Chapter 2:

Is the Customer a Rabbit?

Tales of Virtual Shopkeeper

Isn’t it strange how there’s always one player in the hero’s group who has the role of a Shopkeeper? Haven’t you ever wondered who, in a world of endless possibilities, would ever choose to play the mundane role of a Shopkeeper? …That would be me, Yuu Watanabe. (Still not my real name.) I get tons of customers with interesting tales to tell. The smiles on their faces as they tell me all about their latest quests and achievements is the greatest high in the world. And that is why I chose to be a Shopkeeper in Utopia Online.



One of the biggest draws to the world of Utopia Online is that players can be whoever –or whatever– they want to be. And there was perhaps no bigger proof of that than the girl who was currently hopping up and down in the doorway.

Asami Usami – Level 69 Therianthrope

Asami Usami is one of my regulars, and she is also a bunnygirl – Not the kind that wears a leotard and fake bunny-ears, rather she was a literal bunnygirl. (That said, she does wear the fishnet tights befitting of the other definition of ‘bunnygirl’).

She flicked her luscious blonde hair as she sat down in front of me, resting her avatar’s bikini-clad chest on my counter. I briefly examined her American-flag bikini-top. I wasn’t sure if she was actually American, or if she was just a member of the gyaru subculture, but I guess it didn’t really matter. [TL note: Gyaru, derived from the English word ‘gal’, is a Japanese fashion subculture inspired by American fashion. Common features of those in the gyaru subculture include dyed blond hair, “rebellious clothing” and tanned skin, all of which apply to Asami’s avatar.]

I hastily focused my gaze on the nearby coffee machine after I realized that my vision had been lingering on her chest for a bit too long. I didn’t want her to get the wrong idea, I just thought that her avatar’s fashion-sense was… stylish. Yeah, let’s go with that.

“Ahem. You’ve probably had a long day, Asami. D-do you want a coffee?”

The girl beamed innocently. “You know it, Watanabe!”

I poured her a coffee – Black, two sugars. Exactly how she liked it.

“A good Shopkeeper must know his customers inside-out,” I proclaimed proudly as I handed her the cup.

Asami took a sip from the cup. “Even though this is VR, your coffee always tastes so good!”

I poured myself a cup of coffee as well, before sitting down beside her.

“So, what brings you here today, Asami?”

“Oh, right! I almost forgot,” she exclaimed as she hopped out of her seat, her tail twitching as she opened up her inventory. I watched as she pulled out a pair of denim shorts and several colorful gems. I picked up one of the gems, holding it up to my avatar’s emerald green eyes.

“These are Ability Crystals right? Where did you get all of these?”

“Huehuehue…” the bunnygirl chuckled smugly, “I took down a whole horde of Orcs!”

I raised an eyebrow as I looked over her avatar’s body, the Therianthrope Class wasn’t exactly known for its strength. I suppose she could have equipped a bunch of Strength Crystals to that bikini-top or something…? I could probably spend all day hypothesizing about it… or I could just ask her directly? Plus I’d probably get a good story out of it.

“Oh, really? A girl like you was able to take down a horde of Orcs all by herself? No offense, but I didn’t think Asami Usami was exactly a… strong character.”

“Aheheh…” she laughed meekly, fidgeting with her one of her avatar’s golden locks of hair, “My teammates did most of the work. I just… used my body to distract the Orcs.”

“Yep, that’s more believable,” I sighed.

I picked up the shorts that the girl had pulled out of her inventory earlier, stretching them out in front of my face.

“These just look like a normal pair of shorts. You’re not going to get much of a Stat buff wearing these,” I stated matter-of-factly.

“Well, duh! That’s why I brought them here! Use that Crafting Skill of yours to fuse them with the Ability Crystals.”

I sighed. “You know you can do that by yourself, right? …Or perhaps you just wanted to see me?”

“Tee-hee! Wouldn’t you like to know?” she smirked, winking playfully.

“Well, as long as you’re paying, it doesn’t really bother me,” I affirmed. “So, what kind of Stats did you want me to attach to these shorts?”

“Well,” Asami began, getting closer to me as she ran one of her pointer fingers down the center of my avatar’s chiseled pecs, “I want you to use those Ability Crystals to max out my shorts’… Seduction Stat.”

I pushed her away softly, my face bright red. “I-I need to have sufficient space in order to craft this stuff, you know!”

“I know,” she giggled, sticking out her tongue.

I laid her shorts and the hundreds of Ability Crystals atop my counter and opened a menu. With one tap of a button, the pile of Crystals slowly began to glow and disappear one by one.

“This will probably take a while, Asami. Care to tell me a story while we wait? Maybe you could tell me more about your Guild’s triumph over the Orc horde that you mentioned earlier?”

“Huehuehue! I thought you’d never ask, Watanabe.”

I leaned forward in my seat, eagerly awaiting the bunnygirl’s story. My customers’ tales were what made this job so entertaining, and I could tell that Asami had a good tale to tell…