Taking a closer look at both worlds, I confirmed that there was indeed not a game system set up. At least, judging by the price that had been placed on the worlds. They were rated at one hundred and fifteen, and one hundred and seventy points, too low to include the various systems that I had purchased for my worlds. As for the third world, it had disappeared from my interface just as soon as the team returned to Desbar. However, it seemed that there was not as much need to worry.
The people who had already unlocked their classes were not stripped of them in this world. The mages kept their mana, the monks kept their ki. Similarly, stat bonuses gained from classes stayed as well.
If there was one downside to being in one of these two new worlds, it was… people could no longer access those systems on their own in them. They couldn’t view their status window, their health bars disappeared, and they could not create quests or anything like that. I wasn’t sure yet, but it also seemed like it would be unlikely that they could level up as well.
Well, I’m sure that they will think of this as the logical price to pay for moving outside of my territory. Worst case scenario, they send their children back to one of the three worlds in order to train them. This will cause them to still be reliant on the worlds I control.
Honestly, though, I could easily afford both worlds, and even afford the cost to give them the same systems that I had on my own. Thanks to the points that I had earned from the Keeper Meeting, I had more than enough to be able to spend on things like that. The only reason that I didn’t was that I wanted to reserve the points for now, see if there was anything else that I wanted before the invasion started.
Just as I was about to descend again, I received a message from Irena. The new pen is ready, if Leowynn would like to continue to train.
Hearing that startled me for a moment, because it had not yet been very long since her last training period. “Leowynn? Irena says that the pen’s ready for you.”
Thank you, father. Her voice spoke up from inside of me. I think… I should be ready, yes. I want to continue. Her voice held hesitation at first, but a moment later she reaffirmed her confidence.
I sent the response to Irena, who said that she would meet us in the Underworld in order to show us how to use the new feature of the pen. As such, I immediately chose to descend in the same location that we had visited in the past, confirming that there were still no settlements anywhere even remotely nearby.
When I arrived, it was in the body of a daeva. Irena, as she said, was already waiting for me when I got there. In her hand was what seemed to be the exact same pen that I had been using previously in our training excursions. The only difference was that there seemed to be a bit more intricate carvings along the tip of the pen.
“Is that it?” I asked, looking down to the pen, to which Irena nodded stoically.
“It is, Dale.” She then held up the pen, as if allowing me to inspect its surface. “Visually it is still very similar to the original version. However, the new function has made it into a far more powerful tool.”
Looking at her curiously, I waited for her to explain. Seeing this, she turned, aiming the pen in a seemingly random direction. I could see the torrent of spiritual energy being absorbed into the pen, just like how it used to be done. The change came after that…
Once the spiritual energy had been absorbed into the pen, Irena began writing in the air with it. Become fire.
Immediately, the dark and grey misty landscape of the Underworld erupted into flames. Every speck of spiritual energy that I could see had begun burning, causing me to open my eyes wide in shock. When she wrote the words ‘Return to normal’ in the air with the pen, the fire immediately vanished, as if it had never been there in the first place.
“The quill of souls can only show its greatest power in the Underworld. Once filled with spiritual energy, you can use that energy to write commands. These commands contain the intent with which they were written, and the nearby spiritual energy interprets and responds to that intent.”
I gave a small nod at her explanation, still dumbfounded by how the pen performed. If a future invasion ever involved the Underworld, then this would surely qualify as a weapon of mass destruction.
Irena turned, passing the pen to me before nodding her head gently. “Let me know if you need me for anything else.” For a brief moment, I thought I saw her expression soften, before she vanished, no doubt returning to the Admin Room.
“Did you… see that, Leowynn?” I asked hesitantly, before finding the mist exploding forth from my body, forming the body of my elven daughter.
“I did.” She responded with a smile, clearly eager to test the effects of the pen herself. “I’m ready to begin whenever you are.”
Nodding my head, I turned and absorbed the nearby energy in order to once again fill the pen. Only after that did I point it to Leowynn. She reflexively flinched, reminding me of the old function of the pen. Smiling to her, I simply began to write in the air. Empower Leowynn.
Irena said that it responded to my intent, which was in line with what I knew about spiritual energy. As such, there was no need to write fancy instructions, detailing every step and condition for the training. I could simplify it down as much as I liked and still get the desired result.
The moment that I had finished writing Leowynn’s name, a circle of light sprang into being at her feet. She looked down in shock, before the circle began to brighten, rotating rapidly. All around us, the spiritual energy of the Underworld was being drawn into the circle, causing it to glow more and more.
Steadily, the light began to rise up, obscuring Leowynn’s body. I could only step back, watching the events unfold. I wasn’t quite sure how this was going to work, but Leowynn did not appear to be in pain.
Soon, the light had completely engulfed her body, forming into a giant egg. Only then did it settle, the energies around us halting their frantic movements. And, at the same time, a message appeared in front of me.
Spirit Leowynn has entered an incubation period. Spiritual contact is disabled until incubation ends.
“Well… I’m not sure what I was expecting.” I admitted, realizing after the message that Leowynn would likely not be able to hear me. “But it wasn’t that.”
Curious, I tried to pull Leowynn back into my spiritual realm. Thankfully, the large egg that she was in did not offer resistance. It had attached itself to her spirit, and thus came with her, shattering into fragments of mist that flew into my body.
When I checked my spiritual realm, I saw the egg just sitting there, knowing that Leowynn was resting inside. I wasn’t sure how long this was going to take, and likely not even Irena knew. I had just been expecting this to be a longer training session, standing here a bit while Leowynn absorbed energies.
Instead, she had become trapped in an egg, the system declaring it as an incubation period. Though, the fact that the system said that should mean that there was no danger to Leowynn from this. I just had to wait until she ‘hatched’.
Once again, I returned to the Admin Room, this time only long enough to descend as a kitsune. And sure enough, I found Tsubaki still in her kneeling posture, waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs in front of my throne. “Did you observe the event?” I asked her, and she nodded her head slightly.
“I did.” She slowly stood up, dusting off her clothes with her hands. “Would you like a report on the matter?”
I shook my head, standing up and heading down the steps. “No need, I watched it myself. Please relay my condolences about the third expedition team. Their ending was… not at all pleasant.”
“Is it a matter that requires urgent warning?” Tsubaki asked, turning to follow me. “Airborne plagues could perhaps infect the entirety of the Desbar population if they had been brought back.”
“No, the third expedition wasn’t exposed to anything like that. And, if Kirano is smart enough to come up with this plan, he likely took diseases into account. Each side will no doubt have a quarantine period after travel while they are examined for potentially harmful diseases. Especially after today’s events.”
Tsubaki gave a small nod at that. “Very well, then. I have relayed your message. He thanks you for your concern.”
While we were walking, moving towards the library, I sent a message to Aurivy. Would you be able to place a dungeon below the gates of the new worlds that were just explored?
It took a few moments, but she did soon respond to me. I could, but your automatic ‘calamity’ would spawn as a result. I’m not sure how the mana surge would affect the gate’s functions. And, more importantly, their racial connection to one another is limited to their own world. They would not be able to learn from the others.
Ahh… nevermind, then. I shook my head as I realized that my idea was not feasible at this time. I had been hoping that I could create a dungeon network between these unexplored worlds, mapping them out as I had done while playing Keeper Sim. Would you be up for the challenge of teaching new dungeons? Not beneath the gates… far enough away that the mana surge won’t affect things.
Well, I mean, I could do that. Aurivy replied, though I could hear the excitement barely contained in her tone.
Please do so, then. I want to test some things out, and it should eventually be possible to create portals directly between the dungeons, like we used in the Keeper Sim. If we can make those portals cross between worlds, perhaps their racial connection can eventually bridge the gap as well.
I’ll get right on it! Aurivy said happily. Doing this would also prevent me from losing contact with the world, even if the demons happened to get wiped out on it. I’d be able to replay what happened and see if it was worth sending a new team. If not, I could simply pull the dungeon back out with Aurivy. Maybe the dungeon could even make the gate keys itself.
When we arrived at the library, the young elven woman was pouring over the books, humming to herself quietly as she read. The sound of the door closing behind us alerted her, making her lift her head to regard us. “Oh, hello Keeper!” She called out, hastily scrambling out of her chair to offer a quick bow.
She was no longer such a young girl, having aged visibly. She had not quite fully matured yet, but she definitely looked like a young woman, similar to Leowynn back when I first met her. “Have you been enjoying your stay here so far?” I asked curiously, seeing that she was the only one currently living here with Tsubaki.
“Well, it is a bit lonely…” Soreya admitted, shaking her head. “But it’s fine! I was told that this would happen. And Lady Tsubaki has been keeping me company. She’s really been great. Considering everything… yes, sir, I think I have been enjoying it.”
She gave a low bow after saying that, smiling to herself. Seeing that she appeared happy to stay in the Citadel, I was relieved. It’d be a bit upsetting if Tubrock went through all the trouble of making this place fit for people to live in, and nobody lived in it but Tsubaki.