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Due to my promise with the NEET…I mean, Sazan, I have in the end decided to defeat the Evil God in its perfect form too.
However, there’s a lot of things I am lacking for the sake of that.
This is obvious, but I have gotten far stronger than when I came to this world.
I leveled up, but I also used the Fury of Seed exploit to strengthen myself with seeds.
My speed and strength are already on a cheat level that would be unthinkable from a normal playthrough.
In that case, is the current me already stronger than in my game days…? I can’t really say that for sure.
If I were asked whether I can defeat the Evil God Fragment in the hidden dungeon which is the strongest enemy of the game, I would say it is difficult.
One of those reasons is the skills.
Because of the drastic increase in speed, the Skill Cancel’s timing has gotten even tighter, and I still can’t use all the skill combos I specialized in on my gaming days. That has been confirmed in the training before the battle against the Demon Lord.
It is not like I have been negligent in my training since then, but because of relaxing after defeating the Demon Lord, the current state of things is that I haven’t really made much progress.
I do think my success rate with the difficult combos has increased bit by bit, but I can only fall silent when asked about the difference of when it is an actual battle.
But the biggest reason really has to be the lack of gear.
Thanks to the gear limitation of accessories being gone, I have a big advantage in terms of elements, but it is still hard to fill up the difference in personal strength.
For example, my main weapon is the Shiranui that’s synthesized with the Meat Cleaver.
This is one of the so-called broken weapons that have outstanding attack power even in the late parts of the story, but we are in the world of Nekomimi Neko where the balance itself is a complete mess.
If it were until defeating the Demon Lord it would be one thing, but there would be a lot to desire if it is your final piece of gear.
There’s some gear with outrageous abilities in Nekomimi Neko, and just like the Mirror Gauntlet, there’s also absolutely necessary items to defeat a powerful enemy.
And there’s one absolutely necessary piece of gear necessary to defeat the Evil God Fragment…
“The leg gear, Pegasus Boots, that’s in Sky City.” (Souma)
When I wrap it up like this, Mitsuki, who was stealthily stretching her hand towards my cat ears, went ‘fumu’ and nodded as if pensive.
“I see. In other words, we will be heading to this Sky City in order to obtain the necessary equipment to fight the Evil God.” (Mitsuki)
“Yeah, that’s right, but…you, just now—” (Souma)
I tried to pursue the topic of the cat ears, and Mitsuki speaks as if cutting me off.
“But will it be alright? I have not gone there yet either, but I have heard that you can only enter Sky City from the highest floor of the Spectral Tower that’s said to be a tower with infinite shapes.
Rumors say the Spectral Tower has 1,000 floors.
It would be a pretty long journey, and the monsters in that place will have strength fitting the location.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki said this as she looked at Ina and Sazan.
It is not like I don’t feel as if the topic was diverted, but that worry of hers is grounded.
The next destination is north. Now that we have set our sights on the Spectral Desert, me, Mitsuki, Ringo, Maki, Sazan, and Ina advanced in a large group through the field.
It is true that there’s no assurance that these members can fight in a high level area.
“No, that’s a misunderstanding.” (Souma)
I deny the mistaken knowledge of Mitsuki.
The cat ears of Mitsuki withered down in wonder.
I faced straight and stated this clearly.
“Yes, an unbelievable misunderstanding!” (Souma)
It must be because she has not gone there herself.
Just like in the past, she has a fatal misunderstanding of the Spectral Tower.
I raised my voice in order to blow away that fallacy.
“It has been advertised in an exaggerated manner that it has infinite shapes, but it is just that the interior and the monster spawn table is random. The reality is that the Spectral Tower has 60 map patterns…no, if you exclude the maps reversed up and down, left and right, there’s only 16 different patterns!!” (Souma)
Is it really okay for such a scam to be allowed?!
Even though I was all excited when I challenged it, it was a total scam!
I won’t ask for a special gimmick in every pattern, so I would have at least wanted procedural generation.
Don’t think you can deceive your players by just copy+pasting your walls and tile designs!
“No, that’s not the issue here…” (Mitsuki)
But Mitsuki seemed to be baffled by my passionate talk.
“Ah, by the way, the 1st floor of the tower is the entrance, and there’s 1,000 dungeon floors on top of that, so the top floor is actually floor 1,001.” (Souma)
“That’s even more unimportant…” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki finally placed a hand on her forehead with her cat ears swinging to the side as if saying ‘good grief’.
Maki must have judged that there would be no end to this, so she poked her head out from the side and spoke.
“Geez, just give that stuff a break already! And so, what kind of devious method are you going to use to head to Sky City?” (Maki)
It seems like she is not feeling down anymore, but why is her mouth so dirty?
“Don’t go making weird assumptions! Or more like, since when have I done devious things?” (Souma)
“You always do weird stuff like ‘bugs’ and ‘hidden techniques’!
On the contrary, I have not seen you do anything aside from devious things!” (Maki)
“Just what kind of person am I inside that head of yours…?” (Souma)
I am dumbfounded by Maki’s prejudice on me, but I now understand that opinion of hers somewhat.
The efficient clear methods that are peculiar to gamers may look inhuman for people who normally don’t play games. This is something I have learned in my journey until now.
I think it is normal in Nekomimi Neko, but this might be me ‘not shedding off my game perspective’.
But there’s no need to worry about that on this occasion.
“Just saying here, but I won’t be exploiting bugs here. We will be entering Sky City with a proper method.” (Souma)
I said this resolutely, but the reaction of everyone is dull for some reason.
Maki is looking at me with eyes of suspicion…
“…Proper, huh. I feel like I have heard that before.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki muttered this while having distant eyes, and it doesn’t seem to have resonated at all with my other comrades either.
No, just how little do they trust me?
Just when I was about to lose my confidence here, something blue entered my vision.
It was Ringo.
She stood in front of me as if challenging me, and after stretching her body as much as possible…
“…Good boy, good boy.” (Ringo)
She suddenly patted my head.
I was confused here, but Ringo didn’t say anything more.
She nodded satisfied all alone, and with an aura of ‘I have finished my job’ while expressionless, she returned to her previous position.
“Uh, Ringo-san? What was that just now?” (Mitsuki)
It must have piqued her curiosity, Mitsuki asked this in my stead.
“…Hn, the policy of praising…to promote growth.” (Ringo)
Ringo puffed her chest out confidently at the question of Mitsuki.
“I-I see. Do your best…” (Mitsuki)
“…The path to greatness…starts with one step.” (Ringo)
Saying this, Ringo tightened her fist with strength.
I don’t get it, but it seems like Ringo’s internal education plan for me seems to be going well.
“Uuh, and so, about Sky City…” (Souma)
I feel like the tension was cut off here, but considering the future, I have to properly talk about the dangers of Sky City.
However, I feel like talking about this in this atmosphere will be kind of hard.
“T-That! Isn’t that the Spectral Tower?!” (Ina)
Ina suddenly raised her voice loudly.
What she pointed at was a tower shining rainbow, the sham random dungeon that has 1,000 floors, the Spectral Tower.
Each floor is like a dungeon, so the tower is pretty big. Moreover, the height of this tower with 1,000 floors is obviously abnormal.
It is to the point that the word piercing the heavens really fits it.
And then, far above that, there’s Sky City floating there…or should be.
Unfortunately, around the top of the tower where the Sky City is located, there’s big clouds covering it, and it can’t be seen.
“Aah, yeah, it is that one! Alright, everyone, let’s head there for now.
I have to tell you all in detail about the Sky City, but well, we can do so once we get there!” (Souma)
“Ah, wait, Souma!” (Maki)
I raised my voice more than necessary in order to dispel the weird atmosphere, and ran off to the tower.
We managed to get close to the tower without any issues.
Once we go up the Spectral Tower and the Sky City, the monsters will get decently strong, but there’s no enemy to be wary of around the tower.
They are at least no enemy of ours as a group that can easily clear the last dungeon.
The desert has buried ruins and mysterious constructions set around aside from the Spectral Tower, but we ignored them all and just head to the tower.
But while we were heading to the tower in excellent condition, I saw that Ina alone was making a stiff expression.
“Ina, are you okay?” (Souma)
“Souma-san… Yes. But I get nervous when thinking about the Spectral Tower.” (Ina)
Her gaze was directed in front of her, at the rainbow tower that stands far and above.
“I think you also know this, Souma-san, but this is an incredibly difficult dungeon that no one -not even Mitsuki-san- has been able to reach the top.
When I remember that, I kind of…” (Ina)
We are talking about the extremely diligent Ina.
She must be worrying that she will be hindering us here.
Even though there’s no need to worry… My chest hurt thinking about it.
That’s why I ended up saying something unnecessary, something that was pointless to say.
“I have not cleared this tower till the end either.” (Souma)
“Eh? But…” (Ina)
Ina blinked dumbfounded, and I say this as if reminiscing.
“It is not like I haven’t gotten to the highest floor. But there’s a technique called the ‘Cartwheel Method’.” (Souma)
“Carwhat method?” (Ina)
Ina made a confused face as expected.
I would like to explain it to her, but it would be a pain if Maki were to hear this.
“It means that there’s no real need to advance from the inside in order to reach our destination.” (Souma)
“What does that…” (Ina)
I said this quickly to get out of it, and looked forward as if running away.
By the time I noticed, the tower was closeby, and there were also ruins buried in sand in the vicinity.
There doesn’t seem to be any monsters around from what I can see.
…Maybe because we are close to the tower, Mitsuki turned around right then and our eyes made contact.
“Shall we charge into the tower just like this?” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki asked me this probably as a lifeboat of sorts, but I shook my head.
I don’t really feel like it, but there would be no point in delaying it too much.
We can see our destination, so it is about time to begin.
“—No, I will be going alone from here on.” (Souma)
Ina shouted in surprise with a ‘Souma-san?!’ at my words, but that didn’t change my decision.
This is something I had decided on from the very beginning.
“I will have everyone stay on standby here. I would like everyone to go up once I have suppressed the Sky City.” (Souma)
When I said this, my comrades raised their voices in disapproval.
“Don’t joke around! You and I are one in body and mind since that promise! Conquering a tower with 1,000 floors? Hmph, that’s nothing for the great mage and future NEET!” (Sazan)
The one that objected first was unexpectedly Sazan.
Ina stepped forward from the side after her.
“Is it…Is it because I showed weakness back then?!
But I also can’t let Souma-san alone go to a tower that has 1,000 floors…” (Ina)
I lowered my head.
I had no choice but to apologize.
Ina looked at our comrades with a tearful face.
I regretted from the bottom of my heart that I have worried them pointlessly.
“—In the first place, I don’t plan on entering that tower.” (Souma)
Silence hit for a few seconds.
It goes without saying that Ina let out the dumbfounded sound with tears in her eyes.