Alex roared at the Evil God that has regained its shape completely.
“Are you saying it has revived?! From that state?!” (Alex)
It can’t be helped that he would want to shout that.
The enemy that they fought so hard to defeat has revived, so it is natural to be astonished.
“It is over.”
The revived Evil God didn’t let go of that opening.
A regenerated tentacle approached Alex who was standing dumbfounded and…
“I won’t let you!”
But the one who was composed in this abnormal situation was the great mage Nameless.
He most likely finished the incantation while the Evil God was regenerating.
Nameless once again set the time stop field and nailed the Evil God in place.
“I understand getting agitated by this, but right now…what?” (Nameless)
But something impossible happened at that moment.
“—Too…bad. It won’t…work again.”
The Evil God that should be in a space he shouldn’t be able to move by no means had moved its tentacles even if slower.
And then, a single tentacle finally managed to jump out from the time stop field.
“Impossible! Time Stop should have properly acti—guh!” (Nameless)
It sent Nameless flying while he was unable to move with the spell active.
Alex reflexively ran to him, and the remaining members that finally managed to regain their bearings moved to restrain the Evil God.
“Nameless, oi, are you o—” (Alex)
“I got it…! That is the reason why it is called a God!” (Nameless)
Nameless was finding difficulty to even breathe, but he didn’t even pay any attention to his own wounds and looked at Alex and the Evil God further back with glaring eyes.
But that intensity of his didn’t stop the words of Alex.
“Do you remember how all the status ailments didn’t work on it?
That’s the same this time around. The Time Stop that certainly worked at first is now not showing enough effect.
That’s most likely because of its special trait.” (Nameless)
“Special trait…?” (Alex)
Nameless answered the question of Alex as if shouting.
“Yeah, that guy…the Evil God…is most likely getting stronger every time it dies!
It learns of the attacks before it dies, gets resistance to them, is reborn with even more power, and destroys everything! A monstrosity!” (Nameless)
Nameless didn’t stop shouting even when faced with the dumbstruck Alex.
“It is possible to win, but we can’t achieve complete victory!
That’s the kind of being that is!!” (Nameless)
I was also as surprised as Alex who was shocked here.
And then, something fell into place in my head.
I learned that my instinct was right.
—This is the truth behind the words of Nameless about ‘you must never fight the Evil God’ that he left to the Seal Lineage.
That’s right. I thought this was the second form you see often in last bosses, but that wasn’t it.
The Evil God is not a last boss but a hidden boss.
In a way, it is end content of Nekomimi Neko.
Then, what is the endgame content that the Nekomimi Neko developers would like? The type that would create the most pain for the players without much work?
…The answer is the Evil God, Dis Aster.
Every time it is defeated, it will endlessly grow, and thus, it is content you can waste your time in endlessly.
This is just an assumption here, but things like HP and attack power will increase by default, and as for the other status ailments and elemental attacks, it will have resistance to the attacks that you used before.
For example; the Time Stop used this time around. The first time worked normally, but the second time was halved.
In the next one or the one after that, it will most likely be completely negated.
You could say it is fortunate that it doesn’t get resistance to physical attacks which have no elements.
If that ended up not working either, it wouldn’t be able to maintain itself as a game, so that’s a given, but even if so, the parameters will be increasing, so they won’t be working properly eventually.
You might be able to defeat it once, twice, or even three times.
But as players pile up their wins, it becomes stronger, your effective attacks will be decreased, and you will eventually be defeated.
It is the worst design for a boss!
…No, I could even permis that.
You could say it is a decently common type of enemy in the game.
You could even say it is pretty subdued for the Nekomimi Neko staff.
There’s even people who would accept it depending on taste.
…But that’s only if it doesn’t become a real being.
“What’s this?! Don’t joke around!!”
The one who shouted was Alex who learned of the reality.
“How many sacrifices do you think we have made to defeat this guy?!
Luden, Fin, and Loden died, and even Ciel sacrificed herself to become my strength…
And the result is this?! Nothing has changed! No, even worse…” (Alex)
Alex cursed as if vomiting blood.
The one who reacted was the Evil God who should be the enemy.
It faced Alex slowly and with that ugly face, it formed a grin and said with a grinding voice…
Alex raised an eyebrow, but the Evil God didn’t pay it any heed.
It simply spoke as if having fun…as if happy.
“Thanks…for fighting me…to make me…stronger…
Thank you…for dying a whole lot…for my sake…”
The Evil God spoke its last words towards the speechless group of Alex.
“—You people…were…wonderful toys…for me…”
Those utterly vicious words…
“Y-You…You are…!!” (Alex)
Even if he had been heated until now, he wasn’t reckless, but there was no shadow of that now.
He charged straight to the Evil God with plain honesty.
If it had been the initial state of the Evil God, he would have been able to overcome this.
But the powered up tentacles were not easily shaken off by even an attack of the Knight Sword Ciel.
He slowly…couldn’t deal with the attacks of the tentacles, and the moment an attack of the tentacles was finally about to hit the body of Alex…
“That’s distant, Hero-chan.”
“It would be troubling if you were to forget about me too.”
In that very close instance, Giyamon and Shizuru joined the fray.
Alex, who somehow managed to escape from his dangerous position thanks to the help of the two, gripped his sword tightly and spoke as if finding it hard to say.
“…I am sorry, you two. But thanks to that, my head has cooled down. I won’t be showing such an unsightly self anymore.” (Alex)
Alex looked clearly at the Evil God with subdued anger.
The muddy color of before was not there anymore.
“Ufufu, they do say children are cuter when they are a handful.” (Giyamon)
“Words are unnecessary. Please show that resolve with your sword.” (Shizuru)
The 3 line up in front of the Evil God again.
The one who spoke there was Nameless.
“Alex, there’s no time for you to regret or wallow in despair!
The world will end if we leave that be! In that case…” (Nameless)
Alex answered with action at the implicit tone of Nameless as if saying ‘you get it, right?’.
“This is the end. Let’s go, you two!” (Alex)
“Can’t be helped.” (Giyamon)
“Goes without saying.” (Shizuru)
The 3 match their breathing and jump into the space of death again.
What was assailing them was a rain of tentacles that were incomparably tougher and more ferocious than before it resurrected.
The first one to withdraw was Giyamon who served as the wall, the next Shizuru who had lower endurance, but…
Even with that, Alex…the hero arrived in front of the Evil God.
He instead used the tentacles as footstools and swung the Knight Sword Ciel in his right hand with his utmost limit.
“—[Final Break]!!” (Alex)
He unleashed the strongest sword skill.
The light that extended from the Knight Sword Ciel sliced through the tentacles protecting the face and severed the repugnant face.
But at the same time…
“…Goodbye, Ciel, Richter.” (Alex)
The Knight Sword Ciel crumbled to pieces, and disappeared, only leaving the handle.
…Final Break is a big technique that prides on having the highest power within the sword skills.
That attack not only has high attack power, it also includes all the modifiers of the sword, so it creates destructive power incomparable to other skills.
But just as the name implies, it is a double-edged sword.
It has the big downside of the weapon always breaking after use.
Even when going that far, it was still impossible to completely defeat the strengthened Evil God.
The Evil God said this with leeway in its voice, but…
The voice of Nameless moved the body of Alex that was dulled from the sad parting.
“We can’t defeat you! But…!” (Alex)
Alex pointed his one other sword -Ultihate- onto the core with the path that his comrades…and his most beloved person created.
“[Soul Divide]!” (Alex)
The special ability of the Absolute Divine Sword Ultihate.
An ultimate technique that divides the existence of the way too powerful Evil God into fragments together with soul and all.
—And that was the attack that decided the end of the intense battle.
The development from there was pretty much what we know.
Alex and his group paid even more to seal the divided and weakened Evil God.
They sacrificed the power overflowing in the land and sealed the main body in what was once the capital where the battle took place.
That land paid the price to restrain the power of the Evil God and became a marshland where people can’t live in.
But if they were to use the same method for the remaining fragments, there would be no place for people to live in.
That’s where Hero Alex abandoned the land where people couldn’t live in anymore and headed to the far east land, creating a new capital and naming it after his lost comrades, the capital of Rihitel.
He then gathered the power of everyone there and decided to seal the biggest fragment under that place.
But he couldn’t tell the truth to the remaining citizens of the Evil God Great War.
That’s why he made a fictional god by rearranging the letters of Dis Aster and the religion of Redistas was born. He created a religious facility in the place where the Evil God was sealed, and named that building the Grand Church.
The second biggest fragment was sealed on the right hand of the Seal Priestess Neitia. Neitia had obtained freedom temporarily, but ended up having no choice but to live in the south solitary island.
Nameless must have felt bad about it, he decided to go with Neitia, received the title of the Guardian of the Seal Sazan, and journeyed off to the south island.
The special ability of the Evil God is apparently restricted when the fragment is small to a certain degree.
They managed to seal the two small fragments that couldn’t use Dimension Breaker simply by creating exclusive facilities in Lamurick and the place that would eventually be called the Sacrifice Altar.
These would be the Evil God Fragment we found at the Sacrifice Altar and the hidden dungeon of Lamurick in the game.
And then, the last moment of the recording ended with the monologue of Alex.
“…We sealed the Evil God and were called heroes.
But we…we are the only ones who know.
That battle called the Evil God Great War was just a losing battle.
The seal won’t last forever. The Evil God will definitely come back one day.
This record…this shame…the record of our defeat…
I pray that it will be a guiding light for the one who will eventually come that has the makings of a hero…” (Alex)
My vision stabilized and I returned to reality, but even after that, no one spoke for a while.
Everyone had their faces down seemingly in shock.
But that’s a given after being shown something like that.
My comrades are not the only ones flustered by this.
I was also in the same state.
I desperately held my trembling hands, and hid my face that was on the verge of warping with one hand.
A painful silence continued.
But eventually everyone began to mutter their feelings.
The first one to speak was Mitsuki.
She muttered this with her cat ears hanging down.
“That’s why I didn’t want to say it.
Cause you know, that’s just unfair.” (Maki)
Maki was the next one to say this powerlessly.
“But we can’t back down here anymore.
We have already defeated 3 of the Evil God Fragments.
If that power were to go to the remaining fragment and the main body, the balance of the seal must have crumbled.
It is only a matter of time before the Evil God comes back.” (Mitsuki)
Silence fell onto the place once again at the words of Mitsuki that could be taken as ice cold.
The one who raised her voice as if to erase this was Ina.
“B-But there should be a way!
Right! Like smashing the core to dust or hiding them somewhere…” (Ina)
But Mitsuki immediately denied the words of Ina.
“The size of the destroyed core was bigger afterwards. Meaning that that process was not simply gathering up the broken parts.
If that phenomenon is like a spell activated with the death of the Evil God, I don’t know if we would be able to stop the regeneration even if we were to not leave a single trace of it behind.” (Mitsuki)
“No way…” (Ina)
Ina seemed to be defeated by the words of Mitsuki, but she must have thought she had to change the atmosphere despite that, she spoke cheerfully once again.
“T-Then, if we seal it once more…!” (Ina)
“That in itself is unrealistic. The Evil God has become stronger than the one we saw in the record.
Who knows if we would have the spare energy to seal it…” (Mitsuki)
Being promptly denied, Ina finally drooped her head.
“Then, is there really nothing we can do?
…An enemy we definitely can’t defeat no matter what we do is just…!
An enemy that becomes stronger and stronger every time we defeat is just…” (Ina)
The despairing shout of the usually openhearted Ina.
Hearing this, I…
“—Is there really no limit?” (Souma)
I spoke those words by the time I noticed.
Ina looked at me with a surprised face.
My face is most likely looking horrible here.
My hands can’t stop trembling.
I can’t stop my face from warping.
“E-Excuse me, Souma-san?” (Ina)
My heart was still stirred up even after hearing the worried voice of Ina.
Messy thoughts swirled in my head.
Cause, isn’t it obvious?
This is not a game.
It is honest to face reality.
“Souma-san, why are you…” (Ina)
And yet, this…this…
“—Why are you smiling?” (Ina)
To think a chance like this would come!!
Ina let out a completely shocked voice, and I finally returned to my senses.
I desperately erased my smile and made as serious of a face as possible.
I know that it is improper to smile in a situation where the world might perish.
But it can’t be helped to a certain degree.
…Because I thought of it.
It might be a convenient idea…no, a delusion even.
A flimsy possibility like walking on a thin string.
—Even so, I have noticed the possibility of defeating that guy.
And not only that.
“Mitsuki, what do you aim for when fighting?” (Souma)
Mitsuki froze for a moment there at my sudden question, but she answered honestly.
“The number one reason would obviously be…because it is fun to fight a strong enemy.
Let’s see… The other one would be to become…stronger than everyone else, I guess.” (Mitsuki)
I could feel my face make a smile at the answer I wished for.
The reason why I played Nekomimi Neko was of course because it was fun to crush those unreasonable events. But the number one reason was because it was fun to raise my character -my other self.
Go ahead and laugh at me for having a childish dream.
But this is what I think.
Raising your level over anyone else…
Learning techniques and combos that no one else has…
Obtaining a weapon stronger than anyone can imagine…
Becoming the strongest being of all.
I think that’s the dream all gamers have.
It may sound cheap when put to words, but it is not that simple.
I was more passionate about Nekomimi Neko than anyone else, but I wouldn’t be confident to say I am the number one in the world.
I was totally into Nekomimi Neko, but there were a lot of other people that cleared the game faster than me.
Even if I have the confidence that I poured time endlessly in the game and even created the True Instant Samidare Slash at the end, it really is still questionable whether I became the strongest amongst the Nekomimi Neko players.
“Even if I were to say stuff like capping and overflow, you wouldn’t be able to get me, right?
But there’s always a limit to the numbers in games, and there’s an end to all content no matter what it is.
That’s no exception for Nekomimi Neko.” (Souma)
There’s no endless game.
In that case…
“If there’s an end to this Evil God, what do you think it will be? When would it be?” (Souma)
“…Could it be…!” (Mitsuki)
The first one to react to my words was -as expected- Mitsuki.
“It is most likely that.
After defeating the Evil God, over, and over, and over, and over, making it stronger, and stronger, and stronger, a limit will come where it can’t become any stronger.
…That is the end point of this world…of the Evil God.” (Souma)
Of course, just reaching the end point won’t be enough.
What I am looking at is what comes after.
In other words…
“If there’s an end to the growth of the Evil God, and I were to defeat that completely matured Evil God…” (Souma)
“…The Evil God might perish?” (Mitsuki)
I opened my eyes wide at the words Mitsuki interjected with.
I was surprised by Mitsuki who would be one or two steps ahead of the issue’s essence, and shook my head to the sides.
“I honestly…can’t say that.
It might end with that, maybe it won’t.” (Souma)
The Nekomimi Neko developers would normally set a goal instead of setting impossible to clear obstacles. They really liked provoking the players who can’t clear it by doing that.
That’s the biggest good news in this Evil God battle and the recipe of unease at the same time.
At worst, the numbers might overflow and reset which would be horrible.
But well, we would be able to do something if the Evil God were to be weakened, so that’s fine in itself.
“With such uncertain elements…” (Mitsuki)
I understand how Mitsuki feels.
“I know that’s reckless.
It is uncertain whether everything will go well.
…You could even say the chances are low.” (Souma)
This can’t even be called a challenge.
Not even sure if it is a gamble.
“I don’t know if there really is a cap to it, and no one knows what will happen when you defeat a capped Evil God.
But I want to try.” (Souma)
I don’t know if the concept of capping exists in this world that’s real now.
But if it exists…
“Cause if that guy has all of its stats at cap and raised to the very limits…
It would be the ‘strongest’ no questions asked, right?” (Souma)
The ‘strongest’ in my world was at a place my hands couldn’t reach.
I honestly couldn’t even find the ‘strongest’.
“The strongest Evil God that no one could match, and no one could doubt is strong… The best strongest you can find…
If I could defeat a being like that…” (Souma)
—I had given up on the title of ‘strongest’ or ‘number one in the world’ because I thought they were far from my reach.
“When that happens, I will become the unquestionable strongest…” (Souma)
—The pure dream I yearned for in the past.
—The ideal personification of the ones that fight.
—One of the ending points of a gamer.
“…I might be able to achieve that here. Just kidding.” (Souma)
…Because I said that, I finally noticed that my comrades were making dumbstruck faces.
“Ah, n-no, that just now was…” (Souma)
I got too heated and ended up saying too much.
“S-Sorry. I am the worst, right? Even though the world’s fate is at risk here, I am being so selfish here…” (Souma)
Just when I scratched my head and spit out those words in self-derision…
Mitsuki, who was called iron face and barely showed her emotions aside from her cat ears, was laughing out loudly.
Mitsuki raised the corner of her lips into a smile while we were dumbfounded.
“Selfishness that will decide the fate of the world; isn’t that fine?” (Mitsuki)
Even though I was the one who said it, I was taken aback by this.
“Rather, what is it you are hesitating for?” (Mitsuki)
“C-Cause you know, we don’t know at all if it will go as planned. We might not have enough strength in the middle of it and won’t be able to defeat it, or if we do get to the cap—” (Souma)
I was cut off by Mitsuki who smiled sweetly.
“It is too late to be worrying about that at this point. The world would perish without you, so no one would blame you if you were to fail and the world is done.” (Mitsuki)
“That’s ridiculous…” (Souma)
I feel like the logic is there and at the same time not.
“Also, I would like to see it too…that gallant figure of yours when you defeat the ‘world’s strongest’ and take that title for yourself.” (Mitsuki)
‘Of course, I will be defeating you after that and become the world’s strongest though’ -is what Mitsuki added which is truly like her.
W-Well, I don’t think that’s the case though.
And then, as if gaining strength…
“You would definitely be able to do it, Souma!” (Leila)
Leila gave me strong words without much basis.
“Hmm, well, I do think Souma would pull off something though.” (Maki)
“Fuh, you are my lifelong rival after all.” (Sazan)
Maki said in a baffled mood and Sazan in her masked mode. Moreover…
The Bear came out from the bag, showed me a smile, and immediately returned inside the bag.
Leaving aside the Bear, almost everyone here unexpectedly supported my selfish plan filled with holes.
The one who was the most composed here was unexpectedly Ina.
“B-But it will get stronger and stronger as it revives, right?
Even though it is already that strong, it will get even stronger than that, and might end up fighting several times…maybe even dozens of times…” (Ina)
Ina muttered this, worried from the bottom of her heart.
But I already have a plan for that.
“No, as long as we have enough attack power, we just have to fight the Evil God in perfect form just once.” (Souma)
“Don’t you remember? When Alex and his group destroyed the core of the Evil God that was restored from the fragments, the Evil God’s core regenerated again, but it was one size bigger.” (Souma)
Ina noticed what I meant there and I nodded with strength.
“—Yeah, we beat up the core with our highest firepower before the resurrection skill activates!
If the broken core regenerates again, we will unquestionably beat it up again!
By doing this, we will be able to make the Evil God get to its strongest form without even receiving a hit…no, we will be able to defeat the Evil God in its strongest!!” (Souma)
I would say that’s an outstanding plan despite myself…
But my comrades answered me with the 3rd silence this day.
“…Haah, Souma, you…really are, you know…” (Maki)
Maki sighed, exasperated, for some reason.
“Y-You can proudly call yourself the ‘strongest’ by winning in such a manner—aah, no.
You are that kind of person. Please forget about it. It was a stupid question.” (Mitsuki)
The rare smile of Mitsuki went back to her usual iron face…no, she was directing a cold expression.
On the other hand…
“…Hmm, well, what was weird was that he would say he is going to aim to become the strongest in a fight fair and square.
You could say he is back to his usual self.” (Sazan)
“…Hn. I am…a bit relieved. Souma…is really…Souma!” (Ringo)
Sazan and Ringo should be saying supportive words here, but I wonder why…what they said stabbed my heart more than the others.
It would be difficult to defeat the Evil God as we are right now.
In order to defeat the future ‘strongest’, we also need to prepare the strongest spear and shield.
There’s something I need for the sake of that…
“It seems like I really do have to go get it.” (Souma)
The weapon called the strongest misfortunate weapon sleeping in the Hidden Dungeon, Soul Eater, and…
“—The ultimate weapon against the Evil God that was impossible to obtain in the game, Ultihate!!” (Souma)
Author: While I was writing this chapter, I thought: ‘Souma is actually a pretty dangerous guy?’.