Chapter 39: A sense of community
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Community.

Community is the most important feature of any part of civilization, no matter the scale that one finds themselves at.

The community of a nation decides its stability and prosperity.

The community of a city decides the joyfulness and the economic opportunity of those who live there.

The community of a home decides the safety and the love of those who nest there.

Even those who often find themselves as wandering outsiders, adventurers, have a sense of community. It is found on the large scale in the adventuring guilds of the world, where they set up shop and gather. In the smaller scale, adventurers find community in their adventuring parties, their groups.

It doesn’t matter which social-concept you look at. Eventually, somehow, community plays into it in an integral way. As for those who find themselves on the outside of all of these systems, those who do not have community, but yet still yearn for it, they will eventually find their communities in the niches, where others like themselves gather. Even in loneliness, there is community to be found.

And if you are not in a place where you have found one yet, my suggestion to you is simple — Go on an adventure.

If there is no community for you where you are now, then why are you staying? It is out there for you, if you have the courage to try and break free from your old patterns to find it.

 

~ A guide to adventuring on the topic of the importance of a sense of trust and community for long-term survival

 


 

~ [Scion] ~
Elf, Female, Priestess

 

Scion sits there in the mud, down on her knees. Rain falls onto her soaked, small body. But despite the fact that the dampness draws the heat from her core, despite the strong winds trying to push her frail frame over, despite the violent crashing of thunder above her head, threatening to strike her with lightning — Scion doesn’t move.

 

She sits outside in the rain and prays.

 

Days have passed since the tower, the divine will, had sent her a sign to be still and to remain, so, she has listened. Her adventuring party has left to return to the city, having gone back without her. Her head hangs low. Her wet, short, sharply cut, tawny bangs stick to her forehead. She’s hungry and cold and her body aches.

 

Scion stops her prayers for a moment, opening her eyes to stare at her interlocked fingers, which are held before her face. Water runs down her cheeks, dripping onto her small knuckles.

 

Casting away her brief moment of doubt, the elf lowers her head again and continues her prayer.

 

She smiles as she talks, listening to the rain splashing down all around herself, the wet droplets striking against the hallow ground.

 

— She has to keep the faith.

 

Scion keeps praying, she keeps talking to the rain, all by herself out in the storm.

 


 

~ [Isaiah] ~

 

Isaiah stands there with crossed arms, staring out over the landscape as the storm rages. Wind howls and the cascading, gray water crashes down over the world as if intent to drown out every color and texture to be found below.

 

The tower rumbles beneath its feet, growing another floor in height. The uthra are busy at work, getting the tower into shape and also upgrading the stockpile, which is the next big job. But it can’t continue to be outside like it is forever. Not only does it destroy the image of the tower, but it is too risky for any items of value that they might obtain to just leave them out in the rain.

 

New Area
~ [Dungeon] ~
Floor {32}
The thirty-second floor of the tower dungeon. It is currently empty

Capacity: {66} Monster-Points

Traps: 03
Monster-Point prices per monster
F-Rank: 01 E-Rank: 02
D-Rank: 04 C-Rank: 08
B-Rank: 16 A-Rank: 32
S-Rank: 64 SS-Rank: 128
SSS-Rank: 256

The next sub-boss/challenge room will be available in {03} floors.

The next boss arena will be available in {08} floors.

 

Isaiah stares downward, tilting its head, as it gazes at the odd creature, kneeling there in the mud.

 

How strange.

 

Why doesn’t she find a tree to hide in?

 


 

~ [Caeli] ~
Human, Female, Battle-Alchemist

 

Caeli exhales, rising up in her next sit-up. Her hands are placed softly next to the sides of her head so as to not distort the movements of the exercise. She lowers herself back down, moving into another repetition.

 

It’s been a couple days since the whole tower fiasco.

 

She rises up again, looking at her party. Irascaris, the lancer and Domi, their party tank, are here doing simple labor. They’re not really spiritual types. As for her -

 

She repeats the motion.

 

- She isn’t either. But this place is their best shot.

 

The other man who lives here, Beulah, seems pretty open about his past and situation. He had said that he had initially been planning on leaving the tower after a short time, but he’s now been reconsidering his options. As for the other one, the dark-elf, Rorate…

 

Caeli lowers herself back down.

 

Rorate is nice enough. But she’s a little creepy, in a culty kind of way. She isn’t really sure about her yet. The woman is nice and all, but she’s always talking about the core as if it were the maker itself.

 

Sure, this place is divine. That much is undeniable. But a god, being back down here on the mortal world again? That hasn’t happened since they all left the world eras ago.

 

— She lowers herself back down.

 

“Come on,” says Irascaris, waving her over. “It’s going to start soon.”

 


 

~ [Beulah] ~
Human, Male, Thief

 

Beulah looks around the shrine on floor eighteen of the tower, a sort of constantly burning forest landscape, contained within the walls of the room.

 

He spends most of his time here, working on maintaining the place. It was the job that Red, the uthra, had given him to do. The problem with having a wooden shrine in the middle of a constantly burning forest is… well… it’s obvious.

 

The man rubs his head, looking up at a thin, sliding, wooden door. The white fabric in its center needs to be replaced again. Glowing cinders have started to mark it with singes and holes.

 

He really needs to ask the uthra if there is some sort of fire-resistant cloth that could be acquired for this work? It would make this job of his redundant. He isn’t a carpenter or a craftsman of any kind. He’s just someone who always got by through miscellaneous tasks and dirty jobs. So this all has certainly been a real change of pace for him.

 

— Something shuffles down the hallway, behind himself.

 

He turns around to look, seeing a pair of fox ears poking out of the corner, attached to a face. Feeling his eyes, the shrine-maiden quickly ducks back behind the wall.

 

The kitsune are jumpy creatures, to say the least. But they haven’t eaten him and they seem nice enough, if not extremely shy. They’ve only ever spoken a few words with him from a distance. But he often finds little treats and gifts on his path, after he’s done fixing a big project on the shrine. Some freshly cooked food, a hand-made trinket or a bauble. His very favorite thing has been a small slip of rough tree-bark that someone had simply ripped off of a tree and then crudely carved nothing but the words ‘thank you’ into.

 

Beulah shrugs and smiles, reaching in to disassemble the sliding door once again.

 

It’s nice to be needed, he supposes.

 

…Maybe he won’t ask about that fireproof fabric, actually.

 

He should hurry though. He has to go downstairs soon.

 


 

~ [Red] ~
Uthra, Female, Worker {3}

 

Red rolls her eyes. “Put it over there! Dummy!” she barks. “Or are you trying to have the tower collapse in on itself?”

 

“Can it do that?” asks Green curiously, propping up the massive support column with Crystal’s help, down in the underground tunnel that’s being converted into an upgraded stockpile. “I just figured dungeon-magic will hold it all together no matter what.”

 

“It’s complicated,” says Crystal, as the massive stone column is stood upright, fitting perfectly between the compacted dirt and stone below and the ceiling above. “The dungeon-magic will hold it together, but we still need a touch of plausibility for the system to accept it.” Crystal turns to Red. “Anyway, who put you in charge?”

 

Red, having a noticeable span of size over Crystal since she is a worker of a level higher than he is, leans down towards him. “Isaiah did. Obviously. I’m the top dog here. Remember that, pipsqueak.”

 

Crystal plants his hands on his hips, his wings buzzing. “You know, back when Emerald put me in charge, I was a lot nicer to you,” says Crystal, shaking his head. “I don’t know where you were between then and here, but you really changed, you know? You used to be nice.”

 

“‘You used to be nice~’” mimics Red sarcasticially in a squeaky voice, shaking her head. “- It’s called having work-ethic,” she says, slapping the back of her hand into her open palm. “Try it out when you two put up that next pillar. Let’s go. Chop-chop!” She waves him off and crosses her arms, as Crystal and Green return to work.

 

The uthra narrows her eyes, watching them for any mistakes.

 


 

~ [Rorate] ~
Dark-elf, Female, Fighter

 

“— Welcome, friends, to -”

 

Rorate stops, shaking her head. That doesn’t sound right. Her voice was too high.

 

“Welcome, everyone, to -” She stops. Rorate groans, rustling her hair in vexation, letting out a frustrated half-muffled scream to herself.

 

Rorate exhales, slowing down and holding herself steady on the altar. She’s on floor three of the tower, the prayer hall, where she is usually stationed. Water runs down the construct from above, splashing around herself and down her tightly grasping fingers, which hold against the stone edge of the thing.

 

She’s nervous.

 

After everything, what if she blows it all now?

 

She had messed up when Isaiah had charged her with this floor last time. She always messes up, doesn’t she?

 

No…

 

No. Rorate lifts her head, staring up towards the flow of holy-water that reaches down towards her. She isn’t that person anymore.

 

She isn’t a person who messes up.

 

Rather, she is a person who has messed up in the past and who will mess up sometime in the future too. There is a big difference between being a person who messes up and being a person who has and will mess up. Isaiah is counting on her. She has proven herself now. But that doesn’t mean that she can just start slacking. This was only just the start. Not just because she doesn’t want to let the entity down, but because she’s reached a point where she doesn’t want to let herself down.

 

Rorate nods, straightening herself back up.

 

She removes her hood, letting her long hair and face be seen by the world. She’s rehearsed this all already. She’s going to be fine. The dark-elf slaps her cheeks.

 

The sound of steps coming up the staircase make themselves heard and she watches as the three new adventurers make their way upstairs from the rooms below. She waves with a light movement and they return the gesture, sitting down on a pew, near the front.

 

“Some storm, huh?” asks Rorate.

 

Irascaris nods, sitting down. “I’d say at least we’re dry in here, but…” He looks around the water-lined room.

 

“You get used to it,” laughs Rorate, looking as another figure comes up the staircase. The monk of the second inspection party.

 

The monk hasn’t really spoken with anyone since that day. But she hasn’t left or tried to fight anyone either. She’s just kind of… here. She seems to be lost in her own mind and meditations. The woman nods to her and sits down in the very back of the room. Rorate nods back.

 

Beulah comes down from upstairs, walking past her to sit down near the middle.

 

Rorate smiles. “How’s the work going?”

 

“Pretty good,” replies Beulah. “It’s honest, at least.”

 

Rorate nods to him. She feels content as she looks around the room. It looks like everyone is here then. The dark-elf beams, holding out her hands and walking out past the altar, so that it doesn’t separate herself from them. This tower, this place, this room, they all belong to it together.

 

“Hello everyone,” greets Rorate. “Thank you for joining my sermon today,” she says, finding herself still smiling. The woman rubs a strand of hair out of her face, leaning back against the altar in a more relaxed manner. “Honestly, I’ve never held a sermon before. But I’ll do my best,” she says. “We’ll start off with a little story and then I’d like to talk about prayer.” She points to their pews. “I’ve asked the uthra to make some reading material to help me. You should find a few pages by your seats.”

 

Irascaris nods, getting up and walking around to hand everyone some.

 

“— Thank you. Then let’s get started,” says Rorate, clapping her hands together. The reverberation of her striking hands cascades around the room.

 

“- Ah, excuse me,” says a deep, harpyish voice. Rorate stands up straight and the others turn to look as Isaiah comes up the staircase from below. It is guiding a wildly shaking, wet stranger, an elf, whose buckling, mud-covered knees are only held upright by the uthra, flying behind her. “Do you have room for some more listeners?” asks Isaiah, walking forward with the bony priestess from outside. She’s drenched to the bone and looks like she’s in rough shape.

 

“Of course!” replies Rorate, eagerly, running down to guide the stranger to a spot. The uthra fly around the room, finding various perches and even Isaiah stays, opting to take a seat above on an architectural feature above, rather than sit down on a pew. “Do you all have time?” she asks. “Don’t you need to work on the tower?”

 

Isaiah shakes its head. “What else could time be for, if not for you, for this,” it replies. “Speak, Rorate and we will listen.”

 

Rorate stares for a moment, listening to the running water and then nods. She wipes her face clear of water that has fallen from the ceiling and then does her very best as she begins her first sermon.

 

 


Good news everyone! FINAL CORE is getting a complete audiobook adaptation for Audible! *-*

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