Nova looked at the woman in front of her and instantly she knew that she was a god. It was something instinctive that told her. Also, the whole hair being an ecosystem was a big tip-off. Still, a god showing up hadn’t been in her plans especially when she knew one was trying to kill her.
“Who are you?” Nova asked warily, taking a step back.
The goddess smiled warmly. “I am the Guardian. Though I am a Celestial, in many ways, I am a traveler like you.”
Nova looked at her, curiously. At least she didn’t seem like she wanted to kill her. “You’re a Soul Traveler?”
The Guardian shook her head. “No, simply a traveler.” She looked around her. “This room is empty. Don’t you wish to fill it?”
Nova’s face scrunched up in confusion. “What? You mean with furniture?”
The Guardian chuckled. “That is also an option.” She waved her hand in a sweeping motion. “You are the Artifactor. What you decide to fill this room with is your choice.”
Nova blinked. “Is that why I’m here? Because I’m an Artifactor?”
“In part,” the goddess said. “There are many entrances to the path of the Weaver though this room is uniquely yours.”
Nova felt like the deity was talking in circles. Vague answers that really didn’t answer anything. She sighed and rubbed the bridge of her nose. “Okay. So, what is this path of the Weaver?”
“That is something you will have to figure out. Indeed, it is part of your quest.”
Nova rolled her eyes. “How did I know you were going to say something like that?”
The goddess smiled gently at her in response.
“What about this room then?” Nova asked instead, hoping against all hope for a straight answer.
“This is where you create.”
“Create what?” Nova asked, growing frustrated.
The Guardian didn’t answer, simply looked at her with a patient smile.
I guess that means I should think about it. I suppose she did already answer that when I came in.
“Artifacts?” Nova asked.
The Guardian nodded her head, amusement shining in her eyes.
A wave of excitement went through Nova despite the strangeness of the situation. “How do I start?”
“You decide to,” the Guardian said.
Nova stared at her and then frowned. She wasn’t sure if there was some sort of mystical meaning behind that. Look behind the words and all that. She stood there trying to turn them over for a clue.
I have to accept the journey inside me?
It felt sort of reaching.
Maybe I’m making this more complicated than it needs to be.
She thought about it. Everything involving her abilities was tied to her system. So, if she needed to start something it was probably good to begin with her system. She called it up to see if a new skill had appeared. A quick glance showed it hadn’t, but she hadn’t checked on the Mana Shift. She focused on that.
– Adjust unattuned mana to a mana attunement you have encountered.
-Mana Attunements unlocked:
Nova was surprised that all her attunements weren’t unlocked. But the Mana Shift stated she needed to unlock them through encountering them. So that meant all of these were encountered at some point but not the others. That left…Emotion, Life, Royal.
I’m getting distracted.
She looked over Mana Shift again and then closed it. That seemed like it would be useful for making artifacts but didn’t really make her think it would help her get started. Started…
It can’t be that simple, can it?
The system was like a game and what did every game begin with?
The entire room lit up. Several floor levels appeared, and each one had spotlights shining down on empty displays.
[Welcome Artifactor. Would you like to begin the creation process?]
Nova started laughing. “Seriously?”
The Guardian looked amused. “You will often find that things that look complicated can be fairly simple. Sometimes it just takes viewing things from a different perspective.”
Nova shook her head. “I guess you’re right.” Nova looked at each display and wondered what things she could create.
[Quest Unlocked. First Artifact. Accept Quest?]
Nova’s grin widened at the notification. More quests sounded perfect to her.
[First Artifact quest accepted.]
All the display lights turned off except for three. The three sat in the center of the room. Nova stepped closer to the displays. As she got closer, an image flickered in each of the three displays.
The first display showed necklaces, rings, and bracelets. The images shifted from one piece of jewelry to the next. The middle display showed images of weapons and armors. The third display showed images of dishes, bowls, and pieces of pottery.
“Each of these displays shows an option for your first artifact. You can accept the one you would prefer,” the Guardian stated.
“If I accept one, does that mean I can’t do the others?” Nova asked.
The Guardian shook her head. “It doesn’t limit you but it will define the path of your artificing.”
“What does that mean?” Nova asked.
The Guardian simply smiled.
“I have to figure that out for myself, don’t I?”
She nodded, amusement dancing in her eyes.
Nova looked back at the three displays. This would define the path of her artificing. It meant that this choice was probably much more important than she thought it was. Honestly, she wanted to pick weaponry. A cool magic weapon was right up her alley but did that mean her artificing would be about weapons and fighting? She wasn’t sure that was what she wanted.
She looked at each of the displays. Jewelry was nice but it made her think about money and fancy balls. She didn’t really care for the whole wealth aspect. Sure, she liked pretty things but not enough to let them define her.
She looked at the pottery display. It seemed the best choice, honestly. She remembered the horn of plenty where it poured out never-ending food. Bowls and dishes were used to serve. She blinked as it hit her.
These are all symbols.
Dishes to serve. Weapons to conquer. Jewelry was a display of wealth. Jewelry to rule? She frowned. She didn’t like that.
“Remember, this is your room,” the Guardian said.
Nova’s brow furrowed as she thought of that. If this was her room and she didn’t like what those symbolized then she would change it. It would have to still make sense. She didn’t know why she knew that but she knew it couldn’t stray too far away from the original meaning.
Pottery was a symbol to help. Weapons weren’t just used to fight but to protect. The jewelry she got stuck on. It was always a sign of wealth to her. But it was also a symbol of beauty. She couldn’t quite break from the wealth part but the beauty softened it a little for her.
To Help. To Protect. For Wealth and Beauty.
The thought of the three solidified in her mind and the display grew brighter. On each of the displays, the words appeared. Looking on, she couldn’t help feeling nervous at the options in front of her. This would define her path going forward.
She dismissed wealth and beauty right out. Yes, she would definitely appreciate being rich and beautiful but it wasn’t what she wanted to define her work. It left to help and to protect. The two options were in so many ways alike but to help felt less aggressive than to protect. Both, she felt defined her as a person.
“Can’t I do both? I want to help and protect,” she said aloud.
[Hidden Quest unlocked. Redefine your Path. This quest will combine with First Artifact and give double the XP. Would you like to accept?]
Double XP? Hell yes.
When nothing happened, she tried again.
[Redefine Your Path quest accepted.]
All three displays vanished and in their place, a new display rose up. It shone with a glow but there were no images displayed within. She called up her system and saw the new quest.
Summoner’s Deal – Stage 1 Quest
Demon Bond – Trixie
Redefine Your Path – Stage 2 Quest
She was a little surprised to see the Stage 2 Quest. She hadn’t even finished a Stage 1 Quest. She focused on the quest.
[Redefine Your Path]
Quest Level: Stage 2
Quest Type: Weaver / Artifactor Class (Hidden)
– Create an artifact that defines your path.
– Must be the first artifact you make.
– Mana Pool Expansion
– A Hint
Nova blinked at the rewards. A hint? What was that for?
Behind her, the goddess snorted. Nova jerked at the sound. She had been so lost in her system screen that she sort of forgot she was there. She closed the screen and looked at the deity.
“Can you see…” She trailed off. Honestly, she didn’t want to give her any clues about her system if she wasn’t aware.
The Guardian looked amused. “I am well aware of your System. I did speak to you through it.”
“Oh, right.” Nova felt like an idiot. She quickly changed the subject. “Do I just say start again to get going?”
“Perhaps you should try.”
Instead of a display, a large blue sphere appeared, floating in the middle of the room.
[Artifact construction open.]
[Error! No material detected. Ending Artifact construction.]
The blue sphere vanished.
Nova blinked. “What happened?”
“It is like your system said. You do not have the material to create.”
“You mean like metal and wood and stuff like that?”
The Guardian nodded. “Correct.”
“How do I even bring it into this place? I don’t even know how to get here.”
“With intent,” the Guardian said. “Do not worry about getting back here. You will be able to return whenever you wish to.”
Nova nodded. She didn’t exactly understand the goddess but she gathered that no matter how she phrased the question the response would be somewhat vague. She obviously wanted Nova to figure things out on her own.
The lights in the room began to flicker. Nova looked around in surprise. Then suddenly a sharp blaring sounded in her ear.
[Error! Mana limit exceeded. Room of the Weaver terminating.]
Before she could do anything. The room split apart and everything vanished. She was once again in her room with a massive headache. She groaned. “What just happened?”
“You used up your mana pool.”
Nova whirled around and standing there was the Guardian. She looked completely out of place in Nova’s modest room. Her hair was still alive with rivers and flowers. It made her even more ethereal.
“Why are you still here?” Nova blurted out and then quickly covered her mouth.
That was pretty rude.
The goddess walked forward. “I am here to give you a gift.”
The goddess stopped in front of her and then leaned over and kissed her lightly on the forehead. A warmth spread through Nova and her headache faded away.
“Use it wisely. I look forward to seeing the change you will bring.”
Then just like that, the Guardian vanished.
Nova’s eyelids grew heavy and when she opened them again, she was staring into Helena’s face. The woman had her hands on Nova’s shoulders, her face a mask of worry.
Relief spread over Helena’s face. “You’re awake. What in the pits happened to you?”
“What do you mean?” Nova asked, rubbing her forehead.
“You never showed up for fighting practice and when I come home you’re just standing there like a statue.”
Nova’s eyes widened in shock. “How late is it?”
“At least three hours since you should have been at practice.”
Nova grimaced. “I’m so sorry, Helena. I didn’t mean to skip out. I didn’t even realize it had gotten this late.”
“That’s what worried me. What happened to you?” Helena asked, plopping down on the bed.
Nova sat down beside her. “I was practicing my skills and…I got lost in it.” She paused and then blurted out her next words. “I’m an Artifactor.”
“What’s an Artifactor?” Helena asked.
Nova forgot that most people wouldn’t know what that meant. She quickly explained to Helena about the class and as she got talking, she couldn’t stop and she was soon spilling out about Mortimer and the Academy as well as Oren and how he knew about her skills.
Helena stared at her. “That’s a lot.”
“Yeah,” Nova said.
Helena shook her head. “Nova you are the strangest person I know and I grew up with Mathias. Whenever I feel like I’m getting a handle on you there’s a new surprise.”
Nova looked down at her lap. “Does that upset you?”
Helena shook her head. “No. Honestly, it’s pretty exciting and a little scary. It does make me wonder how many more secrets I have.”
Nova shifted in her seat, looking away guiltily. “Sorry.”
“Don’t worry. I can be patient. Just don’t go jumping into anything dangerous. Though I suppose it’s too late for that.”
“Tell me about it,” Nova said, flopping back on the cot. “There’s one more thing.”
“Oh?” Helena asked, peering down at her.
“Have you heard of a goddess called, The Guardian?”
I hope you’re enjoying my fantasy LitRPG webnovel. Check out my patreon to read ahead.