Chapter 61: Catching up with Myself
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“So, good news and bad news.” Eve told Lilith, “The bad news is that, while you were out, our Skills and Classes were in a read-only state. Given the fact that our very being was busy healing and undergoing extensive repair, further modification in the form of the system tinkering with us was out of the question. The good news is that modifying the dungeon counted as just “using” abilities and not changing things, so we were able to progress a fair bit in that regard, as you might have guessed from Saria’s existence.”

It was the afternoon of the day Lilith woke up, and she and the Parallels were all gathered in a room, discussing the plan of action now that Lilith was awake again. Gathered mentally, anyway, physically it was just Lilith and Eve and…technically Mae, but her body was just an extension of Lilith’s, so it didn’t really feel like it counted

Eve sat back in her chair, crossing her arms. “What this means is that we no longer have the edge in terms of raw firepower, not unless all of us are working together. If we were to just look at our stats, each of us is about as strong as mama is now. If you add in our Skills and other abilities, then we would be the undisputed victor, but what I’m getting at is that we can’t afford to just bulldoze our way past everything.”

“Where does that put us on the universal power scale?” Lilith asked, furrowing her brow, “I never did have a good grip on that.”

The disparity between people has narrowed quite a bit, but that puts us in the lower high reaches of it. The other four Perfect Chimeras are on top, followed by really old beings like Titania, then there’s the dogs, us, and our parents, followed by most other dragons, and then it really starts opening up to other things. Mae informed.

“Again, all in raw stats. Adding in our abilities I would put each of us on par with Titania, and as a group we’d probably barely be inching our way into the realm of the other Perfect Chimeras. Which isn’t bad, considering we only had three or four months of time where we were really able to raise our abilities before you went under. Give it some more time and we’ll be back on top, no sweat.” Eve added.

More than enough to deal with our current enemies, especially if Isa helps out. And she’s always willing to help if there’s a good fight in it for her, even if that fight is just a spar with our teachers. Nuwa said. Speaking of enemies, right now we’re in a waiting period. No one has publicly made any attempts to disobey us since Elenoa, but the Society has been amassing power the whole time.

They still haven’t technically done anything super wrong or even made any concrete plans to, but they’ve been testing how far they can go. We had to go and give some warnings and shut down a couple of their more heinous operations a few times during the year after the Shift, but they’ve been relatively quiet since. Judy’s been monitoring them for us, and we’ve been training the Adjudicators to deal with general terrorist scenarios, so we’ll be prepared the moment they make their move.

Lilith nodded. “Good work. May I ask as to how many Adjudicators we have and how strong they are?”

Lilith could feel the pride radiating off of Nuwa as she began to talk about them. I’ve got two-hundred “standard” Adjudicators and counting, each of which are individually weaker than most dragons, but their squads should each be able to take two or three dragons-class beings no sweat. Then I’ve got a 14-person elite squad, each of which is sentient and dragon-class, and, while I haven’t had much opportunity to test them out in high-level combat, I’m confident in saying that they could hold their own for a little bit against even the four of us working together. They definitely wouldn’t beat us, but they could tie us down for a while.

Finally, there’s Saria, and she’s in a class all unto herself. She is about as strong as one of us, and I’ve been throwing as many Skills as possible onto her, so she’s like a Perfect-Chimera lite. Like all Adjudicators, she’s unspeakably loyal, but she’s also cute as a button, so I really think I’ve outdone myself!

Lilith smiled. “Thanks, Nuwa. You mentioned that you were making more standard Adjudicators, how fast can we make them?”

We have a passive income of five to six a month from the spawners I’ve been able to afford, but if I was to dig into my resource caches then I can probably make another fifty or so immediately. Now that the elite squad is fully formed, I’m aiming at making one normal Adjudicator an elite every two months and purchasing an additional spawner for the regulars once every three. I’m still tinkering with Saria, so she’s going to remain the only “special” Adjudicator for the time being, but eventually I want to make a few more.

“Good. Eve, what’s the status on the whole Queen of Monsters thing? How close are we to going public?”

“Very close.” Eve replied. “The army and my castle are ready, it’s just a matter of making me strong enough to handle things. I’m estimating six months tops if I focus all of my energy into levelling up. We’ll also need a way to get the other Perfect Chimeras to leave it to other people, and we’ve already got half a solution that’s just waiting for your approval.”

“Let’s hear it, then.”

“Isa’s easy,” Eve said, “All we have to do is let her in on the truth. We’re confident that she won’t willingly divulge secrets, and it’s not like anyone could make her divulge secrets, so we just tell her a bit before we go public and have her go on a “trip” now that she’s not tied down protecting the cities. We bait her with knowledge of where to find all the good fights and if she wants to have a go at us, we just let her.

“Winston is also pretty easy. He already left on a trip and is out of contact with everyone but us. So long as he doesn’t come back during the year or two we’re expecting this campaign to take place, we’re set. He seems to be setting up a cabin way out in the wilds of Haven, so we don’t expect him to be back any time soon. If he does, then hopefully I’ll be strong enough to take him on and make a public display of strength, put him out of commission and “lock him up” or something.

“The real problem is the other two.” She said with a sigh, “We just don’t know enough about them to accurately predict their response. They vanished during the war, and thanks to Kali we’ve been able to locate them, but that’s about it. They’re together way out there in Haven with quite a few other people, and that’s all we really know about them. Any time Judy tries to get anywhere close to them with some of her spy animals, she just loses all contact with them. We haven’t even been able to get flies in there.

“Kali’s been cagey about them too. Says she wants to see how we handle the situation, and that she’ll step in if things get too out of hand, but we need to grow too, so even now she can’t hand us all the answers. Still, she has given a few hints. The first is that we can’t let our guards down around them. Ever. The second is that they are completely on their own side. They don’t care much what happens to Haven or Earth. The final hint is that they’re strong. She said that Mai is the strongest person out there now that we’re not at the top of the list, and Errus is a somewhat distant second.

“In addition, when we released the Sin and Virtues to the public a year back, we found that we were able to tell who has what, and Mai has five of the Sins. Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, and Sloth. Errus has Charity and Abstinence, which will be extremely problematic if he tries to mess with people around us. After some testing, we realized that Absent Alarm doesn’t go away.

“Most other stealth Skills or spells will end their effect if you do anything too big, but the only ways to stop Absent Alarm are for the user to end it, the time to run out, or for them to be hit by something that muffles Skill usage, which basically has to be a manually aimed area of effect since it’s impossible to trip a trap with it on. The only marks the user makes on the world are the ones they want to make, so they don’t weigh anything for the sake of pressure, they don’t have a physical substance for the sake of any other sort of sensor, everything juts ignores them. And while that’s useless against us, it’s a massive issue if anyone else has to deal with him.”

Lilith frowned. “We’ll have to figure out a safe way to get a Watch on them, then. After that we can monitor them semi-freely, even if they’d be able to tell we had some way of scrying on them. That aside, who has the other Skills?”

Yamato got both Pride and Humility. Mae said. He’s the acting leader of the Council at the moment, and the Council is now the biggest player in the UN, so he’s got a lot of power at the moment. And he’s, well, humble about it. Turns out it’s actually easier to get Humility if you have Pride and meet the requirements.

To no one’s surprise, Isa got Wrath, and that rounds out the Sins. Winston got Patience and Diligence, while Kindness changed hands for a while but eventually ended up settling on the pope. He made serious efforts in reforming things since Elenoa was outed and has been a major player in smoothing relations between Earth and Haven.

“And Chastity?”

Ooh, let me say it! Nuwa said quickly. This one’s my favorite. It ended up going to this random incubus, and the more I looked into him the better the story got. His wife got killed in the war, and he ended up swearing an oath that she would be the only woman he would ever love in that way. But he somehow ended up the director of this soup kitchen, and no matter what he tries, only women will work for him, and they’re all thirsty.

He’s an actual honest-to-goodness harem protagonist, and he’s been dodging his staff’s constant advances for centuries now. And the kicker to all of this is that it’s his wife that’s responsible for this. Not only is she following him in ghost-form, in her will she specifically told him to move on and find happiness elsewhere, and even put her fortune into a foundation dedicated to making sure the guy gets into these situations.

It’s been building up its wealth for years now and based off of interest alone it’s become huge. And it’s always looking for ways to use its money to hook him up. For example, any time he tries to get a new male employee, the foundation will always make a far better offer to the candidate. The foundation also helps fund his life, allowing him the leisure to operate said soup kitchen, but it’s just a hilarious situation all around.

“I’m pretty sure at this point he’s doing it less for the vow and more as a way to remember his wife. The moment he gives in is the moment the foundation is dissolved and he gets all the money, so I think he’s keeping it around as a memento.” Eve said, “But we’re getting distracted. The point is, we don’t have the knowledge or capabilities to deal with those two if they start causing problems. Right now, we’re banking on them keeping to themselves, but we can’t rely on that.”

“Right.” Lilith said, “We’ll figure something out. Any other roadblocks?”

“None.” Eve confirmed. “We’re looking good in that regard.”

“Alright, then I think we can safely close out this meeting. Thanks for all your hard work while I was out.”

“No problem. Now, I have to go make my final preparations for my adventurer debut tomorrow, so I’m going to bounce.” Eve replied, making a hasty exit.

I’ll be going back to improving the dungeon. Nuwa said. Just call if you need anything.

And I’ll be here as always, mistress. Mae said. If you’re looking for something to do, I can show you some of the new additions we’ve made in the past years. It’s mostly just putting into form plans we had before, though.

Lilith smiled. “Sure, I’d love to.”

---

Lilith stood in a viewing room and gazed down at the cavern below her, watching in fascination as the monsters below moved about.

So, it might have gotten a little out of hand. Nuwa said embarrassedly. It goes about a mile underground and stretches for a few miles in every direction. And, um…well, the things down there are kinda silly strong? They’re not as strong as us, of course, but most of them are probably stronger than anyone else in the dungeon but Saria.

 How’d this happen? Lilith asked.

So, um, well, while you were gone and we weren’t able to level up, I was working on other ways to get us stronger, and I really wanted DP, so I decided to kick this into high gear. And it sort of…started small and then I just needed more DP and it kept getting bigger and bigger?

And it would have been fine but then I kind of got the ability to make monsters grow faster? And then the monsters started to breed and basically they got exponentially stronger and…um…point is, I’ve been using them as parts for new Adjudicators, and they’ve been really helpful in buffing up Saria.

It’s…mostly safe, too. I have a ton of traps and stuff blocking the entrance to anything important, but hardly anything tries to go there anymore. There were a couple of incidents, but now that we’re awake there’s no chance anything can really threaten us.

But…hopefully Eve can get her abilities as Queen of Monsters soon, and then we won’t have to deal with any of that. But, uh…on the bright side, this place nets us a lot of DP, which is how I’ve been able to get Saria to the point she’s at. I was working towards a really big upgrade for version twenty four, and I was hoping to get that by the time you woke up, but…well, I couldn’t quite make it in time.

Lilith smiled. It’s fine. Just so long as nothing here is actually going to be dangerous to anyone out in the dungeon proper, it’s no big deal.

There was a mental sigh of relief from Nuwa. Thanks. She said. I, uh, wasn’t sure how you’d take that.

I trust you. Lilith replied. I’m sure you would have shut it down if it was becoming a serious issue.

Thanks. Anyway, um, you can look through this place if you’d like, but there’s really not much more of interest. It’s kinda neat to see all the monsters doing their thing, though.

Lilith nodded. “I’ll do that, thank you.”

Last one for the day!

So, there was a relatively large section here where Lilith met back up with Thiala, and that ended up needing to be cut, and then the chapter was at this really awkward length where appending another chapter to it would make it really long but it was too short as it was so...I ended up writing a bit more about Nuwa's sort of...environment she's got set up.

That's really all that's changed, though, so, as always, thanks for reading!

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