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...
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Itai no wa Iya nanode Bōgyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu 366
Defense Specialization and the 8th Layer – 3
While Maple and Sally were busy exploring the sunken building, Iz and Kasumi were heading somewhere else.
Needless to say, Sally had the highest skill levels on the “Swimming” and “Diving” skills of all of “Maple Tree”, but Iz was right behind her. And since Kasumi also had a high level on both skills, they said that they could search together at the same pace.
Chrome, Kanade, Mai, and Yui were also exploring. Since the atmosphere of the field found in the 8th Layer was completely different from everything they had encountered so far, their less than usual skills became more important.
Iz chose a diving suit that would allow her to search for a long time so that she could search thoroughly for materials, and Kasumi chose one with excellent mobility, similar to the one Sally had chosen.
The two of them also got on a boat and headed out to the endless body of water. However, Iz’s boat was special in that it wasn’t for rowing.
“Is that… Is that an engine?”
“It’s not exactly that, but something similar. I’ve only been able to use this a few times, but I’m glad I decided to make it.”
Since it spewed a stream of water upwards as it roared over the water’s surface, it would be more appropriate to call it a jet ski rather than a boat.
“It’s a pity that Maple, Mai, and Yui can’t use it since it has a DEX requirement.”
“The 8th Layer is huge. I thought that by using this I would be able to turn into a pleasant ride, but it seems it won’t be that easy.”
“I’ll try my best to gather as many materials as I can, so we can improve everyone’s performance.”
Since Iz was able to get more materials than the rest, she was planning to devote herself to collecting materials to enhance all of the guild members’ diving suits.
“That’s going to be a great help.”
“This means that I’ll be counting on you to get the treasure from the deeper sections of the map. I’m counting on you all.”
The monsters found on the shallow parts of the water didn’t seem to be aggressive, but there was no telling what could be lurking in the deepest parts. It was likely that at some point players would need to be as proficient in combat as they are in gathering materials.
At that moment, Iz would have some trouble defeating monsters. Although she did have a certain degree of combat ability, she was more of a crafter than she was a fighter.
After dashing through the water on her jet ski for a while, they came to a stop.
The shallows were basically spread out near the city, but there were also lots of shallow parts all over the field. Since they didn’t have to bother exploring near the city, they went to a shallow section where there were no other players around.
“We should be able to explore here at our leisure. So we can take as many materials as we can get our hands on.”
“I’m counting on you then. I’ll be fighting monsters while you do that. The ones here might be a little stronger than the ones found near the city.”
It was far more efficient for them to have Iz gathering materials, since Kazumi didn’t have the appropriate skills for that task. Kasumi would be acting as Iz’s guard this time.
“Okay, let’s jump in!”
After putting on their diving suits, they jumped off the jet ski and into the water. Then, they quickly realized what this shallow area so far from the city actually was.
“I see… So that’s what this place was.”
“This used to be a mountain!”
What spread below them was a slanted rocky surface. It seemed to be the summit of what once was a mountain, which created a shallow section of the submerged area.
“We might be able to find a cave or something if we take a closer look at it.”
“Yeah. There might even be a dungeon inside. But… I’m sure it’ll be too deep of a place for us right now.”
Regardless of how much they wanted to explore it, they wouldn’t be able to investigate it thoroughly until their diving suits were enhanced to the appropriate level.
“Still, I’m really looking forward to it! I’m sure everyone else is going to find something useful as well.”
Just like this mountain right under them, there could be other places that were once flat, and places that were originally underwater even before the flooding. Several dungeons could be sleeping under this endless water source, waiting to be discovered.
“Exploring new, undiscovered places is really exciting, isn’t it?”
“But if we want to come out on top, we may have no other choice but to work really hard.”
“Yeah, of course. Ah, there’s one place where we can collect some ore right away.”
Iz took out her pickaxe and pointed at the place she was talking about for Kasumi to see. They could stay there and chat, but materials wouldn’t collect themselves. There were some gathering points visible on the mountain surface, and some among them were glittering like the one Maple and Sally had come across.
“I’ll defeat any monsters that come near you, so you can focus on your mining.”
“Thanks! I’ll take you up on your kind offer then.”
As Iz began to swim, some large fish that were in the area started swimming towards her all at once.
“Arms of the Warrior!”
Kasumi activated her skill, and the two armored arms holding large katanas appeared on each side of her body as usual. Using her momentum and increased underwater speed, she quickly got closer to Iz, and activated her next skill.
In order to attack several monsters, she used her skills to mow down the fish in one go by liquefying her katana.
“Alright, looks like they will work well underwater.”
Her katana stayed true to its trajectory as expected without dissolving in the water like Maple’s poison, and attacked the swarming fish monsters in a single slash. Since she found that she could fight freely underwater, Kasumi thought of taking advantage of how her weapon behaved in these conditions.
When slashing upwards, the liquefied sword came to a sudden stop at its peak, coming down on its own with the force of a whiplash. By launching the attack while standing on the mountain, she wouldn’t be rushed in from her blindspot. Maintaining an advantageous position over the mountain’s surface that could only be kept for a brief moment, Kasumi was able to attack all of the rushing fish without fear of retaliation.
“Maybe I didn’t need to use Arms of the Warrior after all?”
After confirming that all of the attacking fish were gone and that the area was safe, Kasumi returned to Iz’s side.
“Thanks, Kasumi. I’m sure my bombs would work underwater, but they might not be as powerful as usual.”
Iz’s main ways of defending herself was through the use of bombs. The fact that they were not as effective as an actual weapon made her want to avoid fighting all the more.
“You can rest assured that no monsters will be able to delay you for even a second.”
“You’re so reliable!”
As she said that, Iz hit the gathering point with her pickaxe. Mixed among the ore she was able to collect, she found a special material that could be used to enhance their diving suits. Naturally, mining would be a much better way for Iz to collect those enhancing materials than looking everywhere for scattered glittering items.
“Amazing… I guess that’s one of the good things about being a specialist.”
“Leave it to me. I’ll get plenty of these for everyone!”
The reason why Iz was able to say that with such confidence was that she had taken the time and effort to train her crafting and gathering skills.
“I’ll go get myself used to moving underwater.”
“That’s a good idea. Moving around here is completely different from what it is above ground.”
The difficult part about fighting underwater is that enemies could attack from every possible direction in all three dimensions. The fish from earlier had simply rushed towards them, but they may be eventually faced with enemies using skills, so Kasumi thought that she should properly get the hang of how to fight underwater.
“It seems we can both still go for a bit more underwater. Let’s see how deep we can actually reach with these diving suits.”
“Sounds right. We might be able to find something useful quite quickly as well.”
The two of them decided to go a little deeper along the sunken mountain’s surface and continue their search there.
Without knowing that the Iz and Kasumi were traveling by jet ski, the other four members were exploring close to the city, like Maple and Sally. However, instead of being a place with many sunken buildings, the area they were in was covered in sandy terrain. Here, too, the slope continued so deep that it became harder to see past a certain point, just like the mountain where Izu and Kasumi were exploring, and yet, it looked a bit more like a mountain slope than a sandy beach.
“Alright, there’s no way we could get ambushed here.”
“Yeah, there’s gotta be a lot of monsters in such an open area, but we should be able to deal with them if we spread out.”
This team of four included Mai and Yui, who would die in a single blow no matter what they did, and none of them was particularly very good at swimming, so they were basically unfit for underwater exploration. Because of that, they would explore a terrain that was easy enough for them.
“We’ll be taking the safety measures you’ve mentioned from here on. Alright, let’s dive in!”
Since there was no point for any of the four of them to increase their underwater mobility, each of them chose a type of diving suit that extended the time they could remain underwater. After implementing the safety measures that Mai and Yui had mentioned, the four sank underwater.
“Ah, I’m glad. I was worried about what we were going to do if we end up making a whirlpool or something like that…”
“I don’t think that could happen here. Otherwise, you wouldn’t even be able to use your weapon.”
That had become Mai and Yui’s basic way to fight while out in the field these days. By using “Helping Hand” to add six great hammers and rotate them around their bodies, they can create a whirlwind that turns any monster that comes in contact with it into fine dust.
This isn’t as good to use against players, but it was tremendously effective against monsters that would just charge at them. Chrome was the only one of the group to realize that the “black and white tornadoes” that players have been talking about in the forum were actually these two.
“But you should still probably stay clear of our path so that you don’t get hit.”
“Yeah, it’s not like you’ll die if we hit you… But still. We could still launch you quite a fair distance.”
Even though they wouldn’t be damaged, they would be blown away by the impact for sure. Sally had once suggested using it to launch Maple as if she were a cannonball, but if the others were to be hit, the result would be impossible to compare to that.
In any case, this would ensure their safety. Even so, Chrome and Kanade were on the lookout for monsters that could slip through the twins’ offensive, so they in turn could rest assured that they wouldn’t be unexpectedly hit by any sneaky monster.
“Should we start looking around? …You two make sure to stay within range of my Cover Move, okay?”
“”Yeah, got it!””
Mai and Yui started rotating their hammers and pushing forward, stopping for nothing other than any glittering parts that could appear at their feet. They decided to gather only around a close area so as to not accidentally hit Chrome or Kanade.
“Looks like it’s going to be difficult to reach the dungeon for now, so we have to hurry and get lots of parts.”
“So we have to collect lots of them, huh? I don’t dislike this kind of steady work, though.”
“Yeah, that’s the feeling I get from this.”
Chrome’s quest to obtain his new gear could be considered a steady work that required a lot of collecting, so Kanade’s way of putting it was quite convincing to him. In fact, Chrome seemed to be having fun as he looked for parts.
“But searching for things underwater isn’t exactly something I do too often. I’ll have to get used to moving around, so it might take a while.”
“We have to follow their example too.”
As he just finished saying that, Kanade saw how innocent monsters were getting dragged into Mai and Yui’s peculiar way to move over the surface of the underwater ground.
“Well, not exactly like that…”
“Haha, that’s right.”
“We’ll most likely have to fight underwater for the next event, so maybe I’ll take the Swimming skill for now…”
“That might come in handy. Though I wonder if we can’t unlock it naturally by exploring this 8th Layer.”
“Yeah, that could be the case as well.”
As they searched for materials while chatting, Mai and Yui called out to them.
“Hey, Chrome! We’d like to go a little further ahead!”
“We’ve already managed to find a part here…”
“Oh! Leave the defense to me then! I’ll keep my eyes peeled out!”
Thus Chrome started to get a sense of distance from them, thinking about how ridiculously strong those two had become, and wondering if they really needed his protection at all.