— 7 —
With Ringo’s lightning strikes and my wonderful charge, we defeated the first Golden (though, in a sense, we failed hard) and, without waiting for the Golden to respawn at that spawn point, went off in search of other Goldens.
This was the plan I had come up with beforehand, having a grasp of the rules behind monster spawns as well as the number of monsters that would appear during mass spawnings.
The rules behind monster spawning in Nekomimineko were extremely simple.
There were specified points on the map, called spawn points, where monsters appeared from, and for each one, it had a setting for “the ID and likelihood of each monster group appearing” as well as the “respawn time”, for example:
[ #1 50%, #2 30%, #11 20%, Respawn 600s ]
If #1 was a Zlime, #2 was an Ugly Zlime, and #11 was a Zlime and an Ugly Zlime together, then at that point there was a 50% chance that a Zlime would spawn, a 30% chance that an Ugly Zlime would spawn, and a 20% chance that both would spawn.
Since the respawn time was 600 seconds, new monsters would only appear from that spawn point 600 seconds, or 10 minutes, after the previous monsters had been defeated.
However, during mass spawnings those settings pretty much lost all of their meaning. Once the mass spawning flag had been set, whether the monsters selected to be spawned were #1 or #2 or #11, the monster that appeared would be the event monster. Right now the mass spawning was for Golden Wild Zlimes, so no matter what would normally be spawning, all of the spawn points were guaranteed to spawn only Goldens, and nothing else would appear.
Even this had been the source of a very Nekomimineko-esque bug. There had been a mass spawning of Goblins in a certain early-game dungeon, and not only the random monsters in the dungeon but even the boss monster had become a Goblin.
Typically, boss monsters and event monsters were the only ones that wouldn’t be overwritten during a mass spawning, but someone had forgotten to give that important boss monster the boss flag, and so all of the monsters had become Goblins. It’s the type of bug that was not rare to find in Nekomimineko.
But as a result of that, while it was simple to clear the dungeon, the boss didn’t drop what it was supposed to drop and it became impossible to fight that boss a second time, not to mention that one of its drops was an event item and so it became impossible to progress in that event. It was a disaster.
Well, putting behind this talk about everyday bugs, there was another big change during mass spawnings in addition to the change in monster type. All of the spawn points were changed to have a respawn time of 300 seconds, and it became possible for multiple monsters spawned from the same point to be alive at once.
In other words, whether or not you defeated the monsters that had been spawned, a new monster would appear every 5 minutes. This was quite a brutal setting.
According to the Nekomimineko wiki, outdoor fields had an average of 50 spawn points. That meant that every 5 minutes, each of the 50 groups of monsters would increase their numbers by 1.
Of course, there were no problems right at the start of the Elimination Fest. You could easily clean up the monsters that appeared nearby, and it felt like this event would be a piece of cake. However, as time went on, the number of monsters that fell through the cracks increased, and the number of adventurers that could fight slowly decreased due to injuries or lack of MP.
The Elimination Fest that began with 50 monsters vs 50 adventurers, after 30 minutes, had turned into an Elimination Fest with 200 monsters vs 20 adventurers. This was a pattern that was not at all uncommon.
However, monsters only appeared a total of 10 times, and they stopped spawning 45 minutes after the start of the event.
That’s why sometimes the Fest would be announced to be over before 2 hours had passed from the start of the mass spawning, if all of the monsters had been defeated, but unless the player and the other participants were all rather high leveled, such a situation usually wouldn’t happen.
Although I had no idea if everything would go the same way in this world as it did in game, I made my plans based on this information.
There were approximately 50 spawn points on the field, and from each of them monsters would spawn 10 times. That meant that, in the end, the total number of Golden Wild Zlimes that would appear today was around 500.
If we could perfectly defeat 250 of these 500, then our first place spot would be all but secured, but, of course, that didn’t seem very realistic. Defeating 80 would probably be solid, but I felt like that might even be wishing for too much.
…That’s why, 50.
From my analysis, if we could defeat 50 before the end of the Fest, I think there might be a slight chance that we could reach first place.
And so, if we had to defeat 50 in these 2 hours, then we would need to kill them at a high rate of 1 every 2 or so minutes. Waiting for them to respawn every 5 minutes would be way too slow.
Going straight north, back along the path we came when it started, would’ve been fine too, but I wanted to leave the places I marked for as long as I could. As if trying to break through in the northwest direction, we jogged to find a different spawn point.
“I’m pretty sure something should’ve spawned somewhere around here…”
I muttered to myself, and Ringo, running beside me, whispered.
“…There is. Something golden.”
Hearing that, I looked forward, but I couldn’t see anything.
With Ringo leading the way for once, we indeed came upon a Golden.
I had to wonder if leveling up also improved your vision.
While thinking such idiotic thoughts, I readied my Wakizashi at the Golden in front of my eyes.
Dropping my speed, I called in a hushed voice.
“Ringo, attack on my signal!”
Escaping monsters like the Golden Wild Zlime were often not just triggered by “being attacked”, but also by “the player approaching within a certain range”.
As for just how close that range was before they would escape, I’d already mastered it subconsciously.
We’d approach as close as we could, and Ringo would shoot a lightning strike.
Then I’d circle around to the side and end it with a Sextuple Stab!
While having a staring contest with the cautious Zlime, we closed in, and…
The moment I yelled out, I started circling out sideways with the Rapid Cancel Dash.
The lightning strike brushed right beside me, making it difficult for me to charge in.
We had found out from testing it on the boulder nearby, but the power of the lightning strikes did indeed increase after she leveled up. Before, when the bolts hit the boulder, they’d at most cause some cracks to form, but after she leveled up it grew to being able to take big chunks off the boulder.
If I were to get hit by something like that, I’d be helpless to do anything.
However, even with such a powered-up lightning strike, it still wasn’t able to break through the Golden’s defenses. I thought it might’ve been able to do so now that she’d leveled up, but it wouldn’t deal anything more than the usual 1 damage.
After many more strikes had scraped the Golden, its movements finally stopped.
(Now’s my chance!)
Holding back my fear, I charged at the Golden!
“…Should I, hold, back?”
After the battle, as I stood there with my shoulders drooping, Ringo reached out to me.
Well, the conclusion was that I had landed the hit, and this time I was able to successfully attack the Golden.
A-Although it was just a corpse!
And I also wasn’t anywhere close to being able to aim at its vitals!
But it was definitely a step forwards.
With resolution, I shook my head at Ringo’s suggestion.
Of course, in the vertical direction!
You see, since it was so easy to just defeat them, in order for Ringo to grow and also for us to get first place, it was essential that she control her output so that I could properly land Sextuple Stab… probably.
According to the Nekomimineko wiki, the Golden Wild Zlime apparently had a fixed 15HP.
So 3 clean hits or an accumulated 5 or 10 scratches with her lightning strikes would be enough to bring one down.
“If it seems like they’re one hit from death, can you pull back a bit and make it easier for me to approach?”
I don’t mean to brag, but if I were to use my skills freely, then I could probably be faster than the Golden.
The only reason I wasn’t able to make it in time just now was because I was scared by Ringo’s lightning strikes.
If she could keep them under control, then even I should be able to land a few hits!
Golden Wild Zlime, the next time we meet will be your last!!
In my case, it’s generally a flag for failure when I say such things so confidently, but just this time, that wasn’t so.
In fact, from then on, everything went so well that it was almost scary.
Whether due to the effects of her holding back showing, I was able to attack the next Golden with room to spare… though, of course, it was already a corpse.
Then, I tried to challenge myself to hit the critical point, which for the Zlimes was the small mole that always existed right on their forehead (there were also some who say it’s hair).
The first time was… a failure.
In order to hit it on the forehead I needed to approach its front side, but while I was flustered trying to find where its front side was, the corpse disappeared.
However, the next time, my aim was just slightly off and I ended up just missing the critical point, but being so close gave me a big boost to my confidence.
Then, the third one after I started my attempts, I was finally able to successfully land a Sextuple Stab in the middle of the Golden’s corpse’s forehead, on the critical point.
The next one, too; I hit the dead Golden’s forehead.
The next one was also a success!
And also the next one, as I continued to rack up my successes and success rate.
As we progressed smoothly in our hunt for Goldens, the coordination between me and Ringo would improve each time.
Until, finally, the 13th one…
At least, I successfully landed an attack on a living Zlime!
I wasn’t anywhere close to being able to accurately aim for its forehead since it was still moving, but after taking the 6 damage from Sextuple Stab, the already weakened Zlime was killed.
Right after that Golden turned into particles and disappeared, I felt a shock run through my body.
Energy sprung from the depths of my body, and I couldn’t sit still. Wanting to try out this power, I then landed the killing blow on the next 3 Zlimes.
Of course, I couldn’t break through the Golden’s defenses, and with how fast a living Golden moved I knew it would be impossible to aim for its vitals with my capability, but after defeating those 3 I felt my body evolving again.
Remembering that I had the Status Sticker, I tried checking, and after defeating just 4 of them, my level had already jumped up to 70.
I also tried looking at Ringo’s level, and hers had become 82.
As expected of Nekomimineko, known for its “exquisite game balance”. These bonus monsters weren’t half bad at destroying the balance.
However, Golden Wild Zlimes were only level 100. Since you stopped getting experience from monsters too many levels below yours, the highest level you could reach by killing these was at most around level 100.
After finishing off another one and seeing that I’d reached level 72, I decided to prioritize hunting over gaining levels.
I could always grind levels another time, but the chance to get such a large amount of money didn’t come that often.
Ceding all of the experience to Ringo, we devoted ourselves to efficiency. As a result, the hunting progressed swimmingly and, by the time 30 minutes had passed since the start of the Fest, we already had a total of 22 kills under our belts. Taking into account the slow start, it was quite an accomplishment.
If we continued at this pace, never mind the 2 hour mark, we might have been able to exceed our goal of 50 even by the 45 minute mark when monsters stopped spawning.
It was also really encouraging that, while doing this, I’d started to think that we might be able to take first place even without working that hard.
Even with 50 spawn points, Deus Plains was quite a big field. Just moving from one spawn point to a neighboring spawn point took quite a bit of time. It was not very realistic going around to a bunch of different points to rack up a large score.
In which case , it was possible that we, who were hunting the most efficiently out of everyone, would have the most points. Our biggest victory probably came from choosing to hunt far from the entrance, using the southern side as our camp.
We hardly bumped into any of our competitors, the other participants in the Fest, and as a bonus there were many spawn points that hadn’t even been touched. After some time had passed, perhaps the number of Goldens that slipped through the cracks was increasing, but we’d started running into many cases where two or more Goldens would be at the same spawn point. The situation would only improve, and I had high expectations for the places that I had marked with items before the start.
Surprisingly, this might have been a cinch.
Right after I started to have such thoughts, an anomaly struck.
We’d been walking for around 5 minutes now, but there were no Zlimes to be seen.
I tried checking with Ringo to see if I had just missed them, but it seemed like she hadn’t seen any either. Considering the situation up to now, where two or sometimes even three Zlimes had been waiting at each spawn point, this was strange.
Perhaps, unlike in the game, monsters stopped spawning after 30 minutes instead of 45 minutes.
When I was just about to start feeling anxious, Ringo muttered out loud.
Hearing her voice, I felt relieved from the bottom of my heart.
It was a distance away, but the golden Zlime revealed itself to my eyes.
“That’ll be our next target. Let’s get ’em.”
Having relaxed, such obvious words that went without saying slipped out of my mouth, as I approached the Zlime with faintly vigorous steps.
But when I came close enough to be able to clearly make out the Zlime’s face…
–A gust of wind raced across the plains.
Something flowing slid in from the side and, for an instant, crossed paths with the Golden.
The shadow that quickly flew through only caught my eyes for an instant, before I immediately moved my eyes back towards the Golden…
“You’re, kidding me…”
The healthy Golden Wild Zlime had been split cleanly in two, right down the center of its body.
After a short amount of time, the two halves of the Zlime turned into particles of light and disappeared.
Feeling a light tug on my clothes, I turned around. There, standing beside me, Ringo had grabbed the edge of my clothes with a slightly terrified look.
An existence that was able to shock Ringo, someone who rarely reacted no matter what she saw, this much.
That was just how frightening the suddenly-split-in-half Golden Wild Zlime was… of course not.
It was the person who had shot towards the Golden with such speed that I mistook it as a gust of wind, then proceeded to split it in half in an instant.
Someone possessing the ability to pierce through the Golden’s defenses, which didn’t even budge when faced with the level-upped Ringo’s lightning strikes, and who was able to split a moving target right down the center at such speeds.
Even in Nekomimineko, there weren’t many who were capable of this.
A dry voice leaked out of my lips.
Facing me, while having accomplished the superhuman act of splitting a Golden Wild Zlime in two, was a single girl whose eyes were slack with boredom.
“They really are quite slow. This is making me want to yawn.”
There existed only one person who could say such words about the fastest monster around the capital, the Golden Wild Zlime.
The person standing there, was, of course.
As you are aware, it’s the “BAKAAAA!” person.