The author published 16 new chapters the past couple of days after a month of inactivity https://ncode.syosetu.com/n0358dh/ Happy New Year
Itai no wa Iya nanode Bōgyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu 149
Defense Specialization and the 5th Layer
After the fox completely turned into light and vanished, a path that led to the 5th layer appeared in front of them.
“Thank you, Frederica. I’ll help you if you ever need it. See you later then”
“…Ah, uh, sure.”
Frederica had not quite fully comprehended the situation yet, and could only mumble in reply. But Maple had already left to the 5th layer.
“Maple, but where? Oh, there…”
As Frederica stood motionless in her thoughts, the player who was next to her started to talk.
“Where? If we knew where she got that skill…”
As his head started to function properly again, a certain possibility had struck him.
“Hmm, it was probably the white Oni from the 4th layer.”
“Did she find out a way to weaken him…?”
“I don’t know. It’s Maple…”
Frederica thought that Maple would have killed him without weakening him.
She had no proof of course, but that was how much faith she had in Maple.
A conviction that Maple was that strong.
“Finally, in the 5th layer!”
Maple stepped foot onto the 5th layer a little late compared to the rest of Maple Tree.
The somewhat springy and soft ground was a stainless white.
This was a country of clouds. A paradise in the sky.
“It’s softer than my bed at home.”
She enjoyed the sensations under her feet as she made her way to the guild home.
“So this is the new town, huh.”
Beyond the cloud walls was an almost blindingly white town.
The walls and roads were white in a way that would have been impossible in real life.
“Oh? But this isn’t made of clouds?”
Maple touched the walls of a house and felt that it had a smooth texture.
Unlike the clouds under her feet, this felt like polished stone.
“Well, I’m standing on clouds right now, I bet this layer has all kinds of different materials.”
As Maple walked, she realized that not everything here was made of clouds. She checked her map several times until she arrived at the guild home.
Maple opened the white door and went inside.
“No one…is here. Okay, I guess I’ll log out for today. Ahh, I am so tired!”
Maple brought out the blue panel and tapped the logout button.
She sprawled out on her bed when she returned to reality.
“Really, I think I might have fought more today than any day ever. But at least I was able to get to the 5th layer…I think I’ll relax there for a while.”
And so she slept more deeply that day than usual.
A few days later.
Maple was talking with Sally in the guild home.
“Ah…you went over there…”
“Yep. I’ve never been so tired…”
“I bet. I thought something wasn’t right.”
“Now that I think of it, yeah.”
And then Maple told her how she went to the 5th layer after defeating the Oni.
Maple then realized that she had shown Frederica ‘Pandemonium.’
“I was so tired that I wasn’t thinking…”
Maple laughed apologetically, but Sally told her not to worry about it.
“Well, it’s fine, I guess? I don’t know if anyone is surprised anymore.”
She had assumed that Frederica was at a level where she would know to expect anything, but Frederica was not really at that level yet.
That was Sally’s view as someone who had just stepped foot in that territory, and Sally was the person who was closest to Maple.
“I see. Oh, by the way, did you already explore this 5th layer?”
Sally thought about this question for a moment before answering.
“Not the whole layer, but a lot of it. There are many vertical areas with stairs and slopes. Also…”
“The ground here is very different, and I almost tripped while running.”
“Really? Maybe I should be careful.”
“It’s a matter of life and death for me…”
Having unreliable ground was a bigger problem for Sally than ferocious attacks and going against large numbers of enemies.
She would have to make adjustments, or all of her moves would get messed up.
“Are you going to go exploring now, Maple?”
“I’m fine for now. I feel like I did a week’s worth of fighting already. So I’ll explore some other time.”
“Right… You should enjoy it at your own pace. It will last longer that way, and I want to play with you more.”
Without a doubt, this feeling that hadn’t changed or wavered in Sally from the beginning was what drove her.
“Yeah, I’ll play and have fun.”
“I hope so. Well then, I’m going to explore a little. Maybe I’ll find a nice view that you’ll like.”
Sally stood up from the chair she was sitting on and smiled at Maple.
“Oh! How nice!”
“I’ll explore for you, so look forward to the results, okay?”
“I will! I will!”
“See you later then.”
Sally then left and closed the door carefully behind her.
“Right. So she won…”
She leaned back on the door and looked up at the sky.
The vast blue sky reflected in Sally’s eyes.
Sally closed her eyes and took in a quiet, deep breath before moving away from the door and walking.
“I don’t want to lose. Yes.”
Sally started to run in order to shorten the distance between them.
“I’m the one that asked you to play, but I hate losing… I’m sorry.”
Sally mumbled, even though no one could hear her.