Listening to Willow, Minos, and Aarav sighed, for the time of the enemies' arrival was near. The 30-year deadline given by the alien hostages was very close.
Minos said. "In a year or two, the aliens could arrive in our world at any moment. That's how long we have to finish our preparations."
Willow hadn't expected to finish her advance with so little time left before the enemies arrived. "That's it?" She opened her mouth as her expression turned ugly with worry.
"Look on the bright side. We currently have eight Gods in the Spiritual World, and a level 99 Demigod is working on her advancement to level 100. In another five years, she might succeed, and then we'll have a new expert to count on." Aarav commented.
"Eight Gods is a much better number than I thought we'd have at the beginning of the war," Minos said. "Still, this woman in your Spatial Kingdom may not have any allies when she succeeds... We could die in the time she needs to advance." Willow said in an apprehensive tone.
"There is nothing we can do. We've done our best, and there's no more time to create new Gods. Now all we can do is produce on a large scale what my group has developed over the years and pray that the enemies don't come at us in full force." Minos said, trying to show Queen Sista they didn't have much to do now.
She looked at him and sighed. "What about you? Will you get to level 92 before the enemies come?"
Minos is currently at level 91, but his cultivation is almost at its peak.
"Yes, I think I will. I only left the Spatial Kingdom this time because it was time to gather the power of faith in my empire. It happened to be close to the breakthrough of both of you, so I wasn't in seclusion." Minos explained. "But now that you're both at level 100, I'll do what I need to do quickly and then go into seclusion. I should advance in no more than a year and a half, enough to be at your side when the war begins."
"I see... Sigh! Everything seems to have happened on the brink." The level 100 blonde muttered. "But I hope you will succeed in your advance quickly.
How are the forces of your empire? What about George?" She asked, having last seen her son more than 10 years ago.
"He is about to advance to level 91," Minos informed her. "As for my state's forces, everything is going better than planned. We have many high-level 10th-stage allies already positioned around my territory. In contrast, all my men have advanced since you entered seclusion.
Some have only improved their cultivation by one level, but their fighting ability has greatly increased. I currently have men at level 92 who are capable of fighting level 94 and 95 opponents." Aarav had already seen some of these men fight in the headquarters where they were, so he couldn't doubt Minos' words.
He himself was in awe of what Minos had accomplished with the government of the Black Plain Empire!
In just over a decade, the empire had advanced to the point where it no longer seemed to be a state of the Spiritual World but rather a smaller, less developed version of the Mechanic Empire.
The state had improved in every way, so much so that even amid the Ice Age, local conditions had by no means deteriorated. On the contrary, in the places where the government had invested the most, the situation was even better than it had been before the Ice Age began!
"This is good. At least we'll have powerful troops to fight the subordinates of the enemy Gods." Willow commented. "And what do I do now?"
Aarav suggested. "Cover for me for a few days. I have to go to the Divine Continent to take care of some business."
"Can you give me a day before?" She asked. "I want to hear from my people and see how Sista is."
"All right. I'll wait for you here." Aarav didn't refuse. Minos told the woman about to leave, "You should prepare your family and the strongest warriors for the start of the war. Avoid leaving more than 20% of your forces in your state. The war's first battle will be very important to decide our future, so I want to have maximum strength on our side when the aliens arrive".
"All right. I'll do that." She said before disappearing to the south of the continent.
Aarav was left alone with Minos, not doubting Willow would follow Emperor Stuart's plans.
As strange as it might seem for the forces of a state to leave their territory and population 'unprotected' in the war they were about to get involved in, it made a lot of sense to follow Minos' strategy.
Just as a stick alone could be weak, a single state could easily perish in the face of enemies. So Minos and his other allies wanted to fight a big battle on the first day of the war to deal a significant blow to the alien forces.
The population around the Spiritual World would not be in great danger at the beginning of the war. Only after the end of the war's first major battle would there be risks to the populations around the planet. But even these risks would be small and worthwhile if they could deal a deadly blow to the enemy forces.
But if the war developed into a more protracted scenario, with the various parties involved fighting for months or years, then this strategy wouldn't be of much use. It would be time for the forces to split up to protect their main areas.
Minos' group already had a plan for this, as they had already taken in many people from their allied states and also built shelters in allied territories. They had also defined the role of each warrior associated with them, from the weakest of the Spiritual Sages to the three Gods deeply connected to Emperor Stuart.
Minos intended to use Aarav as a bargaining chip to protect the Divine Continent in exchange for high-ranking Demigods from that continent's forces. Meanwhile, he would have Henry protect the Western Empire, Lusmait, and Sista, while Willow would stay with the Black Plain Empire.
If necessary, Henry and Willow could move quickly between those territories.
As such, neither of their partners was too concerned about leaving their territories unprotected for the time being, and soon Minos was on his way, leaving Aarav at this post in the old Yellow City.