Chapter 148: Power, intrigue and…
Kaminaga Tower is a high-rise building owned by Kaminaga Enterprises, a major player in the Japanese entertainment industry.
The GOO that Johan and his friends enjoy was operated in a small room in the building.
Usually, the office is filled with only the sounds of PCs and typing on keyboards, but during a break, employees are chatting with each other.
“Now that we’ve got the plans in place, the summer festival is going to be a lot of fun.”
Hazuki, the project leader of GOO, takes a break with a cup of coffee in her hand. Akama, the subordinate sitting beside her, gives a sigh.
“I wasn’t sure what would happen at one point, but… But recently the number of people has been increasing and it’s been very rewarding.”
“I don’t have a worldview. I wasn’t sure if I could get people to come. But I guess things work out.”
GOO is a game that was developed on the premise of collaborating with various games, anime, and companies. Therefore, the story of GOO itself is very weak. There is no clear protagonist, nor is there an enemy to defeat.
But a year and a half has passed since the concept of ‘a special adventure for each and every one of you’ was born. Hatsuki, who’s been running at full speed, squints at the players who are happily preparing for the summer festival.
There was a slight sense of accomplishment, a sense of satisfaction that I had created this world, and the pure joy of knowing that there were users out there who enjoyed it.
“I’ve had a lot of failures, but I think I’ve finally stabilized.”
“Yes, I know. But we can’t let our guard down here.
It’s almost time to call it a night. There’s a loud thwack and the automatic door is opened.
“Hi, you company animals! Power’s coming to work!”
Hatsuki and Akama turn around in surprise at the voice.
A muscular, middle-aged man with blond hair and black hair enters the room with a thud. His name is Era Era, a former producer of GOO.
Yes. Former producer.
He was one of the founding members of GOO, and he has been out of contact for a while after the [Summoner Weakening Incident].
Hazuki was relieved to hear that he had been transferred to another project when the commotion died down, but his forehead naturally broke out in an uncomfortable sweat.
(Why is… Why is he here after all this time? I have a bad feeling about this.)
“Hey, hey, hey. It’s been a while since you’ve seen your trusty boss, right? Be happy for a second.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I heard that Era P. got a promotion.
Akama, the younger of the two, amiably lifted Era up and asked him what he wanted to know.
“That’s right. You see that? I was the producer of Ginga Drill Online after that. You know GDO.”
“Wow, that’s great, GDO?
No, wait. That thing went up in flames the other day.
“That’s right~ I’ve been getting a lot of anti-sticky antagonists from bad users who are like garbage. I’m ending my career next month.”
Unlike GDO.GOO, this is a game where you can strengthen yourself through gacha. However, the game was under fire when it was discovered that the weapons that were supposed to be picked up for human rights were actually set to not win.
The refund was not processed and the fire was even more flammable.
I’ve heard that the fire is still burning on video streaming sites and SNS, and the management is busy responding to the fire without sleep.
Um, don’t you have to deal with that?
“No, I mean, why… You’re a producer.
“It’s okay. I’m not that P anymore.”
“Rejoice, you guys! As of today, I’ve been assigned to run GOO. Clap clap clap clap.
Hatsuki and Akama were crestfallen.
“Oh, my. You’re still so flirtatious. That’s why you’ll never get a boyfriend.
Don’t worry, I’ve got some interesting ideas. Here.”
Hatsuki and Akama pick up a piece of paper on the desk as if to throw it away. It seems to be a proposal.
“Well… A collaborative project with an up-and-coming video streaming site…?”
“Yeah. You guys are having an event called the GOO Summer Festival, right? It’s okay. I know you’ve been working really hard. It just doesn’t have the impact. The kind of impact that could get us some numbers.
“Yeah. There… This is it.
Era P points to a [Tag Team Duel Tournament] organized by a player named Pierre.
“I’m going to put the stars I’ve prepared for you in this tournament! And we’ll stream their performances. And I’ve got a big budget. What do you think? It’s a great collaboration.”
Akama gives a weak applause with a wry smile on his face. On the other hand, Hatsuki, the project leader, complained about Era P’s project.
“With all due respect, sir… Do these stars play GOO? Do they have an account?”
Era P replies grumpily, perhaps dissatisfied with his opinion.
“Why would the stars who are winners in life play VRMMOs? They’re an escape from life for the losers. You don’t get it, do you?”
“As a service provider, it’s not appropriate to describe users in such a way.”
“It’s okay, because it’s true. It’s more important.
Era P pulls out a new document from his expensive-looking bag. It seems to be the personal data of the star.
“Create an account based on this information. You have until the day after tomorrow. Thank you!”
“Let’s see, let’s see… What is this?”
Akama screamed as he caught a glimpse of the documents.
“Level 100… 10x Status Points… Special weapons for special jobs… Isn’t that a cheat?”
“Look, I’m not going to ask you to make an account right now. I’m not going to ask you to create an account now, but could you at least put yourself in the same position as a player?”
“This is a tournament, and there are a lot of players who are trying their best to win. I don’t think it’s right to step on their feelings…”
“What are you talking about, Hazuki? That’s what’s fun!”
“What the losers have built up over the years, the stars will crush it with overwhelming force. That’s what the public wants to see! Bullying the weak, that’s entertainment! I’m so excited!”
The two of them are staring coldly at Era P, who’s jumping up and down by himself. After defeating the players with their overwhelming power, they’ll probably just say, “If you want to win, you’ll have to pay for it. He’s probably going to put a lot of effort into the charged items and gacha. Hatsuki thought that this was the usual Era P’s trick.
“Good luck! You’ll be fired if you cross us.
The only thing he wanted to say was that he was going to leave. Akama sat back in his chair as if he’d lost all tension.
“Ha-ha-ha… Ha-ha-ha. I’ve been trying hard to regain the trust I lost. But I guess G.O.O. is over.
“Oh, no. We’ve worked so hard on this. We’re going to end up being called shitty management by the users. It’s so frustrating. This job really doesn’t pay off.”
Hatsuki listens silently to Akama’s weeping voice.
He bit his lip so hard that it bled and stared at the proposal on his desk.
Friday night, August 6th .
Johann is summoned by Pierre to the second level, a deserted bar in the corner of the Citadel.
When you enter, an NPC barman greets you and shows you in. As I walk in, I see Pierre with a serious look on his face.
Johan sat down next to Pierre in the four-seater table and gave a slight bow to the person in front of him.
Thank you for coming all the way out here today.
The woman who bowed her head was named [Kitsutsuki]. Her age is about the same as Johan’s.
“No, no. By the way, is it true that you are the Game Master?”
Yes. [The person in the woodpecker is GOO project leader Hatsuki.
Hatsuki can’t forgive himself for what just happened, so he logs into GOO using his test-play account. First, he contacts Pierre, the organizer of the tag team tournament, and explains the situation.
I then contacted Johan through Pierre.
When Johan hears what’s going on, he visits her with a confused look on his face.
Uh, so what do you want from me?
It’s not pleasant to listen to other people’s messes. Johann asks the woodpecker, trying not to show his displeasure.
“Yes, sir. I want you to compete in the tag team duel tournament. I want you to beat the star players. I want you to stop them from having a winner.”
The woodpecker said emphatically.
He doesn’t want to see the players who enjoy the game he has created being unilaterally overrun by players who don’t love it.
That’s why he contacted Johan, the player that the woodpecker thinks is the strongest in the game.
They don’t even play GOO. Most players will be hurt and lose their motivation if a player they don’t love goes on a rampage with the most powerful characters.
Even if the producer’s act was a heinous one, from the player’s point of view, it was done at the producer’s discretion and prejudice, it was done at the will of the management.
The distrust that comes from that is immeasurable.
I never wanted to do anything that would trample on or expose the feelings of the players who usually pay a not-so-expensive price and give up their precious time to play with us.
So I wanted to at least stop them from winning.
I don’t want the best player to be a player without love.
But I’m in a position where I can’t disobey P. But my position doesn’t allow me to disobey P. So I thought I’d do my best to fight back…”
The Woodpecker, who was the same age as Johan, was somewhat emotionally attached to Johan, who was having fun and playing an active role. She had become a fan of Johan even though she was the manager.
“I know it’s really rude to ask such a favor to Johan, who’s enjoying the show so much. But… Please…”
Pierre nods at the woodpecker’s desperate plea.
“It’s true that some people will complain if a celebrity does a Warriors thing with a special account. But let’s think about it the other way around. If my Demon Lord slaughters them, it’ll be a fun show.”
“I’m not gonna slaughter you, okay?”
I deny it, Johann.
“Um, Mr. Woodpecker. Can’t we just… Is there any way to do that?
“That’s… I’m sure P will realize that. He’s a fool, but he’s not stupid.”
At first Johan was annoyed that his hobby of gaming had been interrupted, but gradually he began to feel sympathy for the woman in front of him.
She felt the same resentment, frustration and helplessness. Johan has felt this in his long working life.
And to sum up what Woodpecker and Pierre said, this is nothing short of a GOO crisis.
Johan thinks of all the people he has met at GOO.
Zecca is a company that strives to be the best, and works hard every day to become the best.
Gilteer has been holding everyone together by pushing himself to become the strongest guild.
Con was deeply saddened by the loss of his comrades due to an unreasonable change of specifications.
A mysterious group of people who will challenge you no matter how many times you are defeated.
What would they think if they heard this story? Think about that…
“Okay. I’ll take the offer.
Johann has decided to enter the tag team duel tournament. The Woodpeckers are momentarily jubilant, and then immediately look apologetic.
“I really… Thank you…”
I think he felt guilty for getting involved. Johann and Pierre read it.
Don’t worry about my Demon Lord. Are you sure? Is level 100 enough? Shouldn’t you be more prepared?
“Don’t. Really, Mr. Pierre, don’t.”
“Well, don’t worry. We’re gonna take down this star and reveal P’s nose to the world.
Pierre is even more enthusiastic than Johann. I wonder if it’s the rebellion against his superiors that’s tugging at his heartstrings. He’s more excited than when he first arrived.
I can’t thank you or back you up. But… I thought I’d bring you this.”
The woodpecker takes an item from storage. It is a summoning stone in the shape of a seven-colored egg-shaped toy.
“Could this be… Could it be…?”
“Yes, it is. It’s a summoner for the upcoming collaboration event [Virtual Monsters V2] next month in September, the top item of which is the [Seventh Emperor Dragon].”
“September? You’re doing it in September? I guess the rumors are true.
“Calm down, Demon Lord. What do you want me to do with this?
“Please use it. Of course you shouldn’t summon it in tournaments, but it’s okay to borrow skills from [dark gene].”
I’ve already released all three skills. The woodpecker is about to hand Johan the summoning stone of the Seventh Emperor Dragon.
No. I can’t take that.
But Johann refused.
“Why? Since I’m asking you so rudely, at least let me do this!”
I’m sure Johann, who loves batchimonths, will be happy to receive it. The woodpecker is puzzled because he brought it with him.
“No. If I take it… You’ll end up with P, who hates you, too.
The woodpecker covers his mouth. He looked down as if he were trying to hold back tears. As if to reassure the woodpecker, Johann says in a gentle tone of voice.
“And you know what? You’re talking about losing one-sidedly to a star player and losing motivation and losing players, but I don’t think so.”
Johann’s mind is filled with thoughts of everything that’s happened.
Even though I’ve been defeated unilaterally by the strongest class of equipment I’ve ever acquired… But even so… I’ve challenged numerous powerful foes with all the strength I have.
Johan has suffered many times from these unyielding rivals.
“So I don’t think you need to be pessimistic. Stay strong. I don’t think the players of your game are that weak.”
“Thank you… Thank you… Thank you.
He waited for a moment for the woodpecker to calm down, and then Pierre spoke up.
“Now that it’s been decided that you’ll be competing, my Demon King… I have a question…”
“Do you have a tag team partner in mind?”
Yeah, it’s okay. I already know who I’m going to ask… I already know who I’m going to ask.
Johann stands strong.
Let’s go do him a favor.