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 372
Defense Specialization and Skill Books
A while later, players had already begun to advance to the deeper underwater areas, and having upgraded their diving suits to the point where they could all explore comfortably underwater, all of the members of “Maple Tree” were now able to go deeper than before.
Since Sally’s suit had been upgraded before anyone else’s, it didn’t feel as much of an improvement over what she could already do, but now pretty much every member of the team was in line with her.
Although the 8th Layer itself was huge, the area where they were allowed to go was severely restricted, so it could be said that this was the crucial moment for them.
Meanwhile, far from leaving town, Kanade had gone diving under the guild home.
Since there were no monsters down there, he could explore the place at leisure, and eventually came across the stone tablets with hints that Sally had found before him.
“Is it here?”
Sally had shown him a photo, but it wasn’t a particularly difficult place to get to, so now that his diving suit had been upgraded as well, he decided he would go take a look at the place with his own eyes.
What Kanade was after wasn’t the map that Sally had talked about, but the stone tablet with those strange symbols. He picked up one stone tablet after another and checked them all.
“Yeah, now that I’ve taken a good look, there’s no doubt about it. This definitely looks like a hint of some sort.”
What Sally could only see as mysterious symbols, Kanade could identify as letters of some kind of alphabet. One of the many hidden elements scattered throughout the game, just like the many others he had already found. Kanade, who had gone to the library and stuffed his nose into book after book, knew that there was another language that he couldn’t normally read, just like these symbols.
“Hmm~ I was wondering if that hadn’t been a waste of time, but it looks like there was something useful there after all.”
However, this was the first time he had been able to get such a direct hint. While other players had been out on the field, Kanade had been exploring the town, and more specifically, the library. It was easy to encounter events that require you to use your head because they tend to be far from the events that make you run around the field and dungeons.
“Is this a Box of Wisdom? Took you long enough, huh? Hehe, if it doesn’t work, then I’d better give it to someone else.”
After reading it out loud so as to confirm what he was reading, Kanade nimbly swam back to the surface. With a clear destination seemingly set in his mind, he took a boat and rowed out to the field.
After rowing quietly for a while, Kanade checked the underwater area by looking through the transparent water to confirm he was at the right spot. The place looked just like a town, filled with buildings that had been built on top of each other. He could see monsters from the other side of the paneless windows and the doorless entranceways, and searching through all of those buildings seemed to be a daunting task.
“Hmm, there’s quite a lot of monsters.”
Wondering what to do, Kanade recalled the spellbooks he currently had. If he were to use them in tandem with Sou, their effects would be reduced by half, but he wouldn’t lose the spellbooks after using them. So as long as he was fighting only small fry, he could do whatever he wanted to a certain extent.
However, even though he had been able to make use of this hint thanks to him shutting himself inside the library, he hadn’t actually earned any experience during that time, so his level was actually lower than normal level players in the 8th Layer would have by now. For that reason, he feared he would have to make full use of “Akashic Records” and “Magic Record” in order to be able to fight.
“This would be much easier if I could wipe them all out with an insta-kill… Yeah, I’ll be in big trouble if I can’t beat these guys, so let’s keep things simple.”
After choosing his strategy, he jumped out from the boat into the water and started diving.
“Sou, ‘Mimic’ ‘Interception Magic’!”
After transforming into Kanade, Sou deployed four magic circles around him, which followed his every move and fired light bullets at any approaching monster as he dived deeper. Although this skill, which has excellent power and rate of fire, could be easily avoided, it was fundamentally strong against monsters coming straight at him, and is great for dealing with a large number of enemies. Since it was an automatic interception system that didn’t require any operation, it could be said that the fact that Sou could use it was quite advantageous.
“It seems to be quite narrow inside, I wonder if there are only a few monsters there? ‘Lightning Javelin!”
He dealt with the monsters that managed to slip through Sou’s defenses and focused on him by using one of the daily skills granted to him by “Akashic Records” Lightning ran through the water and gathered in Kanade’s hand, taking the shape of a javelin. After throwing it at a monster and hitting it directly, the lightning damaged not only it, but every other monster around it.
“Nice. Should I turn this into a spellbook?”
It was a simple and easy-to-use skill with few disadvantages, so it wouldn’t hurt to keep it. He was able to store the skills he obtained via his “Akashic Records” in a special, floating bookshelf. But even after being stored as a spellbook, he would only be able to use said skills once. This was why having Sou –who could easily use those skills without using up the spellbooks– as his companion was so important for him.
“I’ll do it if and when I have to use it again.”
After dealing with the monsters, Kanade approached the window of the tallest building, and entered through it after checking his remaining underwater time. Kanade’s underwater activity time wasn’t particularly long. He couldn’t allow himself to drown in the middle of his search through this tall building.
“I’ll resurface as many times as I have to. I’m hoping to see something interesting…”
If what was waiting for him ahead was what he expected it to be, Kanade believed he could afford to spend as much time as necessary.
Thinking that he might be coming down here and going back to the surface for a while depending on how much progress he managed to make, Kanade decided to go down inside the building, since there were only a few monsters inside.
Although the building was quite tall, the interior itself was not so complicated. Each building seemed to have a simple design, with either a staircase or a ladder leading down, so it was rather easy to reach the deeper parts of each building.
Trying to not overlook anything, but still rather hurriedly, Kanade checked the inside of each room while paying attention to his remaining time, and as he went down, the feeling about one particular room began to change after he had made a certain amount of progress.
“Uh-oh, looks like something’s about to happen.”
The same letters as those written on the stone tablets that made Kanade come to this place could be seen here and there on the walls and floor. While checking for traps, Kanade approached them and started deciphering them.
“I see… So it was an easter egg after all. Just like before…”
The reason why he had never seen anyone else taking up a combat style based on spellbooks was because, like many skills in this game, spellbooks were difficult to find by just searching normally.
And Kanade’s reason for coming to this place was exactly related to spellbooks.
The “hint” that led Kanade here was telling him that there was something here that could effectively enhance his “Akashic Records”, just like when he got his “Magical Record” before.
Kanade made sure once again that he had not misinterpreted the hints he found in those symbols and proceeded to the next room.
It looked like an ordinary submerged empty room with no furniture at all, but Kanade confidently touched one of the walls and activated a spell.
“Now, ‘Lightning Javelin’!”
The released electric shock spread all over the wall. Kanade stood there watching, and after a brief moment, a blue spider web-like pattern started to glow on the wall, and then it split into left and right halves, slowly opening like a door.
“Alright. Looks like there’s something after all.”
The convoluted hint had led him to a mechanism that would otherwise go unnoticed through normal gameplay. Convinced that it was meant to hide something, Kanade went through the opened wall.
“The next one… it’s here, isn’t it?”
To Kanade’s eyes, the answers were written directly over the wall as clear as day. Now that he was past the barrier of deciphering them, it wasn’t so difficult to interpret the hints. He advanced without hesitation through this hidden route, which involved opening more walls, floors, and ceilings inside this stone building.
Kanade carved the exact directions he had taken to come this far inside his head. He wanted to make sure that, even if it turned out that he wouldn’t be able to bring the reward back with him this time, he would be able to come here again without any problems.
After a while, Kanade calculated the distance he had traversed from what he had been able to see from the surface earlier and the room he was currently in, and as he arrived at what he estimated to be the deepest part of the building, a door with a slightly different feeling appeared before him.
Unlike the weathered building that surrounded it, the door looked particularly clean and somewhat otherworldly.
“Well, let’s see. There doesn’t seem to be a boss here…”
The door slowly opened as he approached it with caution. On the other side, he could see several illuminated bookcases standing next to each. As he carefully entered the room, Kanade realized that it was isolated from the outside water, as if there was a barrier preventing the water from coming into the room.
“I see, so I won’t have to worry about that anymore. I’ll be able to stay here for as long as I want.”
Kanade looked around the room checking for traps, and then stood in front of a table that was in the middle of the room.
A large number of puzzle pieces were scattered all over the table. The curious Kanade naturally picked up one of those pieces.
Perhaps he would get some kind of reward for solving it. Kanade was thankful that this room wasn’t underwater. He imagined that he would have had to go to the surface and back to this room again several times, but without any timer to worry about, he could simply concentrate on solving the puzzle.
After a short breath, Kanade sat by the table and stared earnestly at the puzzle piece. By looking at each of the pieces and studying the pattern they followed, he should be able to see which piece fits perfectly with each other.
Kanade ran through the puzzle with a dexterity that could not be imitated no matter how much one would try to, similar to Sally’s evasive skills.
“Are there any more hints here?”
The walls of the room were covered with bookcases, with books filling each of them to the brim. Since they had piqued his interest, Kanade put the puzzle piece back on the table, took a book from one of the bookcases, and flipped through its pages.
“Hmm, this adds more detail to the story of the 8th Layer I found in the guild home’s basement…”
Though the settings of the 8th Layer were written there, Kanade couldn’t find anything that would directly hint to a dungeon, or anything that used the symbols that only he could read for that matter. However, there was enough information there for him to be able to make a small prediction about the monsters and dungeons that would likely appear in the future.
Since everything he read would be firmly recorded in his head, it would be quite easy for Kanade to recall this information later.
Besides, it was much harder to get back to this room, so he thought it would be better to check every book and try to store as much knowledge as possible while he could.
“Too bad, looks like getting the next one isn’t going to be that easy…”
After reading through all of the books in a couple of dozen minutes, Kanade went back to the puzzle. In such a silent room, the only sound that could be heard was that of the pieces clicking into each other as the puzzle frame started to get filled with white pieces.
“I already got the hang of this thing.”
Since the pieces were completely white, he wouldn’t have the pleasure of seeing a completed picture, so the puzzle was actually a bit boring to finish.
He wasn’t planning to complete it this steadily, but Kanade didn’t seem to be playing by his usual rules.
True to his statement of “having gotten the hang of it”, after being focused on it for a short while, Kanade had finished the completely white puzzle incredibly quickly.
“Phew… Now what?”
Of course, there had been no mistake in the way he had slotted the pieces in, so the puzzle started to glow faintly in front of the expectant Kanade, and a Rubik’s cube similar to that Kanade had appeared on top of it.
“Yeah, just as expected. Great!”
When Kanade picked it up, it merged with his “Akashic Records”, becoming a single thing, just like when he had obtained his “Magical Record”. He looked at the result, checking his staff to see what was the new skill that he had acquired.
You can save skills that don’t use MP as “skill books” in your personal bookcase. The saved skills become unusable until their corresponding “skill book” is expended.
In short, it was now possible for him to save any skills that were outside of the scope of “Magical Record”, so with enough time and spadework, he should be able to exhibit an unparalleled strength.
“Now I have something really good to report to everyone. I wonder what they’re up to?”
Kanade left the room, thinking about the other guild members who were probably out there on the field. Since he was now more interested in his often-unpredictable guild members than in generally-predictable items, he seemed to be looking forward to learning if the other guild members had found anything interesting.