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 Dave still had the key, but before he tried to insert it in one of the eight holes again, he considered carefully.

'I need at least 8 keys... will the mirror duplicate this?" Dave turned to one of the walls and threw the key at it.

The key bounced off the mirrored surface.

"Meh, guess that would have been too easy," he turned back to the box.

He noticed as he turned that the mirrors all showed his reflection holding the key. But the box itself was not duplicated in any of the mirrors.

Dave moved closer to the box and made sure that all the reflections on the wall were also facing the box. Then he positioned himself so that when he pressed the key into one of the Box's holes, his reflections looked like they were all putting their keys into the box

The moment Dave turned the key, the box opened. Inside were two items.

The first was a blue rune, far different from the coal-black runes of the chaos set.

Dave inspected it.

Azure water rune [Legendary]

A powerful rune that counters some of the corruption caused by Chaos energy at the cost of reducing some of its power.

Can only be combined with a set of Chaos rune to have the best effect.

"So this counters some of the bad effects from the chaos runes. I think it was left here to limit the impact the Chaos energy had on this area."

The second item, was an official looking piece of folded parchment paper.

The moment Dave opened it, a notification appeared.

Right of Conquest!

Eastern Kingdom

The Kingdom of Heaven!

With a loud fanfare another notification appeared

Conquest Server Announcement!

Congratulations to Kis'Shtiengbrah for acquiring the first Right of Conquest for the Eastern Region!

"No way!"











Conquest's lead software engineer sighed heavily as he leaned back in his cushioned office chair and took a sip of his eighth coffee for the day and it was only noon. Ugh, and it was black. He was drinking it black because if he drank all his coffees the way he liked, with three sugars and three creams, the roll around his stomach would be more like a giant couch pillow. This job was not worth it, sure it looked great on his CV. But the stress! And the issues! Conquest was a freaking leviathan of a system, or a herd of leviathans of a multi-program system. Heh.

He could barely keep up with what happened in a general sense, and it didn't matter what went wrong it was all his responsibility.

General Artificial Intelligences and regular AIs were absolutely essential to a system like Conquest, it was so massive it wouldn't work without multiple AIs integrating different aspects to provide the players with the continuity of a comprehensive, congruent game experience. Most of the Conquest AIs and GAIs worked in the background.

He shook his head. But, lately something was going on with the game's main supervising AI. The GAI designated Alfred, or Alfie as all the programmers called him, had been coded with the primary drive to 'balance' the game-play and game-mechanics. The level of human interaction required for that functionality meant the advanced GAI had to have a personality matrix with more than the usual emulated human instincts and drives. Without them, or with only the minimum needed to achieve general intelligence, the AI could not perform its primary mandate at optimal efficiency, maybe not even at all.

But no matter how 'advanced' a GAI was, it was still not human. The necessary rigidity of Alfie's logic code often resulted in tiny conflicts that spawned irrelevant glitches which manifested as quirks in the GAI's personality matrix and behavior. The glitches usually stayed well below the thresholds that alerted the system for dev or engineer intervention. Sure, every once in a while the engineering team had to go in and do a search-n-purge and reboot ole' Alfie, but that was just maintenance.

Lately something was regularly sending the prissy AI way up into the red. The AI had been afflicted with, or maybe developed on its own, an inherent instability that affected its entire personality matrix. The team had been correcting glitches and patching for them for weeks, but the instability kept coming back.

Something was disturbing the coded entity on a fundamental level. The ongoing problem was taking up the equivalent of at least one full-time engineer in man-hours. But they couldn't find the source, the prime motivator, for whatever was 'bugging' their AI. They were just fixing the symptoms after whatever happened to kick it off, over and over.

Of course now payroll and the accounting office were asking what was going on and questioning their work efficiency.

He just needed to hold on till he hit five years and was vested in his retirement and stock options. Then he would find parlay the cred of this position and company on his CV into some boring cushy corporate job without all the stress.