WG – Chapter 169: Sleeping City

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“Haah, good grief. You…” (Souma)

I think I told him about how I was aiming for the Nekuranomicon underground, but I completely forgot after rummaging through the books. Sazan thought he got left behind and was roaming around the library while crying. 

…Such a pain.

He joined us shrewdly at the meal, and yet, he prioritized his own desires and went to search for books, so it ended up like this.

While I was feeling baffled, Sazan easily recovered and spoke to Seirie-san. 

“Ah, you! You are an employee here, right?! I have a few words to say to you!!” (Sazan)

“…What is it?” (Seirie)

At that moment, because of the accumulated dangerous experiences, my Seirie-san mood sensor had become sensitive and was ringing its alarm.

It isn’t showing in her face, but this is her reaction when she is seriously pissed. 

Feeling the premonition of a big explosion, I hesitated for a moment whether I should intervene with Seirie-san or stop Sazan, and the result was…

“……”

I decided to just stay silent and wait for Sazan to self-destruct.

He does as he pleases, so self-combusting for his actions works just fine. 

If the target of anger is placed on Sazan, there’s the chance that the mole matter will not be pursued which would be wonderful.

“It is about this! This!” (Sazan)

Seeing what Sazan had pushed forward with a displeased tone, Seirie-san showed a clouded expression for the first time. 

What Sazan was holding while angry was a small slate the size of a notebook.

What was there were shining letters written in an old style. 

“It is written that it is a rare video recording of the heroes that sealed the Evil God, and yet, nothing happens when I touch it!” (Sazan)

The slate that Sazan is waving around is most likely something on display at the exhibition room of the ‘Video Record of the Evil God’s Great War’.

At that familiar slate…

[I leave this record to the eventual coming of the hero. 

If ye are to succeed the will of the Legendary Hero Alex and wish to slay the Evil God, trace the trails of the heroes of beginning and watch over that destiny. 

>>1st Chapter.]

Is what’s written there. 

Or more like, this guy has brought something that was on display?

He did something that even seasoned Nekomimi Neko players (all thousand…hundred…well, there should be at least around 50) couldn’t do as if it were nothing. 

…Well, it is most likely a change now that it has become a real world.

In the game, you couldn’t interact with that slate because it is treated the same as terrain like the walls and ceiling, but it seems like you can freely carry it around in this world.

But why is nothing happening? 

If you touch the ‘1st Chapter’ link in the slate, it should play the video on its own…

“My apologies, but that’s for display purposes, so you can’t actually see the record.” (Seirie)

Seirie-san lowered her head and deepened the doubts. 

That’s personally not a bad development for me, but I ended up speaking out instead.

“Wait a moment! Doesn’t it activate just by touching the ‘1st Chapter’ part?” (Souma)

I have used that slate a number of times before.

I thought there was no mistake in that, but Seirie-san shook her head.

“No. I have tried it out myself, but nothing happened.” (Seirie)

“There’s no way…” (Souma)

Was there some sort of change in its use? 

I tilted my head again and…

“Then, how about I try it?”

A small hand stretched out from the side and stole the slate away from Sazan.

“Maki? What are you—” (Souma)

Eyes of surprise gathered on Maki and after taking the slate from Sazan, she…

“For stuff like this, rather than speaking an essay here, you just have to do it.” (Maki)

She raised the slate high up and spoke in a boastful way.

“Ah, no, wa—” (Souma)

Noticing the next action Maki was about to take, I was going to tell her to stop, but I didn’t make it in time.

“1st Chapter, start! Just kidd—” (Maki)

The bold shout of Maki echoed in the library and…

“Hm?” (Maki)

One second later, Maki curled up as if hugging her own body, and sat in place. 

Everyone didn’t understand what happened and were blinking there in wonder, and Maki raised her head as if scared. 

“…I-I am back?” (Maki)

That Maki muttered this with a trembling voice, and when she saw me, she jumped at me. 

“Souma! I-I was so scared!” (Maki)

I catch her body while thinking today is a day where I am being jumped at a lot. 

“That’s why I always tell you to not touch things without thinking.” (Souma)

“Uuuh!” (Maki)

Maki let out a voice of displeasure on my chest, but it seems like she is aware it was her own fault here, she didn’t object. 

My comrades were watching me rub Maki’s shoulder from afar, but Seirie-san eventually stood to the front representing them and…

“What happened? She got so scared in a brief instant like that. Could it be that a really dangerous—” (Seirie)

“Ah, no. Even if it was just an instant for us, that wasn’t the same for Maki.” (Souma)

“Excuse me?” (Seirie)

I soothe Maki who was still crying here as I answered like that.

“…In that brief instant, Maki saw a mass slaughter that spanned an hour.” (Souma)

Putting it simply, when you use this Video Record of the Evil God Great War, you can watch the journey of the past heroes until the moment where they seal the Evil God. 

A part of that video was used to promote the game when it was about to be released, so there’s quite a lot of effort put into it. 

A crazy 1 hour long movie inside a game. 

The graphic quality is a lot higher than that of the actual main story, and there’s intense camera work.

Heroic music you won’t forget after hearing it once which is said they hired a famous music composer to create.

This overwhelming potential created a miraculous harmony, and dragged it all into a negative direction as if it had all been planned beforehand.

There’s apparently 50 chapters of this according to the official announcement, but the 1st Chapter is the cliche development of the village of the hero being attacked by monsters and being destroyed.

In other words, you get shown the sight of family and friends of the hero, who you get attached to at the beginning, be slaughtered with graphics that are even higher than that of the main story and with intense camerawork. And so, you end up in the horrible situation of watching a 1 hour movie of that. 

Because of rating issues, they held back when it came to the depiction of blood, but this was complete harassment…no, it was torture.

Moreover, this doesn’t have a skip button like the credits, and the only way to stop it once you begin playing it is to operate the general menu and stop the game itself. 

In this world where you can’t open the menu screen, you basically can’t stop it. 

Also, they must have thought the players shouldn’t get in the way of the famous composer’s music, there’s no voice acting for the characters, and it is made like the silent movies of old.

Moreover, that famous composer must have been more expensive than expected, there was only one track made, so in sad moments or in peaceful moments, you will always have the heroic song playing in the background.

It is an impactful song that you won’t forget after hearing it once, looping for the whole span of 1 hour without being cut. This really hits mentally. 

That song won’t be leaving your head for several days, and you will be in a state where you will unconsciously hum that song if you lower your guard.

By the way, this video doesn’t have any support for anything aside from the sense of hearing and sight. 

VR videos normally have the ability for you to share all the senses of the people appearing in it, and when that’s not the case, they will shut out the senses that are not necessary. 

However, I don’t know what Nekomimi Neko thought, but you will retain your state as a player while only the sense of sight and hearing are overwritten which is a nonsensical way of doing things.

If I were to just describe the feeling and exclude all the theory, it would be ‘leaving your body in the library while only your eyes and ears are sent to the battlefield of the past’.

For example; both of your legs being on the ground, yet your view is in the middle of the sky. This would cause great confusion, and despite being able to cover your eyes and ears, you can’t cut off the information coming to your sight and hearing. 

You are practically forced to watch an intense depressing video with a song playing loudly in your ears and looping infinitely. You are in a state where other senses outside of sight and hearing will be registered from completely foreign areas from the video for a whole hour. It really makes you feel like you are being brainwashed or something. 

This issue would be so big it would even cause a massive refund wave for a normal game, but sadly to say, Nekomimi Neko players who have already reached this point wouldn’t be fazed by something like this. They already didn’t falter or get surprised by this. 

“Uuuh. Everyone suddenly disappeared and I was at a place I didn’t know… I was scared, not knowing what to do!” (Maki)

But for Maki who is not used to Nekomimi Neko, it must have been a shocking experience. 

I rubbed the back of Maki gently just like I often did in Japan to calm her down. 

“T-This is unacceptable! Why can Maki use it, but me -the genius mage- can’t?!” (Sazan)

Sazan began throwing a tantrum for an unexpected reason, but it is not like I can’t imagine why she could and he couldn’t.

“This ‘succeed the will of the hero’ might refer to the player.” (Souma)

This is obvious, but NPCs have no ability to interact with videos. 

Well, the people of this world can do stuff that only players could do in the game, so I can’t really say for sure on that front, but it wouldn’t be strange for this slate to be player only.

It doesn’t seem like Maki has learned Incarnation of Fury, and didn’t react to the last phase of the Demon Lord, so I didn’t know if she was being treated as a player, but if this can’t be operated by people of this world, it should be safe to assume that she has some privileges.

“If I can use this too, that would set it in stone, but…” (Souma)

Unfortunately, there’s a cooldown to use this slate, so you can’t play it consecutively. 

As proof of this, there’s a new 2nd Chapter link at the lower part of the slate where the 1st Chapter link is, but there’s no light on it. 

If I remember correctly, you can use it again after 24 hours, but nothing will happen until then. 

By the way, the 1st Chapter was a massive 1 hour, but they must have run out of power and budget, the 2nd Chapter is only 13 minutes. 

The 3rd Chapter is 6 minutes, and the 4th Chapter and on have not been made yet. 

That’s truly Nekomimi Neko levels of deterioration.

“…Can’t be helped. Let’s come here again tomorrow.” (Souma)

I said this in resignation, but Seirie-san gave an unexpected proposal. 

“In that case, you can take that slate with you.” (Seirie)

“Eh? Is that okay?” (Souma)

“Yes. It seems like normal people can’t use it anyways, and if that Sinking Prince-sama needs it, no one will complain. 

And most of all…I don’t want to leave something this dangerous inside the library.” (Seirie)

She glanced at Maki at the end when she said this. 

…Yeah.

It does feel in a way as if she is throwing a troublesome thing to us, but it is true that it is a great proposal I didn’t even expect to get.

I put the slate inside the bag and Sazan slid towards me. 

“H-Hey, Souma, if you manage to see the continuation, tell me the story too!” (Sazan)

So that’s how it is now -is how I felt. 

Even if he can’t see it directly, he can hear about it. 

Well, that makes sense.

“You have an interest in stuff like this?” (Souma)

I thought Sazan was only a magic idiot, but does he like heroes too?

When I asked this, the stupid masked mage puffed his chest proudly. 

“Hmph! You didn’t know? The objective of my journey is to defeat the Evil God! Find the Fragments of the Evil God, defeat them, and have my family acknowledge me. That’s my goal for now.” (Sazan)

“I see.” (Souma)

I am surprised that Sazan had a proper objective. 

“But weren’t you at the time when we defeated the Evil God Fragment? Was that no good?” (Souma)

“Obviously! We didn’t properly fight against either the Demon Lord or the Evil God Fragment!” (Sazan)

Well, that’s true. 

Acknowledging your strength when you drowned or used Yellow Slimes to defeat them would be a bit hard to swallow. 

“That’s why I am investigating the Evil God in preparation for my battle against the Evil God.” (Sazan)

“I see.” (Souma)

“What’s with that?! Such a weak reaction!” (Sazan)

Sazan got angry, but I don’t have much interest in that. 

I have gathered a variety of information about Nekomimi Neko, but honestly, I don’t know much about the lore of the world or stuff like that. 

There was a page exclusive for theorizing about this in the Nekomimi Neko Wiki and it was decently lively there, but my play stance was to increase my level rather than learn about that. 

But Nekomimi Neko is not your average trash game. It is a trash game with specs and potential. 

Basically, it was created with care, and that care is all serving as a minus, but that’s exactly why there’s parts that shine. 

It has a vast amount of skills and a special magic system that can be compared to other great games, and aside from that, there’s also the lore of the world being surprisingly detailed. There’s stories and events that have delicate foreshadowing to a shocking degree too. 

…And yet, the developers were not of a single mind to a baffling degree, so there’s a whole lot of plot holes everywhere, incredible foreshadowing that doesn’t get picked up, and outstanding points that would get canceled.

“Good grief. Can’t be helped. Here, I will lend this to you, so study!” (Sazan)

Sazan said this and what he took out from the inside of his cloak was a children’s book with the title: ‘Evil God Great War ~Birth of the Hero King~’.

Why does he have something like that inside his cloak?

I would rather you give me back the Fingerless Gloves, is what I thought as I frowned at the book warmed by his body temperature and flipped through the pages.

There were a lot of things I didn’t remember clearly written in an easy to digest way.

Hero Alex overcame the trial of God, obtained the divine sword, Ultihate, and sealed the Evil God. 

The Evil God was split in 4 fragments, and was sealed in several areas of the country. 

Alex had 5 comrades, but the details of what happened to them after that or even their names were not made clear. 

Alex founded a nation in the land where he sealed the Evil God, and became its first king. 

That outstanding achievement and pure soul was praised to high heavens, and a religion to accept him as a saint was born. 

Seeing the drawing of the flourishing capital of Rihitel under the ruling of King Alex, I stopped my hands from flipping the page. 

“Hm? I think I have seen this shape recently…” (Souma)

I looked at the whole picture of the capital at that time, and Maki peeked from the side.

“Hm? Aah, this is the same shape as the present capital! It is the very same as the map at the entrance of the capital! That’s impressive. Even though it is a city from way back!” (Maki)

“I think your recovery speed is impressive in itself too.” (Souma)

I threw some shade, but Maki is closer than usual. 

The shock of before must have taken a bigger toll than I thought. 

“…Hm?” (Souma)

I returned my gaze to the drawing of the capital again, and this time around, I felt a light shock from the opposite side.

When I looked there, Ina was leaning her head on my shoulder. 

Ina hurriedly moved her head away when I moved my eyes there, and laughed.

“U-Uuh, I wanted to compete too. J-Just kidding.” (Ina)

I don’t get it. 

Ina must have gotten flustered by her own eccentricity, she waved her hands vigorously and suggested.

“M-More importantly! How about we go back up first? A lot happened in this short span of time, so I am a bit tired. I would like to sit in a chair and take a break~.” (Ina)

“Right…” (Souma)

I still have things that bother me, but I can read books anywhere. 

It would be better to talk about the future when we have gone out from the basement and have calmed down. 

We began walking to the stairs, and Leila came with her face facing down.

“Souma…I am giving this back to you.” (Leila)

She pushed the Nekuranomicon to me. 

Looks like she is telling me to take it. 

“Is that okay?” (Souma)

I thought she was pretty attached to this book, but Leila nodded at my words with a smile I could only call forced.

“Y-Yeah, I am a bit sad, but…but if I were to trouble you because of my own selfishness, I would dislike that more. That’s why I would like you to hold that instead, Souma.” (Leila)

“I-I see…” (Souma)

It is not like I don’t think this is a bit of an exaggeration for a single book, but being looked at like a child that’s being sold, I will obviously feel bad.

“Aah, uhm, I will give you a gift at another time, Leila.” (Souma)

“O-Okay! Then, I will treasure that for the rest of my life!” (Leila)

The destiny of the present I still haven’t even bought yet has already been decided. 

I made sure not to frown here and answer.

“A-Alright. I would be happy if you do…I think.” (Souma)

“Yay! If you are happy, I am happy too!” (Leila)

“…I see. That’s great to hear.” (Souma)

A heavy conversation was unfolding between us two as we exited the basement. 

Once we returned to where we were, it was the same state as usual. 

A whole lot of people were laying on the table, or sleeping with their bodies on the back of the chair.

The only survivor is that priest girl, and within all the sleeping people, there’s her single-mindedly working. 

She must have finished her work, she pumped her fist as if saying ‘alright!’.

At her side, there’s a tower of thick books piled up skillfully vertically. 

…Seriously, what is this person doing?

“Ah!” 

Noticing that she was being observed, she hurriedly fixed her attitude and looked at the tower of books with a complicated look while tilting her head, but what is there to be all pensive about with that? 

Maybe because she lowered her guard there, the tower lost its balance, and the priest-looking woman ended up crushed beneath the falling books. 

Just when my face loosened at that sight…

“What’s this?” (Seirie)

Seirie-san, who caught up, leaked that dumbfounded voice from behind.

(This is bad…) (Souma)

Seirie-san loves the library more than anyone, so there’s no way she wouldn’t think anything about the state of the users here. 

Even at the time when she went to call me, she should have seen this sight, but she was hurrying at that time, and it was a situation where she probably couldn’t pay attention to her surroundings. 

Is she on the verge of exploding now that she sees this tragic scene again?

“W-Well, it is good weather, so getting a few winks in—” (Souma)

“This is…! Does this look like just ‘a few’ to you?!” (Seirie)

I flinched at the angry shout of Seirie-san.

I thought Seirie-san was angry to the point of raising her voice, but…

“Just what is happening in my library? This is…this is weird…” (Seirie)

She was scared. 

She felt fear towards the sight in front of her -towards this situation.

Being affected by her attitude, I once again looked around. 

I observe this scenery with a blank slate. 

When I did, I groaned naturally. 

…Right.

Why didn’t I find it strange? 

Even with just the dozen or so people that can be seen here, almost all of them are sleeping. 

—Is that truly possible?

“The entry fee of this library is not cheap. That’s why only people with proper objectives are here, and yet, this is…” (Seirie)

What Seirie-san leaked out spread my unease. 

Entry fee of 2,000E.

Would people who have paid such a pricey fee be wasting their time pointlessly like this? 

Also, what did Mitsuki say at first when she saw this?

“Everyone was more proper when we first came here, but it is this time after all.” 

We simply didn’t notice, but the abnormality was slowly…

“Souma, this might be a bit bad.” (Maki)

“Maki?” (Souma)

Maki interrupts my speculation.

I raised my head at the sound of tension in her voice.

Maki approached the table, and with a hand placed on top of the shoulder of the man laying there, she said with a face on the verge of tears.

“…I wonder why…even when I shake this person, he is not waking up at all.” (Maki)

I felt chills run down my spine. 

Fearing the worst, I ran to the closest table and called the person laying there. 

“Excuse me, please wake up! WAKE UP!!” (Souma)

I shook the person aggressively from the agitation, but there’s no response.

“Ah!” (Souma)

Because of how much power I put in from my impatience, that person dropped to the ground with chair and everything. 

But, even with that, that person was still sleeping. 

Not a single twitch.

“What’s this…?” (Souma)

It is only until now that I was sure this is not just a regular sight. 

And what’s most fearsome about this is that there was no such event like this happening in the library when it was a game.

No, not only the library, I have not experienced an incident where people fall asleep enmasse.

A completely unknown happening. 

“We have to…we have to call for help! This library is…under some sort of attack—” (Seirie)

“Seirie-san!” (Souma)

I ran to Seirie-san, who was unsteady on her feet as she screamed, and hurriedly supported her body. 

“It is because you are pushing yourself even though you are lacking…sleep…?” (Souma)

I froze in the middle of my words.

Seirie-san was looking at me with hazy eyes, and the worst flashed in my mind. 

The anomaly from before of Seirie-san and now. 

Was it really something as commonplace as lack of sleep?

“…Could it be…” (Souma)

What flashed in my mind at that moment was a possibility that could only be considered in the realm of speculation.

But once I began suspecting it…once I began thinking about it… It was soon after that the breakdown began.

What I heard at earshot these few days, the many words that I didn’t pay much mind to, they all overflowed at this point in time. 

The information swirled inside my head and rushed in.

What I have seen until now, the words I have heard, the things that were stagnated at the corner of my mind; they all gathered and created a single shape. 

—Seirie-san’s bad condition, the rumors of the Grand Church, Mage Guild…

—Sazan’s words, magic circle, the two who were okay…

—The escape with Ina, the light from the heavens, the theft of mithril…

—And the sight of the capital that hasn’t changed since long ago.

If everything…absolutely everything were to be related? 

“…I have to confirm it.” (Souma)

I think this is pretty far-fetched.

But in order to confirm that…

“Outside.” (Souma)

I get up while carrying Seirie-san and…

“Leila, please.” (Souma)

“Eh? Ah, Souma?!” (Leila)

I left the sluggish Seirie-san to Leila, and ran off without hesitation.

“Souma-san! W-Wait!” (Ina)

I heard the voice of Ina behind me, but I ran without caring about it. 

I weave through the people that are not moving at all, towards the entrance of the library. 

I slip through the side of the employee that’s collapsed at the counter, and jump out from the library. 

“!” 

Coming out, I narrowed my eyes slightly at the silence that contrasted the anomaly and disorder inside the library. 

No, this silence is an anomaly in itself. 

It is this time of the day. 

Even if it is at the corner of the city, there should still be some sort of activity around.

“What in the world is happening?!” (Mitsuki)

Mitsuki caught up and I asked this without looking back.

“Mitsuki, did you pass by anyone today when we were heading to the shrine?” (Souma)

“Eh? …Now that you mention it…” (Mitsuki)

It was nearby and we were hurrying, so I didn’t even consider it. 

On our way to the shrine, we only met one person.

The old woman that was laying on the road and Ringo nursed. 

“…I am an idiot.” (Souma)

This is most likely something that happened right after we defeated the Demon Lord…no, even a lot further back…slowly encroaching. 

There were a mountain of hints. 

Even if no one else noticed, I…I should have noticed.

No, not yet! 

If I fail, I just have to regain footing now! 

“Everyone, from here on—” (Souma)

When I turned around and was about to give my instructions, I felt a light shock in my arm. 

When I looked, I saw Ina leaning her head against my shoulder.

I chuckled at that.

“Ina, this is no time to be playi—” (Souma)

I said this while stretching my hand to Ina.

But Ina’s body slipped as if escaping from my hand and…

“…Eh?” (Souma)

She fell onto the ground with a dry sound. 

And didn’t move an inch from there.

“Ina..?” (Souma)

A raspy voice came out of my mouth. 

—But the chestnut-color haired girl didn’t answer my words.

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