After a few minutes of observing the world through the mirrors, I pulled my sight back. My hand came up, massaging my temple as I fought off a sudden headache. In order to test myself, I had chosen to watch multiple areas at once. However, like with controlling my avatars, I could only handle so much sensory input at one time. It seemed like becoming a false deity hadn’t given me a substantial increase in that regard.
However, that was a small matter. I could train my mind through the same method I had been doing until now, albeit a slow process. What mattered the most at this moment was allowing my world to grow.
Some small part of me considered returning to the Admin Room, and fast forwarding again. Like this, I would be able to see a noticeable growth in the development of the world quickly. Whether it was the space race within Vision Expanse, the matters between Dawn and the Council, or even Tsubaki’s own growth.
Yet… I quickly rejected that idea. I did not want to just fast forward over everything all the time. I wanted to be here, within the world, and watch it shape itself in my eyes. I wanted to properly learn, now that I had the power to do so without worry, and the convenience to do so comfortably.
As I thought about that, I suddenly blinked. Right… there was something that I had been wanting to look into for a long time, and had been forgetting. A skillset that could prove invaluable if it was properly utilized.
Ryone, is there a currency that works between worlds? I asked as I stood up, making sure to conceal my aura deep within myself. When I was done, I would appear as no more than an accomplished mage and scholar, with only a light touch of other classes here and there.
Unfortunately not. Ryone replied once I was done. Each of the four worlds have set up their own ‘standard’ currency, and they each have banks that allow people to convert their money from one world’s currency to another, especially near the Fairy Gate.
I gave a small nod at that. Could you supply me with some funds for Deckan? I need to go shopping.
There was a brief pause, as if she were surprised, before a card floated down to land in my hand. That was it, just a single card. However, on its cover was a golden coin engraved with Udona’s face. Fox Gold… one hundred thousa--Ryone! This is probably overkill, right!? I feel like this is overkill!
Her response was a light giggle. Get me something nice while you’re out.
I shook my head with a sigh. Focusing on the card, I carefully extracted the coins and divided them among a hundred cards. I found that it was rather easy to do, actually. As long as I thought of how much I wanted to extract, a second card would be formed with that amount. This let me create a small pile of cards, each with a thousand coins.
Given Ryone’s personality, she had no doubt just given me a true fortune. I never told her what I was going shopping for, after all, so she would have prepared for the most extravagant purchases… plus a little extra for her present.
I kept one of the cards in my storage pouch at my waist, the other ninety-nine hiding within my body. Since I was no longer flesh and blood, I was able to create a small cavity within myself to hold them. It took a little bit to get used to, sure… but I felt it was nice to have insurance. Someone might try to steal my storage bag. Aside from that, it would only invite trouble if I flashed around too much money in public.
With that in mind, I adjusted my aura once again to give the appearance of the noble class. Finally, my preparations complete, I activated my planar shift power. The world seemed to collapse around me, and suddenly everything changed. I was now standing in a dark alleyway, along one of the busy streets of Ashtanu, the capital city of Kirol.
Kirol was a popular trade country, located so close to the Fairy Gate. Ever since the return of the Deckmaster, Alu, their industry had boomed. They now specialized in a new field, which they named Card Synthesis.
Card synthesis was a technique that Alu had touched on himself, but only barely. It had given him the power to perform a Fusion of multiple cards without needing the Fusion card itself. This was the first step, Emulation. Synthesis went a step further, binding the emulated effect into a card.
I left my alley and walked into the noisy streets. It was easy to tell who was from around here, and who wasn’t. Natives of Deckan rarely wore backpacks or any large satchels. Local products could all be stored in card form, after all. And with the appearance of card synthesis, it was slowly becoming possible to store items produced from other worlds in cards as well.
Thus, most natives simply carried a small container for their cards, typically somewhere hidden on their person. I was able to see this as a small bulge in a vest pocket, or a slightly thicker sleeve. Those who could afford to do so went a step further, enchanting an everyday item with a storage space.
I had heard about the card synthesis development only recently, by watching the world through my mirrors. I had yet to see one of these special cards myself. So, when I placed myself in this world, I made sure to choose a location near one of the largest card vendors in the city. Above their door was a sign of a kitsune with nine golden tails, something which immediately caught my eye.
I had never heard of a nine-tailed kitsune, which meant… it was very likely that this store was founded by Udona, or one who learned some information from her. When I entered the store, there was a thin man with black hair standing in a business suit behind the counter. He didn’t immediately greet me, as he was already dealing with another customer.
As such, I merely moved along the wall. This store… and probably others as well, didn’t display their cards out in the open. Instead, they had a number of catalogs laid out along the walls for people to browse through
Once I opened the catalog, I realized immediately that it was enchanted. Like a magical tracker of the store’s stock, it held up to date numbers on all cards within their storage. I couldn’t help but smile when I realized this, happy to see that they had come this far with their magic to make such a thing commercially available.
Browsing through the pages, I saw that they primarily sold basic cards from the three tiers of magic. Only a few popular fusion spells were listed, such as the first tier fireball, second tier teleport, or… my eyes widened as a I saw the price of a completed third tier spell. Its name was ‘Autonomous Home Defense Ward’, priced at a staggering twenty-five hundred fox gold. For reference… the second tier teleport spell cost a mere fifty fox gold.
Udona? What is this spell? I asked mentally, focusing on the target of my curiosity.
Hmm? Udona spoke up, seeming surprised I was calling for her. Oh! That’s a really good one. Pretty popular with the higher class. As long as it is placed in a ‘ward generator’ and supplied enough mana, it handles most aspects of home security. It keeps a record of the last twenty-four hours of surveillance, passively increases the defense of all structures in the ward area, and comes with an alarm if any structure suffers a certain amount of damage.
So it was a one time investment, but offered a lot of utility for those that could afford it. I thanked Udona for her information, just as I noticed the kitsune man walking over towards me. “Can I help you find something?” He asked with a polite smile. I hadn’t changed into anything overly fancy before coming here, so it was nice that he didn’t look at me as if he were trying to hurry me out of his store. Even a look at his surface thoughts told me that he was simply doing his job to help customers.
I nodded my head. “I’m starting a collection of second and third tier cards, so that I can help train a young novice in the ways of magic. I had heard about your store’s reputation, and wanted to see if it was as the rumors say.”
The man’s eyes widened for a moment. I had to be careful with my wording still, as I was never sure just who would be a priest of Irena. Technically, I was very much a young novice when it came to card magic. To my recollection, I had never performed my own card fusion. “Certainly, sir. Do you have any spells in mind for the final goal of the training? If so, we can plan out what different cards you will need to reach that point.”
I gave a satisfied nod at his response. “Self defense is incredibly important, but… he has learned quite a bit from the other worlds. So I want to challenge him. It will be a grand spell, of that I am sure, requiring many smaller conditional arguments.” I could see him running the numbers in his expression.
“Hmm… okay. I think we can help with that.” He said after a moment, motioning for me to follow him towards the counter. When I got there, I saw him pull up a holographic screen made of mana, a circular, holographic ‘keyboard’ in front of it that he manipulated by rotating numerous dials and slides within it. “Is it okay if I prepare a surplus, just in case of initial failures?” He asked, not wanting to overcharge me.
“It would be appreciated.”
There was a moment of hesitation, before he gave another nod. “Okay… looking at this, adding in tax, it will come to… three thousand, seven hundred, and sixty-two fox gold and change. I put in a few choices from various second tier effects, so if that price is too much I can cut the number down a bit.”
Once again, I was assured that Ryone had given me a gross amount of money. “No, that will be fine.” I told him simply, willing a few of the cards within myself to merge into a single, five-thousand coin card. Reaching into my bag, I motioned as if retrieving the card, only to have it emerge from my hand as I did so.
There was a black device on the counter, which had displayed the same price he had listed off. It didn’t take a genius to figure out what the machine was for, and I placed the card against it, willing the money to transfer.
He seemed surprised that I had so easily parted with such a large sum, broken out of his thoughts a moment later, when the black device produced another card. This one held a far smaller number on it, representing my change from the transaction. “I-I’ll go get your order, sir.” After he said that, he rushed into the storage room behind the counter, causing me to chuckle slightly.
I could feel a pair of eyes watching me from the moment that I said what type of purchase I wanted to make, but I didn’t pay it any mind. There would always be those greedy for another’s treasures. I was just not so simple a target, especially since I didn’t plan to stick around for very long afterwards.
When the shopkeeper returned, he was carrying a small, golden deck box. It looked like it held no more than fifty cards, but I could feel that that was a lie. After all, it was actually empty, enchanted as a storage container with the cards that I had purchased hidden within that. “Complimentary with your purchase, sir.” His tone was still polite as he passed the case to me.
“Thank you. I’ll be sure to come back if I need anything else.” And it was true… if I needed to get more cards, this would undoubtedly be where I came. Just from seeing their selection, I could tell that they had access to card synthesis, and were able to produce a wide variety of cards because of it.
As I left the store, the deck box in hand, I felt the eyes watching me still. Whoever had set their sights on me would surely make a move, if given the chance. Unfortunately for them… I quickly ducked into an alley and used my planar shift once again, returning to the Sky Citadel.