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Bucket

Second Arc

Chapter 26 – Does the pot explodes when you cook?

 

My small castle, ‘Bucket’s Shop – Lily’, mostly sells heavy equipment. However, I also sell potions, clothes, fabric and Magical Formations in it.

The top sales are from equipment, however, so I don’t put too many of the rest on sale in order to not take up too much space.

Moreover, equipment and Magical Formations aside, the things that I put for sale were mostly made to raise my skill levels. The things that had good results are used as materials for the next productions, so I only sell the lower quality items that I crafted… They aren’t failures though, since people wouldn’t buy them otherwise.

And with the materials that were purchased at the store today, I’ll go make even more items.

However, some changes happened recently. Mostly because of the ‘Bronze Bucket Helm: Lily’ and its three ‘Options’. Right now, nobody in the market even sells items with two ‘Options’ in them, so an item with three ‘Options’ was quite surprising for everyone… And as a result, some people started stalking me to find out the secret behind my method.

This was really annoying regardless of it being a player or NPC stalker. I already reported over ten people to the guards with video evidence of the stalking even… I get that they want to start making loads of money from making items with two or even three ‘Options’, but this was just a hassle.

That said… There was some talk about why there were no more items with neither three nor two ‘Options’ in the market even after the sale of ‘Bronze Bucket Helm: Lily’. Some people started speculating that I might be selling those only to specific friends, but… I just wasn’t able to make any other item with more than one ‘Option’ in it. I even explained what exactly happened in the forums already, but sadly, not many people believed me.

And because of that, I was forced to remodel my trademark Bucket Helm. I didn’t really change the crafting process in itself, but I added a bunch of decorations afterwards in order to make it look different. I also ain’t using my Salopette skirt anymore, and am also wearing a cloak when going out… Essentially, I’m wearing a disguise.

Since I’m not going out with my usual getup anymore, rumors started circulating about how I might have started using a different rental production facility, or that I maybe even bought my own.

No rumors about me quitting the game due to harassment appeared though, since the shop is still being restocked every day.

Also, the people on my friends’ list can see when I’m online, so they know that I’m playing regularly.

******

Recently the number of producers increased a bit, and so did the number of people getting their items evaluated at the guild.

In part that is simply because the number of players is growing, but Mika also said that I had an influence in that due to my sudden raise in popularity because of the ‘Bronze Bucket Helm: Lily’.

Regardless of the cause though, there are now queues to get your equipment evaluated. It’s a bit annoying, but it can’t be helped… I get a bit happy knowing that the receptionist still remembers me though. I wonder if she also remembers the new producers that are coming with each passing day.

Also, just like me who have my characteristic ‘Bucket Helm’, other producers are trying to make their own original products. It’s not easy to repeatedly make a product without recipe enough times to the point it can be reliably replicated and earn its own recipe, but it’s normal for producers to want to have their own trademark, so there are plenty of people that try their hardest at it.

This ended up working in my favor, as right now there are a lot of people in queue with overly decorated equipment, so my disguise doesn’t stick out as something particularly abnormal. It’s almost as if we were in the middle of a costume festival here, even though we just want to get our items appraised at the guild.

Either way, once my gear was appropriately evaluated, I went into a nearby shop, changed out of my disguise, and moved back to my castle. I change the shop I use for this each day in order to stop stalkers from finding me out, but there is a limit to how many places I can use for this, since most stores are closed during the night… However, the guards patrol the market district regularly, so the people that are caught stalking are quickly taken care of, so I’m not too worried about people finding me out.

It’s a bit bothersome, but I’ll probably have to keep using a disguise for now. Though in due time things will probably solve themselves as all producers get better and eventually start making items with two or three options regularly.

It would be more troublesome if I was someone that went out in battles, as I’d often end up encountering other pioneers while outside. But as I spend almost all my time at the Rental Production Facility, I just need to disguise myself when I go out. It feels more like a recreative experience and a change of pace than anything else.

******

“Hi, Bucket! I hope I’m not late!” My visitor said after I opened the door for her.

“Good evening, you’re right on time.” I answered.

“I brought some really nice souvenirs this time.” She said.

“I’m looking forward to it.” I replied.

It’s a bit close to midnight right now, so my store is naturally closed. However, day and night don’t matter much for Pioneers.

As for my visitor, that’s Lilalulu Lalalu… Or how I usually call her, Lolita. The small girl who loves frilly clothes and has been trying to recruit me for her crafter’s guild for a while now.

That said, we’re having more of a good time as friends than worrying about the clan recruiting thing, so today she’s just visiting. It was nice that I followed Mika’s advice to not turn her down and instead grow closer, Lolita is a pretty nice friend overall.

Also, she’s a great producer who mostly focuses on sewing, making a lot of light equipment and clothes to wear below the armor, so at the very least, she is a nice contact to have.

Regardless of that, I started preparing our girls-only-gathering in the break space of the store, like usual.

… Or rather, I let her prepare the table while I focused on replenishing the products on the store’s warehouse.

Quite a bit of equipment sold out today, and even Magical Formations are selling now, so I’m pretty happy with the prospect of making more of them.

Either way, once I was done with that, I moved to the break room and saw the wonderful souvenir that Lolita brought us, “Looks delicious.” I said.

Ignoring my comment, Lolita said, “Hi, Hime!”

I turned around and saw that Hime had just come inside, “Good evening, Hime.”

“Good evening.” She replied.

Since I trust Hime plenty, I actually registered her as someone that can enter the store without a key. The same goes for Mika.

Hime was still wearing the mask I crafted for her, as well as a set of Bronze items with ‘Options’ that she got from me. I always contact her first before putting a good item for sale, so she ends up getting the best stuff.

Recently she also started wearing very frilly clothes made by Lolita, which makes her look even cuter than normal.

Either way, once she sat down at the table, we turned our eyes back to the lovely souvenir that Lolita brought us… A wonderfully colored cake.

“I asked a producer that primarily focuses on making sweets to make this. They also accepted getting into the clan, by the way.” Lolita told us.

“Oh my.” I said.

“Wow!” Hime said.

Lolita seemed to be very happy to tell use that. She not only got us a delicious cake, but also recruited someone to her clan… She’s been working hard to get more people other than just me, and it seems like her efforts are paying off.

Also, even though there isn’t much of a point in eating and drinking within ‘Frontiers’, delicious food will always be delicious… Moreover, being able to eat as much as you want without getting fat is a blessing in my view! Not only mine, but I’m sure all women will agree with me!

“I also saved a bit for Mika, by the way.” Lolita told us.

“Thank you.” Both me and Hime said together, then took our first bites of the cake… “Delicious!” We also said together.

It was a shame that Mika couldn’t be here, but even though it was midnight in-game, it was actually morning in real life, so Mika ended up being unable to come as she had an all-nighter yesterday.

“It really is wonderful, been a while since I last had cake.” Hime said. Even though she usually doesn’t speak much, and with her expression usually being hidden behind her mask, I could tell that she was happy right now.

“Yeah, it’s great… Though it also seems to have taken quite a bit of research on what materials to use, and that a lot of practice was needed until the cake could be done this fantastically.” Lolita told us as she ate.

“I can imagine, though I am no good at cooking, so I don’t really understand the struggles.” I replied.

“Oh? You don’t? You’re so dexterous though! I bet you could make something nice if you tried.” Hime told me.

“Ah, I never really tried, so I don’t know if I’d be good or bad.” I replied.

“You should try next time then.” Hime happily said.

“Uhn… How about Lalalu does it instead?” I pushed the conversation towards her.

“Well…” She seemed to be struggling to answer, so I tried helping her out a bit, since I was the one that threw it towards her.

“Well, I guess we all have our weaknesses.” I said.

To that, she just gave me a strained laugh… Is she that bad at cooking? Could she be the type of person that lets her cooking pot explode when cooking? I actually want to see it now…

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