I’m back after surviving finals, albeit only barely. Next week my family plans to go on vacation so I’m not sure how the release “schedule” will be affected. Hopefully I’ll have a present prepared in a few days though.
Volume 3: Let’s Make a Clan!
Chapter 23: The Battle for Suzu (Part 2)
The “Auction House” is as the name implies; it is a place for fellow Players to buy and sell merchandise.
Out of the 5 Rarities it was only possible for you to put up goods from the lowest 3 Rarities of「Common」「Uncommon」and「Rare」. Nevertheless, items and ingredients for crafting, numerous weapons and armors, there was still a huge variety of goods for sale.
Even more so since the variety of goods for sale were not confined to what was available at an individual town; at the Auction House you could browse the collections of players all throughout the world.
In other words, for the players in Crescendo, this system allowed them to purchase items from even far off places like Vernewt.
「This is, so many people…… Are all these people here for the Auction?」(Suzu)
When Edgar and Suzu entered the Auction House, they were greeted by the sight of the store’s interior being jam-packed with players. If it was just a normal day, then there should only be a small number of players using the auction, but before the Auction Board was a tremendous amount of players.
At the Auction House there was a so-called Auction Board that displayed several items for sale on it.
If you were within a few meters of this Board, then you could open up the Auction Menu, and browse the current goods and bids.
「You’re right, this is way too many. I’ve never seen this many players gathered here before」
「…… I, I’ll go look for the ingredients」
Unable to brush off her sense of unease, Suzu hastily went over to the Auction Board.
Seeing her off as she pushed her way through the crowd of people, Edgar took a good look at the surroundings.
「Now then, what to do…」
It should be fine if I just wait here, but that would be a waste of time.
Also, I can’t help but have a bad feeling about this weird situation.
And thus, being worried about the abnormal circumstances just like Suzu was, Edgar picked up a nearby pamphlet; The「Red Book」.
This “Red Book” was a pamphlet that had the up-to-date market prices for items being sold.
The list had a large number of items being updated in real-time so at times there slight variations, but it was a rather convenient pamphlet that gave you the general range of how much items were selling for; the so-called 「Market Price」.
「Let’s see, how much for Lizard Skin……」
Quickly flipping through the pages, Edgar searched for the ingredients they wanted.
Lizard Skin and Crab Claws, and also Animal Hair and Leather Straps──
The Red Book separated items into specific categories, so looking for the items he needed did not take very long.
「…… What’s up with this price」
Edgar was doubtful about the number shown in the Red Book.
The ingredients we need, they are over 10 times more expensive than if we were to buy them at a materials store.
“That’s impossible,” Edgar checked a second time just to be sure, but no matter how many times he looked that number was not mistaken.
Contrary to his expectations, during the time he spent searching, the values would be updated, and the market price would go up even further.
「What…… What is happening?」
If the market price rises, then that means the balance between supply and demand was overturned, and that the supply has become scarce.
But, the items we need are things that anyone can get their hands on.
It’s simply unthinkable that the supply would run out.
While Edgar was deep in thought, Suzu’s panicked voice came flying towards him.
「They are sold out!」
「The Lizard Skin and Crab Claws, even the animal hair and leather straps, none of them are on sale!」
「…… Are you serious!?」
Edgar accidentally let out a cry of astonishment.
No matter what the circumstances, it was impossible for Edgar to believe what he had just heard.
For nothing to be on sale… There’s absolutely no way. Do you realize how much of those ingredients drop around here?
「Are you sure you’re not mistaken?」
「Yes, I’ve double-checked several times already」
Just to be sure, Edgar went over to the Auction Board and opened the list for himself.
From the “Skin Ingredients” category, he sorted the listings by name, and quickly searched for Lizard Skins.
The number on sale── was zero.
「…… You’re kidding me」
「Edgar-kun, take a look at the transaction logs for Lizard Skin」
Having discovered something, Suzu spoke up.
The transaction logs were a history of successful bids for a particular item.
And so, being urged by Suzu, Edgar opened up the transaction log… and what he saw made his expression freeze stiff.
「…… Unbelievable. How come so many players are buying Lizard Skin?」
Recorded in the transaction log, were the names of so many different players that it would be impossible to count.
Looking at the transaction times, the sales started to heat up around 1 hour ago. The final transaction happened 30 minutes earlier.
A colossal magnitude of players were purchasing Lizard Skin, as if they were fighting over it.
And to add to that abnormal scene, was the fact that it was not only Lizard Skin. Crab Claws and Animal Hair, and even Leather Straps were being bought up like crazy.
「It doesn’t look like Yoshii-kun bought them himself, but this is……」(Suzu)
「The people who won these bids are not from different towns though. They’re all here in Crescendo」
「…… You don’t think, are they Yoshii-kun’s friends?」
「No, that’s not right」
Edgar also thought of that possibility, but he dismissed it as very unlikely.
The ones who bought the ingredients are mostly likely the players who are here right now.
Judging by their appearance, their Levels are all over the place, and they look like they’re from different clans as well.
The possibility that they are all connected to Yoshii is pretty much non-existent──
But if that’s the case, then the only way we can find out the reason behind all this is to ask them directly.
「…… Excuse me, there is something I would like to ask you」
Edgar called out to the player beside him.
He was a player with the Fighter class.
His Level was low, so it was a bit early for him to be using the Auction. Yet, the Fighter was intently gazing at the Auction Board.
「…… What do you want?」
「Are you perhaps searching for Lizard Skin as well?」
「Haa? If that’s all then I ain’t got time to listen to your crap」
The Fighter answered back with a sharp tongue.
Most likely, since they are currently sold out, this guy is probably waiting for the moment some Lizard Skin or Crab Claws get put up for auction.
If he relaxes for just a single moment then the ingredients will be snatched up by other players the instant they go up for bids. Everyone here is a rival, so in the current situation I can’t really blame him for getting angry with me for trying to start a conversation.
「Why are all of you after Lizard Skin?」
「Asking “why”…… Obviously it’s because they’re profitable」
「……?? Profitable? The Lizard Skins are?」
Unable to comprehend the Fighter’s comment, Edgar tilted his head in response.
There were times in the past where the market price of items and ingredients suddenly skyrocketed, but that was only for major events like if said items became new crafting ingredients due to a version upgrade.
If you had the proper timing and bought a ton of these ingredients for cheap, then you could sell them as soon as the prices jump. The difference in prices could easily earn you a fortune.
It was a rather simple scheme of buying and re-selling.
However, in regards to Lizard Skin and Crab Claws, there was no information to indicate that they would become ingredients for new upcoming recipes.
「Why are the Lizard Skins profitable?」
「So fucking annoying! Look that shit up on your own! Just go to the plaza and see for yourself!」
「…… The plaza?」
Before he could even feel irritated that the Fighter suddenly yelled at him, a certain question ruled over Edgar’s thoughts.
What in the world is happening at the plaza?
Edgar sent a quick glance over to Suzu, but Suzu also couldn’t grasp the meaning behind the Fighter’s words, and she could only return Edgar’s puzzled expression with one of her own.
「Edgar-kun, for now let’s go have a look at the plaza」
「…… Yea, you’re right」
The last transaction for Lizard Skin was 30 minutes ago. In other words, from here on out there won’t be any more for sale.
Determining that staying here any longer would be a waste of precious time, Edgar nodded to Suzu in reply, and they swiftly turned about. Shrouded in a tense mood, they left the Auction House.
“The secret as to why Lizard Skin became expensive must be in the plaza”.
Relying on the words of that Fighter, Edgar was thinking that he needed to conduct a thorough investigation, but the secret behind it all was unexpectedly easy to find out.
It was in a corner of the plaza. Among the Social Shops trying to draw in customers, there was a spot where a remarkable crowd was being formed.
And, in the center of that crowd stood a lone player.
It was a man who both Edgar and Suzu recognized.
Darkened skin with brown hair fashioned in a two-block cut.
His smile lit up the surroundings, a man with a playful attitude──
Over there was without a doubt, the 「Lan-tard」that challenged Edgar to a contest; it was Yoshii.
「Oh hey there, Suzu-chan. And also Edgar-kun」
Yoshii waved over to Edgar and Suzu with a smile.
Calling them over in a manner as if he was trying to poke fun at them, Edgar unintentionally wore a grimace.
「…… What are you doing?」
「What am I doing…… Can’t you tell by just looking?」
「I’m asking because I can’t tell」
I could tell that it was Yoshii who gathered this crowd of players, but I don’t know why he had gathered them.
Edgar mumbled to himself, “I have a feeling this guy trying to pull off some kind of scam,” however-
「Sigh, as expected of a plain guy, you just don’t get it huh. Right now, to offer my support to these novice players, I’m buying a bunch of ingredients off them」
「…… You’re what?」
「Like-I-Said, in order to help these beginners with no money at all, I’m graciously lending them a hand」
When she heard Yoshii’s words, Suzu’s face instantly turned pale.
By ‘buying a bunch’…, he can’t mean──
「Yoshii-kun, is it perhaps…… Are you buying Lizard Skins from these people?」
「Precisely, Suzu-chan. But I can’t give that answer a full 100 points. The truth is that I’m not just buying Lizard Skin, you know? Crab Claws plus Animal Hair, and also…… Leather Straps as well」
「It can’t be…… ッ」
We’ve been had──
Edgar was struck by a feeling like his feet were being swept up from underneath him.
「I am buying these ingredients for 6000 manila, several times what they can get based on the auction prices. I am in desperate need of these ingredients after all, so don’t you think this idea makes everyone happy?」
「…… And, that is because you know that those are the ingredients we needed, right?」(Suzu)
「Eh? Is that true? I really had no idea~. However, I need a huge amount of those ingredients for crafting. If you two really need it then…… Let’s see, I could sell you Animal Hair for 10,000 manila a piece」
Suzu could only stare back dumbfounded at the price.
That amount of money was nearly 100 times the material store’s price. Even if they pooled their money together, it wouldn’t be enough to purchase even one of them.
「Really though~, it’s a good thing I’ve been saving up money. Well, I had to use a bit of real money mixed in with it too you see~」
「No way, you…… You used RMT?」(Edgar)
「RMT? What are you talking about. There’s no way I would do that, right?」
Being met with Edgar’s sharp glare, Yoshii replied with a sarcastic chuckle.
RMT, or “Real Money Trade”, was as the name suggests; it was a method by which you purchased in-game currency with real world money.
However, this type of trading was not officially recognized. Many MMO games, with Dragon’s Krone being among them, strictly banned these type of actions.
The reason was clearly stated, if RMT became widespread then the value of in-game currency would plummet. This would cause the price of goods to drastically increase, otherwise known as 「Inflation」. Inflation would cause the game’s balance to crumble, and in order to prevent players from wanting to quit and leave the game, RMT was strictly punished. For both the people conducting RMT and for the players using it, if you were discovered then often times you would receive a penalty more severe than the ones received for colluding or harassment.
「…… You used a rather complicated method to interfere with us huh. On the other hand, I’m quite impressed」
「Hmph, being praised by you doesn’t make me glad at all」
In all honesty, Yoshii devised a truly evil plan. Without having an absurd amount of money, there would be no way for him to obstruct us in such a grandiose scale.
Even if he started buying up a large amount of ingredients for dirt cheap, normally that wouldn’t be enough to cause unrelated third-parties to chase after the same ingredients with bloodthirsty eyes like they are now.
Of course this would include ingredients from the city’s material stores, but also the Auction, the Social Shops, and perhaps even… something outrageous might be happening over by the coast where Megu-san and the others are.
The beginner players were all swarming after ingredients that were previously ignored, and because of that they are unknowingly obstructing us. And, for Yoshii he would be referred to as their「Savior」; his reputation in this world would rise because of it.
Just as Yoshii had said, this idea would make everyone “happy”.
Of course, that would include everyone besides Us though.
「Now then, what will you do? The time you have left…… 1 hour has already passed you know?」
「Yoshii-kun…… People like you are just soo-!!」
Suzu accidentally let all her anger explode.
Yoshii-kun had prepared all of this from the very beginning. And, ever since he appeared in front of us he was just sitting here, patiently waiting.
「Oh please, you don’t have to get all mad like that, Suzu-chan. I’m only doing this to help you open your eyes and realize that this guy is deceiving you, you know? That is, so you and I can make a wonderful love-filled Clan together」
「W-Who in their right mind would ever…… ッ!」
「Suzu-san, calm down」
Edgar tried to pacify Suzu who was quaking with fury.
Even if we sent our time condemning Yoshii right now, it wouldn’t change a single thing. Rather, if we remonstrated Yoshii in front of all these players who are currently being helped by him, we would be the ones in a disadvantageous situation instead.
「Do what you like, Yoshii. As long as there’s still 1 hour left, we’ll do something about it」(Edgar)
「Oh, is that so? Fufu, but I wonder what you’ll do. Just look, more and more people are coming here wanting me to buy their ingredients, you know? Ah, you won’t go saying “This contest is invalid~” at this point, right? If you did that then some nasty rumors about you two might start spreading around. It would be hard for you to show your faces in this world anymore you know?」
As if he had already seized victory, Yoshii fired back with a sneer on his face.
Before Yoshii’s eyes, was an army of players gathered here only for him.
As the way things are, they will probably keep coming for more than an hour. In other words, for more than an hour the supply of「Lizard Skin」「Crab Claws」「Animal Hair」and「Leather Straps」will continue to be non-existent. They would be harder to obtain than even the highest rarity of「Artifact」level items.
However, as Yoshii brazenly wore a dignified expression as he turned to Edgar, he saw that Edgar still had light in his eyes; that he had not yet given up hope.
「Oh really. We are the ones who will win this contest, so why would we do something like that? I’ll say the same to you. In 1 hour, don’t go telling us this whole contest is invalid」
「Ha ha ha, those are quite the words, Edgar-kun」
Yoshii let out a haughty laugh.
For some reason his voice really pisses me off. If possible, I never want to see his face again.
「…… Let’s go, Suzu-san」
Grabbing hold of Suzu’s hand, Edgar left the plaza while trying to keep his anger under control like he told Suzu to do just a while earlier.
I’ll vent my anger on this shitty「Lan-tard」later.
As long as we don’t have much money, it will be impossible to buy ingredients from theses beginner players who are lured in by Yoshii’s deep pockets.
In other words, rather than with money, we have to think of an alternative strategy to deal with this.
And, since I am the one who told Suzu-san that we would definitely win── It is “My” responsibility to get to work.