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I let out a long sigh as I pulled the headset off of my face, sitting up in the bed. My body felt stiff after lying in one position for so long, but also oddly well-rested. One of the nice features of Ashley’s game product was that it had a ‘sleep’ mode. That way, whenever you played the game, you could choose to have your body sleeping at the same time. Rather convenient to use for normally busy people.

Nothing much happened while Hela and I were walking, with the hobs never showing up to attack us again and the path ahead being cleared by the wave of players. We actually made it to the next city rather easily… only to find out that it was a total dump.

The city itself was rather large, but had become fairly empty over the passage of time, its people starving due to a lack of trade. Now that the city had been officially discovered, maybe trade would resume, but until then there was nothing particularly useful for us there. I couldn’t even buy the ink for my scrolls.

Realizing that, Hela and I decided to run back to Xanjafar after healing our injuries. Since it seemed like other cities would likely be in a similar situation as that one, our primary goal was returning to an area where we could properly level up. That said, we did get one level once we found the city of Sumhain, bringing both of us up to four.

Of course… the difference of one level didn’t really do anything but quickly heal us. We were still a bit too low to fight the hobs evenly, so we did our best to avoid them on our way back. Even Hela was able to restrain her bloodlust, although she was gripping that spear rather tightly.

When we returned to Xanjafar, there were only a few people out searching the fields for monsters, most of the players still gone from before. Hela and I resolved ourselves to staying inside the city until our skills were ready for the two of us to fill the roles we wanted. Which meant… more scribing for me.

“Did you enjoy yourself, father?” Leowynn asked, turning herself in the computer chair to face me with a warm smile.

“Aside from the part where I had my ribs smashed, sure.” Saying that, I decided to deploy my world sight to check up on Tsubaki-- and holy armors, Tubrock. I looked over just in time to see the dwarven god mass summoning armor for the army. “Did Tsubaki or anyone else come by while I was asleep?”

Leowynn shook her head at that. “No, but she should be by soon, I think. She never misses your meal time.”

Almost as soon as Leowynn said that, I could feel a surge of energy within the citadel, the familiar feeling of one of Tsubaki’s portals opening. I gave a small nod, standing up and stretching my arms out before walking with Leowynn.

Almost as soon as we left the bedroom and entered the main hallway, Tsubaki was standing there, waiting for us. Her hands were clasped together in front of her waist, and she offered a polite bow. “I hope you enjoyed the game, my Keeper.”

“It was good. I can see why you liked it so much.” I admitted easily. “Also, Terra’s decided to join the two of us, for whenever you’re able to play.”

Tsubaki’s ears twitched curiously at that, but she nodded her head. “I will keep that in mind. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll have the chance to accompany you before the army has left. Some of the deities are, thankfully, assisting me in the process, but there are simply too many to allow me any free time.”

“Oh? How many are there in total?” I knew that their numbers easily crossed into the millions, just after taking a look. But the exact number was unknown to me.

“Discounting those that left after the training began, or died in the process… twenty-six million, three hundred and eighty four thousand. Give or take.” And… that’s where my brain froze for a moment. I know that my worlds are so much larger than the old Earth, and that I have an extremely warlike race occupying a part of it. But twenty-six million? There were countries in the old world that didn’t have a population like that.

If the force was truly that large, and everyone was outfitted with gear created by Tubrock… maybe there really was a chance at victory? And if not, they’d at least be able to keep Vanity occupied for a while.

“I see… I can understand how training so many people would be a difficult task. Don’t worry, Terra and I should be staying in the starter city for a while. There’ll be plenty of time for you to join up after you’ve sent them on their way.”

Tsubaki gave a brief nod at that. “If I may ask, what are the specialties that the two of you plan to pursue? That way, I may plan out an appropriate role to fill when it is my time to join you.”

There was no harm in telling her, so I let her know how I wanted to become a ninja by learning inscription, whereas Terra was interested in playing our healer. Again, Tsubaki gave a nod. “I’ll plan to be defense, then.”

“Oh, right. Do you know anything about chakra in Vision Expanse?” I asked, as the three of us began walking towards the dining area. “You were in there for a few months with Rivy, and I know chakra used to be a big specialty of yours.”

“I… gave it a little practice, yes.” She had a somewhat difficult expression as she explained. “It is different than what I was raised with. The concept of hand seals doesn’t exist within this world. Instead, you channel your chakra into various three-dimensional constructs. If I were to compare it to anything, imagine a more flexible version of the elementalist weapons from Fyor.”

“The constructs that you create with chakra are entirely temporary. Similarly, due to the majority of mana coming from items you carry instead of yourself, you have a bit less freedom in determining the item properties. And while the mana has been invested from another item, the source item loses its magical properties.”

I nodded my head as I listened to her explanation. It did make sense for chakra to function this way in Vision Expanse. On Earth, people used hand seals to physically recreate the different spell diagrams to the best of their ability. As for Fyor, I hadn’t seen how their ninjas work just yet.

“Still, I think it would be worth practicing. If it works the way you say that it does, it would be great for creating temporary weapons that can handle various situations. And, once I start making higher grade talismans, I should have an easy source of mana to pull from.”

However, my final goal wasn’t to end with chakra. It was, after all, only the first combination of energies. Once I was proficient enough to handle it, I could begin trying other combinations as well. Elemental ki would be a good second step, once I get the ability to control natural energy.

Further down the line, I’d like to be able to reproduce my Ki of Beginning within Vision Expanse. It was the strongest battle-related energy that I currently had access to, and would no doubt be a highly rated skill within the game. Even the Keeper system itself regarded that energy as ‘Saint’ level, though I still didn’t have a firm grasp on what other energies of that level would be like.

After I ate, given that I was the only one of the three of us that even required food, Tsubaki immediately went back to training the army, while Leowynn and I returned to my room. When I logged back into the game, I quickly found that Jessex was waiting for me outside of my rented room, tapping her foot impatiently on the floor.

“Sorry?” I blinked in surprise, having not expected to find her there. “Did I make you wait long? Also, weren’t you guys heading out to explore with everyone else from last night?”

Jessex let out a small sigh, shaking her head. “I was elected to stay behind. This city is the meeting point that our group agreed on for new players, and this way I can act as your ‘trade liaison’, according to Nuado. She left me the funds for your workshop before they took off. Told me to, and I quote, help you out as much as I could, because it would be the best for the entire guild in the long run.”

Jessex had an obviously skeptical expression as she said that. “I imagine she might know something about inscription that we don’t, but who knows.” She shrugged her shoulders, then her eyes briefly widened as she backpedalled to look for a good explanation. “Ah… I mean, she knows the game developers. I wouldn’t be surprised if she knew about a few skills that were really useful late-game.”

My lips tugged upwards in amusement. I knew that this was just Nuado trying to take care of me, but maybe there would be something to it, as well? Either way, I let Jessex lead me out of the inn, and towards a different part of the city that I hadn’t explored yet.

“This workshop is only at the most basic level. Even with Nuado’s request, I can’t afford to get you anything better yet. It took me all night just to grind up the one silver for this place… But, it is a Scribe workshop, so it should have all the tools you need to work.”

I gave a small nod at that, soon finding us standing before a large building with six floors. The sign on the front was of a leather-bound book with a quill next to it. “Come on, we’re on the first floor.”

After Jessex said that, she led me in, guiding me towards the first door on the right. Inside, I found a simple writing desk, a table with what looked to be an alchemy kit on it with beakers and vials galore, and finally another desk with a paper cutting board on it. Aside from that, there was nothing special about the room. At least, until I actually stepped inside.

You have entered a Basic Inscription Workshop. All Inscription related skills have a 10% increased experience gain while within the workshop, and related production is 10% faster.


So there was an actual bonus to using a workshop. As I was wondering about that, I noticed a
second window appear in front of me.

Ownership of the Basic Inscription Workshop has been transferred to you. Player Jessex has consented to continue to handle billing. While within the workshop, you may access the workshop inventory to store produced items securely. Any items stored if the bill is unpaid will be automatically sold to cover the next month’s rent.

Any damage done to the facilities will be added to the next rent payment.


I glanced back towards Jessex, who simply nodded her head. “No point in me having the inventory, right?”

“Right…” I wasn’t sure what I was expecting from a workshop. Maybe just a safe place to work without being disturbed? However, even the basic level workshop offered a skill buff and a secure inventory.

By the time I snapped out of my thoughts, Jessex was already leaving the room, closing the door quietly behind her. Left alone in the workshop, I made my way towards the desk. I didn’t have any of the materials yet to craft anything, so I’d need to visit the general store before I could actually craft my scrolls. In the meantime… I decided to use one of my lottery tickets.

Activating Scribe Lottery

….

Congratulations! You have won one bundle of parchment!


Really…
? I had been expecting a new recipe, maybe a new tool… but all I got was paper? Though, after I checked my inventory, I quickly realized what a ‘bundle’ of parchment meant… one thousand pieces of paper. Okay, I was good on paper for the foreseeable future… though that only saved me one copper from production costs.

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