While I was rather glad to see that Alme Dien was taking the initiative to help the centaurs and halflings meet the other races, I couldn’t spare more than a passing glance at their progress every now and then while I trained myself. I had learned from the first Keeper meeting that I was a part of that the prizes for these games were points. And points were exactly what I needed now.
I considered asking Alkahest if he could give me a list of all the different games that would be featured at the meeting, so that I could pick and choose what ones I wanted to do to earn the most points. One that I knew I’d be participating in would be that Keeper Sim that I played in last time. Now that I had some more experience under my belt, I was confident in my chances with that game.
Though… speaking of that. I quickly sent off a message to Alkahest, navigating the menu while I continued my ‘thread training’.
EarthForceOne: If we bring a companion to the meeting, are they able to play games on our behalf?
Alkahest: They can, but you’re limited to just one Companion to use in this manner. You can’t just flood the party with people to play the games for you, after all. You can also use them as advisors for you in the games that you play, so long as it’s not in a cheating way like telling you what cards your opponent has.
Thankfully, it didn’t take him long to get back to me after I sent off the question, which made me smile in relief. Now it was just a matter of thinking who would be best to take with me for the meeting. Terra was an obvious choice, given that she was a system companion, and knew the ins and outs of every game that they could play.
However, I had the feeling that she wouldn’t be eligible, due to the restrictions placed on system companions. And I didn’t want to put all my hope on her, only to find out later that she couldn’t do it. If we weren’t lacking in points as badly as we were right now, I wouldn’t hesitate to take Terra or the rest of them with me just to hang out with a new crowd.
Then there was Udona. She had already displayed a remarkable level of ability in understanding games. However, that was also after she had spent months studying those games. Right now, we only had a few days left until the meeting began, so that wasn’t enough time for her to even properly study the Keeper Sim game, let alone the ones that I never attended myself.
In the end, I put it up to a vote, sending the message out to all of the companions. In a few days’ time, the regular Keeper meeting will be held by the Gilded Branch guild. I’m looking for someone to attend the meeting with me. This isn’t a regular party outing, or I’d be willing to take everyone.
These meetings feature games hosted by the guild, with the prizes being points. Whoever goes with me will also be competing in these games in order to earn the prizes, so that we can get all of the information we need to bring out the Fairy Gates. I want you all to decide who will be joining me.
I had half expected to receive a series of ‘Me!’ responses from the gods and goddesses, but they were surprisingly silent. Or maybe they were just discussing among themselves to decide, and taking this seriously like I had hoped. Either way, they didn’t get back to me, which allowed me to continue my training.
Minutes passed by into hours, which soon became days as I focused purely on expanding my understanding of the Thousand Arms, Ten Thousand Threads martial art. Every now and then, I would consult the information orb that I had purchased to refresh my understanding.
Before, I had only practiced casually, bringing my ability up from twenty threads to thirty. I had never taken the time to diligently train like I was now. But now, I had to. After all, the key factor of this martial art was its ability to affect the mental state of its user, granting them a better ability to multitask and process information.
By the end of my sixth day of training, I had finally reached the rank of One Hundred Threads. This meant that I could accurately form and control at least one hundred threads of chakra and direct them around my surroundings. This also meant that I was able to use two new abilities of the art.
The first new ability was the Woven Eye, which first becomes available once the practitioner can accurately handle fifty threads. This ability allows the user to weave together those fifty threads and connect it with their own eyes. With that, they are able to see everywhere that their threads go, as if there were eyes attached to the threads.
I tried the ability briefly, and was stunned by the sheer amount of sensory input I was receiving. The room around me had suddenly changed into a three dimensional map in my mind, and I could see every little nook and cranny. Naturally, once I got to a hundred threads, I could do this twice, which only increased the level of detail.
The second ability was one that I had been looking forward to for some time, the Twinned Cord that I received after reaching One Hundred Threads. Unlike its rather confusing name, the ability was really simple to describe. It was a cloning technique, far better than the original ‘Split Thread’ ability that was unlocked early on. In this case, the clone could be considered a physical creature.
While the clone was created, I could use any ki, magic, or chakra through it as if it were me. I could see through its eyes and use it to communicate. It could deliver physical attacks and even wield weapons or armor. However, its body was rather fragile, since it was created from a hundred woven chakra threads. If an attack broke through its defenses, it was likely to destroy the clone.
Another weakness of the clone was its range. This wasn’t a case of me simply being able to create the clone and sending it out all over the place to scout and fight for me. No, the clone was limited to the same range as my threads. And right now, the furthest I could push a single thread out to was fifty meters. Still a really good card to play when in a fight, but not something that can just be used as a godly clone.
On the eighth day, I finally stopped training, having reached one hundred and thirty-two threads. I hadn’t received another ability, but I felt that it was necessary for me to take at least a full day to rest and allow my mind to recover from the nonstop training. I was also quite curious why the others hadn’t gotten back to me yet.
Moving towards the living room, I saw that nobody was around, causing me to raise an eyebrow. Normally, I’d find Aurivy with one of the other girls watching something on the television, but it seemed likely that she was off playing in one of their rooms. Alright… who’s going with me?
I was sure that my message had gone through the first time, as I hadn’t had an incident with the mental messaging malfunctioning for a while. However, the fact that they never responded could only mean that they had been taking this time to decide themselves, or that they were waiting to leave it as a surprise for when I was about to go.
“That’ll be me.” A voice came from behind me, causing me to spin around in place. The person that had suddenly appeared was none other than my very own Goddess of Politics, Bihena. She quirked a brow at my expression, placing one hand on her hip. “You seem a bit surprised that it’s me.”
“Well… yeah. I had been expecting Udona, or maybe even Terra. If not them, maybe Aurivy.” I answered honestly, giving a small nod of my head.
Bihena only shook her head with a wry smile. “Terra can’t help in these kinds of competitions. Udona thought about it, but she’s busy getting Deckan up to a good level of power and doesn’t want to take the time to learn a bunch of new games right now. Aurivy begged and pleaded, but like you said, this isn’t a regular outing. So, they decided that it would be me.”
“Ahh… I see. Alright. We’ve got two days until the meeting, but I wanted to make sure I knew who was coming along so that I could plan appropriately. Did Terra tell you the kinds of games that you could expect at the meeting?”
When I asked that, Bihena simply shook her head again. “No, she said that there were too many to really prepare me for, and that saying anything more would be a ‘violation of Keeper privacy’. But I’m fairly confident that I’ll be able to bring back some points at least. How long are we staying there?”
I gave a light chuckle in response. “As long as we can. I left the first meeting after just a couple games, because I didn’t really have a reason to stick around longer than that. This time, however, we need to stay in order to earn more points. Our goal is to get ten thousand points in total. We’ll only come back early if we hit that goal.”
Hearing that number made Bihena’s eyes open wide. Ten thousand points was around three times as many points as we had at our highest, and that was when we had been saving up nearly a year’s worth of royalties. “O… okay. I guess we’ll probably be there for a little while, then.”
I felt my lips tugging upwards as I saw her suddenly becoming nervous. “Just think, this’ll be your first time away from a territory that we had control over.”
Her expression suddenly chilled, and she quirked a brow at me again. “Terra already assured me that it was safe, and that nobody would be able to harm us. I might be nervous, but don’t try to frighten me, alright?”
I shrugged my shoulders helplessly, shaking my head. “Oh, that reminds me… I need to ask about Leowynn, too.” As I said that, I brought up the menu again, firing off another message to Alkahest.
EarthForceOne: Forgot to ask before. I’ve got an entity bound to me spiritually. Are there any rules that I should know for them, since they aren’t really a Companion?
Alkahest: Bound to you, huh? Well… if they aren’t a Companion, I’d suggest to keep them with you at all times. Hostilities are forbidden during the meetings, but if someone tries something, your entity wouldn’t be safe. Unlike a companion, they can still be killed if someone gets violent. I don’t know anyone who would risk being blacklisted for something like that, but better safe than sorry. If it is the official meeting, that’s another story, though. There, the rules are enforced by the system itself, and everyone is given absolute protection.
My eyebrow twitched slightly as I read that, feeling a bit sorry for Leowynn. I made a mental note to try to find some other types of outings where I could take her along without her just sitting inside my spiritual realm. Maybe if I joined a guild eventually, she could meet them. Or I could take her to the official meeting whenever I attend one myself.
“Everything alright, Dale?” Bihena asked, glancing at me curiously after I had gone quiet. “Did you find out what you wanted to know?”
“Yeah… looks like Leowynn won’t be able to come out to play this time.” I answered, shaking my head. “We’ll find another chance for her to meet up with other people.”
Bihena gave a brief nod at that, before glancing back towards the hall briefly. “You said we have a couple days before the meeting, right?” When I nodded my head, she continued with a small smile. “Alright, I’m going to go make sure that I have everything ready on my end. Send me a message when it’s time, and I’ll come find you.”
After I gave another nod, she turned and walked into the hall, heading towards her own room. Part of me wondered what exactly she had to prepare. I planned to pause Earth before I left, so there wouldn’t be an issue of humanity’s goddess disappearing for a few days. Maybe she just wanted to pick out a good outfit… women do always tend to take a long time to get ready.