“Uh, th-thank you?”

Maple couldn’t quite understand what was happening. In the meantime, Velvet changed some of her equipment in front of her. While her clothes were the same, it was now very clear what her weapon was.

It was a pair of giant gauntlets. The steel fists were several times larger than her real hands. As she clutched them, Velvet laughed reassuringly. Pale bolts of lightning were still erupting around her.

“Hinata, I’ll be expecting your full support!”

“Ye-yes! Haa… Here I go.”

Hinata squeezed her doll as if she were gaining courage from doing so, and then she activated her skills as the monsters rushed towards her.

“‘Chain of Stars,’ ‘Cocytus.’”

Just as Hinata activated the skills, the monsters that were walking towards her suddenly stopped, as if they had been bound to the ground. Then the white fog that was emitting from Hinata crackled around them, freezing the monsters solid.

Due to these powerful obstructions, the monsters were unable to even touch the pair.

“‘Disaster Spread,’ ‘Gravity Creak,’ ‘Weak Ice Statue.’”

Every time that Hinata said the words, the imprisoned monsters were hit by damage increasing debuffs. These did not do any direct damage to the monsters. However, once the effect started to wear off and the monsters were about to start moving again, Hinata slammed them with more spells that prevented them from moving or attacking.

In that case, who was dealing the damage? It was obvious.

“‘Center of the Storm,’ ‘Rain of Thunder’!”

Another bolt of lightning shot out from Velvet, scorching the ground as even more lightning struck from above, hitting all the monsters within a certain area.

As long as they were all bound by Hinata, the monsters could not escape, even though they knew the attack was coming. It wouldn’t matter if they were monsters or not.

The boss was the only one to survive, and Velvet walked up to it and raised her fists.

“‘Chain Thunder Attack’!”

The boss’s movements had been sealed completely, and as her fists rammed into him with the sound of splitting air, thunder exploded. It got stronger every time she unleashed it. The boss’s body burned, and its HP gauge was blown away.

“Oh, woah!! That’s amazing!!”

Still in the form of a monster, Maple’s eyes glimmered in awe as she watched the glorious display of the two killing the enemy. And all four of her arms waved excitedly.

After the three left the dungeon, they sat down in a safe zone where no monsters appeared, and they began to talk.

“Miss Velvet. So you weren’t a magic user after all!”

“Just call me Velvet. It will be easier for both of us.”

Unlike Maple’s first impression of her, Velvet was now very lively as she smiled. She was much more natural now. And so Maple decided she would act like her usual self as well.

“Sorry for hiding stuff from you. The people at the guild wanted me to gather information about strong players.”

“Is that for when you have to fight other players?”

“Exactly! In order to gain an advantage… I wanted to see you in action.”

“Uh, I see…”

Not only had Maple shown off a lot of her skills, but she had even let them find out her weakness during the boss fight.

“Of course, that’s all very important, but I actually prefer fighting boldly and head on! I mean…”

While it hadn’t seemed like Velvet was intentionally showing off during the boss fight, it’s not like it would have been such a great problem if Velvet just held back and lost either. So Maple thought that she was likely telling the truth. The sudden danger was just an opportunity, and she always meant to go all out.

“The people at the guild keep telling me to hide it more…”

“Well, it really was amazing!”

If they fought someone who didn’t know anything about them, Hinata would be able to bind their movements before they could take any action, and then Velvet would be able to do whatever she wanted, which included thunder attacks over a wide area and close quarters combat.

There was no doubt that hiding these skills would give them a great advantage.

“But if I’m going to fight, I want it to be fair! Besides, you’re a rival too, Maple.”

Velvet said confidently. Then she laughed as if this was a challenge.

“But, are you sure? It sounds like the others in your guild won’t be very happy…”

“Well, it wasn’t a one side thing. It’s fine, because I saw your skills as well!”

She seemed to think that it was fine, but Maple saw that Hinata was looking at the ground with a conflicted expression. Clearly, this wasn’t the first time Velvet had done something like this.

“Still, we have other trump cards that we haven’t shown yet.”

“Yes, so do I!”

“What!? You still have more?!”

Velvet was quite shocked by this, as all of them could have been someone’s final trump card, however, it also made her look forward to fighting Maple one day. And so she laughed.

“I had wanted to meet you for a while. So I’m glad that we finally did.”

“It really was just a coincidence.”

Now that Maple thought back, the lightning had likely been created by Velvet. But since it was on an even bigger scale than what she saw in the dungeons, it was probably true that she still had other skills up her sleeve.

“Ah, were you also talking differently so that people didn’t recognize you?”

Now she knew that Velvet fought with gauntlets, but her clothes had remained the same during combat. Perhaps she had some other main set, just like Maple did.

“This is my number one set!”

“Velvet got it from a boss…and now she’s practicing being more graceful, to match it better.”

“Oh, I see…”

This had no deep meaning, nor was it guild strategy. It was just Velvet’s personal decision.

“Hmm, it really is hard. They say that I’m too energetic, normally.”

While she had even changed her hair in order to fit her outfit, her fighting style was so different. She was an expert in hand to hand, total annihilation combat. But her true nature always came out immediately. However, she didn’t seem to really care about this. Even now, she was sitting cross-legged and laughing with amusement.

“Well, that’s how it is. I don’t know when the next PvP event will happen, but I will fight my hardest when it does.”

“Yes! Uh, but maybe not your hardest…”

“Ahaha! That, I cannot do.”

“Uh, well then. I and the others of Maple Tree will do our best!”

“And so will our guild!”

“But first…you have to tell them that Maple saw some of your skills…”

“Hmm. That’s true.”

“W-was it really okay?”

“It’s okay. Besides, I’m the Guild Master, and they all understand me!”

Maple’s eyes widened in surprise when she heard that Velvet was the Guild Master. Then she heard the name of the guild. It was a large guild known as ‘thunder storm,’ and during the fourth event, they had seen incredible growth and entered the top ten in the rankings. And this pair were the top two in the guild.

“I want to play with you again! And when that happens, I’ll show you some of my other skills!”

Velvet’s eyes shone as she said this. In the meantime, Hinata whispered into Maple’s ear.

“Actually…I think it’s not just about being fair and honest. She just likes showing off her cool skills.”

“I think I understand that.”

The root of Velvet’s mindset was that she simply wanted to share with others what she felt was fun. And since it was rather similar with Maple, she nodded in agreement at Hinata.

Velvet then suggested that they add each other as friends, and then they got on the horses and returned to the town.

“Rivals, huh…”

Maple thought about how no one like that had appeared in this game since she started. However she imagined that Sally must have been like this for a while.

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