This chapter marks the beginning of the main story. I will introduce a little change here, and include the tidbits that the Light Novel added to the Web Novel content. There’s two reasons for that:
- Several illustrations can only be added with those tidbits
- The tidbits add some depth to the side characters also appearing in the WN, making their actions a bit more relatable.
Some might ask why I’m not fully switching to the LN then, in regards to consistency. Mainly it’s because only two volumes have been released so far in an interval of a half year. The LN follows the WN closely, covering up to the end of Arc 3 (WN ch. 56). Since there will be quite a few double chapter releases down the road, we will catch up to that quickly. As the WN has 209 chapters in total, I want to keep the translation going without having to wait for further LN releases.
I think for you, the readers, it will be a gain, so I hope you can humor me on this “hybrid” approach.
Oh, and lastly, consider supporting this translation project by becoming a Patron. It’ll also allow you to read ahead. 🙂
“Yes. Yes, I understand. Thank you very much for contacting us. We will investigate it.” The man, who works at the Dungeon Agency ends another call with a citizen, this time from Tokyo, and sighs.
The Dungeon Agency is the government office that handles dungeon administration. Having said that, since the WDA is expected to regulate events that occur inside dungeons, they often end up acting as a liaison between the JDA, various ministries, and government offices.
As the WDA was established a short while after the dungeons came into existence. Their appearance created a need for a department to oversee dungeon administration. Precisely because it was directly related to dungeon rights, every ministry and government office reacted sensitively.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry tried to put dungeon management under its jurisdiction, using the value of their resources as a justification, the Ministry of Culture, Education, Science, Sport and Technology tried to establish a Dungeon Investigation & Research & Implementation Office, just like the Earthquake Investigation & Research & Implementation Office, for the sake of research.
Then, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication intended to establish a Dungeon Management Department within the Fire and Disaster Management Agency on the assumption of possible rescue missions within dungeons. At present, the right to command and control public institutions during times of extraordinary disasters hasn’t been granted to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. Instead the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Crisis Management or the disaster countermeasure office would take command, but the ministry obviously planned a legal reform in order to gain the centralized right to command during times of extraordinary disasters on this occasion. It was a situation where it was totally unclear what would happen next.
On top of that, even the Ministry of Justice apparently attempted to create a Dungeon Management Department in the Immigration Services Agency, for the absurd purpose of regulating immigration and emigration between Japan and dungeons. As if anyone would actually try to live inside a dungeon full time.
In the end, because weighing the different claims of the various offices would be difficult, and because of the need to extensively coordinate the interests of the various offices, the Dungeon Agency Establishment Law was passed, resulting in the formation of an independent agency.
“What? That’s a really gloomy face you’re pulling there.”
“If you had to take so many phone calls for the same reason, I’m sure you’d pull a face like this too. We’re a humble liaison agency, so it’s a hassle for everyone to be bothering us.”
“It’s about that thing, isn’t it? That auction.”
“Exactly. 『That’s not a scam, is it?』, as if I’d know anything about something like that. I’m telling you, they should just contact the Cyber Crime Control Office of the Metropolitan Police Department.”
“The JDA trade license ID has been properly publicized, no…? Should we get public safety on it, just in case?”
The man, who had been receiving the calls, pondered for a bit, and nodded at that, as there was nothing better than outsourcing problems to other people.
“You’re right. Seeing as it’s a public safety matter, please inform the National Public Safety Commission, and also tell them about the number of inquiries. Moreover, ask the JDA’s Dungeon Management Department for help as well.”
“Their duties certainly cover a wide field, don’t they?”
“It’s inevitable since the incidents that occur in dungeons are diverse and many, right? They do have my sympathies, though.”
It makes sense that you’d need a 『Do-it-right-away section』, at a single agency, with just one number to call, while the system is stabilizing and no one agency can claim full jurisdiction, but I 100% do not want to be the person answering that phone, especially since I don’t even have the authority to do much of anything.
And so, the Dungeon Agency forwarded all information about that troublesome auction to the National Public Safety Commission.
The consulting service of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Cyber Crime Control Office continuously receives requests for cyber crime-related consultations. Especially today, for some reason, there is an excess of inquiries, asking whether a certain auction is a scam.
“No, I don’t know anything about that, but it’s not a criminal offense to just say that you’re selling something illegal. What? A scam? There are no victims, right? Yes. Oof!”
Apparently the person on the other side of the line hung up after hurling some insults, as the consultation didn’t go as they had expected.
“What’s up? Again with that auction?”
The man, who took the call, smashes the receiver into the cradle while replying.
“But, why call the consultation service of the Cyber Crime Control Office? I can only think of it as pointlessly wasting the time of our personnel, and increasing the stress placed on this department…such things can be handled fine by email, no?”
“Because they know that the reception is only manned during weekdays from 8:30 am to 5:15 pm?”
The man, who had asked in such a blunt manner, only shrugs his shoulders. “I mean, we are a section in charge of cyber 『crimes』 such as hacking, fraud, defamation, threats, blackmails, obscenity, child pornography, and vicious businesses. Getting us involved at a stage where there’s no crime is just a pain.”
The other man scratches his head, “They’re telling us to investigate it since it might be a crime, right?”
“If you draw the conclusion here that it’s necessary to investigate this, wouldn’t you need to investigate all net auctions then? Asking everyone, “what you’re selling is the real deal, not a scam, right?” would be a scene out of some dystopia.”
“However, it’s not that I don’t understand them harboring doubts, exactly because it is what it is….but, it’s not really a crime to plot a scam.”
Plotting a crime, as in the preliminary step before carrying it out. In the case that this leads to an actual crime, the plotting itself will become one as well, but usually the threat of legal infringement present during the plotting of a crime doesn’t actually lead to a criminal act, and thus, it doesn’t count as a crime.
“They are just saying that they’re going to put something that’s impossible to sell on sale. There’s no reason to accuse them of a crime as long as what they are selling isn’t illegal, is there?”
“Just in case, we should file a report and send an inquiry to the JDA. Since the trade license’s ID has been specified, I think they will know the person behind it right away.”
As he says so, the phone rings loudly once again, demanding that he answers it quickly. Almost praying that it’s something other than the auction this time, the man picks up the receiver. While sensing that his hope might be in vain.
I have gone over to Yoyogi to hunt slimes today, just like every day.
Since the formation of D-Powers, we acquired one additional <Water Magic> and two additional <Physical Resistance>. As I get all fired up by myself, since it looks like I will be able to get another <Water Magic> orb today, I’m suddenly addressed by someone in front of the reception desk.
“Oh, Ms. Naruse. Hello.”
Since getting acquainted with Ms. Naruse during the suicide uproar, and being accommodated by her in various matters during the party formation process, we’ve become friends. Of course it’s nothing I would directly tell her, but she’s a pretty, intelligent, and fantastic person.
Except for the management staff, it’s probably just Ms. Naruse who knows about me being a member of 「D-Powers」, which has Miyoshi as the public face.
“Hello. Do you have a moment?”
“Eh? Yeah, sure.”
I’m taken along to the usual cafe by Ms. Naruse as if being dragged, and as soon as I sit down with a cup in my hand, she immediately broaches the main topic without a preface.
“Yesterday a sales website was published by D-Powers.”
Oh, so Miyoshi has finally gone public?
“I heard that it would be soon, but yesterday, huh? The formalities should have been in order, so I doubt there’s any problem with the site, but did something happen?”
“That site wasn’t publicized as next year’s April fool’s joke by some mistake, was it?”
Yep. I totally get her. I would probably think the same.
“No, it’s a genuine sales site. I told you that some of it would take the shape of an auction, though.”
“I see. So, about the goods…”
“As a matter of fact, the JDA has been flooded with inquiries asking whether it’s a scam.”
“Far from it!”
“You do know that an orb disappears one day after its discovery, don’t you?”
“Then you’re saying that you’ve created that site, not as a joke or scam, despite that knowledge.”
I haven’t checked it yet, but currently nothing but skill orbs should be sold on that site.
Probably it’ll be something like three <Water Magic> at first, and one <Physical Resistance>.
<Physical Resistance> is an unknown skill as of yet, after all.
Even if its effect should be obvious from its name, the details might be unclear.
I’m pretty sure an organization related to the WDA is going to win the bid, and test it out first.
<High Recovery> and <Storage> aren’t supposed to be sold yet.
“Umm…it’s just a blind guess, but…”
“Did you find a method to preserve orbs?”
A smile formed on my lips unintentionally due to Ms. Naruse’s far too straight question.
“That’s difficult for me to answer.”
If I were to confirm the existence of such a method, it wouldn’t end with just a huge uproar. Not only the JDA, but even the Japanese government would probably demand a release of the information.
It’s obvious that a majority of Japanese people wouldn’t want it to be announced publicly if they had won a big amount of money in a lottery. That also applies to explorers.
Naturally Ms. Naruse, who comes into contact with us on-site, understands as much.
“Let’s temporarily assume that such a method exists, okay?”
“The possibility of it being sold or patented is…”
“It’s just hypothetical, right?”
“I think it’s probably non-existent. Because of Miyoshi.”
Ms. Naruse limply leans back in her chair, with an expression showing that she had expected as much.
“Umm, I think there will probably be places that will offer as much as 100,000,000,000 Yen…” (T/N: 956,343,000 $)
“That amazing amount of money would make my legs tremble, but a party of merely two people can’t hold onto such an amount of money.”
Even I don’t really believe in what I’m saying there while revealing a shady smile, but well whatever.
Sure, 100 billion Yen is a lot, but the preservation device is me. Hence freedom, plus a reasonable amount of money, is far better.
However, if this were to spread, countless applications to join our party would come in from all kinds of places. Mostly with the intention to spy. I wonder what Miyoshi is planning to do about new members and such.
“Umm, it’s just figuratively.”
“Would you be able to preserve orbs on behalf of others if the JDA requested it?”
I ponder about it for a bit.
If I agree here, it will prove that I possess a means to preserve orbs. However, if I decline, it might become troublesome, as we will be investigated in various ways.
“Assuming I had such a technique, only under several conditions.”
“Understood. My boss might intrude upon you in the near future, but──”
“If possible, it’d be a big help if you, who has already helped us out in the past, could continue serving as the contact person. You can also add this to the conditions, if you want.”
“Thank you very much. Please allow me to think it over.”
And then Ms. Naruse returned to the JDA. I suspended the dungeon run and headed back home in order to be ready as soon as possible to deal with any situations that might crop up.
In a stately, windowless room, located in Central Government Building 2, standing on Sakurada Street, which was painted with the beautiful autumn colors of the Japanese horse chestnuts’ leaves that had started to turn crimson, a neurotic-looking man received a report from a featureless, ordinary man, with a medium build.
“So, are there any important factors in regards to the matter in question?”
The man’s report was about the same issue that had been brought up by the JDA, the Cyber Crime Control Office, and the Dungeon Agency.
“Isn’t it just saying that yet another simple scamming site has been set up?”
“No, the core of this issue pertains to the situation if this site isn’t a scam.”
“The situation if it isn’t a scam?”
“The trader’s license of the one in charge of the auction belongs to a woman called Miyoshi Azusa, but if this auction were to be genuine, her value would become unfathomable.”
The neurotic man considers the matter, and asks the reporting man, “So what is the CIRO (Cabinet of Intelligence and Research Office) telling us to do about it?”
“The technology, which the founder of this site might possess, will be considered a treasure and a threat, if this proves not to be a scam.”
“I have also heard about the matter with <Different World Language Comprehension>. You’re saying, those folks might become the key here?”
“That possibility exists.”
“I guess for the time being we’re going to recommend a travel ban. Of course, only if it’s the real deal, that is.”
The man concurs by merely bowing his head.
“Very well. We will handle the necessary arrangements with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the director of the Dungeon Agency from our side.”
“Thank you very much.”
“Please handle matters properly on your end as well.”
“Of course. The duty of our organization is to maintain public safety and order after all.”
“Whoa, just a minute there. Don’t forget about the part after that.”
The featureless man smiles faintly, bows, and leaves the room.
This organization’s duty has been defined in paragraph 5 of the police law. It says, 『It is their duty to maintain the public safety and order, and protect the freedom and rights of the individual.』
“Huh? Aren’t you kind of early?”
Once I open the door, Miyoshi, who totally behaves as if this is her home, turns around with a puzzled look in front of the coffee dripper.
The dining area of my apartment has already been magically remodeled into something like a small office by Miyoshi. My private area has decreased to no more than the bedroom further back in, but even there, the kotatsu sometimes seems to be occupied by her. It’s the sorrow of a 1DK.
A characteristic, nice aroma is filling the room. It should be the beans Miyoshi has recently taken a liking to. What were they called again? Beans with a name sounding as if they are wearing ornamental hairpins ── the Geisha blend, was it? ── originating from a plantation with some name that’s similar to some old shooting game in Panama1, or a plantation with some name similar to the female pirate searching for Tochiro2, was it? 3 This blend seems to be extremely difficult in regards to controlling its roasting time. She said that she had a skilled artisan roast the green coffee beans. This girl’s obsession with food is at a level that makes me draw back a bit. However, the end result is definitely delicious.
“Gimme a cup, too.”
At once, Miyoshi starts preparing a new dripper.
“I hear you finally put them up for sale?”
“Where did you hear it from? They sure have sharp ears.”
“Ms. Naruse got hold of me at the dungeon’s reception.”
“Haah. I wonder, did she avoid coming directly to me because she wants to see you? Just as I suspected.”
What’s this girl saying?
“You didn’t come with me to the registration, now did you? Leaving that aside, she’s saying that inquiries about the authenticity of the site are flooding the JDA.”
It’s only natural. I’m sure I’d think the same if I didn’t know anything.
“Well, I have given her a rough explanation, but…”
“I had no choice with how things were going, okay? I think she got me since she suddenly tossed a strong fast ball, without any acting or shit like that.” Saying so, I explain my previous conversation with Ms. Naruse to Miyoshi.
“But, senpai. If you start such a business, everyone will sooner or later reach this conclusion. There’s no other option, if it’s not a scam.”
“What about creating an amazing explorer network and getting the requested orbs on demand, or something along those lines?”
“That’s way too unreasonable.”
“So, what conditions do you plan to impose for storing orbs?”
“Let’s see. First, Ms. Naruse will be the contact person.”
“So you guys had that kind of relationship, after all. She seems to be a former Miss Keiyo, you know?”
“No, no, no, no, wait. You’d also hate it if it was someone annoying who’s playing psychological games, right? Like Enoki.”
“Ah, how nostalgic, that name. What happened to that company?”
“No clue. Next would be the remaining time, I suppose. I’d like the orbs to have at least four hours left.”
“That means, less than 1200 on the orb counter, doesn’t it?”
“Correct. Then, a commission, I’d say?”
“A truckload of that, boss.”
“Nothing less of an Oumi trader.”
“Mmh. How about 20% of the sales price? Tell them, 10% for the actual expenses, and 10% as handling charge, or such?”
“20%? That’ll mean the storage fee will be ten million if the orb costs fifty million, no? Isn’t that like ripping them off?”
“Isn’t that normal? I mean, around 20% as consumption tax and service charge will easily be taken off you if you go to a slightly fancy restaurant. Even the taxes you pay for the sales profit of stocks, and the handling charge as well tax taken for a trader’s license are both 20%, no?”
“Somehow I feel as if you’re bearing a grudge.”
“It’s just-yo-ur-i-ma-gi-na-tion. Or is it better to structure the rates in correspondence with the safekeeping period?”
“Well yeah. It won’t be limited to storing the orbs for the sake of selling, and we’d draw morons feeling inclined to get the better of us by reselling orbs for a big sum after selling the one handed out by us for 100,000 and thus only having paid a storage fee of 20,000.”
“Such trade partners will be banned, banned I tell you. After all it will be a service only we can provide in this world. We’re going to go ahead with confidence!”
“Anyway, so I will ask for the custody time and the orb’s value. Keeping the rest negotiable will be a safe approach, I’d say?”
“That’s right. How are we going to calculate the storage fee then?”
“One million per day, or something like that?”
“Well, isn’t it fine to meet with the other party and ask about their wishes? That will allow us to gradually get an idea of an estimate, no?”
Immediately after a hollow bubbling sound, Miyoshi passes me the coffee that finished dripping.
“Here you go.”
While sniffing the characteristic aroma, I take a sip and hold it in my mouth.
An acidity that has a feeling of translucence spreads, and then a mild coffee body seems to surge forward on my tongue. It’s definitely delicious.
That means fussing over coffee makes a difference, huh?
“So, did you sell any orbs?”
“For the time being it looks like I got some prices. For the first two days I’m making them show their ID to prove their authenticity while pretending to have forgotten.”
“Their ID will be hidden on the last day. I think there’s only a few successful bidders who would want to be singled out.”
“In the end, you’re going to use an auction format then?”
“Well, there’s not much merchandise. Besides, at present it’s just us across the whole world who can deal with these! Even Southerbee’s or Christy’s can’t put up such auctions!”
Makes sense. Orbs do vanish if their time runs out.
“For starters, the price for the three <Water Magic> orbs has started at 60,000,000 JPY (Japanese Yen) each. I set it up to have a 10 minutes time extension, once they are bid on. When I checked just now, they were at 108,000,000.”
“What? Didn’t you mention something about 80,000,000 before?”
“That’s the price assigned by a single buyer in the current system. I think this much is only natural, if there’s competition.”
Hmm, I don’t know what kind of skill <Water Magic> is, but if it allows you to use some awesome offensive magic, the military might value it more than even a fighter jet…
“What’s the deadline?”
“So far as it goes, three days.”
“That’s amazing. The time for winning a bid on an orb that doesn’t last more than a day is three days.”
“It’ll shake the world.”
Will it really…? It actually might.
“So, what are you going to do after someone wins the bid?”
“Personal delivery. Of course home delivery will be impossible. I will send a password to the successful bidder. The encryption of the password will be a public key known to both sides. Then I will get the successful bidder to come to a rented conference room of the JDA, and there I will receive their encrypted data. Once I manage to decrypt it with our private key, I will confirm that the payment has been made via bank deposit transfer, and hand over the orb.”
“It ain’t as if we can guarantee the orb’s timer for any delivery type except personally after it leaves our hands.”
It looks like Miyoshi has written the lowest guaranteed time in the product description.
“I’m really thrilled about the final price.”
Miyoshi drains her coffee while grinning broadly, as she imagines the winning bid.
This might be enough for an Oumi trader, but I worry about what will happen after the sale. I think we might as well go into exile for a while until things cool down a bit.
“You bet. How about going on a vacation this winter, even to a foreign country, once we are done with this? Kind of like a company outing.”
“That’s a great idea! I’d like to visit Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat.”
“What remote cultures. Wouldn’t it be better to go to France, Italy, or if it’s soon, Spain, for food?”
“Oh, those might be nice too…”
“Well, let’s do our best so that we haven’t counted our chickens before they’ve hatched.”
However, no one could have guessed that a vacation abroad would become a dream within a dream from now on. Of course we, who aren’t gods, couldn’t even begin to imagine it.
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
- This refers to Emeraldas of Captain Harlock who seems to be looking for her husband Tochiro Oyama
- Author’s notes are here: first is the Donpachi Plantation, second the Esmeralda Plantation. The dry roasting of a Geisha blend needs to be accurate on the second. Especially the flushing specifications are harsh