I was honestly thankful for Balu’s advice. Setting up the time dilation field around Spica and Lorek shouldn’t prove to be too difficult. I’ll simply need to find the proper balance in order to keep the worlds on an even level with the others. As a Keeper that primarily utilized cultivation worlds, she was the best source of advice I could turn to for this.
“Anything else you need help with?” She asked, almost eagerly as her body rocked back and forth. It was hard to associate the energetic rabbit girl with the domineering title of ‘Starkiller’.
“Hmm… that should be my main problem with my cultivation world that doesn’t specifically concern the system I bought.” I shook my head, unable to think of any more general questions for her about Lorek. “For my other worlds, I’m not too sure if you’d be able to help, since they’d all be concerns of a second rank Keeper.”
“Try me!” Balu said with a delighted tone. “Remember, my job is to keep myself at the upper limit of the first rank. Naturally, I’ve gotta know what the second rank entails so that I can keep my world just short of it, right?”
That… made some kind of sense, in a way. I shook my head, letting out a sigh. “Okay. Well, in my last invasion, the enemy party set up a bunch of bases in the void between worlds. They seemed to use some kind of technology to let them directly convert the void itself into materials and livable space.”
“After we beat them, we inherited the bases that hadn’t been destroyed. But our world has not advanced towards that kind of technology. That being said, we can’t figure out how to replicate it, or even repair it if it breaks down over time.”
Balu sat on the grass, listening to my dilemma and occasionally nodding her head. “Yeah, void stuff’s pretty high up there. Some rank three Keepers probably don’t even have it! But obviously, it’s not impossible to get at the second rank.”
She brought a hand up to her fluffy chin in thought. “If you had gods with relevant domains, that would make it really easy to study. Buying the voidcraft knowledge off of the market is also always an option. With that, it would just be a matter of time before your people can understand it.”
“From what I’ve heard from others, voidcraft involves creating a simulated environment to guide the energy of the void. For the exact specifics… I don’t really know.” She shrugged her shoulders helplessly, but that wasn’t too unexpected.
In fact, I did have multiple gods that could theoretically help me understand those devices. First and foremost, Ashley or Tubrock. With their domains of Technology and Innovation, they were specially suited to understanding new inventions. Then there was Leowynn, with her domain of Void.
Although Leowynn wouldn’t have the skills to completely reverse-engineer the device, she’d be able to supplement the abilities of the other two to help understand the process behind how they worked. And once she did so… with that very domain, it was likely that she herself would be able to use the technique to create materials from the void.
When I thought of that, my mind went in a new direction. I thought of the market that Leowynn and Ryone had only recently established. Once Leowynn mastered this ability, she could theoretically be able to merge it with that market. Then, if there is nobody selling a material that someone is looking for, they could buy it from the market itself.
Of course, I wasn’t sure if she’d be able to create manufactured items through the same process, but what if Tubrock got involved as well? Thinking to that point, I shook my head. The entry requirements for the market were already high enough with needing a priest of both Leowynn and Ryone.
At most, Tubrock’s assistance would come in the form of a supplement. Spending tokens of his power to have the system itself craft an item out of the purchased materials. Maybe those tokens could be earned by offering crafted items of sufficient quality…
My mind was racing at the possibilities to expand this market. Now that I considered how Tubrock could be involved, it got me thinking about how other gods could be involved as well. Udona, as the Goddess of Education, could perhaps contribute knowledge. Maybe other gods could monetize certain blessings for those that don’t directly follow them, such as fair winds while sailing from Bihena.
I somewhat felt sorry for Ashley, as she was the one that would have to update the global market whenever these changes were implemented. To that end, I decided to get everyone together at once when we got back, so that we could push for the changes to all happen at one time. That way, it would save her a great deal of trouble.
Across from me, Balu simply smiled, watching me process these new ideas. However, there was still one that I needed to ask her about, an issue that I knew she should be able to help with. “Thanks for that… though it did make me think of something. You remember when you told me about False Divinities?”
She nodded her head quickly, and I was thankful she actually did remember it. “You said that one of the perks was that we weren’t constantly hearing voices. But I’ve found that it is still possible for people to purposely pray to a false divinity.”
“Hmm? Oh! Yeah, I more meant… how do I put this? If I make myself the Goddess of Beauty through the system, everyone that wants to look nice will send me their prayers, whether they do so intentionally or not. But, if I ascend as the Goddess of Beauty through the hard way, it’s limited to people specifically praying to Balu, the Goddess of Beauty. Through the system, you become the representative of all that your domain represents, but through ascension you are still just you.”
I gave a small nod at that, thankful for the clarification. I had to wonder how many people were praying to my host on a regular basis, or if he set up some way to block normal prayers. “What about things like priests, religious rituals, or ‘divine rules’? Are false divinities able to set up all of that as well?”
“Yup!” Balu nodded her head immediately towards my question. “But it’s a bit harder for them, you see. Like I said, the system version of a god grants a way wider coverage, but that also means that the system version has a greater influx of energy. One way to make up that energy difference is by assigning priests, who can then harvest more energy for you by spreading your beliefs.”
“Another method would be with subordinate gods, but… well, that’s not something I’ve been able to do for a while. Just the act of a normal mortal ascending to godhood is enough to push you to the second rank, after all. So I haven’t been able to get any subordinates since I started this job.”
“Once you have the energy, you can set up whatever divine rules or rituals you want with it!” That was good to know. Although I didn’t see myself assigning a large number of priests, it would be convenient to have Tsubaki do so for those in power. That way, she would be able to rapidly respond to an emergency while also being able to draw on the belief of those in power.
And, since she is my subordinate god, that energy would go flowing up towards me as well. Although I couldn’t think of anything I wanted specifically to do with my Mirror and Illusion domains, I could ‘borrow’ the domains of mortal gods for things like supplementing the market system.
Next to me, Irena seemed to be lost in thought, pondering over everything that had been said so far. “I think I have an idea… however, it can’t be said until we get back home.” I looked towards her curiously at that, wondering why she wanted to keep it a secret for now, before remembering the restrictions placed on everyone.
Most likely, her idea involves something that is already in our world. But because of those restrictions, she’s unable to talk about it, even accidentally. I offered a nod of understanding, giving her hand a small squeeze. “I think that’s all the questions I had, Balu. If I can come up with any more, I’ll send you a message after the meeting.”
“Sure thing!” Balu nodded her head, hopping up to her feet. “Then, I’ll get going. I think I remembered what it was I wanted to do now!”
Tsubaki sat in the chair, staring intensely at the screen before her. She lost count of how many times she died early on. Although this game had a very realistic avatar that reminded her of her youth, the plants and animals in the surroundings were all entirely new.
When she picked an herb that looked like a medicinal plant from Earth, it turned out to be poisonous. When she entered the hollow of a tree to rest, that tree came to life and ate her… There were a lot of such unfortunate moments before she began to grasp the surroundings.
Now, she had been at this for an hour since her last death. She was familiar with all of the nearby plants and monsters, and had identified their basic properties. However, she was facing a rather unexpected test, now that she had mastered those principles.
There was no crafting guide to this game, though there was certainly a crafting system. Once she had gathered the materials she felt suitable for crafting, a window appeared in front of her. In most games, she would have to place the items in a specific order or pattern to get the result she wanted, but this one offered a text window… she had to type out the crafting process as specifically as she could. Only then would her avatar perform the described actions with the provided materials, and a successful product would register as a recipe.
She had tested this when crafting a wooden spear, and now she was attempting to mix a healing salve from three different herbs she had identified as beneficial. Closing her eyes, she recalled back to her days in the wilderness. The trial and error she had gone through before learning the proper mixtures.
Once she opened her eyes, her fingers began to madly type at the keyboard. Her avatar began plucking the leaves one by one from a flower, before setting them on a large, flat stone that she was using as a table. Then, using a smaller stone, she crushed the leaves repeatedly until they were little more than powder.
Afterwards, she performed the same routine with the roots of a yellow weed, and gathered both powders together atop a large leaf. Finally, she squeezed the juice of a blue fruit, causing it to drip onto the powder and mixed it all together to form a paste.
Her avatar wasn’t currently injured, but it was never a bad thing to carry around extra supplies in a survival situation. Otherwise, when you truly are injured, you wouldn’t have the ability to gather these materials.
To Tsubaki’s pleasant surprise, a window popped up on the screen after she had finished making her paste, notifying her that she had earned some points for her recipe. As she learned from Terra, this was one of the two ways to earn points in this game, through crafting. The other method was simply based on how long you managed to survive.
For Tsubaki, these two methods were intertwined. Without crafting, how long would you survive against the monsters within the game? With no weapons or basic supplies, it was only a matter of time before you were killed. For some reason, she felt that this game really suited her.
Synopsis: The online game <