WG – Chapter 101: The Game of the Devil

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Maki called Nekomimi Neko the game of the devil. 

To make even the incarnation of freedom, Maki, fear it, as expected of Nekomimi Neko. 

That’s what I thought at first, but…

“…Cause you know, it was weird from the very first event(?) with the green people! I was suddenly killed there.” (Maki)

“The green…aah, the Trap of the Lizardmen.” (Souma)

“It is probably that one. It isn’t fair that 5 enemies appeared at the very beginning, right?!” (Maki)

“Wait, eh…? 5?” (Souma)

I felt strange clouds coming from there on. 

The Trap of the Lizardmen is a tricky event made to look like a single woman is being attacked by 4 lizardmen, but it is actually the lizardmen who are being attacked by the woman. 

Most tend to die in their first playthrough by the female bandit, but the fight itself is 1v5.

You should be able to get a decently advantageous situation in numerical terms. 

“No, you shouldn’t end up in that situation at that event… Uhm, how did you fight that?” (Souma)

“Eh? How, you ask. Normally.” (Maki)

“Normally?” (Souma)

There hasn’t been an instance where her ‘normal’ could be trustworthy.

When I asked this dubiously, Maki was taken aback.

“Yeah. I simply defeated the woman that attacked me and the green people…” (Maki)

“Alright, out!” (Souma)

I knew something was weird here and it was exactly as I thought. 

She killed the female bandit and the lizardmen that should have been her allies. 

Pitiful Reinhardt…

Or more like, I don’t think winning against them 1v5 is something that a game beginner should be able to do, however, Maki may be bad with electronics, but she has terribly good physical capability. 

In VR games where your physical prowess directly contributes to how good you are in the game, I can’t really say for sure it is impossible. 

“At any rate, what happened after that? You defeated the lizardmen, so you couldn’t even get a ride to the town, right?” (Souma)

“Hm? I don’t know what you are talking about a ride, but I just advanced normally, you know? I grabbed the Drop Item(?) inside the wagon and walked the road.” (Maki)

No, that’s not picking up Drop Items but murder and robbing. 

I retorted internally like that as I urged her on. 

“And then, I found a suspicious fortress surrounded by soldiers, and then it immediately clicked -that this must be the enemy base.” (Maki)

“U-Uhm…enemy base?” (Souma)

I was dumbfounded by her strange statement. 

Not only the capital, even other cities and slightly bigger towns have walls around, but I don’t know if to call that a base just because of it. 

Also, enemy? 

What were you even fighting against, Maki?

“Because the people holding spears at the gate were chasing after me and tried to capture me, you know? That means they are ‘enemy characters(?)’, right?” (Maki)

“No, that’s…” (Souma)

That was probably a soldier filled with a sense of justice trying to protect the city from a thief player. 

No matter the settlement, when you kill an innocent civilian, your Influence Affection for that location drops down to the lowest. 

It was simply because the affection meter of Lamurick had gone down with Maki having defeated the lizardmen merchants.

“I did my best there, but I lost and had to redo everything from the beginning.” (Maki)

“I-I see…” (Souma)

She was talking about it gleefully as if boasting about her hardships, but I already have no words at her misunderstanding here. 

You normally would feel you did something wrong when you are suddenly attacked by soldiers at a settlement, but for Maki who doesn’t have gaming experience, she simply felt ‘that’s just how it works’.

The misunderstanding playthrough of Maki went full force from there. 

Maki began the game from the very beginning, wiped out both the female bandit and the lizardmen easily this time around, stole the wagon, avoided the enemy base (Lamurick Town), and made a cave at a mountain nearby her headquarters. 

In this game, your HP and MP recover naturally with the passing of time regardless of the place. 

You can’t automatically skip time unless it is in an inn, so that’s a pain, but you can heal your fatigue and wounds without the need to use an inn. 

Maki hunted the field enemies that were close to the cave to strengthen herself, and then, using the shadow of the night, she approached the base (Lamurick Town), and did her first Save at the Monolith close to the town. 

From there on, she would sneak into the town, attack the stores, and steal their goods. 

She would get found by the enemy soldiers (the town guards), but she would run away at full speed, and managed to end things without any issues. 

“It didn’t go well at first, but I slowly got the hang of it. Also, the Items(?) in the enemy base replenished after one day, so it was really convenient~.” (Maki)

She is talking about it like she is having fun here, but making a mountain cave as your dwelling, sneaking into the town at night and stealing the store goods at night…

(That’s totally a bandit!) (Souma)

Moreover, it is not like she is roleplaying here. She actually thinks this is the proper way of playing the game. 

(That’s not it! That’s wrong, Maki! That’s not the kind of game Nekomimi Neko is!) (Souma)

But the screams of my heart didn’t reach her. 

“What was the most difficult was the weapon, I guess. My first sword broke, so I tried out a number of the ones in the base, but they were all weak, so I gave up~.” (Maki)

“Gave up?” (Souma)

“Yeah. I thought it was fine to not have a weapon.” (Maki)

“Barehanded style?!” (Souma)

Maki announced that she gave up on using weapons. 

Moreover, she says the weapons were weak, but there’s no weapon weaker than the Rusting Sword you get at the beginning. 

Could it be that…

“Hey, Maki, did you…properly equip the weapon in the Menu Screen?” (Souma)

“Menu Screen?” (Maki)

“The screen you bring out when you do stuff like logging out! Did you properly choose the Equip there?” (Souma)

“I did nothing of the sort. Eh, you can’t use a weapon by just holding it?” (Maki)

She gave me that response. 

This is the first time I see someone that’s not following the basics of RPGs where the effects of the weapon won’t show if you don’t equip it.

You normally wouldn’t be able to do a barehanded playthrough in your first run. 

But Maki took advantage of the speed from not holding a weapon, moved deftly like a wild beast with her rare physical prowess, and continued defeating both monsters and humans. 

That said, fighting barehanded isn’t difficult only because of its attack power and reach. 

“But aren’t there a lot of hard to use Barehanded Skills? How did you—” (Souma)

“Eh? What are skills?” (Maki)

“Nani?!” (Souma)

Time froze. 

“You…could it be…” (Souma)

Impossible… I think it is impossible, but…

“You haven’t used skills?” (Souma)

“…? Nope.” (Maki)

She answered instantly without any hesitation. 

No, she is even looking at me as if saying ‘what is this guy talking about?’.

Well, if a person that hasn’t done any VR games or RPGs even once until now begins a game without reading a manual or meeting the tutogramps, of course they wouldn’t know about the existence of skills. 

But…but…is that even possible? 

“W-Wait. But there’s events where you can’t clear them unless you use stuff like skills or spells…” (Souma)

“There’s other events(?) aside from the first one?” (Maki)

“…Aaah.” (Souma)

This is shocking. 

I am speechless. 

But you could say it is understandable. 

She was shut in a cave the whole time and her Affection with the people of the town was the worst, so there’s no way events would happen. 

No, there’s events that happen at the fields and dungeons, so it is not like there’s completely none, but events that you need to set up the flag for won’t happen, and if she is not moving away from the surroundings of Lamurick, the number of them are also limited. 

“Wait a moment! Then why did you say stuff like ‘it destroys your humanity’ or ‘game of the devil’…?” (Souma)

“Hmm, that’s cause people, animals, and everything attacks me when they see me, you know? I thought it was really barbaric, or like, horrible. If I hadn’t heard about you beforehand that games are where ‘you fight enemies’, I would have been really surprised, you know?” (Maki)

“I am the one that’s surprised by your interpretation!” (Souma)

Or more like, the game is not the devil, your playstyle is. 

“T-Then, it has nothing to do with the bugs?” (Souma)

“Hm? What are bugs? The ones that fly around?” (Maki)

“How can this be…” (Souma)

I fell on my knees there. 

There’s a lot of bugs in Nekomimi Neko. 

Even with patch after patch, there’s still a whole ton of them. 

However, the playthrough of Maki was so…abnormal that there wasn’t any room for bugs to happen. 

Maki didn’t trigger any events, didn’t equip weapons, and didn’t use skills as she plainly battled repeatedly. 

There’s barely any room for bugs to happen in that situation. 

No, even if a bug happened, Maki knows close to nothing about games, so she would just accept it by saying ‘that’s just how it works’ and ignore it. 

(What’s with that…?) (Souma)

That’s vexing. 

Spitting out poison at the unbelievable game balance, being pulled the rug out under you by an incomprehensible monster, being thrown about by a nasty event, and be brought to tears by a fatal bug. 

That’s the correct way of enjoying Nekomimi Neko that I know. 

Only when the player has overcome those, will they be able to discover the importance of the systems that are unexpectedly useful in Nekomimi Neko, their pointlessly vast amount of skills and spells, and the exploitability of the many bugs that exist. 

You will then learn the ecstasy of getting the better of the unreasonableness of Nekomimi Neko, and slowly get hooked to the game. 

That’s the right path of a Nekomimi Neko player. 

Unbeknownst to all this, Maki pushed all of those away, and not only Nekomimi Neko, she barely even used the RPG systems, fought against monsters endlessly with her bare hands, and infiltrated enemy bases to steal their goods. 

She was technically playing a survival stealth action game. 

Moreover, what annoyed me the most was…

“There’s also one more reason as to why I called it the Game of the Devil. Even when it is this bad of a game, when I tried it…it was a little bit…just a little bit fun, and I just couldn’t quit it… Ehehe.” (Maki)

“Don’t ‘ehehe’ me!” (Souma)

Is the fact that she thinks she has been playing Nekomimi Neko like a role-model when she was doing a playthrough like that! 

I am already at my limit.

“…I will teach you.” (Souma)

“Eh?” (Maki)

“I will teach you what a real RPG is, what Nekomimi Neko is!!” (Souma)

Saying this, I pulled Maki’s hand and began walking.

“S-Souma?” (Maki)

I listened to the flustered voice of Maki while wondering ‘when it was that our hobbies stopped matching’.

When we were children, I would play-pretend with her. 

I would be the hero and Maki would be the captured princess. I defeated the invisible evil Demon Lord and the air dragon. 

I am not going to wish for the exact same thing as we did at that time. 

But it would be bad to have Maki misunderstand that this Nekomimi Neko is a game where you just blindly rampage with your superhuman body. 

In the first place, Maki doesn’t understand RPGs on a fundamental level.

That’s basically a playthrough with self-imposed rules like: Solo Play, can’t change equipment, can’t use skills or spells, and can’t buy items. 

In the beginning of the game, the events don’t have battles, so she managed somehow with just her physical strength, but this world isn’t that soft. 

In my opinion, Maki wasn’t playing the game. 

She was simply rampaging in a virtual world. 

Games have their own rules and art. 

Whether you understand this or not can create big differences in your gameplay efficiency.

“W-Where are we going?” (Maki)

Maki asked as she held my hand tightly.

I moved in the heat of the moment, but…

“We won’t be going anywhere far. Uhm…over there should be fine.” (Souma)

I quickly decide on the location. 

The living room that we decided to sleep in on our first day. 

There’s the sofa and table set up nicely, and there’s a moderate amount of obstacles. 

I brought Maki to a corner of that room and…

“Hey, Maki, can you go touch the wall at the other side and come back here?” (Souma)

“Eh? Why?” (Maki)

“Hm, well, I just wanted to check something out. Ah, do it as fast as you can, okay?” (Souma)

I requested that of Maki. 

My plan is simple. 

Even if we are talking about RPG elements, it would be difficult to show the benefits of events and equipment here. 

That’s why I am thinking about showing Maki the power of skills real quick.

By doing that, she should be able to properly understand that she can’t do the same in this game as she did in reality. 

“Then, here I go.” (Maki)

Maki said this, unaware of those plans of mine.

“Fast!” (Souma)

She began running like a gale. 

They were not polished and fluid movements like those of Mitsuki. 

She avoided the table with supple movements like that of a wild beast, scraped the sofa with forceful twists, and pushed her hand on the wall. 

She turned just like that, and returned to me at a speed as fast as a breath.

“Is this enough?” (Maki)

Maki returned without breaking a single sweat, and I responded with a raspy ‘yeah’.

“So, how was it?” (Maki)

“Eh, uhm…it was inhuman…” (Souma)

“Waa?” (Maki)

Maki made a displeased look, but this is my honest opinion. 

I knew how high Maki’s athletic ability was, but that has been amplified to unbelievable degrees since switching spots with the princess of this world. 

I might have been a bit wrong here. 

It would be impossible to overcome Nekomimi Neko with your naturally born physical attributes while ignoring the game logic, but Maki is currently the princess.

If she has the same specs as the Princess Shermia of the game and can use them to its full extent, it would be quite the weapon. 

The power of royalty is on a whole other level within the NPCs, and their equipment is also exemplary. 

You can tell after seeing their battle in the Attack on the Capital. 

Maki might have obtained a body that’s plenty strong enough to not rely at all on the game elements.

But…

“Maki, look carefully at the movements I will be doing now.” (Souma)

“Souma?” (Maki)

But that’s not something that can overcome the wall of a gamer. 

Honestly speaking, when it comes to athletic capabilities, I don’t even reach the toes of Maki. 

It is a sad reality, but still reality. 

In my senior high school days, I won’t forget the day when we played badminton on New Year’s and was completely crushed. 

Since the day when I was completely beaten to a pulp by my cousin that’s 2 years younger than me -and a girl on top of that- I swore I wouldn’t ever compete against her in sports. 

But it is different inside a game. 

Anyone can become first-rate inside a game. 

By simply pushing a few buttons in succession, you can run as fast as a record holder; with just a few key controls, you can play famous songs; and just by deciding your attack, you can use deadly techniques. 

I myself can’t run like an athlete, and I can’t control the sword like a sword master. 

However, I can Order skills. 

Just watch, Maki. 

“This is the normal of the game…of Nekomimi Neko!!” (Souma)

I shout and…

([Step]!) (Souma)

I first jump to the front with [Step] at a speed that I normally would definitely not be able to bring out. 

My body accelerates. 

But at this rate, I will end up crashing with the sofa in front of me. 

([High Step]!) (Souma)

That’s why I Short Cancel that Step and use High Step to ignore the inertia and turn to the right. 

Normally, when people turn…no, when living beings turn, they will definitely decelerate. 

In this case, you would first plant your feet, kill the forward momentum, kick the ground to obtain the energy to move to the side, and you will finally be able to turn to the right. 

But that’s the laws of the real world.

The laws in a game are different when you Cancel with a skill. 

You can move to the side without any notice in a state where you were moving at top speed forward. 

I jump to the side on a degree where I might even be going too far. 

But with this, there’s no obstructions between me and the wall. 

At that moment…

([Ground Compression]!) (Souma)

I obviously use Ground Compression for the ending of the combo. 

When humans move normally, they would require a certain distance before reaching max speed. 

But with Ground Compression, you can go to max speed in an instant, moreover, that speed easily surpasses that of the speed a running human can achieve.

Even so, if you get skill stunned after using that, it would be pointless. 

That’s why I crash onto the wall on the other side just like that. 

“Tch!” (Souma)

My hand obviously touched the wall at that moment. 

With this, I go back! 

“Souma?!” (Maki)

I heard the surprised voice of Maki behind me, but paid it no mind. 

It looks like a flashy crash, and you might think it must have hurt a lot, but even when you crash onto an obstacle while you are using a movement skill, you won’t be damaged much. 

([Air Hammer]) (Souma)

A second after I crashed onto the wall, an Air Hammer with pinpoint timing blew from right behind me. 

I chant the next spell while in the air. 

I have no intention of avoiding every single obstacle on my way back.

([Instant Charge]!) (Souma)

The Instant Charge of the dagger skills can be used in any direction.

I immediately turned back with no turning around motion while I was blown away from my back. 

I flew over the sofa and while still in midair…

([Air Hammer]) (Souma)

I fly in the air with the Air Hammer that I chanted before. 

If I can move in a straight line, the vastness of the room is nothing. 

From there, I chained Instant Charge and Air Hammer again and…

“Well, something like that.” (Souma)

Landed right in front of Maki.

I can tell even without measuring our times. 

Maki made a round trip with inhuman speed, but I definitely got back faster than her. 

With this, Maki should have noticed the importance of skills. 

“How was that?” (Souma)

I asked this with expectation in my heart and…

“Souma, why did you give up your humanity?” (Maki)

“I haven’t!!” (Souma)

I feel like she said something incredibly rude. 

I endure the urge of saying ‘you are also pretty out there too’ and admonish Maki. 

“This is a movement method that uses the game system. In other words, it is a game-like movement method. You should learn this too and—” (Souma)

“But I won’t be losing!” (Maki)

She ain’t listening.

“I slacked a bit there, but if I get serious, I can be even faster.” (Maki)

“No, that’s not my point—” (Souma)

Looks like I have ignited her competitive nature. 

I tried to stop her, but it was already too late.

“Watch!” (Maki)

She shouted this and ran off in the direction of the opposite wall. 

I really didn’t have the chance to stop her. 

I had no choice but to watch over her dumbfounded. 

(Right, this is Maki…) (Souma)

She was a bit meek while she was reflecting about me, but once that’s over, she immediately becomes like this. 

I would have wanted her to stay meek for a bit more. 

While I was thinking that with slumped shoulders, a piece of paper fell onto the ground. 

“Hm? This is…” (Souma)

It must have flown off when Maki ran off. 

I thought it was a piece of paper, but it is the tanzaku. 

I picked it up. 

What was written there was the fairy-tale wish of ‘I want to become a princess’ in big letters. 

But…

“Eh?” (Souma)

When I looked closely, that wasn’t all there was. 

There’s something written in small letters at the right corner of the tanzaku.

“…Ria <リーア①>?” (Souma)

Is it a memo? 

Not only is it small but it is also a peculiar handwriting, so I can’t read it well. 

“What’s this?” (Souma)

I tilted my head at the unknown code. 

“How’s that, Souma? This time must have been—ah, d-don’t!!” (Maki)

Maki had come back and stole away the tanzaku. 

And then…

“D-Did you see it…?” (Maki)

She seemed to be strangely suspicious here as she asked this. 

Is she talking about the weird letters at the corner? 

“Well…I did.” (Souma)

When I said this, Maki’s face visibly turned beet red. 

“I-It is not what you think!!” (Maki)

She shouted in a loud voice for some reason, and ran off from the room without looking back. 

“Ah, oi, what about the talk…?” (Souma)

Only my words rang in the new empty room. 

“What was that?” (Souma)

I don’t get Maki a lot of times, but it is even more so the case here. 

Does that mean Maki is still Maki even if she has come to an isekai?

Having discovered this reality that I don’t know if to think of it as relieving or not, I for now recite the lesson of today.

—Maki and I really don’t match!!

Author: Looks like Ria① <リーア①> was too hard of a code for Souma. <TLN: And for me too. I have no idea what it could mean.>

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