No Game No Life 9: It Seems the Gamer Siblings are Resting for One Turn (ノーゲーム・ノーライフ9 ゲーマー兄妹は一ターン休むそうです) is the ninth volume of the No Game No Life (Series) series, published on August 25, 2016.
Gamer siblings Sora and Shiro have at least defeated the Old Deus Holou, and now they're switching gears: their next endeavor is to make Holou the number-one idol pop star in all of Disboard! But amid the chaos of their pet project comes a strange message from the representative of the 10th-ranked race, the Ex-Machina... Is another arduous battle on the horizon for Sora and Shiro?!
Sora & Shiro shut down the Kingdom of Elchea to prioritize setting Horou up as an idol. Sora & Shiro, as her producer, pressure Horou to have her improve her singing and stage performance. Horou cannot comprehend why, but she does anyway.
Steph expressed that the country felt uncertain about their king’s decision. Sora explains that Imanity has no move left and is taking a break as no one will be willing to confront them directly, especially after their win against an Old Deus. He insists that the other races will most likely be challenging Elchea's alliances rather than them. Sora also added that Elven Gard is now in shambles due to multiple causesーBlank used Fiel to feed false information after the game with the Eastern Union, Chlammy & Fiel infiltrating and turning several elven nobles against each other and Sora spelling out the traitors, including Fiel, in their countryーOther races should be worried about possibility of internal conflicts within themselves.
As Horou finishes her debut performance in the King’s Castle, Sora’s phone rings, followed by a group of 13 strangers showing up via dimension manipulation. They turn out to be Ex-Machina. 2 of the 13 include: Einzieg, a male Ex-Machina, the current administrator of the Ex-Machina (as well as the race representative) and Ymirein, a female Ex-Machina, who is a formal cluster commander. The other 11 are female Ex-Machina.
When everyone expected the Ex-Machina’s visit to be of hostile intention, Einzieg explains that they come in peace. They believe that Sora is the Spieler they have been looking for for millenniums. Einzieg, as well as the other Ex-Machina, begin to address Sora as ‘darling’ and state that they are here to perform the reproduction process with him.
After the Great War, a “hardware lock” has prevented Ex-Machina to reproduce unless it is carried out with The Compatible One, which they believe is the Spieler, who is Sora. After combatting Artosh, only 28 units remain and now leaving only 14 units functioning. Einzieg is overdue for replacement for 5982 years and the entire race may stop working any day now.
This follows by irrational conversations: Jibril’s short confrontation with the Ex-Machina and Sora express of dismay toward Einzieg as getting too touchy. They also discuss the concept of the ‘heart’ from Prayer (implies Schwi, even though her name was never mentioned) and how all 14 units are sharing Schwi affiliation towards Riku, now they are desiring love from the Spieler/Sora.
- It’s a game between Sora vs the 14 remaining Ex-Machina units
- Sora starts with the first turn
- If the game ends in a draw, the Ex-Machina win
- If Sora wins, the Ex-Machina are to release their hardware lock to start their reproduction program with anyone to avoid extinction and the Ex-Machina are to construct a concert stage for Horou’s next performance.
- If the Ex-Machina win, Sora will need to provide information on his ideal love interest (i.e. provide hints on how to seduce Sora).
Einzieg states that Sora has no room to bargain (despite the Ex-Machina issuing the challenge, they are also defining the game and rules) as he will be aware that Sora will not let the Ex-Machina go extinct. This leaves Sora with no other choice but to agree to play the game without Shiro. Sora lost the game, in which he provides his hentai materials hidden in his tablet computer to the Ex-Machina (which Shiro is fully aware of). Under the Ex-Machina’s relentless pursuit with "Love - Sex - Situation Formula" tactic (essentially sexually seducing Sora by replication scenarios from his hentai collection), Sora & Shiro with Jibril’s help are running all over the place (including Miko’s shrine and the moon) hiding from the Ex-Machina.
One day, Sora asks Horou for information on the Ex-Machina, to which Horou replies that she was in hibernation before the Ex-Machina were created, and only had woken up about 50 years ago when Miko reactivate her Quintessence. Basically, she only knows as much as Miko knows. While Sora brainstorming with Horou regarding the reasoning for the Ex-Machina mistaking Sora as the so-called “Spieler”, Horou answers Sora’s query with a question (somewhere along the line of): "Subjectively, what defines Sora? What makes me, me?", and that was Sora’s enlightenment.
- Sora & Shiro are playing as a team, versus the Ex-Machina as a whole
- The game is to carry out 5 days later during Horou’s 2nd performance and the Ex-Machina are to help with the stage technology.
- The game is like standard chess but without turns. Both sides are required to play on the rhythm of Horou’s song (Sora mentioned it’s about 4 moves per second). Moves that are not played on the rhythm are considered as invalid moves (so think, DDR or whatever music game you are familiar with).
- The chess game with be 13 sets, and will be the best of 7 games. Each match is to carry out during each of Horou’s 13 songs.
- During the game and concert, there’s an "emotion bar”, which represents the crowds enjoyment to Horou’s performance. Sora & Shiro are required to keep the bar from being empty in order to win. (Just like a music game, there’s a bar you need to keep up or you fail the round)
- During the chess game, there are random “event blocks” appearing on the chess board and they are always located on a ‘bad move’ spot. i.e. whoever wants to trigger the event, they must first have to play a bad move.
- If Sora & Shiro are to trigger an “event block”, it will be a ”performance move”, in which where the concert stage will receive special effects which may result in an increase of the “emotion bar”.
- If the Ex-Machina are to trigger an "event block”, it will be a “stop move” where something will interrupt the concert from performing accordingly (i.e. the lights going out, Horou’s cloth bursting to pieces, etc) and may result in a decrease of the “emotion bar”.
- Another additional winning condition for Sora & Shiro, is before the game ends, Sora is to provide proof that he is not the Spieler.
- If Sora & Shiro win, as before, the Ex-Machina have to release their hardware lock to start their reproduction program.
- If the Ex-Machina win, Sora is to offer his naked photos and will perform reproduction procedures with them without further delay.
Sora & Shiro take turns leading the strategy in each set (since it’s a very fast pace game, they have to synchronise with each other’s anticipation). The game goes back and forth with both sides coming up with new strategies and counters after each set. They also notice that Sora plays much more sophisticated moves when Shiro is around. This is the first time the Ex-Machina realize Shiro may have some form of importance, however the story did not build on the parallel between Schwi and Shiro.
The Ex-Machina try to win the game by standard chess play, trying to use “stop moves" and psychological interference on Sora, via suexual seduction, but are unable to get a convincing win out of them, this is when Sora read their minds: "The more we analyze, the stronger they, Sora & Shiro, become." and Sora stated "When facing someone who killed the strongest, the Old Deus Artosh, I should have no chance of winning. So, Ex-Machina, you couldn’t have possibly been able to achieve that, you weren't the ones who killed Artosh, were you?"
After Sora & Shiro's 5 wins to 6 losses, Ymirein decides to reveal her trump card: she takes Sora onto the stage, dressed in a wedding dress, via dimension manipulation, and announces that she is Sora’s wife. Ymirein proceeds with her ‘winning strategy’, and announces that Sora has amnesia, a result in currently sharing his love with someone else. Ymirein continues to state that they are formally married and exchanged vows, and the Ex-Machina have already won the game because this, the marriage, is a proof that Sora is indeed the Spieler.
(Now, let’s talk about Ymirein. Despite not being the administrator, she seems to have strong individualism: she always wears a maid uniform, she is able to speak her thoughts unlike the other 11 units, she has a strong desire for Spieler/Sora, and gets in verbal arguments, specifically with Jibril. The plot didn't mention this directly, but it does imply that Ymirein, as a formal cluster commander, may have held a copy of the Prayer's memory, or Schwi)
Ymirein's dedicated act surprised everyone, including Einzieg. Everyone concluded and convinced Ymirein that all those were her constructed memory, thus being false. Out of devastation and humiliation, Ymirein repeatedly requests for self-destruction or exile. Meanwhile, Shiro was not amused by the scene, perhaps being the first time Shiro is described to be angry.
With more very close fights and a lot more conversation, Sora & Shiro barely win set 12, triggering the Ex-Machina’s lost memory, which was Riku’s words (Riku’s conversation with Schwi, an Ex-Machina does not know who the voice is but conclude those are from the Spieler). The Ex-Machina are able to reach an understanding and Einzieg gave the win to Sora & Shiro.
Afterward, the Ex-Machina leave, Einzieg is to be replaced with a newly reproduced unit. Ymirein starts addressing Sora with his actual name and not Spieler, and proposes her love and desire to be his wife, where again, Shiro got very angry for that. Ymirein claims that she has approximately 6 years until her unit is out of service, and implies she’ll be staying with Sora until then.