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163 Adding Income, Controlling Outflow

 Xi Wei's divinity only recorded the experiences of his believers after they became his converts. That was why he was unaware of Zonyan's past. However, with the Valley of the Tragic Dead separating the two continents and the Grey Fjord being a dangerous place on both ends, few nonhumans could reach the Eastern Continent aside from using the smuggling ship route that the Secret Eye Society somehow conjured.

Zonyan himself was a Leo, a rare kind even amongst nonhuman. Still, given how often he had that distant look in his eyes as if remembering something in the past he couldn't and therefore hardly fit into the eccentric nature of the Players, Xi Wei could guess that he was shouldering something even if he was just a ball. As a matter of fact, it could only be some desperate situation like parental abandonment due to his excessive preference of hammers, tribal banishment due to a failed coup or your typical 'I'm your father!', 'No-!' sort of drama.

That was why he had assigned him the quest [Triumph of the King of Beasts], so that Zonyan could lead a group of Players to scout things out for Xi Wei at the Western Continent where divine competition was a lot less fierce. If he could hence directly carve out a territory, the Church of Games could just set up another base over there.

That said, the Players were still quite noob.

Even if some of them had improved past Level 40 thanks to the Fishmen Island event, grasping the ultimate moves of various classes to reach a phase that others would call 'supernatural'. However, given the Players' uniqueness (and because Xi Wei was a third-rate deity) as well how much they could share from a small pool or power, each of them belonged to the lowest denomination of superhumans.

As a matter of fact, the Rotten Bones High Priest was relatively weak amongst the ranks of superhumans, since his god Rotten Bones was no different from the newcomer that was Xi Wei in that they were weak gods. Likewise, the high priest was neither a Chosen One nor a Saint, just as he wouldn't count as a pope. As such, the divine power he gets to share was quite limited, and at best Level 30 according to the assessment from Xi Wei's system.

Furthermore, despite having the top Players surpass Level 40 and the Rotten Bones High Priest no longer able to wipeout a party with them, there were still no Players who could single-handedly defeat it despite the 10-level gap-though Mufasa who assumed the path of Kengyoku might make it around Level 40, he was still a curb stomp victim at the moment.

As such, Xi Wei had no intention to teleport Zonyan off to the Western Continent right away after he accepted the quest, because the only result would be him dying all the way...

In other words, the Players need time to grow their levels into real power.

***

Indeed, the reason Xi Wei would assign Zonyan his quest was to have him complete a special series of material gathering mainly to farm certain wood, monster materials and strengthening stones at the initial stage.

After he was done, Xi Wei would make Zonyan a seafaring boat through his exquisite craftsmanship, and entrust him the second part of his quests: find party members whom he found compatible in will and spirit, working together to set sail towards the Western Continent.

As for the sea charts towards the Western Continent, Xi Wei planned to set the smugglers' sea route that the Secret Eye Society established it as a quest reward.

Since the Players were newbies who had no seafaring experience, the maiden voyage would most likely end with a sunken ship and corpses even with those sea charts as reference.

Naturally, being the compassionate god that he was, Xi Wei wouldn't set his verdict that Zonyan had failed his quest right then-he would simply revert the quest back to the first phase and have the Players gather ship-crafting materials once again. Either way, gathering would be much more efficient with his companions...

Xi Wei had no clairvoyance to tell what would happen beyond that. He would just have to wait and see.

In the end, Zonyan and the other Players were playing the game, not him.

For Xi Wei, it was all a leisurely game of chess in the place: it would be great if it works, and he would at least know that things could be dangerous in the west if it failed, and that it wasn't the right time for a venture yet.

Additionally, the Players were just a dozen levels away from reaching Level 60, but since EXP requirements increased at higher levels, the remaining gap needed much time and effort on the Players' part. Either way, it was time Xi Wei really gave it some thought.

Ultimately, the Players' ability must develop as the situation needed if they were to improve beyond Level 60.

As long as Xi Wei was willing to spend his divine power as a deity, he definitely could have the Players improve even if he had to drag them along, kicking and screaming. Still, that would beg another question: it was fine if it were a handful of Players, but should every other Player subsequently rise beyond Level 60, Xi Wei's divine energy was not going to be enough and he would face bankruptcy.

In fact, his divine energy was barely breaking even right now instead of the great profit he first envisioned.

And the reason for that was simple: he had underestimated the cost of the skills in the System would have on divine power. Whenever each Player would learn any technique the System recognized as skills, they just had to spend skill points to immediately learn it, and investing more points would in turn improve the skill's effect.

The process itself had a stair-shaped cost on Xi Wei's divine power: learning one skill would not consume much divine power, but the cost of raising a Level 8 skill up to Level 9 would be frightening.

Xi Wei never expected such a situation at all, and as such had to spend considerable divine power to keep the Skill System from collapsing.

If he could load a save file and have this book return to Chapter One, he wouldn't hesitate to establish a different setting: skill points are only invested for learning skills, whereas skill level would be improved through proficiency...

"I'll be in the red sooner or later like this. If I don't want to become a shriveled ball, I'll have to plan the expense of my divine power from now on..."

With that train of thought, Xi Wei would naturally have to persist on the traditional solution of adding incomes and controlling outflow.

That said, controlling outflow would be the harder part since the Church of Games still had much that awaits, and places where divine energy should be invested could not be spared. In fact, it would be putting the cart before the horse if Xi Wei delayed his own development just to save on some expenses.

In that respect, Xi Wei expected to put in 'awakening quests' or something similar to restrain the Players, having them pass trials that would provide him with more divine energy before leveling up-in the process, he would choose Players worth investing up to the next level.

On the other hand, adding income was much easier.

Incidentally, the conclusion of a recent event meant that the Players were turning up less on the forums to brag. In addition, the Players were complaining over the forums that it was too boring to be unable to do anything except watering plants in the little black hut where they wait for their resurrection.

It appeared the time had come to add some other functions for the forums.

"As the great God of Games, doesn't it only make sense to add some arcade games on the forums?"

Xi Wei turned towards the three deconstructed edition of games that he had fiddled with for some time, but only replicate in his mind after much difficulty.

A Gabe Newell smile showed up on his ball face then.