descend, I felt the weight of Aurivy seem to… drop through me. I heard a yelp as she fell on the floor, moments before my vision faded and was replaced. When my vision cleared, I was standing atop a grassy hill, trees dotting the landscape. Off in the distance, I could see a waterfall that emptied out off of the island itself.
“Give a girl a little warning next time.” Aurivy complained as she appeared behind me, rubbing her rump with her hands. “Anyways, welcome to your first look at the Floating Isles! The only monsters you have to worry about here are bird types. And Udona said that she’d be getting you a shipment of cards soon, so that you can play around with the local magic.”
“How is there even a waterfall here, or any plants?” I asked, having expected the island to be barren at first, given that it had no real connection with the ground.
“Ah! I actually asked Udona that same thing, a while back.” Aurivy smiled happily, before frowning as she shifted through her memories. “Let’s see… Aha! The magnartum comprising the majority of these islands has varying strengths, depending on the latitude. The closer we get to the equator, the lower the islands go. This one should have just lifted up a week or two ago, I think? They’re carried by the wind until they get close enough to the equator, at which point the ocean currents carry them until they get far enough north or south to lift into the air.”
Once she was done reciting her memory, Aurivy crouched down to the ground, clutching her head. “Oww… even saying that myself makes my head hurt… I think the gist of it is, the islands dip into the water and retain some of it for a while, letting the plants survive.”
I gave a slow nod at that, glancing around the area. “Alright. So, which class do you want to start with, first?”
“Summoner!” Aurivy shouted, jumping back up to stand on her feet. “It’s the only one that you don’t have any practice with already. Well, aside from the other two spirit classes… but we’re excluding those, because I have no way to learn about them to teach you!” She stuck her tongue out towards me after she made that declaration, causing me to chuckle briefly.
“Okay… So, how do we get started?” I had never bothered to train the Summoner class, since I was worried that the aeon I create would conflict with Leowynn. However, with the discovery of item aeons, that worry faded away.
“So, normally the first step is really hard. The basic concept of being a summoner isn’t that easy to understand for most people. However, it’s the opposite for someone that has practiced the Spirit Hunter class like you!”
“In order to make your first aeon, you take the same steps that you would take to turn spiritual energy into a weapon. However, you skip the step where you first absorb the energy into yourself. And at the end, you bind the weapon with a symbol.”
“Aurivy…” I called out to interrupt her, causing her to blink her eyes in confusion. “The world spirits already cleaned the remnant spiritual energy dry from this place… And you said that there aren’t really monsters here… So where am I going to get the spiritual energy to use?”
Aurivy’s face seemed to pale for a moment as she realized that her plan to get a secluded training area backfired. “Uhm.. uh… I’ll take care of that! One hefty dose of spiritual energy coming right up!”
Before I could say anything, a glowing mist burst from her body. From within the mist, a black wolf charged out with a confused growl. A black wolf the size of a small house… grey spines extended from its back as it crooked its neck to look at us.
“See? One source of spiritual energy!” Aurivy declared proudly. “Fresh and ready to be harvested.”
I let out a low groan, looking up towards the… This thing’s name was flying wolf, and that worried me. Sure enough, in my brief moment of hesitation, the wolf leapt from the hilltop. Flaps of skin expanded between its legs and stomach, making it look like an overgrown flying squirrel as it attempted to glide away.
“Yeah, we’re just not going to let that happen.” I said as I stretched my left hand out. I pointed two fingers at the wolf, and urged my ki into the special paths that were incorporated into them. My fingers began to glow in a golden light, before the ki itself launched out like a bullet from between my fingers. The air seemed to shake where it passed, until it reached the flying wolf.
A painful cry, and a loud yelp filled the air for a brief moment before the body of the wolf burst open from the impact. Meanwhile, Aurivy was just standing next to me, clapping her hands happily.