It was finally the day for the casino to open.
There was going to be an opening ceremony wherein I was to cut the gorgeous tape that was hanged in front of the casino building. Honestly, I was quite excited.
Since a while ago, Hippogriffs were landing one after another. And each time one landed, finely dressed people exited from the carriage it carried.
This was thanks to the airports for the Hippogriffs being operational. That being said, the number of airports outside of Avalon was still too few. Of course, we aimed to increase that number, but that would have to come later.
Similarly, golem-drawn carriages that ferried humans from other cities were coming and going one after the other. We had opened this service to the public in accordance to the casino’s opening.
“Not a bad showing for the first day.”
Including Conanna and his Curtrude Company, merchants had been actively advertising about the casino, and thanks to their invited guests, its first day of operation would be a huge success.
Soon enough, I would be delivering the opening speech.
To calm my nerves, I took a deep breath.
And when I took a look around, my face slackened.
Those girls really did it.
Through the efforts of the Dwarf Smiths and the High Elves, both the water and sewer systems as well as the outer walls in the [Plains] were already finished.
The humans deserve credit too, for they had filled the area around the casino with numerous food carts, inns, restaurants, and souvenir shops to name a few. They had made the place bustling with activity.
I had no idea things would be like this in such a short amount of time.
Incredible, truly incredible. What a happy miscalculation.
A short while after, I looked at my pocket watch and saw that it was time to begin the opening ceremony, the thing the many guests that had gathered at the admission gate was looking forward to.
And so, I took the mic and spoke.
“Good day, everyone. I am Procell, the head of Avalon and the owner of this casino. At long last, I can unveil to you Fafnir, the amazing casino that we from Avalon are so proud of. Here, you can play casino games from all over the world, conducted by famous dealers. We also offer the chance to see flying dragons race against one another, something I’m sure you won’t find anywhere else but Avalon. For now though, please look up to the sky! May these flying dragons bless you!”
Following my instruction, the humans looked up. When they did, five Darkness Dragons each wearing an ornament of a unique color appeared, flying in perfect formation.
With just that, cheers of wonder arose from the humans.
However, that wasn’t all. The Darkness Dragons then put on aerial acrobatics show. They flew high in the sky and then swooped down. Then, without slowing down one bit, they ascended and did loops three times. To finish the looping off, the dragons did a Cuban figure eight.
It was awe-inspiring, beautiful, and majestic. Not surprisingly, the humans gave thunderous applause to it.
And then, the dragons broke formation. Two of them used the smoke flares they carried under their bellies to draw red-colored lines in the sky. Like that, the two dragons flew in a symmetrical fashion until they had drawn a red heart in the sky.
At that, the people clapped harder than even before.
As for the other three dragons, they rose higher and used smoke flares that matched the color of the ornament they were wearing.
And then, by performing a series of complicated aerial maneuvers at high altitude, they have drawn characters in the sky that stated:
<<Happiness and blessings to you all>>
After reading the message, the humans smiled and yelled in excitement.
For the humans who were going to gamble, this message was perhaps the best gift.
Their work done, the dragons returned.
“Did you like the blessing from the flying dragons? As you saw, our flying dragons have excellent flying ability and are well-behaved. Go and watch them race, maybe even bet on them. If you do, who knows, their dinner might just become extra delicious today.”
When I said so, the humans laughed.
“Well, that’s enough talk. It will be better for you to experience the greatness of the casino yourselves. And so, I hereby declare Fafnir to be open!”
Using the scissor that a Mythological Fox handed to me, I cut the ribbon placed on the casino’s entrance.
That Mythological Fox and I then placed a hand on each part of the double doors, pushed forward, and beckoned the guests to come inside. They rushed inside almost as though it was a stampede.
I guess the Darkness Dragons’ demonstration was effective.
I could tell because many powerful emotions were flowing to me already.
“Let’s go check how things are inside after a while.”
Once I have confirmed that the rush had settled down, I planned to walked inside together with the Mythological Fox.
And so, we began walking around.
The interior design of the casino had been completely finished. It inspired both greed and aspiration.
To set the mood, the orchestra hired by Conanna was playing wonderful and pleasant tunes one after the other.
This being their first official day of work, I half expected them to be quite rattled, but the dealers approved by Conanna were truly amazing. Whether it be the roulettes, the card games, the dice games, or whatever gambling game we had, the playing guests, each and every one of them, were in a daze.
The serving crew was top-notch too. A lot of the senior staff were doing their own job while not forgetting to support the less experienced ones.
All this would have been impossible for me and my monsters. I was so glad I relied on the humans again.
The bar in the first floor seemed to be doing quite well. The Mythological Fox with me seemed entranced by it as well, actually.
“If only we can try that out right now.”
“Yes, it looks so much fun.”
Unfortunately, I couldn’t let the guests see me just playing around on our opening day. But maybe some other time, as a guest myself and not as the owner, I could… taking a breather once in a while was important too, after all.
After surveying and enjoying the first floor, we decided to move to the second floor.
As soon as we arrived on the second floor, we noticed an awfully long line.
Once a guest had paid for their bet on the dragon race, they would be given a ticket. By showing this ticket to the proper staff at the theater, they would then be given permission to enter. After the particular race had finished, they would then be asked to temporarily asked to exit. If they had tickets to the next races, the process was then repeated. That was our system.
By the way, in order for the guests to chose on which dragon to bet on, another screen showing the dragons participating on each race was prepared outside of the theater.
It had been only been about 15 minutes since the sale of the tickets for the first race went live, but it had already sold out. The line was for the seats of the succeeding races.
“Are the theaters too small? But that can’t be the case; never mind the second race, we’re already selling the tickets for the third race.”
Limited by the screen size, the maximum number of guests that could watch a screen at once was 500.
Furthermore, the other large screen was already displaying the odds for the first and second races. The odds were supposed to be displayed only when the seats had all been sold or when it was at most an hour before the race.
Given that it was far too early for the second race—the first race hasn’t even started—it could only mean that even the seats for the second race has already been sold out.
It could be because it was the first day of operation and people were just excited of the unknown, but if this kind of traffic continued, it might become necessary to add another theater.
Our next stop was the space for the tenants.
The merchants that were lucky enough to be picked to be tenants had all opened their respective stores.
As to be expected, there were many gift shops and restaurants. The restaurants made full use of the fact that almost any ingredient from all over the world could be procured here in Avalon and thus prepared dishes that could not be eaten in most other places. Some were new variations of existing dishes, while some were even entirely new.
Furthermore, in anticipation of the rich people that were bound to come, there were quite a few jewelries stores as well as stores for expensive but high-quality clothes.
“Frog-shaped cakes, frog-shaped cakes! Avalon’s specialty product! Oh, but we don’t offer just the regular frog-shaped cakes, we’re also selling golden frog-shaped cakes that will bring you good fortune!”
A frog was selling frog-shaped cakes. My guess for why the golden colored ones were like that was that due to the increased amount of egg yolk rather than anything extraordinary.
Anyway, I knew who that frog was. It was [Viscosity] Demon Lord Ronove. He was lucky enough to win a spot in the tenant lottery.
It might not be case in terms of being a Demon Lord, but as a merchant, he had quite the talent. The peculiarity of the frog-shaped cakes, the sweet and delicious-seeming aroma it gives, the strategy of saying that the golden variant would bring fortune, and the convenience that it could be eaten while walking all contributed to his shop attracting more guests than the others.
As I passed by, our eyes met.
After saying that he was taking his break to his assistants, he walked toward me.
“Business seems great, Ronove.”
“All thanks to you! The combination of humans’ greed for good luck and their happiness from eating my delicious frog-shaped cakes, oh, it’s so exquisite. This is the first time I’ve tasted such emotions. I am truly grateful to you, Procell.”
“Keep up the good work. The more delicious emotions you get, the more I get too, after all.”
“But of course! I’ll work hard until these frog-shaped cakes are famous all over the world! Someday, I’ll have branches in every city of the country!”
He definitely seemed enthusiastic.
After bowing repeatedly and then forcing me to take some golden frog-shaped cakes, he returned to work.
I might as well taste it. I see, the color really isn’t just because of food coloring.
Considering my rule for the tenant spot—the one about having the lowest-earning merchant being evicted—his cheap frog-shaped cakes put him in a disadvantage. For that reason, it made sense that he increased his prices, but in exchange improved the quality. He even added the allure of good fortune.
My estimation of him had grown slightly better.
Before continuing on, I decided to grab some more cakes so that I could give them to Kuina and the girls later.
Let’s see, I think the first race should start some time soon.
My next stop was the theater. More specifically, the VIP room in it. It was a very spacious glass-sided room.
In there pleasantly chatting while enjoying alcohol were Conanna and the VIP guests he had invited. There were a fair number of VIP guests today because, again, it was the casino’s opening day. Among them were lords of cities which didn’t have Hippogriff airports yet, foreign royalties, and many others of similar caliber.
Perhaps recognizing me from the opening ceremony earlier, these guests greeted me upon my arrival.
To that, I responded with a wide smile.
These people had the power to influence one way or the other the establishment of the Hippogriff airports as well as the promotion of our city in their territory. So, to attract more people to Avalon, I was willing to socialize with them as much as they wanted to.
“So, you’re the famous Procell-sama of Avalon I’ve heard so much of lately.”
“To turn this once empty plot of land into a metropolis like this in just lifetime must take amazing talent, doesn’t it?”
“Procell-sama, is it true that you’re really a sage, and that you use that power of yours to make miracles happen?”
“Do you have any plans to settle down soon? If so, I actually have a daughter…”
While forcing myself to keep smiling, I interacted with each one of them.
What a pain, the people here are greedier than even the ones completely into the casino.
It wasn’t just my imagination. It was very evident that to them, I was already just a being that they could use to further themselves.
Thankfully, Conanna was there to support me.
He had successfully helped me to avoid making any promises to these influential people in such a way that they didn’t feel slighted.
This level of finesse made me reflect on how inexperienced I still was.
“Everyone, the race is about to begin soon. Why don’t we all enjoy that for now?”
Just a while after Conanna said so, the whole theater got dark and the figures of the Darkness Dragons were seen on the gigantic screen.
The dragons exuded intensity that was leagues apart what they had shown in the mock race before.
The high-resolution of the screen allowed us to see each and every scale on the dragons while the stereophonic sound system allowed us bask in their presence.
Naturally, even the humans around me changed their focus to the dragons.
Before the actual race began, the Darkness Dragons were introduced in a detailed and passionate manner. So much so that it made the understanding of each dragon’s characteristics and strengths easy to grasp.
…wait a minute. This voice, isn’t it Ruhe’s? Good grief, does that girl love festivities so much that she forced her way into doing that?
I wanted to complain, but it couldn’t be denied that her explanation did liven the place up.
And then, a background music began playing. It was the kind of tune that amped you up whether you wanted to or not.
The crowd ready, the race finally began. Five hundred pairs of eyes were fixed to the screen, watching as the Darkness Dragons flapped their wings.
Much like the mock race, one dragon flew ahead of the rest to handle the camera and shoot the others.
In the next moment, the competing dragons crossed the starting line. They raced through the complicated course, performing aerial maneuvers more difficult than the ones they pulled off during the opening ceremony.
All the while, Ruhe commentated on the race and thus made the crowd even more excited.
I could feel their excitement flowing into me and it was delicious.
And then, just like that, the dragons were halfway through the course. After coming out of a series of turns, they were to fly in a long and straight path.
At that timing, while Ruhe asked the audience members to look up, the ceiling opened up and the screen turned off.
And what the audience members saw was the Darkness Dragons flying as low as possible without triggering the effects of the dragons’ [Awe]. Anyone that saw those dragons were speechless, some even forgot to breath.
Once all of the dragons had passed through, the ceiling was closed and everyone’s attention returned to the screen.
After a while, the dragons reached the final straight pathway. The background music and Ruhe’s commentary only got more intense.
Giving it all they had left, the dragons raced at the speed of sound. In the next moment, the winner was determined. That honor went to Red Rouge.
A chorus of cheers and screams erupted.
The moment the dragons crossed the finished line, the unbelievably powerful emotions of the 500 people watching flowed into me. It was nothing like earlier. It felt like my chest would explode. It hurt. It physically hurt.
This is supposed to happen six times a day? Haha, this is going to drive me mad. It’s so intense, yet it doesn’t show any sign of calming down any time soon.
Everyone in the VIP room seemed to have forgotten about everything else too, entirely entranced by the ecstasy the dragons’ race had brought them.
Nonetheless, I had to return to working. So, I looked up to the ceiling and calmed down even if by only a little.
“And that, ladies and gentlemen, is Fafnir’s dragon race. To those that won in the first race, congratulations. To those that didn’t, go get revenge on the next ones.”
When I said so, the VIPs finally snapped back to reality.
“I had no idea the dragon races can be this amazing.”
“I have to boast about this once I return to my country.”
“They’re more fascinating than what the legends say.”
“I lost this time, but I’m surely going to win in the next one!”
In their excitement, they forgot about me and talked about the race among themselves.
Conanna saw that chance. While pretending to engage in idle chitchat, he pushed his demands.
Meanwhile, I saw that chance as the opportunity to take my leave. Things might have turned ugly if I stayed.
And so, I rushed to the toilet of a private room.
“Geez, it’s like my strength is leaking out of me… My Demon Lord powers are going haywire.”
From the moment the race ended, the excessively strong emotions had been driving my powers out of control.
I was familiar with this sensation. I had felt this before when the Darkness Dragons bombed the group of knights in my war against the humans.
In other words, I was on the verge of unwillingly activating [Awakening].
Needless to say, it wasn’t the time nor place to expose my true nature.
“…until I’ve settled down, I mustn’t meet with Kuina and the others. There’s no telling what might happen.”
On top of emotions I would get from the races six times a day, there was also the strong emotions from the casino’s first floor flowing constantly into me. And this was to happen each and every day.
Indubitably, I had made the step forward in the right direction with opening a casino.
From then on, while still trying to calm myself, I made the rounds and inspected some other things.
Halfway through it, I was surprised to see some of my monsters that were off-duty playing. It would seem that even they were interested in the casino.
“I’m the commentator, so I know best which one’s the fastest!”
While confidently saying such things, she paid a large amount of money to bet on one of the dragons. Everything was going so well until the dragon she betted on went out of bounds. In an instant, she was at the verge of tears.
I sat down somewhere, looked over my shoulders to see that no one would notice, and then summoned my [Demon Lord Book]. While taking a sip of my wine, I opened the book.
“This much in just one day?”
When I looked at my DP, I found that I had earned several days’ worth of DP in just one day.
Such was the effect of more than a thousand people giving off exceedingly strong emotions.
Thanks to that, I had earned enough to buy a [Maelstrom]. And if this was to go on, I estimated that I could even buy one Maelstrom every fortnight.
Of course, I could do various other things with DP such as directly buying monsters from the book.
Speaking of which, I should buy an Abyss Howl. If it performs like expected, I’ll buy a Maelstrom right away.
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