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FanFic Title: Realm Eternal
Chapter 15: The Fruit of Knowledge
Author: NBosega
Date Published: May 24th, 2015


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Arc 2: The Power of Knowledge


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『』= Info
《》= Attribute
『』= Skill
【】= Sub-Skill
〘〙= Status, Combat Arts & Magical Spells
〚〛= Internal Thoughts

Author’s notes

It took me a while to get my electronic equipment set up. In the end I decided that I’ll move forward with a built in home management system; not easy to steal.

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Chapter 15: The Fruit of Knowledge

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Part 1

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The line managers of the Clans of the Nova Horizon Faction meet on a weekly basis along with their Nova Horizon counterparts. Given the fact that all of the members of the Clans of the Nova Horizon Faction are students at the Cobalt City Academy the meetings could only be held after official working hours. The Cobalt City Academy is only open from morning to late afternoon; 10 hours of the 27 hour day in Realm Eternal.

The Cobalt City Academy offered accommodation to its students at a nominal fee that amounted to twice the academic fees but few Atlantians could afford the additional expense and most Atlantians considered it unnecessary. As it is financing the Cobalt City Academy Fees is proving difficult for most Atlantians with most needing to take up jobs in Cobalt City to not only pay for their daily needs but now Academic fees.

Cobalt City is a massive city with a population over 20 million, and thanks to the privileges provided by the Asgard Continental Republic it’s a relatively Wealthy City. With the average wage for an unskilled Atlantian at 75 Copper Coins for a 7 hour shift many could easily earn 150 Copper Coins a day on days they don’t attend Academy classes.

There are plenty of menial jobs for unskilled workers in the Grandeur territory of the Asgard Continental Republic in the wake of the Vampire Attack and there is a rollout of extensive public works programs designed to improve fortifications as well as improve infrastructure. The Asgard Continental Republic is determined to close the vulnerabilities exposed by the Demon Attack.

The Asgard Continental Republic fared far better than the other countries but it did not survive unscathed and some villages and small towns were wiped-out. The Continentals understood that they had been complacent in providing a proper security infrastructure to all its territories and could not hold off on the fortifications until the war on the vampire world was won.

The Continentals had achieved a beachhead on the vampire world and were now engaged in an invasion campaign. The war against the Vampires could not be fought in a way that left Ado vulnerable to attack from the other Demon forces; the Red Dragons were still out there amongst others. The Continentals had to maintain a force capable of repelling an attack from Space, Yggdrasil or both.

Under Global security treaties with the Asgard Continental Republic all Countries of Ado had to spend a minimum of 10% of their GDP on security. As a consequence of the Global security treaties a lot of Countries made extensive use of mercenaries rather than commit to a permanent massive standing army; this freed up their own population from the dangers of military service.

It is this extensive use of mercenaries that attracted a lot of Atlantians to the prospect of an easy buck; the Continentals are no exception to the use of mercenaries.

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Representing the Crimson Hand is Mithriliar Crimson, for the Flame Swords it is Nicolas Flame and for Red Blade it is Ronan Red. Representing the Winged Sage Falcros is Lady Lorelei Falcros, for the Forever Knights it is Artemis Knight and for Sage it is Arturia Sage. Representing the now over 10,000 direct members of the Nova Horizon Faction is Chancellor Lionel Adev. Ordinarily Elrick Starlight would represent Starlight Spark, but in his absence the role passes to Bowden Starlight.

They all listen attentively to Chancellor Adev’s proposal.

Lionel Adev : " Therefore thanks to the growth of the Nova Horizon Faction an opportunity has opened up; we have a chance to operate as a large mercenary group. The Mining Corporation Rodion based in Cobalt City needs the services of a large mercenary group to retake a number of mining villages and towns lost during the Demon attack. The high value assets belonging to Rodion have been recovered by Rodion’s own security and reputable mercenary Corporations, but the recovery of low value assets is being put out to tender."

Ronan : " What sort of scale are we talking about?"

Lionel Adev : " Rodion’s contracts have a minimum requirement of 15,000 personnel; largely due to the size of area needed to be cleared. The mine and the Village or Town tend to be some distance from each other thus vast areas of land need to be secured. The most lucrative of the low level contracts available is some 2700km southwest of Cobalt City with no major town for at least 1400km; in fact there’s no other settlement for 700km around the village. The Rodion contract offers 4,200 Gold Coins to clear 40 square kilometres of land of all hostile life-forms and recover Coswe Mine and Coswe Village."

Bowden : " 4,200 Gold Coins to clear 4000 hectares? What type of hostile life-forms are we talking about?"

Lady Lorelei : " Transporting 15,000 people 2700km and back is likely to cost more than half the Rodion contract value of 4,200 Gold Coins. Is it worth the resource spending and the opportunity loss?"

Mithriliar : " The mercenary Emblem costs 200 Gold Coins"

Bowden : " I suppose the true value of the Contract is in advertising the capabilities of Nova."

Lionel Adev : " True; we’re unlikely to earn a profit on this contract. However Rodion and other Corporations have a lot of these unwanted contracts in the Continental territory that aren’t lucrative enough to entice major mercenary companies but can serve as a training ground for our purposes. The hostile life-forms are low level monsters and on occasion Ware-Wolves and the like."

Arturia : " What do you mean unwanted contracts?"

Lionel Adev : " Continentals are very strict about property ownership and when it comes to towns and mines they are even stricter; just because a property seems abandoned doesn’t mean anyone can claim it. By that I mean throughout territories of the Asgard Continental Republic property can only exchange hands with Continental Government approval. As you might expect the assessment of the value of the property is also subject to Continental Government approval. Given the socio-political environment mercenary groups prefer to operate in lands outside the control of the Asgard Continental Republic where towns can change hands through the barrel of a gun which allows the mercenary groups the opportunity to charge a premium for their services."

Arturia : " How many of these unwanted contracts are out there? Can we outsource?"

Lionel Adev : " The unwanted contracts are not valuable enough to be outsourced to smaller groups. However if we can accomplish the tasks at higher efficiencies we would be able to generate a small profit. The market for small creatures is still depressed due to the oversupply created by the demon attack, but the availability of food for a large number of predators has created a boom in the number of predators."

Artemis : " What you are saying is that hunting grounds further away from major towns and Cities are more fertile?"

Lionel Adev : " That is the primary benefit of this project; we can earn and gain valuable large scale campaign experience. The area around Cobalt City has been picked clean of rare beasts we need to venture further and further to generate sustainable revenues."

Nicolas : " Still; mobilizing 15,000 people for an operation like this requires a lot of planning and coordination. What’s the time frame?"

Lionel Adev : " The contract can only be awarded to a mercenary group with a minimum of 15,000 people; we don’t have to deploy the full 15,000 people. However the fewer we deploy the longer it takes to complete the commission, and the time limit for task completion is 30 days from awarding of the Contract. If we use every available person we can complete the commission in a week; that includes hiring mages to provide magical support."

Bowden : " Starlight Spark has no opposition to this undertaking, but our capacity is limited. We have Legions deployed in the north and can’t launch any new operations until they return in 10 days."

Lionel Adev : " How many Legions have you deployed? Nova is grateful for the consumables Starlight Spark provides at below market price; it makes it far easier to operate than it otherwise would have been."

Lady Lorelei : " Why has Starlight Spark deployed in the north? What is Elrick looking for over the northern Borders of the Continental Republic? What is Starlight Spark up to?"

Bowden : " The mission across the northern border is Grinder’s project and Elrick had nothing to do with it; for the most part. Grinder sent Vava and 4 Legions 700km north on a Fact Finding mission."

Lady Lorelei : " Fact Finding? It’s a desert; isn’t it?"

Bowden : " We are investigating the possibility of breeding sand worms. Apparently their excrement can be a useful input in the production of fertilizers. While we are at it we are training our people in desert operations by harvesting desert resources."

Lady Lorelei : " Are you looking for oil? Because the Continentals won’t allow the burning of fossil fuels in their territory; they won’t even allow the burning of wood for stoves."

Mithriliar : " Right on the money as always aren’t you Lady Lorelei? Hunting down fossil fuels sounds like something Elrick would do, and I bet Grinder found a way around the ban on the burning of fossil fuels."

Bowden : " Hydrogen is the answer! And the continentals are opposed to the burning of fossil fuels but they don’t mind if we sell them to someone else. This Planet has very little in the way of mineral recourses but thanks to the high ambient Mana there’s more than enough foliage to generate copious amounts of fossil fuels over time. Consequently there should be more than enough fossil fuels, but the goal of Starlight is not to trade in extracted fossil fuels but to make Hydrogen from plant extracts."

Lady Lorelei : " Oh! That’s why you’re interested in fertilizers. Hydrogen as a fuel is interesting but in this magical environment you’d be better served if you go from Solar to Mana then to Mana-Crystal rather than taking the detour into Hydrogen. Unless you found a plant that naturally makes Hydrogen?"

Bowden : " Not a plant, but a bacteria may be available. Though Elrick said to leave the task of finding the appropriate bacteria to you Lady Lorelei."

Lady Lorelei : " Me? What is that Idiot thinking?"

Bowden : " Elrick said that your Ladyship is in the best position to answer that request."

Lady Lorelei : " You tell that impudent Elrick that I’m not one of his lackeys; if he wants Winged Sage Falcros to undertake a project on Starlight’s behalf then he must show up and make the request Formally."

Bowden : " With respect your Ladyship; we are not his flunkies."

Lady Lorelei : " What would you call it? Accomplice?"

Bowden : " Accomplices sounds about right."

Lady Lorelei : " Anyway getting back on point; it is impossible to undertake Rodion’s Commission without Starlight Spark’s full Combat Force. The ability of Starlight Spark to deliver a predictable Fighting Force is the centrepiece of Nova Horizon Operations. If you put the other clans together we can exceed Starlight Spark’s Combat Power but only briefly. That means for the time being Starlight Spark’s ability to predict when its people are in Realm Eternal at all times is indispensable to Nova."

Lionel Adev : " That’s why we can’t assemble the full Force; at any given time we operate at about 15% of total personnel."

Ronan : " We are talking about the simple task of Gassing 4000 hectares right?"

Bowden : " If only it were that simple. To contain the poison in that large an Area would require several King rank wind mages. We can’t simple push the animals out of the population centres, we have to kill them; otherwise they would simply return after we leave."

Ronan : " We’ll have to box them in and exterminate them huh? That seems like a pain; a lot of work."

Bowden : " It is undoubtedly a lot of work"

Mithriliar : " Do we get an advance on taking up the contract? Or do we have to finance the operation ourselves and only get paid once the mission is complete?"

Lionel Adev : " Operating as a legitimate mercenary group taking up a legitimate contract entitles us to 50% of the contract value in advance. It would not do to have mercenary groups risking life and limb as well as a financial loss in the event of the military defeat of your employer."

Arturia : " So we have about 2 days RWT to coordinate and assemble a strike force with people from at least 10 different time zones? Not a lot of time to get this done but it can be done."

Lady Lorelei : " I’m confident we can work it out and reach 8,000 people in time for the launch of the operation. Since the particular operation is essentially an advertising campaign I appeal for full participation from Nova Horizon Clans; I will participate since the 10 days RET from now coincides with Friday Afternoon in RWT and I expect full participation from members of Winged Sage Falcros, Forever Knights and Sage"

She looks over to Artemis Knight and Arturia Sage.

Artemis : " The Forever Knights will participate fully!"

Arturia : " Sage will also participate fully!"

Mithriliar : " I suppose the Crimson Hand has no choice but to give full support; we will participate fully."

Nicolas : " Flame Swords will of-course also fully participate!"

Ronan : " Red Blade will participate fully!"

Bowden : " Starlight Spark will begin the necessary stockpiling of Consumables that will be necessary to support up to 15,000 people for 3 to 4 weeks."

Mithriliar : " We will work-out the details in the coming days and put together lists of everyone participating in the project"

Lady Lorelei : " At the very least we’ll need to Hire Scouts and send them ahead to have a detailed layout of the area."

Lionel Adev : " Fortunately Rodion has already hired a number of scouts and they are already on the ground, but it won’t hurt to have our own eyes and ears making an assessment even before we take up the contract."

The discussions continued further for another hour as further options were explored. At the end of the discussions the meeting was adjourned with the resolution that line managers would continue preparatory discussions as early as the next day.

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Part 2

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As the Faction Clan Chiefs walk out of the Nova Horizon’s Headquarters they say their goodbyes and go their separate ways Lady Lorelei walks towards Bowden.

Lady Lorelei : " Bowden; walk with me."

Bowden : " With pleasure your Ladyship."

They begin to walk as Bowden escorts Lady Lorelei and her 2 attendants to the luxurious Mansion that is the Headquarters of Winged Sage Falcros, Forever Knights and Sage. Artemis and Arturia go on ahead of Lady Lorelei and her 2 attendants.

Lady Lorelei : " How is he doing?"

Bowden : " Who? Elrick?"

Lady Lorelei : " Yes; I can’t get him to open up. He’s so withdrawn it’s like he’s avoiding those close to him; he’s walling himself off."

Bowden : " Yes; he’s walling himself in more ways than you know"

Lady Lorelei : " How so?"

Bowden : " On Chaos Island he is buried 170m deep inside a mountain"

Lady Lorelei : " Oh? He’s regressing"

Bowden : " Regressing? To what?"

Lady Lorelei : " Elrick finds it difficult to let people in."

Bowden : " Really?"

Lady Lorelei : " He’s intelligent enough to generate a custom personality depending on who he’s talking to; it’s what made him good at his previous job. When most people talk to him they walk away feeling that they were interacting with someone just like them; a kindred spirit."

Bowden : " Is that what it is?"

Lady Lorelei : " So you’ve noticed?"

Bowden : " I always thought he gets along with people at his convenience; he’s different from person to person like a master communicator."

Lady Lorelei : " Growing up as the Biracial son of a female doctoral fellow in Scotland wasn’t exactly easy; he experienced a lot of bigotry."

Bowden : " I’ll bet; children aren’t kind to those amongst them who stand out."

Lady Lorelei let-out a sigh; seemingly reflecting on her own personal experience growing up.

Lady Lorelei : " Yeah; and Elrick stood out because of his race and Intellect. As you might expect intellectually acute children realize rather quickly that the other children are stupid and it generates an overt arrogance that almost always creates animosity from other children. Elrick went a different way; his arrogance is not overt. Manipulation of people became a tool in his arsenal of coping mechanisms."

Bowden : " Are you saying that Elrick is manipulative?"

Lady Lorelei : " Extremely!"

Bowden : " That’s not a very nice thing to say about a friend"

Lady Lorelei : " Almost everyone is manipulative at times; women especially."

Bowden : " What?"

Lady Lorelei : " It’s subtle, but it’s a type of manipulative behaviour. In adult relationships women use sex to get compliance from men, and men tend to use money to entertain and amuse women with the end goal being sex; all of it manipulative behaviour. Because the Child Elrick needed everyone to like him his manipulative behaviour generated affection from those around him; Elrick took on the supportive role. With an acute intellect at his disposal he became the go to guy for everything, and this became his default position; a hardwired support class."

Bowden : " So that’s why despite being very competent he always chooses the supportive role."

Lady Lorelei : " The supportive role is a trick, and it’s designed to disarm, but the real Elrick is very perceptive. Unfortunately it’s his perceptive nature that always leaves him isolated and alone; if you’ve manipulated everyone around you into being your friend are they truly your friends. It’s one thing if the manipulative behaviour is subconscious like in most people, but it’s another thing entirely if you’re conscious of manipulative behaviour."

Bowden : " So he doesn’t truly consider us his friends"

Lady Lorelei : " It’s not that! It’s that he has a warped understanding of friendship."

Bowden : " Oh"

Lady Lorelei : " In his mind people are drawn to him because of what they get from him; or more like he pulled people to himself by giving them something. Elrick reads people pretty quickly thanks to his perceptive nature, and thanks to his intellect he can project a compatible personality; thus generating extraordinary familiarity out of thin air. Elrick’s behaviour is particularly effective on women and he could generate a friendship out of nowhere; it’s an atrocious manipulation of your feelings. Fortunately Elrick isn’t particularly interested in romance; so he doesn’t use his powers for evil."

Lady Lorelei let-out a slight giggle to which her attendants laugh.

Bowden : " eh?"

Lady Lorelei : " Fortunately for the unsuspecting women of the world Elrick isn’t particularly interested in romance; he goes on and on about how to love is to lose."

Bowden : " Oh; that!"

Lady Lorelei : " So you’ve heard it?"

Bowden : " Yeah; recently he’s been expressing that sort of view."

Lady Lorelei : " That kind of thinking isn’t new where Elrick is concerned; it’s like that from the beginning. Elrick’s own feelings tend to unsettle him; in his own mind the love for self must be supreme, and so when he finds himself holding another in higher regard it’s troubling for him. That’s why for Elrick to love is to lose; he even has a long running Blog on it."

Bowden : " Blog? That’s the first I’ve heard of it"

Lady Lorelei : " When he was with Elise the posts slowed down to a trickle, but now that it’s over with activity on the Blog has peaked up again. Let me show you"

She displays a screen from Elrick’s Blog; Nabi Chronicles.

~ Frop! ~

『Ding! 』

『As Expected to Love Is to Lose』

First some recent anecdotal evidence.

Recently I attended a Galla-Dinner hosted by the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce, and since I could not show-up alone I had my favourite Escort Agency send over one of their elegant ladies to be my companion. Beauty is a weapon, it is a commodity that is in limited supply, and a beautiful woman on your arm makes a more powerful statement than an expensive suit.

So what is the true value of Beauty? What power does a beautiful woman possess? What is a beautiful woman?

No matter what lies men may tell the women in their lives one truth cannot be denied; by far the most attractive quality in a woman is beauty. Why is that? Beauty is the most powerful indicator of good genetics. The universal indicators of beauty like good symmetry and proportions also indicate good genes. The obsession with beauty is a reproductive imperative, and that means we are biologically programmed to want the most beautiful woman.

Therefore it is natural that in a room full of sophisticated, accomplished and successful women the eyes of the men are captivated by the beautiful women. So the First Class beauty on my arm is protection from the unattached beautiful women in the room. Why go to such lengths you ask? Because even I am vulnerable to the effects of the attentions of a beautiful woman; a painful lesson from my youth.

If you’re a normal guy then something inside jumps when a beautiful woman looks at you, a smile melts your resolve and a touch stupefies you. The reason a beautiful woman has such power over you is that from an evolutionary perspective she is supposed to be your ultimate goal; you are biologically programmed to desire and want a beautiful woman as the ideal mate.

This brings to mind an experiment where men watched a BBC news program anchored by an attractive man and woman; the men could remember what the male newsreader was saying but could not remember a single thing the woman had said; they remembered what she looked like but had become stupefied. In the Italian research that was the basis for that experiment it proved that men liked facts but they’re more interested in sex.

The only men who are unaffected by beautiful women are those who possess an equal level of attractiveness. So basically unless you’re a good-looking man you are vulnerable to a beautiful woman. And according to research done by the Max Planck Institute in Germany love activates the reward centres of the brain while simultaneously shutting down the reason and judgement centres of the brain; thus the woman you fall in-love with becomes the most Beautiful.

The fact that a beautiful woman can therefore swing the “heart” of most men is proof of the biological nature of the feeling or emotions called love. It is said that when you fall in-Love you lose the ability to make rational judgements when it relates to the object of your affection due to the high dose of feel-good chemicals flooding your brain.

Hiding behind my companion I’m able to navigate the assorted collection of lovely ladies who might otherwise turn their attention to me. As a somewhat successful male I’ve suddenly become an eligible bachelor because to the human female the most attractive quality in a male is power, and in this world money is power. If you’re a beautiful woman then you’re an Alpha Female and if you’re a Powerful Man then you’re an Alpha Male.

In most species the males compete and the females choose. Therefore even though the Human species is very highly evolved it is still subject to the most basic natural laws. The Women will subconsciously seek out the most capable male and in the human world money trumps attractiveness and athleticism; it is the ultimate proof of an Alpha Male status.

While attractiveness and athleticism are indicators of an Alpha Male status in humans and represent power, human females also recognize the overwhelming power of money in the ability to provide a safe and comfortable lifestyle. For their part Alpha Males need Alpha Females to give birth to their attractive offspring which in turn gives the offspring a higher probability of success.

I have thus concluded that romantic love is an evolutionary biological trick, a ploy designed for procreation; a hoax, sham, trap, scam or fraud perpetrated upon the unsuspecting individual through the activation of the reward centres of the brain while simultaneously suppressing the reason and judgement centres of the brain. It is the most horrendous treachery perpetrated by your own body.

The minute you fall in-love you’ve already lost and the heart reveals its duplicity by performing the unnatural act of placing the self secondary to the other. Since love is a selfish feeling twisted in the form of a drug addiction due to the chemical cocktail produced by the Brain your emotional wellbeing is subject to the emotional status of an externality; you derive your happiness from their joy.

It is the treachery of the human heart; an atrocious dependence on the feel-good Chemicals produced by the brain to bind an individual to another.

Be warned; Love is Biological Warfare, and in this war women are Armed to the Teeth.

This is why to Love is to Lose.

.

Bowden : "HeHeHeHe! That’s so twisted"

Lady Lorelei : " It would be one thing if he was scientifically wrong, but his reasoning is perfectly sound"

Bowden : " So to Elrick if you like someone your essentially regressing to a primal instinct? What, we don’t actually have a choice?"

Lady Lorelei : " What; you think there’s a choice?"

Bowden : " Yes"

Lady Lorelei : " That’s cute; you clearly haven’t done enough journal reading. Fortunately Elrick has all the links to the relevant research on the Blog; check it out."

Bowden : " You agree with him?"

Lady Lorelei : " What’s your Book Count?"

Bowden : " Book Count?"

Lady Lorelei : " The number of books you’ve read? You are your Information you know. The average person has read around 130 to 150 Books; basically 10 books a year during the school years and a little more after that. For a college graduate you add 50 more books and a book a month"

Bowden : " Then I guess for me it would be school books and an additional 1 book a week?"

Lady Lorelei : " So about 550 books; considering your athletic background and the likelihood that you only started independently reading at around 19 years"

Bowden : " How did you come up with the figure 19? How could you possibly have known?"

Lady Lorelei : " It’s a consequence of my information level. In many poorly written novels and TV shows it is suggested that and individual could read thousands of books in a short time; like 1000 in a year. To read 1000 books in a year you’d need to read and understand 3 books a day. Isn’t that sort of thing a ridiculous notion? Anyone with any kind of intellect would know that such a suggestion epitomizes idiocy. By any kind of intellect I mean they’re capable of more than surface thoughts; they can actually count. There isn’t enough time to read and understand 1000 books a year; that knowledge must be accumulated over time. That’s why if you don’t read when you’re young you can’t catch-up later, and the path you unconsciously chose as a child determines your level of knowledge; at least until machine augmented intelligence becomes available."

Bowden : " Are you saying your Book Count is many times my own?"

Lady Lorelei : " My Book Count is more than 10 times yours."

Bowden : " What?"

Lady Lorelei : " Universities back home take students from the Advanced Learning Institute as a matter of course. The Advanced Learning Institute is an academy for gifted children started in 1998 to nurture gifted children. ALI as it’s called now has over 50 campuses around the world and offers a unique learning environment for children with the drive to acquire knowledge. You can’t buy your way into ALI thanks to generous contributions from its alumnus. The only way into ALI is to have the appropriate mindset; the desire to gain information. ALI is meant to be complementary to public Education, and so we had half days at normal schools so we wouldn’t lose the ability to interact with normal people. So excluding research papers a Book count of over 5000 at my age is Normal for my species."

Bowden : " Species?"

Lady Lorelei : " What you know affects what you see; the very core of what you are. The average human looks at the world around them with wonder and amazement, but we look at the world and see through the fine detailed lens of Knowledge and then perceive the interconnected particularities; such is the Power of Knowledge. When you’ve read and understood every scientific book in all its perturbations you no longer have a common reference point with the rest of humanity because they can no longer imagine the depth of what you are. What truly separates an infant from an adult is an enormous amount of information. Who we are is a function of our information."

Bowden : " So those who are like you are the Adults and the rest of us are children?"

Lady Lorelei : " Shocking isn’t it?"

Bowden : " You’re serious?"

Lady Lorelei : " How much of the world you live in do you actually understand? You live in a world supported by technology that is beyond you, the smart devices, the cars the planes, the food and the medicines are getting increasingly more complex; so complex in-fact that fewer and fewer people actually understand them. People like to talk about human progress as if they play a part in the developmental progression, but the truth is that 90% of people are passengers on the rollercoaster. As you might expect the people responsible for this progress don’t even know where we are taking the rest of humanity. We are just responding to the needs of an increasingly complex environment. There’s no method; we’re just diving deeper and deeper into the abyss to satisfy our curiosity. When Elrick understood how the world operated he got so freaked out he abandoned science in favour of commerce."

Bowden : " So that’s what happened; I was wondering how a guy like that ended up engaged to a woman like that."

Lady Lorelei : " I’m awake and can never sleep again. It’s not just Elrick who desperately tried to sleep again. The Power of Knowledge is tragic"

Bowden : " Was he trying to be oblivious? Is Elise one of you?"

She stops walking and looks at Bowden.

Lady Lorelei : " Like you Elise is partially awake; a type of limited awareness that activates for brief moments. Carol calls it being on the Threshold of Revelation."

Bowden : " So I too don’t qualify"

She smiles.

Lady Lorelei : " You should be glad; you can still find pleasure in the most mundane of things. The human heart can find meaning in the simplest of moments."

Bowden : " Hmmm"

Lady Lorelei : " She was always watching him. When you’re close to Elrick you fall victim to his supportive nature coping mechanism. Before they ever met she was watching him from afar; she knew who he was before a word was ever spoken. The real Elrick is a Dreamer searching for the Unseen horizon; the lovable eccentric fool trying to fight against the inevitable. You’ve seen that part of him right?"

Bowden : " Huh?"

Lady Lorelei : " The guy trying to generate big outputs by tweaking the inputs. Like giving valuable Items to struggling players in an MMO?"

Bowden : " Oh; that?"

Lady Lorelei : " Like falling in love even though he’s convinced that love is a fraud. Watching him desperately trying to fall asleep made me want to try it; I tried to immerse myself in the affections of men who I knew that despite being the best of men could never hope to understand me. But I have grown beyond the ability of my heart to influence me. I look at the night sky and all the things I know about astronomy and cosmology floods into my mind, I look at a tree and all its details flood in from its genus name to the structure of its DNA, I look at animals and all of their information floods in, and now not even people are a mystery anymore; I see who they are. I am awake and can never sleep again."

Bowden : " So that’s what you mean"

Lady Lorelei : " I see the world with a hundred times more detail than the average human. This is the price of eating of the fruit of knowledge. Right Jen?"

Lady Lorelei looks over at one of her attendants; Jennifer Kinsley.

Jennifer : " Yes milady. It is a choice we made as children; perhaps a choice you can only make as a child. Though Elrick contends that there was something wrong with us to begin with, I’m convinced that genetics in this regard is insufficient; we could easily get stuck in mediocrity."

Bowden : " Another one?"

Jennifer : " The world is a lonely place for us; we can only have meaningful communication with those who are like us. So we tend to congregate."

Bowden : " So what’s wrong in the first place?"

Lady Lorelei : " That! There are some amongst us who believe that we are born with a brain reward system that favours knowledge. Every-time we learn something new our brains reward us with feel good chemicals; we get a high from learning. Isn’t that kind of twisted? Whether we are born with a different brain reward system or it develops as a consequence of a love for learning is unclear; the research suggest that it may be both. Nonetheless it triggers a chain reaction that eventually results in an acute awareness. One of the first things we figure out is people."

Bowden : " People?"

Lady Lorelei : " Humans tend to believe that they are unique; the myth of individualism."

Bowden : " Huh?"

Lady Lorelei : " Humans are a communal species and that creates a tendency or desire to conform. We are all part of the great human herd; even those rejected by the herd conform to the herd. If we weren’t a herd animal advertising would have to be tailored to an individual, and the fact that it works proves it. Things like a unique opinion are a manufactured illusion. We go to the same school, read the same books, watch the same television programs, and have the same conversations about the same things; our information is the same. What I’m saying is the information level of the average person is the same and identical in societies. What gives rise to common sense is the fact that the society’s information level is the same and identical. If you are your information then someone with nearly the same information is a reflection. Given the same information Humans tend to reach the same conclusion."

Bowden : " That’s …?"

Lady Lorelei : " It’s unnerving, but that is how American television programming is packaged; tailored to its audience. The same applies around the world, and advertising uses the same principles. As you might expect politics is a game of tailoring and packaging. The average person isn’t even almost educated enough to understand the political economic issues in a globalized economy. What I’m getting to is that based on where you lived, went to school and level of education I can predict what decisions you’ll make on narrowed choices. But someone like Jen has an information level that exceeds the parameters necessary to narrow her choices. Jen comes from small town America, population 10000, and so that is the herd she was born into. Therefore as Jen is now it is likely that she has more information than all of the towns people put together; it’s more like she has 50 to 100 times more information. Do you understand why?”

Bowden : " It was narrowed"

Lady Lorelei : " They all basically know the same things. And so even if you put them together it only amounts to a little more than one person. By choosing to conform to the herd they limited themselves, and from within the herd their choices are forever narrowed. However Jen, Mia and I continued to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and grew to become the 50 times Giant that no longer belong to the herds we were born in."

Jennifer : " Do you have to call us that?"

Lady Lorelei : " It can’t be helped"

Mia and Lady Lorelei giggle.

Bowden : " Elrick didn’t bother explaining. Why tell me all this?"

Lady Lorelei : " Even though Elrick is also a Giant he is still a man, and men tend to withdraw from emotional conflict. Even though we see the world with extraordinary clarity it is difficult to see yourself with the same detail. Elrick is in pain, but he won’t let me help him because I’m a woman and I look the way I do. I’m therefore forced to rely on you Bowden to help my dear Friend."

Bowden : " I see"

Lady Lorelei : " Elrick has buried himself inside a mountain in more ways than you realize; that High-Elf is to dangerous for him. Our kind can sustain ourselves without emotions thanks to the peculiarity of our brain’s reward system. But we must guard against that tendency because we risk losing something precious to all humans."

Bowden : " I understand; leave it to me."

Lady Lorelei : " For that you have my gratitude"

As the 3 lovely ladies moved away from him Bowden realized that he caught a glimpse of something extraordinary. He had been spending his time with one of these extraordinary beings, and when a puddle of water Lady Lorelei stepped in managed to support her weight Bowden understood that she had acquired a water wisp; even in Realm Eternal the power of these beings could not be undone.

Bowden remembered that Elrick once referred to the Fortunate Five and those like them as Heralds of a new age of humanity.

- - -

Meanwhile deep inside an unnamed mountain Elrick was now digging with his bare hands. Using Arwick’s secret technique God Claw which is a combination of the raw forms of 『Physical-Increase』 Skills; 【Body-Harden】on the hands, Skills 【Strength-Increase】on the arms and 【Speed-Increase】on the arms, back and chest. Not an easy thing to accomplish without 『Corporeal Magic』 Magic Scripts but Elrick had Arwick’s memories.

God Claw is meant to aid you in the event of a loss of a weapon but Elrick used God Claw as mining tool to conserve the durability of his equipment for the hard rock under the mounted and the added benefit that it generated 【Mana Shaping】EXP. However Elrick still had to use 【Appraisal Magic】to Identify weaknesses in the rock and Alchemic processing once the debris had piled up. The 2X2X2 Hunter’s Lear had been withdrawn and the entrance sealed by debris, Elrick now lived in the cramped 1.2X1.2X1.2 Hunter’s Lear.

- - -

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Comments (1)

  1. Patrick
    May 24th, 2015 at 11:17:51 PM

    Thanks for the chapter.



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