The mist covering the field was undone with the Evil God falling, and I managed to reunite with my comrades and the citizens.
The battle from here on is basically a 3 stage battle.
The stage changes into an endurance battle where we have to destroy the regenerating Evil God’s core before the resurrection skill activates.
“Yeah, good work.”
I cut down the core that was about to resurrect and time it.
“…Yeah. The time since defeating it and the resurrection skill activating is around 1 minute.” (Souma)
It is actually 58 seconds, but well, that much is just a margin of error I guess.
This 1 minute is most likely the interval of the infinite boss battle the Nekomimi Neko developers deviced in their mind.
This is probably the time they give you to heal up or run away, but it does make me think that’s way too little time.
I recovered my HP to full again and watched the core crumbling, and Ina spoke to me from the side as if impressed and a bit taken aback.
“A-Anyways, that’s an impressive weapon.
Defeating the Evil God in one hit despite having resurrected several times and getting stronger.” (Ina)
“This is the template strongest weapon for the no-lifers in the Nekomimi Neko Wiki after all.” (Souma)
…The first thing of all is that being barehanded is weak.
In the case you attack enemies barehanded, the strength of that character will be counted into the attack power of the weapon, but if you are playing normally, there won’t be a time when the strength of the character will surpass that of the weapon’s attack power.
Also, even if the strength of the character does surpass it, barehanded is extremely weak as a weapon type.
For example; even if the attack power were to be doubled, the low weapon type modifier and the weak skills would make you deal low damage when punching.
Even if the attack power were to do a bit of work, you would be able to bring a lot more damage from using a random weapon.
But what comes here is Dark Schneider also known as the Fingerless Gloves which is calculated the same way as barehanded even when equipped.
If used alone, you would simply be getting the same attack power as when you don’t have it equipped, so there’s no point at all.
It is just a cool fashion item that the Nekomimi Neko staff gave birth to from their playful heart…is what was thought, but everything changed with synthesizing.
The weapon that has the Performance of the Fingerless Gloves transplanted will have the ‘Strength of the character be applied to the attack power’ which will make the same calculation as when barehanded.
In other words, if you bring a different weapon for the Shape, you will be able to overcome the biggest disadvantage of a ‘weak weapon type’ that barehanded fighting has, and you can use the attack calculation of it.
This discovery brought elation to the no-life Nekomimi Neko players, especially the ones that used the Seed Death Bug and the Butcher overfishing to increase their strength.
However, what surfaces with this is the durability issue.
The Fingerless Gloves only have 40 HP, so if you get the Performance of the Fingerless Gloves, it will break after using it 40 times no matter how weak the enemy.
This issue bothered the no-life players for a long time, but with patch after patch, this was compensated by the one other special ability of the Soul Eater.
When I spoke to Sazan before, I told her ‘there was a patch about adding the ability to absorb lifeforce to the Soul Eater, but it didn’t recover the HP of the character at all’.
But there’s a continuation to that story.
It is true that the HP of the wearer did not budge an inch even when punching with the Soul Eater, but something else healed.
…That’s right. The HP of the Soul Eater itself, in other words, its durability.
I don’t know what they did to mess it up, but the Soul Eater now had an irregular lifeforce absorption feature to recover its own durability.
It is full of things to retort about, but by using this special ability of the Soul Eater, you can use the Fingerless Gloves without issues even with its 40 durability.
Shape: Shiranui; Performance: Fingerless Gloves; Special: Soul Eater. For only the no-life players who have over 666 Strength and have obtained the Soul Eater from the Hidden Dungeon, this will become the strongest weapon there is.
As a result, it ended up being the last endgame gear for Nekomimi Neko no-lifers in the Wiki.
That’s why I got flustered when the Fingerless Gloves I finally obtained were destroyed by Sazan before the rewind, but…well, I can now use them like this as a result, so let’s say it is fine.
Because I didn’t do the Incarnation of Seed Death Bug or the Butcher Overfishing, my Strength didn’t go over 666, and I ignored this weapon, but my current Strength is over 20,000.
The weapon synthesized with the Fingerless Gloves has over 20,000 attack power, moreover, the Strength of the character is also calculated when attacking with the weapon, so 20,000 Strength and 20,000 weapon attack power, add that with the Otachi’s weapon type modifier and the proficiency modifier, and you get something outrageous.
Being able to cut the Evil God with True Shiranui when it has only resurrected a few times is normal, but…
“…The issue begins here.” (Souma)
I don’t know just how stronger the Evil God can get.
Just how far can this outrageous attack power in game standards be able to deal with the Evil God?
I won’t be able to know unless I open that lid.
“It seems like this will become a rough battle.” (Souma)
I muttered this bitterly as I sliced the Evil God’s core into pieces.
After that, I continued destroying the Evil God’s core like a routine and…
“…It should be about time.” (Souma)
Just as I anticipated, my surrounding conditions are slowly…slowly getting rougher.
I managed to defeat it with one attack until now, but I am beginning to feel strong resistance.
I couldn’t slice the core in one hit, so I ended up having to swing twice…then thrice…
Normal attacks were not sufficient anymore and I had no choice but to use skills now.
“…It is my limit. Everyone, please move away from here.” (Souma)
When I said this, the faces of my comrades that were watching over my battle against the Evil God from up close turned grim.
But there will definitely come a time when I will need to use True Instant Samidare Slash to defeat it.
I can’t drag everyone into that.
The first one to make a decision there was…
“E-Excuse me!” (Ina)
It was Ina who wanted to help out more than anyone.
She held both hands tightly as if pushing her own powerlessness inside of herself, as if praying for my victory, and…
“I…know that you are more amazing than anyone else, Souma-san!
That’s why…that’s why I will believe and wait!
I believe that you will return safely, Souma-san!” (Ina)
There were faint tears in the eyes of Ina when she said this.
Even when I am a bit dense, I could tell that she actually didn’t want to move away from here, that she wanted to help me out more.
“…I promise. I will definitely defeat this guy at its strongest and return to everyone.” (Souma)
I clearly said this and promised her.
I actually don’t know if I will be able to do that.
This is something I can’t do anything about with just my hard work. A gamble left to lady luck.
But something inside of me was telling me that this is the correct thing to say to Ina right now.
“…Yes! …I believe…in you…!” (Ina)
Ina couldn’t endure the rising emotions and smiled to the end even with teardrops falling down from her big eyes.
She bowed deeply at the end and ran to where the citizens were waiting.
The next one to move was Mitsuki.
“If it feels constraining from the many battles, please drink a potion.
It will just help to soothe it slightly, but oral intake should be able to heal the mental fatigue a bit too.” (Mitsuki)
She didn’t say anything unnecessary and just gave me practical advice as she left.
After that, the worried Ringo, Maki with her lips puckered, the mortified Sazan, and the pained Leila left the place.
The last one to remain was…
“Now that I think about it, I have also been in your care a whole lot…no, in the care of you two.” (Souma)
The cute plushie that has increased to two, the Bear.
“I have been saved by you guys a whole lot, but…if I were to fail, I leave the rest to you guys.” (Souma)
When I said this, the Bears grinned like usual, and…entered my bag.
Well, if they are going back to the bag, they would of course remain till the end, huh.
I relaxed for a moment there and felt unnecessary strength leave my body.
“Does this mean the Bear has saved me again?” (Souma)
I face the Evil God core again after feeling a bit lighter, and ready myself for the infinite battle.
My own breathing was hitting my ears awfully sharply.
How many times have I destroyed the resurrected core already?
I have stopped counting by the hundredth time.
I already don’t feel the passing of time.
The sun that was at the midpoint when I defeated the Evil God for the first time was already in the west sky.
Since then, normal skills have already become difficult to injure the core, and I had no choice but to lift the ban on the Instant Samidare Slash.
The power of Instant Samidare Slash really is on a whole other level.
I managed to destroy the core a few dozen times after that, but even that Instant Samidare Slash was unable to destroy the core in one hit anymore.
Right now, I am in a state where I have to repeat the Samidare Slash Cancel Movement to finally destroy the core.
Even with that, I felt like the number of required attacks with Instant Samidare Slash has dulled, but this is most likely because the attack power has increased.
This is just my assumption here, but the level is also probably increasing drastically together with the power of the Evil God.
In that case, as someone who is fighting and defeating it, my level and stats, as well as my weapon proficiency are increasing.
I am hitting it with a super multihit technique like Instant Samidare Slash against an enemy with a big level difference, so the Otachi proficiency increase shouldn’t fall short to the proficiency I get from Master Torch.
This is the reason why I can somehow cling on in this endurance race that I am on the verge of getting left in the dust.
There’s a miscalculation on the bad side too.
The interval for when the Evil God uses its resurrection skill is getting shorter little by little.
Looks like the time it took to resurrect not being exactly one minute but 58 seconds wasn’t a margin of error or measuring incorrectly.
I don’t have the leeway to measure it anymore, but the speed in which the core regenerates is slowly…ever so slowly getting faster, and the time it takes for it to activate its resurrection skill has been reduced to lower than half its initial value.
This was crawling at me, cornering me, like a slow acting poison.
“My head…hurts…” (Souma)
There’s no issues with the durability of my weapon, my stamina, or my status; they may increase with the ability of Soul Eater, but they won’t lower.
But the mental strength supporting them is a different story.
True Instant Samidare Slash takes extreme concentration just to succeed once, and yet, here I am, unleashing them consecutively with barely any rest.
Even if my body may not be fatigued, I can’t hide the mental fatigue.
“Damn it…!” (Souma)
I cursed at my head that was stabbing me in pain, brought out the rarest potion from my pouch, and gulped it down in one go.
I deceived my headache with this refreshing sensation just as Mitsuki said, threw away the flask, and ready my sword again.
“Give it…a break…already!” (Souma)
I activate True Instant Samidare Slash while shouting.
There’s already no spare time until the resurrection.
If I were to fail the combo once and I end up skill stunned, it might be irreversible.
That pressure was shaving away at my psyche.
“Even so! I can’t afford to give up!” (Souma)
Once, twice, thrice…
The repeated slashes like sudden showers finally scraped away at the core.
“Haaah…Haah…it is still not over?” (Souma)
The Evil God’s core was getting decently big.
I can’t see an end to it.
I glared at the gathering fragments leaving no time for respite, tighten my hands on my slipping grip, and unleash Instant Samidare Slash again.
Unleash, unleash, unleash, unleash, unleash!
A nightmarish time that felt like an eternity.
I am certainly destroying the Evil God core.
But despite all that, it is not ending.
Even though I should be moving forward here, I couldn’t see the end, only pain in sight, with a core getting bigger as it went.
—The Evil God’s core is still getting sturdier.
—My head felt like it was splitting apart.
—If I mess up once, it is over.
—My lungs are squeezing me.
—Aah, my head hurts.
My muddying consciousness and my numbing limbs.
I could feel the worm of weakness screaming as everything was sinking into stagnation.
—Hey, is there really an end?
My mirror image questioned me.
“…Shut up.” (Souma)
I had already swallowed that question since the moment I took the blade.
That won’t become my reason to stop at this point in time.
—Hey, is there really any point in doing something like this?
There obviously is.
Everyone acknowledged it.
That’s why I am standing here, fighting.
I won’t give up.
I must not.
—Hey, you actually already know that this is wasted effort, right?
That’s not true.
If I don’t give up, I am sure…!
—Hey, do you really think that?
This is not wasted effort.
It will eventually end.
I can defeat it.
—Hey, isn’t this in the end just your own selfishness?
—Isn’t your selfishness going to end your friends…the world?
“Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong…wrong!!” (Souma)
I deny it.
I deny it over and over and over.
I unleash Instant Samidare Slash over and over and over.
Over and over and over and over and over and over…
But it is not ending.
The core resurrected again, I unleashed Instant Samidare Slashes, and the questioning didn’t stop.
No matter how many times I denied it and denied it, doubts rose, and tightened their grip at me, attempting to sink me.
The hallucinations aren’t stopping.
“SHUT UP!!!” (Souma)
The moment I shouted and swung my sword, I lost my posture and my knees dropped to the ground.
—I must stand.
I reflexively thought this and tilted my head.
“Eh…? Why do I have to stand up again?” (Souma)
My mind turned pure white.
Even though I should have been doing something important here.
By the time I noticed, I had dropped my sword, and had collapsed in place.
I heard the scream of someone from afar.
“Leila-san! Place the fragments there inside the Cooler Box!”
“Its resistance to Time Stop shouldn’t be perfect yet!
If we do it well, we should be able to buy time! Quick!!”
They seem to be talking about something extremely important.
Even though I am thinking that, my brain is not working.
A shadow dropped above me.
That shadow had cute cat ears.
“Potion! Please drink it!
It should make it a bit better!!”
A bottle with transparent liquid was pushed onto my mouth.
I was thinking how pretty her voice is while seeing this.
“Please get a grip of yourself! …Kuh!!”
The owner of that voice brought the pretty bottle to her own lips and poured the contents into her mouth.
After that, her face suddenly approached mine and…
The cool and clear sensation being poured into my mouth made me reflexively gulp it down and…
I finally managed to regain my senses, and what was there were the faces of my comrades I am so familiar with.
Teary eyes were staring straight at me.
“Please listen here. I understand this is painful.
But I…I know this is something only you can do.
I hold pride in that.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki moved her face even closer to mine and strung words as if pushing her feelings directly at me.
“I might have no right to say anything here since I can only entrust this to you.
However…I want to see it…
The moment you win against the Evil God and become the strongest…!” (Mitsuki)
I was chasing after the dream of all gamers…to become the strongest…
“I-It won’t hold any longer, Mitsuki!!”
I heard what sounded like a scream.
When I looked, the fragments of the Evil God core escaped from the Cooler Box, and were trying to gather into one again.
I stopped Mitsuki who warped her face and was about to say something, and I stood up.
“Thanks. You really are my best partner, Mitsuki.” (Souma)
I walk past Mitsuki who had her eyes wide open in surprise, pick up Shiranui, and activate the skill.
“Instant Samidare Slash x10!!” (Souma)
More than thousands of slashes shaved away the core in the blink of an eye, crushed it, blew it away, and the core that was about to regain its shape changed into a mountain of rubble again.
The headache is not subsiding.
Maybe because I strained my brain too much, my vision was swaying, and I am by no means in a proper state.
I have decided to not give up anymore.
I won’t say such stingy stuff like wanting a break.
I will go at full power the whole time.
“I will tag along with you until the ends of time!
A Nekomimi Neko player is a tenacious beast!” (Souma)
I presented the core fragments gathering with an Instant Samidare Slash.
How much time has passed?
I cut, cut, cut, and cut the Evil God core.
Everything else aside from shooting techniques and fighting had disappeared from my mind.
Even the pain in my head had melted to the ends of the slashes.
Cut, cut, and cut again…
And then what happened…?
By the time I noticed, the world had dyed red.
The sun is already going down.
Right, I have to sleep.
My eyelids are terribly heavy.
I forget everything and let my body surrender to the curtains.
I slowly closed my eyes and…
The moment that nostalgic voice reached my ears…
Something hit my cheek and I woke up in an instant.
The one that kicked me just now when I had lost consciousness was the Bear.
“You saved me there, Bear! Right, what about the Evil God?!” (Souma)
I raised my face and what I saw was the Evil God’s core that was about to finish regenerating.
“DAMN IIIIIIIIIITTTT!!” (Souma)
It was an instinctive action that surpassed thought.
“MAKE IT IN TIMEEEE!!” (Souma)
I had forgotten to even use skills and reflexively dashed towards the Evil God.
If the Evil God were to resurrect here, everything until now would be wasted.
No, not only that, the world would perish, and all my comrades would die.
I stretch out my hand.
The Evil God’s core was pulsing, echoing.
There’s no time.
I stretch out my hand!
I don’t mind if my arm tears off as long as I make it in time.
I stretch my hand desperately with that desire.
That pulsing core…
What’s supposed to be an unfeeling core…for some reason looking like it had laughed loudly, and…
“—[Absolute Dis Aster].”
…The voice that declared the end echoed.
The last of the strength in my body left me.
I could tell my body crumbled to the ground.
—It is the end.
It is over.
I could tell the Evil God was making cracking sounds above me as it changed its shape.
Now that it has come to this, no one can stop it.
I have no memories of what happened midway.
I only had memories of the speed of the Evil God’s regeneration growing steadily faster.
—Was it impossible?
I couldn’t reach the strongest…the cap.
I couldn’t answer the expectations of everyone.
Vexation that made me want to scratch my chest away and emptiness as if a hole had opened in my heart were assailing me at the same time.
I suddenly felt a warm sensation wrap around my head.
The one who raised my head was Ringo.
Ringo was looking at me with her face drenched in tears.
A warm sensation fell onto my cheeks.
I felt bad that I am happy she is crying for the sake of someone like me.
“I am sorry… I couldn’t keep my promise…” (Souma)
When I said this with a voice so raspy it shocked even me, Ringo shook her head to the sides with such intensity it could have torn her head off.
“…You did your best, Souma! You did…your best…!” (Ringo)
“I see…” (Souma)
I could feel my heart clear up.
I might not have been able to reach the ‘cap’.
But I have defeated the core that even the outrageously strong Shiranui couldn’t destroy easily. Countless times, literally countless times.
Even if that Evil God wasn’t the ‘cap’ it was most likely the ‘strongest’.
—I would say I managed to fulfill half the promise, I guess.
I heard the flustered voice of Ringo, whipped my disobedient body, and slowly but desperately picked up my body.
—Even if I failed…
—Even if I couldn’t fulfill my promise…
As the one who began this, I have the duty of seeing the end with my own eyes.
The ‘change’ of the Evil God continued while I raised my head.
A protuberance grew on top of the core like a horn, something that looked like strings extended from the sides of the core, and wriggled.
It made creaking sounds, the shape of the body changed, and created a single form.
And then, those sounds stopped…
After finishing all of its ‘changes’, the one landing in front of my eyes was without doubt…
—A musical instrument.
“Eh? Eh?! Sou…ma?” (Ringo)
With the trembling voice of Ringo at my back, I dragged my feet unsteadily, and grabbed that instrument…what was once the Evil God…the Lute Dis Aster, and raised it high up.
And then, I shouted with everything my voice could offer, to make it reach all the people that were cheering for me.
“—I HAVE OBTAINED THE STRONGEST WEAPON!!” (Souma)