“Senpai, that was totally hilarious!”
As I return to Dolly, I’m greeted by Miyoshi’s sparkling eyes. Seen on a monitor, it probably looked like a decent action movie, but I just want to shower, eat, and sleep now…
“Senpai, by the way, do you know the price of a rank 5 healing potion?”
“Nah, no clue.”
“Figures,” Miyoshi laughs, looking amused, and hands me a cup of cold water. “A rank 1 healing potion costs around one to two million Yen.”
It’s not cheap, but it doesn’t sound like an especially absurd price for a pro explorer. I gulp down a sip of water. It’s been cooled nicely. I feel the coldness penetrate my body. I guess I’m more exhausted than I thought.
According to Miyoshi’s explanation, the effects of the different ranks of potions go more or less like this:
Rank 1 seems to be able to heal simple bone fractures. It’ll completely fix anything up to what’s called tennis or baseball elbow. It’ll apparently also fix a torn muscle.
Rank 2 completely heals stuff like cleaved-open stomachs, damage to the eyeball, and compound fractures.
Rank 3 can reattach amputated body parts, and can heal extensive burns.
Rank 4 returns limbs that have been crushed like goo to their original state.
Rank 5 returns limbs to their former state, even when you’ve lost half of them.
Rank 6 returns limbs to their former state, even after losing 80% of them.
Rank 7 returns lost limbs to their former state, even after a little bit of time has passed.
Rank 8 ~ 10 haven’t been discovered yet.
Considering all that, Ayesha would have needed a potion above rank 8, and as that hasn’t been discovered yet, it was impossible to buy one.
“The price of each rank uses the market price of rank 1 as a basis. The rest will be generally calculated based on the drop rarity. Or to be precise, it’s roughly the price of the previous rank times the potion rank.”
“In short, if a rank 1 costs a million, rank 2 will cost two million, as it’s one million times two, and if it’s rank 3 it’ll be six million, as it’ll be two million times three, correct?”
“Yes. But then again, since the number of high-ranking potions is low, the actual trading prices are all over the place.”
In other words, a factorial of the applicable rank times the price of rank 1, huh…?
“So, assuming that rank 1 costs a million, rank 5 will be…”
No wonder that those siblings were surprised.
“In the first place, rank 5 potions don’t really appear on the market oft──”
I quietly take out the items I obtained this time, and place them on the table.
Healing Potion (5)
Cure Potion (7)
Fang: Hellhound x 8
Pelt: Hellhound x 3
Magic Crystal: Hellhound x 8
Pelt: Hellhound of Hecate
Horn: Hellhound of Hecate x 3
Magic Crystal: Hellhound of Hecate
“──Senpai, you gotta be kidding, all of these?”
“These are the loot items from that last encounter.”
“I kinda feel like the drop rate is weird…” Miyoshi says, and then checks the items, by touching them while making rummaging sounds.
“It’s probably thanks to LUC.”
As soon as she touches a faint yellow-green, potion-like item, Miyoshi lifts her face in shock, “Senpai! T-This. This cure potion is rank 7, y’know!?”
I’m still not completely clear on what that means for its value, but if I apply what we talked about just now, the factorial of 7 would be 5040. I guess you could call that surprising.
“Why are you so laid back about this? A cure potion is used to heal illnesses, but at rank 7, almost any incurable disease could be completely healed, understand?”
“Let alone leukemia, there are even reported cases of dementia having been completely cured.”
I almost spit out the water in my mouth. Dementia is treated as an illness?
“If I had to take a guess, things like the recovery of nerve cells would fall into the domain of a healing potion, no?”
To begin with, how would that affect memory loss? Does that mean it’ll just work out somehow by returning the hardware to its original state?
“Well, you’re right. That’s why that part might also be an issue of the 『awareness』 you mentioned, senpai.”
“You’re saying, as long as you recognize dementia as an 『injury』 of the nerve cells, you might be able to completely heal it with a rank 6 healing potion?”
“Possibly. There’s few places which can run such experiments, or rather…I don’t think there’s any at present.”
After all, high-ranking potions are dearly desired by a great number of people. There aren’t enough for anyone to use them in experiments with unknown outcomes.
“Cure potions up to rank 4 are circulating on the market for relatively cheap prices. It sounds like even a rank 4 can completely heal some diseases that are incurable using medicine.”
On the whole, their appearance rate isn’t all that different from healing potions, but with cure potions mostly being needed by ordinary people, whereas the demand for healing potions is mostly driven by the fact that they are desperately needed by explorers, cure potions seem to be somewhat cheaper.
“At rank 4, they cost upwards of 19,200,000 Yen.”
“How’s that cheap?” I ask, astonished.
If you use the same calculation formula as with healing potions, a rank 1 costs around 800,000 Yen.
“In reality, people buy them in order to treat intractable diseases. In other words, there are many cases where a potion is far cheaper than what you’d pay using insurance. It’s to the extent that the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is considering cutting down on insurance expenses and establishing a distribution organization.”
I suppose that means that they’ll reduce their expenses by using potions to heal diseases that are otherwise difficult to treat. Come to think of it, in America a course of treatment with that Leukemia drug, Kymria-something, costs 475,000 Dollars, albeit only upon success. In Japan, it’d cost a little less than 33 million Yen, whether you get cured or not. I guess that means 20 million is still cheaper…
If you use the expensive medical care system of the health insurance marketplace, the patient will just pay a limited sum of money out of their own pocket. If you file for an Eligibility Certificate for Ceiling-Amount Application, you’ll be temporarily exempted from paying. If you want to call it a win-win relationship, it sure is, but…
“Hah, it totally fits to call it cancer for medicine developers, doesn’t it?”
“Well, since the amount available on the market is low, it’s not viewed as a problem at present, but if the availability on the market were to increase, it might turn into a life-or-death issue for those companies. It’s also possible that they won’t allow for such a distribution system to be set up.”
That’d mean that our lives would be targeted if we were to swamp the market with a large amount of potions.
“Rank 5 and above starts to work against illnesses which are currently regarded as incurable, or exceedingly difficult to fully cure, but because the difficulty of the monsters dropping them jumps up as well, they are rarely available.”
I see. That’s why medicine developers can safely ignore them.
“But then again, even if you were to go through all the trouble of developing a medicine to treat such an illness, you wouldn’t make any profit because of the low number of patients. So, despite being a magnificent achievement, in the sense of contributing to humanity, you probably couldn’t find any investors to back that kind of research.”
“In short, you’re saying that it wouldn’t affect the development of medicines all that much, even if we were to make rank 5 potions and above available for sale in the future?”
“Perhaps. Anyway, the current value of a rank 7 cure potion is roughly 4,032,000,000 Yen.”
“Since it’s not available on the market, that’s no more than an estimate, though.” She adds, but──
“Who’s going to buy such medicine?”
“A multi-millionaire who ended up with acute dementia, before he could settle his estate, or someone like that?”
“That makes sense…wait, what about a rank 7 healing potion then?”
“A little less than 5 billion.”
“Explorers are assets, after all. If they die, the orbs given to them go poof as well. I’m pretty sure the top explorers of each country are regarded as national treasures, that mustn’t be allowed to die, no matter what.”
And yet they gotta dive into dangerous dungeons, huh? It’s gotta be tough to have to insure a warship that’s operating under constant risk of being sunk.
“The idea here is that 5 billion is cheap to care for irreplaceable machinery?”
“It’s less than one fighter plane if you include maintenance, that’s how you’ve got to look at it.”
“Feels kinda distorted to me.”
“In reality, the acquisition is just that difficult, and it looks like it also costs quite a bit. Under normal circumstances, there’s just no way to guarantee one will drop…”
Yeah okay, they get these after diving several times in the expedition style, so she certainly might be right about this.
“Then, I’m going to──”
“Senpai, you waking up to social justice is your prerogative, but even if you were to do your best, it’d just turn into easy money for the middle brokers. The price definitely wouldn’t go down. The supply won’t catch up with the demand, after all.”
Unlike orbs, items have no fixed time limit. In other words, it’d give middle brokers the opportunity for secret maneuvers ─ err, business.
“Let me tell you in advance, I also don’t recommend walking around and distributing potions to people, who can’t obtain them.”
“‘Even though that guy got one, I didn’t’ – there’s a big crowd of 『I’s』 unable to tolerate that in this world.”
Distributing potions to everyone is impossible. That’s why it’d lead to a categorization of life. I suppose it’d be only natural for people who couldn’t get one to resent me.
“Senpai, you witnessed it earlier yourself, didn’t you? That boy from just a while ago. Those kinds of people…well, I won’t call them the norm, but please understand that there are many like him.”
“Haah, it never goes as planned, does it?”
“You won’t feel angry if you consider such things as consumable pieces of art or gems.”
A clear cut view, as expected of Miyoshi.
“So, leaving the fangs, pelts, and horns aside, what are the tongue or magic crystal good for?”
“Magic crystals seem to be objects of super dense crystallized energy.”
“What’s the deal with that? I don’t get it. You use this as a substitute for oil?”
“It’s an item that’s occasionally produced by monsters above a certain level, and it’s generally not understood that deeply, but it seems to draw very strong attention from countries with few fossil fuels. The name given to it is clean plutonium.”
“It’s that powerful?”
Ever since the appearance of dungeons, the world’s been going through changes on a daily basis. Sooner or later, humanity might actually come to the point of relying on dungeons for day to day needs, like we do with oil now. Or rather, it’s already on the verge of reaching that point.
“I hear there are various obstacles to implementing it, but…I think this crystal is about as high quality as they come, at least in comparison to the ones that have been discovered so far.”
The hellhounds’ magic crystals have a diameter of less than two centimeters, but the ominously shining crystal of the Hound of Hecate is as big as a softball.
“And what about the tongue?”
“No idea. I think it’s a rare material, but── oh, the search yielded a hit. Wait, wut!?”
“Umm…it sounds like it’s a food ingredient.”
“You can eat that!?”
There’s a plethora of things I want to comment on, such as the structure of its proteins or the genetic issues, but just what would happen if you ate the body of a creature that originally didn’t exist on Earth? Isn’t that on a completely different level from any concerns about the danger of genetically modified food?!?
“What about stuff like food safety or medical inspections?”
“It’s the same as epidemic prevention for dungeons, and I don’t understand the significance. But…”
“It seems to be delicious. *sluuuurp*” (T/N: Gotta love Miyoshi rofl)
“No, now listen…”
Sure, deliciousness might be justice. Assuming there’s no danger of people suddenly falling ill one day, that is.
“It seems there’s a tendency for various abilities to be boosted if you eat dungeon native foodstuff.”
“…What was that!?”
Again related to stats? If you can gain an increase in abilities through some new method, people can’t help but imitate that method in order to stay competitive. It’s the same logic as your own country having to possess nuclear weapons if other countries possess them.
The elevation of stats might certainly allow humanity to grow as a whole, but…that in itself will result in even greater dependence on dungeons.
“How can they believe that dungeons, which appeared all of sudden, won’t disappear just as suddenly one day?”
“Well, rather than worrying about the sky crashing down on your head, indulging in currently available profits is more wholesome, and also essential for enterprises.”
“Ah, so you mean, that there won’t be any buyers, even if you build something to prevent the sky from crashing down, as long as it’s unclear whether that event will actually take place?”
“That’s how it works.”
It makes me sigh in my mind, but in the end, ordinary people like us can’t do anything about it, even if we rack our brains.
“Hmm, I guess we’ve got no choice but to let the people in power worry about things like that. Either way, we obtained your dearly desired <Different World Language Comprehension>, but…what are we going to do with this?”
“What are you asking? We’ll obviously sell it, right? Or are you going to use it?”
“Please spare me from becoming something like the key to deciding the world’s fate, okay?”
“I figured as much. Well, I kinda feel like trying to put one of them up for sale, but…don’t you think that it’d develop into a full-blown competition between the US and RU?”
“That’s definitely true, but now’s the only time you’ll make a big sum of money with it.”
I explain to Miyoshi about the drop rate of the orbs owned by irregular, rare monsters.
“Hmm, you’re right, senpai. The drop rate is basically telling us to read the epitaphs, isn’t it…?” Miyoshi says, while tilting her head to the side.
Well, the real issue here is who has come up with all of this. The rules inside the dungeons, which match oddly well with Earth’s culture, are an affirmation of the passage theory, which sounds absurd at a first glance, and the influence of the dungeons, which is spreading like highly addictive drugs.
Even if I were to be told that all earthlings are actually managed from birth in something like the matrix, with this entire world being a virtual space, I’d be willing to believe that at this point. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be attacked by Mr. Smith sometime soon.
Wait a sec, am I, who obtained Making, currently in the role of Christopher Walken who chooses assassination to stop the president’s rampage? 1
“In any case, I feel like we’d fail in our social duties way too much if we were to put up the orb for auction of our own accord. Oh, senpai, please hold onto the items for now. Just in case, since we don’t know how the passage of time affects them.”
“Got it. I’ll take a shower, eat something, and go sleep then.”
“Sure thing. I’ll sleep after sorting today’s data.”
What she means is the video data of our dungeon trip, the 3D map data that was drawn up, and a bunch of different parameters, starting with the monster exp.
“All of this is actually valuable information that’d make researchers across the globe drool, isn’t it…?”
“If you’re so worried about it being stolen, just lock it away on your PC. Then you’ll just have to retrieve it when you’re going to use it, no?”
“Oh, certainly! But, just thinking about having to constantly take my PC in and out of <Storage> every time I take a break…”
“Girl, are you going to always pull all-nighters instead? How about getting SECOM for the office then?”
“Assuming someone were to come, you think they’d be at a level that private security could handle? For the time being, I’ve put up countermeasures against laser wire-tapping and stuff like that.”
Now that she mentions it, she said something along those lines, didn’t she? That’s why the remodeling expenses for the office became so ridiculously huge, right? Actually it’s best to not stand out, but…recently I’ve started to believe that this might be impossible. How to put it best? It’s kinda like having noticed that the truck you’re driving has no brakes, only after you start going downhill.
“Anyway, put all the important stuff in one package, and run away after storing that pack away, if push comes to shove.”
“Makes sense. I wonder whether we should set up a safe room. So that I can buy some time for you to come save me, senpai.”
“I really don’t wanna fight against some country.”
“Eh? So you’re not going to rescue me?”
“Ugh…no, I guess I probably would.”
“That’s the hopeless and cool part about you, senpai,” Miyoshi laughs.
- Author’s note: Role of Christopher Walken refers to the movie “The Dead Zone” from 1983, which is based on Steven King’s book. It’s about a man, who ended up seeing the future, trying to assassinate a presidential candidate who would start a war by pressing the button for the nuclear missiles if he should become the president.