by Dark Ice Dragon
“All right!” Yun cheered, arms high above his head. “We finally got enough money to buy this shop.”
“Yup!” Jing nodded next to him, grinning widely as she looked at the sparkly new building. The grin slowly faded though. “But… what do we fill it with?”
Yun blinked at her, confused. “Books…?” It was going to be a bookshop, wasn’t it?
A snort and a dry look. “What kind of books?” she pressed. “Recent ones? Old ones? What genre? What authors?”
Oh, yeah, they needed to know what to put in their stock before they could sell any of it. Yun crossed his arms, thinking. There was too wide a variety that they could choose from – how were they going to narrow it down? “How about books that we know people will like?”
“Like… looking at the bestsellers list?”
He nodded enthusiastically. “Yeah!”
Jing’s grin slowly came back. “Okay, we can do that – ” her eyes flitted to the side, and then they widened “at uni. It’s time to get up.”
It couldn’t be – or it was past time to get up for him; he lived a little further out than Jing, where the buses were more infrequent.
“Ack!” He frantically waved at Jing in goodbye, hurriedly opening up the menu. “I’m gonna be laaate,” he wailed. “I’ll see ya at uni!” he said, flashing her a grin, seconds before he logged out.
Inhaling a sandwich, Yun waved at Jing as she tried to find him in the cafeteria. To get to uni on time, he’d raced through getting ready, charging up and down stairs and tearing through rooms.
He’d still been ten minutes late.
The lecturer hadn’t seemed to mind too much, thankfully, only giving him a Look over his glasses before turning back to the class. He’d meekly collapsed into his chair, trying not to breathe too hard or noisily. Running from the bus stop to the campus when you weren’t used to it was hard.
And he’d skipped breakfast, which was why he was reaching for his second sandwich.
Jing set her tray down next to him, also pulling out her hand-held laptop as she sat down. The screen unfurled open with a snap at the touch of a button, the keyboard lighting up the table a second later.
“So… we’re wanting the top twenty books?” she asked, typing one-handed, drinking with the other.
“I’m not sure,” Yun said, watching the search engine pop up. “Twenty books isn’t that much, is it?”
“Not really,” Jing mused, scrolling down the list. Yun recognised a couple of titles, one which he’d read, and a few that he’d been meaning to read for a while now. There was a variety though, not all romance like he had feared, but still, a choice of twenty books in the entire shop wasn’t much, even if they did get multiple copies.
Hmm. “How about the top one-hundred?” That would be better. And that would mean that it wouldn’t just be this year’s best sellers. Probably. “And what about the classics too?”
Jing’s eyes lit up, a grin materialising on her face. “Yeah! Great idea!” A few more taps and…
Yun whistled in appreciation. It was a very decent sized list now. They shared a grin. All they had to do was get them now.
Jing was frowning over a stack of paper when Yun logged in Second Life.
“Hey,” he greeted, peering over her shoulder.
She glanced up swiftly, startled, before smiling at him when she recognised him. “Hey.”
That… was a lot of zeros at the bottom of the page. “What’s that?” he asked. Was she planning an expensive holiday overseas?
“That’s how much it’ll be if we want to stock up our bookshop,” she said tiredly. “That’s if we only have two copies of each.”
“Eeeeeh?” They were students; they didn’t have that kind of money! Even if they had good jobs, it would take them months to reach that amount. He’d forgotten that they’d have to get their books from somewhere, and currently, as far as he knew, the only books in Second Life were the ones that taught you skills. One good thing though, was that when they got the books, it’d be easy to transfer them into Second Life.
Jing tapped her pencil on the table as her other hand was used as a prop for her chin. “The shops don’t do deals on the same book, and buying the books in bulk…”
Yun winced. They’d have too many books than they’d ever sell and the cost of it all… He shuddered. Buying in bulk would be worse than buying them singly.
“There has to be some cheap books we can buy,” he sighed, “but we know that other people will like.”
“Hmm…” Jing chewed her lip. “The only people we know reasonably well are Lan, Yang Ming and Professor Min.”
Trying to find a book that would suit Professor Min was out the window. They knew him in real life, but they didn’t know what his likes and dislikes in books were. They at least knew Yang Ming liked fantasy and action books, but those were huge genres in the book world. The only person they really knew well was Lan, and Yun snickered at the thought of making money from the City Lord.
“Lan’s favourite books were those… old Japanese comics, wasn’t it?” Yun tried to wrack his brain for the name of the series, but it eluded him. All he could remember was the cover of the first book had a red-haired man on the front.
“Well,” he murmured, “we’ll have something to do while procrastinating.”
“Aaaah!” Yun looked back at the gleaming shelves once he’d finished stretching, happy that they were lined with books. The shop wasn’t filled completely -not yet- but they’d made a number of sales already, which meant they could buy more manga. He was surprised that they were so cheap, but they were old, so that was probably why.
He’d even been able to buy one of the books he’d been meaning to and had finished it while waiting for potential customers. Slightly bored, he flicked through the first volume of Rurouni Kenshin. It had taken them ages to find out the name of the series, and in the end, they’d cheated by visiting Lan’s house.
The bell above the door tinkled. He glanced up and saw that it was Kenshin. After he smiled at him, he went back to the manga.
He blinked at the face staring back at him on the piece of paper.
Covertly, he snuck a glance at Kenshin, who was staring at the book spines on the other side of the shop. Red hair, cross-shaped scar, bright haori, and a sword at his hip. Slowly, Yun closed the book so he could see the cover. It featured the main character –Kenshin– and he had red hair, a cross-shaped scar, a bright kimono, and had a sword at his hip.
‘Oh my god – they’re exactly alike!‘ His thoughts were running a thousand miles per hour and he jumped at the sound of something hitting the counter.
“Yes?” he squeaked. It was Kenshin. And he had a stack of Rurouni Kenshin books in front of him.
“I want to buy these.”
Yun’s thoughts stuttered to a halt. Kenshin… wanted to buy Rurouni Kenshin. “I – um – certainly!”
Kenshin was looking at him funny, and he really didn’t want to explain why he was acting so strangely so he quickly rattled off the price.
Afterwards, after the door had closed shut again, Yun heaved a sigh of relief. This kind of thing could only happen in Second Life, couldn’t it?