“D-Don’t drop me, okay?! You definitely must not!” (Sazan)
“I won’t, so just stay put!!” (Souma)
I was finding it annoying from the bottom of my heart how Sazan was clinging even harder to me after that, but in the end, I obeyed him.
Well, it is true that me carrying him would allow us to move a lot faster than having him complaining and stopping his feet.
But I have stopped participating in the battles, so there’s a visible drop in the speed at which enemies are being defeated.
There’s obviously me carrying Sazan on my back, but there’s also Mitsuki who is still lacking energy, Ringo who can’t use her Lightning Strike, and the Bear who is inside my bag.
Our party is barely functioning, so that’s natural.
Within all that, the only one who was shining was Maki.
When Maki catches sight of an enemy, she would jump one step faster than anyone, smack them with what seems to be a magic staff, and defeat the enemies in the blink of an eye.
She was defeating the enemies without any issues with her high level, stats, and her inherent good intuition.
Ringo follows after the same way since everything is fine aside from not being able to use Lightning Strike, but since she is not used to battles where she doesn’t use it, she is being pushed back by Maki the whole time.
(No, that’s not all.) (Souma)
I don’t know if it is the difference in equipment, or because of the modifiers of Maki for being a princess, but there’s a clear difference in their power.
Especially that speed. It is overwhelming.
As I have said before, within the many basic stats, agility works the same way as stamina in the fact that it is a stat that doesn’t increase with level ups. It is one of the entries that’s the most valued when evaluating the capabilities of a character.
It affects almost all of your actions, and for the ones who have a high value of this, all their actions are faster, and they would show high performance in a variety of scenarios.
Its base number is 100.
When you get to the high levels, there will be ones showing up that have more than 1,000 in this stat, so you could say that’s a low number in this game, but the reality is that more than 80% of the characters that exist in this game have a set value of 100 agility, and the player is also included in this.
However, a number of characters are given even more or even less than that.
The Nekomimi Neko Wiki has a page where they compare the speed of each character, and I remember that a bit.
From the characters that show up in early game, the one considered high would be Ina with her 120 in regular state.
When she enters train mode, I think her agility is 180.
1.8 times may not be that big of a deal, but to put it in an easier to visualize way, it would be like a person that can run 100 meters in 18 seconds and a person that can run it in 10 seconds.
In other words, there’s at least a difference in speed comparable to that of a slow girl and a short distance athlete.
Unfortunately, there was no data for the speed of Princess Shermia, but Ringo’s speed is fast, and this is through feeling alone, but I think it is over 130 agility.
But Maki is a whole level faster.
I would say it is around 160…no, 170 in terms of agility.
According to calculations, when you use Godstep Cancel, you apparently go 1.7 times faster than when running at full power, so Maki can reach that same degree of speed with a normal dash.
By the way, the fastest character within all of the characters is of course Mitsuki, and her agility is 250.
That speed of hers is already not in the realm of just fast. It is as if she is coded differently at that point.
Her Cheetah nickname isn’t just for show.
Thinking back on it, it really was naive of me to think that I would be able to escape from her with Godstep Cancel way back.
I have said before that Mitsuki is the only one who would fall in speed when using Step, but that’s not accurate.
It is true that Mitsuki’s movement speed is faster than that of the player’s Step, but agility also affects skills.
And so, if Mitsuki uses Step, she would end up moving 2.5 times faster than the Step of a player.
That applies to attacks as well.
In the case Mitsuki attacks with the same skill as me, Mitsuki can get in 2.5 times more attacks in the time it takes for me to get one in. In the case when we chant the same spell, Mitsuki would be able to finish the chant in less than half the time it takes me.
Moreover, her other stats and her sword mastery are top class, so it is an actual cheat in-game.
Well, that in-game cheat is currently trembling like a kitten wet from the rain though.
I deviated from the topic a bit there, but what I am trying to say here is that even a small difference in agility can create a big gap.
Ringo is working hard here too, but the difference is clear to the eye.
Situations where Maki would have already wiped out the enemy by the time Ringo arrived were common.
Ringo doesn’t seem to be bothered by it, but Maki probably understands that she is contributing a lot here, she is a lot more merry than usual.
She came to my side and puffed her chest out at the time when we were taking a break inside the bubble.
“Ehehe, you must see me in a new light now, right~?” (Maki)
‘It is getting to her head’, is what I thought, but it is true that I am grateful for the help of Maki in this moment when we are not progressing well.
“Yeah, to be honest, it is thanks to you that we managed to get this far. You have been a great help. Thanks.” (Souma)
It is a rare moment where I tell her my honest feelings, but she probably didn’t expect me to actually praise her, she suddenly got all flustered.
“E-Eh? A-Aw, okay. Uhm…you have my thanks too.” (Maki)
“No, why are you thanking me?” (Souma)
This slightly casual chat comforted my emotions that had been irritated by Sazan.
Just when I made a faint smile…
A cracking sound was suddenly made close to me and I reflexively looked there.
The origin of that sound was Ringo.
She looked back at me, facing the outside and with Wakizashi in hand.
“…I tried it out just now. Even here…I can properly use it.” (Ringo)
A cracking sound was made at the same time as she said this, and lightning came out from the tip of the Wakizashi.
It slipped out from the air bubble and advanced through the water at a speed that wasn’t any different from when it was on land.
Seeing this, I finally understood what was going on.
Ringo must have done a test shot just now with her Lightning Strike.
The inside of the bubble is filled with air, so there’s no need to worry about getting shocked, and if you shoot it while facing the outside, you can tell whether Lightning Strike can be used inside the water.
That’s quite the good idea she got.
Progress went well from there on.
Ringo’s Lightning Strike is several times faster than the movement speed of Maki.
Because of the fact that they are lower level enemies, we managed to advance without having to stop our feet thanks to Ringo.
“The thing Ringo-chan is doing is so cool.” (Maki)
The contribution of Ringo after being able to use Lightning Strike was dazzling, to the point that Maki was jealous of her.
Hearing this, Ringo thought about it for a bit.
“……I will…teach you next time.” (Ringo)
She proposed this to Maki.
Speaking of which, the character data of Maki should be the same as Ringo’s.
It shouldn’t be impossible for her to use it.
“Eh? Is that okay?” (Maki)
I don’t know if Ringo knows about it or not, but she nodded at Maki.
“…That way…it will be of help for Souma too.” (Ringo)
“I see. Ringo-chan, you are a good girl, huh.” (Maki)
In the past, Ringo would only talk to me, but she has properly grown.
She was fighting monsters while having that conversation.
(Compared to that…) (Souma)
I look at the luggage on my back.
“…W-What? Even if you look at me like that, I am not getting down!” (Sazan)
I sighed while wondering when this guy will grow as we hurried to our destination.
“So we finally got all the way here, huh.” (Souma)
It has already been 1 hour and 45 minutes since we teleported to the Underwater City.
We have finally arrived at the opposite end of the Underwater City.
It was a strange place.
There’s a number of weird holes on the ground, and small bubbles would come out from time to time.
Deep in, there’s a statue of a dragon, and this is what’s written there: “Let thine self be bestowed with the divine protection of the water dragon”.
Those were some flamboyant words that sound as if they would come out from Sazan’s mouth, but the meaning is simple.
“Mitsuki, please give me the rings you are wearing. Could you please put this one on in place of it?” (Souma)
When I called Mitsuki and asked this of her, she slowly tilted her cat ears but still obeyed.
I received the 4 Element Ring from Mitsuki and I gave her the Strength Up Ring that can be bought in stores.
After confirming that she had put it on, I gave the next instruction.
“Next, please try touching the bubbles coming from there.” (Souma)
Mitsuki didn’t seem to understand the situation well, but that’s the fastest of Nekomimi Neko character for ya, even when her movements are dulled from being inside the water, she still managed to catch the bubble.
“?! This is…!!” (Mitsuki)
The moment Mitsuki touched the bubble, the Strength Up Ring that Mitsuki had put on began to shine.
At the same time as she did, a thin film wrapped up her body.
Her shriveled cat ears were regaining energy.
This is the ‘Divine Protection of the Water Dragon’.
When you touch the bubbles coming out from that hole, one of the rings you are equipped with will change into the Water Dragon Ring.
This Water Dragon Ring not only grants strong water resistance and underwater aptitude, but also completely nullifies the troublesome effects of the Poison Sludge.
But, most likely because of how good it is, it is a time-limited item.
It is equipment that can only be used in the Underwater City, so you can’t just put it inside your bag or Cooler Box to bring them out. When you exit the glass case, it will always get destroyed.
Moreover, even if you lose the Water Dragon Ring like that, you obviously don’t get your original ring back.
It would of course be pretty painful if you were equipped with an important ring, and it can also change rings that are required for quests, so in the worst case scenario, you might get hard stuck in your playthrough.
Well, inconveniences like that are common in Nekomimi Neko, so there’s no point in making a ruckus about it now, but there’s the need to be careful.
“Everyone else as well, if you have important rings that you wouldn’t want losing, please entrust them to me. I will give you replacement rings.” (Souma)
I fortunately have bought a lot of store rings, so there’s no lack of expendables.
I chose a number of rings that don’t seem to be useful and brought them out.
I was thinking of distributing them to everyone, but then, I noticed a strange point.
“…Ringo? What happened to your other ring?” (Souma)
Last time when we went to the accessory store, I remember having bought 2 rings for Ringo and she was wearing them in her right hand.
But there’s only one ring in her slender fingers.
“…L-Left hand. It would be unbalanced if they are both in the right after all.” (Ringo)
Ringo answered with that, but for some reason, she hid the important left hand on her back.
Could it be that she lost it? That’s what I thought, but…
“…Wait a bit.” (Ringo)
Ringo faced back, took off her rings, and gave me both.
She properly had both, and it doesn’t look like they are broken or damaged.
And yet, Ringo’s behavior was strange, but right now it is more important to get the Water Dragon Ring than questioning her.
I gave the other 3 their rings too while they took off their own rings, changing them to useless store rings.
Anyways, now that we have come all this way, there’s only one more push left.
That’s what I thought, but…
“D-Damn it! Don’t run away! Fight me fair and square!” (Sazan)
“Ah, hey, wait! I am Sazan, you know?!” (Sazan)
“Y-You damn mere bubble. To try and oppose me… You must be quite—” (Sazan)
“Why can’t you catch a mere bubble?!!” (Souma)
Even then, Sazan was pulling our legs.
Maki and Ringo, and even the Bear who poked its head out from the bag managed to catch a bubble, and yet, even after more than 5 minutes, Sazan was the only one chasing after the bubble.
You can only get one ring per person, so you can’t do it in his stead.
We tried watching over here patiently, but when Sazan noticed that I was watching, he said unapologetically.
“H-Hmph, it is not my fault! It is this thing’s fault for running so pretentiously despite being a bubble!” (Sazan)
I obviously snapped at the words of Sazan.
(T-This guy!!) (Souma)
I reached the limit of my patience and was about to shout at him, but…
I returned to my senses from the warm sensation I felt on my back.
It is Ringo.
Ringo stopped me by hugging me from behind.
“…You can’t help him even if you get impatient.” (Ringo)
Those words entered my ears when blood was rushing to my head.
Those words that hit where it hurt were about to make my head boil again, but…
(No, she is right…) (Souma)
What Ringo is saying is completely right.
Even if there’s the matter with Ina, I am being way too impatient here.
You can understand easily just by thinking calmly about it.
The reason why Sazan can’t catch the bubble isn’t because he was slacking like before, but because his physical prowess is fatally low.
Scolding someone one-sidedly when they are doing their best. I really would have been in the wrong there.
In the first place, I knew from the very beginning that Sazan would be deadweight.
Despite all that, I brought Sazan with me.
I psyche myself up and grab both shoulders of Sazan from the back.
Sazan let out a weird scream after his shoulders were suddenly grabbed, and I spoke to him with a gentle tone.
“Sazan, you are getting too greedy. Calm down.” (Souma)
“Muh. I am not getting gree—fuguh?!” (Sazan)
He puckered his lips and protested, but I am not going to argue with him.
I shove a potion into that mouth of his and tell him this while recovering his HP.
“No, you are getting greedy. You are clumsy anyways, so stop looking at all the holes from the very beginning. It is fine to just concentrate on the ones in front of you -just half of them. Narrow your aim to half of them, and make sure to catch the bubbles that come from there.” (Souma)
“I-I am not clumsy!” (Sazan)
Even when he protested in that fashion, I could tell that his attention concentrated on the holes in the front.
He really isn’t honest.
A bubble came out from the deeper hole.
Sazan was about to move by reflex to that, but I pulled his shoulder and stopped him.
“I am telling you to not go!” (Souma)
“…Uh. But we let it go again!” (Sazan)
“That’s fine. Come on, concentrate on the front.” (Souma)
“O-Only this once, okay?!” (Sazan)
Sazan spit out nonsense there as he returned his gaze to the front.
“Here it is!” (Sazan)
A bubble floated out from a perfect spot where Sazan would be able to reach if he were to stretch out his hand.
“Wawawa! Y-You…!” (Sazan)
Having it pop out from the best position must have instead created more pressure. Sazan was panicking.
But his hands that were being flailed about randomly fortunately hit the bubble.
And his finger got wrapped around in light.
An instant later, the Water Dragon Ring was in his finger.
“…You did it.” (Souma)
I pat the shoulder of Sazan who was looking at his own finger as if in disbelief.
And then, Sazan raised his voice happily.
“Y-Yeah! Thanks to you—n-no, don’t misunderstand! This time around, I coincidentally followed your advice, but it is not like I have accepted y—” (Sazan)
“Don’t do such a blatant tsundere display. It is disgusting.” (Souma)
Was Sazan shocked by that? He sank down sadly, but well, I don’t really care about his feelings.
What’s most important right now is that we accomplished our objective here.
With this, all members have obtained the Water Dragon Ring.
It is an item that can only be used here, so its effects are outstanding.
With this, we won’t have to worry about our HP lowering underwater and, with this, we can advance no matter if it is inside black waters or red waters.
“Kuh! Oh well, fine. More importantly, we have to depart at once, right? With this, we should be able to get through those accursed dark waters around the treasury room.”
Sazan, who was being carried until now, suddenly got all cocky and said this.
It is nice and all that he got motivated here, but…
“Eh? …Ah, no, I did think about doing that if there’s time, but there’s no point anymore. We won’t be going to the treasury room.” (Souma)
I checked the time with Sazan letting out a dumbfounded voice at the side.
It is soon going to be 2:00 a.m.
The people of this world would normally be in bed and having dreams at this time.
“Knew it. We are already out of time.” (Souma)
Saying this, ‘that sound’ rang just at the exact time.