“Come on, Dale, it’s time to wake up.” I heard a voice rousing me from my slumber, my mind still foggy from sleep. As I opened my eyes, I recognized the face of Terra, bringing a small smile to my face.
Terra let out a sigh of relief, closing her eyes while her red hair fell down the side of her head, brushing against the bed. “Good, seems like you’re feeling better. Now get up, quick. You’ve got an hour left before the Meeting time is over.”
“Alright, alright, I’m up.” I said with a groan, slowly rising to a sitting position. “Where are the other two?” Glancing to my sides, I noticed a distinct lack of the two elven women that had joined us when we laid down to sleep.
“They woke up a little while ago, but didn’t want to disturb you.” She spoke while moving to stand near the bed. “It was the first good sleep you’ve had in a while, and they didn’t want to ruin it. Now come on, Rivy and Bihena are waiting, and there’s not much time left before the world resumes.”
“There something I should know about that?” I couldn’t help but question, raising an eyebrow curiously.
“When the world resumes, all Keepers who were descended at the time the Meeting began will automatically be placed in the position they were at previously.” Terra explained patiently, pulling me up to my feet. “That’s why I’ve gotta wake you up now, and make sure you’re ready. Also, it gives you time to look over Rivy and Bihena’s world idea.”
A small chuckle escaped my lips as I thought back to that, the strange feeling in my mind having lessened considerably. “They earned nearly ten thousand points between the two of them… I can only imagine what kind of world they want to create with that.”
“Oh, I’m sure that you’ll love it.” Terra grinned while she said that, before closing her eyes. “They’re on their way now. Better to set it up in here.”
Sure enough, the door crashed open just a few seconds later, and I found a small body holding tightly onto my own. “There you are, sleepyhead!” Aurivy called out happily. “We were getting worried about you. Okay, mostly me, but still.”
“Morning Aurivy.” I shook my head and let out a deep breath, bringing my hand up to pat her head. “I hear that you and Bihena have some big plans?”
“Hmm? Oh! Right! She should be here… now!” As soon as the word left Aurivy’s lips, Bihena walked through the door, as if on cue. “Bihena, let’s do this!” Finally, Aurivy unwrapped her body from around my torso, and ran over towards the human goddess.
“Don’t worry, I’m just as excited as you are.” She said, a small stack of papers in her hand as she walked over towards the bed. Rather than passing the papers to me, she placed them down on the bed. “These are all of the details we’ve assembled for the world type we want to make. It’s about twenty pages, so I’ll give you a summary.”
Bihena took a deep breath, getting ready to begin, when Aurivy suddenly shouted out. “It’s a dungeon planet!” Which of course caused Bihena to release that breath she had been building up in a long sigh.
“Let me explain it a bit better than that, will you?” She asked, smirking down towards Aurivy and ruffling her hair. “Anyways, that’s the most simple way to put it. What we want is a world that is one supermassive dungeon, divided into countless layers. Each layer will have its own atmosphere, and its own artificial day and night, controlled by a mana spire located at a central point in the layer.”
“When the spire is fully powered, it will trigger the ‘day’ cycle, filling the entire ‘sky’ of the layer in light. When it is unpowered, the sky becomes dark while it recharges. Our races, human and halflings, will be born on the innermost layer, the very center and smallest piece of the world. And on this layer, there is a key difference with its mana spire.”
“Ooh, can I tell this part?” Aurivy butted in again while Bihena was speaking, jumping excitedly next to her. The human goddess let out a light chuckle, nodding helplessly towards her.
“The mana spire of the first layer is the foundation of this world’s ‘system’!” She spoke with a joyous tone, stretching her arms out wide. “Upgrades to the system, such as unlocking new classes, or things like the Quests or Kingdoms, are created in the world in the form of small orbs. These orbs must be brought back to the central mana spire of the first floor, at which point it creates a resonance with every other mana spire, transmitting the change in the system throughout the entire world!”
“Additionally…” Bihena picked up the explanation after that. “The Keeper cannot choose where the orbs appear. Nor do you have ‘ownership’ of any layer that has not been explored by a race. Same thing goes for the monsters in the layer. They won’t count as part of your assets unless you have purchased the tier that they qualify as, and one of our races have explored the level it lives in. These are rules we set up in order to reduce the price and power value of the world.”
“Next!” The halfling grinned, placing her hands behind her back. “Every layer has two magical gates randomly placed within it! One going up, and the other down. The difficulty and size of each layer scales as they go higher and higher, until on the final layer, it would be the equivalent of a size ten world.”
“Which.” Bihena pointed out. “Terra informed us is roughly as big as a medium-sized galaxy.”
I stayed silent during the explanation, only nodding my head briefly to show I was paying attention while I processed the information. “What’s to stop a monster from descending to a lower floor through the portals? Wouldn’t that mean it’d be able to wipe out all of your people pretty easily?”
“Uh…” Aurivy stuttered briefly, looking at the stack of papers. She jumped forward, flipping from page to page. “I know we had something about that in here…”
Shaking her head, Bihena explained while Aurivy continued to search. “The only creatures able to pass through the portals are those that resonate with the system established in the central floor, and beings bonded with them through that system. At the start, the only orbs immediately bonded with the mana spire are the races purchased when the world is created. As later races are purchased, they will similarly receive an orb, typically on the same layer they evolved.”
“Ah, right, that!” Aurivy nodded her head in agreement. “Also, it is possible for the mana spires to be damaged, either purposely or through the interference of local creatures. But, as they are built from condensed, solidified mana, they can be repaired by having people pour their mana into them. Until they are repaired, though, the system is essentially disabled on that layer.”
Bihena closed her eyes, shaking her head in regret as she continued. “Once again, another factor to limit its price. When the system is disabled, people can no longer level up or use systems like the Quest or Kingdoms that you have purchased. They’ll keep all the benefits of their previous classes, but won’t be able to use the automated guidance for how to use class abilities.”
“Additionally, since the mana spires grant access to the portals, that access is restricted when one is damaged. People can enter the floor, but not leave it until the mana spire has been repaired. Likewise, it will be a perpetual night until it is repaired and fully recharged.”
“Okay…” I gave another nod. “So how big is the first layer? With all the detail you’ve put into this, I’m sure you have that defined as well?”
Bihena gave a brief smile to acknowledge my words. “That’s right. The innermost layer is as large as… Let’s use the island of Rokindrol as a comparison. It’s small, just enough to form a single country with both the humans and halflings, requiring them to expand to the first few additional floors, where they will begin to find the orbs.”
“Is there some way for them to know the purpose of the orb, or do they have to discover that the hard way?”
“There’s a prompt!” Aurivy called out in response to my question. “Whenever someone picks up an orb, it provides them a message saying ‘Insert within the central mana spire to unlock a new power’!”
“Okay, that will make things a bit more convenient… Anything else?”
To that, Bihena and Aurivy glanced towards one another, as if silently communicating. When they turned to face me, Bihena spoke up. “We’d like to purchase the Party System for this world as well. Given how the world is established, it seems like it would be something that would greatly benefit the world as a whole.”
Nodding my head, I moved over to the stack of papers, beginning to read through them and entering the information into the system. Most of what was there was indeed as Bihena and Aurivy had explained, though the papers had gone into more detail. It seemed that they wanted to leave as little up to the system’s imagination as they could, to the point where they defined stars in the night’s sky as glowing mana stones embedded within the ceiling above the layer’s sky. They even put in stipulations that people would be able to create their own portals between floors, so long as their own personal power would let them cover the distance involved with that.
Once I had finished reading through the last page, and copying the information over to the system, I submitted the entire thing as one world package. Immediately afterwards, I opened that package up as if about to buy it, so that I could see the system description and price.
A world put together with much forethought, made to create a nearly limitless dungeon of constantly growing danger and power. Be warned, the world is not entirely yours upon purchase.
World Size - 10
Price - 8100
My eyes opened wide in shock as I saw the enormous pricetag associated with this world. Even without taking everything else into consideration, just the world itself already cost over eight thousand points! If I added in the upgrades for the Game System and things of that nature… “Hold on, let me do some quick math.”
“Five hundred and fifteen, Dale.” Terra spoke up helpfully from the side. “That will be the cost to give them all of the systems your worlds share in common, plus the party system.”
“Thanks.” I smiled weakly as I looked at Terra, before my eyes returned to the other two. “That means that it will cost eight thousand, six hundred, and forty-five points. Adding in the one additional race to include them both, and bringing them both up to the standards of how they started on Earth.”
I swear, if it was physically possible for their jaws to hit the floor-- oh who am I kidding. Aurivy’s mouth distended comically, her jaw actually slapping against the floor when she heard the price. Bihena wasn’t that much better, but without the comical use of her privileges to adjust her own appearance, so only mundane levels of jaw dropping.
“Uhm, that leaves us…” Aurivy began to count on her fingers… “Eight hundred and fifty points?” She looked towards Bihena for a confirmation, only to receive a brief nod. “Okay, uhm… We don’t really need to buy the monster tiers… So that won’t come out of our budget. Sis, this won’t push Dale into a high rank, right? We tried to make sure of that…”
Terra let out a light laugh, shaking her head. “No, because of how you two created it, this world alone won’t add much to his overall level of power. Not until your people begin to explore higher and higher floors, and he buys the monster tiers to get what he finds as his.”
Aurivy sighed in relief. “Okay, good. Then… I think that’s everything, right?” She asked, turning to look nervously at Bihena.
“Yeah… yeah, I think so. I didn’t think it’d still be that much, even after all the limiting factors we put in…
Terra laughed again, grinning towards Bihena. “Those limiting factors are the only reason he was able to come anywhere near affording this world, I assure you. You’ll see~.”
I gave a slight smile at that, setting up the world and purchasing it, while also assigning the name that had been included in the papers. Fyor.