Data.47 – Old Bowman, Once Again

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I didn’t point the bow at her directly, but I stayed on my guard.
There was no resentment or hatred.
I simply recognized her as a powerful enemy that I needed to be wary of.
Besides, it’s rude to underestimate someone…

“Hey, hey.
Surely you don’t think I’m going to go around killing players when we’re not in an event! I mean, it’s not even possible!”

Nekoko waved her hands.
Now that I thought about it…was that really the case?

Look here.
I’ve been doing my best to hurry up and get out of this place.
So don’t bother me!”

Nekoko started searching the area around the table.
During the events, she had seemed like a cat with ruffled fur.
But she was different now.
There was something odd.
Like she was just an ordinary girl.
Apparently, she was also searching for the cards.

“If you’re looking for the cards, I have one.
An ace of spades.”

“That’s good.
Could you hold onto it? The exit will appear once the 4 aces are collected.
To put it simply, it won’t matter if each ace is held by a different player.”

“I see.
So it’ll be quicker to just spread out with strangers and search for them.
Still, you sure know a lot.
Have you been here before?”

“It was written in a book I found in another room.”

“Oh, I see.”

“You didn’t know that, and yet you admitted to having a card.
What were you going to do if the rules said that only one person could escape after they collected all of the cards? What if I was lying when I said that ‘I couldn’t,’ and it was actually possible for players to fight each other in this space? In a small room like this, I have an overwhelming advantage.”

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That was true.
But if there were such special rules applied to this place, she would have come for my neck before even starting a conversation.
Her fighting style was all about speed and taking the enemy by surprise.
The fact that she was turning her back to me and searching for cards meant that she had no intention of fighting.

“Why are you here?”

“Probably the same as you, old man.
I went straight into the mirror that the monster was holding.
My mistake was trying to leave here in a rush with a high-speed skill after being exasperated by how empty the place was…well, it wasn’t really a mistake.
In a way.”

So it was practically the same as me.
You didn’t need a special skill like Warp Arrow, but just had to charge forward and you could enter the mirror.
Well, I wasn’t sure how many people would actually try and do it…

“Ah, that’s right.
I’m being chased by something called a Bloody Mary… Do you know about it?”

“I do know.
They’re dangerous, and will start chasing you after you find your first card…! I really hate enemies like that where they’re immune to attacks! It’s stressful when all you can do is run!”

“Well, I understand how you feel.”

“Look, I wouldn’t mind if this was a horror game and running away was part of the concept, alright? Because it wouldn’t be very scary if you could just defeat such enemies.
But this is a traditional fantasy MMORPG! If it’s invincible, wouldn’t that make it the strongest creature in this world? So that bloody woman is stronger than all the bosses I’ve fought! After all, my attacks do nothing!”

Well, typical RPGs often had enemies that could only be defeated through special methods.
I remember having them in games I worked on as well.
But there were some people who really didn’t like them.

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Indeed, if they had such special abilities, then some might feel like they are stronger than the last boss.

But please don’t be so harsh…
Creators like to change things even if they are not desired…
It would be boring if all enemies could be defeatedly normally…that’s how you started to think.
However, we couldn’t directly say such things to users.
So I’ll change the subject.

“But…don’t you have the ability to turn invisible? So what is so scary about an enemy that chases after you?”

“‘Invisible Cat Walk’ is a skill that allows me to become invisible while running my fastest.
As the floor is flat here, I could run fast, but you would be able to hear my footsteps.
Mary is sensitive to sound, so I can’t run past her, and I would have to slow down when moving through doors.
So it’s not easy just because I have that skill.”

“You can only turn invisible when running!?”

“Running my fastest.
I’ll become visible again once my speed drops a certain amount.
And so speed buffs won’t mean anything.
The required speed is just raised after the buff.
And so I have to attack while running.
The only reason that we met during the turf war was because I had been looking for a flat area where I could run around.
I won’t be able to run if the ground is uneven or if there are obstacles.”

It had such demerits…
As for running at full speed, I wouldn’t last 10 seconds…

“I was lucky then.
Because I encountered a great army that was trying to launch an attack.
So I didn’t need to be invisible and could blend in with them.
We were all strangers to each other, so no one would notice that another face had appeared.
I made sure that my emblem was covered.
And even if they did see it, I don’t think many people would attack a cute girl who was acting like one of them.
They would just assume they made a mistake or that it was actually a tattoo that happened to look similar.”

“But it seems really risky.
It’s not like you can damage your teammates in this game, so some players might have attacked you to make sure.”

“Well, even if they did, I’m good at running, right? Besides, you won’t accomplish anything if you aren’t willing to take risks.”

“You say it like it’s nothing… Well, I suppose the results speak for themselves.”

“Exactly… I’ve been doing well… Until now! It was already a difficult skill to use, but it got nerfed because it drew so much attention!”

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Ah… So she was hit by that as well.
Now she could only be invisible for 10 seconds, and the cooldown was 3 minutes.
She must have been very pissed off to even tell me such important information.

“What annoys me even more, is how inconsistent management is! They said there wouldn’t be any compensation.
I didn’t complain, as I thought it was rare for a company to have an actual spine.
But now they are giving it to us! 100 NSO medals! It’s not bad! But it makes me mad! Perhaps I should have sent in a complaint!”

“Just take it if they’re giving it to you.
Oh, you know? A long time ago, paper trading cards used to be quite popular, but once a card that was just released got banned for being too powerful, and there was no compensation.
So things have definitely improved since then.”

“Well, it’s because people complain more now.
I can understand why people complain and so management is forced to react.
But I don’t like the idea of a game that changes every time someone complains… Games that are a little irrational and unfair are always more interesting.
A lady that I really respect once said, ‘purify the water and the fish will disappear.’ And then there will be no fish for this cat to eat.”

I could tell that she was young by just talking to her.
But she had very established ideas regarding games.
She must really like them.

To be honest, I had driven her back quite terribly during the turf war, and so I thought she might be holding a grudge.
Running your fastest means taking in deep breaths.
Which meant inhaling a lot of Black Smog.
However, she didn’t really touch on that at all.
And since she was clearly the type to vent her frustrations, she was likely not that bothered by it.
I suppose she wouldn’t hold grudges as long as it was a serious, honest battle.

“Hmm… Ah! That bloody woman is coming closer…!”

“Huh? You can tell?”

“It’s the effect of a skill called ‘Immobile Extra Sensory Stance.’ As long as I am staying still, my sight, hearing and sense of smell are enhanced.
My ears can hear the sounds of dripping blood.”

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Nekoko pointed to her cat ears, not her human ones.
She really was thorough with making her character.

“Let’s get out of this room! I found the 4th card! The exit should be underground!”

She had 3 cards in her hands.
So along with mine, we now had the 4 aces.
And I could feel that the card was being pulled towards the ground.
It was telling us where we needed to go.

“We’ll cooperate until we get out of here! I don’t want to be chased by that invincible woman anymore!”

“Ah, alright.”

It wasn’t just horror games, but I also disliked blood.
I just felt weak when I looked at it.
I had turned gore off in the settings, so I couldn’t see any wounds, but the dripping blood alone was something I didn’t like to see.
And so I would accept the help of this cat…!

“Gar! Gar!”

That’s right.
I had Gar as well.
Now that we had found all 4 of the cards, ordinary enemy monsters started to appear.
And Bloody Mary was also faster as she chased after us.
We had to get to the underground as soon as possible…!

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