Chapter 165: Discussions, Discord, and Tactical Disco Balls
Author’s Corner: Howdy readers, author-sama here! So, I wanted to thank everyone for their support until now. After listening to some suggestions, I decided to go ahead and post the first volume of World Seed on Amazon Kindle. Along with it, I also published a previously unseen story, which I wrote almost a year before starting World Seed. Both are available for 4.99$, or free for Kindle Unlimited users, so if you are able to, please check them out. If not, even just spreading the word would be a big help. If either story sells enough copies, I will post its sequel(Volume 2 of World Seed, or book 2 of the other story), so you can look forward to that!
Also, I will NOT be taking World Seed off of this site, as Amazon’s exclusive contract only applies to Kindle Select, not normal Kindle publishing.
Now, with that out of the way, everyone enjoy this chapter!
The next few days, we spent in relative quiet. From the Deus Ex, there were no status reports given unless we asked directly, and when we did things seemed to be progressing exactly according to schedule. Now… on another front, there was definitely a development. Particularly a conversation that happened on our third day in this system.
Incoming call from Talia
I nodded my head to accept the call, figuring that she was giving me a regular report on how things were going. “John?”
“I’m here. How is everything?” I asked, casually. These reports typically came once a week, so it wasn’t really like I was expecting bad news.
“Not good… We’ve got some bad news.” Well, I guess I need to start fixing my expectations. My expression turned serious as I sat forward in my chair, furrowing my eyebrows.
“There have been… problems over here. Mostly diplomatic. In the last conference call of race representatives, I can’t be sure exactly what was said. However, from High Queen Maeve’s responses, the other races are becoming more hostile. Particularly against the humans. When it was over, she set up a kingdom construction project for shelters to protect the human residents, give them their own land on the planet.”
“According to her, this was for their own protection, so that they could have a fortified area to defend themselves if the other races really did go looking for trouble.” Talia explained, and I could tell that she thought this was serious as well.
“You don’t seem like you entirely agree…”
“Well… I just don’t understand it all. Our people have never really been through a war of this scale.” She said in an exasperated tone. “To be honest, it worries me. Their opening move was to scare us, by burning one of our worlds. I understand that. But, couldn’t they have just done that to all of our worlds at once and been done with it? Instead, they only launched a couple of minor attacks and gave us time to develop a defense against their first weapon. Since then, nothing. There were spies caught in our territories with the help of your people, but we couldn’t get any useful information.”
I nodded my head slightly, and was just about to speak up when she continued. “But, why? I mean, what purpose would there be in not wiping us out? I went over some tactical documents brought over by other races, and I can’t figure it out. They can’t cut off our supply lines because our base is a self-sustaining planet. They can’t move their troops in without being spotted, unless they have some ability we don’t know about. And, they aren’t spreading any propaganda. If you told me that they were designing a new weapon, something even scarier than the bombs they used before, I might be able to believe that. But, that would mean they wanted to destroy us, which they could have done before.”
It was at this point that I decided to squeeze a few words in. “Maybe the New Human Empire really doesn’t want to destroy the other races?”
“Well, what else could their goal be?” Talia asked.
“Maybe they want to enslave them, instead?” I offered, not entirely sure myself. However, it was the only idea that made sense, because what Talia had said was entirely true. They really could have destroyed everyone by now if they wanted, and they had proven as much.
“But…” She started, seeming to think it over. “In order to do that, they would need to completely overwhelm the entire combined fighting power of the allied races. I can believe that they have hidden super-weapons, but it shouldn’t be something of that scale. And if their goal was to enslave us, why blow up one of our planets? Just to scare us into putting all of our forces in one place, and not go out to look for them?”
“It’s definitely possible. Aside from myself and the Deus Ex, none of the other races have enough power available in a space fleet for both offense and defense. If they scare everyone into a full defense, they can roam around unchecked as much as they want. We don’t even know where their main base is. And, until we manage to find someone from their group that doesn’t self destruct the moment we get our hands on them, we can’t find that out.”
Hearing what I said, there was a pause in the conversation. Soon, Talia again began talking. “Okay… I can understand that. And, with all of our defenses aimed away from our planet to prevent an invasion, that leaves us open to any spies that are still on the planet. If they really do have some kind of long distance troop transport, they might be able to bring people in completely undetected. Right now, tensions might be rising because each race knows that they can’t take any actions other than defending their own worlds… If that continues, humans on other inhabited worlds might start getting attacked…”
I nodded my head again, agreeing, and continuing what she was saying. “And if the humans begin to suffer under the ‘alien races’, there might be more sympathizers that join the New Human Empire. At the very least, it will be easier for them to conduct their operations.” It seemed like I was finally starting to get an idea of what this enemy was really doing. Or, I hoped I was. This was still speculation.
“I agree… I’ll pass this information on to the High Queen. If the other races understand this plan, they might not be so quick to act, and may start watching for suspicious activity on the planet.” After that, we said a few more words, and the call was ended.
Aside from that conversation, the week of waiting was rather boring. I did continue polishing my techniques for the various elements I controlled, so that I would be able to fight better, and I spent some time working on equipment. But there was not a lot else to do and be productive in this situation.
After the week of waiting, we received a communication from the Deus Ex ‘overlord’, stating that the ships had been sufficiently staffed to begin the voyage. Following that, ships began rising up from the planet’s surface, one after another. Each one had a long, sleek design, uniform in appearance. It was hard to judge the sizes from this distance, but they seemed to be three hundred meters wide, three kilometers long, and eight meters tall with a curved front.
Altogether, there were fifteen ships launching from the Deus Ex world to meet us, and when they had arrived, we received another communication. The face that appeared in the hologram seemed identical to the representative I had met, except that its eyes were red in color. “The Striker Legion is ready to advance.”
“Well then…” I did my best to suppress my excitement. I did not know the capabilities of these ships, but judging by our last encounter with the Deus Ex, their firepower should not be much lower with the Ariadne, and quite possibly a bit higher. Fifteen ships on the level of the Ariadne… we might just have a chance at this after all.
Turning to the side, I gave an order to the navigations officer on duty, one of Sharon’s rabbit companions. “Send the coordinates to planet Chimera to the fleet. We are paying a visit there on our way to the first location.” I really didn’t want to sidetrack anymore than absolutely necessary, but seeing the state of that world could be considered as such. And, besides… it really was on the way to one of the locations.
“Understood, captain!” The rabbit man called out, rapidly typing on the display in front of him. At the same time, I sent fleet invitations to each of the Deus Ex ships, in order to increase coordination.
“All ships, launch.” I gave the command, sitting back in my captain’s chair. There was something about seeing nearly thirty ships opening subspace gates at once that was incredibly satisfying. Our entire fleet was shrouded by blue light, and then we were flying through the void. Judging by how the Deus Ex ships were perfectly matching our speed, I assumed that it was likely that their ships had a higher speed than we did. Rather than feeling envious, this actually made me happy to know that such ships were on our side.
“Celeste.” I called out to our own Deus Ex, who stepped up beside me in response. “Start transmitting the typical dangers of subspace, such as the abstracts and other monsters. Don’t want to have them caught off guard if we come across a nest of them.”
She smiled lightly at that, “Understood.” Though she did not make any apparent movements, I had no doubt that she was doing as I had said.
In the meantime… the trip to Chimera would likely take a week or two, depending on interruptions, so I got up from my seat and headed to my personal work area, where I perform my enchantment and alchemy. Though, lately I’ve been sharing that space with a particularly studious rabbit.
Priscilla was, unsurprisingly, in the work area again when I entered, and jumped in surprise. “Oh, hey John!” She called with a smile, standing in front of an old fashioned mortar and pestle. Although there is more advanced equipment here for higher levels of alchemy, she always seems to like using the older tools. “What brings you here?”
“I just wanted to do some more work on the gear, since there is a bit of time before we arrive at our next location.” I answered, truthfully. There was one piece of equipment that I still had left to replace, though I had never been in much of a hurry. It was not something which had really seen use since I created it, my Yin Yang amulet.
Several years ago, I had created this item as a defense against darkness and light magic. Since then… I haven’t really gotten into a serious battle against either of those elements, so I never bothered to upgrade this item. But now, preparing to fight an unknown enemy, I decided to use my improved skills to see just how much I could get out of an amulet.
My first step, I sent a fraction of my mind into my grove, searching the various planets and asteroids to gather up one kilogram of orichalcum. I would not need anywhere near this amount for the amulet, but if I failed then it would be nice to have extra. Nodding to myself, I began dividing it into a number of small disks, each one a half inch thick and six inches in diameter.
Priscilla watched with a small smile as the block of metal appeared, and then seemed to begin separating itself in front of her. “Well, I’ll leave you to this, so I don’t disturb you.” She spoke, and then walked to the door. Really, I had no reason to keep her here, and it would be easier to do this without a distraction. So, I let her go, and focused on my work.
Once the disks were prepared, I grabbed one and took a deep breath. When I planned for this amulet to be an upgrade, it was not merely in terms of power. I wanted it to actually be useful to me. As such, I sent my mana into the item, in the thinnest strands I could manage. First, I began further molding the amulet, carving in a spell diagram.
For this diagram, I created a six sided star in the center. Each point of the star had a small circle at the end, and there was another circle encapsulating the star itself. At the center of the star, there was yet another circle, its edges touching the various inner sides of the star. Next, in each of the outer circles, I began laying runes along their interiors, for each circle to gather mana of a particular element.
Starting from the top and moving clockwise, I set the elements to be Light, Wind, Fire, Dark, Earth, and Water. With this, it should absorb any attacks consisting of those six elements directed at me, and I can even charge them at will. To test it, I filled each circle with the mana type that it corresponded with, and watched them change colors to match their element.
However, the storage here seemed incredibly insufficient, despite the rare material used. As such, I went in and began rearranging its aura with my mana carefully, arranging for the mana to be funneled into a more efficient space. It would be no good if the amulet couldn’t properly defend against one or two attacks, right?
Now, once I had taken care of that, came the challenge. I did not want this to simply gather mana. Like my old amulet, I wanted it to be able to attack as well. As such, I began weaving in more runes along the lines of the six sided star. On command, it would channel the mana from the circles into the star, following the lines. Since no element directly touched its polar opposite, they would have time to mix with other elements before encountering it.
Finally, in the center, once the mana from all six sides had been evenly mixed, they would be channeled into the center circle. In this one, I laid the runes for a simple blast spell. And then, it was time to test it out.
Closing my eyes, I wrapped the amulet in my mana, suppressing its own aura to forcefully send it to my grove. If not for my nearly monstrous mana pools and recovery rate, that might not be possible, but this made my grove the perfect testing ground. Once the amulet was in the grove, I supplied it with all six of the elements it needed, and then activated it.
I watched as the six lights flowed along the lines of the amulet, merging with each other one by one. Each time the lights met, their glow would become stronger. And finally, when the lines of the six sided star had fully lit up… the amulet exploded.
It was a glorious explosion, mind you, easily fifteen meters in radius, full of chaotic mana that seemed to be made of all of the colors of the rainbow. But… it was definitely not what I wanted. As such, I began the same process on the next one, going in and tweaking the aura along the lines to more properly stabilized the combined mana types.
On my second attempt, things went much more smoothly. The lines all lit up, and a prismatic blast was fired out from the center of the amulet. The blast was roughly two meters wide at its thickest, and stretched for about ten kilometers before dissipating. If I had to compare it with anything, in scope of pure attack power, it reminded me of my first time using the Element Burst ability, back when I had less mana available to use for it.
Still… this was a great success, since this was much easier to use than that ability, and would not give me such a powerful backlash if I tried to gather too much mana. So, I added this new item, the Burst Amulet, to my gear.