Prologue: The answer of a certain youth
Q: Is your relationship with your mother good?
Q: Do you talk to your mother? How much do you communicate with her?
Q: Is there anything you are happy with your mother recently?
Q: Is there anything you are unhappy with your mother recently?
It’s a pain when she call me by my baby name.
Q: Do you go out with your mother for things like shopping?
Q: Do you help your mother with chores?
Depends on my mood.
Q: Do you know what your mother likes?
Housework and hunting for discounts.
Q: Do you know what your mother hates?
Cockroaches in the kitchen.
Q: What do you think is good about your mother?
Q: What do you think is bad about your mother?
Q: Will you become close with your mother if the two of you set off on an adventure together?
We probably won’t become closer? Not too sure.
Chapter 1: The youth’s grand adventure is about to begin… Sigh, what is this situation…
“Everyone is done right? Alright, start collecting them from the back.”
After hearing the instruction of the male teacher standing at the lectern, the students seated at the last row stood up and started collecting the papers in their row.
They were given a survey form named ‘parent-child relations survey’. It wasn’t printed on normal paper, but high quality paper made into a booklet. It looked just like the question paper for high school entrance exams, and the information inside seemed to be just as important.
That was to be expected. This was conducted by the Ministry of Interior Affairs (Civilian live policy branch) in order to understand how youths actually thinks. It was something being executed as part of the national policy.
“Ara, come to think of it, it is really surprising that our school is selected for this survey. You get that? All of you had been selected as the representatives of the youths of this country. How honourable is that? You can even boast about this to others.”
The teacher felt deeply moved as he shared his thoughts.
But from the perspective of the students asked to stay behind after school to fill in such a troublesome survey, most of them thought was: What the hell, what honour is this, spare me the crap.
Oosuki Masato was one of them.
“I wanted to go back early to play games… Such a waste of time.”
Masato ruffled his hair in frustration and sighed deeply.
Calm down. It’s done. That’s it. Pass the survey to the classmate who is collecting them. Okay, it’s over.
Let bygones be bygones, and think about the game. Should I bust my ass to collect the rare ingredients to craft my equipment at 100% success rate, or use normal ingredients to play the odds of 75% success rate?
But one thing bothers me.
“What the hell was that question?” He mumbled to himself.
One of the question in the survey lingered on his mind.
Q: Will you become close with your mother if the two set off on an adventure together?
Masato was really bothered by this question in the survey he did earlier. Even though this survey was done for the sake of setting national policies, such a mind boggling question was asked so blatantly. Were they serious?
“The one who did the survey had a screw loose… definitely a screw loose.”
Was Japan becoming like this, or was it already too late… He sighed in exasperation.
Just let it be. It’s finally over. Hurry on home and play my game happily. Looks like we are free to go, time to split.
At this moment, the teacher who collected the survey said:
“Sigh, as expected. The blank on the last page of the survey isn’t meant for their names, but there is still someone who filled in their name. Oh well, I didn’t tell them not too.”
“Wait, that should be me… Forget it, just my imagination… Instead net game net game!”
Masato didn’t noticed the gaze of his teacher, and left the classroom in large strides.
Several days later, during the weekend.
School was out after morning, Masato returned home after having lunch and noticed a pair of shoes at the entrance. It was a woman’s high heels.
Mom seemed to have several pairs of shoes like this. But from the way it was arranged neatly at the center of the entrance, it probably belonged to a guest. The sound of laughter from the living room confirmed this point.
“Is it Mom’s friend…? Should I greet them?”
Should I be an obedient child worthy of praise? Or pass on the troublesome matter of saying hi to Mom’s guest?
I felt a bit of dilemma, but my body that was linked to my heart wanted to hurry back to my room and play games. I decided to give up as I quietly sneak pass the corridor…
Tch, it’s no good.
“Those footsteps must be Ma-kun! Definitely.”
The door to the living room opened suddenly, revealing the face of Oosuki Mamako.
It was a face that troubled Masato greatly. When he saw that face, even her son Masato felt doubtful.
“Is this person really a mother? Is she really my Mom?”
That was because Mamako looked too young, her beautiful face was just too youthful.
Mamako who was smiling brilliantly didn’t have any wrinkles around her eyes, her skin was smooth and soft. Her head of long luscious hair shone like that of an angel.
Masato’s father didn’t remarry, she was a normal 40 years old mother with a son in the first year of high school, but Mamako’s youthful face looked closer to a teenager.
“There should be a limit to how young she looks… Really, what’s with my mother…”
She looked so young that it was weird. Thanks to this, people who met her for the first time couldn’t tell she was already a mother… For Masato, Mamako being like this was rather problematic.
That’s right, problematic. Not direct feelings of rejection of ‘dislike’. It was hard to figure out the right way of interacting with his mother and grasp the correct distance to maintain, that’s why he adopted a slightly rejecting attitude. That’s how it was.
But the troubling thing was, his mother didn’t realize what his son thought.
“Ma-kun, welcome home.”
With a sweet and serene smile, Mamako approached closer and closer to Masato with the absolute confidence that Masato would accept her.
“Right, got it. Don’t come so close.”
“Ara, I am sorry. Oh right, how was school?”
“Sigh, average… Did something bad happen?”
“So, you are happy like usual…? Oh right, did you eat lunch? Need your mother to make something?”
“Whatever… Do you mean you don’t need it? Did you eat outside with your classmates? Is that what you mean?”
“Yes… Oh right, enough about me. There is a guest right?”
“Ah! Yes! There is an important guest today, can you come over and say hi, Ma-kun? I want to my son I am so proud of too. Okay?”
“Anything… So you will say go greet her?”
“It means I don’t want to. Understand… Really.”
Who would want to do something so troublesome? Masato turned his back to Mamako, and tried to walk pass the living room briskly. But his eyes happen to meet with the guest when he glanced unconsciously towards the living room.
“Oh, seems like your son is finally home.”
The other party didn’t look like a friend who came to visit his mother. Her long black hair and neat, formal clothes made her look like an intellectual lady. Masato thought she could be an insurance agent… but he had a hunch that she was from an extraordinary organization.
She stood up immediately and walked towards Masato with long strides as she showed her identification card hanging on her neck.
Printed on the card was ‘Ministry of Interior Affairs (Civilian live policy branch) policy officer. An impressive title.
“Pleased to meet you. My name is Shiraishi Masumi. Allow me to notify: I am visiting for the sake of the Ministry of Interior Affairs’ survey. Because I am Shiraishi…”
<TL: Her name sounds like notify in Japanese. A pun.>
“N-Nice to meet you… Why are you making puns all of a sudden…?”
“Allow me to notify: because I was teased badly about it in my childhood, so instead of being made fun of, it would be better for me to say it as a pun first.”
This person seemed to have lost her way in her fight to overcome her inferiority complex.
At this instant, Mamako nonchalantly inched towards Masato… This mother was very sure that her son would accept her, but this distance was too close for him.
“E-Erm, Ma-kun, the survey Shiraishi-san mentioned…”
“Ah, is that the parent-child relations survey?”
“Yup, that’s right! How did you know?”
“I did it in school the other day.”
“Sigh… I see… Ma-kun, you never mentioned this…”
“There is no need to report such trivial things. And you are too close!”
I pushed my mother who was treating me like a pet away.
“Well then, Shiraishi-san, that survey should be done correct?”
“Not yet, I’m just taking a break. Speaking of which, Mamako-san stood up when your son returned home… Mamako-san, you really adores your son.”
“I don’t like my mother at all though.”
“Ehh!? Ma-kun should like Mom too right!? For your mother, Ma-kun is…”
“Stop, that’s annoying. And when did you come so close again… And don’t call me by that embarrassing name. I already told you that plenty of times, you should remember by now.”
“Because Ma-kun is Ma-kun. Your mother has always called you Ma-kun, so I have to call Ma-kun as Ma-kun. If Ma-kun don’t like the name Ma-kun, I will think of a new name for Ma-kun...”
“Ahh… Enough, stop it.”
After I got away from my mother who would squeeze to my side even if I push her away;
“You see, Shiraishi-san. She is my Mom that require a lot of time to handle, so please continue your survey.”
“Alright, I will continue then… Oh right, I have something to ask. The survey this time will include a one to one session with the parent, and then the child before collating the results…”
“If the parent and child told each other how they felt, that would stray from your objective. So you don’t want me to eavesdrop on you, correct?”
“That’s right, but please allow me to perform the notification. I am Shiraishi who notifies after all.”
“Sorry… But what do you think, Mom?”
It was human nature to want to listen in when they were told not to.
Even more so if it was about how a parent felt me.
“To be honest, what my mother thinks about me… I am curious about that…”
But Shiraishi was conducting a formal survey on behalf of the government. If Masato eavesdrop here, it would become an information leak, and might lead to bigger issues. It’s natural for her to request for this.
“Understood, then I will go back to my room.”
“Thank you for your cooperation. I Shiraishi will notify when it is done, please relax in your room before that. Do wait for Shiraishi to notify you.”
“Got it, well then...”
“Ma-kun, wait! What should mother call you…”
“The hell would I know!”
After retorting Mamako fiercely, Masato shook off her hand and ran up to his room on the second floor.
After Masato left the living room…
Mamako was in tears and kept wiping her face with tissues, finishing one box in no time. She then vented her hardship in being a mother of a boy.
“I actually understand to a certain extent. Masato is already a high schooler, and is at an age where he will feel embarrassed for being on good terms with his mother.
“This is only natural. In the survey done by the Ministry of Interior Affairs in the past, such situation was common. Shiraishi is telling you that this is normal, because Shiraishi…”
“But even so, I still want my relationship with my son to be better. After all, we are a unique pair of mother and child in this world.”
“Of course a mother would want to get along well with her son… Actually, I have a daughter, and can understand how you feel.”
“I see… Shiraishi-san has a child too…”
“Yes, she is 5 now. A troublesome age in all sorts of ways.”
“5 years old huh… I see… Running about on her own and saying all sorts of things… Crying Mama as she run to hug your legs… Such an age.”
As Mamako recalls how her son acted when he was small, her expression turned gloomy.
“If possible, I want us to be like that time too, even though that is just my thoughts… Ma-kun always looks lethargic… I bought him a computer to congratulate him for entering high school, but he started engrossing himself in games and seldom talk to me after that…”
“That’s right. He usually says ‘average’, ‘whatever’, ‘fine’, anything, ending the conversation like so… But speaking of which, that is how a typical adolescent boys are. Mamako-san, as a mother, you should keep an appropriate distance too, wouldn’t that be better?”
“But… But we won’t be getting along well that way…”
“I see… Hmm… This is typical for a family with teenagers… Such awkwardness is just right… Hmm…”
Shiraishi considered it for a while and made her decision. She took out a stack of documents from her bag.
‘MMMMMORPG (Trial) Participants Log’
The documents with this title was given to Mamako.
“This is… You mean, my application is accepted!?”
“That’s right. I think Oosuki-san’s situation with your child fulfils the requirement to participate in this plan. So I accept your application… Please get ready as soon as possible.”
“A-Alright! The necessities… First would be Ma-kun’s shoes, I can’t forget them! Oh right! Leave that for now, I should explain this to Ma-kun first!”
“Let me notify your child. Because I am Shiraishi. Notification is my calling.”
“... That’s what I think, Shiraishi would sometimes omit things that should be notified. Shiraishi will be popular even if she acts a little childish at times.”
“Why are you saying weird things all of a sudden…”
As Masato was playing net games in his room, he suddenly heard Shiraishi’s voice. He turned and found Shiraishi standing right there.
“At least knock…”
“It’s annoying to interrupt others mid way, it’s better to keep quiet and not knock.”
She was talking nonsense again.
Shiraishi said as she eyed the monitor.
“Hee, playing a MMORPG?”
“Hey, don’t look…”
“The frame rate for the 3D action is really high… Masato’s computer uses a nuclear level graphic card huh. The hum of the heat sink is powerful. You even chose a low latency mouse, impressive.”
“T-Thank you for your compliment. But this is actually what my Mom bought on her own. Someone recommended this to her passionately. Shiraishi-san, are you familiar with this?”
“I was shunned because of my name, and I hate that feeling. So I stayed home during my schooling days and learned a bit of this. Only the computer system understands me, so I put in a lot of effort to understand it too.”
“Telling me things I don’t want to know. That’s the personality of Shiraishi… Let’s get into the main topic.”
“You want to tell me that my mother’s survey is done?”
“Yes. next would be… notifying you that Masato will be beginning a new life from now on.”
As Masato was thinking ‘This person is talking nonsense again,’ Shiraishi saw her chance and quickly reach for the ‘Esc’ button and pressed it. The game disappeared from the monitor instantly.
And Shiraishi was pressing onto Masato’s back.
The back of Masato’s head was cushioned by breasts, and his keyboard was snatched forcefully. After starting a browser, an URL was typed in.
The URL was www8.cao.go.jp/ksn/mmmmmorpg……
“The heck!? Hey, what are you doing!? What site is this!?”
“Let me ask you a question for reference… The survey by the Ministry of Interior Affairs concluded that many net games player wanted to enter the Game World. Do you feel the same way, Masato?”
“W-Well, if I can do that, I will want to give it a try… But what’s the link!?”
“What if you can make that wish come true?”
“Huh? … S-Such a thing…”
Is Impossible… Masato couldn’t finish his sentence.
The moment Shiraishi hit enter, light poured out from the low latency mouse. The light flooded out like the waves of an ocean, and engulfed Masato in an instant and pulling Masato into the mouse.
“C-Could… this be!?”
“That’s right! This is how it begins! This is exactly what you think!”
“I am really being transported into a game world!!!!”
Masato gave up resisting. He relaxed his hands grabbing onto the table, and allowed his body to drift with the flow.
The mouse that was physically impossible to pass through accepted his body without any resistance. At this moment.
“… Ma-kun! … Wait! …”
He thought he heard Mamako’s voice. Masato shouted towards his mother who he couldn’t see.
“Mother, I’m sorry… I will be back soon.”
No matter what, he wanted to apologize, his apology filled his entire heart.
Because his father was posted overseas for his job, only the two of them were living together. If her son disappears, Mamako will be alone. That won’t be good, and it was natural for him to not want to do that.
Masato don’t dislike his mother.
But if he was asked if he likes his mother, he definitely couldn’t give a straight answer.
And of course, he wanted to cherish his only mother in this world, and let her live a happy and fulfilling life. He had never hesitated in meeting his mother’s expectation.
But it was difficult for him to express such thinking with actions. He would feel bothered about it, and couldn’t treat his mother that looked so young as a mother, and find it hard to get along well with Mamako. That was how Oosuki Masato felt.
“I will be going through an adventure and become stronger… Maybe I can be more forthright with my mom after experiencing this… that will be great.”
He didn’t know when he will return. But he will definitely overcome his shyness, and say ‘I’m home’ to his mother gently with a hug.
With such gentle thoughts, Masato went through a normally impassable dimensional wall.
Masato then landed.
In a space that was completely different from his room, there was an endless sky and a group of islands floating up and down. At the edge of one of the islands was a stone altar, and Masato was standing there.
With a shining magic circle under his feet...
There were some small things running on either side of Masato’s feet. It was a group of lizards, but they had 8 legs.
The eight-legged lizards spitted small flames as if they were trying to intimidate Masato, but ran away when they saw Masato’s willingness to fight.
Such creatures definitely didn’t exist in Japan, where Masato lived. It probably didn’t exist on earth either.
“C-Could this really be?”
There was no other possibility.
This was a game world? Fantasy theme? Really? Really!
In short, Masato!
“I made it!!!!!!!!!!”
I’m here! I’m finally here! The transportation is done! Hello, alternate reality!
The curtains to a new story was about to be drawn!!!!!!
“Really, Ma-kun. I told you to wait, Mom is coming too. But you didn’t wait at all, it makes Mom so sad.”
I turned back because of this very familiar voice, and saw a young girl standing there.
She wore a beautiful one piece dress, holding a bag filled with so many things that it couldn’t close, like a girl about to set off on a journey… Wait.
She looked like a young lady, but she was already far from being one.
She was none other than Masato’s mother, Mamako.
“... Huh… W-Why… you shouldn’t be here… How is this possible…”
“Ma-kun. Let’s go on all sorts of adventure together with Mom. Hehe.”
“W-What the hell ahhhh!?”
Masato was transported into a game, but his mother was his companion.
It can’t be? I am really going to be with my mother? No no, that shouldn’t be…
It can’t be.
“Alright then, Ma-kun, this way. Mother will accompany you.”
Masato moved along slowly. His hand was held as he walked forward.
They moved from one floating island to another, passing through a stone bridge which connected the two platforms. Their destination was an exceptionally large island.
At the end of the path that was decorated with statues of all sorts of deities, was a majestic egg shaped building. That was expected. Mamako led her son that way.
“Hmm. Calm down, don’t stop thinking. Think carefully and grasp the situation.”
What was going on? What kind of situation was this? The fact was, they had been transported to a fantasy themed game world, which was clear from everything that had been happening, however…
My mom is here! This is the most baffling part. I need to clear up this part first. Yup.
“E-Erm, Mom… Why are you…”
“We are here. The starting event should be in this place, let’s work hard together.”
As he walked down the passage in a daze, he reached a place that looked like an ‘event checkpoint’.
At the center of the palace like interior, which was also the middle of the large round building, was an old man sitting on a throne. That was expected.
He had a figure that was just right, wore extravagant clothes and a glittering cape sewn from gold and silver threads. A crown with embedded gems was adorned on his head. This elderly man with a white beard looked just like a king…
“You have finally come! I am the lord of the teleportation palace, the king.”
The man who claimed to have the title of a king was the king. There was no soldiers or attendants in sight, but he was the king.
“I have been waiting for you! Welcome to my domain!”
“Thank you for your hospitality. We are honoured for you to receive us… Alright, Ma-kun, make a proper greeting too.”
“Eh, ah… Hello…?”
Mimicking Mamako, Masato also kneeled before the throne and bowed. He did as he was told.
The king was all smiles, and said slowly.
“Let’s start with your introductions. Please state your name.”
“I am Mamako. And this is my son, Ma-kun.”
“Mamako-dono, and ‘My son Ma-kun’-dono huh? Then I will register you…”
“No, wait a minute king!? My name is Masato! Masato!”
“Ah. So the mother is Mamako, and the son is Masato, will that be fine? I will register you like so then.”
The king waved his hand. Two windows popped up in the air. The words Mamako and Masato appeared in the name column, and the register was complete.
“Hmm… What the hell, this is like an initial registration…?”
“That’s right. By the way, it can’t be change after the registration is done.”
“Say that earlier ahhhhh!”
Registering one’s real name happens all the time. And there were instances where changes weren’t allowed. Masato who did so unwillingly could only bang the floor in frustration. Thankfully, it’s just the floor.
“Ahhhh….! Bang…! Bang bang bang!”
“M-Ma-kun! Don’t knock the floor! You will trouble the people below us!”
“Hohoho. There isn’t anyone below, so leave him be… To complete the registration, let me tell you the basic situation. Please get ready.”
The king moved his finger and a screen slid into view. After sliding horizontally through several screens, Masato and his mother’s basic information was displayed.
The name of Masato’s character was ‘Masato’. It really was his real name. Job was ‘normal hero’. Attack and defence stats were listed too, as well as words stating things like ‘capable of combat’ and ‘incapable of crafting’.
He glanced at Mamako’s details, and her character name was her real name ‘Mamako’. Job is ‘mother of a normal hero’. There was also descriptive details like ‘capable of combat’ and ‘incapable of crafting’ too.
There was many things on his mind, the one he wanted to say the most was…
“Erm, king… What in the world is my job, ‘normal hero’...?”
“Normal is just normal.”
The king seemed to remember something, then closed his eyes with a kind smile.
“Something incredible like saving the world would be impossible… deal with your relationships normally, and live a happy life normally… Realizing such a situation is something that the normal hero Masato-dono and mother of a normal hero Mamako-dono should strive for.”
After the King stated their goal, he pointed to the distance.
“Then off you go, hero!”
Even though he said that so dramatically.
“Alright, let’s go… No wait!? We can’t go yet!”
Go where? Do what? He didn’t understand at all.
“Fuu, it’s no good?”
“Of course it’s not! Shouldn’t you explain more!? I don’t even understand what the basics like what this situation is!”
“Fuu, I will briefly explain it then. Listen carefully.”
After clearing his throat, the king began:
“Simply put, this is a beta version of a web game. By using technology that is classified, we transported the body of the account holders into the game and giving them a closed beta account.”
“Woah, that’s easy to understand.”
“As for the closed beta player, they are basically selected by meeting a certain stringent criteria… Although some regrettable people who filled in their names in anonymous surveys are also selected. Because that made it easy to decide on the selection. We didn’t tell anyone about this though.”
“Haha. Who is the one who did something so embarrassing… Hmm…? Could it be…”
That’s right, a voice from somewhere said. But it was probably my imagination. I hope it was my imagination.
“As for the game itself, as it is still in the testing phrase, the name had not been decided. The temporary name for now is MMMMMORPG.”
“Massively multiplayer online role-playing huh…? I can feel a chill…”
“It’s a fantasy themed MMORPG. It has a wide range of job selection, with choices between combat and non combatants. Player duels are allowed, crafting items and decorating one’s home is also allowed. Players are free to choose any job they like.”
“Then why was mine already…”
“Yes. Because we need to collate data for the test, so you can’t select jobs for now, and they are assigned by the system. This can’t be changed too. We are sorry about that.”
“My freedom was taken from the start huh… The people in this world…”
Very unreasonable and without limits on how nonsensical they were. This was how the world was.
However, it was still great to be chosen as a beta test player. And playtesting in a full immersive mode. To be honest, he was happy about this. Masato pulled himself together and stood up.
“Hah… I get the gist of it. So this something like a net game right?”
“Yes. It’s great you understand so quickly… What about you, Mamako-dono? Do you understand the system of this game?”
“Hmm? If there is anything that bothers you, don’t hesitate and ask. I will answer step by step.”
The king showed a gentle smile, and Mamako who was troubled by something asked:
“Well, erm… what is an account?”
“Eh, you didn’t understand from that part?”
The king and Masato said the same thing.
“Hmm… For reference, what do you think an account is, Mamako-dono?”
Mamako fell into deep thought as she mumbled “Ah, ermm ugh” as she counted her fingers and wondering if that was so. She showed a smile that seemed to say that she wanted to ask something.
Yup. That was the extent of what Mamako knew about net games.
With a warm smile, the king turned towards Masato.
“Masato-dono, I will leave Mamako-dono to you. Good luck.”
“Hey!? Don’t dump it on me!? Do something about it!?”
“I can’t do anything!”
“You are dumping it on me even if you have to throw away your pride!?”
“If you really want to know, it’s because I am a NPC! I can’t say anything if the details are not preinstalled! If you want me to take on the role of a tutor for beginners, then give me a script limited to 10kB! Ask the operations side to work on it!”
“You are just a compiled script, and still need to make request to the operations side… Why are the NPC…?”
“By the way, beta players and NPC both exist in this game, and it is not possible to differentiate them from appearance. If you really want to know, just say something lewd to them. NPC can only answer based on their given settings.”
“Who would want to use such a lousy method!”
But I would be able to say things like that… What am I thinking, I don’t want to do such thing at all.
“Let’s stop here for now. You will get used to it after some time.”
“Well, that’s true… Instead of saying that, it will be faster to try it out in the first place…!?”
Anyway, it would be fine after hearing the explanation. Right after accepting this, Masato suddenly remembered something.
Wrong, wait. Is it really fine? There is still a problem.
Beside Masato was Mamako who sneaked to his side when she saw an opening.
“Hey, wait a minute! You didn’t mention the most important part!”
“Well then, what else do you wish to know, Masato-dono… Why is your mother accompanying you? Is that what you want to know?”
“That’s correct! Please explain the details!”
“But I can’t say anything about that.”
“Hah!? Why!? You don’t have the script?”
“That’s not it… Your mother accompanying you is deeply related to the objective of this game, so I can’t divulge the details. If I did, there is a chance that the intention of the operations side would be forced onto you… That’s not good. Please try to discover it during your adventures, finding it out by yourself is the results we hope to see the most.”
“Hah…? Erm… What are you talking about?”
“The gist of the situation had been conveyed to the mother beforehand, it’s fine for the child to not know. Just head in the direction that pleases you, and it will be great if you can understand after adventuring together… Well then.”
The king got up and touched the throne. The throne disappeared, and the stone flooring beneath it sunk with a dull sound. A spiral staircase appeared right under it.
“The next chapter is finally starting.”
“Hey wait! Don’t just go like this! Explain properly…”
“Don’t say anymore and go. Even for a hero who is dissatisfied and distrustful of the situation, there is also a surprising present waiting for you there.”
“It’s useless to trick me with pleasantries!”
“Oh? So you don’t want the new account registration + first log in gift?”
“Eh… First log in gift…?”
The temptation pulled at his heart strongly.
No matter what type of net games it was, giving up on the extravagant first time log in gift… Is not something a normal person could do. No matter how one struggled, they wouldn’t be able to ignore it. Forfeiting it would be too much of a waste.
And of course, even a hero can’t overcome such temptations…
Under the spiral staircase was another cliche space with countless doors lined up along the wall. All of them were labelled with all sorts of jobs such as ‘Paladin’, ‘Sorcerer’, ‘flower shop owner’ or ‘farmer’.
One of them was the room of the ‘hero’. The moment Masato followed the king inside, the dissatisfaction and distrust in his heart was forgotten. Masato gulped.
Swords. The best swords in the world were there
“Oh… Is this for real…”
Inside the room built from glowing plain rocks, there was a boulder too large for someone to put their arms around. Three swords were stuck in it.
A sword the colour of molten lava. A sword as blue as the deep ocean. A transparent sword that was shining.
Even Masato who had never seen a real sword before could tell that these three weren’t normal swords. It wasn’t the intimidating pressure of a weapon, but something more… Something that couldn’t be explained, before him was the physical form of a fearsome and powerful existence.
“You felt something huh, as expected of a hero.”
“You flatter me.”
“Well then, which one do you like, Masato-dono? It’s fine to give it a try. I will give one of the swords to you.”
How generous, is that really fine?”
“Of course… To be honest, this was prepared as the reward after completing the hardest quest. But recently, we can’t even get the player’s attention if the first log in gift isn’t good enough. So we had no choice but to use this to entice them.”
“I didn’t want to hear that.”
“The people nowadays have it good. Back in my time, all the heroes set off with just a stick.”
“Famicom era people should just shut up.”
“And so, which sword would it be, Masato-dono?”
Masato took a step forward, and walk without hesitation to the transparent sword.
As for why, Masato didn’t have a clear answer himself. It was just his gut feeling.
“How should I put this… The one that suits me is definitely this… There is no mistaking it.”
The sun, moon and stars. The delicate design on the hilt remind him of the sky. Masato gripped the hilt and drew the sword out.
The sword looked as if it was embedded in an incredibly hard boulder, but Masato pulled it out without feeling much resistance.
“I see. So Masato-dono is the hero chosen by the endless skies.”
“Chosen by the skies…?”
“The sword in your hand is the sword of the vast open sky, Filament (フィルマメント). In ages long past,when the sky in this world was shrouded in darkness, this is the legendary sword that banished all darkness with just one swing… That is the setting.”
“The last bit is unnecessary. But it look really powerful… I don’t really get how strong it is after your explanation though.”
“Allow me to explain in an easy to understand way.”
The king put on his glasses and took out a book. The title on the cover says ‘Official guidebook’, and the king started flipping through it with practiced movements.
“Hmm, blah… deals double damage to airborne units. Three times the chance to land a critical hit. The highest level of attack of all event items. Not tradable.”
“That’s easy to understand, but feels useless. Please introduce the world setting properly.”
“Don’t worry, we will definitely do it properly when we retail it formally.”
As this was a beta version, it is impossible for everything to be done perfectly. Masato wanted to understand it more… But since he couldn’t get further answers, Masato turned silent.
“How about it, Masato-dono. Are you not motivated yet?”
The king was right. Revelations huh. The moment he held the holy sword of the sky Filament, Masato felt something change in his heart.
“I am holding a sword right now…”
The sensation on his hand was telling him something. That was the instinct engraved into all men— the yearning of a male to do battle was being tugged.
And Masato was holding a legendary sword. The highest grade of weapon. The strongest existence for adventures and combat.
Was there any reason to forsake such glory? He couldn’t find any.
“Hah… I’m totally convince, although it feels vexing.”
“I can empathize with you, but resolve yourself. Just think of this as the destiny of the hero Masato-dono.”
“I see… Ah, even if you call me a hero, I can’t understand it immediately.”
“What are you saying? Masato-dono is already holding the legendary sword correct? That is something that couldn’t be used unless you are a hero. It is beyond doubt that Masato-dono is a hero. There is no mistaking this, you are a hero through and through.”
“Ah, even if you say that… it feels embarrassing.”
“There is nothing to be embarrassed about right? Masato-dono is a hero. The Brave of this world. Maybe even the savior of this universe!”
“L-Like I said… Don’t put it that way… you are flattering me.”
Brave. Hero. Savior. The Brave who was a hero savior. The three hit combo landed, was this a joke!?
“Frankly speakly… whether the game can be officially released would depend on the results of the play tester. We are relying heavily on your performance… Please guide this world into a new era. You are the only ones who can achieve this.”
“Eh…? Well, if I am the only one who can, I guess I have to go for it.”
“Hoho, that’s the spirit. Ma-kun can definitely do it. Because you are the son this mother is so proud of.”
“Hmm… the son that makes you proud? Of course… hey…”
“Then Mom will borrow the swords. With a heave, a metallic sound rang out twice.
Mamako pulled out the scorching coloured sword and deep blue sword.
Wasn’t those legendary swords only the chosen one could draw? She retrieved both of them easily.
The king who felt things were progressing smoothly and the cocky Masato rolled their eyes. Eh, wait? What just happened? Can someone please explain?
“E-Erm… king, what is…?”
“Sorry. I can’t say anything else. Please forgive this NPC… How about this? I will hand this guidebook over to Mamako-dono. Please use it as you like.”
After handing Masato the complementary gift for Mamako, the king vanished.
After opening the door in the deepest end of the hero’s door, a round arena appeared. There wasn’t any audience seat, just a lonely stage in the endless space. This place was made for tutorial battles.
Masato stood at the edge of the stage browsed through the guidebook. He found the information he was after immediately.
“Terra di Matole (テラディマドレ) and Altra (アルトゥーラ)”
The name of the swords in Mamako’s hands.
Terra di Matole was the flame coloured sword. The holy sword of mother earth. It was borned when when the world was created. The sword that was the source of all live in this world, that’s what the introduction said.
The deep blue sword was Altra. The holy sword of the motherly ocean. It was said that one swing from it could suppress the flood that assails the world. The introduction also state that it was the contract seal that separate the land from the ocean.
Let us now witness just how powerful the swords were.
“Terra di Matole: deals double damage to land monsters, attack all targets. Three times the chance to land a critical hit. The highest level of attack of all event items. Not tradable.”
“Altra: deals double damage to sea monsters, attack all targets. Three times the chance to land a critical hit. The highest level of attack of all event items. Not tradable.”
Special note state that the ‘average damage’ will apply when attacking all targets. The damage in one attack would be predetermined, and divided equally according to the number of targets.
This was how the weapon was when you used it.
“Watch carefully, Ma-kun! Mom is doing it now… Hei!”
Mamako raised Terra di Matole in her right hand high and swing it down.
At the same time, countless sharp swordlike stalagmite shot out from the ground, and slashed down at the monsters.
The ants, worms, spiders, wolves, bears and all sort of monster vanished after getting split in two. It all seemed so easy.
However, a new mob of monsters appeared immediately.
“Mom won’t lose! I will show Ma-kun my best side! … Hei!”
Mamako held Altra in her left hand and swing it horizontally.
After that, water gush out from the space sliced by the sword, and diffused into countless droplets, which was then shot out like bullets.
Water droplets sprayed out at ultra high speed, and the monsters showered by it were littered with holes, collapsing the body in an instant. The enemy’s second wave was exterminated too. Very easily.
But it wasn’t over yet. The battle was still on. Enemy figures appeared in the sky!
“Ma-kun! Now is the time to show your might! Work hard!”
“... Ah, alright…”
Ma-kun closed the guidebook, and slashed Filament in the appropriate direction.
In that instance, a shockwave came out from the transparent sword, and chased the enemy automatically. The sword energy moved freely and hit the enemy.
One of the flying monsters that was the size of a sparrow got hit and turned into ashes.
The monster was killed!
And Masato kneeled onto the ground, his tears fell freely.
“... Ugh… Wrong… Something is wrong… This is definitely wrong…”
“What’s the matter Ma-kun!? Are you hurt!? Let Mom take a look!?”
“No… I’m not hurt… Not that…”
Filament was strong. It could unleash a homing attack, an exceptionally strong sword. He should be confident and even be proud about it.
But Mamako’s normal attack hit all targets, and with two swords, she can attack twice.
Compared to his mother who defeated dozens of monster easily…
“I… am really weak…”
He could only cry. Throw tantrums by pretending to sleep. What else could he do?
Mamako came near Masato who became like this.
“Ma-kun! Cheer up! Ma-kun’s attack is very powerful! Not only is it transparent, it even flew out with a boom, it shocked Mom! Ma-kun looked cool too!”
“Please, don’t encourage me in such a way… I am already so depressed, can you don’t add salt to my wounds?”
“I-I don’t mean that! That’s not it… Okay, anyway, stand up! Let’s start the Tuto… wait… what is that thing…”
“That’s it! Mom did that in the past too. Going ‘fuwah fuwah’ with my friends.”
“Wrong. This is completely wrong. I never played a game of lining up in a row and spinning around.”
“I-I see. It’s true that now wasn’t the time to reminisce the past… Well… Anyway, that’s it for now, let’s move on! Right, let’s do that! It will definitely be fun!”
As she said that, Mamako held Masato’s hand to pull him up.
Masato shook her hand away.
“If you want to go adventuring, Mom can just go alone. There might be monsters out there, but Mom has more than enough firepower. You can rake in perfect victories right from the start.”
“Firepower? Mom can’t spit fire though. I’m not a gas stove.”
“I don’t mean that type of firepower.”
Firepower was another way of saying offensive capability. A phrase that borrows from the firepower of firearms. It might be a bit hard to understand for mothers. But leaving that aside for now…
“Hah… Alright, just go. Just leave me here.”
Masato gave up. He gave up on everything. He laid down flat in an exhausted manner, as if he wanted to give up on breathing too. As if he was dead. Acting like a corpse without any reaction.
“Hmm… Masato… What should I do during a time like this… Ah, that’s right!”
Mamako who was troubled picked up the guidebook that Mamako tossed casually aside. She flipped through it frantically as if she was grasping at straws.
“Where is that strategy guide… What to do if the hero son dislike adventuring together…”
“How is It possible that such a specific scenario is included? What the hell is that guidebook…?”
“When he finds out your normal attack is a double hit on all targets, your son will be very happy. He will definitely hug your legs and beg you to adventure with him. That’s what it says, but that’s nonsense! Ma-kun isn’t happy at all!”
“... Well, this is something to be happy about.”
“Eh, is that so?”
“Of course. A high firepower all target attack? And double hits…? If I met such a player, I will do all I can to invite him. And form a team even if I have to pay.”
“Then why aren’t you happy...? Why…?”
Mamako fell into deep thought, and blurted out “Ohh”, as if she found the reason.
“Could it be… If I’m not wrong, it’s because… I am your mother?”
“That’s right, that is the root of the problem… Is this a good time?”
Masato sat up straight and faced Mamako.
Keeping himself cool and reminding himself not to lose his temper, he said seriously:
“Everything. All of it. You should be able to explain the entire situation to me now… Mom, you definitely know something right? The king said he told you the main gist. You conversed with the game operations staff before right?”
“To be honest, transporting into the game is already strange, but I welcome it so I won’t probe further… However, this is different from how I imagined transporting into a game would be. As for what is different, that is you are here too, Mom.”
“The mothers of other families will sometimes be transported into a game with their son too.”
“No way! Absolutely not! Impossible! Or rather, it would be really troubling if there is! I don’t want a fantasy story geared towards boys in puberty to have a parent around! That’s annoying!”
“Ugh, Ma-kun, the way you put it is really hurting. Mom is platinum mad.”
Mamako puffed her cheeks as if she was trying a fit. Mamako got angry. What a cute person…
No, wait! That’s my mother! My mother who is about 40 years old! The term cute shouldn’t be considered at all! No way!
“Stop joking with me! Don’t make that face and answer properly!”
“A-Alright! I will answer!”
“Why did Mom came along with me, how did things turn out like this, please explain the details. Come on.”
“B-But… It will be better to not say it out right in the beginning… Adventure together and experience all sorts of things together, and it will be best if you discover it yourself…”
“Enough, just spill it! Don’t make me so frustrated…! I have enough of this mother of mine…”
“What’s the matter…?”
“I want to break off our relationship as mother and child”
He said in the heat of the moment. These thoughtless words spilled out in his frustration.
He did so very agitatedly. But his unleashed agitation flowed unfiltered… and hit Mamako directly, and robbed her expression away in an instant.
“... Ah… No… Just now…” When Masato realized he had misspoken, it was already too late.
Tears kept welling up from Mamako’s eyes which had lost their luster, falling like bits of pearls.
His mother cried as she looked in front of her in a daze.
“... I am sorry. Your mother I, how should I put this, really don’t know. Shirase-san and the others seemed to have their reasons too, so how much should I tell you? I really don’t know.”
“Yes yes, I get it. Since there is some reason, that is fine…”
“But let me make this clear. Mother will never do anything to hurt or lie to Ma-kun. Please believe this.
“Yeah, got it.”
“I just want to get along better with Ma-kun. Adventure with Ma-kun, chat idly together, work hard together and become an intimate mother and son. That’s all I want. That’s why… sob… that’s why…”
“I understand, I get it! I really get it! Completely!”
“That’s why, please…”
“Don’t say something so hurting, like breaking off our relationship as mother and child… Since the day I was born, this is the most painful and hurting words for me.”
Sorrowful tears from Mamako’s eyes flowed without any restraint, and showed no signs of stopping.
Masato screwed up…
He made his kin cry from sadness. This situation was his own doing, and standing before him was his loved one who was heartbroken and at a loss.
She suffered such horrible pains because of her son.
“... What have I done now…”
This wasn’t irrational talk. As the son borne from his mother, when he was bestowed life, he already acquired the wish for her loved ones to live energetically with a smile forever. If he made them sad, his soul would feel uneasy. There was no way he could endure it or ignore it completely.
Masato instantly got into a seiza position, and press his head onto the stage of the arena.
“I am sorry mom! That was my fault! I don’t mean that at all! Although I did say it, that is not what I mean to say! That’s why...!”
Please forgive me. Please don’t cry. If I apologize with all my heart…
He felt his head being caressed. Mamako gently brushed his hair as she said ‘this kid’.
“Your mother really likes the gentle Ma-kun who is worried about how I feel.”
“T-Thanks… I am very sorry for saying something weird.”
“Yes, it’s fine… This is enough. Here, get up.”
“Ah, ah… then…”
After getting up, he saw his mother’s tearful face again. He couldn’t look at her directly, so Masato turned to look behind him. At this moment, Mamako said:” Eh, you should look at the other person’s face when you are talking to them alright?”
He had no choice but to turn his gaze back.
Mamako struck a pose, making a show of wanting to be Masato’s comrade.
“Ah… I never dreamed that I will see my mother posing like this.”
“Sigh. Watch carefully. And listen to your Mom properly.”
“Mother wants to go adventuring with Ma-kun. Can mother be Ma-kun’s comrade?”
Let his mother be a companion?”
He didn’t hesitate at all. There was only one choice.
“... Well, that’s fine. Mom has powerful firepower, and will definitely be helpful. Instead of asking to be a comrade… Or rather… It will be great if you can come.”
“Alright. It’s settled then. Please take care of me from now on too, Ma-kun.”
“Yes, well… Me too, please take care of me Mom.”
Mamako became a companion.
“But Ma-kun, I have something to say.”
“Mother can’t spit fire alright? I’m not a gas stove.”
“Like I said, not that kind of firepower! How many times do I have to tell you Mom!?”
The greatest enemy in this adventure is probably mom’s comprehension ability… Masato predicted.