Jana furrowed her brows as she sat cross-legged beneath the starry sky. All around her were other citizens of the city in similar positions. Whether they were dwarves or ursa mattered not, for this was the day that the gods had warned was coming.
After the appearance of the strange platform within the center of town, a divine message had been sent out to all within the city. In fact, even those from the old home of the dwarves, and the scattered remnants of clans in the dwarven continent received the same message. One year later, they would sit beneath the stars and expel as much ki as they could from their body.
While many did not know why such an action was necessary, they did not question the words of the gods. In fact, some feared that refusing to obey an order such as this was what might have destroyed the old civilizations, and so they obeyed without the slightest bit of hesitation.
At this point, their ki had already been greatly dispersed, each of them having only the power of their own bodies. If a powerful starbeast came along at this time, then it was likely that most of them would perish.
As Jana was looking up at the stars, she felt as if something had changed. Her hand came up, gripping her chest as her eyes went wide. Her nebula had begun to tremble. The starry sky that she had spent her life creating was shaking uncontrollably.
All around her, other people were gripping their own chests as well. Those who had held back when expelling their ki let out screams of pain, their bodies wrapped in a white fire before vanishing from this world. Although it was just for a moment, the stars within their bodies had begun to truly burn.
And then, just as quickly as the catastrophe arrived, it likewise passed. But now… Jana could feel something different about the stars above. It felt like the ki had become weaker, while a second energy had been mixed in. This second energy seemed to form a barrier over the sky. If she was not mistaken, this should be the energy known as mana, a power considered rather difficult to cultivate.
But, this was not the end of their surprises. All at once, blue flashes of light appeared in front of each individual, flashes that only they could see.
Welcome to the World System.
Congratulations! You have earned an achievement!
For mastering the power of the Inner Sky, you have received the Ancient achievement! +5 Wisdom.
As Lorek faced their crisis, so too did Spica. All around the world, people sat waiting. The Goddess had not told them what would happen, only what was required of them.
Their magic devices had been disabled, and they all sat outside. Whether women or children, anyone that had cultivated even an ounce of ki had dispelled it from their bodies in preparation for this event.
However, the scene was different from what happened on Lorek. There was no scream of burning pain from those who had not dispersed their ki properly. There were uncomfortable grunts, and a few people who coughed up a bit of blood, but nobody lost their lives in this process.
Instead, roughly half of all adults within the world found their bodies growing hot. Their ki may have dispersed, but it was gradually recovering. And in the process of doing so, they learned that their bodies could no longer hold ki in quite the same manner as before.
If this continued, then all of those individuals would find their bodies burning as their ki returned, forced to constantly disperse it. Thankfully, the people unaffected were not limited to those too weak to have their ki show such an effect. In fact, several master monks were not affected by this heat either. Instead of their bodies heating up, these individuals found themselves glowing with a faint silver light.
When they noticed this strange phenomena, they looked into their own bodies to examine themselves. It was then that they saw the change. “Our ki heart… it turned into a star!”
As the laws of ki had changed, it was now impossible to house as much ki within their bodies using the normal method. Only by condensing a star could the ki then be stabilized and stored.
At that moment, the serene voice of the Goddess spoke into the minds of those suffering on Spica. My children… listen well. I am about to teach you the method to condense your first star. If you wish for your pain to end, you will follow my words.
While these people were being brought onto the path of cultivation, others within the world felt a familiar energy pressing down on them from above. Looking up towards the sky, they could feel a sliver of ki being sent down from the stars themselves. The mana around the world felt somewhat thinner, but now there was something else mixed in as well.
I let out a sigh of relief, nodding my head when I saw the two worlds merging their laws. A quick inspection confirmed Terra’s earlier remarks. There were several stars within the skies of each world that released different energies from the past.
Thankfully, the main star of each world continued to release the same energy as the past. The star which Lorek orbited still released ki, while Spica’s still released mana. As long as that did not change, then the foundation of each world would be able to remain firm.
I was somewhat curious how my own body would turn out if it went to Spica, given that I had multiple ‘ki hearts’ within myself in order to house the energies of the Saint of Five Lights. Would they all turn into stars, allowing me to step directly into the Constellation stage, or would I be walking a more difficult path of cultivation?
It did not particularly matter to me, as I had already reached godhood with Earth’s method. However, it was also likely that I would reach a special kind of synergy if I allowed myself to fully cultivate both paths. At the very least, it would not make me weaker to do so.
I would think about this soon. Next up was connecting Kione with the rest of the worlds. Accalia had already let me know that her world was ready, and I did not have as many reservations about this merge as the others. The primary difference between Kione and Earth’s laws was the magic system. However, I had already discovered that that alone was not enough to require a law merge, such as when Deckan joined the collective.
Unless there was something fundamentally different about the way that the energies functioned, a merge would not be an issue. And even if there was, it would not overwrite the magic systems purchased in other worlds, as seen when Fyor and Earth joined.
Surprisingly, however, it did indeed prompt me for a merge. It took me a moment to realize why, before I recalled the fact that Fyor had changed Earth’s mana to be ‘free-floating’. So now, that change had to apply to Kione as well. Nodding my head, I invested the one hundred points to perform this change, joining Kione to Earth’s law group.
Now, once Sher Dien had advanced enough, every deity would have their own iconic world, save for Terra. Unfortunately, she was unable to have a world of her own. Well… and Irena, but she considered the Underworld to be her domain.
Before I descended to experience these changes for myself, there were a couple of things that I needed to take care of. First, I sent a mental message to Tubrock, asking him to provide the Sky Citadel with a rudimentary guide to cultivation, up to the Inner Sky stage.
Next, I looked over to Aurivy, who had been patiently watching with the TV paused, and smiled apologetically. “Sorry, Rivy. Time to get back down to business.”
Aurivy let out a disgruntled sigh, but nodded her head. “Alright. But we’re finishing this show later!” She declared with a triumphant grin, as if she had won before an argument even began.
Rolling my eyes, I reached over and patted her on the head. “Sure thing, Rivy.”
Finally, I stood up, making my way back to the room while making a grasping motion at the air. A blue, crystal sphere appeared in my hand, which I began to focus on. Before I could head down, I first needed to study…
Tsubaki sat at her computer, with Dana on her lap. One arm was wrapped around the smaller girl’s waist while the other used the mouse and keyboard to look for updates on the situation within Spica. Every since the message had gone out a year ago, Tsubaki knew that this would be Dale’s doing.
She didn’t know what he was doing, but it could only be him that caused a change on such a scale. She understood his position enough to know at least that much. “Our master should be here soon, Dana.” Tsubaki spoke in a gentle tone to the girl in her lap.
“I’ll finally get to meet him, Tsuba?” Dana asked, her eyes going wide before she let out a small grunt of pain. One hand went up to her head as her eyes screwed shut.
“Dana?” Suddenly, Tsubaki was worried, closing her eyes and allowing her mana to inspect Dana’s body. She could see tiny changes being made to the structure of the aeon’s energy taking place in real time. However, these changes continued for only a moment before stopping, her body now configured in a very slightly different manner than before. Tsubaki could notice several ‘gaps’ within the mana that made up her being, gaps which had never been there before.
“I’m okay.” Dana shook her head, before blinking as she saw a message appearing in front of herself. “Tsuba… the system is giving me a strange message again.”
“What is it?” Tsubaki asked curiously, before Dana waved a hand. A facsimile of a system prompt appeared, generated by Dana’s spiritual energy for Tsubaki to read.
You are now an Unbound Familiar. You may, at any time, choose to bond yourself to a new master, so long as that master does not possess a familiar of their own.
I thought his changes were being isolated to Spica? Tsubaki thought inwardly, before shaking her head. “Do you feel any different, Dana?”
Dana thought about it for a moment, before shaking her head. “No, I feel the same as before. Though… there feels like there’s something missing in my head. Should I wait to bind myself to the Keeper when he arrives?” Dana asked curiously.
It was clear that she did not know what exactly this binding meant, but Tsubaki had been teaching her for a long while now that they served the Keeper. Since the system used the word ‘master’, it naturally made Dana think of the man that she had never met.
Tsubaki, on the other hand, furrowed her brows. “Let’s wait. When he arrives, we’ll ask him about this. There may be more to it than meets the eye.”
Dana nodded her head in acceptance. “Okay! I hope he doesn’t want me to, though…” She admitted, a small smile on her face. “If he doesn’t, then I can bind myself to Tsuba, instead!”
Tsubaki blinked when she heard that, briefly confused by Dana’s words. Then, a soft smile began to rise on her lips. “You don’t have to do that, Dana.” Tsubaki was touched by Dana’s willingness to commit herself to Tsubaki, but did not want Dana to feel pressured into doing so.
“I want to!” Dana shook her head heavily. “Tsuba makes me happy! I think you would be the best master for me. Besides, if I bind myself to him… won’t I go away whenever he does? Doesn’t that mean I’d have to leave you?”
Tsubaki didn’t know why at first, but she felt an immense pain in her chest when she heard that. As if the mere idea of losing Dana hurt far more than she thought possible. She found that she didn’t want Dana to bind herself to Dale if it meant losing the relationship that they had developed. She knew that she could endure if it was commanded, but… she genuinely hoped that Dale would not make such a demand.