After watching the final battle with the water cultivator, I felt like I began to understand more about the cultivation system. Yes, I could study it as much as I wanted with the information globe, but seeing it myself was something else entirely. When I studied the knowledge that the system had given, I likened the constellations to ki paths, but the truth was something else entirely.
Now that I had watched the battle of a Constellation-stage cultivator, I knew better. Each star represented its own ‘insight’. Not just the all-encompassing law of water, but the little things. Rain, mists, blood, the sea, all of these things could be cultivated by a ‘water’ cultivator. Then, they were able to arrange this insight in order to form an image. Their ki passed through each star, adopting the traits of the insights in order to create a larger technique.
That’s how he was able to cause his own blood to explode into a river that eroded that creature. He simply had to create the proper image, and know which order to put the stars in. Though there may still be more to the system that I wasn’t understanding, it did make me think.
Will this really be something good to combine with Earth and the other worlds? While the cultivation system itself was certainly not a negative by any means, it… vastly differed from the ki growth used by my normal worlds. There were too many possibilities, too many things that could go wrong if I performed a law merger. Terra.
Hmm? She responded to my call immediately. Something on your mind? You’ve been calling me more and more lately.
I couldn’t help but chuckle at that. Well, I’ve been encountering more and more new things lately. When something big comes up, and I don’t know how terrifying the consequences could be of not knowing about it, who else should I turn to?
Good point. So, what’s up?
Lorek. If I performed a Law Merger between it and Earth, how would that affect their systems? And what would happen to Lorek if I connected them without merging? I knew that she wouldn’t be able to tell me everything, but she should at least be able to give me enough that I would be able to think about it.
Well, without breaking any rules… the cultivation system would overlap with what you currently have on Earth. Not really replace it, but… it’s really hard to explain without saying too much, sorry. Monks could still do monk things on both worlds. She seemed a bit frustrated as she tried to put her thoughts into… well, thoughts directed towards me.
As for if you don’t do the merge… I did tell you that people would keep their stats gained from other classes between Fyor and Earth if you didn’t do that merge. Something similar would happen here. They would be able to maintain their cultivation, but only in the ways that it passively benefited their bodies.
I gave a small nod, silently thanking her for the information. Thankfully, it wasn’t time to merge the two worlds yet, so there was still plenty to consider. Idly, I gave a glance towards the time remaining before I was invaded, and saw that there were just over a hundred and one days left… Wait, that means a Keeper meeting will be happening soon, right?
I had lost track of time while down within Fyor, and had completely forgotten about the regular monthly meeting. Normally, Alkahest would have called me to remind me, but maybe he was busy trying to take care of his own affairs? Or, maybe I had ‘graduated’ from being someone that he had to reach out to every month, and he was letting me decide whether or not I was going to attend on my own.
Either way, I wasn’t particularly sure whether or not I wanted to attend this month’s meeting anyways. I still had a couple thousand points saved up, probably more if I were to look into the savings of the other worlds and withdraw them, so I wasn’t really lacking in that regard. I could go just to socialize, but I didn’t really feel all that inclined to do so just yet.
Remembering that socializing was actually a thing you could do with other Keepers, I smiled in self-deprecation, opening up the guild chat. Ever since I had joined the guild, I had only looked at the chat a couple of times. It was hard to really think of myself as part of a guild if I never interacted with them.
EverLasting: Hey, Dale’s back!
EarthForceOne: Just the two of you on right now?
I gave a small smile as I looked at the chat. Although the guild was small, and that made it more like a collection of friends than anything official… the nature of being a Keeper did mean that it ended up with most of us busy whenever anyone else was free.
EverLasting: Yeah, Gato was just asking a question to help with his world. I think everyone else is off doing their own things?
Meatlover: Guild leader, I request that you refer to me by my given title. Use of true identities is a common cause for misunderstandings during Keeper conversations.
EverLasting: Heheh, sorry. Anyways, yeah, that’s what’s happening here. What about you?
EarthForceOne: Just got done with something on my world, and noticed the time. Are you planning on attending the monthly meeting?
There was a brief pause after I asked my question, and I wasn’t sure if she was thinking about it herself, or calling up the other guild members to ask their opinions. Either way, it took her a few minutes before she said anything else, and Meatlover didn’t seem inclined to interject in the conversation.
EverLasting: Nah, I think I’ll sit this one out. The point rewards don’t really interest me that much, and we’ve already got enough people in the guild for me to be happy now. Why, you thinking about attending?
EarthForceOne: Well, it was either that, or figure something else out to do with my time. Still sore internally from a bit of soul-wrenching training recently, so not all that eager for the next round yet.
EverLasting: Oh! Why don’t you visit my place? I bet you’ve never seen a higher ranked Keeper’s worlds, have you?
EarthForceOne: Isn’t that… risky? I mean, you’d be showing off your secrets to another Keeper.
I had to admit, I was interested in her offer. Seeing the level of power that could be found in the fourth rank would give me some clue to the power scaling in the system. It might not be a big clue, but it would be something. Plus, it would let me get a look at how other Keepers ran their own worlds.
EverLasting: Well, yeah, but you’re a guildmate. It’s not like you have anything to gain by stabbing me in the back. And even if you tried… no offense, but I’m not really scared of a first rank Keeper. The worst that you could do would be sell my information to the Gilded Branch, but all they’d really use it for was to tell people that I was peaceful.
EarthForceOne: Alright… Sure. Is it okay if I bring a companion?
EverLasting: Sure! Bring as many as you’d like! This isn’t a fancy meeting with lots of rules. You’re just coming here to hang out and take a look at things. The more, the merrier! But… I’ll only be letting you see my worlds. Last thing either of us need is one of your gods getting ideas from a fourth rank world, and suddenly you jump up in rankings before you realize what happened.
EarthForceOne: I’ll keep that in mind. Give me just a minute to ask if anyone wants to join me.
After leaving that message, I leaned back in my chair, closing my eyes and calling out to the pantheon. Anyone interested in visiting another Keeper’s world with me for a little while? We probably won’t be there long, but I thought it’d be nice to get out there and meet them.
Ooh, me! Pick me! Aurivy suddenly called out. You can pause the worlds so that our incarnations don’t get in trouble while we’re gone, right? I wanna meet them!
As I gave a small chuckle, I received requests to tag along from two other people as well. One was from Ryone, who I was not at all surprised wanted to join, while the other came from Keliope. Now she… she I wasn’t expecting. Still, the invitation was open to anyone that wanted it.
As I waited to see if anyone else was going to join, a pink blur flew into my room, tackling my lap and causing my computer chair to rock back. Aurivy sat there, hugging me and leaning her head against my chest. “We’re going to meet a new Keeper?” She asked, slowly lifting her head to stare at me with wide eyes. “This one of the ones from your new guild?”
I gave a small nod at that, and her expression seemed to brighten. “Great! I wonder what kind of companions they have… Does a high ranking Keeper have more gods, or do they start to handle everything themselves?”
I wasn’t quite sure how to answer her question. I mean, even if I was able to, I’d rather not deal with all the responsibilities of being a god myself. Having that many voices speaking into my mind at once sounded like a nightmare. If anything, I’d want to make more gods to relieve the burdens on the ones already present.
“Everyone ready?” Ryone asked softly as she walked into the room, giving a gentle smile. However, as she glanced towards myself and Aurivy, she gave a small nod. “Ah, I see we’re still missing one.”
“Coming through!” A voice called out from behind Ryone, causing her to yelp and jump to the side reflexively. The dark skinned form of the ursa goddess Keliope barrelled into the room. “Did I miss it?! Am I too late for the party?!” She didn’t even take the time to look around before asking, giving out a sigh of relief when she saw that both myself and Aurivy were still there.
“Alright, let’s do this!” She grinned widely, pumping her fists together. I rolled my eyes, turning back to the computer with Aurivy in my lap, and let EverLasting know that I was ready. Almost immediately, I received the invitation from the system, asking if I wanted to visit her Admin Room.
Naturally, I accepted, willing the three goddesses to join me. I could feel Aurivy tensing up against me, clearly anxious about whatever transport method we were going to receive.
“Hey, uh… you gonna eat that?” A muffled voice spoke up in the room, causing the four of us to blink in confusion. It was clearly not a voice that we had heard before, but it sounded so close. In fact, I found Ryone and Keliope staring straight at me, their faces slowly growing pale.
When I turned around, I saw that my computer chair had sprouted large eyes on the top of its seat, a long vertical mouth beneath it. Its eyes were fixated on Aurivy, who looked aghast at the creature. “No? Well… dibs!” Suddenly, its mouth expanded, seeming to become the whole of the chair itself.
Aurivy let out a scream as we fell into the rows of teeth, and I am not ashamed that I was screaming right there with her. From within, we even saw the chair chasing down Ryone, swallowing her in one similar bite. Keliope struggled, fighting back against the demonic furniture. She even managed to get a few good hits in, before it caught her fist in its mouth and gave a violent tug.
The last thing we heard as the mouth was closing was a loud burp, before light was once again returned to us. Now, the four of us were suddenly launched into the air, our bodies covered with spit before we descended, this time onto a soft mattress.
I was frozen in shock. In my time as a Keeper, this was not the first time that I had been eaten as a mode of transportation, and then regurgitated. The first time had been to a land shark… but now my own chair? Is nothing sacred?!