After Tsubaki had finished her report, I stepped up from my throne and began to walk down towards the floor below. “Well, let’s go meet everyone.” I said, rather casually. Since I planned to stay here for a prolonged period, it would not be a good idea to try to maintain a ‘supreme almighty overlord’ persona in front of the representatives.
For one, such an act would be mentally exhausting to maintain for even one full day. I could imagine it becoming unbearable not long after it started, which would only create cracks that the others could easily see through. So, it was better to try to act ‘normal’ around everyone.
“Understood, Keeper.” Tsubaki spoke quickly, rising to her feet. “Would you like for me to call everyone?”
“No, that will be fine.” I shook my head to deny her. “It would be too uncomfortable for both myself and everyone else if I disrupted their daily lives here. I’d prefer to be able to relax while I am present, rather than people fussing over what they can say or do in my presence.”
Tsubaki knit her brows together as she seemed to process that statement. “Understood. Is there anything else that you would like during your stay?”
Briefly, I thought back to the three aeon armors that I had made, but decided that it wasn’t time to bring them in yet. In fact, now that Tsubaki was as strong as she was, I doubted if those aeons had any use guarding the Citadel at all. Given her combat power, Tsubaki could likely take on all three at once as a morning workout. She was undoubtedly the strongest guardian of the Citadel that I could hope for, and she would only get stronger over time.
“What time does everyone tend to eat? If everyone eats together, I’d like to join. It’s been a while since I had a decent meal.” As soon as I said that, Tsubaki’s golden hair actually began to glow, a wide grin spreading across her face.
“Understood, sir!” She shouted out, before looking towards the door at the side of the room. “Several of the Voices will often eat together for dinner. And, since everyone appears to be getting along so far, I have been preparing the meals for them. If I may ask, what level of meal shall I prepare for you?”
I glanced towards her curiously before she explained. “I cannot gauge your power, my Keeper. And with stronger bodies requiring more intense dietary needs, I want to ensure that I prepare enough nutrition for you, without becoming wasteful.”
Thinking about that, I gave a brief nod. Closing my eyes, I focused on sealing all of my Keeper classes, aside from the six advanced classes. Once I opened my eyes, I saw Tsubaki’s eyes widening almost imperceptibly. “Is that better?”
“That is… if I am not mistaken, you should be nearly double my own level now. I apologize for the inconvenience, but could you perhaps lower your level further?” Tsubaki bowed deeply as she said that, a hint of regret in her tone. “None of the food available in the Citadel would be able to sate your requirements. By my estimation, you would consume more energy eating the food than what your body would gain from it.”
It’s that bad, huh? I mused to myself, before consenting. Once I sealed off my advanced class levels as well, Tsubaki gave a brief sigh of relief. Of course, I still had my massive health pool as an insurance policy. With it, I wouldn’t have to fear even if someone tried to blow my head off in a sneak attack, and would have time to respond.
“Many thanks, my Keeper. At your current level… yes, I can prepare a meal for you quite easily. In the future, with the permissions of Goddesses Aurivy and Accalia, I would like to go out and hunt so as to gather more suitable ingredients.”
No doubt it was Accalia that was supplying the current meat filling the Citadel’s pantry. I gave a brief nod at the idea. “Very well. For the next few years, there shouldn’t be any monster born in any of the three worlds that could pose a threat to you.”
However, as we began to walk towards the door, my words seemed to catch Tsubaki by surprise. “You mean that in the future, monsters will appear even stronger than my current self?”
Now that there was the ability to measure levels, whether through personal detection methods like Tsubaki had recently shown, or other means, there was no point in keeping this fact a secret. “At present, the monsters will never be born more than twice the level of the strongest person in the world. With your current strength… that opens up the possibility for monsters reaching over level one thousand to begin being born.”
Even I myself didn’t know what to expect from such monsters, though I had the feeling that I would be finding out after my first invasion ended. And, once again, my words caused Tsubaki to knit her brows together. “I see… these monsters will still be quite rare, I hope? A monster of that power would be able to tear through a kingdom quite easily.”
“The monster is most likely to evolve to that level in the vicinity of yourself. So, wherever the Sky Citadel remains in the future will be more likely to give rise to that kind of monster.” My words brought a relieved sigh out of Tsubaki, who seemed grateful that her rise in strength did not inadvertently doom the entire world.
“Thank you for that information, my Keeper. In that case, I formally request permission to be allowed to go out and hunt any monster that reaches such a level over the next century.” Tsubaki’s eyes were firm as she made this request. “After that time, I will allow myself to be confined within the Citadel if that is your wish, but I would not be able to rest easily in the event that my selfish desire to grow strong harmed the world that you created.”
For a moment, I was taken aback by her request, before I let out a light laugh. “Fine, fine. Let Accalia know, then. If anyone would be aware of when a monster of that level was born, it would be her.” Honestly, I wasn’t quite sure just how strong monsters could get with my current monster tier that I had purchased. For all I knew, there would be no level cap for them in the future, outside of the one enforced by the system.
Tsubaki let out another smile when she heard her request was accepted. “Thank you very much, my Keeper. I will pray for the Goddess of the Hunt to hear my words as well, then.”
“No need to go that far.” A voice spoke up from in front of us just as we opened the door. Accalia was standing there, grinning broadly at us. She wore a simple leather armor, decorated with furs, and had a bow strapped to her back. “Dale said it’d be alright, so I’ll keep an eye out for anything like that to appear. You said for the next century, right?”
Tsubaki appeared to have been just as surprised as I was by the sudden appearance of the lycan goddess, but still managed to collect herself in time to clear her throat. “Ahem… Yes, that’s right. Even if people can’t reach the required strength to hunt those monsters individually by that time, it should be possible to do so as a group.”
“Well, that’ll depend on how things go on Tubrock’s end, I suppose.” Accalia said with a shrug. “Even in the hands of someone powerful like Dale here, a normal sword would shatter upon contact with the skin of a beast that strong. Special forging and enhancement techniques will be needed to keep up with both the strength of the monsters and the strength of the wielders.”
Tsubaki nodded her head, as if agreeing with Accalia’s words. “I can only hope that Lord Tubrock will be able to properly educate people to prepare them during this time, then.”
“I like you.” Accalia chuckled, looking towards Tsubaki. “Have you considered becoming a lycan? You know how Dale here is on equality.”
Tsubaki blinked her eyes in confusion, before they widened just a fraction. “I… see. However, in order for me to remain the Voice of the Beastkin, I feel it would still be best if I maintained a Beastkin appearance at all times.” Even as she spoke, her body gave a small change. Her large, golden tail shrank down, looking more like that of a dog while her ears elongated and drooped against her skull.
Tsubaki now looked quite like a lycan. Enough that it would be hard for me to tell that she was not originally born as one, had I not known her beforehand. Meanwhile, Accalia let out a refreshing laugh. “Ah, you really do look cute as a lycan. When you go out to hunt, would you like me to join you? I could probably teach you a few things.”
Tsubaki kept a calm smile on her face as she rejected Accalia’s offer. “Thank you, but I wish to not gain any more power for now. Now that I know growing stronger alone will mean more hardships for everyone else, I will wait until it is safe for me to progress more.”
Accalia gave an approving nod at Tsubaki’s answer. “Good, good. I can see why Irena took such a liking to you. Well, I’ll let you two get back to your business. Thought I’d finally come down and take a proper look at the area.” As she said that, she slowly stepped past us so that she could continue to the door on the other side of the room.
I glanced over towards Tsubaki after she left, and noticed that she still looked a bit surprised while she watched Accalia’s retreating figure. “I take it she hasn’t been here much?”
“I do not believe I have ever seen her walking these halls, no.” Tsubaki answered while shaking her head. “Many of the goddesses have arrived here in the past, though most did so while I was training. However, to my knowledge this is the first time she has visited in person since my arrival.”
“What about Tubrock or Tryval?” I couldn’t help but ask, seeing as Tsubaki only mentioned the goddesses.
“Neither of them have ever appeared in the Sky Citadel, to my knowledge. Outside of your initial announcement, I mean.” Tsubaki answered quickly, which did not particularly surprise me. Tubrock was often too busy with his forge to take care of other matters, while Tryval prefered running through the plains with his daughter.
I gave a brief nod upon hearing that. “Alright. Well, let’s go see the others.” Those words seemed to snap Tsubaki out of her distracted thoughts, and she hastily moved to follow behind me as I walked towards the library. Before I had sealed off my levels, I had detected two people nearby in that direction, so it seemed like a good place to begin.
We made it roughly halfway to the library before the soft sound of footsteps could be heard running towards us. Up ahead, a beautiful black-haired human woman was rushing towards us, wearing a loose fitting shirt and leather pants. It took me a moment to recognize her as Anna, the little girl that had only been ten years old the last time I saw her.
“Keeper!” She smiled brightly upon seeing me, though her eyes widened in shock when she saw the woman following me. “And… Tsubaki? You changed your appearance?”
Tsubaki gave a brisk nod before explaining. “It was a recommendation of the Goddess Accalia. Dale prefers to treat all races equally, therefore as the Voice of my people, I should also represent all of them equally.”
“Huh…” Anna didn’t really seem like she had understood why Tsubaki felt the need to go that far, but at the same time she wasn’t going to question it. “Anyways, it’s nice to meet you again, Keeper!” She turned to face me once again, offering a polite bow.
“Has everything been going well for you?” I found myself asking, remembering how she had been brought here when she was only a child.
“Of course, sir. The goddesses ensured that I was well cared for, just as you had promised. Everyone here was very kind to me.” Though she said that, I could hear a hint of sorrow in her tone. No doubt her adopted father had already passed away, recently enough that she was still coming to terms with it.
“I see. Would you like to join the two of us, then? We were just heading for the library.”
When I asked that question, Anna’s eyes widened briefly. “Ah, right. I just ran off and left Mister Bracken there. We’re about to try a high level enchantment experiment. Would you like to come watch?”
I nodded my head, and motioned for Anna to lead the way.