013 – Form a group with your close friends #2
The protagonist of the game D&A, which has received love for over a decade, was Luke.
However, not much was known about Luke despite the long time since its release.
He was a hardworking and serious character, known for being bright, energetic, and occasionally surprising.
The game company kept other information about him hidden.
Originally, Luke was the “player”.
It was common in games created at that time to leave gaps in information for players to immerse themselves in the characters.
I was like that too.
How freely Luke roamed the inside of this harsh Prison Academy.
And so, when I met the guy who opened the door, I was happy.
Nice to meet you, my 24,000 hours.
At the same time, my forehead writhed.
Was this the emotion Victor feels towards him?
This Victor guy was stabbed by Luke in the tutorial and was retired.
Thinking about it, I feel awkward between the emotions of me becoming Victor and me as a player.
Well, that’s not what’s important right now.
Well, that’s not important now. That Luke will do well on his own.
I had to repay my 210 million.
“Ugh, there’s only one seat left in the front!”
“Be quiet, Luke.”
While Teacher Berzurak and Luke were wrestling, the students grumbled about the new arrival.
“That guy is the transfer student…?”
“Did Victor lose to that cocky guy?”
“He beat Victor, so he came to A-1 class.”
“He looks like a country bumpkin, but is he more impressive than he seems…?”
He’s incredibly impressive.
He’s the protagonist.
Then Teacher Berzurak spoke.
“So, transfer student Luke, before you take your seat, why don’t you introduce yourself? Everyone seems curious about you.”
An 18-year-old boy with red hair and a white band on his forehead stood in front of everyone. He cleared his throat and spoke brightly.
“I am Luke Merceris. As everyone knows, I came to Ludens to find the crown that the Ancient King of Ludens hid somewhere. That’s my goal! Let’s all do our best!”
When his explanation was over, laughter began to erupt from various places. Luke’s dream seemed too whimsical for everyone.
To mock the dreams of the protagonist.
It’s a common story.
But as time goes on, his dream will become a more achievable reality, and someday, Luke will hear words like “You are our hero!” from everyone.
It’s a bit predictable.
At the same time, it’s a story that has already been validated.
Luke took his seat.
“Then, I’ll call out your numbers and names. The number I call now will be your number for the next year, so it’s good to remember it. You A-class students should do well on your own. Number 1, Victoria Arkwright.”
Teacher Berzurak called out names and numbers.
Victor’s number was 15.
If we go by grades, he’s around 15th out of about 40 students in the class.
He did well for someone who rose through the ranks among the elites without any tricks.
“Then, number 40, we’ve called attendance up to Neva. Since today is the first day, shall we talk briefly about Ludens’ goals?”
“Ugh…. It’s the first day of school and we’re having a lesson?”
“You’re number 23, Daily Rumor, right? Since it’s the first day, I’ll let your outburst slide. But from now on, it’s a penalty point. So, I’ll ask you, Daily. What is the purpose of Ludens Academy?”
“Well, isn’t it a training ground for heroes for the amusement of the gods? In reality, heroes like Siegfried and Hercules have been produced here.”
“Half of that is correct. Like you said, this place is an island created by the seven gods for their amusement and an academy. At the same time, it contains the sustenance of the last ‘King’, who was the last player.”
The familiar world view was explained as a lecture in front of people.
I once imagined that if the game content came out in class, I would definitely get an A.
Now that it’s happening, it’s kind of funny.
Could I really get an A?
No, it’s not a “could”, it’s a “must”.
I can definitely get an A.
Then I can cover my tuition with a scholarship.
A chance to earn 50 million Rene per semester just by sitting still.
I have to be the top student.
“So, here’s your first assignment. There are documents and records about the old king scattered throughout Ludens. Find them and organize them for the next class. Pair up with like-minded people in groups of three.”
Pair up with like-minded people?
Should I drop out?
* * *
What if an adult went back to their high school days?
At that time, things that might have angered me might make me think, “Oh, it’s not a big deal.”
Group projects are the same.
I have no reason to panic over group projects when I’ve gone through more difficult and challenging things as an adult.
But why was I panicking?
“Alexto, let’s do it together…!”
“Then let’s choose Tisiphone as the remaining one!”
Everyone was forming groups with like-minded people.
The beginning of the semester.
Making new friends and reaffirming the bonds with old friends through the friendship of group projects.
The problem was that Victor was floating around in this cheerful atmosphere like a remote island.
Originally, Victor was not supposed to be in the 2nd year, A-1 class.
Perhaps that’s why no one approached me first.
“Victoria, you’re definitely going to team up with me, right? Huh?”
“Shadi, you’re trying to cling to me without doing anything again.”
“What are you talking about? I never did that. Okay, so the two of us are done. Who should be the third member? Victor, like in the first year…”
“Okay, it was a joke. Why are you staring at me like that?”
It was impossible to get between Victoria and Shadi.
If Nike were here, they would have teamed up and taken the remaining member.
But where was Nike?
I thought she would be in class A, but she was not.
Maybe she didn’t have much time to study as an Earth Mage in the first year.
That’s when it happened.
“Victor, you haven’t formed a group yet, right? I’m going to team up with Megaira. Would you like to join my group, Victor?”
Ennio extended a helping hand to me.
Of course, Megaira, who was sitting next to her, made it clear that she didn’t like me, saying, “Why would I team up with someone like Victor?” But it didn’t matter.
Accepting this offer seemed advantageous here.
“…You’re too quick to accept something like this. Is this a push and pull game? Victor, you’re strangely skilled at this, aren’t you?”
What is she talking about now? Anyway, I was able to form a group more smoothly than I thought.
At that moment, a pain, like a mosquito bite, hit the back of my neck.
I turned my head and saw only the back of Victoria, who was talking to Shadi.
Is it because of the mood?
“Then, Victor, let’s discuss how and where to investigate by tomorrow.”
“Well, I think there might not be enough time for that. Decide and leave the rest to me. You can tell me through your lackey, Megaira.”
“Who are you calling a lackey?”
Honestly, I could investigate the king’s literature and records on my own.
It was more like a sample mission to give Luke an overview of the secrets and mysteries hidden throughout this school.
In a way, it was a tutorial for beginners.
Finding the location of the king’s monument and ancient books was something I could do in less than an hour. Forming a group was the most challenging part.
With that feeling, as soon as the new school year’s opening ceremony ended, I left the classroom and headed straight for the club promotion table in front of the teacher’s building entrance.
“Is Nike here yet?”
Nike was still in her classroom, apparently finishing the opening ceremony. She was organizing the club application documents on the table, so Nike would be coming soon.
“Sorry I’m late! The teacher’s speech was so long…! It was really long. It was…!”
“By any chance, are you in Class C? I think the Class C homeroom teacher was the talkative Kairon.”
So, Nike was in Class C.
It was somewhat surprising that she wasn’t in the failing Class F or the one just above, Class D.
“So, did I achieve something while I went back to the classroom first?”
“The soup you made! It sold out completely! Everyone enjoyed it a lot! If you sell it as a product later, people would want to have it every morning!”
That’s good news.
For some reason, the thermos was completely empty.
“But why aren’t there any club applicants at all?”
“Well, that… eating and joining are two different things…”
“Is that so?”
Saying a restaurant’s food is delicious doesn’t mean the customer wants to become a waiter there.
Is that why?
Even an experienced person like me still has things to learn.
This god game D&A, which I have only achieved 87% completion, is quite something.
Not to be underestimated.
“Still, it’s good that it sold out, isn’t it? Potential customers have increased!”
Nike evaluated the situation positively to some extent.
Honestly speaking, the fact that the soup sold out was a good thing.
Nevertheless, when you’re at my level, you can sense that something is amiss.
“However, even if you say that, it’s strange that not a single applicant has shown up. It feels like there’s something wrong. We need to find out what that is.”
“Yeah, let’s find out quickly!”
“Then, come back, Nike. Ask them why they doesn’t want to join our club.”
“Me? I’m the one doing it?”
“Who else do we have besides you? If I approach them, the students will just be on guard for no reason.”
“… Ugh, I guess so.”
“Then hurry up. I’ve always said time is money.”
“Why do I feel like I’m being exploited…”
Nike grumbled and quickly disappeared. Since I had instructed Nike to gather information, I should now be able to figure out what our problem is.
So, while I was considering adding more soup, it happened.
“Victor, there was a rumor that you were starting a club. I wondered if it was true. You’re here even though you’re busy?”
“Enio. We meet often today.”
“I’ve come to talk about the division of roles in our group project.”
I thought the lackey Megaira would show up, but the person herself had graced us with her presence.
Thanks to Enio, the club promotion table that had been actively soliciting new members had now fallen eerily silent.
“Look at that, it’s Ennio-unnie.”
“Isn’t she the princess of the Blackstar family, closest to the throne? Right?”
“Look at her black hair. She’s so cool… as expected, it was a great idea to enroll in this Academy.”
“I want to go over and talk to her. But I’m afraid it will break my heart if she ignores me.”
Thanks to Enio, our club’s table, which was already quite empty, had become even emptier.
If this continued, we might end up with even fewer applicants, I thought, so I spoke a bit harshly.
“Finish your business and leave quickly. I’m busy.”
“A cooking club, huh? Victor, did you know how to cook? I heard there’s a club here that makes really delicious soup. Maybe it’s this one.”
Enio was fiddling with an application form.
“But I heard a rumor going around that you got in trouble with the Student Council. They say that if you join here, you’ll have a tough time throughout your school years.”
“Such rumors were going around?”
“Victor, it seems like you’re not really interested in the reputation of the people around you, are you?”
If it was Enio who laughed, it was something I had never heard before. I had been too busy over the weekend to notice.
Hmm, so such rumors were going around.
That’s why there isn’t a single applicant.
Of course, getting in trouble with the Student Council is nothing more than a baseless rumor.
Explaining a single line of malicious rumor might require several pages of paper.
This could be a waste of time.
As I was adjusting my plans accordingly, it happened.
“Victor, should I join a club? This one.”
“Enio, you? Aren’t you busy with your duties as a delegate?”
And busy with the issues in the world behind the scenes.
“Of course, I’ll just put my name down. As you said, I’m busy with various things. But wouldn’t that be enough? If necessary, I can also put Megaira’s name down.”
It was a good offer.
However, I couldn’t readily accept the offer.
This was a form of ‘loan’.
If I accepted such kindness from Ennio, there would come a time when I had to repay it.
I’d rather have a financial debt that I can repay. Such kindness doesn’t come with clear limits or standards, making it quite difficult to repay.
“Enio, what do you want from me? You know I don’t have money, and I don’t have anything to give you.”
“Don’t worry, I have everything. I just want some fun during our boring school days.”
“…Really? I asked, but you’re accepting it more easily than I thought.”
Of course, I would.
I’m a man who knows how to distinguish between opportunity and foolishness.
Pull the loan to its limit!