Data.16 Old Bowman, Blown by the Wind

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When I was a kid, I often wished that I could ride on clouds and walk on rainbows.
Who would have thought that such old dreams would come true for me at this age…
I suppose that’s one of the good things about VR games.
At the same time, it was also frightening.

“Thi-this is so high…”

My mistake was looking down in order to be sure of the situation that I was in.
The incredible height made me feel dizzy, and I nearly fell over.
It had been awhile…since I last felt that sensation of sweat pouring from every pore.
Perhaps being so realistic was not always a good thing.

Well, as for the clouds, there was nothing here in particular.
No kingdoms or monsters.
Either it hadn’t been implemented yet, or being able to ride clouds was nothing more than a little easter egg.

I lay on top of the cloud, spread eagled.
It was soft and fluffy.
I felt like I could fall asleep immediately.
Well…I might have if this was a bed that was on the ground…

“There sure are a lot of clouds today.
I wonder if I can reach any of the higher ones?”

I could see scale clouds floating in the higher regions of the sky.
They floated with what seemed like just the right amount of space between them, and were like platforms in an action game.
A boss level, to be precise.
There was a cocoon-like cloud in the center of the scale cloud cluster.
That was where a boss would typically jump out.


The cocoon exploded.
Something had jumped out of it and was now flying between the clouds.
Could it be a floating castle… No, that speed… A bird?

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Both guesses were wrong.
It was…a dragon!

It’s scales were the color of the sky and it had large wings, a long neck, and a slender body.
In spite of the sleek build, it was a western dragon.

“It-it looks so cool!!”

No matter how old I became, I still thought dragons were cool.
They were just cool and powerful beings.
Just the design itself was awesome.
When weapons, magic, or emblems used dragons, they felt more special.

Boss dragons were intimidating, and classic heroes often had the power of dragons within them.
Even if they were just side characters, they were memorable for their visuals.
Sometimes they flew through the sky as a method of transportation, opening up the world for exploration.

What I was trying to say was that dragons were wonderful.
All boys liked dragons.

That was all fine and well, but what was I supposed to do about the current situation?
The dragon hadn’t noticed me yet.
As long as I didn’t attack it, it would probably leave me alone.

It was surely stronger than any monster or player that I had faced up until now.
So pretending that I didn’t see it and running away was not a bad idea.

Three days had already passed since I started the game, so there would be penalties for dying.
You would be forcefully sent back to the last town and would lose some of your money.
Furthermore, your status would also be temporarily decreased.
This meant that it would be difficult to go back immediately and get your revenge on the monster that killed you.
Even normal exploration would become dangerous.

“Still, I want to fight it…”

If my guess was correct, this dragon was an incredibly rare monster.
It only appeared in the sky during days with strong winds and many clouds.

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If I didn’t fight it today, how long would it be before I saw it again?

Besides, I might be able to acquire dragon armor if I win.
I too wanted to be that protagonist who had the power of a dragon!
What man would run away when there was a strong enemy in front of him?

“Come at me, dragon! I’m your enemy!”

My first arrow slammed into the dragon, and just like that, the great battle had begun.

◆ ◆ ◆

“Haa…ha…it’s so strong!”

No matter how many arrows I fired off, I couldn’t tell if I was doing damage.
There were two reasons for this.
The first was because the dragon never appeared to be in any pain when I hit it.
The second was that there was no visible HP bar.

Perhaps this was something unique to special, rare monsters.
Not showing the damage made the battle more immersive.
But it was hard when you couldn’t encourage yourself and say, ‘just a little more and I have it!’

“I hope that this dragon is also weaker to attacks when flying…!”

The scale clouds that worked as platforms were quite interesting.
If you wanted to rise while stepping on it, it pushed you up like a trampoline.
And if you wanted to go down when stepping on it, then you would slip right through it.
It really did remind me of action games.

It was clear that you were supposed to use this method to dodge the dragons attacks while fighting it.
And I was able to use Warp Arrow on top of this, so it was easy to move around.
Being solo was also a plus in this instance.
If there were four of us scrambling around, people were likely to bump into each other and fall off.
It would be the kind of battle that could ruin friendships.

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As for the dragon, it had three kinds of attacks.
There was ‘Roar,’ which would temporarily stun you if you were too close.
And ‘Air Breath,’ which was when the air expelled from its mouth caused shockwaves that erased the cloud you were standing on.
And then there was ‘Charge,’ where it targeted you and charged in a straight line.

Roar and Air Breath were easy for me to dodge.
This was because Warp Arrow was such a good match for this battlefield.
On the other hand, ‘Immobile Sniping Stance’ was the exact opposite, and I couldn’t use it here.
It was not possible to stay still for 30 seconds in an arena that demanded you to jump around all of the time.

Still, the real problem was ‘Charge.’
With this attack, it moved away from me once before locking on and then swooping down towards me.
Dodging it meant escaping to another cloud after it had locked on.

So what was the problem?
To put it simply, the hitbox was much too large.
Not only that, but shockwaves would erupt all around the flying dragon.
If I was hit by them, I would be knocked right off of the cloud.

And since you could not see the shockwaves, it was easy to misjudge the distance.
You might take damage even after you escaped to a different cloud or warped, so it was necessary that you kept moving.
In fact, I had been blown away a few times and had to make an emergency return by using Warp Arrow.
I just considered myself lucky that I wasn’t thrown into the enemy’s hitbox.

And since Warp Arrow was my life saver, I had to focus on MP recovery.
I recovered it even though it meant missing an opportunity to attack.

It required patience, but when fighting against powerful enemies, it was important to have a pattern.

In this dragon’s case, you had a good opening for an attack right after the ‘Charge’ move.
It would move far away from the scale clouds and take a short rest.
That meant it would be out of range for most players, but my arrows were able to reach it.
This was the only time I could attack.

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And so when the dragon was nearby, I kept hopping around and running away.
I would under no circumstances hit it.
Being hit once would mean an instant death, and so I carefully moved from cloud to cloud and only attacked when there was no chance of a counter attack.
That was the style I took.

After slowly chipping away at it with my attacks, something finally changed.
The amount of scale cloud platforms decreased, and the dragon’s charge became faster.
Clearly this was a different phase.
It’s HP was dropping!

“If I can get this far, I can definitely win!”

Jump, shoot, jump, shoot…
The increased speed of the ‘Charge’ forced me to use more stamina.
Sadly, when it was this fast, my body could not keep up…!

A shock wave took me in the legs, and I lost all sensation.
This…was a partial decapitation state!
As I had turned depatications off in the settings, my legs were still there.
However, had I had it on, my legs would have been gone.
I would need a regeneration potion, which was separate from an HP recovery potion in order to heal this.
It was very rare and not sold in stores.
So I didn’t have one.

In other words, I could no longer jump.
Well, I could warp…but it was no use.
With my physical abilities, it was only a matter of time before I died if I kept trying to run away.

In that case, there was nothing to do but keep shooting it until the end…!
I would show the dragon that Immobile Sniping Stance was where I really shined!

Kiriririri…shu! Shu! Shu!

A rain of arrows fell over the dragon.
The dragon locked onto me and prepared to charge.
And then the giant blue body rushed towards me…

At that moment, my vision was suddenly filled with light.

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