Chapter 66: Everyone is Competitive in Some Way or Other; You just have to Find the Right Neuroses to Trigger
A sporty-type high-school girl in a fantasy tunic and miniskirt with tights and a ponytail, a college student with leather armor that looks like it’s designed for agile maneuvers, and Masaki in his half-plate.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen so many Japanese people together. With just Seimei-san it’s not so obvious, especially with the different demi-human races around, but with this many, they really stand out. There aren’t many people with oriental faces in this city.
I suppose it won’t take too long for people to realize I have some sort of connection with them.
With Ragnall next to me, I can almost hear his conclusion as he compares our looks, like, ‘Ah, they really are kinsmen’ or something.
The high-school girl looks up and waves.
“To think just 5 of those monsters turned into so much money … is that really the market price?”
“To be honest, I don’t really see nagas and manticores processed that much, so it’s the first time I’ve seen that much money right away myself.”
“Well, they’re that rare, after all.”
Although the high-school girl is calling and waving at us, Seimei-san, Ragnall, and I are still a little shell-shocked at the price for 2 wyverns, 1 manticore, 1 naga, and 1 kelpie.
Even split 3 ways, it’s probably enough for each of us to live indulgently for 5 years.
And we have at least 35 more corpses like that in my Inventory, plus an ice drake…
Un, let’s not think about it.
Seimei-san finally looks up and smiles at the high-school girl coming this way.
“Midori-chan, hello. You guys have quite the entourage…”
Midori-chan’s energetic face made a kind of exasperated smile.
“Ah, that is … Prince Regin insisted on us taking the soldiers along for some reason…”
“What do you mean for some reason, hm~? Don’t tell me Midori-chan doesn’t know how he looks at her~.”
Seimei-san begins to tease her, and Midori-chan flushes bright red. She’s the type who’s not good with love-talks, huh?
“Seimei-san, if you go any further, you’ll be like a sexual-harassing ossan.”
Ah, it was a critical hit. I wonder if it was the ‘sexual-harassing’ or the ‘ossan’ that hurt more.
“Hahaha, she got you, Sei-chan! If you’re going to take the energy to tease Mi-chan, I’d rather you hurry up and take us around somewhere in the city!”
The college student guy laughed and slung his arm around Mi-chan.
In the background I can hear Masaki saying,
“We’d really like to just go around the city by ourselves for today …”
“If Masaki-sama says so … nonono, we cannot leave Masaki-, I mean, Midori-sama and the others alone, His Highness would not stand for it – ”
Masaki seems to be in the middle of a heated discussion with the soldiers.
It’s quite a busy scene with Seimei-san depressed, 2 rambunctious gamers heckling him, and Masaki half arguing and half pleading with a group of armed men.
In other words, it’s chaos here at the Guild Hall’s Lobby.
Ragnall and I watch the proceedings from a few steps behind Seimei-san.
“Jun, why does it feel like every time someone from your country shows up, everything gets really noisy.”
The soldiers finally left us alone, as their captain, who had first dropped by Sir Knight Captain’s house to report their arrival, came by and dragged them away.
“Think about the trouble you’re causing for Masaki-sama! Anyway, if there was something that posed a danger to Masaki-sama, what did you lot think you can do about it?!”
Ah, and we were all trying so hard not to mention that …
“V-vice Captain, you sniiiitched-!”
“Ho ho, well, the lot of you are causing problems for the Guild and Masaki-sama, after all, even though you were told to secure the living accommodations for tonight.”
“Even though this would have been a chance to watch Masaki-sama demolishing the monsters in the Labyrinth-!”
No, we’re not going into the Labyrinth though.
Even though these are soldiers are also from the Royal Capital of Carnus, they’re way more lax than the ones that were sent with Seimei-san.
They worry me in a slightly different way than the other guards.
Masaki takes the opportunity to slink away from the soldiers and comes closer to where we are.
“Oh, they really love you, huh?’
Masaki looks like he’s about to die from the stress of being the center of attention. When the soldiers finally depart and the hustle and bustle around the Guild Hall gradually resumed, Masaki turned towards me.
I know that look, he wants to complain.
“Hold it together at least until we get out of public, Masaki-sama.”
Good, good. If he didn’t feel bad about making me call him with ‘-sama’, I would have to take some extra measures. Although I don’t know if I’m stronger than him anymore … what a frustration.
“Sei-chan, let’s go to the Labyrinth, the Labyrinth! I want to MonHunt-!”
“Baka-tsu, Sei-chan just got out of the Labyrinth. I want to go sight-seeing around the city, now that we finally don’t have to put up with all the Noble-sama stuff.”
The college-aged guy and Midori-san argue about what we’re going to do after this.
While trying to stifle his laughter, Ragnall finally cuts in.
“If I might be so bold, if we are not returning to the Labyrinth, perhaps the Sirs and Lady would like to change their clothes to something simpler?”
Ah, now that he mentions it, they’re all wearing armor from the Mourning Star, even Seimei-san. It definitely looks out of place here in Nyl City, huh? Vibrant colors and exquisite designs, they are definitely top-grade armors even in the game – as expected of the top-rankers in Mourning Star.
“Oh … well, then.”
Seimei-san and Masaki easily tuck their outer wear and armor away into Inventory, leaving themselves in a plain shirt and trousers. The quality of the shirt and trouses, as well as their boots, are still high-end, but the effect is pretty amazing.
“Ugh. Dangit… I’ll need to go somewhere to take this stuff off.”
The college-aged guy gnaws on his lower lip in frustration. He might be wearing plainer clothes underneath, but his tight-fitting armor is something that would be awkward to watch him remove.
“I don’t know what you’re complaining about. At least you guys can just remove stuff like that …”
… Indeed. I don’t think there’s anything she can remove. I’ve thought this before, but isn’t the exposure rate between guys’ armor and girls’ armor way too different in games?
“Ah, just call me Midori, since we’re basically family.”
I-is that how it works? Well, I suppose our little group of Japanese are more closely related to each other than anyone else in this world.
“Then, if Midori-chan would like…”
Midori snatches up the spare clothes I brought out from Inventory.
Ah, it was hard for her, huh? She almost looks like she wants to cry, she’s so happy.
“So how’s it going Masaki? Oh it could be better, how about you Jun? It’s been so long since we’ve seen each other and I’ve been worried … That’s how this should have gone, so how did we get to this?!”
Masaki’s yell reverberated around the Guild Hall’s training room.
“Fufufu, this is just how it goes sometimes?”
Culprit B, that is, Seimei-san, laughed happily.
“It’s a rare occasion for me to see Masaki-sama’s abilities.”
Culprit C, that is, the Vice-Captain of the Royal Guards that came from Carnus with Masaki and the others, grinned happily, rubbing his hands together in anticipation.
“Fumu. Although the room is well-strengthened with magic, I’m not certain it will hold up to the attacks of the 2 of you.”
Culprit D, that is, Florian-san, gave a warning.
And culprit A, that is, the main culprit, (me), patted him lightly on the shoulder.
“Ah, un, maa … don’t worry about it, Masaki.”
Well, as we were waiting for the college-aged guy and Midori-chan to change clothes, somehow the conversation turned towards fighting abilities, and somehow along the way it was arranged for Masaki and I to have a mock battle.
By no means is it just because I feel threatened by Masaki’s sudden growth in combat abilities …I mean, with so many changed factors, wouldn’t you want to know if you can still beat him down or not?
… No no, I mean, this is purely out of curiosity!
Anyway, somewhere along the way, the Vice-Captain who had been visiting the Guildmaster, that is, the two old friends who hadn’t seen each other in a long time, happened to be in the room when the receptionist went to obtain permission for the highest-grade training facility in the Guild Hall to be lent out, and now we’ve arrived at the current situation.
Excluding the outer wear, Masaki was re-donning his armor while heaving a sigh like he’s completely given up.
“Uuu… I don’t really want to experience getting beat up by a serious Jun, but winning against a serious Jun is equally bad…”
“Now now, you just need to do your best, and the results will be whatever the results will be.”
“I’ve heard that before, and then you didn’t talk to me for a month-!”
Tch. I still think that I lost that PvP because the batteries in my keyboard were dying.
“… Do the two of them know each other from before?”
The sharp-eyed Vice-Captain suddenly addressed Seimei-san, suspicion twinkling in his eyes.
“A-ah… well, from some time ago, perhaps…”
“Aaah, an old flame, eh?”
“Ah, no tha-“
As usual, Masaki’s so violent when rebutting those claims. Even thought it’s not pleasant for me either, as I thought, that trauma from his ex-girlfriend carried over into this world, huh? Made worse now that I’m actually a girl, although I still look the same as I did when I was a guy.
Or is that kind of situation actually improved now that I’m a girl? Hm?
… No, in the end I guess it’s still just as bad.
I walk out onto the field, checking my katana, saying,
“No magic, and we go until first hit or give up.”
No magic because Florian greatly, greatly expressed his desire for us not to blow up the training grounds. I agreed to it because, my magic aside, if Masaki’s is anything like Seimei-san’s… If we fought with magic too, I think we should worry about the state of the Guild Hall in general, not just the training room.
“Haa… ok, got it. No spells, but skills are ok?”
“I don’t really understand the difference, but sure.”
I expected Masaki to have to use SOME magic. Unlike me, who did all sorts of sports and some martial arts, Masaki wasn’t active much, after all. Maybe it’s just my low expectations, but I assumed he got ‘upgraded’ a lot when he got to this world, so it should be expected that magic, even if it’s passive, plays a large role in his battles.
I mean, I’m using Augment Body constantly. All of us gamers are probably constantly emitting magic of some shape or form.
Although he sounds reluctant, his eyes are sparkling. I’m sure Masaki is just itching to see if he can overpower me, now that he’s considered one of the strongest warriors in this world.
Hmph. Don’t be getting arrogant, now!
We have a … complicated relationship.
Okay, not that complicated. We were 2 rowdy boys who hated to lose to each other!
“Hrm, hrm. All right, then … begin!”
Florian-san coughs twice to get our attention, then gives us the starting call.
Alright, so let’s see how –
The shockwave alone from the sword strike Masaki made just now gouged out a bit of the floor.
The floor that’s supposedly reinforced with magic.
I see. Yes, Masaki is very strong. Or like, his attacks could probably tear you to shreds.
It would be best if I didn’t take any of his attacks head on without a Barrier.
I’ve already decided in my heart that if I have to use a Barrier in this duel, at that point I’ll consider the duel over.
Because I shouldn’t need a Barrier against Masaki-!
As I’m about to begin my counterattack, Masaki suddenly grins.
“<Shoulder Charge> <Rush> <Pierce> <5-Point Strike>!”
I have to stop myself abruptly and dance all over the place to avoid his attacks.
Masaki’s attacks are just switching directions kind of unnaturally, though?!
What is this …
As I dodge his several attacks in quick succession, I try to analyze his movements.
No good, it’s all over the place, but in a way that feels like he intended it to be like this.
Maybe I was too cocky, letting him take the first attack…
Haa… what should I … Ah, could it be?
He’s combo-ing his combat skills!
I see, I see, so Masaki is using his skills’ pre-set movements, chaining them to catch his opponents off-guard.
Don’t think this will be just like a game!
Although he tries to overcome it by chaining skills, the weakness in this method is still the fact that he can’t control the trajectory of a skill after he initializes it!
“<Side Buster><Flicker><Blindside><Whirling Scourge>!”
Once again he chains skills, but … it’s just sloppy, Masaki, the way you hold the sword!
That said, if I don’t dodge or parry, I think I won’t be able to just walk away from these without hurting.
It’s frustrating to admit, but Masaki’s skill chains force you to follow his rhythm. Since they’re unnatural movements, you have to react by sight instead of predictions.
Even though he has to yell out the name of each one…
I barely dodged that one.
I can’t help but feel that these game skills that abruptly change the direction of the blade are totally cheating.
Darn Masaki, and he’s so used to using the skills like this to his advantage from playing in VR!
Looks like I’m going to have to get serious.
His last move sent his sword flying upwards, which leaves a big opening, you know-?!
Before he can chain the next skill, I close the distance and throw an elbow into Masaki’s unprotected side.
He manages to deflect it a bit with his free hand, but I still connect a little.
Masaki becomes a little flustered as he tries to back-up and dodge to one side, but I don’t let up and dart right in.
As usual, he has a bad habit of panicking when people get too close.
Alright, now I’ll have you follow MY rhythm!
And the fight ended shortly after that.
Haaa… I’m really worried, if you get taken in so easily just because I threw you off once!
Because he was unable to escape the close distance, Masaki became unable to respond well to my attacks, and having no real battle sense to speak of, it didn’t take long at all until I overpowered him.
“Damn, in the end I still can’t beat you … tsk.”
As I thought, he was hoping to beat me down, huh? Maa, it’s not like I can blame him, after getting such massive upgrades in this world, but … how cheeky. You’re still 100 years too early-!
Well, that’s what I want to say, but to be honest, if he was using magic to the fullest, who knows what could have happened.
“Haah, well, it’s not like you’re not strong or anything, but seriously, you need to rely on your skills less. There are too many openings when you use them, and when you connect skills like that, you leave yourself wide open. And then, once your opponent starts taking the lead, you panic too quickly and are easily overcome. Start learning the sword back from the basics!”
It seems like Masaki has already acknowledged his weaknesses previously, so maybe my meddling is unnecessary.
“You say that, Jun-kun, but seriously … I couldn’t keep track of either of your moves. Isn’t it only you who could take advantage of the openings in Masaki’s skill chaining?”
“Umm… was it that impossible?”
I look over at Ragnall while I ask. I mean, Seimei-san’s a mage, so I don’t know how reliable his opinion on martial arts is.
Ragnall shrugs and then says,
“Well, there won’t be that many people who could easily disrupt him like you, but it’s true that his movements could use some polish. Well, if he polishes up the basics, it’s possible that, eventually, you won’t be able to match him, Jun.”
Tsk. Ragnall’s grinning slyly as he says that last part. So I just need to train myself even harder to stay ahead; that’s all I’ll need to do, right?
But, yeah, as I thought, Ragnall could see what was going on clearly, huh? He could probably fight confidently against Masaki, if we’re only talking about sword-play.
“No no, Ragnall, you’re a monster just like them so you can say that. Ah, to think I got a chance to see Masaki-sama’s serious fighting style…”
I thought he was more level-headed than the other soldiers, but the Vice-Captain is also one of the members of the Masaki-sama Cult. He suddenly grins and says,
“But, maa, I see. From that battle together, instead of a former lover it’s a rival, huh?”
The Vice-Captain says that with a grin.
I smile wryly, saying,
“Well, yeah, that’s basically it-.”
But Masaki cuts me off with a,
“Didn’t I say it wasn’t like that?!”
Masaki, you’re too easily teased.
<A/n: Did not expect all the frustration about the cliff hanger.
And because I don’t know who reads what, thanks Skirie and Meousa for the donations! (I don’t think I posted thanks on Ovrmmo/wfb posts)>