Chapter 960: Protection Fee

Tsubaki stood within one of the many empty secret rooms of her palace, taking slow, deep breaths. Her eyes were closed, focusing on her new domain. First, I should see if my assumption is correct.

Tsubaki held a hand forward, concentrating on the energy she cultivated as a maid. Silvery lights spread out from her fingertips, condensing into a single-tailed clone of Tsubaki with silver hair. This avatar had her eyes closed, knowing that this was all just the beginning of the trial.

Tsubaki focused on her new domain, creating a new circuit in an attempt to enhance the newly created avatar. A true avatar devoted to service should be able to perform as I would.

As the divine circuit began to form, the avatar’s body began to glow with divine light. Its hair gradually changed from silver to gold, only staying silver at the tips of her ears. When Tsubaki opened her eyes and saw this, a small smile formed on her face, before her lips pursed again.

She could feel the amount of energy consumed to create an avatar capable of using her full range of powers. If the energy cost remains consistent, I should be able to create one of these every week without my power declining. 

Thankfully, the energy requirement only extended to the creation of the avatar, and not its continued existence. Though, she was certain that she would have to bear the burden of any divine abilities that the avatar used. For now, I think I can consider this a success.

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“You will be in charge of the security for this planet.” Tsubaki told her avatar, who nodded her head with a serious expression.

“Of course.” She said, walking towards the door of the hidden room. Once she had left, Tsubaki once again sank into thought on how she would use this domain in the future. As with any domain, there were too many possibilities to consider, and she wanted to narrow down the skill set that she wished to pursue.


Now that everyone had adjusted to life in Olympus, we were able to pass the time rather happily. Unless I was reviewing reports or training my martial will, I spent most of my time in the common area, relaxing with the others. 

Lifre was still a rare sight to see in Olympus, spending most of her time either running around the various worlds or writing her novels. Meanwhile, Dana spent quite a bit of time working on her personal projects, but always made time to socialize with the rest of us. As for Tsubaki… well, as could be expected, Tsubaki rarely left my side.

If there was one person that had the most surprising reaction, it was none other than Gerard. Formerly, he was the one in charge of the Sky Citadel’s various systems, so in a way he had lost many of his responsibilities with this transition. While this left him temporarily uncertain on what he should devote his attention to, he eventually shifted his focus to magical research, working together with Ryone. Last I heard, they were trying to crack the secret of fifth-tier magic together.

Like this, days passed into weeks, and our business within Fragments of Acidia grew faster and faster. In under a month, we were already doing business with various galactic empires, though still on a relatively small scale. At the very least, we had a justifiable reason to move between borders without being seen as a threatening presence.

Within the various worlds, there were several other changes taking place. Now that Dana had released the formula for the Hyperlane Network, multiple corporations were fighting to be the first to build a node. There were even those who discovered a modification to the formula, which would allow a node to act as an interplanar transit point. By going through that node, people could reach other realms that possessed a similar transit node.

This discovery was made by combining the core mechanic of the Fairy Gate with the Hyperlane Network, refining the process to make it considerably more controllable. Granted, this was only theoretical, given that the initial node hadn’t been built yet. However, reports were coming in that such progress was not far off.

Meanwhile, I sat in Olympus, watching the news with Alena and Tsubaki. Currently, Olympus had been moved to be in orbit around Desbar’s star, so we were naturally receiving their news reports. That said, it was about as exciting as news reports tended to get.

I had been starting to get bored, considering whether or not to suggest putting a movie on, when one of my alarms suddenly flashed in front of me. Startled, I sat upright, drawing the attention of the two next to me.

“Is something the matter, sir?” Alena asked, tilting her head slightly.

“Ah… no, give me just a moment. I need to take care of something.” I shook my head, standing and excusing myself. Alena was aware of the existence of the Admin Room, but it still felt strange to ascend in front of her, as it would leave my host with the appearance of having ‘spaced out’.

Once I got to the Admin Room, I opened up the alert that had gone off, and saw that it was the one I had set for after the new month began. I let out a small sigh, nodding my head. “Okay… it should be about time to see if anyone is interested, then.”

Opening up my control panel, I first checked the current battle listing, confirming that Balu was not in an active battle. It wasn’t often that I used this resource, but I frankly didn’t feel the need to do so often. I didn’t know the names of most Keepers, so it wouldn’t do me any good to know that Geronimo was battling HalcyonSky. Thankfully, Balu did appear to be free, so I fired a message off to her.

Starkiller: Hey, Dave, what’s up?

EarthForceOne: I swear you’re doing this on purpose at this point.

Starkiller: Doing what?

EarthForceOne: Nevermind… Anyways, I have a proposition that I wanted to run by you. I’m not sure if your guild gets any offers like this, so I wanted to check first.

Starkiller: Ooh, business! Sure, let me know! If I can’t give you an answer, I’ll ask the boss.

EarthForceOne: I’ve got an attack ticket, and I was thinking of ‘selling’ the chance to be the target, to let someone get out of a rough battle coming up.

Starkiller: Ah, the protection plan. Yeah, there are some people that do stuff like that, though they’re pretty rare. It’s not easy to get a ticket, after all. But, you picked the right time! The last month of the year is when that business picks up, because that’s when everyone wants to get rid of the tickets that are about to expire.

Starkiller: I can put your name down on the list of ‘protectors’ for this month, and if anyone in your rank looks for a pass, I’ll let you know.

EarthForceOne: Thanks. How much does this usually go for?

Starkiller: About five thousand points. An attack ticket is somewhat hard to come by, but it’s not incredibly rare. However, if someone is desperate, they might offer to pay more to ensure that you take their offer over someone else aiming for the pass. That’s why people with those tickets usually wait until the last few days before the month swaps over before they use it. Lets them get the best price, and gives the other person’s opponent far less time to prepare for their new match.

EarthForceOne: Right… I’m guessing that whoever I am matched with currently would change to be matched with whoever my ‘target’ was originally matched with?

Starkiller: That’s right, and the defending side is randomized, so a Keeper that might have been preparing for an all-out offense might suddenly find themselves on the defending team. Unless they have an attack ticket to burn to force the target back to how it was before, their whole plan can be thrown out the window.

EarthForceOne: Good to know. Thanks, Balu. Let me know if anyone responds to the ad.

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I let out a small sigh after closing the chat. Thankfully, this is a pretty common business for the Gilded Branch. So, now I just have to wait to hear back from them.


Clara stood within her orbital station, staring at the fully enclosed star in the distance. There was a glowing, hexagonal pattern in the metal plates surrounding the star, causing a grin to surface on her face. “Finally, it’s all set up.” She said, looking down at the control panels.

Now that her Dyson Sphere was complete, she could fully harness the power of the sun to mass-produce the drones she needed. First, the solar power was converted into mana, and then that mana was either used for automatic maintenance, or transmitted to this station. From there, it could be converted into the core energies needed for Clara’s production.

“For now… let’s set it to mass produce terraforming drones first, and direct them towards neighboring systems. And when the terraforming is done, automatically convert them to city-building.” She muttered to herself, adjusting the different options on the control panel. She wasn’t aiming to expand her energy production at this point, as she felt like she had achieved her primary goal in that regard.

Now, it was time to use that energy for what she had originally intended… creating the foundation for her machine empire. Once she hit the button to finalize the design, there was a humm of machinery. Clara could feel the energies within the station surging towards the production plant.

At the base of the station, the hangar door opened, and a silver cloud began to pour out of it. This cloud then began to clump together, forming small ships that vanished into hyperspace. Naturally, as she had commandeered the use of this star, there was no nearby Hyperlane Network for her to use, so they could only take the more hazardous route. In fact, there weren’t any Hyperlane Networks within the budding empire at all, thanks to the space being beyond the reaches of other nations.

“I’ll leave this running for a couple of days, and then switch to Hyperlane production.” Clara said with a confident tone. In fact, the few players that had joined from Elisae’s kingdom hadn’t yet gotten to the point where they would need the Hyperlane network in the first place, so she still had plenty of time. What she was more worried about was making sure that there would be places for that network to connect to once it was established.

She had heard the news about the modified Hyperlane Nodes that could move between realms. Out of curiosity, she had asked Fifi about it, given that that would be an easy way to move her resources from Sirius to the game. Unfortunately, Fifi said that this game was shielded from such actions, and those connections would not be able to form so easily.

Of course… that didn’t mean that there was no hope, only that it would be more difficult. There were already people who used their own power to directly enter games like Vision Expanse or Fragments of Acidia through the void. Although doing so used a considerable amount of energy, it proved that it was possible. All that they had to do now was apply that on a much larger scale.

Well… when it comes to scaling things up, that’s what my factory on Sirius is all about in the first place! Clara grinned to herself when she thought of that, already planning her own shipyard. Now that her primary resource planet had been mapped out, she had set different mining points focused on harvesting various materials. Naturally, the mining speed wasn’t able to keep up with the respawn speed, but that was good enough for her.

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