There’s something called ‘flavor text’ which is a term used originally in card games, but it has been brought over to other games.
For example, the item called ‘handmade bento of Ina’ has written in its description ‘it recovers 50 HP, but it tastes really bad’.
The ‘recovers 50 HP’ is a required explanation as a game, but Nekomimi Neko doesn’t have the function to feel the taste, so there’s absolutely no point in the ‘tastes really bad’. However, it can make players go ‘aah, so Ina sucks at cooking’, ‘the food tastes bad so it only heals 50 HP, huh’ and has the effect of immersing you in the world.
Just like this, even if there’s no direct correlation to the game, it gives flavor to the world, so it is called flavor text.
With the world of Nekomimi Neko becoming real, there will be times when those flavor texts with no actual practical meaning in the game days will hold meaning now.
In this world where senses do work, if the ‘handmade bento of Ina’ were to exist as an item, it would reference the text set, and the chances of it really being bad are high.
You could say such flavor texts would become pretty important now compared to before.
And so, the Sky City we are in is famous for being filled with such flavor texts that have vague lore and hidden story.
When you access the computer terminals that can be found here and there in the Sky City, you will find stuff like ‘the Sky City is actually a spaceship that an ancient civilization used for interstellar travels’ and ‘the ancient civilization perished from the long sail and only the guard robots remain’ and ‘because there’s no orders from the crew, the robots are not getting maintained properly, so they endlessly continue to protect the Sky City, and have been wandering this world in the sky in standby state without reprieve’, ‘if you input the emergency code and reactivate the system, you can seize the functions of the city’ is the kind of important sounding information there is, and there’s also stuff like ‘the AI core of the boss here is composed of organic brain parts’ and ‘the 5 people that served as the core of this: Knight, Army, Ranger, Executioner, and Ninja. By taking the initials, there’s apparently a device called KAREN’.
‘This Sky City (spaceship) was on the verge of being given the function to transform into a humanoid form, but there was opposition claiming what’s the point of going out of their way to make it humanoid, so it was tearfully trashed’.
‘When you access the computer terminal, there will always be a logo of the captain’s pet as the motif showing up’ which was pretty unimportant info.
They would always come at you by saying ‘did you not know?’.
In other words…
“—As for what I want to say here is, because of the setting that many of the robots have not been maintained and haven’t had their systems updated, it wouldn’t be strange for the robots at the fallen portion to teleport you to the entrance of the Sky City. Thus, the teleport of just now was a feature and not a bug…” (Souma)
“As if I care about such personal ruuuuuuleeeessss!!” (Sazan)
“…You asked ‘wasn’t that teleport just now a bug exploit?’, so I simply answered.” (Souma)
Even though I simply answered her question, Sazan for some reason snapped and began to make a ruckus.
I frowned at that while thinking back on the current situation.
We -me, Sazan, and Ringo- were teleported all the way to the entrance of the Sky City.
This bug explo—this slightly special unique technique is called Backdoor Ascension. It takes advantage of the many nasty traits of the Sky City monsters, and it allows you to get in an instant to the Sky City which is normally impossible to get to unless you climb the outrageously tall tower.
I explained this to my comrades down there while mixing in my personal experience, but the monsters in the Sky City are filled with individual traits compared to other Nekomimi Neko dungeons.
Some enemies would shoot you with paralyzing beams that ignore resistances with their questionable lazer guns.
Other enemies would shoot mysterious beams on your weapons and armor instead of the player.
There would be some who would begin to shine after a certain amount of time passed, and by the time you notice, you are returned to the starting point.
Others would transform depending on how much damage they have received, and it would instead make the player go ‘Eh? What is this guy trying to achieve?’.
And then, there’s also enemies that would make sounds of scratching a blackboard, attacking the mind of the player directly instead of the character.
Anyways, how to say it, it is very easy to tell that there’s a lot of nasty gimmicks here that scream ‘it would be mortifying if you were to clear it easily, right?!’ by the Nekomimi Neko developers.
But the more nasty those gimmicks are, the more the Nekomimi Neko players will wring their brains out to take advantage of them.
The one that got their attention was the ‘begin to shine after a certain amount of time passed, and by the time you notice, you are returned to the starting point’. It is a special ability that really only smells like giving a bad time for the player.
The Sky City is not only long, but there’s no proper shortcuts aside from the end, so if you were to be hit in the middle of your exploration with that, you would seriously get depressed. But the story is different if it is before your exploration.
The fallen part of the Sky City right below the Sky City has the same enemies showing up.
If you fight that teleporting enemy and have it activate its ability, you can get returned to the Sky City without even having to take a step into the Sky City once before.
The balancing stance of Nekomimi Neko is kill or be killed, so there’s a lot of enemies that would hit you hard if you buy time without defeating them.
Anyways, I somehow managed to get through that safely.
The reason why I didn’t tell Mitsuki and the others about this teleport method was because I planned on coming here alone.
Ringo and Sazan coming was not in the plan, but blaming them when they simply ran to me in worry would be wrong.
When I told the two that I used the monster just now as a shortcut, Sazan began to accuse me with ‘you said so much you wouldn’t be using bug exploits!’, and Ringo seemed to be frozen as if she was shocked.
After a while passed, when Sazan’s anger had finally calmed down a bit, Ringo resumed operation.
She has her usual expressionless face…but I feel like her complexion is a bit bad, however, she stood at the front with what seemed to be a decisive atmosphere and stretched her small body as much as possible.
“…Good work. Good…work…” (Ringo)
She suddenly patted my head.
It looks a bit weird, but…
“O-Oi, your hands are trembling, and your lips have become purple! A-Are you okay?!” (Souma)
“…I-I am…okay… M-My…po-po-policy is…to raise…raise…by p-praising…!” (Ringo)
No, I don’t really get it, but turning into a broken robot wouldn’t exactly fall into the category of being okay.
For now, I somehow managed to convince Ringo to stop the petting that she tried to continue on with bloodshot eyes, and she eventually recovered.
According to Ringo…
“…I simply…got a bit of a negative…reaction to it.” (Ringo)
Basically, issues happened because of the stress of trying to praise me.
“Obviously! If I were to praise something like that, blood would spurt out from my whole body and die!” (Sazan)
Leaving aside Sazan who was spitting that out while pointing at me, just how stressed can you get that even the normally unfazed Ringo would turn into a broken robot?
Is praising me such a high level endeavor?
“Uuh, I don’t really get it, but it is okay to not push yourself to praise me, you know?” (Souma)
When I said this, Ringo shook her head to the sides as if she resolved herself.
“…I have decided…to make you…a decent human…Souma…” (Ringo)
If not for the context of it, that just now could sound cool.
In the first place, leaving aside the fact that I am a bit of a game addict, I am a normal person.
“B-But was there even any decent human factor in that action of his just now? I feel like he acted the complete opposite way like usual.” (Sazan)
Sazan asked truly in wonder.
I don’t really want to be told about being a decent human by an actual chuunibyou though.
“…What’s important is…the intention that he won’t be using…bug exploits…” (Ringo)
On the other hand, Ringo was as always.
It seems like Ringo is the only one who is properly looking at me.
Ringo was looking at me with a strong passion that didn’t lose to mine while she said this with resolve.
“…No matter…how weird of a conclusion…it is!” (Ringo)
Am I…really being praised here?
Sazan sighed as if she had given up.
“…Do you think you can make this guy a decent human like that? Just how long will that take?” (Sazan)
“…Hn. The ‘Souma Decent Human Plan’ is a…10 year plan…” (Ringo)
That’s an awfully long time.
“No, do you really think the personality of this guy can be fixed in 10 years? It is on a whole other level, you know?” (Sazan)
It seems like Sazan has a different opinion.
I may have said this countless times already, but my personality is not as crazy as Ringo or Sazan, you know?
“…If it is not fixed…I just have to work for the rest of my life.” (Ringo)
“R-Right. B-By the way, if it is not fixed?” (Sazan)
“…Hn. I will stay by his side for the rest of my life…so he doesn’t return to being a deviant.” (Ringo)
Ringo answered without hesitation and Sazan moved back as if overawed.
Am I being treated as a deviant all so naturally by Ringo here?
Sazan approached me while I tilted my head here, and she whispered to me with uncharacteristic fluster.
“…You might have been targeted by one outrageous person.” (Sazan)
Yeah, it is not like I don’t understand what she is saying here, but…you are the only one I don’t want to hear that from!
Time was eaten up by the unexpected situation, but the process doesn’t change.
I move to the deepest part of the city to retrieve the Pegasus Boots which is our biggest priority. We will be heading to the energy core at the end.
If we reach the energy core and activate it, the small fry monsters will disappear, and the shortcut to land will be activated too.
I am worried about the one left below, but Mitsuki is still there, so there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.
But they might end up doing something if we take too long, so we should clear the Sky City quickly, and open the shortcut.
Considering our members here, the physical defense is a worry, and teamwork is incredibly worrying with Sazan, but Ringo should be able to protect her with her well balanced high stats, cheat level Lightning Strike, and her basic Skill Cancel.
On top of that, even if it is not the whole map, I remember most of the routes of the Sky City.
I lightly confirm the actions we will take if enemies show up. After I thoroughly told Sazan to take special care in not using area of effect spells, and if possible to not use single target spells either since it would turn messy, we headed to the depths of the dungeon.
“Well, it has been a while since we have explored with 3 people, but there’s no issue in terms of our abi—” (Souma)
Just when I was about to say that, I saw something moving around my waist all of a sudden…
“…Looks like we are 4.” (Souma)
When I looked down, there was the Bear with only its upper half out of the adventurer bag, pointing a sewing needle at me as if threatening me, and grinned.
The exploration went extremely well with one more unexpected member(?) joining in.
My attack power had increased enough to defeat a King Butcher in just a few seconds at the time when training to fight the Demon Lord.
Even if it is the Sky City, it wouldn’t be difficult to defeat small fries.
Ringo can hold them in place with her Lightning Strike if enemies come from behind, and the Bear that was being carried by Ringo has unexpectedly high enemy detection skills, so it contributed to the party.
As for Sazan…she is contributing in increasing the number of party members.
What was a bit dangerous was when I mistook the spawn point a bit and the robot that lets out a blackboard scratching sound activated its ability.
“M-My ears!!” -Sazan said while rolling on the ground.
“…This is…kind of nice.” -Ringo said normally.
Sazan was on the verge of casting a big spell on the robot behind…and me.
At that time, I scratched the metallic wall with my nails and hit Sazan with my own ‘blackboard scratching sound’.
…It is a secret that this dealt damage to me as well though.
We continued our exploration with decent leisure like that, safely obtained the Pegasus Boots, and equipped them.
A number of skills can be used in midair with this now, so my strategies in battle will increase greatly.
Not only does it make it easier to float in the air, but I will also be able to use skills just before my feet touch the ground, so skills that I couldn’t combo without the boots will now be comboable. By comboing a skill in midair and using the landing as a Cancel, I can get an effect similar to KB Cancel without using magic.
“It is about time.” (Souma)
If we look at the Sky City as a big ship, then the entrance and the bridge would be the prow, and the place where the energy core and the escape device are at would be the stern portion.
We are advancing slowly with the soap bubbles, but we are definitely getting closer to the stern.
There wasn’t anything worrying happening on the way there and the atmosphere was peaceful, but strength entered my body as we approached the goal.
Ringo and Sazan must have felt that tension, they also looked more serious.
“…It is here.” (Souma)
What we found was the hatch that leads to the upper area of the Sky City. In other words, the deck.
It is called the Sky City, but it is actually a spaceship.
The upper area has little even ground and it is mostly curved areas, so it is a place that’s not suitable for walking.
The bow and the stern are the only places made for human passage.
In other words, the hatch being here means that we are already close to the goal: to the deepest area.
I look back at the two plus the Bear before going out.
“We are close to the deepest area. However, a bit further from this hatch, there’s the boss of the Sky City.” (Souma)
“…It is strong, right?” (Sazan)
I answered seriously at the nervous words of Sazan.
“Yeah. In terms of just raw stats, it isn’t that big of a deal compared to other endgame bosses.
However, it has a cheat-like ability to slip through walls freely in the narrow corridors, has a charge attack in a form that’s hard to avoid, and has a counter skill, so it is not easy to defeat it upfront.” (Souma)
I don’t know how many dozens of times I have been killed by that guy before I managed to understand the special traits of its skills.
Even so, the area it loiters around is the only path leading to the door of the deepest area.
We definitely can’t get there unless we get through that guy.
“In the end, I couldn’t beat that guy in close quarters even in the game.
The only time I managed to win was when I fought it at long range which it is not suitable for.
Moreover, I had to tailor my gear for the sake of that, and it still took 1 hour to win.” (Souma)
I still haven’t secured a long range attack.
It is hard to say whether I could win if I were to challenge it to a long range battle here.
“I see. I get it now. There’s no chance of winning close range. That said, you don’t have any means for long range attacks.
That’s why you are…” (Sazan)
Sazan seems to have noticed what I want to say. And so, I looked at Ringo who opened and closed her hand filled with motivation for some reason, and nodded with strength.
“Yeah! I will be using these boots to move in midair and get to the door without being found!” (Souma)
For some reason, silence fell down on my passionate declaration.
A few seconds after, Sazan muttered ‘aah, this is definitely the lifetime course’ which strangely remained in my ears.