WG – Chapter 174: Utmost Courage

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“Hah!”

By the time I noticed, I was inside the accessory shop.

While I lost myself in the cute solo of the cat ears-chan, I had been taken into the establishment at some point in time.

I hurriedly dug back the memories of a few seconds ago.

—The graceful cat ears-chan that managed to pull off a technique resembling a bow and wink.

—The cat ears-chan that tilted backwards as if being smug about its success.

—The cat ears-chan that shook as if proud.

—The cat ears-chan whose tips were twitching as if saying ‘geez, it is embarrassing to have you look at me that much~’.

—The cat ears-chan that are dutifully spinning around going ‘there’s nothing off, right?’, being careful about the surroundings.

—The cat ears-chan that looks down at me while I am relishing in the abnormally soft sensation I feel when Mitsuki is pulling my arm.

—When I concentrated all of my senses to my arm unconsciously, I felt that it was being sandwiched by something soft, and cat ears-chan is cute.

—Ah, damn it. Mitsuki noticed that she had been pushing her own boobs on me and moved away…also, cat ears-chan.

I have no memories of anything aside from cat ears-chan.

(Crap…) (Souma)

Even though we should have been having a pretty decently important talk here, I was spacing out, admiring the cat ears.

I was wondering what to do if they noticed that I was way too entranced by the cat ears and checked the state of Mitsuki at my side.

“…Is something the matter?” (Mitsuki)

But she was expressionless as always.

She may look like she is in a bad mood with her arms crossed on her chest, but judging from her drooped cat ears, it doesn’t seem like she is angry.

At the very least, she doesn’t look like she is suspecting me.

Well, we are talking about Mitsuki who didn’t even know that her own ears were moving.

She probably doesn’t even imagine at all that I was spellbound by her cat ears and spacing out.

“No, it is noth—hm? Ringo?” (Souma)

I was internally relieved by this, and I felt pressure from the opposite side of Mitsuki.

Ringo, who was still grabbing onto my upper arm, squeezed tightly.

It doesn’t really hurt, but there’s an oppressiveness to it.

She probably didn’t find it amusing that I am only paying attention to Mitsuki.

I chuckled and told Ringo softly.

“My bad, my bad. But it is not like I have forgotten about you. That’s why don’t be too violent, okay?” (Souma)

When Ringo heard this, she opened her eyes wide for a second, and then lowered her head as if hurt.

At the time when I began getting worried that I might have said too much there, Ringo glanced at Mitsuki and nodded.

“…I will…do my best.” (Ringo)

Is she referring to how she will be doing her best in not being violent?

Well, I don’t really think Ringo will do something that will harm me.

I decided to just brush it off.

“More importantly, let’s get some new rings for Ringo.” (Souma)

I haven’t forgotten that Ringo worked hard in the ring matter.

When I appealed this, Ringo’s eyes shone.

“…Hn!” (Ringo)

She wrung my upper arm even harder than before.

…I told ya not to be violent…

When getting gear in this game, you don’t only have to think about the defense, but also the status ailments and elemental resistance.

You could call it a resistance puzzle.

In Nekomimi Neko where the status ailment resistances are really tight, no matter how well you get your gear up, it is impossible to get all your status ailment resistances to 100%, so there’s not much point in trying to.

It might be possible now that you can equip 10 rings, but what we should be setting our eyes on is elemental resistances rather than status ailments.

The Nekomimi Neko world works predominantly on the mindset of kill before you are killed.

My battle power is tilted towards offensive to match this.

Even if I have pretty nice armor, if I were to get shot by several dozens of mages at the same time, evading would be difficult, and that damage can’t be scoffed at.

I would like to get equipment that mitigates elemental damage and/or absorbs it.

The store has a variety of equipment with elemental mitigation including the pick-up items, moreover, we have the equipment that Mitsuki got from the quests when preparing for the Demon Lord battle, so we managed to get quite a lot of elemental resistance equipment.

Characters and monsters have elemental multipliers in their stats. If it is at 100%, it is normal damage; 50% is half damage; 0% is nullified; if it goes into the negatives, it absorbs. On the other hand, if that’s at 200%, the damage is doubled.

This number is how the elemental resistance is shown, so the lower the number, the more resistance you have.

However, here comes the troublesome part of Nekomimi Neko. There’s also special traits for elemental resistance that are not numbers like: Fire Element Halved and Fire Element Null. Regardless of the elemental % of other equipment, it will get overwritten by a special trait.

It will get complicated if I talk about the priorities when elements clash and other stuff, so I will omit that, but basically, even when the elemental percents are bad, if you have equipment that has an elemental resistance special trait, you can erase it in one go.

We could buy fire resistance rings to drop the fire element percent to the negatives, and then erase the weak point that is ice element by equipping gear that has the special trait of ice element nullifier.

The Mage Guild will mainly be using fire, water, and wind.

We can seal 2 of them with this, and I have made it so I recover when I get hit with fire, so I should be able to fight at an advantage until it is discovered.

There are cases when damage goes in when you absorb the element, so there are times when absorb is inferior to nullify, but there shouldn’t be much to worry about since it will be my equipment.

As for the remaining gear, I will get it until it mitigates half of the wind damage.

I finished my preparations.

I prepared Ringo’s equipment in the same way.

It seems like Ringo still finds it painful to equip rings in all of her fingers, but I bought enough for 10 taking into account her future growth.

Ringo’s demand for more attack power and my request to make it more focused on defense clashed, but I think we found a nice middleground.

And then, while we were on our way to bring it to the cashier…

“Chronos Watch…” (Souma)

I found the pocket watch that I have grown used to seeing inside the game.

A Chronos Watch is: a watch that moves at the same pace eternally even without winding it or putting mana into it. That eternal trait of it makes it a necklace that has the effect of mitigating stun and slow status ailments.

Its reduction is on the low side of 20% and it is honestly questionable as an accessory.

However, aside from the fact that it has a long chain to hang around your neck, it is the same outward appearance as a pocket watch, and it looks like it can be used as a clock too.

“…Alright!” (Souma)

I muttered this under my breath and quickly grabbed 3 of them and brought them to the cashier.

I have also gotten my elemental resistance accessories so my preparations are complete!

Is what I want to say, but once we exited the store…

“Since there’s the chance, how about we check out the other stores?” (Mitsuki)

Mitsuki suggested this, so we decided to go to the weapon, armor, and item shop, too.

The gear that I should have been used to seeing already was for some reason fun to go around and check. We went around the stores with around 50% more excitement than usual.

Especially Mitsuki who doesn’t say much aside from what’s necessary. Today, she was awfully talkative.

However, no matter how merry we are, it is not like the catalog of items is going to change.

There were unfortunately no noteworthy discoveries in the weapon and armor shop, but we did have a little bit of a harvest in the item shop.

I remember buying the whole inventory of the item shop, but they had a number of items they didn’t have before.

“This is a Magical Pocket Gem, huh.” (Souma)

One of those is the gem that has magic sealed in it which was of use in the battle against Mitsuki.

It is a consumable, and its attack power doesn’t reflect the stats of the one utilizing it, so their use is questionable, but there are situations where they can be of use.

You can still use magic items in a situation where your magic is sealed, so they are priceless treasures in a sense.

Also, it is the normal method to say the name of the spell out loud, but you can activate gems by just having them receive a strong impact.

Depending on how you use it, you could even activate 2 spells at the same time by chanting a spell while throwing a gem.

“Let’s buy this.” (Souma)

I do feel it is somewhat of a wasteful purchase, but we still have a surplus of cash.

Thinking that it might be useful in the Revolt Event, I began buying all the gems, mainly the ones I didn’t have before.

And then, when we went out, it had at some point in time gotten dark.

“…The day is about to pass.” (Mitsuki)

I was dumbfounded by the words of Mitsuki.

The Mage Guild closes at night.

In a situation where there’s no knowing when Iaski will go out of control, leaving aside the accessory shop, there should have been no need to check out the other stores.

Of course, it is not like we can’t make it in time now, but why did I waste time like this?

I noticed after asking myself this.

(Could it be that I didn’t want to go to the Mage Guild?) (Souma)

If I go there and solve the problem, one more reason for me to stay in this world will disappear.

It means that my time to leave this world…my time to separate from Ringo and Mitsuki…will get closer.

That’s probably the same for the two…

“I am sorry.” (Mitsuki)

The moment I faced the two, Mitsuki lowered her head.

“Mitsuki…?” (Souma)

“That wasn’t my intention. At the very least, it…shouldn’t have been deliberate. However, I was the one who suggested we check the other stores.

I…I acted as if I had already accepted it, and made you…” (Mitsuki)

Now that I think about it, that’s true.

Mitsuki suggesting to go shopping in this tense situation is not normal.

Maybe Mitsuki also wants to keep me in place at the very depths of her heart, not wanting me to go the Mage Guild.

“It is okay, Mitsuki.” (Souma)

“But…!” (Mitsuki)

However, that’s probably the same for me and Ringo.

We 3 were reluctant to let this time pass.

There’s no one here who has the right to blame her for this.

“There’s something I want to show the two of you.” (Souma)

That’s why I cut off that topic forcefully.

What I took out instead was the Chronos Watch.

The 3 watches that I bought stealthily at the accessory shop.

When I stuck those 3 together and lined them up on the ground, I took out the Wakizashi from my bag.

“What are you…” (Mitsuki)

I ignore the question of Mitsuki for now and swing the Wakizashi.

I try to be careful not to break it from too strong, and scratch the 3 watches as if extending the scratch to all 3 of them.

That went better than I expected.

I was satisfied by that result and I stored the middle scratched watch in my bag and gave the remaining 2 to Ringo and Mitsuki.

“…Souma?” (Ringo)

Ringo voiced her lack of understanding here.

I thought ‘this isn’t like me’ while speaking.

“This watch will move the same no matter the place, no matter the situation.” (Souma)

“…?”

I pushed the watch onto Ringo who seemed to not understand it yet.

After letting out an ‘uuuh’, I steel myself and continue speaking.

“As I said, no matter the place we are in…even if it were in a different world…these watches alone will be moving at the same pace.” (Souma)

Ringo opened her eyes wide and I could tell that Mitsuki’s cat ears stood upright.

I got a bit embarrassed by their exaggerated reaction and quickly follow up.

“Also, I have scratched these watches. Even if you get a similar watch to this, these 3 watches are the only ones that are linked by a single scratch.

That’s why, uhm…I want you two to have them.” (Souma)

Seeing the faces of Ringo and Mitsuki, it is not like they are simply expressionless here, but frozen completely.

I feel like I messed up here.

I really shouldn’t have done something I am not used to on a whim.

“Ah, no, it doesn’t mean that it will change anything or I am saying we should part ways immediately, it is just that—” (Souma)

I hurriedly tried to explain myself, but…

“…Thanks.” (Ringo)

But Ringo took my hand faster than I finished.

With various emotions that weren’t put into words, she gently took the watch from my hand as if enveloping my hand.

And then, Mitsuki as well…

“Thank you very much. This will be my treasure… No, my priceless possession for the rest of my life.” (Mitsuki)

She said something heavy as if nothing as she took the watch.

Mitsuki then put the chain around her neck without hesitation, and pushed the watch inside her chest.

Even though it is not that type of atmosphere, I ended up being unnecessarily flustered at how the watch fell right down her cleavage.

“S-Souma!” (Ringo)

Ringo then raised a flustered voice and grabbed my hand together with the watch, and pulled my hand towards her.

*Gyuu*

She pushed it right onto her chest.

…No, what are you trying to do here?

 

On our way to the Mage Guild, Ringo in the end decided to equip the Chronos Watch around her neck.

Ringo actually had a different necklace on, but she said she wanted to equip the Chronos Watch and didn’t listen.

When I yielded at the end…

“…I will…put it on.” (Ringo)

She said this as if nervous, and slowly put the Chronos Watch around her neck as if showing it to me.

Ringo didn’t say anything, but it seemed like she wanted me to comment about it.

“Uhm…” (Souma)

I look at Ringo again with the watch on.

I thought the petite Ringo wouldn’t match with the somewhat big watch, but that mismatch draws your eye instead and looks cute.

“Yup, it looks good.” (Souma)

I wrung out my courage to comment this as a former loner, but unfortunately, it seems like Ringo didn’t like it.

Ringo placed a fist right in front of her chest and said.

“…I will…do my best!” (Ringo)

She once again voiced out some mysterious resolve in a low voice.

Even though that sight of hers is endearing, I wonder why I can’t smile at it?

While my face warped with many bitter emotions I couldn’t digest, a big shadow suddenly covered me.

I snapped back and lifted my head.

“This is…” (Souma)

What is towering in front of me is the tallest construction in this city.

The mage’s den that stands tall in this very dim time.

“…Sorcery Tower.” (Souma)

After a long detour, we finally arrived at the destination.

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