The hours passed slowly while I was watching various different shows with Terra and Aurivy. They seemed to simply be happy that I was there with them, while as for me… I was thinking about something else.
To be honest, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with myself for the next little while. I could train the Perfect Soul, but after that? I was in no hurry to rush towards the Divine Soul after the experiences I had just gone through. I needed a break in between evolutions like that, no matter how much the Admin Room helped to recover my mind.
I could work on the worlds a bit, but I wasn’t really sure what was needed there. Tubrock was managing the new Lorek world, while Bihena and Aurivy worked on Fyor. Aside from those two, the other worlds were in a rather good state at the moment.
While I was thinking about that, a thought crossed my mind. An idea that I had had a long time ago, but had forgotten about in the chaos of everything else that had happened. Something that they had called the ‘Merlin’ strategy on the forums. The act of going down into the world, and helping to raise it up personally, typically through the selection of a new king to govern an area and remove corruption.
Now, I had done this before, in a way. Back when the centaurs were just getting started I had let a world host take over that position for me, getting their first true king set up. But, as for doing it myself? I couldn’t say that I had ever had the need or desire to do so. After all, the worlds that would be in need of that would typically not have very good living standards.
As for why I was thinking about this now? I let my mind drift back towards Fyor, the world of many worlds. The standard of living there was not terrible, but at the same time they had yet to fully expand to cover all of their territory. This was normal, as their territory constantly expanded every time a new floor was uncovered.
Terra? I whispered towards her mentally, catching how she glanced at me from the corner of her eyes. If I were to visit Fyor, with my levels as they are now, would I be restricted from going through their gates?
If that was so, there were still a number of ways that I could play it off, and I was already considering such. But first, it was important for me to know. If I tried to set things up for me to be a traveler between the different layers, then suddenly being stuck there would be a bit counter-productive.
That’s right. You can use the Admin Room to move between layers, or the power of the Sky Citadel, but as for the gates themselves, your base levels are quite a bit too high for them to allow you through.
I was expecting that answer, and so I gave a small nod. It wouldn’t be such a bad thing to play out, being stuck on one of the higher floors. So long as it wasn’t the giant insect hive. I felt a shiver run down my spine as I thought about that. The last thing that I wanted was to try to set up a life for myself there.
Mentally, I ran a quick calculation, finding that I did have plenty of points in my physical stats to withstand the gravity of that floor. As such, I glanced over towards Aurivy, a small smile forming on my face. “Hey Rivy, how much would you like to help me out with something?”
Her eyes practically… no, no they were quite literally glowing when she heard that, her head snapping with an unnatural speed to look in my direction. “What can I do, Dale?!” She asked with a wide, eager grin.
“I’m about to set up a plan for Fyor, and I was wondering if you would like to be a part of it.” It took me a moment to realize that the show we were watching had paused itself while we talked.
The halfling goddess nodded her head rapidly. “Sure, sure! Just tell me what you need.”
“If you’re going to do this, I need you to have an incarnation that can withstand the pressure of the nineteenth floor of Fyor. If you want, you could have the one you used in the battle for this…” I started to make the suggestion, before I saw that both she and Terra had somewhat awkward expressions. “Okay, what happened?”
“Well… I kind of had Tsubaki kill me.” Aurivy explained with a small chuckle. “When we did that last fight, my incarnation overused her divine spark. By the time you got there to save her, she was already dying, right?”
I couldn’t help but nod at that, recalling the event. “Yeah, I rushed over so that I could save her in time before it was too late…”
“Well… it was already too late.” She said with a small shake of her head. “Once your health starts going down from using too much divine energy, it signifies that your body is starting to break down. If she had been lucky enough to level up from the fight, then maybe her body would have repaired itself enough that it wasn’t an issue. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, and she was bedridden and in so much pain…”
“I helped her level up as a monk after the battle ended, but by then it was too late, and the damage had already taken root. So all that was left was to let her pass on as painlessly as possible…”
I gave another nod as I heard that. However, just as I was about to speak up she interrupted me. “But that’s okay! I can make a new incarnation on Fyor. Just give me fifteen years, and I can have her ready for what you want! Okay, maybe twenty… Do you know what kind of incarnation you want me to have?”
At her question, I fell into thought. There were a few different possibilities, but ultimately one that made the most sense. “If you could be a mage or an elementalist, it would work best with the plan that I had in mind.”
“Sure!” She smiled wide. “I’ve got lots of practice with those classes, so it’ll be easy to get that set up.”
I let out a small sigh of relief at her willingness to join along, before Terra spoke up as well. “Think you have room for one more in your plan?” She asked as she glanced over towards me, her tail lightly wrapping around my wrist.
“Of course.” I told her, nodding immediately. I began to tell the two of them my plan, and what their roles would be in it. Aurivy produced a small notebook out of thin air, and immediately began writing in it as I spoke, taking notes of what I wanted. Terra, meanwhile, just seemed content to be included in the plan.
“This should be the place, right sis?” A halfling girl spoke up as they walked through the gate, letting out a small grunt as she felt the pressure increase on her body. “Semaro Maj, Kru’nae.” She whispered, her body standing up a bit straighter as her magic reinforced herself. She had golden hair and deep blue eyes, and wore what seemed to be a sailor’s outfit, the skirt cut just a bit shorter than normal.
Another halfling that walked through the gate nodded, glancing around. Her own hair was black, but she had the same blue eyes as her sister. Her outfit was a black shirt covered by denim overalls, with an almost comically large backpack strapped to her back that she seemed to carry with ease. “I think we got here a week early. Gives us enough time to find a good spot.”
“A week?!” The first sister asked loudly, her eyes widening. “But you said… agh, why did I let you choose the time…”
The second sister laughed lightly, their antics attracting the eyes of the nearby priests and travelers. “Come on, Rache, your teacher’s waiting for us.”
The first sister, Rache, nodded her head reluctantly as she brought one hand down to grab her sister’s. Her eyes closed as she recalled the words of a spell. “Fin, semaro, muntal.”
With that, the two halfling girls lifted up off the ground, flying up into the sky and off to the west. Some were curious about their heading, as the gate to the next floor was nearby to the north, so there was hardly any reason to journey west. However, they shrugged it off, going back to their business.
“Think we got their attention enough?” Rache asked a few moments after they had taken off, glancing back towards the city.
Her sister simply shook her head. “Not yet. I’ll be making a few trips back to town to get people interested, once we have our home set up. How are you coming on your enchanting? I don’t have the mana to use teleportation spells to cover that distance.”
“Well…” Rache’s cheeks reddened slightly as they flew. “I mean, I’m not terrible at it. But I haven’t gotten very many levels in it yet. I’ll come up with something to let you get back and forth soon. I think I remember there being some special stones on one of the nearby islands that should make for a good enchanting material!”
“Oh?” The second sister’s eyes actually widened in surprise, the look vanishing a moment later strangely. “Well, I hope you are able to find them.”
“Wait, wait, I saw that!” Rache called out, her eyes widening as well, much more shocked than her sister had been. “You were surprised! You don’t get surprised, sis!”
“I do, too…” She said, puffing her cheeks out indignantly. “Terra didn’t tell me anything about those stones, is all. Usually she tells me anything related to the task at hand.”
The golden haired halfling laughed, having to quickly cover her mouth to make sure that she didn’t accidentally swallow a bug while they flew. Once she was able to speak normally again, she looked down at the islands that were passing by beneath them. “We’re already past the normal inhabited areas, so this should be a good place to make the house, right?”
“This should be far enough.” Her sister agreed. Rache furrowed her brows in focus, causing the two of them to descend to one of the larger nearby islands. “I think there’s everything I need here to make a nice house, if you want to clear out the area around us.”
“Sure thing!” Rache nodded happily, more than willing to take up the task of ‘pest control’. Once the two of them had landed, Rache flew off alone while her sister dropped her backpack, it hitting the ground with a loud crash.
Turning around to look through it, she pulled out a staff, a large saw, and a pickaxe, leaving the rest of the items inside. “Well, let’s get to work, then.” She said, glancing down and placing one hand on the rough soil. “Spirits that lurk within the soil, reveal your riches to me.” As she spoke, her eyes began to glow a faint green.
“Iron, coal, and some thesbar. That should be enough.” She nodded, reaching for the pick. As she brought it up, an earthen glow emerged along the tool. And when it struck the ground, a crack emerged, longer than her body was tall and half as wide. There was a slope along the crack, which she began to walk down, going into her makeshift mine.
Beneath the island, the sound of metal striking metal rang out constantly. Above the surface, explosions littered the landscape, beams of fire and light striking out at anything that moved. While the rest of the world remained unaware, two determined girls were busy making themselves a new home.