I snickered and let go of Dryad’s throat, as the bright-blue crystalline eyes seemed to have tears welling up in the corners. The head was similar to that of a dragon, or well, a lizard. It basically just looked like a three-meter tall Lizard Tribe woman, made out of dark-green bark.
“See Mike, this is what I was talking about… Lori, what the hell did you let Yuri do to you?” Although there was barely any resemblance between the humanoid-lizard Dryad and the Mouse Tribe girl I remembered, she still had my seal imprinted within her body. I noticed her appearance long before she called out my name.
Slutty Mike cackled, grumbling “Bitch please! You think I’m afraid of turning into a sexy dragon-girl tree monster?! I’d settle for a fucking flying ghost dick if it meant I could ‘feel’ something again! Shit! I can’t even get horny right now because I have no hormones or even a brain!”
“I’ve been a robot before, I empathize… To an extent. It’s a lot safer to figure out a way to give your current body some sensations. Actually, why do you even need your body to do anything? Can’t you just telepathically connect to someone? Maybe a certain slutty sea-dragon…” I snickered for a while, but then realized that I had made a horrible mistake.
“Holy fuckballs! You’re right!” Mike started cackling madly, as he complained “Why the hell didn’t I think of that before you? Shit, maybe my mind ain’t what it used to be…”
“Um, can’t you see we’re having a touching reunion here?! Go away and stop spoiling the romantic mood!” Lorelei suddenly started glaring at the giant suit of silver armor, hissing and flicking her serpentine tongue out. I thought it was kind of odd, since why the hell would Dryads even need tongues anyway? Or functioning mouths for that matter.
I sighed again, sternly explaining “Lori, listen. I like you. Hell, we’re practically family. But I already have a girlfriend. Sorry, but you’ll have to find someone else.”
Unsurprisingly, she burst into tears, while sitting on the grass and wailing like a baby. Everything should have ended cleanly like that. But then Slutty Mike had to say “By the way, this is kind of a spoiler, but in your next lives… Well, the two of you are married, with quite a few kids… So, there’s that…”
“God damn it! Don’t you even know the simplest rules of reincarnation?! Don’t tell people what their future lives are going to be like!” It might have sounded eerily similar to my voice, but that definitely wasn’t me screaming like that. A huge green serpentine dragon appeared above the startled Dryad; his bright-blue eyes shone down onto the shiny silver knight, lighting up the whole area.
“Leviathan, calm down.” I took a deep breath and continued, “Slutty Mike never reincarnated before, much less met with us old bastards during the Reincarnation Accords. Anyway, I’m really hungry, so can we continue this bullshit over dinner?”
“Now you’re just rubbing it in my fucking face, you asshole!” Mike roared at me, but then jumped up and punched the giant illusory dragon in the face, causing it to scatter into thousands of tiny fragments. When he landed on the ground, his legs were almost entirely buried under the soil, so it took him a while to clamber out of it awkwardly.
The nice thing about Salvation, compared to the rest of Lorthon Forest, was the difference in climate. Sure, most people were used to the hot and muggy environment they grew up in… But not everybody. Barely anyone had ever seen natural snow and ice before, so it was obviously a huge tourist destination. While a lot of the original inhabitants were sick of the cold and temperate environment.
Lorelei stopped crying and jumped up off the ground, grabbing onto my left arm and happily explaining “Over the last month or so, I’ve been going around Salvation and officiating the opening of tons of Lorelei Corp branches. Oh, and being the awesome, amazing leader of Alfirin, I obviously had to make sure all the cities were running properly. Trixie might be good at establishing law and order, but without a functioning economy and plenty of infrastructure, what’s the point? Hehehe~, you might not realize this since you’ve been gone for so long, but I’m basically the richest person in the world right now… Thank you Mikey. Really, if it wasn’t for you, who knows where I’d be right now?”
“That’s all great but um, seriously, what happened to your body?” I couldn’t help but ask, as we teleported from the middle of an empty field to the center of a large castle bedroom. This was the place that I stored my armor and weapons. Fortunately, no one was stupid enough to try to steal them. Not that most people would have even been able to lift most of my gear. Even my revolver weighed about thirty pounds. Not including the super-dense bullets.
The keep was actually an old shitty ruin that I found in Lum. It was near the border of Agar, so the radiation was a little too high for normal elves to stand. The bedroom did have some furnishings, a giant radioactive mattress, cabinets and chests… Lots of chests. Even though I wasn’t too worried about anyone stealing my stuff, since I surrounded the castle with a bunch of poisonous vines and even raised the mana-level to ‘5’, I still took my gear apart and stowed it away properly.
As soon as we appeared in the room, Lorelei started gasping for breath and complaining “Mikey… Are you trying to… Kill me?!”
Of course, Slutty Mike didn’t even notice the mana-density or radioactivity. He just grumbled “What kinda restaurant is this shithole supposed to be?”
I sighed, again… No matter which version of Rapture you’re dealing with, they’re all like really annoying and childish versions of myself. Did I say that already? It’s hard to keep track of all the times I’ve complained about that particular mistake of ours.
Anyway, I gathered up all my gear. Lorelei was just struggling to stay alive, so Mike had to help me put some of the armor on. The problem with magic-resistant armor is that you can’t just use Earth Manipulation to quickly assemble everything. Yes, I know that it’s possible to control metal hands or claws that aren’t resistant to magic and just have them put everything on you, but I didn’t think of that ‘innovation’ until a while later.
“Since I can’t actually eat, yet, I’m gonna bring my girlfriend with me!” Or so Mike said, but when we teleported over to the giant invisible saucer-shaped ship at the center of salvation…
“I am not your sexual partner. However, I will accompany these humanoid life-forms to consume sustenance.” His ‘girlfriend’ was a talking horse. Sorry, a sentient synthetic silver unicorn, capable of telepathic communication. Yeah, a psychic unicorn named Silvia.
“Before we depart… I wish to confide in you, Michael, some important information.”
We were inside of a huge room at the top of the disk. As far as I could tell, there wasn’t much of anything in there except shiny silver walls. Definitely no other ‘people’ aside from the four of us.
Mike immediately asked “Wait, is this about this sneaky fucking Moon Bitches?”
Silvia ignored him and explained “Over the past few months, I have taken note of a great many things about this planet, the star system and the neutral mana that seems to be prevalent everywhere. Not just neutral but… Primordial. Chronology tends to be confusing, when dealing with multiple universes. Especially when Realities are concerned.”
“Yeah, I know.” After snickering, I grumbled “I’ve literally been around longer than Karma herself. I might not remember everything that I’ve experienced in that eternity, but I do understand that Chronology usually flies out the window when it comes to reincarnation. For all I know, you could be my future or past self. It’s a mystery. I assume that Luna is up to some sketchy shit though, right?”
The unicorn yawned briefly, then replied “Very well, we shall postpone the discussion of causality and chronology until later. The more secretive and pressing concern is what I have uncovered from my observations of the various avatars of Luna.”
She could spy on Luna. No, not just one Luna, but all of them. She showed us holographic screens that displayed all sorts of data: Pictures, videos, audio recordings, even the software for various Virtual Reality games that the various ‘Observers’ liked to play.
Observers were basically ‘Players’ that retired and stopped doing field-work for Terra, Luna and Sol. Coffee became a Player around that time, oh, and Demil. The young Kodiak Tribe boy had grown into a gigantic bear-man, while the depressed tigress found her calling when she fired her first big-ass sniper rifle.
“Luna Prime and Alpha Luna. These two individual avatars of Luna have devised a plan to essentially, use you as a distraction, while they attempt to capture Armageddon: A starship capable of traversing the Chaotic Void, in the shape of a black, serpentine dragon. Unfortunately, given the location of Armageddon, if they were to cause it to move even a bit, the consequences would be catastrophic for every living creature on this planet. Perhaps even the planet itself could be destroyed if they managed to retrieve it, which would in turn, destroy Luna’s main body as well. They do not seem to desire the destruction of this world or their main body, hence their ‘gentle’ method of forcing Michael Cinagra and I to awaken…”
When I heard that, I wasn’t too surprised or concerned about the prospect of the whole continent being destroyed. No, the really scary thing was “Why the fuck would Luna care that much? What the hell would scare Luna so much, that two or more of her avatars would attempt to escape and leave her main body behind?”
Then the metal ceiling above us vanished and I could see directly up into the sky. My vision at the time was pretty good, but not as powerful as the massive magical telescope at the top of that saucer-ship.
“Holy mother of shitholes!” Mike shouted first.
“Wait, is that what I think it is?” Then Lorelei gasped.
And finally, I sighed as Silvia telepathically explained “Indeed, a super-cosmic sphincter of unknown origin.”
“Mike, it’s not that kind of sphincter.” I snickered, “That is the esophageal sphincter of a titan. We’re in Karma’s throat right now. And by we, I mean this entire universe and probably even more.”
It was so far away, that the magnification was probably thousands of times what could be seen with my naked eyes. Still, it wasn’t that hard to see something that covered the entire sky. We were billions of lightyears away and it didn’t actually give off any light on its own, however… There were entire galaxies being smashed into the edges of the gaping and wrinkly hole, which did kind of look like an anus to be honest.
The reason I knew it wasn’t a titanic asshole though, was because Karma literally doesn’t have one. When ‘we’ designed her, the objective was to consume every other Greater Reality or ‘Titan’ that existed. This would obviously take innumerable eons and be happening instantly, while also taking an eternity depending on your perspective.
Karma has a lot of holes, but only entry is possible. Once you enter inside her body, you’re already stuck in the endless cycle of Samsara until… Well, regardless, it wasn’t something that Luna would fear. Unless she really didn’t want to die.
“According to the astronomical records I have examined, the true danger is not the hole itself, but that everything else in this universe is accelerating towards it. This Milky Way Galaxy has already been destroyed over the past million years. If not for Sol’s sentience and ability to somewhat defy or alter gravity, this whole solar system would have been broken apart, pulled into a red giant or knocked off into a nebula. Unfortunately, while the primordial mana is extremely prevalent in this universe, it is impossible for Sol to never make a mistake. The other planets in the Solar System are also somewhat sentient, but none are as powerful or intelligent as Luna, Terra and Sol.”
Ultimately, it’s only a matter of time before someone fucks up slightly and everyone dies.
Of course, none of that had anything to do with Lucy’s cryptic 777 year prophecy. Only Luna Prime and Alpha Luna wanted to use Armageddon to escape. The others had their own schemes or just didn’t care about life or death. They’d been living for millions of years at the very least, so it wasn’t strange for them to stop giving a shit.
Anyway, the problem was that if those two succeeded in their plan, everything I worked for would have been destroyed. Not to mention that they could have fucked up and a tiny quive of Armageddon could cause a catastrophe for everyone on the continent Alfirin.
“Alright, thanks for the information… But I’m definitely not in the mood to deal with any more apocalypses, at least for a few months or years. So why don’t we go eat now?”
It’s better not to worry about future troubles on an empty stomach or with a tired mind.
“Haniel, Angel, you two kids want to come with us for a meal? I’m thinking of having a big get-together with well… Everybody I can gather on such short notice. We’ll be heading down to Angren… A restaurant called Lunar Blessings, I think. They serve food from your homeland.”
Our next stop was the original location of the first Pixie Village I found, where I met my mother and her girlfriend. It was at the northernmost edge of what used to be that shallow lake. Thus, we actually just walked there, rather than teleporting.
When the doors of the invisible ship opened up, the pixies and even my mother, were terrified. They were having some kind of huge celebration and their numbers… Well, they multiply fast. It was fine though, because just like the Yuri-Mice, those pixies didn’t really take up much space: Tens of thousands of them were clustered around that little section of beach, having massive skyscrapers as their homes. Obviously they were only about the same height as a two-storey human building, but there were a lot of them. Mostly crystalline spires, with thousands of holes in the sides, like really fancy birdhouses.
In fact, there were also small birds living in some of them, being treated like pets by the humanoid creatures that were closer to the size of the bugs that they ate on a daily basis. The number of bird-related pixie deaths increased dramatically, but let’s leave that for another time.
After they calmed down a bit, Haniel asked “Is it really okay for us to go down there? The Lorthoneans seem nice, but will our kind really be accepted in their society? And how can we even get down there? No, more importantly, what’s a restaurant and what does it have to do with Luna?”
“Honey, no more questions, just take us with you!” The buff and beautiful Angela appeared, wearing a bikini like my biological mother. She slapped away some giggling pink pixies that were trying to hug her in greeting, then quickly explained “The Harvest Festival is almost over, so we need to get the hell out of here before the Cluster Festival begins!”
“Damn it! God damn it!” Mike cursed, grumbling “Okay, the first thing I do after getting my tentacle dick or whatever, is gonna be to join this Cluster-Fuck Festival! Shit, I’ve always wanted to have an orgy with a bunch of Pixies…”
“Okay, let’s go then!” I ignored the Pixies that were trying to cling to us and teleported us almost a thousand miles away. The eastern edge of Lorthon, where the forest meets the desert.
“Umm, so yeah, I’m not really gonna be eating anything, so it doesn’t matter to me so much but… Whatcha doin? This definitely ain’t Angren.” Mike snickered, while everyone else seemed puzzled as well.
However, they couldn’t see with the eyes of Hithu. Not really physical eyes, but the roots underneath the sands, which could ‘feel’ what was happening above them. Silvia definitely could see, probably much better than I could, since she had a satellite view. She didn’t bother to speak though, so it was a mystery until figures started appearing at the edge of the horizon. Tens of thousands of people, some riding huge brown camels or earth dragons that looked like giant horned lizards. There were also a group of people that were covering the flanks, who were wearing leather armor and rode enormous sand-worms that only slightly jutted out of the ground.
“Are we… Fighting an army or something? ‘Cause that would actually be fun.” Mike wondered, while Haniel and Angela seemed nervous.
Lorelei asked “Uh, Mikey, I know you got all that cool gear and all, but aren’t the rest of us kinda defenseless?”
“They aren’t an army.” I finally explained, “They’re new citizens of Alfirin, probably the last group of immigrants that we’ll be letting in so freely. But the reason why we’re here is that group of people over there.” I pointed towards the largest Earth Dragon, which I recognized as one from the mines of Angren. It was so big, that there was a group of five large people casually sitting on its back, drinking wine and eating jerky or nuts.
One of them was someone I honestly can’t remember at all. They had that kind of forgettable presence, so I won’t even try to guess at who they were. The other four however, well, they’re much more famous, even now.
Rachel, the centaur-doe healer, who was one of Yuri’s apprentices. She was wearing a pink t-shirt, with ‘777’ written on the chest in black. While her lower-body was covered with a flexible, skin-tight type of white material covering her lower doe-shaped body.
Alexis… Well, she was a Squirrel-Tribe Ninja-type, working for Beatrix. But then she was seriously injured and almost killed during the Battle of White Mithril. A lot of her parts were replacements from Rat-Tribe. Considering that she had Yuri’s Apprentice with her though, it wasn’t too surprising to see that she had managed to keep herself together… Literally. Anyway, she dressed like a dominatrix for the most part, lots of black-leather, leotards, corsets and she liked using whips to torture and kill people.
Then there were the last two, who I actually knew: Coffee and Demil. Coffee used a huge glaive, which is sort of like a halberd or a naginata, but his weapon at that time was an ax… I think. It’s been too long and he went through weapons really fast with his reckless fighting style. His armor was blue, while his fur was brown.
Demil had her giant sniper rifle as always, but basically just wore a bathing suit as ‘armor’. Barely even covered her nipples and groin, while the back was like a thong. Normally, it would really matter to a Tiger-Tribe, since they’re so furry… For some reason her entire body was either waxed or shaved, aside from her head. A mix between hilarious and kind of sexy.