Chapter 11: Plans for tomorrow

Once I had ascended, Terra again greeted me. This time, her greeting wasn’t as exaggerated as before, since she knew I would have been able to easily handle whatever happened. “Welcome back, Dale.” She said with a nod and a smile. For once, she seemed to be wearing clothes, which came across as a surprise. Though I had to say, they looked good on her.

For her top, Terra chose to wear a tight white sleeveless shirt, which perfectly emphasized her chest. As for pants, she was wearing blue jeans with slightly frayed legs, and a tiny hole in the back for her tail to come out from. When she saw me admiring her, she struck a pose, placing one hand on her hip while her other arm was flat against her side. “Like what you see?”

Well… if we’re being honest. “Very much so. What’s the occasion?” Given how comfortable she had been walking around naked lately, I didn’t expect to suddenly find her in clothes, no matter how attractive.

“Figured I’d try out a few outfits between now and the meeting. Would be a bit rude if we showed up naked, right?” She asked with a light giggle, bringing a hand to cover her mouth.

“Ah, that’s true… Though, we still have quite a bit of time before that. Hopefully, I can get the world to advance a bit more before we are ready. Don’t want to seem like a complete newbie, you know?”

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At that, she gave me a knowing smile. “Even though you are one?”

“Exactly…” I replied with a nod. “Now, I had an idea I wanted to talk to you about, because I’m not sure how it would work with the system.”

Hearing that, Terra gave a happy nod and hopped back to land on the bed, sitting down with her legs crossed. “Go ahead, I’m all cat ears!” She smiled, her ears twitching to emphasize her point.

“Well… I was thinking about having one of my civilizations using their culture to master magic, while having another work on technology. Then maybe, when the two cultures meet, the two could blend? Technology amplifying magic, and vice versa?”

After voicing my idea, Terra sat in thought for a while. This was the longest she had debated on something since I had created her. After maybe ten minutes of furrowing her brows and looking like she was debating something with herself, she spoke up. “It is possible… But I wouldn’t suggest doing it with this world. The greatest candidates for a tech society are the humans, and the dwarves, whereas the elves are the obvious choice for a magic society.”

“However, in your current world, the clashing of two drastically different cultures at that stage of their development could lead to an all out war of domination. Even with Keeper guidance, that might be unavoidable. We could minimize damage with careful oversight, but two drastically different cultures clashing before being fully developed almost always leads to war.”

Saying up to this point, Terra continued. “However, the magic system you chose has roots in science. If you give it time to properly develop before the two cultures meet, there would be a higher chance of coexistence. But, this level of development wouldn’t happen before two cultures of the same planet meet. So, while the plan is possible, I can’t suggest it. I can only suggest that you try to develop the magic for this world, and use your next world to develop technology. Then, when the two cultures are fully developed, purchase a method for people to cross between them.”

“That seems like the best option to me. There is even the chance that technology could be minorly developed in this world’s culture due to the study of the laws governing magic. Likewise, as long as you don’t put a particular restriction on magic in your second world, there could be some people that discover it while studying technology.”

I listened to her, moving to sit in the computer chair as I thought it over. “So… it wouldn’t be a good move to do in this world? But, getting another world isn’t exactly an easy matter… Wouldn’t I have to win an invasion to do that? That means, killing another Keeper…”

Terra showed me a soft smile at that point. “Dale, this is why you need to go to that meeting with Alkahest. There are things you don’t know about the games yet, and can only be explained by people who have experienced it themselves. I can point you in the right direction, but that’s it. Wouldn’t it be too much of a cheat if I was able to know and tell you the business of other Keepers?”

I thought about that, and gave a slight nod. “Okay…” I then turned to the computer, and set it to fast forward the world again. This time, the condition for ending the fast forward was for when someone reached level 10 as a Mage. That would give me a good starting point to learn magic. At the same time, I opened up the elves’ culture screen.

Gandor Cultural Management
Current Commands N/A Current Ruler Eldwynn Ryon
Current Security 5% Current Wealth N/A
Current Focus Defense Additional Options

Opening up the Additional Options menu, I saw a list of things that I could choose to edit with the system. For instance, I could give the current monarch the idea to have a royal palace constructed. Or, more importantly, I could focus their culture development on a specific aspect for a certain period of time.

That was what I was looking for. I naturally chose Magic Research as a secondary field of development. According to the information provided by the system, that meant that any capable people would devote their free time to studying magic, and people born during that period had a higher chance to be suited for the task. The difference between a secondary field of development and a primary one was exactly that, the amount of manpower devoted.

Given the world’s primal state, where attacks can come at any time, I wanted to leave their current Defense focus as it was. Switching that to a secondary field would probably make it much easier for monsters to slip in undetected. Now… for the duration. It would cost me one point for every five years I wanted to implement this, or one hundred points to make it a permanent option.

Naturally, I didn’t have a hundred points right now, so I spent ten points. This way, they will spend the next fifty years developing magic. Once I had more points to spend, I could set periods of advancement for other cultures as well, but for now I had to prioritize the elves. Once the purchase was confirmed, I checked their culture window again.

Gandor Cultural Management
Current Commands N/A Primary, Magic Research Secondary Current Ruler Eldwynn Ryon
Current Security 5% Current Wealth N/A
Current Focus Defense Additional Options

I nodded my head at that, and checked on the other races. Due to the current state of fast forwarding, movements went by in a blur. Days ticked by as seconds, and I could see a definite improvement in some of the races. 

The beastkin, with their greater numbers and cooperation, erected primitive defensive structures such as spiked walls and guard patrols within the first two years. The humans, still untouched by either Terra or myself, started to band together in small tribes to fight against the growing monsters. The dwarves seemed to develop a bit as well. As I watched, they gathered into five small tribes, each in vastly different areas.

Perhaps, the only race that did not show much advancement was the halflings. They remained as they had always been, a merry wandering race. But, something seemed different. Oftentimes, they would wander through monster dens, or past dangerous herds, and not be sighted. It wasn’t that the monsters were careless, but the halfings had developed a knack for stealth.

This development continued for roughly an hour, at which point it abruptly slowed to a normal pace. Off to the side, Terra couldn’t help but giggle. “You know, if you had stopped watching for a bit, it would have been able to progress faster, right? You could have grabbed a snack, and it would have been done by the time you got back.”

I smiled bitterly, shaking my head. “It was nice to watch them progress. Besides, if an emergency had happened, I might not have been able to do anything to stop it if I wasn’t watching.” Terra nodded, conceding that point to me. “Now, what kinds of spells are available to the Mages that advanced to level 10?”

Yes, I know that I assigned the spells myself. But really, do you expect me to keep track of every ability and spell that I assigned for around fifty different classes, all the way to the high hundreds in level? That is just ridiculous! I was mostly idling through that and going by system suggestions in order to speed up the process, anyways.

“Hmm, well, they have gotten three new spells since you last practiced. A light spell, a spark spell, and a shield spell.” Terra answered, seemingly not even having to think about it. “This should be enough for you to start making some small spells of your own, if you study them enough.” She said with a smile, which meant that there were most likely aspects of the spells that were similar enough to draw connections.

“Alright, let’s get to work.” I said with a nod, and we moved down towards the training area so that I could try the new spells out.

Eldwynn Ryon sat at her chair, five different drawings in front of her. Each was a symbol of power to her people, as each had been provided by the world itself to those that sought to further the art of ‘magic’. The Mages, as they were called, had committed themselves to understanding and improving this strange power. And, as they did so, these symbols continued to appear in her mind.

Three of them were images that Eldwynn herself could not be more familiar with. They were the spells designated Fire, Ice, and Light which she had personally acquired. However, the other two were ones which she had yet to grasp. According to the Mages that delivered them, they were known as Spark and Shield. One capable of paralyzing a nearby target with a blast of light, and the other capable of defending.

How many more of these symbols of power are there, she wondered to herself. She had personally tested Spark and Shield, and discovered that they worked even if she had not unlocked them. She merely needed to imagine them, and fill them with her inner power in the same way she did when casting her own powers. Further testing showed that anyone who was a ‘Mage’ could do the same thing. Even people without that title could with proper guidance, and doing so granted it to them.

Seeing the power offered by these strange patterns, Eldwynn issued an order for all Mages in her realm to devote themselves to the discovery of these powers, these spells. As the seasons passed, the monsters at their walls only continued to grow stronger. They needed these symbols to be their symbol of hope, or these creatures may grow to an extent that they can no longer contend with.

Back in the Plains of Beginning, there was an elderly Felyn lying on a bed of straw. Her beautiful face had wrinkled with age, her fiery red hair turning a dull grey. Across her body was the pelt of a mighty beast, which she had personally slain in her youth. Standing near her were representatives of each of the tribes which she led, those who she had gathered and had ruled over until she came to her current state.

“What would you have of us, Ardra?” One asked, an aged wolf with a missing eye. It may have caused his appearance to lessen, but he was proud of it. It was a mark gained in the service to his people.

The elderly Felyn, Ardra Firebrand, gave a light, weak smile. “It is almost time for my passing. Before I go, I want to choose who will take my place…” She brought her hand to her mouth, coughing into it. Blood could be seen on her hand as she pulled it back. “My daughter is not ready for the task, but there is another. I want you all to guide her in my stead, old friends.”

The Ursa, Lycan, and Kitsune leaders all dropped to one knee. The Kitsune, a younger man with black hair and fur, was the first to speak. “If it is your wish, we will do our best. But, if not Kyra, then who?”

Truthfully, Ardra had always wanted her daughter, Kyra Firebrand, to replace her when it was her time. However, the Goddess had told her that Kyra was not suited to rule. This was one of the few decisions that Ardra had initially wanted to debate with her Goddess, but she was given a vision. She was shown her daughter excelling, but not as a leader. She would lead her people, yes, but in the ways of securing food.

Instead, there was another, a local Kitsune girl that had been unknown to Ardra before. Ardra was given another vision of this Kitsune leading their tribe to prosper and expand, to fight back the growing threat of the monsters. Following the Goddess’s wish, she had not revered her openly, and did not tell anyone that various decisions over her rule were aided by the Goddess. This, she could only tell to her successor.

Only allowed on

“The person who will lead us, is… Mara Eversong.” Ardra spoke in a weak voice, to the surprise of the three representatives. “Please, send her to me. I wish to speak with her alone…”

Although unwilling, the beastmen representatives left Ardra’s hut, finding the girl that had been named and instructing her to meet the Grand Elder. This was possibly her final day, so none wished to delay Ardra’s orders. She had personally transformed them from scattered families to a great force. With her in command, food had never been a problem. She had always fought at the forefront of any battle against the monster threat. In the hearts of the beastkin, there was only respect for Ardra, respect and loyalty.

“Wh-what do you wish of me, Grand Elder?” A shaky voice could be heard as a silver-haired Kitsune, no more than a dozen years of age, entered. Her body was undeveloped, and her ears flattened against her head in nervousness. Never before had she personally met the Grand Elder, but suddenly she was called on the eve of her passing.

“Do not worry, dear child.” Ardra spoke softly, turning her head to look at the person chosen to replace her. “I have many things to tell you, things that you must know, and things that can’t be said to others.”

Still worried, Mara nodded her head, listening quietly as Ardra spoke. She was told of the Goddess, how it had been her decision to gather the races, and how important she had been to Ardra’s rule. Then, she spoke of how the Goddess had personally decided for Mara to replace her. Mara was surprised by this sudden declaration, and immediately tried to deny this suggestion, but a voice spoke into her mind.

Calm, my child. This is what must be. This was the first time that Mara had ever heard the voice of the Goddess, and she immediately froze in her attempts to speak. Seeing this, Ardra knew what had happened, and gave a gentle smile. Slowly, she closed her eyes, having finally fulfilled her last mission.

On that night, no monsters attacked, no storms raged. A gentle wind blew through the plains, as if the world itself was mourning.

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