WG – Chapter 7-8: Shortcut

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In the world of Nekomimi Neko (New Communicate Online), the trade of goods is done with the mana currency called element. 

You use your exclusive-use crystals that have mana accumulated in it as money to do your groceries and your purchases. 

In this world where the magic culture has developed, you need mana in order to light a fire. 

It has a lot more practical use than gold or gems. Mana holds stable worth and it is specially suitable as the main currency in regions like this one. 

In other words, this is a characteristic setting you would only find in fantasies…is what I would want to say, but it is actually because the modern era people have gotten so used to e-money. They were pondering how to manage something similar to that in the game which led to this system. 

It is a dream-crusher of a story, but e-money has become the mainstream when shopping, and stuff like physical currency is almost all gone in modern Japan. It would most likely be a pain to count your gold and silver each time just to do your shopping. 

I honestly think that’s a pain as well. 

You decide on how much to pay, push your crystal, and you are done. I would rather have that. 

While thinking that, I…

“Thank you very much!” 

I sold the Heritage of the Thief Meripe that I got last night, and while holding a crystal with a whole lot of elements (E) in it, I exited the establishment. 

Second day of my game life. 

The first thing I did after leaving the inn was to head to the item shop.

In the end, I couldn’t think of a safe way to carry the box of the Meripe Heritage and just went with it like that to the store.

I sold the jewels inside it, and I seriously felt like my body was so on guard until the specified E was passed to my crystal. 

I was so nervous the whole time wondering if a thief would come out from a street corner, and every single person that came to vision felt as if they were out to get my box. 

I seriously can’t laugh at Maki on this one. 

Even at the time when entering the store, I thought that the shopkeeper would become a money gremlin and attack me the moment she saw the jewels I had, or maybe I would be hard pressed as to how I got all of this, or that maybe she would look down on me and burst out laughing…but none of that happened.

Of course, I don’t know the clear numbers, but I was properly paid in what I think is the exact same amount as in the game, and the clerk of the item shop gave me a splendid business smile. 

“Thank you very much~.” 

She said this and saw me off. 

…Now that I think about it, I wonder why all the item shop clerks are women? 

Anyways, this is one thing off my mind now. 

Jewels have the chance of being robbed, but once you get it in the crystal, there’s no way to steal E without my permission. 

No worries about having it stolen now. 

Well, honestly speaking, if the owner of said crystal dies, the restriction is gone as well, so there’s fellows who would go as far as killing to steal it, but let’s not think about that one. 

With this, I now have 175,300 E.

Considering how I had 500 E at the beginning, this is quite the rise. 

The reward of quests depends mostly on the difficulty of the quest itself. 

The reward of a midgame quest that requires you to clear 3 dungeons and solve a puzzle is obviously going to be outstandingly high for a beginner player. 

Well, you can’t count on Nekomimi Neko when it comes to the balance in that area either, so there’s times when you would work your ass off and still end up with a measly reward, but the Heritage of the Thief Meripe is a quest that has a reward worthy of the troubles. 

By the way, isn’t the starting 500 E a bit too low? 

I used 200 just to stay in a cheap inn, so I would end up dry with just 2 stays.

Good grief, what a reckless man this character is. 

“With this, I can buy equipment, but…before that, I have to go to the place of the Tutogramps, huh.” (Souma)

The Tutogramps is an adventurer that has retired, and just as the name states, it is the 2nd tutorial assistant. 

Even in the tour of Reinhart yesterday, his name came up, and he told me to ask him if I had any questions. 

He would teach the basics of adventuring to a player, and he also gives you necessary items for adventurers, so there’s…no choice of not going. 

The Tutogramps gives 3 items. 

The first one is the Adventurer Bag that can carry more than its appearance tells, and it technically serves as your inventory. 

The Item Box that you can practically store items without any limit and serves as your storage.

And the item for a quest, the Mysterious Piece of Paper.

All of them are necessary gameplay items. 

Especially if you are going to be buying equipment, the Adventurer Bag is absolutely necessary. 

The Adventurer Poach you have at the start has the same kind of effect, but that’s mostly to store consumables, so you can only put in 6 types of items. 

Also, it is impossible to store things that are big like equipment. 

The Adventurer Bag itself doesn’t have an infinite amount of space either though. 

That’s where the Item Box comes to play. 

To be more precise, you get the right to use one of the Item Boxes in the city, but it is extremely convenient for throwing your equipment in it. 

The last one, the Mysterious Piece of Paper, is also incredibly useful. 

It looks like a paper that has illegible scribbles in it, but it is actually a necessary quest item to advance the main scenario.

It doesn’t look that important, so it tends to be trashed when the bag is too full, and when that happens, you get hard locked away from the scenario. 

What’s worse about this is that thrown items disappear after a set amount of time, so say goodbye to clearing the game ever. 

It has been fixed with a patch, so it won’t disappear even if you throw it away. Anyways, this is an item worth attention in that sense. 

Honestly, I am not good at dealing with that old man, but I can’t not go. 

I know that I am being shameless complaining here despite being the one receiving the gifts, but…

In the end, I decided the next place to go would be the house of Tutogramps.

I began walking straight to the house of the old man. 

After that, I safely got the items from the Tutogramps, but there was no new information there, so I will omit it**.

Let’s just say that the Tutogramps is the Tutogramps even in this world.

“With this, I can get my equipment.” (Souma)

I lightly smack the Adventurer Bag I got just now. 

I could freely take items in and out from the Adventurer Bag with the same feel as with the poach. 

With this, I won’t have to worry even if I buy bulky things. 

But what should I do? 

There’s no noteworthy equipment being sold in this Lamurick City. 

Even so, it is still equipment that’s far above the stage I am in, so it would greatly decrease the time I take to level up, but if I am going to be buying stuff, I would like to aim for a bit higher than that. 

Naturally from the beginner city, the enemies around are low level, and the quests are all stuff you get at the very beginning. 

But it is not like there’s no quests that appear midgame and further like the Heritage of the Thief Meripe. 

If I had to give an extreme example of this, it would be the hidden dungeon that is opened once you clear the main scenario which is at the outskirts of the city. There’s of course top class enemies in there.

It is absolutely impossible for me to clear the dungeon with my current equipment and level though.

But what I mean here is that, if I aim for the rewards of those quests, it wouldn’t be impossible to get equipment that’s stronger than the ones in the stores. 

“In that case, it really gotta be there.” (Souma)

After thinking about it all the way there, a certain house came to mind. 

“To think I would be coming here again…” (Souma)

The place I arrived at while relying on my hazy memory was a normal house that’s slightly off from the center of the city. 

But this house that would at a glance look like any ordinary house is actually where the weapon I personally rank in the top 3 of best unique weapons is sleeping at, Shiranui.

Unique weapon makes it sound strong, but it simply means that there’s no other way to obtain that item. 

Nekomimi Neko is not a multiplayer game, so there’s no point in having several of the same weapon anyways. Just having the title of Unique doesn’t make it that special. 

Hell, the starting equipment that is the Rusting Sword (Attack: 3) is a Unique Item that can’t be obtained anywhere else. 

“So nostalgic…” (Souma)

The one living in this house is an old man called Lang and, completely opposite of Tutogramps, is an incredibly quiet guy. 

I can obtain the katana I want, Shiranui, by doing the chain quest related to Lang-san, but this is another pain in the ass quest. 

First, you have to come often to the place of Lang-san, get close to him, and have him entrust you the letter to his son in the capital.

Go to the capital to deliver the letter to Lang-san’s son. 

When you do that, you will get a request from the son, so you have to resolve that. 

You have the son write a response to the letter, and give it to Lang-san. 

That’s the flow of events and, finally, after he receives the letter of his son…

“Now that I think about it, there are weapons in my grandfather’s collection. I don’t need it, so take it.” 

Is what he would say. Within those weapons, one of those is Shiranui. And so, you finally obtain it. 

It is not just a pain in the ass. 

Even without Shiranui, which is the strongest weapon among its peers of the same level, this quest is worth doing. 

It is one of the rare occurrences in Nekomimi Neko where the story of the quest is good.

Lang-san, who is not good with words, shows pinches of care and love towards his son.

The lingering regrets and conflict within his son towards his father after having left for the city. 

Seeing the ice in their relationship thaw through the letters was a truly moving tearjerker even for me.

It was a splendid quest that I honestly thought I was glad of doing. 

But if you tell me to do that quest again…yeah, it is a pain and a half.

Honestly speaking, the first scenes of getting along with Lang-san are the most heart wrenching, and not in a good way. 

You have to listen to Lang-san for at least 5 times before he entrusts you with the letter, but that’s incredibly difficult to achieve.

If I remember correctly, I came to this house for around 10 days. 

It is not like Lang-san is hard to please, but he is the quiet type, so if you don’t properly chime in every now and then, that’s it. It is a damn rhythm game!!

If you mess it up a little bit, the conversation halts.

You would get told ‘come again’ and be driven out from the house, and you end up having to listen to the same story again the next day. 

‘Why is this guy telling me the same story? Is he senile?’, is what I thought when I was playing, but I wonder if it is the same in this world.

I do want to try it out, but it doesn’t have to be now. 

Getting Shiranui is my utmost priority right now.

“But this is troubling…” (Souma)

I hesitated in front of Lang-san’s house.

To be honest, this is a high difficulty mission for me. 

I am a college student that shut himself in his room playing games all the time, so my communication skills have lowered quite a bit. 

Even without that, I am seriously bad when it comes to negotiations. 

Would I be able to talk with Lang-san?

“No!” (Souma)

Don’t get weak on your knees here! 

I even got the black box. 

I am sure it will be okay this time around too. 

“…Fuuuhaaaa…” (Souma)

I take a deep breath.

First impressions are the most important in everything.

If I do it well from the beginning, I should be able to get Shiranui in one go! 

I steel my resolve and knocked the door of Lang-san energetically. 

“Excuse meee! I heard there’s a famous sword here. Would you sell it to me???” (Souma)

And then, a few minutes later, a single katana was in front of me. 

—–

Shiranui [Sword: Ootachi]

Attack: 91

Weight: 8

Added Element: None

Special Ability: None

—–

I got my most desired Shiranui! 

Man, the power of money!! 

  • Chapter 8: Fatal Hit

After having obtained Shiranui without any incidents, I swung Shiranui as I walked with a gleeful mood, but…

“Eh? Wait a moment…” (Souma)

I noticed I overlooked something and stopped my feet. 

I can’t open the menu window since the time I came to this world. 

Both the general menu that had the phone and time functions, and the game menu where you could find the status window and the save and load. 

Meaning that…

“How should I equip this?” (Souma)

In the Nekomimi Neko world, you choose the equipment from the menu window, and it is after choosing the equipment there that it reflects on your character. 

That’s why I couldn’t take off my own equipment and the equipment of others by force, and even if I hold a weapon that I don’t have equipped, I won’t be able to use skills, and even if I used it to attack, most stats of the weapon won’t be applied, so there’s practically no meaning to it. 

There’s actually corporate business involved in this, and you can find the underlying cause within the NPCs of this game at a place you can’t see. 

In other words, if you could forcefully take their equipment, there will definitely be horny people who would try to strip the clothes of female NPCs. This game is all-ages, so it would be troubling for them if you could do that…

As for your personal character, if you take off all your equipment, you end up in underwear, so you can’t get naked.

In that case, even if I have Shiranui, it would be wasted…

“…Wait. By that logic, does that mean this stamina ring would be useless too?” (Souma)

I put it on my fingers all naturally, but by the game’s logic, I still haven’t equipped them yet. 

“No, that makes no sense. If I remember correctly, rings adjusting to the size of your finger is a trait of when you equip them. Then, are they properly equipped?” (Souma)

I am beginning to get confused here. 

“Let’s test it out for a bit.” (Souma)

I walk to a random back alley, and search for a place that’s decently open and doesn’t have people. 

“…Around here, I guess.” (Souma)

I am in an open space between two houses that’s spacious enough to play catch.

There’s flowers planted at the corner that’s demarcated by stones. It is written with flimsy writing ‘flower bed’ and it was a bit heartwarming. 

(I gotta be careful not to step on the flowers.) (Souma)

While I was thinking that, I got ready with not Shiranui but the Rusting Sword. 

After that…

([Step]!) (Souma)

I won’t make the same mistake. 

If I shout the skill name and use cancel to activate skills consecutively, it will be hard to play it off. 

That’s why I give the order in my head.

“!!” 

Sudden acceleration from a totally still position.

I taste a familiar sensation that ignores the laws of physics. 

And then, the moment both of my feet land on the ground…

([Slash]!) (Souma)

I didn’t let that moment escape and activate Slash.

I hesitated for a bit, but I waited until I finished swinging the sword, and…

([Step]!) (Souma)

I once again activate Step.

Of course, it succeeded. 

I didn’t have the leeway when I was using it in the middle of the battle before, but I now have enough composure to be able to confirm how taxing skills are on my body. 

I am still good to go.

([Slash]!) (Souma)

I once again cancel once the skill ends, and chain it with Slash. 

Until here, it has been the same combo that I used to defeat the female bandit. 

At that time, I didn’t have the rings on, so I was completely out of breath, so it was impossible to go any further than that, but…

(I can still go on! [Step]!) (Souma)

I take one step forward there. 

Canceling Slash into a Step.

My vision blurs. 

“Kuuh!” (Souma)

My chest throbbed in pain there. 

A sign of running out of stamina. 

Even so, there’s not that pain like before. 

Continue! 

([Slash]!) (Souma)

The pain in my chest was hindering my concentration, but that much isn’t going to get in the way of what has been etched into my body. 

I have practiced Step cancels to Slashes several thousands, several tens of thousands of times in the game world.

“…Hah!” (Souma)

My limit came then.

 I finished swinging my sword, and at the same time as the skill stun went away, I let out a deep sigh and collapsed right then and there. 

“Haah…haaah…suuuhfuuuh…” (Souma)

I take deep breaths to settle down and feel up the feedback. 

The number of skills I can use consecutively has clearly increased. 

If you raise your skill proficiency, the stamina cost decreases, but that alone won’t explain this phenomenon.

(The rings are showing effect!) (Souma)

And with that knowledge, there’s only one thing left to test out now.

“Here we go.” (Souma)

I stand up with unsteady feet. 

I take out Shiranui from the bag, and store the Rusty Sword.

I take a stance with Shiranui.

([Slash]!) (Souma)

I order the skill. 

Once I did, my body moved on its own, held Shiranui up, and…swung down!

*Swoosh!*

The sound of cutting wind rang. 

This really is a high level weapon. 

Even when using the same skill, the power is completely different.

But that’s not what’s important. 

“…I managed…to use a skill.” (Souma)

With Shiranui in hand. 

In other words, I can equip a weapon without going through the menu screen. 

“The menu can’t be used now that the world is reality, so does that mean that you can now compensate for that lack of a feature with a realistic method?” (Souma)

I give a quick and half-baked deduction.

Despite just being a simple conjecture, I think it is not that bad of an assumption.

“Hmm…” (Souma)

And at the same time, something was bothering me with it. I can’t really pinpoint what it is.

“Oh well.” (Souma)

I am grateful that I can freely change the equipment. 

My immediate worries are solved, and since I have found a place with no prying eyes, let’s test out the skills for a bit more.

“Should I…try that?” (Souma)

The canceling of Step and Slash is a basic technique of players who aim to master Nekomimi Neko (not that there are many to begin with), so just being able to do that doesn’t really qualify you as an expert. 

Skill canceling is the act of overlapping a different skill while a skill is in the middle of animation, but it is not like the timing is at any moment you please. 

Only at the specific moments already set beforehand in the skills, Cancel Points, can this new input be accepted. 

The timings as a whole in Nekomimi Neko are really tight, and if you miss it by anything short of a perfect, you are out. 

In other words, in order to do a Skill Cancel, you have to Order the next skill accurately in the instant called a Cancel Point. 

The skills of Nekomimi Neko have more than 2 Cancel Points set normally.

When you cancel at the first Cancel Point, we call it Short Cancel; if you cancel at the second or onward, it is called a Long Cancel. 

Both I have been using until now have been Long Cancels. 

Because you need to Order in a shorter span, Short Cancel is of course the harder one to perform. 

I am about to test that out right now.

“…Alright.” (Souma)

I confirm that there’s no obstructions and that it is an open space. 

When you do a Long Cancel of Step and Slash, the skill stun is gone. 

Step makes you jump into the specified direction at high speed, it decelerates in midair, and you land on the ground. 

The 2nd Cancel Point is the moment you land on the ground, and the other Cancel Point is the instant when you reach the highest acceleration and begin to decelerate.

And so, in exchange for becoming around half of the movement distance if you do a Short Cancel, you can cut off the slower movement of the second half. 

On the other hand, the Slash’s Short Cancel is even more extreme. 

The 2nd Cancel Point of Slash is when you finish swinging the sword, the 1st Cancel Point is -to everyone’s surprise- right after you begin to swing your sword.

Of course, if you cancel it before you swing your sword down, the attack won’t be hitting. 

But…the evolution of it isn’t in the attack. 

What’s important is that, after canceling your skill, just after bringing out the Slash, you can cancel the Slash almost with no time wasted. 

In other words…by squeezing in a Short Cancel Slash, you can use another Skill with almost no time lag! 

The movement speed of this Step and Slash Short Cancel combo is overwhelming. 

It is to the point that most people who watched the uploaded video of this technique commented with an ‘another bug, huh…’.

But when it was proved that this was not a bug but a technique, it switched into surprise and admiration in one go. 

After that, the players tried to learn that movement. 

But, as I said before, Short Cancel is difficult to pull off. 

Especially because, after a Cancel of Step to Slash, you have to do a Cancel from Slash to Step almost immediately. 

Moreover, a sliver off in timing and it won’t activate.

Most players gave up on mastering that way too tight timing, and this Step and Slash Short Cancel became an advanced technique in Nekomimi Neko. 

And so, because of that tight instant consecutive Cancel control and the violent movement speed when it succeeds, that technique was called the Godstep Cancel. 

It was only after a long long time of being shut in training for this Godstep Cancel that I managed to make it mine. 

It is the fastest speed one can attain in early game, moreover, you can connect it to a skill right after. 

If this technique can be used in this world, that will become a big advantage. 

(After learning other useful skills, I have not done this technique much, but my body should be able to remember the timing!) (Souma)

It is a combo of the highest difficulty, but I believe I can do it. 

Now is the time to show the results of my gray college days! 

“…Alright.” (Souma)

I confirm that my stamina has recovered.

Ready my sword and…go!

([Step]!) (Souma)

I feel the acceleration hitting my body, but I have no time to relish in that feeling. 

I rapidly repeat the Orders. 

(…[Slash], [Step]…[Slash], [Step]…[Slash]!!) (Souma)

My body moves at a violent speed, and only at the last attack did I finish performing it without canceling…

*Byun!*

The sound of cutting wind resonates in my ear. 

By the time I noticed, I had moved several meters in a few blinks, and had stopped just after I finished swinging my sword. 

Happiness wells up. 

I paid no mind to my ragged breath and clenched my fist…and then noticed…

“…!” (Souma)

When I looked around, there was a small person peeking at me from a small road between houses with a dumbfounded expression.

A young girl that’s most likely from this neighborhood. 

Judging from the watering can in her hand, she must have come for the flower bed here.

(Crap…!) (Souma)

I could feel the blood draining from my face. 

Could it be that she saw what I did just now? 

No average skill can compare to the Godstep Cancel that utilizes the most advanced cancel technique. 

It should look abnormal in the eyes of anyone. 

It would be troubling if stories of this were to spread in the town. 

Should I silence her? 

No, we are dealing with a child here, so I should just say some half-assed excuse to deceive her…

But before I could arrange my messy thoughts, the girl spoke. 

“Onii-chan, your movements just now were gro~ss!” 

“…Eh?” (Souma)

The girl left the place just like that all merrily, leaving me frozen in place. 

After a good while of seeing off the girl and her not being in sight anymore, I could only say this in defeat. 

“W-What’s with that about being g-gross…? Water your damn flowers…” (Souma)**

Are you telling me you can’t see the greatness of this technique? How you cancel the early animation of a swift Step into holding up your sword and back into the dash of a Step and repeat with utmost precision? 

Does this world not see the beauty of animation canceling?! 

…Sagara Souma learns the taste of defeat for the first time in the isekai. 

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