WG – Chapter 102.5 (Part 2): Side Story – Ghost Dungeon

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The cultist killed the adventurer, Lucas, who came together with us to the underground ruins, and immediately turned around and escaped. 

“?! Wait!!” (Souma)

It would be bad if we let it get away here. 

Having judged that, I used Godstep Cancel and chased after it.

([Step], [Slash][Step], [Slash][Step]—Kuh?!) (Souma)

But the moment I jumped to the corner the cultist turned to, a fireball flew onto me. 

(Ambush?!) (Souma)

I used the last Step to move to the back and somehow avoid it. 

But my Godstep Cancel chain was cut off because I was surprised. 

Skill canceling is an advanced technique.

If your concentration gets cut off, you won’t be able to maintain the combo. 

“What about them…?” (Souma)

I once again checked inside when the stun was gone, this time with care. 

“Not there, huh…” (Souma)

The way they so smoothly aimed for the one that was separated and then retreated with magic support fire…they clearly are using more advanced strategies than monsters and are performing them in actual practice. 

(This might be an even rougher battle than I imagined…) (Souma)

I held dark emotions while I turned back to return, and my eyes fell onto the wall. 

+±

I found a pattern that was different despite not being able to until now no matter how much we searched. 

(Is it really…the face of a person?) (Souma)

But I still don’t understand its meaning. 

I try thinking about a variety of possibilities.

Should I take the cross at the left side not changing as having some sort of heavy meaning behind it?

If we include the decapitated priest logic here, that would make it the head of a priest or a cross. 

But I can’t get any further than that. 

In that case, I have to search for other common points. 

(I see! The number of lines hasn’t changed!) (Souma)

If we consider L as 2 lines, the amount of lines used in +|L are 5. 

The number of lines used in +± is also 5. 

It is nice that I noticed that, but what to do with that information? 

Should I take these patterns as being a series, or…?

“There! The cultist!” 

But I didn’t have the time to sink in my thoughts. 

The shout from behind cut them off. 

(Was this a diversion?!) (Souma)

Cultists are different from monsters in that they use their head. 

It is plenty possible that they would use a strategy like that. 

I cursed my own carelessness and ran back to the place. 

(What’s the situation…?) (Souma)

I confirm the state of things. 

Looks like the ones who attacked were 3 cultists.

But it seems like the situation is advancing in our favor. 

The weapons of all 3 cultists are swords. 

They have a decent degree of coordination, but we have the numbers. 

There’s no way 3 people can defeat close to 20 adventurers. 

In that case…

(This is a diversion!) (Souma)

The moment I arrived at that conclusion…

“Guaaah!” 

Another of our adventurers was ambushed by the dagger of a cultist that appeared out of nowhere. 

A fireball flew out one after the other, and the adventurer that was by their side was covered in flames. 

(I was one second too late!) (Souma)

I clicked my tongue as I used Step to move in.

There’s no doubt this one is skilled.

I can’t tell the difference from their attire, but I can from their battle style and weapon.

This is the guy that killed Lucas in the beginning. 

“Girga!!” 

The dagger user noticed my approach and raised a cry. 

But…

“Dira?” 

I turned sharply to the right in front of the dagger user, and jumped into the side corridor.

I don’t know if I would be able to win even if I fought it upfront. 

I will deal with the troublesome mage first. 

If I were moving normally, I would run the risk of being attacked from behind, but the movement speed of Godstep Cancel is top tier.

Even characters specialized in speed can’t catch up.

“Rigeaaa!” 

The cultist raising its staff deep in the corridor let out a scream. 

A fireball was shot at the same time as they did, but…

“I don’t even know what you are saying!” (Souma)

I used a diagonal Step to avoid it and closed the distance even more.

“[Purple Lightning Slash]!” (Souma)

I activated a strong sword skill. 

That attack hit the staff-wielding cultist…

“Go…ah…” 

It let out a displeasing sound as it collapsed. 

The defense of a mage is low to begin with, and there must have been a level difference too. 

It seems like I managed to defeat it in one hit. 

(One!) (Souma)

The moment the skill stun wore off and I raised a cheer internally…

“Guru!!” 

A big chunk of steel approached right in front of me. 

([Step]!) (Souma)

The skill stun had just barely worn off in time, so I managed to jump back and avoid that attack. 

I confirmed the figure of the enemy while I was moving back.

The cultist that did a surprise attack on me could be described as an ‘executioner’. A giant man holding a greataxe. 

I doubt I will be able to get through this guy easily. 

“Gyangi!” 

The worst thing is that even the dagger user had caught up. 

I have been completely pincered here. 

But at that moment…

“Mekida?!” 

Lightning surged from the narrow corridor, separating me and the cultists. 

Support fire from lightning magic! 

You really gotta have reliable comrades! 

(Now!) (Souma)

I didn’t miss that brief opening, slipped through the side of the dagger user, and somehow managed to return to my comrades. 

“Gigigi.” 

The cultists were looking at this mortified, but they must have judged that they can’t fight against our numbers. 

It looked at the mage that I defeated with eyes that I can’t read emotions from, but it eventually turned around and disappeared deeper into the ruins. 

I confirm the situation. 

The corpse of Lucas who was killed at the beginning. 

And then there’s the corpse of the man that was killed by the dagger user and the corpse of the adventurer that was hit by the fireball. 

It seems like they managed to defeat the 3 cultists that served as the diversion.

The 3 corpses that were wrapped around with shabby cloth were laying down deep in the corridor. 

(We have 3 casualties and we defeated 4 cultists, huh.) (Souma)

Comparing the numbers, we should be the ones on the advantage here, but we don’t know how many they have. 

Also, thinking about how people have died, I can’t just think of it as just 3 casualties. 

Most of all, there’s one thing I can’t ignore. 

(Why aren’t the corpses disappearing?) (Souma)

It is not limited to monsters; when characters die and their HP hits 0, they should disappear into light particles.

Why is it that they still remain? 

…Honestly speaking, I can only imagine bad things about this. 

I almost seriously considered throwing holy water at them, but…

“…Anyways, let’s move away from here.” (Souma)

I decided to prioritize movement. 

If we stay in the same place, there’s the chance we will get ambushed again. 

I want to avoid any more casualties as much as possible. 

We immediately left the place with the many corpses at our backs.

When we advanced a little ahead…

“Souma-san!” 

I turned around after being called and…

“This is…”

Found a big door that I feel wasn’t there before. 

This is most likely the door that leads to the sacrifice altar that the Village Chief was talking about.

Moreover, the door is…

+ -

A new pattern that resembles the two previous ones was shown there. 

(What…does this mean?) (Souma)

The left one is the same as before, but the right side clearly has less lines. 

The theory about the number of lines has completely crumbled here. 

We teamed up in order to open the door while I was thinking about the mystery of the patterns, but the door was not budging at all. 

There’s not even a keyhole though. 

It would be most natural to think it opens with a special event. 

If I had to say what it is, I would of course say it is the patterns drawn in this door. 

In RPGs, you would normally see doors that you would have to open by controlling the patterns to make them the same. 

(Maybe we have to find the same patterns as this door in order to open it?) (Souma)

That might be a bit too simple though…

“…Hm?” (Souma)

At that moment, I felt like something red passed by at the corner of my vision. 

I chase it with my eyes.

“Red…Imp?” (Souma)

It disappeared into a corridor in an instant, but there’s no doubt about it. 

It is a variety of weak demon that shows up often in RPGs: Imps.

According to Pora, cultists have connections with demons.

It might serve as a clue. 

“We are chasing after it!” (Souma)

I told this to my companions and chased after the Red Imp.

Fortunately, the Red Imp isn’t that fast. 

I thought we would catch up to it really quickly, but…

“Pikiiire!” 

We encountered a group of cultists while we were chasing the imp. 

At this rate, the imp will escape. 

I thought that, but…

“…What?” (Souma)

The imp avoided the cultists that are supposed to be its comrades, and took a different path of escape. 

(Are the cultists and imps hostile with each other?) (Souma)

That thought crossed my mind for an instant, but the cultists in front of me readied their weapons.

“Damn it, get out of the way!” (Souma)

I had no choice but to deal with the cultists in front before the imp. 

The 2 cultists that showed up there were weak. 

The ones that attacked us at the beginning really must be on a whole other level within the cultists. 

It is good that we managed to defeat them easily, but because we were too into chasing after the imp, it seems like people were left behind. 

We probably have 2 people less.

We returned and searched for the Red Imp and the strayed adventurers, and found a pattern on the wall.

+L

A new pattern. 

But I feel like the shape itself resembles the first pattern heavily. 

I still don’t know the meaning of it. 

We continued wandering around the ruins. 

The patterns of the wall were all +Lfor a while, but then…

|L

Soon after this pattern appeared…

±

We began finding this one. 

The commonalities of there always being a + or there being more than two symbols was thrown out the window. 

I don’t know what to take from this. 

But the amount of samples has gone up to a decent degree. 

Decapitated priest. 

Looped symbols. 

Figures that are being simplified as we advance. 

There’s a pattern. 

There must be. 

I feel as if I get one more…just one more realization here, I could easily solve it. 

Something terrible happened before that. 

“Gisharaba!!” 

“Guegu!!”

The ear-piercing cries of the cultists. 

An attack of the skilled cultist that escaped in the beginning: the dagger user and the greataxe user. 

“This is rough…” (Souma)

I lowered my sword after the battle finished. 

There’s new corpses in the corridor again. 

3 of them are from our side.

One of them is the greataxe cultist. 

“Rad, please answer me, Rad! Shit, you damn cultists!” 

An adventurer that has lost their comrade, clung to their corpse as they cursed. 

“You damn cultists! Damn cultists! You…you all…why?! Why are you always…damn it!!” 

There’s even adventurers who were kicking the corpse of the cultist that killed their comrades. 

It is not like I don’t understand how they feel. 

If my friends were to be killed too, I could see myself doing the same. 

But I currently don’t feel like doing that. 

There’s other things that I must do. 

There’s one enemy corpse. 

Only the greataxe one.

In other words, the one who killed most of our group and has shown the most ability within the cultists, the dagger user, is still alive.

“Please stay on standby there, everyone.” (Souma)

I don’t know what pushed them to do so, but the dagger user and the greataxe user charged onto us as if on their last wits, and it seemed as if they were targeting me. 

They might have judged me as the leader of the group, or they might have simply been programmed to target the player. 

Anyways, if I move around the ruins on my own, the chances of them attacking me are high. 

(I won’t let anyone else be killed.) (Souma)

I moved away from the group with that resolve, and walked in the direction where the dagger user escaped from. 

I moved through the ruins cautiously, but I couldn’t find the dagger user. 

Instead, I found a number of wall patterns. 

The symbols were all the same. 

Ξ

A completely new pattern. 

It looks like it would be better to think the theories I have had until now were wrong. 

I walked while being cautious, thinking, and arrived at a familiar place. 

“This place is…” (Souma)

The big door that we found in the middle that leads to the altar.

And what should get a special mention is the pattern drawn on it.

Ξ

In other words…

“The pattern changed?” (Souma)

That’s when I noticed my own big misunderstanding.

I thought the walls had several different patterns drawn onto them. 

But that’s not it. 

The patterns drawn on the wall are always one. 

But they are simply changing by some sort of condition. 

That’s why all walls are showing Ξ now.

—Knowing that much, even a person as dense as me can notice the meaning of this pattern. 

No, calling it a pattern doesn’t accurately represent this. 

This is no pattern or drawing. It is not even a code in the first place. 

(What’s that about a decapitated priest?!) (Souma)

I was led astray by the words of the Village Chief. 

Even so, if we line up the symbols in order, I understood the truth immediately. 

This is…

“?! Who is there?!” (Souma)

I was cautious of my surroundings while I was thinking, and I saw a shadow moving in my vision. 

What passed by the corner of my vision was a small red shadow. 

The Red Imp that might be holding the secrets of these ruins. 

“Wait!” (Souma)

I once again chase after the imp.

I thought the chase would lengthen again, but it reached an unexpected conclusion. 

The imp tripped on something and fell.

“This is…the first place?” (Souma)

The imp tripped on the corpses of the 3 cultists lying on top of each other. 

I had at some point in time returned to the place where we first got attacked by cultists. 

“Gi…ru…ru…” 

The imp that lied face up and was looking at me seemed as if it were scared. 

What should I do with this guy?

The moment I was pondering about it…

“Giru!” 

The imp pointed behind me. 

I immediately looked back, surprised by this action. 

“Wa?!” (Souma)

What was there was a wicked shadow that had crept onto me. 

(The dagger user cultist!!) (Souma)

It is at close range with its filthy elongated teeth. 

The moment I turned around, it had already raised its knife. 

—Death. 

I thought that in that brief moment. 

Oh well…

That weak mindset brushed my head. 

But words resurfaced in my mind at that moment. 

“…That’s why, Souma, please save the kidnapped girl.”

And at the same time, the face of Pora when saying this showed up. 

That’s right!! 

I can’t give up for their sake too! 

“You…!” (Souma)

My sword that I swung in desperation hit the right wrist of the attacking dagger user. 

“Gih!!” 

It moved back as if repelled for some reason. 

I don’t know why, but this is my chance. 

I used Step to close the distance, and with Purple Lightning Slash…

“Ningwa!!” 

It won’t just take it lying down. 

It let out a shrill cry and came at me, brandishing its knife with movements that seem to be a skill.

Even so…

“I won’t lose!!” (Souma)

I short cancel Step and activate Purple Lightning Slash.

The knife of the cultist and my sword hit each other’s bodies almost at the same time and…

“My…win…” (Souma)

But it must have been the difference in the attack speed. 

My Purple Lightning Slash dealt the damage one beat faster, and it interrupted the damage of the enemy. 

My chest received some damage from it, but that’s all. 

They got a direct hit from me, lost all their HP, and collapsed. 

I thought it was a paper-thin victory, but…

“…It wasn’t the case, huh.” (Souma)

The last attack of the dagger user had dealt a fatal hit on me in a certain sense. 

There’s barely any physical damage. 

But the Evil Warding Grass Decoration was destroyed. 

There’s now nothing protecting me from the miasma.

I sighed and apologized to Pora internally…but…

“My HP…is not lowering?” (Souma)

There was no HP decrease I thought would be happening. 

But now that I think about it, I don’t think the cultists were affected by the miasma. 

Or maybe they had an item that served the same purpose as the grass necklace, but when I tried checking the corpse of the cultist…

“…Wa, eh?” (Souma)

I saw something incomprehensible. 

The dagger user cultist I defeated just now. 

At the place where it should have collapsed at, there was a normal-looking adventurer.

I don’t know what’s going on. 

(Could it be a bug…?) (Souma)

I thought that and directed my gaze to the side. 

“Are you…kidding me…?” (Souma)

When I looked at the 3 overlapped cultists…

Or what should be cultists…

What was there were not cultists wearing ragged cloth, but familiar adventurers. 

“Abel, Beat, Cliff…” (Souma)

The group of 3 that should be doing the Ghost Dungeon quest have lost their lives and are lying there. 

I don’t know what I should even believe in here anymore.

(Does that mean these guys are actually cultists? No, could it be…) (Souma)

While I was confused…

“O-Onii-chan, are you okay?” 

Someone spoke behind me. 

When I looked back, there’s a small girl with a red necklace peeking this way in worry. 

“Y-Yeah, I am okay…I think.” (Souma)

After I answered reflexively like that, my guard shot up instantly.

There’s no doubt this is the girl I saw in the drawing at the village. 

In other words, she is the Sacrifice Girl. 

But where was she? 

How did she get close to me? 

I don’t know if that question showed, or if it was a programmed action, but…the girl began to introduce herself. 

“U-Uhm, I am Lipha. I have been chased the whole time by Onii-chan and the others, and I have been running.” 

“Running?” (Souma)

I at first didn’t understand what the girl Lipha was saying. 

But it clicked all of a sudden.

“Could it be that you were the red demon of before?” (Souma)

The girl nodded. 

“Probably. Onii-chan was wearing the Deception Grass Decoration until now after all…” (Lipha)

“Deception Grass Decoration…?” (Souma)

Being told this, I could only think of one thing. 

The Evil Warding Grass Decoration was given to us to protect us from the miasma, but no one actually tested out its actual effect. 

“When you put that grass decoration on you and enter this Seal Dungeon, you will see illusions…” (Lipha)

“Illu…sions…” (Souma)

I looked at Abel and the others who were lying there. 

It is true that I began seeing Abel and the others, where the corpses of the cultists should be, the moment the necklace was broken. 

…Now that I think about it…

Even the cultists were simply ‘humans’ that we believed were cultists. 

I doubt they would be able to live in the miasma, and there’s no practicality in wrapping your body in dirty rags. 

Even if you just accept it as it being how it is, a creature letting out such annoying sounds is just weird. 

That was an illusion that took advantage of our preconceptions of the cultists.

But in that case…

Even if that form was an illusion, the enemies we were fighting were real and had substance.

Then…

—What were the people we were fighting until now?

I actually already know the answer.

But I am scared of confirming it. 

(There’s…there’s no way.) (Souma)

I told myself that internally, but I was almost sure of it. 

I face the corpse of the one I defeated just recently. 

I flipped the short body that was facing down in one go.

“A-A-Aaaaaaaaaaaaahh!!!” (Souma)

What was reflected in my eyes made me do an incomprehensible scream. 

The strongest cultist that has been making me…making us suffer until now…

No, the one who we thought was a cultist was…

“Pora…-san…” (Souma)

The adventurer with short brown hair, Pora. 

“O-O-Onii-chan…” (Lipha)

Lipha spoke to me, seeming scared. 

But I didn’t have any leeway to respond to her.

“Unforgivable…!” (Souma)

I soon understood the trick of what was done to us here. 

There were many hints. 

The Sacrificial Girl and the Ghost Dungeon were being performed at different locations. 

The reward of the quest being outstanding for the job. 

The words of Pora, pointing out that they wouldn’t be able to do much with just a single sacrifice, and even the information about adventurers coming to suppress the cultists 2 years ago and dying. 

On top of that, the correct name of this quest being Sacrifice Dungeon…

…Right.

Sacrifice…Girl and Ghost Dungeon… When you put them together, you get Sacrifice Dungeon. These quests are two yet one. 

They made us put on equipment that showed us illusions for the participants of the Sacrifice Girl and the Ghost Dungeon…and made them kill each other. It is that kind of horrible quest. 

 

I once again looked at the corpse of Pora. 

At her wrist, there’s black grass tied into a bracelet just like my Evil Warding Grass Decoration. 

If my necklace has the effect of making me ‘see people with the bracelet as cultists’, their bracelets must have the effect of ‘showing the people wearing the necklace as monsters’. 

Just like how we attacked Pora and her group because we thought they were cultists, her group attacked us thinking we were monsters. 

The objective was probably….

“Hey, Lipha, why are you in a place like this?” (Souma)

“U-Uhm, Papa told me that if I managed to run until the number got to 1, he would give me a present… I-I was scared, so I told him no, but he…forced me here…” (Lipha)

Hearing the words of Lipha while she was on the verge of tears…

(So that’s how it was…!) (Souma)

I bit my lips. 

I learn the reason for the light patterns on the walls and the culprit of this quest. 

That was no code. 

If you have followed the whole situation, you will be able to understand clearly what this means. 

The first thing that showed before entering the ruins was…

+|L

After that, the Sacrifice Girl side had Lucas die after Pora attacked him. 

At that time, the pattern on the wall…

+±

Became this.

After that, we got attacked a second time, and 2 adventurers died, with the 3 of Abel’s group dying as well. And then, I killed the comrade of Pora, the mage…

+ -

The pattern changed to this. 

We then killed 2 cultists…adventurers and…

+L

While we were searching for the 2 separated adventurers, the wall pattern…

|L

Then changed to…

±

And then the attack of Pora and the axe user Randy. 

Randy and 3 adventurers died. 

Ξ

You get it now, right? 

This is simply a number. 

The reason why they looked like a pattern on the wall was simply because they were made in a hard to tell way. 

The current one on the wall is…

I glared at it sharply. 

The number on the wall began with 18 and was decreasing regardless of side. 

This is most likely a countdown. 

It is counting the sacrifices, and they are trying to bring about something terrifying. 

The only one I can think of that can set this up is the current father of Lipha, the Village Chief of the Saiga Village. 

But I doubt a large-scale quest like this can be set up by the Village Chief alone. 

This is just my assumption, but I think all the villagers of the Saiga Village are cultists or monsters. 

It should be safe to assume that we have been had by the village. 

I want to throw everything away and make it so that nothing happens, but…before that, I want to bring redemption for them or I won’t feel at peace. 

The moment I reaffirmed that dark resolution of mine…

“S-Save me! A monster…!” 

A female adventurer ran this way. 

The ones who were chasing her were…

“You damn cultist! Revenge! Revenge for Rad!!” 

The adventurer that clung to the corpse of his comrade. 

I ordered him to stay, but it looks like he couldn’t endure it. 

“Wait! Stop, she isn’t—” (Souma)

I desperately raised my voice to stop them, but I didn’t make it in time. 

“Die, filthy cultist!!” 

The swung sword of the man stabbed into the back of the running female adventurer.

“A-Aah…” (Souma)

Despair leaked out from my mouth. 

The female adventurer in front of me collapsed and the number on the wall changed. 

And finally…we face the end of the quest. 

“Good work, adventurers… No, our most precious sacrifices.”

A familiar voice rang in the whole dungeon. 

“This voice!” 

“Papa?!” 

And then…

“Ah, Lipha, my precious daughter. You should come here.”

The moment the Village Chief said this, the red necklace of Lipha shone an ominous light. 

“Eh? What’s this? Onii-chan, save—” (Lipha)

“Lipha!” (Souma)

The figure of Lipha disappeared an instant after. 

The voice of the Village Chief continued ringing.

“I think there’s already people who have discovered it, but we had you all kill each other for the sake of reviving the Great One. No, become a stepping stone to their revival. How envying. I am unfortunately a demon, so I can’t become an offering for the Great One.” 

The Village Chief speaks of his wrongdoings as if he were doing a casual talk. 

“Ah, right right. If you don’t believe that the ones you killed were your own brethren, I recommend you take off the accessories you put on before entering the dungeon. You should be able to understand in an instant with that.” 

Light particles pass by my side. 

When I looked there, the corpses here and there had light beads coming out from them and were flying off somewhere. 

“I thought about it for quite a bit before getting this idea, you know? If we were to clash upfront, we would lose members, and it would hinder our activities. When I thought up this idea of having you kill each other to become sacrifices, I thought of myself as a genius.” 

I chase after the light beads. 

It will most likely…

“We wiped out the adventurers 2 years ago to keep their mouths shut, but there’s no need for that this time around. We have gathered 17 excellent sacrifices. The last one will be prepared by us… Now, Lipha, it is your turn.” 

There it is! 

The light beads were really heading to the big door. 

The gate that leads to the sacrifice altar and has the - floating on it. 

“P-Papa…? Why are you tying me up? I-I…” 

The agitated voice of Lipha echoed in the dungeon. 

Lipha is deeper inside this door. 

“W-What are you doing with me? Hey, what’s with that axe? Papa, stop, papa!!” 

I swing my sword on the door with all of my strength. 

But the door didn’t budge at all.

“P-Papa, you said I was important to you. I-I also love you, Papa. Even though you are not my real papa, you took care of me, that’s why…”

I used the Purple Lightning Slash which is the strongest attack I can use right now on the door, but even with that, the door didn’t budge. 

“It is okay, Lipha. There’s no way I would do anything terrible to you, right?” 

“Pap—” 

—*Thud*

A dull sound rang inside the dungeon.

What echoed next was the devil’s whisper. 

“Becoming an offering for the Great One is the biggest honor of all. You are happy too, right?” 

And then…

“No way…” (Souma)

The number in front of me changed.

At that instant, everything ended. 

“Ahahahahahahaha!! Finally! My ambition!! Humans, bear this in heart!! The Great One will finally revive!!” 

The only thing that echoed in the dungeon was a mad laughter. 

“Ahahahahahhaha!! Ahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!” 

And then, the darkness…darkness that ended everything leaked out from the door and…

“Sorry…” (Souma)

I let out those last words to my two comrades that are not by my side—

“Thiel, Marin, I…” (Souma)

GAME OVER

“…Haah, that was the worst.” (Souma)

I sighed at the GAME OVER that was covering the whole screen. 

I have no energy to continue the game. 

I bring out the menu screen while it was still pitch black, choose the log out, and end the game. 

“What a horrible scenario…” (Souma)

Being freed from the VR machine, I talked to myself. 

It has been quite a while since I began New Communicate Online. 

I thought I knew how nasty this game was, but the scenario on this one was on a whole other level. 

I feel like it would traumatize children if they were to play this. 

Or more like, if this was changed before it was switched to an offline game, was this quest intended for an online game? 

That’s not on the level of bold. 

“What should I do today…?” (Souma)

Every time I encounter scenarios like this one, I always think about quitting, but I end up wanting to play it again after some time, and I just power the machine up. 

For now, my objective is to reach 100 affection with my companion character Thiel.

For the sake of that…

“Alright! I will eat dinner and try it again.” (Souma)

I would feel bad quitting at a bad end. 

The good thing about games is that you can retry as many times as you want even if you fail. 

Since the time I began living alone, I have been speaking to myself a whole lot more.

And so, I decided to challenge the Sacrifice Dungeon again. 

But I couldn’t have even imagined that, even though I believed I had gotten through the most painful part, in a sense, what came after was the real hell.

“Damn it! Why?!!” (Souma)

I cursed for who knows how many times now.

The Sacrifice Dungeon quest was simple once you understood the trick to it. 

There might be casualties by happenstance, but once you learn that the root of all evil is the grass accessory, you just have to convince your allies and take them off. 

The developers must have set it so that if you answer the questions accurately, the decently good AI of New Communicate Online will understand that they have been fooled by the villagers, and properly take off the grass accessory. 

If everyone from one side takes off their grass accessories, conflict won’t happen. 

If you explain the situation to the other team, you can bring the talk naturally to defeating the cultists of the Saiga Village. 

After that, it will be a battle against the cultists. 

Cooperating with Pora, Abel, and the others, you would fight the cultists and the demons transformed into villagers, defeat the most powerful demon there and the boss of the quest, the Village Chief, and the incident is wrapped. 

At the end, you destroy the dungeon entrances where the ‘Great One’ is sealed, and Happy End. 

—But, for some reason, I couldn’t save the girl that became the sacrifice, Lipha, no matter what I did. 

The initial danger of Lipha was to be killed by the adventurers wearing the grass accessory. 

But we immediately took those off, and by reaching the door before the other team, we can avoid that 80% of the time. 

The problem comes after that. 

When the countdown for the remaining sacrifices goes to 1 or when the adventurers discover the scheme of the cultists and take off the grass accessories, Lipha will get teleported all the way to the altar with the power of the red necklace. 

And as of present, I can’t find a way to get past the door where the altar of sacrifice is located. 

The door doesn’t budge no matter the attack I do, and even when I corner the Village Chief, he doesn’t talk about it as if he had forgotten the existence of Lipha. 

I then tried to stop Lipha from getting teleported there in the first place, but all ended up in failure. 

If you kill the Village Chief before the quest happens, you can’t progress the quest, and Lipha will stay locked up in the dungeon. 

I then thought of turning back in the middle, but once you enter the dungeon, you can’t go outside because of the system unless all the adventurers take off their grass accessories. 

And so, I tried to do something about the red necklace of Lipha, but not only is it an indestructible object, it is also impossible to unequip, so I couldn’t do anything. 

“Just what’s going on…?” (Souma)

No matter how many times I retried, I couldn’t save Lipha.

So…I finally pulled out the forbidden card. 

I decided to check a walkthrough guide in the Nekomimi Neko Wiki. 

Once I saw the topic for Sacrifice Dungeon in the Nekomimi Neko Wiki, I almost screamed at the astonishing contents of it. 

“What’s…this?” (Souma)

Because you know…all of my desperate hard work was turned into dust. 

According to the Nekomimi Neko Wiki…

—There’s no data for an altar of sacrifice in that underground dungeon. 

Putting it simply, the altar of sacrifice wasn’t implemented in the game. 

That’s why there’s nothing at the other side of the big door. 

There’s simply a door to make it look like there is one, and it is said there’s an altar at the other side, but there’s actually no altar set there. 

And of course, the information I desperately searched about ‘how to save Lipha that went to the altar’ didn’t exist. 

I don’t know if the developers forgot about the existence of Lipha in the middle of making it, or they felt it was a hassle to create the special event at the end where the altar is located at, but there was no conclusion where ‘Lipha is saved’ anywhere in the quest. 

“…What’s this BS?” (Souma)

I don’t mind the idea of the participants being made to fight in this quest. 

It is nasty, but there’s a way to avoid it. 

I would even say it is a pretty decent story. 

That’s why the problem is Lipha. 

I would still understand if you can’t save her because of the story requiring it. 

But if we end up not being able to save the person we want to save the most just because the developers were cutting corners, or because they forgot, that …

“That’s way too much!” (Souma)

That’s horrible no matter how you think about it. 

I have never seen a more hopeless story than this one.

I spit this out with all of my piled up emotions. 

“The one who made this should drop to hell!!” (Souma)

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