“I’ll be right back.” I told the four, closing my eyes and focusing to return to the Admin Room. As much as I would love to be able to just buy options conveniently from the world itself, that just wasn’t possible. However, knowing what I wanted made this process rather quick. Once in the Admin Room, I ran a search for ores that were made of crystalized energy. To my surprise, there were actually quite a few, though they were considerably more expensive than any ore that I had previously purchased.
Next, I narrowed down the search to ores that would not explode upon being mined, as I knew that there would be several of those within the selection even if that detail wasn’t specifically mentioned. Finally, I narrowed the energy down to specifically ki and mana, sorting by the amount of energy stored. Once that was done, I purchased the top option for both ki and mana.
Each of these ores were one thousand points… over sixty times the price of my next most expensive material, magnartum. Given that we were talking about pure, condensed energy, I wasn’t really surprised. For the mana stones, or ‘Mage Heart’, I placed them around the crystal pillars for each floor of Fyor, as that was the place where mana was most abundant in any world. Likewise, the ‘Blood Heart’ was placed beneath and around Bloodhaven, where ki had dyed the land and sky itself.
The last step was to get an ore respawning system. This was another one thousand point system on the market. Well, I actually got the two thousand point variant instead, because the first one would apply to all ores, which I didn’t want. I only wanted the system to apply to these two items. Furthermore, the two thousand point variant had configuration options, such as the time or conditions needed for a material to respawn.
Once I had those set up, I closed my eyes to descend once again, arriving once more upon the throne in the citadel. The four individuals below looked at me curiously, but I simply smiled. “Arrange for a mining team in Bloodhaven and Fyor. For Fyor, mine near any of the crystal spires. For Bloodhaven… well, they will be able to sense the change any moment now, so they’ll know where to mine.”
Even if they didn’t have Scarlet’s ability to detect powerful ki from anywhere in the world, I knew that a sudden surge of ki appearing beneath their feet would attract their attention. And, sure enough, Scarlet suddenly appeared within the citadel a few seconds later. Tsubaki and the others had not even had time to finish leaving yet. “Father?” She spoke up, clearly asking for an explanation.
“Good, you’re here.” I nodded towards her. “They told me about the problems around here, so I’ve taken a step to alleviate some of them.”
“Then, the red stone spread out beneath my nation?” She asked, causing the eyes of the others to widen.
“It is known as the ‘Blood Heart’. It was the best ki-based energy stone I could produce. As for exactly how much it has… I’ll leave that to your people to determine.” Sadly, the market did not give a proper analysis on the total effectiveness of each ore, merely allowing me to sort them according to the amount of energy.
“Additionally, the crystal will naturally regrow over time, returning to its pristine state one week after mining has begun.” I informed them, making sure Tsubaki and Dana heard this as well. “Until the exact process of regrowth is understood, I would suggest mining for six days, and then resting for the seventh. If you want to set up areas where the crystals won’t regrow, you will need to block that area from the crystal’s path with a mithral shield.”
These were the conditions that I had established with the new system. Although mithral was a somewhat rare resource itself, it was available for purchase on the Boundless Caravan, making it available for anyone that truly needed it.
Scarlet nodded her head, the others quickly leaving to carry out my previous commands. Once they were gone, she let out a small sigh. “That was really a surprise, dad…” She muttered.
“Sorry. I wasn’t expecting to show up to an economic recession.” I gave a somewhat bitter smile as I said that, one that was soon matched by Scarlet herself.
“I understand. Energy construction has become the new major trend in recent years. Last year, they managed to create a fully energy-constructed home that boasted high security and self-regeneration.” When Scarlet said that, I couldn’t help but feel my brow twitch. I thought that the energy construction had purely been for the two new types of spheres.
“Is it really so convenient to print items with energy now?” I asked, Scarlet nodding her head in response.
“The Metong have investigated, and found numerous energy combinations that can produce different textures when printed as a solid mass, as well as numerous special effects. Jackets that will keep the wearer at a comfortable temperature without using any of their mana, beds that remain soft while allowing you to adjust how warm they are, and even the home terminals have been upgraded with the new technology.”
I let out a sigh, slowly standing from my throne to walk over to her. “Those items can’t do what they do without any outside energy at all, can they?” I questioned, finding it rather hard to believe.
“The most popular items are those that can be ‘recharged’ with ambient natural energy, making them effectively limitless. Home terminals still need proper chargers, and the energy to maintain them has increased along with their design.”
“So that’s where the extra usage has come from.” I said to myself after hearing Scarlet’s explanation. “Is there any impact on the Virtual side of things?”
Scarlet thought about it for a moment, before shaking her head. “The Virtual servers are still running on the former models, as far as I know. At the very least, service hasn’t been impacted. However, the Metong have come together with Darkflame Technologies to release a new service available to Virtual users.”
When I lifted my eyebrow curiously, she continued. “Users that acquire items that contain a ‘Reality-Compatible’ tag, meaning that they are feasibly possible in the real world, can exchange currency either real or Virtual to have that item printed for them. Once they do so, the item loses that tag, since it has already been printed once. They want to avoid having to print the same hero’s sword a hundred times, even if he can pay for it…”
I nodded my head, reaching out to pat her hair. “Thanks. Anything else that you think is important?”
Scarlet pursed her lips in thought. I knew that Tsubaki and the others would only tell me the biggest events and problems, leaving out a lot of the details unless I specifically asked. “The two Fallen Gods have been fully trained and briefed on their mission, including the high likelihood that they would be unable to return. They intend to leave their Virtual selves behind, and have been granted free server space, meaning that they won’t need to pay the usual rent as a token of thanks for their service.”
“Ah. Finally, one new region has been discovered on Fyor.” She said with a smile. “The process to reach the twenty-ninth floor is still underway, but smaller sub-gates have been discovered.”
“I’m sorry, what?” I blinked, looking straight at Scarlet while my hand rested on her head. “Sub-gates? Are you meaning like the manastones and tidestones?”
“No, dad.” She surprisingly shook her head. “These are smaller gates in the form of black wells resting in the ground. So far, five have been discovered on the twenty-eighth floor. Two of them merely connect to one another, while the other three connect to new areas. According to the gravity readings, the other three can be considered as smaller sub-zones of the twenty-eighth floor.”
“These sub-zones do not have their own central spires, but also do not seem to have level restrictions for entrance. Finally, none of them have possessed any form of life. Light sources, water, and plants have all been imported to these areas, and they are gradually becoming habitable biomes.”
“Just out of curiosity… how large are these zones?” I couldn’t help but ask that after hearing her explanation.
“The exact sizes vary. Typically, the ceiling is no more than two hundred kilometers high, and they have a width from one end to another of roughly thirty thousand kilometers. This makes them slightly larger than the total space available on the seventeenth floor. The popular theory is that these are a form of ‘bubble’ within the borders between floors, which is why they do not have the standard access rules, a crystal, or any form of life.”
That did make some degree of sense, but it was still unusual for something like that to only just be discovered. Then again, these are likely quite rare, and even more so on lower level floors. Given that most of the effort when exploring Fyor is to go right for the next gate instead of fully exploring the current floor, it made sense. “You called them wells. What did you mean exactly by that?”
Scarlet smiled, nodding her head. “Similar to how the gates are slabs rising straight up from the dividing barrier, these are circular pillars that seem to have a recessed center. At first glance, they look like a bottomless well. Once you enter, you find that the well is only a portal roughly two meters thick. After the halfway mark, you are now traveling upwards towards the exit on the other side. They have been called wells instead of rings due to the fact that they seem to extend all the way down to the dividing barrier.”
“I… don’t remember you showing this much interest in Fyor before.” I pointed out, earning a light chuckle from Scarlet.
“Ever since becoming a member of the Greater Pantheon, I’ve been able to expand my vision more than before. It’s no longer inconvenient for me to investigate other areas, and so I try to look into anything that seems interesting. When I heard that these wells had started to be dug up, I was concerned that they might contain terrifying monsters.”
“Understandable.” I nodded my head. I reached to tap on the button to synchronize myself with my Virtual self, making sure that I didn’t forget to do so now that I was going to be here for a while. “What do you think about the new crystals? You should be able to sense their value, so I’d like your opinion.”
Scarlet gave a soft humm as she thought about it. “They’re currently stronger than the refining technology we have available. It’ll take a miner of considerable skill to harvest them, or specialized abilities or tools. To make use of them… we’ll either need to throw them in the current refineries, which will lose a portion of their energy, or have jewelers work them into the proper shape.”
“And naturally, reducing their size would also reduce the energy.” I added on. “What about this… would you be able to reshape them with your divine power? Not on a case by case basis, I meant as an automatic service in your temples. If it’s just reshaping the existing structure without adding anything, your domain of ki should work, right? The same would apply to Ryone with the Mage Heart.”
Scarlet thought about that possibility as well. “If we do it that way, it is certainly possible. The energy drain would be negligible, and we could probably use the prayers of the people seeking this service to make it happen. The greater their faith, the more stones they’d be able to convert at once. Alternatively, they could use my or Ryone’s tokens for the same effect.”
“Would this cause any inconvenience for the two of you?” I asked to make sure. The whole problem was because they weren’t able to properly supply tokens due to the increased demand, so I didn’t want to add any more to that. Thankfully, Scarlet shook her head.
“I don’t think so. Additionally, since Bloodhaven is the only location where the ki crystals can be found, they can be considered our new primary export, once mining really starts.” I let out a small sigh of relief when I heard that, glad that Scarlet would be able to take care of the situation.