Data.154 – Old Bowman, Like It Used To Be

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After getting through my morning routine, I turned on my computer nervously.
The day had finally arrived.
They were going to announce the details for the 1st NSO Strongest Party Tournament.

It was 7 in the morning…almost!
The broadcast would start at 7 exactly.
They had announced the zodiac event at the same time as well.
As I was a healthy gamer, I could wake up early without any issue, but it would be annoying for gamers who played late into the night instead of during the day.

…Still, I felt quite restless.
Perhaps I should kill time by watching videos or listening to music…
No, I wasn’t in the mood for that.
This time, I would just wait quietly…

The comment section for the livestream was very lively.
As the countless words moved, I could occasionally see ‘Kyuji’ and ‘Ghost Guild’ appear among them.
There had been some PvP elements during the zodiac event, but it was just a racing game, which wasn’t the usual way that people competed in MMORPGs.
This time, it would be more similar to the battle royale or turf war.
So it was no wonder that I or the Ghost Guild would be mentioned, as we had done well in PvP and the Charin fight.

Of course, it also meant that I felt a lot of pressure.
Not that it made me want to act like I was famous, or play in a way that would entertain the audience, but it did strengthen my desire to win.
It wasn’t because of pride…but what was it?

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I suppose it was part of wanting to fight with all of my power.

Do everything that I can possibly do, and give it my all.
And if I still lose, then that was fine.
But if I lost because of something like not preparing a ‘regeneration potion,’ which was a popular item that most players had, then that would be awkward.
People who were rooting for me would be disappointed, and I would have regrets.
At least if I lost because some hardcore player had an ultra rare item, or if it was against a veteran who had decades of experience…I could accept it.
I would just try harder next time…

‘Tadaa! It’s the start of the official NSO livestream-nyon!’


As I had become lost in thought, the sudden voice from my computer startled me…
I think this happened last time too…
Only this time I recognized the voice, and wouldn’t make jokes about the way she ended her sentences.

‘Some of you already know about me! Well, most of you do! I am the AI idol Charin, who presided over the zodiac event as part of a collaboration with NSO-nyon!’

The familiar AI idol had appeared on my screen.
It was surprising what a person could get used to.
The bold appearance and speech had taken me aback at first, but it seemed normal now.

‘Ah… My event was so long, but it’s now time for it to end-nyon.
Just like how the stars fade away when the sun rises, you will no longer be able to see me in NSO… In other words, it’s time to say goodbye… Unless you come to visit me in my own game…’

Charin said while looking at the camera.
I see.
So now that the event is finished, she won’t appear in the game anymore…

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That was a little…well, quite sad…

‘So, this is bye-bye-nyon!’

That was quick!
Charin hopped to the side of the screen and disappeared.
But then she hopped back in from the other side.
It was like an action game where both sides were connected…!

‘So…that was a little joke… Because I, Charin, will also be presiding over this event, the 1st NSO Strongest Party Tournament!’

Oh, now that was a surprise…!
The collaboration event must have been received very well, or they just didn’t have anyone better to do it.
In any case, I was glad that we didn’t have to say goodbye to Charin just yet.

‘That’s enough of that nonsense.
It’s time to talk about the event! First, the requirement for joining is that you are a party of four! Ignoring your chances of actually winning, anyone can join, including level 1 beginners! As long as you aren’t solo or in a party that has fewer than four-nyon!’

The bar for participating was lower than I thought.
I suppose because it was so difficult to win, they didn’t care if tens of thousands of people gave it a try?
However, that would mean that it would take a very long time to decide the winners…
Unless they split people up depending on their level.

‘There will be no separation of classes based on ability.
And so all parties will fight under the same conditions-nyon!’

…I see.
It was an event to find the strongest, and so they weren’t going to make things easier to accommodate weak players.
Besides, management would want to give the prize to players who have been here for a long time, rather than allow some beginner to win the fortune and glory.

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‘Now I will explain to you about parties-nyon! While there can be up to 4 players, you can bring 1 Unison as a 5th player! So you can choose to have a Unison fill that slot or not! You don’t have to bring one if you don’t need them! Furthermore, Unisons that are added to a party through the special privilege that Unison Trainers have do not affect the 5th slot!’

In other words, I could bring Garbow with me to the fight…!
And Satomi’s Unison wouldn’t be affected.
Both Garbow and Gochu could fight with us.
I had been wondering about this ever since Necoco started to look for a 4th member, but it was all cleared up now.
Changing his equipment and increasing his skills had been worth the effort!

‘About the items next.
Just like the fight against me, there will be restrictions-nyon! You can bring up to 10 types, and 10 of those types of items! Both equipment and consumable items take up a slot, so think carefully-nyon!’

This was expected.
If you could bring too many health items with you, people would constantly run away and heal, which would ruin the pacing.
In order to keep fights quick and exciting, they needed some kind of restriction.

‘Also! I’m sure that you all want to hear about the rules of the battle…but we won’t be announcing them until the day of the event-nyon! It’s supposed to be a surprise! If you have any complaints, talk to the developers-nyon!’

She was quick to shift the blame… Well, I suppose it made sense, since she was just fired by them.
Still, not explaining the rules wasn’t exactly a pleasant surprise…

‘One thing that I can say is that they won’t be like the strict, special rules during the turf war! The whole point is to have the preliminaries be simple so that we can quickly trim down the number of players for the final selection…oh! I wasn’t supposed to say that! Well, who cares! I might as well tell you-nyon!’

It wasn’t a very convincing slip of the tongue, but had she not given us more information, the live stream would have gotten a lot of downvotes.
I suppose she understood such things…as an AI idol.

‘The final battles will be 1 party vs 1 party…so 4 vs 4.
The party that defeats every player of the other party will win.’

So she was going to explain the rules after all!

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‘But the preliminaries will be a little different-nyon! It’s still PvP, but the rules will be simple so that players will be eliminated quickly, until we have the desired number of parties left… Understand-nyon?’

Ah, so it’s ‘that’ thing that is deeply related to the Ghost Guild.
…I think?

‘Ah! Damn it! I’ve been yapping so much that the livestream is about to end! Uh, the preliminaries will start in 2 weeks! It will be a lot smoother if you sign up to enter before then! Also, it’s been decided that the zodiac event will be extended 2 weeks, so that it ends when the preliminaries start-nyon! So don’t give up on getting the ME medals! I’ll take you on any time-nyon!’

She was talking very quickly now…
I had assumed that she was just acting, and management wanted her to announce all of that information all along, but maybe it really was a mistake…?
What was crazy was that I could believe it, since this was Charin.
Perhaps the AIs were already rebelling…!

‘You can check the official site for more details-nyon! Now, bye-bye! …Ah, I finished in time.’

The livestream ended.
The comment section was blowing up.
Whether it was intentional or not, Charin was entertaining to watch.
It was just an announcement, but now everyone was excited.

The fight would start in two weeks…
It now felt so much more real.

“I can’t wait…!”

I had been thinking all kinds of things before the livestream, but the words that came to mind when it was finished was:
Yes, I just need to enjoy myself.
With that pure feeling that I had when I first logged into Next Stage Online.

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