I looked at the list curiously, not entirely sure which to pick. Each one had quite the cryptic, yet powerful description. But, with the system descriptions, you couldn’t always just rely on the face value. Sometimes, there would be hidden flaws that were not obvious. For that reason, I immediately eliminated the Twelve Demons option.
It was not simply a matter that the price seemed too low for what it offered. The idea of twelve intelligent beings that controlled that profound laws seemed… bad. In the long run, I mean. What would happen if those twelve beings decided that they were better at running the world than the Keeper? Or that, if they themselves became Keeper, they’d be able to use their knowledge to create a better world?
That is a downside that immediately screamed out to me when I read the description for the profound law, and then saw how cheap it was. It was clear that there was a dangerous side effect there, so I moved on.
I faintly registered Balu moving to sit on the bed next to Terra, but didn’t really pay any mind to that. Rather, I opened up nine different windows myself, and began to look up information on the forums regarding the remaining nine laws. I didn’t need to know anything too deep about them, merely if there were any crucial flaws in them that other Keepers had found and reported.
Sure enough, there was one. The Laws of Heaven had a feature that one Keeper labeled Heaven’s Jealousy. If a cultivator scorned the laws set forth by the heaven, then they would be unable to train in those laws for the rest of their life. All things must exist under heaven’s rule, and all which denies heaven is thus denied by heaven.
Immediately getting rid of that one from the list. I thought inwardly, before looking at the remaining eight. Each had their own strong points, going by their names. And, I admit that I was tempted to go for the modular Profound Cultivation 101, simply for the option to improve upon it myself. But, if I wanted to create my own cultivation method, then I’d do so instead of buying a system like that.
The next one I considered was Burning Heart Law, but it was similarly discarded as well. Between the system name and description, it felt like a cultivation method that could cause severe damage to its practitioner, even without any form of heavenly tribulation. That was another thing that I desperately did not want.
He last one that I outright eliminated was… Nine Divine Stages. If there were only nine stages between a mortal and a god, then each stage would mean a massive jump in power. If there was anything that I had learned so far, it was that the power from systems like these did not come easily. Someone could be stuck at a bottleneck for the very first stage, unable to find the chance to breakthrough.
Five down, five to go… I thought inwardly, before glancing towards Balu. “Out of these, which would you personally recommend?” While I might not strictly go with her decision, it would be good to know if she had any insight into these systems that I could borrow.
“Hmm…” She closed her eyes in focus, leaning to the side against Terra. “Personally, my favorite is the Warrior Circle. It’s one I made myself a long time ago. I’ve switched to a different set of laws since then, but I always liked it. The idea that there was always a way to improve, even when you seemed to reach the end.”
“Ah… How does that work, exactly?” I had been curious about that myself, but I didn’t think to ask because I didn’t know she created the system.
“It’s really easy. Naturally, the ultimate form of power is the God Stage. However… you only get one domain, right? How can you be considered the strongest with just one domain? I made the Warrior Circle in order to find a way around that. Once you reach the God Stage, which would be the False Divinity class, there is another way to grow.”
“To become strong, you must realize your weakness.” She quoted the system description from memory. “If you drop from the God Stage to the Infant Stage, the lowest level of power, you can begin the cultivation process again from the start. Your foundation becomes stronger, and when you reach the God Stage… you get a second domain.”
My eyes widened when I heard that, and I couldn’t help but give that system another look while she continued speaking. “It gets harder every time you restart, of course. You have to rely on yourself to achieve new insights. Maybe you focused on water first, and became a god of water? Then on your second try, you might focus on earth-based techniques. If you devote your training and focus to the same techniques you know previously, then when you ascend you will only receive the same domain you had before.”
“You don’t get to choose your domain with this system? Even as the Keeper?” I might not have entirely understood what she was talking about, but that part came through loud and clear.
Balu smiled knowingly, one of her cheeks puffing out a bit as her lips curved. “That’s right. It’s the drawback that the system imposed. I was once a ninth stage god, but because I ended up slipping back into old habits, I only had six domains.”
Well, that did make the system a little less appealing, even if the idea of being able to train multiple domains seemed like it would be worth it in the end. “And… what is the Keeper benefit of having a cultivation world? I know that with the game system, I get the highest level of each class available, and the stats stack up higher because of it.”
She gave a small nod, seeming to have expected this. “A cultivation keeper receives the strongest energy of their world. You could be at the first stage of cultivation, with the energy equal to the strongest being. This doesn’t automatically boost your cultivation, but it opens the path. You won’t need to manually refine your energy over countless years, and will simply need to worry about making the breakthroughs of the profound laws.”
“Depending on the system you choose, it could be really hard to advance in power beyond the level of your inhabitants. This isn’t like a game world, where you can walk around and kill some monsters for a power up. Well, most of them aren’t. There are some where you gain energy by absorbing a monster’s essence. Instead, most require you to cycle your energy through your body, strengthening what you can hold one little bit at a time.”
“Whenever I have to reset, I always just advance my world quickly, letting my companions handle the guidance. They’re used to it by now. Then, once someone reaches the proper stage, I descend and make repeated breakthroughs. If I have enough energy left over, I even take it a step further.”
I nodded, taking another look through the systems. By now, I had it narrowed down to two. The Warrior Circle was intriguing in that it opened the possibility for me to get multiple domains. This was something that would help me in the future. But, at the same time, cultivating each domain would likely take quite a long time. If I happened to be at a weaker cultivation stage during an invasion, I’d be in no position to help fight without sacrificing all of my work and starting over.
The other system that I was interested in was the Profound Star Laws. While cheaper, it had a more special significance to me personally, given the presence of Leowynn. For the same reason, I had strongly considered the Spirit Lake Law. However, I knew from experience how hard it was for a mortal to train spiritual energy.
That system likely had a high entry requirement, and would be hard for a normal human to train. Even worse would be if that wasn’t true. If it became easier to train spiritual energy because of these profound laws, then there could be a clash with the system laws already governing Earth and my other worlds.
Ultimately, the decision came down to those two. Warrior circle or profound star… One held both risk and reward, while the other held personal meaning. In the end, I had to pick one. I couldn’t easily afford both.
Making up my mind, I chose to buy the Profound Star Laws. If I regretted it in the future, I could get a second cultivation world for Warrior Circle. But for right now, stars held a special significance for myself and Leowynn. If I didn’t imagine the Sky Ocean law to have strange effects on outer space, I probably would have picked that one instead.
I watched as the vast majority of the points that I had earned from the invasion, as well as selling the information, vanished immediately. Instead, a shining blue sphere fell into my hand.
“Profound Star Laws, was it?” Balu asked as she stared at the sphere from the bed, seeming to be able to read some contents from it without requiring physical contact. Probably a skill that older Keepers pick up with practice. “That one was… just over two thousand, right?”
“Two thousand, one hundred and fifty.” Terra said, holding a hand out towards Balu. “Making your commission fee two hundred and fifteen points.”
Balu blinked, nodding her head and taking Terra’s hand. The window briefly flashed, asking me to confirm the transaction. Since this was a business deal, I did so readily. Balu held up her end of the bargain, so it was only right for me to do the same.
Everyone, I’m about to create another world. This time, I want you all to decide amongst yourselves who will run it. Like with Ashley’s demon world, this one is going to use a preset system, which is a profound law for cultivation. In truth, only Fyor was set up entirely free from interference so far, but it couldn’t really be helped that I needed people to run worlds I set up when I found something I needed for the future.
There was a pause for a moment, while I was sure that the gods were all discussing amongst themselves who should get it. I was half tempted to just hand it over to Keliope, as she was the Goddess of Strength, Defense, and Fortitude, making her the perfect choice for a cultivation world. But… if I arbitrarily did that, it would be giving the beastkin a second unique world to themselves before most of the other races received one.
Even now, I expected Keliope to be the first to offer to run the world. It would be perfect for her to build her martial prowess in. However, a voice spoke up from perhaps the most unlikely of places.
Oi, I’ll handle it for ye, lad. The god of the forge spoke into my mind after the pause, during which Balu had apparently fled the room to go back to playing. I get the same deal as the others, right? Any points earned from the world, able to be used to buy things from ye?
It took me a moment to properly register that Tubrock of all people had volunteered to manage the cultivation world. My mind was now filled with the image of dwarven monks. Y-yeah. Same deal as everyone else.
Aye, good! He said cheerily, clearly having some greater plan in mind. Given that this was Tubrock, I was equal parts worried and curious. Worried for how much it would damage my sanity when I saw it completed, and curious… because let’s be honest. Dwarven monks do sound kind of badass.
Anyone have any objections? I asked around, making sure that everyone agreed to Tubrock taking this one before he had spoken up. Sure enough, he had everyone’s consent. Tubrock, I’m going to have Terra send a copy of the profound laws down to your forge so you can study them. In the meantime… just like everyone else, you have five hundred points to spend as a starting pool. Start thinking about it, and let me know what you end up wanting.