Before the tutorial begins chapter 35

Chapter 35 – Black Lightning Roars, Talk of Tearjerkers

City of Sakura Dungeon Town – Dungeon #336 [Eternal Darkness] 6th Floor

After the welcoming lunch party, we immediately went to the dungeon to explore.

When I say exploration, I don’t mean [Conquest], where you have to go to the deepest level.

What we plan to do today is [Hunt] on a floor with direct transfer gates to the midpoints, endlessly killing enemy ghosts to collect Spirit Stones.

Lying in wait on a floor where you can always escape to safety, then robbing every spirit that logs in is practically highway robbery, but it’s the standard form for modern adventurers.

No risking your life.

No trying to make a fortune in one fell swoop.

Just defeat beatable foes and earn a modest day’s pay.

Why are we suddenly doing this working-class stuff?

Obviously not to make money.

It’s just to determine the extent of Jupiter’s abilities.


The artilleryman girl who came to us through a bizarre twist of fate.

She said she was an amateur who couldn’t control her power.

Unable to control her power… I see. Then let’s see how much control she has – surprisingly, this suggestion came from Haruka-san.

I was shocked at first that the battle madman would suggest [Hunt], but I guess she’s being considerate in her own way.

I thanked Haruka Aono for her thoughtfulness and accepted her suggestion.

To be honest, I thought it’d be hard to get Jupiter to the second midpoint in the afternoon, so Haruka’s idea was a godsend.

And thanks to that, we’re now on the sixth floor.

Structurally, the sixth floor of Eternal Darkness is similar to the fourth.

The sixth layer of [Everlasting Darkness] is structurally similar to the fourth layer, with a valley with a great difference in Steep valleys and wide plateaus.

The sky, of course, is the usual Eternal Darkness purple.

We trudged quickly across the dark, barren land, and after nearly two hours we reached one of the higher plateaus in this geographically uneven field.

High enough to overlook the entire sixth floor, and with a view of the transfer gate to the seventh floor, it was an exquisite location.

This spot was chosen to avoid conflicting with the working adventurers hunting for entrances.

“Well, let’s get right to it – even though it took you quite a while to get here – I want to see your power. Ready, Jupiter?”


The silver twin-tailed girl dressed in black and silver battle gear nods deeply.

She seems very spirited.

Then excuse me while I watch your skills.

“First, try to hit that big bat flying in the sky far away.”

I point to a Battybat happily flapping its ears about 500 meters away.

“Which one should I shoot?”

“That one over there, see?”

“Just that one?”


Something’s wrong, we’re not on the same wavelength.

Probably nothing, but I should confirm just in case.

“Jupiter, can you see any other Battybats?”

“Lots. The closest, the group behind the hill. In the valley two peaks over, three are gathered and chatting happily, and on the plateau three peaks away, four Battybats are fighting adventurers… Oh, one just got killed, so now there are three left.”

” …………! “

My spine froze.

Not from the cold.

It was a chill that penetrated my soul, or rather, it was closer to the feeling I get when Haruka pulls something.

No idea if Jupiter’s statement was true.

Neither Haruka nor I felt the existence of Battybats a whole mountain away.

Is that even possible? Having a spirit detection range of over ten kilometers is crazy even for a genius!

“No, Yupi-chan. Just out of curiosity, can you tell from the Battybats you can sense now which ones you can hit with attacks and such?”

The silver-haired girl answered the Haruka Aono’s idiotic question with utmost sincerity.

“If they’re within range, all of them. Speaking of range, I can hit two more mountains.

For once, Haruka Aono was speechless.

Me? I almost collapsed, obviously.

“Let’s rewind. Is it okay to just aim at that one close Battybat?”

“Ah, yes. Just that one is fine.”

“Got it.”

Jupiter nods slowly and carefully points at the battybat 500 meters away.


In the next instant, an incredible sight is burned into our retinas.

A black bolt of lightning suddenly fell from the sky, completely obliterating the flying Battybat without a trace.

The hapless victim probably didn’t even realize what had happened.

The pitch-black bolt roared, striking its target at thousands of times the speed of sound.

Faster than dodging or reacting, a spell of ultra-high firepower.

This artillery girl claims to be able to fire this cannon accurately at targets five mountains away.

In fact, Jupiter dropped black lightning at the very edge of visible range.

Power, range, precision – she’s easily the best in every way.

As you would expect from the mid-boss of the Grand Route. It’s absurdly bugged.

Of course, I fully understand the true meaning of her saying “I cannot control my power,” the mystery of why such a prodigy has been passed around, and more.

But even taking that into consideration, I can firmly say:

“Szilard-san. You let a really big fish get away.”

Dungeon City of City of Sakura – Dungeon #336 [Eternal Darkness] First Midpoint “Residential Area

After witnessing the tremendous power of our new artilleryman, we casually worked on formations as we circled the sixth floor.

Haruka, who repelled the leader of the Five Great Clans in an instant, and Jupiter, the artilleryman with over 10km detection/range.

With the close-range and long-range bug characters side by side, our group was obviously strong.

No, we’re already past the point where we can even fight enemies on the sixth floor.

Basically one-shot kills, and even enemies who are unaware of us get one-punched by default.

We’ve been holding back a lot because going overboard could cause headaches, but today’s hunt went great, I’d say.

“This division is no good, right? Kyoichiro hardly gets anything.”

“I-it’s fine! I didn’t defeat any enemies after all.”

Well, I hardly made any money!

Apparently, there is no room for solo small fries when map-destroying cheats join in!

The tutorial mid-boss and the grand route mid-boss.

The difference was clear as day, if annoying.

“Even I have to step up, sheesh.”

Sighing pathetically, I turn on the game console.

11 p.m., alone in my rented room, playing video games while the others are fast asleep – the genre, of course, being gal games!

Reincarnated in a gal game world, then enjoying gal games, I am truly addicted.

But gal games are fun!


I always work hard and vomit blood, so I deserve a little reward!

After a few seconds of loading and a short brand intro, the screen switches to the title.

Piano notes through my headphones, five girls standing in front of a refreshing blue sky.

[Aozora no Kantzone] – also known as [Aokan] – is a renowned masterpiece of the romantic adventure genre.

Centered on the fictional sport of [Dragon Tail], this game harmoniously combines the many heated developments and bittersweet youth of the protagonist and heroines to create an outstanding work.

It compelled me, an experienced girl gamer, to give it a perfect 100 points. It could be considered a cultural heritage at this point.

The charm of [Aokan] lies primarily in its scenario.

Great gal games always have divine scenarios, and [Aokan] has placed a very challenging restriction on its scenario.

That restriction is

A humble knock on the door.

Who could it be at this hour?

I switch to the configuration screen before gently opening my room door.

“Yes, what is it?”

Ruby eyes shine in the dark hallway.

The arrival of the silver twin-tailed girl in gothic nightwear caught me off guard.

“Uh, what’s up?”

“I hadn’t heard about tomorrow’s wake-up time.”

“Oh, right.”

I carelessly assumed it would be okay to just tell her the departure time since she’d only joined yesterday, maybe a bit rude to Jupiter.

“My mistake. Around 7am is fine, we’ll have a relaxed breakfast and then head out.”

“Understood… Hm?”

Just as our conversation ended, Jupiter’s eyes suddenly widened.

“That is…”

The silver-haired girl’s small finger pointed at the television set placed deep in my room.

“Oh, I was playing a game. See, electricity works in dungeons, but not internet or TV, right? So for entertainment, it’s basically just games and-“

“[Aokan], you’re playing.”

I almost lost my footing.

Not because Jupiter knew that masterpiece game.

It’s because she named the title just by looking at the configuration screen!

“How did you recognize it?”

“Aokan’s configuration screen is distinctive. The blue sky background, the oval cursor window, the slightly unusual default font, and the ultimate proof – the voice cut and BGM auto balance functions.”

Bullcrap! While Aokan’s config is a bit unique, ordinary players wouldn’t notice such subtle differences!

Even I, as an experienced girl gamer, can only vaguely tell.

Yet, she immediately recognized it from those barely perceptible discrepancies that I’d only be able to tell by feel.

No, no, wait.

Calm down, Kyoichiro.

It is still too early to get excited and engage in full-blown geek talk.

Her memory is amazing to have derived the game title from the config screen, but isn’t it also possible that she simply has a tremendous instant memory?

…… No, Jupiter of Danmagi didn’t have such a special ability, but real life and games are two different things, and there is a golden saying that you should understand the difference of media, so it is good to be cautious.

Just because she recognized the game from the configuration doesn’t necessarily mean that the [Love] behind [I really love this game] is the same as our [Love], right? No way, it’s different. Levels of obsession vary.

Forgetting that everyone has different knowledge and passion, lumping all [love] together will cause friction.

That’s why a good otaku assesses the depth of the other person.

Asking simple trivia, asking directly how into it they are, dropping some crazy topics into the conversation to see how they react – a thousand ways to measure, but I tend to just judge based on opinions of the work.

“Oho, so Jupiter played Aokan too. It’s a really great game, isn’t it?”

“Modestly speaking, divine.”

“Aokan is nice, huh. By the way, what did you like about it, Jupiter?”

A light, fluffy question.

But this abstract question reveals her level of obsession!

Show me your fiery soul, Jupiter!

“It’s high quality in every way, so there’s too much to pick as the best part.”

“I see, I see.”

“But I think the scenario deserves special mention.”

Ohh, highlighting the scenario, not bad at all.

“Same opinion. A good girl game really needs a good scenario.”


Jupiter disagrees and flicks her twintails sideways.

“The brilliance of Aokan’s scenarios lies in the fact that they provide a deep emotional impact after eliminating a certain element that is considered essential for good gal games.”

“And that element is?”


That one word shook my brain.

“Death. Or tragic separations – Aokan does not include any of those elements, not even in the characters’ pasts. Some have painful pasts, but whatever was lost can be regained in the future. There is no [tragedy] like relatives dying or being involved in terrible events.

No way! At her age, she’s reached the same stage as me…?

“In a moege focused on emotional impact, the mundane early days and the dark developments later are essential. Most tearjerkers adopt this structure to some degree, and I don’t mean to denigrate it at all. Lifting us up and then dropping us down reminds players of the irreplaceable value of the mundane days and leads to the final catharsis – it’s a well-crafted system that I sincerely respect.

Professor Jupiter, however, puffs her cheeks.

“But this structure can also be seen as wringing emotion by capitalizing on the characters’ misfortunes and deaths. An extreme argument, I’m well aware. Still, most of the tearjerkers I’ve played have incorporated character death or irretrievable days to some degree, differing only in scale and presentation.”

Obviously. It makes you cry by making you experience hopeless situations and pain, and then the catharsis of resolving or losing them – that’s why they’re tearjerkers.

Frankly, character death and misfortune is the best spice.

Works like [Dungeon RPG] are prime examples.

All the main characters shoulder incredibly heavy hardships, and party members can die mercilessly depending on the route.

Loss of family, terrible past, feelings entrusted to precious sacrifices – it was almost a display of misfortune that the protagonists overcame with their brilliance.

It’s amazing, and totally crap.

But there’s no denying that these elements create an exceptionally strong emotional pull, regardless of the characters’ feelings.

People die, characters have painful pasts – so what? If it moves you, it’s okay, right?

You’re absolutely right.

Even I sob at those kinds of stories.

So it’s not about right or wrong.

It’s just that such stories have touched people’s hearts throughout the ages – that’s all.

“But Aokan was different.”

And the conversation finally comes back to Aokan.

“No Aokan characters die. No dark suffering. There is the fierce competition of the characters in the fictional sport of Dragon Tail and the fights. But the passion that was conveyed through that really struck me.”

Yes. Aokan completely avoided the usual seasoning of character deaths and irreplaceable days.

All they used for flavor were mundane ingredients like conflict, frustration, anger, and effort.

It could easily have been a very bland game.

But it didn’t.

The heated developments of the sports story and the sincerity of the heroines produced a miraculous chemical reaction.

“I’m not saying it’s incomparable or that it originated this way, many works don’t make characters unhappy. But-“

“You’re saying it’s the ability to create such an emotionally compelling work without relying on those standard spices that’s supreme, right?”

“Kyoichiro, you understand perfectly.”

The silver-tailed girl nods deeply.

I want to return what you just said to you verbatim.

You’re really something.

“I think works where people die and stories where fate plays tricks on you can also be amazing. But Aokan has created a story that is just as great.

“The staff’s lofty goals and divine execution raised the quality of the scenario to a higher level.”

“Yes. It was a supreme happiness that was only possible with a gal game.”

We shook hands after reaching consensus, and neither of us said anything for a while.

“Hey, no point standing here talking. Let’s continue in my room.”

“I…would like that.”

And so Jupiter and I talked all night about gal games, using Aokan as fodder.

As expected, Jupiter’s depth was considerable and he easily kept up with my fanboy barrage.

“You’re good… Jupiter!”

“You too Kyoichiro, impressive.”

Someone who can compete equally when I give it my all.

That would be called a friend, I guess.

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