“Captain!” One of the dark-furred dovah called out from his position at the center of the deck, standing over the magical radar. His digitigrade legs were confined within a pair of baggy blue pants, his furred hand clutching the radar while his torso was left bare. “We got a reading!”
The captain, a human male with light blonde hair and a pudgy build, nodded happily. “Good, good.” He said with a laugh. “Activate the stealth field, Jahon, and get the diving team ready once we’re anchored!”
The dovah nodded his head abruptly, closing his eyes and muttering to himself. “Linara thel.” When the word was spoken, the dovah’s magic swept through the ship, which seemed to quickly lose all momentum, its position frozen in the water.
Next, he rushed inside, to the enchantment control room, looking at the various controls. Seven crystals were lined up, each connected to seven different magical functions. Beneath each was a simple label to differentiate them, and he moved to the ‘stealth’ crystal.
Placing his hand on the gem, he pushed his mana in to trigger the ennchantment. As he did so, a pulse of energy spread out and surrounded the vessel. “Stealth field is up, captain!” He called out, not moving from his position. In order to ensure that the field had to remain active, he had to stay at the crystal.
Closing his eyes, he mentally contacted a member of the dive crew below. Prepare your team to dive.
There was a flurry of motion as the dive crew got prepared. Due to the difficulty of manufacturing a dive suit for the dovah, the dive team was exclusively composed of humans and halflings. Each suit was a thin rubber-like material. At the neck of each was a wide metal hoop that they slipped their heads through.
Once the team was ready, they moved out onto the deck. There were ten of them in total, and they didn’t even pause to greet the captain. Instead, they moved to deploy the diving platform, a large, flat sheet of metal held up by thick chains that rested vertically against the side of the boat.
Once they had it horizontal, and set it down on the surface of the water, they gave a thumbs up to one of the dovah up above. That person began to lower the chains, the platform easily descending with its ten occupants. Thankfully, the stealth field also encompassed the platform, wrapping around it as they moved deeper and deeper into the water.
As soon as they were submerged, a bubble of air appeared around the heads of each of the divers, the enchantment on the suit activating immediately. They clenched their fists, staring out at all the sea life that swam by. Although they all knew about the stealth enchantment, there were only so many mages capable of channeling their mana into it on the ship. Once that mana ran dry, it was hard to say if they’d be able to make it back up in one piece.
However, the lower that they went, the more assured they were in the effectiveness of the spells in place. None of them were rookies when it came to adventure, as only people who had been well trained could properly survive on this floor. As such, they began to relax, their eyes drifting downwards.
The descent was a slow one, taking nearly a half hour before they felt the platform connecting with solid ground. By then, many of the other enchantments on the suit began to activate, creating glowing lights on their knees and elbows to help them see and find each other.
We’ve reached the floor. The team leader transmitted back to the surface, before sending another message to the rest of his team. Alright, everyone, you know what you’re looking for. The field only extends ten meters, so stick close and measure your steps.
At his command, the ten individuals dismounted the platform, their feet connecting with the ground and anchoring them to the bottom. Each step was slow, and they could feel the weight of the water pushing down on them. Yet, they persevered.
After a couple of steps in every direction, the divers would kneel down, brushing away the grime from the sea floor. Then, with the lights on their knees, they would be able to see if they had located the mineral.
Here, too! A pair of thoughts called out to the rest of the team, belonging to two of the crew who had gone off in similar directions. The rest of the team naturally converged on them to prepare for the actual excavation. The gloves of the diving suits all contained a storage enchantment, and they quickly retrieved the ki-powered drills from within them.
Up above the surface, the captain of the vessel was keeping a close eye on the diving team, his sight projected down to them with his own mana. He gave a satisfied nod when he saw them drilling into the stones and gathering them up one by one. “Alright, everyone, keep a close eye out! Don’t want anything getting in the way of this voyage. Jahon, call out when you need someone to take over!”
“Understood, Captain!” Jahon’s voice echoed out below the captain as he continued to steadily channel mana into the enchantment.
Looks like things are going well. I nodded to myself as I watched the mining operation. I had to admit, they did put a good deal of thought into their preparations. Each diving suit had two storage spaces. One held their tools and allowed them to store the minerals, while the other simply contained air for them to breathe, to ensure that they didn’t run into the same problem I had previously.
Dale. A voice spoke into my mind, catching me by surprise. What surprised me was that it wasn’t Leowynn, or Terra, or even Ryone or Aurivy. Rather, it was Irena that was contacting me.
Hey, is something the matter? Irena didn’t usually take the initiative to reach out to me unless something had gone wrong, so I couldn’t help but have my mind go to the worst case scenario.
Not… quite? She asked with a somewhat difficult tone. I wished to inform you that the Spirit Shaper class has, at last, been unlocked.
Spirit Shaper..? I thought to myself in confusion, before my eyes went wide. Oh, that! How long ago did I even get that? I had honestly forgotten that class existed. What took them so long to unlock it?
I believe the fault here lies with myself. When constructing the training regime for the underworld forces, I clearly differentiated the Reaper and Spirit Hunter classes and their uses. I apologize, but I think that this made them unable to properly meet the requirements to receive the class.
There’s nothing to be sorry for. I shook my head. Neither of us really anticipated that class back then. Anyways, what does that class do that makes it so special? Given that the other Advanced Classes all had their little gimmicks, I was quite curious what the Spirit Shaper was capable of.
I believe that the easiest comparison would be to call it a spiritual druid. They shape spiritual energy in much the same way that a druid does natural energy. However… other spirits are similarly composed of spiritual energy, so at later levels it is possible that they will be able to perform similar functions as a bard as well.
I felt a grimace draw across my face. Hopefully it won’t let them just destroy other spirits on a whim.
There was a moment of hesitation before Irena replied. I will keep a watch for such situations. That would be very unfortunate…
I gave a short nod at that, before a thought occurred to me. You like to play smaller roles in the world when you make an incarnation, right?
Her answer only indicated her confusion. That is… correct, usually. Though, it depends on the circumstances. I mostly prefer to just live a natural life, and handle things as they develop. Did you have something in mind?
Would you like to help me out with the final stage of the plan that I’m working on?
Her response was immediate, obviously having been given without much prior thought. Yes. However, after that she paused. But… your plan is already in motion. There is no time for me to create a new incarnation to assist you, is there?
I smiled slightly, shaking my head. The last stage is more long term. There will still be plenty of time. I’ll fill you in later, and let you know when you should create your incarnation.
Very well, I will be awaiting your word. And with that, our conversation came to a close, and I returned to my personal training.
Spirit Shapers, huh..? That was way back. Back before the boat trip, even before bringing back Ashley. It was no wonder that I had forgotten about them. Since they require the Reaper class, it won’t be something that I can do as a living being, but maybe later on…
Shifting my sight back towards the port, I checked on the construction of the smaller vessel. Although the main body of it seemed finished, it was still in the drydock. Within, I was able to see a few mages walking about, inspecting the boat and its enchantments. Sure enough, it seems that Hana and Ryner were heavily investing into this boat.
“Hey, Styx. Whatcha doing?” Rache’s voice spoke up next to me, and snapped me out of my little spying session. Glancing over, I saw her sitting next to me on the couch, with Thessa on the other side of her.
“Sorry, I was just taking a few minutes to check on everything.” I smiled apologetically, having lost track of time during the break from the broadcast. It seems that I had been caught, as Rache had her cheeks puffed out indignantly.
It took her a moment before she let out a long sigh. “Fine, fine. All part of the plan and such, right?” She asked, rolling her wrist a bit as she spoke. “Learn anything interesting, at least?”
“Well, I saw that the council seems to have fully accepted the dovah, using them in such an important mission as this. Does that count?”
Rache blinked her eyes a couple of times, and then let out a light laugh. “Oh, that’s no surprise. Dovah are born with naturally stronger bodies, so it doesn’t take as long for one of them to get trained up to a level where they can come to this floor. If I had to guess, they pulled in those dovah simply because they ran out of humans and halflings that they could turn to for the voyage. Probably a bunch of mages.”
Well… she wasn’t wrong, at least. “Please tell me that racial discrimination isn’t that bad here…”
“Well, it’s not terrible…” She said with a somewhat guilty face, her eyes glancing downwards. “Sis Bihena and I have done what we could. But, with the humans and halflings being born at the center of the world, they see themselves as… well, the center of the world. The further out a race is from the first floor, the less ‘loved’ they are by the world, or some nonsense.”
I couldn’t help but let out a sigh of my own at that. “I suppose that’s another thing that will have to be worked into my plan, then. Good thing I just signed Irena up to help, so she can try to take care of part of that later on…”
“Oooh, Irena’s coming?!” Rache’s face was suddenly filled with excitement. “I can’t wait to see what kind of incarnation she makes! Wait, no, if it’s her, I might not even be able to tell who she is if we were to pass on the street. Okay, new objective! I’ve got to figure out who Irena is without her telling me!”