— 1 —
This was the third day of my life in a game.
I was greeted by a refreshing morning. I felt like I had done quite some hard work the day before, but perhaps due to being in a game world, I didn’t feel the least bit exhausted.
In a cheerful mood, I opened the door to my room…
“Good morning, Souma! So, um, I spent all of last night thinking about it and decided that in order to make sure you’re not a bad person I’ll be monitoring you from– Ehhhh!?”
I immediately closed the door, turned around, dashed through the room, opened the window, and jumped out. The moment I touched the ground, I used Sky-piercer to jump onto the roof of a nearby building, and started using Step to move across the rooftops.
It really was an impressive maneuver, if I do say so myself.
In under twenty seconds, I succeeded in completely escaping from Train Girl.
After covering a large distance, jumping back down to ground level and stopping, I realized what I had done.
I ended up escaping on reflex, but now that I thought about it, I had been planning on going around some stores to shop today, and I wasn’t even thinking of doing anything even remotely suspicious. It would’ve been fine even if Train Girl tagged along.
But, now that I had run away like this, it would be tough to face her, making it even harder to go to the main streets where the chances of bumping into her would be high. It was a huge blunder.
Still, wouldn’t you say that someone who instinctively runs away when suddenly talked to would be something like a true loner?
“So, basically, as a true loner, this is a chronic disease that I have to live with for the rest of my life!”
Despite somehow summarizing it in a chuuni kind of way, it really wasn’t something I should be proud of.
Also, I only became a loner after I entered university and started prioritizing games over human relationships, so my history as a loner was quite short. Likewise, I probably won’t stay this way for the rest of my life.
It’s just that I hadn’t told her any of the little details like when I usually woke up, so that would mean that she had probably been waiting in front of the door for a while, and I felt a little disturbed once I started thinking about it like that. Somehow, I was starting to think that running away might have actually been the right choice.
In the first place, it seems like ever since I had first met her, everything she did was to try to follow me, but, at the moment, I did not intend to accept any companions. Right now, I just wanted to stay as far away from other people as possible, and focus on strengthening myself.
If this could help distance myself from Train Girl, then, in a sense, this could be just what I wished for.
With that thought as a change of mood, I started to think about what to do next.
There were tons of things I had to do, so let’s go somewhere where I’m unlikely to run into Train Girl. Being mindful of her investigation skills this time, I took off the conspicuous mithril armor and clad myself in beginner equipment. With this, I should be a lot harder to pin down.
Still, if I were to stay in a field for a certain amount of time, Train Girl will be automatically summoned there. She’s really a troublesome person, but this time it wasn’t much of a problem.
After all, I was not planning on venturing outside of this town for a while.
–I’m going to become a shut-in.
Though it sounded cool saying that out loud, the actual reason was because I didn’t want to level up my character too much before raising my weapon mastery levels some more.
The reason why I was able to raise my weapon mastery levels so efficiently with the Master Torch was because my level was so low. Since there were no means to lower one’s level, it would be a shame to lessen this advantage by battling outside.
Really, there was probably not too much of a difference between a level gap of 240 levels and a gap of 200 levels, but since I had things to do in town I might as well work on that rather than going outside.
“Things I need to do in town, huh.”
I vacantly muttered a string of words that came to mind.
At that phrase, I recalled, vividly, a particular scene.
There were roughly 3 areas in which Nekomimineko characters could improve in.
Character level, weapon mastery, and skill mastery.
As in normal RPGs, one’s character level can be raised by gaining experience by defeating monsters. The experience that could be gained from a monster is the level of the monster multiplied by an experience multiplier that depended on the monster’s type.
Normally, rare or strong monsters like bosses would have a higher multiplier, while small fries would have a low multiplier, but, with Nekomimineko, the settings seemed rather arbitrary, so there was a clear distinction between great monsters and worthless monsters.
Of course, items that have HP have this experience multiplier set at 0, so, unfortunately, no matter how many items one destroys, one will not level up.
Since all the experience is given to the person who dealt the final blow, attackers have an extreme advantage when grinding.
On the other hand, no matter how much a healer devotes to healing their companions, they will not receive a single iota of experience, so it was the worst, most unfortunate class.
If Nekomimineko had become an MMO, there was no doubt that it would have been a tragedy where everyone in a party would be an attacker.
For a moment, I was honestly glad that Nekomimineko did not become an MMO.
I went slightly off topic, but as I was saying, I had no intention of raising my character level right now, and I could train my weapon mastery at any time now that I had the torch, so there was no need to leave town.
Thus, the only thing left was to raise my skill mastery.
Skill mastery is the mastery associated with each individual skill, such as Step.
Stamina, consumed whenever a skill is used, has a constant maximum value that did not increase with one’s level. In that case, one would think that the number of times a skill could be continuously used would remain the same no matter how much one trained, but that was not the case.
This is where the effect of skill mastery manifested itself.
By using a skill repeatedly, its skill mastery goes up, increasing its efficiency as a result and reducing the amount of stamina the skill consumed. Even if the maximum stamina value was constant, since the amount of stamina consumed was different, veteran players were able to continuously cast more skills than beginner players.
As for how exactly skill mastery was measured, it was simply ‘the number of times the skill had been used’. Whether the attack hit, whether any damage was done, and whether the opponent’s level was high or low were completely irrelevant. Whether you hit a boss or cancel it or just strike thin air, as long as the skill is used, its mastery increases by 1.
It was a plain and simple system.
But, as a result, it was the system with the fewest shortcuts.
Cheap tricks like defeating high level monsters to level up quickly or continuously hitting a high level item to rapidly level up could not be used here.
If, even then, you wanted to do this effectively…
“I guess there’s no choice but to go to the Marimite Dojo.”
Vocalizing the conclusion that I had known all along, I heaved a heavy sigh.
Frankly, I found the Marimite Dojo difficult to deal with. With my poor communication skills, along with not having any kind of special fetishes, the hurdle for that was a little high.
Especially now that this is reality, just thinking about doing that made my stomach turn.
“But, well, can’t hurt to take a look.”
Therefore, I headed towards the outskirts of town.
There were no shops in that direction, just an old and large church, the only one in this town.