Gourmandi showed up dressed in rags. His bones were blackened with dirt, appearing to have been unwashed for a long period of time, and they had an old stench to them. I think I knew why he was avoided by others despite being a venerable lich. Aside from his rags, he wore a golden monocle which was so clean that it sharply contrasted with the rest of his vintage fashion.
“I heard that you wanted to meet…me.”
Laila stood next to him with a threatening look on her face. Seeing how Gourmandi was being wary of Laila made me think that she hadn’t dragged him here through words only, and I could sense his extremely careful attitude before me.
I was indeed curious because liches were normally known to be Lv8 monsters. His stat window was soon explicitly revealed to me.
Name: Gourmandi (Value – 94,000)
🌑 Mad Scientist (Lv7, Int+9)
🌑 Essence Reaver (Lv6, Int+7)
Magic Power 85
Skills: 38 skills exist.
A stat distribution worthy of a lich indeed. But what caught my eye in particular was his Intelligence; a whole 98. Most magic wouldn’t even be able to leave a scratch on his bones. Furthermore, he would be able to learn a skill at a speed that was dozens, hundreds of times faster compared to others. Perhaps that being the reason, the number of skills he had reached 38.
‘His skills are all over the place.’
Perhaps for the sake of his experiments, he had learnt decomposition, blacksmithing, even going so far as to learn sewing. I realized anew the role Intelligence played, seeing as how the majority of these skills were in the range of Lv6~7; though of course, his long life span must have been a contributing factor.
I spoke to Gourmandi, who appeared to be on edge.
“I hear you are quite skilled.”
“It is nothing impressive. Ah, has my product perhaps caused some damage? The majority of my customer base is made up of eccentric demons or magicians so…I had never expected for a Demon Lord to use it. I-I-, I am truly, sorry.”
His gesturing was almost exaggerated.
Judging by his reaction, it seemed that the status of a Demon Lord was indeed nothing to laugh at, even though I had only awoken in 100 and barely made a reputation for myself.
“I saw that quite a lot of your product was placed in the Dark Store.”
“That is…the Dark Company accepts most things as long as you were to apply. I…and I heard that the majority of Demon Lords would personally trade with those with fame, instead of using the Store.
It seemed that the Dark Store was more of an ‘open market’ rather than a store which was tailored for Demon Lords, which was why he appeared to be rather mystified that I had bought his product from the store.
I took out a Jewel of Space from a pocket instead of replying.
“Is this also your product?”
“Th-, that’s right. It is a ground-breaking product considering that it allows one to see what is within a demi-plane in real-time, but for some reason only one has been sold so far. I had felt some misgivings when another one sold out several days before but…”
It even sounded like he was complaining as to why no one would recognize his art. But it was only natural if you thought about it. What fool would use 2,000 points to obtain a single small demi-plane.
Finally, Gourmandi furtively looked at me.
Correct. I was the one who purchased it.
‘He’s definitely not merchant material.’
He was far from being a merchant. If I did well, things may work out more smoothly than anticipated.
“Do you have any thoughts of partnering with me?”
“Do you mean partnering, as in working together?”
“Indeed. I plan to do something with those ‘Jewels of Space’ in your possession.”
Gourmandi stared at me with a curious light in his eyes. He had no actual eyes so he couldn’t give off much of an expression, but that’s just the kind of feeling he gave off.
I clapped my hands once and the door behind me opened, from which 100 or so slimes appeared. The slimes each had their own distinctive colors. There were even some types of slimes that didn’t exist within the abyss.
Gourmandi breathed out in wonder.
“Amazing. There are a considerable number of mutated slimes. Their individual values are also very excellent. I am also experimenting on mutations but never before have I seen this much variation.”
Mutations he said. It looked like that was how Gourmandi viewed these slimes of all variety. He was a scientist for sure, seeing as how he examined them without missing a thing despite his frightened state.
I didn’t know what an individual value was, but I shook my head.
“These slimes evolve upon reaching the point of limit.”
“Yes? What does…”
I singled out a slime at a critical juncture of its growth. I had purposely left it alone as a sample. The slime was fed a live lava spider, and soon a change began to occur.
[‘Slime’ has been promoted to ‘Magma Slime’.]
[The growth limit has increased by 50.]
“Just what exactly…!”
Gourmandi was astonished, unsurprisingly.
Normally, slimes had thus far adapted by changing their forms according to the nearby environment and evolving. A long period of time would go into this process.
Magma slimes were a rare species that lived near volcanoes. Of course it wasn’t that a regular slime would turn into a magma slime by going to a volcano. That was common knowledge and only normal, but what had occurred at this moment, right before Gourmandi’s eyes, must have appeared no differently than a ‘miracle’.
“Only I am capable of making this happen. I also plan to sell these slimes by placing them in ‘Jewels of Space’.”
“It will be hard. There was only one time in the past 30 years that a Jewel of Space was sold, and frankly even I had forgotten all about this item…however.”
Gourmandi once again looked at the evolved slime. The joints of his bones were slightly trembling as he then spoke.
“My friends would find it to their liking if it were sold to them. A slime that evolves! Could you possibly let me know what kind of magic or alchemical process was used?”
I played silence. After all, there was no way I could tell him that it was a product of coincidence borne from the fusion of two Authorities.
Gourmandi filled in the blanks of my silence on his own.
“I-, I apologize. It is simply outrageous to ask for such key technology. I had lost myself for a moment there. There is an alchemical method for turning stone to gold, but it is impossible for a species to change color apart from chimeras which was why…”
He had personally witnessed it. It was inherently different from a chimera which was a mix of two different species. That was the reason why Gourmandi couldn’t not be excited.
It was then.
The shadow kaim rubbed its eyes as if having just woken up, and slowly came over flying. Gourmandi’s gaze naturally landed on the shadow kaim, and at the same time he received a shock and became slack-jawed.
“Kaim! Is that not a kaim?”
“So they say.”
“But a kaim has no wings…moreover its individual value is unbelievable for a kaim…”
“What exactly is this individual value?”
He had been mentioning this ‘individual value’ since a while ago which made me feel some doubt. Upon hearing me ask, Gourmandi slowly took off the monocle he was wearing.
“All species have a limit, and the potential growth of each individual species differ from one another. This monocle I have created shows the potential growth of each individual. It examines all aspects of bone, skin, muscle shape or internal organs, quality of Magic Power and the like, thereby compiling an overall statistic. I had experimented on every type of monsters over the past 300 years, and for each individual species I had used hundreds, thousands of specimens to compare their data and reduce as much errors as possible.”
A torrent of words poured out of him. Humblebragging. A product that resulted from 300 years of labor…it definitely didn’t seem like any ordinary item.
Laila came forward to speak.
“My Lord. Regardless of how he puts it, it is a truly useless item. Please do not be deceived.”
She openly displayed her dislike for Gourmandi on her face. As Gourmandi shrunk back out of fright, Laila continued to speak.
“There is no one that doesn’t know that goblins are weak, and dragons are strong. Further breaking them down and separating them is no more than a waste of time.”
Her words weren’t wrong. Each species had clear limits, and a goblin could never defeat a dragon, however strong the individual was. This was an unchangeable truth.
But I was curious.
“I want to try using it.”
“Is, is that so?”
Even Gourmandi was surprised. Judging by his reaction, it looked like the item wasn’t highly evaluated.
Gourmandi’s bones were shaking hard as he finally, cautiously handed over the monocle. When I put it on and looked at the shadow kaim, a change occurred.
[‘Growth-scanning Monocle’ has been equipped.]
[‘Mind’s Eye(Lv9) has absorbed the functions of ‘Growth-scanning Monocle.]
Name: Shadow Kaim (Value – 4,470)
It was my first time seeing such a happen. What’s more was that the result seen through Mind’s eye had become different. There were alphabets behind the stat numbers. An explanation related to it popped up when I looked more closely.
※ This is a function which breaks down the growth values of each individual. They are divided into f, d, c, b, a, and s. The closer to s, the greater the growth potential.
f equals a maximum growth potential up to 30.
d equals a maximum growth potential up to 50.
c equals a maximum growth potential up to 70.
b equals a maximum growth potential up to 80
a equals a maximum growth potential up to 90
s equals a maximum growth potential up to 100.
These values do not represent definite figures, and only serves as a referral. Stats with a greater growth potential will quickly rise. However, when a stat reaches the limit of potential, further growth is impossible regardless of a greater growth potential.
Simply put, it displayed the natural aptitude of an individual in numbers. People who were specialized in physical stats would be able to easily raise Strength or Constitution, while those who were talented for Magic would have it easier raising Intelligence or Magic Power. However, the majority of people wouldn’t know of such things before finding out through a long period of trial and error.
‘I never thought you could even see something like this.’
I was surprised from the bottom of my heart. Mind’s Eye had an amazing function by itself, but to think it was now possible to even see the growth potential of each stat!
I slowly took off the monocle, but even then the function was being maintained.
‘This is also Universal’s power.’
Skill update. Never before have I heard of a skill being improved just by putting on some glasses.
“Ho-, how was it?”
“Is, is that so?”
He appeared awkward at the praise.
I quietly stared at Gourmandi. It was definitely a brilliant item, but in my opinion, it wasn’t able to gain popularity because it was slightly off-focus.
“Gourmandi. I shall speak honestly. I find your abilities tempting.”
I spoke exactly what I thought.
It’s said that even a whale would dance from praise. I didn’t hold back when it came to acknowledging someone.
[Dominator’s Authority has manifested. The status of Gourmandi has changed from ‘guarded’ to ‘deeply moved’. Right now it is possible to dominate him at a 25% discounted cost of 70,500 points.]
Just those few words made this happen. Evidently, Gourmandi was starved for acknowledgement. I couldn’t afford the points, but at any rate it was a good thing that his guard was no longer up.
Gourmandi’s touched demeanor didn’t change as he spoke.
“I also…find the suggestion of partnership to be extremely tempting. However, will it be fine? Dangers may occur if rumours were to spread.”
I had hoped he would directly come work under me but he drew the law at partnership. It was a bit regretful, but then again, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
“Right now I only plan to sell slimes. And…just who would dare to threaten me?”
“I, I apologize.”
I acted boldly.
Merely slimes wouldn’t be a cause for any rumours anyway. Even if they occasionally evolved into other species, I had a way.
‘Evolution is only possible together with my power of domination.’
I had tried experimenting numerous times.
For example, I had used Dragonish along with the power of domination on a slime, commanding it to ‘implode upon evolving’, and it had exploded to death the instant it evolved. Likewise, all I had to do was to program the slimes I would sell to ‘self-implode upon evolving into a species outside of slimes’. Of course, on the other hand, commands such as ‘evolve into n-species’ didn’t work. When it failed to evolve into that species, the slime be suicide by melting down. It was then that I’d witnessed the scene of a slime suiciding for the first time.
“Then would it be possible to go into the specifics?”
“The company name will be Absolute Domination. Profits will be shared 7:3. This is under the condition that I am given exclusive rights to the ‘Jewels of Space’, as well as the goods being supplied as investment. Or do you wish for a different distribution?
“The stocks were merely gathering dust anyway so I have no complaints of being given even 3, however, have you made any other plans?”
“You must take the lead in order to set a trend.”
“A trend, you say?”
Was the concept of trend uncommon here?
Gourmandi, even Laila didn’t understand.
‘I will create the trend.’
It didn’t matter. You didn’t follow a trend. It was something you created, even if you had to use all kinds of dirty methods. As a rule of thumb, the first person to make an impression would be remembered for a long time!
First of all, I handed over the ‘Tamagotchi’ containing slimes to renowned black magicians and liches for ‘experimental purposes’. 30 out of the 53 Tamagotchi in stock was used for experimental purposes, while 10 were sent over, along with instruction manuals, to the ‘children’ of beings in control of cities within the abyss. Looking back in history, the ones to set trends were always those with ‘class’.
‘I never thought there would be cities even in the abyss.’
It was true. Surprising yes but there were cities in the abyss; considerably violent places where monsters gathered to inhabit. Most cities were related to the Four Great Kings, or were ruled over by Demon Lords, but I had chosen and sent the goods to the cities that weren’t related to either the former or latter.
Absolute Domination Company. For now, I had ‘Laila’ and ‘Gourmandi’ use their names as a front instead of mine, because I judged that it wouldn’t be too late to enter the spotlight when the time became ripe. Fortunately, Gourmandi’s personal networking wasn’t too shabby. Regardless of rumours, when all was said and done, he was still a lich. Not to mention that there wasn’t anyone who would turn down a freebie.
I handed over the remaining 13 to the Dark Company. After registering them in the store and confirming that they showed up named as ‘Tamagotchi’, I made a smile.
‘The price is 800 points.’
Apparently, the cost of materials that went into creating a ‘Jewel of Space’ was around 200 points. To think that it was sold at 2,000 points…even profiteering should have a limit to it. Now I knew why it didn’t sell.
It mustn’t be too expensive. I was aiming for small profits and quick returns. Slimes were aplenty, and raising them was easy too. And the noncommittal number of 13 was intended, to make it appear as if stock was scarce.
‘I wonder when I’ll get a response.’
The problem was time. There was only about 5 days left before the time limit of Transfer would expire. From here on everything was left to Gourmandi and Laila.
Two days later, Laila came running towards me, gasping for breath.
“My Lord. I heard that the Tamagotchi…has fully sold out.”
Her eyes were full of emotion, giving off a feeling as if she were on the verge of tears.
I could understand. She had been swamped with debt until now, only to finally see the light. It was a strange feeling to see a fully grown woman being so emotional over Tamagotchi being sold out, but at any rate, the results had come out faster than I had predicted.