Chapter 7:

Lord Nobunaga's Latest Campaign

It’s My First Time Working Late Nights at a Convenience Store, and If I Keep Getting Demon Lords, Kappa and Other Oddballs as Customers, I’m Giving My Two-Weeks’ Notice

Tonight marks my ninth evening on the till.Bookmark here

Ding-a-ling-a-ling...  Bookmark here

“Welc-...”Bookmark here

I manage to get out even less of the greeting than usual.Bookmark here

Seriously, is anyone ever going to let me finish? Man, I’m just trying to do my job.Bookmark here

The first customer of the evening comes trotting in, quite literally, on a horse. He’s got his hair pulled back in a tight man-bun and is wearing jeans and a t-shirt that has “Nobunaga” written on it in flowing Japanese calligraphy. Not kanji, though — hiragana.Bookmark here

...That is a horse, right? He’s definitely riding an actual horse, yeah? Oh, hell no. I just went through all that ‘no animals allowed’ nonsense last night.Bookmark here

“Uhhh, sir? Pets aren’t allowed in here.”Bookmark here

I reeeeeally don’t want to address this nutcase, but there’s no two ways around it.Bookmark here

“A pet? ...Have you never seen one of these before? This noble beast of burden is a horse! And when you are addressing me, pray, begin your phrases with ‘Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you.’ I’m Oda Nobunaga, the first man who dared to unify feudal Japan!”Bookmark here

Oh my god, this can’t be happening! It’s Oda Nobunaga, in the flesh!!Bookmark here

Okay, hold on. The demon lord, the kappa and yeah, even the shinigami I kind of get, but a genuinely historical figure has made his way here? You’ve got to be kidding me! Can’t we keep things a little more consistent? For my sake? Really, all I’m asking for is the ability to guess at who might be dropping by in a given day!! Bookmark here

“Um, Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you...that steeds of any kind, noble or otherwise, aren’t allowed in convenience stores. If you would please park your ride outside before entering, that would be great.”Bookmark here

“‘Not allowed,’ you say? Then, I overturn that rule. Horses are permitted from here on out. I have decreed it to be so.”Bookmark here

Just who does this guy think he is? Dude can’t even grow a real mustache.Bookmark here

Tsk. May he fall off that stupidly high horse of his. Painfully.Bookmark here

Whoa, nope. Keep your cool, man. This is Lord Nobunaga you’re talking to here. You can’t say that kind of thing to Lord-freaking-Nobunaga.Bookmark here

“Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you...that if you don’t take that animal outside, then I won’t sell you anything! Not that I know what you even came here for, but still.”Bookmark here

“You would refuse me my right to purchase goods?! That’s an offence worthy of seppuku!”Bookmark here

“Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you...that your ‘rights’ aren’t any good here. Japan’s modernized. Sorry, but seppuku isn't a thing anymore. Neither are beheadings.”Bookmark here

I take a quick peek, to make sure he doesn’t actually have a sword. I mean, I was a bit short with him.Bookmark here

Still astride his horse, Lord Nobunaga crosses his arms with a huff.Bookmark here

“The other stores all turned me away. I had hoped this place would be...more forgiving.” Bookmark here

“Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you...if you thought we were going to be any different, then you’ve got another thing coming.”Bookmark here

“Hmmm. Still, I do have purchases to make. I suppose this was inevitable. My apologies, Monkey. You’ll have to wait outside.”Bookmark here

Did he just call his horse...“Monkey”?Bookmark here

Yeah, this guy might be a few crayons shy of a full box. Bookmark here

But, seriously — what did he come here for?Bookmark here

Lord Nobunaga ties up his horse to the bike rack outside, reappearing in record time with an eager smile that stretches from ear to ear. Then, he heads straight for the section that has all the top up cards — you know, the ones for cell phone plans and apps and stuff. Wait, you don’t mean he...Bookmark here

His grin gets even wider as he grabs about ten of them, which makes a chill go down my spine.Bookmark here

Oh, no. I’ve seen that look before. That’s the face of a hardcore mobile gamer!!Bookmark here

Lord Nobunaga turns, making a beeline for the register. Okay. Play it cool, man. Don’t. Even. Blink.  Bookmark here

“I’ll take ten of these to start.”Bookmark here

He holds the top up cards, all fanned out like he was in a game of poker — then starts to fan himself with them. Bookmark here

He’s oozing confidence, like he’s convinced that all ten cards are going to be big winners.Bookmark here

Once he’s finished paying for everything, instead of heading back out to his horse, Lord Nobunaga makes himself at home in the seating area. He pulls out his phone, then rummages through his change for a ten-yen coin, which he uses to start furiously scratching off the backs of his game cards.Bookmark here

No. Don’t tell me. He’s not going to use all those gatcha pulls here, is he?!Bookmark here

“Alriiiiight! Let’s do this!! Nobunaga Gatcha, don’t you dare let me down! C’mon...c’moooon!”Bookmark here

I watch as the beloved historical figure clasps his hands together in fervent appeal. I’ve...never seen this side of Lord Nobunaga before. Nor did I want to.Bookmark here

Especially since I’m going to have to watch him geek out over these pulls for the next ten minutes.Bookmark here

...Wait, what the heck is a Nobunaga Gatcha?Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

“Another ten, perhaps...”Bookmark here

A few minutes later, Lord Nobunaga hangs his head in disappointment, then dashes back to the top-up card racks. Gasping for breath, he buys another ten cards exactly. The transaction complete, he drags himself back to the seating area, plunks down in a chair and steels himself for another round of gatcha pulls.Bookmark here

“I am Lord Nobunaga, and I demand that you show me the great and mighty Lord Nobunaga! C’mon...c’mon...the next one had better be me...!”Bookmark here

Huh. So, he’s trying to draw himself from that gatcha? How much of a narcissist do you have to be to get that worked up about, well, yourself? Not that it comes as much of a surprise. It’s been obvious how highly he thinks of himself, right from the moment he walked — sorry, rode — in. Bookmark here

***                                                                         Bookmark here

“Whyyyyyyyy?!!”Bookmark here

This time, his head comes down on the table with a loud clang. Glancing over at the prone lump that is Lord Nobunaga, I can tell that this second round didn’t go well either.Bookmark here

“...Fine. This time, I’ll get thirty cards at once.”Bookmark here

Breathing heavily, he stares at me from across the counter with bloodshot eyes.Bookmark here

“Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you...that...that is, don’t you think thirty’s a bit much? I mean, what are you going to do if those are all duds, too?”Bookmark here

“It can only be now! The drop rates are double what they would be! ...Well, I say ‘double,’ but the usual rate’s only one percent. Curse those weak drop rates! If the only solution is to keep pulling, then so be it! I’ll do it! I swear, I will settle this with those thirty cards!”Bookmark here

He’s dropping cash on these top up cards like it grew on trees. And I get the feeling he does this a lot.Bookmark here

All that work, just to get a digital version of himself. Bookmark here

“Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you... Good luck.”Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

I prop my elbows up on the counter, unable to tear my eyes away from the scene.Bookmark here

It doesn’t take long before all the used cards sit in a small heap on the table. He stands up, stretches, then sits back down with a...Bookmark here

“Whyyyyy?! Can it tell?! Does it somehow know how BADLY I WANT THIIIIIIIS?!!”Bookmark here

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that the app killed his parents.Bookmark here

Yep. He’s a lost cause.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

“Bring me...all the cards that are available. I only have until 4 AM to win that 5-star Lord Nobunaga. After that, the limited-edition Nobunaga Gatcha will be retired.”Bookmark here

The man staring at me from across the register looks like a zombie, and I can’t help but start to feel sorry for the guy.Bookmark here

Who knew that a game of random chance could drive someone to these extremes?Bookmark here

“Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you...that you might want to quit while you’re ahead.”Bookmark here

“I can’t. I shan’t. I might not have been able to unify the country, but I refuse to lose sight of my gatcha goals!” Bookmark here

He says this like it’s some kind of declaration that’s going to go down in history.Bookmark here

Faced with that kind of sheer determination...who am I to deny him what he wants?  Bookmark here

I’ve made up my mind.Bookmark here

About what, you ask?Bookmark here

Well...Bookmark here

That I’ll sell this ­gatcha­-crazed feudal lord his top up cards, then see this adventure through to the bitter end.Bookmark here

“Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you...that I’ve brought you our entire stock of top-up cards.”Bookmark here

“How many are there?”Bookmark here

“A hundred twenty.”Bookmark here

“Ha. Ha ha! AHA HA HA HA! With those numbers, my army would be unstoppable!! I’ll take the lot of them!”Bookmark here

His laughter is catching, and I can’t help but join in.Bookmark here

Lord Nobunaga. You can do this. With that many soldiers (cards) at your disposal, nothing can stand between you and your quest for total unity! (Among his collection of gatcha daimyo, that is.) Bookmark here

“Well then, to arms!”Bookmark here

Lord Nobunaga turns; his back straight, shoulders squared, looking every inch the Sengoku warlord, as he marches back to the blood-soaked battlefield (seating area) for the final showdown.Bookmark here

And I give that brave soul a quiet salute.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

As the pile of cards dwindles, even I can see that Lord Nobunaga is starting to get anxious.Bookmark here

He has a little less than half of them left.Bookmark here

At first, he was regularly swinging between intense hope and crushing despair, but now his expression is one of supreme focus as he robotically goes through the gatcha process.Bookmark here

If it doesn’t work out, I should at least treat him to a coffee or something.Bookmark here

But, just as I have that thought...Bookmark here

“Hey. You there. Come over here.”Bookmark here

Lord Nobunaga beckons me from out of the blue.Bookmark here

“Huh? Oh, sure. What’s up?”Bookmark here

I’m so startled that I totally forget to lead off with the “Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you.”Bookmark here

“Would you mind taking over for a little while? My fingers are all tapped out.”Bookmark here

“Who, me?  Well...why not?” Bookmark here

I mean, it’s not like I don’t see the appeal. It’s the excitement of not knowing what you’re going to get, right? Like with normal capsule toys or prize draws. Who doesn’t like that?Bookmark here

Lord Nobunaga nods in approval, and I sit down beside him. Bookmark here

“This one. The x10 button.” Bookmark here

With that quick and easy explanation out of the way, I tap the button. Almost instantly, the screen lights up in a sparkling rainbow.Bookmark here

“Oh?! Could it be?!!” Bookmark here

Lord Nobunaga rises from his chair, clearly agitated by...something.Bookmark here

A triumphant da-da-da-dah plays in the background, as a sexy Sengoku-period warlord labeled “Lord Nobunaga” pops up on the screen. Bookmark here

“Whoa! that...?”Bookmark here

“Ah! ...*sniff*... Uh-huh...!” Bookmark here

Valiantly holding back tears, Lord Nobunaga buries his face in his hands — but not before I catch his look of unbridled otaku glee.Bookmark here

“No way. I actually got it?” Bookmark here

Lord Nobunaga nods emphatically, too choked up to speak.Bookmark here

“...Thank you. Your deeds here today have earned you no less than your own kingdom. Or, perhaps you would prefer that I offered you my sister’s hand in marriage?” Bookmark here

“Nah, all I did was pull the right character from a gatcha draw.”Bookmark here

Lord Nobunaga is practically vibrating with happiness. Bookmark here

“My phone’s almost dead, so I’ll be heading out. Again, thank you. I will never forget what you have done for me today. If you ever find yourself in trouble, don’t hesitate to call on me for aid.”Bookmark here

...Yeah, I can’t really think of a situation where I’d ask this guy for help.Bookmark here

Bright, bubbly and practically bursting at the seams with delight, Lord Nobunaga saddles up and rides off into the, uh, twilight.Bookmark here

As I clear up the mountain of used top up cards from the table, the memory of his big win makes me smile.Bookmark here

Well. It’s 3:50 AM, but I guess I’m going to have to place an order for a boatload of these things.Bookmark here

...I wonder if I’ll ever see Lord Nobunaga again?Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.