chapter 94: the turn of the tide

For the next three days, the three of us atop the wall truly did not dare to leave it for any reason. That was because we saw firsthand what would happen to anyone the turtles caught. With the gates wide open, and nobody there to stop it, a wandering tiger walked into the city, following the stench of blood in the air. However, the moment the turtles saw it, over fifty of them disappeared. In the next instant, the tiger had already been ripped to shreds, blood and gore splattering everywhere. It had not even had a chance to react as the turtles appeared around and overtop it.

When I asked why the gate had to remain opened, Thal– the guard that had welcomed me when I first arrived– explained that it was necessary. Sometimes, they would leave the gate closed to prevent the turtles from spreading out of the city. However, when that happened, the turtles actually destroyed a section of the wall and several buildings in order to find food when they ran out of their ‘offerings’.

So, for those three days, I simply continued talking to them about what could be seen as common matters, using the excuse that I had been wandering the wilderness for a hundred years. There were several things that simply didn’t make sense to me. For one, I saw the makings of a small landing for boats along the beach, yet not a single boat or its remains could be found.

When I asked Thal about this, he looked out to the waters, and said that it wasn’t safe to venture out. Unsure what he meant, I also looked into the water, using ki to amplify my sight. It was only then when I saw something lurking beneath the surface, less than two hundred meters from the shore. A massive creature, at least thirty meters long, looking like a giant fish. I couldn’t make out many details from this distance, but it was enough for me to appraise the creature.

Level 269 Shallows King

I subconsciously gulped when I read that information. In the current period, that was almost the strongest creature that could exist in the entire world. Thal, seeming to understand that I saw something, nodded his head. He told me that he thinks that was why the turtles come to land in search of food, because the waters are too dangerous.

Part of me considered finding a way to secretly kill the monster, but doing so wouldn’t really solve anything. The locals would still be afraid to set out in the waters, and there was every chance that the giant fish didn’t really have anything to do with the turtles coming ashore. It might simply be a migratory habit.

1-800-GOD-DESS Hotline, is Ryone available? I closed my eyes and prayed when our period of solitude atop the wall was nearing the end of the third day.

Dale! Hey, what’s up? I didn’t expect a prayer from you. Came the hurried response. You still stuck on the wall?

Oh… so she knew about that. Yeah. I had something to ask you. Is your incarnation anywhere near Cau Buhnga?

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Look straight ahead, third house on the left. No, sorry, other left. Second floor window. Surprised, I let her voice guide my eyes, and saw a young woman waving at me through an opening in the wall that vaguely resembled a window. Her hair was silver, flowing down past where I could see, and she was dressed in white and gold robes. So, what did you need me for?

Well… that certainly made things more embarrassing. Thankfully, they did have some rudimentary plumbing for us atop the wall… in the form of a hole going straight down. Not my proudest moment. Is there anything you can do to help this town? As the goddess of magic, surely she had to have some ideas.

Well… I mean, there’s not nothing I can do? She answered vaguely, and I could see a troubled look on her incarnation. My mage level is really too low for it to make sense that this incarnation could come up with it. I’ve been staying here for a few years to study those turtles, and try to figure out how I could make a magic item that stopped them, but nothing has come to mind. We would need a strong ward, but that is in archmage territory.

Could you whisper the idea to one of the stronger mages? Maybe get them to come here and help?

Maybe, I’ve been trying with this one local guy, but he’s been stubborn. That’s another reason my incarnation is here in person. My levels were already made public, so I hoped to convince him one way or the other. But… maybe… I saw her incarnation looking up at me with a gleam in her eye.

I’m not going to like this, am I? I asked, shaking my head and sighing. Thal looked at me in confusion, while the other guard maintained his endless duty of watching the activity of the turtles.

Oh, come on..~! It’ll only take a week or two. She pleaded, leaning against the window. You can stay here with me in the meantime! Nobody knows your levels, so we can just tell them that you are strong enough to set up the wards!

While honestly, the idea of staying down here for weeks was not appealing to me, I did have to admit that it would save countless lives if it worked. Not to mention, it would give me more chance to learn about the fundamental nature of magic. Alright, I’ll do it. What do you have in mind?

It’s simple, really! If anyone asks, just tell them that you have high levels as a mage and archmage. I’ll guide you through the specifics. She promised, smiling happily and nodding from the window, before moving away from it.

I had the feeling that I didn’t know what I just got myself into. But either way, our stay upon the wall only lasted for a few more hours. A jet black bird, similar to a large crow or raven, was sent out one last time carrying fruits for the three of us to eat. This has been our regular diet for the last three days…

Anyways, soon we could see the turtles all beginning to wander back to the shore, leaving trails of blood and gore all throughout the city. Seeing that, the two guards let out sighs of relief, thankful that no elves had died this year. With Thal and Idris’s powers, they were able to create a set of stairs leading down the wall, which looked like they had always been there. Most likely, the stairs were only taken away during times like this.

“So, what brings you to Cau Buhnga, Jayl?” Thal finally asked once the situation calmed down. I could see doors opening in the various building, and elves walking out. Some began grabbing tools to clean up the mess on the streets as if it were only natural, while other smaller elves ran about and played.

“He’s with me~!” A female voice called out, and I could see Ryone’s incarnation running towards us quickly, waving her arms to get our attention. “I asked him to come here, we’re friends from the capital, before he started traveling.” She explained after she arrived in front of us, leaning over and panting for breath. I could understand her exhaustion, as the classes she told me she had would do nothing for her stamina.

“Rinon…” Thal said with a bemused smile. “Could you not have called him here when the turtle tide was due? The poor man almost lost his life if he had come just a few moments later.”

“Sorry…” She smiled to him, before reaching out and taking my hand. Now that I was able to see her, I could appreciate that she had a pretty good figure, even for an elf. Aside from her hair and face, she looked almost identical to the Ryone up in the Admin Room. “I hoped he would show up a few days ago, so that he could see it first-hand. Anyways, with his help this should be the last time we have to deal with the tide!”

Thal was taken aback by Rinon’s confident declaration, before turning to look at me, and back to her. “And just how is he going to do that?” He asked suspiciously.

Before I could answer for myself, Rinon jumped in. “He’s a ward specialist, and told me that he had found a way to stop monsters from entering the city. That’s why I invited him over here so urgently.”

Thal thought about that, but simply let out a sigh, seeming to accept the situation. “Alright, fine. Hopefully this time, your plan actually works.” He didn’t seem to have much faith in Rinon’s plans, which seemed ironic considering her true nature.

“It will! You’ll see, next year they won’t even be able to enter the town.” She repeated before dragging me back towards the house. “Come on, Jayl, we’ve got a lot to prepare.” I saw Thal smiling knowingly at me as I left, as if watching an unfortunate victim being lured away.

Once we got back to her place, she closed the door, which automatically sealed itself behind us. “Finally.” She muttered to herself. “Okay, what do you need to know for this to work?” She asked, looking up at me. Ryone’s connection with her incarnation seemed much stronger than that of Terra, likely due to those restraints that the latter had to deal with.

“First, what are wards. Second, how do I even do what you are wanting me to?” I asked, finding a chair in the next room and sitting down. I was rather surprised to find that there was only one chair in the room, but Rinon didn’t seem to mind. She simply walked forward and sat on my lap sideways, as if it was natural.

“Wards are basically large-scale enchantments. However, the class governing them is the archmage instead of the enchanter, and the setup process is quite different than enchanting items. With enough power and materials, I could ward the entire city to turn invisible if I wanted. Monster barriers are considerably more simple than that, thankfully.” She answered casually, smiling at me as she talked.

“Okay, that’s the what. Now, the how?”

“Fine, fine. It’ll take a few days for me to drill the basics of wards into you, and then I’ll teach you the specific ward that will keep monsters away. Once you’ve set up the ward here, and we prove it works next year, I can share the information with the other cities, saying that I learned it from you.”

I nodded to her explanation, though found a few things weird. “I thought that the elves already discovered wards? If I remembered right, they had advanced to the second or third tier of the magic, so they should be able to do something like this on their own?”

At that, Rinon let out a long sigh. “Well, it’s… not that easy, Dale. Sorry, Jayl. The wards that they’ve learned until now were largely accidental, either the one or two granted by the archmage class, or them experimenting and finding something by luck. Very few have devoted themselves to actually studying wards, because they go against commonly understood principles of magic.”

Without waiting for me to ask for an explanation, she simply continued talking. “It is commonly believed that only a creature capable of thought can produce mana. Monsters are already a controversial subject for many elves, because they don’t want to admit that there might be other ways to do it, or that monsters are as intelligent as people. They can understand enchantments, because the mana used comes from either the enchanter, or the one wielding the enchanted item. A ward, however, is different. They don’t seem to need refueling, and can last without an apparent power source.”

“And that’s just not possible, even for magic.” I interrupted.

“Right? It’s really not. They just don’t understand the logic behind it. In reality, all wards have a common basic principle which people have failed to properly grasp yet. And that is to serve as a mana collector. With the materials and designs for wards, all of the known ones include a particular diagram that saps very small amounts of mana from all nearby creatures constantly. Such an insignificant amount that it is not even noticed. But multiply that by every elf, every monster. It adds up fast. I suspect there are other ways to power wards, but that is the only currently known method.” She finally took a deep breath, ending her explanation.

“Would that really be enough to fend off the turtles for three days, then?” Even if the ward built up strength for a full year, those turtles weren’t exactly weak.

Only allowed on

“Well… Not exactly. What we are going to do isn’t a ‘barrier to prevent access’, but a ‘field to prevent approach’. If it works, the turtles should simply move on to a different feeding ground once they appear here, as if the land had become barren. A barrier would be easier, but also less likely to work.”

“Great.” I muttered. “So the future of the city relies on my ability to create an advanced ward with no real practical knowledge, under the watchful eye of hundreds of elves. No pressure.”

“I know, right?” She said with a giggle. “I’m hoping that this will create a trend for researching into wards once it works. There are so many possibilities that haven’t been explored! Maybe next time, I’ll incarnate as an archmage.”

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