Itai no wa Iya nanode Bōgyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu 381
Defense Specialization and Heavenly Light
As they kept taking the paths that gave Maple some sort of reaction, they could see clearly that the monsters in the area had definitely changed. Up until that point, most of the monsters seemed to have been made of water, but now most of them were golems made of stone or metal.
They were dexterous monsters that moved swiftly and were able to attack with great precision even underwater with both magic and physical attacks, but since they had lost the ability to bounce off attacks, it was easy for Maple to defeat them.
“So they can’t take all those bullets after all, huh…?”
“There’s no water current in these passages, and they’re pretty straightforward, so it’s easy to hit them!”
Even now, the barrage created by Maple’s freely deployed weapons had turned the approaching golems into light.
Since Maple’s shots dealt fixed damage, it would certainly become insufficient to quickly defeat monsters as they go to newer Layers and the monsters they encounter become stronger, but even so, not many monsters would be able to survive after plunging themselves into such a barrage of shots head on.
The monsters that they were encountering here weren’t weak, but at the same time didn’t pose a threat to them, so Maple and Sally were able to keep on pressing forward without having to rely on any special measures.
“Okay! We should be good if we keep this up!”
“…Normally, it would’ve been a battle against not only the unfamiliar underwater environment, but also against a wide range of attacks, but with you here, Maple… And since it seemed to be related to the temple, that cube might have been the main boss of this place. The boss is not always at the end of an event, after all.”
The two of them started to ascend inside the mountains. They couldn’t know their exact position because they couldn’t see from outside, but they were certain that they were slowly going up.
In this way, Maple and Sally destroyed all the monsters that appeared in front of them, and when they reached the top of one of the mountains, they stopped to take a look around.
When viewed from a distance, the visual effect of the water currents would get in the way, preventing them from getting a clear view. Although there was nothing in particular, it was flat and wide as if it had been flattened by something that had come crashing from above.
“It doesn’t feel like a mountaintop, but… It would be impossible to move directly from here to another location, and what about your reactions, Maple? … Maple!?”
When Sally turned to Maple, she noticed that the area around her chest was shining, and hurried to make sure she was safe.
“I’m fine! It just started shining all of a sudden…”
“That was some reaction, huh? There has to be something around here, let’s try to take a look around here.”
Maple started to investigate around the wide summit so as to not overlook anything.
Sally stuck close behind her, ready for an emergency evacuation in case anything bad happened. She believed that they wouldn’t have much of a problem since there were no signs of enemies nearby, that there would be no problem with no enemy shadow, but the next moment, Maple had suddenly vanished right before her eyes, leaving Sally to wonder about what happened.
There was no magic circle to teleport players outside of the dungeon, nor were there signs of any kind of monster. They weren’t in a place where they could have been easily ambushed in the first place. Sally rushed to check the place where Maple was heading to, but then, she noticed something coming out of nowhere out of the corner of her eye, so she immediately stopped and went back to that spot to see what was going on.
“Ah, Sally! Is everything okay?”
“Y-Yeah. I thought I felt something from over there just a moment ago. But… What happened to you?”
What was before Sally was actually Maple’s seemingly disembodied head, floating in midair. To be more precise, it was the frontal half of her head, making it look like a trophy hanging from a wall, but it was still quite a weird sight to behold.
“Can you come over here? Umm, let’s see… hand? Okay!”
After saying that, Maple’s arms stretched out of nowhere, just like her face. It didn’t seem to be a fake Maple, like that other time. Maple wouldn’t just try to pull Sally into some dangerous place without telling her about it first, so she saw no problem in taking her hand.
“Okay, got it.”
“Ok, keep coming towards me!”
After taking a step forward, she could no longer see her leg past her knee, almost as if she had gone through some kind of invisible wall. However, although she sustained no damage and she couldn’t see it, she could feel her foot stepping on the ground.
As Sally walked forward and slipped through the invisible wall, a dazzling light started to shine down on it. She then reflexively closed her eyes due to the difference of lighting from the water, but soon began to slowly open her eyes to get used to the light.
“It’s amazing, isn’t it?”
What was spreading before them was a landscape on the surface that they hadn’t seen anywhere in the 8th Layer. The ground was covered with flowers, animals could be seen running around, and the song of birds could be heard in the distance. And most important of all, it wasn’t submerged in water, and when Sally looked up, she could see an unobstructed sky.
Since they were no longer underwater, and seeing that Maple had already taken off her diving suit, Sally did the same.
“Is this some kind of isolated room? I don’t think we’ve been teleported here, though.”
“It seems to be connected to the outside through that spot we’ve just entered from!”
That could be inferred from the fact that Maple called Sally in with only her face sticking out.
The animals didn’t seem to be hostile either, and although they were aware of Sally and Maple’s presence, they simply didn’t seem to want to attack them.
“And that thing over there… is definitely suspicious.”
“Yeah, that! It has such a strange shape…”
Aside from the landscape and creatures that lived there, which were just like those found on the other Layers, there was one thing there that was impossible to overlook.
It was a large wooden ship that, though in shambles, certainly was still recognizable as such. There was a big crack on one of its sides, which had been completely eroded by plants, and had turned into a habitat for animals, but still made it possible to explore the inside of the ship.
“Is your light even stronger?”
“It’s a bit too dazzling now…”
Those changes on Maple and the fact that this place had a completely different atmosphere were proof enough that they were definitely approaching something, and that they weren’t too far from whatever it was.
“Well, I can’t go back now without exploring that first, let’s go!”
They still had plenty of uses left on those skills that had a limited number of uses. Since they had more than enough resources to spare, they really had no reason not to explore the ship, since they wouldn’t be killed unless something extraordinary happened.
“Where should we enter from?”
“Maybe through a proper door? That crack over there seems like trying to get in from it would be a mistake…”
“Then we’ll have to get on top of it. I could use my threads, but… It’s pretty high, so maybe you can handle this instead?”
“Okay! Wake up, Syrup!”
Maple summoned Syrup, and had him use “Megamorph”.
Since there were no monsters around, there was no need to rush. So they climbed on Syrup’s back and looked over to the ship’s deck, but there didn’t seem to be any monsters there either. Only small animals sleeping on carpets of flowers.
“Looks like it’s safe to walk on the deck as well.”
“Let’s descend there slowly then.”
Maple slowly descended to the height of the deck, and when they boarded the ship, she returned Syrup to her ring.
“Okay, let’s get inside!”
Maple and Sally walked down the stairs leading inside the ship to check things out there. However, the plants that had spread outside the ship were covering its inside as well, and the furniture that had originally been there was no longer visible.
“There doesn’t seem to be any monsters here either… But I’ll be on the lookout.”
“Thanks~! I wonder if there’s anything here?”
“If there is, it’s probably going to be in the back. Somewhere that is not directly connected to this room through other rooms or passages.”
“Let’s take a look!”
Although it was a large ship, the places that they could actually access were rather limited, so as long as Maple kept on moving according to the changes in her reactions, there would be no way to get lost inside.
And so, they didn’t take too long to reach their destination.
They had arrived at the relief of a wall –still unbroken because it was in the center of the ship– which was shining a faint light in response to the light coming out of Maple’s chest.
“Doesn’t feel like we’re going to be facing a boss…”
“Can I get closer to it?”
“Sure. I can’t feel any signs of monsters nearby.”
While Sally was watching out for monsters, Maple safely approached the relief, and the moment she touched it, the light emitted from Maple’s body suddenly became stronger and illuminated the interior of the ship.
Along with that, an earth tremor echoed, and the ship began to shake intensely.
It didn’t seem to be a natural earthquake affecting the mountains, but rather, it was more like the ship itself was being shaken by a yet unknown force.
Under such an intense light that made it impossible for either of them to see each other, both of them tried to adjust their posture to deal with the shaking, but after a short while, the light subsided and the shaking of the ship had stopped completely.
“…Maybe it can’t be shaken anymore. The ship may have been broken so much that it could be seen from outside.”
“I see… That could be it.”
If they had been able to move this ship around and take it home with them, it would have made for a great souvenir, but it didn’t seem like they would be able to do that.
“Ah, that’s right! Maple, did anything change? The shaking has stopped, but I haven’t heard any announcements…”
After being asked to check her items and skills, Maple checked herself once again.
“The ‘Heavenly Light’ is gone, and it looks like… Yeah, I have a new skill!”
“So that’s what it was. What is it? I’d like to see it, if that’s okay with you.”
Of course, Sally was asking to see if Maple’s new skill was something that could be used right away, and after Maple read its effect and confirming that, just like the item it had generated the skill didn’t seem to be bad news, the skill seemed to be safe to use, she gave it a try.
“‘Afterglow of Salvation’!”
When she activated the skill, the light that had been shining from Maple’s chest was reignited. A halo made of light, much shinier than usual, appeared over Maple’s head, her hair turned golden and her eyes turned blue, and a total of four white wings grew on her back. The ground under her feet started to glow. Sally was staring in wonder at the changes in Maple that had been more than anything she had expected, but then she approached Maple to see what it was like.
“It looks like an evolved form of your ‘Dedicated Affection’?”
“But it’s different! Look, ‘Dedicated Affection’!”
With Maple’s second activation, two more wings grew on her back, and another halo of light appeared inside the one she already had.
“What does it do?”
“Well… Allies within range will be more resistant to abnormal conditions, will receive less damage, and will gradually recover HP!”
“So it’s like a ‘Throne of the Heavenly King’ that allows you to move around…? How can we make it work for me…?”
Even with damage reduction, a blow is still a blow to Sally, since there would be no situation where she would remain alive after her HP had been reduced at this point, so recovery effects wouldn’t do much to her.
Besides, since it was a skill that worked under an area of effect like ‘Dedicated Affection’, Sally, who would often team up with Maple, didn’t really need to come back all the way here to get this.
“If you weren’t around, Maple, having multiple range reduction skills would be pretty strong, but… It’s a bit overkill.”
It was a fact that because of Maple’s natural defensive power and the effect of ‘Dedicated Affection’, there was little chance for those around her to get hurt at all. Maple, who rarely used damage reduction or recovery skills for reasons different from Sally’s, was in a situation where she basically used ‘Throne of the Heavenly King’ for nothing more than its sealing effect.
“But you look amazing! It definitely looks like an upgrade.”
“And I have more wings now!”
“If only you could fly with those…”
“I’d be dropping aerial attacks like there’s no tomorrow!”
Maple tried moving the wings on her back, but it didn’t seem like she could use them to fly.
“At least we got something out of this. Only that skill, right?”
“Umm, there’s also something that I think it’s similar to ‘Hydra’! And… something called ‘Reversal Rebirth’!”
“Let’s show these to the others! I think it’ll be easier to understand these skills with everyone around!”
With that said, Maple showed Sally the descriptions of her new skills.
“I see… You may be right about that. Chances are there’ll be lots of people around you when you use that one.”
“I know, right?”
“I think that’s great. Ah, make sure to put those new wings of yours away. You don’t want to end up wishing you’d saved those up for when it counts.”
“Yeah! It’ll be like some kind of trump card!”
“Right. I see you get what I mean.”
Now that they were done there, they reached out to those guild members who were still logged in at the time, and invited them to go to meet with them at the guild home before returning to the surface.