Rookie’s Hunting Grounds
□ 【Paladin】 Ray Starling
Royal Capital, Altea
『Then, this is where we pawrt ways.』
After I became a 【Paladin】, my brother promptly raised one hand and said that.
“My, are you not going to assist with our leveling, Grizzly Buddy?”
『I helped you guys with the quest yesterday, but I had originally planned to leave after Ray experiences his welcome party, gathers some equipment and finally decides on his beary first job.』
『If we do some power leveling, you will end up with a gap bear-tween your statuses and your gameplay proficiency. Dendro gives a lot of emphasis on a player’s techniques and their own way of solving problems, so you’ll have to bear journeying alone to polish these abilities yourself.』
“Well, I am here with you too so this will not be a lone journey.”
Power leveling was the act of getting a stronger player to help you with the leveling up process, turning it into something pretty easy to do. For example, the stronger person would keep receiving a strong monster’s attacks while I, the weaker player, would shave off its HP little by little until it was dead, resulting in immediate level ups.
Indeed, if I were to do that, I would quickly gain levels, but then my skills as a player would suffer—I would learn nothing.
『And yeah, there’s the beary ＜Embryo＞ System in Dendro. If you just rely a lot on others, your ＜Embryo＞ won’t grow healthy.』
“Will that really happen?”
“There is a possibility.”
The Nemesis that was born here might’ve been the result of how I had played since my start in this game, I guess.
『So anyway, this is good-bear. Still, if you get in a serious pinch, bear sure to contact me.』
“A serious pinch, huh.”
『Yeah. But first you should strive to do your bear-st on your own.』
“Got it. Well, hm, I’m really thankful for everything you did for me.”
『Come on, it’s fine man. Aah, right…』
Bringing that costume’s face closer to me…
『If you ever get involved with anything or anyone related to the Rankings, contact me immediately.』
My bear brother used, once again, a somewhat serious tone while talking.
『Well, what happened yesterday was just something atypical, you shouldn’t go around expecting that extraordinary stuff like that will occur this early in the game. So play and enjoy Dendro without bearing any worries.』
Saying that, he left.
Immediately, the 【Your party has been disbanded】 announcement appeared and, at the same time, my brother’s simplified status finally vanished from my screen.
With him gone, the only ones left here were me and Nemesis.
“Okay then, Master. At last, you are on your own—or rather, we are on our own, so have you already decided where we should be going?”
“Yeah, we’re going to visit some low-level farming grounds my brother told me about.”
“I can hardly wait to level up. It is night and I thirst for blood.”
“We’re still in the noon.”
The first place we checked were the ＜Easter Plains＞, an area immediately outside of Altea, near the city’s east gates. There, it was possible to experience a great view of the scenery, and everywhere we could perceive the figures of monsters lunging against players as they battled.
Come to think of it, this was the first time I had seen other players fighting.
“Alright, shall we join the fray too?”
Complying, Nemesis changed her form to that of a black greatsword.
I then tried swinging up and down this fresh weapon I held in my right hand… or rather, it would’ve been better to say this weapon that had coiled around my entire right arm, up to the top of my shoulder.
“It’s not as heavy as it looks…”
Even with my STR I could easily wield her; she weighed as much as the fake sword I had bought as a souvenir in the past, during one of my school trips.
『You know it is rude to talk about a lady’s weight, right?』
“But without a doubt, it seems much lighter than your human form.”
What happened with the law of conservation of mass?
『….You did not care when you saw magic flying around, but when it came to this, you are worrying about the “law of conservation of mass”?』
It’s not like she was wrong…
『And see, I might not be this “light” to other people. Think of it as being something that only happens when I am attached to you.』
Then I should stop now. If we were to continue doing this back and forth every time we would never begin to level up.
“Okay, leveling… start!”
『Let’s do it.』
Two hours later.
I had leveled three times already, and took 0 damage during the whole time.
“…..Why? I was clobbered by attacks but still received no damage.”
Since I had arrived at these hunting grounds, I kept fighting against monsters like the 【Little Goblin】 and the 【Passi Rabbit】, enemies that at just a single glance would make you think “Yeah, that’s one of the small fry they usually prepare for the beginners.”
And yet, even after receiving an incredible number of attacks from them, my damage taken was still 0.
『That is obvious. Master, do you not have some pretty good equipment for someone of your level? It possesses the 《Damage Reduction》 skill, so any damage that is equal to or below 10 will be reduced to 0, understand?』
With my defense already increased by my equipment, there wasn’t any monster in this place that could deal more than 10 damage to me.
Which reminded me, the HP from a level 1 beginner was a little less than 100. Since it was likely that someone with a newbie’s equipment and status would come to these farming grounds, the developers must have only arranged, in this place, monsters without too much attack power, so that players with just 100 HP wouldn’t die too quickly.
By the way, when I became a level 4, my HP crossed the 700 mark. Although 200 of the total came from skill bonuses, I had raised my base HP by more than 400 points.
Liliana, a level 60 【Paladin】 with a Level Total of 210, had HP on the 5k range; at this rate, however, I would easily exceed the 6000 barrier when reaching that same level 60 in the 【Paladin】 job.
“This is shaping up to be great.”
『It seems that the status increase from an Advanced Job is really good. Or maybe it is my influence too. My status and HP bonuses are the highest.』
Only your HP bonus was supposed to be ranked as “D”.
Apparently, my huge HP growth was a direct result of the bonuses given by the 【Paladin】 profession and my ＜Embryo＞. Man, now I could actually feel how big was said ＜Embryo＞ bonus.
Of course, my other statuses didn’t have the same level of development as my HP, but they still increased. I had also learned a healing magic skill, the 《Fast Heal》.
“Hhmm, should we change farming places?”
I believed it would be fine to go somewhere else with a little stronger enemies.
『Indeed. This was starting to get boring.』
Yeah, for some time already the goblins and rabbits were getting bisected by a single strike. It was somewhat frightening seeing it happen, even if it was me doing that. Well, it was also great that the monsters didn’t leave corpses behind, otherwise the amount of gore everywhere would’ve been staggering.
“Let’s see… the next eligible place for someone like me should be in front of the north gates, the ＜Noz Forest＞.”
『Then, for the time being, maybe we should return to the Royal Capital. It’s almost sweets time.』
“Okay, but I’m just paying for a tea break.”
What the hell would I do if we were to eat the same amount as yesterday’s dinner? If possible, in order to buy some equipment from my next level range, I wanted to save the money I’d gotten from selling the Full Body Armor….
With Nemesis still in her greatsword form, I got on my way back to the Royal Capital. In the middle of this journey, my gaze kept following the other players as they hunted monsters. Many of them were clad in the outfits I had seen in the catalog from the “tutorial”, so most probably they were also newbies like me.
In spite of them using a beginner’s clothing, each player had something that no other player possessed.
One had a sickle-and-chain weapon.
As it was being thrown, I honestly expected that the chain would extend by itself and strike the monster, but for some reason the sickle drove itself underground and then it assaulted the enemy.
Another had a baby stroller.
While carrying an egg-like thing on it, the player was somehow holding the stroller’s handle with his left hand as he frantically swung a sword—in his right hand—against a monster.
Another had a stone hut.
From a hole in the wall of that hut, the player was attacking his enemy with a sling. When it snapped against that simple shelter, seemingly turning numb from doing that, the monster stopped moving.
Another had a boundary that shone in red.
When it rushed into that boundary, the monster exploded as if it had stepped on a landmine. Ah… the player themselves were also blown away.
Similarly to my Nemesis, those must have all been ＜Embryos＞ too.
“…There are so many kinds, huh.”
『That sickle-and-chain is an Arms, the hut is a Castle and the minefield a Territory. The baby stroller is… something. Maybe a tool from the TYPE Arms, or a Chariot…』
Differently from the Maiden kind, they were all in the so-called “basic” category of ＜Embryos＞.
They seemed so interesting to use…
『An affair!? Even though you have made me cling to your arm, you are thinking of cheating on me!?』
…..Did that really count as “clinging”?
“Of course it’s not something like that, I just thought about how interesting it is that every ＜Embryo＞ has its own subtle abilities and peculiarities. This is indeed like a fantasy world.”
Although it was another story if we considered my bear brother using heavy weaponry and other kinds of modernistic arms.
『The fundamental principle of the ＜Embryos＞ is to be something unique to each ＜Master＞.』
“If I were to compare them, though, your 1st form looks quite unrefined.”
Yeah, your greatsword mode that is.
As I continued to walk, I found yet another player fighting a monster. But differently from all the other cases, instead of just one there were two people involved in that fight.
One of them was also clad in the initial equipment—a player, obviously—and looked a bit younger than me; it was something near the difference you’d see between a middle and a high-schooler. Probably from the battles, he had been dirtied in mud and blood. Nevertheless, the adjectives “cool” and “charming” seemed to perfectly fit such a “pretty boy”. His beginner’s equipment looked similar to the one I had selected in the tutorial, but instead of a jacket he was wearing a coat.
Now, continuing on the matter of physical appearance, the other person was also quite peculiar. With a devil’s characteristic tail and bat wings growing from her figure, that beautiful girl exuded a clear and, obvious, devilish allure.
The two were fighting with all their might, but were currently surrounded by four 【Little Goblins】 so their situation didn’t seem that good.
Well then, even though I wanted to provide some support, I didn’t know if it was fine to interrupt them.
With the intention of also testing the healing magic I had learned but couldn’t use even once, I recovered their HP. It was the great experience of checking out your new abilities.
Since we weren’t in a party, I couldn’t see their statuses, but their wounds were clearly disappearing.
“Ah! Thanks for the help!”
Pulling themselves together, the two continued their battle.
After about five minutes, the 【Little Goblins】 were wiped out by the duo.
“Good work there. 《Fast Heal》.”
I then casted the healing magic one more time on them, seeing that they were done with their fight.
“Thanks for the healing! That really helped me there.”
“Don’t worry, I just wanted to try shooting out some healing magic.”
Rather, I was getting embarrassed by being thanked like this.
『There you go again getting more thanks from people.』
Suddenly, I felt Nemesis’ weight in my right hand disappearing.
I then noticed her standing by my side in her human mode.
“Huh? You are…”
They both seemed surprised, but Nemesis disregarded that and just focused her gaze on the devilish girl.
“Hmhm, the same as me… no, it is a Guardna, I guess. Still, a Guardna with an appearance this close to a human’s is also pretty rare.”
“Hey, Nemesis, don’t stare at her like that. It’s rude.”
“My bad, my bad. I was just a little bit curious.”
The particular target of her curiosity was, well, something I had also noticed.
“Sorry for my ＜Embryo’s＞ discourtesy.”
“Please don’t worry. At any rate, I guess there are ＜Embryos＞ that can shapeshift too!”
“Indeed, I am Nemesis, the TYPE: Maiden-with-Arms ＜Embryo＞!”
Displaying a vigor that seemed to even bring with it a BANG sound effect, Nemesis introduced herself.
Ohh man that was too embarrassing.
“Oops, this might be a bit late but I am Ray Starling. I’ve just started playing ＜Infinite Dendrogram＞ since yesterday.”
“Ah, I am Luke. I also began playing yesterday.”
“Babi is Babylon! An ＜Embryo＞ TYPE Guardna!”
So… Luke and Babylon.
“And here I was sure that a Guardna would be modeled after a monster…”
Except for the tail and wings, Babylon was indistinguishable from a human. Or rather, you could even say that there was no difference whatsoever, since you could easily add a tail and wings to your avatar during the character creation process.
If you were to ask me whether she looked like a monster or a person, I’d immediately reply with “person”.
“That’s ‘cause Babi is a seccubs! The one that’s sexy, cute and will charm anyone!”
Oh, a succubus?
“Wa—Babi, didn’t I tell you to not say something like that in public…!”
“Eeeh? But Babi is an ＜Embryo＞ proud of being a seccubs, so Babi isn’t embarrassed you see?”
“The one embarrassed here is me!”
“….Luke is… embarrassed of Babi?”
Asked a teary-eyed Babi.
Wow, even from an outsider’s perspective, using those upturned, teary eyes was completely unfair. With a single strike from such a powerful weapon, Luke was thrown into a panic.
“Err… um… you’re not embarrassing, Babi. It’s just that, you know how you were “born” from me, right? When someone pries too deep into your own self, it feels really embarrassing…”
Whoa, what was this sense of deja vu?
Guess I was going to get really along with this Luke guy.
“Come on, Babi, you should not trouble your own Master that much okay?”
“Look who’s talking.”
Apparently, Luke and his ＜Embryo＞ had already planned to end their farming at that point, so we returned to the Royal Capital together. Then, since they were with us already, we also invited the two into our “sweets time”.
“This is the season for the best peaches.”
Since she was born, this was the first time she had eaten a peach tart, but Nemesis still talked as if she knew about that kind of stuff; at the same time, she was devouring 17 servings of food at an astounding rate…
“Sweet things make a great combo with this here~”
And then there was Babi, putting “chili sauce” on the strawberry parfait.
“….Nope, don’t put chili sauce there.”
“I agree… still, Nemesis-san’s eating speed is, well…”
“Yeah, I already know about that…”
Nevertheless, this was weird.
Even though Nemesis and Babi were both supposed to be only one day old, they held some firm knowledge about seasons and their own likings regarding seasoning of food—to the point that the latter one was really worrying for a lot of reasons.
Yesterday, when asked about that matter, Nemesis had simply answered with, “I might have this humanoid form, but I am not a person,” and left it at that…
“To be honest with you, Master, that is because before our own birth, we ＜Embryos＞ make use of our ＜Master’s＞ memories. While it is the System that gives us information about its world, the world where we exist, we learn about worldly affairs and circumstances from our own ＜Masters＞.”
Ahh, so that was how she knew about things like peaches and their season.
“In short, the ＜Embryo＞ knows everything about its ＜Master＞, understood?”
“So what’s my type of girl?”
“Someone exactly like me!”
Well, I guess we could say that they didn’t learn everything we knew, only our general common sense was given to them.
“Still, how did Babi acquire this kind of sacrilegious eating habit…?”
“Is it not precisely because it is ‘sacrilegious’? Her name should be Babylon, right?”
The Whore of Babylon.
She was a woman that appeared in the Book of Revelation, riding a seven-headed beast while spreading depravity and fornication to the world, also considered there the martyr’s archenemy.
I had no idea if this Babi was the same as the one who named her, but my Nemesis was similar: her name came from the goddess of “revenge” or divine retribution in the Greek mythology; even her skill was a “counter” to enemy attacks.
Hm, it might’ve really been the case that an ＜Embryo’s＞ name was indicative of its own abilities.
“Oh, by the way, Babi. I want to ask the succubus you a question, but what kinds of ‘secksy apill’ are there that make a man go crazy?”
Hey, just what are you asking her, you black thing.
“There are lo~ots.”
So there are many, huh…
Ah, Luke was choking right next to her.
“Ohoh, could you teach me then?”
“ ‘…….Hm?’ ”
Wasn’t everything on the same level of simple massages? There wasn’t anything lewd with them.
“I am not talking about that, I mean, there should be something that is more fit for the Whore of Babylon name.”
“What kind of thing?”
“W-Well, even if you ask me this, I…”
If just by being asked the same question you ended up flustered like that, you shouldn’t have started it in the first place, you black thing.
“Um, I am a minor so it looks like Babi also matches this fact…”
Recovering from his choking fit, Luke affirmed that—and I agreed with his reasoning.
“Ahhh, so it is the age limit.”
It was the same with drinking and smoking.
Considering Luke was a minor, it appeared that the “sexiness” of the succubus had been lessened to the simple loveliness of a young girl giving massages to her daddy.
I would learn about this in the future, but there was a certain “heroic” dungeon, named ＜The Succubus’ Palace＞, where its degree of difficulty was an order of magnitude higher depending on whether you were a minor or not. If an adult entered that dungeon, they would be approached by beautiful succubi or incubi displaying their full charming powers; thrown into a state of panic, the adult player would have all their HP, MP and SP drained by these demons, resulting in their death.
On the other hand, I heard that a minor would get assaulted by attacks without any sexy appeal.
Was ＜Infinite Dendrogram＞ really an indecent game? Or was it family-friendly? Man, this was a really hard question.
Since the ＜Embryo’s＞ hatching and evolution depends on what makes you, you, this leads to an infinite number of behavioral patterns and, sometimes, a weird one might come out.
This may not be a major plot point in the story, but it is a fact that “humanoid ＜Embryos＞ have, in some respects, weird eating habits.”
Well, this isn’t really important so it’s fine if you don’t remember it.
1↑シュピッと – I’m not sure on this one, so just leaving it here.
2↑今宵の私は血に飢えている – Probably a Demitri Maximoff reference from Darkstalkers.
3↑パシラビット – Not even the author knows the meaning of the “パシ” part. He just thought it was a name that sounded weak and went with it. I tried using “Passi[ve]” to express this.
4↑鎖鎌 – The “Kusarigama”.
これって抱きつかせるに入るのか – Not 100% sure on this line. He says this in response to Nemesis’ previous line “我を右手に抱きつかせ”. Thanks Cestina.
6↑辻ヒール – In this case, it’s a term used in online games (in Japan) when you test/try out a healing ability on a random player you find. “辻[something]” is the generic term when you use this [something]. The term stemmed from 辻斬り (tsujigiri): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsujigiri
7↑インマ and 淫魔 – “Succubus” (淫魔, Inma), but Babylon says “Inma” in Katakana (インマ), as if it’s a “foreign” word (or giving emphasis to it). I differentiated it just a bit to try and keep the meaning of that exchange. Also, Babylon talks in a very childish and “cute” way, also referring to herself with a nickname “Babi”.
元になった僕の心が色々詮索されると恥ずかしいってこと – Also not 100% sure on this line.Thanks again Cestina.
9↑“せくしぃあぴぃる” – Nemesis speaks “Sexy Appeal” as if she was “reading” some entirely unknown words to her.