Itai no wa Iya nanode Bōgyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu 390
Defense Specialization and the 9th Layer – 2
The party of eight that arrived on the 9th Layer was at a loss for what to do next, since they had two different roads to choose from in front of them, each leading to a different side of the map.
One side was rich in nature, and had an area where objects made of water and ice floating against gravity. A town colored in white could be seen behind it.
The other side was a wide wasteland with lightning bolts filling the sky and flames burning the ground. A town colored in black could be seen behind it.
“Which way should we go?”
“Maybe there’s no big difference in their features, but… each of these areas certainly have their own atmosphere, we should probably go to the one we like the most.”
“There’s so much we don’t know yet… Will we be prevented from going into either town as soon as we enter the other? Can we visit both towns?”
However, there had been no message from the game admins about having to make a choice. It was unlikely that they would have to choose either town as a base of sorts.
“Then… Let’s start by exploring that forest!”
Maple pointed to an area with flowing water, a rich forest, and the large ice bridges and stairs in between.
“Okay, let’s start over there.”
“We might have to explore both sides to get all sorts of materials.”
“Right, it wouldn’t be strange if the materials you could get were different depending on the side you’re on.”
Since the floor was essentially split into two areas, each of which had been made to have a considerable size, there seemed to be many places in this 9th Layer for them to explore.
“Great, let’s head there first then!”
“Don’t be running around here, Yui. It’s dangerous.”
“Let’s go, Maple!”
“Yeah! But first, we have to get down from this hill!”
The eight of them began their walk down the hill and into the forest.
In several places of the forest, there were streams flowing, and ponds and puddles painted the landscape like light blue specks on a green canvas. The grass was wet as if it had rained recently, and lumps of water floated in the air, which were similar to Sally’s “Path of Water”. When seen from afar, they thought these lumps of water were the same type of monsters that the party had already faced in a previous layer, but it wasn’t the case after all.
“They don’t seem to be monsters. They’re actually part of the landscape, huh?”
“There are some lumps of ice over there as well. I can also see some pillars.”
None of these things seem to denote the presence of monsters anywhere nearby.
They simply seem to mirror the flowing lava, stone spires, and so on found on the opposite side of the 9th Layer.
“We’re close to the town, should we head there first and set up the Guild Home there?”
“Right. Let’s get to the town first!”
There were no monsters on the road to the town, so the eight were easily able to reach the town they had seen from the top of the hill.
“I had this feeling when I saw it from the top of the hill, but it does feel a bit different from other towns we’ve seen in the past.”
“What an impressive wall… Hey, Sally, do you think it goes around the whole town?”
“Yeah, maybe. That would make a lot of sense.”
The town was surrounded by tall walls, and encircled by a moat. Now that they had descended from the hill, they could catch a few glimpses of the inside of the town from its entrance beyond the drawbridge across the moat.
The limits between the town and its surrounding field were much clearer than anything they had seen before.
As the eight crossed the drawbridge, a faint light was emitted from a crystal that decorated the front entrance. However, it didn’t seem to have done anything in particular other than that, so the party simply proceeded into the town without worrying too much about it.
After crossing the drawbridge, two NPCs who looked like guards in tight armor on both sides of the entrance called out to the party.
“Welcome, travelers. If you’re looking for an inn, head towards the castle in the center of the town.
After giving the guards her energetic reply, Maple was the first to enter the town.
Unlike the towns that were created according to the particular theme of each of this game’s many Layers, this castle town, which was one of the two main towns in the 9th Layer, had a castle with white walls in a slightly elevated area in the middle of the town, beyond the townscape decorated with Western-style buildings and water and ice ornaments that floated in the air, retaining their shape with a mysterious force.
The 8th Layer was completely submerged, and its town area had a particular architecture, so this town made the party feel like they’ve come across a “normal” town for the first time in a while.
“Well, it was presented properly in a quest format. So it seems a little different from other towns we’ve seen before.”
Just like Chrome said, this was part of a quest that everyone had accepted, called “Going to the Royal Castle”.
“It feels like some kind of main quest we need to complete in order to proceed, right? Should we ignore any quests that have anything to do with the other side…?”
“Well, coming this way does feel like we’re making some progress.”
“Okay, then let’s go to the Guild Home!”
“Let’s go, Maple!”
Going right behind Maple, who was thinking about advancing with their quest, were Mai and Yui. The other five followed while watching those three so as to not lose sight of them even if they were to randomly run off somewhere.
“Has the main quest advanced for all of you as well? I wonder how many ramifications will come out of this…”
“I have some free time, so I was thinking maybe I’ll go check out the other side. It’ll be easier to come up with a plan if we know our way around both sides.”
“Then I guess I’ll do the same. If Maple and the rest continue exploring this area, they should be able to get a good amount of materials from this side. I’d love to get my hands on every kind of material this Layer has to offer as soon as I can.”
“Okay, then if Kanade and Iz can do that, it’ll be a great help. We have to consider the possibility that this entire field could be used for the PvP event.”
“Kasumi and I should go explore around here as well. Our sturdiness is our security. If we happen to need help dealing with any sticky situation, I’m sure everything will be alright if we leave it to those three.”
“To say that it’ll be ‘alright’ sounds a bit strange for anything coming from those three…”
“If we keep enjoying ourselves as usual, I’m sure we’ll end up getting good results.”
Looking at the three girls in front of them, the other five talk about preparing for the PvP event. Maple and the twins were certainly powerful, but they couldn’t just rely on their raw power. The entire party would need to prepare accordingly in order to get good results.
Sally, who had never really been the type of person who enjoyed preparing carefully, quickly started getting some tactics ready for the upcoming event.