as Stardust Arrow, hitting the brittle ground of the Ghost Float might be recognized as a scratch.”

“I see! It won’t be recognized as ground because it’s too weak.
So it won’t break his fall at all… Yes, if the effect ends at the ground of the Ghost Float, he will still be able to use Floating Cloud or Warp Arrow to return, even if he makes a hole… In other words, you won, Nordy!”

“But this wasn’t about winning or losing for me.
I just wanted to fight him once now, for the future.
I planned to stop the fight once I had seen enough.
And considering his Grow Card, I do feel a little bad for him.
Well, if he really does fall all of the way back down, that is.”

“Then you should have just told him from the beginning that you wouldn’t kill him!”

“Kyuji shows his true worth when he’s desperate.
It was the same during the turf war and the Charin fight.
There is no point if I can’t draw that out of him.
Well, simple provocation was not enough to do that, especially when he had the Grow Card…”

“People with the same job and age are usually affected when you provoke them… But I guess it’s different when the person is just an old guy who wants to enjoy a game… Are they just more mature?”

“He doesn’t have as much pride and doesn’t fixate on things.
Such people have a wider view of the world… I have to say that he could be the next big threat after Macoco.
He is completely different compared to the Kyuji that I first met.
Back then, he was just a player that would nod at any playing advice that I would give.”

“Ah, that thing you do whenever you start a new game.
You join a beginner party and bully the new players.
Why do you do things that make people hate you?”

“Because once in a while there are people who improve like that.
And I invite such people to come and join us.
The best personnel are in places where you have to really look for them.
Kyuji was like that, but I missed it.
The result is that he now stands in our way as a threat.”

“Well, it looks like you have your own way of thinking, Nord.
But I think that if you said things a little less insultingly, people would hate our guild a little less…”

“If you want to be the best, then you have to be prepared to be hated.
Besides, pretending to be a good person only means it’s harder to recover if you ever end up in a scandal.
Pro gamers with an online presence should always be taking a little heat.”

“Is that so? But people coudn’t like me any more than they do now.
I’m especially popular with women and children.
They say that I’m the moral compass of VRHAR.”

“Perhaps I should leak information about how you’re dating three fans at the same time.”

“I’m sorry.
Don’t do that.

“Well, it’s not like you haven’t been exposed about five times already.
I have no idea why anyone still gives you a chance.”

“Because it’s like a lottery! They sell because everyone thinks that they will be the exception and win.
In other words, they think they’ll be the one who can make me loyal.
And if it turns out to be true, they not only get someone as awesome as me, but can prove that they were better than all their rivals.
So it’s worth a shot, I think.”

“…A surprisingly thought out response… Well, I think that’s enough pointless talk for now.
Let’s go back to town.”

“Yes, I need to edit the footage of the fight!”

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“We won’t be posting this fight.”

“What!? Then why did you even fight!?”

“I already told you.
It was to test Kyuji’s power.
Uploading a video will only spoil the real fight.
It will ruin things.”

“The real fight… Was that leak real? Other pro gamers seem to be making preparations as if it is…”

“I think that it’s very likely.
The timing is also perfect.
The zodiac event was so long, so people that finished it quickly are becoming bored.
That being said, if they released information about it too soon, then it would affect the concept of the zodiac event, which is to play slowly at your own pace.
Because everyone would be frantic if they knew about the next event…”

“Of course! Because you can win actual money! And each winner will receive 2.5 million! That means a party of four could make 10 million! This really is the great age of VR! The gaming dream! A crazy battle is going to begin!”

“And so they leaked it in a way that only people who are addicted to finding new information will find out.
Of course, rumors will still spread quickly.
I’m sure there will be an official announcement eventually.
About this tournament to decide the strongest party in NSO…”

“And we have to win, don’t we?”

If we can’t show our best during this fight, then we have no right to call ourselves pro gamers.
That’s why I’m gathering information now.”

“But you’re especially cautious about Macoco and Kyuji.”

“Compared to other players, yes… Leaving Macoco aside for now, I have to say that there is still a large gap between us and Kyuji.”

“Is it his playing?”

“The opposite.
He’s grown so much as a player.
He can even aim better than me.
But his weapons and skill are not at the same level… His equipment is just a plain Windcloud set.
And his Unison hasn’t reached its 3rd evolution.
He has little variation when it comes to charge attacks, and few of them have evolved.”

You noticed all that during a short fight, eh?”

“Also, he doesn’t seem to have much information.
Most of the skills I used were the same ones I used during the Charin fight.
And yet he reacted as if he’d never seen them before.
It seems like he doesn’t watch our videos.”

“That annoys me a little! We beat her faster than anyone, so he could at least watch it! But maybe he’ll do just that, now that you fought him? And he might see what it is that he lacks? Perhaps this fight will result in further growth for Mr.

“That all depends on him.
I myself have gained something through the fight.
Now, let’s return and tell the other members.”

“Got it!”

Gullinkambi pulled some materials out of nowhere and crafted a large tent.
When it was finished, he and Nord went inside and shouted.

“Fast Travel! First town!”

And then they and the tent vanished.

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