Chapter 80: Unexpected Danger
The second day after I finished sleeping for the second time was a jostle of more active events than yesterday.
It began with an event where I had to tag along with the training of two disciples (both higher than level 150) from early morning; had to get some sake from the underground warehouse of the Hisame family (with anti-theft traps); had to get a ball that was stuck at the top of a big tree (2,000 years old, and around 100 meters high).
Anyways, it was really filling up.
I currently don’t have the level to properly deal with these events, but the way to clear them has already been set even when it was still a game.
First, the morning practice with the disciples.
Calling it practice is just an excuse.
If you leave it, both of them will come at you seriously.
If that happens, you would have to incapacitate them without killing them, which is really difficult.
And so, I told them ‘I will practice the one that is stronger’ and had them break the partnership.
After that, you would be asked to bring sake from the warehouse, but on the way to the underground warehouse, the woman that you helped out the first day with the crops would come and…
“There’s a pitfall on the left path… Be careful.”
Give you advice.
When you actually go there, you will see that you have to choose between two paths.
When you check the left path, there’s a part of the ground that is clearly different in color, and you can tell that there’s a pitfall there.
It is actually pretty nice to get advice from someone you helped before.
The Nekomimi Neko staff also knows this.
That’s right, they know way too well.
Because if you go to the right path, you would be relieved and go ‘there really are no traps on this path’ and lower your guard, but the reality is that there’s pitfalls several times more ingeniously set than the left path, and they are made in a way that, if you lower your guard, you fall and die.
…Oh well, it is that.
The woman simply said there’s pitfalls on the left.
It is not like she said there’s none on the right.
Putting it simply, it means that what the girl said was also another trap set by the developers.
It seems like the developers want to make the players doubt every single person they see.
But if you know the trick to it, you really can manage somehow.
Avoid the traps and enter the warehouse.
The sake in question had its container switched, so I traced my memory and searched for the correct sake, and brought it back.
For the next one, it is the tree where the ball is stuck at.
When you climb that tree, your HP would get sucked or there would be vines coming out, wrapping themselves around you and assimilating you.
If you manage to get past all that and reach all the way up where the ball is, the branch close to the top will break and the ball and the player will fall to the ground and you are done for.
It is not like there’s no countermeasures, but I went the fast route and simply cut down the tree to get the ball.
You would think dropping down this tree is more serious than not being able to get the ball, but it is mysterious how dropping the tree is actually ok for the game.
The boy that took the ball with a cramped smile ran off straight to the residence.
He probably wants to play with the ball as fast as possible.
At any rate, getting a ball stuck at the top of a 100 meter tall tree would require quite impressive ball control if it was on purpose.
Even if it wasn’t on purpose, that would be quite the incredible power.
He is a boy with a bright future.
The events continue on after that.
Bungee jumping into a needle floor with no safety line, subjugating a giant fish at the lake, cooking something with the fish you killed, win a floor cleaning race, and also embroider the Hisame family crest within 5 minutes which is an unreasonable and illogical trial.
If you don’t do them all, you fail.
And death awaits if you do.
I did all of the trials with my everything.
Especially the most difficult event I personally had, which was the event where the aforementioned clumsy maid would scatter plates around.
I fortunately managed to avoid that by catching her body before she fell.
Different from the other clumsy events, it is not like it harms me directly, but if even one plate breaks, the clumsy maid will cry, and then Asahi and the group would come out and shout ‘How can you make a woman cry!’ and attack you.
In the game, you can’t move until the very moment the accident happens, so you have to catch all the flying plates, and this is all decided by how good your luck was because the place the plates fly off to are random.
This part alone is a luck game, but this world has no movement restrictions for the player.
By catching the clumsy maid right when she loses balance, I succeeded in eliminating the plate dropping event itself.
I was a bit worried about solving this in a way that you couldn’t in the game since I don’t know how it would roll, but it doesn’t seem like there is any effect of that as of now.
You could even say I have reconciled with her by carrying half of those plates with her.
After hearing what she had to say, it wasn’t really that she wanted to cause me any harm purposely.
It is like Train-chan in that her body just moves on its own without any malice.
Because of how crafty Nekomimi Neko is, I can’t honestly believe that completely, but there’s no need to overtly doubt others if it doesn’t change the results.
I decided to believe her and bid my farewells to her with a smile.
I somehow managed to overcome those assailing threats in that way and receive the 2nd night.
And it was at this moment when I had to face a completely unexpected danger for the first time.
As you may already know, I lost my lodging yesterday because of the collapse incident.
Originally, Mitsuki would come to the player and her cat ears would go round and around as if saying ‘I am so nervous my head is spinning around~’, and she would say:
“…You have nowhere to sleep in tonight, right Can’t be helped.
I don’t mind you coming to my room.” (Mitsuki)
A suggestion straight out of a romcom.
And so, the heart throbbing night between the two would begin…or at least that’s how it was supposed to go.
“Please enter the room quickly.”
There was no such sweetness in the atmosphere between me, Ringo, and Mitsuki.
It seems as if it is prickly and it even feels as if they are angry.
This might be bad.
My instincts were telling me that I have to change the flow of things here or something inconvenient for me will happen.
But there’s a way for me to escape.
This is originally romcom territory.
Then, if I take a romcom approach here, the talk might flow in that direction.
“Wait, I have something to say before that.” (Souma)
That’s why I say this clearly, kneel in place, and place a hand on the small and soft shoulders in front of me.
I look straight at those round eyes and…
“I wonder why.
When I look at that smile of yours, my chest just burns.
Hey, could this possibly be…” (Souma)
I said this as if spilling out my hidden feelings, but…
“There’s no need to wonder what it is.
It must be fear.” (Mitsuki)
“…Souma, can you not joke around” (Ringo)
Unfortunately, it seems like it simply angered the two that were in serious mode.
Even the Bear-san that was told this brushed off my hands as if annoyed and went to Ringo.
It is not like I want to be liked by the bear, but that made me a bit sad.
Moreover, in seiza.
Confirming this, Mitsuki’s cat ears nodded with an ‘alright!’ and she began talking.
“This morning, since the incident where you were crushed beneath the rubble of the detached dwelling, I held doubts towards the details of the trial.
And so, I have been silently watching over your trial with Ringo here.” (Mitsuki)
Ringo didn’t say anything, but she nodded as if agreeing with Mitsuki.
“I won’t say I saw everything, but I do think I have a grasp of it to a certain degree.” (Mitsuki)
“…Souma, lying.” (Ringo)
Ringo said straight and silently blamed me.
When I listened carefully, it seemed like the two are angry about the trial, but Ringo is angry that the trial is actually dangerous, and Mitsuki is angry by the fact that this trial is unreasonable and has a lot of factors that have nothing to do with fighting ability.
“Even though he said it was a trial to check your fighting ability, the details of it are unreasonable.
Just what does cooking and embroidery have anything to do with battle!!” (Mitsuki)
I feel like there’s a bit of a personal grudge mixed in all that as her cat ears were going left and right with her being expressionless, but her anger is justified.
This event has a lot of extra elements just like hidden dungeons.
You could say this is a chain event that the Nekomimi Neko developers directed misplaced motivation, as if saying ‘as if I will let you clear this!’.
Honestly speaking, there’s a lot of trials that are close to just being harassment solely for the sake of troubling the player.
That’s the usual in Nekomimi Neko though.
If I just think of it as a game event, I don’t get that bothered about it, but seeing it from the outside, it really must look unreasonable.
The people that are causing the events probably have some sort of modifier to make them not notice, but thinking about the situations of the trial calmly, most of them are abnormal.
Mitsuki found it hard to finish there.
Her cat ears were curled up as if they were brooding.
But after mulling over it, she said it in the end.
“Also, it seemed like you were having fun with our maid in the corridor.” (Mitsuki)
At that moment, I went aaah and hammered my hand.
She must be referring to the clumsy one.
Looks like she saw all that.
“Even though this is a trial for my sake, that kind of stuff is a bit…troubling.” (Mitsuki)
Her cat ears shook lightly and she protested in a lower than usual voice.
Before I could ask what she meant by that…
“And so, we decided to accompany you in your trial from tomorrow on.” (Mitsuki)
“Huh! Ah, no, wait a moment! By ‘we’, does that mean…” (Souma)
“…I will go…too.” (Ringo)
I heard the outrageous statement of the two, and I lost my marbles.
Here I was, already getting confidence that I might be able to do this by myself, so this is troubling.
“Wait a moment please.
If I fail the trial because of that…” (Souma)
“Of course, I will get permission from my father, and if he refuses, I will give up.” (Mitsuki)
If she tells me that, I can’t think of a counterargument at the moment.
Also, I think that Asahi would refuse anyways.
But don’t forget you said that.” (Souma)
I decided to accept the proposal of the two for now.
“Now then, we have finished our talk here, so it is about time we sleep.” (Mitsuki)
“…Souma, here.” (Ringo)
After that, it for some reason ended up with lining up 3 futons in Mitsuki’s room and sleeping together.
Moreover, I am sleeping right in the middle with Ringo and Mitsuki on both sides.
—A new trial has begun!!
By the way, the bear that should have been at Ringo’s place had at some point in time crawled into my futon.
It is not like I wanted to be liked by the bear, but it made me a bit happy.
The next day.
“Kyaah, my hand slipp—”
“…Not letting you.” (Ringo)
Ringo immediately shot down the hot and teeming food the Clumsy-san slipped and scattered about by using the Lightning Strike.
“Souma-san, there’s actually a massive amount of rats under the floor of the residence and—”
“Is that something you ask a guest If it is necessary, do it yourself.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki immediately shot down the unreasonable requests of the disciples with her words.
It is obviously not a trial anymore.
“How did it turn out like this…” (Souma)
I was holding my head at the back.
No, in this case…
“Why didn’t I do this from the very beginning…” (Souma)
That would be the more appropriate thing to say here.
It seems like Asahi was unexpectedly weak to his daughter, and he easily accepted the proposal of those two, and so, the trial is already on the verge of collapsing.
If I were to refuse the requests or didn’t finish the requests, Asahi and the others would immediately get antagonistic, but it seems like there weren’t any issues with Ringo and Mitsuki doing that.
It means that irregular interventions result in irregular results.
However, since there’s no knowing what result it would yield in reality, there was the chance that Ringo destroying the obstacles and Mitsuki refusing the requests would immediately fail me.
It is nice that it went well this time around, but I should test things out before doing things that would bend the events.
I once again reminded myself of this.
Well, that said…
I am not thinking about doing this kind of tightrope walking, but it seems like I will be able to take it easy in this event.
I was spacing out while thinking this and…
A white blade suddenly appeared right in front of me.
I won’t be able to react to that speed!
(No good, I can’t avoi—) (Souma)
At the moment when I was prepared to die from the sudden attack…
It suddenly stopped right in front of me.
“You are lowering your guard too much.”
Strength left from my stiffened body when I heard that voice.
The one who swung that sword at me was Mitsuki.
“It is true that I did lower my guard there, but don’t scare me that much.” (Souma)
The moment I felt relieved there, sweat gushed out from me.
I seriously thought I was dead there.
I raised my voice in protest but…
“This can’t even compare to the speed of the Gouging Vajra.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki spoke out that reality as if throwing cold water at me.
I ended up struggling for words.
That certainly is true.
The speed of the thrown Gouging Vajra is even faster than the attack of Mitsuki just now.
Remembering that, I understood the intention of Mitsuki here.
The trial is not over yet.
“The reason why father allowed us to interfere with the trial must be because he thought it would be impossible to stop you with normal trials.
But he told me strictly that the Last Trial is something that you must take on by yourself.” (Mitsuki)
If it is until here, there have been people who have been able to manage to get here before clearing the game.
Abnormal traps usually are easy to manage once you know the trick.
But those tricks didn’t work on the trial waiting at the end.
—Clearing the Gouging Vajra.
If I can’t do that, there won’t be any success in the trial.
Putting it even more bluntly, I would be dead.
“Looks like you understand now.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki sheathed her katana.
By that time, my happy-go-lucky attitude had gone off somewhere.
Mitsuki felt my change, and she silently said this with her cat ears waving to the wind.
“I have seen father use his Gouging Vajra once.
I will be honest here.
It is impossible to avoid that.” (Mitsuki)
Adding to that, it is also difficult to defend against.
That throwing attack has the Piercing attribute.
No matter how rock-sturdy equipment you get to strengthen your defense, most of it would get negated.
It even gets through the counter type skills that have invincibility frames.
“That’s why, in order to overcome the Last Trial, you need to endure that one hit, or before the spear is thrown—” (Mitsuki)
“I won’t do something like that.” (Souma)
I said that firmly before she could finish what she was about to say.
If it isn’t possible to avoid it or defend against it, there’s no other choice but to kill the owner.
I am sure that’s what Mitsuki was going to say.
But that’s a mistake.
That’s a misguided prediction.
If I had to do something like that, I would rather have all 3 of us escape from here.
“There’s other methods to overcome attacks other than avoiding and defending, right” (Souma)
The choices of evading and defending are out from my head.
Mitsuki opened her eyes wide, most likely having understood the meaning of my words.
“Could it be that you are going to…against a spear that’s flying faster than the eye can see…” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki’s usually expressionless face and her cat ears both showed unrest, and she looked at me as if looking at something unbelievable.
“…No, you used a strange technique to stop my Hisame, and used a spell I have never seen before to stop me.
You might be able to overcome that spear with your Strange Sword.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki shook her cat ears lightly as if reconsidering it.
“Sorry, actually, just be all spaced out for a while over there.” (Mitsuki)
She said the complete opposite of what she said before.
“I-Is that okay Just before, you did that because…” (Souma)
I hurriedly questioned this, but she shook her head.
“I don’t mind it.
I will drive off the noise until sunset with her.
We won’t let them put a finger on you.
In exchange…” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki turned back at me and smiled gently.
“…Show my father your best hit to his Gouging Vajra…with your Strange Sword.” (Mitsuki)
My chest shook.
The trust in those words of hers were a bit different from the unconditional trust that I sometimes feel from Ringo.
I could clearly feel that she was believing in my ability as a warrior.
I don’t know if I can answer that expectation.
I am trying to do something that I didn’t do when it was a game, so there’s obviously the risk of failing.
Before all that wish of Mitsuki, it is possible that I will simply be pierced by that spear and die just like that.
Even with that…
Even with that, I still nodded.
My burning emotions here are not letting me choose anything else.
“Yeah, leave it to me!” (Souma)
I shake off all uneasiness and answer this.
Just you wait, Asahi, and Gouging Vajra!
I will definitely…