The Safety and The Danger Zones
□ Ray Starling
＜Old Loew’s Orchard＞
When I looked at my big brother’s ＜Embryo＞—a Type Arms, I think—I couldn’t help but wonder aloud. I imagined that a Type Arms would’ve been more like a magic sword or spear, for example. But a gatling gun…
“How does a gatling gun even make sense in a fantasy world?”
“Hey, since this is a world where a country of machines like Driphe exists, it shouldn’t bear weird for my ＜Embryo＞ to exist too.”
My bear brother laughed, all the while supporting the drum magazine on his shoulder and holding the gun barrel under his right arm.
Feeling somewhat amazed, as I gazed at such a surreal appearance…
Bee and ant monsters had apparently realized our presence and gathered before us.
『Alright, let’s maul through them until we reach the Rem Field.』
Saying that, my bear brother readied his gatling gun and… opened fire.
In an instant, following a series of thunderous roars, the insect monsters were smashed into pieces, their body fluids scattering all around.
With every turn of the barrel, the fired bullets would create even more corpses; and as soon as those lifeless bodies hit the ground, following a common game-like feature, they would turn into light and disappear.
It was a completely one-sided massacre.
My bear brother’s strafing fire was much faster than the monsters’ appearance rate. In a little less than a minute, hundreds—no, thousands of empty cartridges had been expelled by the machine gun.
Normally, it would be impossible to carry and fire something like that, but… from the description he had shown me, that bear costume worked almost like a powered suit. At the very least, it gave a bonus of over 900 points in STR, so I guess that having about 90 times my own strength would make it possible for him. And yet, firing that while walking seemed ridiculous.
Since he had been firing at such a high rate without running out of ammo, some sort of mysterious power must have been at work there, considering the gun was my brother’s ＜Embryo＞.
Even then, the way he held the gatling gun and fired was just like a certain scene from a classic movie from the past. Yeah, it was a masterpiece, the second installment to an android-themed series, where its actor would later become the governor of a state.
Hmm, well, the one doing that scene right now wasn’t a massive bodybuilder though. It was a person in a bear costume, something that would’ve turned that great movie into a C grade garbage.
“Still, it feels like I won’t be of any use here…”
It wasn’t a mere problem of finding the correct moment to attack or not. If I were to carelessly step forward, I would most likely become Swiss cheese in an instant. Obviously, even after all those monsters got utterly annihilated, I didn’t receive a single point of EXP.
『Oh, you can leave the dropped items there, just keep following closely bear-hind me.』
Although their corpses disappeared, items had still popped up at the moment of their defeat.
Incidentally, the 《Disassembling》 skill existed in this game. It apparently extended the time it would normally take for a corpse to disappear, allowing its user to disassemble said body; as a result, many more items could be obtained.
“Got it… hmm, come to think of it, this situation here…”
It was a situation that often occurred in games: at the beginning, a low level player character progressed with the aid of a high level character. The strong aiding character was really helpful, but generally, that character would die at the end of the early stages, signaling the closure for the game’s first part.
“…Is just like the ‘URRRAAHH’ thing. Man, that sure takes me back.”
『…No no no, wouldn’t that mean I’m just going to die later then?』
He replied in a complicated tone of voice.
Albeit it was impossible to distinguish whether we were simply battling, doing a job or even having a comedic exchange, we continued in that mixed manner and, finally, covered the 5XX metars distance, reaching the Rem Fruit Field.
“Who’s there!? Y-You are…!”
Surely enough, in the rem field, Liliana was engaged in battle against the insect monsters. To protect her little sister, the woman stood in front of the young girl and took on a nearly infinite number of enemies.
“Alright, we weren’t late!”
『The ursome cavalry (without a horse) is here!』
As I rejoiced after realizing that I had arrived on time, the bear brother by my side continued to magnificently punch lead through the insects. Then, at an astounding rate, the encirclement of monsters began decreasing.
…That’s fine and all, but please don’t hit either of the sisters by mistake, okay?
While I worried about the two, the enemies surrounding them were quickly eliminated. My brother was already pretty strong, but I had the impression that the gatling gun was the perfect kind of weapon for our current situation, when fighting against hordes of enemies at the same time; even in the history of Japan, for the Nagaoka domain during the Boshin War, the gatling gun seemingly played a very active role.
Anyway, we finally managed to safely arrive at their side.
“Are you okay?”
This time, I said the same words as Liliana when we met for the first time.
“You’re that person from before… why are you here?”
She glared at me, a look of surprised on her face.
Hm? That reaction, it was as if she had noticed me just now.
Then… did it mean that her previous words, “Y-You are,” were actually directed at… my brother?
“And even you, too… really, why…?”
『Bear-cause I came here to help. When my younger brother said, “There’s no way I can leave her alone! No matter what happens, I’m going to save her!” I also decided to bear-stow my aid.』
Wait a moment, I didn’t say that you know!? I have absolutely no memory of spouting such incredibly embarrassing lines!!
“Younger brother… then…”
Muttered Liliana, apparently realizing something.
What was up with the atmosphere here? By any chance, were my brother and that woman acquaintances? As I asked myself those questions, Liliana turned towards me and deeply bowed.
“Thank you very much. If you two had not come for us, I wouldn’t have been able to protect my sister… my Milia.”
“O-Oh no, please. I just watched everything from behind my brother…”
“Even so, please let me express my gratitude. Despite the fact that I had caused so much trouble for you in the past, you went out of your way to come with reinforcements to my aid… I will never forget this favor.”
Upon hearing her words, more than just being embarrassed, I actually felt guilty. After all, other than receiving the quest, I hadn’t done anything at all; I simply leeched on to the safety zone that was on my brother’s back. Because of that, without being able to look at her in the eyes, I averted my gaze and noticed, there, the woman’s sister, Miliane.
She looked exactly like in the photo—or rather, that beautiful little girl looked even cuter in person.
『A loli? Hey, are you a pedobear or something?』
Of course not.
Miliane had been crying.
Of course, that was completely natural. Her very life had been at risk while she was surrounded by that many insect monsters. Yet, she seemed to be holding herself together as there was still a basket in her hands, its interior filled with about five fruits—most probably, the rumored rem fruits.
“So, at any rate, let’s get out of here. It will be bad if more of those monsters gather around us.”
At that moment, a change occurred on my Menu screen.
【NPCs have been added to the party.】
【Liliana Grandelier has joined your party.】
【Miliane Grandelier has joined your party.】
Ahh, so it meant that NPCs could also enter in a party.
Let me see their statuses… hmm, Miliane was weaker than me.
However, Liliana’s status was simply amazing.
Level: 60 (Level Total: 210)
Her Level Total of 210 was… way too high.
That was a Vice-Captain of the royal knights for you. Well, since she was the #2 knight among all others in the kingdom, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Liliana was that strong.
And wait, right now I noticed that, for some reason, my bear brother had been showing a serious look on his face (although I couldn’t see it directly, as we knew each other for so many years I was able to tell it just by observing his current mood).
『Ray, hasn’t the quest been completed yet?』
“Ah, no. I didn’t see any changes in particular.”
With his gatling gun readied, the bear kept guard over our surroundings. His aspect seemed far more serious than a while ago, when he fearlessly confronted the insects.
『Ray, this is about the quests’ degree of difficulty in this world. For every quest, the Managing AI in charge of them analyzes not only the environmental information of the area, but also the background of the individuals related to the respective quest. Then, with all of that information, a degree of difficulty is finally calculated.』
Analyzing environmental information and personal backgrounds? Surely, doing that one-by-one, for each quest, was something possible for a Managing AI, but what was the connection between that and our current situation…
『So, I assumed that the reason for such a high difficulty level was because this was a Time Limit Quest with a short timer.』
He voiced his thoughts bit by bit.
『Since I was here and specialized in fighting against multiple enemies, I believed it explained how easily we managed to walk through everything and reach this place. However…』
My brother’s line of sight moved towards a certain point in the ground.
『Liliana joined us in the middle of the quest. In other words, the real deal was supposed to begin after we’ve joined our forces with her. “This is a Difficulty: 5 quest because you are together with the Level Total 210 Liliana,” it seems.』
Immediately following his words, the portion of the ground he had been observing exploded, and from it something massively huge and long appeared.
With about 30 meters in length, it was a giant centipede.
Despite that, differently from normal centipedes, its skin was covered in scales like a reptile, and easily repelled the bullets my brother had been firing since the monster’s sudden appearance. In addition, protruding from its face in all four directions were large mandibles, similar to ones seen on stag beetles.
I might’ve been a newbie but I knew it instantly.
That monster was… strong.
Liliana’s shocked words reached my ears.
Following that, the ground exploded again and yet another one of those 【Demi-Dragwurm】 monsters appeared.
『A monster of the Demi-Dragon class, huh… now I get it. If we’re having to fight against several of those enemies in order to protect this kid, then even with Liliana’s aid, I can agree to this quest’s difficulty level. But you know…!!』
While I had been left speechless at the intimidating air coming from those two monsters, my brother was the complete opposite; rather, it felt as if all his worries had already been extinguished when his cheerful voice came out.
『This isn’t nearly enough for you to fight against me!』
And then, with both arms raised, he…
『Time to strike and crush everything! Baldr! 4th form, activa——』
Immediately, appearing from the ground and surrounding him from all four directions were the 【Demi-Dragwurms】 “numbers three through six”, that proceeded to capture my brother in their massive mandibles and then disappeared underground.
First, there was I, who managed to process the visual information of such a quick incident, and yet couldn’t comprehend what had just happened. Then, there was Liliana, who bit her lips over that completely unexpected situation.
Although I verified the simplified status of the party… the entry for my brother was still covered in black, so I couldn’t confirm whether he was alive or dead.
“Hey, big bro, I know it was my fault for triggering that flag… but for that matter you were taken out just too early, man.”
As we were left without my brother, the remaining two 【Demi-Dragwurms】 drew near to us. In an instant, I had been thrown out from a safety zone—my brother’s back—to a danger zone.
Until now, the biggest animal I had ever seen up close had been an elephant. However, those giant monsters were way bigger than elephants; and currently, they were closing in, directing a dry cold hostility towards me.
To tell the truth, even though I knew that I was in a game, my legs still trembled from fear.
“…I have something to ask of you.”
Liliana spoke to the frightened me.
“W-What is it?”
“I will hold one of them back—or, if I find the opportunity, the both of them. So please, in the meantime, could you take my sister somewhere safe?”
There were two enemies. No matter how strong Liliana was, alone she wouldn’t…
…No, I was getting ahead of myself. A level 0 like me wouldn’t even be able to assist her. Rather, I would just become a hindrance to her if I were to stay here.
Leading Miliane by her hand, I started running.
Behind us, the battle between Liliana and the 【Demi-Dragwurms】 had already begun.
1↑ぬわーーっ!! – In case you didn’t notice, that entire part is a reference to Dragon Quest V. I used “URRRAAHH” since it was the official translation for that scream. The fantranslation used “Arrrggggghhhhhh” though.
2↑ロリ？ ロリコンクマ？ – Shuuichi actually says “Loli? Lolicon-kuma?” so to keep some kind of pun I translated it differently.
3↑亜竜甲蟲(デミドラグワーム) – “Aryuu Kabutomushi”. 亜 (demi) 竜 (dragon) 甲蟲 (usually rhinoceros beetle, but here is ‘carapace/shelled worm’). As indicated by the furigana (デミドラグワーム), it can be read as “Demi-Dragwurm”. It should be pointed out that the kanji used in the “Kabutomushi” part (蟲, Mushi) is the complete form, instead of the simplified kanji that is commonly used (虫, Mushi). Still, they can both mean insect and worm, for example.
4↑Or “#3 through #6”, whichever you all find better.