“Hey, Mitsuki, what’s with that letter? It was only filled up with things about me, and the important stuff was only around 10% of it.” (Souma)
After meeting up, I questioned Mitsuki about the letter, but her cat ears tilted as if saying ‘that’s weird’.
“That’s strange. If I remember correctly, I wrapped that up in one line.” (Mitsuki)
What was revealed here was that not even 10% was about our business.
Mitsuki then adds more to that.
“I remember having written a lot about you, to the point that I don’t remember having written anything aside from that.
Father is unexpectedly strict when it comes to the etiquette of letters, so I do remember being extra careful on that part though.” (Mitsuki)
“Wait a moment! Why me…?” (Souma)
I wanted to shout: ‘Do you know everything I have gone through because of that?’.
“It is in part because I couldn’t stop once I began writing, but father is pretty harsh towards a person from the outside.
I thought about giving a good impression about you as much as possible.” (Mitsuki)
If she tells me that, I can’t even stay angry.
Good will is scary.
“More importantly, I am glad that you are safe.” (Mitsuki)
“…What’s with that?” (Souma)
Could it be that Mitsuki knew all of this would happen? -I thought that for a second, but seeing her expression, I don’t think that’s the case.
Receiving my words, Mitsuki said this as if nothing.
“I did try to tell him to not put a hand on you guys, but when the people here see a strong person, they try to jump at them. Even I got attacked by around 20 people right as I arrived.” (Mitsuki)
Even if you tell me they have insect-like tendencies of jumping into fire, it is just troubling.
Or more like, she said it all casually, but isn’t that a big incident?
“20 people… Was that okay?” (Souma)
When I asked this, Mitsuki’s cat ears stood up as if saying ‘it is horrible that you are doubting me’ and she answered as if it were upsetting.
“No need to worry, I held back. I am not so bloodthirsty as to take lives in small competitions.” (Mitsuki)
“…No, that’s not what I meant, but that’s fine then.” (Souma)
Now that I think about it, Mitsuki is practically the strongest NPC in Nekomimi Neko.
Worrying about her is the peak of pointless worry.
But Mitsuki seems to be a bit solemn here.
“Well, I am a bit relieved to see that they haven’t changed.” (Mitsuki)
She muttered this as if it were a nice story, but honestly speaking, there aren’t a shred of relieving factors in that for me.
Only regrets of why I came into a den of deviants like this one.
“Wait a moment. Ringo hasn’t been attacked, right?” (Souma)
My eyes grew a little stern there and Mitsuki easily nodded.
“It seems like that’s fine. I have been thorough about having her be treated like a guest. I feel like the target of their fighting spirit is directed at you.” (Mitsuki)
Her cat ears move to both sides as if saying ‘that’s strange~’.
I want to say ‘no, it is because of your letter’, but I endure it.
There’s no sin with Cat Ears-chan.
If Cat Ears-chan were to wither down because of me scolding Mitsuki, it would pain my heart.
Also, considering the situation, it would be best if all the hostility is gathered on me.
If gathering attention is keeping harm away from Ringo, that’s great. Right now all maliciousness is being manifested in events.
Or more like, it is a whole chain of events that would make you want to say ‘just how much malice has to be concentrated here in order to pull off something like this?’. You could even say that things are going exactly as the game.
“…You really treasure your little sister.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki voiced this out as she looked at me.
It didn’t click with me when she said little sister and I froze for a moment there, but I soon understood that she was referring to Ringo.
Now that I think about it, we did register as Team Sagara in the subjugation contest, and if you investigate the list of participants, you would be able to tell immediately that Ringo has the same family name as me.
If Mitsuki saw that, it wouldn’t be helped if she were to misunderstand it in that fashion.
“Aah, no, we are not…” (Souma)
I was going to clear up the misunderstanding, but…
“No need to tell me anything. I understand that there must be complicated circumstances. However, even if you are not related by blood, I think it is splendid that you are treasuring her… I…like that kind of thing, you know.” (Mitsuki)
She said something kinda nice there, so I couldn’t say what I wanted to say.
There’s no complicated circumstances here. It is just Ringo having lost her past and she arbitrarily began calling herself with my family name…
(Oh well.) (Souma)
This misunderstanding is small compared to her having her misunderstand that we are in a romantic relationship.
I doubt this will become a problem in the future anyways.
(She is actually like a little sister after all.) (Souma)
Ringo has saved me countless times, and I am also a bit conceited thinking that Ringo also needs me.
Most of all, I do want to be together with her even without all that mutually beneficial relationship, so I think that it should be fine to call her family.
I looked back at Ringo, who is following us, for a second, and wondered if she is still in a sour mood.
“Well, I do think I want to treasure her from here on too.” (Souma)
I answered Mitsuki with a smile.
I told them at the welcoming party that I have decided to take on the Hisame family’s Trial.
It seems like the 2 girls were surprised by this, but their reactions contrasted each other.
Mitsuki was for some reason raising her cat ears proudly, however, Ringo barely changed her expression, but when I looked closely, her face was slightly clouded.
There weren’t any unexpected factors aside from that in the welcoming party. There was just an expected accident of a disciple’s slip of hand, letting go of his sword in a sword dance and throwing it my way. How a maid slipped and fell onto me with her hand holding a knife, which were all happenings that played just like my memories. The former one was shot down by Ringo’s Lightning Strike and the latter one Mitsuki immediately moved and suppressed it.
I was simply sitting there, so it was pretty relaxing.
What was rough was after that.
Normally, you would take on these chain events alone. You can’t bring normal companions to this dojo.
I was thinking I might as well overcome this event alone though.
“…I will…protect Souma.” (Ringo)
Ringo was completely into it and didn’t separate from me.
Looks like she has judged this place is dangerous with the flying sword event.
No, it is actually 10 times more dangerous than what Ringo imagines, but that’s exactly why I don’t want to get her involved.
I desperately tried to persuade Ringo, but she was pretty determined here.
Mitsuki also joined in to assist me here.
“It is okay. If he dies, I will properly cut down father and take revenge.” (Mitsuki)
She made a slightly deviated persuasion here.
“…I don’t…care about that.” (Ringo)
That of course didn’t resonate with Ringo at all.
Even with that, I gently tried to explain to her over and over that this event isn’t that dangerous, that there’s no point if I don’t accomplish it myself, and that it would be easier for me to do this alone.
No, it is 100% bullshit that this event is not dangerous, but as someone who knows this event in and out, it is true that the danger decreases to a certain degree, and it is the absolute truth that it would be easier if I am alone.
I don’t know if it was because of that passion of mine, but she reluctantly yielded.
After Ringo made a classic death flag of making me promise to ‘not die’ and even made me do a pinky promise…
“…Take this.” (Ringo)
She said this and gave me something.
What did she give me, you ask?
Don’t make me say it.
It is obviously the bear.
And so, my trial…I mean, the trial of the Bear and I began.
I wrapped it up nicely like that. I asked Mitsuki to protect Ringo and tried to leave the place, but…
“…Please wait.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki called me to a stop.
Moreover, she even grabbed my sleeve which is a rare way for her to stop me.
“Is anything the matter?” (Souma)
When I asked this, her cat ears stood up as if in worry and asked me in a whisper.
“It is about the trial. Are you really going to be okay?” (Mitsuki)
I am thinking of confirming the trial in detail here.
Asahi said that this trial is to ascertain the ‘righteous heart’, ‘the readiness to be a resident of the battlefield’, and ‘the power to overcome danger’ of the person.
‘The power to overcome danger’ can be just as it is. As for the ‘righteous heart’, it is technically ‘don’t refuse requests’. ‘The readiness to be a resident of the battlefield’ basically means ‘don’t die even if you are attacked by surprise’.
The simplest to understand would be the crop gathering event.
If I had refused to go get them, I would have been deemed as not having a ‘righteous heart’ and would have failed the trial.
Asahi and the others would suddenly jump out from hiding and would go ‘how can you ignore the request of a troubled girl?!’ and would attack me all at the same time.
On the other hand, Asahi apologized saying ‘I am sorry for testing you’ to lower my guard and the cows suddenly appearing at the fields was also for the sake of seeing if I had ‘the readiness to be a resident of the battlefield’, so these degree of unreasonable lies are normal and require discretion.
If you lose against the cows, you will obviously die, and if you somehow manage to avoid them, they would go ‘I can’t believe you can’t even protect the crops!’ and you would fail.
If your strength stat isn’t enough and you can’t pull out the crops, they would go ‘what can you do with such little strength?!’ and you would fail.
With such unreasonable conditions, there’s no need to follow what they say. You would just ward off Asahi and the others with brute force. But after being targeted as a hostile, that’s technically game over.
When you are judged to have failed the trial, everyone from the Hisame household will turn into your enemy aside from Mitsuki, and there’s basically no way to undo that.
Even if you somehow manage to get out of it at that moment, it wouldn’t stop unless you slaughter every single member of the Hisame dojo.
The problem here would be Asahi.
Different from the first time when he attacked you when you failed the trial, he would instead be holding the God Spear of the Hisame family, the Gouging Vajra.
Rather than saying it is because Asahi is holding it, it is more like the Gouging Vajra is in a whole other dimension. If you face him, you won’t be surviving.
The Gouging Vajra that’s said to be a certain hit certain kill God Spear has a unique skill you can use when you have it equipped.
The name of the skill is exactly as the name of the weapon: Gouging Vajra.
It is super fast, has over the top strength, moreover, it is certain-hit. It is most likely the strongest throwing ability in the whole game.
This certain-hit is actually pretty broken. Even with obstructions in its trajectory, it won’t be losing momentum until it hits its target.
It is impossible to avoid it, and even if you try to block it with a shield, it will either pierce through it or change directions to go for you, so there isn’t much point.
In the case he throws it at you in an ambush, it is fast and you don’t know where it is coming from, so it is impossible to avoid or defend against to begin with.
If you seriously make Asahi your enemy, the reality is that you actually won’t be able to deal with it.
That’s why I purposely step onto all the obvious and plentiful traps from here on to overcome them all properly.
It is all a path I have already taken not once but countless times already.
There are parts that have become easier to handle and parts that got harder to, but it is not like there’s no means of getting through this.
I acted strong and smiled at Mitsuki.
“It is okay. You are worrying too much.” (Souma)
No, I am not fine at all but, no matter what I say here, it is in the nature of a man to act tough.
But Mitsuki’s face wasn’t getting any brighter.
With her cat ears still going ‘I am worried’, she warned me.
“Speaking frankly, I don’t think you will be failing from a normal trial. But the last trial…I am sure father will be using the heirloom of our dojo, the Gouging Vajra.” (Mitsuki)
My heart jumped at this.
It was like that in the game as well.
The Last Trial that Asahi will do before the sunset of the 3rd day.
It will be judged by the Gouging Vajra of Asahi.
“The power of that spear is abnormal. Even I don’t know if I would be able to get a draw if he were to use that…” (Hisame)
Mitsuki, whose number one weapon is speed, is a bad match against the certain-hit of the Gouging Vajra.
But making Mitsuki say this despite her defeating all types of enemies means that the Gouging Vajra is not to be underestimated.
That’s even more so the case for me. If I were to get hit by something like that, there’s no doubt I would die instantly.
But I showed her a smile despite all that.
“Actually, I have heard rumors about that spear before. I do have a countermeasure for it.” (Souma)
My smile might have been a bit cramped, but the words itself are not completely a lie.
If it were suddenly used, I would have no way of dealing with it, but in the Last Trial, both the timing he will be throwing the spear and where he will be throwing it are set.
I have made countermeasures knowing this event would be coming, and just now, I also tried throwing a knife up to simulate the Gouging Vajra.
Fortunately, that succeeded, but the free-falling knife’s speed, power, and characteristics are all way too different from the Gouging Vajra.
Honestly speaking, it is a situation where I can’t say my preparations are perfect even as courtesy.
However, the trust Mitsuki has towards my ability is apparently more than I imagined.
“I see. There’s nothing to worry about then. I am looking forward to the battle between the God Spear and the Strange Sword.” (Mitsuki)
As if saying ‘with this, I can now relax’, her cat ears jumped up and down as she ran to where Ringo is.
“Well, damn…” (Souma)
As for me, I scratched my head as I saw her off.
It seems like I have to overcome this trial for sure for the sake of Ringo’s promise and Mitsuki’s trust.
I tried hyping myself up, but there aren’t any difficult events on the very first day.
Because of a policy of the Hisame family, the obstructions in the trial are only physical.
There’s no poison or magic attacks, so as long as you know what will happen, it is somewhat easy to deal with them.
At most, it would be an orichalcum plant pot flying at you from who-knows-where; a clumsy maid that seemed as if she came from a party, tripping and scattering knives everywhere.
After getting over those interferences, I do my last job today which is cleaning the bathroom.
At the big bathroom filled with bathtubs, there were gel monsters looking like muddied water, which is a dynamically plain harassment, but something of this level is nothing.
“Suck it up~.” (Souma)
I hummed and threw a whole ton of salt, solving this issue instantly.
And so, I head to my bedroom for today.
The place I went to is a detached dwelling that’s like a fortress.
When I did this event for the first time, I thought arrows would fly at me out of nowhere, maybe pitfalls set up everywhere, or they might come attack me while I am sleeping, but I know for sure now that all those worries were pointless.
I enter the house with no worries at all.
“This house really is a bit too big.” (Souma)
Even though the Nekomimi Mansion should be bigger. Why is it that I feel this way? I asked myself this, but I soon noticed that it is because Ringo is not here.
I only met her a few days ago, but now that I think about it, I feel like we have barely separated from each other since we met.
While I was thinking how lonely it felt without her, my waist was tapped.
Is it trying to console me here?
When I looked down, I could see the bear looking at me and grinning.
“Right, you are here with me.” (Souma)
I don’t really know if to call it a comrade, but it certainly is reassuring.
I was a solo gamer to begin with, so I have resistance to being alone.
No, it is nothing to be proud of though.
“Now then, gotta do one more job before going to sleep.” (Souma)
I said that on my own and nodded, and then, brought out a chisel from the bag.
*Tap tap, tap tap*
I felt a strange sensation from my cheek and opened my eyes.
I should have opened my eyes, and yet, I can’t see anything.
I thought I died for a moment there, but I noticed that it was simply because there’s no light entering.
*Tap tap, tap tap*
Even so, my eyes were slowly getting used to the darkness, and I could faintly see the yellow bear tapping my cheek and waking me up.
(Aah, I see…) (Souma)
I slept at the detached dwelling of the Hisame family last night.
Then, I can understand this situation.
I was spaced out for a while and noticed that someone was calling my name from afar.
This is…Ringo’s voice?
“Sorry to say this, but he won’t be surviving. Wouldn’t it be better to just give up?”
This is probably Asahi’s voice.
“That’s so nice of you to say when you are the one who set this up. Ringo-san, there’s no need to worry too much. The Explorer Ring is reacting. He is okay. Well, it does seem like he is a bit buried though.”
The one who is saying this calmly must be Mitsuki.
I listened to this exchange while…
(Aah, so that really happened, huh…) (Souma)
I was half-asleep while coming to an understanding in my head.
When you stay in this detached dwelling on the first night, there’s no easy to understand trap like a pitfall, but there’s one specially big trap set up.
—The whole building collapses late in the night.
The detached dwelling is made from tough and heavy materials, so if you get crushed by that, any person inside would have nothing left of them.
Moreover, because you can’t get out of the building in the game because of the system and all that, many people thought this was impossible to clear and just gave up.
Dropping a whole building just to test the bethrothered of her daughter? As expected of the Hisames.
Or more like, as expected of Nekomimi Neko.
However, I created a stone for carving with the unique skill of the chisel.
It was discovered that you can 100% survive this if you place it at exact spots, and the spots for survival were published on the net.
The maliciousness of Nekomimi Neko is on a whole other level, but the tenacity of Nekomimi Neko players is not losing either.
“What? …It is still so early…” (Souma)
I check my clock and it shows that it is before 4 in the morning.
No wonder I was sleepy.
Also, from what I hear, it seems like there’s still time before they dig me out.
I feel bad for the people outside, but I can’t fight back this drowsiness.
*Tap tap, tap…*
I hugged the bear that was still tapping my cheek and…
“Good night~.” (Souma)
I fell into the blissful world of going back to sleep twice.