Unique items had always had a bit of a special status in the multiverse. It was as much a rarity as it was a categorization of items. Unique didn’t simply mean it was a wholly unique item – even if it very often was – but was as much because it simply couldn’t be slotted into any of the other rarities.

Jake’s Mask of the Fallen King was no doubt a unique item as only one existed in the multiverse. Only one could exist in the multiverse due to its relation with the King of the Forest, a Unique Lifeform. Unique in that case, truly meaning “there exists only one such thing,” but Unique Lifeforms also had the commonality that all of them were freakishly strong for their level.

Another trait unique items often also had. Jake’s own Root of Eternal Resentment was an example of this. If it had an actual rarity, Jake had no idea what it would be… when he first got it, probably ancient-rarity, but it had absorbed so much curse energy, so was it legendary now? Above legendary? In some ways, it was pointless to try and give it a rarity at all due to how it worked.

This naturally begs the question… would Jake want a unique rarity bow? Honestly, there was no way to answer that. Jake wasn’t even sure how one would look. What would determine the damage? The durability? Would it somehow scale? Jake also didn’t recall ever seeing a unique item with a level requirement besides Tomes.

In the end, Jake really did not know what truly made something unique or not, but he did know that everything with a unique rarity tended to be interesting. And he liked interesting things.

Luckily for him… that sentiment was shared by others on Earth too. When the third unique item popped up, he saw another Tome, and Jake held high hopes when he noticed it was his Tome.

[Akashic Tome of the Fulgarian Depthcaller (Unique)] – Allows the user to acquire the class Fulgarian Depthcaller if compatible.
Requirements: Lvl 99-199 in any class. Compatible user.

[Storage Orb of the Fulgarian Depthcaller (Ancient)] – A storage orb containing items to assist a Fulgarian Depthcaller, including equipment and guidance. This orb is near-indestructible by anyone below A-grade, and any item within will be destroyed if the orb is.
Requirements: Fulgarian Depthcaller

Jake himself had displayed little interest in both items when he found them, at least when it came to potentially using them himself. However, he did recognize it could be a valuable item, especially after he had experienced the nightmare that was battling deep underwater. If a foe could create similar circumstances… Jake could see it being a difficult battle.

A second after the item was posted, sixteen bids had been placed, making the price skyrocket to four hundred million. Then, without any further bullshit, it leaped straight to a billion Credits, courtesy of the Holy Church. Jake was already ecstatic… as he saw the price jump to one-point-two.

“Who is that?” Jake asked as he saw a name he had seen a few times before buying some valuable items.

“A merchant,” Sultan just answered without offering any explanation.

“A competing merchant,” Miranda elaborated as she smiled. “And the one acting as a seller for more than two hundred independent Pylon cities and even more smaller settlements.”

Jake frowned at having never heard about the guy before. According to the auction interface, he was simply called Arthur, and Jake turned his attention to the outside of the booth as he looked across it. “Who is he?”

Miranda did not hesitate to point the man out as he sat in a corner together with a group of seven people whom Jake did not recognize… but all of them had kind of high levels. What’s more, one of them was proudly wielding the Blood Spear Replica, and others were wearing ancient rarity items he recognized.

As for the merchant himself… Jake couldn’t say he didn’t recognize him, even if it took him a moment to remember… in fact, he had seen him a few times before. Sometimes in the very office, he used to work at. “… that’s Jacob’s dad.”

He was an older man with graying hair and a well-trimmed beard. He was currently wearing a robe with the hood down, clearly not attempting to hide his appearance whatsoever. When he checked his level, the guy was only level 119, and the party around him was stronger, averaging around 125, but compared to the top of Earth, they are behind. Roman was level 125, and Jake sure wouldn’t put him at the top, even if he was strong.

Frowning, Jake wondered what the hell was going on. He knew Jacob’s dad was some bigshot before the system and likely one of the wealthiest people globally, but that very rarely translated to exceptional performance post-system. In actuality, it was often the opposite.

“Are you certain?” Sultan asked, confused. “I haven’t heard that intel before, and from my knowledge, Arthur does not have any active dealings with the Holy Church at all…”

Jake shook his head. “Dead certain. He was a private man… but I definitely recognize him.”

“This is… odd,” Sultan just said, frowning.

Also confused, Jake tried to not question it as he just enjoyed seeing the man below be willing to spend so much on his Tome. That is until the Holy Church placed a bid of one-point-two-five billion, only to be instantly upped to one-point-three.

“They are bidding against each other,” Miranda said. “And not in some fake display… spending hundreds of millions on that wouldn’t be worth it…”

“Were they enemies before?” Sultan asked Jake.

“Not to my knowledge, but I didn’t know Arthur very well,” Jake explained. “The few times I did meet him, he seemed nice enough, and he and Jacob always looked like they got along. But I also recognize I am not the best at analyzing social interactions.”

“Strange,” Miranda said, frowning. “I will try to find out what is up, but it is difficult due to the distance between some factions. You told me traveling from Haven to Skyggen took you four days at nearly top speed, and they are even farther away than that, I reckon. In fact, none of the major factions have made contact with any of them outside of system events and through communication facilitated by Patrons.”

Jake thought for a bit and found it weird no one had made contact, but then he suddenly had a thought. “They are on another continent.”

The two of them looked at him for a bit, as Jake had to clarify. “That would make sense, right? If not, wouldn’t some faction have made contact with them? Also, they clearly want a water-based class a lot, so they may even be close to shore.”

“That is entirely possible…” Miranda muttered. “I had come to believe that all of humanity was placed on a singular continent, but I guess it is probable they are on another. Neil, do you know anything? From what I know, you space mages shared quite a lot of locational information.”

Neil, having listened in from the start, just shook his head. “Some cities are far away for sure, but if they are across a vast body of water… that isn’t something I or anyone I have met can determine. We can’t even calculate the distance properly. Space is more stable and unstable in different places, making it either easier or harder to travel through. All we have to determine distance is the required cost for the teleport. Additionally, it is a lot easier to teleport through the open space above an ocean than through a mountainous landscape, so to us, it may seem like a city across an ocean is closer than even something like an underground city only a few thousand kilometers below the surface.”

The three of them nodded, appreciating the brief lesson in space magic and teleportation. Jake could also understand it quite well… like how his One Step Mile took him further while Yalsten was breaking apart or how it couldn’t teleport him as far while underwater.

“Either way, we can’t really confirm or deny it right now… I am sure there are also plenty of settlements on our continent people have yet to make contact with outside of events too,” Jake said. “So let’s focus on the important things for now. Like earning money.”

And earn money he did! The Akashic Tome of the Fulgarian Depthcaller ended up going for one-point-six billion Credits and some change. Primarily because the bidding had become a bit silly towards the end, with both parties only raising by the minimum ten million per bet. The Holy Church and Arthur clearly didn’t get along, and it seemed like this time Arthur won out as he got the Tome.

Having sold off all his items, Jake looked at his wealth. Before selling the Tome, Jake already had over three billion due to the performance of the legendary items before, especially the Token, and now with the funds from the Tome on top… Jake was a rich man.

Credits Available: 4,658,177,118

Sultan was also smiling from ear to ear. Jake theorized that with how merchants got extra rewards based on performance during the event, then the reward from selling the most expensive item was probably awesome. So far, using Sultan, Jake had sold the most expensive one by quite a margin.

That didn’t appear to change either, as the next few items were auctioned off. They included one more Tome for a profession revolving around some kind of smithing, and then there were two unique items to make beasts grow like the Mystbone. Neither interested him, but then a third one came.

So far during this entire event, Jake hadn’t felt especially lucky, but finally, he felt like his fortune had turned.

[Gyne Nucleus (Unique)] – A Nucleus granted by the system to the newly integrated ninety-third Universe. It contains a vast amount of energy and Records that will allow any female Ectognamorph that consumes it to grow faster and gain powerful skills.

It was an insect Nucleus or an ectognamorph one if one wanted to use the ordinarily acceptable term for insect-like lifeforms in the multiverse. This particular Nucleus came from a gyne, the word for an insect of the female caste of insects. Jake was surprised that no beasts had found it before, but that was just his luck.

He placed a bid right away and only met a bit of competition as the price jumped to twenty million. The other beast-only items before hadn’t gone for much either, and Jake could see why. Most beasts useful for humans probably wouldn’t gain much from consuming them anymore, and there was always the risk of the beast becoming hostile if it got too strong. However, none of that mattered to him because Jake had an egg that needed it and knowledge of how to better use the Nucleus than likely anyone on Earth.

However… he soon met an issue. A few more people began bidding on it after no activity for five or so seconds, making the price climb to thirty million. Jake frowned as he quickly caught on.

Jake thought quickly as he grabbed Roman by the shoulder. “Roman, quick, take these Credits and bid on the Nucleus.”

The man, to his credit, did not even hesitate as he accepted Jake’s request and placed a bid of thirty-five million. Magically, no one else seemed to want to place a bid, almost as if they were waiting for Jake. Feeling curious, he decided to effectively bid against himself by placing one at forty million when only one second of the ten-second countdown remained.

Two seconds later, a bid of forty-three million was placed by another party.

“Fuckers are targeting me,” Jake said with annoyance. “Roman just bid again.”

“Sure thing, boss,” he responded jokingly as he bid forty-six million. This time Jake didn’t fight himself, and the ten seconds expired. Roman got the item, and the guy didn’t hesitate as he opened a system trade window with Jake again to give him the excess Credits back and summoned the Nucleus.

“Just give the Nucleus and keep the money,” Jake said as the man shamelessly closed the trading window and smiled cheekily. “Aye aye!”

“You’re a pirate now?” Jake asked as he took the Nucleus, seeing it was just a fist-sized marble.

“I did just commit robbery, ya know? That’s the darn easiest four mil I have ever earned,” he said with a belly laugh as he patted Felicia on the back. “We eating good tonight!”

“We’re in the middle of nowhere, and we don’t need food,” Felicia answered curtly, Roman still just laughing.

“Okay, now who were those assholes targeting me?” Jake asked Sultan and Miranda.

“No idea,” the merchant answered. “Probably just the seller’s friends or something like that trying to get the price up to earn a bit more. Smart move to use a proxy... but also smart for them to try and fleece one of the richest people on the planet.”

Jake just sighed as he found the entire situation unnecessarily annoying. He still felt totally fine with what he paid for it, but it was just a hassle to deal with.

The next item was another unique one for beasts. Jake still kept watch of it all, seeing if something popped up Hawkie or Mystie could use. Sylphie also looked but seemed to not care about any of it. Besides, she was far too busy in her little vest, having discovered she could change the colors on it.

“Do you have the slightest idea what the bonus round will offer? Information provided by your profession?” Jake asked Sultan.

“Nothing, you know as much as I, though I believe there is cause to assume the items offered will be aimed directly at the main contributors of the final battle,” he answered.

Jake nodded as another item went up for sale, this time from the Treasure Hunt. And quite an item it was.

[Chalice of Vampiric Blood (Unique)] – An artifact used by the vampires to allow others to join them and embrace the vampiric race. Once Yalsten began to fall, blood was still in the Chalice, and as time passed, it retained its original function, even after the vampire that had offered blood was long dead. Consume the blood within to get an opportunity to change your race. Once the blood is consumed, the Chalice will cease to be. Warning: vampires can only have either a profession or a class. Some skills related to the lost profession or class may be lost or changed. Stat-bonuses from classes will be reduced by 10% if chosen over a profession, while a profession will provide +10% more stats per level. All current race skills will be lost.

Reading it gave Jake flashbacks to his own D-grade evolution and the Malefic Dragonkin evolution. Vampires were very much in the same boat as Dragonkin, being a mix between fully enlightened and a monster. This did mean their race will also provide a lot more rewards, including some dope-ass race skill for sure.

“Any of you guys wanna become a vampire?” Jake asked the people present.

They all looked at him for a moment as he added. “Maybe you can even get one of those variants that sparkle under sunlight.”

“Man, fuck off, my girlfriend brought m-“

“It wasn’t that bad,” Felicia cut in.

“-me to see that very interesting movie,” Roman tried to save it.

Jake snickered at the guy, the others also smiling. None of them wanted to become a vampire, but Jake still added. “The Sword Saint and I made an agreement, so if you do want to, we can figure something out. The divine artifact from the Treasure Hunt can help transform people too. Probably better than the Chalice.”

There was still no one showing an interest, but Jake felt like he had to put it out there. However, the same could not be said about others, as the Chalice ended up being sold for over half a billion. Seems like there are still those out there with teenage fantasies, Jake joked to himself, ignoring all the good reasons to become a vampire.

The minutes ticked down as they all waited for the next listing. But instead of getting another item, Jake was met with a system message. They all were… but not one he had expected.

Let the bonus auction round begin.

Everything suddenly went silent, as Jake heard or felt nothing around him. Without thinking, he just left the booth as he appeared outside and laid eyes on what had appeared.

In the middle of the auction hall stood a figure. A humanoid form, free of any truly discernable features besides the fact that nothing was discernable. The bald head, not a single trace of hair, white eyes without pupils… it was a figure he had seen before.

It was the form of the being he had chosen to name Greeter that he met during the Introduction and then after the tutorial for the store.

“Yes,” the being suddenly answered before Jake could ask if it was the same. Yet, it seemed to only have spoken to Jake as no one else reacted. All just stared. No one spoke, no one reacted; everyone just stood there blank-faced for a moment.

At this time, Jake let all his instincts loose as he failed to hold himself back. He focused his sphere on the being but found nothing there. In fact, with any of his senses but sight, it didn’t exist. His instincts were also entirely silent. He could not evaluate the being at all…

Villy said that Bloodlines and Transcendents exist outside of the system, Jake thought. But… not above

Perhaps a part of Jake had thought that surely, the most powerful of gods had to have some kind of control or influence over the system. Possibly able to stand above it in places… that they had the power to have an impact. But that illusion was now entirely dispelled.

The system did not need to be powerful, for it was already omnipotent. Transcendents… Bloodlines… did not exist outside of the system because the system couldn’t control them. They existed outside because the system allowed them to. Perhaps they were even designed to be uncontrollable… or just bugs in a system not fixed on purpose…

Villy had told him many times trying to comprehend the system was a waste of time. It wasn’t something that could be done… for to comprehend the system would be to comprehend everything there is, and that comprehension itself would still merely be a part of the system. Every action, everything accomplished, was merely an expansion of the system itself…

Jake simply stood in the air and stared as the being spoke again, neither confirming nor denying his theory.

“Welcome, denizens of Earth.”

A note from Zogarth

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