Chapter 119: Past and Present
When we left off to the South Gate to go to the Deus Plains, we ran all the way to the field in one go.
We headed to the southwest field without stopping once.
At that time, Ringo didn’t let go at all, so we were holding hands the whole time, but the level of the enemies in the Deus Plains is 50.
They are enemies that it would be harder to suffer from when we have updated our equipment.
It is the same as that time when we were going back to the capital.
The moment monsters appeared, Ringo would end them with a Lightning Strike as if it were just a passing nuisance.
And so, we arrived in front of the big rock without taking much time.
A part of the big rock was hollowed out, and rubble was piled up in it.
That is in a way a seal.
We crushed a Spawn Point there by covering it up with rubble.
And also eliminated the possibility of a terrifying monster appearing from there.
“Ringo, can you break the rubble there” (Souma)
When I asked this, Ringo asked back with an ‘is that okay’ with her gaze.
I lightly nodded at it.
“…Got it.” (Ringo)
When Ringo said this, she directed the Wakizashi towards the rubble.
Lightning came out from its tip soon after and the rubble was destroyed into pieces.
The power of the weapon and level of Ringo has increased since the time she broke the rock.
The power of it was on a whole other level.
“As expected…” (Souma)
The rubble was destroyed in an instant and the obstruction in the Spawn Point was rid of.
With this, monsters will once again appear from it.
“Now then, let’s move away from here for a bit.” (Souma)
When I proposed this, Ringo followed me obediently.
Leaving aside the time at the Mass Outbreak, in normal times, new monsters don’t spawn when you are close to the Spawn Point.
I take distance from the big rock while relying on my feel from the game days.
“…It is here.” (Souma)
But it seems like there was no need to think too much about it.
When we moved away to a certain degree, Ringo looked back.
There’s no way she could have seen it, but she seems to have sensed the spawning of the monster behind.
When I strain my eyes a bit here, I could tell that a new monster had appeared from the hollow big rock.
But it is unfortunately a miss.
The monster that finally managed to spawn from the Spawn Point after a long while was defeated instantly by the Lightning Strike of Ringo.
Well, with this, I now know the necessary distance.
Now it is waiting time.
I set chairs a little further away from the place where Ringo looked back from, and prepared myself for the long battle.
But obviously, I can’t waste this waiting time.
I take out the Master Torch from my bag along with the spear I had gotten before.
I have raised the Weapon Proficiency of the sword, otachi, dagger, ninja sword, and the Proficiency of fire, water, and light, but I have barely touched the other ones.
Of course, weapons have their strengths and weaknesses.
As for me, I used the sword mostly for all of my runs, and there were barely any moments when I used stuff like a spear, but it would be best to have as many options as possible.
As your level increases, the efficiency of increasing your weapon proficiency lowers.
Before I grind levels, I should increase my weapon proficiency as much as possible with the Master Torch.
Ringo was watching over me hitting away at the torch with the spear without moving an inch…is what I thought.
“…I will do it, too.” (Ringo)
Ringo unexpectedly asked to participate.
“Then, want to come here” (Souma)
There isn’t much point in Ringo increasing her weapon proficiency since her attacks revolve on Lightning Strike, but there’s no real reason to refuse.
I lined up shoulders with Ringo and passed our time with one torch.
And then, that time finally came.
A while after I was stabbing the torch with Ringo at my side, we defeated the 5th wrong monster, and I was about to change the weapon I am using on the Master Torch…
But I felt as if thorns poked my skin, so I raised my head, and…I saw a white giant appear from around the big rock.
When I looked by my side, Ringo had long since noticed and her expression turned more serious.
Of course she would.
That guy not only was on the verge of killing me but also her, so he is an enemy we have a strong connection to.
Because of a mistake of the Nekomimi Neko developers, a high level boss monster appeared in this field where low level monsters appear.
Even so, this guy appears in a level 150 dungeon, so you could say it is an enemy that’s just at the right level for me and Ringo.
However, Nekomimi Neko is one narrow asshole for game balance, so level is just one indicator.
In a high level dungeon, they would set up one dude that looks like a weak low level monster, but they would end up being far and beyond stronger… This is a horrible trap I have experienced before.
Well, what’s truly horrible is that, despite it being strong, the monsters set around it have 5 times more exp, but most players would have to swallow their tears and do this method to obtain experience because it was the only way.
Anyways, the King Butcher is a strong boss in that level range, and you could say it is an especially tough opponent for ones that mainly focus on physical attacks.
It has strong physical resistance, and any physical attack that doesn’t contain any elements barely do any damage.
(But that’s exactly why…!!) (Souma)
I stopped Ringo who was about to walk on with a serious face and stood in front of her.
“Please wait here.” (Souma)
I shook my head at Ringo who was showing displeasure and unease.
“It is…necessary.” (Souma)
When I said this, Ringo replied with: “…Don’t be reckless.”
She still saw me off but with worried eyes.
I expressed my gratitude and, at the same time as I did…
(…And also, I am sorry.) (Souma)
I apologized internally to her.
—Me saying is necessary is half true and half false.
In theory, there’s no need for me to force myself to fight alone here.
The two of us fighting together would logically be the safest way to get stronger.
The reason why I said I wanted to fight alone is purely my selfishness.
There’s a number of reasons why I want to fight the King Butcher right now.
The first is plainly for the sake of raising my level.
My level is currently 156.
The dungeon of the Butcher is 150, so you might think I won’t be able to get exp because of the level difference, but boss monsters are usually one tier above the monsters of that zone.
There’s also the massive amount of exp the boss itself gives, so we will probably be able to increase our level all the way up to level 170.
The second one has to do with this guy’s resistance.
The Butcher has plain strong physical resistance.
Normal physical attacks won’t register against the Butcher.
But that’s exactly why I don’t plan on using elemental attacks here.
(…It noticed me, huh.) (Souma)
After approaching a certain distance, it also detected me.
I falter for an instant in front of the white giant that faces me.
(…Should I use that from the very beginning) (Souma)
Thinking that, I glanced at Shiranui for an instant, but I soon shook my head.
That technique has a lot of risks.
I shouldn’t rely on something that I don’t even know if I would be able to use in the Demon Lord battle right from the get-go.
Having reached that decision, I chant magic like usual.
While at it, I do an eye-measure of the distance between us.
Decide on my actions inside my head and repeatedly set Time Activations.
I immediately switch to movement.
(I will close the distance first!) (Souma)
If I am going to be defeating the King Butcher for sure, the easiest way would be to do the same as before: activate Absolute Katana Reversal when it uses its charge to hit it with an elemental attack.
The power of one hit from the counter skill, Absolute Katana Reversal, is outstanding and it can deal elemental attacks readily.
If I take distance, I should be able to invite its charge.
However, I won’t be taking that strategy this time around.
That’s because the Demon Lord also uses long range attacks.
That’s right, this is the one other reason I am fighting the King Butcher.
I am going to simulate as if this King Butcher is the Demon Lord and test out my current ability.
On top of fighting this King Butcher as a pseudo Demon Lord, I placed 2 restrictions on me.
First: don’t use elemental attacks.
The Butcher has high physical resistance and high defense, but the defense of the Demon Lord that hasn’t been weakened is far above that.
I have to be able to defeat the King Butcher with just physical attacks at the very least or I won’t be able to match the Demon Lord at all.
And the other one is: stay at a 3 meter distance from him.
This is because of the trait that the Demon Lord has.
The Isolated Demon Lord, also called the Super Loner Killer (SLK), or Super Loner King (SLK) is an enemy that isn’t suitable to fight solo.
Normally, when you face a boss with a large number of people, their HP will scale depending on the numbers on your side, but the Demon Lord is the opposite.
The Demon Lord blatantly power ups in a 1 on 1 battle.
“You can’t save the world alone! This is the power of the bonds created in your journey!”
As this catchphrase states -or maybe not, who knows- the Demon Lord is the weakest when you fight it with more than 6 people, and as you decrease by one, it gets a 40% power up for each one missing.
If you fight it completely alone, its battle power increases by 3 times that of when you face it with 6 people.
Honestly speaking, there’s no way you can win.
Actually, the Demon Lord was originally a human, and because they were betrayed horribly, they touched upon taboo experiments and turned into a monster…is basically the lore, but they are apparently weak to humans that get along with each other.
‘Is that why they get in the way of your wedding’, ‘so small-minded…’, ‘could it be that they are trying to revive the Great Demon Lord because they want someone to talk to’ -are some of the many comments that came out of this, so this trait can’t be undermined.
So basically, you ‘have to bring 5 companions’ when fighting the Demon Lord.
This is also one of the reasons why I decided to bring Sazan despite not being sure if he would be of use.
However, bringing companions also means exposing them to danger.
Moreover, the attacks of a Demon Lord that hasn’t been weakened enough are all powerful, to the point that if Sazan were to be targeted, he would die in an instant.
In order to prevent that, I have to use the pattern of the Demon Lord where: ‘they prioritize attacking the enemy that’s within 3 meters in range’.
That way, I will always be targeted.
This also means I can’t take distance and heal or withdraw, so the difficulty of the battle increases greatly.
It is not impossible, but it is by no means something you can do in one shot against a Demon Lord that’s not weakened enough.
That’s why this battle against the King Butcher is a practice battle for the sake of that.
As if reacting to me approaching, the white giant moved and readied for an attack as a greeting.
I add an Oboro Zangetsu in the middle of my movement, and close the distance with High Step.
Cancel the High Step with Jump, and…
“[Oboro Cross]!!” (Souma)
I overlap the activation of Power Up matching the Side Slash.
This combo that can slay even level 170 enemies…
Wasn’t enough to defeat the King Butcher.
It staggered him a bit, but he soon regained himself and attacked me again.
“You monster…!” (Souma)
I escaped to the side with the Air Hammer that I had set for Time Activation beforehand and spit out those words.
The physical resistance of the King Butcher really is insane.
However, it is not like it didn’t work at all.
If I repeat this over and over, I should be able to defeat him eventually.
Believing this, I set a Power Up to Time Activate after another Air Hammer, and…
The second attack of the Butcher came.
The knockback of the Air Hammer just ended, and I barely managed to avoid that attack.
(The next one…would be bad…) (Souma)
The limitation of a 3 meter distance is really tying me up here.
If I can’t escape to the back, I can’t retreat from the attack range of the Butcher.
In that case, the knockback of Air Hammer that has difficulties in the movement speed and the time it takes would be dangerous.
If I use the Air Hammer once more while I am in front of the Butcher, I will get hit for sure.
That’s what I felt.
(Then, I just have to go around to his back!) (Souma)
I chain Step and High Step as if going in a circle around the Butcher, and activate Ground Compression…
And noticed that I left the 3 meter radius of the Butcher.
I managed to get to his back, but there’s no point if this is the result.
I purposely didn’t attack and got blown back by the Air Hammer while biting my lips.
The strength of Ground Compression bit me back instead.
If I consider the 3 meter limitation, I can’t use the Ground Compression that has a long movement distance.
Meaning that my fastest movement skill has been sealed.
“Damn it! Then…!” (Souma)
I return to the side of the Butcher with Step, and this time around, I used Godstep Cancel to go around him.
But the white giant showed that he can follow that speed.
It twisted his body and swung down his cleaver.
“! [High Step]!” (Souma)
The super heavy cleaver raised a roaring sound as it approached me, but I somehow managed to avoid it with High Step.
With this, I have completely destroyed its attack rhythm.
But once I use High Step, I can’t connect it to Godstep Cancel anymore.
Now that I have come this far, I have no choice but to do it.
(This is…[Jump][Side Slash]!) (Souma)
I Jump cancel the landing and do a Side Slash.
But that was…
Stopped by the left leg of the King Butcher…
Not only did I miss the timing of the Power Up, I couldn’t aim at the head which is the weak point.
The damage I dealt was so low that the skill was judged to have failed.
And then, having my skill stopped, I was stunned and…
The giant right leg of the Butcher approached me.
I could only watch as it closed in on my stunned body while it was raising a roar.
The next instant, I was kicked away like a soccer ball.
I was sent flying without being able to do anything and rolled on the ground.
I have been sent flying by him just like this before.
It is a sensation that feels nostalgic even.
I could hear the scream of Ringo from far away.
“Don’t come!!” (Souma)
But I stopped Ringo who was about to run my way, and I stood up.
At that time, I got hit by him and was on the verge of death, and I couldn’t even move properly until I healed myself.
But now I am different from that time.
My level has increased and I have excellent armor and tools.
I won’t be killed in one hit.
(Of course that would happen.) (Souma)
I nodded as I watched the white giant that had an air of composure.
The distance between me and the Butcher is obviously more than 3 meters.
At this rate, there’s no way I would be able to protect my companions from the Demon Lord at all.
Even in my grown current self, I don’t have enough strength and speed.
I may be placing limitations on me, but I am in this predicament against an enemy like the Butcher who is several times weaker than the real Demon Lord.
This is my present ability.
“I really can’t stay in the present like this.” (Souma)
Then, I must become stronger.
Even if I have to risk losing all of my hard work and power until now, I must become stronger.
I have already obtained the means for the sake of that.
I glare at the approaching Butcher -and at the shadow of the Demon Lord- as I slowly open my mouth.
“I will now be showing you the me from here on.” (Souma)
Now, it is time to shout.
The name of the technique that had outstanding effects in the game days, enough to even call it a balance breaker.
Despite having used almost all the skills that exist in Nekomimi Neko, this is a skill I have never used before.
“[Incarnation of Fury]!!” (Souma)