A merchant’s connections had a wide reach, both in terms of breadth and depth.
I still retained some influence from my stint as the former King of Laundry, and I had also built up some connections here after spending several years in this country. Besides that, the item I wanted to trade was the very lucrative Metal Seed, so I found a business partner almost immediately.
After all, this was a very rare metal. To give you a better understanding of how rare it is, legendary swords and such other items are made from it.
I could foresee that trouble would befall me if I ever told anyone that I could make it.
Thus, saying that I had found it by chance, I sold the Metal Seeds freshly produced via Vassal Fusion to an arms dealer at a high price. This business continued. The other party involved must have had some suspicions about me for being able to deliver Metal Seeds on such a regular basis, but he said nothing at all. It would be a terrible loss if I took my Metal Seeds to another merchant after all if they pried. The merchant I was dealing with was an outstanding man who knew how to weigh the risks and the returns and act accordingly.
Of course, the arms dealer was certainly converting the Metal Seeds into weapons via independent connections on his end, and he must have been earning a great profit beyond my means.
Taking my Metal Seeds directly to the blacksmith would have been more profitable, but I did not want to encroach into the territory of the arms dealers. Besides, accumulating wealth was not my purpose in the first place.
I wanted to summon. That burning pathos I had gained about 10 years ago had shown no signs of cooling.
I used every trick I knew, pursued every connection, and splurged the money I had to procure magic stones. I changed as many Slimes as I could into Metal Seeds and sold them off, but multiple types of Slimes were needed to produce a Metal Seed. I had no other choice but to fuse the surplus Slime types together as needed to free up space.
At this point in time, my business was in perpetual motion. This was due to the disparity between the retail price of Metal Seeds and the cost of magic stones.
Although the types of Jelly Slime I was continually summoning should have been completely random, the types I was getting were beautifully averaged out. If I summoned with the magic stones I obtained with my earnings from selling off the Metal Seeds, I could again collect all the Slime types I needed to generate more Metal Seeds unless I was really unlucky. And I wasn’t collecting just enough to get by; there was always a considerable surplus.
My summon count was increasing rapidly, and at the same time, my ability as a Mage Summoner was also improving.
Still, no matter how many times I summoned, only Slimes appeared. That said, no matter how low the probability of summoning something else was, if I continued summoning until it appeared, it would be no different than if the probability was at 100%.
The me of before who despaired at summoning only Slimes no longer existed. In its place, a lone Shura remained. All this time summoning Slimes had left my psyche as hard as a Metal Seed.
Around this time, I received a letter from my cousin brother whom I had not seen for a long time, telling me to come back to my parents’ house.
My cousin had become the best Mage Summoner in the country by this time. The legendary Gold Dragon that had started me on the summoning path was now a symbol of national power.
If I were more immature, I might have been jealous of such an excellent cousin. However, my mind was a Metal Seed, so I did not think anything of it.
The cousin whom I had once been eager to overtake was already at an extraordinary height beyond my reach. A mountain that is too high is no longer something to climb — it is just a backdrop. My goal had changed from summoning a Dragon to summoning something other than Slime.
A class reunion was held in my home town. With the exception of myself, every single one of my classmates had been assigned to the military or the Mage Summoner units, advancing forward on the path of elites. Regardless, my mind was a Metal Seed, so I did not think anything of it.
Every nostalgic face was accompanied by a powerful vassal. It had been almost 10 years since graduation. Both the summoners and their vassals had changed drastically since then, but somehow, some semblance of their past selves remained. I guess none of my classmates attempted Vassal Fusion, in line with what we had been taught.
Only my vassals had been fused repeatedly until they were now essentially different, but no one gave them a second glance. Even I, who had been around Slimes for years, could not distinguish the individual differences of my Slimes. It was no surprise my classmates could tell no difference.
Smiling exaggeratedly like a fool, a former classmate asked me how many vassals I had summoned so far.
I replied languidly, “Probably less than the number of stars,” and then smashed the foolish smile on his face to smithereens by producing a substantial wad of bills from my breast pocket.
The girl who had once been my rival looked at my vassal and asked, “That’s a rare Slime. What type is it?”
The Slime that I had with me at this time was a honey-coloured Slime that was the result of multiple rounds of synthesis. By this time, the Jelly Slimes I was handling had gone beyond what the Summoning Index listed within its pages. I referenced other books as well to be sure, but I found no other specimens. As such, I was confident that I was on the cutting edge with regards to Slimes, though this wasn’t something I was particularly proud of. It was just Slimes after all.
I replied primly, but still languidly, “It’s a Legendary Holy Viscous Golden Jelly.” The girl hummed disinterestedly. I felt like dying. I produced another wad of bills from my pocket to slap her face with.
The only thing I had over them was my wealth. Feeling frustrated for the first time in a long while, I returned home and wet my pillow with tears.
After that, I returned to my home country and continued to summon Slimes with greater vehemence.
My life as a Mage Summoner was a wretched mess, but my life as a Slime wielder was going extremely smoothly.
Eventually, I was commended by my country as the best Slime wielder in the world. I thought, ‘It’s not like I’m wielding Slimes because I like them.’
Three years later, the moment I had feared finally arrived. The delicate balance between supply and demand collapsed.
The price of Metal Seeds fell, and the price of magic stones began to soar. No matter how valuable a precious metal was, continual supply over many years would cause its price to fall. As for the skyrocketing price of magic stones, my bulk purchasing of them was completely to blame.
Mage Summoners other than myself rarely summoned. Summoning was a lifetime endeavour. However, at this time, the price of magic stones, which had already been high to begin with, spiked up to an almost unbelievable degree.
If the price of magic stones became so high that the average Mage Summoner could no longer afford them, the country would certainly take notice and investigate.
I had already been through a similar situation once before and had predicted this eventuality. Therefore, I had been paying close attention to my purchasing of magic stones ever since I moved back into the country. They would not be able to catch me anytime soon.
Not that I was doing anything wrong. Still, if the country was inconvenienced, I, who was wealthy but powerless, would be erased in an instant. Now that the country had begun investigating the matter, it would no longer be possible for me to buy any more magic stones.
If there was no stock, there was nothing to collect. I decided to stop my business tradings, and put all of my strength into summoning with my final remaining magic stone. A Blue Jelly Slime was summoned. Ironically enough, it was the very first Slime I had summoned.
Feeling a little sentimental, I fused nearly a thousand separate Slimes I had been raising into this single Slime.
The resulting Slime was as large as a dragon and as translucent as a jewel, but felt cool and would wobble when touched. It was a Slime that had never been seen before. I named it ‘Jewel’. This was the first time I had ever named a vassal. I used to think that I would only give a name when I summoned a Dragon. My Metal Seed heart reverted to the hardness of Blue Jelly Slime, and I cried.
I had known this day would come, so I was mentally prepared and had some money saved up. Nevertheless, considering the upkeep of the mansion I was living in, there would not be much left soon. If I did not start a business as soon as possible, the money would be gone in no time, and I would be left unable to summon again.
However, in my Jelly Slime state of mind, I just could not muster up the enthusiasm to come up with a new business idea. If it costs money to maintain the mansion, then why not sell off the mansion? With this pessimistic solution in hand, I sold off the mansion where I had spent the last few years of my life in this country.
The money I received from the sale became magic stones before I knew it. To be honest, it had been an unconscious act. I only came to the realisation that I had bought them when I looked down to see the 10 magic stones laying so naturally in my hand, and I was stunned at myself.
If I summoned, Slimes would be the confirmed result. However, before summoning, the possibility of a Slime or a Dragon existed at the same time within the stones. I dubbed the idea as Schrodinger’s Magic Stone in my mind, and decided to keep the stones as a good luck charm.
For the time being, I booked a room at an inn with what little money I had left and rested.
The capital city was crowded with people walking around aimlessly. This was something I would not have seen if I had stayed cooped up in the mansion, summoning.
When I asked the people on the street, I was told that it was the 1000th anniversary of the founding of the kingdom and that a ceremony was to be held.
As I listened to this, I wondered if I would have even noticed this happening if I had remained confined to the mansion, fully focused on summoning.
I had nothing at all to do with my free time, so I pushed my way through the crowded main street and headed for the venue of the ceremony. There were so many people in the square in front of the royal castle that one might mistakenly think that people from all over the country were gathered here, but no one approached me with my giant Slime in tow.
And then, I saw the Third Princess waving from the balcony of the castle as part of the ceremony, and I fell in love with her at first sight.
My disheartened soul began to stir again under the flames of love.
I could not take my eyes off of her immense beauty and could only let out a long and deep sigh within the crowd.
I had gotten everything I wanted except a Dragon thus far. Compared to summoning a Dragon, kidnapping a princess seemed like a simple matter.