WG – Chapter 32-33: Conscience of Nekomimi Neko

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TLN: Hey guys, Reigokai here!

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“You are Souma?” 

Someone was waiting for us once Ina and I exited the inn.

I understood the moment I saw her.

No, she is the only one I would never mistake.

“…Mitsuki Hisame.” (Souma)

The name of the Helper Cheetah leaked out from my mouth.

The strongest swordswoman in Nekomimi Neko and the character that’s called the avatar of Nekomimi Neko.

The most beloved among the Nekomimi Neko staff, and the personification of the ideas of Nekomimi Neko.

Her glossy black hair flowing until her waist and her crystal white skin as if contrasting it. 

Her slender body that’s covered by a white garment looked as if it would break by a mere touch, giving the feeling of fragility. 

However, the moment you see that expressionless beauty that’s as if saying if you touch her, she will break, you will learn in an instant that she is actually not that feeble of an existence.

Even so, that way too perfect beauty to a fearsome extent is simply accentuation for everything that colors her.

Her strongest trait is above that artistic face of hers…

…The *NEKOMIMI* that are proudly enshrined at the top of her head! <Cat ears>

The staff of Nekomimi Neko must have put their lives on the line for the modeling of the cat ears in this game.

What was born from that were the cat ears that are so realistic yet lovable, twitching as if they actually have life. 

They would also flap in rare instances.

When surprised, they would cover themselves on the opposite side.

When a sound is made somewhere, one would twitch and face the side, and when she is trying to do her best, they would perk up.

The characters with cat ears probably have their own exclusive AI in their cat ears. 

Those life-like movements, its detail, would portray the actions and aspects of any character. 

Happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise; all of those could be portrayed by the cat ears of this game, and the exclusive AI for it actually did show them in the appropriate scenarios. 

Even if they slacked off in a lot of aspects, their cat ears alone had absolutely no holes in their work.

No, you could even say they are more than perfect. 

They are more lovely than any cat ears in real life, moreover, it doesn’t lose the realism that you can find in real life.

Even among them, the cat ears of Mitsuki Hisame were called the ultimate and supreme ones together with her character design and her character popularity. 

Quote: “I don’t get bored even when looking at them the whole day”, “I feel happy just from watching them”, “Uho! These are nice cat ears…!”, “Nekomimi Neko has jumped ahead 20 years in this field”, “You guys, calling them stuff like cute or healing, you all don’t understand the true nature of these cat ears! This level of technique is abnormal! Look! The many pictures here and the designs that utilize them to the fullest. Also, just what kind of algorithm does it run to be able to make such natural movements? Look carefully. See, you can tell just by using your eyes! Technique, algorithm, mofumofu, fluffy…cute~healing~”, “Marry me, Mitsuki!”, “No, I want to marry the cat ears”, “The Nekomimi Neko staff are the worst pieces of shit, but I have no choice but to acknowledge the creation of these cat ears”, “It is said that they took half a year to create these cat ears, but I have been watching them for 1 year”, “The sublimeness of the person herself, even though her bearing makes you think of aloofness, when you touch them, they are so fluffy and mofumofu, so this is a tsunmofu! <The Tsun from tsundere and mofu from fluffy>”, “I unconsciously tried to touch them and was cut to death around 10 times by Cheetah, but it is now a good memory”, “I want to mofumofu them”.

I don’t really have much interest or affection for cat ears, but the cat ears of Hisame definitely make me want to touch them even if that ends with me being sliced for it. 

A strange attraction that draws me before I have the time to notice…

“S-Souma-san?” 

I must have been looking at the cat ears for an unknown period of time, Ina called to me and I returned to my senses.

When I looked, Hisame hadn’t changed her expression at all and was looking over here just as she was.

However, the cat ears above her head were slightly bent and showing displeasure.

Cute~healing~…no, that’s not it.

Just why in the world did she come all the way here?

I tilted my head, and it seems like she has taken that as me finally coming back to my senses, she spoke once again…

“You are Souma?” 

“Eh, yeah, I am Souma…” (Souma)

It was only after I said yes that I questioned how she knows my name.

The reason Hisame is called the conscience of Nekomimi Neko is because she will appear randomly at any time aside from the time when you are fighting the Demon Lord, and would help out the player.

As long as you fulfill the conditions of the Defense Battle in the Capital of Rihiter, quests and events will show up that require you to have a certain degree of strength in order to clear.

If you save before such events, you won’t be able to clear them because you are lacking the strength, and there will be many times when you will be locked from progressing.

But there’s still hope at those times.

Hisame showing up isn’t that high of a chance, but if she does show up, she will help the player for free. 

Her strength is honestly speaking higher than that of a player that has cleared the game, so there’s no scenario where the enemies would be too strong she won’t be able to clear it. 

Moreover, I don’t know if it is a bug or it was intended, but she would show up naturally even after the Blessing of the Demon Lord event. 

You would think she is someone you can’t marry from that piece of info, but it has been made clear that you can marry her if you make her your ally. 

In the later popularity polls of Nekomimi Neko, she would stand side by side with Princess Shermia for the top spot, but because it was ascertained that you couldn’t marry the princess, Hisame ended up taking the lead.

I derailed a bit there, but she is that kind of helper character, and even at the time when she meets the player for the first time…

“Do you…need my strength?” 

She would suddenly offer her assistance.

There should be no development where she waits for you in front of the inn and asks for your name.

“I…would accept requests from people whimsically, and stave off my daily boredom.” (Hisame)

“Eh? I-Is that so…” (Souma)

I know that.

Or more like, she really was simply killing time by taking the requests of the player.

“I don’t know if there’s anything in this town that you would consider…a request…but I did get asked a small favor.” (Hisame)

“Favor?” (Souma)

I don’t see where this is going at all.

“Yes. There’s apparently a guy here in this town that would deceive women with a false identity, threaten the people with gross janky moves, would invite you to a dark hole with a silver tongue, and would use your body as bait to run away. 

There’s apparently a horrible pervert like that, so they wanted me to punish them.” (Hisame)

“That…sounds rough.” (Souma)

I said whatever to chime in, but I am somewhat seeing what’s going on here. 

For some strange reason, each thing she said made me feel as if I have heard about it before. 

And the biggest hint was that, when Ina heard about this, she began to tremble. 

“Uhm, by the way, where did you get that favor?” (Souma)

“It was written on the bulletin board of this town’s plaza.” (Hisame)

The moment Hisame said that, Ina twitched.

(So it was theeeen!!!) (Souma)

It was at the time when we went to the Magic Airship Terminal. 

Ina went to the store first and said this if I remember correctly…

“Yes! Ah, but come real quickly in exchange, okay?! If you don’t, I will write a whole lot of bad things about you at the plaza!” 

Ina probably wrote that stuff on the bulletin board half-jokingly. 

And she completely forgot to erase it. 

I didn’t imagine that this would end up being read by Hisame though…

Now that I think back about it, Ina would sometimes do outrageous stuff.

As expected of Train-chan.

“T-That’s not it!” (Ina)

Unable to bear it, Ina tried to explain to Hisame. 

But Hisame stopped that.

“I don’t mind. It will end soon.” (Hisame)

Saying this, she waved her hand lightly. 

(…Hm?) (Souma)

Even at that time, I have been watching her cat ears. 

That’s why, when those cat ears perked up, I reflexively used Step.

“…Eh?” (Souma)

What I saw after jumping back was Hisame who had arrived right in front of me in the blink of an eye.

“Oh, you avoided that?” (Hisame)

A silver streak crossed the place where I was standing a second ago, and…

(Could this possibly be serious trouble?) (Souma)

Her cat ears were wiggling.

  • Chapter 33: Souma’s Swordsmanship

The katana that had at some point been unsheathed was drawing a trajectory accurately to rip out my life. 

(T-That was close…) (Souma)

I wipe my cold sweat as my feet touch the ground.

I have fought her in the game countless times.

That’s because you need to defeat Hisame in a 1v1 in order to make her your comrade.

The attacks of Hisame have no preliminary movements, and her expression doesn’t change at all.

Who knows how many times I have been killed by her all so sudden attacks. It was then when I learned the way to see the timings of her attacks.

It is of course to look at her cat ears. 

Hisame herself is completely expressionless when she attacks, but her cat ears are the only thing that tense up a bit. 

And then, when the cat ears ‘perk up’, you can tell the timing of the attack.

There’s a popular saying that ‘cat ears are worth more than a thousand words’, but my life was truly saved by those cat ears. 

And then, Ina, who had her eyes wide open at the sudden action of Hisame, jumped in between me and Hisame.

“P-Please wait! I am the one who wrote about Souma-san on that bulletin board! That was just…” (Ina)

“Ina, step back!” (Souma)

But that’s pointless.

I can tell.

The cat ears of Hisami are wiggling in happiness right now.

Those are the movements of when she is enjoying a battle. 

There’s no doubt she is thinking it is fine to listen to what we have to say after defeating me.

Or maybe she is not thinking anything at all.

“No amount of talking will get through her right now.” (Souma)

“But…” (Ina)

“It is okay. Get behind me.” (Souma)

I unsheathe Shiranui and said this strongly to have Ina step back.

Ina must have felt something from my words, even though she had a worried expression, she obeyed. 

(But, what should I do?) (Souma)

I may be able to tell the timing of her attacks, but I can’t think of a way to defeat Hisame at this current moment. 

Or more like, I can’t go killing someone over a misunderstanding like this. 

I was trying to hide the agitation inside of me while watching Hisame without lowering my guard for one second, but contrary to my belief, Hisame was not moving at all.

“I did attack you by surprise after all. I will give you the turn to attack now.” (Hisame)

Not only that, she was saying that with confidence. 

But that’s great for me.

I have Shiranui in my right hand, and I take out the Wakizashi from the bag and hold it in my left hand.

Last night, I was so happy about obtaining a new weapon that I used Master Torch to level up my Ninja Sword and Dagger skill level.

To think it would be of use this soon, but that’s what preparations are for.

After confirming that Ina has run behind me, I begin thinking about what I should do.

It seems like her only objective here is me. 

It would be stupid for me to be injured for something like this. 

Let’s have Ina run away and find a nice moment to run away as well.

I whisper to Ina.

{Ina, once I attack, run and go into the inn.} (Souma)

{B-But…!} (Ina)

{It is okay! We wouldn’t be able to run even if we wanted to with the 2 of us.} (Souma)

{…Understood. Please don’t die.} (Ina)

I can’t promise that…

I once again looked at the cat ears girl.

I have fought her countless times in the 1v1 event. 

But I have never imagined her being an enemy in the true meaning of the word ever before. 

In the game, she only helped out the player. 

However, now that the game has become reality, it is natural for her to help other people as well.

I lacked forethought. 

But, even if that’s the case, from all things that could happen, I would prefer if you didn’t take the joke writing on a bulletin board seriously and come to me please.

Even when we were whispering to each other, Hisame didn’t move.

However, if I make her wait for too long, I feel like she would say something cliche like: ‘You are not coming? I will be the one going to you then!’.

I resolved myself and took a step to the front.

Fortunately, the people around must have felt the presence of a dispute, so there’s no one around now.

Because the space around us is decently big, I am in an environment where I can use my skills at full power. 

(I should go then.) (Souma)

This not being a match or anything, there’s no signal for the match to start or commentary. 

I simply take a stance with Shiranui and activate a skill.

The one I am using is of course…

“[Invisible Blade]!” (Souma)

The Otachi skill: [Side Slash].

Because of a setting mistake on Shiranui, the blade can reach places where it shouldn’t be able to.

For the opponent, it is as if they were attacked by an invisible blade, and it should be impossible to avoid…but…

“Fumu?” (Hisame)

Soon after the skill was activated, Hisame moved back as if sliding. 

She got out from the attack range in an instant and the Side Slash hit nothing.

“You use quite the strange technique.” (Hisame)

Hisame saw through the invisible blade as if nothing and was taking a composed attitude, but there’s ways of dealing with that.

“Hm?” (Hisame)

At the end of the Side Slash, I Cancel it with a forward Step.

Hisame showed surprise with her cat ears by the Skill Canceling, and I Canceled that Step too, to chain it to another skill.

“[Impartial Remnant Blade]!” (Souma)

The range of the slash created along with the shout is bigger than that of the Side Slash of before…or at least, it looks as if that’s the case.

Hisami found this strange while jumping further back.

And in the small opening that was created there…

“Ina!” (Souma)

I shouted this sharply to urge her to run and I began to run as well.

At the time when the skill was ending, I did a Step to the side to Cancel, and tried to enter an alley, but Hisame was already in a stance to pursue me. 

Fast! 

Way too fast!

[She is the only one who is slower when she uses Step.]

The catchphrase for her surfaced in my mind.

In other words, her movement speed is faster than Step.

(She will catch up to me even when I am using Godstep Cancel!) (Souma)

I reached a decision in an instant. I Short Cancel the Step and switch to High Step, lunging into the alley.

High Step is the improved version of Step. It has more speed than Step, and you can activate it when canceling Step, but you can’t chain it to a low rank skill like Slash from there.

But it still let me enter the alley with outstanding speed.

([Jump]!) (Souma)

Instead of Slash, I Cancel it into Jump, and quickly Cancel it with the Dagger skill [Instant Charge] to get past the alley at the highest speed.

“Kya!” 

“Uwa!” 

Because I ran past with bladed weapons still in hand, the people on the way were surprised, but I don’t have the time to care about them.

I weave through the people and…

(Guh! [Step]!) (Souma)

I Cancel Instant Charge into Step.

I am already running out of stamina.

I want to take a breath here, but I can’t be relieved just yet. 

If I move in a straight line, she will catch up once I run out of stamina. 

I jump to the sides as if advancing in a zigzag. 

I once again found a random alley and…

([High Step]!) (Souma)

I squeeze out the last of my strength, and Cancel Step into High Step.

My chest was throbbing in pain from using skills too much.

I can’t use any more skills.

I soften the angle on purpose when entering the alley and…

“Kuh!” (Souma)

I crash onto the wall by myself, and Cancel the skill stun by forcefully interrupting the skill.

My breath was taken away, but there’s no point if I stop acting here.

([Hide]!) (Souma)

I desperately get myself back up, whip my body back to action, and activate the first skill [Hide] from the Ninja Sword.

A black light bursted in the surroundings for a second and covered my body.

“…Haah, fuuh!” (Souma)

I finally take a breath.

Hide is a skill that makes it a bit harder to be found when you have not been found yet. 

It will only serve for a bit of respite, but with this, I should be able to…

“You do interesting stuff.” 

I felt a cold sensation on my neck.

Shivers ran down my whole body in an instant.

(Don’t tell me she followed me?! Even though I used that many skills?!) (Souma)

I didn’t even need to turn around. 

A cold voice pressed down from my back.

“I was watching from behind, but it looked like you were using skills consecutively. What kind of trick is that?” (Hisame)

“…I am sorry, but I can’t answer that question.” (Souma)

If she was watching from behind, it must mean that she was following right behind the whole time?

As expected of Cheetah-san. She is way too much of a cheat. 

Even though there’s a dueling event, she normally isn’t antagonistic towards you, so no matter how much of a cheat she is, she is a rare character that didn’t get complaints from players. I feel like that has pulled the rug on me here.

“The invisible slash that you did at first has me curious too, but the second attack…that was a Wide Slash, wasn’t it? I thought it was a useless skill, but to think you would use it in such a fashion…” (Hisame)

The second skill.

I shouted the cool name Impartial Remnant Blade to deceive her, but it certainly is Wide Slash.

It is a pitiful skill that is called the Empty Wide Slash by the Nekomimi Neko players. Even though the visual effect encapsulates close to 5 meters, it actually only reaches around 2 meters.

If it were in the game world, it would be one thing, but now that it is reality, there aren’t many people who would be able to ignore the visual effects. 

Especially when her school is mainly aimed at evasion, even if she were to feel it a bit off, there was a high chance she would still avoid even the visual effect.

“You are different from every swordsman I have met. You have a truly strange fighting style. 

A swordsman, yet not a swordsman. 

If I were to put a name to it, it would be Odd Sword Style.” (Hisame)

For some reason, she gave me a chuunibyou nickname.

I am happy that she evaluates me highly, but I would like you to move your sword away if that’s the case.

(Anyways, this is the worst timing. It had to be right after I used Hide of all things…!) (Souma)

I have no defensive means at all.

I can’t say I have recovered my stamina yet, and if she were to attack me right now, I can’t really hope to avoid it. 

Cold sweat ran down my cheek.

“For reference, can you tell me how you managed to avoid my first technique?” (Souma)

That’s why I decided to ask her to buy time.

By first technique, I am talking about Invisible Blade, basically Side Slash.

I am actually curious about how she was able to avoid that.

“I saw the air trembling.” (Hisame)

…The way skilled fighters talk is on a plane of their own.

But it is fortunate that she responded to my conversation starter.

If I can buy time like this, I might be able to manage something.

“Then…” (Souma)

“If you are trying to buy time here, it is pointless.” (Hisame)

But Hisame heartlessly sliced my words…

“Unfortunately, it seems like it is time.” (Hisame)

I turned my head around, and what was in the corner of my vision was her katana raised.

And then…

“Farewell…forever.” (Hisame)

That katana was swung down towards me…

“Match!” (Souma)

…But right before it did, I raised my voice.

“A match?” (Hisame)

It seems like my desperate words managed to pull her attention.

The katana stopped at a paper difference on my neck.

My heart was trembling at its very depths while I shouted without showing this outside.

“That’s right! Mitsuki Hisame! I challenge you to a 1 on 1 serious match!!” (Souma)

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