This is the second chapter of “Tower Defense Deities”. I’ve actually written all of Volume 1 and 99% of volume 2 already, but I’ve just been too lazy to edit/post them lmao. Yeah, I know, I’m a dick… But whatever, I figured that it was better to write a decent amount of the story before I start posting. I didn’t want to end up in a situation like “The Vanilla God”, where I have only a handful of chapters and can’t write anymore for the moment for various reasons…
In other news, at least this February is going a hell of a lot better than last year rofl. I haven’t had any illnesses, there weren’t any blizzards here, the temperature was literally in the 70’s last week :). Overall, it’s a pretty good February. My birthday is on the 14th btw, in case you wanted to give me a birthday present… And by that I mean money lol.
On that note, I’d like to thank all of the donors and patrons out there :). You’re the reason why I’m even able to write lmao. Also, to anyone who reads my stories without using adblock, thank you as well :P. Ads and Patreon are like my lifeblood…
Also, I decided to make this post significantly longer because… I’m probably the most indecisive person I know?
*Chapter 2: The Divine Chessboard World*
Part 1: The Value of Souls
“The eighth icon is the Shop. This is where you can buy… Well, anything you could possibly want or need. There are two types of currency: Karma and Souls. Karma is earned by accomplishing missions. Souls are obtained during battles. I’ve told you about souls so many times before, but you always thought I was just some crazy old man, hehehe~…”
While that raspy voice was snickering in their minds, Azra and Yuri were huddling against the giant glass tank, trying to stay warm. As they gazed up at it, they noticed that there was something extremely small and blue floating around near the center. It was growing at such a quick pace that they could see it getting bigger with their eyes. Of course, it was still twenty-four hours away from completion, but it was strange to witness.
“Ahem~, anyway, they’re real. And they’re extremely valuable. You kids don’t need to worry about playing with either Souls or Karma though. Simply accumulate them and spend them on things in the Shop. However, there is a sort of… ‘limitation’. You’ve lived your whole lives reading books about Earth. You know about all kinds of technological advancements that simply don’t exist yet on the planet Elysium. Through the Shop, you can purchase all manner of materials, even buildings or entire cities, but the level of technology will be extremely low. You can also buy living animals and plants, but nothing too dangerous or useful. At least not yet.”
Yuri immediately opened the menu and started browsing through the seemingly endless list of organic lifeforms. They could be fabricated as adults or infants, even eggs and seeds. A dozen Arctic Hares could be purchased for a single soul, while a single Black Rhinoceros was worth three souls. Unfortunately, the rhinos and even wolves were restricted.
It took Azra a few seconds, but he also began looking through the items that they could buy. Nothing was free, but there were many things that were extremely cheap. For example, it was possible to buy ten kilograms of magnetite for a single soul. While a small wooden thatched hut was worth ten souls. Even something like a king sized bedframe and mattress would cost a few souls, even for the worst ones.
He couldn’t help but curse “Damn it… In most of the novels we read, didn’t they usually talk about life being precious?”
His shivering sister murmured “It appears that the price of life is relative to how dangerous the creature is…”
For lifeforms, there were ‘Threat Levels’. While materials had ‘Usefulness Levels’. Then there were ‘Technological Levels’, for the items and objects that were already made.
Azra grumbled “How backwards is this planet anyway? They don’t even have books yet?”
“Apparently they haven’t developed paper or printing techniques… Most knowledge is passed down by storytellers or written onto primitive scrolls. It is likely that there are very few who are literate.” As Yuri was speaking, she found the clothing section and added “Some of the available clothing seems medieval, while others are from even farther into Earth’s history.”
Her brother muttered “Do we really have to go out and interact with these savages? They might not even speak any of the languages we understand…”
She nodded in agreement, whispering “Females are most likely all forced into sexual slavery, while almost every male will be conscripted into various armies. Although, it is also likely that the majority of the population will be peasants or serfs…”
“Yuri… Maybe we should just stay in our cave? I mean, do we really ‘need’ to go out and interact with those filthy barbarians? The moment they see a cute girl like you, they’ll probably go crazy and try to rape you! And me, well, they’ll definitely throw me in a dungeon somewhere or cut my head off!”
It was odd how the two of them could have such a superiority complex, when they spent their entire lives trapped in a cave. In fact, during medieval times and even before that, the quality of life wasn’t nearly as bad as their imaginations made it out to be. The problem was that most of their knowledge of the past was from fictional novels, where everything is always far more dramatic than reality.
They spent so much time living in their own fantasies, that they had totally lost perspective. However, if they hadn’t found a way to mentally escape, then they would have attempted to physically escape.
Part 2: Main Quests
Of course, from the perspective of an outsider, their situation would have also seemed far more depressing than it actually was. Azra and Yuri had their grandfather to guide, teach and take care of them. Even after he died, he still left them with a telepathic message that would give them direction.
“As you’re listening to this message, the other avatars of Sariel will begin creating missions for the two of you to accomplish… I know that both of you are probably wondering why you can’t just hide away in your magical chessboard world, hidden in the depths of that stupid cave. Well, you actually could… But are you really that afraid? Are you that complacent? What do you think will happen if you brats do that? You have no technology, your biology is that of mere humans… Sooner or later, one of you will get sick and die. Or you might have an accident. Remember when Yuri fell into the river and almost drowned? What about when Azra fell into that chasm and broke both his legs? Honestly, you kids are so smart that you’re idiots sometimes. If I hadn’t used my powers, then both of you would have died a hundred times over through random acts of stupidity!”
The ninth and final icon on the desktop was an ankh symbol. Underneath it was the word ‘Quests’.
Yuri murmured “Azra, although the world may be dangerous, it is true that we will likely die at a very young age without access to medicines. The odds of at least one of us suffering from appendicitis within the next ten years are extremely high. If we have surgical equipment, I could potentially save your life. However…”
“Yeah, I know… If you get sick or hurt, there’s practically nothing I can do about it! Shit! Our immune systems are probably really weak too, since we’ve never been around other people before… So basically, the moment some asshole coughs on us, we might both get deathly ill.”
Aside from intellectual curiosity, their main motivation was simply to live long and healthy lives. As they started the ninth program, a screen popped up in front of them. At the very top were the words “Main Quests”.
[Conquer Elysium: This planet shall become your base of operations in the future. In order to unlock interplanetary technology, you must first end all conflicts on this planet.]
[Complete the Divine Chess Set: There are 30 chess pieces scattered across Elysium. It is impossible to unlock the full potential of the Divine Chess Set unless you obtain them all.]
Finally, Sariel’s message reached a conclusion.
“Destiny oftentimes may seem cruel or abstruse… I cursed my fate on many occasions. Why was I forced to waste my life on this planet? I wanted to break free of my creator’s control… So I abandoned my mission. Hahahaha~, I actually stole that stupid chessboard and tried to seek the pieces on my own. It took nearly a hundred years to find those two kings and I had to murder my fellow avatars to do it! I did manage to evolve, but I was too late. I had wasted my entire youth, trying to escape from destiny… But Karma always gets her way. It could be said that I was punished, or perhaps I was rewarded? I completed my mission and I was able to have a family…
“I’m sorry. Azrael, Uriel… If it wasn’t for my selfishness, you could have had a normal childhood. I broke the rules. The original plan, was to let you kids grow up on this world. If you were older, then maybe I would have done it. You were just so innocent and pure. I didn’t want to see you two suffer… Like you were meant to suffer. I love you both… And I hope that you kids won’t mourn me for too long. You’ve got a long life ahead of you. If you’re ever able to meet the ‘real’ Sariel one day… Please punch him or her in the face for me, okay? I’m serious. If you become deities in the future, then you need to beat the living crap out of that God or Goddess!”
Part 3: Exit
After hearing that last message, tears started falling from Yuri’s eyes. However, both of the twins seemed to be a lot more composed than they were when their grandfather actually died. It had only been around twelve hours, but neither of them had eaten anything since then. They did drink some of the rainwater in the jungle though.
“We should probably go back outside now… Right? Hmmm, where’s the ‘exit’ button?” Once Azra said that, a message box appeared on the desktop.
[Are you sure that you want to exit now? Warning: There are currently no offensive units available to utilize in battle.]
Yuri asked “Perhaps we should wait until our avatars have spawned? It is possible that our home has been compromised…”
“Hmmm~, you should go over to your tree. I’ll check outside and see what’s happening.”
Although Azra was afraid to separate from his sister, he was even more terrified of something happening to her. Thus, he hit the ‘yes’ button before she could stop him and vanished into thin air. However, she totally disregarded his suggestion and teleported outside almost at the same moment that he did.
The two of them seemed to materialize across from each other, sitting cross-legged with the chessboard on the floor between them. When her brother was about to open his mouth to complain, Yuri stood up and said “Grandpa taught us both how to defend ourselves. The danger would significantly lessen if there were two of us, instead of you alone.”
Azra sighed, glanced around the empty caldera and muttered “It seems like that warning wasn’t as ominous as it sounded… Anyway, we should gather up all of our stuff and throw it into the storage space.”
Each book was priceless, not just for sentimentality, but because they literally couldn’t buy new ones yet. Their current Threat, Technology and Usefulness levels were at zero. Even if they had souls to spend, they weren’t able to purchase much anyway. In order to raise the three levels, they needed to accrue Karma. To do that, they had to complete Quests.
After double-tapping the icon that looked like a treasure chest, a mysterious portal appeared above the chessboard. It was a three meter wide square, which had a bunch of random items floating around inside of it. Time inside was normally slowed down until it was nearly stopped, but the moment that it connected with reality, that effect was negated.
It wasn’t possible for Azra or Yuri to enter inside, but they only needed to push the books, clothing and other miscellaneous objects through a transparent film. Once they finished storing everything, the two of them discovered the method to retrieve items and tested out.
Essentially, the holographic display of the inside, actually allowed them to interact with it. When Azra pinched a miniature dumbbell with his right thumb and index finger, he was able to feel a sensation as if he was touching it. Then he only needed to bring it to any side of the cube and it would pass through the magical barrier.
“Shit!” Of course, once it passed through, the weight fell down onto the crystalline chessboard and terrified the twins. Fortunately, there wasn’t even the slightest scratch from the impact.
Yuri murmured “It seems that Grandpa’s assessment was correct… This material is incredibly durable.”
Azra snickered, “Imagine a suit of armor made out of this stuff!”
Then his sister nodded, wondering “Wouldn’t it be more efficient to simply find a way to incorporate this material directly into a person’s bones?”
Part 4: Temporal Displacement
Once they stored all of their items, they had a quick discussion over what they should do next.
Azra suggested “It’s been a really long day… Why don’t we go to sleep? It’s too cold in my keep, but it’s too hot in yours. We should just sleep in here…”
Yuri retorted “The temperature is far too low. Grandpa’s corpse incinerated our only blanket. My ‘house’ is the most logical option.”
“Ugh, fine. I’m still all itchy from those damn mosquitoes already though! Hmmm, wait a second… What is this?” As he was about to use the teleportation program again, Azra saw a window pop up on the desktop screen.
[The temporal displacement settings of the chessboard world are currently set to default. Would you like to adjust them?]
Out of curiosity, Yuri quickly selected ‘yes’ and the World Design program began running.
[Only three temporal displacement settings are currently unlocked: Half Speed, Double Speed and Default Speed. Default temporal displacement is a factor of 1.]
“No way… Doesn’t this mean that we can set the speed to double and then the avatars will be finished in twelve hours?!”
Azra was excited, but Yuri immediately refuted “I don’t want to stay in this cave any longer. Let’s go back to my ‘house’, where’s it’s warm. This place is… painful.”
After watching her almost frown, he winced and grumbled “You’re right… We should really leave this place as soon as possible. If I wasn’t so tired, I wouldn’t even consider staying in this damn cave for another moment.”
They set the temporal displacement to Double Speed and entered the Chessboard World. They appeared in the hot and humid bedroom, only a few meters away from that strange green pod. When they approached closer to it, the plant suddenly became transparent.
“Impressive… This seed pod appears to be very similar to the mechanical spawning device.” Yuri was so enthralled by the mysterious lifeform, that she couldn’t help but poke and prod it with her fingers.
Once she started sniffing and licking it, Azra turned around and found a nice spot by the wall to lay down. The wooden floor wasn’t that much worse than laying on a straw mat, but there was no neck support. Thus, he opened up the storage space and forced both of their primitive beds to fall out. As he laid facing the brown wallboards, he yelled “Sis, I’m going to sleep… Love you, goodnight.”
She stopped molesting the mystical seed pod and replied “It is technically the afternoon, but… I love you as well.”
Part 5: DC
Azra only slept for around six hours, before he woke up, drenched in sweat. The top of the tree was swaying back and forth from the wind, so he nearly fell down the moment he attempted to get up off the ground.
Although it was still hot, the temperature nearly three hundred meters in the air, actually wasn’t that high. Plus, there was a powerful and cool breeze blasting through all of the windows. However, the reason why he was especially uncomfortable, was because Yuri had latched onto his back after he had fallen asleep.
“What the hell… Sis, wake up… Hey, Yuri, get off of me.” The little girl started whimpering and tears were falling from her eyes, so Azra reluctantly laid back down. He repositioned her a bit and hugged her against his damp brown sackcloth tunic.
With a thought, that desktop screen abruptly appeared behind his sister. It was flipped on its side, so that he could read off of it more easily.
“That’s weird…” When Azra checked the time, he noticed that it was only twelve, midnight. He wondered “Is there a separate clock for this world?” Responding to his mental commands, a window popped up.
[Time is based on day and night cycles. The temporal displacement is currently set to Double Speed. Every second within the Chessboard World will pass twice as quickly as every second outside. Would you like to enable the 48 hour clock?]
After Azra set the secondary clock, he furrowed his brows and asked “You… Are you an AI?”
[I am an artificial intelligence program created by Azrael. My primary purpose is to answer questions that future incarnations of Azrael, Uriel and Sariel might have about the Divine Chessboard Legacy.]
“That is… so awesome!” It was essentially just a glorified search engine by the way it described itself. However, for someone who had only read about computers in books their whole life, the teenage boy was justifiably amazed.
[What would you like to ask me?]
“Umm, I guess… Do you have a name?”
[I am the personification of the Divine Chessboard created by Azrael, Uriel and Sariel. Over the eons, I have had many names. How would you prefer to address me?]
Azra snickered, muttering “You reminds me a lot of my sister for some reason…”
[My personality was designed by Azrael, to emulate Uriel.]
“Hmmm~, well, would DC be okay? Chess or Divine… I’ll just call you one of the three, depending on the circumstances.”
[Very well. It makes little difference to me. Do you have any other queries?]
“Yeah, a lot actually… I want you to show me all the programs and teach me how to use them.”
[Beyond the most basic nine programs, there are thousands of less important programs. In order to teach you how to utilize them all properly, it would likely require several years.]
“Okay, then let’s just start with the most important ones first?”
Part 6: Gaming
Yuri was still sleeping for three hours, while Azra played around with what were essentially video games. Of course, they all had names like ‘City Building Simulation’, ‘Basic Battle Strategy’, ‘Tower Defense Guide’, ‘Infantry Training Program’ and ‘Siege Warfare for Beginners’.
Some of the games were two-dimensional, others were three-dimensional and some were holographic. There were even a few virtual reality programs, but they were locked.
“This is actually quite entertaining…” When Yuri woke up, the two of them played a strategy game with each other. It was meant to be a tutorial program, to teach them how to utilize the chessboard in combat.
There were several strategies. They first needed to choose defense or offense. If they chose defense, then they were able to place their keep, a castle and various types of watch-towers onto the field. Although it was possible to have troops garrisoned on or within the structures, they weren’t aloud to leave the buildings. Offense was the opposite. There were no buildings that could be summoned, only soldiers.
It was possible for both of them to bring out units or towers at the same time. However, there was a catch. During the fight, there was a special structure that couldn’t be moved. It was the visual representation of the two players and the chessboard.
Essentially, if they decided to both go offense, they would be totally exposed. However, if they had a keep or other defensive structure to hide in, they were much safer. It was possible for enemy units to invade the keep, castle or towers though.
The two of them were so enthralled with that video game, that they had totally forgotten about trying to escape from that cavern. It was the two of them versus various simple AIs. At first, Azra wanted to play against DC, but it was literally impossible to win.
The twins had eaten several of the fish that were trapped within the storage space. Although they were dead, it was as if the fish had just been killed, descaled and sliced up, moments before they pulled them out. Thus, they were able to eat the fish raw. They didn’t exactly have a way to start a fire, much less the dry wood required to cook anything.
[You both seem rather dehydrated. Would you like a bottle of water?]
Both siblings were startled. Yuri immediately asked “Do we have any currency in which to purchase the bottle of water?”
“Yeah, if it’s free, we’ll definitely take a few…” Azra’s lips were chapped and his throat was so dry that it hurt to speak.
[Neither of you currently possess any Karma or Souls. However, the price of water is extremely low. In fact, how many gallons of water fall every second within this particular territory? It is a simple matter for me to collect some of it into several plastic containers and deliver them to you. Plastic technologies are currently far beyond what you are capable of purchasing at this moment… Regardless, the mana-cost is minuscule. There are no rules in place to prevent me from doing so.]
Suddenly, two plastic bottles filled with ice-cold rainwater appeared on the floorboards in front of the twins. Yuri picked the one closest to her up and murmured “Intriguing… I’ve read about this plastic material before. Am I meant to twist this top to the left or right in order to access the liquid inside?”
Azra reached over and easily unscrewed the white lid, from the transparent container. He snickered, “Everything is to the left to unscrew… Except things involving gas. They go to the right for some reason.”
He quickly picked up his own twelve-ounce bottle and drank half of it very quickly. Then he smiled and said “Thank you DC, I was worried that we would need to go to the river outside in order to get a drink.”
[You are welcome… However, I would suggest that both of you tend to your personal hygiene. It is not healthy for humans to spend long periods of time without bathing or showering. Both of you are suffering from tooth decay and Uriel currently has a rather severe yeast infection. You should also perform some sort of physical exercise in order to prevent your muscles from atrophying…]
Chapter 1: Sariel’s Guidance
Chapter 2: The Divine Chessboard World