“I saw it!”
It was the third day since Shin and the second princess of Bayreuth Kingdom, Rionne, had been transposed to the Sacred Place Kalkia. The rampart of the stronghold city, Balmel, was visible to the two people who continued going south.
Normally it was impossible to arrive in three days, but they were upper class Chosen Ones. It could be said that their speed surpassed that of a flying dragon.
Similarly from the Sacred Place to Balmel, there was quite a distance from the large crowd of monsters. Since the Goblins and other monsters were the main constituent for their slow movements, they still had probably nearly a week to spare.
“I’ll go meet the feudal lord. Shin, please report to the Adventurer’s Guild.”
“Understood. What will you do afterwards?”
“When it comes to the intercepting the large-scale of ‘Flood’ monsters’ invasion, cooperation of the guild and the army is essential. It means that the Chosen Ones will assemble immediately.”
“I see. Roger that.”
The current time was just past noon. Since it was not early in the morning or late at night, he didn’t have to wait at the reception desk.
Rionne told the circumstances to the guard who was in the guardroom of the gate, and was guided to the feudal lord’s castle.
Shin also asked the guard about the place and headed toward the Adventurer’s Guild.
“Is it in between Bayreuth and Falnido?”
What Shin spoke about was the race of people he came across. There were a lot more beasts here than in Bayreuth, and more humans than in Falnido. He also saw some elves and dragnils.
The key point of defending was to keep the overflowing monsters in check from the Sacred Place. In addition, because the city was next to the sea and an abundance of mountains, this might have resulted in various races gathering.
Shin briskly walked for a while, and soon saw a familiar signboard.
He opened the door, entered inside, and made his way to the counter.
“Excuse me, could you relay something to the guild master?”
“Sorry for being so for asking, but what kind of business do you have with Guild Master?”
The elf receptionist girl, who gave off the impression of a working woman with glasses on, asked him with a dubious look.
It was the first time Shin had come to Balmel, so he didn’t know any acquaintances. When an adventurer without acquaintances asked to call the guild master, you probably would think it was suspicious, too.
“There is information on the ‘Flood’. In addition to the Guild Card, I also pledge with my social position.”
“…Please wait a moment.”
The receptionist contemplated for a moment before lightly bowing and drawing back to an inside room.
It was likely that she couldn’t ignore it when she heard it was about the ‘Flood’.
“This way, please.”
The receptionist, who returned after a few minutes, prompted Shin to the back room.
It seemed that the guild interior’s design was almost the same in every town. They walked a short distance and a big door could be seen, and the reception girl knocked on it.
“It’s Eliza. I brought you the adventurer in question.”
“It’s open. Have him enter.”
The reply, which came from the other side of the door, was a male voice.
Also, this reception girl seemed to be called Eliza.
Shin passed through the door which had been opened by Eliza, and entered the room.
“Welcome to the Adventurer’s Guild. I am the guild master, Baren Lakt. I’m told that you brought information on the ‘Flood’; could you tell me more about it?”
When he was invited to sit on the sofa, Shin felt that he was being observed.
Baren’s appearance was that of a man just past his 60’s. Most of his hair was white; wrinkles also stood out on his face.
However, even if he looked gentle, that glint in eyes held a sharpness that wasn’t inferior to Barlux’s.
“I am Shin. The ‘Flood’ occurred around Sacred Place Kalkia. It consists mainly of Goblins, Orcs and others humanoid monsters. Judging from the speed of their progression, I think it will take them about one week until they arrive here.”
“…Your expression looks like you’ve seen it happen; may I ask for your information sources?”
“As you said, I saw it. I can’t say in detail, but I can confirm that a mass of monsters was heading toward Balmel when I went to the vicinity of the Sacred Place. My companion has already gone to contact the feudal lord here.”
“To the feudal lord? Does the person accompanying you have a high social rank?”
Baren asked, and narrowed his eyes slightly.
If one could have an audience with the feudal lord immediately, it must be a person with a high position to some degree. As expected from the guild master of the city near the Sacred Place, he was quick to catch on.
“You will know about my companion’s status. The information should be passed on to you soon. Leaving that aside, do you believe in my information?”
“Hrm, I can not remain silent when hearing ‘Flood’. But under the present situation, there’s no proof to back up what you’re saying――”
Baren said, while putting his hand on his chin.
However, it seemed he already sent a messenger to confirm the information contrary to his words.
There were people leaving the guild hurriedly; Shin could sense it.
“If you say that you are an A rank adventurer, the story would be different.”
For Baren, he should be able to get into action quickly. However, since he was the head of the organization, he couldn’t accept Shin’s information that easily.
“Then, how about this?”
Receiving a probing-like gaze, Shin took out the letter of introduction from Tsuki no Hokora from his Item Box.
Eliza expressed words when she saw the letter of introduction.
“I already have official guarantee that it’s genuine by Guild Master of Bayreuth.”
“…I see, I have no choice but to believe you since this is shown.”
The gaze containing doubt from Baren was erased.
“Don’t you have to verify it?”
“Unfortunately, I don’t have a letter of introduction. But as you said, I can contact Barlux-dono. Even if you tell a lie, I’ll know it immediately.”
“Uh huh, from here on I officially announce the declaration of a state of emergency. If the companion whom you said has brought the story to the feudal lord, the army would move immediately. As soon as the report comes, we’ll begin the preparation for the residents’ evacuation. Eliza, please contact the representatives of each guild.”
Eliza who received the order left the room afterward.
Organization of the army and units, procurement of supplies, and the evacuation of the residents; there were many things that needed to be done from now on.
“What are you going to do hereafter? I guess you’re an upper class Chosen One, right? Please cooperate as I’d like to ask regardless, but…”
“You don’t have to ask. As an upper class Chosen One as you say, you can expect me to help to some extent.”
“That’s reassuring. Then, it would be nice if you have a meeting together with the other Chosen Ones in this city.”
In Baren’s talk, the Chosen Ones that became the main force, because upper class Chosen Ones were not the same as ordinary adventurers or knights, it was said that they would unite in a party between fellow Chosen Ones and fight.
Since they themselves often had weapons for their exclusive use, they didn’t take much time with preparation compared to a common adventurer.
“Now the Chosen Ones protect Balmel, but I’ve heard there is one short..”
“You had known? I’m also concerned about this, but the force increased once you joined. It became somewhat better, is what I’d like to think.”
“My companion is a Chosen One too, so you can count on us.”
“It’s a blessing.”
After inquiring about the location of the shop which the Chosen One ran, Shin left the adventurer’s guild. Even if everyone of them were a Chosen One, it didn’t mean they would be adventurers or knights.
“That’s the place, huh? I’ve seen that signboard somewhere before.”
He said as he went ahead along the street, and found the signboard of the landmark.
At the sole of a paw and small fish which were drawn on the signboard, Shin tilted his head.
“Paw, small fish…Wait, those are, dried small sardines?”
A paw and dried small sardines. To that combination, something flashed inside Shin’s mind.
“The shop’s name is ‘Nyan Da Land’…you say? D-Don’t tell me….”
While remembering the person who shouldn’t be here, Shin opened the shop’s door.
A bell rang and he entered the shop, there, it was a bar with a calm atmosphere. Shin was familiar, no, he was at a loss for a moment how he should move in the interior which he was so familiar with.
“Hm? Customer-san, I am very sorry, but we haven’t opened yet. You can have delicious sake after the sun goes down a little more, okay?”
Shin stiffened at that very moment, a deep voice of a man from the inner part of the store was heard.
Shin was also familiar with this voice, and he turned toward the direction of the voice.
“Certainly, I was called that by a close friend, but…Nyaa Nyaa Nyaa!?”
That person, expressed his surprise with his whole body when he confirmed Shin’s face.
His race was High Beast of cat. As for the appearance, there was no way of expressing it other than a cat walking on two legs and wearing clothes.
His face was mostly white but only the ears were black. A part of the fur on his face had become gray for some reason; it looked like a crack on a split tile.
The reason why Shin called him “Hibineko” was because of the grey patch. His avatar name in-game was [email protected] (T/N: Hibineko literally means crack cat)
If only his voice was heard, one would imagined a refined man of middle age, but due to his short stature and his cartoonish costume, he looked like a mascot character of a deformed animal in an amusement park.
Add a exclamation mark floating above the head, and he would become the gag character of a manga.
“Are you a d-double?”
“Who is! Ah, no, but why? Hibineko-san, you were in the death game…”
You should have died.
Though Shin didn’t voice it, he knew he wasn’t mistaken. However, 【Analyze】 certainly displayed [email protected]
“Really, you’re Shin-nyaa….?”
“Ah…you’re indeed Hibineko-san…first of all should I stop calling you that name?”
Shin felt that tension dispersed, as “-nyaa” attached to the end of names which was a peculiar way of calling from Hibineko. Even if he thought back to when it was a regular game, he was a player who could change the mood of the area unintentionally.
“*Sigh*, even though I don’t understand it well, it’s been a long time, Hibineko-san. No, is it better to call you [email protected]?”
“Mugu! To know my sealed true name, you’re really Shin-nyaa!”
“I only saw it from 【Analyze】. Or perhaps I should say, please stop calling me as Shin-nyaa, seriously.”
While communicating like they did in the past, Shin sighed.
“Fumu, it’s truly you, Shin… Hey, Shin. I want to confirm only this, have you died?”
“No, I didn’t, supposedly.”
Shin spoke briefly about what happened to himself after he defeated ‘Origin’. He couldn’t be dead at least.
“No no, such things…”
“For me, I am concerned why Hibineko-san is here though.”
“I don’t understand it either. Having lost my life in death game, when I came to myself, I was asleep on a grassy plain. Level, stats, and items. Nothing changed from prior to dying, so I didn’t have a hard time while living.”
Balmel seemed to be the first place he arrived, it was said that he was active as an adventurer based in here.
“Then, what is this shop?”
“Besides being active as an adventurer, this is matched with my character.”
‘Nyan Da Land’ bar was the name of the shop which Hibineko opened during the game era.
Half of the menu being cat food hadn’t changed either.
“And, I became the mark when other players also came.”
“Besides you, there are others?!”
Apparently, the situation was on a larger scale than Shin thought.
The players who should have died in the death game or something; it was much more than expected.
“As far as I know it, Shadow-nyaa, Ho-nyaa, Masa-nyaa, Hira-nyaa have certainly come into this world. But…”
“There are PK among the people that come as well.”
The players have come. Hearing that, Shin thought even if they died in the original world, they could at least live in this world, but his expression changed when he heard the following words by Hibineko.
PK or abbreviated of Player Killer; it referred to the act where a player killed another player, or the player who did such an act. This time, it was the latter meaning.
Also, speaking of the PK in the death game era, the majority prefered to kill the villainous people.
“Do you know who has come?”
“I still cannot grasp everything. But it’s no doubt that Hameln has come.”
“That guy has come? It’s going to be troublesome…”
Hameln, Shin who heard that name had his expression stiffen.
The player who was known as a habitual offender of PK-MPK(Monster Player Kill) in the death game era, that’s Hameln.
As a High Pixie, he had more combat power than any upper class Chosen One in this world, though not as much as Schnee.
“Even in this world, he has already been placed on the wanted list in many countries.”
“What did he do?”
Though he was able to expect it without hearing, Shin still asked.
“He brought a large amount of monsters, and attacked a town. It doesn’t seem to be a big town, but it was said that it was a total destruction.”
“That bastard. Even here, he’s doing the same things, huh?”
As Shin, who had a connection as he put an end to Hameln during the death game, he wondered why there was such a player in this world.
“Well, it’s useless even if we think now. Anyway, why did you come to this shop, Shin?”
“Ah, though I think you will be contacted soon, the ‘Flood’ happened. So, it would be nice if you have meeting together with the other Chosen Ones, was what the guild master said.”
“So that’s the case, huh? Then, I’ll call out Shadow-nyaa and the others too.”
Hibineko paused for a short while, and fell silent.
Partly because he was a player too, Shin understood that Hibineko used Mind Chat.
“When I spoke about you, Shin, he said he would come at once.”
“Are they nearby?”
“They are my next-door neighbours. Didn’t you see the signboard?”
“That is, I was paying more attention to the paw signboard..”
“To miss the cafe ‘B&W’, you still have a long way to go, Shin.”
“‘B&W’? That’s the Shadow-san and Holly-san’s shop?”
“That’s right. By the way, they have a daughter too.”
“They have a daughter”, Shin was surprised at that clause.
Even a former player seemed to able to make a child in this world. Just when he tried to ask for a detailed story, the shop’s door was opened forcefully.
“Is it true that Shin-chan is here?!”
“Hey Holly, calm down a bit.”
Entering by kicking the door open were two people, a High Elf and a High Lord.
Having raised a loud yell was the High Elf woman, her white hair waved loosely and her blue transparent eyes were impressive.
What reprimanded her was a High Lord man, having the same black hair and iris as Shin.
The words handsome man and beautiful woman, matched the two people really well.
“Um…Holly-san…if possible, please stop attaching -chan to my name.”
It was Holly’s habit to put up “-chan” to someone, because Shin had the same nickname to a certain kindergartener, he requested her to correct it whenever being called.
Though she attached “-kun” to his name during their last meeting, she seemed to have completely forgotten it, probably because she was being surprised.
“…Hibineko-san. They look like they’re somewhat misunderstanding though..”
“U-Umu, they should hear the story in general about you, Shin.”
They seemed to think that Shin probably died and had come to this world. From the tears accumulating in their eyes, there’s no mistake about it.
“Hey Holly, Shin has not died. You’ve heard Hibineko’s chat.”
“Eh? Is that so?”
To begin with, she had a character that was quickly jumping to wrong conclusions, and that didn’t seem to have changed even after she came here.
It was also a common thing for Shadow to rebuke her.
“It’s true. At least, I’m certain that my HP didn’t become 0 when I came here.”
“I’m glad. I certainly thought…but, then why are you here?”
“He’ve said he doesn’t know. Anyway, it’s been a long time, Shin. I’m happy to see you again, but I don’t know whether it’s nice to say..”
While answering Holly’s question, Shadow called out to Shin.
“No, I’m glad to meet you too…Meeting again, it was possible, wasn’t it?”
“I didn’t expect it after I died..”
Shin and Shadow, they had known each other for the longest inside that group. At one time, they made a party together.
Shin was glad to see Shadow and Holly together, and became jealous at the same time.
Even in the real world, Shadow and Holly were a married couple, their good relationship was famous among companions. Despite dying and ending up in a another world, they could still be here together, Shin was a little jealous.
(Well, his circumstances are slightly different than mine.)
Shin almost hoped for a reunion like those two, and shrugged his shoulders a little to restrain himself.
“First of all, I am delighted with our reunion here, but the situation at the moment is a little..”
“That’s right. When I heard the ‘Flood’ took place, I couldn’t calm down either.”
Shadow also changed his expression.
“Has the adventurer’s guild made their move?”
“Yes, my companion has also told the feudal lord, too. Each guild should be contacted soon.”
“As expected, you’re quick to respond. But Shin-kun, did Guild Master believe in your story?”
“As for that, I showed him this.”
Shin took out the letter of introduction of Tsuki no Hokora in front of Holly.
When that was seen, everyone nodded as having consented.
“I see. You already went to your ‘home’.”
“It was near the place where I woke up, so I went there first. I also have met Schnee already.”
All three of them seemed to know the situation of Tsuki no Hokora; Holly and the others wanted to hear the detailed story from Shin.
However, because it was not a time to be carefree, Shin ignored Holly’s gaze and returned to the conversation.
“I’ve already told this to the guild master, but the majority of the monsters were humanoids such as Goblins and Ogres. Anyway, you should be careful of their number. It was a number that wasn’t seen even in an event of the game.”
“That’s the feature of the ‘Flood’ which breeds a large amount of low-level monsters. Though we, the melee-type, would have a difficult time corresponding to the attack, it seems we don’t have to worry with Shin here.”
“Shouldn’t you destroyed them when you came across them?”
Shadow said in neither joking nor in a serious tone.
“No, actually, my companion in question is the second princess of Bayreuth Kingdom. To use my power in front of such person is still..”
“Will she be afraid or praise it? Either way, it will be mayhem. High Humans here seem to be treated like half Gods. Shin-kun’s support character, Schnee-chan, is very famous, you know?”
“Yeah, besides, even now she still held full interest toward me. As Shadow-san says, I intend to prevent war sacrifices too, but I don’t want to be discovered.”
It was said, no matter how much the number were, most of them were small fry which didn’t reach level 100. He could burn them down using a wide range magic skill.
As why that wasn’t done earlier, it was because Rionne was nearby.
“A man with power, is difficult in every ages. For the matter of the second princess, I heard she isn’t that corrupted to that extent though..”
Following Shadow, Hibineko began to talk.
“Well, the placement probably will be different from us when it comes to a royal family. I dare say, we ought to be together as the dispatch group.”
The group of dispatch were the Chosen Ones assigned to various places by turns. The mage and the magic swordsman which Rionne mentioned before fell under that.
“That’s good then.”
“If I say that we’re acquaintances, it’s almost settled with the princess becoming separated. A hastily made party and a party with cooperation, the battle results are greatly different. The guild master also understands that situation.”
“I wonder if we would become a hindrance instead…Didn’t Schnee-chan come?”
“She is in Bayreuth now. It’s also why I’m here, it seems like a demon was in the royal palace.”
Shadow reacted to Shin’s remark.
Neither Hibineko nor Holly spoke, but they seemed to be surprised similarly.
“I heard in Schnee’s story, 500 years from the natural disaster, she didn’t come across it at all.”
“Hm, we haven’t heard of it either.”
In addition to Hibineko’s words, Shadow and Holly nodded too.
Though they didn’t understand what was happening, demons having begun to move again was not a good premonition. Just to make sure, he also informed them of what was in the royal palace.
“A Count class, huh? If that’s the case, we should able to handle it.”
“Although anything higher than that, we’ve only ever fought in dungeons or for quests.”
“The terrain has changed now, we don’t know the reason. In all the dungeons that we have visited in this world, there never been something like this.”
Three people looked at each other and frowned.
“Well, I think it’s better than not knowing, but please put it in the corner of your mind for the time being. You may have to give priority even more soon.”
Since he couldn’t find solution even if he thought, the demon matter was put on hold for the time being.
“For now, let me take charge of strengthening your weapons and armor which you’re using now.”
“Is it fine?”
“I’m here this time, but I don’t know what will happen hereafter. I think there’s no loss to reinforce them. Of course, you can expect it to be good as I will do it seriously.”
Shin was there this time. Though the preparation made by the guild and the feudal lord were wasted, he didn’t intend to increase the victims and the like from the start.
Shin’s attention was already focused on the ‘Flood’ which would eventually happen again.
“F-Fumu…Shin is serious huh? A fearful weapons will probably be completed, although it’s reliable.”
“I’m afraid to hand over my weapon.”
Hibineko and Shadow said in a slightly restless voice.
Because they didn’t know Shin’s ability completely, what kind of magic remodeling would Shin subject their favorite weapons to? Such uneasiness flashed across their head.
“Please take care of my weapon! Even if Shin-kun is not here, we will defend this place!”
Unlike the men who were sweating from their foreheads, Holly with an expression full of motivation, handed over a weapon which was still in card state to Shin immediately.
There was not any trace of anxiety towards the magic remodeling seen.
“You can count on me.”
Shin also received the cards from Shadow and Hibineko, and put them away in his Item Box at once.
He intended to make Tsuki no Hokora appear, to work in the night as he sneaked out from Balmel.
“Ah, that’s right. I’ll introduce you my partner later.”
“Partner? If it’s Schnyaa-san, I know her.”
“Isn’t it possible for monster to be tamed if you have the job Tamer? It’s that.”
Shin told Hibineko, who heard ‘partner’ and imagined Schnee, that he tamed a monster.
“Hoho, I didn’t think there is a monster could catch Shin’s eyes.”
While playing with his mustache, Hibineko smiled with great interest.
“It wasn’t a very strong monster, right?.”
“Fumu, is it the Mist Garuda around here?”
They being immensely curious also didn’t change here, Holly and Shadow voiced their ideas too.
“Please wait a moment, I’ll call it now.”
Saying so, Shin connected via telepathy between partners to Yuzuha.
“(This is Shin. Yuzuha, can you hear me?)”
“(I’ll introduce you to my acquaintances, and I want to summon you here, is it okay?)”
“(Wait a minute…*clonk*, Schnee-oneechan, Tiera-oneechan, see you later)”
For a short while, Yuzuha seemed to get confirmation from Schnee and Tiera.
“Then, here it comes. Contract beast summon!”
When Shin chanted the incantation, a summoning formation with a complicated pattern was drawn at his feet.
Normally, Yuzuha should have appear at Shin’s feet, but――
Just as Shin thought he heard a short scream, his face was wrapped in something soft, and his view became dark.
His posture broke and he fell onto the ground. Besides the sound of Shin falling, the sound of something dropping resounded inside the shop.
“Ouch…What…on earth…Master!! What happened?”
When Tiera looked up while her eyes moistened because of pain, there was the figure of Schnee whose breasts enveloped Shin’s head.
“Don’t “Tsui” me, ah, geez! Please release Shin, he seems to be in pain!”
He likely couldn’t breath. Shin tapped Schnee’s back repeatedly.
“Mm mmm! Mm mmm!” voice omitted from her chest, “Give up! I give up!” was also heard.
“T-This is, I only hear it from the rumor, is this heaven or hell?”
Shin who was freed from Schnee’s embrace, murmured while gasping for breath.
Because it was the timing when he just breathed out, he was about to be suffocated seriously.
The beginning was heaven, and the end was hell. As a matter of fact, if he had wanted to avoid it, he could have, but it was a secret only for Shin.
“…Um, what kind of situation is this?”
Shadow, Holly and Hibineko who had stiffened by Schnee and the other’s sudden appearance, among them, the first one to reboot was Holly.
“Oh, I don’t have a clue either.”
While fixing his disordered breathing, Shin answered.
Indeed, he didn’t expect Schnee and Tiera to appear together with Yuzuha.
“About that, I..”
Schnee started to explain as if nothing had happened.
According to her, Tiera and her seemed to have been pulled into the summoning formation around Yuzuha. Normally only the partner becomes the target for transition, and it appeared that the two people were recognized as existences similar to Yuzuha for some reason.
“It’s just a guess, but isn’t it because of them being inside the summoning formation?”
“They were swallowed by the summoning formation, huh?”
“The summoning formation had a one mel diameter, so Tiera and I were indeed inside the summoning formation.”
“…Come to think of it, Cashmere talked about such a thing.”
Shin recalled the words of the summoner and tamer of Rokuten, Cashmere.
“When calling your partner, if there are other partners in the summoning formation, they may appear together sometimes. Although it doesn’t seem to be a bug.”
The contents should be like this, and Shin confirmed that his memory was not mistaken.
Perhaps, it was meant to be in THE NEW GATE from the start.
“Oh dear! I’m not bored when Shin is around.”
Hibineko and Shadow who came to their senses, said in an amazed way.
“Everyone, I haven’t seen you for a long time.”
“Schnyaa-san too, hasn’t changed a bit.”
“Next time, tell me about when you met with Shin-kun again, okay?”
To see Schnee exchange voice casually, Shin had a sudden thought.
“Hey Schnee, did you know that Hibineko and the others had come to this place?”
“Yes. Concerning Shin’s friend, I heard a lot of stories.”
“Then I wished you said it a little earlier. Well, it can’t be helped since there was Girard’s matter, too.”
If he knew that there were players other than himself, Shin would have taken a different course of actions.
However, because he had no choice but to meet Girard whose death was approaching, he didn’t intend to scold her.
“I am very sorry. I had no intention of covering it up, but I couldn’t get an opportunity to tell you…”
“Now now, a man shouldn’t worry about a trifling thing. Leaving that aside, I want you to introduce that little fox-chan and elf-chan quickly to me.”
Was she aware of what’s inside Schnee’s mind? Holly requested for Tiera’s and Yuzuha’s introduction.
“I get it. I assume you already know Schnee, so I will omit her, this young fox is Yuzuha, and this elf is Tiera.”
“I am Tiera Lucent.”
Yuzuha barked cheerfully, and Tiera bowed politely.
“Then next is this one. The one who looks like he has a crack on his head is Nekomata-san, we call him Hibineko-san. That is the High Elf Holly-san, and next to her is the High Lord Shadow-san.”
“I am Nekomata, I’m also called Hibineko by everyone.”
“I’m Holly, I hope to get along with you, Tiera-chan.”
“Shadow. Come to my house if you’re hungry.”
Then, Tiera dropped her sight, looking at her own feet.
“I’ll introduce my partner too. Kagerou, come out.”
Answering the call, Kagerou in puppy mode appeared from Tiera’s shadow.
“This puppy is Kagerou, although he’s small now. His original form is very enormous.”
Kagerou barked, and made sure it matched Tiera’s introduction.
“His monster name is Gruefago.”
To the content which Shin told as an addition, the three former players raised a voice of astonishment.
Even the advanced players would be on their guard against the divine beast; it was a strange scene when it was being held by a beautiful elf girl like a puppy, but the three people’s 【Analyze】 displayed Kagerou’s name and level without an error.
“Oh, oh dear my my, such a cute pup is that Gruefago?”
“Yes, I think he can change his body size at will.”
“Tiera-san is a Chosen One too?”
“No, I’m just an ordinary elf unlike Shin.”
“She is not a Chosen One, so how could she tame a Gruefago?”
“Okay okay, that’s it! Please ask the questions afterwards!”
Shin forced his way through in front of Holly, Hibineko and Shadow who were pressing for answers.
He was certain that Tiera would be barraged with questions if he left them alone. It was only natural that only Holly kept shifting the contents of the questions.
“The number of people increased somehow, let’s sit down and talk at least.”
When Shin said that, Shadow and Holly nodded.
“Then come to my shop. It’s a special reunion, so I will show my skill.”
“That’s right, since the shop is closed today, we can talk a little bit. There’s still time until the monsters come, right?”
“…If you said there is still time, then I will accept your offer here.”
There was a delay of at least four or five days before the group of monsters arrived at Balmel.
Before one knew it, Rionne’s impatience seemed have moved to Shin, too.
“The summon of the adventurers, the formation of the armies, the accommodation of the supplies, all of this takes time to deal with, but it probably will be all right today at least.”
“Then, let’s go.”
Following Shadow and Holly, the party entered ‘B&W’ cafe. Different from the ‘Nyan Da Land’, it was a coffee shop with a relaxed atmosphere. The wall that faced the street was glass-sided, though the inside of the shop could be seen, the curtain was closed now.
A “Closed” sign was hung up when the door was opened and they entered the shop; it was also a scene which Shin knew very well. The shop had a clean impression with white as the base, and hadn’t changed at all since the game era.
Even if it was said that the shop was just brought as it was, there was almost no strange feeling.
“…You have reproduced it well here.”
“I think it was well-balanced even if I say so myself. But this is all in favor of Rokuten before Shin-kun arrived here.”
Shin had no idea at all, and couldn’t help but tilt his head for Holly’s words.
“The ‘Golden Company’ exist because Reed of Rokuten built it, right? These various accommodations were thanks to Shin and his acquaintances.”
“‘Golden Company’, huh?…That reminds me, what are the other guys’ support characters doing?”
Hearing the story from Shadow and Hibineko, Shin remembered the other support characters of Rokuten now.
“Schnee, do you know something?”
He asked Schnee while sitting down on a chair.
“Reed-sama’s follower, Berett, remain with ‘Golden Company’, Cook-sama’s follower, Keritori and Zaji run a restaurant ‘Shigure Shop’. The others, Cashmere-sama’s follower, Vizzy and Cain-sama’s follower, Raster, were maintaining the monsters’ nurture at Rashugum. That is all I know. As for the information about Shin, I think Berett knows the whole content, since we had an arrangement to share through the ‘Golden Company’.”
“…Hey, I heard Rashugum just now, does that place remain too?”
In the middle of the talk, Shin voiced his question.
“Yes, because it was originally floating in the sky, it didn’t receive the influence of the crustal movement. It has a wide area, so Vizzy evacuated the monsters that lost their breeding ranch there. As a result, it is called a Dragon Nest now.”
“Oi oi… well, it’s a fitting name for the place.”
The Rashugum Schnee talked about, was one of the guild houses of Rokuten.
In the game era, there was no limit on the number of guild houses. So, having multiple guild houses to certain scale, one guild house could be expanded endlessly and was divided up into the guild which continued to be strengthened.
In Rokuten, six bases were especially arranged, it became one person would manage one base.
And, the Rashugum, the sixth guild house, was ‘Silver Summoner’ Cashmere’s responsibility, the official name was “Type 6 Sky Castle Rashugum”. It was called “Castle” among companions, as it was literally a flying castle.
“Since half of the raised monsters are from the dragon species, saying it is a nest isn’t wrong either.”
“Indeed. Then Schnee, if that’s the case, is my ‘Studio’ somewhere, too?”
About the ‘Studio’, it was “Type 1 Mysterious Studio Demi Eden” which Shin being in charge of.
“I looked for it, but it has not been found yet. We cannot transition to the guild house alone.”
Originally, the guild house was exclusive for players’ use. If the support character was together with the player, transfer was possible, but it was not possible to be used by a single support character unlike a general transition point.
Anyway, if it was a game, one could be deployed to some places, just by operating menu.
“If it’s the ‘Shrine’, it should have become the headquarter of the church now.”
Shin’s expression changed from the Hibineko’s remark.
From the priest who was running from the Golems they encountered the other day or Rashia who he got to know through a request and so on, Shin was strangely connected to the church people, he was not quite convinced that one of their guild houses was being used without permission.
‘Shrine’ was an alias, the official name was “Type 4 Forest Palace Palm Luck”. It was the fourth guild house, and a shrine type. It was the facility which the “Blue Magician” Cain was in charge of.
“Hibineko-san, do you know to what extent the facilities are being used?”
“They haven’t grasped control of the central area at least. I heard most of the rooms are sealed.”
“Do you know anything, Schnee?”
“No, because I kept my distance from the church, so..”
Though it was heard that they had trouble in the past, it seemed she hadn’t gone to their headquarters yet.
“About that, I know it.”
Holly raised her small hand in place of Hibineko and Schnee.
“When I came to this world, what was the closest to me was the church headquarter city, Sigurd. Since I lived there for a while, I had the chance to go to the Shrine.”
When she helped with the distribution of food after an emergency that the church performed, she seemed to have been invited by a priest she knew.
The invitation was also due to Holly’s race as a High Elf, which was known to be a good-natured race, and also served as a variety of solicitation, she explained.
“In a story I heard, and when I think about matching what I saw from a visit, the building itself was seen as important. Looks likes only parts of the gate and hall seem to be useable for everyone.”
“That wouldn’t be entire building”, Holly added and sipped the coffee prepared by Shadow.
“I don’t know how much that building was influenced by the natural disaster, but as far as I can tell after hearing Holly’s story, I think the Shrine’s functions haven’t stopped even if it isn’t complete.”
“May I ask why?”
“It was famous among some players, so I don’t mind. The building that Cain built maintains the functions in the facilities using a core, and when the core is destroyed or breaks down, the building would start self-destructing.”
To Hibineko’s question, Shin answered without pausing in between lines.
Cain’s reason was, “Such things cannot be made in reality, so I decided to build in THE NEW GATE!” was what he said.
His real life architect’s blood seemed to tingle with excitement to a strange direction. In case of an invasion, the Shrine together with the enemy would collapse, was what he seemed to have wanted to try.
In the end, there was no opportunity for that to happen.
“That’s why, the core of the building is safe for now. Only the members of Rokuten or their support characters should be able to use the important facilities, so I think it is locked. Perhaps, as Holly says, only parts of it can be used, huh?…Were the unique items sold?”
If the whole facilities were available, it would be unimaginable according to this world’s common sense when various stuff revealed.
“Yes, I have investigated it a little, but there wasn’t anything strange was sold. Only things such as the standard potion of this world and also antidotes.”
“I think my guess is correct if that’s the case then.”
“In the first place, I don’t think the dwellers of this world able to do anything to the Rokuten’s guild houses.”
Shadow who brought foods suddenly spoke a few words, and everyone in that place gave a bitter smile.
It might be possible that the residents of this world were able to operate it by accident, but there’s no way such a thing would happen. Even that was difficult for former players, but even more for the residents of this world.
“Dishes have arrived, shall we eat?”
“Though it couldn’t be compared to Schnee-san’s, it’s my best ability.”
The dishes were arranged on a table, and Shin gulped his saliva.
During the three days leaving Kalkia, he only had simple meals like an ordinary traveler. Though dishes could be made into a card too, he couldn’t put it out because Rionne was there.
“Well then, itadaki―”
Just when he about to eat the dishes, the shop’s door was flunged open in a big way.
It was an elf girl around 15 years old that raised a cheerful voice. White hair, black pupils, and pointed ears, and not one freckle on that fair skin; she had the features of a general elf in THE NEW GATE.
The elf girl looked puzzled at Shin who was going to clasp his hands for prayer.
Her white hair which was tied behind her head swayed like a puppy’s tail.
“Ara, you’re early.”
“Mother, is the shop closed today?”
“They are my friends. We would eat together because we haven’t met for a long time. This is Shin. And the young elven woman is Tiera.”
There was no introduction of Schnee. It seemed they already knew each other.
“This child is our daughter, Kaede”
“I am Kaede Kurosawa. Nice to meet you!”
Kaede introduced herself in a lively tone.
What could be called a positive mood seemed to overflow from her whole body.
“I’m Shin. I’m a close friend to Holly-san and the others.”
“I’m Tiera Lucent. Hope to get along with you.”
To the Kaede who was brimming with energy, Shin and Tiera naturally smiled.
She appeared to be the type that lightened the surroundings in a sense unlike Holly.
“Schnee-san too, long time no see.”
“Yes, you have grown taller again.”
“No, I haven’t grown that much taller. I envy Schnee-san.”
Said Kaede as she look at Schnee’s chest.
As expected, it probably caught her eyes even as a member of the same sex. Therefore, it shouldn’t because Kaede’s chest size was below standard.
“You are still in your growing period, it will be in the future.”
“If that’s the case, then it’s good.”
After such an exchange, Kaede also joined them for meal.
“That reminds me, her last name is Kurosawa, right?”
“Using only character names is dull, isn’t it?”
“Mitomi was also fine though.”
Holly instantly rejected Shadow’s opinion.
Kurosawa was Shadow’s and Mitomi was Holly’s last name in the real world.
Though it was possible to give one’s name as the real name, since the character name appeared by 【Analyze】 in this world, it seemed to attach Kurosawa when the name was spoken.
When the meal was over, Kaede went to her room, and Shin and the others also began to prepare for the ‘Flood’.
He planned to upgrade the weapons at night, so he decided to do something other than that.
“For now, I think I’ll go to the ‘Golden Company’. Schnee, please tell the feudal lord and the guild master that you will be participates in the war. If Schnee is here, the soldiers’ morale would be raised too and the residents should feel relieved.”
“Understood. What would you do afterwards?”
“How should an adventurer like me move? I’ll ask in the guild. If there is a past document incidentally, I’ll go check it.”
What role did an adventurer play in the ‘Flood’, Shin didn’t know it.
Was it reserve force in the case of an emergency or search and destroy missions? Because he couldn’t expect an organized movement like from the army, it shouldn’t be so far off the mark.
Chosen Ones may have a different possibility, but there’s no loss in knowing it.
“What will Hibineko-san do?”
“We will work on converting materials into cards. I wish the opportunity to use them never arises though.”
“If you say materials, they’re boulders and oil to drop from the top of the rampart, right?”
At the time of the attack to drop something from the top of the wall, if they were defeated in the war at the plain, and had to retreat to the castle due to an unfavorable situation.
Therefore, when there was an opportunity to use it, they would be in trouble. However, because any measures had been taken care of, the preparations seemed solid.
Also, because of they were already considerably stocked up, it didn’t take much time.
“Has it been attacked to the point of using it so far?”
“One time in the past, I heard it was a battle to the very limit. The story goes that they could not cope with the numerous groups.”
“Is is a pattern like that this time too?”
“Looks like it. Well, we won’t be cornered this time probably.”
The others were also in agreement with Hibineko who smiled wryly.
Shin, Hibineko and the others were former players. In addition to Schnee, there was Gruefago, a divine beast. They wouldn’t lose.
“By the way, should we decide the next meeting time?”
“No, there will be no problem to act respectively. When there is a special summon from the guild, the guild card will emit a magic power. At that time, you should go to the guild.”
What Hibineko was saying was that it was the call function which informed of the state of emergency.
“When there is an urgent business, I’ll use the message card. You have some of them left, right?”
Shadow and the others were players after all, they seemed to notice the usefulness of the message card as well as Shin.
“What will Tiera do?”
“I would like to do something if possible. I wonder if I should tend to my weapon afterward.”
“May I ask you to pick an inn?”
“I don’t mind since I’m the most free here.”
When they confirmed what to do, their own course of action started.
Shin asked Hibineko the location of the Golden Company, and he went there without getting sidetracked.
When he went along the road as instructed, a really shiny signboard caught his attention.
“What a conspicuous sign.”
On the signboard, which was painted entirely black and had a golden border, the words ‘Golden Company’ were also written in gold.
Because the letters were shining excessively, it stood out the most; it was rather dazzling.
Yuzuha, who was on top of Shin’s head, was also overwhelmed by this, closing its eyes trying not to look at the signboard.
“(My eyes are starting to sting~)”
“(When I stare at it for a while, my eyes also start to itch――hm?)”
Next to the shop, he saw that a box with goods was loaded onto a wagon in a hurry.
They were probably informed by the Adventurer’s Guild, and they were getting ready to transport the supplies.
What interested Shin was the person who was issuing the instructions next to the wagon.
The merchant, who had put on a robe with golden embroidery attached, looked familiar to Shin.
“――these to the port; after it arrives at the other side, do as you were instructed. I’m counting on you.”
When Shin approached him, he seemed to just finish issuing instructions and turning toward Shin conveniently.
The information that was shown by 【Analyze】 was already displayed in Shin’s view.
Name: Berett Kilmar Level: 255
With a chubby look and a charming smile, if he were not a merchant, he would have had the impression that he was a gourmet reporter. It was impossible to tell by his appearance, but Shin knew his race was High Elf.
Though his main job was merchant, he was actually a character a little off from the usual practice, as his sub job was dark knight.
“Excuse me, I’d like to ask a little but..”
“Yes, what!!? … Well well, long time no see.”
When he tried to answer Shin’s greeting, Berett paused for a moment. However, he was the Golden Company’s assistant manager. His expression immediately changed into a smile and bowed to Shin.
“The day when we are able to meet again, I was looking forward to it. Now now, we can’t talk at ease in this place. This way, please, and take your companion with you too.”
“Ah, yes, understood.”
Shin avoided using overly familiar words partly because it was their first meeting in this world, but Berett guided Shin to the reception room personally without breaking his humble attitude.
There were no flashy things like the signboard appearance inside the room; the layout was harmonious.
When the two people entered the room, the door was knocked on almost immediately.
“Excuse me. I have brought a drink.”
Hearing Berett’s voice, a lady wearing employee’s clothes entered the room.
According to 【Analyze】, her name was Pyuri. Judging from her pointy ears, she was probably an elf or a High Elf.
After Pyuri put out tea and cake, which were loaded into the wagon, she left the room quietly.
“From the viewpoint of everyone in Rokuten, this would be cheap tea.”
“No, there’s no need for such a thing.”
Saying so, Shin tilted the cup. When he took a sip of that reddish liquid, faint sweetness and bitterness spread inside his mouth.
“This is spectacular.”
“I use the best tea leaves in the area. Above all, I’m glad that you like it. Leaving that aside, Shin-sama, it’s unnecessary to be so formal. Honorifics don’t apply to other people.”
“…Well, that’s more comfortable, but..”
“Then, I ask you to be like that. If honorifics are spoken by the people of Rokuten, myself included, everyone would be ashamed.
Berett seemed to be thorough on the position where one stands, such as master and servant. Would it be different between Shin and Reed?
“So, how may I help you today?”
“Ah, I wanted you to tell me the current state of Rokuten’s support characters besides mine. I have heard the things about the ‘Shigure Shop’, Vizzy, and Raster from Schnee.”
“All right, but we don’t know anything except the one just came in. Oxygen and Hydro should be in ‘Garden’, but it’s currently being treated as a danger zone. We couldn’t come close to the ‘Garden’ to confirm it, so we don’t have enough evidence to verify the information. ‘Studio’, ‘Ship’, and ‘Base’s’ whereabouts are unknown. Though I can confirm the existence of ‘Shrine and ‘Castle’ under the current state, only ‘Castle’ can be secured.”
The guild houses were as big as there was. If it wasn’t found, it was probably buried underground or had sunk to the bottom of the sea.
“I see. I will keep searching for the ‘Studio’. As for the ‘Garden’, what makes it dangerous?”
“It’s because a harmful gas is generated around the ‘Garden’. All are above VII abnormal state. The center is expected to become the maximum X. If I considered the fighting power and the resistance force, Schnee may be able to break through, but she still cannot stay long. For sure, if it’s the resistance force of High Human class like Shin-sama, it would be different…”
The gases were generated by the surroundings, and seemed to have a quite powerful effect.
If Berett’s story was true, it was indeed not possible to break through unless it was Shin.
“Since there are also food production facilities inside, they, at the very least, won’t starve to death…I’m sorry for not being able to help much.”
“Well, I’m satisfied, it’s enough just to have heard about ‘Garden’.”
‘Garden’ was originally for the guild war use, traps were prepared around it.
Perhaps, it had malfunctioned. Because the inside is air-tight, they wouldn’t be hurt by the gas.
The detailed location of ‘Garden’ was given and he kept note.
“Being able to listen to a lot of stuff saved us a lot of trouble. If something happens, please send me a message card.”
“Understood. I will prepare it for you.”
“I’ll rely on you. That reminds me, do you come here often? I didn’t expect to encounter you so abruptly.”
“I just had to come here for some business. At that time, I was informed by the merchant guild that the ‘Flood’ happened, so I was issuing instructions in order to cope.”
Because precious fish could be caught at this time, he always came over personally. If he kept scuffling through the documents in the head office, his intuition as a merchant would dull or something like that.
“It is an opportunity, but it is also because it’s something I was asked to do by Schnee.”
“Something she asked?”
“Yes, this should be reported to Shin-sama, too.”
When he said so, Berett rung the bell which was place on the edge of the table. Then, the door was knocked on in less than one minute.
“Excuse me for being rude. What can I do for you?”
The one entered was Pyuri who brought the tea.
“Bring me ‘that’.”
Replying promptly to Berett’s words, Pyuri left the room.
He didn’t say anything about what he wanted her to bring specifically, but as long as there was no miscommunication between the two, there was no need to be worried.
A few minutes later, the door was knocked on again and Pyuri enter the room. She held a small envelope in her hand.
“Thank you. You may leave.”
When he made Pyuri leave, Berett opened the envelope and took out the contents inside, and he presented it to Shin.
“This is a list of players who came to this world.”
Shin’s expression changed when he heard “players”.
He read the list he received from Berett slowly from top to the bottom.
“…Is that all?”
Shin finished reading the list, but asked Berett with a face that was perplexed.
“That’s a reasonable question. If I have to say honestly, we’re at a loss, too. The deceased in the event which players called the death game ended with 100 or 200 people. If that’s the case, the players that have come here are just a really small fraction of it. Of course, not everyone was mentioned in the list.”
Shin recognized every player on the list that he held. Though he was surprised that only former players were there, what was the list aiming for?
(Have those guys, who were involved with me in the game era, come here?)
Though Berett said it wasn’t everything, as expected, Shin, too, couldn’t hide his agitation.
“Also, please check this.”
To Shin, who had a serious look on his face, Berett held out another paper. Though there were fewer names written down than that of the first list, a horizontal line was drawn for several names.
“It should be clear by now; this list is for what Shin-sama and players call PK.”
“PK you say!?”
Shin looked through the list while being surprised. There was Hameln at the top of the list, and several names Shin knew were on the list.
“(Shin, what is a Pi Kay?)”
“(…Guys who murdered others and enjoyed it.)”
Shin replied to Yuzuha’s question briefly. The words were a little hard for Yuzuha to say, and its vocal tone seemed to change even in the Mind Chat.
Did it understand the atmosphere? Yuzuha barked a small “Kuu…” and become quiet.
“Have you checked this individually?”
“Yes. In fact, when the first player was found, it was Schnee who insisted that I should look for PKs first.”
Though Schnee said that there were no opportunities, no matter how much Shin looked at it, she was not incompetent enough to not convey such an important story as players or PKs forever. If she said that she didn’t have an opportunity or something, she should have had plenty of them.
As expected, there may have been something.
“From your appearance, I guess Schnee hasn’t told Shin-sama about this, right?”
“Yes, I only knew about the dead players living by chance.”
Then, Berett erased his smile.
“…If I say as a fellow follower of Rokuten, not conveying such important information intentionally is clear evidence of disloyalty to her own master, as such a thing shouldn’t happen. Even though she is Shin-sama’s follower, it doesn’t mean she is clear from being punished.”
Berett said in a solemn tone.
Shin was troubled. He had a conjecture that Schnee was hiding something, but he didn’t know how other followers of Rokuten felt.
“What is Shin-sama thinking?”
“…Schnee wouldn’t do such a thing without any reason is what I’m thinking.”
Anyway, it would not be strange when that information came to light.
The guild usually included portraits of wanted criminals such as Hameln. Even without Schnee telling him, Shin before long would find out.
When Shin spoke about what he thought, Berett‘s expression changed completely from the moments ago when he said Schnee should be punished, and it became more gentle.
“Certainly, judging from Schnee’s nature, I also think she would not conceal information to harm Shin-sama.”
It seemed that there was no objection.
“…Hey Berett, do you know anything?”
Shin, who felt something was wrong in Berett’s manner, asked directly. Berett, who was questioned, nodded without change in his expression.
“Yes, I think I know.”
“Do I punish her after knowing the circumstances?”
“As a Rokuten’s follower, I think that’s proper.”
“Then, how about you as an individual?”
“I also understand her.”
It seemed it depended on the place where Berett stood. At least, it didn’t seem to be the reason why he couldn’t sympathize at all.
“If I was in the same situation as Schnee, I cannot assert that I would not do the same thing.”
“She is unqualified as a follower, is what you’re saying as a friend, huh?”
“Rather than being unqualified, I think it’s because she is a follower under your direct control. Shin-sama, the list in your hand, don’t you remember those people, especially the ones with names crossed?”
Shin, again, looked at the names which were crossed.
Even compared to the other names, Shin remembered them.
“Shin-sama, do you remember once being called ‘The God of Death’?”
“It was way back when I was last called like that…Yes, I see. These guys are…”
Shin recalled those days, and noticed.
“The people whom I killed?”
Though it was a vague memory, they were all PKs or otherwise members of PK guilds who fought again Shin.
“Forgive me if I say something rude, but Shin-sama’s appearance at that time was completely different from your usual self.
If Berett had an ego like he did currently, he would have wanted to run away quickly even as a support character, Shin at that time seemed to be enveloped in a dangerous atmosphere.
“Schnee knows what causes Shin-sama’s appearance to become so. Besides, even now she still regrets it that she was not able to do anything, despite being the closest to you.”
It couldn’t be helped.
No one would argue against that, but it’s probably not at all acceptable from her point of view.
“To Schnee, the days when Shin-sama met with these people, she was afraid that you’d return to be like another person. Thus, she was likely trying to handle it herself without telling Shin-sama.”
Berett said, tasting the drink and putting it down in one beat.
“…Seeing for myself, Schnee’s feelings to Shin-sama were something that couldn’t be concluded with the single word of loyalty. As she knows of the state you had changed into, she couldn’t ignore the people who had caused such changes and tell it to Shin-sama.”
“That’s me at that time, huh? …Well, looking at it objectively, isn’t it a dangerous story?”
As for Schnee trying not to get Shin involved, it was understandable when hearing the reason.
Shin, at that time, believed that defeating PKs was more important than clearing the game ―― No, he moved for the purpose of killing.
He had not a fragment of morals, taboo, or such ideas; he had no hesitation, killing without pardon.
“There were players with Shin-sama who acted together at that time too.”
Yes, PKK(Player Killer Killer) ―― Shin alone was the player who killed PKs, but he didn’t do everything alone. Shadow, whom he met again at Balmel, was also one of the players who cooperated with Shin.
There was always a person who sought revenge but lacked the power, or a person who lacked information, even with sufficient power. The person who held grudges against PKs became frantic and cooperated in PK killings.
There was no system for the law to judge, or the police to catch the criminals in the game. Therefore, some victims went for severe retaliatory actions.
When there was such a reason, one wouldn’t think speaking about players and PKs proactively.
Shin wasn’t able to bring himself to punish Schnee at least.
“Even if Schnee normally should have disclosed it to you directly, I told you because a fact is a fact.”
“You, taking this opportunity or something, actually intended to say this from the beginning, weren’t you?”
“Oh?! What do you mean?”
Berett feigned ignorance with a friendly grin on his face. However, the smile that Shin should have recognized was slightly suspicious now.
“What if I listened to that sort of crazy talk? I understand that Schnee didn’t think this through.”
“Shin-sama was well-known for taking good care of your followers. Above all, Schnee is the longest-serving member.”
“Ku, that smile on your face irritates me.”
It was a smile that should have formed a sense of closeness, as it was expressed on Berett as always, but it made Shin somewhat irritated to the appearance that seemed to want to say “I understand”.
“To that extent, it’ll be the evidence that Shin-sama is loved.”
“Keep saying that!”
Shin replied Berett’s words curtly.
“By the way, is Shin-sama participating in this ‘Flood’?”
“Hm? Yes, I intend to intervene but..”
Berett, who was able to change the topic abruptly, had a contemplative look.
“Then, could you leave a part to the army without hunting everything?”
Berett kept silent for a while, and mentioned that kind of thing.
Because he knew Shin’s true nature, he understood that Shin’s remark of intervening meant annihilation.
“What is your reason?”
“It’ll become military training because only few ‘Floods’ were used to raise the levels of the soldiers.”
Though Shin thought Balmel would be in danger if one wrong move was made, there were upper class Chosen Ones keeping watch so that wouldn’t happen.
“It would be hard leveling, you know?”
“In the Melt Mountains, which is the domain of a divine beast, not a group of monsters could trespass, such as the ‘Flood’. Balmel is one of the most important borders with the Sacred Place to many countries. So, geographically, Balmel becomes an important defensive position between the Sacred Place and to each country. However, in recent years, the scale of the ‘Flood’, which can be used for training, hasn’t occurred, and it means that the skill level of soldiers showed a slight drop. The star of the battles are the Chosen Ones, but it’s the common soldiers that occupy most of the battlefield. There’s no loss to raise the strength of the whole battle force, no matter how little. It’s rare, so let’s put it to good use. Schnee will come too, right?”
“Yes, she should have gone to meet the feudal lord now.”
“Then please contact Schnee too. I’ll take care of the small necessary arrangements.”
“Do you make the arrangements with the guild and the army?”
“Yes, since I am the assistant manager of Golden Company. In addition, the feared ‘worst case scenario’ won’t happen now since Shin-sama is here.
He seemed to have connections with the top brass of the army and the guild. Shin also knew that Golden Company was of a large-scale, so he was not surprised that that was the case.
“Would it be okay for you to make such a decision on your own for a company?”
“The merchant sometimes has stronger power than a king. Because Golden Company has a different status from trading companies, which can be found here and there, my own decision too, is not treated as the decision of a common merchant. I also have experience participating in a defensive war; that will play a part in this decision. When there were too many peaceful days, it slacks off in various ways. That may become fatal to Balmel. Fortunately, I get along well with the person commanding the army, and added to the fact that Schnee will join there, the preparation won’t be so necessary too――If this city falls though, there is also the trouble regarding the circulation of goods..”
“Oi, your true intentions just leaked out a little..”
If one thought of stories with persuasive power, this was one of them.
To Berett, who leaked lines that were significant to merchants, it made Shin lose strength.
“It’s because a vast quantity of material will arrive after the ‘Flood’. It’s an opportunity to replenish stock cheaply.”
“To discover this as soon as the safety of Balmel is ensured, huh?…”
Where did the elf who lived in the forest go to? Berett was a money loving character; at the same time, Shin recalled that now.
“Hearing profit talk anywhere, that’s called a merchant. I had a novel idea in various ways with players this way. In the last decade of doing that in the shadows, sales are skyrocketing.”
“Heh, what kind is it, for instance?”
“It’s the featured product ‘Toilet Set’ of course. I had a hard time reproducing the inner shape and the flow of the water. Though the function necessary to make it a ‘wasslet’ cannot be reproduced yet, I’ll make it come true someday.”
“The name is slightly different though. Or rather, was it you who made that?”
Shin was often surprised when he came to this world, but he was most surprised by the toilet in the sense of unlikelihood. He thought that was a thing that was very close to the real world, but it appeared to have been made in the image of the real thing.
“That reminds me, it was also in Tsuki no Hokora. I have completely forgotten because it was something I used ordinarily.”
There was a toilet in his home. It was a natural thing to have in the real world.
And, even if this world looked like a game, it was real.
Therefore, in the situation where Shin did his business normally in Tsuki no Hokora, he hardly remembered any sense of discomfort.
“I mean when was that toilet placed in there? Though it is there now, Tsuki no Hokora never had such a thing.”
“I got permission from Schnee because it can be said it is a necessity when it comes to living in real life.”
“Indeed. It was also in the inn where I stayed; is it fairly widespread now?”
“Though we haven’t yet reached one in every household, it’s not strange to find one in some big inn or so. The first regular customers were the royal family and the nobles. They have to show off in a variety of trivial places after all. Because our toilet also has the practicality, we have received a considerable sum from the optional charges.”
They also seemed to sell custom-made toilets. It was clever salesmanship.
“Now that I’m aware of that, I cannot return to the same life in the past anymore.”
“Uwaa, your smile is evil, Berett.”
When only the words were heard, he seemed to be in the ‘sell some dangerous medicine’ mood. Was the situation before the ‘Toilet Set’ installation severe to that extent?
“Will the other followers become so dark too?”
To Berett’s appearance, Shin became worried a little.
“Then, I’ll be counting on you.”
“Leave it to me. I’m looking forward to our next business.”
Turning his back on Berett, who neatly bowed, Shin went to the guild.
Schnee had been contacted and was asked to cooperate with Berett. The rest also asked for a little request.
When he arrived at the guild with the help of the map, a lot of adventurers had already gathered.
There were various people who were recruiting for impromptu parties, people who were not absorbed in information gathering, and people who withdrew money that had been deposited in the guild to maintain their weapons.
Shin, who placed the young fox on his head, appeared to attract the attention of the surrounding adventurers for a moment, but they returned to work as if having lost interest before long. Looking at the circumstances, Shin expected that the information that the ‘Flood’ was happening had been announced.
“Excuse me, I’d like to ask a few questions.”
“Yes, how may I help you?”
At the timing he aimed for when there were few people around, Shin headed toward the receptionist.
The one at the receptionist desk was Eliza, who had called the guild master last time.
At the other side of the rectangular lens, light blue eyes stared at Shin. She was a professional at her job, as she didn’t direct her gaze at Yuzuha either.
“Are there any records of the past ‘Flood’s?”
“Yes, since it is my first experience, I want to gather more information. Also, may I hear what kind of role of the adventurers have in the ‘Flood’?”
There seemed to be very few people examining the past records of the ‘Flood’; he was permitted immediately on the condition that he had to examine them inside the library.
Shin stood next to Eliza who guided him through the guild. Yuzuha was Shin’s contract beast, so it was fine for it to accompany him.
“You were talking about the role of adventurers a short while ago, right?”
“Yes. Personally, I was thinking that they were placed like a reserve force of the army or for search and destroy missions.”
Shin talked about his expectations to Eliza, who seemed to be going to explain along the way.
“You are not wrong with that; it’s reckless to tell adventurers to take organized actions like the army. Though it’s possible if several parties gathered and work together, it couldn’t be compared with the army. Therefore, their main job is to crush enemies who runs out of the protruding groups.”
“Well, that’s appropriate.”
A standard adventurer’s party consisted of six people. However, it didn’t mean there was an upper limit to the amount of members.
An irregular party such as a duo or a group of three was not unusual, there were many of those who increased their members only when on a large-scale like this time. There would be a significant different combination of skill levels, and they couldn’t be incorporated into the army.
The contents of which Eliza spoke, it was natural to say it was appropriate.
“But upper class Chosen Ones like Shin-sama and the others are different.”
Eliza said, as they arrived at the reference library, even though the door was closed.
No one was in the reference library. Because it was only limited to humans among the adventurers who knew about the Chosen Ones, it was probably taken into consideration.
“A little while ago, the report from Feudal Lord-sama has arrived. The person who accompanied you is from the royal family of Bayreuth Kingdom, right?”
“Indeed. As for why we came to such a place, please don’t ask me. The one who saw the ‘Flood’ and told me to hurry up was her.”
“We do not intend to inquire any further. But let’s get back to the story, the Chosen Ones are the vanguards that cut through the ‘Flood’. Although to be exact, it is the magic skills of the Chosen Ones.”
It was probably the Chosen Ones who could use wide area magic that he heard about from Rionne’s talk.
“As for the group distribution, the first group will consist of four people: Shin-sama, Hibineko-sama, Holly-sama, and Shadow-sama. The second group will be Schnee-sama, Rionne-sama, Guile-sama, and Liege-sama. The number of enemies will be reduced by the magic of Schnee-sama and Guile-sama, and at the same time the battle starts, the army will annihilate the remaining enemies. But it’s said that the number of enemies is quite large, so the first group will charge at the enemy, who are outside the range of the magic, and will have to hold this place down. After the use of the magic, Schnee-sama thins it out by killing the big boss, and Rionne-sama together with Liege-sama become the guards for Guile-sama. After the first group also has reduced the number moderately, they will retreat and have the army take the front over.”
Eliza explained the strategy plainly. It seemed a detailed plan had already been made.
Guile and Liege were probably the names of the other Chosen Ones.
“There is a fairly large battle force this time, but how has it always been done?”
“It depends on the Chosen Ones who come at that time. When there is a person who can use wide area magic, it becomes a pattern similar to this time. But, there is almost no difference because it is included in an agreement that one person is always there.”
“Is that so?”
Because reducing the number was required, a magic skill user would be useful.
In case of the Chosen One’s magic skill, the wider the range of a spell, the lower the power becomes, but it could be covered with the height of the stats. It should be enough if the opponents are low-level monsters.
“By the way Eliza-san, will it be okay for you to leave the reception desk?”
“No problem. The staff and the residents should know what to do. Besides the inexperienced person being in a hurry, we have surprisingly little work.”
As expected, the city continued standing off against the ‘Flood’.
Then, once the talk was over, Shin reached out his hand to a document.
While reading the documents of the past ‘Flood’, he asked Eliza about the strategy taken and the movement of the enemy at that time, and thought over whether there was any regularity.
“Occasionally, strong individuals seem to appear, right?”
Shin, who looked at the document, suddenly spoke out what was on his mind.
Low-level monsters spawned in large amounts during the ‘Flood’, but it seemed that individuals who reached level 300 were confirmed several times.
He understood that the appearance rate was higher in the ‘Flood’ of a larger scale.
Because the number was two or three at most, ordinary level soldiers were able to deal with it if their concentration level was raised on a long-distance attack.
“The monsters of the ‘Flood’ are too crowded, there seems to be the possibility of them killing each other by mistake. As a result, some of them have leveled up and evolved.”
There were also relationships of friend and foe, as well as allies between monsters, in THE NEW GATE.
Depending on the situation, the case of a player getting caught up in the battle between monsters had happened. Though it didn’t happen frequently, because many items and experience point were obtained with less damage if one acted skillfully, many players utilized it.
“If that’s the case, it may happen this time, can it not?”
“The possibility is high. Speaking of this time, I think it’s unnecessary to worry.”
Was this because the news of Schnee had circulated? There was no uneasiness on Eliza’s face.
“Now then, shall we return soon?”
“You have enough already?”
“I have read most of the noticeable ones, and I have plans for the evening.”
When Shin and Eliza returned to the hall of the guild, the amount of people had decreased considerably. Was it because the time was approaching evening? They were probably having a meal.
He thanked Eliza and exited the guild. He intended to help with the preparations if he had time, but reading the documents had unexpectedly taken time.
“…This message is, Tiera huh?”
Because a message had arrived, he looked around and opened it while walking slowly on the edge of the street.
The contents were about tonight’s inn. With the name of the inn, such things as whereabout, which area were written. Though it was simple, a map was also drawn, if Shin used that map, he wouldn’t get lost.
“That’s right. Shall we go to the inn and have a meal?”
After he replied like he was speaking to himself, Shin then headed to the inn.
After about 20 minutes of walking, a signboard, upon which a red tailed fox was drawn, was seen.
The name of the inn was “Red Tail”. By the way, it was also the name of an existing monster, and Yuzuha’s follower.
When he opened the door of the shop, a bell rang “clang clang”.
“Welcome! Will it be one person?”
“I think my companions will also come.”
One lady came out from the counter hearing the bell sound.
With ears above her head, and from the tail seen behind the long skirt, she was a beast without a doubt. They were vivid red as the name of the shop suggested. Though it was simple, she was probably a Type Fox beast.
“May I ask for your name?”
“I’m Shin. This is my partner, Yuzuha.”
The lady with the appearance of a beautiful woman at blooming age, seemed to remember something when hearing the word companions from Shin. She nodded as having convinced that Shin’s name was heard, and opened the register inside the counter.
“The name of your companion, please.”
“Thank you. Your companion is already rested in her room. This is customer-sama’s room key. The location of the room is go up the stair and go right side of room 205. Your companion is in room 206 right next to that. Breakfast is until 9 bell sounds in the morning, as for dinner, I’ll serve until it’s 9 o’clock on that clock there.”
Shin looked at the direction where the lady pointed out. A clock with a diameter of about 50 cemels was installed there, and was ticking away quietly.
“There are clocks, huh?”
Clocks weren’t widely used in this world. The church bell was in the area where nobles live. People acted using that as a guideline. The ones who worried about time, were merchants and government officials who had the motto “time is money”.
“Does it ring at fixed times?”
“Customer-sama is pretty knowledgeable. That clock produces a ringing sound once every hour.”
It didn’t seem to be the style where it rang one time at 1 o’clock, and two times at 2 o’clock.
The needle on the clock already pointed at nearly 6 o’clock.
“For the time being, I think I’m going to eat after I go to my room.”
As Shin was seen off by the lady, he went up to the second floor.
The room 205 was a single person room. The area was about 7 tatami mats and there were a desk and a chair by the window, there was also a bathroom at the entrance sideway. A white clean sheet was laid out on the bed, and looked comfortable too.
“Tiera, you there?”
Shin who checked the room briefly went out to the corridor at once, and knocked the door of the next room where Tiera was at.
After a short while, a voice was heard from the other side of the door.
“Yeah, have you had dinner?”
“No, not yet.”
“Then, shall we eat together? Yuzuha also looks hungry.”
“That’s terrible, isn’t it? Wait a minute, I’ll go out soon.”
To Yuzuha who raised a cry for feeling hungry, the voice of a bitter smile returned from Tiera.
They waited for a couple dozen seconds. Tiera joined Shin to order dinner in the dining room on the first floor.
Was the stew a standard? An exquisite dish with proper ingredients was served.
Also for some reason, Yuzuha’s was a thick steak which had been grilled carefully. Though Kagerou’s was a steak too, Shin saw that the two steaks were not the same.
Shin had learned the basic 【Cooking】 from Cook. The 【Cooking】 skill rose until VI. In this world, it was a level that couldn’t be reached easily.
Therefore, he understood the value of the steak put before Yuzuha. The food grade of the steak was obviously above the ones before Shin and Kagerou, Yuzuha repeatedly revealed its joy through telepathy since a while ago.
“Um, this is?”
“Somehow, we feel like we must serve to customer’s contract beast our finest cuisine of our shop. Naturally, the price stays as it is.”
The lady also had a look that said ‘I don’t know why I feel such a way’ on her face.
(This is because Yuzuha is an Element Tail, right?)
Element Tail was not only a fox type monster, it should be worshiped by the people of Type Fox beasts as well, Shin remembered. For them, it was possible to say it was an existence on same level as a God. Even if the true identity of Yuzuha was not understood, it may have had an effect on her somewhere.
Since there was no reason to refuse, they decided to receive it gratefully.
Did Kagerou also realize that Yuzuha had a higher rank too? He seemed to have no complaints.
“I wonder what it was.”
“Free of charge she said, isn’t it good? This stew is delicious!”
“I have no complaints since I prefer this rather than meat.”
While watching the meat juices of the steak Yuzuha had dripping, Tiera also slowly put the stew into her mouth.
“Yeah, it’s delicious!”
After they finished eating, Shin left Yuzuha to Tiera and left the inn for a moment.
He crossed over the rampart while hiding himself with a skill, and entered the woods where the trees were dense. When he neared the center, he cut down trees with wind magic, and created an open space.
A pendant shone, and Tsuki no Hokora appeared.
This luminous phenomenon had already been concealed with magic too.
He then entered the shop and went straight to the forge.
“Well, shall I do this?”
Fire was ignited in the furnace, and he materialized the equipment he took from Shadow and the others.
By looking at the weapons which he lined up, he contemplated for a short while in what way to strengthen them. While making a list of the materials in his brain, first, he picked up Shadow’s dagger from the weapons. The hilt was removed and he poured magic into the blade.
“The durability value has somewhat dropped, but it is well matched to its owner’s magic. It’s as I expected.”
When he confirmed the state of the dagger, Shin took out an orichalcum and a scarletite ingot each from Item Box, and threw them into the furnace.
It didn’t take much time, a metal was produced from the mix of silver and red. The metal formed was called chimeradite. Because it was a synthesis of two kinds, its performance became a low-class among chimeradite. However, the quality of the metal was higher than orichalcum and scarletite alone.
“Let’s do this.”
While Shin poured magic into the chimeradite, he thrusted the dagger’s blade into the ingot. The chimeradite like clay swallowed the blade, and when the blade was completely buried inside the ingot, Shin placed that on the anvil.
He focused his mind, and hammered the ingot with a mallet to distribute the magic power. Each time the ingot changed shape, it became smaller as it was compressed. If there were other blacksmiths in this place, the view would make their eyes widen in amazement.
After a few minutes, the black bladed knife with silver and red mixed in was completed on the anvil. The hilt and the clasp which were taken apart were reattached again. Though the length and the weight of the dagger hadn’t changed, the high-density red aura which enveloped the whole dagger proved that it was not a normal item.
Its inscription was “Night Kill’s Dagger” when appraised. As for its grade, the weapon ranked up to 《Mythology》 grade. Its performance also increased by 80%. In the event when supported by 【Enchant】, its performance would be far above the equipment available.
“Well, I guess this is alright.”
He nodded once at the result of the dagger, and then Shin picked up the next weapon.
“This is the last one!”
Finally with a yell, Shin lowered the mallet. As for Hibineko and Holly’s weapons, 『Misty Hound』 and 『Short Stick of the Dawn』, they had been ranked up respectively. The dragon’s armor was also reinforced.
About an hour and a half had passed since he began his work. Shin, who felt thirsty, converted the last equipment into a card, put those back into his Item Box and went to the kitchen.
Thereupon, for the first time, he noticed that Schnee was in the living room. He was so focused on blacksmithing, he hadn’t noticed her coming in.
When Shin arrived in the living room, Schnee offered the drink which she prepared for Shin. Shin thanked her and accepted it, drinking it in one go.
“Phew, I feel revived.”
“Good work for today.”
“When did you come?”
“I arrived about 20 minutes ago. Because I can’t help you with smithing, I was waiting here.”
Schnee didn’t train the blacksmithing skill as Shin did. Even in the game era, her skill level was almost at IV.
“How about the feudal lord?”
“Regarding my participating in the war, Berett’s plan was adopted. We will reduce the number of monsters, and leave the rest for the training of the army.”
“It is just as I heard it.”
As he expected, Schnee participation in the war seemed effective.
When Shin intended to return to the inn because he finished his business, Schnee called out to him with a hesitant voice.
“Did you hear about ‘that’…from Berett?”
“The story of PKs and players where you were silent?”
To Shin’s words, Schnee answered in a small voice.
Schnee herself probably felt a great sense of guilt for not telling him. His acquaintances who died in the game, if the person close to us is alive, normally we would like to know about that information.
That was concealed intentionally until it came to light by chance. Berett was right, Schnee’s behaviour couldn’t be praised if seen as a support character.
“I heard the circumstances. About your matter, I guess you would mention it after everything had ended, right?”
Shin said in a light tone, so it didn’t become too serious an atmosphere.
After Schnee finished subjugating the PKs, she was supposed to talk about everything to Shin, and wait for the verdict. At the very least, the Schnee whom Shin knew of, was such a character.
For a support character, to the player that should be called the creator, the thoughts to disobey shouldn’t exist. That also included Schnee. Even though the binding in the game era had disappeared by the fact that it became reality, her defying him was unthinkable.
“Berett said that what you did, was for me. I think I have caused you worry.”
Schnee’s face turned down.
It was not normal. However, Schnee moved on her own. She carried it out against Shin’s intention.
Schnee said it’s different. But Shin couldn’t think of a good reason other than that.
“It is true, that I don’t want Shin to change, by concerning yourself with PKs. But it…it is more of a personal reason for me.”
Though it was an action with Shin as the primary concern, it was also for her own sake at the same time.
Her voice gradually began to tremble. The words and thoughts which she had kept held in, were asking for the way out.
“I hated it! To see that kind of Shin, and being looked at with the same eyes that saw me as a tool! I was able to endure it when my ego was weak at that time. But, the me now, undoubtedly can’t stand it!”
In a calm and yet strong tone, Schnee vented her feelings.
If the companion was not Shin but someone else, she wouldn’t have done this. Otherwise, if only pure loyalty to serve Shin existed inside her heart, she certainly wouldn’t have suffered like this.
But that would not happen in reality. Once again, just the thought ‘He may become like that’, had Schnee unbearably frightened.
“I cannot replace Marino-san. If, if Shin becomes like at that time once more, I cannot stop you, Shin!”
The source of why Shin had changed, and also the reason why he had to return, everything was caused by his girlfriend. In her place, there was no room for anyone else.
Now that Marino wasn’t here, he would be beyond cure if he changed. If that was the case, Schnee had no choice but to remove the cause. Even if she understood it was hasty thinking, doing nothing and so on, Schnee was unable to do it.
“I am a cowardly woman. Even though I did something like this, I am somewhat glad that Marino isn’t here.”
Schnee stepped back as she said this.
His girlfriend ―― If Marino, who was Shin’s only lover, was there, it may be all right for Shin to change. Marino was an important person to that extent for Shin. If put into a ranking, she would finish first by a large margin.
Thus Schnee believed, if the first, Marino, was not there, she herself may be able to be the number one.
She suppressed it in front of Shin.
So far, she was able to suppress it. She stopped the thoughts in her mind, and pretended not to see it.
However, once she put it into words, she couldn’t control her feelings anymore. It couldn’t stop overflowing.
Because former players had come to this world, Marino may also have come, too.
If it was Marino, she could probably stop Shin.
However, to look for only one person in this world, how difficult was it? Schnee also understood that much. Even if Marino came here, they wouldn’t meet each other conveniently quickly. In fact, even with Berett and the others from Golden Company’s power, the searchable range and so on were limited.
But it couldn’t be asserted that there was nothing as it was.
This was because he was reunited with many comrades such as former players, Shibaid, Girard, and Schnee, who were completely drawn to Shin. It was possible that even the irregulars where he appeared near Tsuki no Hokora, or the appearance of Demons, and the reencounter with the former players were orchestrated.
It wouldn’t be too long before he met Marino. There was something that made her think so.
Seeing Schnee shed tears, Shin was troubled at what to do.
He never thought Schnee would lose her composure like this.
He came to this world and often saw new things, still Shin’s image of Schnee was always calm, graceful, and a little airheaded; she was such a woman.
Even if they had spent time together, his impression didn’t change greatly.
However, that was merely Shin’s presumption. As for Schnee, the impression of this guy from the game was repeating many times over in her heart. When the foundation was the same, he wasn’t able to perceive her heart.
Shin didn’t think there was anything wrong with what Schnee had said.
What Schnee said about Shin had changed at that time, he had no way of arguing even if he said he was not sane.
Shin himself knew well how he was in a dangerous state at that time now. It was natural for Schnee to be uneasy.
That she didn’t want him to reunite with Marino, also could be understood vaguely.
If you came to like someone, of course you would like to be that person’s number one, it was a natural feeling. And, like Schnee, being in dilemma because of her consciences, it was to be expected if she had a heart.
While noticing that Schnee had a liking toward him, it was natural to accept it as ‘what goes around, comes around’.
“Please do not apologize, Shin. I am, the bad one.”
He hated himself for only such a word to come out.
Shin was sorry, when he should have talked properly earlier.
When he met Hibineko and the others again, and heard about the players that had come to this world, Shin also thought about Marino’s being.
However, Shin didn’t think that Marino would be in this world. Hibineko and the others had their HP become 0 in the game, and died. And, though the reason was unclear, they were transferred to this world with state as is after they died.
As for Marino, her HP certainly became 0 too. However, there was no direct cause of death. Marino’s avatar, didn’t disappear.
“Schnee…Don’t blame yourself too much”
“!!? Eh, um, !….”
Schnee, who was quietly shedding tears, had no time to react, Shin embraced Schnee tightly.
To Shin’s abrupt action, Schnee’s body stiffened without a sound.
The ugly part of herself had been revealed. For Schnee, who was filled with anxiety, Shin’s action was too unexpected.
Even though she was in such a situation, she was ashamed as she was delighted for being embraced tightly, the cheek of the flustered Schnee turned rosy.
“Schnee, I don’t think your behaviour was wrong. Even me, if I knew that you would become like the me of that time, I’m likely to think of doing something and act.”
“But I, to Marino-san…”
“That, I guess there’s no helping it.”
“Such a thing is――”
“It is. When it comes to liking someone, I’d like to be the number one of that person; everyone is the same. That, even if it’s to wish for someone else’s misfortune, surely I cannot help think. Being really in love, it is likely because of that.”
Because he was experienced, he understood it.
There was no reason. Be it Shin, or Schnee, or someone else, there would be no difference.
“To be honest, I was really happy to be able to meet you, Schnee”
To Shin’s confession, Schnee’s body trembled a little.
“Just when I thought it was over after I finally beat the boss, I was transferred here. Without any acquaintances, and on top of that, it felt like another person’s house even when I found my home. As a result, I had a strange disposition in herb collection. Therefore, when you said welcome back at that time, I was so relieved. That you still remembered me, Schnee.”
“Though Berett mentioned about you being an unworthy follower or something, I don’t have the intention of punishing you if I have nothing to blame you for.”
“I don’t hear anything. I’ve already decided, a high decision. Objection is unacceptable.”
Shin forcibly shut up Schnee who still tried to say something.
Nothing good would result in dragging out and prolonging such a thing.
“And no more secrets.”
The hug was released. Shin was inwardly relieved as there was no gloom on Schnee’s face until some time ago.
“Um, Shin. May I ask you one question?”
“What is it?”
“About Marino-san, do you…still love her?”
“…Yes, I love her. This feeling hasn’t changed even now.”
“I..see. I understand.”
Hearing Shin’s answer, Schnee has an expression like she had made up her mind.
The next moment, when Shin had a question regarding that change, Schnee jumped forward lightly without spare movement.
Schnee’s lips touched Shin’s lips for a moment.
Schnee took action as if it was the revenge for a little while ago, and Shin wasn’t able to react this time.
Even if he understood what happened, he didn’t know why it had become so.
“Because I’m not giving up.”
With a bright red face, Schnee said so.
“I-I love you, Shin. I understand that there is a reason for you to return to your former world, but still, these are my true feelings!!”
She was quite embarrassed. With the momentum like being somewhat desperate, Schnee spoke of what she felt.
At those direct words, Shin also felt his face flushing.
“…I-I will leave first.”
Shin didn’t have the time to stop her, as Schnee rushed outside in the blink of an eye.
Speaking of Shin who was left hanging, he could only freeze while stretching out his arm.
“That…that wasn’t expected…”
What kind of face should he make when they met after this? Shin racked his brain.
Soon after Schnee had left, since he couldn’t just remain there forever, Shin left and stored Tsuki no Hokora.
The night wind chilled the small traces of passion that still lingered.
“…First, should I head back?”
After climbing the rampart with 【Hiding】, he went back inside the castle without being noticed by anyone.
As he went back to the inn, he bought a light snack at a street stall and sat on an empty bench.
Information regarding the ‘Flood’ seemed to have spread well already, as he noticed people that appeared to be preparing for the war here and there. There was no sense of urgency. Was it because they had experienced the ‘Flood’ several times before?
While he was watching the pedestrian traffic, he was suddenly called out to. When Shin turned around, Holly was walking toward him with Shadow right behind her.
“Are you heading back now?”
“Yes, and I’m going shopping while I’m at it. What are you doing in a place like this, Shin-kun?”
“I finished the weapon reinforcement, and I’m a bit hungry now.”
Shin had met them at just the right time, and since he had already finished, he gave the two back the weapons he had strengthened.
Holly was pleased with the result, while Shadow stiffened in surprise.
“Reinforcement can’t result in this kind of level.”
“Don’t worry about trivial things. Shin-kun did his best, so I’ve also decided to *whack* in the battle.”
“…Right. I’ll use them gratefully.”
Shadow nodded in agreement to Holly, who was positive wherever she went.
As there was still time to spare before the war, they also had enough time to practice with their weapons.
“I’d like to ask you something, is it okay?”
“What do you want to ask?”
“It’s about your daughter.”
When he had used 【Analyze】 on Kaede, there had been a small static interference running through the race indication.
According to what he had heard from Schnee, it was likely that the interference occurred when the child was a person of mixed parentage.
“Do-Don’t tell me Shin-kun, that you would even take a beautiful child away, even though it’s our Kaede?!”
“Wait a- what is with that manga-like reaction? Shadow-san, please don’t take Holly’s joke seriously!”
While Holly’s joke could be called clichéd, Shadow emitted a dangerous aura.
Shin had intended to have a serious talk, but it had lost its tension almost immediately.
“Good grief, please keep the joking within bounds…”
“But you brought up Kaede so suddenly. I don’t think I should be saying something like this as a parent, but it’s popular phrase, is it not?”
Shadow agreed with Holly’s remark. They seemed to have acquired the title of “doting parents” after having a daughter.
“For now, let’s leave the joking aside. What I want to ask is, what…is Kaede-chan??”
When Shin said this, the two changed completely from their playful mood immediately.
“If possible, let’s talk about this at a place with no one around.”
“Well, it isn’t a story that I would like to tell people much.”
“I don’t mind. That was my intention from the beginning.”
Shin didn’t intend to keep talking there, so they moved to a better place like the two had suggested.
They went to the bar ‘Nyan Da Land,’ which was located next to the cafe ‘B&W’.
“For the three of you to gather at a time like this, did something happen?”
“I want to borrow the back room…it’s about our daughter.”
Shadow said a few words to Hibineko and borrowed a private room in the back. With that last remark, Hibineko had understood what Shadow wanted to talk about.
“What do you want to drink?”
“I’ll take whatever you recommend.”
When they entered the private room, Shadow and Holly sat across from Shin with a serious posture.
Naturally, Shin too corrected his posture.
“Getting straight to the point, Shin, how much do you know about Halfs?”
“Based on what I heard from Schnee, it’s a child that has either inherited the special characteristics of both parents, or inherited neither of them. There’s also the kind that has almost no changes from one parent.”
“There’s no mistake in what you know. Also, if anything, the first one is often called critical, and the second one is called fumble.”
“Aren’t those gambling terms?”
“Once, there was a group of people who tried to give birth to Halfs intentionally. The names they used back then seem to have remained. It isn’t just the names that are from gambling, the probability involving it should be called gambling too.”
The probability of a person with mixed parentage being born was extremely low. The ones that were called critical had even lower chances.
Almost all of the ones born were born as ordinary children that were “Halfs” in name only. It’s something that no one was able to predict the outcome of.
“It’s a fact that a critical is quite superior in terms of fighting power, you know?”
“What happens specifically?”
“Fumu, though there are a lot of individual variations, the child can use the two different race’s native skills and bonuses. There is a famous beast that can remain in【Beast Form】 while using the dragnil’s【Breath】, and a lord that can use both 【Devil Eyes】 and the elves’ 【Soul Technique】simultaneously.”
“What’s with that cheat?”
Shin, after hearing about the ability of the criticals, said unintentionally.
Each of the seven races that existed in this world had their own abilities which could be called unique skills and bonuses.
Things like the humans’ high magic resistance, the beasts’ bestial form, and the elves’ soul techniques were examples of the unique skills that each race had.
How was it not a cheat to have more than one of them?
Shin wasn’t in a position to say anything, but even he couldn’t use the unique skills and bonuses of other races.
In this world in which the existence of individuals became reality, there would be individuals who is Halfs.
“By the way, our Kaede-chan is a critical, you know?”
“She can use both 【Soul Technique】 and 【Devil Eyes】. I don’t know if it’s because she’s a critical, but her stats also average out at around 400.”
“I thought so. Isn’t that just a natural cheat?”
From the viewpoint of a commoner, a critical was an existence that could make fun of even the upper class Chosen Ones.
“So please don’t spread it in the public, okay?”
“I won’t. Come to think of it, if she is that strong, why wasn’t she chosen as one of the front-line members?”
“The coming of age for elves is 20 years old. I can’t send a minor off to the battlefield. Because it’s certain that she will become part of the battle force, she will be placed in the reserves in case of an emergency.”
This time, since Shin was around, Kaede didn’t have to participate in the war and could remain on standby in the castle.
The reason for this was because she was too young and inexperienced in controlling her power on the battlefield during the last ‘Flood’. But, as a result of Shadow and Holly’s continued training, there would no longer be any problem even if she was counted as part of the fighting power now.
“By the way, Shin, I have a question, is it okay with you?”
“I don’t mind. What do you want to ask?”
“What did you do after ‘that’, Shin?”
To Shin, who was thinking about what kind of question was coming, Shadow’s question was quite unexpected.
Certainly, because time had been limited earlier, he didn’t get to tell Shadow and the others.
“Right, not much changed as for what I did. I was hunting PKs every day. But, after ‘that,’ there was a small incident. I was going to return to dungeon capturing, but――”
As for that incident, it was also something that was related to Marino.
Without it, Shin wouldn’t be here today.
Shadow listened to Shin’s story without saying anything. His expression was somewhat melancholic.
“――that’s why I crushed the big PK guilds first, before setting out on a quest and dungeon assault. Because the last boss was a solo-type, I somehow managed to defeat it.”
“I see. No matter how powerful it is, if it’s a solo-type, you can defeat it.”
Shadow, who had finished hearing the story looked amazed.
The fact that Shin had defeated the last monster Origin all by himself, even if it wasn’t reckless, it was absurd.
You could say the premise of MMOs was to cooperate with other people. Though there were also active solo players, most gained the social disposition of either forming a party with somebody or entering a guild.
Above all, party cooperation was essential, as the real thrill of adventure was in killing the boss. Basically, a boss monster wasn’t an opponent that could be challenged solo.
Parties formed, cooperated, and backed each other up to win against monsters that couldn’t be defeated by a single person.
Among the high-level boss monsters in THE NEW GATE, bosses who could be defeated by a single person were called solo-type, and bosses who could only be defeated by a party were called raid-type.
Though Origin, which Shin fought at the end, was a solo-type, it had originally been a raid-type boss.
“That’s because I did every kind of reinforcement I could think of: foods, items, equipment and so forth. One might say that if the opponent was a raid-type, I would normally lose.”
Even if it was Shin, if the opponent monster was impossible to be conquered without a party, he wouldn’t think of challenging it solo. He would only challenge it if he knew that the opponent was a solo-type.
As for a solo-type, even if it was a boss, from the size and the attack method and so on, defeating it was possible depending on the luck, equipment, skills, and level of the player alone. Of course, it goes without saying that normally, even if a player was defeated, they still had the choice to return.
The winning rate wasn’t always 100% even if Shin fought against a monster of the same solo-type more than once.
On the other hand, raid-types were different from solo-types. Their bodies were enormous, and they had many places that had to be attacked at the same time.
Shin’s partner Yuzuha, also known as an ‘Element Tail’, was a raid-type boss. Though it was different for Shin now, he didn’t know whether he could have won once in 100 rounds against one as a solo player or not in the game era. Even then, it would have taken an extreme amount of luck.
If you only thought about hunting down a raid-type ‘Element Tail’ regardless of the resulting sacrifices, you could understand just how strong it was just by saying that you would have needed at least three members of Rokuten, who were of the stat-capped class.
“I wonder why was it a solo-type.”
Shin said after remembering his fight with Origin. He thought that a raid-type of the highest difficulty would be waiting as the final boss. If the monster was at least ‘Element Tail’-level, it would have been almost impossible to clear.
Shadow shook his head calmly.
“Maybe it was intended to be cleared, or was deemed sufficient? Either way, if many people were saved, that would be fine, I suppose.”
“You’re right. That reminds me, I also wanted to ask you something else. How did Shadow-san come here? From Holly-san’s story, you don’t seem to have initially arrived here together.”
Though it was unimaginable for the present Shadow, the Shadow, when he and Shin had acted together, had been an assassin through and through.
Shin remembered Shadow crying while he disappeared after he and Holly’s enemy had killed each other at the same time.
“Oh well, as for coming here, I seem to have arrived earlier. I was surprised when I met Shadow again.”
“That’s my line!”
One couldn’t imagine the ghastly figure he had been in the past after seeing the Shadow who talked with Holly while smiling.
“I found this man in a village I was dispatched to at the request of the guild. I heard him fighting the group of monsters that had attacked the village, so I chased after him in a hurry.”
“I am indebted to that village in a lot of ways. Because the monsters had no special features aside from their numbers, I was able to stop them.”
“NO! You weren’t able to stop them. The people of the village were panicking.”
“Now, now, Holly-san. Shadow-san wouldn’t go without knowing the probability of success either.”
Shin calmed down Holly, who began to get angry after remembering those times.
Shadow was an assassin of a higher job class, a ‘Shinobi’. Moreover, his average stats were more than 600. Though he didn’t remodel his equipment randomly like Shin had, if he used the equipment he possessed, which were above the 《Legend》 grade, he could wipe out some of the tougher monsters instantly.
“Sigh, so I was looking for Shadow in a hurry, and when I found him, he was turning mountains of monster corpses into cards. The other adventurers were stunned. Because they were A ranked, they were somehow convinced of the explanation that he was a Chosen One.”
“After that, I went to visit several places together with Holly. Along the way, I received a report from Gold Company, and met Hibineko again here.”
Berett’s messenger, who was searching for former players, seemed to have had contacted him.
As Shadow and Holly had been associated with Shin in the game, they seemed to have judged that there would be no danger even if they came into contact. If it was only Shadow, they may have had chosen to wait.
“After this and that, I decided to open a shop here.”
Both of them had their cooking skill at level VII, so their business seemed to be thriving.
They also seemed to partnering up with Hibineko’s shop, and both issued coupons that could be used at each other’s shops.
“Come to think of it, how much time has passed since Holly-san came here? You said a while ago that there was a difference between when the two of you arrived.”
Shin suddenly spoke what came to his mind.
There was a time lag of approximately one month between Holly and Shadow’s deaths. Shin thought about in what way it influenced the time they arrived here.
“I’ve been here for 30 years as of this year”
“As for me, I came here about 10 years after Holly.”
“If that’s the case, is it about 10 years per month?”
“But the person who had almost the same time of death as me came here more than a decade before me. This seems to be different for each individual. Some came here more than 100 years ago, and there are people who have already reached the end of their life span, too.”
Though Shin had calculated the approximate conversion from their story, his hypothesis was denied by Holly. By the way, it had been about 40 years since Hibineko had arrived here.
“Shin, do you think Marino-chan will come here?”
Shin stopped Shadow, who tried to scold Holly.
“It’s okay…To be honest, it’s a fifty-fifty; I feel like I want her to be here, but I also feel like I don’t. Of course, I want to meet her again, but then I would completely lose my intention to return to the former world.”
There were many things that Shin had left behind in the real world.
His parents who had raised him, his brother and sister, his close friends; the list could go on forever.
Even though he had no relatives in this world, he wasn’t terribly unhappy.
Still, although he had come to this world that looked just like the game, the real world was not something so unimportant for Shin that he could discard it easily.
Therefore, if there was a scale between the choices of ‘Stay’ or ‘Return’, he still inclined toward ‘Return’ for now.
He must pass on the messages entrusted to him by the people who had died in the death game to their bereaved families; it was a promise he must fulfil if he returned to the real world.
But, as he spent time in this world, the scales in Shin slowly, but surely, moved. They were slowly moving away from the choice to “Return”.
There were so many charms in this world. He had overwhelming power that separated him from others, Schnee, who loved him, and former Rokuten followers who still showed him loyalty.
Even if the dangerous living conditions were extremely different from the real world, it was not a great threat to Shin.
He desired to travel freely around the world that had undergone a great change; it would be a lie if he denied that.
In addition, it was possible to reunite with the players who had died―― the more he spent time in this world, the number the bonds he had with its inhabitants increased.
If he found out that Marino was here, the scale would probably sway greatly to one side.
“Well, in the first place, there’s also the problem of whether I can return or not.”
“You’re right. But you were able to come here, so there must be a method, no?”
“As I expected, the gate of the dungeon is the matter of concern. Although it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have to pass through it again, it’s possible that you’d be able to return if you find yourself in a similar scenario.”
The two people replied seriously to Shin’s words.
From the contents of their discussion, they seemed to agree that Shin should return to the original world.
“There are stories that the Ley Lines may be related to it, but it’s still not enough information. From now on, I’ll go around looking up more information here and there.” (T/N: changed Earth Pulse to Ley Line)
“Let us help when possible.”
“I won’t be reserved then.”
Shadow and Holly expressed a gentle smile.
Afterwards, Shin left the shop after hearing the tales about the two, the countries they had been to, and so forth.
“Shin has left.”
“Yes, though we met again, Shin has completely returned to his former self.”
After Shin left the shop, Shadow answered Hibineko, who put away the glasses as he spoke, with a look that seemed somehow relieved.
“Was he that terrible?”
“Yes, though it’s not my place to say, all I can say is that he has changed. It’s because in the past he had no hesitation to cut down a person.”
“I also heard the stories…he didn’t seem like someone who would do something like that.”
Among the three people, only Shadow had known the desolate Shin. Hibineko and Holly, on the other hand, could not imagine that Shin wouldn’t have hesitated to murder like Shadow had said.
“Honestly speaking, I’m surprised, too. The last time I saw Shin, he would never have laughed with such an expression.”
When he didn’t show his power, Shin currently looked like an ordinary young man who could be found anywhere.
He had retorted to Hibineko’s and Holly’s way of calling him, and was surprised when he had heard that Shadow and Holly had a child.
That was a natural reaction.
However, he didn’t have such a natural reaction before. The Shin whom Shadow had seen at that time had hardly ever changed his expression. Even when he had killed PKs, even if he had eaten delicious food, even if the player who had assisted him had died in front of him.
He had searched and killed PKs just like an assembly-line operation. If one were to say that he was a machine of that kind of purpose, one might understand how dangerous he truly had been.
Had this person changed before coming here only by chance? This was merely what Shadow believed.
“Did something happen?”
“I’m not sure, but there something certainly might have. Something that pulled Shin here.”
The three people could only guess. However, it was a good thing, or at least, they understood it to be a good thing. It also concerned the woman whom Shin loved.
“…Marino-chan, will you come here?”
“I wonder. According to the story we heard from Shin, her circumstances seemed slightly different from ours.”
The two people didn’t know the main reason behind why they had arrived here, except that it had to do with their death in the game, so their question couldn’t be concluded.
“…If Mari-nyaa-san isn’t here, what would the two of you want Shin to do?”
Hibineko asked Shadow and Holly while skillfully wiping the table with his short paw.
“I guess he should return.”
“Agreed, I think so too.”
The two people answered the casual question with the same response.
To the reply without hesitation, Hibineko stopped wiping the table. Because there were only three people in the shop at the moment, they could afford to talk a little.
“Fumu, from our viewpoint, I think he should return if possible.”
“Why the hurry?”
“For now, Shin still wants to return to the other side. But, will he be able to make the same choice after he has spent a long time here?”
If Hibineko had came to this world without much company, he would probably have been able to return without hesitation.
However, Hibineko had already spent more than 40 years in this world. Even if he could return to the original world with Shin, he would no longer choose too.
“If he didn’t have much longer to live in real world like we do, then the choice to spend the rest of his time here is not bad even if it possible for him to return. But Shin is still young. I don’t think I want him to remain in this world where the end is unknown.”
“You’re right. If he had been here for a long time, he would likely not want to go home.”
“But unlike us, Shin is not dead. There should be something he left behind, right?”
“Still, you can also say that, unlike us, Shin is the strongest in this world. Besides, I wonder if he’ll be able to turn down the love of a woman as beautiful as Schnee.”
The current age was called the ‘stress society’. People wanted to be bound by no one, and do whatever they wanted. But at the same time, as people who lived in the real world, they also had to consider everyone else’s feelings. There were many people who wished to live while doing the things they liked and forgetting the unpleasant things.
“This world is indeed really convenient for Shin.”
Shadow and Holly couldn’t deny Hibineko’s words because what he had said also applied to themselves.
“In the end, it depends on Shin, huh?”
“Indeed. Personally, I want his parents to feel relieved.”
“It’s because he carried everyone’s expectations all by himself. I wonder how things will turn out if Mari-nyaa isn’t here.”
Since the beginning of the death game, the three knew that various unreasonable things had been forced upon Shin; they recalled Shin had suppressed himself because of that power at that time. His stats had been high by chance, but because of that, he had been forced to clear the game. It couldn’t be helped that Shin had laughed with a tired look on his face.
It might have ended up differently if everyone had begun from the same starting line. However, with the exception of Shin, the best stats of the advanced players had only just began to exceed 800 in those days. Shin’s stats was about 200 points above theirs.
200 ability differences in THE NEW GATE would only cause other players to become a hindrance to Shin, even if he made a party. The difference in damage dealt, movement speed, defense, and so on was obvious. Only a small number of players reached advanced levels in the first place.
The story was different when he fought against big armies of monsters and cooperated with multiple parties, but there was not enough space for many players to fight together in dungeons. This had especially been true in the last dungeon.
In addition, in the situation where it wasn’t possible to revive after death, it would take over a year to train other players to Shin’s level. The players who had wanted to log out as soon as possible had ganged up and demanded that Shin quickly cleared the game.
“I hope we can be of help to him in the case of an emergency.”
“It’s frustrating, right?”
They couldn’t do anything for the young man who had fought the death game in solitude.
The adults were worried.
“Now then, shall I return to the inn soon?”
Shin, who had left ‘Nyan Da Land’, muttered and headed toward the inn.
Although his talk with Shadow and the others had diverted his mind to some extent, he still didn’t know what he would do when he met Schnee.
He opened the door of the ‘Red Tail’ while feeling a little depressed, received the key, went to his room without meeting anyone on the way, and arrived at his room.
A short time later, someone knocked on his room door. When he had received the key earlier, he had also asked for water. He then received a bucket of water from a woman. The bucket looked heavy, but the woman had carried it with ease.
He soaked a towel after using magic to warm the water, and wiped down his body. Toilets were becoming popular, but baths still seemed to be difficult to reproduce. Shin, who didn’t understand the technical side of things, couldn’t do anything but hope it was built quickly.
“…I should sleep.”
He had nothing else to do in particular, so he decided to go to sleep.
Did the matter with Schnee have a lasting effect on him? He wasn’t able to bring himself to do anything.
He crawled into the futon. Shin’s consciousness faded into sleep unexpectedly smoothly.