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Chapter 51

Merit Debt

New world, same old type of town. The only difference that I saw was that mana jewels were present everywhere. They seemed to run most of the magic and technology that I saw. Street light, powered by mana jewel, forge in blacksmith, powered by mana jewel, oven in bakery, powered by mana jewel. These things were even the currency of the tier two world. It turns out my vast fortune was basically worthless unless I moved back down to a tier 1 world. For instance, here in the tier 2 world, 500 mana jewels were the lowest currency. They traded for 500,000 gold pieces. It seems that gold was only good for decoration and few weird magi-tech devices so it was almost worthless. It took 10 of that same 500 mana jewel to trade for a single merit point. So 1 merit point equaled 5,000 in mana jewels. To be free of my debt I needed 25 million in mana jewels to equal the 5,000 merit points I was on the hook for.

Luckily the cost of living was not high. A single 500 mana jewel would get you a first class meal and room for one night at a nice restaurant. That was the smallest denomination of jewel that you could trade. Anything less than that would not hold mana in this world. This means that this worlds mana was 20 times denser than a tier one world. I did the math. On the tier one world it takes 10,000 mana before it will stabilize inside of a jewel. Here it takes 500. 10,000 divided by 500 is 20. Thus 20 times denser.

Since there was definitely a need for a smaller currency they used what was called shards for a lower denomination. Shards were jewels that were too small to hold mana. They were worth 1/5 of the 500 mana jewel. But you could not just pick up shards of broken jewels and use them. They had to be stamped by the ruling faction to be of any use. Oh well, at least you could get change.

After wandering the town and not having any money to spend I had come to a conclusion. The best way for me to proceed was to be a recharger who also went out and gathered. This would allow me to be independent. I could charge enough crystals to live on and still hunt to increase my levels and abilities. I would not feel the pressure of other new transfer hunters so I did not think high death rate would apply to me. For instance, if I felt something was too dangerous, I could just leave and go charge a jewel instead. For a normal resource gatherer even if they felt it was dangerous they might still go through with it, because it was there only way of earning money.

I was in a unique situation right now. I had no expenses for four days and I had the ability to charge jewels better than almost anyone. I need to take advantage of this. I went to the recharge guild to purchase a few empty jewels. My plan was to spend a little of my wealth for empty low level jewels and then turn around and trade those back for higher empty jewels. If I worked fast enough I should be able to have a nice safety cushion of charged jewels before I had to make my official selection of my new job. This would help tremendously in defending my decision. It seemed like 99% of the people transferred went into the military. It was pushed rather hard in the pamphlet and even mentioned on Planet Braxis when I asked about deity world. I do not want to ruffle any feathers so if I have a proven source of income there is less of a chance of hurt feelings or blow back against me.

When I made my request at the rechargers guild I found out some good news. The 1 million gold piece price was for a full 500 mana jewel, not an empty one. Empty 500 mana jewels were 100,000 gold a piece. I immediately bought 30 of them. That brought a little surprise to the clerk I think. I guess not many new transfers purchase so many at once. I may have to spread these around instead of just bringing them back here to exchange. I mean I will have these filled by tonight. That type of speed will probably be a big red flag and put me under the scrutiny of people or powers that I don’t want focused on me.

I headed back to the inn and had dinner to appear as normal as possible. No rushing here. After dinner I went on up and filled the crystals. With my mana pool and maxed transfer skill it took a little less than a minute to fill each crystal. That meant I had a 30 days worth of expenses created in just 30 minutes. Definitely cannot let others know about this. I put the filled crystals in my inventory and went to bed. I was eager to go about and trade tomorrow and build my wealth.

The next day was rather interesting. I made sure to travel all over the town and traded my full jewels for a few items, but also inquired as to whether or not businesses had any empty jewels that they would be willing to sell. It turned out that any business that used mana jewels had empties to sell. I just had to offer a better price than they would get at the recharge guild. Long story short I ended up with enough supplies to head out into the wilderness, 45 empty 500 mana jewels and 12 empty 2,500 mana jewels. It seems that the currency goes up in factors of five. The next level up is 12,500 mana jewels, then 62,500 mana jewels and finally 312,500 mana jewels. Anything above that used jewels in 1 million mana unit denominations. I don’t know why. My best guess is that the jewels were easiest to cut into five sided jewels and that influenced how much mana they could hold.

I headed back to the inn with high hopes for the next day. I needed to make my exchanges before anyone caught on that I was able to fill these things so quick. The next day was a repeat of what I did before. I spread out my inquiries and even went back to the recharging guild to exchange 3 full 500 mana jewels for more empties. I figured that amount would not draw to much attention and it would be weird if I did not bring back any at all. My net gains for the day were 72 empty 500 mana jewels, 34 empty 2,500 mana jewels, and 4 of the empty 12,500 mana jewels. I also gained a map of the local area, the names and directions of the three nearest towns and a list of beginner dungeons and hunting areas for new people.

From the talk today I realized why the death rate of resource gatherers is so high. Animals, normal ones that is, start at level 100 or its equivalent in strength on a tier 2 world. That means the monsters that I normally hunt in the 175 level to 200 level would be the babies or weak monsters of this world. Any person going out and trying to kill their normal prey would be killed very quickly. Peak level monsters on tier 2 worlds were in the 300 to 400 level range of strength. That is way beyond my ability currently. I can hunt somethings if I am careful, but it seems like I need to reach the God level which is supposed to be a qualitative jump in strength compared to Demi-God level before I can really start hunting with some sort of safety.

My understanding is that it adds an automatic 100 points to all attributes and dependent on the transformation process can either increase your attributes more than that or unlock special genetic abilities or bloodlines. I still have not figured out everything about it yet. I have the sneaky suspicion that I am going to have to either prove myself or pay a hefty sum for the information that I want. Everyone I asked about advancing today was very vague. I do not know if it is an agreement between stronger people not to talk about it or if people just don’t talk to new transfers.

Another night in the inn filling up the empty jewels left me with a lot more funds and a problem. How much of this can I really dispose of in this town without getting caught. This is my last night of free room and board. I will have to tell Carl my decision whenever he shows up tomorrow. I would tell him right now and leave early before anyone figures out how good I am at filling mana, but no one has seen him since he dropped us off. I need an exit strategy.

Thinking of this I realize that sleep is not going to happen for me tonight. Instead I climb out my window in the inn and make sure no one is paying attention. I quickly cast my elemental mana wings and fly towards the nearest town. It was supposed to be only a day’s travel on foot. I should reach that in about two hours of flying if I have calculated everything correctly. My estimation was pretty close. I probably could have gotten here faster if I knew the way, but I had to follow the road. I was almost discovered flying a couple of times but since I used the element of darkness to form my wings I was either not spotted or ignored. I set down just outside the next town and memorized a spot for teleportation. Then I quickly flew towards the next town which was almost two days away. Should be another four to five hours of flight.

That should take up most of the night. My plan is to find another teleport point at the next town. When Carl comes in the morning I will tell him my decision, then find a safe place to teleport. I will teleport to the close town and trade as many mana jewels as I can for a one-time profit, then immediately teleport to the farther town. I will spend almost two days trading in the far town and then I actually will teleport back to the outside of the starting town where I am staying now. I will use the cover of darkness to travel in the opposite direction towards a frontier town that is five days away. This should confuse my trail enough that anyone who is just looking casually for me will give up or think I am going in the opposite direction. I may have to actually switch bodies to remain under the radar. I don’t want too. I have become accustomed to my Thri-Keen body and don’t want to give it up. However, safety is more important than comfort so I will just have to wait and see.

I arrive in a few hours at the next town and set up a teleport point there. Then I teleport back to my inn room to wait for the breakfast call and meeting Carl. After only a couple of hours the call for breakfast comes and I check out of the inn and head towards the town square where Carl first left us. Sure enough Carl is waiting for us there.

“Alright, you have had time to acclimate to deity world. I need your choices so I can write them down and file them with the authorities. How have you decided to pay back your merit points?”

“Excuse me Carl I have one question before I decide if that is OK. Where do you pay back merit points if you decide not to join the army? Does it require a trip to a capital or some other long journey?”

“Mark was it? You can pay the merit points back at any guild headquarters. They will all have a copy of your records.”

“Alright then in that case I will explore deity world a little and I will use my meager talents at recharging to make a living and pay back my debt. I can always join the army later if I find it too hard to survive on my own right?”

“Yes you can always join the army. Are you sure, you want to try it on your own? The army is a sure bet and it is only fifty years, which is a blink in our lifespans now.”

“Yes sir. I think I would. I need to know if I have what it takes to survive without support. If I don’t then I know I have the support structure of the army to fall back on.”

“Very well, and you two what did you decide.”

My companions from Planet Braxis had decided on going into the army and this pleased Carl. I wonder if he got a commission or bonus for the number of people recruited? Well that went more smoothly then I thought. I traveled to the recharge guild headquarters and told them I wanted to trade my extra travel spots for merit points and to trade a few jewels that I had filled over the last three days. I was able to trade each transfer spot for 100 merit points. I decided to go ahead and trade all four spots in so I had 400 merit points. I asked the clerk to apply it to my debt. Now I only owed 4,600 more points. I then traded in 5 full 500 mana jewels for some more empties. I figured that would not trip any suspicion here.

Once my trades at that guild were done, I went around and traded for as many empties as I could before I left. I ended up with a total of 115 empty 500 mana jewels, 73 empty 2,500 mana jewels, 12 of the empty 12,500 mana jewels, and 2 empty 62,500 mana jewels. This was in addition to my 60,000 in a variety of filled jewels. I found a quiet spot and teleported to the town I had scoped out the night before. I netted several more empty jewels in trade there. Keeping only 1 filled 500 mana jewel for trade in the next town for an inn. I would fill the rest tonight. One more teleport and I was three days travel from the starting town and I soon found an inn where I traded my filled jewel for a nights rest and food.

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About the author

tenqui

Bio: Older Science Teacher who after years of hearing, "You read so much maybe you should write a book.", decided to do just that.
Just having fun and learning how to put my ideas into a format that others can understand and enjoy.

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