Shatei Kyokufuri – 113

Data.106 – Old Bowman, Start of the Ghost Guild

“Now, let’s go over our roles once again before the fight!”

We were having a strategy meeting in front of the fountain plaza in the first town.
Not that there was much of a strategy.
We just wanted to decide what everyone’s roles would be beforehand, or things could get very rough.

First, Necoco would be the advance guard.
She would get up close to Charin and inflict damage with her attacks. And so her role was to limit Charin’s movement and keep her away from me.

Satomi and his monkey Unison, Gochu, would be the middle guard.
As Gochu was a type of monster known as Magic Monkey, he was great with magic skills.
He would support Necoco while knocking down any ranged attacks that flew towards me.

And then there was the rear guard, me!
My role was simply to continue attacking Charin from the back.
They insisted that I was to continue attacking Charin, even if it looked like they were in danger.
Offense was the greatest defense. If I continue to damage Charin, the advance guard and middle guard may find an opening to pull themselves together.

Furthermore, Garbow was to stay in front of me, and buy me some time if Charin was able to get close.
I had actually wanted Garbow to be with Satomi and Gochu, but while Garbow’s speed was adequate for ordinary monsters, it was not enough to match Charin.
So he would wait there as a final line of defense, and depending on the situation, use the healing skill Doctor Fish in order to support the middle guard.

That was really all that we decided on. And so we weren’t really aware of what kind of skills everyone had.
And while Charin would not be able to read us, we could also not read each other.
What would happen…I was looking forward to finding out.

“Apparently, the people in front of us are finished.”

Satomi pointed up at the sky.
The players looked bigger and bigger as they fell from the Serpent Palace and down to the fountain.
It was a party of four who I didn’t recognize, but judging by how good their equipment was, they were likely experienced players.
Though, their equipment looked quite worse for wear now…

Solo players like us tended to come out without taking too much damage.
Because we were killed quickly in one attack.
But in parties, Charin has to fight multiple players at once, so her strategy would involve racking up damage over time, instead of taking them down in one hit.
And so the result is that the damage to the equipment also racks up.

Since we were fighting as a party this time, we would probably look like that if we lost…
No, we were going to win. There was no point in thinking about defeat.

Now, our time has come.
Currently, only 1 party could take her on at a time.
And so you sometimes had to wait after entering.
But there weren’t many players challenging her at this time, and since it would often take a while to fight her again, due to repairs, there was usually not much of a wait at all.
In other words, something unusual happened today.

According to Charin, once there were more challengers, each party would fight her in separate spaces, just like with dungeons and certain boss fights. But by then, the difficulty would likely be dropped as well.
And so we wanted to clear it before that happened!

I raised both hands into the air.
The players that had gathered around the fountain plaza became very excited.
There were even more people than last time, and so their cheers were louder.

Why were there so many people gathered here?
Because the only place you could watch the fights in real time…was in the plaza.
There were no livestream or official video uploads.

As the pro gamers wanted to get views on their own videos and increase their subscribers, it would be no good if the videos went up first.
However, as management wanted to make spectating part of the game, they allowed players who were logged in to view it in real time.

And since there was no rewind, they would have to wait for the player to upload the video later if they wanted to watch it again.
If they played well, then there was a good chance that the spectators would want to watch it again, and the views would go up.
More views would help advertise the game and bring more players into NSO.
So it was a win-win situation.

However, there were also times when management would use footage from players that didn’t upload videos.
In my case, I would just leave it to Necoco and Satomi.

And so the three of us flew up to the Serpent Palace.
I then landed in the same place as last time.
It was the square, white stone stage in the center.

‘Oh, my! What an unusual combination we have here.’

Charin said with wide eyes.
Well, it was the first time we were fighting together.
This was the strongest enemy we had ever gone up against, and yet we had no experience as a party. It was rather audacious.

‘Well, I hope you didn’t form a party with such naive hopes that it will be easier with increased numbers.’

“…”
“…”
“…”

No one had a rebuttal.
After all, to put it bluntly, we did think that.
Who would have thought that we weren’t even aware of each other’s skills…!

‘Ah, that’s right! Just to confirm, you do know that there is such a thing as friendly fire in this fight?’

“What!?”

I was the only one who was surprised.
I didn’t remember her saying anything about that before…

‘I’m sorry! I might have forgotten to tell you! But it’s written in the ‘Event Rules’ if you check ‘Help’!’

I opened my status window and tapped on ‘Help.’

“Ah, you’re right.”

There was a new Help section for the zodiac event.
Aside from rules concerning the trials, there were also rules about the final battle.
Apparently, they were added every time that Charin explained the rules to you in front of the labyrinths.
So for the final battle, it was probably added when I talked to her after the Virgo trial.

While I could remember rules after hearing them once, there were probably players who would forget the requirements for the special reward while dungeon crawling.
And so having a Help would be very useful.

Indeed, the rule that Charin talked about was written in it.
But since I generally fought solo, Charin had probably forgotten to tell me rules that were specific to parties.
Well, I did have Garbo, but I’ve never hit him with an arrow.
Not since we first met as enemies…I think.

Even if I knew that I wouldn’t hurt him if my arrows hit, it would still be a waste.
And so even when we separated into advance and rear guard and fought, I was careful to not hit him.
However, Necoco was much bigger and faster than Garbo…
While I hadn’t hit her when we were in the mirror world together, the situation was different this time.

In the first place, why did they have to add such a stressful system here?

‘Management is running tests to create a more realistic battle system. If your attacks hit comrades, it will create more tension when using wide area and high power attacks. Which should be more entertaining for you.’

Well, perhaps.
In battle manga, if there was an enemy pair, and enemy A had powerful attacks, while enemy B had high defense, then you would defeat them by making A attack B.
Up until now, such strategies would not have worked in NSO.
And you could also be like, ‘just shoot me along with the enemy!’

…That might be more entertaining to watch.
It seemed like management was putting more effort into getting people to watch the game.
But it would definitely make the people who are fighting feel more nervous!

‘Currently, this new system only applies to this fight. Remember that! And sorry for not telling you soon!’

“No, nevermind. I was so carried away at the time that I didn’t ask you.”

I sort of felt that with my momentum, I could take down any enemy.
But it was important to confirm everything. She was an AI, but had a personality based on humans, so she still made mistakes.
More importantly, I needed to know what Necoco thought.

“Necoco. My…”

“Don’t worry about it. I can dodge your attacks as I fight. And even if you do hit me, ignore it and keep shooting at Charin. I’ll be angry if you forget to do that.”

Necoco looked like an angry cat whose fur was fluffing up.
If we lost, it would take time to repair our armor again. And the difficulty might be lowered.
And all she cared about now was being able to clear it on the same difficulty as this aunt that she respected so much.

“Satomi-kun…”

“I won’t be close to Charin, so it’s fine. Also, just call me Satomi. Adding the ‘kun’ will just create a delay in communications.”

“Right…”

He was clearly nervous as well.
I recalled that while we were waiting, he had muttered, ‘I don’t mind videos, but I hate being focused on during live streams.’
It was a lot different from video, where you could edit out any embarrassing moments.

Was there anything I could do to make the two youngsters feel less nervous?
But if I asked them, they would surely just say, ‘defeat Charin.’

In that case, I would do just that.
I had the least amount of experience as a gamer, and had not accomplished much in my real life either. But it seemed like as things were now, I would be able to move the most naturally.

I had lost the first event to Necoco, but somehow won against the impressive dragon, and became famous after the turf wars…
A lot had happened, and I wasn’t really afraid of failure now.

Who cares if someone watches you lose? Who cares if they laugh at your failure?
Perhaps I was able to think this way because I had experienced a lot in my short time with the game, as well as living a long and average life.
But it was too early for these two.
And so I just said,

“We can win. With this party.”

“…Yes!”
“Of course…!”

And then the real final battle began.

Next Chapter

Shatei Kyokufuri Yumi-Ojisan

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