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Itai no wa Iya nanode Bōgyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu 484

Defense Specialization and Waiting for the Day to Arrive

A few months passed, and it was getting colder. Feeling the change of seasons, as Kaede and Risa headed for school, they exhaled. Their exhalations were white.

“At last, the day has arrived. What do you think?”

“I think I can play!”

“Good. Then we can all go.”

That’s right.

The weekend was the scheduled launch date for the 10th Floor. If possible, they’d like everyone at [Maple Tree] to make plans and head for the 10th Floor together. If they could conquer the 10th Floor in one go, they could move on to exploring the 10th Floor faster.

“Has Kaede started studying yet?”

“Uh-huh. If the next exam goes well, I’ll probably be fine even if I spend a bit more time playing games!”

“I can’t believe the day will come when I’ll hear those words from Kaede…

“How about you, Risa? Are you doing well?”

“When I first started, I was forbidden from playing for a bit. But since then, I’ve been improving my grades.”

“Oh! Hahaha, so you can do it if you try.”

“Well, I can’t be forbidden from playing now?”

The time when they could play without worrying about various things would be gone for a while. The next few months were more important than ever. They couldn’t skimp on studying—both for the sake of real life and for the game.

“How is Risa today?”

“Hmm… I want to spend more time playing with you this weekend, and I thought I’d show you my study progress…”

“Then, let’s study together tonight.”

“Okay. Don’t get sick over the weekend, okay?”

“Yup, I’ll be careful!”

After such innocent banter, the two rushed to school.

There was no one in the classroom yet, so the two of them put down their bags and started chatting.

“Risa, what’s your plan for today?”

“I haven’t scheduled anything at the moment. What about you?”

“Me, too. But thinking that I might get separated from Risa…”

They’d been spending time together for a while now. Kaede even felt slightly uncomfortable when Risa wasn’t by her side.

“It feels kind of strange. Do you remember the first time we met?”

“Of course!”

Seeing Kaede’s cheerful reply, Risa fondly reminisced about those days.

“I never thought I’d be playing for this long…”

“Ehehe, right?”

“Recently, we’ve been together even in games.”

“If you’re in a game, you can meet up even if we’re in two different places.”

“Uh-huh, that’s the pros of online games.”

In online games, no distance would separate them. As long as they both logged in around the same time, they could always see each other. It was really convenient.

“Even if we aren’t always together, we can always meet on weekends.”

“Yup! It’s still a long way off, though…”

“That’s right. Kaede, please study hard and do your best to get where you want!”

“Okay! Then don’t forget about tonight’s study session, okay?”

“Of course!”

Time flew quickly as they looked forward to their appointment. After school, the two completed their preparations, and connected via voice call.

“Let’s study until dinner for the time being.”

“Let’s do that!”

The two opened their textbooks and began studying.

“Risa, your grades are getting better and better.”

“I see it as a score attack. I can’t afford to be forbidden from playing right now.”

“Ahaha, that does sound like Risa.”

If they were going to do it anyway, they should aim for the best. It could be said that Risa’s belief worked positively.

Risa’s grades were steadily improving. It was because she didn’t want to waste even a moment of this happy time doing unnecessary things.

“But I should be fine now.”

“Good luck. After all, once your score goes up, it’s noticeable when it goes down.”

“Maybe so. Well then, I’ll have to try my best.”

“That’s the spirit.”

Kaede and Risa continued studying for several hours, and when it was almost time for dinner, they took a break and closed their textbooks.

“I’m tired… But I think I did a decent job!”

“Good job!”

“This weekend, we’re finally going to explore the 10th Floor1 I have to enjoy the fruits of my hard work!”

“Nice, I also intend to do so.”

Such words were unexpected from someone like Kaede. After all, she said something that would’ve been unthinkable not too long ago.

How many games have the two played?

One thing was for certain, it was definitely the first time Risa’d seen her having so much fun.

Risa seemed happy, but also somewhat sad, as she suggested to Kaede.

“Now that there are ten floors, let’s explore them together.”

“With Risa? …Of course!”

“Discover many hidden areas, defeat powerful bosses, and enjoy the beautiful landscapes…”

“I heard that the 10th floor is spacious… It seems that there are many different places!”

“I’m looking forward to it, too.”

“As you should!”

It’d be a waste if they didn’t enjoy the game as much as they could.

—Even more so when she didn’t know if there’d be next time.

No, especially because she knew there wouldn’t be next time.

“…We have to enjoy ourselves to the fullest.”

“I can’t wait.”

“Hehe, yep. That’s right.”

A voice could be heard calling them from downstairs. Since it was time for dinner, they hung up and left their respective rooms.

***

The day after the study session. As the 10th Floor approached, a roar echoed through the [Maple Tree] training grounds.

“[Purple Lightning]!”

“Oboro [Black Smoke]!”

At the training grounds, Velvet and Sally were in the middle of a duel. As a matter of course, Sally managed to avoid Velvet’s thunderstorm. Sally hid herself behind the smokescreen that spread around Velvet. In the next moment, Sally appeared from right next to Velvet.

However, Velvet didn’t react. She allowed Sally to close in on her. Even when Sally’s blade was about to reach her, Velvet didn’t dodge.

—As a result, the ‘Sally’ that attacked her suddenly wavered and disappeared at a single touch.

“As if I’ll fall for the same trick over and over again!”

When the black smoke cleared, Sally, who’d created a gap, could be seen in the distance.

“Whenever I can’t tell whether it’s real or not, I’ll counterattack after taking damage!”

“Certainly, that sounds like Velvet.”

Velvet’s skills allowed her to move as fast as Sally, if not more. Moreover, Velvet’s HP and defense were also at a level that enabled her to leap towards the enemy.

Although Sally used illusions to skillfully trade damage in one direction, the person must be close enough for her to deliver a critical hit with a dagger.

Wait patiently until Sally approaches, and once you’re sure it’s the real thing, start attacking.

To pierce her flesh and cut her bones. When dealing damage to each other, it was obvious that Sally, who had the lowest HP, would fall first.

“What do you think!?”

“Then, I’ll do it another way.”

Sally sheathed one of her daggers and used her skill to alter the shape. Suddenly, a bow was in her hand. If she couldn’t get close, then she wouldn’t. Sally had more than one weapons at her disposal.

“So, you’re going to change everything into a weapon!”

“That’s right. If you’re going to wait, I’ll just shoot you. [Icicle] [Water Path]!”

With Sally’s declaration, numerous pillars of ice and streams of water ran manifested in the air.

“Here I come!”

Sally stretched a thread from her hand and moved freely around Velvet—leaping into the water, treading on ice, jumping in the air, and roaming on the ground.

“…!”

The lightning couldn’t graze Sally. Still, Velvet didn’t want to launch an attack herself. After all, attack movements would create gaps.

Is that what Sally is aiming for?

Velvet carefully dodged the flying arrows and magic as much as possible while carefully watching Sally.

“Ouch…!”

Every time Sally avoided the lightning, the aura of [Sword Dance] intensified. Velvet didn’t exactly know what the effect was, but the unusual damage caused by the arrows she occasionally received told her that she couldn’t let things continue as they were.

Sally wouldn’t approach her. Having no choice but to attack Sally, Velvet charged towards her.

“[Northern Light]!”

If gaps were inevitable, Velvet should aim to lessen them.

A pillar of lightning rose, with the user in the center, and the electric shock hit everything within the area.

There was no response. However, Velvet also had a plan. [Northern Light] was Sally’s weakness. No matter how high her evasion skill was, she couldn’t escape the damage that filled the area in a cylindrical shape. Afterwards, when it was time for cooldown, Sally wouldn’t have any choice but to engage in close combat.

If Sally was cautious, she was most likely to continue attacking with her bow instead of jumping in. Nevertheless, she’d lost one incentive that could elicit a different action from her opponent.

—Then, as the pillar of lightning disappeared, Sally transformed her bow into a dagger and leaped in.

Velvet was taken aback for a moment. It was somewhat unexpected. But then, it occurred to her that it might be an illusion, and canceled the skill she was about to cast.

If it was just one blow, she could withstand that much.

Velvet kept her eyes peeled until the very last moment, paying attention to the signs around her.

In no time at all, Sally was right in front of her. Swinging her dagger, Sally slashed Velvet from her chest to her abdomen, and damage effects scattered.

“…!? [Stance Spark] [Purple Lightning]!”

A frontal assault. Velvet was caught off-guard, but quickly regained her composure. While stepping so as not to get too close to Sally, she fired lightning from her fist, along with an electric shock that’d stun her.

They hit Sally directly—and she dispersed.

“…!”

The next thing that greeted Velvet’s vision were two flaming spears and a plain great sword that pierced her body from the back, extending from her chest.

When and at what timing did she switch them?

As the question remained unanswered, Velvet’s HP was blown away by an attack dealt by three weapons enhanced by [Sword Dance].

It was simply a duel at the training grounds. If someone was lost, they’d be revived on the spot, with all their skill cooldowns reset.

“When!? Just how!? When did you switch them!?”

“Of course I can’t tell you. You’ll have to figure that out yourself.”

“Let’s see… It’s real until the moment I get attacked, which means…”

Sally switched places with the illusion to avoid [Stance Spark] and [Purple Lightning], then slipped through the thunderstorm to attack Velvet from behind.

It sounded outrageous no matter what, but Sally made it possible.

“Also, that magical spear! It was quite powerful!”

“Well…”

Many things were going on in Velvet’s vision all at once. A curtain of water, a pillar of ice, and a clone—so much that she couldn’t keep up.

That alone conveyed that Sally’s skill was on a whole other level.

“In the end, there are still a lot of things I don’t understand.”

Sally saw Velvet’s attitude and realized that the latter hadn’t fully grasped who she was.

From the time of the event, Sally’s been taking advantage of [Reversal of Lies]. By doing so, the illusion created by [Mirage] would deal damage for a short period of time.

Managing the effect time wasn’t a problem for Sally, who was counting the timer until the date changed during the battle against Velvet and Hinata.

A trump card that’d been used so skillfully, the truth was hidden beneath lies. Thanks to that, the only people who had accurate information about [Reversal of Lies] were the guild members of [Maple Tree].

Actually, the answer was simple. Immediately after Velvet casted [Northern Light], she switched places. That was all.

Yet, because Velvet didn’t know the full extent of her skill, she couldn’t reach that conclusion.

Unless Sally made the information public, the truth would remain obscure for a while.

“Still, it’s a good match.”

“I agree.”

“Let’s have Hinata join the duel next time!”

“Then I’ll have to call Maple, too.”

“Ahaha, that sounds like fun!”

Even Sally couldn’t fight if her movement was restricted. With Hinata, Velvet was at full power. Since it’d been some time since the event concluded, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a rematch as soon as possible. The plan prepared by Maple and Sally were slightly superior, but the battle that night was one that could’ve been won by either side.

“How’d [Thunder Storm] tackle the 10th Floor?”

“It depends but, I plan on jumping in as fast as I can!”

Of course, Velvet would bring Hinata with her. With Hinata, she could ignore gravity and roam freely. There was no place she couldn’t go.

“If there’s no quest, I wonder if I can go straight to the final boss?”

“I don’t think so. Look, there are a lot of tamed monsters that can fly!”

Fly in the sky.

The event confirmed that it was a reality. As expected, presently, there were only one person who could ride the turtle. But in addition to Payne and Mii, there were many other riders who could fly in the sky.

If that was the case, it’d be appropriate to take measures to deal with that.

“What about you?”

“As you might’ve guessed, I’ll go with Maple. It’s easy to schedule with her.”

“What about the events? You’ll be there, right?”

“That’s my intention.”

“…But you will, right?”

“Who knows… I wonder what I should do?”

“Eeh!?”

Velvet rolled her eyes. Sally knew what she was getting at.

‘You’re going to bring Maple to have a rematch with us, right?’

“We’ll be getting busier in real life around events, so it’ll be harder to log in.”

“That’s all the more reason to…!”

“…Velvet seems to really like PvP. But how did you come to like it? And why?”

“Huh!? Well, that’s… uhm. I don’t really play games that much, so I guess it means that I’ve always liked competing.”

“So do I. I’ve always liked that kind of thing. But there are a lot of people who don’t, and I think that’s natural.”

“You’re right.”

“Maple doesn’t hate it, but I don’t think she likes it as much as we do. So… I don’t know if it’s going to be a fun experience for us.”

—If this was the last event for the two of them, Sally wanted to leave behind only happy memories for Maple.

As long as she can enjoy it until the end… Since the moment they met, I’ve been wishing for it. for one last battle.

“It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t happen.”

“You’re so kind. No… You’re just clumsy.”

“…”

“Well, there’s still time, so I think you should take your time and decide! Until then, I’ll be your partner!”

“Isn’t that just because Velvet wants to fight?”

“Well, there’s that! Now, it’s time for another round! I’ve learned from our previous duel. It’s time for revenge!”

“Okay, I’ll get my revenge!”

It’s still somewhat a distant dream.

Although, she’d probably have to decide soon.

The two opted for another round, and charged towards each other at the start of the duel.