I deployed my world sight as the ninja sat up, curious about the changes that had taken place within him. As expected, there were traces of natural energy merging with his spirit at a visible rate, slowly spreading through his body.
After a few moments, he spoke, his voice dry. “Lars… report.”
There was a rush of movement behind us, and when I expanded my world sight to include that direction, I found that the ‘old man’ had vanished. Instead, there was someone young enough to be the ninja’s own brother. The rags that had been covering him were gone, replaced by a black and white suit that did not have a speck of dirt on him. Even his dirty, aged face was now youthful and clean.
“My apologies, my lord.” He spoke in a sincere tone. “Due to my negligence, it appears as though you had been attacked by a spiritual monster. For the last forty-three days, you have been in deep slumber while I searched for someone capable of healing you.”
The young man nodded his head, taking a look at the world spirit queen and myself. “I take it that these are the two individuals you found?”
“That is… mostly correct, my lord. The male is a wandering healer who has been making his rounds through the local communities to relieve their pains. I approached him with the hope that he may be able to cure you. However, when he informed me that your affliction was of the spirit, he said that he could not remedy that. Instead, he called the queen of the world spirits here, and bid her to do so.”
The young man’s eyes widened slightly when he heard the woman’s title, quickly facing her and bowing his head. “Apologies for my rudeness, my lady. I was not aware of your identity.”
“It matters not, my child.” She replied softly. “His words have not yet ended, and there is more you must hear.”
That made the young ninja turn to look curiously at his servant, who quickly continued. “As she said, there is… still something more. In order to repair your damaged soul, the only thing that the spirit queen was able to do was to put some of her own power within you. As of now, you are half lycan, and half world spirit. Your lifespan will be lessened compared to normal, but you are at least alive. I apologise, but I made this decision on your behalf. I will accept whatever punishment you deem worthy.”
There was a slight sigh from the young man. “There will be no punishment. You did what you did for my sake.” He then turned to address the world spirit queen. “If it wasn’t you, then I wouldn’t have had this chance at life again, would I?”
The queen answered honestly, her voice seeming to flow through the air. “Had it been the queen of mortal spirits, she would have turned you into food for a new generation. Perhaps one of the Undying Queen’s servants would have been able to repair your soul without alterations, but the damage to your lifespan would remain. It is a scar of the battle you fought within yourself.”
A light, bitter laugh escaped from the young man. “You speak of spiritual queens I have never heard of. The world must truly be a vast place, more than any man can know.”
“There are those that can see the world in its entirety.” She assured him. “The queen of mortal spirits roams the earth with her kin, seeking to find a home where they belong. Soon, I feel, their home will be complete. As for the Undying Queen… that is perhaps my mistake, as it is the term by which I know her. I believe your people refer to her as Irena.”
The young man nodded, seeming to understand. “So, it would take one of Irena’s servants, a powerful spirit itself, in order to cure me without this change, then? I believe you have my thanks, then. Tell me, do you have a name by which I can call you?”
I couldn’t help but flinch slightly, remembering that I had never given her a name. However, she spoke up with a small smile. “I neither have a name, nor do I require one. I am unique, the spirit of this world itself. No other came before me, and none shall come after. You may know me as the name of this world in the tongue of your people.”
“Asharra, then.” He responded, calling her by the ancient name that the beastkin called the world, much like how the people of my Earth once called it Terra.
“As you say. Now, is there anything else? I feel my children calling to me, curious to my absence.” Though she had accepted the name verbally, I saw that her name did not truly change when I observed her information above her head.
The ninja shook his head hastily. “No, no, that is all. Please, return to your people. I believe that we can manage on our own now.”
A light, ringing laughter escaped the world spirit queen as her body dissipated into green smoke. “Well then, I shall be watching you, child of my soul.”
Now that she was gone, the ninja turned and addressed me. “I am sure that Lars had informed you, but there is nothing that we can offer as payment, even though you have saved my life.”
I smiled, shaking my head. “I neither asked for payment nor require it. I am simply happy to have helped.” After saying that, I turned, and began walking towards the door.
“You have my gratitude.” The young man spoke up again. “But, I must ask that you keep my identity a secret. I will not return kindness with aggression, so you shall come to no harm. However, my mission is one that requires me to remain unknown.”
“Do not worry.” I turned my head, looking back at them. “I have no desire to spread information about my patients. We all have our secrets, and it is not my place to pry into yours, or to spread them to others.” He gave a small nod at that, and I made my way out. I doubted that I would ever see those two again, unless I specifically went looking for them after returning to the Admin Room.
Yet, as I walked out of the room, I felt a small pulse run through my being. Caught by surprise, I stumbled briefly, placing my hand against the nearby wall. My eyes widened before I forced them closed. I had to look inside of myself, back to my spiritual realm. Inside it, I saw the egg that had been holding Leowynn’s body for over a month now. Along its surface, a large crack was growing.
I felt a smile lift onto my face, and rushed out of the inn as quickly as I could manage. Once outside, I used the beginning wind ki to propel myself into the air, rushing out of the city. I was sure that people would notice me, but at this point I didn’t care. There was something else on my mind. Finally, she was waking up.
You seem busy… A voice spoke to my mind as I ran through the sky, that of the world spirit queen. Go home, my lord. Tend your business. When you return, I would have words with you in private.
Her words barely registered before I had already chosen to ascend to the Admin Room. Shortly after I returned, a system message appeared in front of me.
“Leowynn!” I called out into the empty room excitedly.
Hmmm? A tired voice spoke from within me. The familiar sight of grey mist rising out of my body, forming into the image of my elven daughter once again showed itself. “Father…? What just happened? I was… asleep?”
“You were, Leowynn.” I nodded my head quickly. “But you’re awake now. How do you feel?”
“I feel… strong.” She answered, glancing down to her own hands. “How strong am I now? Is it enough to fight beside you?”
I let out a small laugh at her question, stepping forward and wrapping my arms around her. There was a slight squeak of surprise from Leowynn, before she began to lean into my embrace. “This is nice… hugs are nice…” She muttered, as if half-asleep, slowly bringing her arms up to hold onto me as well.
I couldn’t help but chuckle, nodding my head. “Yeah, they are. As for your strength, the system said that your strength has risen to match my highest capacity. I don’t know if that means my normal levels or my Keeper levels.”
“Could we find out?” She asked in a hushed tone, leaning her head against my chest.
“We can. But first… wouldn’t you like to see your mother again?” I asked, causing Leowynn to lift her head, blinking at me before realization dawned on her.
“Father… how long as I asleep?” There was a clear worry in her tone, bordering on fear. It seemed that while she was incubating she wasn’t able to feel time passing by.
“It’s been about forty days now, Leowynn.” I answered honestly, bringing a hand up to caress her cheek. “Far too long. Ryone has missed you, we all have. Go, spend some time with her, and let Irena make sure that there are no problems with you. Here in a little while, I’ll find a place for the two of us to go and see how much you’ve grown.”
“Yes, father.” She nodded her head wearily, slowly pulling her arms back before she turned and began to walk.
She had not even made it to the door when it suddenly burst open. Ryone stood there, her eyes wet with unshed tears. As soon as she saw Leowynn, her face lit up and she ran forward. She picked up her daughter and laughed happily. “You’re back. I’m so glad you’re back.” She rejoiced, holding Leowynn tight.
Leowynn laughed loudly, reaching down to pat Ryone’s back. “What would all your followers say if they saw you acting like this, mom?” She asked in a teasing tone, smiling down towards her.
“Don’t know, don’t care. I’m just glad to have you back.” Finally, Ryone put her daughter down, bringing a hand up to wipe at her own face. “Now, come on. A lot has happened, and I need to get you caught up.” After saying that, she gently tugged on Leowynn’s hand, pulling her out of the room and down the hall.
“Well that was nice.” Terra spoke up, suddenly appearing on the bed behind me, watching the door with a lazy grin. “I told you that it wouldn’t be bad for her.”
I nodded, moving to sit on the bed next to Terra. “True. I’m just happy that it’s over now. It got so… lonely I guess. Not having that constant presence in the back of my mind.”
“So that’s why you’ve been more talkative lately.” Terra rolled her eyes, turning to lay on her side. “C’mere.” She held her arms open, inviting me to lay with her.
Not one to reject such an invitation, I did just that, and soon felt her arms wrapping around me, her tail flipping forward and wrapping gently around my leg. “Tsubaki finished her mission.” Terra muttered, nuzzling her head into my arm.
“She wasn’t able to make it through the gate, right?” I already suspected that would be the case.
“Nope.” Terra confirmed. “Neither was Soreya. Looks like you’ll have to buy the races again. However, they were able to meet up with representatives from Fyor. Since you told them what level the gate was at, they sent people there to try to find it right away, and ended up running into Tsubaki.”
“Please tell me it didn’t turn into a fight.” I mumbled, shaking my head and sighing.
There was a light chuckle from Terra at that. “No fight. They weren’t sure if she was one of yours, or a monster of the floor. But they used the quest system to resolve that without any problems. She even provided them with a translation book.”
“That’s good.” As I said that, I felt Terra shifting against me, glancing down towards her. “What’re you doing?” She took the chance to hold me a bit tighter, though I could practically feel the mischievous grin on her face.
“Rivy said she made a promise. I’m supposed to make you very happy while Leowynn is off meeting the others.”