Chapter 1081: Where There’s A Will

Lifre ran through the rocky plateaus of the sixty-fourth floor, the world spirit floating alongside her. The spirit had already identified another cluster of black rocks that were embedded in a cave wall far away, so the duo were quickly making their way over.

At first, Lifre had wanted to simply teleport to the cave to begin her exploration of the linked destination, but the spirit asked to take the scenic route. In her opinion, it was still valuable to explore this territory manually, as opposed to simply appearing at their destination. Of course, Lifre understood that what she really wanted was to see more of the place that James had originally come from.

Still, she indulged in the spirit’s wishes, the two rapidly traveling through the floor. Thanks to Lifre keeping an eye out for any probing World Sight, they were able to avoid the gaze of any other entities from this floor, reaching the cave after approximately an hour. Once there, Lifre swept her senses over the cave, finding it old and abandoned. There did not appear to be any signs that anyone had been there for a long time.

“So, where’s the good stuff?” Lifre asked with a playful tone, the world spirit landing on the ground and walking deeper into the cave.

“It’s back here.” She responded, creating a small ball of light that illuminated the dark cave. Once the light began to shine out, Lifre was able to recognize a small, black clump at the furthest wall back. She couldn’t tell if the black rock had naturally grown there, or if someone planted it there later, but it was clearly the same type of material as what she had found before.

“What do we do now?” The spirit asked in excitement, while Lifre walked up to inspect the mineral.

“We’ve got a protocol to follow. I’m going to send a clone of myself through this stone, and have it run around for a few minutes. If it survives that long, and does not experience any memetic interference, it will report back. If it comes back early, we have to immediately destroy it before it can transmit any possibly hazardous information.

As she said that, Lifre began to separate a piece of her slime, allowing it to grow into an identical copy of herself. Watching this, the spirit tilted her head. “Wouldn’t it be faster if I just went to the other side to investigate?” She asked anxiously, Lifre reaching over and chopping the top of her head with a hand. “Hey! What was that for?!” She asked indignantly, crouching down and holding her head.

“We can’t risk you getting infected.” Lifre said in a firm tone. “Any time there is a memetic threat, all world spirits have to immediately evacuate the area. Not only that, but you are forbidden from exposing any part of your senses to the infected area.”

“If one of you were to be infected by a hazardous meme, there is no telling what kind of damage that would cause to the natural energy of the entire world. Maybe just infecting you would be worse than if the entire world was infected by that same meme.”

Hearing that, the spirit’s eyes went wide, and she slowly nodded her head, understanding the seriousness of the matter. Although they were tracing James’s steps, there were no guarantees that this was the exact rock that he had used to get to the natural energy core.

“Now, this clone of myself has entirely severed its mental connection with me. Until it gets back, and we have inspected it for any potentially hazardous contamination, that connection will remain severed.” After she said that, Lifre had her clone walk over and pass through the black stone, crossing her arms and waiting. “Five minutes, starting now.”

Despite both of them knowing that the process would last a full five minutes, neither of them were incredibly patient individuals. Given their actual ages, this in itself was a wonder. By the end of the five minutes, not only the spirit, but even Lifre was bouncing in anticipation.

Right on time, after exactly three hundred seconds had passed, the stone seemed to shimmer, and another Lifre walked out from the wall of the cave. “Well? Did you find anything?” The spirit asked, but Lifre’s true body cut her off by erecting a barrier around the clone.

“Like I said, inspection first.” Lifre spoke firmly. She held one hand forward, pushing it into the air and creating a golden ripple. When she pulled her hand back, a set of scales were within her palm. “My method of inspection is an artifact that I crafted with a little help from Terra, the Trial of Fate’s Scales.”

“It takes a fair amount of divinity to use it, but when I do, I can measure the weight of various actions. For instance, I can see if it is safe to let the clone out of the barrier by placing the two actions of ‘releasing the clone’ and ‘destroying the clone’. Whichever action has the more negative consequences will be ‘heavier’.”

As Lifre said that, she created two tokens in the air, placing one on each arm of the scales. Once she infused her divinity into the scales, there was a sharp drop on one side, causing the spirit to look on in worry. “Was that freedom, or destruction?”

Lifre looked at the token that had dropped the scales, smiling slightly. “Destruction. Which means that freedom is the ‘positive’ answer.”

After she made that confirmation, Lifre removed the barrier that surrounded her clone, re-establishing the mental link. “So, did you find anything?” The spirit asked once again, glancing to Lifre as if waiting to be stopped again.

“A bit.” The clone nodded her head. “The floor on the other side definitely has a lighter gravity than this one, but not by much. If I were to guess, it would be in the late fifties. Still, it wasn’t the same planet that we’re on now, because I wasn’t able to access the system.”

“Was it dangerous there?” The spirit asked in a hesitant tone, though the clone shook her head.

“It was night-time, and my main body didn’t give me a core for World Sight, so I wasn’t able to properly assess the local lifeforms. However, I could definitely hear movement in the distance.”

The original Lifre nodded her head, reviewing the five minutes of memories. “It sounds like a giant. Big, crushing footsteps. It should be safe for the two of us to go over, though. Even if the system isn’t in place there, I don’t lose my power.”

The spirit smiled brightly, and the two of them began to pass through the stone. However, on the other side, Lifre only saw the spirit appear for a brief moment, before she suddenly vanished. Lifre’s eyes went wide, looking around and scanning the area with her energy. “Little friend? Little friend, where are you?”

With her World Sight, she could sense that there was only a faint trace of the spirit’s presence left behind, as if it had teleported elsewhere. Clearing her throat, Lifre mobilized the natural energy in the air to call out. “Little friend, little friend, come back and play!”

Green light rushed forth in a wave, converging in front of Lifre and immediately dispersing. Blinking in surprise, she rushed back to the sixty-fourth floor of Fyor again, where she found the spirit waiting, a despondent look on her face. “What happened?”

“I was expelled.” She answered in a sulking tone. “As soon as I got to the other side, I felt something pulling me, and was ejected to the natural energy core of Fyor. I rushed back over as soon as I could, and felt you calling me from the other side, but couldn’t go to you.”

“Has this… ever happened to you before?” She asked in confusion, and the spirit answered.

“Not for a long time, but yes. When I was first created in Fyor by the Keeper, I was expelled in the same manner. I thought that having me accepted by the system here would have solved my problems, but it would seem that I must be accepted by every planet we visit in Fyor.”

Lifre pursed her lips, before an idea occurred to her. “So, listen to this. What if, every time I hit a new area, I try to call you? Then, we can test your range of activity, and also get a confirmation on anywhere that I end up. I also want to try to bring back the orbs from the other side, just to see if they would work on our crystal spire.”

The world spirit paused, looking at Lifre hesitantly. “If they do… won’t you be robbing that world of one of its precious level spheres?”

Lifre shrugged her shoulders carelessly. “And? By the time we’re able to properly explore that area, we’ll have way more options to bypass the level system!”

“Okay… but how are you going to find it? Do you have something from the Keeper to help with that?” She asked, and that made Lifre pause.

The go-to answer would usually be to have Aurivy find something, and then teleport it to them. However, that wasn’t possible here. As the floor was considered outside of Dale’s territory, Aurivy wouldn’t even be able to observe her there. Lifre paused, starting to walk back and forth while thinking.

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After a few minutes of silence, the spirit simply turning her head from side to side to watch her, Lifre lifted a hand. “I’ve got it! Even if Aurivy can’t go there, we’ve got someone else that can!”

“We do?” The spirit asked in confusion.

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“Yup! She should be free by now, too.” Lifre grinned broadly, closing her eyes. Petra! Petra! Hey Peeetra! Answer the call already!

What?! Petra’s annoyed voice responded after Lifre’s persistent messaging. I was trying to have dinner, what’s going on?

Hi! Lifre responded, causing Petra to pause.

Did you do all of that just to say hi?

Of course not! Wanna help me explore another planet of Fyor, add two more layers to your shadow world, possibly increase the level limit of Fyor as a whole, and see amazing new sights?!

There was another long pause. Lifre… okay, fine. Where am I going?

District nine-eight-five-seven-three, pod seven! From there, go to the black gate, and you’ll get the sixty-fourth floor. You should be able to find me once you have that.

Can I finish eating first? Petra asked with a faint grumble.

What’s more important, food or adventure?!

Is that a serious question?

Lifre tilted her head before responding. It might be! Hurry up and finish. Oh, and the locals here are all basically James on a warpath. Move through your shadow world where you can!

Now you tell me?!

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