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We now have two more members to our team: C933103 and gsimenas. They will also be helping out in the translation.
Translation by Dennis and C933103, proofreading and edit by Pryun and Gsimenas.
Skill Mod is the abbreviation for Skill Modify. When the proficiency levels for various skills reaches a certain value, there will be a chance to obtain it. In other words, it is a «skill update option».
For example, when the searching skill proficiency level reaches 50, its first Mod can be acquired. One can only choose a single Mod from a large variety of useful Mods, like «simultaneous detection bonus», «detection range bonus» and «Practical Skill: tracing» etc. Although this can sometimes be a hard choice, making the decision can also be fun.
And of course, Mods are also available for a number of weapon skills.
The current «Quick Change» is one of these. Although it is a Mod initially available to almost all one-handed weapons, there were very few players who actually chose this Mod at the beginning. This is because, before reaching Aincrad's fifth floor, there are almost no situations where Quick Change was needed.
Even I abided to this theory. When my one-handed sword skill proficiency reached 50 after the first floor's boss raid, I chose the Mod «Sword Skill Cool-down Time Reduction» without hesitation. The plan was to get «Critical hit rate boost» at the next opportunity, which is when the proficiency reaches 100, and only obtain «Quick Change» at 150.
The effect of activating the Quick Change Mod, is that the equipped weapon can be switched in an instant, with just a click on the shortcut button configured onto the menu window.
Originally, to switch weapons, one has to: ① Open the main menu window, ② tap on the equipment figure's right (or left) hand cell, ③ select «switch equipment» from the displayed options, ④ look for and choose the target weapon, ⑤ click OK. This tedious procedure had to be done. In a situation where the weapon is seized by a monster with the snatch skill, the player will be defenceless and will receive at least one hit from the enemy, if he/she is to follow the procedure to switch to the backup weapon step-by-step .
However if one has the Quick Change Mod, the steps needed for swapping the weapon will be reduced to ① Open the main menu window, and ② Click the shortcut. Just these two steps are enough. For experienced users of the Mod, it only takes 0.5 seconds. Which means, the moment right after the weapon was snatched, the player could swap to the back-up and continue fighting.
Moreover, it is possible to configure Quick Change in detail with the many options available, such as «what weapon to equip to which hand when the icon is pressed». You can assign a specific weapon to be equipped, or return to an empty-handed status. —— And, selecting the same weapon as the previous automatically from the storage is also possible.
This is exactly the crux of Nezuha's weapon swapping trick.
After receiving and holding the weapon from the customer in his left hand, a «left hand equipped» status is temporarily acquired. Of course, the ownership of the weapon still belongs to the customer, similar to the «handover» status in a battle, where one temporarily lends his weapon to a partner, so utilisation of the system's Sword Skills..... and, the usage of Quick Change, are both possible.
Next, with the index finger of his left hand, which held the weapon, he clicked the shortcut icon in the menu window, concealed within the closely arranged goods. In that instant, the customer's sword will go into his storage, and the same type of sword will be automatically objectified from his storage and equipped to his left hand. However this sword is an end product that will definitely break when attempted to be strengthened.
Even though this is a really large-scale trick, it will only appear as a short blink, with a tiny "swoosh" sound effect. At this moment, the right hand will be placing the strengthening materials into the furnace, which will make lots of noise and produce a bright light. It will be impossible to notice the trick unless you were suspicious of it from the start.
Let's say the customer noticed the swapping. Even if the customer is going to blame him, Nezuha just has to activate Quick Change once more. The sword will swap a second time, changing back to the one provided by the customer. Also, after the swapped sword was destroyed on the anvil, there would be no evidence, so nothing could be brought up at all.
In other words, to prove the existence of the fraud, I had to either activate the «all item objectify» command on the spot and let all my belongings fall to my feet--or, I could also use quick change and force my sword out of his storage without a word.
The reason why after noticing the trick, I took two days before verifying it, is that I chose the second option. Since yesterday, I had been continuously and repeatedly battling against the half-naked ox-headed creatures, Taurus, and forced my One-handed sword skill proficiency to level 100, and obtained this Quick Change Mod earlier than planned.
As a side effect, 10 floors of the 20-floor tower have been mapped, with the data being transferred to Argo bit by bit. "Thanks" to this, the frontline raiding team made up of Lind's blue team and Kibaou's green team became somewhat tense. After all, there is somebody else who is constantly ahead of them by several floors. While it's unlikely for anyone to have noticed that the "somebody" was Kirito, «The Evil Black Beater», it will just be a matter of time. Well, even if I'm exposed, it will just make our relationship worse.
Thanks to the two days of hard work, I have finally elucidated Nezuha's trick to the «Strengthening Fraud». Looking at the downcast Blacksmith at the side of the anvil, I let out a breath.
So now, my goal is mostly achieved. Of course, as this isn't officially a quest, I didn't receive any reward or bonus experience points……but instead paid the handling and material fee of 2700 Cor in total myself. What concerns me more is to stop Nezuha from continuing with this dangerous fraud activity.
To be honest, this is an excellent trick, but at this pace of continuously cheating rare weapons out of the players, there will definitely be someone else who eventually notices. No matter who uncovers the trick, Nezuha will surely be accused by everyone, and it can be pictured that there will be some «punishment» awaiting him. The worst case I can imagine, will be an execution with the consensus of all players, which may also become a precedent for similar cases.
Personally, I have never thought that it will be good to acquit Nezuha. Thinking of Ryufior and Shivata who were robbed of their beloved swords… even if their swords are returned, when I recall the time when Asuna shed tears as she believed that her dear rapier had shattered as a result of the Strengthening failure, I'd think Nezuha should receive some sort of punishment.
However, the punishment must never be killing the players for their faults. If an atmosphere that permits such action forms, there would eventually be a day when conflicts among players over hunting fields and item drops are resolved by force instead of negotiation. If that really happened, all the effort I've made by accepting the derogatory title of beater, to avoid the purging of original beta tester by non testers, will go to a waste.
Thus, it doesn't matter to me what the trick-exposed Nezuha is going to do from now on - whether to become a legitimate blacksmith and continue his business, or to put down his smith's hammer and convert to a fighter - both are fine with me. Of course, this is a decision made after discussing with Asuna. Without the income from cheating, Nezuha's fellow «Legend Braves» folks will eventually return to where they belonged……
While thinking about such things with my beloved sword in my right hand, a slight mumble reached my ears unexpectedly.
"....It’s not like this is something that can be forgiven with just an apology, right…"
The one who said this, was of course the downcast Nezuha. As if trying to disappear from this place, his tiny body shrunk even more. He continued with a hoarse voice,
“......At least, I should give those swords that I defrauded back to everyone...but that's also impossible now. Almost all of them, are sold off and converted into money...so all that's left…. that I can do now, is this…!”
With the last bit of the sentence almost shouted out, Nezuha struggled to his feet. His smith's hammer slipped off from his right hand, but he ignored it and abruptly started running.
However, he could only run a few meters. A player suddenly descended from above and blocked his path. With her long hair under the wool cape shining due to the light from the nearby street lamp, the player, was of course the rapier-user Asuna.
Leaping from the second floor window of the building without any effort, Asuna, while blocking Nezuha’s path, resolutely stated,
"Even if you die alone, nothing will be resolved at all!"