Chapter 88: The World Tree
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When they returned to the banquet hall, the feast stopped in awe as they beheld Rose. Or…rather, Meg, Neph, Ophelia, and Alisha, the only other people who had seen Rose’s form without an illusion before, stopped in awe. Rose was lightly glowing again, which was apparently something she could turn off and on at will. She had chosen to glow to both reveal that it was normal for her, and for dramatic effect on her entrance.

“What…happened?” Meg breathed. “You look divine, literally.”

Rose turned off her glow, giving Meg a smile. “Yamamoto’s status as a Hero has been transferred to me.” She said. “I am now, apparently, the Personification of the World Tree.”

“I thought the World Tree was a myth.” Ophelia said curiously. “Does that mean it’s actually real?”

“It will be.” Rose said. “I have to pick a place to plant it first. Does anyone have any suggestions? I was originally thinking the dungeon, but I can sense it’ll fundamentally change the dungeon, and I’m not totally sure we want that.”

“Let’s put it in the dungeon.” Lia said. “I mean…I don’t think it’ll be a negative change, just…different. It won’t be dangerous to anything in the dungeon when you plant it, right?”

Rose paused, then nodded. “It will be safe, but likely disorienting.” She said. “But this is a discussion to be had later. I’m hungry, and I’m sure the rest of you would like to get back to your meal.”

At her prompting, the banquet resumed, and after another hour or so, it finally ended. As it did, Alisha walked over to Lia and her lovers and began to speak. “Mistresses, thank you for attending this banquet, I’m sure it will do much to lift the spirits of the staff here. As Duchess of Aura, my home is always open to you, and I would be overjoyed if you would stay here whenever you please. You do not even need to ask; you may just walk in as if you own the place, because you do.”

When she said that last bit, she focused on Lia, clearly attempting to remind Lia exactly what her position was. “But I am aware that you wish to return to your home as soon as possible, so I wanted to ask if I should have the maids prepare your rooms further, or if you will be leaving now.”

“We’re going to head back, yeah.” Lia said. “We need to get the World Tree planted, figure out what we’re going to do with Yamamoto, and negotiate with Brom.”

“In that case, please do not forget to use my Skills.” Alisha said. “I’m sure they will be of…no, my apologies. I forgot you were negotiating over Amelia’s magic, they will not work in that situation, sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Lia said. “Besides, this is an entirely friendly negotiation, I don’t want to try and pull one over on him.”

Alisha frowned. “Are you sure, my Queen?” She asked. “It seems foolish not to press our advantages.”

“Yeah, I’m sure.” Lia replied. “From what I’ve heard, Brom’s a good person, and this negotiation is solely to let Meg reunite with him. I don’t wish to push him more than necessary.”

“Very well.” Alisha said. “I will not press the point further. Is there anything else I may assist you with here before we return?”

“Nothing you couldn’t help me with back at the dungeon.” Lia said. She turned to the rest of the group who had come with her to fight Ichiro. “Is everyone ready?”

The moment everyone indicated that they were ready, Amelia initiated the teleport, there was that familiar wrenching sensation, and they were back in the dungeon, next to the dorm. “Okay, what first?” Amelia asked. “Do we do Yamamoto now, or wait until we finish planting the World Tree?”

“Let’s wait.” Rose said. “If we use a branch from Yggdrasil, I feel we could strengthen him even further. We already have that fruit, yes, but it came from an echo of the World Tree, and its power would likely be less than a product from the actual tree.”

“And I think contacting Brom should wait until after Yamamoto has been converted.” Lia added. “It would be good to have him there as proof that we have defeated him.”

“That settles it, then.” Amelia said. “Everyone, good work out there today. Go tell everyone else about the World Tree, then get some rest. We’ll call you as we need you, okay?”

“So…how big is the World Tree going to be?” Lia asked once the others had left.

“Yggdrasil will be…incredibly large, I think.” Rose said. “Large enough that there would not be enough open space in the dungeon even if we demolished several buildings. That shouldn’t be a concern, though; the area around it, including the buildings, will morph so as to fit with it.”

“Perfect.” Lia said. “Let’s put it next to the dorm, then.”

“You’re really sure about this, right?” Rose said. “It could well change the entire layout of the dorm, and perhaps even the entire layout of the dungeon.”

“It’s better than having a giant beacon leading to the dungeon.” Lia pointed out. “The other countries might know where we are, but I’m sure wild monsters will be drawn to it too. Besides, the current layout of the dungeon isn’t suited for becoming our capital in the future, and having the option to change it through your abilities will be nice.”

“We were going to outgrow this place anyway.” Amelia said. “If the transformation is somehow so large that the dungeon becomes unusable, that’s fine, we’ll just have to move out a little earlier than scheduled.”

“Alright, then.” Rose said. “Well, we’re already here, so might as well just…go.” Rose held out her hands in front of her, concentrated for a moment, and then a seed the size of a watermelon appeared in them. With a stomp of her foot, the earth in front of her excavated itself into a small pile, leaving a hole large enough for the seed to fit into, and Rose knelt down and placed the seed inside.

“Eh?” Rose muttered. “Um…my hands just fused with the seed. I’m not sure –”

The ground began to rumble ominously, and Rose’s body quivered before a mass of wood exploded out from within her at a high speed. In the blink of an eye the wood had reached Lia and Amelia, but instead of colliding with them, the wood just in front of them slowed, gently wrapping around them and pulling them deeper inside the wood.

Rose carefully maneuvered the expanding wood mass of wood that was her body, grabbing her lovers and bringing them towards a cavity in her center, where her “normal” body was, hands freed but legs merged with the wood. “Sorry.” She croaked, vaguely aware that part of herself had washed over the dorm building, enveloping the whole building in one large space. “I wasn’t expecting this.”

Part of her body reached a small cluster of drones that were in the middle of transporting stone of some kind, but it thankfully moved around them instead of impacting them, but her attention was torn away by Lia speaking. “Are you okay?! Do you know what’s happening?!”

“I’m fine.” Rose said. “I’m just growing – I mean, Yggdrasil is growing, it just feels like my body. I can kind of control it, and I can tell no one’s getting hurt, it’s just…overwhelming.”

“I’m pretty sure that the tree is literally your body.” Amelia said, crouching and stroking Rose’s bark at her feet. “All this magic is definitely yours, and it is completely impossible to tell where the tree ends and you begin, magically speaking. It’s strange that the tree has another name, yes, but in basically every important way it is indistinguishable from the body we’re talking to now.”

You and Lia Mios have the opportunity to change your last name to “Yggdrios”, would you like to accept? Note: accepting this name change will rename Yggdrasil to Yggdrios.

“Lia?” Rose asked questioningly.

“Yeah, I see it too.” Lia said. “I think the name is a combination of “Mios” and “Yggdrasil”? It sounds a little weird, but I think it’s just because I’m not used to the name. I kind of like it, though; this way we both contributed to our last name. If you’re fine with it, I’m gonna say yes.”

Rose paused, then looked at Amelia. “Um…”

“Do not bring my old last name into this.” Amelia said vehemently. “I already cast it aside when I cut ties with my old family, and I would be overjoyed to take a last name that’s a combination of the two of yours if we get married.”

“Then…let’s do it, I guess.” Rose said.

You have changed your last name, and the name of the World Tree, to Yggdrios!

“It–” Part of Rose’s body hit the edge of the dungeon, pushing up against the invisible barrier that separated them from the outside world. There was a strange tension, and then another part of Rose’s body hit the portal in the marketplace, and something snapped. There was a sensation of intense vertigo, similar to the one that came with teleporting but intensified a thousandfold.

It was quickly replaced with a feeling that felt like she had swallowed something much too large, but it faded as Rose’s body continued expanding. She could feel a pocket forming deep in her roots, some sort of spatial magic contained within.

Another strand of spatial magic formed within the body of her trunk, the base of which was connected to a portal that looked remarkably like the one Amelia had made in the dungeon, made of wood instead of stone. The other end of the strand had yet to fully form, but it went up and up as Rose’s trunk grew skywards.

She couldn’t see anything that wasn’t contained within her trunk, but she could feel a pleasant breeze against the outer edge, and the sun no longer felt…artificial. She…she had just expanded outside of the dungeon, hadn’t she? And that sensation of swallowing something too large was because the contents of the entire dungeon had suddenly become contained within her body, forcing her body to expand outwards before the dungeon was “digested”, distributed along different parts of her trunk.

Her trunk finally stopped expanding in width, reaching a size that must have been almost a mile in diameter, but it continued to grow taller and taller. As it grew, the strand of spatial magic that was growing with it stopped about five miles up, another portal forming at the end, her trunk hollowing itself out, forming into the shape of streets and buildings, becoming a facsimile of a small residential district, lit by a soft glow coming from her bark. At the far edges of her trunk, windows made of an oddly sturdy glass formed, allowing the inhabitants to view the outside world.

It appeared that the dorms had been cannibalized, their furniture distributed into the small houses that had been created, the plumbing and appliances that Rose had never thought about before switching their inner workings, so they worked on ambient Mana instead of drawing from dungeon Mana.

Two more strands of spatial energy split off near the portal to the town, one going about a mile up and moving to the edge of her trunk, and the other went a mile down and remained at her trunk’s center. Her trunk hollowed itself out around both new endpoints, the one at the bottom once again turning into the facsimile of a city, but instead of becoming a residential area, it became one for work. A copy of the university’s smithy appeared against the edge of the trunk, a series of miniscule openings leading to the outside allowing for the smoke to escape.

The various farms they had created in the dungeon appeared on this floor as well, complete with dirt that seemed to be somehow connected to Rose’s body, pulling nutrients and water from it. The plants themselves seemed more than happy to feed on Rose’s glow, replacing the need for sun.

And now that she was thinking about it, her roots didn’t take nutrients or water from the surrounding area, they supplied it in an area around them. The nutrients seemed to sort of…spontaneously generate from her trunk, coming not from Rose’s own Mana or the ambient Mana, just…appearing.

Back on the work floor, the rat farms appeared in an area next to the regular farms, and several enormous warehouses were constructed in regular intervals along the floor, filled with the materials that had made up the structure of the buildings in the dungeon and any other loose item that happened to be lying around the dungeon, including all of the goods they had stored previously. Though…much of the glass that had been in the dungeon was missing, having clearly been used as part of the material that made up the windows that populated Rose’s exterior.

On the end of the strand that had reached up, a residence began to form. It was roughly the size of a large house, but it was far more luxurious than the houses that made up the residential area. It had three bedrooms with large, comfortable-looking beds, and one master bedroom with a very large, incredibly comfortable-looking bed. The master bedroom had an attached bathroom, of course, and there were a couple others sprinkled around the residence as well. Aside from that, there was a large living room, a kitchen, and several miscellaneous rooms; one with a desk and supplies for paperwork, a library, a room with plush chairs and lights for reading, and a couple rooms with large windows to the outside. And…yes, the bedrooms also had windows to the outside as well, complete with small sliding slabs of wood that could be used to block the light from them completely.

The strand of spatial magic connecting it to the residential area twisted strangely, pulling a miniscule amount of Mana from Rose, Chrys, Lia, and Amelia, interweaving it within the special magic, keying it to the four of them. So…a private residence for them, then, one that only they could open the portal to.

Her body’s growth ended when it reached about ten miles high, and large branches began appearing up and down her length, followed by leaves up top and on the branches. With her growth finally finished, the pocket of spatial magic in her roots pulsed, and the dungeon’s inhabitants appeared in the residential area.

A staircase to the pocket of spatial magic appeared just behind the portal to the main residential area, and then the pocket of spatial magic was partially separated from Rose’s control, becoming…a dungeon? Yes, a dungeon. She couldn’t influence it too much, only its location within her, but she also felt that, if she really desired, she could remove it completely.

Her growth finally ended, and her main body was freed from the wood, her attention returning to it as it collapsed in exhaustion.


She could faintly hear someone talking to her, but she was so, so tired. Drowsily, she turned off the sensations coming from her tree body, transported her humanoid body and the people near it to her house, then closed her eyes and slipped into a deep sleep.

Only one thing to really talk about with this chapter - yes, Yggdrios is huge. Some of you might have noticed that its height is taller than even Everest, and that's intentional. This world is significantly larger than Earth, and its scale is likewise much larger.

We'll see a bit more about the relative size and the outside next chapter, but for your reference, it is "only" a few miles shorter than some of the tallest mountains in the Spine, and about as tall as the one that the portal to the dungeon was on.

Anyway, that's all for me, next time we're probably going to explore this a bit more and get Ichiro converting, so look forward to it!

And, as always, thanks for reading!