Chapter 6:

The Crimson Battleaxe Swings Back!

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. 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. That was the explanation that I had given Rose earlier that month, the reason that I chose to be a Shopkeeper in Utopia Online.



I sighed as I sat at my countertop, examining the bag of cash that Lady Kaguya had given to me moments prior. I still felt kind of guilty about conning her out of 10,000 Gold. My sulking was interrupted by a rather large axe being slammed atop my desk.

“Hey, Yuu! Don’t you ever say ‘hello’ to your customers?!” an angry voice barked.

I looked up to see a familiar redhead looming over me, her trademark scowl adorned her avatar’s face.

Rose_the_Deathbringer – Level 5 Crusader

“Oh, morning, Rose. I see you’ve gained a few extra Levels since we last met,” I smiled.

“No thanks to your stupid axe! I mean, just look at that thing,” she gestured, pointing to the weapon that currently lay on my counter.

“Hmm?” I smirked, picking up the axe and swinging it at Rose. Fortunately(?) she jumped out of the way on time.

“Wh-what’s your problem, Yuu?! Are you trying to lower my Hit Points?!”

“Sorry,” I chuckled, placing the axe over my shoulder, “Anyway, this axe seems perfectly fine to me. What’s wrong with it?”

“Are you daft? It’s too fricking heavy! How do you expect a girl to carry that thing around over her shoulder like you do?!”

I raised an eyebrow, adjusting my glasses. “I fail to see how your gender is relevant. Your ability to carry a battleaxe is dictated by your character’s Strength Stat, and both male and female Crusaders share the same maximum Strength Stat. If you aren’t strong enough to carry a weapon then that’s your fault, not mine.”

The Crusader scoffed, throwing some gems down in front of me, three to be precise. “How strong will these Ability Crystals make me?”

I picked up the Crystals and examined them. “You won’t get much of a Stat increase from these, but I guess it’s better than nothing. Do you have any available slots on any of your Gear that I can equip these to? Of course, I’d have to charge you…”

Players are able to attach Ability Crystals to their Gear without the aid of a Shopkeeper, but Rose is still a newbie and I doubt she knows that, since she asked me to do it for her. I still felt guilty about tricking the Princess earlier, but lemme tell you something – I have absolutely no qualms with conning a few bucks off of a stuck-up brat like Rose.

“Yeah, I’ve still got a few available slots on the lower-half of my armor,” she stated, “So, how does this work? Do I have to take it off, or…?”

I blushed, my mind flashing back to my encounter with Kiran. “N-nope! Absolutely not! I can fuse the Crystals to your bikini shorts while they’re still attached to your body! S-so don’t take them off!”

“…OK, dude, whatever you say. No need to make a big deal out of it.”

The gems began to glow and disappear one by one. The process didn’t take nearly as long as when I had buffed Asami Usami’s denims, but that was to be expected since I had a lot less Ability Crystals to work with this time.

“There you go, Rose. Unfortunately those Crystals were only worth about 10+ points in Strength…”

“Will that be enough to let me wield the battleaxe?”

I shrugged. To be honest I had no idea. Without knowing what the girl’s current Strength Stat was, I had no way of knowing if +10 Strength would make a difference. But I didn’t have to wait long to find out. Rose snatched the axe from me and started swinging it around the Fantasy Shoppe like a madman!

“Test your Strength outside,” I shouted, “You’re going to damage my wares!”

But it was too late. The axe collided into a nearby coffee table, causing the invaluable porcelain vase positioned on top of the table to topple down onto the floor, breaking apart on impact.


“You moron! Do you have any idea how expensive that vase was?! I could’ve sold that for a fortune!”

“Aheheh,” she laughed meekly, “At least we know that I can use the axe now, right…?”

I leered at Rose as I pointed to the exit. “Get out. Now.”

“B-but I haven’t even paid you yet,” she protested.

“I don’t care. Get out.”


I watched as the Crusader left the door to my shop, hanging her head down in shame. Maybe I had been too harsh on her? She is still just a newbie after all. I walked over to my front window, staring out as Rose walked over to a blond boy in red armor, a member of her Guild I assumed. Rose’s body, which she held down in shame only mere moments ago, now stood erect as she puffed out her chest boastfully.

“You’ll never guess what happened in there,” she said to her fellow Guild Member, “The Shopkeeper enhanced my Gear for free! What an idiot, am I right?!”

“Yeah,” the boy smirked, “Now what are we waiting for, Rose? Let’s go kill some monsters!”

I returned to my position behind the counter, glaring at the two crimson-clad imbeciles from the comfort of my chair. On second thought, maybe I hadn’t been harsh enough? The next time that Rose_the_Deathbringer shows her smug face here, I’ll be sure to make her pay what she owes me for the expensive vase that she damaged. And I’ll make sure that she pays it… in full.