004 – School life starts from negative #4
The main heroines’ routes are easier to unlock than you might think.
Victoria’s Normal Student Council route opens up when your reputation is around +10.
In terms of timing, if the story progressed smoothly in the later part of Act 1, it can begin.
Conversely, Enio’s Normal Underworld route can be started when your reputation drops into the negative.
If Luke maintains a negative reputation and successfully increases Enio’s favorability with a certain probability, Enio approaches one day and gives something as a gift.
-This is my favor.
It could be a minor health potion, or just a useless weed that can’t be sold. But sometimes, it gives important collectible items like the “Origin of the OO Dungeon.”
From this system, the playstyle emerged of receiving Enio’s gifts and continuously resetting, which was called the Enio Run. I did it a lot too.
To think I’m actually doing it now.
“This is my favor, Victor. My small favor for sympathizing with you.”
“I won’t accept it.”
In Enio’s hand was a jingling key. What it is, it’s impossible to tell right now.
Did Enio ever give Luke a key in the game?
No, she didn’t.
Even for me, who has spent over a thousand hours on the Enio Run, this is an unfamiliar item.
Indeed, the game and reality are different, huh.
When I didn’t move my hand, Enio once again jingled the key.
“Refusal is still refusal. I hope you wouldn’t embarrass me. Even though you’re a straightforward guy, Victor, you should understand what that means, right?”
“I got it.”
“…Easier than I thought. I thought you might resist a bit more.”
“There’s no real reason to resist.”
I gladly accepted the key.
If I had refused even up to this point, Enio might have really gotten angry, so there’s no need to make unnecessary trouble. Even though the things Enio gives might be junk, they are helpful in their own way.
Selling them in the shop can at least bring in a little money.
As I put the key into my pocket, Enio waved her hand.
“Well then, I wish you a good evening, Mr. Victor. Lately, it seems like Ludens might be haunted, so try not to wander around too much at night.”
Come to think of it, the sun had gradually set.
I wasn’t particularly tired, but wandering around Ludens at night was quite dangerous.
What if there’s a raid event or something?
So, I decided to head back to the dormitory for now.
But there was something I had to do before that.
“Yeah? Why are you calling me?”
“I’ll definitely repay your favor.”
Victor is a pretentious guy.
If he receives a favor, he repays it.
If someone causes harm to him, he definitely repays it.
These two principles were steadfast.
So when I tried to change my course, my lower abdomen hurt so much that I couldn’t bear it. Thanks to that, I instinctively realized that I had to offer a ‘return favor’ to Enio.
Originally, I don’t really like having ‘debts’.
In that sense, I’m in agreement with Victor.
If you have a debt, you should repay it quickly.
Otherwise, interest accumulates.
I get angry when I think about all the times I’ve struggled with interest.
However, Enio responded with a halfhearted chuckle, as if she didn’t expect anything.
“I don’t think the current Victor is capable of repaying me for something. You’ll understand what I mean when you go back to the dormitory.”
What’s she talking about?
But the thought of disrespecting her gave me a little chill.
I’ve spent over 20,000 hours in this game. To be precise 24,850 hours.
Is there any reason why I couldn’t offer a return favor for this small key?
“Enio, you’re probably looking for something. If it’s what you’re looking for, there’s a high chance it’s fallen near the third pillar on the east side of the dormitory for regular students.”
Part of D&A’s content was about helping students find lost items.
Finding Enio’s lost ” Yellow Ribbon” would increase your favorability rating slightly, or unlock a subquest, or something else, but either way, it would be a reward.
I decided to leave before the conversation got any longer and before any unforeseen variables appeared. Since the sun had set and evening was coming, it was a wise decision.
For now, I should go back to the dormitory.
Victor was staying at the Student Council’s dormitory?
Enio’s earlier comment that I’d find out when I got to the dorm was bothering me.
“Here it is.”
Following my memory, I headed to the Student Council’s dormitory.
It felt like a luxurious and splendid place, which I couldn’t imagine as a residence for mid-to-late teenagers. There was even a fountain in the garden.
However, as I tried to enter, students with armbands stopped me.
“Vctor, you have been expelled from the Student Council. This is no place for you to be.”
“Yeah, just a regular student.”
…Is this for real?
I was slightly taken aback, but thanks to Victor’s emotional barrier, I could remain relatively calm.
Yeah, there were plenty of episodes where executives who were demoted to regular students faced this kind of situation. Just like Milone in Act 5.
What did Milone say back then?
“Then I’ll go pick up my luggage.”
Victor’s room might have some of his stuff or money or something. Even if it’s not the Student Council’s dormitory, I might have booked a room in an inn or something on the outskirts of the academy.
But the armbanded student, who appeared to be a member of the Executive Committee, shook his head.
“No, Victor, your belongings have already been disposed of. We cleared everything just now, so there’s nothing in your room even if you go.”
What did he say?
Was what Enio mentioned referring to this?
Milone Ludwig, a first-year accountant who had been demoted to a regular student, hadn’t gotten her dorm stuff disposed of.
So, moving that luggage to the regular students’ dormitory was a subquest in Act 5.
It was great because it gave you extra strength points for completing it within the time limit.
But why was I-Victor’s stuff disposed of?
“And this is a message from Victoria.”
The committee member handed me a piece of paper.
What was written there…
“Victor’s debt amount is minus 200 million Rene…?”
* * *
“Stupid Victor, he must be realizing now what he’s done. If he had just quietly dropped out, we wouldn’t have had to see such a pathetic sight. Perhaps Arkwright would have paid off his debts for him.”
“Moreover, he broke off the engagement with a Princess of Arkwright. Why did he do that? Why would he do something so foolish? It’s almost as if he cut his safety rope with his own hands.”
Enio responded to Megaira’s taunting with a low voice.
“Well, he got himself another woman.”
“But Victor can’t possibly have another girl. That guy, Victor, didn’t even hold hands with Victoria. That steel-hearted guy with someone else…?”
“I think so too.”
As Enio walked down a dark street, she got lost in thought.
For Enio to hear that Victor, who was called Arkwright’s hound, had broken off the engagement with Victoria was quite a shocking story. Let alone the fact that he supposedly had another woman?
The youngest of the triplets, Megaira, looked around and spoke in a hushed voice.
“This is only something I’ll be honest about with Enio-nim. There’s no ‘scent’ of another girl on Victor. I’m telling you this, so I’m sure. Victor must have lied.”
“Megaira, I know you have trust issues. But there’s no way Victor would lie like that. That guy is like that.”
“I know that, but is it really true?”
The first-year student Megaira puffed up her cheeks as if she was irritated. It seemed like she was tormented by not believing in herself. But that Victor would lie?
That just wasn’t believable.
If it’s Viktor’s profile, I know it well because it’s Enio that I’ve seen many times.
Enio, who had seen Victor’s profile countless times, knew him well. Perhaps, as Victoria’s rival, Enio knew Victor even better than his fiancé did.
However, today, Victor’s actions went beyond Enio’s expectations.
“To break off the engagement…”
Perhaps it might not be a lie.
There’s a possibility that he truly met another woman.
They might not be officially dating yet, but he might have developed feelings for ‘someone else’.
‘Yeah, he’s an inflexible guy. It wouldn’t be too surprising if he broke off an engagement just because he developed a one-sided crush on someone else. In that case, who could that person be?’
Enio’s dark heart was brimming with interest.
If she could see that insignificant Arkwright, Victoria, angry and broken, she’d waste any amount of time.
That’s why she had deliberately sought out Victor today.
It would have been even better if she could have gotten her hands on the man who broke up with her.
“Rather than that, Enio-nim, are you really going to believe Victor’s words? There’s no way what you’re looking for would be under this ordinary student dormitory pillar.”
“I think the same way. But it’s hard to imagine Victor lying. Besides, I’m personally interested in this.”
Enio and Megaira did not stop walking.
Enio and Megaira’s steps didn’t stop. They kept walking. It was when they had gone to the back of the east side of the ordinary student dormitory of Ludens. The nonsensical, loafing students quickly extinguished their cigarettes and lowered their heads when they saw Enio.
“Eh, Miss Enio. How are you?”
“Relax. I’m not here to see you. But more importantly, do you guys know where the third pillar is?”
“Ah, that would be over there. We’ve assigned numbers to the broken pillars of the ruined temple for convenience as meeting points. But I remember that there’s nothing at the 3rd column, so why are you going there?”
Enio’s steps halted at the third pillar.
And under it, she spotted something sparkling. It was a yellow band.
To be precise, a yellow ribbon.
Megaira, who picked it up, frowned.
“What’s this, a yellow ribbon? It looks pretty nice, but I don’t think it’s yours, Enio-nim. So, as I thought, you shouldn’t believe what Victor said…”
“Give me that. I-I’ll dispose of it.”
As Megaira was about to say something, Enio stretched out her hand to accept the ribbon.
The lost ribbon.
The only yellow item that Enio, who only had black and red belongings, possessed.
Something she had kept a secret from everyone.
Something even Megaira, who was like a sibling to her, didn’t know about.
─How did Victor know about the ribbon that Enio had lost, agonized over, and hadn’t been able to find or even ask anyone about?
Enio felt her face heat up as she realized that he had discovered the ‘yellow part’ that she had been hiding.
At the same time, a strange feeling began to sprout in her heart.
‘Could it be that the woman Viktor has fallen in love with…?’
“…What the h*ll. Hmph.”
“Enio-nim, I’ll go give Victor a good smack on the back of his head! How dare he waste Enio-nim’s time like this!”
“Th-there’s probably no need for that.”
“Huhu, of course not, right? Even if I don’t do it, this Prison Academy will surely give Victor a beating.”
* * *
It felt like getting hit by a baseball in the solar plexus.
He owed 200 million Renes?
To someone like me who has played over 24,000 hours, the existence of such a debt in front of Victor was mind-boggling.
“200 million Rene.”
Rene is a unique currency that exists only on Ludens Island in this world. If it’s 200 million Rene, it’s roughly equivalent to nearly 200 million Korean Won.
At the same time, it’s an amount sufficient to crush one person’s youth in an instant. I know this better than anyone else.
I, Ha Seung-ri, who had barely paid off 200 million won in debt.
In a game I bought to celebrate the achievement of paying it.
And now, to incur another 200 million Rene debt!
It felt like foam was about to come out of my mouth!
Just when I thought the detestable sum of 200 million had devoured my entire life, it’s come back to haunt me again!
If I didn’t have Victor’s steel mental fortitude, I might have even punched myself and rolled on the ground!
「Quirk «Steel» activated.」
First, I took a deep breath and examined my assets and debt. Thankfully or regrettably, I’m someone who has experience paying off debts.
First priority is to clearly understand my debt situation.
There’s personal interests as well. Victor, a second-year student at Ludens, is about eighteen now. What on earth has he been up to that he’s accumulated a 200 million debt at this age?
「Loan of 200 million Rene – Ludens Student Council Accounting Department」
Luckily, all the debts were consolidated into one large sum.
It’s generally better to pay off debts in one lump sum rather than from multiple sources. It’s easier to manage that way.
“A debt from the student council.”
This must be a student loan.
Someone might wonder how a student loan could amount to 200 million. But Ludens, known as an ‘Prison Academy’, isn’t called that just because it’s a space perched high in the sky that no one can easily access.
It’s due to its inherent irrationality.
Everything in life requires money. Eating. Clothing. Sleeping.
In Ludens, where resources are scarce in every way, everyone has to be self-sufficient.
Unless you’re a high-ranking aristocrat like Victoria, who receives significant support from her family.
For ordinary students who can’t do that, Ludens Academy, even with just tuition, costs about 50 million Rene per semester, making it no different from a constant drain of money even if you just breathe peacefully.
Might as well do the calculations while I’m at it. If there are two semesters in a year and the total tuition fee is 100 million Rene, dividing that by 365 means I’m spending around 270,000 Rene per day.
So, roughly calculating by hourly wage, even if I’m doing nothing, I’m spending about 11,000 Rene per hour.
“That’s why debt accumulates.”
The silver lining is that this academy provides plenty of opportunities to earn money.
There’s the dungeons, and there’s the fields, which are populated by monsters that drop Rene when defeated.
“But not everyone is skilled in such dangerous endeavors.”
That’s why Ludens Student Council offers a loan system to provide students with tuition and living expenses. Victor’s 200 million Rene debt is part of that.
The issue arises when the debt cannot be repaid.
Those who can’t repay their debt…
“They might end up toiling in forced labor here or die hunting monsters in dungeons and fields. Or they might spend their lives on the mainland, doing even more difficult jobs at a 10-fold lower exchange rate while being trapped by debt.”
You don’t have the option of not paying.
The student council’s executive members, like Victor, will come after you, and it’s impossible to outwit them, who are chosen based on skill, and avoid paying your debts.
As a result, a hell of inescapable debt is formed.
That’s precisely the Prison Academy, Ludens.
The members of the Student Council had the privilege of not having their debts enforced while they were students.
But does that mean that Victor’s debt will begin to mount once he is a regular student?
Indeed, does the demotion of student council executives to regular students mean something like this?
“Alright. Well, it’s not a big deal.”
What’s the big deal? Just do it, right?
Like the 200 million I paid off in real life before the end of my youth.
I definitely can’t fail to repay it in D&A
“I might even do better.”
It took me five years in the real world, so here I have three years before I graduate.
No, two years.
“No, just one year until the end of this year.”
That’s my initial goal.
No matter what, as long as I graduate from here, I’ll have a diploma and I won’t have to worry about finding a job for the rest of my life, right?
Within a year, I’ll pay off all my debts and become wealthy. This time, I’ll finally have some healing.