I have confidence in my memory when it comes to Nekomimi Neko, but I didn’t exactly memorize the answers of all 50 questions.
If I remember correctly, it was in my 3rd or 4th playthrough of the game when I cleared this quest with the easy 2nd clear method.
It was at the time when I wasn’t that apprehensive towards checking the Wiki.
I remember the questions with the wrong answers clearly because I would compare the question and the answer and laugh out loud, but my memories of the other questions are honestly hazy.
That said, a normal quiz can be solved easily by Leila, Seirie-san, and Maki.
I could leave this to those 3 aside from the wrong answer problems.
I told the 3 to solve those problems, and they all agreed pleasantly.
Maki agreed casually.
“We’ve come this far, so it would be troubling if you were to tell us to give up instead.” (Seirie)
Seirie-san fixed her glasses and said dependable words.
And the last one…
“Yeah, leave it to me. I have this book that you gave me, so it is okay.” (Leila)
She said this while caressing the opened diary preciously.
I simply gave it to Leila so the 3 could use it. Giving it to Leila as a gift was nowhere in my mind, but it seems like that’s how she warped the facts inside her head.
Now that I think back on it, the 3 of them seemed like they were reading that diary all friendly, but I feel like the one who always had it was Leila.
(…Oh well.) (Souma)
I doubt she will lose it with how much she seems to be treasuring it, and different from Sazan, Leila would most likely give it back to me immediately if I asked her to.
Anyways, it will only be a matter of time before we clear this quest.
I was thinking about helping out as well in order to reach that conclusion sooner, but…
“You will distract everyone if you are watching, so go wait over there.” (Maki)
Being told this by Maki, I wrote down the answers to the wrong answer questions and gave them to the 3, and then decided to go back to the reading room where the others are.
The reading room was a disaster like usual.
We were hit by that languid atmosphere, and we also ended up lazing about as well.
“Fuwaaa. Even I am spacing out and feeling sleepy.” (Ina)
Ina let out a big yawn and placed her cheek on the table.
Good grief, what an easy to influence girl.
I was wondering how my other comrades were and checked. Mitsuki had her back straight as usual, sitting there with good posture.
As for Ringo, who I was worried was not feeling well, she is now munching on something all energetically…wait.
“Ringo, what in the world are you eating?” (Souma)
“…Omanjuu**. Got it from Oba-chan.” (Ringo)
No, that’s not what I was asking.
By Oba-chan, she must mean…the old lady that she helped out on the way to the shrine?
Ringo had already sent the old lady back to her house and came back by the time we returned to the library.
Fortunately, the symptoms of the old lady weren’t serious, and she got better by throwing a potion to her, but it seems like she was moved by this and gave her the omanjuus at her house as a gift.
Grannies always give you snacks no matter the world.
No, in the first place, isn’t it prohibited to eat here?
“…Want to eat too, Souma?” (Ringo)
Even so, I got swept away by the flow and was about to accept the omanjuu, but I noticed something.
“Hm? Did you always have a ring on your right hand?” (Souma)
I don’t have a hobby of checking the rings of others, but Ringo has the habit of checking her own rings every now and then, so I can somewhat remember.
If I remember correctly, she had 2 rings, both on the left hand.
“…I-I don’t have any.” (Ringo)
But Ringo pulled back her right hand as if I asked something bad there.
I don’t really get it, but it is a suspicious reaction.
I tilted my head in wonder and Mitsuki did the rare action of speaking as if amused by this.
“How about you give a ring to Ringo-san as a gift? If you give her 7…no, 8 that would fit her, I am sure she would be happy.” (Mitsuki)
Ringo raised her voice again.
Looks like there’s some sort of weird understanding between them I don’t know about.
Could it be that there’s some sort of thing that only women get? -I look to the side at Ina and…
Ina simply looked up, sleepy.
…Yeah, even if there’s something like that, only Ina would not get it.
Seeing how clearly nervous Ringo is here, I wouldn’t feel too good about pursuing the topic too persistently.
I avert my gaze from the two and observe the surroundings.
The ones in the library are as languid as ever.
There’s only 2 who are properly doing anything.
When I looked at the female priest, it was right at the time when she was using thick books to drop them down like dominos.
She watched as the last book fell down and pumped her fist, but once she noticed my gaze, she suddenly made a serious look and nodded as if going ‘I see’.
No, what in the world would you even learn from how the books fall?
I thought ‘good grief’ and looked at the one other survivor. The mage-looking man was gulping a potion down as if it were an energy drink, most likely to do one last push.
When our eyes met, he made a manly grin.
…Seriously, where did the ‘prohibited to eat’ rule go?
I am worried about how all-powerful potions are in this world and how degraded the morals are in the library, but there was one more thing that bothered me.
It is about Seirie-san who must be doing her best in the quest even now.
In Nekomimi Neko, when the MP of characters hit zero, they die just like when the HP hits zero…well, it won’t go that far, but you end up incapacitated.
It rarely happens, but in the cases when you use all your MP with magic, or your MP hits zero because of MP damage, it is impossible to operate your character until you recover naturally or use healing items to go over 1 MP.
For example; you could suppress a certain monster in a flying city by using this mechanic…but that’s not related here, so I will put that aside. Anyways, there’s the risk of MP deficiency.
I don’t know how it works in this world, but this is a world where muscle pain can be cured with HP potions.
Then, it wouldn’t be strange for lack of sleep to be treated as MP damage.
“I hope Seirie-san doesn’t collapse again.” (Souma)
I muttered this out loud and…
“Thank you very much, but there’s no need to worry.”
I heard a voice from behind and jumped.
On top of that…
“Geez, getting ahead is unfair, Seirie-san!” (Maki)
“Even though you told us yourself not to run in the library…” (Leila)
Maki and Leila came from behind her, breathing heavily.
“I am the most confident in this world when it comes to how to walk fast in this library.” (Seirie)
She said this while making her glasses flash, but I don’t know if that’s cool.
However, the fact that these 3 have come must mean…
“Could it be…” (Souma)
When I was about to speak, the 3 all said their piece.
“Yup, we solved all 50 riddles of the One who knows Wisdom!” (Maki)
“The last answer alone, we wrote down the answer but haven’t entered it yet, so it will be cleared after pushing the button!” (Leila)
“We wanted Souma-sama and the others to be present there, so we have come to call you.” (Seirie)
The mouths of the 3 were lighter than usual, most likely from the sense of achievement.
Leila was especially happy within those 3.
“S-Souma! I did well, right?” (Leila)
Leila asked slightly uneasy, and I nodded heavily.
“Yeah. Leila, Maki, Seirie-san, you did well.” (Souma)
When I said this, Leila wriggled her body while holding the diary.
“I-It wasn’t much. It really was thanks to this diary you gave me, Souma…” (Leila)
“We didn’t use that book even once this time around though~.” (Maki)
Maki said coldly, but Leila wasn’t listening.
I looked at the side, wondering if Seirie-san could stop this.
“I…didn’t do anything to be praised for… I did it to make amends to begin with. Compared to the achievements of the Sinking Prince-sama, this is just a grain. I’m by no means saying I am not happy…” (Seirie)
Seirie-san was fixing her glasses 3 times per second as she mumbled all that.
That’s a bit scary.
“A-Anyways, calm down, you two. Come on, it will trouble the people around…” (Souma)
When I said this, Maki looked around and made a weird face.
“Trouble the people around, you say. But there’s not a single one who is studying seriously though?” (Maki)
“T-That’s true, but…see? That mage person over there…” (Souma)
Saying this, I looked at the last bastion of this library, the mage-looking man, but…
“Hm? Not there…?” (Souma)
There wasn’t anyone at the table where the mage man was.
“There’s no one!” (Maki)
“No, just a moment ago…” (Souma)
The moment I was about to say that…
The ground began to shake.
“No, this is…!” (Souma)
I remember this trembling.
It is a pretty grandiose cutscene, so I remember it.
“This is the trembling of when the entrance to the basement opens!” (Souma)
Everyone opened their eyes wide in shock when I shouted that.
Within those, Ringo, the only one who wasn’t flustered by this, pulled my sleeve.
“Just now…that person went in…” (Ringo)
She directed her gaze at where the mage was and soon looked at the direction where the entrance of the basement is.
That was all I needed.
“So that’s what it was!” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki and I shouted at the same time, looked at each other, and began running at the same time.
(I lowered my guard!) (Souma)
This place having magic books is a piece of information you get from the Mage Guild.
It wouldn’t be strange for them to know that much.
I shouldn’t have relaxed just from confirming the Nekuranomikon was fine.
That mage is most likely someone from the Mage Guild.
He must have thought he wouldn’t be able to get the Nekuranomikon the normal way, or he must have simply been searching for the Nekuranomikon here. Anyways, his aim was the Nekuranomikon.
He listened in on our talk and must have taken action.
(Damn it! If I had suspected him from the beginning, I could have caught him!) (Souma)
There was that regret welling up from me, but nothing will be accomplished here from complaining.
I might still be able to make it in time.
I was running at full speed by the side of Mitsuki.
The ground has already stopped shaking.
By the time we arrived, the area below the sphinx -the entrance to the basement- was wide open.
“So it really was this!” (Souma)
The mage is nowhere to be seen.
Looks like he has already gone down.
But there’s no need to rush.
The inside of the basement is a dead end.
There’s nowhere to run to.
“We are going in!” (Souma)
We went inside together with our comrades that had caught up.
What entered our vision when we went inside the basement was the pedestal where the Nekuranomikon was enshrined.
There’s nothing placed there as if it were natural.
And the one standing by the side is…that mage man.
“Don’t move!” (Souma)
I shouted and Mitsuki was about to move, but he was faster.
He clicked his tongue and took out a small light stone from the pouch at his waist.
“Teleport Stone?! Mitsuki!” (Souma)
Mitsuki moved faster than I told her.
She slipped into the darkness, moving forward with a speed that can’t be detected; a textbook assault.
But just a moment before she reached close to the pedestal…
“…So he got away.” (Souma)
The man was already gone.
A heavy air took over the basement that was only illuminated by torches.
“Even though it shouldn’t be possible to use teleportation items inside the library…” (Seirie)
Seirie-san said this vexed, but I denied that.
“No, unfortunately, this is not inside the library anymore. You can use teleport items here.” (Souma)
“No way…” (Seirie)
Seirie-san showed a mortified expression and bit her lips.
But I didn’t have the leeway to comfort her here.
I missed the perfect chance to catch them because of my own mistake.
It was eating away at me.
But I wasn’t the only one feeling responsible.
“…It is my fault.”
It was Leila who muttered this.
She approached the empty pedestal with unsteady steps and fell on her knees there.
“I-It is because I wanted to be praised that…I said we should go call Souma…” (Leila)
Tears fell down from her eyes and wet the cold floor of the basement.
And it wasn’t only Leila.
“T-That’s the same for me! I also proposed to go call Souma, so I am also…” (Maki)
Maki said this and walked forward.
“Then, I am also as guilty. No, I am even worse.
I began this to make amends, and yet, I got all merry just because we solved the problems, not even considering leaving someone to watch.
If we are speaking of our sins, I would be number one.” (Seirie)
Even Seirie-san groaned and confessed her own sins.
The wailing of the girls echoed in this small basement.
I didn’t expect everyone to be this mortified by it.
I hurriedly tried to comfort them.
“P-Please wait! Everyone, there’s no nee—” (Souma)
“We are very sorry!!”
There was someone who came out, overwhelming my words.
Mitsuki, who shouldn’t have made any mistake here, lowered her head deeply, very deeply.
The cat ears on top of her head were also obviously drooped deeply.
I could tell with that alone that she was seriously apologizing here.
“…I am sorry.” (Ringo)
Ringo stood by the side of Mitsuki and lowered her head deeply.
I couldn’t understand just what in the world was going on here.
Mitsuki speaks with her head still lowered.
“We are also at fault here this time around. I swear I didn’t imagine things would get this serious. But whichever the case…it is the truth that we betrayed you.” (Mitsuki)
The sudden confession made everyone aside from Mitsuki and Ringo look surprised.
I asked Mitsuki while confused.
“What do you mean by betrayed? Could it be that you two knew that it was someone from the Mage Guild…?” (Souma)
Mitsuki finally raised her head there.
And then, rather than sad, she glanced at me with pity, and faced Leila and the others.
“It would be better to see than have me ramble here. Leila-san, can you please turn around what you are holding so preciously?” (Mitsuki)
Leila did as told with a questioning look.
She turned around what she held preciously on her chest even when she collapsed on the ground.
Maki and Seirie-san also took a peek from the side.
“…Aah, so it was this.” (Maki)
Leila and Seirie-san let out dumbfounded voices, and Maki let out a defeated tone.
“W-What’s the meaning of this?! What about the diary that Leila-san has?!” (Ina)
Ina, who was left behind in terms of standing and position, began shaking my arm.
“Aah, yeah…that diary, you see…” (Souma)
That’s a diary.
A diary that one of the game developers made when playing around.
Let me be more detailed here.
That’s a self-deprecating diary that is filled with the complaints of a bachelor with a dark personality.
The title of it is…Dark-Nature <Nekura> of <No> the Unmarried <Mikon> or…Nekuranomikon.