Chapter 15: Life beyond life

Looking over the various systems, I thought that some of them seemed pretty valuable. However, at the same time, I thought that there were a few missing. The biggest, and most obvious one being an inventory system. Something like that could completely change the way the world worked. Merchant caravans, military supply lines, everything would change with an inventory system. 

As I thought about submitting the system myself for the huge potential income, I hesitated. I definitely couldn’t afford something that powerful right now. And, if I still didn’t have it by the time Earth entered the games, that could be a disaster. After all, if the invading force could use the inventory system before me, and stocked up on a large number of powerful weapons or materials, there would be little that I could do against them. 

So, I decided to make a mental note of the inventory system, so that I could submit it when I was closer to being able to afford it. At the same time, this gave me a while to define the rules for the system, and customize it more than just giving a brief summary. Though, that might drive the price up a bit as well. 

Anyways, now that I was done with everything, I resumed the time for Earth. I needed to advance the world by quite a lot before I could do any major changes to it. As such, I took a look at the races again, seeing if anything had changed during the last fast forward. To my surprise, there was actually not much change at all. 

Dear Readers. Scrapers have recently been devasting our views. At this rate, the site (creativenovels .com) might...let's just hope it doesn't come to that. If you are reading on a scraper site. Please don't.

The dwarves had yet to discover more crafting knowledge, though at the same time the volcano had yet to erupt. Some families, seeing the lava, had apparently taken the initiative to leave the mountain on their own for safety. The others continued to remain behind. 

The humans had established a ruler for their little kingdom, but were still very slow in progressing it. I’d probably need to give them a nudge later on to help them catch up to the other races at this rate. Though, they were still ahead of the halflings. 

While most were still content to wander the fields and forests, some halflings had finally begun to settle down, making the first village. It could not be considered a kingdom yet, but at least they were starting to make progress. Maybe I should have moved them a bit closer to other races, so that they could interact… or would that cause even more problems? 

The elves were slowly beginning to expand their territory, though from what I could see there was still a heavy focus on studying magic. Sadly, they had yet to learn any of the different spells on their own, rather than relying on the class system. The biggest downside to their longevity was definitely a slower development speed compared to other races of the same level. Most likely, if the others had all gotten their buffs early on, the elves would not be as far ahead as they are now. And now that the playing field is even, the elves will begin to fall behind. I guess that’s why they are always portrayed as ancient races, to give them more of a head start. 

Now, for the beastkin. They had definitely made the most advancement, with two new villages set up near their original base. These villages appeared to all follow the same chain of command, with local leaders that reported to the current matriarch of the beastkin. It wasn’t really a surprise that they were advancing so quickly. Unlike the other races, they had a major advantage in terms of numbers. 

After reviewing the different races, I began making a mental checklist for things that they needed to advance. Elves need to start learning to make their own magic. Halflings need to band together more. Dwarves need to finish discovering how to craft. Humans should be fine for now, should see how they develop without the fighting. And the beastkin… they are already on the right track. 

I began going through that list a few times, seeing what I could do to help. The elves were an easy one to help, but the others… not so much. I didn’t know the first thing about crafting, and there was currently not a halfling god to use to gather those. 

Only allowed on

For now, I decided to do what I could, and navigated to the elven kingdom on the screen. I had two choices for how I wanted to do this. I could either descend, and manually give someone the spell diagram, or I could communicate it to them mentally. Of course, just like with the beastkin, it was better to do this through a goddess that the elves already knew. 

“Hmm? Where are you going?” Terra asked lazily from the bed, rolling over onto her back and looking at me with her head upside down. 

“Need to go see Ryone.” I answered briefly. “Got something for her to do for me.” I noticed something flicker slightly in Terra’s eyes, before she simply shrugged and rolled back over. With that out of the way, I made my way to the spacious room down the hall, where the other goddesses were currently being stored. 

Since they had no personalities of their own, they simply stood in place. I was really hoping that they would still be able to act if they were ordered. Well, time to find out. I opened the door, finding all three of the goddesses standing against the far wall, fully clothed. 

Bihena, the human Goddess of Battle, stood wearing a purple dress that clung to her curves. On her back was a crude wooden spear, the highest level of weapon technology available to the humans. Her blonde hair fell down to the middle of her back, and her hazel eyes showed a vacant look. 

Udona, the kitsune Goddess of Life, stood next to her. She wore animal furs, granting her a more primal look, while her pose remained elegant. Her golden hair stopped just below her shoulders, and she had the same vacant look as Bihena. 

Finally, there was Ryone, who stood last in the line. As the elven Goddess of Wealth, she was dressed in a white toga. Her petite chest barely showed through the loose fitting clothes, while on her head she sported a rough crown of wood. 

Walking up to her, I decided to ask as bluntly as possible. “Ryone, are you able to speak with your people?” 

“Yes, Keeper.” She answered in a monotone voice. Good, that will make things easier. 

Abrigor was a hard working mage of the kingdom of Gandor. One of the first to be appointed by Eldwynn in order to understand this strange power known as magic. In fact, he was currently the highest level Mage, with a full twelve levels in the class. It had been he that discovered the ability to cast spells without relying on the strange power guiding them, and he who discovered that carving the symbols of power in wood or stone allowed their spells to be cast more quickly. 

And now, it was he who heard a voice whispering to him in his dreams. One that had never before spoken to any elf. Learn. The voice spoke a single word, in a low whisper. Abrigor almost thought that he had imagined it, but then images appeared in his mind. 

First, two images he was very familiar with appeared. They were the symbols of power associated with the spells Shield and Fire. He did not know what he was supposed to learn, at first, but then the images began changing. A portion from the Fire symbol faded away, while the majority of the Shield symbol had done the same. 

What was left of the two symbols began to overlap in his mind, before they formed an entirely new symbol of power. He wasn’t sure how, but he knew that this new symbol also contained a power of its own. Again, the voice repeated that same word. Learn 

In a rush of excitement, Abrigor channeled his internal energy through that new symbol in his head, eager to find its purpose. The result, an invisible blast of pure force extending from his hand, punching against a nearby tree with a dull sound. Afterwards, another voice appeared in his head. This one was one that he was all too familiar with, which announced whenever he had advanced in power. 

You have obtained the Archmage class. Abrigor was stunned as he heard that, and immediately went to share his findings with Eldwynn. 

You have used the power of your Goddess to bring enlightenment to your people. +20 points

I was stunned when I saw the reward notification appear in front of me. I mean, this was definitely not the first time that one of the Goddesses influenced the growth of the races, but this was the first time that I got rewarded for it. Walking back to the room, I found Terra still lounging in the bed, her eyes closed. 

“How’d it go?” She asked, lazily. 

“Good… I got some points awarded for helping them. But, why haven’t I gotten any points from all the times that you helped the beastkin? I mean, I definitely know that you had a hand in their development.” 

Terra opened her eyes, a small grin forming on her head. “It’s because you didn’t order that interference. You’ll only get the rewards when you come up with the idea to help. That’s why gods are so cheap. We can influence the races based on our free will, but unless we are acting on your orders, you won’t get rewarded for it. Think of it as a ‘bad investment discount’.” She giggled lightly at her little joke, rolling onto her stomach and propping her head up to look at me, with her tail swishing above her. 

I smiled bitterly when I heard that news. “I don’t suppose general orders would work, right?” She shook her head slowly. “So I have to order specifically what I want done? Why couldn’t you tell me that before?” 

She smirked slightly. “Rules are rules. Until you discovered the rewards yourself, I couldn’t say anything about it.” 

I sighed, shaking my head. “Well, at least we have almost enough to buy the afterlife systems now.” Though, I had been considering making my own system for that. I wasn’t sure what, but a new afterlife system would be nice. Something to break the mold. Besides, the 72 angels and demons thing kind of went against my current system of deities. 

Terra nodded her head. “That’s true. Which is good, because once populations start increasing, so will deaths. If it goes too much longer, I think undead might start rising up near the beastkin.” 

Well, no pressure then, right? I sat down on the chair and began thinking of what I could do for my own personal afterlife. Respawn system? No, that would cause more problems than it is worth. Just imagine nobody dying of unnatural causes in modern earth. Wars would go on forever without either side really losing soldiers. Hmmm… 

I pulled up a basic notepad program on the computer, after asking Terra to make one, and began jotting down ideas. The best case scenario would be for the dead to continue to be useful, to play an active role in the development and protection of the world. But at the same time, without being a physical presence. It would only take a couple generations for the dead to outnumber the living, and by that point overpopulation would be a real risk. 

So, first stage was an area to house the dead, like most afterlife systems offered. But, with portals connected to Earth. They’d have to be two-way portals, but intangible ones. Likewise, the spirits using those portals would have to be intangible as well. Couldn’t have living people crossing into the spirit world, right? 

I felt as this idea began to take shape. Similar to the Astral Plane, there would be a closed reincarnation cycle. People in this new world would be able to live a second life, and when they died, they started anew in the living world. However… I needed to add restrictions to this, as well. I wasn’t aiming to simply copy the Astral Plane, but to create my own afterlife. So, I began adding my own rules. 

    • The afterlife world grows based on the number of inhabitants.

    • There are no natural resources in the afterlife world.

    • Inhabitants of the afterlife world do not feel hunger.

    • The world is shaped purely by the willpower of the inhabitants of the afterlife.

    • Whenever a being dies in the afterlife world, it is reborn in the living world, with no memories of its past lives.

    • It is possible to perform services in the afterlife, to exchange for buffs in the spirit’s next life.

    • There is a single ‘Judge’ entity, which is in charge of managing the afterlife world, and judging a spirit based on its actions in its former life.

    • Those deemed as evil spirits by the ‘Judge’ will receive penalties in their next life, unless they manage to perform enough service to negate them.

    • The inhabitants are capable of crossing to the living world, in order to perform specific services. In the living world, the spirits are incorporeal, and can only interact with the world by possessing a living creature or entering dreams.

  • The ‘Judge’ is able to forcefully restrain spirits, returning them to the afterlife world if they act out of their duties.

I looked over my rules for this new system, thinking if there was any way I could improve it. Naturally, I would need to get a new goddess to act as a Judge for this system, but I had an idea on how to handle that. If everything went well, this would be my second Goddess with a personality. And yes, I was going to make it a Goddess, because it is still more fun to hang out with a bunch of attractive women. 

First, I looked over my system one last time, before submitting it. When prompted to name the system, I chose to call it ‘Community Afterlife’. 

Community Afterlife A world beyond the world, where spirits come together in order to help advance both their world and the living world. Those who die in this afterlife are reborn on Earth, though they do not retain their previous memories. Those who choose to help the worlds around them may receive benefits that carry over, as determined by the Judge. Likewise, the Judge may deem spirits as evil, bestowing penalties in the next life that must be worked off, lest they be born disadvantaged. 150 points

I nodded my head in satisfaction, though the price was a bit lower than I expected. Most likely, that was due to the world itself not having any resources. The Astral Plane was probably a full world, whereas this was a bit different. Life would be harder for the spirits like this, but also more rewarding once they advanced enough. 

Now, with the normal cost being 150 points, my discounted price should be 135. With that in mind, I went ahead and bought the system, pausing my world as I did so. Didn’t want things to get too crazy just yet. 

Please designate a Judge for your afterlife.

I closed that window for now, deciding to get back to that once I was done with my changes. Worst case scenario, I could temporarily have one of the other three step in to fill the role for a little while. 

Congratulations! Earth has earned an achievement! 

For completing the cycle of life, death, and rebirth, your world has earned the Circle of Life achievement. +20 points

Good, was hoping that would be the case. I still wasn’t sure how the achievement system worked, but I was fairly sure that solving the problem of gathering souls would net some kind of achievement. Though, I couldn’t help noticing that the wording was a bit different. This must be a World achievement, rather than a Keeper one. 

Either way, this gave me enough points to do what I wanted. I would be using one of my last two races here, as a way to give the afterlife permanent residents. A culture would more easily form if the inhabitants weren’t all temporary guests, right? And a culture was needed in order to let the afterlife world develop. 

Navigating the menu, I opened up the Race Creator window, using one of the slots to design this new race. 

Race Name Daeva
Comprehension 8
Agility 3
Strength 3
Lifespan 60
Luck 4
Awareness 5
Male:Female ratio 1
Example Adult Male Example Adult Female
Racial Abilities 
-Spiritual Awareness

In terms of physical abilities, they were far behind the other races. But, that was okay. There shouldn’t be too much fighting going on in the afterlife, meaning that their mental abilities would be much more useful. Their special ability, Spiritual Awareness, would give them a further advantage with manipulating the spiritual energies of the afterlife, as well as a kind of instinct towards the spirits that appeared there. 

Due to lowering their physical abilities so much, the Spiritual Awareness did not increase their cost. Although the race would not interact with the living world directly, they would be able to perform behind the scenes, managing the afterlife. In terms of appearance, I wasn’t quite sure what to settle with. In the end, I went for a mix of angel and demon. 

Both man and woman had slim bodies, representing their poor physical attributes. I chose the hair color for the male example to be black, while the woman’s hair was white. On the other hand, I gave each a pair of large bird-like angel wings of the opposite color. So, the woman’s wings were black, while the male’s wings were white. On either head, I gave them small horns poking through their hair. And, to top it off, I altered their eyes, turning the sclera black. 

With that done, I placed this new race in the afterlife, and got to work on the last change. I had thirty eight points left, and planned to use most of that to create and designate my ‘Judge’. Purchasing the NPC goddess for 25 points, I designed her body to match the female form of the Daeva. The only difference I made was her wings, making them a gradient of white to black, starting from the top. 

Now, I wanted to give her a personality as well… but a personality would cost twenty points. Seeing as I only had thirteen left, that became a problem. Though, maybe I could take advantage of the recently discovered system of ‘God rewards’ to fix that. 

Pulling the window back up from before, I selected this new Goddess, Irena. Her domain was the Underworld, encompassing death and rebirth. Then, I had her appear before me, with Terra’s help. 

Irena was currently dressed in a black business suit with white lines going down it, clinging to her ample curves. Her hair was tied in a bun, and she was wearing round spectacles to give her a look that mixed librarian and secretary. I cast a glance at Terra, knowing that she probably designed the outfit. She simply shrugged with a grin before looking away, leaving me to issue orders to Irena. 

“Irena, I want you to go to Earth and gather all of the willing spirits that have already died.” I told her, figuring that this new system would not retroactively gather them. Actually, I didn’t specify a condition for them to be gathered at all… well, now I can fix that before it becomes a problem. That might also have contributed to the price being lowered. 

“After that, you will take them to your new domain, and judge them based on their deeds in their past lives.” I began explaining the details of her job to her, not wanting to assume that she would know it simply by assigning it to her. When I was done, I ended with another order. “I want you to manage the growth of the Daeva race as well, have them learn and advance. Their primary job will be to guide dead spirits to the afterlife. Is this understood?” 

“Yes, Keeper.” Irena answered in a monotone voice. Afterwards, she vanished from the Admin Room. Though, sadly I didn’t get any points right away. Well, she’ll be getting her personality soon. That’s a priority, since without a will of her own, she won’t be able to exert much power over the spirit world.

You may also like: