“Dale!” Accalia came running into the throne room, her expression urgent. Seeing her face made my eyes widen. “We’ve found them!”
It had been a week since the invasion began, and so far we had not been able to find any confirmed sightings of the enemy creatures. I could only watch the number of hostile forces steadily increasing. Thinking of that, I once again glanced towards that menu.
Current enemy forces within planet group Earth: 10,980
When I recalled that this number had started out as low as five barely a week ago, I broke out into a cold sweat. “Where are they?”
“They’re on Earth.” She said as she approached the stairs leading to the throne. “The Tyrna continent, in the fifth kingdom of Accal. They’re at my home, Dale.” Her voice grew more and more anxious by the moment as she spoke.
“Calm down, Accalia… what can you tell me?” As I asked that, I rose to my feet, and guided Accalia out of the throne room, leading her down the hall.
“Reports came in, they attacked a large city known as Geth Bator. Beasts dripping with a thick black substance. They were repelled by a woman that appeared out of thin air, believed to be the queen of world spirits. Under the orders of my Goddess, word was passed down before the invasion to call for her in a spell any time there was a possible sighting.”
I gave a small nod, moving down a spiral staircase with Accalia, listening to her continue. “That was an hour ago, according to the report. Barely a few minutes later, life scrolls began shattering, belonging to troops stationed in a nearby village. The spirit queen still had her hands full, or maybe they weren’t able to get the signal out in time. Either way, we believe the village was lost.”
As we stopped at a small section of the wall, and I placed my hand against it, I questioned her. “And you are from Geth Bator?”
“No… but I did come from one of its neighboring cities. Not the village that was lost, but… it’s close.” She confirmed, her voice gradually calming down as she talked it out. “Please, my parents are still there. If the enemy is in the area, then we need to help.”
“I agree.” I nodded again, as the wall in front of us began to open, bricks sliding out of the way. Accalia blinked in surprise at that, but simply followed me into the revealed passage.
“I’m taking you to the control room of the Sky Citadel. When we get there, I need you to point out where exactly on the map the monsters were sighted. If you can do that, we’ll be able to get there immediately.”
Accalia hesitated again when she heard that, but soon steeled her resolve. As if a reflex, she stroked the string of the bow strapped to her back while following me deeper into the passage.
I had been worried that the world was too large, and not enough of it had been properly mapped out for her to be able to find the location. However, as soon as we entered the room, her eyes glowed a faint blue. “There!” She immediately spoke out, pointing towards a spot on the floating globe of Earth.
Tubrock’s reproduction didn’t include anything like political borders, as such things shift too regularly. So it would not have been odd to be unable to find a certain location on a map this large. However, given how confident she appeared in her answer, I stepped up and placed my finger on the area that she had pointed to.
“I call to the spirits of nature, in the name of…” A young woman’s cry was cut off as a massive shadow appeared overhead. She had seen the red eyes deep within the woods, heard their guttural growls.
Yet just as she was sounding the alarm, it suddenly felt as if she no longer needed to. The Sky Citadel appeared above the city of Geth Sinor. Not only that, but she soon saw a figure leap from the rocky cliff holding the palace in the sky.
The falling figure carried a pair of twin daggers in her hands, her face wrapped in white cloth. Only her shining red eyes could clearly be seen, as well as the felyn tail swaying behind her.
The woman atop the walls, Janna Syme, held her breath as she watched the figure dancing in the air, every motion leaving a golden trail that slowed her descent. Finally, she landed atop the wall, directly next to Janna. “Is that them?” She asked, her voice cold as she looked out past the wall, at the figures lurking within the woods.
“They match the reports exactly.” Janna spoke, her voice wavering. It was clear that she was talking to the incarnation of the goddess Terra. However, her words weren’t quite correct.
The beasts lurking in the words were not the same tar-covered wolves that attacked Geth Bator. These were large, standing on two legs with stone protruding from their backs. They looked closer to bears than wolves, a full ten of them standing in a row.
There was barely a nod from the felyn woman before she leapt forward, her daggers emitting a faint darkness. Faintly, Janna could hear her voice as she moved further away, towards the monsters. “I am the shadow of my oath.”
The white cloths covering Terra’s body darkened, soon turning pitch black. When she entered the shade of a tree, she seemed to vanish entirely. Moments later, one of the ten bears reacted, a roar coming from its distorted maw as its arm fell to the ground. Followed shortly after by its head, its mouth slowly closing after it had been removed from the beast’s shoulders.
From beginning to end, a health bar never appeared above the beast. It was hard to tell whether that was because it had been killed too quickly, or these creatures simply had no health bars to speak of. As they were from worlds beyond the boundaries of the Keeper, that was entirely possible.
The remaining nine bears began swiping their arms around themselves, scattering black slime everywhere. However, they did not touch Terra. Rather, Janna jumped in fright when she noticed that Terra was suddenly standing next to her again.
“Not living… Are you a cleric?” She turned to look at Janna, who was forced to shake her head in denial. “Unfortunate.”
“What do you mean they’re not living? Are they… some kind of undead?”
“Unclear.” Terra spoke as briefly as possible. “Not enough information.”
At that moment, another voice could be heard from within the sky. “Boleer, hark!” Janna glanced up at the voice once again, spotting an elven woman that had similarly been falling from the Sky Citadel. However, after her words sounded, a pair of wings appeared on her back, holding her aloft.
“Terra!” She called down. “Did you learn anything?”
Rather than answering her immediately, Terra waited until the elf had landed. “Creatures not alive. Animated somehow.”
“How do you know that?” The woman, who Janna assumed to be Kirishna, asked incredulously.
“Cut off an arm. It moved independently for six seconds. Head moved two seconds after.”
Kirishna brought a hand up to massage her temples after hearing that, as if trying to piece the broken report together. “After this fight, we’ll need to have a proper chat.” She said with a sigh, before turning to face the remaining nine bears, which seemed to have noticed that Terra was no longer among them.
She lifted a golden book which had been tied to her waist, aiming it towards the bears. Blue light began to shine out from the book, floating out from between the pages to form various spell diagrams. The spells floated up into the sky as the bears slowly backed up, before a blue light was shot out towards them.
Wherever the light passed, everything seemed to freeze. The ground was covered in a layer of thick ice, as were the monsters. Even the deceased creature had not been spared from the freezing.
Terra’s eye twitched as she saw that, looking towards a flock of birds that seemed to have been scared away by the firing of the spell. She pulled a new dagger from under the folds of the cloth wrapping her body, and threw it towards the flock. Moments later, she vanished, appearing midair along the dagger’s flight.
Another throw, and another, and she was within the flock. Once again, her body danced within the sky, but this time it was accompanied by the flash of her daggers. Soon, several birds had fallen under her relentless assault, not having any power to fight back.
Rather than grabbing the birds as they fell, she reached a hand out for them, and they vanished. Terra allowed her body to lower to the treeline before jumping off a branch, making her way back to the wall.
“Okay, want to tell me what that was about, at least?” Kirishna asked in exasperation.
“Felt something suspicious. Like being watched. Can’t be sure, so won’t take chances.”
“Well, at least you used more than one word a sentence that time.” The elf responded, shaking her head. “Either way, at least it looks like we made it in--” Suddenly, her eyes darted upwards.
A third figure was falling from the sky now. However, this one almost seemed like it couldn’t descend fast enough. A bow was held in her hand, and the face was one Janna herself was actually familiar with.
“Janna!” Accalia shouted out in worry, only stopping her descent at the last minute, or at least slowing it enough to only crack the surface of the wall where she landed. “Is everything okay? Are you alright?”
The worry on her face and in her tone was one that Janna was very familiar with, causing her to laugh happily. “I’m fine, Accalia. You all showed up right on time.”
No sooner had her words ended than Accalia threw herself forward, wrapping her arms around Janna. “Thank goodness.”
Janna smiled, returning the hug gently. “You know, you’re really not acting like the incarnation of a goddess right now.” She whispered softly to Accalia, not wanting to embarrass her too much in front of the others.
“I.. I’ll be fine.” A flushed Accalia responded, abruptly pulling back from the hug. Her quickly wagging tail, however, betrayed her happiness. “But they were here? They actually showed up?”
Janna simply pointed behind Accalia, towards the frozen landscape that had been the result of Kirishna’s spell. Accalia’s eyes widened at the sight, a low, feral growl coming from her throat as her hair stood on end.
“Calm.” Terra stepped out in front of Accalia, shaking her head. “They are dealt with. Breaking ice might free them, let them return to others.”
Accalia’s growing fury died down, as if a bucket of cold water had been poured on her. “I… I know.” She then turned to address Kirishna. “Can you take them to the Citadel, and create a barrier to contain them? I need to study the bodies.”
The elven incarnation simply gave a small smile, nodding her head. “That was the plan. I was just waiting for my mana to recover enough to call the world spirit queen. Mass freezing spells aren’t easy, you know?”
“Ah? I can handle that!” Janna spoke up, glad to finally be able to assist them. The three incarnations glanced towards her curiously, as realization dawned on them. Kirishna nodded her head encouragingly, and Janna placed a hand over her heart.
“I call to the spirits of nature, in the name of the watchful guardian. The enemies of the world have appeared before me, and the hosts of heaven require your aid. Please, queen of spirits, hear me.” Her voice echoed out softly from her body, her eyes closed as if in prayer.
I have heard you. A voice spoke out, not only to her, but to the three incarnations as well, the world spirit queen slowly materializing as green lights spiraled from the surrounding air.