With this first wave of attacks dealt with, I returned to the throne room to think while I began refilling what I could of the world sight. However, shifting the sky citadel halfway across the world drained a large portion of my reserves, so I was not even able to return it to half of its full power before my own mana and ki started to get dangerously low.
Word quickly spread to the other continents, and the other worlds, confirming the presence of the ‘world’s enemy’ in the beastkin continent of Earth. This caused those people who had been feeling the stress of rising tensions over the past few weeks to let out a collective breath.
For the most part, the heroic troops that had been stationed around the four planets returned to their normal lives. They hadn’t trained for their entire lives in order to protect the entire planet. Rather, they were devoted to the idea of protecting their home and their loved ones. With the danger passed on to another area, they no longer felt that the situation was as urgent.
Of course, there were those who broke the mold. Those enthusiastic heroes who had truly trained in order to become the protectors of the world. To those, the idea of sitting by while the monsters decimated another continent was simply abhorrent. When they learned the location of the enemy, they rushed through the transfer gates as quickly as they could to provide reinforcements.
Among them was one who had titled himself the Deckmaster. As one might guess from the title, he was a mage born of Deckan. His red hair and kitsune tail were blown by the wind as he came out of the gate to Geth Bator. In the sky, he could see the distant palace floating about.
“This is the place.” He said under his breath, one finger gently caressing a jade ring on his right hand. The ring flashed, and a card appeared in it. After tossing the card into the air, it became a translucent silver dragon, which he jumped onto the back of. “Let’s go!”
There were surprised shouts as the dragon appeared, and even more cries as it beat its wings, creating gusts of wind as it took off flying towards the citadel.
Another day passed, and there were still no signs of the monsters. I could only watch again as the numbers rose higher and higher. After my energy had recovered, I began spreading my world sight out again and again to try to search the area. And, while I was able to find traces of their passing, such as monsters which had been slain, wounds dripping a blackened blood, I had not found their lair.
“Sir, I think someone is approaching.” Tsubaki spoke up, her ears twitching as she began to walk towards the door. After she had pointed it out, I took a moment to focus my senses, before noticing a presence headed our way.
“We have a visitor… Go see who they are.” I told her, still focused on scanning the ground below.
“Oh, can I do it?!” Aurivy’s incarnation suddenly spoke up, poking her head through the door nearby. And… I mean that literally, her body had simply passed through the door. “Big sis trained me really well, and I’d like to take the chance to practice!”
It took me a moment to recall that Aurivy said that she was training her incarnation to become a bard, and so I nodded my head in agreement. Bards were notorious for being able to gather information, no matter what setting you looked in. As for her ability to walk through walls… I’m just going to assume it is related to her godly artifact and move on.
“Thank you!” She shouted, before turning and running towards the exit. Every step she took seemed to scatter golden dust beneath her feet, which faded moments later. And once again, she did not even open the door before stepping out, passing completely through it.
“Halt!” A young voice called out to the Deckmaster, who was forced to stop his dragon’s advance. As he looked around, he saw a figure running through the air towards him. Small with black hair, she was obviously a halfling. And, given that she was coming from the direction of the citadel, it was easy to guess her identity.
“Lady Aurivy?” He asked, projecting his voice with mana to allow it to reach her over the sound of the dragon’s wings.
“That’s right!” She responded, stopping a short distance away from him. Her face was calm as she observed him, an almost cold light in her eyes. “What are you here for?”
For some reason, the Deckmaster felt pressure from the small girl, a pressure he hadn’t felt for a long time. Clearing his throat, he answered her. “I wish to offer my support! My name is Alu Desari!”
“What support can you offer?” She asked in that same tone, and Alu felt as if his dragon shivered for a moment.
“I have a wide variety of spells at my disposal, and believe that I am best placed on the front lines. Please, Lady Aurivy, allow me to help.”
Aurivy fell silent for a long moment as she studied both Alu and his dragon. “You are a cardmage. A summoner, going by the dragon.” She nodded her head, her expression softening slightly. “I’ll give you a test. If you pass it, I’ll consider you strong enough to let in. Is that alright?”
Alu felt displeased at the idea of having to pass a test to be allowed to help. However, he also knew that he wasn’t fully aware of the circumstances. More hands did not always mean an easier task, after all. And, as the person he was speaking with was the incarnation of a goddess, he had to be respectful. “Very well, I will take whatever test you have for me.”
Aurivy gave a mysterious smile, and gradually brought her hands out in front of her, cupping them together. “I am the core of my oath.” A bright golden light began to shine from her body, pooling together in her hands to form a golden sphere.
It took a great deal of effort to ignore the surging divine energy that I sensed from outside of the citadel. Both the knight and bard classes wielded their own divine energy, and Aurivy trained both of them. More importantly, she carried a godly artifact that had a trace of its own divine power, and I would not doubt if she was also a cleric to top it all off.
While I pushed those thoughts out of my mind, I continued my efforts to track the creatures through the surface. The thought had occurred to me that they might have hidden beneath the surface, creating tunnels that hid them from my sight. The problem was that scanning underground took exponentially more energy than scanning the surface, as there was so much more information to process.
After roughly fifteen minutes, the energy that I was feeling from outside began to die down. Moments later, I heard a light humming outside the door, before it was pushed slowly open. “I brought a tracker!” Aurivy’s voice pulled me out of my concentration, causing me to look up.
Behind her was a haggard kitsune with red hair. Alu Desari, going by the name above his head. And one of the highest levels I had seen in a while. He looked exhausted, as if he had spent all of his energy simply getting here, which made me send a questioning glance towards Aurivy.
“What? He wanted to help, and I just made sure that he could. We don’t need any more muscle between you and Tsubaki, right?” She asked with an innocent smile. “We just need someone to help us find where to apply said muscle.”
I had to admit, she had a point. If I was given a few years to hone my world sight, I could probably scan this entire area without breaking a sweat. But since its power was still limited, having an experienced tracker would be useful. “Thank you for volunteering your services, Alu.”
His eyes opened wide for a moment when I addressed him, before he gave a deep bow. “It is my honor to act for the safety of the realms.” He spoke with more energy than his face displayed. “Merely… I require information if I am to perform as I am expected.”
I prompted him to continue, and he explained. “I need to know what I am tracking. The more exact the detail, the better. I was… informed that shamanism can’t trace these creatures, which gives me a good start, but I need more if I am to construct a spell to find them.”
I gave a small nod towards Tsubaki, and she stepped forward, beginning to explain what we had learned about these creatures during their first few appearances. With every detail, his expression seemed to shift from disgust, intrigue, hope and despair. There were times when I thought that he might not be able to get the job done.
However, he then surprised me with another question after the explanation. “Do you have a sample of the residue? If you do, I think that I can find them for you.”
Unfortunately… “We didn’t want to risk contamination, so the residue was incinerated after the examination failed.” I shook my head as I said that to him. “We can retrieve some for you in the next engagement, assuming that they launch another attack.”
His expression turned pensive, furrowing his brows in thought. “I might still be able to create a spell to track them. However, I won’t be able to cast it.”
My look must have given away my curiosity, because he quickly explained. “In order to piece together a tracking spell with a sample, I would only need to create a lower third rank spell. Still costly to cast, but not so much that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. However… if I have to broaden the scope of the search and expand on the spell, it will become a high third rank.”
“I can put it together, but I won’t have the mana to cast it on my own. High third rank spells typically require the energy of multiple mages.”
And this is even with the cost reduction that comes with the cards? I asked inwardly, imagining how hard it would be to cast this magic with the geometric system. “If you can prepare the spell, I’ll handle casting it.” My own personal mana pool was several times that of a normal mage. Even if it required five or six high level mages working together, I should be able to bear the burden.
Alu nodded his head quickly, a wide smile on his face. “Thank you, sir. I’ll just need a wide floor where I can assemble the spell. Given the parameters, the bigger the space I have, the better. And it has to be somewhere without any wind, to prevent the cards from being blown about.”
Well, that was easy enough to take care of. “Tsubaki, lead Alu to the basement. There should be all the room he needs down there. And if Kirishna is present, tell her to take a break so as not to disturb him.”
Tsubaki nodded her head respectfully, turning and guiding an eager Alu out the side door. With the two of them gone, it was just myself and Aurivy. “Aurivy…” I spoke up, getting the halfling’s attention.
“Hmm?” She smiled, crossing her arms behind her back.
“What sort of test did you put him through to determine his tracking ability?” This was important both in order for me to explain the divine power that I had been feeling, as well as to truly know his capabilities.
“I put him in a maze and made him find me in it~.” She responded in a singsong voice, which made my eyes open wide.
“And… how did you manage to do that?” I had the distinct feeling I didn’t want to know the answer to this.
“Big sis helped me make a very special knight’s blade.” Aurivy’s smile widened into a full grin. “It’s modeled after a dungeon’s core. It really is amazing! I never saw one up close.”
I let out a sigh, shaking my head. Of course she gave her incarnation dungeon powers...