book 4 chapter 15
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Valor drummed his fingers on the arm of his throne, a scowl on his face as he glared at the assembled gods and souls in front of him. “You don’t have… anything.” He glared at the man bowing before him, one of his followers… or maybe it was Takia’s, not that it mattered as he waved a hand banishing the soul from the divine realms and sending it back to the cycle of reincarnation.

“It's nearly been an entire day!” He bellowed slamming his fist onto the arm of his chair, “And you all are still floundering to get me a single shred of information!” he waved his hand summoning a terminal that floated blankly in front of him, the light blue screen flickering randomly as if trying to display something but not being able to. He turned his glare to Takia who stood beside him with her head bowed, “Just what have you all been doing all day?” 

Takai didn’t even blink as she replied, “My lord, we have been attempting to ascertain the cause of the tremors this morning as I believe it’s tied to the sudden… change in the terminals.” She lifted his head to meet his gaze, her voice steady and clear as she looked at him with nothing but adoration.

 Where even the other gods looked at him with fear Takia never seemed to cower before him, one of the many things he liked about the woman. “Though without access to the world log through the terminals it has been… difficult. All I can tell at this time is that whatever caused the tremors in the world’s mana channels was not natural to the world. I assume that the system itself is trying to combat or correct whatever it was and that is why the system is currently offline.” 

Valor nodded, not wanting to admit that he… didn’t really get it; but as the goddess of magic Takia likely was the best person to ask at this point. Though her answer still begged the question, “Do you have a guess as to when the system will be working?” 

The system being “offline” was… problematic for him, after all taking over the system from that unworthy soul golem was a large part of his overall plans; and with it being unusable right now means the entire day was wasted. A whole day where no progress was made in breaking into the system, the fact the entire world system is down just goes to show that “she” isn’t worthy of being this world's admin. He grit his teeth as he thought of Eryl. 

Sure, his plans are still moving forward even without the world log, but having access to the entire world’s records had already proven to be a great help, after all that is how Takia learned of the “soul sacrifice” spell that golem had tried to erase. Not to mention the log providing him real time updates on the movements of the mortal world.

It still grated on him that the two Deities seemed to have been shrouded in the system somehow, likely the same way Soter managed to hide the rogue divine from him but that was only a matter of time. Takia had assured him that a spell of that magnitude would exhaust the other god rather quickly if they continued to bombard it, even if the man was an elder god his power was far from limitless. 

Takia tapped her chin, “Without knowing for sure what caused the system to act I cannot know how long it will take. I have a few guesses.” 

Valor raised an eyebrow as she spoke, Takia… didn’t guess, she speculated, but never guessed? So, he couldn’t help but be more interested in what she was about to say, and Takia loved the attention as he leaned a little closer to her. 

“The most likely scenario is that a divine attempted to do something in the mortal world. Given I am the goddess of magic I can feel any mana fluctuations in the world, so I should have been able to pinpoint what exactly caused the tremors; yet I couldn’t, meaning the cause of the disturbance wasn’t mana, though I am certain it was magical given the world’s reaction.” She continued, drawing out the explanation more than needed as she enjoyed Valor’s attention. 

“All of that to say, I believe one of the Deities had attempted to either enter the world itself, or interact with the mortal world which triggered a sort of protection in the system causing it to lock up as it deflected whatever they attempted to do, much like Soter’s spell on the rogue divine. If that is the case then the system will either remain locked for some predetermined amount of time, or until the problem is solved.”

“It’s been nearly…” Valor looked at the blank terminal as if to check the time before he remembered it was still inoperable, with a grunt he looked at the sun that… was always to the back of his realm… 

“It has been 14 hours, my lord. Which is why I think it is on a timer.” She supplied the answer for him knowing that without a terminal telling time in Valor’s own personal realm would be nearly impossible. “If a Deity was in fact combating the system as a whole, I doubt it would have been able to do so for this long, and given the mana on the world has stabilized I can say for certain that whatever it was that caused all this has passed; we merely need to be patient, my lord.”

With a deep sigh, Valor slumped back in his throne, rubbing his temples, “Fine. At least tell me we are making progress elsewhere.” 

Nodding Takia replied, “Yes; after studying the spell used by the rogue divine, I can be certain that it will fall soon, it appears to be a basic concealment spell with a protection spell layered on top of it. I am certain that only one Soter himself is powering the spell meaning that if we continue our barrage on it he should run out of Aether soon; he will either be forced to drop the spell or he will simply fade away, either one of those options are fine in the long run given no one will actually shatter him meaning none of us will acquire the title…” She paused, tilting her head slightly, “That may be a good way to execute other divine in the future, if we force them to exhaust themselves it would be the same as starving them of mana, just much faster.” 

Several gods present shudder at the thought though they didn’t comment as Takia continued her report, “I am still working on the “soul sacrifice” spell, it is proving to be… difficult to pull a divines domain from their soul but I have managed to strip Deagon of all his skills and traits, as I am sure you know given I have giving them to you.” she smiled up at him warmly, admiring his now fully healed eye. “Though titles and domains are… tricky, I will need to wait for his soul to recover a little before trying again.”

Takia turned away from Valor, scanning the room before pointing at another god, “Iron Bane?”

The stocky dwarven god stepped forward, stopping at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the throne as he spoke, “Without the terminals I can only go off my domain,” he replied in a gravelly voice, “I can tell you that the weapons your followers requested are nearing completion, the forges in your lands are running smoothly…” He stroked his beard for a moment, closing his eyes before nodding, “The southern nation also has increased their weapon production a great deal, though not nearly as much as your own lands. Surprisingly my own kin haven’t even bothered firing up the lava forge yet, though that’s to be expected, we dwarves only jump when we need to after all.” the small stocky man laughed as he stepped back.

Takia selected another god with a relevant domain, eventually managing to piece together a… decent enough picture of the mortal realm. Though it quickly became clear that without some of the other divine, they are missing some key tactical information. 

“We should have tried to grab one of the agricultural gods during the split.” Valor grumbled as he looked down at the gathered divine, “Even that fucking bunny kin would have been useful to have at this point.” he hissed, not wanting to admit that Siofra would likely have been the most useful goddess to have captured at this point given her ability to sense and see through all of nature. 

Takia nodded along with his rambling, “Your supporting faction is rather… specialized. Mostly any god that can benefit from the war has followed you, but I must admit that we lack geographical information… We do have a minor wind god though I think he is mainly focused on the art of blade dancers.” She said as she scanned the room for the god in question, pointing out a tall lanky man with a pair of swords on his hips. 

Rubbing his chin Valor sighed, “Yes but that other goddess associated with the wind… I forget her name, she would have been able to tell us the weather at least.” Shaking his head as he looks down at the still blank… “Did… did the terminal just flash?” He asked, tapping on the small blue tablet in his hand.

“Initializing.” The terminal flashed a deep red, then a bright blue before settling on the normal sky blue, “Overseer Babylon system returning to normal functionality.” The terminal in his hand spoke, its robotic voice ringing out before displaying the usual menu for divine.

Valor lets out a sigh of relief as he tapped on his prayers, trying not to grin as it displayed his prayers for the day. No one wanted to admit it but without the system, receiving prayers… is obnoxious. One just gets a small bump of power as they get a very vague feeling of what the moral is asking for, hell you normally can’t even tell who is asking for what unless either a whole bunch of mortals ask at once or someone exceptionally powerful sends the prayer.

His attention was drawn to the faint pop of others summoning terminals, a general feeling of relief filling the room as all the divine presents started tapping away at their terminals. “Great, now we get to do the whole meeting over again.” He rolled his eyes as he leaned back in his throne waiting for all the gods present to get themselves up to date before presenting the relevant information to him.

He glanced at Takia out of the corner of his eye as she summoned two terminals, letting them float in front of her as she split her attention between them, “Good, the world log researchers are reporting the terminal in the room is still…” Takia froze, her eyes narrowing, “It… vanished? What do you mean…” The second terminal in front of her popped out of existence, leaving her with only one terminal as her mouth fell open in shock for a moment.

“Takia?” Valor grumbled as he watched her wave her hand in an attempt to summon a second terminal.

“I… can’t summon more than…” She winced as the terminal in front of her flashed a bright red before speaking, causing Valor’s blood to boil as the robotic voice coming from the small floating slate seemed to increase in volume.

“Administrative override, force recall…” All the terminals in the room vanished at once, the room falling deafly quiet as all the gods looked to Valor, the god king, sitting on his divine throne with clenched teeth.

“Eryl.” He hissed, digging his fingers into the armrest of his throne, the wood creaking loudly before, with a snap the armrest gave way, crumbling in his hand. 

Nearly a whole minute passed, no one daring to speak, before with a pop a new terminal appeared before each of them, “New administrative protocol approved by both acting admins, each divine will be assigned “one” terminal for their personal use. This terminal will not be able to be transferred, handed, or operated by anyone but the intended divine. Administrative comments by Mother Eryl La…, “Stay the hell out of my logs Valor”.” 

Valor could hear Takia swallow audibly as he glared at the terminal before him, every other divine in the room silently stepping back as his anger pulsed, sending a wave of his own power though his realm. “We… can work with this my lord.” Takia stammered quickly, tapping on her own terminal as she started looking for anything she could use to quell Valor. “We…” She furrowed her brows as her tapping became more frantic, “Oh… Well then.” Takia’s face quickly twisted in disgust as she dismissed her terminal, “My lord, it would appear that Eryl has reconnected with the system and locked me out of… Well everything, my terminal only displays my prayers now it would seem. She even disabled my messaging function.”

“How can we fix this?” Valor didn’t bother looking up from his own terminal as radiant energy cascaded off him. 

“Simple,” Takia shrugged, suddenly seeming far too casual for the situation as Valor finally looked up only to glare at her. “Eryl has started to tighten the system's security and I am sure she will only continue to do so as time goes on, but this is a great boon for us my lord!” A sly grin crept onto Takia’s face as she spoke.

“A boon?” Valor took a deep breath, contemplating just how much of Takia he actually needed for her to still be useful, surely, she could still work with only one leg. “Explain?”

“My lord, one of our main problems with the system was we were missing a part of it, a key.” She said, still smiling despite the withering glare coming from Valor, “and now, we know exactly where that key is. If we had it, I could simply use “soul sacrifice” to rip it out of that uppity golem and present the entire system to you on a platter, my lord.”

Valor’s glare morphed into a look of confusion as he eyes Takia, “You could remove the system key from her?”

Takia nodded, still grinning as she answered, “Eventually, I am sure of it. Or I will simply dissect her soul until she gives it up willingly.” Her smile suddenly looked a lot more ominous as she clenched her fists, “She, a fucking golem, has the audacity to insult you. I will take her apart piece by piece if I have too, my lord, all I need is for her to be here. We already have a containment spell strong enough to hold an elder god, I doubt that she will be much of a challenge to contain.”

Nodding slowly, Valor considered her words, “But Eryl is hiding away in the mortal world now…”

“We simply send our followers to kill her,” Takia answered quickly, “Once her mortal body dies, she will be sent back to her realm, hells, if I remember correctly, she will even be rather disorientated for a time after dying. And I already have her realm trapped just in case she died before, but now… Well now, we get the pleasure of killing her.” Takia tilted her head, her teeth bared in a terrifying grin as a low rumbling laugh resonated from her chest, “Then I will remind her of her place.”

A quiet murmur spread through the room as Takia outlined her plan; the other divine looking at her with a mixture of horror and disgust, not that she noticed as her eyes were fixed on Valor whose contemplative expression crumbled away, a small smirk on his face as he nodded slowly.

“I knew I kept you around for something.” He said before turning his attention to gathered gods before him, “You heard her, send out a premonition to all your followers, Eryl’s stay on the mortal realm has outlived its usefulness.” His voice boomed through the room causing all present to scramble back to their realms to prepare.

 

Sitting on a branch of the world tree with a sleeping Hecatolite curled around her waist, the new most wanted woman in the world smiled as her hands glided over the terminals floating before her. reveling in the feeling of… being whole again. 

Eryl didn’t realize just how much being disconnected from her system would affect her, and now… now she had two systems at her disposal… well, technically she had half of two separate systems, though Overseer had given her full admin access to the Overseer system she still shared administrative access of the Babylon system with Himari, a fact that didn’t actually bother her as having a second admin could be useful given her new… compromised moral standing.

  Having a second admin, even one who isn’t completely neutral herself, should help them balance any decisions that need to be made. Besides, having to get two approvals on system functions really isn’t that big a deal, plus Eryl found she kind of liked the idea of having a… “trainee” admin to help with more mundane parts of governing the system. Not to mention that Babylon’s key was still essentially welded to Himari’s soul meaning removing it would be difficult.

 I could ask Hecatolite to help repair her. But is it worth making her go though that amount of pain? I will need to ask Himari what she wishes to do later. She thought as absentmindedly toggled Valor’s access to the system, she knew as an admin she couldn’t remove his access completely as it would be a detriment to his soul, nor could she really interfere with what the divine were doing… But she could make it difficult for them. Just because she couldn’t interfere with the choices they make doesn’t mean she can just let them get away with trying to steal her system from her after all. 

With a smile she restricted Valor’s access to only include prayers just like Takia, even turning off their ability to send messages; she may have also changed the volume on the terminals, sure it was petty but even with her access to the system there was only so much she could do. Takia may have been cutting souls apart with a forbidden spell; but even then, all Eryl could do is keep her from destroying the soul entirely, which her system already does. As long as there was enough of the soul remaining for reincarnation Takia was within her “rights” to experiment with magic as she saw fit… even if soul magic of that kind is frowned upon as a whole. 

With a sigh she turned her attention to the other terminal, now about that little problem. She pulled up the world log and looked at Soter’s soul. the man had really been close to death, likely closer than he realized. Really what was he thinking, tieing such a powerful spell to his soul like that? If it wasn’t for Hecatolite he wouldn’t have lasted the week… She shook her head as she drafted up another protocol.

“Let's see,” she muttered under her breath, “There, that should do for now.” She smiled looking over her draft. The protocol will attempt to warn someone who is about to over stress their soul with a spell like that in the future; if the person in question insists on still casting the spell the system will now attempt to force dispel the spell if the soul is in danger of draining itself completely. She also added a final step where if all else fails the system will supplement the soul with the bare minimum amount of mana to survive if it cannot dispel the spell, though that final step will require admin approval. If the soul in question is insistent on killing itself then she can’t do anything for them, but extraneous circumstances need to be considered when it comes to things like this.

With a nod she submitted the protocol, the new system function appearing as pending on her terminal as it waited for the “second” admin to approve it with the system key she had. 

Tapping on the terminal again she pulled up the Overseer system, wincing as she looked at… something. It resembled a system, sure, if one threw it into a blender then lit it on fire afterwards. How the system functioned at all was beyond her, “It's going to take me forever to just sort through this all.” she sighed, rubbing her eyes as she tentatively poked at the shattered system, she didn’t dare try to change any part of it yet as she couldn’t even see what was holding the whole thing together at this point. 

Glancing at the Babylon terminal she rolled her eyes seeing that Himari was still reading over one of the protocols she had sent, not even halfway though it yet, “Send a message to Himari, can you skip to the last protocol I sent as it is more important?” She said with a smirk as she watched the screen mirroring Himari’s terminal flicker before changing to the “soul bound spells for morons” protocol.

This was really the best way to handle it in her mind. Himari and herself will work together to govern the world system while Eryl uses the free time to try and piece together the mess that was the Overseer system inside her new wife’s mind. Not to mention having a second opinion on her protocols will help Eryl from making biased choses as she was worried she would do if she were to give into Hecatolite’s advances. And Himari will learn a great deal having to read and approve all or Eryls changes to the system. 

Yes, this… will be fine. Eryl told herself as she waited for Himari’s approval on the protocol only for the terminal to flash, “Message from Himari…” Hecatolite’s tail slammed into the terminal, sending it flying off into the darkening night sky.

“Too loud, sleep time.” Hecatoltie grumbled nuzzling against Eryls stomach.

Eryl couldn’t help but laugh as she ran a hand through Hecatolite’s hair, “I’ll tell them to be quiet.” She said through her soft laugher, smiling down at the woman in her lap only for Hecatolite to crack open one of her large red eyes, glaring at Eryl.

“You have only had the boxes for a few hours,” She grumbled, “You work too much, go to sleep.” She huffed, rolling over in Eryl’s lap to cover her face from the glowing terminals above her. 

The terminal reappeared, displaying the message, “Message from Himari, please slow down. I cannot read that fast.” Eryl furrowed her brows as she looked at the message, she had only made a handful of system changes so far, it shouldn’t be that hard for Himari to check them. 

“Well, she is still training.” Eryl said with a smile as she dismissed the terminals “Maybe… Hecatolite is right, a nap doesn’t sound like a bad idea.” She winced as she leaned back against the tree, her muscles still sore as she gently stroked Hecatolite’s hair. 

After all, now that I have restricted Valor and Takia’s movements I now have time to piece everything together and maybe, if I'm lucky, I can get a message out to… Eryl froze, looking down at the sleeping woman in her lap as it finally dawned on her, Should I… inform Mother and the other primes of what’s going on? Hecatolite is here, and if I do there is no knowing how they will react. The system did try to self-destruct just because she was here after all… She bit her lip before shaking her head. Let's… leave it for now, after all things are starting to get back on track, no need to complicate things more than they are. And with that, for the first time ever, Eryl disobeyed the universal system as she leaned back against the tree and closed her eyes.

So I will come out and say it, I hate wrighting Valor. Not that I don't like his charicter or anything like that, its just I tried to make the guy a narrsistic ass hole and well i think i did ok; its just hard for me to get into that "head space" to wright him. But the main point of the start of this chapter was to show how the divine opperate without the system, and to showcase that the system dosnt "controll" things but assists them with things like prayers and contact with their fallowers. without system help a divine soul would only have "feelings" of things from the mortal world like Iorn bane, the dwarven god of smithing; he can... feel the forges on the world, the more forges in one area and the longer they are opperationg the stronger the feeling as that is his domain. the second part of the chapter was... not really importatant as the restrictions on a admin have been descibed before but i do like to think of Eryl as a pro in the system so she is able to turn out protocalls and corrections at an alarming pace. As always thank you for reading!

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