Entree Keys - Tree of Aeons (An isekai story)
Follow Author16-20 minutes
Lilies introduced me to an interesting new friend.
It was a massive turtle, the size of a bus, that somehow managed to secretly swim through the rivers and lakes.
I had eyes and ears, but in the water, it still managed to evade my detection.
It clearly had some skills, and the way it communicated was strange.The turtle stopped at the side of the lake, and touched one of Lilies’ floating platforms.
It seemed to use Lilies’ way of communication.
> I am Vallasira, pleased to meet you, Aeon.
It was a magical turtle or tortoise thing, resembling a Zaratan, but too small to be one.
But I asked to be sure.
< Greetings Vallasira.
Are you a Zaratan >
> Yes, I am a young Zaratan.
It is a common question, and I have lived for as long as Lilies.
We heard of your search for tales of the sea, and I am here to answer what I can.
It is not often that one of the spirits of the land seeks out the spirits of the sea.
< I see.
> Is there a catch With Lilies, there wasn’t any.
Lilies was just willing to share, especially with someone like me whom they view as an equal.
< Thank you, what may I do for you, in exchange for the favor >
> So long as we are never hunted on your lands and your rivers, that is good enough.
< I can do that.
It will be so.
But, it is best to never declare your existence at all.
> I said.
< Just declaring your existence draws attention to your kind.
> It is so.
It seems you seek the origins of the gods <
< Yes, and perhaps, the origin of this system to begin with.
But first tell me, how have you hid away from the demons > They lived so long, surely there are ways...
> We do what spirits of our kind do.
We swim to other worlds where the demons cannot follow.
I felt like that turtle just dropped a bombshell on me.
So there clearly are other worlds, and not only that, the turtle is able to go there!
< Can you take us with you >
It paused momentarily > We can only carry what that can fit on our backs, and our void mana determines how often we can go and what we can take.
For spirits of you power...
we cannot do so.
Where have I heard that before...
That princess from so many many years ago.
So that princess was headed in the right direction...
< I have so many questions.
> And we have time.
< Vallasira spoke, he, or it, floated on the shores of Lilies’ lake.
I made a large wall of trees so that he would not be seen, and then added a layer of [camouflage] and [mist].
Here was a creature who travelled to other worlds, and it would not be .
< Are the gods and demons on other worlds too Have any of the worlds broken free of this...
< Yes and yes.
Some were never even touched, though we know not why.
But I have only been to the two nearest worlds, though I have lived for 4,500 years, my Void mana is only enough to take me to the nearest of the two.
Both worlds are just like this, with their own gods, heroes and demons to deal with.
I have heard of a system that is beyond the reach of the demons and the gods, but it was a few millennia ago when I was but a youngling.
I do not know of a path to that world.
So there are multiple worlds with similar problems.
But also, there is a way to escape.
Patreeck’s idea of hiding the world, or somehow moving the world away has merit.
< What are the gods >
> We believe they are creatures or beings that reached a certain yet unknown high level, and obtained the 2nd tier of the system.
We also speculate there is either a system that existed above this one, or a tier to the current system.
In any case, the gods have access to a higher set of powers and rights.
We do not know how to get there, and those who have, could not reveal it to us.
An admin system, or console access, isn’t it Mozart referred to himself as administrator.
Maybe it’s just a set of administrator passwords which granted them access to that system.
< The gods, are they the same ones on other worlds >
> We suspect so, though their names are different across worlds.
< You say...
we Are there more of you >
Zaratans meet each other to mate, to raise our eggs and our young, and discuss the matters of our safety, and of the multiverse.
< Then, what are these demons Can you stop them>
> As Zaratans of the sea, we know little of these otherworldly invaders.
They have a homeworld, or a chain of worlds somewhere, but their world lacks seas, rivers or lakes, so we cannot create the interplanar mist and swim there.
we don’t know beyond that, and who controls them there.
Our great elder once tried to stop the demons, but the God’s puppets turned on our elder.
A waterless world.
Also, these interplanar turtles need large bodies of water to move around worlds That’s a rather odd restriction to their power.
< Can you teach me how to move to other worlds >
> Our abilities have adapted us to travelling to other worlds, and would not be useful to you.
Large quantities of Void Mana is the first step to any interplanar travel.
How do I get that
It seemed the turtle read my mind.
> Void Mana requires one to dabble in higher magics, or, if you have it naturally.
Wait, does this also imply that the Spirit Trees in those stories may actually have Void Mana instead of Star Mana Perhaps, it is a path along the road of the domains, that I may have one of those choices in the future
I would presume that there have to be further domain choices, that Level 150 isn’t the only time one chooses their domain.
Given that my first domain choice happened at Level 150, it’s possible that the next domain choice happens at either Level 200, Level 250 or Level 300.
If Level 150 was the one and only domain choice, then I may be quite **ed.
< Do you have a domain >
The turtle was silent for a moment, then answered.
That meant a high level is not really necessary to get the power to travel to other worlds.
Even that princess managed to expose herself to void mana, she was not higher than Level 50 then.
So there are ways to access Void Mana.
Perhaps even naturally.
Are there plants that naturally produce void mana If I could create a farm of such trees or plants...
< How do the gods summon heroes Why them >
The turtle just shook its massive head.
It probably didn’t know.
Not that I can blame them.
What else did I want to know Uh.
But already I have a lot to work with.
< What do you know of the domain >
> Elevated authority in a specified field of the system.
The system works like users making and interacting with it, and domain powers are ‘super-user’ rights Gods eventually reach ‘admin’ rights But what is this...
system Are gods the creators of it, or are they just glorified administrators If there are just administrators, surely the creator must be a lot more powerful The turtle left after a while, but it promised to return again someday.
“We wish to reopen diplomatic relationships, discreetly.” An Aiva Envoy arrived on our shores, disguised as a regular merchant.
They met with an audience of the Representatives, and Kavio.
Kavio was about to retire after decades at the helm, to be replaced by one of the representatives.
They had a mini-election to select the ‘Representative Leader’.
“And why would we even bother” Kavio barked, his mood was rather foul.
Another Lord in the meeting quickly intervened.
“Representative Leader Kavio, wait.
Let’s hear him out.”
“The Temple of Aiva does not believe or participate in the slander against Aeon or the Central Continent.” Absolute rubbish.
All the evidence collected so far, it’s quite clear Aivan Church participated in the propaganda.
“They are liars.” I whispered to Kavio’s ears, and he knows it too.
After all, we did not sit idle after the blockade was broken.
The restoration of our eyes and ears in these hostile lands were one of the great priorities since then.
“Lies, envoy.” Kavio repeated.
“Let it be known that we do not appreciate the lies.”
The envoy gulped.
Patreeck used his mind reading abilities.
The envoy screwed up anyway, he knew it was a lie too, but he was confident.
He had a skill to resist mind reading, but he was horribly underleveled against Patreeck.
The Aivan Temple did want to open diplomatic relations, but the leadership hoped to extort some kind of agreement or aid, since they had a lot of damage to undo.
“Aeon notes you did not come to our shores in good faith.
This negotiation is over.” Kavio sent him off.
The representatives were baffled.
“Thank your foolish gods that we do not send you back in a body bag.”
The envoy left at haste.
One of the Valthorns, without the use of my class seeds, managed to upgrade his own class to [Archmage].
[Archmage] has been one of those elusive classes to create, though I did have archmage classes obtained from the dead.
I would say the magic of the Central Continent is not significantly more advanced than the other continents.
Magic research is mostly the pursuit of eccentric individuals, so, while the Central Continent is safer than the other continents, and my various abilities did seem to improve the speed of gaining levels, they still tend to plateau.
To summarise, with magic, what I had were [mages] of a high level, but did not have particularly unique abilities.
The process of ‘creating’ or ‘inventing’ new spells or new ways of using existing spells, as it is, remains the domain of the eccentric, or otherwise, luck.
A [Mage] is someone who taps into the mana of the world, and casts spells.
A spell can be both a [skill] and not a skill.
That meant, it is possible for a mage to read an instruction of how to cast [fireball], and cast the spell, [fireball], without having the skill [fireball].
Having the skill, of course, meant the mage could cast the same spell faster, quicker, stronger and with less mana cost.
A mage therefore learns to cast a spell, and with sufficient practice, gains the [skill] reflecting that said spell, and thus becomes more competent and powerful.
Mages also gain a range of support skills throughout their careers, such as mana-cost reduction skills, passive mana regeneration skills, or elemental ‘boosts’ and ‘discounts’.
The invention of new spells, however, is mostly bouts of madness.
A mage tries to mix components of the spells together, in hopes of creating something new.
Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they fail.
A good healer, like myself, meant that they are more likely to survive failures and have the chance to try again.
This, of course, supports the persistent mages, those who work hard and experiment constantly.
They have some successes, but they will see a lot more failures.
The conversation with the zaratan left my mind spinning, and my artificial minds were hard at work processing the ideas.
There are ways to travel across worlds.
If anything, I now had to consider sponsoring the mages and wizards in our care to dabble in void mana, figure out how that princess managed to do so.
It’s a risky one, clearly playing with void mana incorrectly would destroy one’s soul spring.
Over the decades, my library of books and tomes have grown massively.
I had my researchers and mages run through them, to find the clues of Void Magic.
I recall some words back when Madeus still lived.
The tomes of the mad-hero Arsene Emir.
I quickly called on the Valthorns to locate it.
It took a few months, but the tomes and writings of the mad-hero were duplicated many, many times, so we managed to retrieve a few copies.
Some of the surviving kingdoms on the Central Continent had a copy in their own personal libraries.
Exposure to it would cause visions and nightmares of otherworldly horrors.
Back then, it was explained to me that Void Mana was a raw primordial form of mana.
Is that explanation then still true
Quite a few of the mages professed their reluctance to experiment on void mana.
It seemed that the history of man is littered with mages killing themselves through incorrect use of void mana, and no one has figured out how to correctly use them in the first place.
Knowledge of void mana isn’t entirely rare, and is used mostly as a reminder of bad magical practices.
Some of the mages commented that void mana can be collected, in small amounts, by way of runic formations.
However, the runic formations usually must be located high above the ground, usually in towers or tall secluded places that are exposed to the night sky, and a large anti-magic barrier must be present, such that the runic formation is ‘clear’ of all other mana.
Then it is a matter of waiting and luck.
Sometimes, the runic formations will collect a small bit of void mana.
Most of the time, nothing.
Collecting void mana when the two suns are present is impossible as the light will cause the void mana to decay.
Of course, their comments were very strange, some points seemed to contradict my existing knowledge, and I believe there’s quite a bit of misinformation in that knowhow.
What is void mana
< Would you know how to create void mana > I asked Lilies.
> Some say it is always around us, but just undetected.
< Ah great.
I’m hunting for elementary particles.
> Some come across them purely by luck.
< I see.
I have an entire continent.
Surely if it is luck, the statistics would point to me having seen it already.
> Perhaps it is invisible to you, as you rely on Spirit Vision.
There was not much time to rest, as I saw, we saw rifts opening throughout the central continent.
It was a magically fascinating thing to see, to see space and reality crumble and break apart to reveal these gashes in space.
We redirected all the magical sensors and labs to the rifts, and wondered whether the demons use void mana too, or perhaps they have some substitute for it.
Are the rifts void mana
Demons spotted on our continent.
Your command” Kavio and Valthorns came to meet.
“Ringfence all the rifts, and let our forces fight them.” Naturally, what else is there to do against demons “We should aim to take this opportunity to level up the forces.
Alert me to all ‘demon champions’.”
“As you command.”
Some of the smaller rifts spawned only ordinary demons.
The demons resembled large skeletal structures, a bit more like animated skeleton animals with some dried flesh.
From this alone I’m predicted an undead-type demon king.
Since it wasn’t a problem to suppress the rifts, I’ve started setting up labs closer to the rifts, hoping that my sensors will figure out what they are.
“Has anyone ever touched a rift” I asked the entire council and the Valthorns.
not that we know of.”
“What if we touched the rift”
There was silence.
I decided to try, and on one of the smallest rifts, a bunch of vines and roots reached out and attempted to hold the rifts.
It was weird.
The rifts seemed to be both a physical and magical thing, and alternated between the two.
It felt like touching a floating snowflake that promptly turned into a puddle of water.
There was a...
I could feel it, the way the energy of the rift ebbed back and forth.
I instinctively attempted to match its resonance.
“Master, the vines went through.” Patreeck noted.
“What.” The vines got to the other side of the rift, I could still feel them, and it could go through if the magical pulse was at the right regularity.
There was a sensation of incredible dryness, my vines had to draw more water from the network.
But very, very dry.
About an hour into it, the demons seemed to realise, the small rift quickly closed and cut off my vines, now left on the other side.
“Did you see or feel anything” I asked Patreeck.
Patreeck had used my [eye] ability on the vines, to see what’s on the other side.
Patreeck gave me a series of images, it felt like I was looking through the eyes of the mars rovers, an alien world filled with massive spires and large, red crystals.
An army waited at the other side.
The vine’s eye turned and looked back at the rift.
We saw a large ring-shaped gate structure, and the rift in it.
Around the platform of the gate were six massive arrays of reddish-black stone.
It glowed in both red and a black-ish color, at intervals.
There were also more of those red crystals, further out, connected by some strange chains.
The demons then spotted the vine, and the portal promptly closed.
That was the end of it.
But I saw enough.
Gates that open the rifts itself.
Could I tamper with the rift next time