chapter 119: the secret guardian

After spending a little bit of time with everyone, I managed to pull Terra off to the side, wanting to get her to help me with something. Assuming that what I wanted was even possible. “What’s up?” She asked, a pleased smile on her face.

I took a deep breath, doing my best to calm myself. As happy as I was over the gift that she had given me, I needed to focus. “I want to do something with Ashley’s world, Desbar. But I wanted to know if it was even possible, first.”

Terra nodded her head slightly, crossing her arms beneath her bust. “Alright. What do you have in mind?”

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“I want to make it so that any points she earns from technology advancements go into a separate pool of points, which she can use to purchase things like cultural directions for civilizations.” This way, she’d still be able to have at least some control over her world, and would not be restricted to simply watching it grow passively from the background.

Terra nodded again, looking down in thought. “Well, she won’t be able to buy anything from the market. Even Ryone, with her domain of wealth, can’t buy from the market directly. She can make local purchases though. Spawn pre-bought entities or events, or like you said adjust the culture of a group of people. I can set that up easily enough. Do you just want to include the advancements from Desbar in it?”

“Hmm…” I considered the options for a moment. “The world achievements can contribute to that as well. But if it happens to get any Keeper achievements, that will go to the main pool. I just want to make sure that she has some say in her world, without her having to go down and handle things from the ground.”

Terra’s smile widened slightly at that. “I understand, Dale. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it. Once she’s done learning how to control her body, I’ll take her through a crash course in being a Keeper. Or at least, Keeper middle management.”

I chuckled slightly at that. “Thanks. She’s probably going to want to keep fast forwarding for a while like I did until they advance more.” Terra nodded her head, and walked back to the group, while I made my way towards my bedroom. I still had a few things to take care of that I had been putting off.

First of all, I raised the level cap, bringing it up to two hundred and fifty. That would give the people a little more room to grow like Bihena suggested, and wouldn’t leave them stagnated too soon after completing their basic education.

Next, I did a quick fast forward of one hundred years. By now, there has been time for word to spread to everybody about what I wanted to do in regards to advancement, so fast forwarding here would cut down on the time that they would have to actively go without participating in their civilizations, from one viewpoint at least. With that out of the way, I took a look at how the world was developing, quite interested to see how the changes had played out.

Following Leowynn’s death, the lands of Gandor were quiet. She could be seen as a true hero, the first true hero that the elven race had ever known. For all her life, she had faced threats that could destroy the entire kingdom and everyone in it. And in her death, she took out the greatest of these threats, a beast that would have had no equal if left unchecked.

In the eyes of the queen, it was Leowynn’s achievement which opened the path of strength for her people. For it was only when news reached her ear of her most trusted aide’s death that the pinnacle was raised once more. This was a feat that was no lesser than her slaying the dragon, because this would allow them to raise a new generation of elves that held the same power.

Since then, every year on the day of her fateful battle, a festival was held throughout the lands. Only the most necessary of jobs were to be done on that day, such as defending the cities from monster attacks. This was Sheawynn, the Festival of Stars. Dedicated as a holy day to Ryone, and a memorial to Leowynn, it soon became the most popular holiday within the elven lands.

On the day of Sheawynn, all families came together, remembering what was given so that they could have these peaceful days. And at night, they would exchange gifts that they crafted or bought, trophies of their hunts, or just spent their time celebrating. Ryone’s own daughter had died to protect them, so how could they not cherish the family that had been saved?

In the northern plains of Accal, just south of a great forest, a group of hunters had gathered. Most of them were lycan and felyn, their heightened senses and reflexes offering them an advantage in the terrain that they were journeying to. At their front stood a lone lycan female, her leather armor dyed black to match her hair.

“Alright, everyone. Today’s mission is to investigate the forest of shadows.” She told everyone, her voice calm. Murmurs broke out among the crowd as they heard that. “There have been reports from scouts claiming that a great beast hides within these woods. Children who have journeyed near the forest have gone missing.”

“I won’t lie to you all, I don’t know what we are facing. Nobody has ever seen the beast directly, only heard the sounds of its battle. However, for the safety of our fellows, for our children, we have to put an end to this.” As she said that, the group of hunters let out a collective agreement.

To the north, several dozen kilometers away, a lone kitsune with golden fur sat atop a high branch at the edge of the forest, his eyes glowing with a faint blue light. He could hear the unfamiliar voices, their language unclear to him. Yet, how they held their weapons, how they looked towards his woods, he knew their intent was to attack. His eyes dimmed, revealing their amber shade as he stood.

Reaching into his satchel, he pulled out a thin slip of paper, strange red markings drawn on top of it. Standing up, he turned to the side and placed the paper against the tree, where it adhered to the bark easily. He filled the paper with his chakra, activating the hidden effect within, before beginning to speak.

“Lord, a group from the plains is gathering to invade the forest. What do you want me to do?” He asked reverently. Soon, the red markings let out a similar blue glow as his eyes previously had, and an aged voice spoke from the paper talisman.

“I see the situation. Remain hidden for now. If they attempt to harm the forest, you know what to do. Remember, we are protectors, not warriors. As long as they do not attempt to harm us or our lands, we will simply remain the silent guardians of old. Such was the will of Dayl, and the will of every chief since.”

The man hesitated for another minute, before nodding his head. “Very well, Lord. I’ll continue to observe for now.” When the blue light of the talisman faded, he peeled it from the tree and placed it back in his satchel, turning again to face the People of the Plains.

It was not long before they set out, journeying in a dense group for protection. Once they entered the forest, they began to spread out slowly, unaware of the man watching them overhead. By now, he had already vanished from the nearby trees, remaining hidden and watching from afar.

No matter how they searched, the hunting party was only able to find the tracks of common beasts and monsters. Nothing large enough or strange enough to explain the reports that they had heard. For a moment, they considered scaling the trees to investigate the possibility of a snake, spider, or flying monster, but doing so would put them at a severe disadvantage in terms of mobility if they were attacked. It was better to return to town empty handed than to return without a full party.

Though, they had not expected to find a priestess of Accalia waiting for them upon their return. To the beastkin, the church held a strong position in their society, on equal footing with the kings and queens. If not for several people witnessing the divine punishment of those who sought to use their positions for evil, this trust would likely not have spread as wide.

“Sister.” The leader of the hunting party clapped her fast against her chest and bowed respectfully to the white robed lycan.

“There is no need for that, Fenil.” The priestess shook her head, a small smile forming on her face. She may not be a high rank within the church, but she could be considered in charge of this town’s religious affairs. As such, she was used to being greeted like this. “I come bearing a message for you, from the Sister Goddesses.”

The words struck like thunder in Fenil’s mind, and she looked up in shock. No priest or priestess would ever dare to lie about such a message. Even purposely delaying its delivery would often result in a punishment of some form. “W-why would they have a message for me?” She asked, fearing she had done some misdeed to earn their ire.

“It should be related to the journey your group just came back from.” She answered calmly, that same smile on her face still. “The Sisters have spoken that people live within the forests, but they are not of the kingdoms. The children who have gone missing in recent times did so because they wandered too deep into the woods, and were attacked. These strangers saved them, and are tending to their wounds.”

“When the children are fully recovered, they will be allowed to return. However, we are not to seek them out, for help or harm. This message has been passed to every king and queen, as well. Terra herself has declared that, so long as we respect their territory, they will become our greatest shield. In the future, when we face our greatest dangers, they will help us overcome.”

Fenil furrowed her brows as she listened to the message, but nonetheless nodded her head. “Very well, I understand Sister.” In her mind she had to wonder, though. In all of history, since the founding of the First Kingdom Terraria, there had never been another organized group of people outside of the kingdoms. Did that mean that they existed outside of the control of the goddesses? Yet, this message would indicate that the goddesses knew of them, and even thought very highly of them.

As soon as they returned into the village, Fenil began making preparations. She set up a team to patrol the border of the forest daily, but gave them orders not to enter unless absolutely necessary. Hopefully, the words of the priestess were true, and the children would be returned shortly.

“Well, it looks like the ninja village is finally coming into play.” I nodded my head slightly as I thought about that. Terra and the others may have intervened a bit there, but it wasn’t really against what I told them. They hadn’t tried to educate their people to increase their growth. If anything, preventing direct contact with the ninja village would slow them down further.

With that out of the way, I decided to turn my eyes elsewhere. It was time that I gave a closer look to the heroc, who I had been mostly neglecting recently. The survival of the other races were all but guaranteed since I had the gods and goddesses watching over them, but the heroc were different. The heroc truly had only themselves to depend upon.

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