“It should be around here…” Hana muttered to herself, standing within a dark cave, her husband Ryner right behind her. She brought a hand up in front of herself and muttered the spell she had used multiple times already. “Hyn’thinayr phallin, sho.”
Above her hand, a blue disc appeared, quickly expanding to become a blue sphere the spread out in all directions. However, she ignored the blue lights, rather focusing on the few empty regions. One such was the pathway that she had already dug within the ground, while another was just off to the side of her.
Naturally, few people would think to cast a spell to search for the ground. What would be the point of that, when more often than not you are standing on it? But, when you know that you are searching for something that will always return a false negative, searching for something that logically should be present becomes the best solution.
“I hope it’s not another gas pocket.” Ryner said with a slight huff, his sword at the ready just in case a monster attacked them.
Hana hesitated, remembering their last little discovery. It had been… unpleasant. She pulled out a small book she kept on a long necklace, and flipped through it quickly. She repeated her spell, this time modifying it to instead search for gases. This time, the only response that lit up was the path that they had just created, now filled with air.
She let out a sigh of relief at that, before placing her hand upon the stone wall. “This should be the place, then.” She said with a small smile. “Laria, sho.”
The stone in front of her opened up, split down the middle as a path stretched out directly in front of the two of them. As soon as she took a step forward, she could feel the magical aura of the stones, her smile widening.
When I awoke in the morning, I spent a bit of time observing the two ‘Council representatives’, nodding in satisfaction when I saw them looking for a vein of the Void Concealing Stones. That’ll make it a bit easier to convince people that the resources are abundant later.
Part of me wondered how many special materials there might be on the rest of the discovered floors, still waiting to be explored. Surely, this was not the only one that had such oddities. With every floor built like its own miniature world, it would make sense if each one had its own special minerals or monsters that people could make use of.
But, that was also a part of this goal. Right now, the world was too reliant on the first floor, the Council that had so little room. They needed a reason to expand, to grow beyond their self-imposed limits. They needed to discover the richness of the world without being entirely focused on simply advancing from one floor to another.
This was especially true because it seemed that the level limit of the world had not caught up to the monsters. This could only mean that there was a level orb or two that had yet to be discovered. But at the same time, it prevented further exploration.
While well-equipped and prepared teams could explore the nineteenth and twentieth floors, it would be suicide to go any further. How could you expect them to reliably be able to fight against monsters a minimum of one hundred levels higher than themselves? They’d need top of the line equipment just to be able to put a dent in them.
Shaking my head, I took my mind off of that, and began focusing on something else. I needed to decide which resource to send their way next. It couldn’t be something that paled in comparison with those stones, but at same time it couldn’t be something too major.
Until the method to disguise enchantments is discovered, they likely won’t be using the Void Concealing Stones as anything but personal trinkets… So next up, how about something more practical?
I gave a small nod as I thought to myself, before standing up and stepping outside. One of the objects that Aurivy had told me about was far more practical and unique than the stones. They could even be considered as the reason behind why the Great Blue was an ocean world.
Of course, for me to get one, I’d have to go deep into the water. But… that was no real worry for me. I just needed to take a few precautions. “Thessa, Rache! Want to go on a little hike?”
“Huh…?” Thessa responded lazily, tripping out of her room with a loud thud, her face still tired. “Sir..? Where are we going?” As she asked that, a light laugh came from behind her, Rache happily skipping across Thessa’s body to stand in the hall.
“We’re going to grab some tidestone.” I answered, watching a bit of confusion appear on Thessa’s face before Rache quickly explained.
“Tidestone is what we call a special mineral that we’ve only seen appearing on this floor. When it absorbs mana, it releases an equivalent amount of water.” As she spoke, she ran across the hall to the storage room where the two of them kept their equipment.
“But… if that was the case, wouldn’t the world have flooded long ago?” Thessa couldn’t help but ask as she forced herself back up to her feet.
“It did!” Rache called back. “From what we can tell, this world wasn’t originally a giant ocean. It’s hard to say just how much has changed, but it’s likely that the water has been slowly building for as long as the world’s been around!”
“Though, once we noticed those stones, we sent one to Ryone for her to play with.” Rache continued, stepping out of the room wearing her robes, and carrying a blue staff in one hand. “According to her, they will continue to release water as long as the mana is supplied, until they reach a sufficient pressure.”
Thessa nodded, still not entirely understanding due to her lack of proper sleep. However, I was able to grasp the meaning behind that bit of information. “So as the water grew higher, the air became denser, since there is a ceiling on this world. The pressure became higher, until finally the water couldn’t rise anymore?”
The golden haired halfling nodded her head. “Yup! Well, that or they are just so deep underwater now that the water pressure itself is restricting them. Either way! With ambient mana permeating the air, all it takes is one small stone to create a container that slowly replenishes itself with water! Think of what that could mean for a desert region, or adventurers exploring new lands!”
Thessa gave another nod, finally able to voice a question. “But… wouldn’t that mean that all it would take is one stone to flood one of the lower floors?”
Her question definitely had merit, so I turned my head to wait for her sister to explain. Mostly because I was curious about the answer as well. “Well… if they gave it long enough, sure. But that would mean that they left it alone for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years without anyone moving in to stop it. There’s a limit to how much mana the stones can accept at one point, so it’s not like a single magician could pour mana into it to create a flood.”
Well, at least not normally. I did discover that the stone is useful when shattered as an additional component for a water or ice spell. Ryone’s voice spoke out, echoing into our minds. Also, hi! And thanks for all the fish… Terra’s been having a field day with my leftovers.
I shook my head at that, dismissing the notion. “So they’re not exactly a disaster waiting to happen. Good to know. The two of you, go ahead and get ready. I’ll be outside waiting.”
With that, I turned and began walking outside, sending a message towards Leowynn. How long do you think you could maintain the Tide with our current level?
You want to use me to create a bubble for the three of you to safely travel through? Leowynn asked curiously, before giving it some thought. The Tide isn’t one of the bigger constellations… I could probably hold it for six hours if need be.
I was rather thankful that she seemed to understand my plan ahead of time, and wasn’t opposed to it. While the plan was still possible without her help, Leowynn’s assistance did make it far easier.
Once outside, I only had to wait for a short while. Rache emerged from the house only a few moments after myself, having already gotten herself prepared. Thessa, on the other hand, took a few minutes to get changed into her work clothes. Since she heard that we were going mining, she brought along a pickaxe and a small leather bag. Naturally, I assumed it to be a bag of holding.
“Alright.” I nodded, seeing that everything was set. “Leowynn, if you would?”
Leave it to me, Father. I manifest the Tide. I could feel Leowynn’s power flowing through my own body, the familiar pair of gauntlets forming on my hands. Nearby, the waves reached up out of the ocean, moving to form a ball around myself and the two goddess incarnations.
“Now, we can simply walk there… or we could fly.” I chuckled, switching to the runic language. “Group fly”
Our bodies lifted up off the ground, the ball of water becoming more complete as it was able to form beneath us as well. As we flew over towards the water, we began to sink down into it, the water sphere barely causing a ripple on the surface.
For us on the inside, however, it looked quite spectacular. We were no longer able to see the sky and the land around us, rather looking out and into the ocean. As we sank further and further down, we saw strange looking fish, some big and some small swimming past us.
Next to me, I saw Rache holding her staff at the ready, just in case any of the fish decided to turn back and become hostile. And sure enough, eventually some did just that.
Our first aggressor looked like an overgrown shark with bony spikes jutting out in front of and behind its fins. It had to have been twenty meters long, and was on us almost as soon as we saw its shadow. Its mouth opened wide, looking as if it planned to swallow our entire bubble hole.
“Spear of ice, maximize strength, maximize speed freeze spread.” Rache muttered in the runic language, the tip of her blue staff glowing. Thessa simply stood there calmly, as if she knew that there was no real danger here.
Moments before the giant shark reached us, a spear of ice shot out from our little bubble, right into the mouth of the beast. Its mouth abruptly closed as the spear pierced deep inside, and our bubble shifted out of its path as it crashed past us. Its health bar appeared and began to rapidly plummet as frost appeared over its skin.
I didn’t much care what happened to the shark, and simply continued sending us further and further down. If it survived, it likely wouldn’t want another shot at us. If it didn’t… well, there was chum in the waters, now.
“How are you doing on mana after that, Rache?” I asked curiously, glancing over towards her.
She gave a small smile back in response. “You said that we were coming down here, so I prepared properly. I’ll be fine as long as I can stick to casting water or ice spells. If we need something else… I’ll probably have to ask you to take care of it.”