Out of the thirty-eight systems that the deities were submitting, all but one managed to make it through to the system. It seemed that one was actually submitted by someone else before Terra delivered the papers to me. However, the system that couldn’t be submitted was merely one to create a new class for the afterlife, one which would cause them to be more proficient in traveling from place to place.
Given that the royalties from that class would only be one or two points per purchase, it wasn’t anything worth worrying over. Instead, I chose to simply submit the rest of the items and lay down for a rest. Although it may sound lazy, but sleep was actually the most profitable thing that I could do at this point, as it allowed the time for the rest of the Keepers to pass, meaning more people would be able to see and purchase the new systems.
Along the sandy shores of Al’duin, a large group of heroc stood. In front of them was their latest creation, a ship to sail to far-off shores. However, the heroc knew the dangers that lurked within the deeps. They had spoken to the ones beneath the waves. This was not a boat to sail the seas, but the skies.
The boat had the same general shape as ones which sailed along the waves, but with several important differences. It did not have a large mast atop its deck to catch the wind. Instead, on either side of the ship were two iron rings protruding from either side, a feeling of powerful magic coming from them. Each ring was angled downwards, halfway beneath the water’s surface.
Currently, the ship was resting atop the water, making it easier for a group of thirty heroc to climb aboard. As the last one did, another stopped him. “May the ancestors guide you.” He spoke in a solemn tone, earning a nod from the departing heroc.
That man moved to sit in a large chair at the top of the ship, near its rear. When he spoke, his voice rang out to all aboard. “Launch the flying sea!”
At his command, a dozen heroc all moved to the sides of the ships, channeling power into the enchantments contained within the iron hoops. The water beneath the ship churned and began to rise up, carrying the ship itself with it. As it rose, some of the water began to break off from the mass, falling back to the sea below.
When the water stabilized, it had formed two horizontal rings around the ship, each passing through the iron hoops. Yet, even without anything beneath it the ship remained steady. “Move us forward!” The captain called out again, and the twelve heroc sent another command into the enchantments. This time, the ship began to steadily move forward, slowly ascending above the clouds as it traveled.
By the time I woke up from my little nap, I found another notification waiting for me on the computer. This one was surprisingly another invention, and one from the heroc of all people. A flying ship… A small smile crept up onto my face as I read that. It had been over five hundred years since elves had developed personal flight artifacts, but nobody had been able to develop one on a larger scale yet.
In my excitement, I moved to investigate the heroc, seeing if they were moving ahead of the other races in other areas. What I found was both disappointing and not at the same time. In terms of smaller artifacts, the heroc simply didn’t seem to bother mass producing them at all. They didn’t have anything like the status orb, or a personal flight artifact, or even city defense artifacts like the ki cannons.
Instead, their focus seemed to be on a larger scale, like this ship. They had permanent gateways established between their cities, much like a druid’s portals. They had mana shields that could cover a city for a certain period. But nothing for individual use.
From my investigations into the minds of herocs, I discovered the reason. Such artifacts weren’t created because they were simply deemed unnecessary. They had created a personal flight artifact, yes, but only as a prototype to the flying ship. After all, most heroc could use their own power to achieve similar effects to whatever a personal artifact could give them.
I took a quick look at the voyage leaving from the heroc shores and couldn’t help but wince slightly. The heroc were flying to the south from the southernmost tip of their continent. This would mean that they would have to go through the southern arctic pole before they hit another continent.
If they managed to withstand the biting cold, however, they would arrive in the elven continent later. Possibly even the centaur continent, if their course diverged a little bit. I was curious to see whether or not they’d make it, and how they would be received, but first I wanted to take a look at the other races.
First up were the halflings and centaurs, as I foresaw them changing the least out of all of the races. And sure enough, they did not look much different from the last time I saw them. If there was anything that could be called change, it was that they had a lot more dirt roads between their cities than they used to, and that I noticed a larger percentage of their population was living inside of the cities, as opposed to wandering aimlessly.
As for their magical advancement, it was… practically nil. I noticed a few artifacts scattered here and there, some magical light posts to light the city at night, but nothing impressive. Well… that’s one hundred wasted points. I couldn’t help but groan inwardly as I saw that pushing their development towards magic research had only yielded so much.
Next on the list were the dwarves. I had great expectations for them, and was not disappointed. The structure of their society had changed little over the last two thousand years, but the number and scale of their cities had instead increased. On each of their city walls, they had dozens of manned ki cannons ready to attack any monster that approached.
The originally shoddy craft of the dwarves had finally been refined over the last two thousand years, and they now had finely made iron and steel. Whether it was a staff enchanted for a wizard, a sword for a warrior, or even a metal bow for archers, the assortment found in their shops was enough to put other races to shame.
And of course… they had fully become drunkards, as well. Even more than their forges, their breweries seemed to be more highly regarded. I could only shake my head as I even saw a guard at the level limit passed out with a pint in his hand in one of their taverns, a pair of ursa laughing across the table from him. It seemed that the beastkin had been well received in their society, at least.
Moving on, I turned my attention towards the elves, the shining jewel of magic. From what I could tell, the elves had managed to reproduce several artifacts from the dungeon, mass producing them within their own borders. The bags of holding were a particularly significant export to both Zoriark and the dwarven continent, but they always kept the enchantment method for it a secret.
The Towers of Communication iconic to the elves had likewise received a massive upgrade. Thanks to a long-range communication artifact, they no longer had to wait for days to deliver important news all across the continent. They were even able to relay information all the way to the dwarven continent, through use of their relay towards in between.
I’ll have to go down and pay another visit soon, for a closer look. I promised myself with a brief nod, before turning my attention towards the humans. There was no surprise when I saw that they had excelled in the production of weapons. Whether it was the bows that fired ki arrows, or primitive firearms that were fueled by mana, the humans had begun to mass produce them to fight their war.
Of course, their defensive structures were just as impressive. Along the coast, they had several forts built with ki-enhanced stone bricks. I could only stare in amazement as I imagined just how much essence blood it would take to fully reinforce those walls. I’d probably have to unlock most of my levels in order to break it down.
Though, that did bring me to the beastkin. Out of all of the races, they had changed the most. Originally, they had been peace-loving and kind, but the humans had forced them to change. They became more violent in order to fight against the humans. Personally, I did not see the point to their war, as the humans had no way to invade the beastkin continent.
As far as I could tell, it was a case of aggressions turning into a blood feud. The beastkin couldn’t abandon their pride after seeing how the humans treated their people, and so they fought. Even when the humans could only be on the defensive, they never let down the attack.
Shaking my head, I moved to see if the beastkin had made any remarkable advancements of their own that I had not seen yet. That was when I saw shops within their cities selling magic scrolls. Not the quest scrolls, but actual magic scrolls, each one containing a spell. From what I had seen, no other race had yet to perfect the method of scribing scrolls, so I was rather happy to see it from them.
After glancing through the entire list, I debated where I wanted to go down to get a feel for their current state. The halflings and centaurs were still too far behind the others to consider… The humans and beastkin were swept up in their war, so I wanted to leave that alone for now. I haven’t been a dwarf in a while.
Nodding my head at the idea, I decided to descend as a dwarf, going through the menu to set up my body. For my reputation, I decided to keep it simple, since I wasn’t going to be staying for long. Just a traveling monk with no home or past. If it wasn’t for the status orbs, I wouldn’t have even gone for that much.
Either way, once the body was ready and I had called back Leowynn, I selected the option to descend, making sure to grab my bag of holding as I did. The familiar warm, blue light surrounded me, and soon I found myself standing alone on a stone road.
My body had become small, just short of five feet, but also stocky. My arms were as thick as a human’s thighs, bulging with muscle and covered with hair. Black hair fell down over my face, making me work to clear it out repeatedly so that I could see in front of me.
“Well, let’s get going then.” I muttered as I began to walk, using the map to navigate my way towards a nearby city. This wasn’t a capital of either of the three kingdoms, but it was still one of their larger cities, which was why I had chosen it.
Along the way, I encountered several carriages moving two and from the city, more and more the closer I came. At times, they would stop to greet me, and others they would simply walk by. I didn’t pay any mind until I came across a lycan walking the same road as me, coming from the city.
“Hail.” I called out, rather instinctively using the local greeting. I wanted to see what the relationship was like between the two races up close, as opposed to my normal view on high.
“Ah, hey.” The lycan replied, glancing up from the road to smile at me. “You heading towards Feradin?”
“Aye.” I responded with a brief nod. “Ye just come from that direction, have ye?” As much as I didn’t want to, I found the dwarven accent slipping out as I spoke. Terra’s never going to let me live this down.
No, no I won’t. My thought was confirmed by a rather amused tone. However, the lycan in front of me soon answered. “Yeah. Sorry, but I’ve got to get going.” Saying that, he moved to walk past me along the road.
Still, I wasn’t annoyed. The caution he showed wasn’t that towards someone he was afraid of, but rather the typical actions of facing a stranger. To expect one to tell their life story on the drop of a hat was rather unlikely, to say the least. I bid him farewell with a nod, and made my way towards Feradin.