TLN: Sorry about the delay!
Had something to do that dropped me exhausted and had a nap. Woke up to notice I was far from schedule. >-<!
(Hmm, I should have been more careful about my choice in words…) (Souma)
This is obvious, but the plan was for only the members that defeated the Demon Lord to go to the conferral of honors, so it was the natural course that Ina would have to wait for us somewhere.
However, when I think back on Ina, who had a face as if her soul escaped from her, sitting on that bench staring at space, I obviously felt bad.
It seems Ina believes completely that this ring is something that changes love into power, but in this Nekomimi Neko, there’s not a convenient equipment that increases your stats drastically by having a lot of love…in other words, affection meter.
No, there might be, but if that were the case, it would have fallen into the eyes of other Nekomimi Neko players, so I doubt that’s the case here.
Rather, in Nekomimi Neko, the stronger an equipment looks, the higher the chances that it has a hidden downside.
I did try to put that into perspective, but I might have been a bit too harsh in my words there. Ina seems to be awfully down here.
The time for the conferral of honors eventually came and we ended up moving without me having the chance to follow up, but I might have done something a bit bad to Ina.
By the way, regarding the real effect of the ring, judging from the fact that my strength didn’t change at all, I have somewhat of an idea about what this is.
The first one would be that it is actually as Ina says and this equipment really does change ‘love into power’ with the affection meter as base.
In the first place, there may be an affection meter for the NPCs, but there’s no system for the player’s affection meter towards the NPCs.
That’s why the system judged that my affection towards Ina is 0, and I wasn’t strengthened.
If that’s the case, the Ring of Mutual Love would use both the ring slot for the player and Ina’s, and it would be an item that only increases the stats of Ina.
Leaving aside this situation where I can equip 10 rings, in the game where you can only equip 2 rings, this couldn’t be said to be that useful.
However, even if it is Nekomimi Neko’s staff, would they really take into account a parameter that doesn’t exist?
Even so, the scary part of Nekomimi Neko is that you can’t rule that out. But, normally, if they are going to take into account the affection meter of Ina, it should have the same effect on me.
Taking that into account when strengthening might mean that this might have been a ring to assist low level characters.
In other words, the reason why Ina had a drastic power-up was because her parameters were low. If Ina were to become as strong as me, it is possible that the ability of the ring wouldn’t have happened.
If we go by that line of logic, Ina’s exclusive equipment makes it easier to raise her, but in the end, she would still be the same strength as others. I feel like that would make sense considering the evaluation she gets in the Wiki.
I feel like things will be made clear in those areas once I investigate in more detail, but…
(Well, there’s no point in thinking about it here.) (Souma)
This being something that can be made clear when investigated also means that this is something that can’t be made clear without Ina, so in order to do a follow-up on Ina, the most I can do is to finish this conferral of honors as soon as possible, and hurry back.
The medal we will be getting today is the Sealing Neko Swordmaster Medal. It is apparently the highest ranked medal you can get in this country.
The Hero Alex sealed the Evil God and became the founding king of this country.
Only the ones who have obtained an achievement that match him can obtain this medal, and Alex is also the Saint of the only religion in this country, the Redis Church, so it is tradition to do that conferral of honors in the Great Church that is the main base of the Redis Church.
That medal with the awfully long name is actually one of the crests necessary to undo the Seal Dungeon.
On top of that, considering the last ‘reward’ at the end of the conferral of honors, I can’t just not do the ceremony.
Fortunately, there doesn’t seem to be as many people compared to the morning, so we managed to get to the Great Church comparatively faster, but the area around here is a bit dangerous, so I would like to avoid staying here for too long.
Thinking I should enter at once, just when I was only a few steps left to get to the Great Church…
“W-Wait! That’s too soon!”
There’s one person who shouted such nonsense and didn’t follow.
“My dark karma is exclaiming that we shouldn’t advance any further!”
“What are you saying?” (Souma)
…It is Sazan.
Sazan had completely stopped his feet and was hesitating to enter the Great Church.
Even when the Bear he is so afraid of was hurrying him, he wasn’t moving forward at all.
“What am I saying, you ask?” (Sazan)
He was instead baffled by my words, waving his cloak and crouching in place.
“…My stomach hurts. I am going back to the mansion.” (Sazan)
Dude, that mansion isn’t your home, you know.
Seeing an adult man whining is unsightly.
But, in the end, Sazan didn’t try to move a step from there, and I had no choice but to hear what he says.
I personally was thinking about giving him a good punch and forcefully dragging him in, but…
“I am a high dark corruption mage that had purposely fallen into the blood road in order to smite the greatest evil! Thus, I can’t allow the artifact of the holy foreign that releases the lowly crescent aura to violate this vessel!!” (Sazan)
First of all, I don’t understand what he is saying at all.
I at least understand that he doesn’t want to go to the Great Church, but the reason eludes me.
“Can you please talk in an understandable language?” (Souma)
When I said this irritated, Sazan puckered his lips and rephrased it.
“…The atmosphere there reminds me of my home, so I don’t want to go.” (Sazan)
“That was so damn easy to understand, oi!” (Souma)
I retort with this while looking back at the giant construction behind.
The Great Church of this city is basically a giant version of a church.
Maybe because it is behind the castle, you end up thinking ‘shouldn’t it be okay to call this a castle too?’. That’s how big of a church it is.
As someone with no experience of this, I can’t really say for sure, but it is quite the splendorous design.
If Sazan says his home resembles this atmosphere, his house must have been so splendid to the point of mistaking it for a castle, or it was a church.
Thinking about it with my gamer brain, if it is the former, there’s a high chance that Sazan is the child of a noble; if it is the latter, the chances of him being an orphan abandoned at a church are higher.
“I see. You must have it rough as well.” (Souma)
“Hm…? Y-Yeah. T-Thanks.” (Sazan)
Even if it is game lore, there’s no way Sazan would be someone born from a high class family.
It would be safer to assume Sazan was an orphan.
No doubt about it.
“Can’t be helped…” (Souma)
I normally would have no obligation to tag along with the selfishness of Sazan, but this is a special case.
I actually noticed that I have the perfect item for him.
“Here. I will let you borrow this, so cheer up.” (Souma)
I bring out a certain weapon from my bag, and give it to the crouched Sazan.
“…What’s this dirty glove?” (Sazan)
I was a bit pissed by that way too blunt of a way he was putting it, but I tried to endure it and pushed ‘that’ onto him once more.
“Just try putting it on.” (Souma)
I suggested in a pushy manner, and he took the glove while complaining ‘why do I have to?’.
“I-I will be putting it on now, so don’t look!” (Sazan)
Saying this, he for some reason turned his back to me and began doing something.
“Okay okay.” (Souma)
I don’t know why he turned around, but I answered him with a face as if it meant nothing to me.
There’s no need to hurry.
That’s because I am sure that Sazan will like the glove I gave him.
That’s not a normal glove after all.
That’s a special weapon that I bought soon after arriving at the capital.
The rare item, Fingerless Gloves, that any chuunibyou would have their mouths water!
“Wa?! I-Impossible! T-This…!” (Sazan)
I hear a voice of surprise from Sazan who finished wearing it.
Sazan turned around and crossed his hands naturally as if moved by some sort of impulse deep within his body.
“It is as if this was tailor-made for me! This omnipotent feeling the moment I put it on! And most of all, the violent levels of coolness born from the bold and avant-garde design of not protecting your finger despite being a glove! This is…this in itself is a piece of equipment that is fitting for someone as great as me to possess!!” (Sazan)
Well, the size is adjusted with magic, so it of course would feel as if it was tailor-made, and since the Fingerless Gloves don’t have any attack power, he is actually weaker now. In the first place, that’s not yours, but I will at least agree in the part that it looks cool.
While I was internally nodding, Sazan suddenly passed me and entered the Great Church.
“Fuuh! What are you spacing out for, you fools! No matter how fearsome of an enemy, they would be no match for my Dark Killing Palm. Now, let’s trek into the castle of the wicked!” (Sazan)
“What’s with that naming? …Wait no, that’s mine, you know?! Properly wash it and give it back to me later, okay?!” (Souma)
In this way, we chased after Sazan who had recovered, and stepped into the Great Church.
…Knew it. I really should have punched him once.
When we entered the Great Church, the first thing that spread before our eyes was a round floor.
There’s a hole at the center that looks like a funnel, and the light coming from the stained glass was going straight towards it.
What a mysterious light.
Even though it is by no means dark, I could clearly see the particles dancing in the gentle light that is going into the hole.
It is a scenery that I can honestly say is an ephemeral sight.
Even as someone from the modern era that knows that this is simply a scene created for a game, moreover, me being someone that barely believes in God, it still managed to make me feel something.
“A miracle, huh…” (Souma)
Sazan picked up what I unconsciously leaked out and snorted as if finding that unpleasant.
“Hmph, that’s no miracle. It is just magic.” (Sazan)
Sazan pointed at the ceiling with both hands still wearing the Fingerless Gloves.
I also look up.
The ceiling had stained glass too, and there’s a detailed pattern like that of a gammadion.
Moreover, I feel like I have seen it a number of times in the game…
“That pattern gathers the mana around and sends it to the center. On top of that, what’s being used to draw this is mithril, which is a metal suitable for magic.
Even if so, it is an abnormal amount of mana, but it is without doubt artificial.” (Sazan)
‘This is why religions are…’ -is what Sazan said as if spitting it out.
“You seem to not like that quite a lot.” (Souma)
“…Not really. If it were the people at my place, they might get angry, saying that they are using a holy technique as a show, but this has nothing to do with me.” (Sazan)
Even when Sazan said that, he was glaring at the ceiling.
…What’s with this development?
This is as if I have entered the character event of Sazan, and it also makes me think that Sazan is actually the son of a prominent family that is knowledgeable of magic.
I was flustered by the unexpected development, and Sazan suddenly said…
“…Two points.” (Sazan)
Sazan continued speaking without caring about me making a questioning look while still glaring at the stained glass as if it were the killer of his parents or something.
“If it were me, I could shift the center of the magic circle by just changing two points of it. In a way that this light won’t enter that hole.
…Fufu, it might be nice to actually do it.” (Sazan)
Sazan was suppressing a laugh below that masked face, and the atmosphere around him was different from usual.
I can’t keep on watching this.
I grabbed the shoulder of Sazan and stopped him.
“—Just stop it already, Sazan.” (Souma)
Sazan looked at me as if finding this unexpected.
I looked straight at the eyes of Sazan as if looking through the mask and said this clearly.
“I don’t mind anyone else saying that. But you of all people shouldn’t be saying that ever. Because it would sound as if…as if you are an intelligent character.” (Souma)
“D-Don’t say that as if I am an idiot!!” (Sazan)
While we were messing around with each other, the time for the conferral of honors approached, and we hurried to the deeper floor.
The ceremony for the conferral of honors is deep at the first round shaped floor, and it will be taking place at a really big square floor like the ones used for wedding ceremonies.
I did remember this being a pointless vast floor, but I haven’t come to the Great Church that often, so I don’t know what other events are performed here.
“Then, I will be opening it.” (Souma)
I placed a hand on the door leading to the next room, and I asked for the last confirmation from my comrades.
Once we take a step inside here, the ceremony will begin at once.
Once we open this door, there’s no turning back.
That said, even if I say it is a conferral of honors, it is in the end still just one event in the game.
The player would just get bored if it were too orthodox of a ceremony, and there’s no way the Nekomimi Neko staff would create such a detailed event.
Even when we are going to be appearing in front of the king, Mitsuki and I still have our swords, and Sazan still has his weird mask on, so you can tell how half-baked it is in those areas.
At the very least, it was a simple event that ended in 2 minutes in the game.
There’s no need to be more nervous than necessary.
After confirming that everyone nodded, I opened up the door without much energy.
The moment I opened the door, cheers so strong it had pressure in them attacked me, and I was on the verge of staggering to the back.
“W-What’s this…?” (Souma)
There are a whole lot of people in the room to the point that it made me wonder if there were these many people in the city.
I was standing there, spaced out, and Mitsuki approached me and whispered into my ear.
“Didn’t you think that there were strangely few people around compared to this morning when we were coming here? Everyone gathered like this to see the hero that defeated the Demon Lord.” (Mitsuki)
No way, is what I thought, but they were all praising our achievement of defeating the Demon Lord.
Maybe because of the method, there were some people who were making wry smiles, but even with that, their cheers must be coming from the heart.
(This is kinda impressive…) (Souma)
Even in all 20 years of life in my original world, I have never had this much appreciation directed at me by others.
I could feel my body trembling from the emotion.
“Now, puff out your chest proudly. Let everyone burn the sight of a hero in their eyes.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki gently pushed my back.
Both sides of the floor were filled up with people, but only the path at the middle with the red carpet was open, and there were no obstructions there at all.
I resolve myself and walk through the red carpet leading to the stage at the front of my comrades.
Maki jumped out from the side in the middle of it and joined our line.
Maybe because she has been in the castle until now, Maki was wearing a princess-like dress.
“You are late, Maki.” (Souma)
“You are the one who is late, Souma! I thought you would save me from inside the castle this time around!!” (Maki)
‘Even though I finally became a princess, what’s the point now…’ -is what Maki complained about.
With her added to the group, our party is now complete, and we stopped a few meters before the king.
After waiting for the noise of the audience to calm down, the King spoke.
“Nice to see you have come, heroes that slayed the Demon Lord: Mitsuki, Sazan, Ringo, Bear, Maki, and…”
There, the eyes of the king stopped on Maki briefly for some reason, and then to me.
I had a bad feeling about that action of his. The King warped his lips into a teasing smile and said this loudly.
“The ultimate hero, the Sinking Prince Souma!!”
Once he said this, cheers bursted from both sides, and…
(This name won’t be haunting me for the rest of my life, right…?) (Souma)
I was internally concerned about this.