“Dale… did you have to make something so showy?” Irena asked me with an almost pained sight after I went back into her home. What? I’m rather proud of it! Thankfully, this worked to finish my old quest to put Terra’s image into the world, though I currently didn’t qualify for the priest class, due to it not being available for the daeva and spirits.
“What’s the matter with it?” I asked curiously, watching as she lowered the giant black wall around the building.
“Nothing, really… But why did you arrange them like that? Doesn’t it look a bit… I don’t know what to call it…” Irena had her eyes directed outside still, and I knew she was looking in the direction of the new monument.
“Hmm? I thought it made the most sense. I mean, all of the gods should have an equal standing, in order for nobody to be prejudiced. And with them arranged in a circle around the pillar, it shows that they can watch over the entire world.”
“I see…” She merely sighed, reluctantly accepting my explanation. I wasn’t sure why, but she still had a somewhat conflicted look on her face. “Is there anything else you wanted to do while you were here?”
I thought about that for a few moments, and then nodded. “There’s not much I want to do while here, but I’d like to ask you a few questions, make sure I understand how the afterlife is being run.”
Irena nodded, leading me back towards the bedroom. “Ask away, then.”
“Alright… First, I guess this has been bothering me a little bit, but how do you handle families here? I mean, often only one or two members of a family die at a time, so it’d be easy for them to get separated here.”
Irena glanced at me for a moment before providing her answer. “That is a… complicated subject, and one I am not entirely equipped to handle. My powers do not currently extend to being able to read everyone’s family ties. If they don’t die together, I imagine that many families are separated upon arrival. In the case where a family is strictly needed, such as for a child waiting for their rebirth, I have a council that puts them with families that will care for them.”
I nodded my head at that. With the number of children dying every day, it’d be hard for Irena to personally find homes for every one of them. “Then, what about monsters? Surely they are still a problem after coming here?”
Her brows furrowed a bit at that question, as it seemed to be a touchy subject. “Yes, they are. Many of them try to attack as soon as they are brought to the afterlife. I have considered splitting the afterlife to allow a land for the monsters to exclusively roam, that way the sapient beings do not have to fear them.”
“Are… you able to do that?” I looked to the goddess in mild surprise. Something like splitting the entire afterlife, which was essentially a whole world, seemed like something that only a Keeper should be able to do.
“I… think it’s possible. You made this entire realm my domain, so I feel as if I am able to do anything here. Though, I do believe that I have limits. For instance, I can’t look into the minds of any of the daeva or spirits. I can look into what they were doing immediately before death, but aside from that I am left to my own devices. Upon arriving, they have a mark on their soul that shows how evil or good they had been in life, but I believe that is a feature you put into the afterlife itself, not one of my powers.”
I nodded my head slightly. That did fit with what I had described this afterlife as to the system. Maybe I should add in more systems to support it? Something like a karma or alignment system. Stuff like that should already be readily available on the market,
“Is there anything else you wanted to ask?” Irena’s question snapped me out of my thoughts.
“Huh? Oh, well. I guess there’s one thing. Is there anything you’d like me to do to make the management of the afterlife a bit easier for you?”
Irena looked at me in shock at that, and then sank deep into thought as we arrived at the bedroom. “I think most of my problems will be solved after society advances a bit more. However, do I have your permission to isolate the monster spirits in a separate section of the underworld?”
I blinked rapidly, turning my head to look at her. “Why are you asking me for permission? This is your domain, as you said.”
The daeva goddess smiled slightly. “True, but this is a decision that will affect the course of history. It is not something I can arbitrarily decide on my own.”
What, so only I am allowed to make arbitrary decisions like that? I sighed inwardly. “Sure, go ahead. It should make things easier for you here.” I nodded my head, and Irena smiled, closing her eyes.
Throughout the underworld, several villages had been set up. Though none rivaled the size and population of the capital city, where the Goddess herself resided, they were by no means unpopulated. However, they were also more prone to attacks from the monster spirits who held no regard for the Goddess’s rule.
Every village raised people of great fighting ability in order to defend their village. This was because, if a monster spirit got ahold of you, they would eat that spirit, consuming its life force to become stronger. Although the Goddess would personally intervene if a particular monster became too powerful, many villages were left to themselves.
That was, until one day, when many of the villages had been attacked by the standard hordes. However, this time, before any real damage had been done, the monsters seemed to vanish from existence, fading into the mists surrounding the village. Moments later, some of the furthest villages from the capital noticed a truly remarkable sight.
A giant palm came down, turned to the side as if chopping through the air. Where it passed, the grey mist ripped apart. When that hand struck the ground, the land shook. Afterwards, when the hand faded away, it seemed as if there was no longer anything beyond where it had struck. No monsters, no grey mist, nothing. The afterlife was safe, or so it would seem.
On the other side of the fence, the monsters scurried back away from that hand, which had cut them off from their primary food source. Some who had devoured various spirits had gained a semblance of intelligence, and then turned their hunger towards other monsters. Seeing this, more of the lesser monsters followed this example, and the monster’s side of the afterlife became a hellish pit of constant fighting.
After a moment, Irena opened her eyes. “Alright, it’s done now. I’ll still encourage training for the future missions, though hopefully it won’t be such an issue of safety anymore.”
I nodded, smiling to her. “Good, that should make things easier for you, I hope. If you need anything else, just let me know.”
Irena nodded her head. “So, I take it that you are going to head back to the Admin Room now?” When I confirmed that I was, she let out a sigh, but moved to stand in front of me. “Alright, just remember, if you ever want to visit…”
I couldn’t help but chuckle. “Yeah, I’ll come visit now and then. I want to see how things are going around here, and I think maybe I haven’t been doing enough of that lately.”
The goddess smiled, leaning forward to give me a kiss on the lips before quickly stepped back. “See you around, Dale.” I was caught off-guard momentarily by the kiss, having not expected one, but by the time I recovered I was already back in the Admin Room.
I let out a helpless sigh, thinking about what had just happened. Okay… time to talk with Aurivy. I thought, moving through the Admin Room to find her. I didn’t both changing back to my human body yet, but it’s not like nobody here would recognize me. I mean, there are only three men with access to the Admin Room. One is a lifeless doll, one is a playboy centaur, and the other is me, who can take any form I want.
After a bit of searching, I found Aurivy and Terra on the couch in the living room, the former sitting in the latter’s lap while they watched TV. “Big bro!” Aurivy called out, squirming out of Terra’s grip and running over to give me a hug.
“Hey there, Rivy. How’re you doing?” She puffed out her cheeks poutingly as I used the nickname, but nodded her head.
“I’m fine. We were just watching some shows from the old Earth. Do you want to join us?” She looked up at me to ask with hopeful eyes.
I could only smile, patting her head. “Maybe in a bit. I was hoping to actually talk with you for a little while before anything else. Would that be alright?” At first, she began to pout again, but quickly opened her eyes wide and smiled, nodding her head rapidly. Looking over to Terra, I chuckled. “Mind if I steal her for a bit?”
Terra gave a knowing look, and a warm smile. “Go ahead. This is also something you should be doing. Just make sure to return her when you’re done.”
I nodded, taking her by the hand and moving to Aurivy’s room. “What did big bro want to talk about?” She asked cutely, hopping up on her bed and laying back to relax. She was currently wearing a slim blue dress that outline her childish figure, and seemed to enjoy it more than she had the clothes I had seen Terra making her try on.
“Well, you mostly. I wanted to see how you were handling things around here, and being a goddess.”
She tilted her head over to look at me, watching as I sat down on a nearby chair. “Hmm… well, big sis is lots of fun, but she makes me try on a lot of weird clothes. As for the goddess stuff… I’ve been doing what I can, but there’s not much for me to do, you know?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I’m supposed to be the Goddess of Love. From what Terra said, that means I can influence relationships. But people are able to do that on their own just fine, right? I mean, I make it easier for halflings to get along with monsters, because it is too sad to watch them fighting all the time. Other than that… I guess I bless a few couples now and then, because they have really sweet stories.” Aurivy’s smile became much happier at that point, and I could tell that she liked being able to view the world as a romance novel.
“Hmm, is there anything you have troubles with? Aside from Terra using you like a dress-up doll, I mean.” I added with a grin, seeing that Aurivy was just about to mention that. She puffed up her cheeks again as she thought about it.
“Well… maybe if you give Bihena her personality, things would be a bit easier? Terra manages the beastmen, I do the halflings, and Tryval does the centaurs. The dwarves are doing alright on their own and are mostly getting along. But, the humans keep fighting and killing each other for land and power. I’ve been trying to help things along, but it’s like they enjoy it too much!” Her arms and legs struck out at the air above her, flailing cutely. “If big sis Bihena could manage things, maybe they’d behave themselves better.”
I nodded my head. I had been thinking about who I should give a personality to next, and Bihena did make the most sense. “Alright, I’ll see what I can do about that. How are the halflings doing, anyways?”
“Hmm? They’re mostly fine. They are expanding a lot right now, though some of them set up a few empty cities for people to stay at while they are nearby. It’s better to stay in a bed than a hollowed out tree, don’t you think?” I had to agree with that, though the idea of an empty city for wanderers struck me as odd. Whatever works, I guess.