TLN: Hey guys, sorry for posting so late!
Had something urgent to do.
You should know by now. The culprit that lined up the skulls at the plaza, the Fancy Skulls, was me.
The reason for that is to have the soldiers or knights of the castle capture me…and I will infiltrate the castle just like that.
I was thinking about how to meet Maki, but the security of the castle is pretty tight.
Since the incident of the Masked Family video, a patch was implemented where, if you get found out entering the castle, you are done for in one go, so infiltrating it is hard.
Even if you leave a message with someone, only the king and queen meet the princess deep in the castle.
Judging it would be difficult by normal means, so I decided to switch my thinking.
If I can’t enter, I will have them invite me instead.
The idea I had was to write in big characters at the plaza and have Maki see that from her room.
If Maki is at the same position as Shermia, from that west tower, she should be able to see the plaza at the center of the city.
If I write the characters real big, I should be able to send a message to Maki without taking a single step into the castle.
But there’s a lot of people at the central plaza.
If it is just writing, it will be erased immediately, or be obscured by the crowd of people.
What came to mind there were the Fancy Skulls.
If I make characters with this item that no one picks up, I won’t have to fear them being erased immediately, and since no one will get close to them, you should be able to see them clearly from above.
Fortunately, I have 2,000 in my inventory, so I have plenty enough to write characters with that.
While I was cleaning up for the quest Guidepost for the Lost, I decided to line up the Fancy Skulls at the plaza and created a message.
What got me thinking was what would the message be.
What’s important is to make the number of strokes low, and it has to be something that Maki would be able to tell it is me who wrote it.
Making too complicated characters would be difficult and would take time.
It would also increase the chances of reading it wrong when seeing them from above.
And so, writing Sagara Souma which has a lot of strokes and is complicated is out of the question.
That said, I am not sure if she would get it if I were to write Souma. It would also make it obvious for others that I am the culprit.
My final objective is to get caught and be brought to the castle, but if I get apprehended before the message gets through to Maki, there would be no point.
What I thought of was ‘I Mikami (Ore Mikami)’.
Normal people would see this and not understand anything, but it is a different story with Maki.
When Maki was young, she wrote on the neighborhood walls ‘Maki Mikami’ and me and her family poked fun at her a whole ton.
In other words, writing ‘XXXX Mikami’ is an appeal to Maki about how I know her since her time in Japan.
Therefore, ‘I Mikami’ is a message that only translates to Maki: ‘I am in this world’.
Now that I have gotten to this point, the rest is simple.
If the message reaches Maki, she will want to meet the person that placed those skulls.
I have to leave clues of where that person is for the sake of that.
When they investigate the skulls, they will definitely hear about the Guidepost for the Lost incident, and that I bought them at the Item Shop.
That’s why I told Kenny, Annie, the Item Shop clerk and several others where I live.
The setup is complete.
I doubt Maki would give violent orders towards me, so at the earliest, I would like the knights to come to my house by today, and then get escorted by the knights to the castle where Maki awaits.
“And so, I plan on taking it easy at home today.” (Souma)
When I told this to Ringo, she made a rare stiff face.
“…What about me?” (Ringo)
She is probably asking what she should be doing in the case I get taken to the castle.
I of course understand the worry of Ringo.
No matter if this is a plan that hinges on Maki doing something about it, I will be taken there as a criminal.
Honestly speaking, I didn’t expect her to treasure me this much.
I kind of did it like a prank. In my head, it would be something like when someone writes at the schoolyard “I love ****-chan!!” or “I am here”.
Maybe what I used wasn’t the most ideal?
They are called skulls, but they are in the end fake, and they have a peculiar charm to them.
Anyways, I tell Ringo in the most kind tone I can muster to relieve her worries.
“No need to worry that much. Even if it comes to the worst case, they will learn that I am the only one that can touch those skulls, so you won’t be made an accomplice. If anything happens, there’s also the prize money we have left at the guild, so you can just stay at home—” (Souma)
“I will go too.” (Ringo)
An instant response.
Looks like she was worried about the opposite of what I was thinking.
“No, but…” (Souma)
“Go too.” (Ringo)
Seems like she isn’t bending here.
(It is gonna be hard to convince her…) (Souma)
I was about to say something, but I stopped.
Even if I say it here, there would be no end to it.
“No point thinking about it right now. I plan on fighting a strong opponent in the near future. I want to make preparations for that, so can you help me out?” (Souma)
When I told Ringo this, she seemed displeased, but she begrudgingly nodded.
“…By strong opponent, do you mean Hisame?” (Ringo)
“That’s right. That’s why this is just in case…” (Souma)
Just when I was about to answer her, I suddenly noticed.
“Eh? Why do you know that I am going to fight Hisame? When we were talking at the horse shed, you should have been sleeping…” (Souma)
“…I woke up…in the middle of it.” (Ringo)
She woke up to our conversation, but she didn’t want to get in our way, so she didn’t say anything and just waited silently.
I do remember that my conversation with Hisame ended because Ringo made a sound, but Ringo was awake from way back, and she probably slipped or something, making her make a sound.
Looks like she had to be considerate with me.
“Well, that’s how it is, so I was thinking about using the facilities of this mansion in order to make my battle as advantageous as possible.” (Souma)
What I plan on using mainly are the magic gems I bought at the Item Shop, so it shouldn’t have much to do with my strength.
I simply want to increase my advantages here.
“…Heading…to the second floor?” (Ringo)
Ringo made an uneasy expression, but I understand her worry.
By checking just 1/3rd of everything -simply the 1st floor- we found many outrageous things.
I can’t even imagine what will happen if we check the 2nd and 3rd floor.
“Ah, but it is okay. I have a secret plan.” (Souma)
“Secret plan…?” (Ringo)
Ringo tilted her head, and I pointed at the key on the table.
“I plan on not taking that with me today.” (Souma)
“Oh, this place is like a room of paintings and sculptures.” (Souma)
The first room we opened when we came to the 2nd floor seems to be a room to make artistic creations.
Just as I said, I didn’t bring a key which you could say was a positive.
“As I thought. Rooms with crafting facilities are not locked.” (Souma)
The key of this mansion, rather than protecting from intruders, is more like sealing the problematic stuff.
If I had to put it in gaming terms, it would be that opening the room with the key is the beginning condition for the event.
Turning that around, it means that the locked rooms have problematic stuff sleeping in them.
On the other hand, the kitchen, living room, and bathroom on the 1st floor were not locked either.
With this, you can assume that these rooms have no need to be locked in order to seal what’s inside, meaning that there’s no problematic event flag.
And thus, if I want to find the facilities for production, I just have to go to the rooms that are not locked.
“Anyways, paintings and sculptures, huh. How nostalgic…” (Souma)
The moment I learned that I could draw and make sculptures in this game, I was moved and thought: “This game has a system that can even judge art? New Communicate Online is impressive!!”.
But when I learned how they evaluated the art, it changed to disappointment and exasperation.
Nekomimi Neko has stuff like painting contests too, but the evaluation of that drawing isn’t about what was drawn, but how complex it was. To be more specific, the type of colors you used, how many lines you made, and how long they were.
In other words, instead of a drawing that has a single super beautiful stroke, randomly drawn lines of 3 different colors would be evaluated higher.
When I learned of this, my disappointment was immeasurable and my day was ruined. Since then, I stopped drawing in Nekomimi Neko.
That said, it is still nostalgic.
I walked to the painting corner and picked up a single brush.
(Will Ringo be happy if I give it to her?) (Souma)
Remembering how Ringo was scribbling the walls of the red room as if enjoying it, I thought this.
In the first place, there’s no need for a workshop this big just to draw.
It is enough with just a paintbrush.
When I raised the paintbrush and Order this, a pure white canvas in a pretty frame suddenly appeared in front of me.
Looks like I can use this skill even in this world.
Artistic tools like paint brushes have a unique skill that allows them to bring out materials by using Element, and it activates if you Order with Set.
By the way, big paint brushes bring out big canvases, and small paint brushes bring out small canvases to match.
The brush apparently has a color placed with magic, so you can infinitely use that specific color without the need for paint. But because of this, you can’t paint with a different color unless you get the paintbrush of that color.
You can’t make a new color, so it is a system that is really inconvenient for people who want to take painting seriously.
(Speaking of which…) (Souma)
How about the sculptures?
Is what I think as I pick up the iron chisel there and shout ‘Set’.
When I did…
An iron cube suddenly dropped in front of me and I ended up stepping back in reflex.
This is the material for sculpting.
When you hold a chisel in hand, you can use Set skill and the material that matches the size of that tool will appear.
This time around, I was holding a big iron chisel, so a big chunk of iron dropped.
The only problem is that…
“I knew it…” (Souma)
When I bring down the chisel onto the chunk of iron, the chisel bounced off with a *clink*.
Because the carving tool and the raw material will be made of the same material, you can’t properly carve it with the tool you used to call the raw material.
Just thinking about it normally, you would be able to tell that it is impossible to carve wood with a wooden tool.
No, it might be possible in real life, but it has already been proven that it is impossible in the game.
Or more like, you can’t gift or sell the sculptures you make, there’s no events where they are useful, and people wouldn’t talk about sculptures at all.
Basically, there’s almost nothing in the sculpting system.
This is also one darkness of Nekomimi Neko.
“…Let’s go.” (Souma)
Remembering the sculpting system dropped my mood.
Thinking about giving it to Ringo later, I place several paint brushes and chisels into the bag, and leave the room.
“For the next one, I would like it to be the magic or weapon customization room.” (Souma)
There’s a decent amount of convenient things in the crafting systems, but the importance of the weapon and magic customization are on a whole other level.
You could say it is necessary to tune my weapons and spells here in consideration of the battle against Hisame and what lies ahead of that.
I opened the next room with that expectation in mind, but…
When I peeked inside that room, there was a sight I had never seen before.
“This is also a crafting room, right?” (Souma)
I tilted my head and entered the room together with Ringo.
This room had an interior design that was fancier than any other room I have been to until now, and there were collections of weapons and things exhibited that seemed like they had some history behind them decorating the walls.
“Could this possibly be a treasury…? If that were the case, it should be locked. Maybe it is an exhibition room.” (Souma)
Saying that, I picked up a golden wine cup that was there and…
An ominous sound rang, and the door that was open wide closed on its own.
“Wa?! What’s the meaning of this?!” (Souma)
I hurriedly ran to the door, but it won’t open.
“?! I see!!” (Souma)
It was at that moment when I realized the identity of this room.
I ended up noticing.
This is the ‘Come over here, Thief’!!
It is a trap against thieves that exists in the 20,000,000E house, and I have heard about its name before.
By purposely leaving the room open, you invite thieves, and when the thief picks up something inside, the door will close and trap them inside.
A treacherous trap that certainly does sound like something the Nekomimi Neko developers would like.
But we should be able to escape as owners of the house.
Thinking this, I investigated the door and found a keyhole.
I breathe a sigh of relief.
“What a relief. Looks like we can get out of here if we have the key…” (Souma)
“…Key, on top of the table.” (Ringo)
I assumed we would not be using it anyways, so I left the key in the living room.
Could this possibly be…
I shake my head violently.
I have overcome countless crises like this.
“A-Ahahaha, don’t worry, Ringo. Skills and magic exist for the sake of moments like this. [Petitplosion]!” (Souma)
I chant the spell in order to desperately calm myself down.
The usual sensation I get when using magic is not there.
“[Step]! [Jump]! [Slash]!” (Souma)
Even when I Order using the skill name, there’s no reaction at all.
The ominous term ‘Ability Nullification Space’ floated in my mind.
“…I will…” (Ringo)
Ringo’s desire to do something must have been stirred after seeing that, she directed the Golden Sakura at the door.
I hurriedly ran to the side.
The Lightning Strike flies off from the Golden Sakura right after and makes a direct hit at the door.
Right, Ringo’s Lightning Strike isn’t a skill but a normal attack.
But the door didn’t have a single scratch.
Seeing this, I noticed…
“An Indestructible Object…” (Souma)
After that, Ringo tried to shoot her Lightning Strikes at the walls around, but the result was the same.
Walls and door that can’t be destroyed because of the system.
And a space where skills and magic can’t be used.
(How can this…be…) (Souma)
I ended up sitting down in place.
As expected of Nekomimi Neko…or maybe I should be cursing my own carelessness.
Anyways, I have understood one thing here.
…Looks like we have been confined in our own home.