WG – Chapter 223: Life threatening challenge

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—And so, the Evil God Fragment drowned and died.

“Don’t ‘and so’ me! Don’t try to wash it off all nonchalantly!

Ugaaaaah! I was so worried about the Evil God Fragment until now! Aaaah!” (Sazan)

Sazan was making a ruckus on her own and worrying on her own.

What an emotionally unstable girl. 

“Well, I don’t really get it, but cheer up.” (Souma)

“Y-You! You telling me thaaaat!!” (Sazan)

Even though I tried soothing her, she instead got even more altered. 

I really don’t get the mind of a weirdo. 

Sazan made a ruckus for a while after that, but when she finally calmed down, she asked me with a serious voice.

“…But is that okay? 

This should have accelerated the resurrection of the Evil God’s main body, and we might not be able to drown the Evil God anymore.” (Sazan)

The death of the fragment strengthens the remaining main body and promotes the resurrection. 

But I am prepared for that. 

“Worrying about that at this point? We already defeated 3 fragments before this, so there was no escape anyways. 

Now that we are here, we might as well rush all the way to the end.” (Souma)

“You…really have a strong heart.” (Sazan)

Sazan said this as if looking at something dazzling, but that’s a bit different. 

“…I am also aware we are doing something outrageous here. 

If it were just me, I might not have been able to take that step. 

But I have comrades supporting me even in this outrageous endeavor.” (Souma)

“Y-You…” (Sazan)

Sazan’s eyes opened wide at my true feelings I rarely voice out. 

I added.

“Also, the drowning is fine already. 

This might give the resistance from drowning to the main body of the Evil God. But we would only be able to kill it once or twice with this method anyways. 

I wasn’t aiming for that from the very beginning.” (Souma)

“You…You really are…” (Sazan)

Sazan shook her head once, twice and showed a smile.

“…Even though I thought I knew you were an incredible guy. 

A bit…no, sometimes…ah, always, maybe? There are parts that I can’t follow, but even that Soul Eater weapon has some sort of crazy ability, right?” (Sazan)

Those words of Sazan mixed with 50% baffled, 40% resignation, and 10% admiration…made me feel like the explanation switch inside me had been flipped. 

“Ooh! You are asking? Aren’t you?” (Souma)

“Eh, no…” (Sazan)

Sazan was making a disagreeable face, but it was already too late. 

I have been waiting to say this so much, so much, so much, it was unbearable. 

“Then, listen! This Soul Eater’s sad history! 

To the fate of the endless strife between the Nekomimi Neko developers and the players…!” (Souma)

I brought out the strongest scythe (there’s no scythe category, so the weapon category is greataxe though) which I obtained just now and began talking. 

“This Soul Eater has a 666 attack power which is the highest attack power within the weapons that were in the actual game. On top of that, it even has a special ability that is fitting for the strongest weapon.

Then, why do you think it was still called the Unfortunate Strongest Weapon?” (Souma)

“N-No, there’s no way I would know somet—” (Sazan)

“That’s right! The biggest enemy of gamers…because of the NERF!” (Souma)

Sazan made a confused face at the unknown term. 

“N-Naa—” (Sazan)

“Nerf. There’s apparently people who would read it incorrectly at times, but you must not. I will omit the detailed root of the word Nerf, but it is basically adjusting downwards. 

The description of this Soul Eater is: The ones who are cut by this scythe have their vitality and life force stolen.

It had an outrageously strong ability that allowed you to steal the HP and Stamina of the enemy by the same amount of damage you dealt.” (Souma)

Especially in Nekomimi Neko where the HP of the monsters tends to be high and the HP of the players is low. 

It wasn’t strange for cases where the player would recover to full HP with enough damage dealt against a monster.

“There were a lot of fanatics and antis because of how strong it was. The forums would have comments like: ‘it is so strong, lol’, ‘the one weapon to rule them all’, ‘too broken’, ‘why does it absorb HP?’, ‘it should be called Life Eater, not Soul Eater’. You would see stuff like that all day, all night.” (Souma) 

“U-Uhm…as I said, I didn’t as—” (Sazan)

“BUT! A fearsome monster attacked the Soul Eater!!” (Souma)

“M-Monster…?” (Sazan)

“Yeah… A monster called the balance patch!” (Souma)

Sazan is unexpectedly good at riding the flow and chimes in despite being scared of my attitude.

That improved my mood, so I speak of that tragedy while moving my hands around dramatically. 

“There was an entry in the patch that said: We have adjusted the special ability of the Soul Eater.

And then, after checking it out themselves, the Nekomimi Neko players fell into despair. 

Its past HP absorption ability that was swung in fury had been removed, and the stamina absorption didn’t give you a raw recovery of the damage like before; it was changed to recover 1 every hit! 

1?! What is 1?!!” (Souma)

“Y-Yeah, that’s terrible…right?” (Sazan)

“Right?! It is horrible!” (Souma)

Of course, the Nekomimi Neko players wouldn’t buckle with just that. 

“This patch obviously raised complaints. ‘Why did you erase the HP absorption?!’, ‘The description says it steals away the lifeforce, you bastards!’, ‘This is a scam! I will sue!!’ several tens to hundreds of those claims were sent their way.

And then, finally, a new adjustment was made to the Soul Eater.” (Souma)

“T-That’s great.” (Sazan)

She was strangely cowering here as if gauging my mood.

“No, it wasn’t great at all!! What was adjusted from the Soul Eater wasn’t an adjustment in its capabilities! They went for the warped solution of erasing the part of the description that said ‘steals the lifeforce’!!” (Souma)

“Uwaah…” (Sazan)

Sazan bent as if taken aback. 

But why are you trying to move away from me too? I am still not done here. 

“Obviously, there’s no way the Nekomimi Neko players would accept this! 

Emails, calls, protests in the Wiki; we did our utmost effort to revive the Soul Eater.

And then, finally…the Nekomimi Neko developers accepted complete defeat, and they responded by saying…they would bring back the life force absorption ability from the Soul Eater in the last patch!” (Souma)

“…Uhm, in other words, summarizing all that long story, it means that the Soul Eater has returned to how it was originally?” (Sazan)

Sazan said this as if implying that it was a waste of time to hear such a long story. 

I chuckled at the naivety. 

“It would have been nice if that was the case.” (Souma)

“Eh? T-Then, the patch didn’t come out?” (Sazan)

I shook my head powerlessly at that. 

“The patch itself came out. It did, but there was apparently already no decent programmer left.

I was wondering to myself what is the effect it had now, so I purposely lowered my character’s HP to 100, and punched an enemy with the Soul Eater.

But you know…no matter how many times…how many dozens of times I punched, it didn’t even budge an inch from the 100…” (Souma)

In other words, they failed to bring it back.

This is something I heard after the fact, but the established theory on the net is that they messed up in the skill programming. 

“…It was a sad incident.” (Souma)

I muttered this, gazing at empty space, as if looking back at a distant past, towards memories that are unpleasant yet hard to forget. 

“Hey…” (Sazan)

Seeing me like that, Sazan made a tired smile as if she had aged several years. 

“For now, can we throw away that scythe?” (Sazan)

 

I somehow managed to calm down Sazan who had snapped for some reason and went ‘there’s no need for such a useless item, right?! I will throw it away!’ and returned to the mansion.

It is true that its importance decreased compared to its first iteration, but even with that, its healing property by hits is still pretty useful depending on how you use it. 

Especially when using techniques focused on the number of hits. 

Anyways, by the time we returned to the mansion while Sazan was mumbling stuff like ‘I am not a water dispenser’ and ‘even though it was a rare opportunity with only the two of us’, the sun was close to going down. 

I thought we did it pretty smoothly, but it seems like the little detour and the explanation of the Soul Eater took a lot more time than expected.

When we entered the mansion, we ended up meeting Maki and Mitsuki in the corridor. 

“Nice timing. Here.” (Mitsuki)

Mitsuki gave me a whole lot of seeds.

…Isn’t this twice the amount of what I wanted her to obtain in one day? 

“Aah, thanks.” (Souma)

I take that with a slightly stiff smile and put it inside my bag for now.

“As for Maki…” (Souma)

“Had a big catch! There were stuff like poshons(?), the Dragon’s Treasure, and even weapons scattered about, so we picked them up!

There were no enemies, and even if there were, Ringo-chan would immediately zappy zap zap them, so it was pretty easy.” (Maki)

Maki said this really happily while mixing in hand movements.

Despite that, I see no signs of her giving me the items. 

“Uhm, Ina-chan said she would be giving them to you and received them. You haven’t met her yet, right?” (Maki)

“Ina did?” (Souma)

There’s no need to do that when we are in the same mansion, is what I thought as I chuckled, but Mitsuki raised an eyebrow at this. 

“That’s weird. The ring tells me she is in the garden at the back. 

If she had taken such a job, judging from her personality, she would be waiting either in the living room or the entrance though.” (Mitsuki)

The moment I heard this, the state of Ina yesterday flashed in my mind. 

Her somewhat agitated state. 

What was she interested in?

“I-I will go search for her!” (Souma)

“Eh? Souma?!” (Maki)

Maki tried to stop me, but I didn’t. 

I ran through the mansion with minute Steps and got to the rear garden.

The one there was…

“Ina…” (Souma)

The girl standing with teary eyes, holding a certain item.

“T-That’s not it. This is…! This…is…” (Ina)

The item she was holding is…the forbidden gem that can change people into weapons: the Dragon’s Treasure. 

Noticing that it was pointless to play it off, Ina lowered her head powerlessly and muttered.

“I am…hopeless. I don’t have the courage at the important moments…

I am useless at the most important parts…” (Ina)

“That’s not true…” (Souma)

I said that, but those words don’t seem to reach her. 

I had no choice but to ask her instead.

“That…you planned on using it?” (Souma)

She shook her head loosely in a way that I can’t tell if she was affirming or denying. 

“That was my intention, but…I couldn’t. 

I didn’t have the courage…” (Ina)

She bit her lips with an expression that was painful for me.

“Why… Why do something like that?” (Souma)

“Because I…can’t be of use to you, Souma-san. 

This is the least I can do…to be of use.” (Ina)

That’s a way too tragic a resolution. 

It is true that the base stats of Ina have increased thanks to the Mutual Love Ring of hers. 

If she were to use the Dragon’s Treasure, it would no doubt create a strong weapon unlike any other. 

But that would be too saddening of a power. 

Power that’s too far apart from the power I desire. 

“Did you think I would be happy with something like that…?” (Souma)

I was angered and was about to say more, but…

“—If you have a strong weapon!! You wouldn’t need to do the trial!” (Ina)

It was erased by even stronger words.

Ina looked at me while trembling, while crying, even so, her eyes held strong. 

“I-I know that you are strong and incredible, Souma-san. 

But in that…that trial, you can’t use skill or magic or anything, you know? 

Just thinking about the possibility that you might…might die there, I…” (Ina)

“Ina…” (Souma)

My chest grew hot with those emotions, and at the same time, I felt pain at the fact that I had cornered her to this extent. 

But…

“And so, I thought that I might as well just sacrifice myself since I am so useless anyways…!” (Ina)

…That’s when I hardened my resolve.

“—You are an idiot, Ina.” (Souma)

I deliberately speak haughtily at Ina who is crying. 

“There’s no way I can’t overcome a trial like that, right?” (Souma)

“But you said you failed the practice before…” (Ina)

“How long ago was that? My practice today before we departed was a perfect clear, you know?” (Souma)

Of course, succeeding in practice doesn’t literally translate to succeeding in the real deal. 

But I didn’t touch on that. 

“Everyone is overblowing it. You basically just have to walk straight ahead, touch the sword, and come back.

Do you think I would mess up in something like that?” (Souma)

“B-But…but…” (Ina)

Seeing Ina drenched in tears, I decided.

I was actually thinking of doing this after I practiced more, but if I can bring peace of mind to Ina, this is a risk worth taking. 

“In that case, I will show you tomorrow.” (Souma)

“Eh?” (Ina)

I say it one more time to Ina who doesn’t seem to have understood what I said.

“I am saying I will take the trial tomorrow.” (Souma)

“Y-You must not! Such a dangerous thing—” (Ina)

“I…!” (Souma)

I won’t let you say what comes after.

I threw a strong heart and strong resolve towards Ina to blow away her unease. 

“I definitely won’t die. I will walk all the way to the end of that light path for your sake too, Ina!

That’s why, can you…” (Soumai)

—Please believe in me?

A silent question. 

Ina still had tears in her face with uneasy eyes, but…

“…Yes.” (Ina)

She answered with that. 

 

…The next day. 

We went to the Trial of Gods again.

“You are really going to do it? You could take more time to practice…” (Mitsuki)

“No, I will do it today. I have decided that.” (Souma)

I answered clearly at the last confirmation of Mitsuki.

Behind me there’s Ringo, Maki, Leila, Sazan, the Bear, and Ina’s uneasy face. 

Even so, I decided to do this. 

No, it is exactly because of that that I must do this. 

…Even though I am thinking that.

“Your hands are trembling.” (Mitsuki)

Mitsuki, who had approached me at some point in time, saw through me and my legs stopped.

Of course I would be.

This is different from all the adversities until now.

The skills, spells, and even the stats I have polished; they are completely useless here. 

I have to cross these short yet long 32 meters with my own two feet. 

It would be a lie to say my legs aren’t buckling in fear. 

Mitsuki whispered to me as if she had seen through my fear.

“I could take your place.” (Mitsuki)

That sweet invitation I would like to jump at reflexively. 

But there would be no point in that.

“Don’t be crazy.” (Souma)

Only the one who has taken the trial can use Ultihate. 

Also, most of all…

“I do have moments when I want to be stubborn. 

I am not standing down here.” (Souma)

It may be stupid pride. 

But I have no intention of backing down here. 

Mitsuki smiled at my words.

“I was sure you would say that. 

…Now then, please show me a cool sight that will charm me.” (Mitsuki)

That warm encouragement Mitsuki gave me with a smile…

“…That will be a bit impossible.” (Souma)

I responded with rejection.

Because…

“—I will be ending this in an instant, to a degree where you won’t even have the time to be charmed about it.” (Souma)

I passed by the side of Mitsuki, who had her eyes wide open in surprise, in a really good mood and…

I finally stood in front of the path of light. 

This will be an actual solo battle. 

Once I take a step here, I won’t be able to go back.

No, I won’t do that.

“…I will do this.” (Souma)

For the sake of defeating the Evil God.

No, for my own sake.

To bring peace of mind to Ina and my comrades!!

I imagine strength flowing through my whole body and I take a deep breath. 

I let out all the weakness inside my body, and fill my brain with only things I should be doing. 

…I am…ready.

“Go!!!” (Souma)

…Indomitable.

Now that I have begun moving, I definitely won’t stop! 

Having that strong conviction, I finally…

“Push.” (Souma)

—Push the switch in the stone slate. 

…And then, in what was 1 second in real time…

The me that walked straight ahead on the light path just as practiced…safely obtained the Absolute Divine Sword, Ultihate. 

——-

Presentation of small info on Nekomimi Neko.

[Shoplifting Dash]

The first one to overthrow this established theory of ‘Because you can’t use skills or spells in the library, it is impossible to steal books’ was this revolutionary technique.

The core of this technique is the Evil God Great War Recording at the center of the library. Because time is suspended while watching this recording, it won’t be a crime even if you bring out the book.

However, because you can’t confirm your current location due to your vision being blocked by the video and the senses of your body thinning out, you will need proper training to reach the exit. 

This extremely useful and practical bug’s downside would be that you can’t move the stone slate.

If you find a way to carry the stone slate out, please leave a comment in the Wiki! 

Author: Souma did say ‘I just have to go straight and touch the sword’, and yet, why did no one believe him?

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