Chapter 68

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The clan house that we were invited to by the clan itself,《Round Table》, was too big to be the house for a single family, but it was way too small of a building considering the clan had over one hundred people.

By the way, Touka-chan had something she had to do, but she promised that we would meet up again later, so she’d left for now.

And so, right now, A-chan and I stood in that place.
And there was one more person, a member from Round Table that looked like a player in a maid uniform.

「Fufu, Sukuna, it sure is easy to guess what you’re going to say.
You are thinking that despite the clan size, this place is rather small, something like that, ain’t it?」


「After all, the only one staying here permanently is me, so it doesn’t need to be that big.
Everyone is focusing on doing things as they like to.
Yesterday, the top members finally arrived at the 6th town Zeronao.

According to A-chan, the guild’s base moves in accordance to when A-chan makes it to the next town.
It was just that as of now the farthest she had reached was Fias, so this was where their base was, it seemed.

Why was the clan master, A-chan, still in Fias? After asking that, it seemed I received quite the reasonable answer.

「For the swordsmen like us in the Round Table, we go to Griffis through the World Tree route, but no matter what I do, I can’t make the time.
There are also save points inside the dungeon, but reaching there is difficult, ya see.
And either way, the area beyond Fias is just way too huge, so there is no real meaning in trying to hurry up to clear it.
That is why I, for a little while, chose to remain here.
And there was also a message from Shuuya, too.」

「That was…about me?」

It seemed there was a fellow that had vanquished a great enemy I had been defeated by before.
So I also wanted to talk to that person.」

While sitting in a chair in the living room, A-chan happily said that.

She fought against Aria the Red Wolf during the third day the game had been in service, it seemed.

「 For 3 days, I seriously grinded for levels, and I was about to return from the Forest of the Edge.
Suddenly, when I thought the field had gone quiet, I confronted that one.
My level easily went over 20, but….I couldn’t last five minutes and my sword broke.
Then I got defeated.」

「Well your weapon’s durability should have been considerably reduced after grinding, so it was just bad luck.」

「There was also that, but even if I were in perfect condition, I do not predict winning with my fighting style.
That wolf is said to be a magic job killer, but to be more accurate, you could say that any player using a weapon without a shield is at a disadvantage.
Unless someone would persist in doing something absurd like you did.」

I could understand from the effects of the Named equipment that the trait of Aria the Red Wolf that made him the strongest was its stamina.
Among players who had just started, and even when compared to players at the front line, Aria had an amount of stamina that would absolutely cause them to run out of SP.

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Due to Aria being able to attack you and seal the usage of arts themselves, forcing you to fight one on one with it, it was in essence an endurance battle.

Moreover, it was not just an endurance battle, it was one that required you to have the player skill and stats necessary to handle attacks and counter attacks.

That sort of thing was a big component in why having a shield was the best tactic against Aria.
It was because of the shield’s strength in dealing with physical attacks.

That was probably where A-chan’s statement, that regardless of weapon choice, without a shield you’d be at a disadvantage, came from.

「Then, can’t you just do a rematch?」

「To be precise, ya see, it’s not like I won’t, ’tis just that I can’t.」

She can’t.
Those words came from A-chan, so it wasn’t that A-chan was unwilling to fight.

Which meant that there had to be a reason behind it.

After a pause, A-chan started to explain.

「Named subjugation, from now on, that itself will keep on increasing.
Depending on the situation, if they spawned, you could hunt them.
However, regarding Solo Named, they are a slightly different.
Even disregarding the fact that they are mighty enemies, when you have gone over a fixed level, they wouldn’t appear anymore, they say.
That’s the current mainstream theory.」

「Fumu fumu.」

「It’s not just limited to the Red Wolf, the one that appears above the Tria lake, the《Spirit of the Water Flower -Mellow-》 is the same.
After a certain level, you are unable to encounter them again.
For the Red Wolf, the limit is level 40.」

So that meant that even if you were level 100 or something, if you went to the South Plains at the Town of Beginning, Aria the Red Wolf wouldn’t appear.

Even though I was something of a special case, Aria’s base status was set to be beatable by even a level 14 kijin, that was for certain.

With high leveled players then they probably can’t win by just forcing through.

No, wait a minute.
From what I heard from Kohaku, Solo Named changed their status to match their opponents, right?

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If so, was there really a need to put a hard restriction on it?

As I said that, A-chan nodded in agreement.

「Just as you said, with Kohaku-dono’s words, this theory was crushed.
‘Tis why right now, players are in the middle of theorizing again.
And more importantly, under the most likely theory from before what Kohaku told ya, the way to《Wolf King of the Sky Pivot》 would be lost once you have gone over the fixed level, huh?」

「You’re right.
To meet with the Wolf King, you need to defeat the Red Wolf, Black Wolf, and the White Wolf, it seems.」

「What I can think of as of now is that, after going over a fixed level, you could still meet them, or fight an enhanced version of the Solo Named.
I am not strong in the brains department, so that’s all I could think of, though…」

「Either way, it seems that you wouldn’t be able to fight the Wolf King.
Or maybe there are other methods other than defeating the three Named monsters to do so.」

「Thou art right, it may be as you say.
Regarding Named, we have absolutely no idea about them.」

As the two of us were nodding and groaning, before us, two cups were softly presented.

Raising my head, it was a player in a maid uniform who smiled, gave me a head pat, and left.

「That’s Slew.
The round table’s eleventh, a maid RP player.
She is my helper, and she has the highest cooking skill in Round Table.」

「I see…..but why did she pet me?」

「She probably likes you.
That one is the type to admire things they like.」

“Yare yare.” Looking at A-chan who had a slightly contorted face, I thought that A-chan was probably really liked by that person.

Because she was admired to the point where she would wince upon remembering that admiration.

「Well, she is overall a capable person.
Because she is taciturn, there won’t be that many chances to talk, but please get along with her.」

「Yea, okay.
But still….it kinda feels like, including Slew-san, this is really just like a house.」

My image of a clan house was that there were a lot of various members and it would be bustling with activity.

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In contrast to the heroic and bold feeling I got from their clan name 《Knights of the Round Table》, their clan house had an unimaginably different aura.
Instead, it had quite a calm atmosphere.

「Fufu, ’tis exactly like that.
Although you say it’s a clan house, this is, in the end, my house, ya know? And also, I’m just acting as what you would call the -clan leader-, but in reality everyone from the Round Table is in command.
There isn’t any real meaning for people to purposely come back here.」

「Is it like that? Hmmm, it isn’t very manga-esque.」

「If you go around to《Dragon Fang》, I think that you could see something similar to what you imagined.
Despite the size of the clan, we don’t have a base, that’s all.」

Hearing what A-chan said, I felt something from how she said she was something like a decoration.

I had remembered Touka-chan’s words.

「Hey, A-chan.
You…are the strongest in the Round Table, right?」

「Of course.」

A-chan, who heard my words, was totally unfazed.
She responded as if that was natural.

「Being the clan’s strongest and being an existence needed for the clan to run are different matters.」

Putting down the cup she had in her hand, her hand floated towards the bluish-silver sheath leaning beside her chair, touching the hilt of the sword.

At that instant, a sharp blade-like pressure spread throughout the clan house.

Seeing me reflexively put my hand on my metal club, she laughed happily.

「Fuahahaha! That’s a good reaction! Though, as long as everyone follows me, I don’t have any objection to being a leader.
This sword is my only worth.」

「I see.
So you’re that strong, huh, A-chan.」

Her words carried no lies.
Looking at her, I understood.

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Moreover, she was a strong person that even Rin-chan had endorsed as「strong.」

You could basically look at her like a little girl, but feeling such pressure just from her placing her hand on her sword, I understood that her sword ability was a cut above the rest.

Even if you were sensitive about how good she was, if you were a player that loved swords, I could understand why you would admire her.

「VR sure is an interesting thing.
Just like Rinne and I, there are those who could freely dance in these virtual worlds, but there are also those who are tormented by the gap between the real world.
This world ruled by status is rather constraining, isn’t it?」

「N? I haven’t felt really constrained, though….」

「Fufufu, having gotten to that level, you still embrace such an impression.
That is enough to tell that it’s actually constraining…….You will someday understand it.
The freedom of the virtual world.」

Even though you could move as much as you wanted in comparison to the real world.
Rather, I felt that this world was more stress-free.

Smiling at me who thought this way and was tilting my head, A-chan stopped talking about that.

「Now then, since tea is also here, until Touka-jou comes, we shall take our time and listen to yer story.」

「Okay, I wonder what I should talk about….」

「Slew! get us some tea snacks!」

There wasn’t any reply to A-chan’s calls.
However, a few seconds after being called, Slew came with a tray of snacks.

「Ah, this cake is delicious.
Now that I think about it, even I haven’t had anything other than potion…..」 (9: you ate that steam bun)

「What a waste.
In this world, there are many interesting foods, ya know? For example-….」

Saying that, A-chan tampered with her menu card, and what she showed me were her (seemingly) precious gourmet images.

It seemed that A-chan was rather a fan of various delicacies.
The foods she introduced me to were mostly what you could call「exotic foods.」

「For some reason no one really likes to try them, ya kno~,」 saying something like that while we made a promise to go out to eat somewhere together, we enjoyed the tea snacks.

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