Despite the unreasonable deadline, the Dwarf Smiths were working hard to build the casino and also to prepare for today’s exhibition event. They had only received the request last night, and yet I had been informed that they were already finished with the plans for the casino building.
The ornaments for the Darkness Dragons were finished too. According to Duke, test flights with it on seemed to have been successful.
Everything about the casino was going well.
At the moment, I was heading to the [Plains] room.
I wasn’t alone though. With me were Conanna, the top members of his Curtrude Company, as well as executives from other companies that were present in Avalon.
Last night, I made it known that I was looking for participants in the demonstration today. Along with that notice, I also notified them that the casino’s volume limit was now going to be 2,000 people instead of the initial 500.
It was a sudden notice and yet so many people arrived. Excitedly, I might add. Everyone was anticipating my every movement.
After a while, we arrived at the site where the casino was going to be built. When I turned to face them, I found them all to be surprised.
“Hooh, they’re making a building of this size…”
“This is but a glimpse of what Procell-sama is capable when he’s serious.”
“…how many thousands of gold do you think this all cost?”
The golems were already laying the foundations. There was even a sign denoting that this site was going to be the casino.
That said, it was far from finished. For the demonstration today, since we couldn’t use the actual facility, there was a makeshift building that was furnished with tables, chairs, and various equipment that an actual casino might use. There was even a simple mechanism for opening up the ceiling.
“Everyone, please take a seat. Please enjoy the alcohol and light snacks we’ve prepared.”
They all sat down, but their attention was focused onto one point. And that point was a large screen display.
In order for lots of people—hundreds or even thousands once the casino was fully operational—to be able to watch the race simultaneously, we were going to use [Divine Revelation]. Not only could it project 3-dimensional holographic images into open space, it could also project 2-dimensional images via a screen. I had thought of using the former, but decided against it in the end because using a screen display provided better image quality.
“Procell-sama, just what is that thing?”
Conanna asked me the question that was on everybody’s mind.
“You’ll know once you see it running.”
I patronizingly replied so.
Seeing it for themselves would have better impact anyway.
Taking that answer as my cue, I stood in front of the screen and spoke.
“Thank you for participating in today’s event to see the casino and its main draw, the flying dragon races. Well then, let’s start watching as soon as possible!”
Right after I moved to the side, the screen became lit with a peculiar glow.
With just that, the merchants leaned their bodies forward in curiosity.
The screen then vividly displayed the images of the majestic Darkness Dragons.
To say that the merchants were in awe was an understatement.
“And so, let us proceed to the race. It won’t be an ordinary race though. After all, it’s not often we see flying dragons race against each other. Please, take a look up. Do you see those balloons?”
Floating in the sky were a great number of balloons that were attached together with wires. They were of special make, were of varying colors, and were much bigger and more durable than ordinary.
Even the wires holding them together were coated with special fluorescent paint. This paint absorbed surrounding energy, thus allowing the wires to shine and be noticeable at any time of day, whether it be at night or noon.
These made up the race course that the dragons were going to compete in.
“The dragons will fly between those balloons, and you will get to see this as though you were right there through that large screen. The course will be over a hundred kilometers long, but it won’t even take the dragons five minutes to finish it. Now, rejoice, you shall be the audience members of the world’s first flying dragon race! …But before that, simply watching will be rather dull, won’t it? Let’s bet on it. As of now, each dragon’s odds of winning are the same, so let’s do it like this: the house shall match your bets fivefold.”
Originally, minor details like popularity and whatnot could be used to estimate the odds of winning. However, since this was going to be the very first race, there was no data whatsoever to use.
Upon hearing my proposal, the merchants became wide-eyed, and then earnestly, naively looked at the dragons through the screen.
“Alright, to introduce the dragons participating in the race,”
The screen then displayed a close-up image of one dragon after another.
At the bottom were the nicknames the Dwarf Smiths assigned to them. Looking at it, I smiled wryly.
There were six participants in total.
Each wore ornaments related to their assigned name.
The merchants talked among themselves on which to bet on, using only dragons’ countenance, physique, and whatever else the image might tell.
After a while, the merchants lined up to a table, gave the maid Mythological Foxes their wagers and were then given tickets corresponding their wager.
Them being who they were, the bets they placed were staggering. It was a matter of keeping appearances. Their pride wouldn’t let them place a low bet no matter what.
“It looks like everybody has chosen their dragons. Now, please direct your attention to the screen. Soon enough, the race will begin.”
Music was playing from the speakers beside the screen. It was a rousing tone, one that would incite a rush of blood. This was composed by Ruhe.
It wasn’t just the music that was being played though. There was even the sound of wind coming from the speakers. The intent was to give a better sense of immersion via stereophonic sound.
When the countdown being displayed reached zero, a loud sound was heard. That signified the start of the race, and with that, the dragons simultaneously—and majestically—flapped their wings.
Everyone’s eyes were fixed on the dragons as they acrobatically flew through the race course in the sky. In the lead were Red Rouge and Black Darkness. Not too far behind though was Blue Sky.
Each of the dragons were serious and giving it their all. After all, an all-you-can-eat buffet was waiting for them in the Forest as a reward if they came in first.
Three minutes in and the end of the race was already in sight.
The merchants kept on watching the screen with their full attention. They even forgot to blink.
“Alright, the race is about to reach its climax. After coming out of the series of curves, the dragons will come into a long, straightforward path. That also means that soon, the dragons will fly over our heads. In ten seconds, look up and see them fly with your own eyes.”
As I said those words, a mechanism activated and began to open up the ceiling, letting the rays of sunlight in.
It was just a makeshift casino, but this gimmick or a variation of it would be used in the real one as well.
When the merchants looked up…
“Go, go, my Rouge!”
“Don’t lose, Darkness!”
“You can still turn this around, Woods!”
Up in the sky, the Darkness Dragons passed through.
In order to turn efficiently in the series of deep curves they had just exited from, the dragons had to decelerate. I say decelerate but they were still quite fast. They passed through the makeshift casino in an instant.
However, that instant was priceless to the merchants. To be able to see with their own eyes such majestic creatures flying in the sky, it was grandest of luxuries.
The race course made the dragons fly as low as possible, but also far enough that their skill called [Fear] wouldn’t affect the merchants. And since the dragons were now flying in a straight, uncomplicated path, accidents were unlikely to occur, though we had the High Elves in standby just in case.
Seeing the dragons up close, the merchants were unable to hide their excitement and deep awe.
After all of the dragons had passed, the ceiling was closed and merchants returned their attention to the screen.
There was only three kilometers remaining. The next part of the race course was another series of deep curves. Red Rouge was currently in the lead but then touched one of the balloons, rendering it out of bounds and was thus eliminated in the race.
Seeing Rouge being disqualified, the merchants that bet on it groaned.
A few moments later, the remaining dragons were entering the last straight path of the race course. The merchants, even more excited than before, cheered for their respective dragons.
That being said, with Red Rouge eliminated, everyone thought Black Darkness had the first place for the taking.
“My Blue Sky, It’s your time!”
One merchant, clutching his tickets tight, stood up and shouted so.
Blue Sky, who was always a step behind Black Darkness, did a mad dash and overtook the latter.
Red Rouge and Black Darkness had been competing to be the lead right from the start, costing them their stamina. Whereas Blue Sky chose to preserve his strength and wait for the perfect opportunity to grab the ultimate win.
Like that, Blue Sky finished first and Black Darkness second. The runner-ups were Yellow Gold and Green Woods. Red Rouge and Argent Silver both went out of bounds and were thus eliminated.
The roar of the victors and the groans of the defeated echoed in the place.
While some Mythological Foxes awarded the winners five times the amount of their bets, some served more alcohol.
“Everyone, did you enjoy that? That was the flying dragon race which shall be the main draw of the casino. Much like you have experienced, people will be able to watch the race through gigantic screens and then see the dragons for themselves as the dragons pass by. We aim to feature all this and more in the upcoming casino.”
There was a round of applause after I said that.
“Magnificent! This will certainly attract people!”
“There’s nowhere else in the world we can get to see dragons racing.”
“And those speeds and those maneuverings! As expected of dragons!”
“This can be marketed even to non-gamblers. This is a show that one will never forget seeing!”
The merchants voiced out their impressions. If even these merchants who were at least by now used to extravagance and luxury were this excited, the success of the casino and the races were guaranteed—not that it wasn’t already.
Afterwards, I was asked many and various questions.
When will the casino be complete? More importantly, when will it open?
Can we open our own restaurants and gift shops within the casino?
Is it ok to cooperate with other cities and make the casino part of a tour?
How often will the flying dragon races be held?
There were many other questions they excitedly asked. This much was expected though. After all, the tiniest hint of money was enough to set merchants off hunting for clues.
“Conanna, the casino itself will be finished after a week. Take a look at this sketch. How long do you think you can get all the necessary personnel? I want to open soon, but I think it depends on that.”
Everything on our end was going to be ready in a week’s time, but since there were other factors to consider such as Conanna’s arrangements, the decision wasn’t entirely up to me.
Other than the races, the casino was also going to have other popular features. For things like games, we needed first-rate dealers. I had asked Conanna to take care of those, but obviously, that would take some time.
“Procell-sama, a casino that can accommodate 2,000 people is really large-scale. I expect there will be guests close to that number too on a regular basis, so I think we’re going to need at the very least 20 first-rate dealers. Other than the dealers, we’re also going to need over a hundred staff members, which should be first-rate too. An ordinary merchant will say they need at least two months to get it all done.”
That seemed about right. Rather, a merchant that could accomplish that in two months would already be considered first-rate.
“The way you said that, are you implying that you can do it much sooner?”
Conanna was the best of the best.
“I’ll be able to recruit them in 10 days. And after 4 days, all other preparations like training should have been done. Like that, let’s open the casino in 2 weeks! Hahaha! After seeing the dragons race today, my expectations have risen by three times. We’ll be gaining lots of visitors and gold! …Also, Procell-sama, do you think you can spare some Hippogriffs for ten days? Even ten of them will be plenty fine. I’m thinking of using it to transport the celebrities we’re going to invite. If we can make a good impression on them, I’m sure they’ll boast of their experience to their acquaintances. That way, word of mouth about Avalon’s casino will spread like wildfire!”
Conanna would only say such things if he was confident of success. Doubly so for asking something of me.
For those reasons, I figured it was worth the risk.
“I understand. I’ll lend you 10 Hippogriffs for ten days. You’ll have to wait your turn in the list if you need more though, is that ok?”
I was planning on buying a [Maelstrom] for the Hippogriffs anyway. Being D rank monsters, a [Maelstrom] for them was about half as much cheaper than one for a B rank monster. Considering that and the expected demand for them, I could afford to buy one for them with the DP I currently possessed.
“Ten will be enough to transport the celebrities. The influence of these celebrities will come in handy when building Hippogriff stations in their cities where my own influence might not be enough. We might not be able to take advantage of it right away, but since we’re going to need it anyway, we might as well do it now.”
To make it in time for the opening of the casino, we were going to prioritize building Hippogriff stations in places where there Conanna’s influence was quite significant, thus requiring little to no preparations.
From another point of view though, the more Hippogriff stations there were, the wider his network would become. It was really impressive.
“I’m counting on you, Conanna.”
“Please do. If I can’t invite people after all these means at my disposal, I have no right to call myself a merchant. Also, about the merchants in Avalon’s commercial sector, well, they have been submitting business proposals for the casino. To stimulate the casino’s growth, please consider helping some out.”
I had entrusted the administrative tasks of the casino to Conanna. There was a slight worry he would monopolize it and its profits, but evidently, it was needless worry.
He handed me a document detailing the proposals that would expand the features and services the casino offered. Such proposals included restaurants and shops that would be built within or near the casino. There were also some proposals for the establishment of new inns that would be primarily for the casino’s guests.
Honestly, I had overlooked some of those. In hindsight, it was so obvious that the increased traffic would result in higher demand for restaurants and inns. Perhaps higher than what Avalon could provide. Avalon almost collapsed in itself there.
Thanks to the explanation Conanna gave to the other merchants to make their proposals more focused on satisfying the guests rather than pinching every last coin, Avalon’s development plan that was centered around the casino was complete.
There were so many things my monsters and I would absolutely never have thought of. I was so glad I entrusted things to Conanna.
In two weeks, the casino was going to open.
Given that, the operation of the Hippogriff stations, and the advertisement campaign we’ve asked Avalon’s commercial sector to do, there would be a rush of people coming here in two weeks.
I couldn’t help but be excited with the overwhelming amount of DP and excellent emotions I would get. Those would make me stronger and one step closer to being the strongest Demon Lord.
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