Chapter 81 - Cycles
How did Tree manage to grow such a large forest? These trees seem way too large for their age. I was wondering why the qi levels inside this dimension are lower than expected; Tree must have used up a lot of the stuff as it rebuilds this place. I mean, this was empty wasteland a few days ago, now there is a luscious jungle with underbrush, vines and herbs here and there.
I jump upwards and oversee the entire plot of land. The ice-covered mountain takes up a large part of the horizon. The clearing with buildings sits in the middle, and the thick, new forest grows sparser the further away from the centre.
“Tree, stop using all the qi in here! Slow down a bit, or you will drain the entire cycle I am about to set up before it can start supporting itself.”
All of Tree’s leaves rustle in reply. “What does having a name have anything to do with it? I think Tree with a capital T is a great name! Short and descriptive, just the way I like them.”
The rustling grows a bit agitated now. “Oh, I’m soo-oory. Mind reading a tree never really occurred to me. How am I supposed to know that you really want a proper name?”
I ignore the agitated lynchpin of this very dimension for the moment and spread my awareness over the floating landmass. Stuffing a massive amount of frozen stone and water inside this small space didn’t do its balance any favours. There is a rather big discrepancy of available materials in this place.
Everything repeats. It does not matter whether you are talking about life, nature, history or the universe, it all repeats. The human body has largely the same proportions of base elements as a solar system. A galaxy has similarly proportioned materials as an ant or bacteria. Loads of hydrogen, less helium, less oxygen and even less carbon.
Some proportions don’t really translate, the amount of neon in the universe is a bit much compared to what most carbon-based life forms have inside of them, but the similarities are there. The Tree dimension has loads of silicate-based material and a distinct lack of hydrogen and oxygen.
I need a lot of water, the small amount absorbed from the small creek is not enough. Pulling a volcano inside of it would turn all this greenery into dry desert. So water first, that would also help with heat propagation. Steam tends to rise, and the rain this causes will allow this small microcosm of nature to flourish. Tree is rationing water at the moment, the lake growing smaller with each new plant the Tree grows.
“I am not calling you something stupid like Yggdrassil or Groot.”
I land and walk back to the clearing. The earth under my feet feels a bit more sturdy now. A quick scan later and I know why, the qi in the air has started seeping inside the black soil. Soil is a pretty bad material to store qi in, so an overabundance of qi will cause it to form more earth.
This dimension will grow into a planet eventually, but that is a long way away. Let’s hope none of those flat Earth guys get to know about this place because currently, it looks like a pancake someone stuck a mountain on.
“Haha, yeah sure, what about Iggy...” *popping sound* “...,hehe.”
Let’s hope Tree won’t take that suggestion seriously. I ignore the frantic rustling of leaves and stroll into the clearing. I need a couple thousand tons of water. Good thing that the Tree necklace is currently hovering over an entire sea of the stuff.
“No Tree, I am not calling you Iggy. Think of something else.”
I put my hand on the glowing trunk and appear on top of the sea. Large columns of smoke rise from a collection of islands nearby. I grab the necklace and move it towards the water surface. I stop as I feel panicked golden qi flowing from it, pushing the water away.
“What? You're scared of water? I never heard of an aquaphobic tree before. You didn’t have any problems with the small creek back when you were a fresh and innocent dimensional anchor.”
I sense feelings of panic and anxiety coming from the necklace.
“You're only afraid of deep water? Congratulations, you are the first thalassophobic plant I have ever encountered. ”
I hang the necklace around my neck and dive through the surface.
“See? *blubblub* Nothing *blub* to be afraid *blub* of.”
Golden qi makes a small barrier around the necklace. I frown at this. Grabbing the necklace from my neck I dive deeper. A small qi construct forces it to stay underwater and I jump back in.
“Don’t be such a pussy. I know that the unknown is scary, but running away from it will cause you to stagnate.”
I force a small stream of water through the barrier as I ignore the flailing strands of qi trying to stop me. A sphere of water appears beside the golden bark and I grab hold of it.
“This is seawater. It has a lot of salt. Don’t mix this with the normal water and don’t give it to plants that are not used to saltwater. Just dump it outside the landmass. I will think of a use for it later”
Tree calms down as I guide it. The small stream of seawater turns into a massive deluge and I feel Tree calming down. A tree afraid of water, now I have seen it all. Putting my hand on the bark again, I guide the necklace downwards. The sea is around thirty meters deep this close to the mage island, so I reach the bottom in seconds.
“You wanted sand, right? Plenty of the stuff here where no one will miss it. I think there is a desert far to the south, but that would take too long.”
I guide Tree’s golden qi threads to a fish. Tree freezes as it comes into contact with the unknown life form. The small creek all of Tree’s water came from only had small water bugs, no fish.
“Slow down a bit, I know that new animals are interesting, but let’s not make an enormous whirlpool where the fire mages can see it, kay?”
The influx of water slows as Tree calms down, its fears of the deep waters now wiped away as it realises new possibilities. Spreading my senses, I feel the area around the ground pancake filling up with water. The seabed under the necklace lowers at a visible pace as Tree sucks up massive quantities of water and ocean floor.
I use my wind affinity to slowly hover over the growing sea. I see fish, shellfish, aquatic plants and other organisms flounder as they get displaced. Golden qi gently guides them to places they can thrive. The qi in the air further thins as the imported material starts sucking it up.
Half an hour later I judge there to be enough. Sheets of ice start to surround the mountain as it sucks up the ambient warmth.
“Keep all living things away from the opposite side of the ice mountain.”
I can’t help but start grinning as I appear inside the sea back in the outside world. I have to fight the current. The necklace is absorbing water at an astonishing speed. I grab it and the process stops.
“You can get some *blub* more later. Let’s do *blub* this.”
I emerge in a spray of salt. My eyes are fixed on the red lines of molten rock running down the collection of peaks rising up from the sea. Ripples of despair, hate and anxiety waft from the glowing volcanic mountain range. I also feel some traces of love and joy, but those emotions are inconsequential compared to the massive amounts of negativity.
The steep mountains bleed molten rock along one side, a gently sloping piece of land stuck to the other. I can see sprawling buildings and majestic towers on the coastline. I’m guessing the mages are not as heat resistant as I thought. Walking on lava all the time must get old fast, so they obviously settled themselves on the inactive parts of the island.
One volcano piques my interest. It sticks out from the main mass of lava spewing vents like a small, hot peninsula. The part sticking up from the water level is about the same size as the ice mountain. I speed closer, kicking up rows of small water explosions.
I run a quick simulation. Just plopping the thing down into the ocean opposite the ice mountain will not work. Maybe include a big piece of the magma chamber? Thin strands of augur shoot through the water and into the active burning mountain. I sense layers of ash and solidified lava as I follow the conduit down. There seems to be an enormous mass of artificially created magma inside the island.
What will happen when I pull the stopper from the pressurized magma chamber? I grin, only one way to find out. I jump up, gathering massive quantities of qi at my feet. I pull some from Tree. I feel some more irritation coming from my necklace, but decide to focus on the task at hand.
How did I do it last time? Ah, cut through the base. I modify my plan a bit, slicing around the magma vents should do it. The thin strand of qi slices through the water as it disappears into the black rock. I land and push my qi as evenly inside the mountain as possible, making sure not to land inside a lava stream.
Magma becomes lava when it exits, right? And PULL. Tree decides to help, and the massive mountain shimmers and plops out of existence. I follow it, gathering all the qi in the dimension to myself. I even pull a large amount of Tree’s power to myself. I’m going to need it.
I shoot upwards as the volcano appears above Tree. I grab hold of the qi inside the chunk of partially molten rock and haul it to the side. A few drops of magma drop from the bottom, burning holes through the forest. Tree helps me as I move water away from the small sea, making a nice landing place for the scorching piece of stone.
Now comes the hard part. I split the roiling mass of qi into thirds. Controlling nearly all the loose power floating around in this dimension is straining my abilities, but I manage by spooling some of my own qi through my brain. I squeeze one third into a single point.
‘COLD FREEZE ICE GLACIAL WINTRY FROST FRIGID’
I don’t shout anything fancy at the stuff; I want it to be as pure cold as possible. The bead of hyper-compressed qi gets a blue tinge, and I move it away from myself before it freezes my face off. I compress another third into a single point. Let’s see, what are the synonyms for the word ‘hot’?
‘HOT SCORCHING HEAT BLISTERING SEARING BURNING’
I move that one away from myself before my hair catches fire. My beard is smoking. Just in time I carefully guide both opposites into their respective mountains. The ice mountain gets the seed of cold firmly planted in the middle of it. The hot one, I steer to the magma still in the chute, at the lowest point.
I release the last third of qi back into the atmosphere as I observe the fruits of my labour. The ice mountain gains a faint blue glow. I peer at the large refrigerator and see the entire thing cooling back down. It was warming up slowly thanks to the warm environment, but now it’s freezing again at a rapid pace.
“Maybe move them a bit farther away? It’s going to freeze over half of the available land like this.”
Turning to the volcano, I see it glowing with a faint red hue. Tree is busily packing rocks against the underside, preventing the magma from dripping down. The seed of fire starts melting the rock immediately and I see small trickles of lava starting to flow again.
The ground shakes as I keep an eye on everything. The drastically lessened amount of qi in the air causes some plants to wilt. Other plants start to thrive as their surroundings finally get cold or hot enough. I see a red glow rising from the fire mountain. Blue, cold air wafts down from the ice mountain.
Did I think this through? Hmmh. My plan was to let both energies collide, making rain and generating more qi. But how would I get the hot qi and cold qi to come into contact? Hot qi is slowly starting to blanket the sky and cold qi is pooling below the disk of earth.
I slap a hand to my face. It always comes down to tornadoes, doesn’t it? I sigh deeply. Nothing to be done about it, let’s try it out.
I start spinning my arms. Clockwise or counterclockwise does not matter, what matters is the direction in relation to both mountains. All the air inside the dimension listens to my command as it starts to spin slowly. The line between both mountains is the axis on which I set it turning. This will cause the cold below and the heat above to meet each other as the wind transports both energies into a torus.
A full hour later, I can finally relax. The clashing powers have now formed an enormous ring of clouds that is circling slowly around the earthen disk. The qi levels have stopped dropping, even as Tree continues to waste large amounts of it with its gardening activities.
Growing a fully adult tree from a seedling in under an hour is not the most effective usage of power, but I can let it slide. I'm now standing inside the clearing, on top of my castle tower. The clouds occasionally block the small suns above and I feel a drop falling on my face now and then.
The qi levels are stabilizing, but will start to rise as all the imported materials get their natural qi saturation. I should have my invested qi back in a week, maybe less if things go better than I predict.
Loud hissing followed by a small explosion let me know that the lava finally reached the sea surround the hot mountain.
Wait a minute.
Couldn’t I have used to sea to transport the heat energy? Simply import more seawater and make it rotate. The cold water will clash with the volcano, the warm water will clash with the sheets of ice. I could even have two types of beaches on this island!
Images of tropical beaches in the volcano’s wake spin through my mind. I look up to the slowly moving clouds. Maybe I was a bit too enthusiastic about using my new connection to the winds? I do another simulation to test the rotating sea and the numbers seem way too high. Water can transport a lot more heat energy, I realise. Air is not an effective temperature conductive medium.
I am about to set the entire sea spinning when I realise that there isn’t enough water to do this with. Importing more water would bring down the qi levels even further, which would delay the qi generating process by months.
Patience, what is a week of waiting in the face of my own personal tropical beach? I could make Rhea a nice bikini, play some cultivator volleyball, get a nice tan while chilling on the beach.
I make a new process that scans for large sand deposits as I jump back outside. I should let the system settle in its new equilibrium for a few days.
A large explosion forces me to pay attention to the outside world. I hastily avoid a large amount of lava as I retreat from Disintegration Island. I scratch my head a bit, who knew that removing an entire volcano from a stable volcanic mountain range would cause so much chaos?
I see small, red-robed figures scurry to the boats as explosions shake the entire island. Let’s go see if they left anything interesting behind.
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