For those who celebrate, Happy 4th of July!
Side Note: Usa has a tendency to elongate her sentences so those are purposeful “misspellings”.
Also, Edgar only refers to Usa as “Usa” while Sonya uses “Usa-san”. I added in one speaker bubble to help clarify.
Volume 2: Samurai Hunting
Chapter 13: A Lively Party
Usa worked for an Apparel Brand company, and it was exactly one month ago when She, when「Hiiragi Yukako」, first started playing Dragon’s Krone.
The spark that drove her to play, was when she was in a bookstore reading a certain article in an apparel magazine──
The article was about a popular livestreamer from the VRMMO game「Dragon’s Krone」, a special feature about an in-game Avatar working as a Model for the apparel brand DICE; an article about Aran.
Yukako had always loved these types of subcultures, and once she knew about Aran she suddenly found herself checking his blog and SNS. From the moment she finished reading that article, she had already become a fan of Aran and of Dragon’s Krone.
And so, being swallowed up by her enthusiasm, she took the plunge and bought an UnChain device. Of course, her character’s class in Dragon’s Krone would no doubt be a Samurai. Aside from subculture, Yukako also adored small animals so, without a moment’s hesitation, she chose a half-rabbit Mohm race Avatar.
「And so, I thought that maybe~ using my real name would be a bad idea, so I thought of using the USA from usagi」
You ended up tell me, a person you just met, your real name so I think your worries were meaningless though.
“But, did you really think that through? I’m not entirely sure about that,” Edgar scratched his head.
「So, has Usa-san been playing Solo until now?」(Sonya)
「I have been playing with this child, my Companion. We’re nowhere near strong enough though」
「……Oh my! How very cute. Your Companion is an Animal Type isn’t it」
A soft and gentle smile surfaced on Sonya’s face.
Timidly poking its head out from behind Usa, was a small black cat.
「His name is Momo. Come on now, Momo, say hello to Sonya-san and Edgar-san」
「Why, Hello there」
While still being scared, the black cat Momo lightly lowered its small head, and Sonya silently bowed in response.
The character customization for Support NPCs include a variety of different settings to choose from.
From human appearances like Sonya, to Cat types like Momo and even Dog types and Bird types. You could even make your Support NPC a “Spirit” type that didn’t exist in the real world.
Depending on the type of NPC you choose, they each had their own special characteristics.
Human types can equip weapons and armor the same as Players do, but non-human NPC types cannot equip them. In exchange, non-human types had fundamentally higher base stats, and a few of them have specialized skills depending on their type.
「……Anyways, please tell me about this “Samurai Hunting” incident」
「Ah, I’m sorry for letting the conversation get off track. The Samurai Hunting incident, while we were hunting for Mobs, Momo and I were attacked when we left the Northern Area of Crescendo」
So that means, it happened when Usa left the Crescendo territory, and ended up in the Area between Crescendo and the Veroon Grand Duchy. In other words, the incident occurred when she entered the “Saradin Basin”.
「……With that level, you went into the Saradin Basin?」
Usa was level 11.
To enter the Saradin Basin at that level, just how reckless can you be?
The Saradin Basin is as the name implies, an Area surrounded by mountains. Compared to the Crescendo territory, the high level Mobs that spawn here are one step stronger.
The Saradin Basin, beyond those mountains was the Veroon Grand Duchy were all low-level players want to establish their Home Houses in. It was a fearsome area which low-level players gave the name「The Devil’s Pass」.
「……With Momo, when it’s just the two of us we can easily beat the Mobs in the Crescendo area, so I thought it might work out」
「So, you went after Mobs too strong for you?」
「That’s exactly right. At first I thought it would be a long journey, so I bought a bunch of healing items and Stamina potions, but during our very first battle in the Saradin Basin we ended up using almost all of them. We were in a really big pinch」
「……I keep telling you to stop doing that you know?」
Interrupting Edgar and Usa’s conversation, quietly peeking out from behind Usa’s shadow, was Momo.
「But, Master keeps going『It’ll be fine~』and never listens」
「Uuu…… I’m sawwy. It’s all my faault」
Bending over, Usa’s ears flopped down.
Seeing her appearance, somewhere inside Edgar felt an instinct to protect it.
Apparently many players are “done in” by gestures like this from the Mohm race. As expected of a Mascot Character, it’s incredibly cute.
「Well, don’t worry too much. It’s something that happens quite often to new players. And after that?」
「…… After that, I thought it was best to run away to Myune. Since Myune is in the center of the Area it was only a bit to the West, instead of returning to Crescendo I thought we might survive if we pushed forward and made it here. I ran with all my might. My Stamina and HP were just barely enough…… It was only thanks to the healing items that we miraculously made it this far. But──」
In that moment, perhaps her fear began to resurface, Usa silently lowered her head. With downcast eyes, she continued.
「The moment when we entered the Veroon Grand Duchy Area, that person was there」
「That person? …… The Samurai Hunter?」
Usa firmly nodded her head.
「From a glance I could tell that they were a high level player. When that person caught sight of me they suddenly came and attacked me」
「That Player, was it as Wizard?」
「Yes. They were a Demon-race Wizard」
「Do you remember their name?」
「……Umm …… I think it was something like “Tingler”, or maybe “Timbaru”, it was a name like that……」
At Usa’s words, Edgar was struck with a thought.
According to Suzu-san the Wizard who attacked them was named Timbre. It’s very likely that she changed her name by now, but there’s also the possibility that her name might still resemble the old one in some way.
A Wizard with a similar name and is also part of the Demon-race.
We might’ve hit “Bingo”.
「Usa, thanks. You really helped me out」
「Y-You don’t have to thank me. I was also in a desperate situation where I had no idea how to get home after all」
“Thank you very much”, Usa bowed her head.
And, casually opening up his item inventory, Edgar handed something over to Usa.
When she saw the amount of money, both of Usa’s ears shot up so fast that you’d think they might fly off into the distance.
Held in Usa’s hands, was all the money Edgar had on him── In total the amount was more than 10,000 Manila, a hefty sum.
The amount was nearly 10 times the amount needed to Fast Travel from here to Crescendo.
「W-W-W-What is this!?」
「From here on out, Sonya and I will be heading to the place you mentioned. We wouldn’t be able to Fast Travel together… but with that money you should be able to return back by yourself」
「I can’t! T-This much money, There’s no way I can accept it!!」
Trying to return the money in a panic, Usa grabbed hold of Edgar’s hand.
Typically in MMOs it is as difficult to earn in-game currency as it is in real life. Furthermore, since there are things like auction houses that facilitate the sale of highly rare items, the value of currency increases even more so. There are many cases where “Inflation” occurs.
And this also applied to Dragon’s Krone, money was difficult to get your hands on.
By defeating Mobs you could sell the ingredients, by clearing quests from the Hunter’s Guild you could earn rewards, and by manufacturing items you can sell them through different means such as auctions. In addition, as a livestreamer you can collect a viewing fee and make that your main source of income. However, each one of these methods are difficult for beginners which leads to them being eternally poor.
「Don’t worry about. It’s money that’s just going to disappear if I get beaten by the surrounding Mobs anyways. It’s fine if you think about it as a reward for giving me information about the Samurai Hunting」
Tightly gripping the money Edgar gave her, Usa was stuck at an impasse.
It’s true that with this money, I should be able to get back to Crescendo.
No, not just getting back, this is enough to buy back all the healing medicine and stamina potions I used up with change to spare.
When I first saw Edgar and Sonya here in Myune where you don’t often see Players, I was extremely happy. But, I was hesitant to call out to them.
If I, just some random Player, suddenly asked them if I could hitch a ride with them on Fast Travel, there’s probably no one who would gladly accept those terms. In the first place, I’m only stuck in this situation because of my own stupid mistakes.
Even so, although I was so stupid, Edgar-san granted my wish after I answered a simple question.
And, on top of it all, he gave me such a large amount of money too──
Momo took a peek at Usa’s expression.
And, in the next moment, as if Usa had firmly gathered her resolve, she clenched her fists tightly, and shouted out a declaration.
「……ッ!? W-what is it?」
「This money, Allow me to consider it as payment for hiring me as a bodyguard!」
Usa spoke with feverish enthusiasm.
However, since Edgar and Sonya had absolutely no idea what she was talking about, they found themselves staring back with wide open eyes.
「W-what do you mean by that?」
「In other words…… I will be going with you! And then we will be going back to Crescendo together!」
“That’s too reckless,” Momo instinctively clung onto Usa’s leg.
「Even though we were barely able to escape death by running away here, are you planning on fighting that Wizard again!? That’s pure suicide!」
「But there’s no way I can let Edgar-san and Sonya-san go alone after they gave us a helping hand, right! Besides, if we use this money to prepare and increase our chances, then we just might be able to beat that Wizard!」
「Well, but you know…… It’s just like Momo said, it’s pretty much suicide, right?」
「Uuu……I, I’m a Samurai you know? I’m begging you, Edgar-san. Please let me help you」
“Let me help”, as Usa drew closer to him, it was a sight that looked like a child asking for a toy.
She boldly stated her feelings, and acted upon them. In such a situation, Edgar was thoroughly perplexed on what to do.
「How about we allow Usa-san to accompany us, Edgar-sama. It is better to have a larger Party after all, and if I am given healing items then I will be able to fulfill the role of Healer」
「H-Hey wait, Sonya」
At Sonya’s few words, Usa’s expression lit up as a smile showed on her face. In contract to that, Edgar looked like he had suddenly received a shocking surprise.
Hypothetically speaking, even if I ended up fighting against that Wizard, with my knowledge and technique, and with Sonya’s Support, I’m confident that we will come out victorious.
But, that’s an entirely different story if Usa and Momo came along.
Since she is a fan of Aran’s, I can’t go around carelessly using the Moon Step in front of Usa. And if you factor in that we will have to protect Usa during the fight, then the Wizard might exploit that fact to shift the battle in their favor.
However, thinking about it the other way around, Sonya’s opinion does have some valid points as well.
If Sonya takes on the role of a Healer, then both Usa and I will be able to act as the Attackers. Even if Sonya used a powerful Composite Bow, there’s no way she will be on the same level as a Samurai’s explosive firepower.
Even if I won’t be able to use the Moon Step or other techniques freely, we still might be able to overpower the Wizard.
「……Usa, if we end up fighting that Wizard, my best guess is that our chances of winning are about 50-50. There’s also the fact that we might be constantly attacked by Mobs on the way there. And yet, you’re saying you still want to come along?」
──Most of that is a lie though, I just want to scare her out of it.
As he glanced over to Usa, Edgar added in that extra thought in his mind.
However, his scare tactics proved fruitless. While still shaking and trembling, Usa kept her fists clenched, and declared back.
「I-It will be fine! This all must be come kind of fate after all!」
Seeing Usa answer with such self-confidence, Edgar let out a small sigh.
Either this person is incredibly impulsive, or she’s the type that can’t see the things around her.
At least I’m pretty sure that she’s grounded with good intentions though.
「……Okay then. Let’s go together, Usa」
「Go and buy as much healing medicine and stamina potions as you can with the money and come back. Also, we’ll need 3 rental horses」
「ROGER! Let’s go, Momo!」
As if saying “No time to turn back now,” Usa and Momo vigorously dashed away.
Edgar absentmindedly watched that「One Person」and「One Animal」run off.
「Fufu, it sure has gotten quite lively, hasn’t it」
「…… I never wished for that “liveliness” though」
As Sonya was happily giggling away with a smile, Edgar slouched his shoulders.
Why do I always have to go along with all these troublesome things.
Even though I was a carefree Solo Player not that long ago…
Characteristic of Myune, the air was mixed with bits of sand, and carrying the cold temperature of the Oasis, the wind blew before Edgar and Sonya.
And, as if being supported by that wind, with an item inventory filled to the brim with healing items and stamina potions, was Usa and Momo waiting for them. Edgar’s destination was the place where Usa was assaulted by the Samurai Hunter, the Saradin Basin on the boarder of the Veroon Grand Duchy. And so, they depart.
TL note: “The Devil’s Pass” is originally「鬼門」or “Kimon”, which means “Northeast” and in a religious context it refers to “the direction from which all demon’s come from”. In context, “Kimon” is seen as an “evil” direction and is regarded as unlucky.