When I logged in and woke up, it was a beautiful morning.
The orange rays of the sunrise spilled in through my window.
Today will be a good day.
《You have received some information from the GMs. Do you wish to read it?》
Do we get some more data?
《Update: As of yesterday, the database has been updated!》
I’ll check it out later.
I’ll put adventuring first.
I prepared everything yesterday, so I just had to quickly put on my armour and leave Master’s house.
I messaged Adele and Irina, telling them I was online.
Without that much of a delay, I got a reply from Irina.
I told her to meet up at Mio’s place.
I summoned Zangetsu and Helix, and headed towards Legias.
When I got to Legias I headed straight towards Mio’s stall.
Looked like they were already starting business for the day.
A nice smell wafted towards me, making me painfully aware of the emptiness in my stomach.
Ah, some nice food would be great…
I went into the stall, but it looked like Mio was still busy stocking.
Yuka was helping her out too.
On top of that, Fiona and Rick weren’t at the neighbouring street stalls.
I didn’t have anyone to talk to.
「Hey! Sorry, we’re still preparing」
「I can wait」
I sat down in a chair at the back of the stall.
While paying half a mind to Mio and Yuka, I looked over the info I got this morning.
I looked at the raw data first.
The player count was a little less than 8,300 people.
An increase from last time.
I wonder what that would mean regarding the hunting grounds… I wonder if they would ever get overcrowded.
I felt myself wanting to see this number go even further, just to see what would happen.
Well now that I think about it, I could just move to another area to hunt. No real issue.
I looked for the number of summoners.
I saw Adele and Irina in just the town alone, so I bet the number must’ve gone up by quite a bit.
Hey, that’s a lot.
A lot more than I expected.
Now that I think about it, Adele and Irina did mention that they wanted to be solo players. Maybe that’s why I haven’t met the others.
I wonder what caused this spike in new summoners.
I thought about it for a while but couldn’t come up with anything.
Just like last time, I ordered the jobs from the lowest number of players.
It looked like this:
Lumberjack 2 players
Glass Worker 3 players
Stonemason 3 players
Potter 3 players
Jeweler 3 players
Fisherman 4 players
Brewer 5 players
Farmer 8 players
Bard 17 players
Summoner 26 players
Alchemist 34 players
Merchant 92 players
Weaver 98 players
Pharmacist 122 players
There weren’t any jobs with just one player.
I thought summoner players increased by a lot, but it looked like the alchemist job enjoyed an ever larger boost.
Actually now that I think about it, there were already quite a few alchemists before. It just looked like a big increase.
I realised there were quite a few jobs that still had one digit player counts.
I knew two of the three Glass Workers in existence.
I’m treating them like they’re some rare specimen.
But they still felt so familiar… It was a strange feeling.
Just like last time, I filtered out players who’ve learnt only one elemental magic skill and less, then sorted them by the number of different elemental magic skills learnt.
The largest number was seven elemental magic skills.
Just one player.
Looked like I was alone at the top.
Although seeing that the closest player after me had only four different elements should’ve given me an idea of how dumb I really was.
But I didn’t regret anything.
「Yeah! I finished one!」
When I turned to the direction of the sound, Mio handed me a hot dog.
No, it was more like fried vegetables and fried minced meat stuffed in an oval-shaped piece of bread.
I used【Appraise】on it and quickly bit into it.
I couldn’t take the hunger anymore.
I finished it in no time and talked to Mio and Yuka.
「Oh! That was good!」
「You ate way too quickly! You didn’t get to taste it properly!」
They each had their own reactions.
Mio handed me a cup of warm tea and as I was about to get back to looking at the statistics, Fiona and Rick, along with Fudo, walked into the stall.
「Hey, aren’t you early today」
I exchanged greetings with Rick and Fudo.
They soon absorbed themselves in Yuka’s cooking.
Well, there was nothing wrong with that. Especially for a guy.
Actually, it looked like Yuka was just following the old saying: “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”
「Hey Keith, you got a moment?」
Fiona suddenly walked up to me and requested a『Union』. I gave her a strange look, but accepted it anyway.
She leaned closer and started speaking in a whisper voice.
『There’s something I need to ask you. I’d like to hear your take on it』
『What is it?』
『Did you see the data the GMs sent this morning?』
『I was just looking at it』
『Alright, what did you think?』
I had no idea what Fiona was up to, but I did get a sort of general impression from just looking around for a bit earlier.
Fiona was giving me her undivided attention.
『You think there’s something up with the number of players?』
『I think it’s a good number, considering the size and number of hunting grounds around here』
『Yeah… I suppose you could look at it from that perspective too…』
What on earth was she going on about?
『But what I’m interested in is the GMs’, no, the game’s commerciality』
Hang on, wait a second.
I did some quick maths in my head.
The bill for this game tended to change a lot, but let’s suppose that 30 days is a month, and that you would be charged ¥1,000 every month.
Let’s then assume that there were 10,000 players.
The game would get an income of 10 million yen every month.
Although I’m sure there’s many expenses to running this game.
Labour costs, server upkeep, development and updates, advertisements, and so on.
Might be too early to say now, but they might have to think about redistributing profits to investors too.
10 million yen a month?
I feel like with that you could only hire about 20 people…
On top of that, new players could play for free for a while too…
『Something doesn’t really add up… Aren’t they completely in the red here?』
『Oh, good thinking, Keith. I can save the effort of explaining it to you』
Fiona held the hot dog Mio gave her in her hand, and without bringing it to her mouth, continued whispering.
『At the minimum, to even maintain this game, you would need about 50,000 players, and to make a reasonable profit I’d say you would need more than 300,000 players… Some popular games have more than a million players, so it’s not an unreasonable number』
『You think so?』
『In any case, if I were someone funding this game, I’d be furious』
『Aren’t investors looking to make their money back in the long term anyway?』
『I don’t think that’ll happen for them. Maybe if they have a massive media campaign, but I don’t think that’ll happen either』
『What do you think the chances are that they have restrictions on funding to avoid confusion? Just because everything is still so uncertain』
『I just thought of that myself too… The scale of the game might explode someday and that’s when they’ll get more confident… But still…』
『Hey, maybe there are reasons that we just don’t understand as to how this game is staying afloat』
『I don’t know about that. My intuition says otherwise…』
Fiona continued pondering it on her own.
I wonder if I should be worrying for her.
『Why don’t you take a break and start over from the beginning, looks like you’re getting lost. Also your food’s getting cold』
『Ah, you’re right』
When I went out of whisper mode and moved back in my chair, I noticed Mio was glaring at me.
Did I do something?
「I’m telling you now Keith, I won’t allow any flirting!」
No, that’s not what we were talking about!
Fiona, say something! Stop ignoring me in favour of your food and save me!
Adele and Irina walked into the stall.
As energetic as usual.
「Hey! You guys want to eat something?」
「「It would be our pleasure!」」
Mio calmed down a bit and put on her usual cook’s face.
What incredible timing.
Enjoy it you two, you have the right to order and eat whatever you like.
The menu is limited though!
Well in any case, this’ll be a nice opportunity to finish some business early.
I pulled out yesterday’s haul and lined up all the items in front of Fiona, who was still busy eating.
A lot of Evil Ant Stings and Evil Ant Shells, along with some burdock, Obsidian Rocks, and Striped Raccoon Skins.
「Adele, Irina, I’ll be sure to split the reward with you guys later, but I’m selling yesterday’s haul now alright?」
Since their mouths were stuffed with food, they could only give a nod of approval.
「You brought a lot again」
「Adele and Irina helped me out with hunting in the forest yesterday」
「Don’t let them get surrounded by ants, alright?」
Oh, looks like I hit a nerve.
They were alright, no worries.
Of course, it would be dangerous if you weren’t careful, but the reward for hunting in the forest was great.
They both leveled up on the first day.
「I’ll do my best」
It was the proper response in that situation.
I combined Irina’s, Adele’s and my haul and sold all of it.
Afterwards, Fiona handed me the Wild Horse Hide Saddle.
The saddle was pretty expensive but since I made quite a bit selling yesterday’s haul, I still ended up with some extra money on my hands.
I decided to buy Adele and Irina some nice clothes from the nearby street stalls.
I wanted to get them some armour too, but I didn’t have enough money on hand for that.
Maybe I should hunt some rabbits in the plains to get some skins.
After waiting for Adele and Irina to change into their new clothes, we left the stall.
But before that, wasn’t there some “homework” I gave them yesterday?
「Well then, it’s time to submit your homework. Did you decide on your next Summon Monster?」
「Then let’s get to it!」
Behind the stall, the two of them casted【Summon Monster】.
Inside the magic circles appeared a horse and a hawk.
「This is my answer to your “homework”」
「Sorry, I ended up copying your fighting style, Keith」
「From now on, we’ll do our best so that we can both learn to ride a horse!」
「That’s good and all, but what about your horse-riding gear?」
You’re repeating the same mistake I made.
There’s no way around it, is there…
I handed them the saddle I just got from Fiona.
The saddle I was using was one that I borrowed from Master, and it didn’t have any special effects.
But if because of my new saddle, their riding gets even a little better, I would wish nothing more than that.
「You can use this saddle. But we do need other pieces of equipment too, like the mouthpiece, reins, and so on. C’mon, let’s go buy them」
「Thank you so much for your purchase!」
What’s with that bright business smile, Fiona?
Not like I could resist them with that look on their faces…
Hey wait a minute, you sell horse gear!?
「Rick and I have connections to the horse business. Of course I have horse gear」
「I’ll buy it at your asking price…」
I ended up having to spend quite a bit, but I couldn’t help it. Oh well.
「OK, have you given your new Summon Monsters names?」
I used【Identify】on the two new Summon Monsters
Horse Maa-chan Lv.1
Summon Monster On Standby
Hawk Sky Eye Lv.1
Summon Monster On Standby
I could tell from just the names who their owners were.
I equipped Maa-chan with the gear I just bought.
It started looking like a proper horse.
Unlike Zangetsu, Maa-chan had a beautiful, shiny grey coat.
Adele stroked the horse’s body with strange, slow motions.
Maybe just enjoying the feeling.
Just guessing from her facial expression.
She looked like she could stay that way for quite a while.
「Hey, Adele, we’re going!」
Ah, I guess in these situations I could rely on Irina.
I’ll be counting on you, Irina.
This kind of thing is way out of my reach.
So, on today’s menu is…
Hunting rabbits in the plains.
There’s probably going to be some differences due to the new summon monsters, but I suppose we can stick to the original plan.
But before any of that, I needed to get Adele used to being on horseback.
As soon as we left the village and stepped foot on the highway, I told Adele to get on the horse right away.
Well as long as she was just following us at a walking pace there was no problem, but it looked like she had some issues once Maa-chan had to break into a run.
Not having the skill【Horsemanship】definitely made the whole thing more difficult.
Even with【Horsemanship】, I still had some trouble fighting on horseback.
I could only fight when I used magic to increase my DEX stat.
They didn’t have that magic spell either.
I wanted to believe that the saddle’s special effects would help them out somehow, but my confidence was pretty thin.
But it seemed like they were coming up with their own ideas.
Their idea was for both of them to ride Maa-chan and have one person control the horse while the other was in charge of attacking.
I thought horseback archery would be pretty difficult, but it might work out if they split their duties like that.
I guess the cause for concern would then be the horse, who would have to run with two people riding it. But since Adele and Irina are pretty light, seems there won’t be an issue there either.
The only real problem was whether or not the arrow would hit.
Well, even if they miss, they can always just hit the target with a rod too.
We went onwards on the road and went out of the forest and into the plains.
I immediately noticed two hawks in the sky, looking for their next prey.
In the fields were Wild Dogs, along with some parties that were hunting them. But today we were looking for rabbits.
We soon found some.
『There it is. Try taking it down』
I pointed to a Wild Rabbit while speaking in whispers. I wanted to see them in action.
I wonder how it’ll go.
The first arrow missed.
The next one only lightly grazed the Wild Rabbit. What a shame.
Maybe hitting a moving target was asking for too much.
It was Sky Eye’s time to shine.
He distracted the Wild Rabbit from above, and tried to keep it in place.
Give it your best shot, Sky Eye.
The moment the rabbit stood still, it took a direct hit from Irina’s arrow.
While Sky Eye was pursuing the rabbit, it took another arrow through its chest.
Looks like she could do it after all.
Hey, nicely done.
Her fighting style was pretty similar to mine, but it was nonetheless very interesting to watch.
And since the bow was a ranged weapon, the risk of her taking damage was considerably less.
But then again, because she was using a bow, she was a having pretty difficult time fighting too.
In any case, it’ll be a great experience for them.
There were other, more pressing concerns.
「It’s all good that you’re splitting your roles into riding and attacking, but won’t your growth be biased that way?」
「It’ll be fine. We’re going to take turns」
「We both took【Horsemanship】too!」
「I’m also planning on summoning a horse for myself in the future」
「Ah, I’ve already decided on my next Summon Monster too! A wolf!」
Is that so?
They were looking out for each other…
No, one of them was mainly just looking out onto some fluffy paradise.
At that pace, we continued hunting for a while.
We started to develop a sort of form.
But I felt like the horse Maa-chan and the hawk Sky Eye were contributing more than anyone else.
Well, using Summon Monsters was a summoner’s job, so that was fine too I guess.
「Nice, let’s go to Remut」
「We’ll continue hunting after we’ve taken a look at the Adventurer’s Guild」
Looks like they were just getting into it. I could see looks of dissatisfaction on their faces.
It’s not like we couldn’t just hunt, but it would be better if we had some kind of goal to work towards.
Let’s look for a nice quest.
Race Human Male Racial Lv5
Job Summoner Lv4
Bonus Points Remaining 17
Staff Lv4 Punch Lv3（↑1） Kick Lv3（↑1） Joint Lock Lv3 Throw Lv3 Evade Lv3 Block Lv2 Summon Magic Lv5
Light Magic Lv2 Wind Magic Lv3 Earth Magic Lv2 Water Magic Lv3 Fire Magic Lv1 Dark Magic Lv1
Alchemy Lv3 Pharmacy Lv3（↑1） Glassmaking Lv3
Cooperation Lv5 Appraise Lv4 Identify Lv4 Cold Resistance Lv2 Grab Lv3 Horsemanship Lv4 Precise Manipulation Lv3 Jump Lv1 Heat Resistance Lv3
Kaya Wood Rod Wild Rabbit Breastplate+ Series Snow Ape Armguard Wild Horse Boots+ Snow Ape Leather Helmet Rucksack Item Box x2
Old Summoner’s Temporary Pupil
Volff Wolf Lv4（Asleep）
Zangetsu Horse Lv3
Helix Hawk Lv3
Obsidian Owl Lv3（Asleep）
Jean Bat Lv1（Asleep）
Adele and Maa-chan
Irina and Sky Eye