Since the moment I couldn’t hear the words of Ina, there has been a voice echoing in my heart, telling me ‘forward, move forward’.
The reality is that there’s no time I can waste if I want to defeat the Demon Lord within 10 days.
But if we move without any plans and just hurriedly advance, that in itself will waste time.
I hold back my impatience and make preparations to move efficiently.
First, I need to have a grasp of our battle power.
I took this chance to use the Level Appraisal on everyone to check all their levels.
First, I used it on myself.
“Level 156, huh. It is higher than I thought.” (Souma)
I have cleared the Stream Cave and the Yellow Slime event since the last time I checked my level, but we didn’t defeat that many enemies in the cave, and the Yellow Slimes defeated by the chain reaction aren’t counted as EXP.
This is most likely thanks to having defeated the monster army at the Attack on the Capital.
The main force of the attack was composed of level 95 Red Cap Elites and level 110 Black Orcs.
You gain a lot less EXP when there’s a big gap in levels, so no matter how many there are, I would at most be right before 120.
There’s no way I would level up all the way here with just that much.
That said, there were a few dozen enemies higher than level 120.
Different from weapon proficiency, there’s no bonus for defeating higher level enemies, but they still have a decently high amount of exp.
There was also an unbelievable rate of rare monsters and boss monsters within those high level monsters.
The exp set for monsters in Nekomimi is also haphazard, so you can’t say it is the same for everyone, but if you defeat a boss monster with the recommended level, you normally go up 1-2 levels, and if you defeat monsters with a level difference of 20-30 levels, you can raise 3-4 levels really fast.
As if backing up my hypothesis, Ringo, who has pretty much been together with me the whole time, was level 149.
Her level should have been higher than mine before the Attack on the Capital. The difference in number between the flying unit and the main force must have created this disparity in levels.
This is all still within expectations.
What surprised me was the level of Maki.
When I pushed the appraiser on the arm of Maki, who seemed to be curious about this…
“Level: 182…” (Souma)
I was hit with an unexpected high score.
“Eh? What’s that? Is it high?” (Maki)
Maki asked me innocently, but this is an unbelievably high level.
She could even be within the top 5 of the adventurers in the capital.
Ringo muttered this as if in shock that Maki is 30 levels higher than herself.
Ringo starting at level 1 really was because her position in the game had been taken away.
Or more like, it might be better to say that Maki not only took her position as the princess, but also her level.
Ringo, you can get a bit angry at Maki, you know? -I think this while I head to the next one.
I approached Sazan with the appraiser and he retreated as if covering his body.
“I-I won’t do it! I have vowed to not expose my forsaken true name to people so readily after all!!” (Sazan)
Judging from what he says, Sazan seems to be a fake name.
Maybe his real name is something like Yamada Tarou, or a joke in that vein.
This really does smell like terminal chuunibyou, but I don’t have the time to waste on that.
I currently have a trump card to deal with Sazan.
‘Bear, I choose you!!’ -is what I was thinking of saying, but I stopped.
Even if it is Sazan, I didn’t really want to do something displeasing towards a person that hasn’t really done anything bad.
I am not interested in the secrets of Sazan anyways.
I can comply with this much.
“That’s fine by me. Then, do it yourself and just tell me the level.” (Souma)
“Eh? Is that fine? Uhm, won’t you think I am lying or something like that?” (Sazan)
He asked back, surprised.
I feel like that’s not something to be surprised about, but it would be a pain to make things complicated here.
I just nodded.
“Even if it is you, I doubt you would make such an unreasonable lie. If you are worried about it, just cut off the paper on the level part and give it to us.” (Souma)
“T-That’s true… Uhm, s-sorry about it.” (Sazan)
“Spare me all that and just do it.” (Souma)
I give the appraisal paper to Sazan who has been really easy to deal with after the bear shock.
When Sazan confirmed the appraisal, he methodically folded the paper and cut it in half.
“Behold! This is the realm of my soul!” (Sazan)
He returned to his grandiose tone as if he had remembered about it and gave me the right half of the paper.
Leaving aside this realm of his soul, I was curious as to what level Sazan is and peeked at his paper…
[: Level 157]
“Bear, I choose you!” (Souma)
The moment I saw that number, I reflexively threw the Bear at him.
“S-Stop! Hiiiih!!” (Sazan)
The Bear and Sazan began a game of cat and mouse.
Depending on how you look at it, that’s a pretty wholesome sight.
“Oops. I did that by reflex…” (Souma)
Sazan didn’t really do anything bad here, but my mouth just moved on its own after seeing that number.
I don’t really find it vexing that there’s a big gap between us though. The mind really works in mysterious ways.
I do feel bad for doing that to Sazan, but there’s no real harm, so it should be okay to leave it be.
The appraiser unfortunately doesn’t work on the Bear that’s energetically chasing after Sazan, so there’s only one person remaining.
Mitsuki took the appraiser herself as if in understanding, and pushed it on the palm of her hand.
After confirming that the appraisal was done, she gave it to me.
The number was…
[Mitsuki Hisame: Level 57].
The worst record of today has been registered.
Mitsuki asked this of me while observing my face and bending down her cat ears, but I shook my head to the sides.
“No, I know how strong you are, Mitsuki. I wouldn’t think that.” (Souma)
“…I see.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki didn’t change her wry smile at my response, but her cat ears jumped up.
She really is easy to understand.
(I already knew this after all.) (Souma)
It is indeed a surprising number, but it was expected.
When making Mitsuki a companion, you would see her Status, and the first thing you would be surprised by is how low her level is, then get surprised by how outrageously high her stats are. This is already a standard reaction in Nekomimi Neko.
I of course also experienced this.
She has a whole lot more battle experience than Alex, but her level isn’t that high.
There’s actually a bit of a gimmick to this. The required experience Mitsuki needs to level up compared to other characters is abnormally higher.
The difficulty of her leveling up is already a well-known fact, and it is to the point that one of the 3 conditions to be considered a veteran player in Nekomimi Neko is to have Mitsuki over level 100.
By the way, one of those 3 conditions is ‘being able to use Midare Sakura’, so that would mean I have already put one foot in the veteran player realm in this world too.
Well, making Mitsuki a companion is pretty much like an extra after you clear the game, so just think about leveling up Mitsuki as one of the factors to continue playing the game.
In exchange, the strength of Mitsuki when she is high level is on a whole other realm. Even level 300 players would be trash compared to her stats.
You couldn’t bring her to the Demon Lord battle in the game, so I don’t know how much I can rely on her in this world, but that high growth of hers is really reliable.
(Looks like everyone can increase their levels more.) (Souma)
Having room to level up is a good thing.
Because of how the exp system works in this game, you can’t get too high compared to the enemies that appear.
You could even say there’s basically a hard cap to the level.
In this current situation where we can’t expect to go the route of completely weakening the Demon Lord, it will be important to strengthen our side.
I search for the best hunting grounds for their respective levels and characteristics while moving to the next item adjustment.
Looks like the mansion stops doing bad things to you once you make an ally of the Bear, so I put the Bear on my shoulder, and this time around, I do find the facilities for weapon and magic customization.
First of all, I repair the durability of my weapons and armor beginning with Shiranui which had its durability lowered from the incident underground.
I still have the whole remaining prize money I got from Poison-tan, so there’s no need to be stingy with the Element (E) here.
I repaired them all fully.
I also found the Magic Customization device, so I decided to do that too.
However, not mine, but Sazan’s.
I peeked at the customization screen of Sazan to test it out, and it seems like he has all of his spells customized at max in Power and lowest in Chant Time by default.
Of course he would be deadweight the whole time with settings like this.
I pushed away the complaining Sazan and forcefully had him tinker his spells.
He clung onto my leg and pleaded at the end, but he calmed down in one go after I gave him a peek of the Bear.
The great yellow demon.
Seeing Sazan heading to the device half in tears, I felt bad for him, but knowing how much damage Sazan will cause otherwise, I can’t be lenient here.
I have a countermeasure for the Demon Lord, so this works just fine.
I had the spells of Sazan tinkered all the way, no questions asked, and remade them into a practical build.
“Next, we have to do something about our armor.” (Souma)
In the time I was tinkering with the spells of Sazan, it seems that everyone has repaired the durability of their equipment without any issues.
However, even if they are in a perfect state now, I am still uneasy about the quality of the equipment.
It is not that the repair was incomplete. It is a simple issue of being weak.
Especially mine and Ringo’s. It is the mythril armor sold at the stores in the capital.
It is convenient that it has elemental resistance, but when calculating the level of it, they would be at most level 100 equipment.
It is really unreliable if we are going to be fighting the level 250 Demon Lord.
I was thinking that we might need to obtain equipment as we do the quests, but…
“Ah, in that case, do you want me to ask Father?” (Maki)
Those words of Maki easily overturned this.
“I didn’t expect it to be this easy…” (Souma)
Just a few minutes after Maki suggested this with a carefree tone, we were now in the treasury room of the castle.
Maki had arrived at the castle and told them: “These people said they need weapons to defeat the Demon Lord! Can I take a few items from the underground treasury room?”.
And he easily gave the OK.
You are way too soft on your daughter, King.
Well, the important people of the country can’t move because they got hit by the curse of the Demon Lord, and our abilities have been confirmed in the Attack on the Capital event.
Giving us as many items as we want if we are going to defeat the Demon Lord might have been a decision of his as the king.
By the way, while we were talking to the Rihito King, both their real daughter Ringo and the Queen were for some reason looking at each other without even blinking.
They really are mother and child.
Looking at that from the side was really bizarre, but Ringo seemed to be a bit satisfied once that was done, so it should be fine.
“How is it, Souma? Any good items?” (Maki)
Maki asked me as if she were proud, but…
“Even if you ask me whether there’s a good item…” (Souma)
There’s actually only good items here.
This treasury room is actually a place that’s opened up after defeating the Demon Lord as a reward.
The quality of the items can’t even be compared to the ones from your regular dungeons and stores.
I wanted to just grab them all and leave, but when we entered, they told us ‘just take what you need’, so I decided to keep my word.
“This, this, and this.” (Souma)
I have a pretty good idea of what items there are in the treasury room.
I quickly found the items we might need.
The highest priority is armor.
I got the powerful armor called [Splendor Armor] that has strong dark element resistance for me. For Ringo, I got the [Fairy Clothes] which is light but excels in magic defense. As for the 3rd one…
“Sazan, you wear this.” (Souma)
I grabbed the Rainbow Robe that not only increases defense in all fronts, but also increases max MP.
But Sazan made a weird pose as he answered me.
“Hmph! I am happy for your consideration, but for someone like me who has turned his back from the light and has decided to live in the darkness, such equipment doesn’t suit me. What fits me is something like this pitch black robe that’s as if it were the manifestation of darkness—” (Sazan)
“Shut up and just wear it! You will die from a stray shot with equipment like that!!” (Souma)
After pushing the Rainbow Robe to Sazan, I chose a number of things that might be useful.
Elemental weapons that I still didn’t have yet, the [Mirror Gauntlet] which can repel light element attacks, the [Dragon Talisman] that has powerful resistance to all debuffs, and stuff mainly revolving around defense.
From what I see, there’s no need for any changes in the equipment of Mitsuki and Maki.
I matched items for me, Ringo, and Sazan in a way so that it decreases any openings.
“Something like this, I guess…” (Souma)
As for the things that can be used, I took everything without hesitation.
I took so much, there were empty spaces in the treasury room here and there, but I shook off my guilt by thinking of this as advance payment for subjugating the Demon Lord.
“We are done here then.” (Souma)
I take a small pouch at the end.
“Ah, Souma, what’s that? That’s not equipment, right?” (Maki)
I opened the pouch and showed the inside of it to Maki who peeked at me full of curiosity.
“Yeah. Not to plant but to eat.” (Souma)
What was in that small pouch was exactly as Maki said: seeds.
These are basically doping items that permanently increase the stats of the person that eats it, just like the Power Seed.
It is the type of rare item that certain hardcore players would drool for.
However, there’s someone who got unexpectedly interested in it, but not because of its effects.
“…Seeds? Of fruits? Tasty?” (Ringo)
It is Ringo who is the most glutton in our party.
She was expressionless with only her sparkling eyes looking intently at my hand.
“Aah, no, they are probably not fruit seeds. I don’t think they are tasty either.” (Souma)
“…Too bad.” (Ringo)
Even though she said that, her eyes were not moving away from the pouch.
I avoid the inquisitive gaze of Ringo who generally eats little but is a glutton, and I also checked the contents of the pouch.
An assortment of all seed items.
These seed items that increase the stats when eaten are a 100% drop from bosses that can only be defeated once.
That’s why it is not like they are super rare to the point that you rarely see them, but aside from that, you can only find them in set treasure chests and tool stores as pick-up items at really low rates, so you could say it is an item that is impossible to get in large amounts.
Adding to the fact that it only increases your stat by 1 even when used, this seed won’t be breaking the balance in a normal playthrough.
Even while I was thinking all this, Ringo was looking at me as if saying ‘are you not eating it?’, but there’s too many people around to do that.
It is not like I like eating while people are watching me, so eating them right here is pointlessly difficult.
I place it inside the bag while thinking: It really has to be this.
Yesterday, we went to the Underwater City to prepare for the battle against the Demon Lord.
We improved our equipment, customized our spells, and a lot of other things.
We will most likely be doing as much as possible for the weakening of the Demon Lord, and increasing my level and that of my companions.
But that alone won’t be decisive against the Demon Lord.
Without enough time, the weakening of the Demon Lord will be incomplete, and if we are opening all doors of the Demon Lord Castle, we can’t take our sweet time leveling up at the Demon Lord Castle.
If we can’t earn experience in that castle that boasts the highest level enemies before clearing the game, we will end up stopping somewhere before level 200.
Facing the Demon Lord in that state would be way too reckless.
Moreover, my objective isn’t only to defeat the Demon Lord.
It is to achieve complete victory within 10 days.
In a game, that’s basically saying we have to defeat the Demon Lord with no mistakes, no resets, and with no deaths from my companions.
In order to achieve that, we most likely need strength on a different spectrum.
We won’t be able to reach that with normal means.
(For the sake of that…) (Souma)
My gaze gravitated to the Adventurer Bag where I placed the seeds.
Seed items permanently increase your stat by 1.
Since there’s no means to get a large amount of them, it won’t break the balance of the game.
That’s true…if you play the game normally.
But I already know of a bug that can break through that principle in Nekomimi Neko.
“…We have to go.” (Souma)
Those words leaked out from my mouth.
I heard the uneasy voice of Ringo.
She grabbed my hand tightly as if trying to stop me.
However, my consciousness was already elsewhere.
To a part of the field that’s further south from here called Deus Plains.
One of the strongest boss monsters in Nekomimi Neko.
The enemy that we fought before and barely won by a paper-thin difference with a tactic that was practically a gamble.
“King Butcher.” (Souma)
I had silently decided on fighting the white giant that is sealed in the rocky mountain.