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Chapter 095 – Let’s Talk About the Good Old Days
Another Dimension Online, also known as ADO.
The game is a massive multiplayer online game. But, due to the realistic nature of the game, the player must be 15 years old or older to get an account. It’s not just because the game includes some grotesque expressions, but because the feeling of defeating demons is extremely immersive and can affect the brain so much that the boundary between reality and virtual space becomes blurred.
Yuuta and I had wanted to play this game since its release, so we saved up our allowances, got the game as soon as we turned 15, created accounts, and excitedly turned on our gear.
My uncle had bought me the gear as a gift for entering junior high, and I had played a few all-ages games (although the gear itself is only legal to use for ages 9 and up), but when I saw the ADO commercial, I was instantly hooked.
In the commercial, which featured a portion of the opening movie, a tense scene with the Demon King and the heroes facing off is played, followed by the message, “10 years ago, the hero vanquished the Demon King and brought peace to the land. Now, in this world of infinite possibilities – why don’t you carve out your own legend?”
Huh, so it wasn’t a game about defeating the Demon King together with the heroes. At the time, I thought it was strange.
It’s been about three and a half years since ADO was released. By the time I had turned 15, Yuuta had already been enjoying the game for two months.
Yuuta bragged about how he had formed a party at school, raised his level, moved his base, etc. I was excited to join him and I created a new character, Mac, with a little bit of coolness, a little bit of excitement, and a little bit of flippancy.
I had thought that Yuuta might help me level up, and then we could adventure together, but I was completely wrong, and Yuuta had already moved on without me.
I had no choice but to head for the town of Uno, where I started out with the default equipment that had been given to me after character creation and worked alone on leveling up for a while.
I started working as a pharmacist because I thought it would be boring if I didn’t take a different path from Yuuta. It seemed to be a good match for me, and it was a lot more interesting and quicker than leveling up with a sword.
My pharmacy business, which started with a [ Simple First-Aid Kit ], reached a turning point when I managed to raise my level to 30 and moved to the city of Tre.
Usually, at about level 30, those who wanted to become stronger head for the desert cities in a hurry.
The beginning area is full of small fry that don’t give much experience, so once your personal level exceeds 30, it’s very hard to advance. The desert cities are full of mobs that will give more experience per defeat, and it is said that the desert cities also become less challenging after the personal level of 50. Around level 70, you can fight a decent battle in Sei or Sette; at 80, Otto; at 90, Nove; and at 100, Diece, the frontier town. Of course, this is based on the average level of the party, rather than the level of the individual. I have already experienced firsthand how difficult it is for an individual to get to a higher level.
My pharmacist level went up steadily, but my personal level went up at a snail’s pace, but I still reached the city of Tre on my own.
I had been using the first aid kit to create whatever was needed to complete quests while acquiring pharmacy materials along the way, but as the job level of the pharmacist increased, I found that the simple kit wasn’t enough.
I wandered the streets of Tre to see if I could find a better kit, and when I didn’t, I decided to proceed early to Quattro, where I came across Crash’s store.
There, I got a not-so-simple [ Pharmaceutical Kit ] and was approached by someone who told me that, if I had a workshop, I could put in more proper equipment, and I could have it installed for free. It was their words that led me to wonder if I should have a workshop of my own.
The potions made with the dispensing kit were not that high in rank, and I would normally go to the guild to wholesale them, check the bulletin board, chat with the receptionist, and collect materials. It was while I was repeating this process that I stumbled across a gatekeeper involved in a tussle.
There was a player with bad manners who was brandishing a sword and saying things like “You’re just an NPC, right?”
The gatekeeper who confronted him was taking it easy on him, so much so that it was obvious to anyone watching. He could parry attacks lightly, and he gently subdued his opponent without injuring him. The difference in skill was so obvious that even an amateur in combat like me could see it.
The player, knowing he had a bad situation on his hands, spat at the gatekeeper and left. The other gatekeepers were praising him, saying, “Thanks for all your hard work,” and “We’re not good at holding back like you are.” I couldn’t help but run over to him when I saw that he had a faint sword wound on his hand, which was smeared with blood.
I approached the gatekeeper, clutching the potion I had just made.
“Hmm?” The gatekeeper raised the front of his helmet to expose his face and turned around, smiling at me as if nothing had happened. “You’re the boy who’s been hard at work around here lately. Welcome back. Sorry I showed you something so unpleasant just now. Are you going home for today?”
He approached me in such a friendly manner, and I felt even more ashamed of how rude that previous player had been.
“It looks like you’ve injured your hand, so if you’d like, this is a potion I created myself, but you’re welcome to use it. Um… I’m so sorry about all that.”
I couldn’t help but bow my head in apology for the bad manners of those other players.
“Why are you apologizing? You’ve done nothing wrong. You’re not him. Thank you for this. I’ll use it.”
I felt the touch of hard armor on my lowered head.
His smile was so kind that for a moment I was lost in admiration of his beautiful face.
I think that was the first time I had a proper conversation with Vidello-san.
Up to that point, I had casually chatted with people in the city, but after that day, I began to actively talk with them.
After I found the farm and started buying herbs from there, my pharmacist level started to rise again and the guild could no longer buy from me, so the guild introduced me to Crash’s store, where I started wholesaling my higher-ranked potions.
As my income and level increased, I was also getting tired of selling stock potions to the guild, so I started offering them to the gatekeepers as I went to get materials.
“Thank you, as usual. But I’m sorry you have to go through all this trouble.”
“But this is a business where you never know when you might get hurt. There’s no harm in having them, and in my opinion, they’re close to being failures, so I’m glad they’re being used.”
Plus, I always got information as a thank you for the potions.
They would warn me about what was going to be out in the woods each day, things like, “It’s a little dangerous today, so you shouldn’t go too deep…” At first, I thought that was just the way the game was played, but the gatekeepers were gathering information by talking to everyone who came to them. I was so impressed at their accuracy, that when I found fruits in the forest that I could eat straight from the tree, I would pick a lot of them and bring them home to give to the gatekeepers.
It was a lot of fun, but by that time, my personal level still hadn’t improved at all.
Maybe it was time to move on. I was thinking about that when somehow I got lost in a back alley. I think I went down a different road than usual.
I was intrigued by a real estate agency I found there, so I went in.
“If it’s for a workshop, I can get it for you for cheap. It’s a big place, and you can tinker with it as you like. The land itself is large, so you can expand as you wish. And if you register as a workshop instead of a residence, you get a huge tax break. This is a production-friendly town.”
I was so taken in by their overtures that I bought the workshop immediately. Since then, my base of operations has been Tre.
“I started to care about Mac when he bowed his head to apologize and offered me his homemade potion after I’d subdued that foreigner at the gate.”
“And then you would offer us your homemade stuff when you said it was a failure, right? All the gatekeepers were grateful to Mac for providing them with so many better potions than the ones that were normally provided. Those potions saved more than just one or two people. They also became a lifeline for those who fled for their lives to the city from the outside. Besides, it was a lot of fun talking to Mac. I would watch Mac happily walking through the gate, and I was always eagerly waiting to see you, wondering if I would get to meet you, or if you would walk through the gate that day.”
I listened to Vidello-san’s story while taking a close look at his beautiful face.
He spoke in a quiet voice and seemed very wistful.
“When I heard that Mac had his own workshop, I was so happy. I knew it meant that Mac was going to settle down in this town.”
I had no idea that his feelings stretched from all the way back then. When I told Vidello-san that I bought a workshop, he smiled with his usual fresh smile, but at that moment, he was so happy one might have thought it was his own business.
With a big smile on his face, he seemed slightly more excited than usual. I thought he was just excited that the gatekeepers would be able to keep receiving good-quality potions, but it seems like it was more than just that.
“I guess this makes Mac a full-fledged craftsman! Keep up the good work!”
Back then, I was so happy that Vidello-san recognized me, that I forgot about the workshop for a moment and could only think about his smile.