ID Prologue Epilogue A


 ­ Grizzly Buddy’s Explanatory Course – “The Physiological Phenomenons and the <Embryo>” Edition

□        Ray Starling
Royal Capital, Altea
<Orion’s Belt Restaurant[1]>
That day, my brother had made a reservation for dinner at his favorite restaurant. As a place managed by players, it wasn’t restricted to only serving meals; for example, if you brought your own ingredients, the restaurant would cook them for you. Apparently, my brother had given in advance a great amount of ingredients to them.

『Okay, now to celebrate Ray’s first day here and also his first Quest Clear, bear-gin the cheers!』

“ “Cheers!” “

While Nemesis and I toasted with a drink similar to orange juice, my brother cheered with rem wine (fruit wine made of rem). It seemed like the game of <Infinite Dendrogram> referenced each player’s real nationality in order to enforce age limits; until I reached the age of 20, I wasn’t allowed to drink alcohol ingame.

To be more specific, I heard that lewd stuff was rated 18 while drinking and smoking was rated 20.

Should I say that it was something sound and wholesome? Or actually, after a certain point in time, unsound and immoral?

“Bah, because of Master’s childness, I am also restricted from drinking. It will take six years for me here, this is too long.”

“If we judged by appearance alone, among everyone here yours would be in second place for ‘one who shouldn’t be consuming alcohol’.”

My brother was the first place. And for various reasons.

I was looking at a bear costume drinking from a tankard.

『Chomp, chew, munch, munch. C’mon, eat until you can’t bear it anymore. Get some meat too and devour it. Chomp, chew, munch, munch.』

While he ate the food that had been piled on the table, my brother also encouraged us to do the same. No, wait a moment, he could still eat and drink while inside that costume? That equipment was pretty sophisticated in some weird points.

“Alright alright… gasp! What the, this is crazy good!”

When I tried eating the strange food my brother had offered, I was instantly surprised by its taste. Although it was made with unknown ingredients and cooking methods, for some reason I could grasp how their deliciousness had been brought out together—and that damn, it was incredibly delicious.

『The beary owner of this restaurant is a 【Cook】 of the topmost-class, the 【Star Chef[2]】. In real world’s terms, you could say that his thoroughly trained skills are on the level of a three-star cook.』

“Still, after eating such a huge banquet here and then returning to reality, aren’t we going to suffer through a discrepancy in sensations?”

You see, at around the time for dinner in the real world I should feel hungry—not satiated.

“Come to think of it, outside of the game I’m still lying down on my bed, right?”

『Exactly, and in this world, except for sleeping, nothing else affects us in the real world. Incidentally, even if you sleep six hours here, you will only have slept two hours in the outside world.』

And then he expanded a bit more on it.

『For instance, let’s think of the fact that one day in reality is three days here. If you spend 18 hours awake and sleep 6 hours in this world, repeating the process three times, it will mean that in the real world, you will have stayed awake for 6 hours and slept 2 hours each time, for a total of 24 hours—or a whole day for that matter. When you’re not asleep in this game, your brain stays awake just as usual, you know.』

In other words, if you start <Infinite Dendrogram> up before going to bed and spend all night inside it without sleeping, you’ll be going to school or work while rubbing your tired, sleepy eyes.

『Then, physiological phenomenons like hunger or the need to go to the bathroom will still work normally in the outside world. Whenever your body needs anything, an announcement will appear for you.』

As if on cue, a window appeared in the corner of my eyes.

【Announcement: Urination Urge】

【Announcement: Hunger】

Hmm, I see.

“Okay then, I’ll be logging out for a moment.”

『Sure, come back as soon as you can, I’ll bear waiting.』

“Be quick. Without you here, Master, I will not be able to eat this.”

“Fine fine.”

Finally, I selected the 『Log Out』 option from the 『Main Menu』.

【Now logging out】

【For the next login, would you prefer to appear on your Save Point or your current position?】

“My current position.”

【Understood】

【We await your return】

As my body disappeared from this world, like waking up from a dream, my consciousness dropped from <Infinite Dendrogram>.
◇◇◇
“…Whoa.”

The first thing I did after logging out was to check the clock.

It had been a little less than three hours since I had started playing the game. Time really passed at a 1/3 rate inside <Infinite Dendrogram>.

After a moment of deep impression, I took a trip to the bathroom.

Then, although I had already eaten something within the game, my own body still complained in hunger, so I fed myself with a balanced nutrition bar and mineral water.

Just in case, I checked if my cell phone had received any messages or calls, but there was nothing. I also tried looking at some news sites on my PC and found nothing that particularly stood out.

Like this, about 1○ minutes passed and I finally returned to the game.
◇◇◇
『Beary nice, welcome back.』

“…Oi.”

When I returned, the dishes on the table had completely changed. He had, apparently, eaten the entire first round of food.

…How did just one person eat all that? Was that guy a bear after all?

“URRRAAHH!? The à la carte I was looking forward to is gone!”

Nemesis, who seemed to have materialized out of thin air along with me, screamed.

Wait, “URRRAAHH[3]”? Did she just go “URRRAAHH”?

『Bear at ease. There’s still a beary big amount of food waiting for us. Counting with what’s on the table now, I bear-live they’ve only served 10% of everything.』

“Why so much food!? That’s enough for tens of tens of people!”

He hadn’t even taken into consideration that my <Embryo> would be Nemesis, so why did he prepare so much food for just two people!?

“…Okay, fine. Anyway, brother, I still have some stuff I want to ask you about.”

“How to obtain this beary bear costume?”

“That’s not it….. no, wait, I do have a little interest in that, but that’s not what I really meant.”

There were two things related to the System and one related to Liliana that I was curious about.

Guess I should start asking the easier ones.

“When the <Embryo> evolves its form also changes, right?”

『Beary correct. Baldr’s characteristic as a weapon steadily grew stronger every time. It got massively huge after some evolutions.』

And here I thought the gatling gun was already fairly large… but that was just its 2nd form. The <Embryo> couldn’t have grown any more than that, right?

『Bear the way, I couldn’t introduce it to you, but the 4th form I used today was a tank.』

“A tank!?”

There was even something like that here!?

“…Will my Nemesis also take a form other than her current, humanoid one? Like, a tank or something?”

The girl in question, who was eating beside me, shuddered as she complained with, “Don’t jinx it.”

『Although the <Embryo’s> evolution depends on the Master, your Nemesis should always be based on the Maiden form. The “with-Arms” part might be indicating that she could change into a different type.』

“Now that you mention it, she once changed into a sword… so how should I treat Nemesis as?”

『Like I said, she’s a Maiden <Embryo> that can transform into an Arms type. “Maiden” is, basically, a hybrid… an Embryo that’s a mix of two types.』

“Ohh.”

Somehow it looked like I’d gotten a “two for the price of one” bargain here.

“What’s with the ‘bargain woman’ stuff!?” came another complaint from Nemesis.

『You know, I have an acquaintance who’s like you. They also have a Maiden <Embryo>, but its “with” type is all kinds of different. And currently it has reached the <Superior[4]Embryo> form.』

A Superior <Embryo>?

『It’s how we also call the <Embryos> that reached their 7th form. There are three moments during the evolution of an <Embryo> where it goes through massive changes. The first one is when it hatches from its 0th form. The second one is its advanced evolution from the 3rd form to the 4th. Finally, the third great change is the super evolution from the 6th form to the 7th. Currently, that 7th form is known as the <Embryo’s> final stage.』

“The ultimate stage, the <Superior Embryo>.”

I wondered if one day my Nemesis could reach that point.

Well, since she was still in her 1st form, I honestly had no idea how long it would take to finally arrive there.

『Incidentally, I heard that in this entire world, not even a hundred players have managed to reach the <Superior> stage.』

Less than a hundred out of the millions of people playing <Infinite Dendrogram>?

Just how severe was the journey to reach it…?

“Those guys must be a bunch of no-lifers.”

『It’s not like playtime is the only thing that allowed them to reach there. There’s a great number of people who have been playing since the release date and still haven’t attained the 7th form. Meanwhile, within that select group, some of them have only been playing for six months.』

Did it mean that some sort of special element or factor was needed for that?

“Ah, brother, come to think of it, you’re also one of those who started on the launch date, right? How far did you progress? What’s your <Embryo’s> highest form?”

『It-is-a-bear-se-cret.』

So annoying!

Also, what made it even more annoying was how I realized that, when explaining everything, my bear brother talked like a normal person, but whenever he wanted to poke fun at me he would add bear puns to his speech.

Meanwhile, as I chatted with the bear, Nemesis ate all the food that was on our table.

…Hey, you were the point of that conversation, you know?


TL Info:
1↑天上三ツ星亭 – “Tenjou Mitsuboshi-tei”. “Mitsuboshi” is also used to refer to the Orion’s Belt, so I went with it.
2↑天上料理人 – Read as “Celestial/Heavenly Chef/Cook”, but written as “Star Chef”.
3↑ That same scream from Dragon Quest.
4↑超級(スペリオル)エンブリオ – Written as “Super-class”, read as “Superior”.


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