According to the curriculum Roland devised, they had to study at least five years before they could graduate as useful magic apprentices or official Mages.
Naturally, the children of the poor couldnt afford the tuition fees, but Roland asked them to sign a rather loose contract, in which they could pay part or all of their tuition fees by running errands for the Magic Tower, depending on their amount of work.
Also, the loan could be paid back over a period of thirty years, with no interests charged.
It meant that, if the students were willing to work a couple more years in the Magic Tower, they could soon pay their tuition fees in full. After all, it was not hard for Mages to make money. So, they were almost studying for free.
All the civilian students signed the contract. They were young, but they knew that it was their only chance to climb higher on the social ladder. They would sign the contract even if the terms were ten times harsher.
The children of the merchants and nobles who werent wealthy signed it too.
A minor problem happened on the first day of school. While most noble children could read, none of the civilians were literate.
How could a Mage not read?
Eventually, the two classes were rearranged. Those who could read were placed in one class, and those who couldnt were placed in the other.
Essentially, the rearrangement was based on their familial backgrounds.
Roland would mix them up again a year later when the civilians knew how to read and write.
The gap between nobles and civilians was huge as it was. If they were taught separately, they would likely become two hostile communities that would never talk to each other.
So after the civilians became literate, the two classes had to be mixed and taught with additional lessons on behavior.
After the classes were rearranged, Roland and Vincent left them alone for now.
Vivian and other magic apprentices could teach the students how to read and the rudiments on magic. Roland and Vincent didnt have to do it personally.
At this point, Roland and Vincent were having fruit wine and chit-chatting in the lab.
"I have a question." Vincent drank a mouthful of the wine and asked, "Will we accept players in the future?"
"Of course we will."
Vincent frowned and said, "But the players can be very playful and naughty. As players ourselves, we know them very well. I dont think we can control them."
"Fair enough." Roland thought a moment and said, "Then well only accept the players we approve of. There shouldnt be a problem if there arent too many of them."
Vincent stood up with his cup. Looking through the window at the teaching building not far away, he smiled and said, "Do you think we can ever watch those children grow up?"
"Youre talking as if were dying." Roland found it amusing.
"No, Im worried that the server will shut down." Vincent heaved a long sigh and said, "Its been more than a year since the game was launched. They said that this was a beta test, but how can a beta test be so long? No more game cabins have been built, and in-game purchases never opened. The rich players cant pay any money even if they want to. Even more unbelievably, a secondhand immersive cabin is already five million yuan on the market, but the authorities still havent produced any more cabins."
Roland fell silent too.
He knew that Vincent was speaking the truth.
Capitals were meant to reproduce. But up until now, the game authorities hadnt made any money yet except for the revenues from the sales of the initial 500,000 game cabins.
Even if the game was free and there were no in-game purchases, there should at least be advertisement spots in the game.
But there werent.
Twenty-five billion yuan had been earned by selling the game cabins, but it couldnt have been nearly enough for this unprecedented technological project.
How much longer could the twenty-five billion last?
The maintenance of the servers and communication facilities and the salaries for the staff must be costly.
Roland estimated that the money should be used up in maybe a year.
He thought for a moment and said, "I dont know. Maybe theyll try to make money when they need it."
"I dont think so." Vincent shook his head. "Like I said, a corporation should seek profits. The cabins for this game are perfect, but why arent they producing more? Its completely against the nature of capitalism that theyre not making any profit."
"So do you think that there is a reason why the game company cant open in-game purchases?" Roland asked. "Do you have any inside news?"
Vincent raised his eyebrow in surprise. "You do have keen instincts."
"So thats a yes."
"Can you tell me about it?"
"I cant talk outside, but it doesnt matter here," Vincent said. "Everybody knows that the game cabin represents a second life. Some people mocked it before but can only regret it now. However, there is nothing they can do about it. So, those who have powerful parents are convincing them to work together to impose pressure on the game company by changing the game-related policies in this country. Thats all legal, and nobody can say anything about it."
Roland frowned deeply.
"Besides, there are other countries who are trying to force the company to hand over its technologies. Its literally beset with difficulties both at home and abroad," Vincent said worriedly. "But the company is simply determined not to build one more game cabin. I really dont know why!"
Roland didnt like the sound of that.
He too found it perplexing why the company was not producing more cabins, and why it was going against so many superpowers.
It was not like the game world would collapse with several hundred thousand more players.
What was on the mind of the game authorities?
Roland found it impossible to keep up with their line of thinking.
Vincent continued, "In any case, I have little hope for the future of this game, unless the authorities announce that they will make more cabins."
Roland was rather upset. He loved this world and this game.
Now, his future had been bound to this game.
If the game was gone, his bright future would have to be shattered and redefined.
He was rather angry at the thought of that.