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71 Part 1
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Let’s be an Adventurer! ~Defeating Dungeons with a Skill Board~ 71
Let’s Face The Apex Of Skill!
Having studied the art of iaido from a very young age, Shigure earned the qualifications to become an adventurer right after the first Stampede.
Becoming an adventurer wasn’t a matter of proving one’s one strength in a dungeon.
It was about continuously honing one’s skills.
In iaido, the opponent is a stationary target, such as a straw or bamboo mannequin.
But that is no way to master the truth about iaido.
Wielding one’s own sword and heart together, delivering a single strike to vanquish your foe.
It’s much more beautiful and splendorous.
That was the essence of iaido that several masters have continued to seek from ancient times until this day.
That’s what Shigure had been seeking as well.
Of course, she had the skill needed to move quickly and cut the enemy down, but she still needed to go down into dungeons so as to strengthen her own body.
In order to improve her Technology skill, she needed to be able to freely handle heavier types of swords.
By defeating monsters and leveling up, she should be able to control his sword more freely than ever.
Improving her own physical level was essential for increasing the Technology skill.
The reason behind her leaving her base in Shinjuku on an expedition was to hone her own skills.
To fight more enemies and get more battle experience.
All of that in order to get better control of her sword.
She headed north, to Niigata, Yamagata, Akita, Aomori, and finally arrived in Hokkaido.
Then, after hearing the stories about a certain weird masked adventurer, Shigure made her way towards the garage dungeon.
“He’s not here…”
After defeating the boss, a blinding light flashed across the dungeon.
It seemed that the masked man hadn’t reached that far into the dungeon yet.
She had thought she’d eventually come across that guy if she kept advancing through the dungeon, but she had no such luck.
Then, as she was ready to give up and head back above ground, she finally saw it.
A mysterious mask that floated in mid-air.
At a glance, it was difficult to see anything below his neck.
To Shigure, that mask certainly seemed to be floating.
This masked man was regarded as a monster in the forums.
Nobody knew his name.
Since they’ve been referring to him as “Mr. Masked Man” in the forums, she had thought that that could be his nickname or something like that.
However, looking for information about adventurers with the word “mask” yielded no results.
It was a man shrouded in mystery.
But he was still known as “Mr. Masked Man” on the internet.
Even Masatsugu was worried about that. Shigure was glad to have finally gotten the chance to meet this masked guy.
Immediately, Shigure’s body fired up with excitement.
Her entire body was overwhelmed by delight.
How on earth did someone like this “Mr. Masked Man” become so popular?
Just how strong was he?
After taking a look at his complexion, he seemed very much “normal” instead of the horrible monster he was rumored to be.
It was a bit disappointing.
But she had come all the way there in order to meet this man, so she figured she might as well fight him.
Shigure immediately asked him for a match.
She was stubbornly greedy when it came to earning battle experience.
Even when she could feel her opponent’s ability on their first meeting, she was keen on engaging in a fight without reading his opponent beforehand…
But the battle with Mr. Masked man was literally over in a second.
Shigure’s sword reached Mr. Masked Man’s throat.
If it had been a real battle, that would have been enough to kill him.
Shigure had won.
But that wasn’t the kind of result that she had expected.
The reason for that is that Mr. Masked Man had seen her.
He had seen her perform her shukuchi, a skill she only used on the 40th floor of Shinjuku’s dungeon.
Shukuchi is a martial arts technique that allows for quickly approaching the enemy by eliminating the preliminary steps one usually makes when breaking into a dash, making it so that the enemy is unable to realize and react properly.
It took Shigure three years to master that technique.
Ever since she mastered that technique, no one had ever been able to see through it.
Not even Masatsugu could properly react to her shukuchi.
On the other hand, Mr. Masked Man not only reacted to her shukuchi, who Shigure was most confident about, but he also tried to dodge it.
He had to be moving as fast as her in order to do that!
There already was an overwhelming difference in the combat ability between adventurers who are five floors apart in level.
And no adventurer could ever be a match for another one who is ten levels higher.
There was absolutely no way this unnamed masked man, who was stuck hunting on the 15th floor of a dungeon, should have been able to react to a technique that she had mastered while on the 40th floor of another dungeon.
And yet, the masked man did react to it.
Had that guy really dodge her using his own ability to move?
Or was he just lucky?
That couldn’t be…
Shigure was not able to accept what had happened in front of her.
The scariest of it all was that not only Mr. Masked Man reacted to her shukuchi, but he also tried to block her attack with his own weapon.
She had been forced to change the direction of her attack.
She had only a fraction of a second to do that.
However, during that time, she had actually given him the chance to counterattack.
Shigure had been the one who had actually hit her target.
The tip of her blade ended up touching Mr. Masked Man’s throat.
But the short sword on his left hand had gotten in the way.
If Shigure had taken even a little longer to launch her second attack, it would have been his blade against her throat instead.
There are no “ifs” in a battle.
But if he had been an adventurer from the 30th floor instead of the 15th one…
— I would have lost for sure.
Shigure was able to win because she had an overwhelming advantage due to her difference in their basic levels.
The fact that her victory was due to her basic level rather than her actual skill hurt Shigure’s pride.
It mortified her.
“Let’s do it again.”
Did her offer come as a surprise? The masked man’s presence vanished in an instant.
Even someone like her had lost sight of Mr. Masked Man’s presence.
To try to slip past Shigure’s eyes even right before her…
It looked like some terrible sort of “hidden form” ability.
Had he used this ability in battle, Shigure would have had an even harder time to react to his short sword earlier.
— No way… Was he going easy on me!?
Now she had more of a reason to have him fight her again.
Next time, Shigure would completely defeat Mr. Masked Man.
She would not forgive him for having tried to block her attack like that, and her victory would be indisputable.