World Seed Chapter 157

[su_accordion]Chapter 157: On the interstellar subspace road again![/su_accordion]

 

It took a while before Talia got back to me. According to her, there are a total of three Toybox users in the Gerin system, but only one of them has trained it to a high enough level to send people to and from the Toy Chest. She also consulted the temple, and confirmed the theory that the bomb was a portable FTL drive, before searching the gold market for an item that could prevent the bombs.

The item was a bit expensive, so they were unable to raise the funds to buy it right away. Unfortunately, Talia doesn’t have anyone working for her that mass produces the gold coins. Instead, I decided to send the funds to buy five of the devices with the personnel I sent via the Toybox user. That way, they would have one for each planet, and still more left to research and recreate on their own.

Going by the item description, it was a small sphere that was heavily enchanted. Its sole purpose was to create a field of stable space one mile in radius. This would prevent any form of teleportation or dimensional portals within that area. Now, normally it would take a ton of these to work for what we needed, but if we placed the portal in subspace that problem would be fixed. After all, subspace was roughly one ten-thousandth the size of normal space with direct correlation. As such, a one mile radius on that end would be enough to cover an entire planet, and then some.

It took about three hours to arrange for all of the money to be transferred, and the personnel to be assigned. With this, the subspace bombs won’t be a threat to the elves anymore. Though, it did take about a third of my gold supply to give them that protection, so I really hope they don’t try anything outrageous.

The next few days were spent in relative quiet, waiting for the repairs to conclude. In that time, two other bombing attempts occurred. One was on Gerin 6, where the plan was foiled by the new technology, and the other was on the Ha’vosh planet. In that case… there was no need for the anchoring device, because the Ha’vosh detected the problem and dealt with it themselves.

The strangest thing was the bomber of Gerin 6. It was a human, like normal, but as soon as his plan failed and he was about to be taken in for interrogation, he dropped dead. There were no signs of foul play, or anything like that. My only guess was that the disposable soldiers purchased over the gold market were given jobs to perform immediately before their time expired. That way there would be no risk of an information leak. Since they were NPCs purchased by the gold market, resurrection spells didn’t work on them either, so interrogation was completely out of the question.

By the time we were ready to leave, and the repairs to the Ariadne had finished, I had consulted with everyone regarding Ackbar’s new spell. From what he told us, he could feel the New Human Empire from several different directions. One such direction included the path we had initially been going. None of us were sure quite how accurate this was, but it at least hinted that there was still an Empire presence among Gerin, or in a world along that route.

As such, we decided to maintain our original course, rather than investigate one of the other readings. Since he was unable to differentiate the strength of the results from his spell, we couldn’t tell which one might be from a single spy or their main fleet. This left us only with the option of exploring each location one at a time. At the most, he could teach the spell to others, and the search will spread out after we arrive at Gerin.

Shortly after we launched back into subspace, I once again checked my skill list to confirm my progress. I had been through quite a lot of growth lately, and was quite proud of myself.

Skills
Mana Manipulation – Master Level 3: 12%
Nature Magic – Expert Level 9: 9%
Wild Luck – Basic Level 8: 33%
Sketching – Basic Level 6: 60%
Herbology – Advanced Level 1: 12%
Gathering – Novice Level 2: 28%
Alchemy – Expert Level 8: 1%
Mana Signatures – Expert Level 5: 2%
Cooking – Basic Level 4: 10%
Flight – Novice Level 1: 0%
Aura Sight – Advanced Level 5: 2%
Technomancy – Advanced Level 8: 3%
Programming – Expert Level 2: 50%
Enchanting – Master Level 8: 85%
Engineering – Novice Level 5: 8%
Maintenance – Intermediate Level 2: 4%
Dodge – Intermediate Level 1: 0%
Swordsmanship – Beginner Level 5: 29%
Marksmanship – Basic Level 3: 59%
Energy Weapons – Beginner Level 9: 42%
Soul Arts – Advanced Level 1: 4%
Psychic Power: Toybox – Expert Level 2: 13%
Piloting – Beginner Level 5: 3%
Navigation – Beginner Level 2: 12%
Weapons Systems – Basic Level 1: 13%
Shield Systems – Basic Level 1: 0%
Spatial Comprehension – Intermediate Level 7: 10%
Barrier Magic – Novice Level 3: 10%
Divination – Intermediate Level 3: 30%

As I said, I was quite proud of my growth. I had gotten not one, but two skills up to the Master level. Enchanting was even fairly close to breaking through to the Grandmaster level. However, I had not managed to make any progress in that skill for over a year, no matter how much I tried. I seemed to be lacking some important piece of information. Naturally, I had considered cheating and simply buying the information from the gold market, but the price was ridiculous! It would take almost all of my gold just to buy that one tip on how to advance further.

In order to get my Enchanting skill up to the Master level, I learned that I was able to do ‘compact enchanting’. This was basically shrinking an enchantment down so that more powerful or complex enchantments could be used on the same item. Honestly, it was the process of awakening items that gave me that idea. The second trick I learned doesn’t really have a name, but I call it ‘material enchanting’. This means that, from start to finish, I enchant an item at every stage.

So, if I want to make a sword with fire abilities, I first enchant the iron that makes it with the fire attribute. This makes the base material itself magical, and the enchantment is somewhat absorbed into the iron as it is forged. Even without a second enchantment, this would give the sword fire properties. However, after being forged, I cool it in enchanted water, further solidifying the magic in the weapon, and then apply a second enchantment. When combined with my compact enchanting method, this let me create an item with dozens of times the power of what I used to be able to make.

Sadly, I did not personally have a smithing skill, so I had to accompany someone else while they crafted it. Still, a two person job was worth the increase of power. And apparently, they were important, because once I got the hang of them my experience skyrocketed in the Enchanting skill.

The other skill that I made considerable progress in was Mana Manipulation. This one was actually easier for me to train in, since I could do so with the mana in my grove. I learned a number of tricks when it came to this skill, though none of them were quite as beneficial as the two enchanting techniques. My most powerful ability from Mana Manipulation was what I used against the space dragon, an ability which allows me to possess an ‘empty’ body with my mana. This ability is actually not limited to constructs of my mana, since I can actually possess artificial golems or inactive robots as well. The only condition is that the body not have a mind or a soul.

Now, as we traveled to the Gerin system, we kept the Ariadne scanning normal space in our surroundings, and the eleven Qu’Lopti flights scanning subspace. Hopefully, this way we would be able to prevent any more monsters from ambushing us. Though… that didn’t stop everything.

When we were roughly two months out from Gerin, we met another ship moving along our path. At first, we were suspicious that they might be from the New Human Empire, but that thought was quickly dismissed. Ackbar did not sense anything from them with his new spell, and they made their purpose quite clear.

“Hand over your ships or be blasted out of space.” A lizardman spoke over the connection, holding a sword up to his screen to look threatening. Naturally, we had to drop out of subspace, because any battle there would turn disastrous for both sides. And honestly, we had far more to lose. The lizardman ran a single ship, one half the size of the Ariadne. From the scans we took, I had to question his sanity in challenging us, as the specs for his ship were far below ours.

Nonetheless, there was only one response to show to pirates, even the crazy ones. “Fire all weapons.” I said calmly, watching the screen.

“Wait what?” The lizardman gaped as he heard my words, then turned to someone off screen. “Evasive maneuvers, pull out, retreat!” He immediately ran away from the viewing area, likely trying to run to a lifepod or something. Did he seriously expect people to surrender their ships without a fight? I must have run into the most noob pirate in the galaxy.

This event proved to be only a minor distraction from our journey, though at least we made sure to rid the universe of one more mentally unstable lizardman. I still felt like I was forgetting something as we approached closer and closer to Gerin.

Wait! We never stopped the facilities on Hydra! Oh fuck… Uhm… maybe someone else already went there? I began mentally panicking, adding to my list of things to do that we needed to check out Hydra. Five years of constant element seed production, five years of unattended dungeons… and five years of an unattended monster spawning formation. I was REALLY not looking forward to what might have happened due to that mistake.

“I’m sure it couldn’t be anything that bad, right? It’s only been five years.” I heard Celeste’s voice speak up in my head, though it didn’t sound like she was entirely sure about it herself. Unfortunately, we had passed the point of being able to detour and check up on Hydra a couple weeks ago, so there was little we could do before going to Gerin.

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