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The memory of her running away while screaming “Baka” after being fooled by me in our duel was still fresh in my mind. Just why was she here?
Hisame took one glance at me after hearing me call her name, but without saying anything she walked towards the place where the Golden Wild Zlime she killed lay.
With a rather disinterested attitude, she bent down and picked something up.
I stared in disbelief at the object Hisame picked up.
It was something that I’d seen before… or rather, it was a glistening golden object that I was all too familiar with.
Its name readily came out of Hisame’s mouth.
“Yet another Gold Zlime Coin.”
The apathetic way in which she said that dealt me yet another huge blow.
The Gold Zlime Coin was a drop item from Golden Wild Zlimes, and also an item that could be turned in as part of the collect request for this Extermination Fest.
However, its drop rate was low, at a mere 10%.
But that small golden coin carried a big meaning in this event.
Generally, destroy and collect requests were engineered to give the same expected reward for each enemy defeated.
The Gold Zlime Coin had a drop rate of 10%, so compared to simply defeating a single Golden Wild Zlimes, it was 10x harder to obtain one.
And that’s why the amount of reward it brought was 10x that of destroying one Golden Wild Zlime.
If we looked at the actual numbers, the reward for destroying one Golden Wild Zlime was 10000E, but the reward for each Gold Zlime Coin was 100000E.
But, being an item with only a 10% drop rate, it shouldn’t be very easy to get…
(Oh, the critical point…!)
I had thought that Hisame split the Zlime right down the middle just to show off her skills.
However, that wasn’t all it was.
Cutting it right down the middle meant cutting it through the critical point on its forehead.
With the bonus of the critical attack, the probability of the enemies Hisame defeated dropping items doubled.
To see what the result of that was, it would be simpler to consider the case if one had defeated 100 Goldens. If they were all just defeated normally, then the expected number of gold coins obtained from 100 Goldens would be 10. The reward for destroying them would be 100 times 10000, which is a million, and the reward for collecting gold coins would be 10 times 100000, which is another million. Together, one could expected a reward of two million.
However, defeating all of the Goldens by slicing through their critical points like Hisame did would raise the expected number of gold coins obtained up to 20. In that case, the reward for destroying them would still be 100 times 10000, which is a million, but the reward for collecting gold coins would now be 20 times 100000, which is two million, leading to a grand total of three million. As a result, the expected amount of reward from each Golden ends up being 1.5x compared to defeating them normally.
(Damn it. This was completely outside of my expectations.)
I had been caught by my preconception from the game that the system of critical hits increasing the drop rate was solely for players to exploit.
Indeed, there have been characters in the game who said that killing monsters in their vitals made items drop more frequently.
It was common sense among adventurers, whether they were inside the game system or living in this world.
Not considering that other people would also be aiming for that must mean that I still hadn’t broken out of my bad habit of treating the people who lived in this world as NPCs.
(But wait, this isn’t something I’d normally take into consideration anyways.)
Even I, with countless skills under my command, still couldn’t accomplish something as absurd as hitting a moving Golden Wild Zlime in its critical point.
Or rather, out of all of the characters in Nekomimineko, Hisame was probably the only one who could do something like that.
Out of all of the famous characters in the game, just why did she have to join this festival.
I felt just how unfair the world was.
(Thinking about it, isn’t Hisame, like, perfectly built for this fest…?)
The strength to overwhelm the high defense of the Goldens in one hit.
The speed and skill to chase down an escaping Golden and accurately hit its critical point.
And, the ability to move quickly between the countless spawn points.
Possessing all three of those points, Hisame had the potential to reach a high score far exceeding my predictions.
I said that even 50 might be enough, but that was outrageous. Even 80 seems dubious. If I seriously wanted to win against Hisame, I started thinking that it would be impossible without defeating 100, no, without defeating around 120.
“I will no longer challenge you to life-or-death duels.”
Right then, after putting the coin away in a bag, Hisame suddenly spoke out.
She had her usual air of indifference around her, but, could it be…
“However, you didn’t prohibit competing against others for something else. That’s why, I haven’t broken our…”
“Could it be, that you’re still sulking about losing to me?”
From my impressions of her in the game, Hisame wasn’t the type to proactively participate in events like this, and for someone who used expensive Teleportation Stones like they were nothing, I couldn’t imagine her being in it for the money.
I couldn’t believe it, but was she participating in this in order to…
“…You sure seem to be enjoying leisurely hunting monsters in the corners.”
She clearly avoided the topic! Did she actually regret losing to me and come here to take revenge?
However, even under my suspicious gaze, Hisame didn’t so much as twitch.
There was nothing unnatural at all about her behavior or facial expressions. It was a perfect poker face. The only thing that was different from normal were her cat ears, busily wiggling all over the place.
Even while her cat ears were moving around at a blinding speed, Hisame continued to talk calmly.
“However, there’s no need for you to continue any further. The victor has already been established.”
But when she said that, her cat ears proudly stood up straight.
I had a bad feeling about this.
“…Is that, so? You never know who the winner is until the points have been counted.”
I tried saying something back, but it seemed quite meek compared to her confidence.
And while I was trying to shake her up a bit, her cat ears stood straight without moving.
It seemed that she really wasn’t disturbed by it.
“If you think that way, then struggle all you wish. I will be finishing up very soon.”
The question that I involuntarily let loose caused the slightest response from her cat ears.
“…I will probably be returning to the city after another 10 minutes or so. I will wait for you there. Don’t make me wait for too long this time.”
Leaving just that, Hisame immediately turned her back.
In the same way that she appeared, at a speed that could only barely be followed by my eyes, she dashed off towards the direction opposite the one she came from.
I stared dumbly in the direction she disappeared in, until I was brought back to my senses by my name being called from beside me.
Ringo’s eyes, definitely filled with unease, were looking up at me.
Since the unexpressive girl was showing this much expression, she must have been very worried.
I had to say something here, confidently, so as to soften her anxiety.
“It’s alright, Ringo.”
I looked Ringo straight in the eyes, placed my hand on her shoulder, and firmly said.
“Even second place gives 3x the reward!”
…For some reason, I got a slightly disgusted look.
Though I had said what I said, I did still want to aim as high as we could and earn as much money as we could. For the time being, I decided to go over the current status again and choose a plan of action.
First of all, we shouldn’t try to contest Hisame.
There was no way we could compete with her extermination speed and movement speed. From now on, we should move so as not to run into her.
We had bumped into Hisame slightly southwest of the center of the field. She had come from the northeast, and left heading slightly south of due west. From that, it was possible to predict, to an extent, how she would move.
Hisame had said that I was “enjoying leisurely hunting monsters in the corners”. That meant that Hisame was probably keeping track of our actions through the Seeker’s Ring.
She could’ve come met us much earlier if she had wanted to, so the reason why we didn’t encounter her until now must be that she hadn’t felt like it.
But, thinking about it another way, why did we run into her with this timing?
One hypothesis was that she had started from the opposite side of us, defeating slimes starting from the north, and that everywhere north of here had been pretty much hunted empty.
A one person road roller, or maybe it would be more apt to call it a one person carpet bomber.
Such a frightening thought would be inconceivable for anyone other than her, but one would strangely start thinking that it might just be possible with Hisame’s mobility.
With that hypothesis in mind, it might be possible that she moved in a zigzag between the west and the east as she slowly moved from the north towards the south.
At the very least, that would explain her coming from the northeast and leaving towards the southwest. I had pretty much no basis for this, but we should just try thinking about it with this as the premise.
If that were the case, how should we move?
One choice could be to run full speed towards the north.
Even Hisame couldn’t defeat monsters that hadn’t spawned yet. In the northmost part where she started, it was possible that most of the monsters hadn’t yet spawned by the time Hisame passed by. Even if there weren’t any spawn points with 10 monsters left, it might be possible to find a large number of spawn points with around 6 monsters left.
However, that was probably a bad plan.
There were many participants other than Hisame in the north, and it was even possible that Hisame could have backtracked to clean up what she missed. Moving also took time, so if we ended up with no results then it would be just disastrous.
It seemed that there was no choice but to try going for the spawn points I had marked.
While Hisame had left towards the southwest, if she were moving as I hypothesized, then it would still take some time before she reached the south edge. On the other hand, we had started hunting slightly east of the south edge and moved through the southwest before turning and heading towards the center. If Hisame were to move as I thought, there was a possibility that there were points neither we nor Hisame had touched in the southeast.
But if other adventurers had already hunted all of the monsters around there, moving from the southeast edge towards anywhere else would take a lot of time. The risk if this plan were a miss was also high.
(Even then, let’s go with this.)
We’d go back to the original plan. I’d already decided that we wouldn’t try to compete directly with Hisame.
Thus, the best plan would probably be to head towards the southeast, which seemed like the place where we could obtain the most points at the moment. What would decide if this was a hit or a miss would be how much of an effect the items had.
“Ringo, let’s go back south. In the south, there might be points that nobody has touched yet.”
Ringo gave a small nod at my words.
As if feeling threatened by Hisame’s presence, she even gave such a suggestion.
However, I immediately shook my head sideways.
“Nah, it’s better if we stick together. The way we’ve been doing it up to now is probably the best.”
For a moment, I thought about splitting up to increase efficiency, but that would probably have the opposite effect.
At least, I don’t feel like I would be able to defeat a Golden Wild Zlime by myself.
It seemed like Ringo also realized that our combination had been going smoothly, as she was quickly convinced.
“For now, let’s prioritizing moving over searching for Goldens. We’re going at full speed.”
Checking that Ringo nodded once more, I started moving towards the southeast with Rapid Cancel Dash.