Chapter 14:

Lord Nobunaga Rides Again

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

So, it’s the night of my nineteenth sh—Bookmark here


The jerk who has the gall to interrupt my usual opening monologue is none other than the great Oda Nobunaga. He comes barreling into the convenience store, skidding to a halt in front of the register.Bookmark here

“It’s Oichi, she...*huff*... Oichi’s... *cough* *hack*...! She’s...!” Bookmark here

I take a quick glance outside. There’s no horse.Bookmark here

Dude, why wouldn’t you at least ride over?! Bookmark here

I don’t know where he came from, but he’s raced over at top speed to get here. And he’s absolutely drenched in sweat. So much so that it’s dripping down his scraggly goatee.Bookmark here

Today’s frumpy t-shirt reads “LITTLE SISTER LOVE”. I glance down at the phone he’s got clenched in his hand, and sure enough — there’s another gatcha game displayed on the screen.Bookmark here

“Mr. Proprietor, you... *wheeze* *huff* I require...” Bookmark here

Even though he can’t get a single word out, I suspect I know exactly what he’s trying to ask me. Bookmark here

“My beloved little sister is part of a pick-up gatcha! You must win her for me!!” Bookmark here

See? Had to be something like that. Bookmark here

“Yeah, sure. No problem.” Bookmark here

Grinning from ear to ear, Lord Nobunaga gleefully hands me his phone, and I tap on the x10 gatcha button.Bookmark here

“C’mon! C’mooooon!”Bookmark here

Lord Nobunaga can barely contain his excitement, bouncing up and down in an exaggerated bob.Bookmark here

His fighting otaku spirit hasn’t faded since the last gatcha. Even this time, he’s brimming with an absurd amount of confidence.Bookmark here

But... Bookmark here

“Huh.” Bookmark here

“What is it?”Bookmark here

“Well, I...didn’t get any of the special event characters. Never mind your sister.”Bookmark here

We both pause for a moment, thinking back. Bookmark here

Sure, I might’ve won the sexy Lord Nobunaga on one pull from the last gatcha, but given the drop rates, that was really just sheer dumb luck.Bookmark here

So, it stands to reason...that there’s absolutely no guarantee that I’d win his sister as easily.  Bookmark here

“Could you...try again?” Bookmark here

“Oh, yeah. Sure.” Bookmark here

And after about ten pulls from the 10x gatcha with nothing to show for it, that couldn’t be any more obvious.Bookmark here

“...Also, I couldn’t help but notice that you’ve been neglecting to begin your phrases with ‘Lord Nobunaga, I must inform you’...” Bookmark here

You’re going to harp on that NOW?! What a dick!! Bookmark here

As time passes, Lord Nobunaga goes from an annoyingly enthusiastic “Are you gonna do it? You’re gonna do it, right? C’mon, let’s go!” vibe to a downright dismissive “...Hey. Get your head in the game. Can you win this, or what?” that makes me feel like I’m letting down an entire sports team during the decisive championship ma— Hang on a second. Why should I care? He’s the one who dashed over here at top speed, begging me to win a next-to-impossible prize from a system that he hasn’t had any luck with either!!Bookmark here

You’ve got to be kidding me!! Bookmark here

And thus began “our” descent into gatcha hell.Bookmark here

“You won the previous battle so handily, too. ...I expected better from you.”Bookmark here

“Well, then why don’t you try? It’s not my fault that we haven’t gotten Oichi yet.”Bookmark here

Lord Nobunaga silently shuffles in place, which only adds to my growing — sorry, substantial — irritation.Bookmark here

He’s got some nerve, acting all high-and-mighty like that after he barged in here, begging me to try and win a gatcha draw for him. There’s nothing more irritating than having someone who asked for a favor get all huffy when things don’t go their way.Bookmark here

To be honest, I’d reeeeally like to punch him right now.Bookmark here

Wouldn’t that be something? I’d go down in history as the man who decked Lord Nobunaga, my deeds recorded in textbooks for years to come. Bookmark here

But, is he honestly the real deal? Isn’t this guy just your average middle-aged dude? I mean, he’s the most basic gatcha-obsessed nerd I’ve ever seen. Bookmark here

I feel like Lord Nobunaga should be more...dignified, you know? He’s supposed to be the greatest Sengoku warlord to ever walk the earth. You’d think that he’d carry himself with his head held high, radiating self-confidence, with a whole set of loyal retainers who seriously respect him. Bookmark here

...And yet.Bookmark here

The figure hunched over the top-up card display is none of those things. He grabs about half of our stock, and shuffles back over to the register.Bookmark here

His whole demeanor just screams “Maaan, this is lame. I don’t wanna go to waaaar...” with a battle-weary expression that I’ve only seen on the most hardcore of mobile gamers.Bookmark here

Well, some things just aren’t meant to be — even if you spend millions of yen on them.Bookmark here

“The drop rates are even double what they would normally be, too... Which are stupidly low to begin with, but after scouring data on social media I managed to piece together Oichi’s percentages and cycles...” Bookmark here

Get a life, old man.Bookmark here

...These draws make monsters out of people. Keeping that thought to myself, I let my eyes fall shut as Lord Nobunaga scurries off to blow his money on half our stock of top up cards.Bookmark here

“No, no, no...! Dammit! How dare they keep my own sister away from me!!”Bookmark here

Lord Nobunaga has curled up in his traditional lump of despair. Bookmark here

“I was so certain that you would pull her on the first draw... Purchasing extra top ups never even factored into my calculations...” Bookmark here

Yeah, he had way too much faith in my “skills.”Bookmark here

“Hey, didn’t you offer me your sister’s hand in marriage last time? What would I get for my trouble this time?”Bookmark here

My mockery only earns me a blank stare.Bookmark here

“Huh? I said that? I can’t have been serious. After all, there’s no guarantee of your success. I certainly couldn’t promise you my beloved sister.”Bookmark here

Well, you sure did last time.Bookmark here

“However, should you manage to restore my sister to her rightful place...I suppose that’s only fair. I might be willing to consider it.”Bookmark here

So, in the end he really would sell out his own relatives for (gatcha) results.Bookmark here

Seriously, though — should I be concerned about this guy? Bookmark here

“Still, I could at least reward you with the contents of my wallet.”Bookmark here

“Huh, I didn’t think you’d offer cash. How much is even in there?”Bookmark here

Can’t be more than three hundred yen or so, I’m guessing.Bookmark here

“I’ve got thirty thousand tucked away in my pocket to reward kind souls for their good deeds, then a million yen set aside in my savings account specifically for this gatcha draw. Oh, but there’s only thirty thousand or so left of that.”Bookmark here

“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hang on, you’ve got HOW MUCH?!”Bookmark here

No way!! That’s an insane budget!!Bookmark here

“Okay, I’ve been wondering this for a while now, but...where are you even getting all that cash from?!”Bookmark here

“I’m not entirely sure, but I always seem to have plenty.”Bookmark here

Wait, so all this time, I’ve been toiling away for minimum wage, catering to the needs of all these oddballs that keep wandering into the store in the dead of night, stretching the limits of my sanity to the point where I’ve seriously considered giving my two-weeks’ notice, when I could have been, oh, I don’t know, dicking around on mobile games instead?  Bookmark here

No, really — does he know how that sounds to the working people of the world?Bookmark here

I must’ve misheard him. Yeah, that’s got to be it.Bookmark here

“My secretary takes care of everything for me. She sets up my spending money, so I can kick back and spend my days playing games.”Bookmark here

Absorbed in his gatcha pulls, Lord Nobunaga says this like it’s the most normal thing ever. I thought he might’ve been distracted, but he does have the cash to burn, so I guess it has to be true.Bookmark here

...More importantly, what kind of secretary would even want to work for this useless waste of a man?Bookmark here

“Well, time for a break! It’s your turn to tap in.”Bookmark here

“Alright, alright...” Bookmark here

I begrudgingly take over from him. Sure, the anticipation of the pull is pretty exciting, but having someone sitting beside you, arms crossed, eyes glued to the screen like it’s a matter of life or death...well, that sucks all the fun out of it. Seriously dude, lay off.Bookmark here

Still, I suppose he can’t help himself. 5-star characters are kind of a big deal. And kind of a given that they’re almost impossible to win.Bookmark here

My shoulders sag as I resign myself to the fact that this is going to be a very long night — until I hear the ding-a-ling-a-ling of the automatic doors.Bookmark here

At the sound that signals the arrival of a new customer, I leap out of my chair with all the explosive flailing of a firework lighting up the night sky. Bookmark here

I was already pretty tense, so the sudden noise caught me completely off-guard.  Bookmark here

That, and I’m supposed to be working right now. If another customer catches me gambling while I’m on the clock, there’s no way I won’t get written up for that! Oh man, I’m screwed!! Bookmark here

Except I can’t help but stop and stare, wide-eyed, at the woman who just walked through the doors. Bookmark here

My gaze is instantly drawn to her porcelain skin.Bookmark here

Pointy elf ears peak out from her black hair, which is set in a tidy bob. Her outfit is basically an old-school maid uniform — a floor-length black skirt with a white, long-sleeved shirt tucked into it. The ruffled neck of her collar comes right up to the edge of her chin, leaving precious little skin exposed.Bookmark here

Behind her frameless glasses sit a pair of obsidian eyes. As she glances over at me, I swear they reflect the shadows themselves.Bookmark here

...Which makes my thoughts drift back to the elf-maid’s description of their missing companion.Bookmark here

“She’s got short black hair, and her eyes are even darker. You’ll know her when you see her, ‘cause she ain’t like anyone normal.”Bookmark here

...Oh.Bookmark here

“Chronoa’s favorite kind of guy is someone who’s dripping with self-confidence, and oozes entitlement. Someone who’s got a whole bunch’a faithful followers who genuinely like ‘em — and a fancy title, too. But once she gets her claws into someone, they’re goners. Then, anyone who thought Chronoa was all that and a bag of chips changes their tune reeeeeal quick.”Bookmark here

Her words are ringing in my ears — and they’re quickly followed by the rest of her warning.Bookmark here

“An assassin? Nah, not in that sense. Chronoa’s got skills, sure, but she’s also single handedly responsible for the downfall of more unsuspecting chumps than anyone who ever came before her. Take our Demon Lord here, f’example. Back in the demon realm, he was doin’ whatever he pleased, becomin’ a proper jerk — ‘cause she was more than happy to grant his every wish.”Bookmark here

And I can’t help but be reminded of my own impression, from earlier this evening. Bookmark here

“Still, I feel like Lord Nobunaga should be more...dignified, you know? He’s supposed to be the greatest Sengoku warlord to ever walk the earth. You’d think that he’d carry himself with his head held high, radiating self-confidence, with a whole set of loyal retainers who seriously respect him.”Bookmark here

Then, maybe...when Lord Nobunaga started coming here — no, probably before we even met — he really did used to be the noble historical figure that I’d envisioned?Bookmark here

With a practiced flick of her glasses...Bookmark here

“Your ever-faithful servant has come to pick you up. Lord Nobunaga, let us return home.”Bookmark here

Chronoa, the demon lord’s stunningly beautiful ex-maid, announces her presence. Bookmark here

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