Part 1

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Volume 2

Prologue

— 1 —

Just six days since I entered the world of Nekomimineko, the shittiest game of the century.

I was in the largest city within the game, the capital Lichter, facing the greatest threat of my life.

 

“Hey, hey, mister. Mister, are you a hero?”

 

I turned towards the familiar sweet-sounding childish voice, and, as expected, behind me was a small girl that looked like she was in the lower grades of elementary school.

Her appearance seemed harmless, but she was none other than the number one most dangerous character in the capital. She was the very character who had driven countless players to their demise.

(To think I’d become the target of someone this troublesome so soon after making it to the capital!)

But it’s not like regretting it would help. I shouldn’t have let down my guard just because I was finally able to be alone after so long.

Having disembarked from the Skyboat and smoothly dispatching Hisame, I had been walking around cheerfully, feeling freed from all my problems, but that was a mistake.

As a result of carefreely approaching the front gates, this girl, said to be the capital’s very first trial, had locked-on to me magnificently.

Not involved with any events, she was just a mob character whose name wasn’t even known, but she was extremely famous with the Nekomimineko players, as they dubbed her Poison-tan and feared her.

That said, she doesn’t suddenly assault players or drag them into unreasonable events. What she does is much more ordinary, much more trifling.

What she does is just – she asks questions.

“Mister, are you a hero?”

Like that.

The question itself was not particularly unusual in any way, and in most RPGs where the player=hero, it was in a way quite a standard question.

The problem was that no matter how one answers this question, she would reply with a response that was more human-like than a human’s, but which was actually pre-programmed in.

For example, if one answers “Yeah, I’m a hero.”,

“Ahaha, mister, you’re so funnny! I mean, mister, you’re only level forty seven arenn’t you? You’re just a weakling who can’t even defeat the Wild Zlimes in the plains, how are you going to defeat the Demon Lord?”

Like so she would slowly chip away at the player’s life points.

If, on the other hand, one answers “Sorry, unfortunately I’m not a hero.”,

“Ahh, sorry. Now that I take a good look, mister, your face looks very plainn. If someone like you were a hero, I’m sure eeveryone will be disappointed. I’m sorry for asking such a stuupid question.

Like so she would slowly crush the player’s heart.

Even if the player answers evasively “I don’t know quite yet if I’m a hero or not.”,

“Wow, that’s amaazing, mister! You’re soo much older than me, but you can’t even answer such a simple question. You’re amaazing for being able to keep on living so shamelessly, mister!”

Like so she would come stabbing with a knife made of words.

The point is, there was a vast variation in her words, and each time one tries to explain themselves, she would refute them from a completely different angle, making her a very frustrating opponent.

Incidentally, if a player loses their cool and unwittingly tries to strike her, she would counter with an unexpected amount of strength, pinning the player to the ground, and unleash the following.

“Hey, hey. Resorting to vioolence after losing an argument with a little girl, and still losing and being pinnned to the ground, how does it feel? Hey, how does it feel? Hey, hey, telll me, heyy.”

Seriously, rubbing people the wrong way was the only thing that the Nekomimineko staff were top-class in.

Now, to be honest, it’s one thing if it were someone straight as an arrow like Train Girl or Hisame, but against her, I, who was not very strong in arguments to begin with, had no chance of beating her with words.

To begin with, just like her namesake, all Poison-tan does is to say some slightly spicy words. If one could just endure that, she wasn’t particularly harmful. If one could just shrug off her poisonous tongue as nothing then that was the end of it. But, I didn’t really feel like being completely on the receiving end like what I do in the game.

(Luckily, right now, I had a way out.)

The biggest change with the game becoming reality was probably in the behavior of the NPCs. Just like how I was able to obtain the bugged weapon Shiranui without going through the proper procedures, and like how I was able to prepare an environment in which I could use the confession room alone by asking Marielle at the church, or like how I was able to manipulate the method and victory conditions of the duel and somehow avoid Hisame’s event chain, if my opponent was a person, then there will be many paths to victory.

Right now, she was not an AI moving based on a program, but an actual living, breathing human with actual intelligence and feelings. Even things that would have no effect back when this was a game should now be effective.

“Hey, hey, mist…er?”

Her words suddenly ground to a halt.

That was because I had held out right in front of her a certain object that I had taken out from my bag. Then, wearing the friendliest smile I could form, I spoke.

“D-Do you want a candy?”

I had stuttered a bit due to my nervousness, but this was probably the right choice.

In this world that was both a game and reality, it was possible to make such a choice that didn’t exist in the list of choice. If you treat her not as a game character, but just as a precocious child, then the answer would come naturally.

Not by beating her with words, but winning her over with sweets. This was the one and only correct answer that I had come up with.

Her reply was–

“…”

–silence.

Saying nothing, but not taking the candy I held out either, she, who was supposed to be a character more talkative than anyone else, ran towards the gate that was nearby.

Then, she said something to the guards standing by the side of the gate.

Of course, I didn’t know anything convenient like lip reading, so I had no way of telling what people far away are talking about.

Still, I wonder why.

At that time, when she pointed at me and said something, I was somehow able to read it perfectly.

 

“–Mister guard, it’s that person.”

 

I ran away as fast as I could.

 

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