Over the next week, I had continued my private training. There wasn’t much for me to do personally, and I was wanting to wait until I had read more of the books within the library before I took that final step. Thankfully… I did not need to properly study all of the information within the books, and was able to simply skim through them. So long as the knowledge existed in my mind, it would be usable when using my mirror clones.
Which meant… even though there were enough books to last a lifetime of studying within the library, it only took me a week to briefly glance through the ones that contained information I didn’t already know. Once that last book had been put back in its place, my martial spirit avatar faded away, returning to my own power. Rather than simply destroying the avatars, I learned that I could siphon their power back to myself instead.
So now, it was time to return to the Admin Room. When I came back… it would be time to finally complete the path of divinity.
“What’s going on?” Thelsa muttered to herself as she walked through the heavy storm. It had been hours since she had come to this floor with the Keeper. Merely minutes had passed before she was attacked by a phantasmal creature, yet now… it seemed as if life within this land were peaceful. “Maybe I’ve gotten too far from the center of the storm?” She asked, seemingly to no one in particular.
And yet, she still received an answer. A hissing tone that seemed to enter straight into her mind. I can’t feel any new presences… should I go back to sleep, now?
Thelsa thought about it for a moment, before nodding her head. It was already taking a decent amount of mana just maintaining the gravity spell to keep her anchored. Maintaining her shadow was another expenditure that she wasn’t sure she could afford at the moment.
With a breath of relief, her shadow seemed to dim just slightly, though it was hard to notice with how powerful the winds were blowing, brushing the grass violently behind her. In the corner of her sight, she caught a glimpse of something shining, flying like a bullet through the storm. Her head turned abruptly, and she was able to just barely find it again, before it flew out of sight.
An orb… she had managed to find an orb within a short few hours. Though… thinking about it a different way… if the orb was caught in the storm, it would be tossed all around the floor. The fact that it took so long meant that its path had finally intercepted her. And now, Thelsa was left with a choice. She did not have the spells to pull the orb back to her, yanking it out of the storm.
She could chase after it, and hope that she was able to catch up. She could even awaken her shadow again and have it chase the orb. But… the odds of her managing to catch it with either method were slim. It wasn’t impossible, but… it would take too much energy. If she spent too much mana chasing the orb, she’d lose her gravity spell, and be blown away with it.
Thelsa could only grit her teeth in frustration, moving on from where she had stopped. “Goddess Accalia, if you are listening… please allow me to find it once again.” It was impossible to tell which orb it was. Maybe it was another level boost? Maybe it was another of the ‘missing classes’...
Sure thing! An energetic voice spoke into Thelsa’s mind, making her eyes go wide and her feet stop once again. If it comes by your direction again, I’ll try to guide it to you.
“Wha…?” Thelsa glanced around, feeling like she had been pranked. “G...Goddess?”
That’s me! The voice spoke once again. Sorry, I know, you’re technically one of Ryone’s. But you’ve done a pretty big favor for all of us, so I thought answering one little prayer wouldn’t hurt.
Thelsa brought a hand up to massage her forehead, unsure how she should take any of this. She had heard the voice of Ryone before, answering her prayers at rare moments. In fact, it had been the voice of the Goddess that had started her on her path, helping her to find those individuals who truly deserved to be stolen from. And then there was Aurivy, who had called her to help the Keeper.
Yet, she never thought that another one would speak with her over such a whimsical prayer. And all because she was helping to maintain a church for them in Fyor? That was the only favor that Thelsa could immediately think of.
“T-thanks… I think?” Thelsa muttered, not sure what to think right now. Maybe the favor had been unlocking this floor for the Keeper, as well? That was the first time that she had ever seen him in person, and she was understandably nervous about being summoned before him. But it didn’t seem like a very big favor to her… She shook her head, dismissing those thoughts and focusing on keeping herself anchored to the ground.
The Council was starting to grow desperate. They knew that it was only a matter of time. The twentieth floor was being mapped out more and more with every passing day. Sooner or later, they would find the gate leading towards the twenty-first. To them, the best case scenario was that the twenty-first floor would have equally as hostile an environment as the twentieth.
However… if it turned out that the next floor possessed useful resources, their power would crumble even further. As it stood, their trade lines were maintained because of their control over the imports and exports of their territory. Many minerals were found within the twentieth floor, true, but the requirements to be able to mine them were for more stringent than, say, on the seventh.
Thanks to this, they were able to hold significant trade leverage over every floor, supplying them with the resources that they lacked in exchange for taking what they wanted. The only exceptions to this were the kingdoms of Nexus and Dawn… Dawn had experienced self-sufficiency for more than a generation, and no longer had to rely on the Council.
As for Nexus, that was an even easier answer. Why would they care about what the Council had to offer, when they controlled the connection to every other world? They could import as many resources as they wanted, and the Council couldn’t say a single thing about it.
But… what would happen if a new source appeared, within the world of Fyor? Beyond Dawn, where the Council’s influence was weaker? If they were able to set up their own stable system, likely with Dawn’s cooperation, they would be able to eat away at the Council’s power even further.
They knew that the Grinning Shade was to blame for all of this. But, no matter how they looked at it, she couldn’t have done what she did alone. She was able to break in and steal the orbs… but how did she know that they were there in the first place? Only a truly powerful mage, or a divine being, would be able to pierce their wards to find the orbs without knowing they were there in the first place.
With that in mind… what use was there in holding a grudge against the gods themselves? If the Council truly considered that the heavens were their enemies, then they would have no hope of recovery. Such, they could only identify a ‘powerful mage’ as their enemy.
With their enemy apparently clear in this feud, they just had to figure out what they could do. Waging a shadow war wasn’t possible, as any criminal contacts that they once had now cut off communication. Briefly, they began to believe that Dawn had somehow taken control of their criminal underworld, before they learned that it was the Grinning Shade herself that had caused this. Retribution for putting a bounty on her…
Even if Dawn didn’t cause this directly… they were still left in a bind. What good would increasing taxes on trade with a self-sufficient nation do? Dawn could easily just stop trading with them altogether.
Cut off the internet wires heading to that floor? Every floor also had a set leading out to Desbar. And they already learned that secret assassinations didn’t work.
Was there no choice but to launch an open war? Would such a thing really even be an option, given the strength of Dawn’s mages?
When I left my training… I was thoroughly annoyed… Annoyed at myself for waiting so long, and for the system for conditioning me to think that every transition would be incredibly difficult and painful. No, no… not all of them. I had only spent a couple hours to complete my training this time. Just two, simple hours of me banging my head against the wall after I realized how utterly simple it was to merge the divine body and the divine soul.
Maybe it had become simple due to me absorbing a bit of the information that I had skimmed through, letting me put the pieces together faster? I wasn’t sure, but what I knew was that I was completely pissed for waiting so long to do this, when I could have done so practically at any time.
Sure, sure, there were a few requirements. But, as far as I could tell, I met those long ago. Sighing, I sent everyone a warning that I was going to be cutting them off for a few minutes while I made another breakthrough. After that, I descended back to the citadel, going straight into my room.
Tsubaki was already back in the game, so there was no worry that I would be letting the information ‘leak’ to her at all. After having Leowynn leave to go watch her play the game, I laid down on my bed and closed my eyes.
When I had first started this, I imagined some grand, heavenly reveal to be waiting at the end of the path. When I gained the Perfect Soul, I wanted nothing more than to finally be able to finish, just so that I wouldn’t have to do it all again. Then, when I upgraded to the Divine Body, I had thought that there would be something even worse waiting for me at the end of the line.
As I thought about these things, I focused on myself. Currently, my Divine Body and Divine Soul were already partially linked, because I had built my body with the energy of my soul. However, this was only a thin tether.
Once I placed my mana, my mind, between these two ends of the link, I could feel it pulse, the link gradually growing stronger. At the same time, the divine energies of both sides were converting the mana, transforming it. So, I kept feeding it more mana, more and more.
The more I pushed in, the stronger the link grew, the more my soul and body became joined as one. There was a slight tinge of pain, but nothing like what I had experienced during any of the previous transitions. This was simply at the level of a mana depletion headache.
And once that mana was entirely depleted… everything froze. The link had been set, the divine energies of my body and soul flooding my mind, filling every aspect of my being.
A natural divinity has been born! Please select which Domain you wish to bestow upon the new deity, Dale Mitchell!
Mirrors. I focused on that answer without a second thought, having been building towards that concept specifically.
Congratulations! You have earned an achievement!
For cultivating your divinity to the peak, you have earned the God of Mirrors achievement! +15 Intelligence, Special Title: God of Mirrors unlocked!
Congratulations! You have earned an achievement!
For having your first non-system deity arise within your world, you have earned the Godmaker achievement! +50 points
One achievement from the world, and one from the Keeper system itself? I nodded inwardly, checking the details of the ‘special title’.
God of Mirrors
Permanent: Control of the Mirrors godly domain.
And… that was it. No descending golden lights from the sky, no wrath of the heavens fighting back against the birth of a new god… Just pump mana into it… Why do I feel ripped off?