I normally say that I like Past Life Returner but I have not read it at all, not even the manhwa(comic). But this story is different, I love it. I...
Itai no wa Iya nanode Bōgyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu 369
Defense Specialization and Diving Suits
After receiving everyone’s parts and becoming able to dive even deeper, Sally started rowing her boat towards the place she had set her mind on.
“If only we could both use it, I’d ask Iz to make me one of those jet skis.”
Sally was craving for a little more speed, since traveling by boat was more relaxed than the 7th Layer’s horseback riding. Being able to explore at her leisure with Maple was fine, but a jet ski had its charm since being efficient was also important, which made Sally wish they’d both meet the DEX requirement to ride a jet ski.
“Well, maybe next time.”
At any rate, they were getting close to their destination. Leaving the possibility of using a jet ski for a future exploration, Sally put on her diving suit and quickly jumped into the water.
Below the surface of the water, there were a series of rocky mountains, revealing a landscape that seemed to have once been a mountain ridge. Sally felt as if she was a bird looking down on the mountains from the sky.
“Woah, this place is bigger than I thought… It must be somewhere around here, I think…”
It was the exact place the map she found under the guild home indicated. When she arrived at the actual site, Sally felt as if there was something going on with that place’s terrain.
“Okay. It’s no use to just stay here and look at the place. Let’s take a look.”
Looking at the scenery from above, Sally kicked hard on the water and went deeper. There had been no monsters to be found near the surface of the water, but some started to appear as she approached the surface of the mountain.
“Ah, these ones seem to be aggressive!”
Several sharks were heading towards Sally. Though she had already fought with many sharks that looked like these during the 9th event, those fights had been on the surface, which could be said was the most favorable terrain for Sally.
This time, however, she couldn’t afford to act rashly, even though she had fought against similar enemies before.
While she was exploring safely with Maple, Sally could confirm how her skills would change when used underwater. For example, “Icicle” is a skill that extends an actual icicle from the surface of the ground, so it couldn’t be used in places where the ground was so far down below that she couldn’t even see it.
However, Sally’s strength didn’t depend on her skills, and she was relatively good at underwater combat, so it would be safe to assume that she would face almost no problems as long as she paid attention to her timer.
As long as she was careful to avoid the shark’s water breath attack –which was a different color so that players could easily tell the difference with regular water while underwater– she could brush past them with her dagger. Now that she could increase her attack power with “Sword Dance”, deal additional damage with “Pursuing Blade”, “Fire Child”, and “Water Coat”, even a single basic attack had so much destructive power that it couldn’t be compared to the damage she could do during her first underwater battle, back when the game had been just recently released.
“These may not be the most suitable skills to use here, but it’s pretty effective anyway!”
Fire attacks had been made so that they weren’t as effective underwater, and water attacks wouldn’t work too well against monsters that could use water to attack as well.
Even so, the reason why it was more effective than expected was that she had maximized the attack boost she could get through “Sword Dance”. The increase in attack power was huge, since its trigger conditions were considerably strict.
Sally swam her way through the sharks, defeating them one after another. As long as they were just using their breath attacks, the fact that Sally was underwater would make no difference. Besides, the dungeon boss she had to fight to get her unique gear was several times much stronger than these monsters.
“Now for the finisher…!”
After launching herself like a torpedo, she sliced past the last of the sharks and then came to a sudden stop.
“Since I’m using ‘Water Manipulation’ while moving underwater, I might be able to move more smoothly than I expected.”
Unlike Maple, Sally’s “Swimming” and “Diving” skills were maxed out, and that put together with Iz’s support items for underwater movement, plus the bonus from the 8th Layer’s diving suit, made it feel like she had no time limit at all, as opposed to back when she was trying to obtain her unique gear.
Sally estimated that she wouldn’t drown as long as she headed straight to the surface, and darted towards the mountain’s surface before the monsters she had just defeated began to respawn.
“Okay. Phew… Let’s see.”
The flora and fauna that must have originally covered these mountains were all but gone, so there were no forests or such that could hide anything. Besides, since she was swimming in a place that was originally in the middle of the air, it would make more sense to search for caves or pathways.
“I hope there’s a dungeon or something around here.”
With that, Sally went deeper along the mountain’s surface.
Sally thoroughly searched behind the shades of rocks, looking for caves or other secret entrances. Since Maple and the others had helped her upgrade her diving suit so quickly, there were no other players around, so she had to find the place that would trigger an event all by herself.
The symbols she had found in the guild home’s basement only pointed to this general area in the mountains, so she didn’t know the exact location. It was still okay for Sally, since she didn’t have to resurface to reset her time as much, but there were still an incredible amount of places to search.
“It’s just rocks all around here, I wonder if there’s anything at all?”
As she went on, defeating any monsters that would try to interfere with her search, Sally eventually found a deep crevice halfway down the mountain. When she carefully approached it to see if there was something there, it seemed to continue deeper into the mountain, and Sally thought that she might have finally reached the place marked by those symbols.
“Alright, time to resurface for now…”
Instead of diving headfirst into the crevice, Sally returned straight to the surface. Her timer would reset instantly the moment she would get out of the water, so she thought about coming back with a full tank, so to speak.
“Phew… Alright. Let’s try to clear it in one go… Though I don’t know if there’s any point in rushing it.”
There were no players around so far. If that crevice were to lead to a dungeon, she could be the very first player to discover it. So she could aim to get her second unique series.
Without spending too much time taking a deep breath, Sally went back to the water, heading straight for that crevice. Although it was already quite far from the surface of the water, it was bright enough to explore at leisure underwater, and the visibility inside the crevice was also good.
Sally went deeper, sandwiched between rocky walls on both sides. The water was clear and she couldn’t see any monsters inside, so as long as she was careful, she would be able to find suspicious spots.
“…There’s a lot of them.”
The first thing Sally found was a myriad of holes in the wall, each leading to a different tunnel. Wondering which one of them would lead to the correct path, and intuitively understanding that there would be monsters lurking on the other side, she deepened her focus as she explored around.
“Has this turned into a fish reef?”
Pulling out her daggers and readying herself for a surprise attack, Sally checked inside the tunnels one by one. Despite her worries, there were no signs of monsters inside them. There were many types of tunnels, some extended to the back for several metres, some would come to a close dead end, and some of them were quite narrow, while others were wide. Each time Sally reached a dead end, she would turn around and check the nearest unexplored tunnel.
Since there seemed to be no monsters, checking each tunnel would be something she could do very quickly, and so Sally put all of her efforts into her speed in order to explore them all as fast as possible.
A little while later…
When Sally was about to check inside one of those tunnels, she saw a blue light coming straight from ahead, and a few seconds after quickly moving to the side, something that looked like a shark’s breath attack went past her.
“What? That was almost a bit too easy…”
Seeing how this tunnel had shown a different reaction from the others, and realizing that this one had to be the tunnel she had been looking for, Sally once again looked into the tunnel.
“Maybe it wasn’t a monster? Or did it retreat to the back?
There were no signs of movement in the clear water. However, there was no doubt that there was something hostile inside, so she proceeded inside while thinking about having Oboro use his “Spirited Away”.
Then, as she swam forward, searching for indications of sharks or any other monster, she came across something unexpected.
“Is this… a machine? Looks like something that’s operated by magic…”
What protruded from the wall looked a bit like a gun that was shining with a faint blue light. Sally thought it could be some kind of trap set there to catch an unsuspecting intruder, as she could still see traces of the light breath-like attack that had been fired from it.
“There’s some really cool stuff down here. Too bad I have this diving suit… I can’t take this gun thing with me.”
Sally started to think that maybe the treasure that was sleeping inside this mountain wasn’t just all gold and silver. It wouldn’t be strange that everything that used to be in this area before it became submerged still remained there, the same way the surfacing city on this 8th Layer was built on top of the old townscape.
Excited, Sally went deeper into the tunnel. Then, another blue light appeared ahead, except this time, multiple light bullets were coming at Sally at a high speed.
However, as long as there was enough room to dodge and she could see where they were coming from, there was no way they would actually hit Sally. The fact that she was underwater made no difference.
Quickly repositioning herself, Sally twisted her body to avoid the incoming light bullets. Contrary to her expectations, there were no signs of any monsters, and as the barrage of bullets went on, she wondered if there wouldn’t be a different kind of danger waiting ahead. Then, as she pressed ahead, the narrow tunnel led to a larger area, and Sally realized that this place looked like an ant’s nest-like dungeon built to show that it had been captured several times before it was flooded.
“…Is this all junk?”
In a vast room that was filled up with water up to the ceiling, there was a huge pile of tattered mechanical parts completely covering what would be its floor. Although there were some parts for upgrading diving suits to be found among all of that wreckage, most of it was basically a huge immovable object.
Wanting to take back with her as much as she could since she had plenty of time to move around underwater, Sally searched all over the place through the rusted mechanical parts so as to not miss any usable materials or gear, and then moved on towards the next passage.
This place, which Sally had originally thought was a fish reef, seemed to have been –either as a warehouse or as a dumpster– a place where many man-made objects had been piled up. As Sally moved, some of the still unbroken machines reacted, lighting up and shooting light bullets at her.
Sally kept on collecting diving suit parts she would find scattered here and there, thinking that these machines could be the reason behind the lack of living creatures in the area.
Since this place was one step deeper than what could be explored with an unupgraded diving suit, the amount of parts that could be gathered in it was considerably high, so it could be said it was worth exploring this mountain even for the parts alone. There didn’t seem to be any monsters around, and the only pressure came from those machines’ light bullets, which weren’t too intense anyway. Exploring this place wasn’t too big of a deal for Sally, who didn’t have to worry too much about her underwater timer.
However, this was a dungeon, so the moment she were to find a boss room, things would be different, and she would have to step up her game so that she could defeat it in one go.
Yet this was exactly what Sally was hoping for. All she wanted was to get new skills and new gear, not a place where she could just relax while collecting parts.
“I hope this place doesn’t let me down…!”
Hoping to find a boss room soon, Sally kept swimming towards the deepest parts of this cave while avoiding the light bullets the machines would fire at her every now and then.