Chapter 293: Hidden Agendas
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I could hear the conversation between the two as they flew away, having deployed my world sight to monitor them until they reached the city. However, I simply smiled. It didn’t matter much to me if they had an ulterior motive or not. Rather, it was perfectly fine if they did. They could use me to bolster their own achievements, but at the same time it would be fulfilling my own goals.

“Thessa.” I called out as my avatar turned to walk into the house, the black-haired halfling immediately turning to follow me. “How strong are the special monsters in this area? The ones with more useful components.”

“The monsters on this floor range from level three-fifty to four hundred.” She answered calmly. “However, if we are discussing their combat strength, then the ones in question are typically weaker. Enough that adventurers in the two hundred level range could easily kill them, assuming that they found them.”

I gave a small nod at that. Since most of the monsters of this layer were aquatic, finding them was a difficult task in itself. For most people, at least. “Take Rache with you and gather up as many as you can. Be sure to send samples off to Ryone so that she can study them properly.”

You want me to sit around and study fish bones and guts? Ryone asked in shock, having apparently been eavesdropping.

Hey, if it gets the job done? I responded with a small grin. I’ll make it up to you later, deal?

I heard a mental huff at that. Fine. I’ll add it to your tab.

I simply rolled my eyes, entering the house and dispersing my avatar, returning the spiritual energy to my body. I could already see Rache getting up and heading out, having been given the same request as Thessa. Which left me alone in the house. Well, aside from Leowynn.

Once the two of them had left, I allowed Leowynn to emerge to keep me company. She smiled as she sat on the couch, using a wisp of energy to activate the transmission stone. “So, any idea what you’re going to do while they’re gone, or will you let yourself relax for a moment?”

“Me, relax?” I asked with a light laugh. “I’ve still got more training to do. The perfect soul… I have only just started to figure it out.”

I sat next to Leowynn and closed my eyes, listening to the news report that she had turned on while looking into myself. I could see that crystal sphere within my body, just as I had every other time that I had looked at it since finishing my training. However, there was something different about it compared to when I first saw it outside of myself.

No longer was it a perfectly smooth pearl. There were colors and patterns that had appeared. Streaks of blue dancing along a portion of the surface, while another section held a thrumming golden cloud. This was something that I had been rather curious about. In total, thirty-two different patterns shifted about on top of the pearl’s surface.

I focused on the largest pattern, the streaks of blue, and began causing it to expand across the entirety of the soul pearl. The other patterns seemed to be masked beneath it, hidden but still struggling to surface.

When this happened, I felt a strange sensation creeping over my body, both weakness and strength in one. It felt almost as if my mana was rising, while my body was growing weak. However, this was only an illusory feeling. I knew that my mana had not truly risen, nor had my body become weaker. Rather, I gave the ‘appearance’ as if my levels had all become that of a mage.

Similarly, when I smoothed out the entire pearl, it felt almost as if all of my ki, my mana, and my physical strength had been hidden. This was by no means a true conversion, but rather a disguise. If I was right, then this should be able to fool most sensing abilities, as well as the status orbs. Though, I still wasn’t sure how to change the finer details in the orbs such as my name.

At that, a thought occurred to me, and I found myself smiling wide at it. I unsealed my painter levels, as it was one of the few I didn’t have normally, and saw a pastel mix of colors spreading out over the pearl. Focusing a bit harder, I covered that spread, burying it within the pearl as it once again looked normal.

Terra… please tell me I’m not imagining this.

There was a light laugh in response. You’re not imagining it. Just remember, too many physical stats will increase your weight, and make it easy to see through the lie.

I gave a small nod, repeating the process again with the archmage class. Next to me, Leowynn suddenly spoke up. “Father…? Why are you releasing your real power suddenly?” Naturally, since our souls were connected, she could feel the surge in my strength even if it was hidden from others.

“Because I finally found a way to do so without announcing my presence to the whole world.” I muttered happily. Right now, I was purely focusing on releasing classes that did not have physical stats. That way I could strengthen myself without making it too obvious. And, I have to admit, I was all for having an extra layer of life insurance.

Once I was done releasing the classes, I stared at the pearl, seeing the torrent of energies hidden beneath the surface. It felt as if it would go out of control as soon as I stopped focusing on it… which wasn’t a good thing, naturally. I had no desire for my Keeper aura to leak out of me the moment I got distracted in a conversation.

I began to ponder how to fix this issue, going through the various skills I knew to see if one might be able to apply here. I could possibly ask Leowynn to maintain the pearl for me, but I wasn’t sure if our connection would allow her to control my soul like that. However, it was at that moment when I remembered another ability that I had all but forgotten in my recent training.

I pulled a strand of my soul out from the pearl and formed a second body within myself. This body sat atop the pearl, and slowly opened its eyes. Immediately, I felt my focus splitting between the two selves. But a split such as this was still fine. The Ten Thousand Threads required me to divide my attention far more than this.

Outside, I opened my eyes, giving a satisfied nod. If I treated the self within me like it was one of the strings, I would be able to maintain the shape of my soul pearl without too much difficulty. Now, whether it was my ki or my mana, both shot up explosively. I’d be able to fight at a far higher level than with my normal abilities.


“Hana and Ryner Blayd, reporting to the Council.” The mage cupped her hand respectfully as she bowed, having arrived on the first floor of Fyor.

“What do you have to report, Mrs. Blayd?” An aged halfling asked from behind a counter. He was not one of the big names in the Council. Rather, he was just the receptionist, determining if a report was worthy of being sent on to the decision makers. He dealt with people like these two every day, and it had begun to bore him.

“My husband and I have made a discovery of significance to the people of Fyor.” She said with a smile, reaching into the front of her dress and retrieving a small pouch, before lightly setting it on the halfling’s desk. “A stone from the Great Blue. It holds mystical properties, capable of blocking detection through magical means. It is this one’s belief that these stones are the reason we have found nothing within that floor.”

The halfling raised an eyebrow, carefully opening up the pouch and retrieving the small gem. He was not a great mage, but he could feel the wisp of magical energy once he was holding it in his palm. “I see… I shall pass this along. The Council will determine the value of this discovery by this time tomorrow.”

Hana’s eyes opened wide with joy. A normal discovery, such as a new gold vein or a new type of ore, would typically be processed immediately. There was no need to wait for Council deliberation. Only when the find held greater value did the Council need to speak amongst themselves to hand out a suitable reward. “Thank you, sir.” She bowed low once again.

With that, she was excused, and met her husband outside of the office. Just the excited look on her face, and the lack of an additional coin purse, was all he needed to see in order to know just how much they had gotten this time. “And you said that being an enforcer wouldn’t get us anywhere.” He grinned, moving to step through the gate with Hana.

“Shut it.” She laughed lightly, shaking her head. “He said that these rocks were common? Why don’t we see if we can grab a few more before we come back tomorrow for our reward?”

Naturally, her husband wasn’t against the idea. Once the existence of the stones were made public knowledge, the demand for them would be as high as the tallest sky. If they could secure the location for a large quantity of them, then they could sell those stones off as precious gems before the market settled.


I looked up at the sky, slowly watching as it grew dark. It truly felt weird to have a dusk and dawn with no sun. There was no red on the horizon, no beautiful sunset. The sky simply seemed to power down, as if a shadow fell over the world.

In its place, the twinkling of false stars appeared on the ceiling of the floor. What sort of gems make up the stars in the sky? I asked, feeling like it was a ridiculous question.

Surprisingly, it was Ryone that answered. Typically, they are simply quartz. Every now and then, there will be a particularly bright star made of a special gem. In fact, on the third floor it is a bit strange there. The gems are different colors, consisting of rubies or sapphires. They paint a picture across the sky, and the radiance they give off can faintly be seen during the day.

So they aren’t worth harvesting, then. I shook my head, a bit disappointed that there was nothing that I could get out of that. The Void Concealing Stones were good, but they weren’t enough to mobilize a large force. I needed something valuable enough that it could change the way the world worked.

Now, I knew that there was such a thing in this floor. Rache had already told me about the different materials in the ‘Great Blue’. The problem was that there weren’t any of that type available nearby, so I needed other objects to let me have an excuse to expand where I was gathering from.

“Cancel.” I heard the runic word spoke from behind myself, and turned to find Rache and Terra landing on the ground. “Hey, Styx! Got what you asked for. And we already sent plenty of it off to Ryone.” She said with a playful look in her eyes, no doubt imagining the disgusted goddess having to pick through fish entrails in order to find the valuable components.

“Is there anything else that you need, sir?” Thessa asked dryly as she stepped forward, her body soaked from head to toe. I winced, imagining how she must have gone into the water to secure many of the ‘materials’.

“No.. no, you can have the rest of the night off. Go get cleaned up. I’ll have work for the two of you again tomorrow.”

 

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