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After I returned to my room, I found that Terra was absent, likely visiting with either Aurivy or Udona. This left the room empty, so I moved over to my computer desk. Propped up against it was my personal sword, which I immediately deposited into the bag of holding, before moving to check on the world.
 
When I checked the time of the world, I saw that roughly twenty more years had passed since I last left it, due to setting the time to accelerate. As such, I decided to check and see how the dwarves had been doing since the discovery of alcohol. I had a feeling that it would be quite an interesting sight to see, so I used the trick Terra taught me to view the events leading up to it more quickly.
 
 


 
After the discovery of the ‘elixir’, as the dwarves had taken to calling it, Crown Range underwent a shocking change. No longer was blacksmithing the only highly respected class. Instead, in a rather unusual development, the chef class began to gather more and more attention. That was because they were able to more easily identify and replicate the effects of the elixir.
 
In fact, with Horshaft’s claims of how he created the initial product, they already had a steady supply of elixir on hand. The problem was, the effects of the elixir did not target everyone equally. Those with specific classes- the warriors, miners, guards, leatherworkers, and berserkers- found themselves unable to enjoy these effects to the same degree as others. This was a particularly important problem because the ones who could be said to have the greatest need of its ability to relieve pain were just those people.
 
This is where the chefs came in. After studying the initial concoction, they began working with herbalists and alchemists to try to create something stronger. Something that would be able to relieve the pain of even the greatest miners. They tried repeated experiments, but could never quite get anything good enough, not until nearly two years later.
 
After two years of study, they created a tonic that was able to give the same level of relief to even the guards and the miners that the normal citizens enjoyed. They labeled this creation ‘firespit’, due to the fact that a stray spark caused the liquid to ignite when it was introduced to a blacksmith’s workshop.
 
However, the creation of firespit brought with it another problem. While it allowed those unaffected by the elixir to enjoy its benefits, those with weaker constitutions were hit with something far stronger. When a chef took a glass of firespit for his experiments, he later heard that he was standing naked outside of his cave shouting the glory of his creation.
 
Later study showed that firespit’s ability to relieve pain and worry may have been too impactful, causing weaker dwarves to lose themselves to it. Those under its influence would act in ways that they normally would never dream. Some turned violent, some seemed to enter a depression, but the majority experienced a joy that they had never known after drinking firespit.
 
This pure joy kept bringing those people back to it again and again, eventually consuming the drink faster than the chefs could produce it. However, this only brought out another problem. Now, those guards and miners who had to wait so long to enjoy the simpler benefits of the elixir could only watch in envy at the dwarves who lost themselves to the pleasure of firespit.
 
So, the chefs got to work once again. This time, they even went so far as to trade with the two other dwarven kingdoms, giving them the weaker elixir in exchange for herbs that they suspected would give rise to something even greater. And because of this trade, the three kingdoms of the dwarves were all introduced to the elixir.
 
The search for a drink more powerful than firespit lasted nearly ten more years, leading to the depression of many miners and guards, before a suitable product was created. By then, even firespit had been introduced to the kingdoms of the hills and plains. This new brew was simply known as blackout, due to the effects of almost immediately knocking out those with weaker constitutions.
 
Blackout spread through Crown Range, and through the entire Iron Dwarf Kingdom in under a fortnight. Finally, the various guards and miners were able to enjoy the benefits brought by firespit, and were able to join them in their regular celebrations. As for the effects that blackout had on a normal dwarf… they were honestly not interested in that. While some were curious about it, it was not to the degree of waiting however long the production of a new brew would take.
 
At least, that was the case for those of the Iron Dwarf Kingdom. For the Hill Dwarves, they had a different issue. Most of their seasoned warriors, who also acted as guards for the major cities and fought against various monsters, were barely affected by this new blackout drink. While they were a much smaller portion of the population, they were no less important as they were responsible for everyone’s safety.
 
And so, research began yet again, this time in the kingdom of the Hill Dwarves. They sought the perfect brew, one that would knock out even the hardiest dwarf.
 
 


 
“Wait, so that’s how they  become blatant alcoholics? Some never-ending spiral of booze?” I asked myself incredulously. Out of curiosity, I went to check the human and beastkin cities. Terra had mentioned to me that they were already producing alcohol long before the dwarves, so I was interested in seeing if they had similar issues.
 
What I found, was that the obsession really only occurred with the dwarves. While the humans and beastkin did also mass produce the alcohol, it was not nearly with the same passion. The humans used it as merely a common drink, while the beastkin enjoyed it at festivals. Compared to them, the dwarves who had almost made a religion out of creating alcohol were lightweights.
 
Maybe I should go ahead and fast forward a bit further. I mused to myself. However, there was another matter that I wanted to take care of before I allowed the time to fast forward any further.
 
Pulling out my handy messaging paper, I wrote to Ryone. Think we’ve got the budget for the next tier or two of monsters? We had only been using three tiers for a while now, and I recall seeing there be as many as ten tiers.
 
Soon, I saw a reply writing itself into the paper. What’s our balance at now? That reminded me that I hadn’t checked for any new achievements or royalties in a while. I could see the blinking light at the corner of the screen, alerting my to new notifications. Part of me was actually dreading opening it, due to the imminent flood of pop-ups that came with it. Still, I must persevere!
 
Reaching up, I clicked on the icon and found my screen flashing repeatedly with pop-up after pop-up. Some were letting me know about royalties for the items I listed, and others were achievements or technology advancements. I hurriedly closed any of the less interesting windows, the ones that just said stuff like ‘so and so bought such and such, your royalties are this much’. I really didn’t need to see every individual window like that.
 
In the end, I was left with a series of achievements, and the technology upgrades. Most of the achievements awarded nothing but points, so I dismissed those readily. There was one, however, that caught my eye.
 

Congratulations! Earth has earned an achievement!

 

For having a civilization reach the Metal Age, your world has earned the Forged from Fire achievement. +15 points

 
Guess the dwarves finally managed to qualify for an advancement. That, or this message has been waiting for me for quite a while. I thought to myself, before noticing another similar message.
 

Congratulations! Earth has earned an achievement!

 

For having a civilization reach the Arcanum Age, your world has earned the Spellforge achievement. +15 points

 
I’m going to guess elves for this one. I thought to myself with a nod, before opening up the technology advancement window. This time, the list was far too large for me to pay attention to everything, as it seemed that the different civilizations hit a sudden boom for technology growth. A few notable advancements were two races that seemed to get the second level of boats, as well as several accounts of ‘History Documentation 1’.
 
Putting all of that aside, I let the points tally up with what I already had in my balance, before writing the number back to Ryone. 2283. How was a Keeper supposed to actually run out of points, unless they kept buying more and more worlds?
 
Well, that was probably exactly what happened. After all, more worlds meant more fighting power, and more chances to survive the Keeper Games. Of course, to a newer Keeper like myself, the points just seemed to add up quicker than I could spend them.
 
We should be good for two more tiers, then. Ryone replied after a little while. So, taking that into consideration, I spent a total of six hundred points to buy the next two monster tiers, while at the same time finally understanding what monsters really were. Originally, I had suspected that monsters were just the more hostile creatures, while animals were considered the rest.
 
However, through the monster tiers I was able to learn the true difference. Animals were creatures that had no ability to wield any type of energy, such as ki or mana. Monsters, on the other hand, had at least some potential to do so. This gave them an obvious advantage over animals of the same level as them.
 
Likewise, as later tiers increased the complexity of monsters, it also increased their abilities. Although the third tier was the first in which they were born able to use magic, there were various monsters from both the first and second tiers which could be trained to either use ki or mana. This is probably why the price didn’t change between the second and third tiers. However, from the third to fourth, and fourth to fifth, the prices doubled.
 
In the fourth tier, it lists monsters able to use more developed abilities, such as casting actual spells. For the fifth tier, monsters become able to use multiple types of energies, and some may even appear that use mixed energies. This caused me to look forward to seeing what types of creatures might appear in my world from now on.
 
After buying the two tiers for monsters, I decided to do another great leap forward. This time… two hundred years should give plenty of time for various advancements. Of course, I put all of the normal alarms in place to warn me of an impending disaster, so I didn’t have to worry about that.
 
With this fast forward… everyone’s incarnations should be over with, aside from Ryone’s. At the same time, given their rate of advancement, I should be able to spend some more time down in the mortal world.  I closed my eyes and looked forward to that, before turning back and looking at my bed.
 
How long has it been since I actually slept? I wondered silently, thinking back. Recalling it, I hadn’t had a proper sleep since before the centaur and halfling war. That’s already several days where I hadn’t slept once. And that sudden realization seemed to make all that time awake crash into me at once.
 

Okay… I can sleep for a little while, while the world fast forwards. Then, maybe I’ll descend for a bit, see how the world is working up close.

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