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Itai no wa Iya nanode Bōgyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu 374

 

Defense Specialization and the Underwater Temple

 

 

After riding over the water for a while, Sally took a quick look at the map and stopped the jet ski at a seemingly open spot.

 

“Is it here?”

 

“Yeah, there’s a magic circle at the end of the dive, but it seems that what’s past it isn’t actually underwater, it will not be underwater, so you won’t have to worry about your timer.”

 

Because of their extreme builds, neither Maple, Mai, nor Yui were able to learn the “Swimming” and “Diving” skills, so even in this 8th Layer, their underwater abilities wouldn’t get stronger than what their diving suits allowed them to do.

 

For that reason, capturing an underwater dungeon would be very difficult for them. So it was a blessing that the actual place they were heading for wasn’t underwater.

 

“How come it’s not underwater? That’s a bit strange.”

 

“Think of it like the room that Kanade told us about? He said it was isolated from the outside, as if a barrier was preventing the water from entering the room. The path to get there is underwater, though.”

 

“I should be okay as long as we hurry.”

 

“Yeah, let’s go, then.”

 

“Yeah!”

 

They put on their diving suits and jumped into the water.

 

“Have you already been here before, Sally?”

 

“Yeah, more or less. But this place is so huge that it made me wonder if I hadn’t overlooked anything during my search. But now you’re here too, Maple! There don’t seem to be any piercing attacks to worry about either!”

 

Sally pointed at a school of small fish that seemed to be swimming towards them. With that single piece of information, Maple nodded as if replying that she wanted to do it too. Maple was better than Sally when it came to dealing with multiple monsters, as long as they weren’t able to use any piercing attacks.

 

“‘Dedicated Affection’!”

 

Light overflew into the water, and white wings extended from Maple’s back. The school of fish rushed into a thin column-shaped barrier that surrounded Maple and Sally, yet neither of the girls took any damage.

“Thanks, Maple. Not all of them are going to be monsters all the time, but there are still quite a few around here.”

 

“I’m glad~ …Waah, it looks really nice from here…”

 

Actually, the fish were attacking them violently, but thanks to Maple, it felt as if they were staring at a school of fish constantly swimming in an aquarium.

 

The school of fish that surrounded them was reflecting the sunlight on their scales, and since it was a considerable large school, the whole scene looked like a giant pillar of light stretching to the bottom of the water.

 

“Only you can go through this barrier, right, Maple? Since there was no damage, could we leave this here? It looks so pretty, too…”

 

“Yeah! I wonder if I can grab one of those fish…?”

 

“With your stats? I wonder if they’ll make any difference?”

 

Maple tried to reach out to the school of fish that was spinning around them, but the fish were too slippery for her, as they would pop out of her grasp and sink to the bottom of the water.

 

“Aw, looks like I can’t.”

 

“They’ve gotten quite deep…”

 

Almost at the same time as Sally said that, the school of fish scattered and returned to the surface of the water, perhaps because they had wandered outside of their range of action.

 

“Ah! So they’re going back now.”

 

“I wouldn’t be able to see something like this by myself.”

 

“Ehehe~ You seem glad to have brought me along.”

 

“Yeah, this was no coincidence. So, there it is…”

 

“The underwater temple!”

 

Sally headed towards a collapsed building at the bottom of the water while leading Maple by the hand so that she wouldn’t lag behind her. As they swam through the wreckage of the former townscape, they came across the remains of a temple with thick yet tattered pillars. Though it had already been inhabited by fish and shellfish, they could still see the light emitted by the magic circle leaking through the gaps between the fallen pillars.

 

“Is this it?”

 

“Yeah, looks like it.”

 

“There was no way to notice this place was there from the surface.”

 

“It would be a good idea to start using unusual terrain as reference when exploring from now on. If there are no hints after a while, we should still dive for a while, since we might find something interesting, just like this magic circle.”

 

Even though the magic circle wasn’t visible from the surface, it was easy to find as soon as one dived deeper into the submerged townscape. Since the water surface was located where the middle of the air would be in the previous Layers, it was important to actually dive underwater and search every now and then, just as Sally said.

 

“We’ve been rambling on here long enough. Let’s jump in! There’s a gap up ahead we can use.”

 

“Can we actually enter through there!?”

 

The two passed through a gap between the fallen pillars and headed for the magic circle up ahead. Fortunately, since they were underwater, it was easy to maneuver up and down, and even Maple didn’t have a hard time overcoming any obstacles.

 

“Okay, we go in on three!”

 

“Sure. Go ahead then.”

 

“Alright, one, two, three!”

 

The moment they put their feet on the magic circle, their bodies were wrapped in light as usual, and the two were teleported inside the temple.

 

 

 

Once the light subsided and the scenery around her became visible, Maple checked the surroundings.

 

The two of them found themselves in a large space that seemed to have been built using pale blue bricks. There were holes in the walls at various locations that looked like tunnels leading to different rooms, and staircases and waterways stretched around all over the place. Finding the correct path to take seemed to be quite the daunting task.

 

After taking off their diving suits, they started to talk about which way to go next.

 

“What should we do? Do you know which way to go, Sally?”

 

“No, I don’t know that much about this place. Though I do know a few things.”

 

“Okay, then let’s split and search!”

 

“Sure thing. So, which way will you go?”

 

The tunnels coiled all over the place, so there were many routes to choose from. Furthermore, both of them had ways to move around in the air, enabling them to bypass most obstacles, so their options were endless.

 

However, they had decided not to move in the air by using Syrup or Sally’s threads this time around. Since, at first glance, the way around this dungeon was difficult to understand, they could end up taking some weird shortcuts and easily missing things they would need to either activate or interact with in order to proceed. And if that happened, they would have no choice but to return to the entrance and explore the dungeon properly, so it was better to just do that from the beginning instead.

 

Having settled on that, the two started by walking on a straight path.

 

“So, are the monsters here strong?”

 

“It seems that the monsters here have high stats and have no weak spots… And speak of the devil, here they come.”

 

A blue magic circle appeared on the floor up ahead in the tunnel, and a water pillar sprung forth from it. Pushing their way through the water pillar, several inorganic stone pieces began to link with each other through water, eventually taking the shape of two golems.

 

“So this is where the temple’s guards show up, huh?”

 

“Oh, so they’re protecting this place?

 

“Alright, let’s give this a try. ‘Quick change’.”

 

Using the skill she had learned, her usual blue gear changed into her new gray with yellow polygons unique set.

 

“Leave the defense to me! Go ahead and try out several things!”

 

Maple held up her shield and activated “Dedicated Affection”, ready to support Sally.

 

“Alright, here I come.”

 

“Here comes the support fire! ‘Deploy All Weapons’!”

 

After confirming that Maple had deployed her armament, Sally quickly rushed to battle. In response to that, the golems had closed in as well. Taking advantage of their special trait, which was that the stone pieces they were made of were linked to each other with water, they bent both of their arms like a whip and lashed them out with great force.

 

“Woah! Their arms stretch!?”

 

“No problem!”

 

Their reach overwhelmingly surpassed Sally, plus they were two attacks she had to dodge at the same time. She repelled the first attack with a quick swing of her dagger, and then transformed it into a long pike, which she thrusted into the ground and used to pole vault, launching herself onto the air once again. Then, she transformed her weapon back into a dagger so that she could repel the second golem’s attack.

 

“Ooh~!”

 

 

As Sally landed amidst Maple’s joyful cheering from the rear, she found herself having to deal with yet another arm attack by one of the golems.

 

“Phew…!”

 

She also had Maple’s defense. But just to test her new gear as much as possible, Sally transformed her weapon into a greatsword, which she used to smash the golem’s arm, and then turned it into a great shield to parry its next attack before turning it back into a dagger and taking a step forward.

 

“Haah!”

 

With the help of Maple’s covering fire, Sally slipped through the golem’s arms and slashed away.

 

The golems’ attacks, which couldn’t be parried well with a dagger, could be safely dealt with with a greatsword or great shield.

 

When Sally slipped behind the golem, she spun her body and, using that momentum, launched a side sweep with a greatsword to then back step for distance.

 

The greatsword had much longer reach than a dagger, allowing Sally to attack both golems at the same time.

 

As a result of the two flinching golems being stuck between Maple and Sally, one  started to attack Maple and the other one turned to Sally.

 

As they were wondering why the golem’s cores were shining blue, they shot a stream of water that looked like a laser from it.

 

“Waah!? I-It’s okay! It did nothing to me!”

 

Maple was watching Sally’s movements, so she couldn’t react and had to take the hit directly with her torso, though she received no damage. Instead, the laser Maple fired in return reduced the golem to ashes. On the other hand, Sally had also succeeded in dodging without having to rely on Maple’s “Dedicated Affection”, and then closed the distance with her opponent.

 

“Maple! Please deploy your left hand!”

 

“Got it! ‘Deploy – Left Hand!”

 

Seeing Maple activate her skill, Sally jumped into the air with a “Leap”, taking advantage of the momentum gained when avoiding the golem’s water laser, getting just above the golem, and thrusted her left arm in its direction.

 

“‘Deploy – Left Hand’”

 

Following Sally’s words, the choker on her neck began to glow, and a huge black barrel similar to Maple’s appeared on Sally’s left hand.

 

“‘Commence Attack’ ‘Reversal of Lies’!”

 

After charging up for a few seconds, Sally fired a crimson laser, which engulfed and disintegrated the remaining golem.

 

Having become a reality, the attack –whose power Sally knew all too well– took care of all the HP it had had left after being reduced by Maple’s artillery. Sally had been on the spot when calculating how much damage her attack would do, since it was a skill she had seen Maple use several times.

 

Sally landed on the tunnel as the golem vanished without a trace, and the weapon on her left hand, having finished its role, turned into yellow polygons and disappeared.

 

As Sally sighed in relief that everything had gone well, Maple rushed towards her.

 

“Sally~! That was amazing~!”

 

“I know, right? …Or that’s what I’d like to say, but this was the first time I was able to fight like this.”

 

“Yeah! You did really well changing weapons and using them too!”

 

“I’ve used several kinds of weapons in other games I’ve played. I’ve also done some training in this game with Mai and Yui’s help.”

 

Sally made it sound as if it was an easy thing to do, but it really wasn’t. In fact, even Maple still had a lot to learn with her Great Shield. Of course, even when narrowing down to a single weapon, it would take lots of time to become able to use it well.

 

“I’m going to keep these weapon transformations a secret until my next PvP. I bet it’ll be quite surprising to see a dagger suddenly turning into something with a much longer reach, right?”

 

“Yeah, I think so too.”

 

“That’s why I have to get as much practice as possible, since big weapons tend to leave big openings.”

 

Since the weapon still takes her dagger handling value into consideration even when transformed, there was no way she could learn special skills for each type of weapon to help cover for their weaknesses. So Sally had no other choice but learn how to use each weapon well and adapt to their faults while avoiding her own ability to use a dagger to unleash a flurry of attacks or take advantage of its versatility for defense to become stale.

 

“My ‘Reversal of Lies’ has a fairly long cooldown time, so it will take some time before I can try to use it again. But as you’ve just seen, it was just as if the skill I copied from you had been the real deal.”

 

“Yeah. But was it okay to just use my Left Hand? Wouldn’t you do more damage if you used my ‘Deploy All Weapons’?”

 

“I’m way more fragile than you, and using it would make it more difficult for me to move in the case of a counterattack. It would be too dangerous for me to use ‘Deploy All Weapons’. It would be too hard for me to twist and dodge with it.”

 

“Ah, you’re right.”

 

The reason why Maple was able to launch a barrage of attacks with her artillery while standing upright was thanks to her defensive abilities. In Sally’s case, being unable to move or dodge while unleashing the same kind of offensive would more often than not result in her dying the moment a single spell is used as a counterattack against her.

 

“In that case, I’ll try to use Left Hand more from now on.”

 

“That would help a lot. After all, I can use ‘Hologram’ on skills only if I’ve seen them being used by someone else within a certain time frame.”

 

“Okay~! Let’s carry on, then~!”

The two of them had just started exploring the temple, and were already setting out towards its inner part.

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