□ Ray Starling
Royal Capital, Altea
＜Orion’s Belt Restaurant＞
Last night, after talking about all sorts of things, we had a pretty ordinary party while eating and drinking.
Nemesis and my brother, who both had consumed twice as much as I did, gave up in the middle of the feast, so in the end we had shared the leftover food and beverages—more than half of what had been prepared—to the other customers in the restaurant; the entire place was thrown into a boisterous, festive mood.
When looking at all the people partying there, showing so much excitement, from a strict point of view it was practically impossible to distinguish between the players and the NPCs… the tians. I guess the ones spouting famous lines from retro games, such as “Sup, loadsamoney,” towards my bear brother were players. On the other hand, those with a cup of alcohol in one hand while talking in a pretty unusual way—with “Ours truly” and “I say…”—seemed to be tians.
Well, if we didn’t take the ＜Embryo＞ crests into consideration, we could only use vague signs such as those to tell them apart. It didn’t matter whether they were players or tians, they all just looked like real human beings.
As I gazed at that spectacle, I had experienced once again how great the game of ＜Infinite Dendrogram＞ was and, at the same time, felt that… somehow, there was something I was supposed to be reflecting upon.
I had felt it, but…
“My head’s killing me…”
The morning after that party, my head was stricken with a headache so great it was impossible to have any “philosophical thoughts” whatsoever.
By my side, Nemesis groaned, suffering from the same thing.
A hangover. Yes, this was a hangover.
Normally, minors weren’t able to drink alcohol in the game. However, the problem was that, among those participating in the feast was a ＜Master＞ whose ＜Embryo＞ had a very peculiar skill, one that made me want to retort with “Just why does a skill like that exist here?”: it could turn water into an alcoholic-like beverage.
“There isn’t any alcohol heeere. This is just juuuice. You’ll simply get a bit tipsy if you driiink~” they said while offering it to others; it was so delicious I lost count on how many cups I had drunk.
Then, on the next day, this was the result.
“Uughh… why is this even a thing here?”
I could see the 【Hangover】 effect being clearly displayed in the field for Abnormal Statuses from the menu. Since I had already seen the 【Fracture】 status, just how many different abnormal effects did they consider in this game? And to make things worse, even though the “pain” setting was supposed to be OFF, my head was still throbbing painfully…
“That drink was indeed close to alcohol, Master, but I think you could essentially call it a poison.”
Looking around, I could notice that those who had participated in yesterday’s festivities and drank the pseudo-alcoholic beverage were also suffering from headaches.
“Ahh, was that an abnormal status-inflicting poison disguised as booze…?”
In that case I could accept a skill like that existing here; moreover, I could also understand why a minor like me was able to drink it, ignoring the usual restrictions from the game. Since there were old tales in Japan involving that kind of deception, maybe that ＜Embryo＞ was based on such a motif.
And although the person who made the “poison” had consumed it in crazy large quantities, they had remained completely unfazed.
“Why would she go around poisoning us like that…?”
『That’s Lei-Lei-san’s beary way of greeting people!』
My bear brother was moving around the place, giving to the players affected by the hangover a glass of water mixed with medicine. Since he had been, one way or another, the one responsible for yesterday’s feast, he was now in charge of taking care of the others.
『She makes sure to always get newcubs to drink her 【Gods Poison for an Oni’s Convenience Sake (Weak)】.』
“Why would she go that…”
『”There are surprise attacks like this so you have to be carefuul!” and then she makes people experience that kind of lesson bear themselves.』
Hmm, I see.
It was no wonder that the players who didn’t drink the “alcohol” were smirking—or maybe, they were laughing nostalgically while looking at us. They had probably received that same “greeting” in the past.
“…It was a great lesson in the end.”
『Bear the way, she’s also a ＜Master＞ of one of those ＜Superior Embryos＞ I mentioned yesterday. That girl is bearily known as Lei-Lei the “Wicked Feast”.』
I wonder why someone that seemed so amazing got such a nickname…
And hey, considering it was a ＜Superior Embryo＞, I didn’t feel that the skill to turn drinks into poison was very strong.
Maybe she had something else, I guess?
『Incidentally, I heard that she couldn’t participate in the previous war bearcause of her schedule in the real world.』
I should’ve expected that already, but there was the possibility that some people would be too busy with real life to take part in an event here, right?
In the end, I couldn’t move during the morning until the hangover finally dissipated.
……Distributed by the establishment’s staff, the items that were supposed to dispel the 【Hangover】 effect didn’t work at all. Man, delivering something like an abnormal status effect that couldn’t be removed… that was a pretty nasty poison…
Anyway, since I had recovered now, I decided to go shopping in the city.
“Hey bro, I want to sell the drops from the demidra and then buy some equipment for a beginner. Also, I need to stock up on 【Dragon Scales】 and 【Brooches】, but where should I get them?”
『Eh? You wanna fill your pawckets with that?』
My bear brother had a complicated expression on his face.
Since Nemesis’ characteristic skill required me to take damage, I thought the 【Lifesaving Brooches】 and 【Dragon Scale Substitutes】 were most probably a must to me, but…
『You should give up on those, fur now.』
『Those accessories are beary expensive. The 【Dragon Scale Substitutes】 are the strongest accessories bear-longing to the “Substitute” class and cost 300,000 lirs a piece. Meanwhile, a 【Lifesaving Brooch】 sells fur 5,000,000 lirs.』
In the Japanese currency, that would be 3 million and 50 million yen. I had no idea they were such high-class items.
Still, if you thought about it, that was a given. They were literally on a level that decided if you’d die or not. Even I would’ve died countless times if I didn’t have them with me during that time… but damn, they were too expensive.
“…Yeah, I should give up.”
And sorry for breaking them all in an instant yesterday…
『I bear-live that’s okay. If you want to buy a bear-ginner’s equipment, there’s a really respectable shop managed by players here. Oh right, did you open the drop from the demidra already?』
『Monsters that are recognized as “boss-level”, such as the demidras, will bear-sically drop items as a “box”. Inside the box is one item derived from the defeated monster and beartween one to five items (decided at random) from the same level range of that boss.』
Come to think of it, there was indeed the 【Demi-Dragwurm’s Treasure Coffer】 that had dropped yesterday. I guess the “Treasure Coffer” was just another name for the usual “Treasure Chest”.
Selecting it in the Item entry in the menu, a pop-up with 【Open the Item?】 appeared.
“Should I really open it?”
『Hmm, there’s a chance that it’ll be a dud, so you can sell the box without opening it. However, this is a drop from a demidra, so you’re likely to see something very good. Well, I think you should.』
“Then, YES it is.”
【You have acquired a “Demi-dragwurm’s Full Body Armor – Native”】
【You have acquired an “Ementerium”】
“It was a 【Demi-dragwurm’s Full Body Armor – Native】 and an 【Ementerium】.”
『The “Full Body Armor” was bearfectly a good drop. The equipment’s skill should bear able to decrease your physical damage taken by 150.』
Whoa, that’s amazing… or that was what I would’ve instantly said if I had never seen my bear brother’s costume.
“What does this ‘Native’ mean?”
『Ahh, it’s there bear-cause your “Full Body Armor” is naturally made. It’s different from when you collect the raw materials fur an Armorsmith and have them create a full body armor—a man-made equipment, in this beary case. Their defensive efficiency might bear the same, but the skill composition of each one is slightly different.』
…Just what was a Naturally Made Full Body Armor…?
“Well, I’m going to equip it now then… huh? I can’t?”
On a closer look, the messages 【Level not high enough】 and 【To be equipped, this requires a minimum Level Total of 150 and a Job Level of at least 51.】 were being displayed.
“…Guess I can’t use it for now.”
『Looks like it will take a long time until you’ll get to equip it, so why don’t you sell that armor? You could fetch about 400,000 lirs fur it. And the Ementerium is just vendor trash, it should bear around 20,000 lirs.』
Nice, that was a pretty good sum. But it still couldn’t reach, at all, the cost of a single 【Brooch】.
“This Ementerium… a trash drop from that demidra is 20,000?”
Say, if the Full Body Armor—a good drop, according to my brother—weren’t inside the box, and in its place were just a different derived item of about the same price as the Ementerium, the total money from the demidra would’ve been 40,000.
I had heard it yesterday, but now I could finally realize just how extraordinary were the rewards given by Driphe during the war. It was much easier to defeat eight soldiers than a single demidra. The players participating must have thought of the battlefield as especially “delicious”.
At any rate, since I managed to obtain some war funds, guess I should go and buy some equipment.
In the shop that had been recommended by my brother, I let them choose for me some items that could even be equipped by a level 0 player. Apparently, the 【Riot】 equipment series was often used by those on the lower-level range. From what I could see, there was a set of boots, light armor, gloves and pants.
Then, in the end, I bought some equipment carefully made by an Armorsmith; the 【Riot】 light armor was also endowed with additional effects, granted by the skills 《HP Increase》 and 《Damage Reduction》.
《HP Increase》 Lv1:
Increases HP by 200.
《Damage Reduction》 Lv1:
Reduces physical damage taken by 10.
Yeah, I think this will help me in the beginning.
“And Nemesis should work fine enough as a weapon, so now I’m ready to start leveling up.”
“ ‘Nemesis is fine enough’… are you kidding me!? Should you not be saying ‘Nemesis is simply the best!’, hey!?”
“Ne-me-sis is sim-ply the be-st.”
“What’s with that super monotone voice!?”
I also had the store buy my dropped items for their market price, obtaining 420,000 lirs.
By the way, I bought some recovery items along with the armor and only spent 20,000 lirs in the end. Since it was equipment for a beginner, everything was pretty cheap, and all the money I’d gotten from the 【Full Body Armor】 sale remained untouched; since I had no reason to expend it, I decided to keep these lirs with me.
Alright, now I was perfectly ready to level up.
『Ah, wait a minute. You should take a job bear-fore going out to level. Otherwise, you’ll bear level 0 forever.』
I was still jobless.
『Want my bear self to give you a simple explanation about jobs?』
He then told me the following:
The jobs in ＜Infinite Dendrogram＞ were roughly separated into three categories: Lower-grade, Advanced and Superior Jobs; in other words, every single job in this game was classified into one of those three groups.
As jobs that were first taken by jobless players, the Lower-grade ones were easily accessible. Their maximum level was 50.
From the principle that players had to prove themselves with their Lower-grade Jobs in order to obtain the Advanced ones, the jobs from this higher-level category required multiple conditions to be met before an individual was allowed to learn them. The maximum level for Advanced Jobs was 100.
It was possible to have, at the same time, six Lower-grade and two Advanced Jobs, for a maximum Level Total of 500.
So now, what were the Superior Jobs?
Those who took to the extremes of the Advanced Jobs and cleared very difficult conditions were able to obtain jobs from the Superior category. Moreover, a Superior Job was apparently exclusive for the first person who learned it.
Finally, there was no maximum level for Superior Jobs. Indeed, with one of those jobs, it was possible to gain levels over the 500 limit.
That was pretty unbalanced, I thought, but it didn’t seem that there were many Superior Jobs out there. Also, as something obvious, the EXP required to level up increased with every new level, so the degree of difficulty to raise the job’s level increased accordingly. As a result, even without the level limit, apparently there weren’t “that many” people with borderline crazy high levels.
Or, in other words, a small minority seemed to have borderline crazy high levels.
Taking into consideration the ＜Superior Embryos＞ too, I had the feeling that the admins of ＜Infinite Dendrogram＞ intentionally prepared a completely different class of strength for the game. Still, differently from the ＜Superior Embryos＞, Superior Jobs could apparently be taken by tians.
Oh right, as an aside, the way people called the Lower-grade and Advanced job classes depended on their own native language. Here in Japan, they were “Lower-grade Job” and “Advanced Job”, but in the English-speaking countries, players called them “Minor Job” and “Major Job”.
However, for some reason, the “Superior Job” class had this name fixed like that regardless of country of origin or cultural region.
Since there was also the similar name of ＜Superior Embryo＞, I wondered if the word “Superior” had some kind of deeper meaning to the admins…
By the way, when the term ＜Superior＞ is used alone, it apparently meant that people were talking about a ＜Superior Embryo＞ and its ＜Master＞.
…..As expected, everything was pretty complex, huh.
『And that’s the bear of it.』
“What if I choose a job that doesn’t suit my ＜Embryo＞? Or if it doesn’t go well with me?”
『Because of what you pointed out, there are ceremonial places in every country that allow you to reset any job. Also, even if you reset your job, the strength your ＜Embryo＞ received from leveling up won’t change.』
So that’s why there seemed to be some players who went through a reset countless times, experiencing all kinds of jobs. Until the player found a job that suited them, they would repeat it over and over; when finally getting one that matched themselves, their ＜Embryo＞ would have grown accordingly to all that time played. As a result, it meant that it would also be easier to level yourself up when compared to before.
“Speaking of which… what were the jobs of the rankers from yesterday’s story?”
『Beary well, the ones I mentioned yesterday all had Superior Jobs.』
There were titles like 【King】 and 【Priestess】, so it was obvious that these names would indicate some sort of uniqueness to their bearer.
“Do you know what were the requirements for their jobs?”
『Bear me… the 【King of Destruction】 job required the person to deal over 100,000,000 damage while playing, solo-kill a certain number of Advanced Boss monsters and finally complete a special quest. I’m beary sure that the 【Over-Gladiator】 and 【High Priestess】 jobs required something of that same difficulty level.』
A hundred million damage dealt… what kind of absurd condition was that? Even if I fired ten thousand times the same 《Vengeance is Mine》 from the demidra fight, it wouldn’t be nearly enough. As expected of the jobs of rankers, they were simply ridiculous.
『Oh yes, you benefit from the total status increase given by each job bear-longing to you, but you can only use the skills from the job you have currently set as your main one. So, when you’re working as a 【Cook】, you can’t use the skills from another job you own, like a 【Gunner】, fur example.』
“Ohh. So you can even be a 【Cook】 and a soldier from the 【Military】 at the same time.
Just like a movie from somewhere…
『Well, if you open your Menu at a Save Point you can immediately switch your main job. In addition, if you have a job from the same type as your main one, you’re able to use its skills too. Especially, this is often the case with types that use the beary same weapon.』
Then, without a doubt, I needed to choose my job composition wisely.
“Okay… so what job should I take?”
『Here, look at this 【Vocational Diagnosis Catalog】~』
…..From the way he talked, it seemed like he was pulling out some sort of secret tool.
My bear brother showed me a really thick catalog.
『When you use this item, the catalog will ask you several questions and through them it is able to find a job that will bear-st suit you, among the ones you can currently take.』
『Since it uses the questioning method, we don’t know if the job will really suit you. It should be fine to use this catalog when you’re not sure about which one to get, considering there are over 100 different jobs available for a beginner.』
“Wow, that’s a lot.”
『Well, since you’re going to be using this in the future, this bear is giving it to you as a present.』
At any rate, let’s try using this item.
…..Then, after roughly five minutes, the results came in…
It was a staple job, something seen in a lot of games, but I had some doubts whether it actually suited me.
『Ah, the 【Paladin】 job grants bonuses to HP, STR and END. Also, it can learn damage reduction and healing magic skills.』
I see, then it was perfect for me. This job would have some great compatibility when used together with Nemesis.
『Still, this is weird. The 【Paladin】 isn’t really a job that could be taken by a beginner. Rather, it is an Advanced Job.』
『Yeah. You have to clear several conditions to get this job.』
『First of all, you have to defeat a Boss Monster from a Demi-Dragon or higher class, removing at least 50% of its HP by yourself.』
“I did that.”
That step had been cleared with my battle against the demidra.
『Next, you need to donate 200,000 lirs to the Church.』
“I can do this.”
No problem, I had 400,000 lirs in my possession.
『Finally, you need a recommendation from an influential person connected to the Knights.』
“….That I don’t have.”
I barely started playing this game, so I didn’t think I had received any kind of recommendation already.
“Think carefully, Master, did you not experience something close to that just yesterday?”
Nemesis, who until now had been quietly listening to the conversation, suddenly interjected.
『Ah, you’re right. I see, so the original reward from yesterday’s quest was that… well, the System doesn’t send any unromantic announcements like 【Your bonds with X have deepened.】 anyway, so…』
The two of them alone seemed to have understood something.
“Master, come on… did you forget who was the person you saved yesterday?”
After that, we proceeded to the house of a certain person: the Vice Captain of the Imperial Knights, Liliana.
Probably because of yesterday’s incident, Liliana was together with Miliane in her house.
She expressed her gratitude again and welcomed us; we talked with the two sisters for a while and then I finally expressed to Liliana my desire to take the 【Paladin】 job. The woman readily consented and immediately wrote a letter of recommendation for me.
Without delay, I went to the Church and took care of the donation. As a result, on this very day I became a 【Paladin】.
Thus, I was finally prepared to gain levels.
1↑いよっ、おだいじん – A line from the Metal Max/Metal Saga game series. The player can enter a bar and choose to “spend a lot”, treating the NPCs there to booze. When talking to some of them, they will say that kind of line. “Mr. Big Spender” or something similar.
2↑「我々は」「～である」 – “Wareware” old-fashioned/very formal way of saying “we”. “~de aru” is also a formal way of saying “be/is”.
3↑神毒鬼便酒 – This is also related to what the MC was talking about, regarding “old tales/folklore in Japan”. From the Shuten Douji story, that Oni’s downfall came after it drank the “Divine Miracle Wine” or, more precisely, the “Gods’ Convenience, Oni Poison Sake” (神便鬼毒酒), an alcoholic beverage that made all the Oni who consumed it to be unable to move, while not doing anything to the humans who drank it. The author then swapped the kanji related to “convenience” and “poison” to change the general meaning, since people got a hangover from it. 神(God/Divine)毒(Poison)鬼(Oni/Demon)便(Convenience)酒(Sake).
4↑Around 28.6k USD and 476.8k USD.
5↑銃士(ガンナー) – Written with the kanji for “Musketeer”, it is read as “Gunner”.
6↑“Under Siege”, perhaps?