chapter 106: core studies

I felt a soft smile on my face as I watched Leowynn go to sleep. In the elven language, her name roughly translates to ‘Little Star’, so naturally I wanted to sing a particular song for her to sleep to. Of course, that song didn’t exist for the elves, and I wasn’t sure whether or not she’d like her name being so obviously used in a song, so I kept the language english.

“So now what?” Terra asked with a smile, having formed a chair to sit beside me as I talked to Leowynn through the computer. “Are you planning to just follow along with her life for the next few centuries?”

I couldn’t help but shake my head. “No. While that does sound nice, I can’t just stop developing the world for several hundred years. I’ll keep my fast forwards to one year intervals at the most, so that I can keep my appointments with her, but otherwise I still have work to do.” That was the reason I had told her to contact me once a year, because there was no realistic way that I’d be able to speak with her all the time. My training in the Ten Thousand Threads has not nearly reached the level where I would be able to devote a part of my thoughts to a world moving thousands of time the normal speed.

Terra nodded her head with approval, though a slightly sad look could briefly be seen. “Okay, just remember… she is still mortal.” I nodded at that comment, and she let out a sigh. “Anyways, what was it that you were coming to me for before you got her prayer? I’m assuming that you weren’t just standing outside of Udona’s room expecting her to give you a late night romp.”

I chuckled slightly, smiling towards her. “No, I was hoping to find you there, to ask you about this.” As I said that, I reached out to grab the small green ball that I had left on the desk. “This was lodged inside the corpse of a blinking blossom. Do you know what it is?”

Naturally, I had done the basic task of focusing on it to identify it, but all it identified as was ‘Blinking Blossom Monster Core – 100%’. Given that I had never seen a monster core before, I had no way of knowing what they were for, or what that percentage even meant.

“Ahh, you found one, huh?” She asked with a smile, looking down at the orb. “It’d probably be best to talk with Irena about this. She’s the one who governs death, and these things come off of dead monsters. She’ll probably know the most about them.” Terra answered with a mischievous smile.

“In other words, you know, but you want me to go talk to the others, and not rely on you to answer questions that they are able to answer as well.” I repeated bluntly, and her smile widened further. “Fine, fine. Any idea where she’s at right now?”

Terra closed her eyes for a moment before answering. “Right now, she’s with Aurivy in the living room. It looks like they are watching anime together. Aurivy talked her into it with the excuse of ‘research’ for her realm.” And that mischievous grin was right back on her face.

“I guess I’m going to be interrupting then.” I said with a shrug, standing up and grabbing the core. Terra nodded her head, vanishing into thin air without a word, no doubt returning to whatever it was she was doing before I called for her.

The trip to the living room was short, and I soon found the two goddesses sitting on the couch, leaning against each other. Naturally, their ‘research’ was focused on anime that heavily included elements of afterlife. Though how that equated to swordsmen was beyond me. “Irena, can I steal you away for a moment?”

When I spoke up, the two goddesses jumped slightly in their seat, turning to look at me. On Aurivy’s face, there was a wide smile as she lifted an arm to wave at me. “Hey big bro! What’s up?” Irena’s face also showed a brief glimpse of excitement, before being replaced by her usual stoic mask.

“I need to borrow Irena for a moment to ask her a couple questions. You don’t mind, right Rivy?”

“Hmm? Not at all!” Aurivy shook her head heavily, before smiling to Irena. “You go ahead, I’ll pause it here. We can finish watching it once you’re done, kay?”

Irena smiled softly to Aurivy, nodding to her before standing up to face me. “What is it you wanted, Dale?” She asked with a calm voice, though I could catch her lips twitching as she suppressed a smile.

“I wanted to ask you about these.” I explained, lifting up the monster core for her to see. She did not seem at all surprised to see it, as she simply stared at it for a moment before turning to face me again.

“This is a monster core. I’m assuming you know the difference between an animal and a monster, correct?” She asked, raising a curious eyebrow at me, as if that was a key point in the explanation.

“Right. A monster is able to use some kind of energy, like ki or mana, and an animal can’t. Are you saying that the core is the reason why?”

“Yes and no…” She shook her head, holding her hand out for the core. Once she had it, she continued her explanation. “Not all monsters have cores like this. For those that possess ki, their hearts naturally generate it, as it would with a human, elf, or so on. But for those that use mana, the story is different. Like spiritual energy is in my realm, mana is a manifestation of thought. How could such simple monsters be able to cast powerful magic without the ability to understand the magic?”

Seeing that I wasn’t able to answer her, she rolled the core around in her palm. “It is these cores. A monster’s core is the manifestation of their magical ability. If I’m not mistaken, this came from a blinking blossom. They possess a magic that lets them extend their limbs to great length in order to trap prey. Like any monster that possesses such an ability, its magic is sealed within this core.  Though, it is far more difficult for any creature other than the blinking blossom to use its effect.”

“Okay… I think I get that. Then, what about the percentage? When I appraised it, it registered as having 100%.”

Hearing my question, she nodded. “Mana can’t just come from nowhere. And it can’t be produced endlessly by an unintelligent creature. During its growth period, until it hits adulthood the monster core absorbs mana slowly by feeding off of the monster’s ability to learn during that time. However, after it hits adulthood, that learning process slows, and it may even spend mana faster than it recovers it.”

Only allowed on

“This is only solved by hunting. If a monster with a core devours another monster’s core, they can digest the mana within it to add to their own. If this one is completely full, then it no doubt had a meal shortly before you found it. However, once the monster core is depleted, it crumbles into nothing.”

Okay, this is definitely new information. And something that Ryone should probably know, if she hasn’t figured it out already. After all, she only recently posed the question to me of why monsters were able to use magic. “The Goddess of Magic knows about this, right..?” Just to be safe, I figured I had to ask.

Irena let out a small chuckle as she heard that, nodding her head. “She learned of it right after your previous fast forward session began, I believe. Most monster cores are left undiscovered because they lurk in the brain of the monster, and can be destroyed if not carefully removed. However, I recall there was a large monster near one of her cities that was killed recently. Its core was thankfully not eaten, so her elves were able to retrieve it.”

I wonder how those would work as a ward power source, then… I couldn’t help but let that thought float around in my head. “I see… That’s actually a lot more information than I was expecting to get out of this. And it was pretty useful, too.” Irena couldn’t restrain her smile as I commended her on that.

“I’m glad that I was able to help. Is there anything else, or do you have to get back to your business?” She asked, holding the core back out for me to take.

“I… don’t think that there’s anything I urgently need to do right now.” I thought about it in my head. With me pausing to speak to Leowynn every year, I would have a lot of time in my future to relax. Hell, with how long elves lived, it might go all the way until the next Keeper meeting.

“Well then, would you mind joining us?” She asked, an almost hopeful tone in her voice. “I assure you, it is quite a good documentary to watch.”

“…It’s called anime, but sure.” I shrugged my shoulders, moving back with her to sit between Irena and Aurivy. The halfling goddess was only too happy to be able to lean against me as she started the show up again, but Irena soon did the same. Though, her wing spread out to wrap around both mine and Aurivy’s backs.

The next morning, Leowynn awoke with a bright smile on her face. Remembering her father’s instructions from the night before, she did not offer her normal morning prayer, and rather got started on her day as soon as she awoke. Her mother seemed surprised to find her moving around so early.

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However, when Leowynn began humming a soft melody to herself over breakfast, Rinon naturally couldn’t keep her curiosity in check. “Are you looking to become a bard all of a sudden?” She teased playfully, leaning over and poking her young daughter on the shoulder.

“M-mom! It’s not like that!” She defended herself, shaking her head. “I just… thought it sounded nice, is all.” She wanted to tell her mother that she had learned the truth about her father. However, he had asked her not to share the knowledge of him. If even her mother didn’t know who he was, then he definitely had a reason to keep that secret from her.

Leowynn had no plans to expose her father’s secrets, not after she had finally met him. The idea of upsetting him, and not being able to contact him anymore made her feel small and afraid. In all her years until now, she had never had a father figure to look up to, and her only real friend had been her mother.

“Someone seems pretty happy. Did you like my present that much?” Rinon couldn’t help but ask with a smile. As yesterday had been Leowynn’s eightieth birthday, she had prepared a special dress to give her daughter. It had taken her a while to prepare, but it was worth it if Leowynn liked it.

“It’s really pretty, Mom.” She nodded her head happily as she thought about the black dress in her room, star-like patterns woven into it. Not only did the dress look nice, but since it had come from the ‘Mad Enchanter’, it naturally had additional functions as well. “So… what are we working on today?”

“Hmm… How’s your monk training coming along?” Rinon asked cautiously, looking over to her daughter. Her daughter was a real beauty, even by elven standards. Her silver hair reached down to the small of her back, and her thin, toned frame gave her an air of strength and majesty. She had been trained since she was young to have a healthy body, and it showed.

“I’m at thirty-seven right now.” Leowynn answered casually. This was a normal routine for them, planning out what levels she needed in order to maintain the balance of strength and flexibility in her body.

“Alright, that’s good.” Rinon said with a small sigh. “If you want, you can go out hunting today then. There shouldn’t be any problems with your body.”

Hearing that she was able to leave the city, Leowynn’s smile grew even wider. Because of her title, she was not allowed to go anywhere dangerous unless the balance in her body was kept at a reasonable level. And although she could find no friends among the elves, being a hunter meant that she was able to commune with animals, to a degree. “Thanks, mom!” She called out, suddenly reaching over and hugging her mother.

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