Why me? Queen Bria prayed as she saw the prompt appearing in front of herself. I don’t deserve this, Udona.
Pretty sure that’s my decision to make~. The goddess responded in a teasing tone. Out of the billions of people scattered across the different worlds, Udona had selected an otherwise unassuming queen of the kitsune to make her champion.
But… I’m no warrior, or scholar. I’m not a teacher… I don’t represent any of your domains. It just feels like you’re wasting this on me.
There was a brief pause before Udona began to speak in a gentle tone. You are so much more than that, Bria. You have the potential to become anything you want, and you embody all three of my domains. As the queen, it is your job to protect life, ensure the education of your people, and use entertainment to improve their morale. You may not focus on one particular domain, but you are the only one I can think of that deserves this role.
Bria let out a long sigh, shaking her head. Okay… what do I need to do as your champion?
Absolutely nothing. I will not ask anything unreasonable of you. You being my champion merely means that I see the potential for greatness in you, and that you have my support. Whatever you do with that is your own choice.
I watched as the world began advancing once again, sitting back on the couch with Aurivy. Most of our focus was on Jonas, occasionally laughing about how he was handling the slimes. It only took him a few weeks to teach the slime each of the basic energy types, at which point he allowed it to begin dividing.
Once he had five slimes, he seemed content, and resumed his training of them. Only… this time, his training took the form of him taking the slimes into the capital’s dungeon. Using the skills he taught them, he made his slimes kill the various monsters within the dungeon time and again to level them up.
Doing this eventually earned him the title Slime Tamer, which improved the growth rate of slimes under his control. However, it took a few years before they had grown enough for him to begin training them on the next stage. During that time, there were… many other changes taking place within the world.
First of all, both Lorek and Kione made contact with the other worlds. When it came to Lorek… their existence shocked Spica, and changed the way the elves looked at ki. They found a path that could lead them to a higher level, combining cultivation with the system’s growth.
At the same time, Demacry began to notice certain oddities detected outside of the planet’s atmosphere. Stellar storms that created energy clouds that swept through space. These storms would always seem to harmlessly bounce off of Spica itself, but other celestial objects were shattered by its passing. Even multiple satellites met their destruction at the hands of these storms.
Perhaps the most unfortunate victims of these new stellar storms were the colonists that had began to inhabit Spica’s moon. As the moon had yet to develop an atmosphere, there was no protection for those within the sealed structures. The colony was lost, as were the lives of those within it.
Then there was Kione. Rather than connecting first to Earth, it seemed that Accalia wanted them to connect to Deckan first. When the first Kionan stepped through the Fairy Gate, accompanied by a large snake familiar, things were… hectic to say the least. The language barrier made it difficult for the lycan to explain that the snake was no threat, despite its sinister appearance.
Once that was smoothed over, however, and Kione was further explored… its nature shocked the allied worlds no less than Lorek. Within ten years, the process of creating a familiar was standard education in every school. Similarly, the knowledge of the allied worlds quickly spread to Kione, advancing their civilization by leaps and bounds.
Within the world of Kione, there were many who secretly saw the appearance of new worlds as a threat to their way of life. These individuals, who believed that their own culture and history would be swept away by those more advanced worlds, soon came together to form their own group. They called themselves Accalia’s Heralds, those who would ensure the purity of their world.
At first, they were still a peaceful group. They did not hold protests, they did not attack otherworlders. No, they simply accumulated knowledge. They gathered the teachings of their own world, doing their best to ensure that it would forever be preserved.
It was thanks to this that they noticed the changes before any other. How the cultures of the other worlds began to encroach upon Kione. The technology of Desbar, the entertainment industry of Deckan. Gradually, bit by bit, Kione’s way of life changed. Buildings were no longer erected in the same style as previously, causing them to be more efficient and streamlined.
That was when the Heralds began to grow fearful. They made secret pleas with the government to ensure the preservation of Kione’s way of life, yet their words fell on deaf ears. There were simply too many benefits of cooperating with and learning from the other worlds.
And so… the Heralds decided that they had to take action. Even still, they did not seek to cause anyone any true harm. Whether they were from Kione, Earth, Deckan, wherever… the Heralds did their best to not hurt anyone.
Instead, they targeted structures, defacing them and sabotaging them. The magic towers that were erected to spread mana to various power stations had their enchantments broken. Construction sites would have their supplies stolen. While harmless to the people, they caused a massive amount of financial damage, causing the group to be branded as criminals.
“Should we do something about this, Tsuba?” Dana asked as she sat in Tsubaki’s lap, reading through the news about another Herald ‘attack’ on a merchant caravan. All of their offworld goods had been stolen, with the merchants themselves transported back to the town that they had originated from through magic.
Tsubaki thought about it for a moment, before shaking her head. “No, this is not one of our duties, not yet. If the Keeper wished for us to intervene, he would pass us such a message. Aside from that, it is only our duty to get involved if it is a matter of extinction.”
Nodding slightly, Tsubaki went on to explain. “As these criminals seek to preserve the life of anyone that they ‘attack’, there is no threat of the Kionan population dying out. Furthermore, they are not entirely unreasonable. While they act against the ‘modern conveniences’ such as Magic Towers and power lines, they do not interfere with public security matters. None of the more advanced city defenses have been targeted by them, allowing the people to stay safe from the evolving monsters.”
Dana hesitated, before accepting that answer. “Okay… but even if we don’t get involved personally… maybe we could do something sneaky behind the scenes?” There was a mischievous glint to Dana’s eyes that had Tsubaki quite curious.
“What did you have in mind?” She asked, her lips giving a small tug as she tried to keep her face neutral.
“The ninjas!” Dana lifted her hands in excitement. “The Fyor ninja colony is almost done mining what they can, right? You mentioned that they were getting ready to move towards the twenty-first floor. What if… we gave them a reason to go to Kione instead?”
Tsubaki took a moment to consider Dana’s suggestion. There were indeed lycans among the beastkin ninja tribes. As their primary goal was to seek out knowledge, there was a high likelihood that they would infiltrate the Heralds, a group that had first gathered the knowledge of Kione to preserve. However…
“Even if we give the ninjas a reason to infiltrate Kione, what makes you believe that they would suppress the Heralds? It seems more likely that they would join in the group’s activities to aid their own cover.”
Dana snickered playfully, bringing her hands together. “We don’t need them to fight the Heralds. We just need the ninjas, people who hold more knowledge of the world, to infiltrate them. At first, they’ll probably join in on the ‘raids’ like you said, and the power of the group will rise. But… once there are enough ninjas, they will be able to change the Heralds from the inside.”
“It could start small… using confiscated ‘contraband’ to improve the daily life of the group. Then more and more, until the Heralds lose sight of what they were after in the first place. They’re afraid that Kione will lose its identity after joining the other worlds… but why?”
“A world is not a lump of rock, it’s not the history or industry set out on it… it’s the people. So long as Kionan’s live in Kione, their identity is their own. The other worlds aren’t trying to annex them or anything, so we just need to give the Heralds a little ‘nudge’ in the right direction!”
Tsubaki blinked in confusion, before looking down towards Dana. “When did you start scheming so much?”
Dana stuck out her tongue playfully, grinning up at Tsubaki. “When I linked with your soul! Who do you think I learned it from, Tsuba~?”
Tsubaki let out a low sigh. “Well, let’s find one of the young lords. There should be a few in Kione by now that we can use for your wicked little scheme.”
Jonas nodded to himself as he stood before his ‘little pets’. By now, his five slimes were no longer the ‘adorable’ little creatures that they once were. No, they had grown far beyond the domesticated pets that children played with.
Each slime now stood at a height of three meters, having long since required him to find a new plot of land to store them on. His ‘slime ranch’ as the locals had taken to calling it. Moreover, that was not the only thing that had changed about them.
When he first acquired the little slime, it had been the standard green variant. This was the natural color of a slime that did not possess any extraordinary energy of its own, and mostly consumed grass and other plant matter to survive. The five slimes standing before him now, however, had a lustrous silver color to their gel.
Inside of each slime was also a series of secondary cores that slowly revolved around the primary core. Normally, this would be the sign that a slime was ready to split, but these cores were slightly different. Instead of being the core of a new slime, they were used as the source of the different energies that the slime was capable of using.
Each slime had been trained in the use of mana, ki, spiritual energy, natural energy, as well as the two basic combinations that were chakra and elemental ki. Oddly enough, the last two did not create ‘new’ cores. Instead, thin branches extended out between the ki and mana cores, and the ki and natural energy cores.
“If my theory is correct… I should be able to create a ‘perfect’ slime by having their cores form a perfect ring…” He mused to himself, before approaching the first slime. It was time to start teaching them how to merge their spiritual energy with their ki and mana, to prepare for that final step.