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A note from karami92

Author's Corner: Did I mention that the second chapter is almost double length? Also, the end of volume two!

Once I was out of the grey landscape, I immediately went to work buying the body for Ashley to use. In order for it to be comfortable for her, I decided to keep her general body shape, based on the image of herself that she projected in the mindscape just now. Of course, there were going to be some key differences. Most notably, her skin was a deep red.

Aside from that, I wanted the demons to be able to naturally fly, so I gave them wings. I recalled reading before that typical fantasy representations of angels and demons were impractical, because their wingspan couldn’t support sustained flight, so I made sure the wings were large enough to do so. However, at the same time, they shouldn’t interfere with routine actions. For that reason, I created a thin bone structure along the top edge of the wings that would allow it to collapse in on itself, taking the appearance of a fleshy cape. To hold itself in place easily, there were two dull hooks at the ends of each wing that could latch onto her shoulders.

Naturally, this means that they also had to have tougher skin so that resting their wings like that wouldn’t be painful, but I’d take care of that when I made the race itself. Next up, I created a pair of upwards-curving horns on top of her head, poking out of her dark red hair. And to finish it off, a thick tail sprouting from the small of her back. Not the stereotypical thin tail with a heart-shaped tip, but something more akin to a lizard’s tail, without the scales.

This was easily the most detail I had put into any god, goddess, or race in general, yet I did not find it at all difficult. Part of me suspected it was because of the martial art I had started training in, allowing me to handle multiple tasks easily enough to take care of all of this. Either way, within a few minutes of finishing my conversation with Ashley, I had created her body.

Without hesitation, I went ahead and purchased the body as I had designed it, and those of us in the room watched as the golden light descended from above. Slowly, it began putting the body together piece by piece. Once it got up past her thighs, I realized that I had forgotten to include clothing in the design, yet the problem seemed to take care of itself.

The outfit that manifested around Ashley’s body was by no means modest. Her top was little more than a dark purple bra, bandaged sleeves covering either arm. A metal plate covered her crotch, with straps leading back behind her. Below her thighs, her legs were covered in purple cloth, with a steel plated armor covering her shins. On her feet were matching purple high heels, and draped across her shoulder was a simple hood.

Once the golden light had finished its work, I saw as Ashley slowly opened her eyes. Since I was standing in front of her, naturally I was the first thing she saw, but when she began looking around she caught sight of the other goddesses in the room. “Dale… did you really just want me for your harem?” She asked in an incredulous tone. “And why is there a little kid here?” After saying that, she turned to look at me in accusation, before seeming to notice something out of place.

Before I could respond, she jumped in surprise as she looked down to see her tail brushing against her leg. “Holy crap, I have a tail.” She exclaimed, before glancing at the rest of her. “Holy crap I have wings!”

The moment she noticed their existence, her wings seemed to fully extend outwards, or at least attempt to. With her wingspan, her wings ended up smacking against the walls of the room before they were able to extend all the way. “Yeowch, that’s uncomfortable.” She muttered, mostly to herself as she began to twitch her wings, likely trying to get control of them.

Thankfully, none of the goddesses had been seated in the line of fire, though Keliope’s chair had been fairly close. “Hey, watch it there!” She called, out, ducking to the side as one of the wings flew past her.

“Not the TV!” Aurivy called out in panic as she saw that the other wing was heading towards the television. Before the wing had the chance to knock it over, a glass dome seemed to form around it, blocking it from harm. The halfling goddess let out a sigh of relief when she saw that the TV was safe.

“Uh, Ash, how about we work on your wings first, and then we’ll handle everything else?” I suggested, to which she nodded readily. “I’m going to touch along your wings, to give you an idea of where to focus your attention.”

After I said that, I moved to her still-twitching wings, and began placing my hands gently on them. The areas I touched were naturally where I had placed the joints, that way she was able to slowly learn how to flex and contract her wings one step at a time. “Once we’ve got you settled in, we can set up an area for you to practice flying.”

She seemed to like that suggestion, but was too focused on controlling her wings to actually say anything in response. Like that, it took roughly five minutes before we had managed to bring her wings all the way back in, their clawed tips once more latching onto her shoulder. “This is… all real, isn’t it?” She asked, the first thing she had said since noticing her wings.

“For better or worse, yeah.” I nodded, and immediately sent a message through my spiritual world to Leowynn, asking her to meet me in my room in a few minutes.

“So… you’ve been doing this for a while, huh?” She asked again, her eyes darting towards Aurivy, who was still seated next to Irena. “Long enough to have a kid, at least.”

“I’m not his daughter, I’m his little sis!” Aurivy shouted out, flailing her arms in indignation. Ashley simply raised her eyebrows slightly at that, glancing towards me.

“It’s true, my daughter is an elf, not a halfling.” I said with a small smirk, letting that sink in. As expected, her eyes went wide with disbelief, causing me to laugh. “Don’t worry, you’ll meet her later. For now, you should get to know these three. They’re all goddesses of their own races, so they’ll be able to help you adjust to your new abilities.”

She nodded her head slightly, looking to the three of them and bowing politely. “I’m Ashley. Pleasure to meet you all.”

The others all smiled, giving their own introductions one by one. After they were done, I turned to look at Irena, the only other winged goddess in my pantheon. “Once you’ve got her used to everything, would you mind being her flight instructor? You’re really the only one I can rely on for this…”

Hearing me say that, Irena had a soft smile on her face as she nodded. “It would be my pleasure.”

“Thanks, Irena. Now, I need to go get her world set up. I’ll be sure not to assign her god privileges until you all think it won’t overwhelm her.” I could still remember Aurivy’s pouting face when she suddenly got her second domain, and couldn’t adjust fast enough.

Ashley obviously seemed interested in watching the creation of her own world, but the fact that she literally tripped over her own tail when she tried to take a step to follow me apparently convinced her that she needed practice first. As such, I was soon back in my room, Leowynn already sitting on my bed with her legs tucked under her waiting for me. “Welcome back, Father.” She greeted me with a warm smile.

“Hey, sorry about pulling you away from Ryone like that. I just thought you might like to see me work?” Of course, she could have come to watch me creating Ashley, but I figured Ryone would most likely tell her what I was up to. So, if she didn’t show up, that meant either Ryone didn’t tell her, or she decided she’d rather stay with her mother for a bit. Either way was fine really.

However, this was different. By now, I’d made a dozen gods or goddesses, but this was only the second time I had ever created a new world. Who knew how long it would be before she got to see me do this again?

Either way, she did seem a bit excited by the idea. “Of course, Father. What do you have in mind?” Once I told her what I was doing, she hopped up from the bed, happily moving over to stand behind me as I sat down at the computer. Lately, I had been more adept at using the system with my thoughts, but something as big as making the world still required me to be safe rather than sorry.

As such, I began navigating the menu, selecting the option to create a new world. In reality, even though this was my second world, it was the first time I was purposely using these menus. Naturally, there were things that surprised me.

Please select the scale of distance between the new planet and Earth. If Earth has not reached the required development to unlock the appropriate distance, an additional cost will be applied.


Same Solar System


0 Points


Near-Interstellar


0 Points


Same Galactic Branch


20 Points


Distant Region of Galaxy


30 Points


Different Galaxy


50 Points


Different Cosmos


100 Points


Different Universe


0 Points

This list of options was a bit unexpected to me, mostly because of the last two. From modern Earth science, Cosmos and Universe possessed the same meaning. However, clearly the system defined them differently. Judging by the pricing, some things could be understood.

A cosmos should be something like a galaxy of galaxies. What we of the modern age called the ‘known universe’. On the other hand, the universe as a whole was everything. Selecting a different universe should be akin to placing the world in an entirely different reality.

Given what I had planned, I naturally selected the ‘Different Universe’ option. I did not want this new world to have the systems and energy types of Earth, which had become physical laws permeating that universe. The fact that it didn’t cost anything to select that option was a bonus.

You have chosen to place your new world in an alternate universe. Any previously bought systems applied to Earth may be bought at one half their cost to apply to a new world.

 

Do you wish to enter Creative Mode to craft your world personally, Template Mode to buy from the basic template choices, or Design Mode to design specific options for your world and allow the system to create it? All costs will depend on the end result, regardless of this choice.

While Creative Mode did sound like fun, I had no idea how long it would take me to personally create an entire world. I was also interested in Design Mode, but I didn’t need that level of complexity with what I wanted. The simple Template Mode would suffice. Once I chose that option, the same five choices appeared in front of me as when I first created the Earth after becoming the Keeper.

I already knew what I wanted, so I went ahead and selected the Technological World option as soon as the window appeared. And just like that, another 70 points were deducted from my total, leaving me with an even thirteen hundred. Well, at least that’s what it was by my last count. I had probably earned some royalties or advancement points since I last checked.

A slight yelp of surprise brought me out of my thoughts, and I saw that the room around Leowynn and myself had vanished. I was still sitting at my desk, and she was still standing behind me, but everything else had changed. Like when I created the Earth, we were now standing high above the skies of the new world.

On its surface, I could see only a single, massive continent. To liken it to Earth, I guess I could consider it Pangea. Currently, no life existed on the planet, be it plant or animal.

Please assign a race to inhabit this world. Alternatively, you can choose Free Mode, in which the world evolves without interference from the system. Should an intelligent race evolve, you can choose to purchase them at market value.

Free Mode reminded me of what happened with the second planet discovered near Earth, and seemed like too much of a gamble even if I didn’t know what I wanted. I opened the menu to create a race, and begin to fill in the information for the demonic race.


Race Name


Demon


Comprehension


8


Agility


6


Strength


6


Lifespan


80


Luck


7


Awareness


6


Male:Female ratio


1.05


Example Adult Male


Example Adult Female


Racial Abilities

Given that they weren’t getting the game world system like Earth was, I decided to increase their base stats to be slightly better than humans. Although it caused their price to increase to twenty-five points, it was a good investment. For the examples, I naturally used Ashley as the female example, and a more buff male version as the other. In the process, I gave each denser skin in order to properly withstand their wings latching onto them.

All this time, Leowynn had been staring incredulously down at the world below, as if trying to memorize every detail of it with her eyes. “Wow…” She muttered under her breath as I finished purchasing the race.

“Just watch, you haven’t seen anything yet.” I chuckled, causing her to finally remember that she wasn’t alone here. She looked up at me in confusion, before I pointed downwards.

As she looked back down, her eyes opened wide in shock. The lifeless planet had begun rapidly revolving. The massive continent was broken apart, pieces drifting about aimlessly before they eventually came back together. A dense greenery started to cover the land, plants and animals appearing to evolve gradually.

I paid as close attention to this as I could, since the process had not been this… natural the first time. Was it a special service to a new Keeper that gave them an easy start on their first world? When I first made Earth, the people had simply appeared on the planet, along with the plants and animals. I had no doubt that the system still tracked their evolution beforehand to create the setting, but the visible process was different.

By the time the planet stopped moving, I could tell an obvious change had occurred. Looking closely, I was able to zoom my vision in and spot various red-skinned individuals walking about. Some were flying through the skies, others roosting in caves. All in all, there was a miniscule population compared to the size of the planet.

Pulling up the population chart, I was able to confirm that there were only fifteen thousand demons living on the planet below. This was roughly what I had expected, based on my first experience. However, the next window wasn’t one I saw at that time.

Please designate a name for the new world.

Naturally, I considered calling it Hell, but thought that might be a bit cruel towards Ashley. Instead, I decided to leave it up to someone else, because I wholly acknowledge my terrible naming sense. And since Ashley was still busy learning how to be a goddess… “Leowynn, any ideas for a name for the planet?”

The elven woman was startled by my sudden question. “M-me, Father? Are you sure?” She asked, looking at me.

“I suck at picking names…” I admitted.

“Uhm… okay. How about Desbar?” She suggested, seemingly throwing out a random name. Yet, when I heard it, something clicked in my mind. Desbar was the elven word for new beginnings.

I nodded my head, entering the name. Although it wasn’t the most creative name around, neither was Dirt, which is essentially what our world was called. At the very least, this sounded cooler.

New world Desbar has been registered.

There was a light fanfare from the emptiness around us as the last message flashed, startling myself and Leowynn. However, a few moments later we were back in my bedroom, the familiar wooden floorboards beneath our feet. On the screen, I saw a new tab at the top of the map window, which would allow me to change the maps between worlds.

“So, what did you think?” I turned to ask Leowynn, only to nearly stumble out of my chair when I saw Terra standing there beside her. My reaction obviously startled Leowynn as well, but she let out a cry of surprise when she found Terra standing there herself.

“W-what was that for?!” I asked as I steadied myself, earning a small laugh from Terra, who grinned happily at me. For the moment, asking her about the universe and cosmos stuff started to take a backseat in my mind to wondering whether or not I could really die of a heart attack in the Admin Room…

“I wanted to congratulate you, Dale.” She said, causing me to look up at her curiously. “I’ve been preparing something for you for a little while now, a sort of ‘graduation’ present.” It was only now that I noticed Terra had her hands behind her back, seemingly holding onto something.

“Terra… why does it sound like you’re going away?” I asked, and couldn’t help but feeling worried. Part of me knew it was unrealistic to expect her to go away, I knew system companions didn’t just leave like that. Yet, her words gave me that kind of feeling.

“Huh? Going away?” She looked down at me, confused. “You think you could get rid of me that easily? I’ll have you know, mister, I plan to stick around for a long time.” As she spoke, her smile once again returned. “You’re just no longer a ‘Basic’ Keeper.”

Seeing that I still had no idea what she was talking about, she explained with a happy tone. “One of my jobs as a system companion is to guide you along as a Keeper, and make sure that you understand your powers and abilities. This is something you’ve known all along. What you didn’t know, or maybe never realized, is that I also watch your performance.”

Well, that I did realize, I mean she was pretty much there for every major event until recently. Yet, I didn’t stop her as I wanted to figure out where this was going. “When a Keeper becomes familiar with their own abilities, and becomes more capable of doing things on their own, a system companion is able to award them an achievement.”

As she spoke, a blue flash appeared as a window appeared in front of me, yet I brushed it aside to finish listening to the explanation. “You’ve made mistakes, you’ve asked others for advice and confided in them. Yet, you’ve been acting on your own ideas, without needing me to tell you how to do any of the basics for a while. You’ve even started using the system without always needing the interface.”

While she was talking, I began to realize that it wasn’t just happiness in her voice, but pride. She seemed proud of me for the progress I’ve made on my own, like a parent watching her child doing well in their studies. Though, maybe that was a bad example, seeing as she was the closest thing I had to a girlfriend.

“Because of all of this, I am happy to be able to officially recognize you as a true Keeper.” She said, bringing the object out from behind her back. “This is something that the previous Keeper never achieved, because he had no interest in this position. I really am happy that you were able to come this far, so I prepared this for you. When you called me earlier, I was worried that you were going to need my help creating another personality like I did with Keliope and Accalia. When I found out it was something you really weren’t able to do without me, I was reassured that the time was right for this.”

Once she handed me the object, I was able to tell that it was a framed picture, though one that I knew had at least some level of manipulation done to it. “Terra, this is…” I couldn’t quite find the words to describe it as I looked at it, feeling a smile tugging at my lips.

“This is our family, Dale.” She spoke softly, placing a hand on my shoulder. In the picture, there was myself and Leowynn, as well as each and every god and goddess. Even Ashley was included, looking like she had been there from the very beginning. “We may not be a normal family, but I like to think that’s what we’ve become. A family that can rely on each other to do anything.”

I nodded my head faintly, tracing my hand along the edge of the picture. To me, this was probably the best gift that I could have gotten. Something that could make me feel like this was truly a home, and not just somewhere that I was living with a bunch of other people.

Without saying anything, I got up from my seat and walked out of the room. Although I passed a few of the others on the way, none of them stopped me. Maybe it was the look on my face, or their own curiosity, but they ended up following me. By the time that I got back to the living room, Ashley was sitting on the couch with Aurivy and Irena, with Keliope having left. Aside from them, most of the others had ended up following me.

When I moved to the wall, they seemed to understand something. After I hung the picture up, I saw as the blank background shifted, blending in with the wall. It looked as if we were all simply standing on the frame. I felt a hand on my shoulder, and turned to see Ashley looking at me with a small smile.

“Looks like you finally found some happiness, huh?”

Hearing her question, I could only nod slightly. “Yeah, I guess I have…” Of course, the atmosphere was suddenly broken when a happy Aurivy ran up and jumped into my arms, causing most of the gathered deities to laugh.

The Keeper's Family

 

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A note from karami92

Author's Basement: So, an update on progress! I am a few chapters into the first of two planned Keeper's World stories. Family health issues(strep throat going around, yick) have made sure that I have had little time and energy to devote to writing lately. However, I am doing my best to get it all out as quickly as I can!


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karami92

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