I normally say that I like Past Life Returner but I have not read it at all, not even the manhwa(comic). But this story is different, I love it. I...
Itai no wa Iya nanode Bōgyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu 365
Defense Specialization and the 8th Layer – 2
Maple and the others arrived at the 8th Layer’s Guild Home using the bridges that had been built between the buildings that were sticking out of the water. A portion of the Guild Home was underwater, and one could go down some stairs into the lower parts of the building that were completely submerged.
“Is it safe to go down here?”
“Well, it is inside the Guild Home, so I don’t think there would be anything dangerous below… Should we go take a look?”
When Sally, who was good at swimming, tried to go down the stairs, a pop-up window appeared, telling her that she was currently unable to enter.
“Tsk, I guess that’s a no. So I have to meet certain requirements in order to go down here?”
There were still so many things we didn’t know about, so we had to do some investigating first. Sally reread the message received from the GMs. According to it, achieving the required cumulative number of defeats in the previous event, would give them everything they needed to explore the 8th Layer.
“I’m sure it has something to do with this, right?”
“Then let’s take a look around!”
As they would usually do, Maple and everyone spreaded out to take a good look around the sunken city.
Since most of the city was underwater, there were many NPCs going here and there by boat. Those who were going on foot had to cross the bridges between the buildings.
This time, Maple decided to go take a look around the sunken city with Sally, so they left the Guild Home and started their search right away.
“I wonder if we can get inside those submerged buildings…”
“You think? They seem to go pretty deep down underwater, though…”
The water was transparent enough that it was possible to see quite a bit of the submerged sections of the buildings from above water. As Sally observed, they seemed to go quite deep into the water.
“Everything seems to be submerged, even outside this city, so there must be a way to go take a look underwater.”
Otherwise, this would be a Layer where one could only explore the few buildings that protrude from the surface of the water. Assuming that wouldn’t be the case, the two walked around the city, and quickly found what they were looking for.
It was very similar to the NPC that was selling those machines for flying in the air in the 3rd Layer. There were several diving suits lined up as if they were asking you to use them to explore underwater.
“Should we give it a try?”
As they were looking at the diving suits, the NPC started talking to them.
“If you’re looking to do an underwater search, look no further! You might be able to go even deeper underwater depending on the treasures you manage to bring out of the water.”
At the same time, a pop-up window with a message from the GMs appeared in front of them.
It explained that they had added these new diving suits along with the 8th Layer, which would allow players to explore underwater. The purpose of this Layer is to go deeper underwater and get the gear that sleeps on the bottom of the water by exploring using these diving suits along with the items obtained during the previous event.
“It looks like the idea is to go underwater and get enhancement parts for the diving suits so that we can then go even deeper underwater and look for rare gear. It also seems that we can use these to get to the underwater section of the Guild Home.”
“Ooh… With water this deep, I’m sure there’s a lot of great stuff to be found underwater!”
“Maybe there’s a sunken ship full of treasure? We have to check it out!”
Or even a water-eroded building that would turn out to be a trace of a former civilization, where there may be many treasures to be found inside, Sally said. Just like back when the 4th Layer was released, getting this much content out must have taken a lot of time and dedication, so it would be a shame not to explore it.
“Let’s get ourselves some diving suits then!”
“Yeah, let’s! Let’s try them in shallow water first.”
Maple and Sally each chose their diving suits and headed for a water-covered field with little foothold.
After getting Maple and herself on a boat, Sally rowed towards the field.
The 8th Layer was similar in nature to the 4th Layer in that you couldn’t just do as you pleased unless you first bought a diving suit and then upgraded it. The description of the diving suit showed that whenever you tried to dive below the depth it allowed you to, the time you could be active in the water would begin to decrease rapidly. Therefore, the idea was to start by exploring some shallow areas, salvaging materials to upgrade the suit, and then try deeper spots.
“It really does feel like the ocean.”
“Yeah, and since there’s no foothold, monsters aren’t going to be walking around here. It’s going to be a whole new experience!”
“I’m not very good at swimming… But I’ll still do my best to find some good items!”
The diving suit and the other underwater exploration items obtained at the previous event were meant as an aid during exploration. Since Maple didn’t have the “Swimming” nor “Diving” skills, she had both a shorter dive time and inferior mobility underwater compared to Sally, who had both skills. In order for Maple to be able to explore thoroughly and have a chance at finding items, she had to extend her dive time.
Since they still didn’t know what awaited them underwater, they didn’t go too far away from the sunken city, instead focusing on finding an area where they could dive using their initial diving suit.
Once Sally stopped rowing, she put on her diving suit. Although it wasn’t a cosmetic accessory, it seemed to overwrite one’s appearance. Sally was now wearing a wetsuit instead of her usual blue clothes.
Although her underwater movement speed had increased, the amount of time she could stay underwater hadn’t changed much, so it was meant to be used by people who could explore faster like Sally.
“I look different… But my gear is still the same.”
“That’s a first! This kind of thing would normally replace your gear…”
“Imagine if we were able to take this diving suit out of the 8th Layer? Since it doesn’t change your gear, your stats remain the same. It’d be a real problem if everyone starts walking around wearing this…”
If Maple’s usual black armor appearance were to be replaced with this diving suit, her opponents wouldn’t be able to tell what type of skills she could use against them. But since wearing the diving suit was restricted to the 8th Layer, this idea could be nothing more than an expectation for the future.
At any rate, since they were going to explore underwater, Maple also put on her diving suit. In her case, the suit completely covered her body like a spacesuit, and even had something that looked like an oxygen cylinder on her back. The only transparent part of her suit was the frontal screen on her diving helmet.
Unlike Sally’s suit, Maple’s suit allowed for a longer time underwater while at the same time reducing underwater movement speed, so she intended to use it to move slowly underwater while exploring thoroughly.
“Ooh, yours does look like a typical diving suit.”
“Yeah, you should be able to remain underwater for longer with that tank.”
“Alright~ Let’s see how long I can stay underwater!”
“Yeah. We go at three?”
One, two, three! The two plunged into the water at the same time. Water splashed up and a large amount of bubbles passed in front of them. After their view became clear, what spread before them was a world of clear blue water and a group of water-eroded buildings that looked so old that they could be considered to be ruins.
While many small non-monster fish were swimming around and various aquatic plants were swaying peacefully, there were some monsters here and there. They didn’t seem to be heading towards them at the moment, but they still kept their eyes peeled.
“So, Maple? How is it?”
Even though the two were underwater, Maple was able to hear Sally’s voice normally. She hadn’t confirmed it would work both ways, but the 8th Layer’s diving suit seemed special.
“Since the 8th Layer is basically underwater exploration all over the place, they made it so that players wearing diving suits could communicate with each other normally. Exploring without being able to talk to each other would be a hassle, after all.”
“Eeh~ So that’s why… Being able to speak to each other underwater has a certain mysterious air…”
“Be careful about your timer as we explore. Remember that suit makes you move slower than usual.”
Although they could hear each other’s voices, they were still underwater, so they had to keep moving in order to make the most out of the little time they had.
“The monsters here don’t seem to be aggressive, so let’s try getting inside buildings for now.”
It would be better to prioritize getting into those places where they wouldn’t come out of the water as quickly. Sally led the way, and went inside one of the submerged buildings, which was an easy thing to do considering that all doors and windows were already gone. The two quickly decided to take a look inside.
There was no furniture in the room anymore, and instead, it was filled with aquatic plants, small fish, and large clams.
“Does it look like there’s treasure lying around here?”
“We’re still rather close to the water’s surface. That kind of thing would be much deeper underwater.”
“Ohh~ I can’t wait!”
“Well, we still need to look around for items to enhance our diving suits, so..”
The two of them rummaged through the aquatic plants, looking for anything that could seem useful.
“Sally, there are some stairs here!”
“Let’s try taking them downstairs. Looking from outside, it seems there’s a window we can use to get out of here later.”
The arrangement of stairs, windows, doors, and so on was a little different from that of a normal house because it looked as if the extensions on the building were repeated over and over on the sunken sections. It would be no wonder then that there would be many entrances and stairs since every floor will be the first floor above the ground whenever the water level were to rise.
Since the room they were in seemed to have been submerged quite recently, there were still rooms under it for them to explore.
“Yeah! Even if a monster were to come out, we should be fine!”
“…But be careful about poison, okay? It looks like it would dissolve easily in the water.”
“Y-Yeah! I will.”
If poison were to spread in the water like when they defeated the giant squid during the second event, there would be no way to see it coming. Monsters and other players, including Sally, would be randomly poisoned, and if that were to happen now, it could turn into quite the mess since Maple had nothing to heal their poisoning with.
If anything, it would be better to use something like “Paralyze Shout” which had an immediate effect and carried no risk to pollute the water around them.
They would be okay as long as they were careful about their search. The two kept on looking for anything that could be useful for enhancing their diving suits. Even though they were in their initial states, they seemed to last long enough to allow them to search the entire building. After going down several floors, they found something glittering among the aquatic plants. More than having its own natural light, it seemed that the glittering effect was added so that it was easy to find.
“Sally, there’s something over there!”
Rather than swimming, Maple walked closer and squeezed through the stretched aquatic plants, and found a shining blue sphere and screws and bolts that looked like mechanical parts.
“They look like materials of some sort… What could they be?”
“Is that all of them? There was a lump of water among the drops from the last event.”
When Sally handed it to Maple, the two checked the items they had found.
“Ah, looks like it’s all here.”
“I wonder if they’re shining so that they’re easy to find…”
“I know, right? I don’t know yet, but it doesn’t seem that these were shining just because. Finding these is going to be easier than I thought!”
The water level changed every few minutes, which meant that exploring the 8th Layer would take a considerable amount of time. For that reason, they had to increase the suits’ timer and movement speed, so that even Maple could move freely underwater. That being said, the fact that she had no underwater skills had some implications. But at any rate, the two were happy to have found the materials earlier than anticipated. The better the performance of their diving suits, the less the impact of not having underwater skills.
“At this rate, we should have enough time to go look for another one!”
“Then let’s go on for a little while longer. But we have to be careful not to overdo it and end up drowning.”
“Yeah, the 8th Layer seems to be the hardest of them all.”
Before they realized, they were already running out of time, so they had to suspend their search. Thinking about it, Maple’s greatest enemy seemed to be terrain, such as lava and huge bodies of water.