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I recognized her the moment I saw her.
There was no way that I would mistake her for anyone else.
The name of the girl, also called the Helping Cheeter, slipped from my mouth.
She was also known as Nekomimineko’s strongest female adventurer, and the character that could also be called the saving grace of Nekomimineko.
She was also known as the embodiment of Nekomimineko’s ideals, and the existence most loved by the Nekomimineko staff.
Her sleek black hair flowed down until her waist, and, as if in contrast, her skin was pure white. Her thin body, wrapped in a white costume, seemed as though it would snap at any moment, giving her presence an impression of ephemerality.
But, the moment you see her expressionless face giving off an air of “don’t touch me and I won’t slice you”, you would instantly come to realize that she was not such a fragile existence.
On her perfectly shaped face, which would be considered cliché to even call beautiful, her almond-shaped eyes encompassed a strength of will such that a single glance could cause one to shudder in fear, yet conveying a sense of mysteriousness that seemed to suck one in at the same time.
However, even her frighteningly perfect beauty was no more than a simple accessory adorning her identity.
More than anything, her most distinct characteristic lay directly above her artistically sculpted face.
–Proudly enshrined above her head, NECOMIMI!!
The Nekomimineko staff probably worked their socks off modelling cat ears in this game.
Born from those efforts were those extremely realistic yet adorable cat ears that twitched as if they had a life of their own.
Sometimes, rarely, they would also flap.
When she was surprised, they would fold flat.
If there was a sudden noise from somewhere, one of them would rotate towards it, and when trying very hard to do so, it would end up in a twist.
Characters with cat ears most probably had a specialized AI controlling their motion. With how naturally and precisely they moved, it couldn’t have been merely the result of just following a character’s movements.
In this game, cat ears could express joy, sadness, anger, fear, and surprise. In fact, a specialized AI chose appropriate expressions based on the situation.
Even if they had slacked off everywhere else, the work of the producers was perfect, at least when it came to cat ears. There was not a single fault to be found.
…Actually, you could say that it was more than perfect.
They were more adorable than any pair of cat ears in reality, yet they did not lose their sense of realism.
And, within them, combined with her character design and popularity, Mitsuki Hisame’s cat ears had been called the greatest, or even the ultimate cat ears.
Quoting, “I can stare at them for a whole day and not get tired of them.” “Looking at them makes me feel glad to be alive.” “Whoa, these are some nice NEKOMIMI… sorry, NECOMIMI!” “Just in this field Nekomimineko must be at least 20 years ahead.” “Calling these cute or adorable, none of you understand the true quality of these cat ears! The level of tech behind these is just unbelievable you know!? Look carefully! Look at its resolution, the design that makes full use of it, and think about just what kind of logic would be needed to make it move so naturally. You should study it carefully. See, you can tell just by looking! Technologically, the logic is, soft, and fluffy… So cuuute~ Soo adorableee~~” “Marry me, Mitsuki!” “Actually, I want to marry those cat ears instead.” “They might be the scum known as the Nekomimineko staff, but at the very least I have to salute them for making these cat ears.” “They said it took them half a year to develop these cat ears, but I’ve been admiring them for an entire year.” “With the tsun from her pride and aloofness, and the soft mofumofu sensation from touching her ears, this must be what tsunmofu is!” “I unconsciously tried to touch it and was killed ten times over by the Cheeter. But, thinking back, it was a good memory.” “I just want to caress them all day.”
I personally didn’t have any extreme interest or fetish in cat ears, but Hisame’s cat ears did have something that made me want to try touching them even if it got me sliced to death.
Some kind of strange magic that seemed to suck you in before you realize…
I must have been gawking at her cat ears without me realizing it, but Train Girl returned me to my senses.
I took a good look, and, in front of me, Hisame’s expression had not changed one bit as she continued to stare at me. However, the cat ears on her head were slightly bent, showing displeasure… So cuuute~ Soo adorableee~~ …Now’s not the time for that! Just why did she appear here?
“You, are you Souma?”
“Um, yeah. I’m Souma…”
As I confirmed, I started wondering how she knew my name.
The reason Hisame had been called the saving grace of Nekomimineko was because she would randomly appear and help out the player, as long as it wasn’t inside the Demon Lord’s castle.
Some events and quests, such as the Royal Capital Invasion, which were unavoidable once certain conditions were met, required a certain level of firepower to clear. There were many cases where one would save right before one of those events only to find out that they were too weak and couldn’t clear the event, finding themselves stuck.
However, even in those cases, there was still a ray of hope.
Hisame appeared randomly and infrequently, but when she did appear, she helps the player for nothing in return.
Frankly, she was probably stronger than a player who had cleared the game, so being unable to clear the event because the enemies were too strong would never happen if she’s helping.
What’s more, whether because of a bug or some other reason, she would still naturally appear even after the Demon Lord’s Blessing. Well, based on that, one might think that you couldn’t marry her, but it has been shown that she could join your party and that you could indeed get married to her.
Near the end of the Nekomimineko popularity polls, she was tied for first place with Princess Shelmia, but then it was confirmed that you couldn’t marry the princess, so Hisame ended up shooting ahead.
I’ve gone quite off topic, but that was the helpful character she is, and she would offer to help with a “Do you require my help?” even when first meeting the player.
There shouldn’t be any encounter events other than that, and I definitely had not heard of any developments in the form of waiting in front of the inn and asking the player’s name.
Facing my cautious self, Hisame calmly opened her mouth.
“I… accept various requests from people, to pass my daily boredom.”
I knew that. Or rather, she really was helping the player merely out of boredom huh.
“I found a request, if you can call it that, in this town.”
I couldn’t tell where this was going at all.
“Yes. It said that in this town, there was a horrible pervert who deceives females with fake identities, threatens them with various devious movements, lures them into dark caves with verbal trickery, and violates their bodies with the lure of escape, and that they wanted this person to be brought to justice.”
“That’s… quite horrible.”
I could somewhat start to see where this conversation was going now. Strangely, each phrase seemed familiar for some reason.
But, the biggest hint was from Train Girl beside me, who had turned pale and started trembling when she heard those words.
“Um, just wondering, but, where did you see that request?”
“It was posted on the bulletin board in the town plaza.”
The moment Hisame said this, Train Girl froze.
(It . was . that . time . huhhhhhhhh!!)
Back when we visited the Skyboat platform.
When I told Train Girl to go ahead to the shops, I think she said something like this:
《Roger! Ah, but you better come soon! If you don’t, I’ll slander you all over the bulletin board in the plaza!》
At that time, Train Girl had probably half-jokingly posted this on the board. Then, she completely forgot about it. She probably never imagined that someone like Hisame would end up seeing that…
(Summoning someone like the Helping Cheeter as an enemy is seriously out of my expectations!)
Just as I had started to see her in a new light, she does something amazing.
You really can’t underestimate Train Girl.
Train Girl tried to explain to Hisame. But, Hisame interrupted her.
“Don’t worry. This will be over quickly.”
Declaring that, her hand moved slightly.
Even then, I continued to look at her cat ears.
That’s why, the moment I saw her cat ears curl up, I used Step instinctively.
Having jumped backwards, what I saw was Hisame, who had appeared in front of me in an instant, and a glint of silver that had passed through where I was standing a moment earlier, as well as…
“Oh? So you managed to dodge that.”
Twitching, her cat ears.