89 Chapter 89
Legendary Creature eggs are naturally expensive.
Their prices depend on their type, with the most expensive one costing around 3 million points.
"This is it," Jake told himself as he looked at the most expensive one of them, as is wont for someone as obsessed with shopping as he is. "This is the coolest thing ever."
He saw the picture of the Legendary Creature in the catalog… and found the image to be… absolutely perfect.
Sleek, glossy black fur on what looked like a cat.
Jake admired cats for their elegance and independence, but what was on the catalog was no ordinary cat, it was a Legendary Creature.
[The Noa is highly prized among Legendary Creatures due to its looks and intelligence. The closest analog you can find from animals on Earth is a leopard.
As to why the Noa is priced in this manner, it is because of its genetic malleability: this Legendary Creature evolves depending on the options you give to it.]
Jake quickly noted the phrase "evolves depending on the options", and based on the games he played back then, the best items are those that have a lot of potential, and can only be unlocked by the smartest of players.
This is also true with shopping, as with goods whose values increase in time, this means that paying a lot now would be less a payment and more an investment into the future.
There is nobody in Nohas that exists who compares goods that increase in value to legendary creatures that evolve depending on the options chosen for it, but it was so very Jake to make a judgment on Noa in that manner.
Jake continued to read the description.
[You can add almost any option to the Noa. However, we recommend adding only one type of option because injecting all kinds of mana can cause high stress. Therefore, adding one option would be the best for it to figure out its true value.]
'I see. It's a bit disappointing… I really wanted to buy it as as many options as possible, but I can only add one option… but it's okay.
For something like this that oozes elegance and panache, one option is sufficient.
Why, I'd wager good money that if I could take Noa for a walk at Times Square, I'd be an instant sensation with the ladies.'
That thought had Jake momentarily feeling homesick.
'Well, enough about that. Let's see what the options are and pick the best one out of them,' Jake thought as he shook the homesick thoughts out of him. 'Get your priorities straight, this is important. Options first, daydreaming of home later.'
[We currently have four options for Noa:
1. Offensive aspect: An offensive-aspect Noa will be your most reliable companion against monsters, using its innate hunting skills to help flush out prey for you to finish off. Past a certain level, it gains in power enough that it can handle an awakener by itself.
2. Healing aspect: Noa's saliva naturally contains the ability to heal wounds. This aspect is an option that maximizes this trait. Add this option and Noa's saliva can heal more than just wounds. Past a certain level, a healing-aspect Noa can heal even life-threatening wounds with but a few drops of its saliva.
3. Scouting aspect: A scouting aspect Noa emphasizes its tracking and stealth skills. Should you inject this option, Noa will learn a stealth skill. As the level of its stealth skill increases, the skill will become less stealth and more invisibility. When that happens, your Noa will be the perfect scout and tracker. It will give you all the information you need, and then some; however, this aspect is best maximized by awakeners who are skilled at training creatures to communicate and follow orders.
4. Supporting aspect: A support aspect Noa will cast various status improvement spells, whose type and effect are dependent on how you train it. Giving an exact prediction on the kind of buff a Noa will be born with is impossible, because it depends on your Noa's innate nature. The advantage of this option is that a Noa's buffs can also be cast on your party. This, however, requires that you know how to train your Noa in how, when, and to whom it will cast those buffs.
These are the available options for the Noa. Please choose carefully.]
'I'd like to add all of them,' Jake thought. 'Every option looks desirable, and with the same price of 1,250,000 points, these look high-priced.'
'I've been running simulations in my mind as to what option to pick out.
This will take quite a long time to think through, I will have to test this out as much as I can, in as much detail as I can.
Several hours later, he finally came to a decision.'
"Okay, this is it!"
As soon as Jake bought the legendary creature egg in Superstore Customs and gained access to the Awakening Store's Diamond Label, he and his party were on the move once more… on the way to Carter, the home of Jake and Liam's division, the Grand Duelists.
"Are you cold? Do you need anything?"
On the way there, the busiest member of the party was none other than Jake.
He spent every waking moment he had fussing over and taking care of the egg currently wrapped in cloth and cradled in his arms.
"Dude," Liam said, shaking his head, "that mother hen act was funny when you started, but now it's kind of disturbing already. What's in that egg that's making you act like that all day?"
"I have to do this because even if it will hatch after a predetermined amount of time in the inventory, this is still the most expensive thing I've bought so far, even more than the motorcycle. If that's said, I must give it some tender loving care, right?" Jake replied, and that was all the reason they needed to understand.
Liam nodded. Better just play along with Jake rather than get caught up in his eccentricities.
Jake's most expensive purchase as of that moment, looking at the egg made him feel like he was looking at one of those fantastic supercars.
Butterflies in the stomach, spring in the step, it gave Jake a lot of feelings.
Especially the fact that there was an installment plan for the shop. How convenient was that?
Thanks to all those lozenges and salves, Jake had no points to buy the Noa egg – but he was able to, thanks to both his VIP status and the Superstore Custom.
Their payment plan was deceptively simple, too: pay the sum in two months.
'Now this is a business model I like. No mess, no fuss. Just a due date,' Jake thought, approving of how the Superstore Custom handles their business.
'That manliness thing they have going really simplifies things, does it not? I mean, I may be in the hole for several million, but I can make it back easily with my equipment.
Shopping and debt are like a horse and carriage, or love and marriage, was that how the song went? It's part of life. You have to take risks and accrue some debt if you really need to – and if you have the means to pay that debt quickly.
Also, holy crap, the Diamond Label… they should have sent a poet laureate… way too beautiful, beyond description for a shopping-obsessed madman like me.'
His first trip to the Diamond Label turned him into a child at a candy store: there were so many things he wanted to buy.
The catalog was immense, and while Jake had only scratched the surface of it, he already found some really interesting items.
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'A machine gun, huh?' Jake thought as he saw an item that looked like one of the machine guns he used back when he was serving his mandatory military service. 'Okay, so it draws on the user's mana to make bullets and shoot them. This… is the coolest thing I've ever seen. It's… amazing.'
'I will probably slap myself if I see this item on the shelf, because that is the only way to stop me from pulling this item off the display stand…
Still, though. 3,690,000 points. It's a hefty chunk of change. This, too: the 1% Reinforcement Scroll. At 2,220,000 points… it's exorbitantly priced for just one scroll. If this fails, all those points are gone. It also works on items that have been reinforced at least three times, and if you use this and fail, your item is destroyed.
However, if you succeed in reinforcing your item with this 1% chance… it is most likely going to be a godlike item that comes once in several generations of awakeners.
With the debt I have now, I am going to have to plan things out very thoroughly in order for me to maximize what I have with the Awakening Store's Diamond Label and the Superstore's Custom Shop.
Bring it on!'
"Nobody said this would be easy!" Jake said, his motivation renewed as he had to navigate his shopping carefully from here on out.
"What's he talking about all of a sudden?" Liam asked, responding to another one of Jake's rants, and was about to continue further when he heard an odd crack.
Everyone turned to the source, which was the item Jake was holding.
"It's hatching?" Jake asked.
'Already?' Jake thought, and when he was looking at the egg, cracks were already all over it, and as soon as the bits of shell fell off, what was inside revealed itself after a blinding light briefly caused everyone to cover their faces… except Jake, who had to just close his eyes.
And when the light subsided, Jake saw that in place of the egg, there was a small Noa kitten in his arms.
It gave Jake a look, and it cried out.
"I was pretty sure you just say shopping, little one," Jake asked. "Did you?"
Figures; the Noa he hatched had a cry that was a perfect fit to its eccentric master.
"Okay, let me see how this goes: status window for pet?"
The window appeared, and Jake let out a whoop of accomplishment.
Party Formation Lv. 1
Encouragement Lv. 1 (Buff)]
This Noa was indeed well worth the 3 million points.
'Didn't think you had your own status window,' Jake thought, as he saw the window thanks to being the owner of this legendary creature.
Noa had a status window like any other awakeners, and Jake, who was recognized as its owner, could see it.
There were more.
Noa had two skills: the most important of which is "Party Formation".
'So, you need a party to be able to buff them, huh?' Jake asked while carrying the newest member of his group of awakeners. 'I had a lot of options available, but I went with Support, because I can take care of myself in a fight, and I can buy healing items if I need them. I read between the lines, and that Noa can still heal even when not a healing aspect, it's just not as strong.'
'The support aspect is different, though. Buffs are good. I don't know, it feels like going to one of those massage chairs after a long day of shopping, and then standing back up and going to the night market for an encore afterwards.
However, the best way to apply a buff is in a party, and the Noa only buffs members of that party.
This is why I'm going to start a party, and see how my baby does these buffs.'
Party Formation and Encouragement: two of Noa's first skills, and Jake wants to understand how they work.
No better way to see how it works than trying it out firsthand, Jake thought before he looked into the legendary creature's eyes.
"Let's form a party, Noa. How do we do that?"