Data.56 – Old Bowman, Appears at the Firing Range

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I arrived… This is where the Sagittarius Trial would take place.
It was just a vast field of grass.
And here, firing ranges for all kinds of ranged weapons had been set up.
I almost felt like I was at a fair.

‘Now, everyone! Grab your favorite weapon and enjoy hitting the targets-nyon!’

Charin was wearing a hakama and carried a Japanese bow.
That being said, her hair was still blonde, so she looked more like a foreign tourist than someone from the archery club at school.

The trial was based on the Sagittarius constellation, and was simply about hitting targets.
Aside from guns, there were bows, darts, shurikens, boomerangs, daggers, hatchets, javelins and slings.
Players could freely choose what they wanted and take on the trial.
While there were adjustments to the rules depending on what weapon you chose, in general, you received more points for hitting the center of the target.
You would throw or fire repeatedly, and if your final score crossed a certain line, then you would receive the Sagittarius medal.

As for the special reward, you had to complete an ultra difficult stage that was unlocked after getting a passing score.
In any case, there was no reason to think too deeply.
Just aim at the center.

“So, which weapon should I use…”

Well, it wasn’t much of a question.
Of course, I would use the bow.
What could I even use if not the bow?
And so I waited in line at the archery range.
As there were a lot of targets lined up next to each other, multiple players could take on the trial at once.

However, if there were too many players there, you would have to wait a little.
It made me a little nostalgic.
The archery range was always quite popular during festivals.

“Um… Are you Mister Kyuji?”

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“Yes, I am.”

Well, I wasn’t surprised.
One of the reasons why I hesitated to use a bow at first, was because I knew that I would draw attention if I waited in line.
There were other weapons like guns that seemed a lot easier, so anyone who used a bow for this trial was likely using them as their main weapon during adventures.
And if they were archers, then they were even more likely to be aware of me.

Because people who threw axes and had no interest in bows would have forgotten about me quickly.
At this point, even the turf war seemed like it was a long time ago.

“Kyah! So it really is you! I’ve heard about your exploits!”

“Ahaha…thank you.”

“They say that you killed a monster during a large-scale Scramble at sea, by yourself…!”

“No, no, no! Who the hell said that!? They’re exaggerating!”

“Oh, you are so modest!”

We had only won due to the help of other players and the Blue Sea Dragon.
In no way had I accomplished that alone.
At what point had the story changed…?

“Oh, how insolent of me to be standing in front of you, Mister Kyuji! You can go ahead!”

She said, stepping aside.
And the players waiting in front of her noticed me.

“Ohh! It’s that old bow guy! You go on ahead!”
“Woah! It really is him!”

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“I’ve seen pictures of him! So he’s real!?”
“I don’t want someone so skilled to watch me shoot, so you can go first!”

And before I knew it, all of the players who had been waiting in line were offering me their position.
Though, I think there were a few who were thinking, ‘I don’t know who this old man is, but I’ll just go with the flow’…
Well, it wasn’t that I didn’t feel grateful…but I couldn’t accept it either way.

“Please don’t mind me.
We should all just go by the original order.”

They seemed to agree, and they returned to their spot in the queue.
Things went smoothly after that.
And after a little more smalltalk, my turn finally came.

I stood in front of the target and calmed my breathing.
With monsters, you had to shoot with a feeling of nervousness because you could die if you didn’t shoot.
So it felt really different to be able to shoot in a completely safe environment.
In any case, these targets didn’t move like monsters did, so it should be much easier.
There would be no problem if I just shot like I always do.

The target was about 60 meters away and 100 cm in diameter.
You were allowed to shoot 4 arrows.
You would receive 100 points for hitting the center, and less the further your arrow was from it.
The passing line was a total of 280 points.
In other words, if you got more than 70 points with each shot, you would be able to pass.

“Alright…let’s go!’

Kiririri…I pulled the bowstring and unleashed it with a shu!
And with a ‘suton!’ the arrow landed in the center.
I repeated this 4 times.
I didn’t need a break in between shots.
I just shot one after another.
As calm as if I was just breathing…

Surprisingly, I didn’t miss any.”

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I thought that being in an unfamiliar place would affect my aim, but I had hit the center every time.
I didn’t really know why, but archery just seemed to be a good fit for me.

“Amazing! I knew you would do it, Mister Kyuji!”

“Uh, huh!?”

A round of applause erupted from the archery range.
Apparently, they had all stopped to watch me.
I had been so focused that I didn’t even notice the change in sounds…
But the fact that I wasn’t sensitive to my surroundings showed that I still needed to grow.

“Uh, thank you!”

I wasn’t used to being praised like this.
And so I just waved my hand and left.
It felt weird.
I wasn’t some kind of idol.
But I would feel bad if I left without saying anything.
Regardless, I would likely think back on it with embarrassment… But it couldn’t hurt…being an old idol once in a while.

‘Well done-nyon! It seems like no one can match you when it comes to the bow-nyon!’

Charin appeared out of nowhere.
Huh? So she recognized me?

“Thank you.
So remember me.”

‘AI are just like humans, and we remember players who leave an impression-nyon! Especially since all of the versions of me are connected-nyon!’

I see.
They are all the same Charin then.
So it was no wonder that someone with a strange playstyle, like myself, would be remembered.

‘Now, the medal… But before that, will you take on the ultra difficult stage for a chance to receive the special prize-nyon?’

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“Yeah, of course.”

I would receive the medal along with the special reward.
It would feel good to receive them after everything was done.

‘Well then, I’ll take you to the ultra difficult stage-nyon!’

The place that Charin led me to was a…stable.
Co-could it be…

‘As you may have guessed, you will be shooting on horseback-nyon! Yes, the combination of human and horse! Surely it is the perfect way to end the Sagittarius trial-nyon!’


The horses seemed to agree with Charin’s words.
But I’ve never ridden a horse…!

No, maybe I have…?
It was…during the turf war.
I had ridden a horse-type monster called a ‘Mach Horse’ that Hatake had let me borrow.
But Hatake had left such a strong impression that I forgot about the horse.

However, and perhaps I wasn’t actually qualified enough to be making such observations, but…riding the Mach Horse was nothing like riding a real horse.
That monster had been designed for comfort when riding.
It was much faster than a bicycle, but there was hardly any shaking.
It almost seemed to slide through the field as it took me to the base.
Besides, I then got off and started shooting on my feet.
So I had no experience shooting from atop a horse.

And I doubted that this horse…would be quite as comfortable.
This was NSO.
While things were simplified a little, I was sure that they had prepared a very realistic horse-riding experience.
But I had never ridden a horse in real life…!

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