Once everyone had made their proper preparations, I descended down to the world below. No longer was there as large a place that I could easily perform this change in safety like when I had created the Perfect Soul. Perhaps, there were still regions in the Great Blue where I might not be caught, but there were… other complications with this one.
“Leowynn? You know the drill. Like with the others, I’ll need you to stay out for eight hours. Think you can handle it?” I spoke into the empty throne room. Soon, the grey mist seeped out of my body, pooling into the form of Leowynn standing before me.
“I can maintain my own form for as long as I wish.” She said with a small nod. “I shall return when you call for me, father.” After leaving that message, her body burst apart, and she floated through the cracks of the nearby door. It seemed that she wanted to take this chance to explore the citadel while it was unoccupied.
Now that I was completely alone, I leaned back in the throne and closed my eyes. I deployed my world sight on myself, scanning my entire being. This was the one true challenge of creating the Divine Soul. It wasn’t the fusion, it was finding the seed of divinity. If I simply used a portion of the divine energy I naturally possessed, it would cause my soul to crumble.
I scanned through myself again and again, each time narrowing down the target of my search. Everyone had a seed of divinity within themselves, but it… wandered. In its inactive state, sometimes it would float through your soul, your heart, even ki paths. Only when it was being actively used would its position become fixed.
Sure enough, I found my divine seed in my own brain, lazily floating about. Narrowing my eyebrows, I allowed my mana to surge. Like a wave, the energy crashed against my seed of divinity, pushing it downwards. I had already discovered that there would be no violent backlash by having my mana coming into contact like this, so long as I didn’t attempt to merge the two.
Instead, I pushed the divine seed into my left hand, somewhere safe for me to carry out the rest of this process without any fear of a devastating backlash. Once there, I wrapped my mana around it like a cage. As I had previously shown, the only way to properly guide the seed through my body was with my mana, and the same was true for moving it elsewhere, as well…
With a single, focused thought, the seed vanished from my hand. Instead, it appeared outside the crystalized representation of my soul. It felt so small and insignificant next to the shining crystal, though I knew their strengths were likely equal. With another thought, a tendril emerged from the crystal, reaching out to gently grab onto the seed.
What happened next made me grit my teeth in preparation. As the seed was grabbed, that tendril began to shine a bright gold, the color traveling back along the length of the appendage and soon ‘infecting’ the entirety of my soul. The feeling was… both painful and soothing at the same time. However, there was something else that I had to do now.
While the rest of my soul was slowly being converted, I opened my eyes and called out to the natural energy around me. Torrents of green light rushed into my body, filling me up and stabilizing the small fluctuations that began to crop up. Since natural energy couldn’t enter directly into my ‘soul space’, I could only stabilize my body like this to make sure that I didn’t burst apart at the seams.
So far, the entire process had lasted maybe… five minutes? It felt like it had only been five minutes. But there was a reason that I asked everyone to give me eight hours. As the soothing sensation overcame the pain from my soul being transformed, and my vision started to fade into blackness, that reason showed itself.
Exactly eight hours after she had left, a portal opened within the throne room of the Sky Citadel. Tsubaki stepped through calmly, the portal closing behind her. What she saw immediately upon her arrival startled her, the Keeper sitting in his throne with his eyes closed. She could tell from his slow, steady breathing was a clear indicator that he was asleep.
However, something about him felt different than before. He still carried that overwhelming aura that she had come to know over her many years of service, but… there was something else. Due to her training, she had made herself sensitive to divine energies, such that she could distinguish when a person was being possessed by a deity.
Now, she almost got the same feeling from the Keeper himself. His divinity had grown beyond the mortal limits in her eyes. Though… she knew that such an ability of detection had only arisen after hundreds of years of training. If it were so easy for people to gain the skill, the gods and goddesses would never be able to live through their incarnations without being detected.
Soon, a different expression appeared on Tsubaki’s face. Her eyes went wide in alarm before her body exploded, streams of energy pouring through the door and rushing through the halls of the citadel. It only took her a moment to cross the distance between herself and the other entity that she sensed.
What she found was an elf, wearing a dress that looked like the night sky, sitting in the library. The strength that she felt from the figure was immense, enough that she wasn’t sure that she could win a frontal confrontation if the woman had any combat training. Still, once again, there was something else.
“Leowynn?” She asked, feeling a bit of confusion. She recognized the woman, though the feeling she gave off was starkly different as opposed to the one other time that the two of them had met. Now, not only was her spirit stronger, more solid, but it even had the same feeling of divinity that she had just seen from the Keeper himself.
“Huh?!” Leowynn turned around, startled by the sudden voice speaking from behind her. “Oh, hey Tsubaki. Sorry… has it been eight hours already?”
Tsubaki gave a slow nod at that, moving to sit next to the spirit. “I just returned. Were you asked to allow him his space as well?”
Leowynn nodded as well in response. “That’s right. There’s… something special about what he’s doing. If anyone knew too much, it might harm the world in the long run. Even if it was me.”
The maid hesitated, feeling a bit of reluctance from Leowynn’s voice. “If the Keeper has expressed such, then surely it is for a good reason…”
“Oh, no, I know.” Leowynn forced a smile onto her face. “I’m not upset or anything. It just feels… odd being out here at times now. I’ve gotten so used to remaining within his spirit that it got comfortable.”
Tsubaki could understand that. After so long of living in the Sky Citadel, she couldn’t really imagine living anywhere else now, even if the opportunity did present itself. Even the eight hours that she had spent away had her itching to return. “Well, then. Perhaps there is something that I can do to help?” She offered softly, standing up and bowing politely to a confused elven spirit.
“What do you mean?”
“Simply follow me, and you will see.” With that, Tsubaki turned on her heels, and began walking out of the library. Seeing that, Leowynn could do little but shrug, standing up to follow the maid and see what she had in mind.
I let out a low groan, my eyes feeling heavy as I awoke. From my repeated practice, I knew that it took roughly eight hours for the total conversion of my soul. And during that time, even in the Admin Room my consciousness had grown faint. I had fully expected it to knock me out entirely when I did this down in the real world.
Sending my vision inward, I noticed that the pearl which represented my soul had shifted. Its previously grey surface was now a shining gold, perfectly smooth. No longer were there the blemishes that had represented my various classes displayed so prominently along its surface. Instead, those patterns could be seen as reflections that covered the golden sphere.
Nodding my head, I was quite happy with the result. It would take a bit of time to discover what new abilities awaited me with this divine soul, and possibly longer to decide what domain I ultimately wanted to practice for when I reached the final stage.
I sent my world sight out, wanting to see if Tsubaki had returned yet. If not, it would be fine to send her a message saying that it was time. And at the same time, I wanted to see what Leowynn herself was getting up to. To my surprise, I found both answers in the same place.
Within Tsubaki’s room, I found the kitsune maid laying in her bed, having once again placed the black visor over her head. However, sitting next to the bed was Leowynn. Her eyes were focused on a nearby computer screen, which seemed to be displaying game footage.
She was watching in interest as the two characters on the screen fought back a swarm of dogs. The beasts had thin bodies, clearly malnourished, but the way that the two fought made it seem like an epic battle against an army of demons. She would wince or laugh every so often in response to the screen, a smile plastered across her face.
Finally, when the battle was won, she brought her hands to the keyboard and began typing a message, reading it aloud as she did. “That was great, Tsubaki. But it feels like my father is awake now.”
One of the characters on the screen, a kitsune unsurprisingly, paused at that. She offered a quick apology towards the halfling before rushing back into the town as fast as she could. Once she was inside, the screen turned black. Tsubaki’s visor came off and she bolted to her feet, briefly startling Leowynn.
Apparently unwilling to take the ‘long’ way, Tsubaki ripped open a portal and jumped through, the other end leading directly to my throne room. “Greetings, my Keeper.” She spoke politely, quickly dropping to one knee.
Honestly, I had forgotten that Leowynn and Tsubaki had even met. But seeing the two of them together like that, I was reminded of the event during the first invasion. “You looked like you were having fun.” I told her in a gentle tone, though her body seemed to stiffen at that.
“I apologize if my conduct was unbecoming. Lady Ryone assured me that you would soon be joining the game, so I wished to educate myself about the world that had been prepared.” Oh? Ryone spilled the beans, huh? Well, I highly doubt Tsubaki would ever say anything that she knew I wanted to be kept secret.
“It’s fine. Leowynn seemed like she was enjoying herself as well.” I leaned back in my throne as a golden mist rushed into the throne room. At first, I thought it might be Aurivy arriving, but the golden mist soon formed into the body of Leowynn. Did her own spiritual energy change with my soul?
Tsubaki had gone quiet, so I decided to take a few moments to think over how I wanted to phrase this. “Tsubaki.” Her head jerked up to look at me when I called her name. “As long as you are able to maintain the citadel as you have been, I hereby grant you permission to use the rest of your time as you see fit. Have fun, surely there is something that you enjoy other than constantly doing chores or training.”
I knew that if I just told her to take a break now and then, she would vehemently refuse, saying that it was unbecoming. Even with this, I could see her internal struggle as she sought a way to politely refuse. “I… I will do so, my Keeper. However, I request permission to still conduct training in my free time. In order to properly serve you, I still require the ability to carry out your orders, whatever they may be.”
I gave a small nod at that. “Alright. So long as you make sure to take some time for yourself now and again. Besides, you wanted to make sure that you were ready for when I join the game, weren’t you?” There was a hinting tone to my voice, one that she caught onto right away. Her eyes widened, and she gave a quick nod. It seemed like she’d be playing the game a bit more now, making sure that she was as capable in it as she could be.