While Ryone was working on her ideas for her new world, I decided to take it easy and relax for a few days. Between the Watcher that was still growing, Legion conquering the Citadel, or her preparations, that gave me some time before everything came together.
Crystal was breathing heavily as she walked with her party, her staff tapping against the floor with every step. For three days, they had spent almost their entire time within the Citadel, only logging out to eat, or stopping their progress to repair equipment.
Even their media liaison wasn’t able to keep up with them, having to swap out now and again. It was decided that their broadcast wouldn’t entirely be a live one, and that it would be released in several segments due to the sheer length of time they were spending. But that didn’t bother Legion.
No, what truly bothered them was how quiet everything had become… “Are you sure you’ve properly mapped the place?” Logain called back to Aiz, who nodded his head hastily.
“That’s right! I even had Leon double check.” He pointed to the tired-looking scribe. “Unless there are even more hidden passages, we should have explored every room of the dungeon by now!”
Logain wasn’t going to get mad at him for this. There were times when a special condition had to be met to clear a dungeon, or hidden passages existed that led towards the boss room. “Crystal, Jade, are either of you able to detect anything?”
Crystal shook her head, glancing towards Jade who had a thoughtful expression. Crystal may have been the expert when it came to applying magical theory or comprehending its structure, but Jade was undoubtedly the more ‘sensitive’ of the two. Feeling the gazes on her, Jade hesitated for a moment. “I think… we should go back to the throne room.” She spoke in a soft voice, clearly uncertain herself.
“Oi, what makes ya think that, lass?” Their priestess spoke up, glancing towards Jade out of the corner of her eyes. They had already checked the throne room again after clearing out the monsters, and hadn’t seen anything different.
“It’s just… there was a little shift in the flow of energy after our last fight. I think that the monsters we’ve been fighting have been holding bits of the structure’s energy. I thought I felt it earlier, when we went back to the throne room. But, I didn’t say anything… because it still felt incomplete…”
That made Logain pause. He didn’t know how much value he should place in these words, but at the same time… it would hurt nothing to follow through. Jade’s intuition had often led them to finding unexplored areas by reading the currents of magic.
However, it was Crystal that spoke up first, a light of realization flashing in her eyes. “The throne. You didn’t sit on it last time… Now that the energy has filled up, it might be waiting to interface with a new ‘master’.”
This was why Crystal and Jade made such a great team. Jade was able to find the little, hidden clues, helping Crystal understand the bigger picture. With her confirmation, Logain gave a strong nod, his steps turning to lead them towards the throne room once again.
Really, the only reason he hadn’t sat on the throne again was because he felt like he’d be making a fool of himself by doing so. Presuming to sit on the Keeper’s throne at every chance he got would likely make others look at him like a greedy lord, hungry for power. Only now that Jade and Crystal had both spoken up did it seem acceptable in his mind.
Without needing to worry about any patrolling monsters, the party quickly made their way back to the throne room. Everything looked the same as the first time they entered, the cracked stone bricks giving it the appearance that an ancient battle had rocked the citadel.
Logain glanced towards the others, before once again walking up towards the throne. As he did so, Crystal was focusing, feeling the energies that converged on this one room. Like she had guessed, the energies seemed to be tied directly into the throne itself. “Once you sit down, place your hands on the armrests, and lean back. Pulse your mana once to connect with the throne like you would a piece of equipment.”
Following her instructions, Logain did exactly as he was told, sitting back in the chair as if it truly was his throne. When his energy pulsed, he heard a voice in the back of his head, from his fairy. Do you wish to bind the Sky Citadel?
Logain’s eyes went wide as he heard that voice. Like Crystal had suggested, it was the same as when taking possession of a bindable item. The entirety of the Sky Citadel was treated as one giant item… He knew that if he did bind it to himself, it would be impossible for another to steal it. Only if he undid the bindings or suffered a true death would the citadel recognize another owner.
He glanced towards his party members, hesitant about taking this item for himself. Yes, he was the leader of the guild, but it still felt as if he were gaining everything while they took nothing. Inwardly, he spoke with his fairy. Is it possible to share the binding among multiple people?
It is not. The fairy answered simply. He hadn’t been expecting that it was, but was still hopeful. This was, after all, the very epitome of ‘special circumstances’. Eventually, Logain nodded his head, agreeing to the binding. Once he did, there was an eruption of energy, golden lights streaming out from the throne in long strands that connected to the walls of the throne room.
At the front of the room, opposite the throne and above the entryway, a large window appeared, a smaller one beneath it. Given the surprised reactions of his teammates, they were visible for all to see.
Structural Damage: 35%, initiating repairs. Estimated Time of Completion: 12 Hours.
Congratulations, player Logain for taking possession of the Sky Citadel. Base Admin rights have been granted.
When he saw the second window, his eyes widened. Immediately, he opened up the admin options for the base, and set ownership to be shared among Legion. This way, he might be the ‘true’ owner, but everyone present would receive their share of the citadel.
Once the Sky Citadel had been claimed, a world-wide message went out, announcing the success of Legion. Even though their broadcast had not caught up with their adventures, this gave everyone the confirmation that they had been waiting for. Confirmation that this floating palace had been claimed.
Outside the citadel, Beholder narrowed his eyes, floating just outside the barrier with the aid of large wings attached to his back. Naturally, other groups had wanted to enter the citadel to try to take it for themselves. Some even managed to break through the barrier, much like Crystal had done, with the use of special abilities.
When each group did so, they found that they each entered their own ‘instance’ of the Sky Citadel. This was one of the first instanced dungeons that were released within the game. In every situation, the result had been the same. It was a simple race, a race to the end. Whichever group came first would have the ‘true’ instance, while others would be banished outside.
Naturally, this meant that Beholder and his guild had failed to catch up to Legion’s progress. They didn’t have the extensive equipment options available to Legion, and were also of significantly lower level. Fighting the chaos beasts was only a fleeting fantasy for them.
“Everyone… pull back.” Beholder begrudgingly ordered, once again bringing the cloth up to cover his eyes, returning to his signature appearance. He couldn’t risk the chance that the base had the same offensive capabilities as the true Sky Citadel had demonstrated long ago, and turned to fly towards the horizon.
All around this flying fortress were groups with similar thoughts. Most flew away like Beholden, while others had different thoughts. Pulling out their own weapons, they seemed to have been waiting for this. Would it not be easier to take the base from a small group of people, as opposed to endless hordes of boss-level monsters?
And so, these daring people struck against the base’s shields. Those with the ability to bypass the shields entirely did so, leading their teams inside. It was a raid, with the citadel as the prize. These individuals naturally had no way to know that the base had become a bound item, or they would be forced to give up their thoughts of stealing it.
“Quick, get inside!” One group’s leader shouted out. He knew that Legion had displayed powerful area attacks before taking the citadel, so he wanted to enter the building itself to reduce their chance to display such might. “Once we get in, we can overwhelm them and take this for ourselves!”
The other groups that had made it past the barrier seemed to agree with that logic, storming towards the door. However, as they did so, the damaged wooden gates seemed to slam shut. A golden barrier then shrouded the gate, preventing others from touching it. Just as they were about to use their techniques to bypass this barrier as well, like they did the one outside, a hole was ripped open in the air to the side of the palace.
Stepping through the portal was a young woman with golden hair, a long, bushy tail swaying behind her. Her eyes were only half open as she looked towards the violent groups. Yet, what made them all pause was her attire, the frilly black and white outfit of a maid.
“I was asked to not interfere with the initial conquering of this dungeon.” She stated bluntly, her portal closing behind herself. “However, I will not tolerate those who seek to steal this palace from its owner. The Keeper’s palace is no place to hold your battles.”
Naturally, almost everyone was able to recognize this woman through her reputation. The Keeper’s personal servant, the slaughterer that had been challenging high ranking players. There was the chance that she was a fake, but the simple fact that she had penetrated the barrier so casually to stand in front of them gave credit to her authenticity.
The man who had first spoken out seemed to grit his teeth. “We were already planning to fight Legion. Why are we getting scared of one girl!?” As he said that, he was the first to charge, hefting his battle axe over his head. Bright, red flames surrounded the head of his axe as it came crashing down.
Despite the man’s bravado, he was a fairly low level player. He was merely seeking to play people against each other, scheming to be the ‘final winner’ when the dust cleared. Even this show of force was meant to incite others into joining during his battle.
“Pip.” Tsubaki spoke up, not even looking towards the axe falling towards her body. A blast of icy wind shot out from behind Tsubaki, converging on the attacker and blowing him to the side. A second Tsubaki then appeared… this one looking far smaller than the original, standing on the true Tsubaki’s shoulder. The only difference, aside from their size, was that the second figure had purely silver skin.
No means no! The small creature pointed angrily towards the man she had blown away, her voice being transmitted through the wind without her mouth moving.