Chapter 478: Long Live the King

Three days… in order to ensure that my host saw cultivating as an important duty, I remained atop the tallest mountain I could find for three full days. For this period, I diligently cultivated the profound star laws, using the information that I had received from the system to nurture my inner star.

Cultivation was one of the methods I knew to obtain a second domain, and the only one that I was sure was within my power to do at the moment. Once I possessed both the domains of Mirrors and Illusions, it would be a challenging task for any opponent to break past my abilities.

Of course, I made sure to keep myself up to date with the others, listening for any activities that would have required my immediate attention. I might be on the far side of Lorek, but with my planar shift power, I could easily appear wherever I was needed.

At the same time, my avatar continued to live with Lydia. Over the three days I spent cultivating, a young man had chosen to come and work at her butcher shop for her while she attended school. The two of them seemed to get along fairly well, though it was clear that the man was only in the business for the money.

Thankfully, it wasn’t so easy to steal money from the business with the common security measures in place. Not unless he was well-versed in the art of slipping through spells. For Lydia’s sake, I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Finally, there was one last thing weighing on my mind. It was this that I decided to end my three days of cultivation for. Aurivy, I need your help for a moment.

Sure thing, bro. What’s up?

I’m going to rescue Fyor’s world spirit. That world spirit had been trapped within the elemental planes since her creation, only briefly speaking with me when I found her with a mirror. When that happened, I became aware of the fate she was facing. Constantly being devoured and reborn, hunted down by the beasts of that realm.

Now, the residents of Fyor had only just started exploring the twenty-third floor of Fyor, where the martial spirit orb rested. However, they had yet to find the gate to the twenty-fourth, as it sat at the bottom of a deep lake.

In order to rescue Fyor’s world spirit, I first needed to acquire the orb that I believed would be placed on the twenty-fourth floor, and bring it back to the center. With the best case scenario, she would be able to detect her presence being accepted by Fyor, and could leave the elemental plane on her own. If not, I would have to find her with my mirrors again and bring her back myself.

Understood! Aurivy spoke as I called for Leowynn to reenter my body. Once done, the air rippled around us. Soon, I found myself standing within the cushing, dark depths of a lake. I knew from experience that I would not personally be able to activate this gate, but that didn’t bother me. I already knew just who to call for help.

Aurivy, bring her in. I muttered mentally, sending a wave of energy out to form a bubble of air around the gate. At the top of the bubble, I created a dim light, and simply waited with my arms behind my back.

Moments later, golden mist rose from the ground, depositing a small demon girl. The sight caused me to smile softly. “You must be Petra, correct?”

The girl gasped in surprise when she saw me, her head offering only the faintest of nods. She glanced to the side, seeming to notice where we were. As she did so, her shadow extended behind her, and Thelsa rose out of it.

“Keeper.” Thelsa bowed respectfully, Petra following suit a moment later. “You require us to open another gate?” This wasn’t the first time that I had called Thelsa for this job, so I knew that I could trust her.

“That’s right.” I gave her a nod. “There is a scared girl that can only be saved by retrieving the next class orb. She’s all alone, living and dying day by day. So, Thelsa, I ask you to help me save her.”

While I might not have revealed the entire truth to her, I gave enough details to clue Thelsa in on important facts. She furrowed her brow, not saying another word for a moment. “Maria can pass through the gates still. The others have passed the level cap.”

After she said that, she shared a silent conversation with Petra. The demon girl pouted her lips indignantly, sinking into her shadow. Then, a muscular woman rose up in her place, this one a human with black hair. “Yo, Keeps. First time we’re getting a proper introduction.”

“Not now, Maria.” Thelsa spoke firmly, catching her shadow by surprise. “Please.”

“Huh…” Maria blinked, glancing between Thelsa and myself before shrugging her shoulders. “Well, I guess introductions can wait.”

The warrior woman turned, walking towards the gate and pressing a hand against it. I was able to tell that the portal forming from the gate did so… incredibly slowly. At the same time, the light pouring in from the other side was dim. Oh no… Aurivy, are you able to check the crystal on that side?

Lemme check! Aurivy responded immediately, before letting out a surprised gasp. Okay, now that’s kind of cool!

The short version, if you would.

There was a brief pause at my request while I waited for the portal to finish opening. The crystal is just barely holding itself together. It looks like there is a group of monsters that actually feed on the energy of the crystal, causing it to only function at the lowest level.

Okay, so it’s not too terrible… I muttered internally, watching as Maria stepped through the portal. Though it probably has frequent periods of total inactivity if the monsters overeat. Is the orb on this floor?

Uhm… kind of? There was an awkward tone to Aurivy’s voice that had me far too concerned. One of the monsters apparently thought it looked like the main crystal…

Please for the love of all that is good in the world, tell me that the crystal is intact. I did not know what kind of punishment these things could take. It… might actually be possible for some of them to be destroyed.

It’s got some light scratches, but it’s healing rapidly. It’s just currently inhabiting the stomach of a particularly large and angry lizard.

Crystals… giant lizards… I did not like where this was going. Bring me to the other side.

The next thing I knew, I was standing next to Maria, who was crouched down to look at the grass. Above her head, I could see her health bar appearing, showing that she was taking damage just by being here. It wasn’t until I saw what had captured her interest that I knew why.

“Coool…” She spoke out, not even seeming to notice my presence. Her finger flicked against a blade of glistening grass, which shook in a very solid manner. Just behind her feet, I noticed a small patch of blood covering a few similar blades of grass.

“It would seem that ki-reinforced footwear is a requirement to traverse this floor.” Saying that, I reached down, snapping one of the blades of grass and lifting it up. There was a definite crystalline structure to it. “So that’s what happened…”

“Boss?” Maria glanced up towards me. “Got some insights you don’t mind sharing with the class?”

I thought about it for a moment, before nodding my head. “There is a race of monsters in this layer that feasts on the spire. That is why the portal opened so slowly, and why the light is so dim here.” To call it dim was an understatement. It almost looked like Fyor had entered its night cycle. Without using magic or ki to enhance my vision, I would likely not even be able to see more than a few feet past myself.

“The crystals then entered the soil after being ‘refined’ by these beasts, altering the plant life. Most likely, the animals have been altered in the same way by eating the plants while they evolved. Expect any fangs or claws to be as strong as diamond, likely without the same brittle weakness. For the plants… it probably depends how thick they are. It looks like someone at your level has to use ki to protect their feet.”

“Yup, stung like a bitch when I stepped through.” Maria confirmed blatantly. “Need our help going any further?”

I shook my head at her offer. “Until you find the level orb in the last floor, it won’t do much good to have you help out here. It’s best if I handle this myself.” Maria was the primary fighter of the group, meaning that she should have the strongest physical defenses despite her lower level. The fact that she was stabbed by the grass meant that the others would suffer the same fate, getting cut on every thin piece of plant life along the way.

“Well, it was nice meeting you, Keeps!” Maria grinned. “Hopefully, I’ll still be me next time!” After saying that, she turned and left through the portal, which had apparently been struggling to close.

Aurivy, send her back somewhere safe before the water crushes her… I shook my head before closing my eyes. Even if the crystal completely broke down, I should be able to get it working again with my own mana. Clearly, the monsters weren’t so ravenous that they devoured everything, or I wouldn’t be here.

“Find me the one who holds the orb I seek.” I muttered, conjuring a golden mirror in front of myself. I had to admit that I was a bit worried by what I expected to find. I thought that I would see a towering lizard walking on two legs, giant crystals sprouting from its back. Now that… that would just be the system trolling me.

To my pleasant surprise, what I saw was something else entirely. It was still a large lizard, yes, but it ran on four legs, like a twenty meter long gecko. Its scales glittered with soft emerald lights, its eyes blue spheres that gazed out at its surroundings. As it walked through a forest, I was able to see that the plants bent under the weight of its body.

That’s right… they bent, not broke. And when it finished passing, the slowly righted themselves. This was the same for the leaves, the grass, even entire trees. And yet, when I applied just a bit of pressure to a blade of grass previously, it broke.

This monster is able to either soften the matter around itself, or directly manipulate crystalline structures. That was my initial theory from this observation. If the answer was the former, then combined with its scales it would have a truly terrifying level of physical defense. Even I might not be able to land a lethal blow with my fists and ki.

Accalia, what are the odds that one of you could just grab the orb for me without me having to kill that thing? Because I’ll be perfectly honest, the idea of cutting it up to try to find a fist-sized sphere in a body that large… not appealing.

There was a brief giggle to answer my question. Twenty feet to your left. I just dropped it into the water to clean it off. I… imagine that you don’t want to know exactly where it’s been.

You would be correct, and I would thank you not to enlighten me.

So, what was all that about, boss? Maria asked from within Petra’s shadow as the demon walked alone through the forest of the twenty-third floor. That’s all this layer was… one massive forest, riddled with omnivorous plants and monsters alike. And she was doing her best to look as absolutely defenseless as possible. Not like you to cut me off.

It was important. Thelsa answered with a soft sigh. From what I know, the Keeper only acts in person when the fate of the world is at stake.

Yeah, but didn’t he say that it was just one girl? The woman retorted. I’d hardly call that the fate of the world.

There was a moment of silence before Thelsa spoke up. What class orbs are left before Fyor has caught up with the other worlds?

That caused Maria to wrack her brain to remember. We found the summoner orb last week. So all that should be left is the martial spirit and perfect self, right?

Maybe… but what if there was another class that most people couldn’t access? Martial spirits were revealed to be a class when they started forming pacts with monks. In that case, couldn’t another type of spirit be represented with a class?

Well, yeah, I guess? Maria didn’t seem to quite catch on, so Thelsa shook her head mentally. However, just as she was beginning to explain, a pair of windows appeared in front of Petra. Oh…  Ohhh! I get it!

The World Spirit class has been unlocked for Fyor!

Special Title has leveled up!

For helping to save the spirit of the world itself, without seeking either reward or fame, the Shadow Saint title has leveled up! You may now create the Shadow of a World!

Okay… I will admit, that part was unexpected. Thelsa spoke quietly in surprise as she read through the window.

- my thoughts:
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