Data.96 – Old Bowman, Golden Season

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The Autumn Dungeon was next.
What waited for me beyond the red door were trees with red leaves and pampas grass swaying in the wind, as well as a light blue sky with scale-like clouds.
It was completely different from the Summer dungeon.
A comfortable temperature that was not hot or cold.

The only bugs I could see were a few dragonflies.
Most of the monsters here were based on edible plants, such as mushrooms, potatoes and chestnuts.
Perhaps they were depicting seasonal foods.

Aside from that, there wasn’t anything notable about the dungeon.
The attacks were typical and there were no gimmicks.
I was just walking through a comfortable climate.
It was like I was having a picnic.

Not only that, but my luck with the map seemed to be strong.
I just walked a little after warping and then found the next warp panel.
Thanks to this, I was able to warp to the boss floor without any trouble at all.

Surely this wasn’t done on purpose, as a way of expressing how comfortable the autumn season was?
…I was probably overthinking it.
Well, for me personally, the Autumn dungeon was the easiest one so far.
Had I known what it would be like beforehand, I would have saved it for last.
And then it would be easy to protect the flowers on my head.

I should wait for the final boss before jumping to such conclusions.
It was entirely possible that the boss alone would be ridiculously hard.

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And so I braced for what was to come, and stepped on the warp panel.

I then warped to…a path between rice fields in the countryside.
All around me stretch rice paddies that had been harvested.
And in the far back, I could see a tree that had shed all of its leaves.
And underneath it stood one of the horsemen from Revelations.
The Black Rider.
He was on a black horse and held a scale… In other words, Famine.

However, there was no hunger status in this game.
In roguelikes, you sometimes need to eat in order to avoid hunger.
It could be a matter of life and death.
But NSO was a MMORPG that focused on combat.
While there were edible items, they were for recovery.
It felt like you were ‘using’ them more than ‘eating’ them.
The previous two had skills that were easy to understand, but I had no idea how this one would fight…

“Letter Arrow!”

◆Black Rider
Attribute: Angel
Skill: Famine Plague, Black Apocalypse
One of the four horsemen from Revelations that appear at the end of the world.
As the third horseman, the Black Rider is the lord of ‘famine.’
He controls a horde of locusts that eat everything, and is good with attacks and debuffs.

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Famine, plague, locusts, food shortage, disaster, and empty fields…
The various words were like a warning.
Something terrible would happen the longer this enemy was left alive…!

“Garbow! Red Meteor! Missile Pod! Straight Darts! Red Flash! Holy Splash!”

I made him use all of the powerful charge attacks skills.
The Black Rider raised the scale into the air.
And then a foggy, black aura burst out from the ground.

Well, it would have been fine if it was just an aura.
But going by the skill and description, they had to be bugs!
I really wished that they would stop attacking me in this way…!
I’m not some comedian who constantly has to face something they hate at every filming location…!
Besides, I’m all alone, so no one can even enjoy my reaction…!

“Multi-Burning Arrow! Burning Arrow Storm! Exploding Sky Tear! I’m Burning Arrow!”

I used a chain of Burning Arrow fusion charge attacks and skills, as they seemed like they would be the most effective.
I even used I’m Arrow.
However, as I hadn’t decided on which to focus on, the Black Rider or the horde of locusts, the attacks were scattered.
Resulting in the worst outcome.
They were both fine…
And so I used Warp Arrow to fall back as if fleeing.
What could I do now…

“Ah, Windcloud Blast!”

Windcloud Blast created a strong wind in the direction that you chose.

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The small bugs could not fly against it.
Now I have sealed the Famine Locust!

My opponent seemed to understand this as well, and so he switched his attack method.
This time, he threw a black ball of energy at me.
So this was Black Apocalypse then.
According to the description from Letter Arrow, this would weaken my status if I was hit by it.

“Windcloud Blast! Whirlwind! Floating Cloud Herd!”

I used Whirlwind to become lighter and then used the Windguard Hakama to rise up into the air.
Then I hopped around on the nine clouds made by Floating Cloud Herd and dodged the enemy’s attacks while unleashing my own.
The bugs could not fly this high.
Wind and height… With these two countermeasures, I was no longer afraid.

I continued to dodge the bullets of black energy while meting out my own attacks until the Black Rider fell.
The horde of fog-like locusts also disappeared, and I let out a sigh of relief.
Perhaps I was overreacting to the bugs.
But I couldn’t help but hate them.
I’m sure that I will continue to fight desperately in the future…!

As for the flower that the Black Rider dropped… It was a red leaf.
A red maple leaf, to be exact.
…It’s not even a flower.
It was indeed something that made you think of autumn, but it wasn’t a flower.

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Well, compared to cherry blossoms and sunflowers, there wasn’t a flower that really made you think of autumn.
Red spider lilies and cosmos…people would have different opinions on that.
But for me, all it meant was that I had another weakness on my head.
As long as it wasn’t huge or heavy, it didn’t matter if it was a flower or a leaf.
Though, there was something a little sad about a dead leaf on an old man’s head… But I decided not to think about it.

A warp panel appeared now that the boss was defeated, and I stepped onto it in order to return to the central floor.
I now had three flowers on my head… One of them wasn’t a flower, but it was easier to call it that.
I had to protect them and clear the final dungeon.
And if I could return to this floor, I would get the Virgo medal and the special reward.
And that would mean I had finished all twelve of the zodiac labyrinths that made up this event.
The only thing left would be to go to the Serpent Palace that floated above the first town…

I was starting to feel nervous.
At first, twelve trials had seemed like a lot.
But now it felt like it was over all too quickly… Well, maybe not that quickly.
But it did feel pretty short.
Though, I did know that it was because I had been going through them at a quick pace.
I couldn’t help myself.
I was having that much fun.

Wait, it was too early to talk like it was all over.
I still had a trial left.
For most plants, winter was a season of death.
Perhaps there would be something there that would cause my head plants to wilt.

“I can’t let my guard down…!”

I muttered to myself.
And then I opened the white Winter door.

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