The Golden that was sliced in two was disappearing.
Me, Sazan, and even the usually expressionless Ringo had our eyes wide open, staring at the place where the Golden Slime was. And most of all, Ina, who was the one that did it, was the most flustered out of us all.
We were frozen in place at the unexpected sight, but Mitsuki was the fastest to get back on track. She spoke in an austere manner.
“…It did feel strange. Her movements have clearly been different compared to yesterday.” (Mitsuki)
“You noticed that?” (Souma)
Mitsuki nodded at my question as if saying ‘what, just noticed?’.
“I felt something was off since morning, but I was certain of it when she left the mansion and tripped. The way she fell was unnatural and she has been walking fast the whole day today, right?” (Mitsuki)
“Aah, now that you mention it…” (Souma)
So that’s what bothered Mitsuki when Ina tripped, huh.
I nodded in understanding, and Mitsuki glared at me with sharp eyes.
“Don’t ‘now that you mention it’. I won’t get angry, so spill it out honestly. What did you do this time?” (Mitsuki)
“Eh? …Me?” (Souma)
“Of course. Something that would normally be impossible happened, so the reason is obviously you.” (Mitsuki)
She threw me quite the astounding logic there.
As expected from Mitsuki, the topmost in the ‘ranking of people that have been thrown about by me’.
Her persuasiveness is different.
That attitude of hers is already in a way an absolute level of trust.
But I wonder why it doesn’t make me happy at all.
“No, I really don’t have an idea why…” (Souma)
Is what I defend myself with, but Mitsuki wasn’t faltering at all.
The cat ears-chan on top of her head were twitching, going ‘geez, just spill it out honestly!’.
But Ina jumped in there and covered for me.
“P-Please wait! Even if Souma-san were to do something to me without my input, I am sure it would have been for my sake! Please don’t blame Souma-san!!” (Ina)
…Yeah, she is acting like she is covering for me, but she is not denying what Mitsuki said at all.
Just when I was thinking about entering this prickly atmosphere one more time *tug tug* my sleeve was pulled.
Seeing how Ringo was happily showing me the golden coin, I once again grieved the lack of order in this party.
After that, we confirmed a number of increases in power on Ina.
We first tried to confirm just how strong Ina had become by using the duel system and have her do a mock battle with Mitsuki, but just speaking of the result, it was an instant defeat.
Ina proved that the skill she used just now on the golden was faster than the speed of Mitsuki and had high attack power, but Mitsuki easily dealt with it.
And then, after she was skill stunned, she got slashed by the following strike of Mitsuki.
The first thing Mitsuki said to the dumbfounded Ina was…
“This feeling…if I had to put it in level, it would be around 130. She really has been strengthened.” (Mitsuki)
A master truly is fearsome.
I don’t ever want to ask why she knows how it feels to be hit by a level 130 character.
There wasn’t enough time, so we couldn’t confirm everything, but her attack power, speed, and defense were definitely higher, and her stamina and magic related capability had also increased.
“Now what’s left is to find the reason.” (Mitsuki)
Saying this, Mitsuki glanced at me.
It seems like she at least trusts my word here and has understood that I didn’t do this intentionally, but it looks like she still suspects that I am involved in this indirectly.
It is not like I am borrowing the words of Mitsuki here, but you could say this is an abnormal situation even within this world of Nekomimi Neko where everything is half-assed.
Even if it is a fantasy world, there’s no way one would suddenly get a drastic boost in power without any apparent reason. At the very least, the person herself wasn’t aware of it.
Also, even when I look back on my memories, there wasn’t anything that would create a situation like this.
Meaning that there’s no mistake that what is happening here is outside my game knowledge.
There’s a number of things that can serve as a hint.
First of all, the timing of Ina’s power increase can be narrowed down quite a bit.
Mitsuki is also a witness of this, but yesterday I saw Ina use the Assassin Rage skill.
The Assassin Rage at that time was the normal speed.
In other words, Ina wasn’t in this state yesterday noon.
“Ina, do you remember when your body became weird?” (Souma)
Ina thought about my question for a bit before answering.
“…Not really sure. It is probably as Mitsuki-san says. I think it was already like this by the time I woke up this morning.” (Ina)
“I see.” (Souma)
Now that I think about it, Ina tripping constantly and slicing up a chopping board must have been because her stats were boosted up.
Thinking about it like that, there were no such incidents at dinner yesterday, so it should be safe to assume that there was no such strengthening then.
In that case, what’s suspicious would be…
“Ina, please try using the Plunging Slash there.” (Souma)
“Eh? O-Okay.” (Ina)
Ina takes a battle stance with the Wakizashi again while confused.
And then, just before she activated the Plunging Slash, I took off the ring that was at my left ring finger.
Ina let out a dumbfounded voice.
The activated skill didn’t have the speed of before, and simply cut the air all clumsily probably by mistake.
“Hm? Eh? What’s going on?” (Ina)
Ina looked back in surprise and I showed her the ring that I took off, and then I said this with confidence as if to drive away the suspicions on me.
“Knew it. What happened this time wasn’t my fault. The culprit is the ring that Ina brought!” (Souma)
After that, before talking about the increase in the power of Ina, we talked about why we had matching rings, and I was under heavy questioning by the girls, but anyways…
If the strange actions of Ina are because of the power strengthening, it first happened yesterday night just as Mitsuki said.
Right after wearing the ring, Ina got all flustered when the Bear appeared, and then escaped from my room at incredible speed…tripping on the way…and breaking the locked door…
Judging from the timing, no matter how you think about it, this ring that I don’t know the effects of is suspicious.
Ina’s movements returned to normal once I took off the ring, so there’s no doubt this ring is the reason for this incident.
Also, considering the fact that me taking off the ring had an effect on Ina too, it means that it only shows its effect when worn as a set.
In that case, what’s mysterious is the fact that Ina was surprised by her own increase in power.
Did she not know the effect of this ring? Or did she not know that it had such a big effect?
Also, if this ring had such a big effect, it would be something that should have increased the evaluation of Ina more when it was still a game.
When I asked Ina about this, she responded with this.
“I didn’t know these rings had this much power, and it was more important for me that we were wearing the same rings, so I didn’t really care much about the effect. However, I did hear about the effect of these rings from my mother.” (Ina)
Ina then brushed the ring on her ring finger as if treasuring it deeply, and said this loudly.
“The name of this ring is: the Ring of Mutual Love! It changes the love towards the other party into power! Incredible rings which only have a pair exist in the whole world!!” (Ina)
“…I see.” (Souma)
Ina went ‘Hm?’ at my lack of a reaction, but I just feel it is sketchy when you talk to me about stuff like love, or is it just me being messed up that I feel some sort of landmine when I hear the words mutual love?
Ina was making a face as if she had been suplexed, but she soon recovered and began talking energetically.
“Uhm, I was flustered for a bit from the sudden incredible change, but if I think of all this as the power of these rings, I don’t think it is that strange.” (Ina)
“Hm? Why?” (Souma)
I ignored the passionate talk of Ina as I swung Shiranui around.
“As I said before, these rings are equipment that change the love to the other party in strength. M-Meaning that…I l-love Souma-san a w-whole lot, so…uuh…” (Ina)
I then used a Side Slash…
“In other words, this power of mine is due to my overflowing…” (Ina)
I cut off Ina who was wriggling shyly.
“These rings change your love for the other party into power, right?” (Souma)
“Y-Yes. Geez, I have been saying that for a while now…” (Ina)
I told this to Ina, who was smiling, while internally feeling bad about this.
“…Even when I wear this, I am not getting one bit stronger though.” (Souma)
“Eh? ……Eh?” (Ina)
And then, a few minutes later.
We left the soulless husk of Ina at a bench of the city and headed to the Great Church in order to receive our medals.