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Once back out in the hall, I took another look at the various rooms, now that there weren’t very many people in the hallway. I wanted to find a game that sounded interesting, but not impossible for me at my current stage. I mean, a lot of these games would probably be far easier for someone that had experience as a Keeper.

In the hall, I saw two notable figures. One was Seraphine, standing about halfway into the hall, with her hand on the shoulder of the twitchy Keeper I had noticed before. Seeing as this was her event, I wanted to go over and thank her. However, as soon as I started to approach, the other Keeper looked straight at me, and hurriedly walked off.

Confused, Seraphine turned to face me, before showing a face of understanding. “Ah, you are one of the new ones. EarthForceOne, as I recall?” She nodded her head, as if confirming it to herself. “Grimor mentioned you.”

“Ah, hi… Sorry, was I interrupting something?” I glanced back in the direction that the other Keeper had run off to.

Seraphine only gave a bitter smile, shaking her head. “Don’t mind him. He’s always like that around people he doesn’t know. I think, these days he only shows up because his companion makes him, for the interaction.”

I nodded my head slightly at that. “Is everything okay with him?”

“Hmm? Yeah, for the most part. Everyone around here calls him the Meta, though I don’t really like that nickname. However fitting it might be, it is still better to refer to Xanos by his real name.” Seraphine explained.

“Why do they call him the Meta?” I felt like I was being set up for that question, so might as well ask it.

The angel Keeper gave a small smile before answering. “It’s his methods. He tries to reach the truth by reproducing everything within his own worlds. He is the Meta, because he created his own Keeper games, with 9,999 participants. Although he couldn’t perfectly replicate the system, since we do not entirely know it ourselves, he seems to have gotten the vast majority of it.” She gave a small chuckle, before shaking her head. “According to him, there is even a version of myself that appeared in his experiment.”

I raised a curious eyebrow. “And, the twitchiness?”

“He’s paranoid. To him, his system is the most perfect replica, proven by the appearance of a few very similar Keepers. So, he is paranoid of any Keeper that doesn’t exist within the worlds he created.”

“Ahh…” I think I understood that. “So, he thinks that any Keeper that isn’t generated naturally in those experiments could be a factor connected to the origins of this system or something?”

“Right.” Seraphine nodded, crossing her arms over her chest. “Now, was there anything you needed me for, EarthForceOne?”

“Uhm, Dale please…” I said, trying my best to smile. “And, I wanted to thank you for inviting me to the event, as well as maybe get some advice on a game. Wanted to try one more out before I head back.”

She nodded again, looking at me. “Well, do you have anything to narrow it down?”

“Ah! Uh, well, maybe something exciting? But, preferably something that doesn’t require too much experience as a Keeper, since I only got the job a little while ago.”

She thought about that for a few moments. “Have you tried the simulation games, yet?”

I couldn’t help but chuckle. “I just got back from that one.”

“Ahh… Well, if you are new, you probably don’t have a champion yet. Or the powers for a personal duel. How about a race? That does not require any particular experience as a Keeper, and I believe it to be quite exciting.” Seraphine nodded to herself as she said this.

Okay, maybe the conditions I gave were a bit strict, but… I guess I could give the races a try. “What are the rules for the races?”

Seraphine gave a small grin when I asked that. “It’s simple. You can either bring a vehicle in from your own world, or use one of the preset ones, or even run on your own if you have the speed for it. The restrictions are that no vehicle can exceed five times the speed of sound. No teleportation or weapons. The vehicle cannot exceed fifteen meters in any direction. Once everyone chooses a vehicle, the contestants will be placed on a small obstacle course that is generated for the race. The winner is whoever passes all the checkpoints first.”

As soon as she started explaining, I knew that I had no hope of winning this race. “Uhm… anything else? I don’t think I have nearly the reaction time to handle a vehicle moving that fast.” I smiled wryly. Mach 5, that’s faster than anything that even existed on Earth when I inherited this job.

Seraphine gave a disappointed sigh. “Well… you could try the Designer games? It’s not really that exciting, but it would be a good exercise for a new Keeper like yourself.”

“Uhm… explanation, please?”

She smiled, nodding her head before explaining. “Basically, it is just where a group of Keepers gather together to see who can come up with the most interesting creatures. Whether they are sapient species, monster races, even items or systems. After everyone has submitted their entry, they vote on the most popular. The winner gets their submission paid for by the guild, as long as the cost is cheaper than five hundred points.”

“So, the only requirement is that it be something that isn’t already on the Keeper store, right?” Seraphine nodded when I asked that, and I definitely felt like this would be a much better game for me. “Could you show me where that room is?” I asked, looking around. I didn’t see a ‘Design’ door anywhere nearby.

“Ah, it’s at the very end of the hallway. You probably won’t make it in time for the next round if you move at a normal speed, so I’ll help you out a bit.” Seraphine grinned wickedly, snapping her fingers. Immediately, the floor beneath my feet twisted, chains reaching up and grabbing my feet, more coming to secure my arms. “Have fun.” She said, before the section of floor beneath me began sliding down the hall slowly.

Well, this isn’t so bad. Aside from the restraints… I thought to myself, as the floor began picking up speed. My opinion changed when I suddenly began rocketing forward, only able to remain standing thanks to the chains holding me firmly in place. I passed a countless number of doors, before finally slamming to a stop at the very end of the hall. I was certain that, if this weren’t an Admin Room, the g forces from that would have been enough to kill me. At least here, it only felt incredibly uncomfortable.

After remaining dizzy for a few moments, I looked up to see a single doorway, the word ‘Design’ written above it. Shrugging, I walked inside, seeing only ten other Keepers in this room. None of them looked familiar, so I moved off to a side. There were no chairs, desks, or any kind of furnishings for this room. Only the single door from which we entered.

“Ah, someone came to join us.” One of the Keepers, likely the judge, nodded to me as he saw me enter. “Not many people participate in this game. I don’t suppose you saw anyone else on your way, did you?”

When I shook my head, he let out a disappointed sigh. “Pity. Well… I guess this is all we are getting for today. Does everyone here know the rules?” The other Keepers all nodded their heads, as did I. I had just had the rules explained to me, so no need to go over them a second time. “Alright, then everyone can begin. Remember to not submit your idea to the system until the judging period is over.” He cast a glance to one of the other Keepers, a lamia man who shrunk back timidly under his gaze.

At his words, a blue window appeared in front of me, a single blinking line at the top. “I’m going to take this one.” One of the Keepers said, confidently. I wasn’t really paying attention to tell which one had spoken, as I was thinking about what I should submit. There was one idea I had considered, but I wasn’t sure if it was creative enough for a contest like this. Either way, I decided to go with that, to save myself the trouble of trying to come up with an entirely new idea on the spot. Even if I didn’t win, I’d probably be buying this myself when I got back home. Slowly, I began thinking to the blue screen, my thoughts transcribed into words.

Race, Centaurs. Comprehension, five. Agility, six. Strength, eight. Lifespan, seventy years. Luck, six. Awareness, seven. Male to female ratio, 1. I listed the basic qualities of the race, before moving on to the advanced portion. What I had so far was most likely already in the store, but I was confidant that what I was including next would make them unique. After going through the process, a series of screens appeared in front of me.

Race NameCentaur
Comprehension5
Agility6
Strength8
Lifespan70
Luck6
Awareness7
Male:Female ratio1
Example Adult MaleExample Adult Female
Racial Abilities
- Magical Inept
- Rare Variants: Unicorn(0.01%), Pegasus(0.1%), Qilin(0.001%)


Race NameUnicorn Centaur
Comprehension7
Agility6
Strength6
Lifespan70
Luck6
Awareness7
Male:Female ratio1
Example Adult MaleExample Adult Female
Racial Abilities
- Magical Affinity 3
- Rare Variants: Horned Pegasus(0.1%), Horned Qilin(0.1%)


Race NamePegasus Centaur
Comprehension5
Agility7
Strength7
Lifespan70
Luck8
Awareness7
Male:Female ratio1
Example Adult MaleExample Adult Female
Racial Abilities
- Magical Inept
- Rare Variants: Horned Pegasus(0.1%), Dragon(0.1%)


Race NameQilin Centaur
Comprehension8
Agility5
Strength8
Lifespan80
Luck7
Awareness6
Male:Female ratio1
Example Adult MaleExample Adult Female
Racial Abilities
- Magical Affinity 3
- Fire Control
- Rare Variants: Horned Qilin(0.1%), Dragon(0.1%)


Race NameHorned Qilin Centaur
Comprehension9
Agility5
Strength5
Lifespan100
Luck8
Awareness5
Male:Female ratio1
Example Adult MaleExample Adult Female
Racial Abilities
- Magical Affinity 4
- Fire Control


Race NameHorned Pegasus Centaur
Comprehension6
Agility7
Strength5
Lifespan70
Luck8
Awareness7
Male:Female ratio1
Example Adult MaleExample Adult Female
Racial Abilities
- Magical Affinity 2


Race NameDragon Centaur
Comprehension7
Agility6
Strength8
Lifespan150
Luck7
Awareness7
Male:Female ratio1
Example Adult MaleExample Adult Female
Racial Abilities
- Magical Affinity 3
- Fire Control
- Magic Resistance 1


Although this could technically be considered seven races, it was all one submission as a greatly expanded centaur race. For the unicorn centaurs, they would have spiral horns jutting out of their foreheads like the mythical unicorns. For pegasus centaurs, they would have giant wings on their horse bodies to enable them to fly. And for the qilin centaurs, they would have a scaled armored body.

For the second tier of variants, a qilin and unicorn centaur had the rare chance of producing the horned qilin, carrying aspects of both the qilin and unicorn variants. The same was true for the unicorn and pegasus hybrid. The truly unique one, the mix of pegasus and qilin centaurs, was the one I liked the most. With the scaled body of a qilin, and leathery wings rather than the normal feathered ones, the dragon centaur was a true powerhouse waiting to be born.

Of course, the odds of actually getting one were insane. A qilin centaur itself was only one in every hundred thousand, unless two qilins began mating and making more. Then, the pegasus centaur was again one in a thousand. Finally, for every mating pair of qilin and pegasus centaur, there was only a one in a thousand chance of making a dragon centaur.

Nodding in satisfaction at my entry, I waited for the others to be done. Of them, only three were still working. I wasn’t entirely confident in the creativity of this species, but I was sure that I had made the variants rare enough to not drive up the price much, especially given that I made the standard centaurs magically inept, practically depriving them of mana.
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