A week had passed, and the floor had become… more lively than I had even expected. The highest level individuals of Fyor were coming out of the woodwork, even if they didn’t qualify as a ‘Maxer’. People of every field walked through the gate, creating an almost endless stream.
Already, the few cities created in the Great Blue were so crowded that they had to expand. When these individuals learned about the new items that had been found, they all shared a similar thought. Everyone wanted a piece of this new business, whether it was to get the stones for free with their own work, or to be the first to sell them.
Now, naturally the Council had tried to keep quiet about the power stones at the very least, as they were the largest source of the crazy. However, it is quite difficult to keep information confidential when there is a playful halfling goddess willing to answer prayers. It seemed like the information about that stone had come directly from the church, which only drove people to arrive even more quickly.
The port of the main city was filled with the frames of ships in the progress of being made. Meanwhile, I sat comfortable within the living room of my island home, breathing out a sigh of relief. Alright, finally time. Rivy, mind sending me over?
As I stood up, a golden mist surrounded me, rising up from my feet until it had completely engulfed my body. When it dispersed, I was basked in a warm blue glow. A familiar voice spoke up beside me while I looked at the massive crystal pillar. “Want some extra firepower, or do you think you can handle this?” Rache asked with a wide smile.
I turned my head, looking at the far distant cities just on the horizon, and shook my head. “I think I can handle this.” As I said that, I began unsealing all of my classes, but once again hiding them within my soul crystal. The physical strength of my body skyrocketed until I was at my full Keeper level.
Before me was a giant pillar of blue crystal which connected the sky and the sea. Just like those found at every floor, this is what controlled the day and the night for the Great Blue. It allowed the function of the gates that led between floors. And I was going to smash it.
Ryone, mind if I borrow your book for a moment? I asked, holding a hand out to my side. A moment later, a golden book materialized in my hand, causing me to smile. In order to entirely smash this thing, I had to use the single biggest type of attack available to me.
“I am the one who stands above the heavens.” I began to speak out, tapping into the book to begin creating a spell diagram above my head, over a hundred meters wide. “My word is the law of the universe. Gather, shards of stone and flame. Arise from your elemental rest. Erase the world within your path with baleful conflagration. Darken the skies once more, that they never forget your brilliance.”
There was a low cracking noise from above me as large sections of the artificial ceiling broke loose, falling down and into the spell diagram. They gathered within its center, fusing together to create one giant stone that filled the entire length of the diagram. And then, a black fire arose along the meteor.
“For this world’s growth, the structure before me must fall. So descend, the wrath of the heavens unknown to this world, and offer true destruction.” The flaming rock rose into the sky, and began to spin violently. Moments later, it shot down in front of me, crashing against the pillar of crystallized mana.
There was an explosion of light, and the world went dark. Shards of glowing blue gems flew in every direction before evaporating into the air, the meteor crashing down through the entirety of the pillar, until finally it reached the water. A loud sizzling could be heard as the water rushed in to quell the fire, while the fire fought to vaporize the water.
Inevitably, the water won the fight in the end, but by then the damage was done. The only portions of the pillar that remained were either below the water’s surface, or the cracked sections dangling from the ceiling above. And without the pillar, there would be no light. No interference or travel from any floor.
For the first time in Fyor’s history, it was time for a true Dark Age. Thessa, be a dear and smash the boat, would you? I whispered to her mentally, feeling the thick mana rushing into the atmosphere after the destruction of the pillar. However, it only made me smile, already choosing to ascend to the Admin Room. Irena, it’s time.
“What’s going on?” Hana called out in shock, looking to the sky. “Night’s not supposed to fall for a few hours yet.” All around her, people were sharing similar thoughts, unknowing of the disaster that had struck the mana pillar.
“The gate’s stopped!” Someone cried. “It won’t open!” When Hana looked over, she saw the black gate, basked in the warm glow of the city’s street lights. A halfling man had fallen onto the floor in front of it, apparently having tried to walk through only to find himself impacting a solid wall.
Hana furrowed her brown, a heavy frown falling over her face. She turned, making her way back towards Geoff’s home to find her husband. “Ryner!” She called out into the darkness, before the smell hit her. Blood, thick and heavy in the air. And a sound…
She moved towards the sound, identifying it as the soft humming of a young girl. She recognized the tune, one that children from Earth often sang. A morbid song, by her recollection.
When she arrived at the bedroom that her and her husband had been staying at, she retreated a step with a startled gasp. Both her husband and Geoff were collapsed on the floor, their heads torn from their bodies and placed a few feet away. Sitting on the bed, her hands dripping with blood, was a halfling figure, hair as black as the night that had fallen over the city. Her eyes practically glowed as they stared at Hana while her lips curved up in a feral grin.
“Scatter, scatter, she’ll take away the pain~.” The figure sang, before reaching her arm out. Before Hana had the chance to react, that thin arm had stretched out, crossing several meters to wrap around her throat, and yanked her back into the room as she screamed. “There there, I’ll make it quick~.”
“B-but you’re-!” Hana’s eyes went wide once again as she identified the last face she’d ever see. She felt a brief pain in her chest, before her eyes went blank.
Thessa stayed seated on the bed, her arm piercing through Hana’s chest, holding her heart out behind the human’s back. “This is what happens to people that want to kill my Dale.” She whispered into the ear of the dead woman, as if speaking to her soul. “No second chances.”
Thessa’s ki receded, and instead a silver light wrapped around her body, which spread out and engulfed the three dead figures in the room. A thin mist rose up from the bodies, before being drawn in to Thessa’s body.
The halfling gave a small sigh once she had finished destroying the spirits of the three. Afterwards, her arms flashed with ki, the blood stained on her skin falling off as if it was never there. She dropped Hana’s body to the ground with a sickening thud, and began humming to herself once again as she walked out of the house.
Once I got to the Admin Room, I found Irena already waiting for me in my bedroom. She gave a small nod to my appearance, waiting for me to explain my plan to her as promised.
“Okay, here’s how it is.” I began, sitting down in my computer chair and turning it to face her. “On Fyor, everyone has grown to rely on a single group. Just one government to manage the entire world, due to their occupation of the first floor. Normally, I’d be all for that. Having a unified world would be great.”
Glancing back towards the map of the world, I gave a small shrug. “But it can’t work. Not in our situation. Sooner or later, there will be an invasion where the crystal pillars are destroyed. Or, maybe it won’t even be an invasion. It could simply be a monster that attacks them, trying to consume the mana within.”
“If that happens, that floor and every floor beyond it will be cut off from the Council. They’ll have no access to the government that has been guiding them all their lives. So we have to break them of this reliance.”
“Unfortunately, new ideas like this aren’t so easy to enact in the minds of people who have built a culture that contradicts that idea. They’d think about it, but ultimately would fall back to their normal habits before long. For this plan, I have to make that no longer an option. At the same time, I needed as many of the highest leveled people in the world to gather at the Great Blue as possible, to ensure that they had enough to thrive.”
Irena simply gave another nod, and so I continued to explain. “The crystal pillar will regenerate eventually. But by that time, I want the Great Blue to have its own government. If it recovers too quickly, I’ll go and smash it again, planting in their minds the image of a great villain that is cutting them off from the rest of the world.”
“And for my part in this, you wish for me to create an incarnation to help guide the world down that path?” Irena asked curiously once I had finished.
“Right. And… I’d like you to work on easing the racial discrimination against the dovah and other races. I don’t expect you to be able to totally correct it, but it’d be nice if they were treated a bit better under this new government.”
Irena fell silent for a few moments at that, seeming to ponder it over. Her wings twitched behind her before she raised her head to look at me. “Okay, I think I can handle that.”
As she turned to leave, I let loose a soft sigh, leaning back in my chair. So… Terra, how long WILL it take for the pillar to fully regenerate?
Assuming that nobody finds it, and realizes that they can use their mana to speed up the process… roughly two hundred and fifteen years. Give or take for local mana conditions.
Two hundred years of darkness, huh? More if they somehow don’t manage to get together and work out a system by then. Thankfully, this gave me plenty of time to worry about other things. Things such as my next opponent in the Keeper game.
Looking at the system window, I let out a small groan when I saw that my next round would be a defense, rather than attacking. That meant that it couldn’t just be an easy pass. Instead, I had to find out some information about my attacker, in order to properly prepare.
I sent off a contact request to Balu, and would simply have to wait until she got to her Admin Room to check her messages. Given that she ran a cultivation world, I imagined everything must go a bit more slowly for her. If she didn’t respond within the next couple days, I’d simply contact Grimor instead.
Just as I was about to stand up to go and spend some time with the others in the living room, I found a weight pressing down on my lap. Blinking in surprise, I found Terra materializing out of a cloud of smoke, nuzzling against my chest. I couldn’t help but laugh, shaking my head. “Well, hey there. Was just thinking of going to find you.”
“Beat ya to it.” She teased softly, her tail wrapping around my wrist gently. “Thanks for letting me be part of your plan. Was nice getting to stretch my legs again and help out with stuff. Even if I can’t do quite as much with an incarnation as I’d like.”
“Seemed that you did just fine to me.” I said with a small smile, leaning down to kiss the top of her head. “Thanks for the help.”