After sending the message to everyone to meet in the living room, I turned to invite Leowynn to the meeting as well. Thankfully, she seemed rather interested in her first ‘proper’ godly meeting. The closest that she had experienced so far was the meeting where I had hosted the tournament, which has been the only time where everyone had attended without exception while she was there.
Because of this, she didn’t choose to enter my spiritual realm, but instead walked next to me while I walked. By the time that we had arrived in the living room, it had already been completely remodeled once again. A large round table sat in the otherwise empty room, with twelve seats and a large pile of blankets spaced evenly around it. The only other decoration in the room was the ‘family picture’ that still hung upon the wall.
“Remodeling every time we have a meeting is a bit of a waste.” I muttered as I approached one of the two empty seats, everyone else having already gathered. Naturally, Leowynn went to sit in the other, leaning against her mom that was sitting next to her. “Terra, think we could just keep the room around this time, and make another living room?”
The catgirl to my left nodded with a light laugh. “Of course. It’ll be set up by the time we leave.”
“So, what’re we meeting up for this time, bro?!” Aurivy called out excitedly from the other side of Terra, leaning forward to glance at me. “Is it about the mermaids!? Did they finally evolve?”
I gave a small nod towards Aurivy, who cheered happily at that. “That’s right. There is an underwater race that has recently evolved. However, their level of power puts even the heroc to shame. If we are judging them by levels, then currently a single one is comparable to a level two hundred human.”
There was a light gasp from a few of the attending gods and goddesses at that, while Bihena carried a more pensive expression. “Obviously, we’re not here to talk about whether or not they should get their own god. I’m already the goddess of the ocean, and we decided previously that these new races won’t get their own.”
Irena suddenly spoke up after Bihena, quietly adjusting her glasses to fit better on her face. “So, we are to discuss whether to allow them to have access to the system in the first place? It must really be extreme if you are taking such considerations, so could you show us their statistics?”
Another nod later, and I had created a small projection over the center of the table, displaying the appearance of the new race as well as their racial power and cost. “My main fear is that they will be able to take advantage of the system to adapt and become amphibious. If they can safely travel over both land and sea, with their strength, nothing would be able to stop them. It would be a completely one sided slaughter if they became hostile towards any race.”
Ryone let out a low whistle as she looked at the race’s price. “And they aren’t cheap either. If we consider that we are still waiting for magic to get caught up in terms of tiers, and that we might need to purchase the third tier for it later to finish the gates, I’m not sure if this would be in our budget. It’s obvious that they won’t have time to develop enough civilization to earn back their costs by that point.”
Accalia turned her head to look away from the projection and towards Terra. “Would their adaptation trait allow them to adapt to life on land as well?” Given that she was the one always providing me with information about monsters, it was a bit surprising that she asked this.
However, Terra simply shook her head. “That’s not how that trait really works. It’d be more accurate to call it evolution, instead of adaptation. As long as one of them spends long enough in a new type of environment, their future offspring will find the area habitable. This would mostly apply to temperature and water salinity for their case. Since they can’t breathe above water, then naturally they can’t stay long enough for their trait to kick in.”
That had been one of my biggest concerns, so I let out a sigh of relief when I heard the answer. “Okay, then the issue at this point becomes their price. Even if they do rule the oceans, it won’t be as terrifying as if they could also cross onto land.”
“Well, how much is that third tier of magic going to cost?” Keliope asked, leaning back against her chair. Her arms crossed beneath her chest as she glanced around the room. “We gotta know how much we can afford to spend, right?”
Hearing her question, I smiled slightly in agreement. “Third tier knowledge requires eighteen hundred points. Currently, we have just under twenty-two hundred. If we bought this race now, we’d be just short of buying the third tier system. However, by the time we are ready for it, we should have enough.”
Keliope gave a satisfied nod, while Tubrock let out a loud humph. “But that’s not all, is it? We also need the third tiers for the other energy types as well. Magic alone’s not gonna cut it. So really, it’s not eighteen hundred that we need, but over seven thousand. Not ta mention, we don’t have the tier two information yet for most’a dem. In total, we’ll probably need near nine thousand points to make the gates.”
Ryone visibly winced when she heard that price, as if it hurt her merchant soul. “That… is quite the spending. We’ve never gone above three thousand with just Dale’s balance. The odds that we’d be able to afford all of that by the time that Earth finishes mastering tier two magic is… slim, to say the least.”
Seeing the chances of her getting the mermaid race dwindling further, Aurivy had a sullen expression. “B-but… that just means we need to earn more points! We can do that, right? All we have to do is make more worlds like Ashley’s and Udona’s, or submit more stuff to the market!” She glanced around at the rest of the group hopefully, but Udona only shook her head to deny that claim.
“We already know that the more worlds we have when the gates go up, the higher our power rating will be. And that will make it more likely to put us up against an enemy that we can’t afford to face. I might have been able to exploit that flaw in the Keeper’s Cards game, but that’s just because there wasn’t another player on my level of power once I got going.”
“So it’s only creating new systems, then?” Tryval spoke up for the first time, his eyes still locked on the projection. “Ones that will be popular enough to earn us large amounts of points in little time.”
“That’s not too hard, though, right?” This time, it was Ashley that spoke up, her wings folded in front of herself to cover her. She carried a pensive expression as she considered the problem, her eyes narrowed with her hand on her chin. “I mean, Dale has created a few of those already. Systems that would seem like common sense to people from our world, but other Keepers haven’t thought about yet.”
“Y-yeah, yeah! That’s not a hard thing at all! Bro is amazing! He can earn us a ton of points if he really tries!” Aurivy’s eyes practically glowed as she looked at me, seeing a ray of hope in Ashley’s words.
Unfortunately, I had to shake my head. “It’s easier said than done to create new ideas that people haven’t thought of before.” However, after saying that, I put on a small smile. “But that’s only when I do so on my own. We already saw Udona coming up with new system ideas that have been earning us a good bit of points. If everyone focuses on creating new ideas, and we list them all on the market, we’ll certainly increase our chances.”
Terra nodded approvingly at that idea. “There’s also achievements, but the only achievements that would allow you to earn a large amount of points are either ones for creating rare types of systems, or things that would genuinely put your life in danger. Risk versus reward.”
“No.” Leowynn suddenly shook her head, leaning back up away from Ryone. “I don’t want father to put himself at risk only for a few points. Besides… if he dies, we all die, right?” There was a moment of silence at her words, after which everyone showed their agreement.
Terra gave a warm look towards Leowynn, approving of her outburst. “I don’t want Dale to put himself in danger either. I was just listing options. Thanks to what I am, I can’t help with creating new systems. All I can say is whether or not an idea already exists.”
The golden haired kitsune had a somewhat troubled look on her face. “I’ll help with new ideas as well. But… can we make sure to get tier three cards for my world, when it’s time? If they are stuck with only second tier cards, that will make them fall behind the other two worlds that are learning third tier magic.”
“That’s fine.” I easily agreed to that request, as it did indeed make sense. If her world fell too far behind in terms of power, then it could simply be conquered by the others and used as a harvesting site for the cards. In order to properly maintain balance, they needed access to the same level of power, or at least close enough so as not to overwhelm the other.
Desbar was going to be using the same form of magic as Earth, so buying the knowledge for one counted as buying it for both. Only Deckan was left out alone with this. “Alright!” Udona gave a satisfied nod, clenching her fists. “I’ll spend the next thousand… no, the next five thousand years coming up with ideas, then!”
At her mischievous grin, some of the people around the table seemed to realize something. Udona had been taking advantage of the accelerated time on her own world to use for studying, much like they had done for their own uses. Ryone even actively researched new magic during these periods. Couldn’t they then also use this method to have more time to develop ideas for the Keeper market?
Aurivy sent a happy thumbs up towards Udona at that, before turning to look at me again. “So, with that settled, we can afford to get the mermaids, right!?”
I felt a quiet chuckle escape my lips as I saw her eager expression. Rather than responding, I directed my eyes towards Ryone, our very own accountant. Aurivy looked at her as well, and the elven goddess gave a brief nod. Right away, Aurivy jumped up out of her chair with a cheer, throwing her arms up into the air.
“But we can’t call them mermaids.” I spoke up finally, and Aurivy visibly deflated. “That just gives people an image of females. Mermaids and mermen, right? So, we can call them merfolk, or merkin, or something else entirely.”
“Aww… alright.” Aurivy still had a pouting expression as she heard that, but nodded her head in understanding. Nobody at the table was able to come up with a better name for the new race, so it was ultimately put to a vote. With a final result of seven to six, the name was decided as Merkin.
With their name decided, I felt a small pain at the spending of four hundred and fifty points in one go to buy a new race. It’s an investment, Dale. A long term investment. “When I get back to my room, I’ll be speeding things up once again. Does anyone else have anything to bring to the table before the meeting ends?”
Most everyone shook their heads, except for Bihena and Tubrock. Those two nodded, and seeing that each other had something to talk about, Tubrock motioned for Bihena to go first. “There was another successful expedition from the beastkin roughly fifty years after the first. However, this one ultimately landed on the human continent. They haven’t encountered the humans yet, as they have been focusing on consolidating their power, but the encounter won’t be far off.”
“Aye.” Tubrock spoke up as well. “And another one landed on dwarven shores near a hundred years ago. We’ve got no interest in the water, so they’ve yet to meet the dwarves as well. We keep our holds further ashore.”
I glanced towards the beastkin sisters at that, to which Accalia shook her head. “After the report was sent back about successfully colonizing the elven continent, the beastkin tried several times to send a repeat voyage. But without so many high level escorts, they kept getting slaughtered by either the storms or sea monsters. It took about fifty years for a second group like the first to be raised, but they went off course and didn’t land at the right spot. Then a hundred years later… same thing.”
“The only real difference is the connection with the human continent. They got really lucky there, and managed to find enough islands to form a portal network all the way across. So those two continents are now directly connected through the beastkin druids.”
I couldn’t help but send a glance towards Bihena after hearing that. “I’m not going to be watching over this war constantly…” I warned her, and she gave a helpless shrug of her shoulders. Giving the violent nature of the humans, the fact that a war was going to happen was inevitable once the two races met.
“Don’t worry, Dale. I’ll keep an eye on my people to make sure they don’t break the rules. I can count on you sisters to do the same, right?” She asked with a warm smile towards the four beastkin sisters, who nodded their heads. “I’ll let you know what happens with their encounter once the time jump is complete.”
I sighed silently, nodding acceptance at her words. “Then, if there’s nothing else, everyone’s dismissed. If you come up with any ideas for the market, write them down and submit them to Terra so she can determine if it is acceptable to put on the market. Terra, any that aren’t already up you can pass to me to submit.”
Everyone stood up from the table at the dismissal, many rushing back to their own rooms. Today, I would meet the foe that all men dread. Today, I would face paperwork.