A note from karami92

Author's Corner: Thank you to Div for joining the Patreon! And to Sam Ellis for another month of support!

Keeper Starkiller has accepted your contact request.

I opened my eyes abruptly as I heard the system alert, reading the message in front of me. Peeling myself away from the affectionate catgirl, I made my way over towards the computer. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that this conversation would determine the near future of my worlds, so I was eager to get it over with.

Starkiller: Hey, Dale! What’s up? How’s Bibi doing?

EarthForceOne: Bihena’s fine. Found out my next opponent in the games a little bit ago, and wanted to see what you could tell me.

Starkiller: Oh? Sure, bounce their title at me, and I’ll see what I can say without getting in trouble!

It took me a brief moment to look through the system menus in order to find out who I would be defending against. It seemed rather cruel to have a new Keeper face two defenses in a row, but such was the fate of a random system.

EarthForceOne: Their Keeper title is RedRose

Starkiller: Oh, I know her! Yeah, she’s great. One of us, actually, so you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. If you’d like, you could probably talk her into a Game Trade.

EarthForceOne: ...New Keeper here, please explain?

Starkiller: Sorry, used to dealing with older guys. Anyways, a Game Trade is what we call the unofficial trade business that can occur within the Keeper Games. As an example, let’s say that you were attacking me. But, I really liked an item or race from your world. I could pay you a discounted sum, and you would include members of that race or item in your invasion, with the express purpose of having them migrate.

Starkiller: As long as a creature has no intentions to harm the world around them, the invasion is considered over, and those creatures become a part of the defending Keeper’s world.

I furrowed my brows in thought as I read that information. It did make sense, as I had seen that same thing happen when I sent the fish to ‘attack’ the dragon Keeper. The system had mentioned that it was immediately integrated into the new world. But, there were some things I had to learn about before I could really make a decision about this.

EarthForceOne: How will that work between worlds with different systems? It won’t trigger a Law Merger or anything like that, will it?

Starkiller: Oh, you’ve been through a merge already? No, nothing like that. Although an invading force is able to use the laws of their home world during an invasion, once they fully accept their place in a new world, they fall under your world’s laws. They’ll keep any compatible abilities, but generally things will be just different enough that they have to retrain from the ground up. That’s why the trade isn’t for individuals, but races and items in general.

EarthForceOne: So items aren’t affected by this in the same way?

Starkiller: It’s… difficult to explain. Yes and no? If an item is wholly incompatible with your world, then it will stop functioning once the invasion has ended. It’ll be up to you to figure out what needs to be done in order to give the system a measure of compatibility. However, if the item is something that can be created within your world, then it will undergo a small change to preserve as much of its function as possible while still coinciding with the local laws.

I thanked Balu for the information, and we ended our conversation. I was relieved to find out that there wouldn’t be any problems with the next invasion, though it was still annoying that I would be forced down to the planet for a few moments while it all settled. Still, just to be safe I should make a few preparations.

Balu had already told me about how she had to hunt down a few creatures that had been sent to her world in a failed attempt at a forfeit. It would be… unfortunate if I had to do the same. Especially if they were creatures good at hiding. Next up, I sent a contact request towards RedRose. Thankfully, it seemed like she was already at her Admin Room, since she was able to respond immediately.

RedRose: Hello?

EarthForceOne: Sorry to bother you. It appears you’re going to be invading me in the Keeper Games soon, so I thought it’d be nice to talk a bit.

RedRose: Huh? But you’re not-- oh, you’re the guy from next round? Thanks for the heads up. Take it you already went through the guild if you’re contacting me directly like this?

EarthForceOne: I spoke to someone from the Gilded Branch, yes. She told me about a possibility of trade, if you’d like to discuss it?

RedRose: Well sure, I won’t turn down the chance at a few easy points. Want me to send you over the list of goods?

EarthForceOne: It’d be appreciated.

I had to admit that I was surprised that she was so willing to send over a list of items and races that were in her world. However, there was the chance that she had countermeasures in place to prevent that information from being used against her. Either way, I received another message soon with a list. Each item in the list was also a link to the market, giving a brief description of its function. The only item that was different was the race. It had more information.

My Blood Angels have developed along the path of holy energy. They don’t quite shun magic or technology, but they believe that their connection with the gods is more important than worldly knowledge. If you have a god that would be willing to oversee the race, they would fully devote themselves to that one god. Otherwise, they’ll seek to connect with the entire pantheon. Tech Stage: Industry. Magic Stage: Development, nearing Planar

Blood Angels?
I thought to myself curiously, following the link within the information to look up more about the race. What I found was an obviously angelic race, somewhat resembling the daeva. Of course, I had based the daeva on a mix of angels and demons in the first place, so that was no real surprise.

The main differences were that there were no horns on the blood angels, and both male and female had blood red wings, with matching hair. Even their eyes seemed almost pure red, with golden irises.

They did come with a racial ability, though. In fact, you could even say it’s where their name came from. ‘Blood Manipulation’... tapping that, I brought up a brief description which… told me nothing more than the name did. They were able to manipulate the blood of living creatures.

Normally, the race would go for fifty points if I had bought it from the market. I wasn’t sure how much the discount would be to buy it in the unofficial trade, but the fact that they already had an established culture meant that it would save quite a bit of headache over buying them from scratch.

Looking past the race, I began to browse through the different items that she had listed. There were items such as blood-bound weapons, or holy items like staves that could boost one’s affinity with holy energy. I looked through the list a few times, and thought of something, a nagging thought that just wouldn’t go away.

EarthForceOne: Sorry, but do you have anything like a grimoire? An item to easily record spells for mages.

RedRose: Sorry, but if it’s not on the list then it’s not for sale. You seem new to this, so I’ll give you a bit of advice. Everyone willing to enter this trade business will create a list. Typically, you don’t ask for anything not on the list, because if they do have it, they consider it a part of their hidden reserve that they don’t want leaked.

EarthForceOne: Ah, sorry about that. Give me a bit of time to discuss with my companions, and I can get back to you on the trade.

Honestly, I rather liked the blood angels, and there were a few of the items that she had listed that caught my eye. But, first and foremost, I needed to make sure that getting any of these wouldn’t boost the overall power of my world by a large margin.

“Think this is the part where I come in?” Terra asked lazily, stepping up behind my chair and draping her arms over my shoulders.

“Something like that.” I said with a smile, leaning my head back to give her a kiss on the cheek. “It wouldn’t cause any problems to take the trade, would it?”

“Hmm…” She hummed softly, her eyes closed. “Truthfully, your world is already stepping into the planar stage of magic, but they only have one foot in the door themselves. The fairy gates pushed them to that point, and the demons have started utilizing it by exploring new realms. They’re still ages off from personalized planar magic, though.”

“To compare it with a tech equivalent… you’ve set foot on the moon, made contact with life on Mars, and you’re sending your first ships out past the solar system.”

I gave a small nod at that, about to speak up when she continued. “If you believe what she listed for her people, then that wouldn’t boost your power by much in regards to their technology and magic. The only issue would be their culture, but that’s not likely to be an issue for a while.”

“Going to have to explain that one a bit to me.” I pointed out, giving another glance back at her.

A small smirk arose on her lips before she explained. “She said that they are trying to become as close as they can to the gods, right? In a game system, that translates to the false divinity class. It will be their goal to use the boost in energies they get from your game world in order to create their own divinities.”

Okay, that brought a small grimace to my face. I had already been told how much easier it was to do that in my world, as opposed to a cultivation would like Lorek. “Would it be possible to use the system to adjust their culture away from that goal?”

Terra gave a small nod in response to that. “You could. It’d take time, though. Probably a dozen generations at least, to make them give up the idea. Assuming that, by then, they don’t already make a breakthrough. Doing so would set them back on the path again.”

“Okay… I’ll keep the blood angels in mind for a future world, then. Last thing I need is people figuring out how to become a false divinity early, and pushing me into the second rank. I take it that there’s not a problem with any of the items?”

Hearing my question, she slowly shook her head. “Honestly, you could probably make most of them on your world. They didn’t seem like anything special. It’s common for materials to appear with a high conductivity for holy energy in places where gods descend for extended periods.”

Given that she was telling me this… it was clear that someone had-- “Tubrock or Tryval?”

Terra’s smirk turned into a wry grin. “Both. Tubrock spent so much time descended to work on the Sky Citadel that the cave he did his work in is saturated. As for Tryval, remember how much time he spent wandering the plains in the early days. Many of the plants that grow there have become a huge export for the centaurs and halflings, because of his divinity.”

I let out a soft sigh, nodding at that. “Okay, so we don’t really need anything from this trade. Was looking forward to getting the blood angels, but I can always do that later.” It was a bit regrettable that we wouldn’t be able to test out the trade system, but it did leave it open for me later if I ever got into another situation like this.

I sent a brief message to the others, letting them look through the list of items that had been sent as well. Unsurprisingly, none of them were all that interested in the options either. As such, I sent a reply to RedRose to let her know that there wasn’t anything that I’d be wanting this time from the trade.

Instead, I started to think of my own list. What could I send to other worlds that would be potentially worth trading?


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