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Chapter 9: I’ll Pick My 3-Stars (4)
Gacha game developers decide to release a skimpy version of an existing character as an event exclusive.
Sometimes, they’re sold as additional skins, other times as standalone characters.
They did both in PAO.
Character skins had different sprites and skill effects while standalone characters had entirely different skill sets and performances.
(You crazy fuckers, I’m spending twice as much!)
(So you won’t buy them?)
(Keep releasing characters like that and I’ll end up broke!)
I ended up shelling out for both.
The first type is purely cosmetic and the second is for performance, but I ended up paying for both anyway.
Why do you pay for them when they don’t affect gameplay?
Why wouldn’t you? It's a weeb’s waifu-collecting harem game. What kind of question is that?
These event skins might as well be their default skins!
No matter what others said, I ended up buying both.
In such games where attractiveness is equivalent to the efficacy of the character, who wouldn’t?
Looks dictate performance.
The rules of this fantasy world are slightly different from those of the game.
(Damn. They’re wearing that to enter the labyrinth? She’s either a turbo thot or is just that good at her job.)
(A swimsuit… and a floatie? In a dungeon? Is she… serious?)
(Stop trying to clear the dungeon with a bunny girl…!)
A skin is only good when it’s in a game.
As soon as you start thinking about the logistics of it actually happening, then the ones who wear that to the dungeon and the person who commands them to enter like that are both retarded.
But I’m different.
Bunny Girl Knights.
It actually existed within the game as a legitimate knight order and consisted of bunny girls who attempted to clear the labyrinth.
I’m just trying to emulate them.
And I’m just using Louie’s notoriety as a cover-up for my future plans.
“What do you think??”
Laura considered it for a moment with a serious face and looked at me with a bright smile.
I’ve been rejected.
Is it because she doesn’t like Louie?
Even if he has a punchable face, he’s fairly attractive. Even more than I am in real life. Is she looking for someone more handsome?
“I understand your intent and consideration, but I don’t think I’m skilled enough to be hired.”
“I’m still too inexperienced to be working for you. If we look at the adventurer ranks that people use… I’m still at the lowest level… I don’t deserve… a spot on the Earl’s knight order.”
“So would you ask me once I’m a little more experienced and powerful enough to make a name for myself?”
This won’t do.
“You don’t understand.”
With things like this, I’ll just have to force her with my authority.
“I’m not recruiting you. I’m ordering you.”
Laura’s expression hardened, while Bernhardt began to frown.
“You have two options. One is to join my knight order, and the other is to leave the city.”
“But… Th-that’s not fair…!”
“That doesn’t matter. This is Permarten City, and I’m a Permarten.”
The Scion’s gone mad.
Yes, I’m mad.
Do you think I’ll let one of my death flags go so easily?
The player character will collect companions, and among them will be other Permartens, who will eventually come to kill me.
Even if Laura resents me for it, I need her on my side.
“Sir Scion, even for you, I cannot allow such a thing under my guild.”
“Why is that?”
“Adventurers are free beings… Even for you… I cannot…”
Allow you to cross the line.
Was what he wanted to say, but this was a matter of life or death for me.
“Did you not hear what I just said? I’m telling you to quit the adventurer life and become a servant of House Permarten. Then, those laws won’t apply to you.”
“But Laura hasn’t decided yet. She’s still an adventurer.”
“She’s the woman I have chosen.”
I won’t budge. I can’t give in.
“I want to keep her by my side and watch—to see if she’s fit to be a Permarten or not.”
“What do you mean…?”
Bernhardt’s expression began showing signs of curiosity and understanding.
He must’ve started to unravel the meaning behind my forceful remarks, and was curious as to why this scoundrel was so persistent.
“There’s nothing else to say. I don’t wish to discuss such matters in public. Do you two need time to talk?”
“N-no! I understand.”
“G-Guildmaster?!” Laura retorted in shock.
The guildmaster, who was on her side the entire time, seemingly switched sides.
“Miss Laura, this may be a great opportunity for you. Currently, the only thing you can really do is to enter the mines with a pickaxe. Working under the Scion will help restart your career.”
“All right. I can concede on the bunny girl outfits.”
That’s a blatant lie.
“But I cannot concede you, Miss Laura. I’d like to officially invite you to House Permarten.”
“B-but… I’m just a newbie adventurer…”
“That doesn’t matter. I want you regardless.”
This is the newbie I choose.
“Just trust me. I’ll make you the strongest.”
“U-um…” Laura began, weakly.
“...I know I’m in no position to ask for anything, but can I ask for… a condition?”
“I’ll hear it.”
The player’s condition.
This must be related to her ‘dreams.’
“...I want to see the end of the labyrinth.”
“Yes. I want to see what’s at the end of the labyrinth, and whether it’s truly infinite…”
Some think there are treasures.
Others think there might be a lamp that grants all your wishes.
There are only temporary filler bosses at the end.
I know what the end looks like, but the people here don’t.
The Infinite Labyrinth.
Unlike the name, the citizens of Permarten can only explored till the 50th level.
Why only level 50 after hundreds of years?
Because the seal, which inhibits access to the second half of the labyrinth, hasn’t been broken. Therefore, the portals on the 50th floor only lead to other parts of the same floor.
You can ascend normally, but cannot descend any further.
People will be stuck repeating the 50th floor until someone finally breaks the seal, and becomes the first person to venture down to the 51st floor.
To the public, she’s known as the dutiful adventurer who wants to clear the Infinite Labyrinth. However, as the story progresses, the players begin to realize her ulterior motives.
As a short overview, the leading fan theory is…
(What if the final boss is an opposite-sex version of the player character?)
Even I picked up on enough bits and pieces to know.
As an experienced player, I’ve pieced out enough of the story to figure out what’s happening.
If you play as the male character, your little sister is the final boss.
If you play as the female character, your older brother is the final boss.
Well, it was still a contested topic before I quit, but either way, Laura seems to play a pivotal role in the main story.
“Others may laugh at my aspiration after seeing my current skills, but one can always dream. My dream is to see the end of the labyrinth.
“Is that it? To see the end?”
If you didn’t know what I knew, then this would sound like a hopeless dream of an insolent brat.
But I know better.
“No… that’s not all. I… I’ve heard rumors. If you reach the end of the labyrinth, there’s a magic stone called the ‘Rock of God’ that grants wishes.”
“That’s just a myth.”
I’m telling the truth.
“But shouldn’t the rumor have some kind of basis? Isn’t that why…”
“Such a rumor exists?”
“...If something like that does exist, would you grant me a wish with the stone?”
“What is your wish?”
She cannot say.
Even I can only guess what her wish would be. I don’t know what it is for certain.
All right. I can always grant you a wish. Even if the so-called ‘Rock of God’ doesn’t exist, as long as it’s within my power, I’ll grant it.
Maybe it’s the complete destruction of the labyrinth.
Or the death of the one who created it.
“Be glad, Laura. I’ll make your wish come true.”
One thing’s for certain…
“You won’t stand a chance in your current state. But do not worry. The Permarten’s wealth will be on your side, so it will be your duty to use your strength for the Permartens.”
“...Yes… Sir Scion.”
Laura stood up and saluted me as a knight would.
“But Sir Scion…”
“The bunny girl thing… It’s a joke, right?”
“...Don’t worry about a thing, Miss Laura.”
I took a sip of my tea.
“I’ll make sure you’ll be able to clear the labyrinth in a bunny suit.”
I will never concede the bunny suit.
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