Once we were back inside, I decided to do a little bit of experimentation on my own. I could leave the majority of the research to Ryone and Tubrock, and was fairly certain that they could figure out most of the secrets behind the tidestone on their own. However, there was something that I was curious about, which I was fairly certain that only I could do. At least, it was something I hoped only I could do.
Sitting down in the living room, I had Thessa fetch a glass jar. Once I had it, I retrieved one of the smaller tidestones and dropped it into the jar, before placing the lid on it. This way, there wouldn’t be a mess no matter how long my experiment took.
Though, could you really call this an experiment? In a way, it was more an exploration. Deploying my world sight, I thoroughly scanned the stone, looking at all of its magical properties. In a way… the tidestone could be seen as a mutated version of the material that makes up the gates between floors.
Ryone, can you check the market to see if there is a mineral like this when you get the moment? Anything that connects to an elemental plane naturally. I sent out the request as I focused in on the structure of the stone. I could theorize how the stone worked from what I had seen already, and it had me curious.
I sensed a bit of ambient mana drifting into the stone and smiled, sending my world sense to follow it. Where the mana made contact, a tiny invisible rift was opened up along the surface of the stone. Nodding my head, I sent my world sight in through that rift.
What awaited me on the other side seemed like an endless darkness. I could practically feel the water all around me, but there was no light to speak of. Beneath me was a rather large chunk of tidestone that seemed to simply float in the water, neither sinking nor rising. Some fish swam around it, others directly into it.
Of course, this stone had been broken on the other side, and those fish were too large to make it through the shattered remains, so they simply bounced off harmlessly before swimming on. Shaking my head, I used the orientation of the fish to determine which direction ‘up’ was in this ocean, and sent my world sight in that direction.
Logically speaking, there could be no such thing as an infinite ocean. Terra herself had confirmed that there was only a finite amount of water within this elemental plane, which meant that there had to be a surface. The question then became… what exists beyond the surface of the largest ocean?
Higher and higher my world sight rose. I found many other stones floating through the water, and many creatures swimming about. Some looked harmless enough, while others… there was one serpent I saw which seemed large enough to devour an entire city in a single bite, and it had to be at least a thousand kilometers long. I was suddenly very thankful that I had ordered the destruction of the giant tidestone vein.
Of course… size isn't everything. A fact I became distinctly aware of when I saw that giant serpent suddenly change its course, swimming away erratically. Behind it, a small, catfish-like creature no bigger than my forearm was swimming about. When it registered the giant serpent, it lazily changed its course to move towards it.
What happened next seemed almost a blur. Ripples of water exploded out in a line as the smaller fish shot out like a bullet, piercing directly through the body of the giant serpent. A deep rumble, almost like a scream echoed in the area while the catfish drank from the blood that began to fill the water.
Even though the creature was no larger than a single hair to the giant serpent, it still fled helplessly after the first attack, leaving the smaller fish to happily drink up the blood that remained behind. I could only shake my head, sending my world sight up higher and higher.
This went on for some time, and I began to feel my world sight weakening, running out of energy for the first time in a while. However, moments before it did, I felt it break through. There was no more water, and finally, I could see light. The last thing that I saw before the world sight was extinguished was… I hate to describe it as such, but it was horrifyingly beautiful.
Far above me, I could see a giant flaming sphere, like a sun millions of times larger than our own. Even this far away, I could feel its warmth heating the water. Besides the sun, there were three other spheres. One a giant rock, its surface seeming perfectly smooth from this distance. The next was what looked to be a massive storm suspended in a black sky, lightning crackling along the planet-sized clouds.
But it was the last one, the one that sat at the center of this formation, that was the true sight to behold. If the others could be called the elemental planes of water, fire, wind, and earth, then the only thing that I could describe this as was life. A massive world with overflowing greenery, radiating an aura of natural energy so strong that it reached each of the four orbiting worlds.
Perhaps it was this energy that helped give birth to the monsters, making otherwise inhospitable planets thriving. Part of me wanted to explore this central world with my world sight, but another part was equally worried. How strong would the creatures be that were born under such pure energy?
As my world sight faded away, I found myself back in the home that Thessa and Rache had built for the three of us. The jar of water sat before me, now filled to the brim with the stone resting peacefully at its base. However, there was something else that awaited me upon my return as well.
Congratulations, you have earned an achievement!
For exploring the secrets of the elemental planes, you have earned the Planar Archivist achievement! +15 points, Special Title: Planar Archivist unlocked.
… Terra? I asked in a tone filled with equal parts curiosity and worry. Special title, explanation please?
I heard a faint giggle in the back of my mind. Fine, fine. You gave me plenty of delicious fish, after all~. Anyways, special titles are… as the name says, special. Do you remember Alu, the Deckmaster?
Of course. I don’t think that we would have gotten through the invasion so smoothly without him.
Right. Well, his Deckmaster title is one such ‘Special Title’. He earned it for researching a large number of card magic fusions and possibilities. Special titles are something that the system creates on a case by case basis, and they function in a manner similarly to classes, but without proper levels. Some people think that special titles were the origin of the class system in the first place.
I gave a small nod at that, waiting to hear more. For Alu, his Deckmaster title gave him the intuitive ability to know what the result would be from a card fusion, and what kinds of cards monsters would drop. Recently, he became able to create the effects of a fusion card with his own mana.
Okay, so what about this Planar Archivist title? I asked, still unsure what to think about this.
Why don’t you check it out yourself? At her coaxing, I opened up my titles window, skipping past most of the random achievements that I had earned during my time as Keeper and focusing on this one in particular.
Only Active: Identifies the native plane of a target creature or substance.
So I get to tell when something is from a different world? I asked, raising my eyebrows in surprise. That could be useful during an invasion, sure. Of course, during most invasions, it would be fairly easy to tell when a monster or person came from a different world, as they would typically look different.
Don’t underestimate the title too much. If you act according to the nature of the title, it can level up to unlock new abilities. Since titles like this are created on a case by case basis, even I don’t know what it could evolve into.
As much as that did intrigue me… I decided to put off exploring too deeply into that for now. Given that the title was received by exploring the elemental plane of water, then the likely path to evolve it would be to find the four other stones and explore the other planes as well. Of course, there might be more than four. Perhaps some tidestones led to different elemental planes, or there could even be more beyond the five in different planes.
The point is… it was unlikely that I’d be able to gain any additional perks out of the stones I had with me. Especially now that my world sight was fully depleted.
Instead, I simply stared at the jar of water. I heard someone descending the stairs, and saw Rache, who had changed into more casual blue and white shorts with a crop top. She smiled weakly when she saw me. “Hey, sorry about making you see all that before.”
“No, it’s fine. Everyone has their quirks. But, do you think that you could help me come up with something? I want to make an enchantment that will purify the water that comes from these stones.”
Rache tilted her head for a moment, before nodding. “Oh, yeah. Can’t drink ocean water. Sure, I can help with that. Miss Ryone’s probably going to be busy on other things for a while, anyways.”
Miss..? Ah, right, Aurivy’s probably busy herself right now, so this is actually Rache. “Right. I want an enchantment that purifies the water coming out of the stone. However, the problem is that we can’t directly enchant the stone itself. Too much mana makes the stones overload. So we need to enchant the container to automatically purify the water inside of it.”
Rache nodded her head, moving to sit on the couch next to me. She looked at the stone thoughtfully, her lips pursed tightly as her brows furrowed. “It’d need to be a silver jar, at least. A simple purification spell of the first tier would remove any filth from the water, but not the salt. And normal glass that size would shatter with a second tier enchantment.”
“We’d also need somewhere to put the ‘impurities’. You used a banishing rune before, right? If we can selectively choose to banish everything but the fresh water, it should be safe to drink. I’ll need Aurivy to help me set up the enchantment for that, but it should work… And being held in an enchanted container will make the stones work tirelessly.”
I much preferred seeing Rache hard at work, as opposed to the abject fear that she had shown previously. I could practically see her drawing out different patterns in her head, planning the necessary formula. Meanwhile, I called Thessa over, and asked her to create a special container for the stone. A silver flask with a small compartment at the bottom, to insert the stone, and several tiny holes to let the water rise up to the main body of the flask.
It didn’t seem like it’d be too much of an issue for her, given how she reacted. She moved off, and moments later I could hear the sound of metal hitting metal from her workshop. Once this is done, I can get it sent off to those two Maxers from the Council. One is a mage, so she should be able to recognize the significance of the stone, even if she can’t make out the connection to the elemental planes.
So, an update, Dale. Ryone’s voice spoke up as I was thinking. Just got done looking through the market. I found a stone that radiates heat, and one that is said to absorb moisture from the air to produce water. However, I didn’t find any that had a direct reference to an elemental plane on them. Do you want to go ahead and list it?
I shook my head, no longer wanting that. If it was before… I’d be all for it. But now… let’s wait until we find the other four, so we can make it a package deal.
Other four? She asked in confusion, and so I began to explain what I had seen during my little experiment. Naturally, she became more excited the more she heard about it, as well as when she heard about the special title I received...