“Ugh, my head.” Alice groaned as she sat up and massaged her temples. “What the hell happened?”
Victor blinked his many golden eyes in confusion. Alice was almost semi-translucent. Was that what happened when a Mana Body was mana deficient? Similar to how humans went deathly pale due to blood loss? He could only wonder as he floated right beside her.
Seeing Alice was alive and well, Victor was relieved. “Welcome back to the land of the living,” he joked before becoming more serious. “Maybe don’t use that Void Form again.”
Alice rolled her eyes. “Yeah, no shit, genius. I thought I was a goner. That was beyond terrifying. Not to mention painful.” Then, with a huff, she stood up, and while stretching her back, she looked around the vast grassy meadow of the first floor of the Grand Dungeon with her hands on her hips. “Where is that Hyveth bitch at?”
Had Alice always been this bold? Where had the little slave girl that was barely skin and bones gone? Victor sighed and answered his companion. “Hyveth left to check on my town to verify my words that I was managing a town of humans without killing them all.”
Alice nodded. “Mhm, I see… I need to see that town again sometime. I wonder how everyone’s doing.”
Victor closed his many eyes and monitored the situation on the surface through Andrew. It seemed Hyveth was having a hard time wrapping her head around the residents of Necron. Victor had naturally not wanted to turn his residents into zombies. Otherwise, the stench of undead in Necron and the horrifying appearances of its residents would scare off any potential visitors.
So he had created a new race of undead. Unlike with the slave traders, he wasn’t making chimeras out of the citizens, so he had no need to go find a monster to merge people with to create the Preserved Corpse race. The idea was simple: have a race of undead be as similar to living humans as possible while retaining the benefits of being undead, such as immortality. It wasn’t perfect, but it was the best he could do.
All he had to do was imagine the race’s desired characteristics, and his spell did the rest. However, Victor was suspicious that being linked to the World Core had upgraded his powers because he swore he couldn’t create new races so easily before…
Suddenly Hyveth vanished, and Victor lost sight of her. Well, Necron is still standing. That’s a positive, at least. Is she heading back here—
There was a pop as space warped, and Hyveth stepped out of a portal with a neutral expression a few meters from Victor. “We need to talk.”
Victor nodded and gave Hyveth the floor. “I’m all ears. Well, not that I have them, but you get the point.”
Hyveth crossed her arms and sighed. “Your words, however ridiculous they may sound, add up. Somewhat. I have never seen this Axon you speak of, nor these rifts. However, you do seem to manage a town of the undead rather well, but it’s simply not enough to trust you—a void creature—with the future of this planet.”
That was…fair. Victor hadn’t really considered her side of things. Without even mentioning the fact he had made an enemy of the dragons by slaughtering their unborn children, he was a void creature that claimed to want to switch sides. It was hard to believe, even for him.
“But we need to get the situation under control. I can feel the unrest in the world. I know what a demon lord’s arrival entails. There will soon be a war—which I care little for—but it could lead to outside invaders interfering. So here is my proposal: leave the dragons out of your conflict.”
That was not what Victor anticipated at all. “Why?”
“I will be frank. A relationship between us dragons and you is simply impossible—even ignoring your slaughtering of our kind, we won’t bend to a new ruler, except the weakest…” Hyveth scowled at Xamrus, who was still respectfully on the floor.
She looked back at Victor, and her inhuman eyes stared into his. “So just give up on that front. In fact, I can guarantee my kind won’t even be willing to work alongside you. They have not seen the things I have in the distant worlds, and no amount of convincing will change their ways.”
“So what do you propose?” Victor was confused. Hyveth had yet to provide a solution to their conflict. The dragons—dead or alive—would immensely help his war efforts, and he wanted them gone from the surface as they were a threat to his operations.
“Me.” Hyveth smiled. “I offer my help, and in return, you will leave the dragons out of this.”
That was tempting. The fight with Hyveth had shown Victor’s flaws. He lacked teleportation and movement spells to catch up to fast opponents, and his assassination techniques were pointless if his opponents reacted too fast or he couldn’t pierce their defenses.
Also, he was running out of time. Dealing with the dragons could take days—time he didn’t have the luxury of wasting. Maybe the dragons would come under his rule later once he had a better grasp on his new powers and current situation.
It wasn’t ideal…but Hyveth’s offer wasn’t bad. There was only one minor issue. “How can I trust you?”
Hyveth seemed taken aback, as if what Victor had said was the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard. “Dragons have such great pride for a reason. We would rather die than go back on our word and be tarnished as a liar.”
Victor didn’t like that answer at all. Trust was such a fickle thing; the last thing he needed was Hyveth as an enemy. But considering he planned to backstab her at some point, he just needed to keep his wits about him.
I need to reduce my weak links, he thought as he brought up his claw. “I will leave the dragons out of my conflict in exchange for your assistance. Deal?”
Hyveth stared at the claw. “What are you doing?”
Victor tilted his head. “A handshake?”
“A human gesture of goodwill and agreement. I see…” Hyveth reached her hand forward, grabbed Victor’s middle claw, and gently shook it. “On my name, I swear to uphold my side of the deal.”
On the topic of reducing his weak links, Victor had an idea. Leaving Hyveth to wait for a moment, he returned to the lowest control room in the Grand Dungeon with Alice, where he found Genus and explained the situation.
Genus was clearly unhappy that the Arcwings remained in control, but Victor reached a compromise. “Genus, I believe you are a very competent ruler, but as a dragon, you are weak. You should know better than anyone that dragons only respect the strong.”
The golden dragon slumped to the floor and groaned. He had just had to turn tail and run from Hyveth, yet he had expected to rule over the dragons? Without constant supervision from Victor, he would be killed for his arrogance.
“I plan to ask Hyveth to teleport my town down here onto an island. Would you like a neighboring island just for you where the mana will be very dense with various biomes? You can also practice ruling over the town when I’m not around.” Victor knew Andrew was doing a good job at managing Necron in its current state, but the town might expand in the future, so having Genus integrate into the town prematurely would be ideal.
That seemed to arouse the dragon’s interest. The Grand Dungeon was dense in mana and could grow at ten times the speed of his brethren on the surface. “So long as the humans don’t bother me too much…I could settle with that. For now.” His eyes glinted with restrained fury. “But when I am strong enough, the Arcwings will pay.”
Victor didn’t mind and just agreed with Genus’s words. The dragons were now a problem for later—he wanted to get his town safe before he went to all-out war with the surrounding kingdoms. The last thing he needed was another Empire raid incident, and what better solution than hiding his town down in the depths of his own dungeon?
There was just a slight issue—mana toxicity. If Victor brought the residents down here to the Grand Dungeon’s depths, the undead would likely survive, but the living would perish instantly.
Luckily, he could use the computer to add another skill to the cards he had made last time, as there was a handy Upgrade Artifact feature. So, ten minutes later, he had added Mana Resistance to all the cards, and now all he needed to do was make the island.
Switching back to the World Core’s point of view, he saw the thousands of floating islands in the last floor’s pocket dimension, but none were large enough or had the biome he wanted for his utopia.
Deciding to merge around a hundred islands, the void trembled as the mana bridges that connected them shattered, and the islands began to float toward a central point. A while later, a land mass the size of a continent was created.
Victor then spent some mana to make a sizeable habitable area with a flat meadow, streams of crystal-clear water, and pleasant wildlife. There was also plenty of farmland, far from the island’s edge, so the residents wouldn’t be terrified of the looming void.
Another large island was brought along for Genus, and Victor maneuvered it to be above the continent-size island.
Below Genus’s island was a volcanic region that was a fair distance away from the area the town would be but close enough that Genus could fly there in a few minutes. This was all done to reduce the number of interruptions to the dragon’s sleep.
Satisfied with his handiwork and trying to suppress his god complex that had sprouted up as he moved and merged islands—Victor decided he needed to give the continent he had just created a name before Hyveth teleported Necron.
Victor mulled over his options for a moment, but no matter how he tried, a single word seemed to encapsulate the utopia he was trying to achieve. He may not be a religious man…but he sure felt like a living god.
“Henceforth, this land shall be known as Eden. And it will be my utopia in this dying world.”