A note from karami92

Author's Corner: Entries for this Q&A are officially closed. The fanmail reading will be posted along with the next chapter!

“Beginning reverse thrust.” A voice spoke up within the throne room of the Sky Citadel, Logain staring at the display screen nervously. His hands gripped the arms of the throne, doing his best not to panic as he heard the automated voice. “Deploying heat shields. For the safety of all passengers, it is advised to remain indoors during reentry.”

For the first time in over a week, all members of the expedition were online. Whether they were the researchers, the rich show-offs, or the members of Legion themselves, nobody wanted to miss this event. As such, Legion called out to the systems of the ship. “Display exterior view.”

However, the view that awaited them caused the hearts of all within the room to fall into despair. The world that they saw, the world that looked lush with life on their approach… Now it looked as if it were on fire. Flames rising as high as the sky, seeming to wrap around--oh…

It took a few moments for those present to realize that it was not the world that was burning, but the outer shields of the citadel itself. This was the first time that anyone here had experienced something like this, so it had come as an initial shock. Especially so for Logain, who was watching the mana sharply falling from the structure’s storage.

His nerves only became worse and worse as the mana continued to drain, until it was down to less than ten percent. Then, finally, the flames around the citadel vanished. “Reentry complete. Removing heat shields. Activating atmospheric scans.”

Logain let out a long breath in relief when he heard that, and saw the mana beginning to stabilize. Just as he was about to speak up, the automated voice spoke again. “Atmosphere within acceptable standards, lowering atmospheric shields. It is now safe to exit the building.”

As if on cue, all of the guests began rushing towards the door at once. The researchers wanted to collect their precious data, while others simply wanted the bragging rights of being the first to set eyes on a new world directly. There was always the possibility that such a thing would come with a special achievement, after all.

However, while they were all rushing out, the members of Legion were looking in surprise at a window that had appeared before them. Even before the others had set foot beyond the outer doors, Legion had been the first to receive the achievement. Of course, only for those members present. Those left on the homeworld would naturally not receive anything.

Congratulations! You have earned an achievement!

For actively participating in the first interplanetary expedition, you have earned the Astral Pioneer achievement. +10% Experience gain in outer space.

You have unlocked the Astral Navigation skill!

Of the members of Legion, there was one in particular that was eager to test out this new skill. Crystal closed her eyes in focus, calling out the name of the skill in her mind. As she did, she saw a map of the solar system being displayed for her. With a thought, she selected Vespa, the world that they had come from.

Crystal didn’t know whether the skill would teleport one between worlds or not, but given the hints that Aurivy had been dropping for her, she knew that it would be a valuable skill. And although she did not disappear from her position to reappear in a familiar area, she saw a progress bar appearing over the world she selected.

Once that bar had finished, she saw numerous curved lines flashing into being within the map of the solar system. Each one showed a possible path between her current position and Vespa, though none of them actually seemed to lead to Vespa itself. Instead, selecting any path would show how the planets moved such that Vespa would intersect their course.

Perhaps raising the skill level will help to show the most efficient paths? Crystal muttered to herself, guessing the usefulness of the skill. At the same time, however, she was somewhat disappointed in it. While it was true that the skill would be useful to those who made their career exploring the stars, it was not quite on the level that Aurivy had assured her.

That was when she heard a gasp from nearby, her eyes opening quickly. She saw the other members of Legion looking in front of themselves in surprise, and noticed that another set of windows had appeared.

For participating in the first interplanetary expedition, you have earned two tickets for the Astral Lottery.

Quest has been completed! Total number of players: 49!

Quest Reward: Five levels, and three Astral Lottery tickets.

that got Crystal’s attention. Lottery tickets were just that, a lottery. It was impossible to tell whether it would be something good or bad immediately, and it depended on the type of lottery. For instance, the Hardcore lottery was one that was known to offer excellent gear, but had rather strict requirements in order to receive tickets for it.

On the other hand, there were lotteries for each crafting profession that typically didn’t give much in the way of a valuable reward unless you hit the jackpot. These lotteries were easy to enter, though, so nobody thought of it as a waste.

This Astral Lottery should definitely be one of the harder ones to enter at this stage of the game. While the prizes might not be immensely valuable in the future, they were sure to be incredible for current players. But now, each member of Legion present had received five tickets to this lottery, while the guests had received two.

Crystal immediately used all five of her tickets, watching the lottery animation play out in front of her. Given the expressions on some of the other members’ faces, she wasn’t the only one wanting to immediately test her luck.

You have received Station Habitation Module(blueprint)!

You have received EVA Combat Suit!

You have received Station Thruster Module: Medium(blueprint)!

You have received Astral Navigation Skill Scroll!

You have received Station Mana Generator: Large(blueprint)!

Of the five rewards, three were absolutely amazing. Blueprints that could be used to build large space stations orbiting a planet… It was hard to even imagine how much they could sell for on the market. The combat suit was nice, as it meant that she would not need to fear the harsh environment of space anymore when she had to fight.

The only reward that truly felt lacking was the skill scroll. Having tested the usefulness of the skill herself, she felt that it was a reward which could only be put to use by those researchers outside. Yet, would they really want it? Each of them were only playing the game for the purpose of this voyage, so it was doubtful whether they would even log on again after gathering the data they wanted.

However, Crystal shook her head. At the very least, it was another skill. Maybe some of the others would have gotten blueprints for ships, allowing the mass production of space-worthy vessels. If that were the case, her skill scroll would become a prized commodity among those intrepid explorers. As she was wondering that, she received a message over the party communication channel.

Logain: Everyone that used their tickets… please report your rewards.

It was rather unusual for such a request to be made, as lottery rewards were random for every person, and thus couldn’t really be claimed by the guild. However, in this case nobody even considered denying his request. There were far more benefits to revealing it than keeping it hidden.

And so, everyone listed their prizes off, starting with Logain himself. He had… actually received the worst luck out of all of them. His greatest rewards were two system blueprints, for Navigation and Thermal Shields, while his worst was… a lump of black rock, said to be from a meteorite.

As for the others, there were multiple station modules that had been awarded. It was enough that Crystal actually thought we could build an entire station with just a bit of personal effort! But that was still not everything, not the true ‘jackpot’ of the lottery.

Burmir reported that he had received a blueprint for an interplanetary warp gate, while Watchful Aiz… He didn’t merely receive a blueprint, but said that he now had an actual personal space transport in his inventory. Of course, like with any large lottery rewards, it would only be in his inventory until he first retrieved it, and would never be able to put it back.

However, the fact that he had received not just a blueprint, but the finished product showed just how lucky he was with this lottery. Hearing that, Logain leaned back in his throne, closing his eyes in thought.

Logain: I’d like to ask those that received a blueprint to turn them in to the guild’s craftsmen, so that the guild can be the first to possess these items. For those that have gotten a completed item or skill, you are free to do with it as you wish.

Watchful Aiz had been worried at first, thinking that his ship would be confiscated. He hadn’t had the chance to personally test it out yet, but he knew that it should be exceptional. After all… when he won it, there was an extra message stating that it had been within the top five percent of all rewards from the lottery.

The fact that he had been allowed to keep it let him breathe a sigh of relief, a small smile growing on his face. He happily turned over the Hydroponics Module blueprint that he had received.

I shook my head in surprise when I saw the rewards that everyone received from the lottery, looking back at my own previously poor luck with such things. Moving to my computer in my bedroom, I couldn’t help but ask Vivi. “Just how overpowered is Watchful’s reward?”

Vivi let out a laugh, appearing on the screen and smiling towards me, her hands at her sides. “In truth, it is perhaps more useful than the Sky Citadel in the grand scheme of things. However, it will be impossible for people to reverse engineer it to create their own copies for many years. While the transport possesses its own warp drive, the techniques used to craft it have not yet been discovered.”

“Taking into account that it can hold at most three players, and uses condensed liquid mana as fuel, it is unlikely that he will be capable of using it to its full potential. Of the rewards gained today, none were blueprints for a Mana Fuel Factory, merely the standard Mana Generators that power larger space stations. Although it currently has full fuel, that will be quickly depleted if he is not careful.”

That was a relief, at least. If his ship had its own fuel generator on it as well, then it would perhaps be the single most valuable item that had been released within the game to date, even more so than the Sky Citadel.

At the same time, I glanced towards the achievement that I had received when they arrived at the planet. Like Legion, I had similarly received the Astral Pioneer achievement, though for different reasons. For me, it was because members of my world had begun to travel to different worlds within their own universe.

Closing my eyes, I gave a small nod, happy with the results of this event. At the same time, I debated letting the world experience another growth spurt after making the reveal of Spica. It had been a while since I properly fast forwarded the world.


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