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Chapter 75: I shouldn’t have read it.
On Tuesday and Wednesday night, Yuuta and the others accompanied me to level up, and it was a desperate struggle just to gain one level. Even then, I still felt I lacked firepower. I specialized in weakening the enemy, but I didn’t have anything that could strike the final blow. The only reason I was able to do anything until now was because I was active in the area around Tre. Leveling up or going on trysts, it was hard to decide which to choose.
“There’s still more to do than leveling up, Mac.”
It was already midnight on Wednesday when I had to log out. Yuuta spoke to me with a serious, weathered look on his face.
“You’re talking about increasing my firepower, right?”
When I gave what I thought was the answer, Yuuta responded with authoritative, outright denial. W-wrong?
When I wrinkled my brow because I couldn’t think of anything but firepower, Yuuta stared directly at me, a disappointment.
“It’s the tarts. You need to feed the people our tarts.”
“Ah, got it.”
My shoulders slumped. I lost my energy. Well, that was Yuuta for you.
“I promised you, didn’t I?” I asked. “But I haven’t fulfilled it yet. It takes a lot of time. But more importantly, Takahashi, how are you going to advertise that seafood bowl restaurant?”
“We have the internet as a powerful ally don’t we? It’s already spreading. I posted, ‘Want to eat fresh fish in Quattro?! There’s a super tasty seafood bowl restaurant right here in the back alleys! Let’s all go eat there and make this place bigger!’ on an internet forum to spread the word. Then the fish lovers took to it right away, so I think there’s been a big increase in customers. Because there wasn’t a seafood place with variety, people used to have to use a fishing rod to catch your meal, so it’s an eagerly anticipated restaurant. When I peeked in one time, there were some warriors from Sei who said they wanted to go back to eat there again.” Yuuta replied.
“Huh, is that so? But still, bulletin boards… I haven’t looked at one recently. Anything interesting?”
“Yeah. All sorts of stuff. There was a guy who got close to a local, coaxed them, courted them, and finally got together openly with them. Mac, you should definitely read it too.”
Ah, that was the kind of topic he recommended to me. Alright, I’d take a look later. We unrolled and set up tents specifically made for players to log out. If you logged out in it, you could recover without having to log out at an inn or something; it was also exceptional because it doesn’t get attacked by monsters. They were fairly expensive, but Yuuta and his friends seemed to have saved up quite a bit of money. A frontier player indeed. I mean, I wasn’t nearly as far ahead by choice, so I barely knew any of the frontier players. I had no idea about Yuuta’s relationships in this world. I didn’t think I was going to ask, but how strong was a player that Yuuta said was “strong”? I was a little curious about that strength.
“What’s the average party level for Mad Ride?” I asked quietly as we crawled into our tents with a rustle.
It was complicated, but Yui and Brave huddled together in the tent while Yuuta, Kairi, and I formed a second group. It was the kind of arrangement that made the world think Yui and Brave were dating. But they didn’t seem to mind. I didn’t have a tent, so I was borrowing space in one. Sorry for it being cramped. Or maybe it was because I was uncomfortable knowing Kairi was Masuda inside, and I was a potential wizard.
“Wasn’t it somewhere over 100? Hey, Kairi,” Yuuta said.
“Yep, but Harpon-san should be the only one over level 110,” she answered.
“That high? I’m only halfway there… to think that there are monsters that can annihilate you even at that level,” I said.
“That earlier was harsh. I don’t feel like my attacks are working. Trying to bridge the difference in power is gradually becoming a lost cause…”
“Is that so… If possible, I’d like to get somewhere over level 150 before I have an encounter.”
The two looked at me with far-off eyes when I said that. Ah, I may have brought up a sensitive subject.
“W-well I’m going to log out now! Goodnight!”
“Oh, then I’ll go to sleep too…”
Yuuta’s hand reached for the lamp that was placed at his head. With a click, my vision went dark. Before logging out, I opened my status screen and checked the skill system.
Yep. There was a distinct lack of combat-related options. I used swords and stuff pretty well, but I hadn’t been able to learn any skills no matter how much time I spent. I guessed I didn’t have the ability to learn skills until I went to a place where I could actually learn them. With the exception of my set main class and subclass, there was no limit to skills, but raising them all required a lot of time, effort, or, if you were unskilled, financial resources. Because the aforementioned things were impossible for me, I had to raise my alchemy to max level gradually. But in order to max out, you of course needed to raise your personal level and magical power. What should I do? I was seriously begging someone to teach me how to make a magic circle. I wondered if my magic power would go up in conjunction. It was a magic system, after all. Finally, I gently wrapped my hand around the feather attached to my chest and logged out.
Out of my Gear, the first thing I did was look for the “people who found mutual love with locals” bulletin board Yuuta had told me about.
In the dimly lit room, I tracked the screen.
I’m very blessed right now. I don’t log out very much. I’m just holed up in my room anyway, so I want to find happiness there. This world is the best where I don’t have my mother on my case calling me a good-for-nothing who needs to work. My wife is also the best!
Words like “hikikomori” and “good-for-nothing” made my heart ache. There was happiness in that other world, because their beloved will be waiting for them. Because that beloved wasn’t here. As I closely read everyone’s banter and almost lovey-dovey stories, one sentence jumped out at me.
Somehow, I think she’s pregnant. Can you have children? I’m really looking forward to it, but I’m a bit bewildered. Is it really in the game, being able to do something like having kids…? Jeez, I have too much on my mind. What should I do?
Uh, it was too realistic being able to have a child in the game world, right? This sounded a bit like an illusion. Especially for those whose reality was harsh. The thought of it gouged my heart. It was almost like a vision of what I would be like in the future. Because the feeling of making love with Vidello-san was more real than reality. Certainly, if that deed was done between a man and a woman, it would be possible. I wondered what our bodies were experiencing there. Were they alive? But we could also completely respawn. I thought the body was digital there, as if the body was here and only the consciousness was going there, but something about that and the inverse just didn’t feel right. A world that went beyond the game’s setting and that seemed to have a genuine history raised questions one after another about whether the world of games could really be easily separated from reality. Yuuta, who could say this was interesting or funny and be done with it, had a real-life girlfriend named Yui and his life revolved around this real world, so I guessed he could laugh it off. But as for me…
As for me…
Then, the face of Vil-san, who looked a lot like Vidello-san came to mind. But he was an adult who played around. Besides, he seemed to be working hard, so even if he really was inside Vidello-san, it would have been difficult for him to be logged in that much due to time constraints. Besides, when I checked, Vidello-san definitely had an NPC marker. So no matter how similar they were, Vil-san and Vidello-san were not the same. The thought that it would’ve been nice if that were the case was eclipsed by the feeling of relief that he wasn’t Vidello-san.
I couldn’t help it, but I really wanted to see Vidello-san. I just wanted to say, “I love you.” I wanted him to have that smile and reply, “Me too.” While pondering deeply on such things, I decided that I shouldn’t have looked at that bulletin board, so I turned off my computer to take a shower.
The next day when I logged in, Yuuta, who was supposed to be sleeping next to me, was already gone and Kairi was sprawled further inside. Because she didn’t even twitch, it meant she hadn’t logged in yet. She was kind of like a doll, I thought to myself as I stared at Kairi. Because she really didn’t move. It was like a shell with no soul in it. Of course, it would be a bit strange to touch Masuda’s female body, so I just observed intently. I wondered if I had made such a robotic face at Vidello-san. I kind of hated that. It would be better if you said even one thing in your sleep. As I thought that, the tent’s flap flew open behind me.
“Um, Mac? Were you looking at Kairi’s cleavage? It’s nice and voluptuous dontcha know. She’s mine, but I’ll forgive you if you’re just looking. Ah, but you like muscle cleavage better don’t you? Your partner’s that gatekeeper right? We-ll, I’m thin so it would be boring to show you. Sorry.”
Brave opened that mouth of his the moment he came in. As I was dumbstruck by his extreme words, Brave winked at me with a playful expression. What just happened? When Brave asked me so casually, I felt like I unintentionally got a glimpse of his true intentions.
“No, yesterday, after I logged out, I read bulletin board posts about people who got with this world’s locals and now I’ve got a lot of things to think about.”
“Ah. It’s that huh? I’ve read them too. When we become adults and peel off these pants, when we do ecchi stuff here, I wonder if Kairi will get pregnant, or what will happen if she does and logs out. We seriously thought about it quite a bit too. But as they say, what will be will be, so I decided to enjoy a different life in this world. But Mac’s partner is the gatekeeper, so it must bother you.”
“Ahh, yeah, no…”
Brave chuckled at my strange response and patted my back with the palm of his hand.
“Anyway, we should enjoy this world, I think. I mean, Kairi giving birth to a kid… if you think about it, it’s fantastic!”
“Huh? Ah, yeah.”
Brave grinned, and for some reason the words, “It’s become an undeniable fact that there is a conniving man who wants to completely own Kairi,” passed through my mind like subtitles. Yep. That was just my imagination. After all, inside he was a high school girl whose beauty would make the flowers blush… right? Feeling like I caught a glimpse of Brave’s true nature, I exited the tent with my heart pounding, or rather, my heart racing. There, Yuuta was taking care of the horses.
“Today I’m returning to Tre. For the time being, I’ll start by trying to learn something from Crash.”
When I told him so abruptly, Yuuta replied nonchalantly, “I thought so.” As expected of a good friend. He gets it.
“What are you guys going to do?” I asked.
Yuuta replied instantly, and I smiled wryly and accepted his answer. However, I’d make them after consulting with Vidello-san on the weekend. Once Kairi and Yui logged in, we departed directly for Tre.
thank you for the chapter!
I’m really curious to find out how author-sama plans to make our two guys happy in the end. If it’s really just human x AI NPC or if there is more behind it.
Thx for the ch (ㅅ˘ㅂ˘)