Prologue - The Bounty and Metallic Thread
I looked inside while humming, making sure it's well-baked.
It would take some more time, but the aroma of the butter from the baking cookies drifted in the store. Two gluttonous young beasts got up and were waiting for them, their noses twitching.
"It'll take time until they're baked, maybe I should read a book."
While they were being baked, I picked up a book placed on the counter and continued from the page that was marked with a bookmark placed between the pages.
The other day I finally finished reading through the book I got during the summer event and now I worked on deciphering a new book.
The mysterious book that was a reward for the Wisteria Peach Tree and Giant Wolf's raid quest. The book's title was—— 【Folk Medicine's Encyclopaedia】, it was a book that had collected together highly versatile 【Mixing】 recipes.
"So this was the original recipe for making Revival Medicine."
I turned the book's page and compared the Revival Medicine recipes.
Although it was clearly written in this book how to make the Revival Medicine I came up with by trying blindly, comparing it to my recipe, apparently this one was a very basic arrangement.
The choice of materials and the way of preparation were slightly different, but roughly there was not much difference. It was interesting that this much could make such a difference in potions.
In the meantime, the timer function in the oven's menu had sounded the alarm, informing me that the cookies are done.
"Oh, looks like they got baked properly."
When I opened the oven, the leaking out scent of butter had spread all at once and the young beasts that were sleeping to wait it over have stood up immediately, coming closer to my feet.
"Hey, Ryui, Zakuro. They're still hot so wait."
In response the unicorn, Ryui lied down flat at the sunniest spot. But, the two-tailed black fox Zakuro's movement stopped in a pose with one of its forefeet raised, supporting itself with the remaining legs it started to strongly tremble.
"Pft, you don't have to do your best like that. Also, until the heat settles down you won't be able to eat anyways."
Hearing that it can't be eaten, Zakuro lost support and did a classic fall to the side. So it must have been a horrible shock to hear it can't be eaten immediately, I thought and let out a light laughter.
The place I was in now, was the shop in OSO that had dealt with potions and consumables as its main——【Atelier】.
To make medicines I use 【Mixing】 type Senses, but as for why I'm baking cookies, that would be because 【Cooking】 Sense is my hobby.
"It can't be helped. C'mon, Zakuro. You can eat the ones that look poorly-made ahead of time."
With these words Zakuro who fell sideways had bounced up and put up forefeet on my leg, stood on its hind legs alone.
"Don't rush so much. They're still hot so be careful."
I said so and threw some baked cookies cracked in half into Zakuro's mouth, they were sunk teeth into with gusto.
Just, possibly because they were still hot, Zakuro ate them while trying to deal with heat. Huffing loudly, it seemed like they were really hot but at the same time delicious. That's how it looked like.
I picked one up to try, they were brittle and tasty, together with hot air the butter's scent filled my mouth, but it seemed still too early to eat them.
"Hmm. Well, once they cool down I'll wrap them in something. ——Welcome."
While holding the clean cloth and a ribbon I prepared and put aside, I called out to the players who visited the 【Atelier】.
"Hello, Yun-san. Smells deliciou
" "Helloo." "
"Letia. Also, Rain and Al. How are you?"
I exchanged greetings with an ever-hungry elf guild master Letia and the newbies who joined her newly established guild 【Fresh Green Wind】.
Raina and Al also greeted Ryui who was lying down in the sunniest place in the store and Zakuro who was oozing the scent of butter, but Ryui just coldly turned away.
"Little by little... we're gathering ingredients."
"No, I'm not asking about your food supplies."
Immediately after I retorted she responded with "It's a joke" with straight face.
"I'm accumulating guild funds by utilizing tamed mob for earning, we're working towards acquiring a guild home."
"By your tamed mob, you mean——."
Herbivorous Beast Haru, Mill Bird Natsu, Wisp Aki, Fairy Panther Fuyu.
Also, Ganesha Mutsuki that she had made her comrade during the summer event.
The Runner Bug Kisaragi she had tamed during the crafting event sponsored by the guild.
A method taking advantage of those six would be——
"It can't be that you're shaving Haru's fluffy fur and Natsu's feathers to sell them or something..."
"I won't do that. If I did, my pillow would disappear."
"Letia-san! Is Haru-chan a pillow for you?!"
Raina who was trying to get Ryui's and Zakuro's attention turned around and raised her voice. If I muttered "I had a similar idea" Raina would probably glare at me and Al would put on a bitter smile.
"If not that, then... passing herbs to Wisp to get 【Phosphorous Soul Crystals】 and 【Phosphorous Soul Ore】 and sell them?"
"There's that too. For a while now Aki is eating various things and from time to time ejects an item. They are quite expensive once they're sold."
Certain mobs are giving specific drop items or rare materials in exchange for fixed items. Out of them Wisps give off a really fun reaction when you pass an item to one of their kind.
"Also, it's not just Aki, there's another one who had become a source of income."
As I tilted my head puzzled, Letia called that tamed mob on spot.
"Come out, Ragi. ——《Summon》 "
The one called out was the insect-type mob, Runner Bug that had a tear-shaped crystal in the centre of its head Kisaragi, nicknamed Ragi.
When I earlier saw it, it was only from the front and during the combat so I couldn't calmly observe it, but the way it chattered its teeth and rubbed front legs was somewhat cute.
"How do I say this soft body has a somewhat attracting charm."
"Yes, if they're raised with affection the tamed mobs all become cute and pretty."
Even for the Wild Dogs that are beast-type mobs, although their appearance looks dirty when you face them as enemies, if you carefully raise them as companions and brush them their hair turns gloss and they look much more graceful.
My Ryui and Zakuro too, through brushing and communication maintain a fluffy and silky appearance.
"Ragi isn't just beautiful, you see. This little one is creating crafting material."
"That's right. Here I take out an... Iron Ingot."
With that said Letia took out a lump of iron from the inventory. With gestures as if a magic trick was about to be presented, she held out the ingot towards Ragi.
And, receiving it, Ragi——started to eat it.
*crunch* *crunch* *crunch*, Ragi crushed the mass of iron with its tough jaws as if it was a rice cracker or some other snack.
"Hey, is it all right to eat that?! Is it really okay?!"
"It's all right. And, Ragi, please."
When Letia said that, Ragi who finished eating several ingots opened its mouth and discharged something thin from between its front legs, starting to spin it.
"This is, a thread?"
"Yes, Metallic Thread. Depending on the ingots, it's things like Steel Thread, materials for mesh."
Certainly, insects like spiders and silkworms spit out thread, but to spit out a thread of metal, this is a true fantasy spectacle.
"The Runner Bugs are limited to metal, but they spit out metal thread. So, Silver Thread and Iron Thread, they're all purchased from us as material for cloth-based armour."
They sell quite expensive. Letia added.
Its use would be reinforcement of vulnerable points where the damage is most likely to enter by weaving a mesh. It would also have an effect for defending against blades although not to the level of a chain mail. In addition to being used for armour, it could be also used for embroidery and improvising traps, there are many ways of using a sturdy rope.
"Amazing. Where do you sell this?"
"Currently, it's offered through the crafting guild. Since there's a limit to the amount Ragi can produce every day, currently there are reservations."
"That's why, Yun-san, in order to reduce burden on me please do your best and craft Metallic Thread. If possible, please secretly spread information on how to craft it."
"That means... yeah, I got it."
I nodded. Crafting of Metallic Thread. No, it's more like synthesizing it, considering the combination of materials with 【Synthesis】 Sense well, it may be possible to create metal-based items and yarn. However, it would be difficult with low-level items so high-level materials need to be prepared.
In that case, the creation cost would be higher than having Runner Bug make it, but it's worth experimenting on.
"Interesting. Then I'll have to mine for ore and find thread I can use... hey, what's up with you two?"
Hearing my mutter, Raina's and Al's gaze shook. I looked at them curiously and asked.
"No, we just thought that you're really amazing, Yun-san."
Hearing that suddenly from Raina, my voice turned inside out. I turned towards Al in order to ask him to supplement for Raina's lack of explanation.
"Being able to go into mines and dungeons to easily recover materials is amazing. That's what we realized just recently. We can't find any materials ourselves and we're chased around by mobs, it takes time to collect and we don't get the results we'd like."
"Well, my Sense build is adapted to doing that."
This was the one thing I couldn't help them with because our fields of specialization are different.
I turned towards Letia and signalled her that I have no advice for the twins, leaving the rest to her.
"If you're that worried——then gather some food instead!"
"So in the end, it's foodstuffs after all!"
"Yes, all is connected to each other. Defeat enemy mobs. Level increases and at the same time ingredients are gathered. And, eating food you power up. And then again hunt. That's the repetition."
I have no need for her smug expression as if she had said something good. It's just Letia's own gluttony in the first place.
"Well, that is true, although you can temporarily raise your stats with cooking, it's not as simple. Well, try forming a stray party with various players to see how it goes."
Since Letia's opinion was too extreme, I told the twins my own idea and received a lively "yes!" in response.
I too learn a lot from Taku and Myu, Magi-san and others. If it's those two, they should be able to do more things than I do.
"So, ultimately what did you come to the store for?"
"Oh right, right! Replenishment of consumables! Bluepots for me and Al. Highpots and MP Potions for Letia-san. Also, sandwiches for all three of us please."
I took out goods from a box behind the counter and passed them to the Kyouko-san the NPC. Leaving accounting to her.
And, when the transaction with the three was complete, a new visitor stood in the 【Atelier】's entrance.
Seeing him Raina and Al froze.
"Yoo, been healthy? 【Atelier】's boss."
"【Flame Prison Corps】 guild?! Why are you here!"
The ones who came to the store were PK guild 【Flame Prison Corps'】 guild master Flein and the sub-master Tobias. Raina screamed seeing the emergence.
Just recently, there was a little trouble with the PKs so Raina and Al were in full alert.
In particular, that troublesome event involved Tobias so the target of the twins' vigilance was exclusively directed towards him rather than Flein.
"Hn? What is it? Your acquaintances?"
I heaved a sigh and prepared recovery items for the two, after exchanging words for two, three times their shopping was finished.
Since Flein had a fearless grin on his face the entire time, Raina and Al remained cautious and didn't move, watching the two until they left.
And, when the two from 【Flame Prison Corps】 were no longer visible, they exhaled with relief, but soon enough they pressed towards me for answers.
"Why! Why are you allowing the PKs in this store?!"
"It was scary. Rai-chan used me for a wall, I was stared at intently, it was scary."
"Ahh, well, there's circumstances you know. Just calm down, you two."
With the twins in this state, going on adventure would probably be impossible, judging so I have made the two together with Letia sit on the counter seats.
Since the cookies I baked earlier have cooled down, I prepared some together with sweet tea to calm the two.
"Now then, what shall we talk about."
"Nomnom. ...these cookies are delicious. Do you have those on sale?"
"Good grief... Letia, really."
While drinking sweet tea we picked some of the prepared cookies. Just Letia had stuffed her cheeks full of the cookies, looking like a chipmunk. Try to hold back just a little bit.
We'll have a serious talk now, that's what Raina and Al have imagined but the scene has turned out like this and their shoulders slumped in disappointment. But well, I don't think it was that serious of a topic.
"Well, you can't change the fact that Flein and Tobias are PKs, just because they disbanded once doesn't mean they're quitting being PKs."
"Yun-san, why do you sell items to people like that! Some time ago, you banned guilds that carried out malicious solicitation from entering the store!"
"I don't like PKs, but with OSO's system it'll be a problem if you one-sidedly decide something without letting others to explain."
OSO's PK system worked in this way, that if a player kills another player, then half of the money the killed player carries is transferred to the killer.
It was simple, but not to the taste of many people. However, the system did exist and was acknowledged. Also with PK-oriented and PvP-oriented Senses discovered PK has become one of ways to play the game and recognized as such.
"Well, PK is a radical way to play done by a minority."
"Certainly, if PK wasn't acknowledged, eliminating attack judgement towards players would be fine and the player against player combat would be limited to normal PvP. However, thinking of that, it feels kinda stifling."
Raina had described the world without PKs as stifling. Certainly, going over the top with anything was not bad, so if a limit was applied it would feel stifling.
OSO's catchphrase was——your playstyle is only——. So as long as it isn't too much of an annoyance, it was fine.
"Also. PKs being shunned was decided one-sidedly whereas normal PvP is preferred. Do you know what's the difference?"
"Hmm. Normal PvP is fair and square?"
"That's slightly wrong."
Raina responded really honestly. I thought with a smile. And then, Al who considered it with a hand on his chin answered.
"Whether all the players have same profits and losses?"
"Correct. In case of PKs, if they one-sidedly decide to attack someone they have the advantage, even if the attacked player defends themselves, the PK would take the risk of defeat into the account beforehand and deposited their entire money, so just the attacked player suffers risk."
In response, the two nodded strongly.
On the other hand, for normal PvP the players decide on the rules and fight in accordance to them. The rules can be a time limit, bet on money or items in case of victory or defeat, but in that case both would have same profits and losses in case of their victory and defeat.
"In order to prevent the centralization of the benefits on the PKs, Flein and others from 【Flame Prison Corps】 have cooperated with the Crafting Guild and created a certain system. And that's——the 【Bounty】 system."
"By bounty you mean, that bounty?"
I nodded in response to Raina's words, affirming it. Since it was mostly made by Cloude, I heard about it directly from the person himself.
"Flein and others have registered themselves in the 【Bounty】 system themselves for PK activities. With that, 90% of the money obtained from the players they defeat is put up as a bounty."
For example, if Flein PKs a player who owns 200kG, he receives 100kG, out of that 90kG is added into the 【Bounty】.
Speaking of why is it 90%, it seems like that's roughly the amount required for replenishment of consumables, equipment and item costs.
"And, if a PK with 【Bounty】 is defeated, the player or the party that has defeated the PK will receive the accumulated bounty. Well, it's one of the services provided by the guild."
Once the system's rules are decided upon, the checkout of the prizes is left to the NPCs. Other than that, if for a certain period of time the PK with a bounty isn't defeated, half of the accumulated bounty is transferred to the PK, there's lots of detailed rules about it but I don't know that deeply.
"I see. Players hunting PKs.Those hunters would be PKKs huh."
Al nodded, convinced. Well, with bounty on PKs, we can expect people aiming for their bounties to appear.
Flein too, by defeating players would gladly turn himself into a bait attracting even more players.
"Then, what about PKs who don't register themselves with this 【Bounty】? Will they be out of control?"
"That's where their way of having fun differs. Flein and others are enjoying themselves by playing the role of OSO's heel's. So I think if others PKs are being an excessive nuisance they won't leave it be, right?"
Like I said to the twins, everyone from Flein's 【Flame Prison Corps】 seemed like they are going to take initiative taking down wild PKs. Not really out of some sense of justice, but simply because they'll increase their own bounty like that. They can already compete who has more prize money among PKs.
"Haa, seems like there's a huge world we don't know anything about."
"Right. I guess that if they attack poorly they'll get their own head hunted instead."
Raina and Al said so, let's not involve ourselves. They stated.
"Well, it's fine to play however you want and understand what you need for that, right?"
I have no clue myself. I'm not interested in PK, and even more so in the 【Bounty】.
"Actually, for future reference let me ask, how much bounty is there on their heads?"
Letia whom I thought hasn't listened to my explanation had swallowed a cookie, drank some tea and asked.
"Um, well. If I'm not wrong Flein has 3,45mG, Tobias has 2,14mG..."
I wasn't confident in my faint memory of that, also, if they PK'd more since then it should have increased.
"How about it? Let's beat them and we can buy a guild home."
Letia had asked while looking at the twins sleepily, but Raina and Al shook their heads so strongly it looked like their head would come off, rejecting it.
"Well, it doesn't look like I can get food to drop out of them so I won't take them down, well then Yun-san. Thanks for the food."
So Letia's criteria was food after all, huh. Thinking so I've seen off the three out of the store.
Since there were more efficient ways to earn money than attacking noticeable players like Flein, one could expect it to turn into a battle of strong players, but well, it has nothing to do with me.
I returned to the counter seat of the 【Atelier】 and when I began to list materials for the 【Synthesis】 experiments to make metallic thread an official notice had come from the menu.
"Hee, a maintenance and update. Also, a time-limited quest huh."
The text I read through contained the announcement of the maintenance period and the content of the update. Also, the suggestion what the time-limited quest's content after the update will be.
The update's content were additional mobs and additional items, things like that.
The detailed content on the time-limited quest wasn't written down, but after the update the information should appear.
I'm not interested in the update's content. Probably, Myu and Taku will find some information and come with it, thinking so I continued to list the required materials.