The conferral of honors is at noon, but we decided to show Ina the city.
But if I were to go outside just like that, it would be a Sinking Prince festival again.
The people of the city know mine and Mitsuki’s faces, so we decided to use a stealth skill like the time when we were wanted.
There were also suggestions of using disguise items, but transforming into someone here would definitely make it so there’s two of the same people and that would definitely stand out.
If we were to use the transformation item on each other, we could interchange our looks, but that would be completely pointless.
Also, there’s the issue that you can’t undo the transformation for 24 hours, so it was scrapped.
And so, I am using the Invisibility skill just like last time.
I was worried that even my comrades wouldn’t be able to see me with this, but it was unnecessary worry.
I was always solo in the game, so I didn’t notice, but it seems like it works the same as Hide in that it doesn’t affect the people who were looking at you right before using the skill.
Having wrapped up our biggest worry, we waved our hands at the dolls that were seeing us off and left the mansion.
“This will become my first step into a new path in my adventurer career, right?!!” (Ina)
The one being awfully energetic is the rising Ina.
She seems to be pointlessly moved, and after taking that ‘first step into her new path’…
She tripped splendidly.
It seems there was no damage, so she got up soon after.
“A-Ahahaha, looks like I stepped a bit too hard there.” (Ina)
She tried to laugh it off, but I felt like this was foreshadowing the future of Ina, and it made me incredibly uneasy.
I watched as the considerate Ringo cleaned off the dirt on the clothes of Ina while whispering to Mitsuki at my side.
“Good grief. Her carelessness is troubling. I am sorry, but can you take care of her without letting her know… Mitsuki?” (Souma)
But there was no response from Mitsuki.
Mitsuki’s eyes were directed at Ina.
There’s no change in the face of Mitsuki at a glance, but the cat ears-chan on top of her head were making a complicated look.
It tilted to the back and she seemed to be bothered by something.
“Did you do something to her last night?” (Mitsuki)
“Eh? …Not really.” (Souma)
The expressionless eyes of Mitsuki were staring straight at me.
It is kind of scary.
These are eyes of suspicion.
“Her movements have been unnatural since this morning. Her way of walking is as if…” (Mitsuki)
“As if…?” (Souma)
When I asked her back, Mitsuki went ‘nothing’ and diverted her gaze.
In the first place, what would I have to do to make the walking of Ina unnatural?
“Isn’t she just nervous being in the capital for the first time?” (Souma)
I instead bring out a more realistic guess.
She even went as far as buying a guidebook.
I wouldn’t put it past her that she would get all excited and mess up.
We were talking about that in whispers, but…
“Good grief. You guys really like to drag your feet. Follow me already! We sally forth to the city!!” (Sazan)
We were hurried by Sazan who is all excited for some reason.
And so, we ended up heading out to the city.
Maybe there’s still the lingering effects of yesterday, we were slipping through the people in this still noisy capital.
Ina’s walking was abnormally fast and it was hard to follow after her.
Sazan was on the verge of getting lost too, but I left the Bear to keep an eye on him, so it should be okay.
After confirming that Sazan was being dragged by the Bear from quite a few ways behind, I spoke to Ina who was walking by my side.
“Ina, your level is 74, right?” (Souma)
I don’t remember it that well, but the level she told me at the time we separated was around there.
She can’t level up in the Cave of Trials alone, and there’s no enemies higher than level 70 around Lamurick.
I asked this because I thought her level hasn’t changed, but Ina made a bold smile at that question of mine.
“Want to see?” (Ina)
What Ina took out was a level appraiser.
She pushed it onto her own arm and showed me what appeared there.
[Ina Trail: Lv78]
She unexpectedly had leveled up 4 times.
Ina must have noticed my surprise, she puffed her chest out proudly.
“Of course, it doesn’t compare to the level raising of yours that’s like magic, but Thiel-san and I did our best, and we managed to raise it all the way there!” (Ina)
She looked at me with sparkling eyes and gave off the aura of ‘praise me, praise me’.
It is not like I yielded to that pressure, but I honestly gave her words of praise for this.
“I really didn’t expect you to increase your level this much. So you were doing your best even when I was not there.” (Souma)
The face of Ina melted into a goofy smile.
But how did she level up around Lamurick?
I was curious about this as a player of Nekomimi Neko.
“So, how did you get up to that level before coming to the capital?” (Souma)
“Ah, about that…” (Ina)
According to Ina, there’s apparently an old book that said people on the level of Ina would level up by defeating a certain rare monster that’s around Lamurick, and she managed to put that to practice.
“But why did you have a book like that…?” (Souma)
“It was in order to learn more about Souma-san!” (Ina)
“About me…?” (Souma)
It hasn’t even been a few months since I came to this world.
I don’t think there’s much point in researching about me in old books.
I obviously reached that conclusion, but it seems like Ina actually finds it strange that I can’t think of the reason.
She tilted her head and confirmed with me.
“Cause you know, you are the Guardian of the Seal, right?” (Ina)
I completely forgot about that title (dark history) and I choked reflexively.
She still believed that half-assed excuse?!!
“…Guardian…of the Seal…?” (Ringo)
Ringo, who was walking behind us, tilted her head as if reeled in by this.
This is bad!
I would die if even Ringo were to hear about this.
“I-I see! Yeah, let’s have that talk at another time, okay?!!” (Souma)
I forcefully changed the topic.
Ina made a questioning look, but she once again asked with a bright face.
“Speaking of which, what level are you and the others at?” (Ina)
That question immediately froze the atmosphere that had returned to normal.
“If I remember correctly, your level was lower than mine before coming to the capital. But we are talking about Souma-san here, so I feel like you would level up doing something amazing again, so…maybe you already are…no, you have already passed level 100?” (Ina)
Even without saying anything, I could tell her eyes were saying ‘it would be nice if there’s not that much of a gap’.
I (level 178) made eye-contact with Ringo (level 178 too) and…
“Ooh, there’s an armor store there!” (Souma)
“…Armor is…important.” (Ringo)
We conspired together to change the topic.
You know, throwing too much at once would be bad for the heart.
“T-That’s the armor store of the capital! I wanted to check it out at least once!” (Ina)
And Ina easily bit. She really is one easy heroine.
“Ah, please wait.” (Ina)
Ina was about to charge into the armor store, but she suddenly stopped in place.
“What’s the matter?” (Souma)
When I asked, she began rummaging through her bag with a slightly flushed face.
“Uhm, I used all my money in the Magic Airship fee, so…” (Ina)
“Aah, I see…” (Souma)
Now that I think about it, Ina came all the way here alone because Thiel didn’t have enough for her share.
There’s no way she would have money to buy equipment at the capital.
“Ah, but I actually have one big treasure.” (Ina)
When I asked back, Ina suddenly began to take peeks at the surroundings.
“Can you come closer?” (Ina)
I got my face closer and Ina began talking with a lower volume.
“What I am going to show you now is an item that we coincidentally found. It is a really rare item and it is also a really expensive one, so even you might not have seen it before, Souma-san.” (Ina)
“That much?” (Souma)
Ina nodded without hesitation at my question, and took out her hand that was in the bag the whole time.
And then, she slowly opened her hand while being cautious of our surroundings, and showed me the item.
“…It is this.” (Ina)
The moment I saw that, I was on the verge of letting out my voice from the surprise.
“Could this possibly be…” (Souma)
A shock I have felt before ran through me.
What was in the hand of Ina was a single coin releasing golden luster.
“Yes. A super rare item that the rare monster, Golden Stray Slime, drops. The Stray Slime Gold Coin.” (Ina)
This development bleached my mind blank, and Ina explained cheerfully while putting the gold coin back.
“Actually, this item is apparently expensive even if you were to sell it normally, but by bringing it to a place called the Bounty Hunting Guild, you can sell it for…100,000E!” (Ina)
Ina said this excited even when keeping the volume this low.
“Of course, it is apparently no good unless there’s a request for the item, so it is not like there’s no conditions to it, but it is still 100,000E. 100,000E!!
The night I learned about this, I couldn’t sleep…
Ah, but it seems like you know what this is, Souma-san.
Have you seen this before?” (Ina)
“…Yeah, a bit.” (Souma)
Well, a bit like in 74 of them.
I decided to swallow those words deep in my chest.
But now I understand how Ina got to level 78.
If she got a golden coin, it means that the rare monster that Ina used to level up was the Golden Stray Slime.
If I remember correctly, the goldens spawn in fields of around level 50-100 at a low rate.
There should be around 1 or 2 points where those guys spawn in the area close to Lamurick.
The golden itself is a monster around level 100, so Ina should be able to level up if she managed to defeat it properly.
We raised our level close to level 100 in the subjugation contest using the goldens, so there’s no doubt about that.
“I see. As expected of Souma-san!!” (Ina)
Ina said in innocent admiration, and we looked at each other.
Let’s keep silent about the subjugation contest for now.
There was a silent agreement in an instant from me, Ringo, and Mitsuki.
Of course, Ina didn’t notice that eye-contact at all and suggested in a cheerful manner.
“That’s why, let’s go to the Hunter Guild before heading to the armor sto—” (Ina)
“You must not!” (Souma)
I cut off the words of Ina.
The Bounty Hunting Guild was on the verge of bankruptcy because of the gold coins.
I doubt there will be any gold coin requests there, and if we were to bring one there, they might think we are picking a fight.
“Eh? No? Why?” (Ina)
Ina didn’t know this, so she was a bit scared of my threatening attitude.
That’s when Ringo and Mitsuki entered to assist me.
“…Today…is a bad day.” (Ringo)
“They most likely won’t take you seriously with just one. The item requests normally ask for several of them.” (Mitsuki)
“I-I see.” (Ina)
Leaving aside what Ringo said, Mitsuki’s logic was convincing.
Ina was persuaded by this.
“But in that case, I can’t buy equipment at all… Let’s go to a different place.” (Ina)
She probably thinks she is hiding it here, but it is easy to tell that she is really hung up on the armor store.
Just when I was thinking about what to do, Mitsuki made an unexpected suggestion.
“Then, I shall buy it.” (Mitsuki)
“Eh? B-But…” (Ina)
Mitsuki pushed on while Ina was confused.
“In exchange, make the price 90,000E. You will get money at once, and I will get a 10,000E profit later. I don’t think it is a bad deal.” (Mitsuki)
Ina looked at me as if asking me for my opinion.
I pushed Ina’s back and nodded at her.
“T-Then, please do, Hisame-san.” (Ina)
“I don’t mind you calling me just Mitsuki, Ina-san.” (Mitsuki)
I rubbed my chest in relief at the heartwarming conversation of the two.
Mitsuki, who I thought was the representative of the muscle brains, is now able to show this much consideration. It is truly surprising.
Of course, the trade was done without any issues. Ina got 90,000E and went to the armor store all happily.
Ina was looking around and going heeeh and hoooh inside the store, but the armor store owner got an eye on us at that moment.
“Customer-san, could it be that what you are wearing is mithril armor?!”
“Y-Yes, that’s right…” (Ina)
Ina nodded hesitantly at the way too intense tone, and the owner old man showed a broad smile.
“I knew it! Can you let us buy that?”
According to the store owner, there’s been a lack of mithril in this city, so there has been a price jump in mithril.
Thanks to that, mithril armor is being sold at even higher prices than other better materials.
“Also, if you buy your armor here, I will also give you a discount!”
The store owner pushes his sale as if saying this is his chance.
I can only call it impressive maketing spirit, but this must be perfect for Ina.
“T-Then, please do!” (Ina)
Mitsuki stopped hiding her presence and followed Ina who jumped onto the offer without hesitation.
With Mitsuki, whose face is well-known even in the capital, there should be no worries of Ina being deceived.
That’s fine and all, but…
(…Lack of mithril, huh.) (Souma)
As someone who knows the events of the game, this is a situation that makes me uneasy.
There’s the chance that the Mithril Gathering Event, which only activates when the player participates, is progressing on its own.
I don’t like this, but I should try to check out that place next time. When I decided on that…
“Then, this please!” (Ina)
Looks like Ina has already decided on what to buy.
I raised my head at the cheerful voice of Ina.
At the place where Ina pointed at…
“Yay! I have done it, Souma-san!” (Ina)
“Y-Yeah, you’ve done it.” (Souma)
I responded to Ina who was hopping around from happiness.
“Is it okay for something as incredible as this to happen?! Even though it is only my second day in the capital, I managed to obtain the orichalcum armor that I sought for!!” (Ina)
The body of Ina had a familiar magic metal on while she was walking through the congested city with happy steps.
That’s right. The armor that Ina chose from the armor store was the orichalcum armor.
“To think I would be able to sell my mithril armor at such a high price. I might be the luckiest person in the world!” (Ina)
I look away from Ina with awkward emotions and exchange looks with Ringo.
We couldn’t say anything to Ina who was gleefully ordering at the armor store.
It is not an atmosphere where we could say ‘We have 2 sets of orichalcum armor we are not using anymore. Want to borrow one?’.
W-Well, it wouldn’t be good to help out too much.
I rethought this and walked to Ina to catch up to her, and then I noticed that Ina was about to ignore the weapon store.
“Hm? No need to go to the weapon store?” (Souma)
Ina nodded when I asked.
“I personally have interest in it, but it is better to use weapons you are used to, and this Wakizashi is plenty powerful.” (Ina)
“Aah, now that you mention it, that’s the only drop item you have.” (Souma)
In most cases, a monster drop is better than the store ones even if it is an item of the same level.
It is a rare weapon type like a Ninja Sword and it dropped from a level 70 Armor Knight, so it should have more power than the weapons in the capital.
“Also, it seems like you haven’t changed your weapon either, so that was a bit relieving. The one you have is the same katana as before, and the one Ringo-san has is the same as my Wakizashi, right?” (Ina)
Being told this, I look down at our weapons.
It is true that they are the Shiranui and Wakizashi from before in looks alone.
However, the reality is that there’s a heaven and earth difference.
What I have is a synthesized weapon with the appearance of Shiranui and the powerful boss drop item Meat Cleaver. As for the Wakizashi of Ringo, it has inherited the power of the strongest spear: the Gouging Vajra.
It is on a quality of its own compared to a mere level 70 monster drop.
“Ah, no, you see…” (Souma)
I didn’t know how to explain this, but Ina brought out a different topic before that.
“Uuh, there’s still time, right? There’s a place I want to check out for last.” (Ina)
The place Ina wanted to go to was the Deus Plains.
“I am sorry. Even though you offered to guide me through the city… But I wanted to confirm whether my strength is effective here as well!” (Ina)
Ina’s eyes were burning with determination as she said this.
There’s no place easier to clear around the capital than the Deus Plains.
Turning that around, it also means that if you can at least defeat the enemies that show up here, you can level at any time.
It is true that if you have the ability to clear this place, it wouldn’t be impossible to manage in the capital.
As if pushing aside that motivation of Ina…
“T-There! Could that possibly be a Golden Stray Slime?!” (Ina)
As soon as we left the gates, a Golden Stray Slime showed up.
Moreover, there’s no other adventurers around.
We should be able to hunt it with just us.
“Wow! Today really is an incredible day! I-I will corner it from the back, so I will count on you to stop it from escaping!” (Ina)
Ina circles around the golden with wild joy.
Those movements of hers were filled with live including the moment when she tripped in the middle.
But contrary to Ina who is overflowing with motivation, I was feeling conflicted here.
(What should I do…?) (Souma)
What I was made to realize here in this half a day was the difference in views between us and the normal adventurers.
Ina has most likely grown at an abnormal rate compared to the adventurers of this world.
If she continues to defeat monsters of her same level or higher, she should be able to grow at a decent rate.
You might think 4 levels in 2 weeks is slow, but that’s not the case.
To put it bluntly here, the difficulty of this game is so high that you would have no chance of defeating an enemy of your same level.
That’s where Nekomimi Neko players use their wits, patience, and information gathering, but there’s no way an NPC, who can’t reset once they die or can’t exploit bugs and skill cancels, can achieve the same thing.
Fighting against an enemy of the same level is suicidal, and fighting solo is out of the question.
If you want to fight safely, you would end up making a party of several people, and fight enemies 10 or 20 levels lower than yours.
But if you want to level up like that, you will be taking dizzying amounts of time.
Compared to that, we have been fighting and defeating enemies of higher level than us all the time and raising our levels like that, so we are the abnormal ones in this world.
Ina should know that we have defeated the Demon Lord, but due to the subjugation method of the Demon Lord and her knowing how strong Mitsuki is makes it so that she can’t imagine how strong I actually am.
Well, I have raised 150 levels in less than a month, got cheat-like equipment, and even doped up, and have become strong enough to defeat the Demon Lord. Normal people wouldn’t believe something like that, or more like, you wouldn’t even imagine it unless told.
Today, we evaded the topic of our strength whenever it seemed like it would be discovered.
But it is something we have to tell her someday.
Ina has the special trait of the Train Mode in the early game, but different from Mitsuki, Ringo, Maki, and Sazan, I guess, Ina is a normal character that doesn’t have high stat modifiers like them.
Things like her actually becoming super strong once she is high level, or her exclusive item being the strongest…probably won’t be happening.
I don’t know much about the information of the characters here, but I have at least seen the page that compares the abilities of the companion characters, and a specially outstanding character would definitely be a talk topic.
There are people who have had Train-chan in their party until the end, but I have never heard of her being a strong character.
When speaking of stats, I -in other words, the player- don’t really have any special modifiers.
Even so, depending on how you play it, you can become stronger than anyone else, so it is not like you have to be a strong character at base, but she is not someone who we can bring around in a state where the level differences are big.
If we forced something like that, Ina would end up dying soon after.
(Once this is over, let’s tell her our strength honestly.) (Souma)
Different from the first time I met Ina, we now have leeway in a variety of meanings.
If Ina so wishes, we could concentrate on training her until she is battle-ready, and even if we act separately, we are obviously not going to drive her away from the mansion.
Anyways, it all depends on Ina.
Deciding this, I returned my gaze to Ina and…
Ina, who had moved to the opposite side of us, approached the golden with unexpected deftness.
“Hm? She is faster than I expected.” (Souma)
She would trip at times from hurrying too much, but she is outputting quite the speed.
Thanks to that, she managed to approach the golden until it only took one more step, but she was noticed then.
However, this is exactly as planned.
The Golden hurriedly tried to run away, but at the place where it is running, there’s Mitsuki, Ringo, and…Sazan, I guess.
Normal adventurers would only be able to deal 1 damage to Stray Slimes, but Mitsuki can pierce the defense of the Goldens and defeat them in one hit, and as for Ringo, even if she can’t get through the defense of the Golden, the Lightning Strike is a multi-hit attack, so she can lower the HP of the Golden in one go.
And Sazan…uhm…Sazan can use large AOE spells on the magic nullifying Golden, and turn the surroundings into a sea of fire.
An invincible unit that any member aside from Sazan can definitely defeat a Golden.
And within that, as if adding an extra in order to corner it even more…
“[Plunge Slash]!” (Ina)
Ina activated a dagger skill and…
—The next instant, the Golden Stray Slime was sliced in two.
…I don’t know what happened here.
No, I do understand what happened.
Ina had caught up to the Golden with speed that far surpassed it, and slashed it.
And so, the Golden that got hit by this was sliced in two without any resistance.
I saw that clearly.
But I don’t understand how that happened.
Everyone’s gazes gathered at Ina as if seeking an explanation.
Ina looked at us, then at the Golden sliced in two, and then at us again.
“…I sliced it.” (Ina)
She said familiar words with teary eyes.
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