It was the next morning after the welcoming party for Tiro.
Rorono had already began her work on Tiro’s equipment, and Aura had gone to her orchard to take care of the apple trees.
Meanwhile, Kuina, Ruhe, and Tiro resumed raising Tiro’s level.
As for me, I was staring at my Demon Lord book in astonishment.
“I don’t have enough DP…”
I found out that my calculations were off.
Due to Avalon’s further growth as well as Marcho’s dungeon, my DP income had skyrocketed. And thanks to that, I was able to buy two [Maelstroms] for the Darkness Dragons.
Darkness Dragons were B rank monsters, meaning each was worth a staggering 1,200 DP, and two [Maelstroms] for them was 240,000DP. That definitely was a lot, but it was well worth it.
I had spent almost none of my DP until recently, so between that and the tons of DP I earned during our Marcho rescue campaign, I had thought I would have well over 130,000DP after I bought the second [Maelstrom] for the Darkness Dragons.
That remaining DP would have been enough to buy a [Maelstrom] for the monster unlocked when I made Tiro: the Abyss Howl.
“I thought I had enough, but I had to spend DP and remodel because my dungeon proper has become too crowded.”
I added a new dungeon floor, and filled it with three dungeon room right away. One of those rooms was an expensive [Mine] room.
Furthermore, I added an additional Dwarf Smith to finish the construction of infrastructures in Avalon and also of the churches in other cities. I also added two High Elves to help Aura—who had been devoting most of her time tending to the two golden apple trees—and the other High Elves tend to the issue of environmental pollution brought about by the increase of population in Avalon.
Given those expenditures and maintaining enough DP for [Floor Swaps]…
“Yeah, I can’t buy a [Maelstrom] now. Alright, here’s the plan. I’ll think of a way to gain a whole lot more of DP. And then, alongside that, I ‘ll buy one, and just one, Abyss Howl to test it out.”
Considering the nature of [Maelstroms] where it made a monster once each day, the sooner I make one, the better. Despite the upfront cost, it was definitely better to save up DP to buy a [Maelstrom] than to buy one Abyss Howl at a time.
Until recently, there was always an impending battle on the horizon, so I didn’t have much luxury to save up. However, now that it seemed like the next battle wouldn’t be until I became fully independent in half a year’s time, saving up DP and buying [Maelstroms] were the more preferable choice than immediate war potential.
Moreover, thinking up of a way to increase my DP income was something I should do anyways, even if I didn’t aim to buy a [Maelstrom].
As for how, there were broadly two approaches that might or might not overlap one another. The first was simply to increase the time humans spent in Avalon. The other one was to raise the quality of their emotions.
The quickest of my options at the moment was to hold worship meetings daily. On certain days, worship meetings were able to increase my DP income by almost 10%.
As tempting as that was, however, that required Ruhe to be part of the ceremony here in Avalon even though ceremonies in the major cities of the Axela kingdom also had to be held in order to get new followers and make them eventually make a pilgrimage toward Avalon.
In other words, it was a short-term solution at best.
“Then, I have to think up of a new attraction that will entice people. Hopefully, one that will increase both the number of humans in the city and the quality of emotions we can get. I guess there’s only that then…”
By lowering the taxes in Avalon, it became a lucrative place for merchants.
Even if I was to leave them alone now, I had no doubt they would think up of new and fascinating attractions they could profit from. In their effort to better their lives, they were turning Avalon into a more and more charming city.
And a market where extravagant items from all over the world was gathered and sold for cheap would always be crowded.
As such, all sorts of business had opened shop here. One could taste all sorts of food in the restaurants in our city. Thanks to the high number of audiences they get here, a famous traveling theater company had even decided to permanently stay.
Well, almost all sorts.
There was one that Avalon still didn’t have. Due to certain reasons back then, I didn’t allow for such a thing to be built here. Now should be fine though.
“Alright, I should go find some collaborators. My and my monsters’ efforts alone will likely be not enough. Not without any significant difficulties, anyway. If we do this right, my DP income might skyrocket in one go.”
Conanna was the one I had most trust in among the humans. He had been with us since the beginning. He had even made Avalon be the headquarters of his firm.
At the moment, I was heading to that headquarters.
I was unaware that their headquarters, which was located in the outskirts of Avalon, was such a splendid building that it could rival even my estate.
“It seems business is doing great as ever, if this fine building is any indication.”
“It’s all thanks to you and this city. It was quite the gamble moving our headquarters here, I must admit, but it was definitely the correct choice. As for this building, it costs to maintain and has no direct use, but it makes us seem successful and that alone is enough to make the deals made here progress easier.”
He greeted me so with a cheerful smile.
Black tea was served to me, along with tea-cake.
It goes without saying that the black tea was of the highest quality. Also, the tea-cake served had the Arnold symbol in it, signifying it was from the bakery that even nobility and royalty favored.
It was the grandest of welcomes.
“At any rate, what might I be able to do for you today, Procell-sama?”
“I am thinking of adding a new public facility here in Avalon and I would like it if you participated in this endeavor.”
“Ohh. That smells of profit, doesn’t it? What do you have in mind, exactly?”
It was one of the very few things Avalon was lacking.
“I want to open a public casino. I will handle its construction and, if you are willing, I’d like you to take care of its management as well as personnel recruitment. Of course, I’ll have a few conditions.”
Conanna smiled so widely upon hearing me.
It was a pretty big deal for me to say I was building a casino. The insane profit to be had, for one.
“But Procell-sama, out of all our proposals, the building of casinos was the one thing you had always rejected. What changed?”
“Avalon was still in an unstable state back then, so I had severe reluctance about building one. However, today, I consider this city to finally be stable and safe. I think it’s about time.”
In Avalon, before merchants could build their shops where they could freely do business, they needed to file an application first.
Normally, I approved these applications without much hassle. The one exception was when the business was going to be a casino. Now, there did exist some kind of gambling dens in the back alleys of Avalon because I turned a blind eye to individuals and small shops doing petty gambling, but none that could be recognized as casinos.
As for why I did not approve of any planned casinos, I had certain reasons, the first being that it was a threat to public order. Especially so back then when most of Avalon’s population were ill-tempered and ill-mannered adventurers. If these adventurers lost, there was a risk they would turn to crime. If rumors that said Avalon was not a safe place were to spread, people would be wary and thus be less likely to visit.
However, things were different now.
Public order was stable; the number of merchants and immigrant farmers had increased; and even the number of tourists had increased.
Now that the settlers here and those that had money to spare had become the majority, I no longer needed to hesitate on opening a casino.
“The first ever casino in Avalon, huh. Yes… without a doubt, there’s a lot of profit to be gained here. I shall do my best in this endeavor. But I’m getting ahead of myself. What are your conditions?”
Conanna leaned his body forward and asked so.
I was glad that he seemed to be on board.
If it was possible, I would have much preferred it if my monsters and I could do it all by ourselves, but operating it required highly technical knowledge as well as manpower that could handle a great variety of tasks. For those, we needed the connection that Conanna’s company had.
“I’m glad you’ve shown interest.”
“If I refused, you would have just offered this tasty deal to another company, wouldn’t you?”
Conanna knew me well.
As far as I could tell, he was the most skilled and trustworthy merchant I knew, so I came to him first. However, if he was to refuse, I would have little choice but to find somebody else.
“Alright, on to my conditions. The size of casino’s site will be about as big as the church. The maximum number of people it can contain is intended to be as much as 500. For the programs, performances, events, and whatnot, my only condition is that they be things that can only be found and enjoyed here in Avalon; everything else about that is up to your discretion. Also, I want you to recruit top-class dealers and to gather whatever is popular. And then, I want the return-to-player rate be maintained at 90%. I am going to be firm on this.”
Upon hearing that I wanted the return-to-player rate be at 90%, Conanna scowled.
“That’s quite unreasonable, isn’t it? If the players win back 90% of their bets, we’ll be making just barely enough. One wrong step and we’ll be out of business right away.”
The return-to-player rate was how much of the total wagered money were given back to the players as winnings over time. For example, lotteries in the ancient times had a return-to-player rate of 50%, while horse and ship races had 70%. Also, gambling dens opened in the neighboring territories and countries had about 60%.
So, when seen from the players’ perspective, any place that had 90% return-to-player rate would be an overwhelmingly inviting place.
Obviously though, the higher the return-to-player rate, less profitable it would be for the house.
“I understand that 90% is harsh. In exchange for it, I’m willing to give your company all of the casino’s profits. Additionally, I will also give you 10% of what Avalon earns each month. Not its profits, mind you, but its total sales.”
“…Then, what about Avalon? I thought for sure that we were going to split the profits, with you getting the lion’s share. But now, not only are you giving us all of the profits, you’re also providing funds out of your own pocket. The 10% from the casino and the 10% from you is more than enough for us, but aren’t you one-sidedly losing money?”
To be completely frank, I had no need for money. Gold and silver were practically the scraps from our excavation for mithril and orichalcum, and if anything, I had so much of it, it was beginning to corrode.
What I really wanted from this casino was for humans elsewhere be excited to come to our city.
I would have even offered a 100% rate if it didn’t come with any problems. One of those problems was that if the humans could live purely off of the casino, Avalon’s as a city growth would stagnate, if not outright halt.
“Well, I am opening the casino not for monetary gain, after all. It’s simply a means to attract new people to the city. These people might be coming for the casino, but they will still spend a portion of their money somewhere else in the city. The same can be said of the employees we will be recruiting from outside the city. Both will certainly stimulate Avalon and its economy. So, you see, money is not really leaving Avalon’s pocket.”
I said something believable which, for now, should hold.
“I see. So, it’s an investment. Avalon’s already the gathering place of all kinds of delicious food and forms of entertainment, and also the world’s largest marketplace. Now, it’s going to be place where people can gamble and reliably win. This is going to be amazing. People from all over the world will be coming to Avalon.”
Conanna, now in an elated mood, fervently said so.
“I’ll be counting on you. Oh, but the casino won’t be the only thing inviting people to Avalon. We’ll also have flashy shows. So, even if they’ve lost, they’ll still be satisfied and want to come back. Heck, I want them to come here just for the shows.”
“That sounds fun. I’ll take care of those while also recruiting those dealers as soon as possible.”
He really was ecstatic. Like that, I decided to tell him one other thing.
“There’s actually one more project I’d like to discuss with you.”
“Oh, you’re going to make me happier than I already am?”
“Avalon is sure to be more popular with these attractions, but the fact that the roads going here is in bad condition remains. Even if they wanted to come, only a few people ever will. I want to do something about that.”
After all, the only properly maintained routes to Avalon were those going through the Axela Kingdom. It was rare to hear of people that came here via the paths that crossed areas not controlled by humans.
“We have been thinking about that problem as well. When we’ve gone somewhere via the Hippogriff and was about to return to Avalon after stocking up goods, we would often enough get requests asking to hitch a ride. So, yes, even though they want to come here, it just isn’t an option for many.”
Somehow, it seemed like Conanna was able to guess what I wanted to say.
“I am expecting to have an additional 100 tamed and trained Hippogriffs soon. Of course, my subordinates will make carriages for them too. However, these carriages will be specialized not for the transportation of goods, but of people. And, we’ll also be building air transportation stations in various places.”
With a hundred Hippogriffs, the goal of transporting people as well as goods was more than a possibility.
The greatest hurdle, however, was arranging the construction of the stations in each city or town. It was another matter which me and my monsters were pretty much helpless while merchants and their networks worked wonders.
Upon hearing what I proposed, Conanna began to tremble.
“That’s going to be good, no, fantastic! To be honest, I’m more excited about this than even the casino. If this succeeds, the number of people coming to Avalon will increase threefold, fivefold even! Stations connected by the sky, hahaha, why haven’t I thought of that!? What a fool I am. Anyway, thank you, Procell-sama! I’ll get it ready in three, no, two months. I swear it on my pride as a merchant!”
He was in higher spirits than ever before.
Though that was to be expected. After all, if these stations were built, he would be a merchant that went down in history.
“Since this will be a project for Avalon, funds will be provided for whatever is needed. Come by later to pick it up.”
I then passed to him a contract that offered about half of what I gave to the Axela Kingdom as aid money before.
Building stations in cities and towns all over the world would be a massive undertaking, at least this much money was going to be needed.
“Thanks a lot. I don’t think my savings alone would have been enough. With this much though, I can concentrate more on the project itself. By the way, Procell-sama, how much will you be charging for the ride on the Hippogriffs?”
“I don’t mind if it ends up being free. Like I said, my goal is for the prosperity of Avalon, not money. That being said, we’ll still earn revenue in the form of taxes.”
Conanna then reached out his hand while smiling. In response, I reached mine out and shook his.
“Hahaha, Procell-sama, you truly are a god. My god, to be more precise. I am so glad to have met you.”
That was the last reason I entrusted things to Conanna: he worshipped me. He might be a merchant and thus be a little greedy at times, but he worshipped me and would never betray me.
Like that, the seeds have been sowed.
With the casino and Hippogriff transportation system, my DP income would surely skyrocket.
Humans truly were convenient. They could do things that me and my monsters just couldn’t do. Without Conanna’s cooperation, the casino and the stations would be next to impossible to accomplish.
Now then, time to prepare for what will be in the casino. It has to be the flashiest kind of game, plus it has to be something that only Avalon can offer. It’s time to use those guys who are just lounging about when there’s no emergency.
Those thoughts in mind, I walked to the hidden entrance to my dungeon proper.
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