102 Eastward on the Wind
When Zoey and Viridi turned in surprise to look for the origin of the voice, they found themselves looking at a floating silver sphere. The only feature on the shiny metal surface were the numbers, 704.
"What are you?" Zoey asked warily as she eyed the sphere.
"I am Custodian Seven oh Four and I am the caretaker of this space," replied the sphere.
Zoey narrowed her eyes, then asked, "You called me your master... Why is that?"
"You hold the cube, and are therefore the master of this space, and by extension, my master as well," replied Custodian 704.
She relaxed a little. "I see... So, what exactly is this place?" Zoey asked as she gestured at their surroundings.
"This is a space designed for the purpose of storage and resource gathering," replied 704. "The environment and magic network of this space is designed in a way to provide a constant source of natural resources that automatically replenish over time. Modifications can also be made for new resources that are not currently available in the space."
Zoey raised an eyebrow in appreciation. That could be very useful to her.
"You said you were a caretaker... What exactly do you do?" she asked 704.
"I maintain the environment in the space for optimal resource generation. I also collect and manage resources as requested. Upon request I can also transfer resources and items to and from the space and assist with additional requests."
Zoey was impressed. This unassuming cube had ended up extremely valuable. How had it not been discovered before? She questioned Custodian 704 some more and was able to get more information. The cubes had been created by the same god that had created the dungeons, and had been used as one of the rewards that had been placed in the dungeons for adventurers to find. Only one thousand had been created and placed inside the dungeons, and nobody knew how many still remained. One feature that 704 revealed was that she did not have to enter into the cube herself to manage things inside. She could simply relay her commands to 704 to be carried out and save herself the trouble.
Looking in Sethrii's database, Zoey found only a brief mention of the cubes and a diagram of how their space-folding mechanism operated, but it was so sophisticated that Zoey could not understand any of it.
Putting all the info she had together, she now had a space with regenerating resources, that she could remotely manage thanks to Custodian 704, and just so happened to be the perfect place to build something she had been designing in her spare time.
Zoey and Viridi left the space and went back to the Kreppelin deck like nothing had changed. Zoey felt like she should keep this new artifact of hers as secret as best she could. As much as Doris and the mercenaries respected her, anyone could become greedy if a carrot tasty enough was dangled in front of them.
Other than that, the days continued on uneventfully as the airship made its way east. Zoey checked in with her friends with her comm unit every so often, getting the latest update from Athena as she made her way south and Nito as he continued to the southwest. All of their journeys were going rather well.
Zoey's only concern was the lack of contact from Sethrii after their conversation about the sealing array. She conferred with Nito and Athena about it, but after hearing the story and her concerns, neither of them had any idea what could have upset Sethrii. The mind of a goddess was far from mortal comprehension, so all they could do was wait until they heard back from the deity.
The Kreppelin continued on its way, stopping occasionally to refill water and supplies and to let the crew stretch their legs as well once in a while. Being cooped up in a flying tub for too long would wear anyone out.
On the journey, Zoey was quickly becoming the crew's mascot the more time passed. Despite her being able to stand toe-to-toe with Doris in a bout, they treated her like she was the little sister they never had. Even the other females on the crew treated Zoey like she was a young sprout to be watched over and taken care of.
Despite the fact that Zoey was a several hundred year old survivor from another universe, her petite form and younger features led everyone to assume that she was not very old at all. As a result she was kindly regarded as the young, but capable, yet still needing protection, little sister of everyone in the Flame Scorpions. Zoey herself didn't understand the logic, but since it was harmless, she simply accepted her status among the crew.
Zoey mostly spent her free time now inside the cube, planning her newest project and having 704 gather resources for her. She had discovered that her Aether Engineer talent was more efficient at fabricating items when a material close to the intended product was used as a catalyst. Thanks to 704's help, she was able to obtain plenty of resources, and boy did she need a lot for this project.
It would take some time to complete, but once it was done, it would be spectacular. Zoey could not wait to see the look on Nito and Athena's faces when they saw it.
The day she completed this project would be something special indeed!