— 5 —
The Item Shop took up much more time than expected. I wanted to hurry and start practicing strategies for the Extermination Fest, and for that, I needed to first confirm Ringo’s specs, during which a surprising truth was uncovered.
–Would you believe it? She can’t use a single skill or magic!
Well, it would be slightly misleading to say that she can’t use it. It was possible that she would be able to use it after practicing, but right now, she’s only learned the most basic skills and magic and has no idea how to use them. Then, just what was the lightning magic that mowed down all those Wild Zlimes?
I’ll start from the conclusion.
It surprised me, but that wasn’t lightning magic. It was actually her normal attack.
To begin with, she didn’t even know about the existence of skills and magic, and there was no way she would know how to cast something she didn’t know existed. Then how was she able to fire off those lightning strikes? That was because, to her, it was an action that just came naturally.
I’m not very familiar with AI so this is just speculation, but just like how there might be actions such as “swing arm” or “raise leg”, she might have had a special action, “fire lightning from hand”, that was coded in.
Thinking back, I had thought during the Royal Capital Invasion event that Princess Shelmia was defeating monsters left and right with lightning magic as if she were just firing off normal attacks, but to think that they were really just normal attacks. To do that just because she couldn’t join player parties seemed like cutting way too many corners. Of course, that was also why she didn’t run out of MP.
After that, I investigated the specs of her “normal attack” by having her shoot at things in the area or Master Torch.
Firstly, the collision for each bolt of lightning is determined independently, so if multiple bolts hit then it was, of course, treated as a multi-hit. Its damage increased when wielding a weapon with physical power, and since its damage wasn’t affected by wielding a weapon that increased magical power, it probably scales off the strength stat. Just when I thought it might be the same as a regular normal attack, her damage didn’t increase as much as expected when I had her try holding Shiranui. It seems like it might not be affected by the weapon type bonus. Furthermore, I had her attack an item with elemental resistances to check, but no matter what weapon she used it ended up being a non-elemental physical attack.
Everything about it was just a huge mess.
In the end, her attack was not magic at all. It didn’t have a lightning element and was treated as a physical attack. She was wielding a staff during events, but if that staff were something that increases magical power then it might’ve been completely meaningless.
I could understand it based on the data, but I just couldn’t wrap my head what the point of it all was.
For now, I decided to just accept it as quality Nekomimineko and to not think too hard about it. With this [lightning normal attack], defeating Golden Wild Zlimes should be relatively easier.
I ended up spending quite a bit of time on Ringo, but it wasn’t like I was just playing around either. While Ringo was shooting off sparks of lightning here and there, I was steadily whacking Master Torch right beside her.
While it may have looked like I was just playing around, this high-level torch that I obtained from the hidden dungeon near Ramlich had an effect where just whacking it with a weapon would cause your weapon mastery to grow explosively.
And so, using that effect, I finally gained the ability to use fire magic!
…You might wonder how we reached the conclusion of being able to use magic from talking about weapon mastery. Actually, in Nekomimineko, there was a strange system where attacking with an elemental weapon raised the magic mastery of that element.
That’s where the Heat Knife I bought today came in. By hitting Master Torch with this fire elemental weapon, I was able to successfully increase both my fire mastery and dagger mastery.
Magic was something that could be learned by reading magical tomes sold in places like magic shops, and could be used once the required elemental mastery for its element was reached. The fire magic from the tomes I bought in Ramlich that I hadn’t been able to use until now had finally been unlocked.
Unfortunately, our current targets, the Golden Wild Zlimes, were completely impervious to magic. There wouldn’t be any meaning in attacking them with offensive spells, and offensive spells cast by me, someone not specializing in magic, would only have limited effectiveness anyways, but even so, there were many useful fire elemental spells.
The two spells that I unlocked were Powerup and Petiteplosion. These were trademark spells, and very useful ones that could even be used until the endgame after some customization.
Powerup was a spell that did not depend on your magic power, with the invaluable effect of increasing the user’s strength by a percentage. It’s said to be one of the core spells for fighter-types.
Petiteplosion was a lower ranked Explosion, but in many situations it could be a much more convenient spell. It didn’t use much MP and the power of the explosion was not very great, but it creates a shockwave with a knockback effect that doesn’t differentiate between enemies and allies, giving it many potential uses.
Since I had made sure to buy elemental attack boosting rings in the accessory shop, equipping those would surely transform this into an even more useful spell.
In addition to fire elemental magic, there was another skill that I gained using the Heat Knife, a dagger skill that should prove useful in the upcoming Extermination Fest.
Ringo’s lightning normal attack, which I’ll just call her lightning strike, while strong and versatile, has a weakness in that its targeting is slightly imprecise. With Nekomimineko’s mechanic whereby hitting the critical point increases the damage and, if it’s a killing blow, also doubles the item drop rate, it becomes important to have a skill that can land a pinpoint hit on the vitals.
Up until now, I’ve raised my mastery with swords, greatswords, daggers, ninja swords, and also fire magic using Master Torch. However, sword and greatsword skills generally focus on damage, and while there were multi-hit ninja sword skills, their attacks were either all over the place or dark elemental and thus difficult to utilize.
While I didn’t plan on changing my general setup of dual-wielding Shiranui with a sub-weapon, just this once I planned to use either Heat Knife or Wakizashi as the main to put the aim on using dagger skills.
To be specific, I considered using the dagger skill I just learned, Sextuple Stab, for the fight against the Golden Wild Zlimes. It’s a skill that targets the same place with six stabs faster than the eye can see… but, well, the visual effect is really just that of a single stab, the system just cheats a little and counts the damage as a 6-hit-combo.
My basic intention was to use these skills and support Ringo, but, of course, I’d also hoped to defeat some Goldens and gain some levels if the opportunity presented itself.
To fight the monsters around these areas as a level 13 was definitely an act of suicide. If I didn’t get to a decent level here, I might really end up being too scared of the monsters and not being able to leave the city.
That said, if it weren’t for such a perfect opportunity like this, it might be better to stay at a lower level to grind weapon mastery, but for now I should probably prioritize leveling up.
The rate of gaining weapon mastery is adjusted by the level difference between you and the opponent. For each level that the opponent is higher, there is a 10% bonus.
When I, level 13, attack Master Torch, level 250, there is a 237 level difference, so I would gain mastery at almost 25 times the regular speed.
Hypothetically, if I were to reach level 150 by killing Goldens, there would still be a 100 level difference.
This means I would gain mastery at 11 times the regular speed. It would be less efficient, but Master Torch’s supremacy is unshaken.
To begin with, based on the original game balance it would be suicide to challenge someone even twenty levels higher.
There was no adjustment for attack or defense based on level difference in this game, but as levels got higher, the monsters simply got stronger. Without rather good weapons, armor, and skills, it would generally be hard to overcome even a ten level difference.
On that point, the Golden Wild Zlimes only ran away and didn’t attack at all, and while they had extraordinary defence their HP was low and they had a special trait in that any attack, no matter how weak, would do at least one damage. Furthermore, hitting their weak point, the critical point, would do a minimum of two damage.
Anyone who could land a multi-hit skill with many hits had the chance of defeating them even if they were lacking in attack power.
After Ringo halted them with her lightning strikes, I would dash in and hit them in the vitals with Sextuple Stab. We’d aim for first place with that approach, and if there were room to spare I’d have Ringo hold back slightly on her attacks so that I could deal the killing blow and raise my level. This was our basic strategy against the Golden Wild Zlimes.
In addition, I had a small trick planned to make a trap using some items. But this was something that I hadn’t even tried in-game, so there were no guarantees that it would be successful. I shouldn’t count on it too much.
There’s a huge element of luck in the Extermination Fest, not just in whether your preparations would work or not. Even if you had the ability to defeat Goldens, depending on the other competitors you could find your prey snatched away, making it so you couldn’t even hunt properly.
Fighting between participants was forbidden so there’s no need to worry about that, but whether we could make first place depended largely on whether we could get the jump on the other participants after it started and set up a good routine. It’d be bad if I ended up missing something from just thinking by myself.
With that in mind and with nothing to lose, I tried seeing if Ringo had any thoughts on these ideas, but, as expected, she didn’t give any response outside of nodding and shaking her head.
Becoming slightly worried, I asked.
“Do you still remember the plan for after the fest starts?”
“…Follow, and shoot?”
She gave a very brief reply.
Though it made me question what my desperate explanations were for, well, it was the truth.
I started thinking that Ringo was fine like this.
And, if we successfully made some money off this, then that should give us some leeway to start thinking about Ringo’s future. I had no idea what she was thinking even now, but at least it seemed like she was surprisingly enthusiastic about this fest.
For now, we should probably be focused on combining our strengths and making it through this fest.
“It’s almost time, huh…”
Maybe it was just my imagination, but it seemed like the hustle of the streets had grown slightly.
I saw many people who looked like adventurers walking briskly towards the gate.
“Well then, why don’t we go too.”
Seeing Ringo give a small nod after hearing those words, we started walking towards the gate.
–Onwards, to the Deus Plains!