Itai no wa Iya nanode Bōgyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu 388

 

Defense Specialization and Each of Them

 

 

As the days went by, Maple and Sally kept on enjoying themselves on the 8th Layer, trying out their new skills and equipment.

 

“I have to ask Iz to make me a lot of bombs so that I can use ‘Ancient Weapon’ whenever I want!”

 

“Wouldn’t it be better to use something smaller, something that doesn’t, well, explode? I mean, bombs make it harder for us to take a stealthier approach…”

 

“Yeah, lots of bombs exploding around are sure to give us away… Ah, how about I use some kind of firearm instead? Iz made some cannons for me…”

 

Sure enough, Maple could fill up her gauge simply by standing in front of an unleashed automatic weapon.

 

“But how about how something like that is going to look? Well, not that blowing yourself up with bombs is any prettier…”

 

The two of them continued to chat while feeling the sway of a small boat. They had reached a point where they had managed to get all the skills they had been going for, and they had also done quite a bit of exploration in the 8th Layer.

 

Since they were at a point where clues and hints would be hard to come by, exploring wasn’t so easy. That’s why, instead of wasting themselves on wild goose chases, they would just take it easy for the time being.

 

“Ah, by the way, it looks like some info about the next update came out today.”

 

“Huh, really!?”

 

“Yeah. Or should I say, it’s about to come out.”

 

Just as they had started talking about that, they heard a notification sound that indicated they had received a new message, which was from the GMs, and was about the game’s next update.

 

“Umm, they’re releasing the 9th Layer! That was quick~”

 

“It’s been a while since we started enhancing our diving suits. There are some places we haven’t been able to explore yet, but a change of scenery would be nice…”

 

They could always return to previous Layers whenever they wanted. The “Hydra” and “Evil Eater” Maple had obtained in the beginning were still there, so there would surely be other things they could obtain and make good use of even when returning to previous Layers.

 

They could simply go wherever they wanted and explore it at their leisure.

 

“And there’s more. There’s also something about the next event they’ll do after releasing the 9th Layer.”

 

“Let’s see… A large-scale PvP between two teams…?”

 

“There’s not a lot more info in here, but your new skills should come in handy for this event, right?”

 

“Same goes for you, Sally!”

 

“Yeah. I have to keep practicing and developing new ways to catch people off-guard.”

 

In order for Sally to use her new skills more effectively, she had to anticipate situations and think about their opponents’ movements in advance. That was the hardest part of her skills, in that it wasn’t a matter of simply activating them and letting them do their thing.

 

“The dungeon that will be leading to the 9th Layer isn’t too far from here, wanna check it out? We won’t be able to capture it until the next update, though.”

 

“Yeah! I want to see what that place looks like!”

 

They didn’t know if it would be a place they could reach simply by diving, just like the places they had captured thus far. In case they were going to be diving for a long time, they would need to have Iz get some items ready for them.

 

Because of the relatively short distance, they kept on going by boat instead of swapping it for the faster jet ski. After reaching their destination, Maple nodded many times as if trying to make sure they were at the right place.

 

Before them loomed a long and wid tower that stretched far to the bottom of the ocean. The top of the building protruded from the surface of the water, and looking at the submerged sections revealed traces of repeated extensions so that their occupants could escape the rising water. Naturally, the further down they looked, the more tattered it seemed to have become, and they could also see that it had been subject to a great deal of erosion.

 

“Can we go down from here?”

 

“Looks like it. We won’t be able to enter from the middle, so we might have to enter from the top and work our way down.”

 

Although the tower itself was in a pretty bad shape, there were no windows or large holes on it, so trying to use a shortcut to get inside would be pretty difficult.

 

“We should be okay if we bring the whole team!”

 

“I don’t think there are many opponents who can beat the eight of us.”

 

“That’s because the guys are so strong!”

 

In fact, it would be harder to find a monster that could defeat Maple and her friends. And even if it were, it would be very unlikely that there would be no way to weaken it. Otherwise, such a monster would be practically unbeatable.

 

“I wonder when we’ll be able to capture this place. Hmm?”

 

“What’s wrong, Sally? Ah!”

 

When they looked up at the sky, there were two big shadows. One was that of a dragon that shone white under the sunlight. The other was a phoenix with wings that burned like the sun itself.

 

“Mii! Payne!”

 

“Hello Maple. It’s no coincidence that we meet here. I take it you’ve come here after receiving that message from the GMs?”

 

“Yeah! You too, Mii?”

 

“Well, something like that. I was already in the neighborhood, so I figured I’d come check things out anyway.”

 

“And Payne as well? You came all this way to take a look at the dungeon?”

 

“Well, it’s going to be a new underwater dungeon that will take some time to be captured. Everyone is going to try to capture this place, and I think that anyone can understand the strength of a player who has already explored it.”

 

Rumors fly fast. Once the dungeon was captured, stories of how it was done would be some of the first topics soon after the 9th Layer’s release. Knowing the dungeon’s layout in detail could help an experienced player know what kind of skills those who had explored it possess, based on the rumors that spread in the forums.

 

Being able to anticipate that there might be things completely strange to them could drastically change the situation.

 

“So you’re basically here to do research for the PvP event, right?”

 

“Of course. We will be split into teams, and if we end up against each other, I’m going to want my revenge.”

 

Ever since the 4th event, they had only been fighting together as a team instead of against each other. Maple and Sally had become much stronger since then. But surely Payne had become much stronger as well.

 

“W-We’ll do our best!”

 

“Let’s put our every effort for both enemies and allies. If we fight with that in mind, this time victory will be ours.”

 

“Same here. Things had gone pretty badly for us back then, but we won’t let that happen again.”

 

“We… won’t lose either! We’ll all work really hard!”

 

After Maple said that, both Mii and Payne laughed a little as if they had half expected her to say something like that.

 

“Okay, I’m off. I can’t wait for the next event.”

 

“See you later, Maple. If we meet on the battlefield, I won’t hold anything back.”

 

With that, Payne disappeared into the dungeon, while Mii went off to the edge of the field.

 

“That’s right. We might end up fighting them again.”

 

“They’ve become strong. They seem much more powerful than when we last saw them in the 8th event.”

 

It had been a long time since they last faced them as enemies. Their level had increased quite a bit, and of course their skills would have also improved. Their tame monsters had also grown quite a lot. They too seemed to have become very powerful as well.

 

Things would only get more and more different from what they used to be.

 

“We’ll have to come up with a plan again. Your skills have also gotten quite a few new skills, Maple. If you use them all well enough, you should be able to turn a battle upside down.”

 

“Let’s think together then!”

 

“Ah? Okay, since you’re the one who uses those skills, maybe we should think about the ones that are easier for you to use.”

 

As she kept on playing the game, Maple had gradually learned what actions to take and how to move to get better results. And knowing made room for Maple to think.

 

“Your idea worked really well back in the ‘Lost Legacy’ dungeon… So let me know what you think. I wanna hear more good ideas like that one.”

 

“Ahaha, that was just dumb luck.”

 

She had been lucky enough to be able to perfectly match her “Ark” to that laser, despite not knowing anything about its firing rate.

 

“When I saw you using your ‘Spirited Away’ to avoid attacks, I thought I could do something similar with my ‘Ark’.”

 

“I’m sure you can get the timing correctly, and not by chance, with practice.”

 

“I guess? Should we give it a try?”

 

“…That’d be a great help. It seems to be really easy to incorporate into any strategy.”

 

“Ehehe, then let’s give it a try!”

 

“Yeah. Sounds good.”

 

Seeing Maple’s positive approach, Sally happily nodded.

 

Then, a few other players started to appear shortly after Payne and Mii had left. It wasn’t surprising to see players coming to preview the dungeon they were supposed to capture in order to access the new 9th Layer. That’s why Maple and Sally themselves were there, after all.

 

“Do you think they’ll get in the way?”

 

“I think we’ll be fine, but we’ll also have to watch our mouths.”

 

Talking about such important things related to their strategy in a place like this was like asking everyone to hear you.

 

As they started to think about going somewhere else, several familiar faces approached them by boat.

 

“Ah, it was really them!”

 

“Seems you were right. But it’s not like you can actually mistake anyone for someone else, Will.”

 

The ones that had arrived were the big fish of “Thunder Storm” and “Rapid Fire”. It seemed that one of Wilbert’s skills allowed him to see and recognize things from a really long distance, much like a scope.

 

“I’m really sorry. I figured you were around because I heard you talking…”

 

“It’s on! PvP!”

 

“Oh yeah. Looks like you’ve been waiting for an event like this, haven’t you?”

 

Velvet nodded energetically in response to Sally’s question.

 

“That’s right! I wouldn’t mind having you as a teammate, but I’d prefer it if we were on opposing sides this time!”

 

The straightforwardness of those words took both Sally and Maple by surprise.

 

“…At least that’s what I’m feeling right now.”

 

They didn’t know the exact reason, but if Hinata said so, then it was probably so.

 

“And it’s not going to be just during the event! I’ll challenge you to a fight whenever I have the chance to!”

 

You can have PvP duels anytime by challenging someone to a duel, but the tension in a one-time event and the fun of winning had a completely different feeling to it. Maple couldn’t really understand that difference that much, but Sally could clearly see it.

 

“Is that so? Then I guess we’ll have to come up with a strategy to defeat you.”

 

She had stated that if given the option to choose which side to take during the event, she would definitely go to the side opposing Maple and Sally.It was declared that if there was an option in the camp decision, it would definitely go to the other side. If she wouldn’t become a teammate, then Maple and Sally would have to take more solid measures with her and her team than with Payne and Mii, who haven’t yet stated which side they’d prefer to take.

 

“You’re quite enthusiastic about it. Ah, we haven’t decided anything about that yet. For the time being, at least.”

 

Apparently, Lily and her friends had yet to choose a side.

 

“…That’s fine too. You don’t have to announce such things like Velvet here…”

 

Hinata nudged on Velvet’s side as her teammates warned her that she was talking too much.

 

“Still, we won’t be defeated easily, no matter who our opponent is.”

 

Wilbert spoke with self-confidence. And he had the ability to back those words up.

 

“Sure thing. If we end up being enemies, I hope we have a great fight.”

 

Quite some time had passed since everyone took part in a full-blown PvP event. Everyone was aware that all other players had grown, so until the 9th Layer was released and the next event was put in motion, they would all be trying to probe each other.

 

“So it’s settled then!”

 

“Yeah! This time, we have Hinata on our side! There’s no way we can lose!”

 

A team’s good synergy makes it stronger when fighting in pairs. Maple and the others knew this well, too. Sally had won duels thanks to this too, but she knew that a good synergy wasn’t everything.

 

“That’s still a long way off, though. Until then, we all have to improve our skills.”

 

According to the event notification, they wouldn’t not known who would be in each team yet. All they could do was to improve their abilities and get information about other players.

 

“Will you be heading inside, Velvet?”

 

“Yeah! We’ll be going in after this!”

 

“If we can see others close by fighting as we go, it makes little sense that I refuse to go with her.”

 

Hinata’s troubled expression seemed to indicate that she knew that Velvet wasn’t trying to do any kind of research, and instead was simply being her usual self, with no signs of stopping.

 

“Are you two guys coming as well? Let’s set up a party!”

 

“What do you think, Maple?”

 

After thinking about what to do for a little while, Maple finally replied.

 

“Hmm… I was thinking about going in with the rest of our guild… Sorry! Maybe some other time.”

 

“No biggie! There’s always next time!”

 

“Yeah! Thanks for understanding.”

 

Just like Payne, the four of them disappeared into the dungeon. After seeing them off, Maple and Sally once again began to row their boat.

 

“Everyone seems very eager to take part in the next event.”

 

“Fighting monsters and exploring sure is fun, but players want to fight other players as well.”

 

“And you’re good at that too, Sally.”

 

“…Yeah. I wonder if I like it because I’m good at it.”

 

As Velvet said, it was an event that allowed players to fight each other, so winning and losing would really make a difference. It made sense that some players were motivated.

 

“So all we need to do is to explore the new 9th Layer when it opens, and then get ready for the event!”

 

“…”

 

“Sally? What’s wrong?”

 

“Hmm? Ah, I was just… thinking of a strategy. But there’s a lot I can’t do without knowing the event’s exact battle format.”

 

She had just realized that there were still going to be full-scaled PvP events. There was a chance that they would be competing for some kind of special item like on the 4th event, and it was also possible that it ended up being a battle royale.

 

The best way to fight would change depending on what kind of battle it would be.

 

“I can’t help worrying about it now, but maybe we should focus on getting to the 9th Layer. You might get stronger before the event even starts, Maple.”

 

With a new Layer comes an abundance of new dungeons and events. And these in turn could allow for growth in a completely new dimension. Of course, it was unlikely. However, the monster that Maple was had been created as a result of a series of unexpected happenings, so Sally couldn’t say that it wasn’t possible.

 

“Okay~ I’ll do my best!”

 

“Same here. I have to work hard to completely master my new skills.”

 

Sally had yet to get fully used to fighting with her new unique set by that time. From this point on, she wouldn’t be facing just monsters, but top-class players as well. So far, she had only been using her ability to copy Maple’s skills with her “Reversal of Lies” and tried changing her weapon into several other types of weapon. She would have to become able to use all of her skills to the fullest.

 

“Shall we head back then?”

 

“Yeah! I’m surprised to see so many people around here~!

 

Since they couldn’t capture the dungeon yet, the purpose of their visit was to check how things were in the area, and to judge the dungeon’s size based on its position and outer appearance. And with that purpose fulfilled, Sally began to row once again.

 

Since this was a more leisurely trip than when using a jet-ski, Maple took out a fishing rod and cast her line into the water.

 

“Hehe, I wonder if you can actually catch something before we’re back?”

 

“Y-You’ll see! I’ll catch at least one!”

 

Nothing had changed for Maple’s fishing speed since she started playing the game, so the time it would take for her to actually catch something hadn’t changed at all.

 

Sally secretly slowed down a bit as she rowed back to town so that Maple had a better chance at catching a fish.

 

Though the trip allowed for some leisurely time, Sally seemed to be immersed in thought.

 

“…Whenever I have the chance, huh…”

 

She softly repeated Velvet’s words, not for anyone else to listen but herself. Those words were carried away by the gentle breeze and muffled by the sound of the water made as she rowed.

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