Shatei Kyokufuri – 123

Data.115 – Old Bowman, The Phantom Fourth

So, how should I fight?
Her weapon was a chain and spiked ball.
The chain extended farther than I thought, and the iron sphere could also be enlarged with a skill.
But more than anything, she had the ability to wield this vicious-looking weapon.
And so I had to create some distance first…

“W-wait a minute! I am not your enemy, Mr. Kyuji!”

“But you lied about being part of the Ghost Guild…”

“Well, it’s not completely a lie… I’m trying to get in! I want to join the guild as the phantom fourth member!”

Well…that wasn’t really surprising.
There were actually quite a lot of people who felt the same.
After the Charin battle, the name of the Ghost Guild had spread throughout NSO.
Of course, that meant there were waves of people who begged to join the guild.

However, the Ghost Guild was not a group of close friends.
Necoco shut out any requests. She intended to take her time and search for interesting players who were passionate, and had the right ability and temperament.
Of course, Satomi and I agreed to this.

In other words…we were not currently looking for new members.
In the first place, as the founder, Necoco was the main authority, and I didn’t have the right to accept new members.
While I might be in her debt, I could not allow her to enter the guild.

Of course, there was a possibility that we could invite her later.
However, not right now…
It would be like betraying my comrades, who were no doubt out adventuring right now, and turning people down.

And so I told her this honestly.
To my surprise, she became visibly depressed.
She sank so low that I thought she was about to disappear into the ground.
Did she want to join the guild that badly…?
I suppose I could at least ask the reason…

“Why do you want to join the Ghost Guild…?”

“I like ghosts…and things related to the occult. So I thought we could talk about that…”

“…”

She thought the Ghost Guild was a guild for people who liked ghosts…!
Necoco and Satomi were a lot more modern, and would probably have no interest in such things…

No, wait a minute. This was a good thing.
It would go smoother once I fixed this misunderstanding.
When she knew the real meaning of Ghost Guild and what we stood for, she would be satisfied and leave!

“You don’t see many people who are fans of the occult these days. However, our guild is actually…”

That was a habit I had.
The habit of softening my words before getting to the subject at hand.
However, I chose the wrong words this time.
My slightly rude words ended up lighting a fire within her.

“So you don’t know about VO!? If anything, the occult is a pretty big deal now!”

“V…O?”

“The virtual occult! Indeed, it’s true that technological advancements…have made belief in ghosts and UMAs decrease… It is…a very sad thing… But now that space development is underway, there are wealthy groups that are seriously searching for UFOs and aliens…”

She kept talking…

“And thus a new concept for the occult was born… VO. The virtual occult! Even in this new world created by humans which we call the internet! There are unsolved mysteries! High-power AIs, star frame, the god-layer web. And cyborgs. Virtualians…! There are too many to mention here!”

Indeed, the internet was a dark and deep place.
Maybe not as dark and deep as space, but perhaps it held more mysterious than the deep seas and polar regions.
In spite of it being something made by humans…

So I understood why she was so excited.
However, the Ghost Guild was not exciting!
It’s a place with awkward people who don’t like to socialize!

“My biggest interest is the Virtualiens!”

“I-I see…”

That being said, she didn’t seem like she wanted to accept the truth now.
She was so excited, and wasn’t really listening to me.

“Yes! That’s what they call humans who, through neural stimulation from experiencing new technology such as VR and AR, awaken to unknown abilities! One person who I know of who is close to a Virtualien, is Macoco Strange! She is very mysterious… I want to talk to her in person… And so I need to get close to her first… Ah, um, it’s not like I started this game in order to meet her or anything!”

I feel like I’ve opened Pandora’s Box.
Maybe…I should call the police…

“However, they call this the great age of VR. And so I decided that in order to encounter the occult, I must jump into these VR games! Ultimately, online games are just human relationships, and if lots of humans gather together, then mysteries will be born!”

“Well, everyone has their reason for playing… As long as you aren’t breaking the rules…you can do what you want. That being said, this Virtualien thing is pretty interesting. Though, I don’t know if I believe it. Besides, our guild isn’t really interested in…”

“What are you talking about!? I’m pretty sure that you are one too, Mr. Kyuji!”

“What!?”

“Don’t you remember? That feeling of suddenly being able to do something when starting the game. A feeling that you’ve never felt before… Modern VR is about tricking the brain and making you believe things that are impossible. Surely it’s only natural that such a thing will awaken a power inside of you?”

“…Uh. It will take a little more than that to convince me. But I do think it’s amusing and exciting.”

“I-I see… I’m sorry… This is the first time I’ve talked to someone about it, and I got a little too enthusiastic…”

Suddenly being able to do something, huh…
It’s not like it didn’t ring any bells…
However, this talk of Virtualians and making them sound like heroes was too much!
I needed to take in a deep breath and calm down.
We were both overheated.

“As this was my first online game, I was afraid of playing with others, and so I was solo the whole time. Even during this event, I got all of the medals while solo. But then I couldn’t beat Charin… And so I decided to wait until she was weakened…”

“What? You completed all of the trials by yourself?”

“Yes. I suppose I was lucky. My weapons, equipment and job were all suited for solo play…”

A chain and spiked ball that had range and great destructive power.
And armor that would block most attacks.
And judging by her nun clothes, she likely had healing skills as well.
But as for her actual playing ability…

“So did you play a lot of offline games…?”

“No, I’m not much of a gamer at all.”

Maybe she was the real Virtualien…
Did she suddenly awaken? To an insane power…

I could feel a bottomless talent…
Not only that, but out of all the players I had seen, she seemed the best suited to join the Ghost Guild.
And there was also the fact that she was a heavily armored advance guard…

However, it was still not something that I could decide on my own.
I suppose I would send Necoco a message later.
That I had found a promising player…
Her name was… I hadn’t heard her name yet.

“Um, what’s your name…”

“Ah, I haven’t even introduced myself in spite of talking so much! I am so very sorry! I am called Anne-marie Gothnoir!”

That was quite a name…!
She definitely sounded like someone who was new to online games.
Experts generally had shorter or less serious names…
But hers was pure fantasy.

“But you can just call me Anne. Now, do you have any plans, Mr. Kyuji?”

“Indeed… I was going to unlock fast travel in this Ghost Float town.”

“Then why don’t we go together? They tell you the requirements in the town, so I already know… But to be honest, I think it will be difficult if you only have your Unison with you. After all, you will have to travel all over the Ghost Float.”

So similar fights to the last one might happen over and over…
I was too good a prey for these hunters.
If they uploaded a video of them beating me, they would get a lot of views and revenue.
And this person, who had a chance to defeat me, was now offering to help.
I had no reason to refuse.

“Alright, let’s go together then.”

“Yes! What an occultic development! I’ll be counting on you as well!”

With Garbow and Anne, we would be able to stand against a party of 4.
And like that, my cooperation with the mysterious and armed nun began.

Next Chapter

Shatei Kyokufuri Yumi-Ojisan

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