On the next day, sometime late in the afternoon, we decide to wrap up the exploration and return to the surface for the moment. The exploration effectively lasted one day. Moreover, we didn’t go any further than the fifth floor, or in other words, went barely past the beginner floors.
“But well, we’ve achieved our objective, so it should be fine, right?”
Since we decided to hurry, which included me occasionally carrying Miyoshi while ignoring everything on our way, we managed to return to the surface by around 2 p.m. of that day.
“Good work. So, what’re you going to do next, senpai?”
“Hmm, I think I’ll get in touch with Ms. Naruse for a bit.”
“You can’t tell her that we were able to get the orb, okay?”
“I know at least that much. We have an agreement to store orbs.”
“Correct. I’m going back home to play around with my lovely numbers then. Somehow I’ve got the feeling there’s some rule to the drop rate.”
“Hee. Then I’ll go back for a moment to change my clothes as well, I guess.”
“Off we go then?”
After a shower and a change of clothes at home, I call Ms. Naruse, arranging for a meeting in front of the statue of Hachiko at Shibuya station. She appears to have hurried to meet me, but no sooner does she arrive than I give her my news, causing her to stare at me blankly in surprise.
“Eh? You’re able to get your hands on what we talked about? Really!?”
“Yes, well, only maybe, though.”
And then, we head from the station towards the main store of the Tokyu Department Store, and start to chat, while blending into the hustle and bustle. In the end, this is the safest method to avoid someone listening to our conversation. The approach here is: the less room I have to feign ignorance, the less I can trust the JDA’s conference rooms. And there’s also the matter with Executive Director Mizuho to take into account.
“But, I never expected it to be so fast…wasn’t it yesterday that you went on the exploration?”
“Well, I guess you could say it was a team effort.”
The traffic signal, at the diagonal crossing in front of Shibuya station, turns green. Swimming with the flow of people, we go diagonally across the intersection, and start walking along Inokashira Street.
“Team effort, you say…” Ms. Naruse looks taken aback.
I mean, even though intelligence agencies, and organizations related to dungeons all over the world, couldn’t find a single lead on how to find the orb in question after two months of investing all their energy into the search, a single party consisting of just two people reports that they have a way to obtain it, only ten days after taking the request, and two days after they began their exploration. Normally that’d be enough to cast doubt on their sanity, let alone what they’re saying.
“So, what kind of monster drops it? Is it the clan’s shaman as you mentioned before?”
“No, we haven’t verified the shaman yet.”
“Eh? Then how…?”
“Let’s see…if I were to put it in words, I’d go with luck, I guess?”
I give a vague reply that may or may not be understood, while looking over at a confusing billboard over at the Seibu Shibuya Store. No matter what logic you use, denying luck is impossible. The future is always unpredictable. That’s why this serves as the best excuse. But then again, it’s also difficult to prove it.
“So, assuming we were to find it, what should we do? Is it okay to put it up for auction?”
Ms. Naruse doesn’t answer right away, only wearing a troubled expression. We have absolutely no details as to who brought this request to the JDA, nor why it was passed on to us. All we know is that the entire world wants this orb.
Once we turn left at Seibu’s corner, a crab signboard peers down on us. Seeing Kani Douraku’s signboard, I can’t deny the claim that it instills a craving for crab in anyone who sees it. While scratching my head in my mind, as I’m pretty sure that Miyoshi would once again tease me for being too susceptible to advertisements, I try to exaggerate a bit.
“Miyoshi said that its value would definitely go beyond a billion dollars…”
“I can’t decide that at my own discretion. Is it okay to bring it up with my boss?”
“I don’t mind, ultimately it’s not that we’ve obtained it, it’s just that we might be able to get our hands on it, okay? Accordingly it’s a question about what we should do if we were to obtain it.”
Passing below a huge sign board for some off-brand product, I stop in front the remodeled Apple store, and turn back at Ms. Naruse, who has been walking diagonally behind me.
“Please keep praying to god that we’ll be able to find it just as planned.”
Once I look up, the cross of the Tokyoyamate Church quietly looks down on us, while extolling god’s peace in Hebrew.
“With that said, how should we proceed?”
Miharu, after returning to the JDA, grabbed Section Chief Saiga, and dragged him out to Ichigaya, without giving him any chance to refuse. When she began to cross the Ichigaya bridge, after walking through Yasukuni Street at a quick pace, she started to recount her recent conversation with Yoshimura.
“It’s only ten days after we talked about it, Naruse. Just when I was wondering why they’d return only one day after heading out on the exploration, this happens, huh? It’s a pretty amazing story, isn’t it?” Saiga said, and leaned his body against the bridge’s guardrail.
Normally, I’d treat this as nothing but pure nonsense, but the other party is that mysterious D-Powers.
“So, why exactly did you drag me all the way out here?”
“It seems that Yoshimura doesn’t trust the JDA or the JSDF in regards to this matter.”
Hearing that, Saiga nodded.
He’s a simple G rank explorer forming a party with Miyoshi Azusa. Moreover, less than two months have passed since he got his WDA ID, or in other words, he’s a total beginner. As far as we’ve investigated, his connection with her can be summed up by saying that they used to be coworkers. The investigation report indicates that he isn’t especially excellent or incompetent as explorer. However, I feel like there’s some more to him than meets the eye.
“True, it’s certain that various places would reach out to them as soon as they learned of the source.”
“So, is it okay to give them permission to auction it?”
“Assuming we gave them permission, you think they would put that up for auction?”
That’d definitely invite trouble. As far as I’ve read the reports, I can’t believe that they have the power to defend against the kind of trouble that would invite.
“That I do not know, but…in the first place, just who has put up the request? In our meeting, you didn’t give me any instructions as to what should be done after it’s found, chief.” After taking a brief pause, Miyaru quietly continued, “With the previous story in mind, it’s almost like you attached me as an exclusive assistant to D-Power for the sake of having them search for this orb…”
Saiga, who had been leaning against the railing, turned around.
“Even if it’s someone’s instruction, a billion dollars is the bare minimum if this is put up for auction. If Russia concealed information for some kind of reason, it’s quite likely that the winning bid will go up to 10 billion dollars, isn’t it? The JDA…or rather, Japan? Having this business carried out in their own garden would definitely be cheaper for them.” And then, after looking up to the sky, she weakly continued, “Having said that, even if we try to somehow get the deal done within the country, the price is still likely to exceed a billion dollars. It’s not a situation where underlings like us can make any moves without clear orders.”
Everything that Miharu said was reasonable. Even Saiga hadn’t requested them because he believed that they’d find it, but because he had no clear leads and they were one possible method among many, but as long as they led to at least one hint, he would have been happy. That was his approach.
Just who would imagine that a matter which remained intractable, even after government agencies all over the world investigated it at full force for two months, would be so close to resolution after merely ten days, due to a party consisting of two newbies?
“I got it. But, I can’t make the call in my position either. I have no choice but to take it up with my superiors…”
Just whom should I talk to about this? If I pass this story through the wrong channels, everything might very likely come to nothing.
“I will say it just in case, but please keep the involvement of D-Powers a secret between you and me.”
“You don’t have to tell me. If they were to get angry, this once-in-a-lifetime chance would almost certainly go up in smoke.”
“After all, it’d be unpleasant to watch Japan’s liberalism being crushed underfoot 『For the sake of the state』, right?”
“I’m going to stay silent so that this doesn’t come to pass.”
“Please do. Also, it will be impossible for me to bring up this story if I don’t get you to set a time frame at least..”
“You’re right. Still, it’s already Friday after work.”
“Even if it were Sunday, I think the US would make a move within two hours anyway.”
While smiling bitterly at the accuracy of her remark, Saiga said, “I will have an answer by Monday, the 26th. I’m sorry, but please have them hold back until then.”
“I will do my best.”
The outer moat of the old Edo Castle in front of them shone a brilliant red, illuminated by the setting sun. Saiga let a deep sigh escape at the thought of the busy days awaiting him, despite the weekend being right in front of his nose.
With the very first D-Powers exploration party having ended all too quickly, I make a call to fulfill another promise.
“Yep, right. Since the business I mentioned before has finished after only two days, I’ll keep you company, unless you’ve already got something planned for the weekend.”
“Not at all! Let’s go, please!”
“What day would be good for you?”
“We’ve got a holiday! So using both days of the weekend…would be too much?”
“I don’t mind. But in that case, wanna play around by searching for GTB?”
“Searching for GTB?”
“Yep. It’s a game of looking for goblin treasures. Only if you don’t have a problem with goblins, though.”
“Then I’ll have you accompany me Saturday on my special training, and we’ll look for GTB on Sunday.”
“Sure. Saturday with the usual equipment, at Yoyogi…around 9 a.m.?”
“Okay! I’m looking forward to it! See you tomorrow.”
After making sure that she has hung up, I end the call from my side by tapping my smartphone.
“Was that Ms. Mitsurugi?”
“Yeah, I’m going to keep her company with her special training, just like I promised her before.”
“A date on the weekend, you’re totally like a normie, senpai!”
Miyoshi acts surprised in an exaggerated manner.
“It’s not a date, you know? So, how about you, Miyoshi?”
“I’m going to talk every day with my cute lil’ numbers all by myself. Somehow it looks like I’ll attain enlightenment any day now.”
“Oh my, good work on that.”
“And, did you learn anything new?”
“I’ve calculated your drop rate, senpai.”
“Hee, what is it?”
“I can’t say anything definite, as there are too few samples, but going by the apparent patterns, the drop rate of monsters, who have standard drops, is around 25% ~ 50%.”
It seems she doesn’t have any idea whether that’s high or low. After all, there are no proper statistics to be found anywhere, and she hasn’t found any comparison targets either.
“Also, about the magic crystal, that drop rate is 25%. I feel that it’s different, depending on the monsters. In any case, I’ve got absolutely no clue how the value of LUC affects any of these.”
Figures, seeing how she has no samples to compare to. I guess this is a task for the future.
“Above all, there are no other targets beside 30 odd hellhounds.”
“It was 34. As the number of samples is far too small, we don’t have any positive proof, just as you say.”
Well, if she keeps putting the numbers in order, she might learn a little bit more, sooner or later.
“Good job. Alright then, wanna go to 『Morille』 again?”
“Oh! It’s your treat, right senpai?”
“Now listen…let alone getting treated, you’re now in a social position where it’s no biggie for you to eat at 『Morille』 three times a day, everyday, aren’t you? They’re not open in the mornings, though.”
Since I had always used the company’s card recently, I casually used my own card at the ATM the other day. When I did, I reflexively checked twice as my balance showed 200 million Yen. Come to think of it, Miyoshi said something about 1% being transferred to our individual accounts, didn’t she? So just as much should have been deposited in Miyoshi’s account as well. And all this even though less than two months have passed since I left my company…
“That’d be boring. Or more precisely, the restaurant would be in a bind, to begin with. They would have to keep revising their menu in various ways.”
“It that so?”
“Besides, there would be another, a much bigger issue.”
“I’d get fat, definitely.”
“Oh, I see. So, are you going to come?”
“I will. When?”
“Let’s see, Sunday or something…would work, right?”
“That’s okay. If I remember correctly, Monday is a holiday. But, isn’t your date on Sunday?”
“That’s why I’m telling you it’s not a date. It’s been a while, so I’ll bring Ms. Mitsurugi along as well.”
“Another woman waiting for you at the dinner table during a date, you’re the worst…”
“I’m telling you, you’re wrong.”
“Senpai, I think this part of you is a reason why you’re not popular with women.”
I’m told off by Miyoshi as she rolls her eyes, but we’re not in that kind of relationship, so it’ll probably be no problem. Therefore, I made a reservation for three people.