Itai no wa Iya nanode Bōgyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu 395
Defense Specialization and Arrival
As the two walked away from the field that was overflowing with ice, water, and green, the grass and flowers at their feet started to disappear, and the vast forest could no longer be seen.
The borderline of the two fields was like a mixture of wastelands and rich forest. And so when it came to which side had the advantage, it changed depending on where you were.
And once they had passed that border area, the field on the opposite side spread out in front of them.
Here, tall boulders stood as if to create a forest of rock, and the gaps between them were filled with sand. Electricity and flames shot from the boulders regularly, creating a distinct atmosphere in the field, much like the water roads and ice crystals on the other side.
Furthermore, instead of rivers, there were streams of thick running lava that illuminated the area.
“I guess we shouldn’t be touching that.”
“Yes. Lava will burn.”
Maple could do nothing against something that dealt fixed damage. No matter how high your defense ability was, it meant nothing if that wasn’t taken into account.
As they would need to cross the field in order to reach the town, that obviously meant they would encounter monsters along the way. And as the two walked through the rocky area, great lizards that were over a meter long began to slither out from behind the boulders.
“Hehe, I’ll use this! Deploy All Weapons!”
Maple’s weapons expanded out and indiscriminately scattered bullets in every direction. In general, dodging the bullets was impossible, and it hit the oncoming lizards one after another and chipped away at their HP. However, as this was still the ninth layer, it was not enough to destroy all of them, and they were soon surrounded by the lizards who then started to spew violent flames from their mouths as a counter attack.
“I’m retreating for now!”
As Dedicated Affection was not activated, Sally quickly made invisible platforms in the air and escaped into the sky in order to avoid getting hit. As for Maple, both she and the enemy were getting hit as they attacked each other. However, the difference in defense ability was too large. And though the lizards did have hard scales with impressive defenses, they were still far behind Maple’s body. Even as she stood within the flames, the weapons were remade every time they were destroyed.
Sally watched this scene after landing a short distance away.
“It’s…crazy that she’s fine. But I guess she can handle it.”
Maple’s HP bar had not even budged, and in the meantime, the lizards that had been hit the most began to fall and disappear.
If you had no real countermeasures, then it didn’t matter how many times you attacked, or how great your numbers were.
The flames around Maple decreased in size along with the number of lizards, until it finally disappeared entirely.
“That was a little dangerous.”
“It’s fine if it’s just normal flames!”
“So lizards are fine… But we’ll have to see the other monsters.”
“You know. If they are going to use this field as it is for the fight, then it’s possible that the monsters will appear as well, right? So it will be better if there aren’t too many monsters we’re not good at fighting ahead of us.”
“Ohh! That’s true!”
“I don’t want it to be sealed off, but I don’t want there to simply be a lot of aggressive monsters either… Especially if we don’t know how to deal with them.”
“Hmm. Hmm. I see…”
Maple decided that she would also keep track of what kind of monsters were here. Unlike past times, the content of the next event had been disclosed quite early, and so even during ordinary exploration, you would pay attention to different things more than usual.
“So, I guess that means we should search for good hiding places!”
“Yes. It will make it harder to get ambushed and easier to ambush others. Also…we won’t have to worry about jumping into a puddle of lava.”
“Now that sounds important!”
In that case, it seemed best to go to the town while observing the monsters for now. And so they decided that they wouldn’t fly in the sky on Syrup, and would instead inspect the terrain as they walked.
Like this, they arrived at the town before too long, and then they looked back at the monsters they had encountered.
“Uhh… There was the big cactus that shot its thorns, a big bug that came out of the ground, and fire and thunder versions of that ice block that we fought during the quest!”
“I think it was just the cactus. As far as enemies with piercing ability. But I’ll do some research later.”
Upon seeing the thorns shoot out, Maple had assumed by their appearance that she could not allow them to hit her, and so she had guarded with her shield. But that also meant that she didn’t know if it was true. If those numerous thorns really were a defense piercing attack, as Indomitable Guardian was weak against multistage hits, Maple’s HP would be in danger if it hit her directly. However, judging by their effects, it seemed like there wouldn’t be a problem with the other monsters, and so she had allowed herself to be hit, and confirmed that they were not piercing attacks.
Also, and this was something they knew after fighting the great lizards, the monsters that appeared in this field were completely different.
“We might have to think about attributes and attack method compatibility as well.”
“There is so much to think about!”
“Well, there is a lot more that every player can do now. And I guess that means there is more to consider.”
When your level was still low, and you had few skills, you were limited in terms of options to begin with. So most of the time it would be pointless to even think about it. However, it was no longer the case.
“Though, these monsters are weak enough that we could just use brute force when the time comes. But, you know, just in case.”
While some of the monsters were a little dangerous, they were still the kind of monsters that were always appearing on the field. In general, they were there for players to defeat for experience points, and so they were not especially strong. It would take boss monster class enemies to push players of the ninth layer to the brink.
“There’s no point in just talking. Let’s go in.”
The two had already reached the town’s entrance. The high wall that surrounded the town, as well as the buildings that could be seen through the gates, had a black color scheme. And just like the other side had used ice and water decorations, here there was thunder and lava around the town.
Compared to that white country brimming with water and nature, this place had an ominous and harsh atmosphere that could be felt as the two stepped foot inside.
The first thing they realized upon entering the town, was that there was no discrepancy between the two countries when it came to facilities. A straight, wide road stretched out from the gates, and familiar NPC shop signs could be seen in practically the same locations.
If there was one big difference, it was that aside from players, there were fewer people here.
That being said, that was only the number of humans. Because many of the NPCs here had beast ears and tails or dragon wings. Features that humans did not have.
“I see. So this is what this side is like.”
“It’s kind of like the fourth layer!”
“It is similar, huh?”
The two looked at the town as they made their way to the castle, just like they had before. The quest they had already accepted was automatically put on hold, and the new quest to head towards the castle was started.
As they had expected, each country had their own quest, and you could not accept both at the same time.
“Well, I suppose you’re supposed to choose one.”
“It looks like it!”
As the process would be the same here, they just had to go towards the castle, slightly above, in the same way. Which meant going down the main road and up the long flight of steps.
When they finally arrived in front of the castle, they were greeted by dragonfolk soldiers who were standing there. They looked like the ones they had seen before in the floating castle, where everything, including their faces were that of a reptile.
So it would be like the other side, and they would be taken to the king for now. As they walked through the castle, the guards would occasionally give them some minor information about the king and the country.
“Our king is very strong. I’m sure she’d be in the throne room at this hour, but…be careful that you don’t say anything strange, or she might crush you!”
The dragonfolk guards said with a laugh.
“Wh-what kind of person is she…”
“Perhaps she is the type to use more force than the other king.”
The other one had an appearance that suggested magic combat rather than a physical fight. But from what they had heard, this one was likely more of an infighter.
“If that’s the case, then the king from the country of water and nature might be stronger when it comes to opposing sides. Though, it’s not yet clear if he’ll help us.”
Considering the number of players, it could be predicted that there would be multiple clashes between large groups all over the place.
In that case, no matter how strong you are during close-range combat, there would be things you couldn’t deal with if you only have one body.
But with magic, you might be able to cover for those weaknesses.
“Besides, Kanade has a few magic books that allow attacks with ridiculously long range.”
“That’s true… Not being able to get close can mean trouble, but magic is great because it doesn’t have that problem!”
With Maple, due to her status, there were often times when she couldn’t get close to an enemy, and so she understood well how important range could be.
Like this, they eventually reached the room the king was in, and just like before, the guards opened the door and they were invited in.
“It’s so big…”
“It really is!”
At a glance, this throne room was at least 1.5 times larger than the one from the water and nature country. Furthermore, aside from the kingly figure who sat on the throne, there was no one else in the room, which made it look even bigger.
“King! You have guests! Travelers!”
Said the guards, and then the king got to his feet. And then, the king’s knees bent, and she leapt powerfully into the air, and after closing the gap between them, landed quietly on her feet.
Now that they had a closer look, they could tell what kind of person this was. She was just a little taller than them, and had black hair that was slightly longer than Maple’s. And though she was slender in build, what was more notable was the fact she was covered in hard-looking scales, had sharp claws protruding from her hands and feet, and had dragon wings stretching out from her back. And then there was the large tail.
After looking at them appraisingly for a while, she stepped back with a satisfied expression. And then her tails and wings turned into black light before disappearing, and her hands and feet transformed into those of humans.
“Oh? Looks like we have even more weaklings!”
“People aren’t always what they seem. Isn’t that true about you, Your Majesty?”
“Haha! That is true. Travelers. You have come far! I welcome you to this country!”
And so once again, the two heard the welcoming words, and listened to the talk related to the upcoming event, and the explanation about which side they would belong to, and about quests.
“I will have no mercy if you become our enemy. If you don’t want that, then you should join us!”
Said the king after the explanation was done. Clearly, she was very confident in her strength. And then she ordered the guards to escort the two outside.
On their way out of the audience chamber, the two shared what they had felt during the short visit.
“…I wasn’t expecting that.”
“She does seem really strong!”
“If it comes to a fight, we’ll have to take into account that mobility she showed in the beginning. And she’ll likely be able to fly with those wings… But compared to the other king, it’s easier to imagine what the fight will be like?”
As expected, this was someone who had the air of a strong physical fighter. And if she had the strength of a dragon, then her attack ability must be very high.
“Also, humanoid enemies that are fast have the advantage of being a small target.”
“It sounds very persuasive when you say it, Sally.”
At least, it would be back-breaking work for Maple to keep up with that speed.
“If we’re going to have to fight against a king, I think it will be easier for us to side with this one. Besides, your area magic will be a good fit. You know, because that old man looks like he’ll use magic.”
“I see, I see.”
That being said, this was still all speculation at this stage. And so their decision would depend on the information they gathered after this.
Regardless, they had been able to meet the leaders of both countries, and seen some of the monsters. It was from here that they would start gathering information so they could decide which country they would ultimately join.
“There is still plenty of time until the event, so let’s take it easy.”
They had only just started exploring the ninth layer. And so it was from this point that things really started.
With this new piece of information acquired, the two left the castle behind them.