Looking away from Fyor, I decided to review the rest of the territories within my domain. Most notably, there were the changes taking place within the realms that the demons had visited. So far, it looked like they had expanded to six worlds. During that time, Aurivy had been expanding dungeon networks within each of the world, so as to give us a better idea of the layout.
I gave a brief mental apology that she wouldn’t be able to keep doing this so easily in the future now that dungeons no longer triggered a mana storm. Because of that, it would take far longer for their territories to grow. Though, a part of me hoped that they would still be able to feed off of the ambient mana that now permeated the air to do so at a faster rate than before.
Now, as for those six worlds of the demons. Actually, four of them were fairly normal. They had no game systems to speak of, so that caused their inhabitants to become far weaker naturally than those of the ‘primary worlds’. Not just physically, but even mentally they were at a disadvantage, unless they went to a primary world to train and level up.
As for the two different worlds… They didn’t really have a system themselves, but there were other strange things about them. Things that made them seem far from ordinary. For the first one, I noticed that the planet had a natural magic effect permeating the area. A passive healing field that increased the natural healing of anything on that world.
This world had naturally become popular among the demons, as they could use this effect to help treat patients. Just from a quick glance through, I could see that most of its inhabitants were either doctors of some sort, or those in need of such aid. Each city within the world had a large hospital, fully equipped with both technological and magical healing devices.
The other world, however, had another effect. This one seemed strengthen the effects of energies such as ki, mana, or even natural energy. Like how the previous world had specialized in medicine, this one seemed to specialize in magical research.
Part of me wanted to buy this new world, to include it with the ones I’ve purchased. However, to do so would be to include it as one of my ‘assets’, and make it a part of my world’s strength. From what I had gathered, these extra worlds do not directly contribute to my overall level as a Keeper unless I purchase them. And a world that naturally strengthened supernatural energies… that did not seem like a weak world.
After looking through the demons’ new worlds, I turned my sight back towards the others. Earth might not have changed all that drastically over the last few years that I had skipped, but there was one area in particular that I hadn’t paid attention to in a while. I hadn’t even thought about them recently, until Rache brought them up during my stay in the Great Blue.
“We’re almost back home.” A young felyn man spoke out emotionally as he walked into a large forest, walking alongside a middle-aged woman of the same race. Both had fiery red hair and green eyes, and the two of them looked quite similar to one another.
If there was a major difference to be found, it was in their attire. The young man wore brown pants and a loose-fitting green shirt, having a longbow strapped to his back. Oddly, he didn’t seem to carry a quiver on him, making the bow feel more symbolic on his person than anything else.
The woman, on the other hand, was dressed in a long black and white dress. There were white frills along the hem of the dress, the sleeves, and the collar which was cut into a low V. She followed half a step behind the younger man as they entered the forest, nodding slightly at his words.
“Looking forward to finally getting back?” He asked playfully, looking over towards her. It had been many years since he had left the village, but now that he had completed his mission it felt good to finally go home.
“Of course, master.” The woman said with a small smile, nodding her head again. Her ears twitched as she spoke, indicating that she was, indeed, happy to return as well.
However, her words caused the young man to groan. “I’ve told you, mom. You don’t have to call me that. You can just call me by my name in private.”
“Of course, master Brent.” She said again, her smile becoming just a touch more playful. “However, we’re not entirely in private.”
Her words caused Brent’s ears to perk up. He knew better than to doubt his mother’s intuition. Immediately, he began focusing, using his mana to scan the area nearby. It was faint, but he felt a trace of chakra, causing him to let out a sigh of relief. “Looks like we’re closer than I thought.”
Brent was the son of a local lord to the ninjas, the child of him and his Servant. There were those who considered inducting Brent to become a Servant as well, of course. However, the lord refused them, demanding the right to raise his own son.
As such, Brent grew up in a wealthy household, or what qualified as wealthy to them. He never had to worry about food or comfort, and could often go out to play with the other children in town. What made someone a lord wasn’t strictly wealth, but the contributions that they make towards the village. Sometimes, this meant that they worked to defend the village from attacks, while other times one could become a lord through retrieving new knowledge from the outside world.
The title of a lord is a double edged sword among the ninjas. They are not granted a territory as reward for their service, nor any substantial wealth. Instead, they are granted a Servant. If they so wish, their Servant can be put to work to help them make an easy living, but lords who do such a thing are frowned upon by their peers.
Like Brent’s father before him, he had set out at a young age with the help of his father’s Servant. There were no urgent threats against the village that would require the aid of a young fighter, so the only way for him to earn his own lordship would be the hard way. He had to provide information or an artifact worthy of the title he wanted.
“Are you sure that this will be enough, though?” There was a tinge of worry to Brent’s voice as they walked deeper into the forest, now aware of the scouts that had spotted the two of them. The information that they had brought back was indeed valuable. However, he wasn’t sure whether it was truly enough to earn his lordship, given that it was a bit dated.
“It will be fine, master.” His mother spoke in a comforting tone. He had to believe that she was right. If he failed to contribute with this, he would have to once again go out to the outside. Only this time, he’d have to do so alone.
He gave a small nod, straightening his back as he walked forward. Only once they had vanished behind the treeline did he stop hiding his trained ability, hopping several meters into the air to land on a nearby branch. He began running along, from tree to tree as he made his way back towards the village he was born in.
Soon, the trees seemed to open up in front of him as he reached a clearing. Wide branches warped in odd patterns to form an outer circle. Down below, he could see a series of wooden houses, and hear the sounds of children playing. Above, there were openings in the sides of various trees, the homes of the trained ninjas.
This was the residential area, a place he knew all too well. The thought brought a smile to his face as he turned to regard his mother. “Could you go let the elder know we’re back?”
“Of course, master.” She bowed politely, before her figure abruptly vanished from where she had been standing. Rather than following her, he simply chose to sit on the branch he had walked in on. He knew that it wouldn’t take long before there was a response. Matters of lordship were naturally treated as a high priority.
Sure enough, he only had to wait for a few minutes before he felt the branch sink just slightly under the arrival of new weight. His mother had returned, and with her was an elderly lycan man, his once black hair now a faded grey. His outfit was a loose fitting black robe, a white sash tying it around his waist and a similarly white undershirt visible beneath the robe.
His wrinkled face glanced over Brent. “It’s been a while, young sir.” He spoke with a small smile. “I take it that your return means that you have found something?”
Brent simply gave a nod. “I did, sir, yes.” Slowly, he stood up, offering a respectful bow towards the senior. “I have learned of some new materials found within one of the neighbor worlds. Materials that could be of assistance to the village, should they be acquired.”
“Oh?” He raised an eyebrow in thought. “Are you referring to those Void Concealing Stones of Fyor? I believe word was spreading of their appearance around the time you had left. However, their origin has been sealed, so we can’t access them.”
“No, sir, I refer to different materials.” He shook his head to deny the elder’s suspicion. “Also, I discovered that there were two other materials discovered in that same sealed region. One is a stone that produces water, and the other one that holds mana.”
“Holds mana?” That drew the elder’s interest, as such a thing was indeed valuable for the ninjas. “A shame it was lost, then.”
“On the contrary, sir.” Brent smiled mischievously. “This material was not isolated to the now-sealed region. Fyor’s Council hired several groups to begin examining the resources of their other regions. Recently, another vein of it was found.”
Before the elder could speak up and interrupt him, Brent continued. “However, this is not the material I came to make my report about. In the same region, the Council group located a new metal. They’ve only recently come to label it as Intercite. Initially, it was analyzed as being a metal with a high conductivity for both mana and ki. However…”
“Don’t play with your words now, boy.” The elder scolded, becoming anxious for this news, as he could guess what was coming next.
Brent gave a small chuckle, nodding his head. “Intercite is incredibly receptive to chakra. It can be used to store it, and easily allows it to be channeled through the material.”
The man brought his hand out, the bow on his back briefly flashing. A light, silver chunk of metal appeared in his palm, with wavy blue and yellow veins running along its surface. “I managed to acquire a sample of it from a trader.”
The elder slowly reached one of his frail-looking hands out, taking hold of the silver chunk. “Good, very good. I’ll need to send this to the researchers. But if it is as you say, and we are able to acquire more of it, I believe you can count this mission as a success.”
Brent let out a relieved sigh when he heard that. He had been worried that another party might have revealed the information to the village already, before he had the chance to do so. Had that been the case, his discovery would have been wasted.
Thankfully, he and his mother were fairly ‘weak’ by the ninja village standards, even if she was a Servant. She was by no means the best of her year, and had little excuse to train after entering his father’s service. Due to that, she was fortunate enough to still be beneath the level limit of Fyor’s gates.
That was why he had chosen Fyor, a place where most who left the ninja village were simply too strong to explore. With his unique circumstances, he was sure that he could eventually find something worthwhile there. It was just a matter of time.