— 2 —
Inside the accessory shop.
Having recalled an unpleasant memory, I grimaced.
The proposal event and the most horrible event that followed it, the Demon Lord’s Blessing, were, even now, one of my traumas.
Even if a proposal succeeded, it did not lead to marriage. That was the cruel nature of this game, and what made Nekomimineko Nekomimineko.
Successfully propose before defeating the Demon Lord, and not only the character that you proposed to, but all of the characters whom you could marry would be turned into inanimate statues through the Demon Lord’s Blessing.
Of course, there was no way to imagine that such a horrible event would happen when proposing, so players who didn’t know about this in advance from the internet or some other source would undoubtedly fall into this trap, be surprised, despair, and then become furious.
The responses were such that some online forums had even set up dedicated threads to complain about this event.
It might have been understandable if this was the penalty for failing the proposal, but having something like this after succeeding? And to make it irreversible even by resetting, this was on a completely different dimension from being a bad joke.
As it is, I also fell for this. I generally tried to avoid looking up event information before clearing them, and so I was caught splendidly in this trap.
At the time, due to the extreme shock, I impulsively deleted my save data and ended up not touching Nekomimineko for three whole days… On the other hand, I had picked myself up by the fourth day and started the game once again from the very beginning.
Still, the shock had lingered, and turned into trauma. This was the reason that I had mostly played solo.
However, while this Demon Lord’s Blessing event had created a hell out of Nekomimineko players’ agonizing cries, within the eight Event Danger Ranks in the NekomininekoWiki, it was only classified as a C, the third least dangerous rank.
When asked why, one could come up with three reasons.
- It is still possible to complete the story as a solo player (after a certain patch).
- It is simple to avoid the event with prior knowledge.
- The resolution to the event is very straightforward, and there were no hidden strings attached.
Let’s explain these one by one.
To begin, with respect to the first point, the consequence of this event was no more than merely being unable to use most of the helper characters.
Most of the characters in stores were normal NPCs unrelated to any events, in other words, mob characters, so it was still possible to use stores. In addition, story events were made to be completable (after a certain patch) even if many of the characters had been frozen by this event.
Since a practiced Nekomimineko player would probably be able to somehow clear the game solo, this event couldn’t be said to be game-breaking.
Well, to be perfectly precise, triggering that marriage event in the early game during version 1.00 causes the game to become unclearable and creates many other problems, so it was then an event that was dangerous to trigger. However, there were many other events that caused even worse bugs to occur, so, even at that time, this event wasn’t much of a problem.
It might be hard to imagine, so, as an example, the ridiculously-named dungeon Mino-tan’s Great Labyrinth was much worse than this in terms of pure risk.
As the dungeon’s name implied, it was a giant maze, and to assist you, there was a special quest item that could be used to randomly change the maze. However, until version 1.11, there was no way of refilling the number of times this item could be used.
Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem. But, unfortunately, randomly changing the maze sometimes results in a situation where there were no paths to the exit. Together with the fact that there was a save point in the dungeon’s rest area meant that it was a tragedy waiting to unfold.
Thus, if the number of available uses of the quest item dropped to 0, and the maze is such that there was no route to the exit, and the player saves, it becomes impossible to leave the maze, and the player becomes completely trapped.
At this point, the only choices left to the player were either to wander the maze for eternity searching for an exit that was impossible to reach, or to delete their save data and start over from the very beginning.
It was quite sad.
Since there was a bug that could make it impossible to clear the game, this quest, commonly referred to as Mino-tan’s House-Sitter Trap, was awarded a rank B before the patch.
With the patch, the ability to refill the number of uses of the quest item was added, so its current rank was a D.
Anyway, about the second reason, this Demon Lord’s Blessing event would not activate if the player doesn’t propose, so this landmine could be completely avoided just by knowing about it beforehand. This was like the Lizardman’s Trap, a type of trap called a First-time Killer, which, in other words, meant that someone experienced could avoid it without skipping a beat.
Compared to the dust tornado feared as The Sudden-Death Game That Blows Across The Desert, which was almost unevadable and appears without warning while walking through the desert as part of a story quest that couldn’t be avoided in order to clear the game, this could be said to be much less dangerous.
Finally, the resolution to this event was simple and straightforward.
Purposely having the Demon Lord name himself, and even dropping a hint like “impossible to break by human hands”, one could deduce that the way to break this “blessing” was to defeat the last boss, the Demon Lord Of The End.
In the midst of quests that were much more evil from the mid game onwards, ones whose resolutions were so clear-cut were quite rare.
For example, the quest Mikhael’s Bluebird in the capital Lichtel had great conditions of being bug-free, having no fighting, and having good rewards, but its overly twisted nature caused it to be specially designated a C-rank.
This quest starts with Mikhael’s mother’s request to search for a bluebird with a strange power for the sick Mikhael, but the quest was not quite what it seemed.
As you bring back items that seem beneficial to Mikhael’s health from around the town, Mikhael slowly starts getting better, and Mikhael eventually presents you with a bluebird’s feather, saying that he picked it up in the garden.
At that point, you might think that the quest is progressing well and continue curing Mikhael’s sickness, but, as a result of that finally, Mikhael becomes healthy, and you fail the quest.
In order to clear this quest, you have to go around town and bring back items that seem like they would be bad for Mikhael’s health.
As you do so, Mikhael gradually becomes weaker, and after repeating this many times, you finally discover the corpse of a dead bluebird on Mikhael’s bed.
There, the shocking truth of Mikhael actually being “a bluebird that became the woman’s son for the sake of the woman who lost her son” is revealed.
Just FYI, after that…
“Since I promised, here’s the reward. But, don’t ever show yourself in front of me again… If it was going to end up like this, I shouldn’t have given you that request to begin with.”
So said Mikhael’s mother, and you clear the quest. I swear that whoever created this quest is definitely a demon or something.
Well, compared to something like that, this Demon Lord’s Blessing event was really quite straightforward. Sure, this event was a big obstacle in getting married, but defeating the Demon Lord turns everything back into the way it was, and the Demon Lord’s Blessing event wouldn’t even trigger if the marriage event was started after the Demon Lord was already defeated.
The producer’s comment that there was free marriage and one could even create a harem was, in fact, not a lie.
But why was there a need to defeat the Demon Lord before being able to marry someone? Trying my best to put myself in the game producers’ shoes, they might’ve wanted to say something like this.
“If you have the time to marry someone, then why don’t you go clear the game.”
To which, the players’ response would undoubtedly be:
“Then why don’t you just say that from the beginning!”
At the very least, that’s what I wanted to say.
Well, who knows what the truth is. One well-promoted hypothesis was that this event was created due the wrath of an unpopular Nekomimineko staff who couldn’t get married, but, either way, this event had become accepted by most of the Nekomimineko players in the end.
I mean, the only people who would play this game so long after its release date would either be Nekomimineko players who had already been trained not to be surprised at something like this, or those who had heard that Nekomimineko was a horrible game and decided to play just because of that. In either case, there weren’t any people left who would complain about something of this level.
For example, if the current me had triggered this trap, I might think “Welp, here we go again”, but I wouldn’t be so shocked as to stop playing.
“Well, whatever… I wonder if you can steal items from frozen characters.”
In such a way, I would probably adapt in a few seconds and continue on playing. Get used to Nekomimineko and anyone would react similarly.
Sometimes, a first-time player triggers this event and starts ranting in online forums, but gets dismissed with comments like “Something like that’s the default for Nekomimineko” or “Well, that’s the kind of game this is lol”. It became just an everyday thing.
That was a long explanation, but, to sum it up in a sentence, it would be something like this:
“The other events are also all kinds of bad, so people ended up not caring so much.”
It really was the worst reason.
That being said, the Demon Lord’s Blessing event was cruel, and, of the bug-free events, it presented the player with extraordinarily large problems, and it caused much greater mental shock than other events.
However, even knowing that, there was quite a number of people who would purposely propose before defeating the Demon Lord and trigger this Demon Lord’s Blessing.
There actually existed a rare skill that couldn’t be obtained except by triggering this event that seemed to contain no good whatsoever.
The special skill that is obtained when your most loved receives the Demon Lord’s Blessing, called the Embodiment of Fury.
With a name that seemed representative of the furious player himself who had triggered this event, this rare skill held a power that was considered balance breaking even within this Nekomimineko.
The Embodiment of Fury was a solo only skill, where on top of only being able to be used once every 24 hours, it could not be used if there were friendlies nearby, in other words NPCs who were not enemies. However, in exchange for that, its effect was very extreme.
For 30 seconds after its activation, the player’s base status values are all increased by 200%, but for the 30 seconds following that the player’s base status values are all lowered to a hundredth. It was a skill that was extremely broken in many ways.
Since the skill targeted base status values, bonuses from weapons or masteries weren’t affected, but even then it was a more than potent ability. Magic that affected base status values were rare, and even top class magic could only increase the target’s strength by 50% at the very most, so the effects of this skill could be said to be on a completely different level.
If I could learn this skill, it would probably be of great help to surviving in this world. But, that didn’t mean…
“U-Um, sorry. Did I make you remember something that you didn’t want to remember?”
That I would consider, even for a second, turning a girl like Train Girl, with her head lowered in front of me, looking like she was about to cry, into an inanimate statue.
“Ahh, sorry. It’s not something that you need to worry about, Train Girl. It’s just…”
I had said that the Demon Lord’s Blessing event was still traumatic for me up till this day, but what pulled on my heart was not the event itself, but rather the fact that I had erased the data afterwards.
I’ve thought many times that I shouldn’t have deleted the data there, and should have defeated the Demon Lord by myself, returning my companions, returning Tieru, back to normal.
Of course, I understood that NPCs were not actually alive, and that they did not actually have feelings.
However, even if their existence were fake, my feelings of wanting to have saved them were real.
I did not want to have such regrets ever again.
“I’ve decided that I definitely won’t marry anyone.”