As the two of us walked through the ruined city, I periodically sent out my world sight in order to scan the area. Doing this, it didn’t take long before we caught sight of our first monster. To my surprise, it was not just one, but dozens of small rats. Each one had glistening gray fur, and were no more than six inches long.
Yet, despite their small size, the information displayed above their heads showed that their levels were roughly three hundred and thirty. Of course, it took me a moment to read those windows, given how cluttered they were.
“You see something, father?” Leowynn asked, her eyes still drowsy.
“Seventy meters ahead and to our right. There seem to be a pack of rodents.” I gave her a brief description of the rats, but as expected she simply shook her head. There was no way for her to know what kinds of monsters the rats were, given that the lowest level creature on this island wouldn’t have even been able to exist yet when she was alive.
“Small creatures are typically easier to fight, though…” She muttered, before shrugging her shoulders. “Are they heading this way?”
“No, it looks like they’re just running into an old sewer system.” I shook my head as I answered her. “I’d rather not eat rat anyways, if I had the choice.”
Like that, we wandered the city for a few hours. Every now and then, we would find some more rats, or a larger monster that we took a detour to fight. Unfortunately, those monsters were the toxic ones that Accalia had warned us about, their blood turning into a pink mist as soon as it left their bodies.
After a while, we left the city, at which point we were almost immediately attacked. “Father!” Leowynn shouted out, alerting me to a charging black panther that sprang out from the bushes behind me. Turning around, I brought my hand up in a quick swipe, using my ki to send out golden lines from my fingertips. The large feline was knocked away, injured but still alive.
No sooner had it jumped back into the bushes than another beast attacked us. This time, the threat came from the sky in the form of a large black bird with four wings. Its talons had a dangerous glint to them as they dove towards my face, making me quickly raise a hand and shout out in the runic language. “Maximum blast!”
A pale light shot out from my hand, barely a ripple in the air as it struck the bird in its chest. The creature let out a shrill cry, tumbling off to the side and crashing into the ground. Although its path was diverted and it had been forced to crash, it was still a far cry from being killed.
“Maximum increased gravity, target area.” I pointed to the bird, which had begun to rise. As the words left my mouth, it slammed back down into the ground, the air above it shaking.
I was just getting ready to fire off a third spell when the panther returned, jumping out from behind me again. However, this time Leowynn acted first, the weariness in her eyes replaced by a fierce determination. She stepped behind me and lunged, bringing her fist forward to slam against the panther’s face.
There was a sickening crunch as both of them were sent tumbling backwards. Leowynn hissed lightly as she shook her hand, whereas the panther let out weak, pained cries. She wasn’t the Demigoddess of Strength for nothing, and her punch had shattered a part of the creature’s skull, causing its health to constantly drop.
“Now we get to the fun parts.” She said with a small smile, stretching her arms out. When she slammed her fists together again, her appearance seemed to change. Silver armor sprouted from her body, covering her from head to toe. At her waist there was a single ornate sword held within a white scabbard.
“Since when can you do that?” I called back to her, before returning my attention to the bird, which was struggling to resist the gravity effects. “Launch mana blade, enhance sharpness.” A blue slash of light launched out from my body, striking the bird after I called out the spell.
“Hmm? I’ve always been able to do this!” Leowynn spoke, her voice echoing within her helmet. “I’ve just not been able to fight with you and use it since I died!” As she said that, she slowly unsheathed the sword at her waist, holding it in front of her.
It was only now that I began to truly appreciate Leowynn’s combat value. Not only was she considered a monster of my level, meaning that her spiritual form was as strong as an average person of the same level as myself, but she also had hundreds of years of combat experience. More importantly, her armor and weapon were extensions of her spiritual form, so they were not as weak as what they had been when she was alive.
After the panther and the bird died, the area briefly grew silent. Leowynn stood guard while I collected the two bodies, forming both of them into cards. It was only after I had collected both of them that our next ‘opponent’ appeared. A large serpent, its brown body blending in with the bark of the tree it had been slithering down.
As soon as I noticed it, it acted, springing off of the tree and lunging through the air at me. There was a soft scoff from nearby, before a silver line passed through the body of the serpent. Leowynn had swung her sword, causing it to extend outwards during the slash.
I had to duck to the side to avoid the serpent’s head, still carried by the momentum of its lunge. After that, I turned to face Leowynn again. “Huh, at this rate I might actually get overshadowed by you.”
Leowynn’s eyes opened wide beneath her helmet, and she hastily shook her head. “No, that isn’t so. I may be a good fighter, but I cannot match your magic, right? The two of us simply compliment one another!”
I chuckled lightly at that, smiling towards her. “I was kidding. Anyways, it looks like we won’t have to worry about finding food while we’re here. Though, let’s head back to the city before something else showed up.”
Leowynn nodded, and after collecting the snake the two of us hurried back into the city. It seemed that the monsters from outside the city would not venture inside, likely due to the toxic creatures that lived within. Once inside, I took a deep breath, relieved to be away from the battle.
“What’s the matter, father?” My ghostly daughter asked in confusion. “You shouldn’t be tired after just those three, right?”
“Huh?” I turned to look at her. “No, nothing like that. I just realized that I was fighting wrong, and needed a moment to correct myself.”
She blinked in confusion, clearly not understanding what I meant. As such, I explained. “I’m not just one class. I’m a Keeper. So, I need to fight like a Keeper. That means I have to be a mage, a warrior, a monk, and even a druid all at the same time. I need to be able to fight with all of my classes.”
Realization seemed to dawn on Leowynn, before it was replaced by renewed confusion. “But father, can you do that with your abilities sealed?”
“Well, why not?” I asked with a small grin, before looking down at my hands. “Trigger spell, command word wind. Maximum array, launch wind blade. Trigger dual spell, command word body. Maximum enhance strength, maximum enhance defense…”
One by one, I prepared spells, runes beginning to draw themselves along my right arm. Each rune represented a prepared spell. This was the greatest ability that I had as a mage, but relying too much on this would cause my mana to deplete before I even realized it.
As I was preparing my spells, I noticed that the rune on my left hand had vanished, showing that the charging process had completed. Without delay, I sent a message to Ryone in order to learn how to create my pact weapon.
Once I had gotten her tutorial, I began to focus on the imprint on my left hand. Unfortunately, since I didn’t unlock the elementalist class on Fyor I had to do this the hard way. Still, I was familiar with the shape that I wanted, quickly imagining a silver chakram. For now, this would be my pact weapon.
Only once I was done did we head back out of the city. This time, Leowynn was already in her full silver armor, ready for battle at the slightest sign of movement. As a nearby bush began to rustle, she immediately turned her body to face it, her sword primed to attack.
What emerged was a silver furred… something. It was a beast with long fur, standing on four limbs. The closest creature that I could compare it to would be an anteater with longer hair and a wider snout. A snout which, as it was lifted, we saw was lined with rows of thin teeth.
When it saw us, a pink tongue shot out of the wide snout, stretching several meters to strike towards Leowynn and myself. “Shield!” I called out the trigger for one of my spells, erecting a barrier to take the attack.
The tongue struck the barrier, and began to slither along it, pale saliva dripping down from its length and sizzling as it hit the grass. Oh great, acidic saliva. Just what we need. “Appear, my pledge!” As the chakram formed in my hand, I threw it out, connecting a string of chakra to it in order to control it.
With a shake of my wrist, the chakram came down and severed the creature’s tonge, causing it to fall limply to the ground. Rather than charging at us for revenge, the acidic anteater cried, turning and running back into the forest.
“You’re right… this makes things far easier.” Leowynn said from next to me.
Like this, we began a daily routine. Every day, we would leave the city, moving further and further away. Each time, we would be besieged by stronger monsters. At first, they had just barely hit the three hundreds, but after a week or so we began to find monsters in the four hundreds. After a month, we were beginning to see the strongest monsters on the island.
And then, at night, we fled back to the city to eat and rest. Although there were still toxic monsters within the city itself, their numbers were far less than what lived outside the city’s walls. Thus it was easier to created a warded area to defend against them for a night.
I decided not to focus simply on one class, because to do so would be to weaken myself as a Keeper. While fighting, I practiced every combat class I had trained, and even began practicing new ones such as archer or rogue. Although this kept my levels with each class fairly low, it gave me a basic understanding of how each class fought.
While my primary power still came from being a mage, and then a ninja, and finally from Aki Seppo and the Saint of Five Lights, I had to ensure that I could use all of the powers at my disposal. And so I trained, for over a month on the island with Leowynn as a constant companion.
It was just over forty days into our training excursion when I received a message from Terra, letting me know that there were only ten days left until the arrival of the next invasion. By that point, the clothes that I had originally descended with were filthy, only holding themselves together because I was able to easily repair them at any time.
Leowynn, to her credit, seemed as energetic as ever, even after the month spent on the planet. We had only had to unleash our full power once, when we were surrounded by level five hundred monsters while in the middle of a fight. Aside from that, the training had been fruitful. “Something the matter, father?” She asked as she pulled her sword out from the body of a four-armed ape.
“Sorry, sorry.” I shook my head, knowing that it was dangerous to let my guard down this far out of town. “It’s time to head back.”
Leowynn seemed… almost disappointed when she heard that, but quickly erased the expression from her face. She gave a small nod, walking towards me. “Alright, father.” As she approached, her body began to disperse into mist, flowing back into my spiritual realm.
Sorry, Leowynn, but it’s time to make the final preparations for the invasion.