“If you’re feeling out of it, you could rest at the inn, you know.”
Yuzuha, curled in a ball on Shin’s shoulder, expressed that she was okay, so he just lightly patted her on the head.
Since their battle with the demons that attempted to sacrifice the Holy Woman Hermie, Yuzuha would sometimes lean on his shoulders, maybe because she was not feeling too well.
“Your companion does not seem to be feeling well.”
“She’s saying she’s OK, though. It doesn’t look like she has a fever either, so I’ll just keep an eye on her for now.”
Leaving Hermie to Wilhelm’s care, Shin and Schnee had gone to meet Berett at Balmel’s Golden Company, as they needed a ship to return to Sigurd.
Many of the ships leaving Balmel’s port headed towards the northern part of the continent (Est). Travel by land would take too much time, so they decided to head by sea to a port town near Sigurd and then reach the city by land.
Using the dragons to travel by air was a last resort, so the party would not use them this time.
“So, how are the arrangements for the ship going?”
At Schnee’s question, Berett lowered his head apologetically.
“I would love to help you, but unfortunately our guild’s ships are all out. There is, however, one ship heading towards Est. It will stop by another port for supplies on the way there, but it will certainly allow you to reach your destination faster than waiting for one of our ships. What do you say?”
It was a ship that carried both trade goods and people. A relatively high social status was required to board it, but with Berett’s introduction the party would have been able to board it easily.
“Using Tsuki no Hokora’s introduction or revealing our members’ identity would have been troublesome, so this really helps.”
An introduction letter from Tsuki no Hokora would have been more than enough proof of status. Using Hermie’s name too would have probably made it easy to board the ship. But both methods would have created trouble down the line, so they wanted to avoid them as much as possible.
An introduction letter from Berett, Golden Company deputy manager, had the same worth, but saying that they were business partners made it easier to use in their situation.
Having an A-rank adventurer (Wilhelm) and a Church knight (Konig) with them, saying that they planned to do item transactions would make their travel more believable.
“The ship’s departure is scheduled for tomorrow, would that be alright?”
“Yes, we don’t have a lot of time to waste, so that’s perfect.”
“I will contact you later about the current available cabins.”
“I would prefer a private one. There are some members that wouldn’t like their faces to be seen.”
“Understood. Please wait a while.”
Berett opened a drawer and began to write quickly on a piece of paper. He then inserted it into an envelope marked with the Golden Company’s logo and sealed it with wax.
“Please show this to the captain. I will let them know.”
“Thank you, and sorry for the trouble.”
“It is a joy and an honor for me to be of help to High Humans. Do not worry.”
Berett’s smiling expression as he bowed was honest and pure. There wasn’t the single trace of malice within it.
Shin thanked the man again and left the Golden Company.
While Shin’s entourage was at the Golden Company, Tiera, Filma and Shibaid were buying foodstuffs and items. Kagerou, as usual, stayed within Tiera’s shadow.
Filma, who had awoken after a 500-year long sleep, was excited to see the streets’ hustle and bustle.
“As expected of a town based on trade, there’s so many people here. They also look pretty happy too, it’s a relief to see.”
Filma’s words caused Tiera’s puzzled question. After a chuckle, Filma answered.
“I only remember until the era of reconstruction after the natural disasters. At the time, even a small earthquake was enough to send everyone into a panic.”
There was no sorrow in Filma’s tone.
“As the generations changed, they probably forgot about what happened then. But the present was born on the efforts of many people. Now and then, people are much more resilient than one would expect.”
Shibaid, who was accompanying them to prevent Filma from going too wild, commented with a smile.
Not finding any words to say, Tiera kept quiet.
“Yes, I feel that clearly. Anyway, that was nice of you to leave Shin and Schnee by themselves, Shibaid. You’ve become more perceptive, haven’t you?”
“To be precise, there’s someone else with them. But I didn’t do it for a particular reason. I just made the decision that letting you go unattended was far more dangerous.”
“And what would you mean by that?”
“I’m speaking from past experience. Try to think about it and you’ll understand.”
Shibaid was looking at Filma with half-opened eyes, clearly showing his disbelief at her last question.
“Don’t treat me like a troublemaker now. Well, I’ve gone a little overboard sometimes in the past, I’ll admit.”
Maybe because she recalled what Shibaid was talking about, Filma avoided looking directly at him.
“Come on, both of you, that’s enough. Since we’re out in town and all, why don’t we check out the stores?”
“That’s true too. We have the list of what we need, so let’s wrap that up quickly. ”
Filma welcomed Tiera’s proposal, while Shibaid gave a wry laugh. He didn’t want to fight either, after all.
Filma quickly went to buy foodstuffs.
“Tiera, are you good at picking the good from the bad here?”
“More or less. I’ve been trained by master, after all. How about you, Filma?”
“I can cook if it gets down to it, but I make no promises about the taste. So, the choice of the groceries is up to you.”
Shibaid wasn’t one to be fussy about food either, so the only one among them who could tell the good groceries from the bad ones was Tiera.
The huge load of foodstuffs they bought was then carried by Shibaid.
“We really bought a huge amount…will you be all right?”
Tiera was worried about Shibaid carrying the large bag of groceries by himself, but Filma casually brushed away her concerns.
“No need to worry, he’s not the type of guy to buckle under this much weight.”
“No problem, I will place them in the item box as soon as we reach a place without people around.”
Shibaid was in fact holding the bag without the least bit of difficulty.
“By the way, Tiera, there’s something I wanted to ask you…”
“Yes, what is it?”
“What’s your reason for traveling with Shin?”
“Hmm, I have been wondering that too. And the divine beast you have with you is clearly superior to your abilities as a tamer, too.”
Shibaid also joined in questioning Tiera.
“Uhm, do I have to talk about that here?”
“On the contrary, this is the ideal situation to. Crowded places are the best to talk about secrets.”
In a noisy and bustling street, as Filma said, it would be impossible to understand who was talking about what. Furthermore, neither Konig the Church knight nor Wilhelm the White Lion Lancer were around.
“Shin and Schnee are close to me, that’s why I want to know.”
Both Filma and Shibaid served directly under Shin, thus they wondered why Tiera, who was not under Shin’s command, was part of the entourage.
Tiera understood that they didn’t just ask her on a whim, and nodded seriously.
“I understand. Everything started when my master, Schnee, saved me.”
Tiera than explained briefly what happened until Shin removed her curse.
“….I see. It’s true that the “Cursed Gift” was usually removed in town before, so there was nothing else to do.”
“Indeed. I too have attempted to research it, but could not find anything.”
“Shin seemed to know about it, but both of you didn’t?”
Tiera was surprised to know that, Schnee included, no one knew how to acquire the skill of 【Purification】.
“I knew that Shin had learned it though. I helped looking for the items needed to learn it, but the last part was done by Shin alone, so I don’t know the details. It wasn’t a skill used often to begin with, so it was enough for only Shin to learn it. I think it’s similar for the other people we know too.”
“That’s right. That time, even if you did not learn it yourself you could have curses removed easily in the cities now called ‘Sacred Places’. It was not something to spend effort to learn.”
“What can I say…it’s incredible.”
The existence of cities where cursed people could freely enter and leave and easily be purified was something Tiera was not able to imagine.
Shibaid and Filma, who knew how the world changed after the “Dusk of the Majesty”, understood Tiera’s surprise.
“By the way, Tiera, what do you think about Shin?”
Tiera couldn’t help but voice her surprise at the sudden question.
“I mean, you thought you wouldn’t ever leave that shop and he pops out of nowhere and dispels your curse without a single explanation. I honestly doubt that you aren’t the least bit interested in him, with all that happened.”
Filma spoke with confidence and a strange gleam in her eyes. She couldn’t help pointing it out.
“It wouldn’t be exaggerated to call him “a prince who saved the damsel just as she was about to give into despair”, right?”
“Well, um…of course I am thankful! But, er, you know it! Shin has master with him!”
“Polygamy is the norm in this world, isn’t it? Elves don’t seem to like that too much though. But do you really feel only gratitude for him?”
Tiera couldn’t find the words to answer Filma’s dead serious look. But her floundering for words without denying the allegations was an answer in itself.
“Filma. It’s not proper to poke about in people’s love affairs.”
“I know, and I’ll stop now. But Tiera, let me say just one thing.”
Filma wasn’t grinning anymore now, and talked with a very serious tone.
“It’s better to make your feelings clear. If you do after you feel regret, it’s too late.”
Tiera found herself swallow her breath, feeling that Filma had seen right through her.
“I’m sorry. I know this is none of my business.”
“…no, honestly speaking, I can’t find the answer yet myself.”
Tiera spoke with a small, wry laugh.
Filma was looking at her with a kind smile.
(I wonder what Shin’s answer will be, then.)
That was what Shibaid was thinking, apart from the two women.
“First, we’ve secured a means of transport.”
Shin’s entourage, back from the Golden Company, explained to the others about the ship to Sigurd.
Not only Tiera, Filma and Shibaid, but also Hermie and Wilhelm, who had stayed back at the inn, plus Milt, who had gone out with Konig, were listening.
“When will we depart?”
“Tomorrow morning, in the ship called the Mediel. How were things on your end?”
“I contacted the Church. As I said before, they should come meet us at the town called Leshelle.”
Konig nodded to Shin’s inquiry.
Most members of the group coming to meet them, however, would be heading to the “Summit Faction” base.
The group, composed of Chosen Ones, was made to subdue the base in one fell swoop. It was a strategy possible only because Shin’s party had defeated the more powerful demons.
“Aw, I wanted to go with Shin too…”
“Didn’t you say that you would pay for the trouble you caused? You’ll have to work hard volunteering for a while.”
Milt’s complaints were quickly shut down by Shin.
Even if she had been manipulated, it was a fact that she had kidnapped Hermie. For this reason, it was decided that Milt would serve the Church for a period. Starting, of course, from this base capture mission.
“Well, is there anything else that needs to be said? If not, we have an early start tomorrow, so let’s go rest.”
As no one had anything in particular to add, all members proceeded to their assigned rooms.
The room division was Shin with Yuzuha and Shibaid, Schnee and Filma, Konig and Wilhelm, Tiera with Milt and Hermie.
The bright and cheerful Milt had become good friends with Tiera and Hermie and could also act as bodyguard, so she was put in the same room. Kagerou was, as always, in Tiera’s shadow too, so the fighting power was more than sufficient.
“Anyway Yuzuha, you’re still sick?”
“Monsters get sick too, huh. It’s not a status ailment, so I really have no idea what it could be…”
Shibaid was worried too, but Yuzuha kept mentally signaling that she was all right.
Shin told her again to let him know if her condition got worse and went to sleep.
The next day, Shin’s eyes opened earlier than expected. The reason was a weight of unknown origins on his right arm.
“I think this happened before…Yuzuha, is that you?”
After confirming the situation with 【Analyze】, Shin looked at the young girl sleeping next to him.
She was Yuzuha, transformed in human form. But her appearance was not the “small girl mode” Shin knew.
She looked like she could be in her early teens. Her height was around 150 cemels, and her body now showed budding feminine curves. Her silver hair, stretched until her waist, sparkled in the sunlight coming in through the window.
Her ears and tail were the same as before.
“Your feeling sick was because of this, then.”
Shin pulled out the arm that Yuzuha was hugging and, with his free hand, laid a blanket over her. As he did so, Yuzuha slowly opened her eyes.
Staring at where Shin’s arm used to be, Yuzuha’s hands fumbled around in the now empty space. Maybe because she wasn’t fully awake yet, she hadn’t noticed that Shin had just slightly moved away.
Her expression was just like a lost child looking for her parents.
As she clumsily propped her body up, the blanket over her fell down, revealing her naked figure.
Mornings in Balmel are slightly cold. Shin picked up the fallen blanket and wrapped Yuzuha with it.
Yuzuha didn’t even glance at the blanket; with a mumble, she laid her head on Shin’s lap and quickly slipped into slumber. Her expression was one of simple bliss.
“Wait, you’re going back to sleep!?”
It would be a problem to just leave her like that, so Shin wanted her to put some clothes on first of all. Previously she had turned in fox mode with clothes on, and when she had turned into a small girl again she had them still on, but for some reason it didn’t happen this time.
Yuzuha’s clothes were on the ground next to her, in card form, so there was no need to pull them out.
“Tell me what’s going on, first.”
“Your looks, I mean. Is it because your power returned?”
“Yes. I’m still not used to it, so this is my limit for now.”
According to Yuzuha, she had been feeling sick because alongside the recovery of her powers, a lot of new knowledge returned to her too. A large quantity of memories had returned to her as well, so her head felt overloaded.
Her powers apparently returned to 60% of their original state; if she got used to her newly recovered strength and more memories returned, her appearance would also grow some more.
“Is that also the reason why your expression is so stiff?”
Yuzuha tilted her head to the side, puzzled by Shin’s question.
Excluding her blissful expression while sleeping, her facial expressions barely changed. It was a perfect poker face.
Shin checked Yuzuha’s status again, finding that her level now exceeded 600 and her stats had increased exponentially too. Even judging from the numbers alone, she was now at Raid rank 3 strength.
“I guess we should let Schnee and the others know. Can you go back to fox mode? Some people might be surprised that you grew bigger all of a sudden, so that would be better.”
Yuzuha answered positively and transformed right in front of Shin.
After confirming her transformation, Shin contacted Schnee via Mind Chat. He told Schnee, who was already awake, to call Filma too, while Shin himself woke up Shibaid.
Tiera was with Hermie, so he decided to tell her later.
“Ooh, you really got stronger.”
Filma was impressed after seeing Yuzuha’s new level.
“I suppose that her level will be 1000 eventually.”
Schnee, her hand on her chin, was imagining Yuzuha’s final form.
“Having an Element Tail as an ally is a great asset.”
As he had battled one before, Shibaid knew what a reliable companion she could be.
“Nothing’s particularly different from before, so please treat her as you did until now.”
After finishing talking, it was now time to prepare for departure.
Shin joined the others for breakfast on the ground floor. It was still a little early when they finished eating, but they decided to head to the harbor nonetheless.
Shin was walking next to Wilhelm.
“Hermie seems to feel a little better, right.”
“So it seems. But why are you asking me?”
“Isn’t it because you two stayed back at the inn? That she smiles like that now.”
Hermie clearly looked in Wilhelm’s direction more often than before. It wasn’t hard to think that something must have happened. Next to Hermie now walked Konig and Milt, as protection.
“We just talked a little, I tell you nothing happened.”
“Looking at her tells me something else, though.”
Shin felt that it wouldn’t be good to pursue the matter further, so he dropped the topic. They kept walking, chatting casually, until they spotted the ship’s sails.
Probably because the time for departure was close, the port was full of bulky men carrying supplies inside the ships.
“It’s really packed! By the way, which one is our ship?”
Milt asked while her eyes darted all around the port.
“The largest one, over there. I confirmed it yesterday, so there’s no mistake.”
Shin pointed at one of the anchored ships. It was clearly larger than the others around it, looking like it could carry a large quantity of goods.
“It looks like there are people on board already. Shall we go too?”
“We don’t have anything else to do anyway, let’s go.”
Shin answered Tiera’s question and started to walk towards the ship. As the group drew closer, the crewmember in charge of the passengers’ check came up to them.
It was a large, muscular man, who looked like he could break in bodybuilding poses any second.
“Do you plan to board the Mediel?”
“Do you have the boarding pass or a letter of introduction?”
The man’s intimidating appearance hid a perfectly polite demeanor.
Representing the group, Shin handed the man the letter received from Berett. The man took the letter, opened it carefully and examined its contents.
“…yes, this will do. Welcome aboard the Mediel. Shall I guide you to your cabins?”
Berett said to show the letter to the captain, but apparently the crewmembers already knew of them too.
The ship’s cabins reflected the overall size of the vessel; Shin’s request for a private cabin had been granted as well.
Following the muscular man, Shin’s party proceeded through the ship and finally arrived before a room protected by a sturdy-looking door.
The cabins were divided between men and women. Hermie was camouflaged, but they picked the farthest room from the entrance for her, to avoid others’ eyes as much as possible.
“Guess I’ll go see the ship.”
Shin stood up and Yuzuha leapt on his shoulder with a small cry.
“OK, let’s go together.”
Shin called Shibaid too, then went on a walk through the ship. They checked the ship’s interior structure, what was located where, while paying attention not to get in the way of the stockers.
After they checked most places they had access to, they heard the sound of a bell, the signal that the ship was about to depart. More time had passed than expected.
Just as Shin thought that it was time to return to their cabins, they heard a voice from beyond the corner.
“Finally, my sister’s sickness will be healed!!”
“Yes, I am sure Lady Haruna will be very happy too.”
The owners of the voices could not be seen, but from their high pitch Shin assumed they belonged to a little girl and her female attendant. As the ship was very large, they had already seen several passengers accompanied by servants.
They were now close to the guest rooms and the surroundings were fairly quiet, so they could hear the conversation clearly.
Shin assumed the little girl had obtained a precious medicine for her sister. Even a stranger like Shin could tell that the girl’s voice was brimming with joy.
“It was really hard to find it…aah!?”
The girl beyond the corner had suddenly cried, so Shin stopped moving. Before him stood the little girl, with a look of utter surprise on her face. She looked like she was in her early teens.
The girl was small in stature, around 140 cemels. Her flame-like bright red hair, extending until her waist, were her most striking feature. Her black, clear eyes looked straight at Shin.
Behind the little girl appeared a young woman who, from her clothing, resembled a Samurai. She was wearing gauntlets and shin guards, black with patterns drawn in orange lines. On her shoulders she wore large protective plates called “Osode”, while her chest was protected by a relatively small breast plate.
Her height was probably close to 170 cemels. Her waist-length black hair was tied behind her head in a ponytail.
“Do you have business with these gentlemen?”
The woman looked towards Shin with eyes as deeply black as her hair. Her sharp look eloquently signaled how she did not only look tough.
“No, it’s nothing. It appears I was a little too excited. I didn’t catch their presence. My apologies, fellows. I didn’t pay attention, kindly forget about this.”
After the woman’s question, the little girl apologized to Shin.
Even if his answer was vague, Shin was relieved to hear the girl’s words, because the woman’s eyes when looking at him appeared somewhat dangerous.
“Ehm, so, I will take my leave.”
“Yes, a good trip to you.”
Shin gave a slight nod and headed towards Schnee’s room.
As they arrived, they noticed everyone except 2 members were there.
“Where are Hermie and Konig?”
“Hermie started feeling sick as soon as the ship started moving, so Konig’s taking care of her.”
Shin’s question was answered by Milt, who was drinking a glass of water. The horse carriage hadn’t made her feel sick, but the ship apparently did.
“She wasn’t terribly sick, so she should be OK as long as she lies down.”
Schnee added to Milt’s words.
“Shin, you went looking around the ship, right? Anything caught your interest?”
“No, nothing in particular. There weren’t suspicious passengers either.”
Thanks to the map function, Shin had also verified that there wasn’t anyone hiding in places such as the ship’s hold. In the game era there was an event in which NPCs would hide there, to attack from within when the ship was attacked by pirates.
After briefly talking about the party’s next plans, all members went on their separate business.
Shin headed towards the deck to see the scenery.
“Ah, I’m coming too.”
Milt and Tiera quickly followed after Shin. Yuzuha was perched on his shoulder as usual.
Shin had already visited the deck while inspecting the ship, but he had only checked the path which led to it and had not watched the scenery.
“Coming on deck, you can feel the wind picked up.”
“It feels really nice.”
“Ah, there’s something there!”
Tiera, who was looking at the sea from the edge of the deck, had found something.
Shin and Milt went closer to the edge of the deck and looked in the direction Tiera was pointing to.
“Oh, Hero Dolphins.”
“As colorful as usual, too.”
What Tiera had spotted were Hero Dolphins, dolphin-type monsters.
Maybe they were inspired from certain superhero shows, because they always traveled in packs of 5 or 6; a red and blue one were always present, while the other colors were more varied, ranging between yellow, green, white, black or pink.
They were non-active monsters, a type that generally didn’t attack unless provoked.
“Oh, that’s rare. There’s a gold one.”
“Wow, it’s true.”
Milt pointed at a pack of Hero Dolphins, led by a red one and followed by a blue, white, black and gold one, all swimming parallel to the ship. It was really rare to witness a golden one.
“It’s shining much brighter than the others.”
“Its power should be about the same though.”
If defeated, it could drop items slightly rarer than the others. It was said that if a player found one, their luck would increase.
“Hm? Hey, Tiera, what’s wrong?”
Shin looked back at Tiera, to find her staring at the seawater.
“Nothing, I just realized that now we aren’t touching the ground with our feet…”
Apparently it was her first time on a ship, so she felt slightly uneasy.
“We won’t sink unless something really big happens, so rest easy, I tell you.”
A skill to increase resilience had been used on the ship, so even if charged by a large marine monster, it wouldn’t sink easily.
“I know that in my head, but I won’t calm down until I get used to it, I guess.”
It wasn’t something that could change instantly.
After contemplating the scenery for a while, Shin and the others returned to their cabins.
The sea travel proceeded smoothly; except a brief stop at a port town, nothing worth mentioning happened.
The only thing notable was that they met the young girl and her attendant a few more times. As it was inconvenient to not know each other’s names, they briefly introduced each other.
The young girl with the unique speech style was Kujou Kanade, a level 159 Archer.
The samurai-like woman’s name was Saegusa Karin, a level 221 Samurai and Kanade’s escort.
Even without fighting, Shin felt that those two had strength surpassing their ages. They could even be Chosen Ones.
“The weather’s pretty bad today.”
“Indeed, you can feel a storm brewing.”
Whispered Shin, while looking at the cloudy sky. Kanade nodded in reply, Karin was standing next to her too.
It was almost dusk, but the setting sun was hidden by thick clouds.
“You two are headed to Hinomoto, was it?”
“Indeed we are.”
“I too would like to visit it if I have the chance, what kind of country is it?”
Shin thought it was a good chance to ask about Hinomoto. Both the country name and the two women’s names reminded him of Japan.
“It is said that Hinomoto came to be when, at the time of the natural disasters, islands detached from the continent were conquered by several groups of people. At present the two representative families of Kujou and Yaejima rule over its eastern and western regions.”
The guilds that Gaien -the Dragnil Shin met during the escort mission to Beirun- talked about apparently only ruled over parts of the country.
“I see…oh? Lady Kanade, you are a Kujou too, aren’t you?”
“I am indeed. I might look like just a little girl, but I am one of the Kujou, the rulers of east Hinomoto.”
“Milady, you are aware that we should not mention such things in public.”
Kanade’s words were met with a reprimand by Karin.
“I know that full well, but we do not need to fret if it’s them.”
For some reason, Kanade seemed to place some trust in Shin’s party after a few conversations. He didn’t feel Karin’s piercing look anymore either.
Incidentally, Shin had to address Kanade politely because not doing so would have attracted intimidating looks from Karin.
“It’s a country overflowing with nature.”
“It reminds me of my homeland. But is it alright for a lady of such a household to leave the country? Having just Karin as an escort seems odd too, to be honest”
“In truth, I left the country in secret. The situation is…rather complex.”
“For a member of the Kujou house to become an adventurer is unheard of, after all.”
“Don’t be like that. You know well there was no other choice, Karin, that’s why you accompanied me. Am I wrong?”
“No, that is correct, but…”
Judging from Karin’s grim expression, one could assume that the “complex situation” Kanade mentioned could not be solved without leaving Hinomoto.
“That’s enough. We obtained what we were seeking after all. We just need to return now.”
Ships for Hinomoto leave from the port Shin’s party will disembark at.
“It started raining.”
They expected it to rain, considering the amount of clouds in the sky. What they didn’t expect was the force with which the rain battered the ship, and the sudden increase of the wind.
Just seconds after the first raindrops, an incredible deluge started pouring down, followed by powerful gusts of wind that stirred the sea.
Around the same time, a group of monsters entered Shin’s perception field. They were closing in on the ship at an alarming speed.
“Monsters. They’re coming straight towards this ship.”
“Is that true? Karin, can you feel it?”
“No, nothing at all.”
Shin’s perception field was quite large, thanks to the combined use of skills. Shin didn’t know the range of Karin’s field, but it would likely take a little more time until she could detect the monsters.
“I don’t know if you will believe me or not, but I detect 10 units, and quite large ones at that.”
While explaining to Kanade and Karin, Shin contacted Schnee via Mind Chat.
Schnee and the others had also detected the monsters’ arrival; she replied that Filma had gone to talk with the captain.
Shibaid, Wilhelm, and Tiera were also headed to Shin’s position.
“My companions will come soon. Lady Kanade, what will you two do?”
“If they are headed towards the ship, barricading ourselves in our cabin will do little good. Fortunately, I have some skill with the bow. I shall lend you my aid.”
“I too offer what little strength I have.”
Kanade pulled out a card from her drenched kimono and materialized it.
The next instant, the middle Legend-grade bow 『Fiery Diamond』appeared in her hand.
It was a large weapon, close to a longbow size, which came accompanied with the quiver. Its long range was its major characteristic.
Karin materialized her battle gear as well; her left hand was holding a katana with a red sheath.
It was the middle Legend-grade 『Vermilion Orchid』, a fire elemental katana.
“Did we make it?”
“Just in the nick of time.”
Shin had just drawn his『Kakura』 when Shibaid, Wilhelm, and Tiera arrived on deck.
At Tiera’s feet were both Kagerou and Yuzuha. They were all members capable of defense and long distance attacks.
“What about the others?”
“Lady Hermie is in her room. For added safety, I had Milt and Konig stay with her. Filma went to speak with the captain, and Schnee will come after bolstering Lady Hermie’s defenses.”
Milt, a water spirit user, was a powerful ally on the seas.
“Have you noticed anything?”
“The monsters appeared roughly at the same time as when the weather turned rough. From that, I suppose that they are either serpent or mollusk types.”
Shin quickly answered Wilhelm’s questions with his hypothesis.
There are monsters that influence the weather when they appear. The types of monsters mentioned by Shin often cause storms with their coming.
“Esteemed passengers! We shall deal with the situation, please return to your cabins!”
Maybe they heard from Filma, or detected the presence themselves, but the crew members came to advise Shin and the others to take shelter.
The crew probably also acted as a monster protection team; they were carrying bows, rods, harpoons, and other weapons.
“We shall help too.”
“But sir….!? I understand. Thank you for your assistance!”
The crew members were reluctant at first, but changed their mind after seeing Shin’s party’s postures and equipment.
The ship, battered by the waves, made it difficult to stand straight. While it also depended on the opponents, the more numbers they had the better their chances would be.
Moments after Shin’s warning, the seawater swelled greatly. Then, from the raging sea emerged the silhouettes of several monsters.
The monsters appeared from the sea and glared at the ship were Gale Serpents, also called “Dragon of the Seas”. Part of the dragon category, this monster favored attacks such as water breath, roar, and tackles.
Its level usually ranged from 500 to 600, but facing it in an unstable battlefield such as the sea made it more powerful than the level indicated.
“And just when we needed to return to Hinomoto…!”
Kanade and Karin reacted with frustration at the sight of the Gale Serpents, emerging one after the other. No matter how sturdy the ship was, under the attacks of 10 Gale Serpents it was inevitable for it to sink, or so they probably thought.
In fact, the crew members that came on deck also stood still, pale after seeing the monsters.
“Wilhelm, Tiera! Don’t let them get any closer! Shibaid, block their long-range attacks!!”
While shouting these orders, Shin let his『Kakura』flash.
The Mallet and Wind combination skill 【Bestial Drive】 created a fierce gust of wind which blew away the rain and wind with a single hit, while also crushing the head of one of the Gale Serpents surrounding the ship.
Even among the battering wind and rain, the sound of the skill’s impact boomed clearly through the deck and the ears of everyone present.
In the span of a few seconds, the Gale Serpent with the smashed cranium gradually sank below the waves.
“Let’s finish this quickly!”
“I won’t lose either!”
After Shin’s attack, Wilhelm threw his Hell Spear 『Vakira』and Tiera started shooting arrows.
The Gale Serpents, stopped in their tracks by the sudden fall of their comrade, tried to avoid the attacks’ trajectory with agility ill fitting their huge bodies.
Their response, however, had been too slow; the Gale Serpent closest to the ship was hit by an arrow on one eye and by 『Vakira』on its body.
The monster did not die on the spot, but unleashed a scream like grinding metal and collapsed among the waves.
“You are far from the average traveler, I see.”
Not just the monsters were surprised by Shin’s movements. While aiming an arrow at a Gale Serpent poking its face from below the water, Kanade talked to Shin.
Shin replied that he was just a common traveler and focused again on his perception field. The Gale Serpents were swimming around the ship, alternatively getting closer and farther.
“Is it just me, or is the ship shaking more and more?”
“It’s probably caused by the monsters.”
Karin also felt something was off, and agreed with Shin’s observation.
“Tch, the bastards went underwater and won’t show up anymore!”
“Hey, Shin!! The ship isn’t going to turn over, is it!?”
Even if she had come closer, Tiera’s voice was almost drowned out by the ever stronger storm’s howling winds. Her concern was well placed, as even the crew members could barely stand without support, that’s how violently the ship was shaking. They all grabbed handrails or sail masts, sticking their weapons on the floor to keep standing.
Only Shin and Shibaid still managed to stand straight.
“Shin! Looks like they’re going to attack!”
Shibaid’s words made Shin look all around himself, only to find 9 Gale Serpents emerging from the waves, open their jaws wide and point them at the ship.
“A breath attack, huh. Shibaid, take care of the ones in front. I’ll handle the rear.”
While sprinting through the shortest path on the ship, Shin pulled out the same shield Shibaid had equipped, the『Great Shell Shield of Collision』. Then, he activated a fully-powered anti-air barrier.
A barrier composed of interlocked hexagons appeared in midair and repelled the Gale Serpents’ water breath.
“Shit, the rain and wind make it hard to aim…”
Shin unleashed several magic attacks while holding up the barrier, but because of the storm rocking the ship and the distance between him and the targets, none reached their intended destination.
Even bow users such as Tiera and Kanade could not reach the monsters with their attacks.
Seeing this, Yuzuha made a proposition.
“Should I support?”
Shin earnestly asked for help.
“I should have lowered the numbers more with the first attack.”
Fighting on a ship during stormy weather was even harder than Shin had expected.
The clouds kept the sunlight from filtering through, making the surroundings constantly dark. The rocking ship made it hard to stand, but they had to fight off the monsters and protect the ship at the same time.
Shin’s party would survive even if the ship sank, but they couldn’t save all the crew members and passengers. If things continued like this, their situation would get worse little by little.
Shin regretted choosing the wrong skill for the first attack.
Yuzuha cried and activated a skill, which caused the rain and wind to temporarily weaken.
“There’s no time to hesitate anymore. Yuzuha, cover me!”
Taking advantage of the instant the breath attacks stopped, Shin leapt from the ship.
He turned back to see Kanade and Karin, hanging onto the ship handrails, looking at him. They had left the front to the reinforcements and rushed to his aid.
“Don’t go falling into the sea!”
Thinking that he didn’t need any help, Shin gave a short warning and kicked the sea.
“What in the…!?”
Accompanied by Karin’s exclamation of surprise, Shin rushed towards the Gale Serpents while causing bursts of water.
As long as the Movement-type Martial skill 【Water Passage】was active, one could fight using water surfaces as footholds.
The first monster Shin targeted was the one hit in the eye by Tiera’s arrow. Shin swung 『Kakura』from the monster’s blind spot and chopped off its neck.
At the same time, Shin spun and kicked the Gale Serpent’s fallen head sending it crashing into the next Gale Serpent.
As the Gale Serpent lost its balance, Shin activated the Light-type magic skill【Avraid Ray】. Thanks to the weakened storm, the light ray pierced two serpent heads.
There were 7 remaining Gale Serpents.
As Shin was searching for the next monster, an explosion echoed from the front of the ship.
In the dim darkness, a silver flash reverberated.
Looking at the map, Shin could verify that, among the 5 serpents in front of the ship, 3 had already disappeared. As Shin expected, the reinforcements had arrived.
“Let’s finish this once and….hm?”
As he was about to say “for all”, Shin detected that something else was coming closer.
2 new signals were closing in on the ship, much faster than the other Gale Serpents.
“(Schnee! Shibaid! Two more coming!)”
While taking down another serpent, Shin informed Schnee and Shibaid via Mind Chat about the two incoming monsters.
“(We have sensed them as well. Who would have expected such an assault though.)”
“(Indeed, were we not on board, the ship would have sunk by now.)”
Shin received a somewhat jaded response via Mind Chat. The location made it difficult to fight, but they did not feel particularly cornered.
With Schnee and Shibaid on deck, the ship would be sufficiently protected.
“They split, huh.”
The new monsters’ signals separated along the way; they were now heading one towards the front and one towards the back of the ship.
The sea swelled even higher than before, sending water spraying all around and revealing the silhouette of a Gale Serpent almost twice the size of the previous ones.
“I see, the Queen and King showed up.”
Even before using【Analyze】on the new monster, clearly different from the 10 Gale Serpents which appeared before, Shin had seen through its identity.
“Gale Serpent Queen – Level 702”
The monster’s details appeared at the same time as Shin’s words.
As expected, the monster name included the word “Queen”. The King was likely headed to the front.
Many monsters had “King” or “Queen” in their names, and most of them were escorted by monsters of the same species.
“I guess they built a nest around here.”
It was confirmed that monsters too, had the notion of territory. Considering their “King” and “Queen” names, these monsters were probably a couple. If so, the serpents that attacked the ship first could have been their children.
“Why did they come and attack the ship I wonder. There should be plenty of other prey.”
Maybe they were chased by a bigger monster, or wanted to practice hunting. Shin couldn’t know what the reason was, but in any case, what they had to do didn’t change.
The prey retaliating against the hunter was also a fact of nature.
“I’m sorry, but we can’t let you sink this ship.”
Shin ran towards the Queen.
He was about to strike it with『Kakura』, while avoiding the breath attacks it unleashed, when the sea showed an unnatural movement.
The rumbling sea created a gigantic wave between Shin and the Queen, forcing them apart.
Then, as if in response to the giant wave, a series of 60 cemels long harpoon-like jets of seawater shot towards Shin.
“【Aqua Lance】, huh? Sorry, that won’t work on me.”
Shin made the lances, coming at him from all sides, focus on one point, then leapt away.
As it used real seawater, this 【Aqua Lance】had a higher number of lances, power, and resistance to magic than an ordinary one, but it wasn’t enough to stop Shin.
With one swing of『Kakura』, Shin blew past the barrage of water lances created by 【Aqua Lance】. It wasn’t necessary to deal with all of them.
“Sorry to do this when you just arrived, but…”
Shin dodged a newly unleashed water breath, slashed through the giant wave and closed in on the Queen.
He then held 『Kakura』’s hilt with both hands, gripping it forcefully.
“The curtains are already closing!!”
With a shout, Shin pounded 『Kakura』into the Queen’s cranium. With a thunderous sound that silenced the winds, the Queen’s skull visibly caved in.
The power of the attack strengthened by the Mallet skill 【Fierce Impact】was not something even a Queen could sustain.
It was a superior species, with a shell that acted as a helmet, so its head was not crushed to bits. The shock did not kill it on the spot; the Queen’s body swung down to sea level, floating powerlessly on the waves.
“W-What in blazes is going on!?”
Kanade, who had been watching Shin’s battle, lost her balance because of the sudden shaking. Shin looked back and saw the shadow of a Gale Serpent beneath the ship.
“Trying to sink the ship now? You got a good beating, time to retreat.”
Of course, Shin would not let the monster succeed.
Shin immediately dove underwater to punch away the Gale Serpent before it could tackle the ship
Thanks to the marine environment, however, the serpent was not killed right away and slithered away from Shin.
“Guess it doesn’t work as well as aboveground.”
This was Shin’s first underwater battle after coming to this world. The response he felt on his fists was also lighter than usual.
“The currents are a pain too.”
He had to move while kicking the water to prevent his body from being dragged away. The invisible water currents were swirling all around Shin.
In an underwater environment, without a solid foothold, even Shin who still retained his memories of his experiences during the game era had to focus at all times or he would lose track of the direction he had to face.
Shin returned temporarily to the sea surface, and jumped in midair while kicking up jets of seawater.
In the same instant, he saw Kanade as she was about to jump into the sea.
“Hey, what are you doing!?!”
Following Kanade, Karin jumped into the water too.
Shin then noticed that the ship was severely tilted. He wanted to chase Kanade and Karin right away, but couldn’t leave the ship like that.
As Shin tried to get closer to the ship with the Movement-type Martial skill【Flying Shadow】, the seawater around the bottom of the ship suddenly froze.
The ice spread as to cover the ship, acting as a floating tube with the surrounding seawater.
The waves were still tall, but not enough to knock over the ship now supported by the ice. Unless the frozen surface was crushed, the ship would not sink.
“I see they’re almost done too.”
From his position in midair, Shin saw Filma unleash crimson sword slashes towards the King and felt positive that the battle would be over soon .
“Then I will—–!?”
Shin turned to quickly chase after Kanade and Karin, when a breath attack was unleashed in his direction. It was from the serpent that he had failed to defeat just before.
“I’m busy enough already!”
Shin kicked the air to dodge the breath attack, then pointed a finger towards the Gale Serpent, which was preparing another water breath, to activate a magic skill.
A light blue beam froze the Gale Serpent along with the surrounding water, instantly creating an ice pillar.
It was the Light and Water combination skill【Freezing Ray】.
This beam of light, characterized by high activation speed and freezing properties, froze the Gale Serpent until deep within its body.
Seconds later, the frozen pillar broke off in large and small blocks of ice.
“It made me waste too much time…they’ve already gotten far.”
Shin checked for Kanade and Karin’s signals and fell down to the water while grumbling. The two women had been swept away farther than he had expected.
“(Schnee, I’m going to pick up two women that fell into the sea. Can I leave the rest to you?)”
“(Understood. We will eliminate the remaining monsters very soon. Be careful.)”
Shin exchanged a Mind Chat with Schnee and kicked the water. Gaining distance by moving through the air, he rushed on the seawater while jumping to avoid the waves.
“There isn’t much time left.”
Kanade and Karin were apparently trapped in a sea current and were moving towards the edge of Shin’s perception field.
They were probably getting swept away by the current. Their signals were moving in a fixed reaction, but the trajectory was highly unstable.
“If I chase after them like this, we won’t be able to return to the ship.”
Shin considered their movement speed and the distance to the ship, then reached a conclusion.
Kanade and Karin were in the perfectly opposite direction to the ship. The ship would disappear from his perception field before he reached the two women’s signals.
“I’m sorry for Hermie and the others, but I have to go.”
The option of prioritizing the return to the ship and abandoning the two women did not exist for Shin.
During the sea trip, they had exchanged words several times. He couldn’t think of them as strangers and leave them alone anymore. For this reason, Shin decided to prioritize rescuing them.
“Let’s go to Karin first.”
Since she had jumped into the sea later, Shin managed to reach Karin first.
Shin deactivated【Water Passage】as he hit the water and dove into the sea. He proceeded while cutting through the currents swirling around him and caught Karin as she was being tossed about by the waves.
“There’s not much time left.”
Shin cast【Dive X】on Karin and sped up.
Shin was holding her torso with an arm and keeping her still, but there was no response from Karin. Considering how much time had passed since she had jumped into the sea, it was not possible for her to be still breathing.
“Don’t tell me I came to rescue them and they’re both dead…!!!”
With a shout, Shin charged through the water. As soon as Kanade entered his sight, he drew the white-sheathed katana 『Hakuramaru』from the item box and swung it vertically very quickly, easily overcoming the water’s resistance.
Katana and Water combination skill 【Deepwater Cleave】.
As if tracing the slash itself, the sea was cleft in a V-shape.
Shin, carrying Karin over his shoulders, jumped in midair and kicked the horizontal sea surface.
In the air, Shin kicked again. He rushed towards the center of the sliced V, towards Kanade.
Shin, with 『Hakuramaru』in his mouth, carried Karin with his right arm and Kanade with his left. Before the cleft seawater returned to its original state, he kicked against the horizontally sliced sea surface. After jumping back in midair, Shin activated 【Clairvoyance】and looked around.
As he was focused on chasing the two women, He didn’t know where he currently was. He looked around to see if there was any land in the surroundings, and found a promising shadow on the right.
“Hang on, please!!”
Shin ran as fast as he could.
A mad rush straight towards land, leaving water spouts in his wake.
Maybe because the rain clouds had not reached this stretch of land, the waves near the coast Shin reached were very calm.
Shin reached the sandy beach, quickly laid the two women down and checked their breathing and pulse.
“No, don’t tell me.”
They were both in a state of cardiac arrest.
Trying to suppress his growing impatience, Shin thought of a way to solve the situation.
With【Analyze】, he saw that both women’s HP were slowly reaching zero. The decrease speed was more or less the same, but Karin seemed to have incurred damage somewhere, as she had 10% less HP.
The only solution Shin came up with at the moment was to cast【Heal】and then perform CPR on both.
He first performed CPR on Kanade. Even if slightly, she had jumped into the sea earlier than Karin. As she was younger, Shin decided that she was the more urgent case.
“Great, one’s done!!”
With relief at a resurrection quicker than expected, Shin put Kanade in a more comfortable posture and made her spit out the water.
He then left her and performed CPR on Karin. It didn’t go as well this time, so Shin, relying on a hazy memory, tried to perform a heart massage.
“….h…n…? What…are you…?”
Shin was too focused to hear what Kanade was saying.
Was her breathing adequate? Was the heart massage’s strength and rhythm correct? Was there still time for her to come back to life?
That was all Shin could think about.
Shin’s emergency procedure seemed to have worked, as Karin sprang back to life as well.
Looking at Karin spitting out the seawater, Shin let out a shout and, at the same time, felt all his strength leave his body.
“So this is what it means to be scared to death…”
Shin mumbled after a deep sigh. Life support procedures are not to be made while relying on hazy memories.
Karin’s breath had stabilized and she had woken up, so Shin told the two women to rest while he went to gather dry wood.
It apparently had not rained in their location, so he was able to quickly gather a good quantity of dry wood.
At the same time, Shin looked for any huts or caves where they could rest.
“Oh, this place looks just right.”
It was at a fair distance from the place they came ashore, but he found a naturally formed cave. It was also deep enough that, even if it rained, they would be protected.
Shin placed the dry wood in the item box and returned to the beach.
“There’s a cave over there. I think it’s better to move before the sun sets, but can you walk?”
“I’m all right, but I suppose that Karin would still have trouble walking.”
The two women had fallen into the sea at roughly the same time, but Karin was more exhausted.
Shin had cast healing magic at the time he performed emergency procedures, so their HP was recovered, but both of them were not in good condition. Recovering HP did not mean that one’s condition returned to normal as well.
The sun was already setting over the beach, so after asking permission, Shin carried the still exhausted Karin on his shoulders.
Kanade had recovered enough to be able to walk without problems, so they walked towards the cave at a pace relaxed enough not to tire her.
As they arrived at the cave, Shin let Karin down and prepared to light a fire.
“Let’s use a small Fire spell and…OK, it lit up. Lady Kanade, please use this to warm……what-are-you-two-doing?”
What Shin saw when he turned around was Karin, stripped of her armor and wearing only her kimono.
Her wet hair, sticking to her cheeks, and half exposed chest emitted, in total contrast with their current situation, an aura of sensuality. Karin was apparently the type that looks leaner when clothed.
Judging from the situation, Kanade had probably removed her armor.
“I certainly can’t leave her in those drenched clothes. It is quite unbecoming to show skin in front of a gentleman, but warming Karin up takes priority.”
“Definitely. Then allow me to offer new clothes, a towel, and a cloth for her to lie on.”
In a situation like this, Shin wouldn’t just keep staring at Karin. Prepared for the fact that he might be interrogated about it later, he materialized several items from cards.
The mantle Shin took out for Karin to lie on possessed an HP recovery effect. He didn’t know if it could help relieve her exhaustion, but it was still better than nothing.
“From the number of cards you possess, I am more positive that you certainly are not an ordinary traveller.”
“Rather than that, I suggest that you rest for now. You must be fatigued too. I will stand guard, so please try to rest.”
Shin’s clothes were generally equipped with an underwater mode too, so they weren’t wet at all. He hadn’t lost much energy.
Kanade’s sneeze, echoed within the cave, as she warmed up beside the fire. No matter how close she was to the fire, as drenched as she was, her body couldn’t not feel cold.
Shin told Kanade to also change into another kimono and went outside.
While they were changing, he used a monster repellent item to prevent monsters and wild animals from coming closer to the cave.
Some monsters could come closer despite the item, so for added security Shin set some traps that would damage them the instant they stepped into the cave.
“You may return!”
Shin returned inside the cave to find a changed Kanade and Karin sleeping, wrapped in a blanket.
First, Shin tied the ends of a rope to two short daggers and stabbed them in the cave’s walls, to hang the wet kimonos from this improvised clothesline.
“We are in your debt.”
“As they say, when in trouble people should help each other. Lady Kanade, you should also sleep a little. Are you not tired?”
“I will stand guard. First priority is recovery now.”
Kanade’s eyelids were already closing. She was probably at her limit.
“I will repay you for everything one day…”
Shin made sure that Kanade started sleeping too and sat down near the fire.
(Even if they almost drowned, their fatigue is too much for someone who simply fell into the sea. Is this normal when someone nearly drowns? Or not?)
This was the first time Shin had seen someone nearly drown before his eyes, so he didn’t know if their condition was normal or not. But more than 10 minutes had passed between when they fell into the sea and Shin began emergency treatment on them.
He didn’t know how long they had been in cardiac arrest, but Shin thought that the possibility of not saving them must have been higher.
(Both of them are probably Chosen Ones. Maybe when stats and level are high, at times like this the survival rate increases too?)
While dwelling on such thoughts, Shin waited for them to wake up. Until then, he decided to try contacting Schnee.
“(Shin here. Can we talk now?)”
“(Are you alright? Here the storm passed and the ship departed again. Are the people who fell into the sea safe?)”
The Gale Serpents must have been exterminated. Other than Shin and the two women, no one else fell into the sea, fortunately.
Shin explained their current situation and told Schnee to give priority to protecting Hermie.
“(Understood. Please let us know your location once you know where you are. Let’s choose where to meet then. Also, Yuzuha is quite restless, could you summon her by your side?)”
“(She seems to feel down because although you had left those two ladies in her care, they fell into the sea.)”
“(Ah….I don’t think that was Yuzuha’s fault in any way. Anyway, I understand.)”
Shin confirmed his understanding of what Schnee related.
Rather than falling, Kanade had thrown herself into the sea, so Yuzuha didn’t have to feel responsible. Yet Yuzuha herself certainly didn’t think so.
Shin contacted Yuzuha via Mind Chat and called her with a Tamer skill.
“Don’t feel so down, that wasn’t your fault Yuzuha.”
Yuzuha cried weakly, and Shin patted her head while talking.
For Shin too, it was a complete mystery as to why Kanade had leapt into the water like that.
The two women woke up roughly 2 hours later.
Karin woke up first, then Kanade a little later.
Perhaps because their bodies had rested, or because of the equipment’s effects, their conditions had improved greatly.
“I offer you my most heartfelt thanks for saving my mistress’ life.”
“I do too. If you weren’t there, we would be sleeping among fish and seaweed.”
“It would have felt bad to just abandon you, that’s all. Rather than that, it’s almost time for dinner.”
Both had lowered their heads in thanks, but Shin replied that such excessive politeness was not needed, and handed them a large bowl instead.
He had made some stew while they were sleeping. It was simple – he just cut the ingredients and let them boil in the roux he materialized from a card.
“Allow me to thank you again..”
“And this is quite the delicacy too. I feel my whole body getting warmer.”
“It’s a simple dish, I just cut the ingredients, boiled them, and put in some seasonings.”
While saying so, Shin poured himself another bowlful. Yuzuha, of course, had her share too.
The two women were surprised at first by Yuzuha’s presence, but understood when Shin explained that he could call her because they were bound by a contract. Apparently, users of a similar technique were also in Hinomoto.
After the meal, they decided to talk a while before sleeping.
“First, tomorrow shall we see if we can find a dwelling or some sort around here?”
“That’s right. Without knowing where we are, we can’t decide where to go.”
“Ah, at the very least I know in which country we are.”
Shin interrupted the women’s conversation. He had seen a particular mountain when he had exited the cave.
“Is that so. Tell us then, where are we now?”
“Hinomoto, your homeland.”
“Sir Shin. May I ask how you know?”
“When I went outside, I saw the sacred Mount Fuji. Is it not Hinomoto’s symbol?”
Shin, who had heard this piece of information in Balmel, had understood right away where they were.
Sacred Mount Fuji was a map added in the 5th update, “Banquet of Blades”. It had been reproduced with such precision that it was almost identical to the real Mt. Fuji, so Shin understood at a glance that what he saw was Mt. Fuji.
“Indeed it is. In such a case, we can have a rough idea of our current location?”
“Yes. If we are in Hinomoto, we can find a way back.”
Shin thought of heading to a certain port town and meeting with Schnee and the others.
Kanade and Karin’s equipment had not been lost, so they did not need to be accompanied.
“Now that we have a destination, there is something I need to ask, Lady Kanade.”
Also thinking of Yuzuha, Shin decided to ask the question right away.
“What is it?”
“Why did you jump down from the ship? I am sure you knew it would put you in mortal danger.”
Shin had a few theories about the reason, but nothing more.
Kanade appeared to hesitate, but maybe thought that she couldn’t keep silent either, so she nervously started to speak.
“In truth, the medicine we had obtained for my elder sister had been blown away by the wind. I always kept it with me in order to not lose it, but that proved to be my undoing…I owe you both an apology.”
Saying so, Kanade lowered her head towards Shin and Karin. She knew it was dangerous, but moved without thinking.
“Even so, in the end only this much remained.”
What Kanade was holding were green colored leaves with a hint of red.
The name of the plant was “Mimic Dead Snake Grass”. As the name suggests, it was a plant that looked very much like “Dead Snake Grass”, but was a completely different species.
Shin had seen the plant name displayed via【Appraisal】and felt something was off, but couldn’t quite put his finger on it, so he urged Kanade to continue.
“My sister has contracted quite a unique disease you see. She doesn’t have much time left anymore. This medicinal herb can specifically cure it, but it cannot be found in our country, nor did any merchant have it. We had finally managed to obtain some.”
A unique illness, a specific medicine, Dead Snake Grass…Shin tried comparing the pieces of information found in the conversation with his own knowledge.
“However, this much can only prolong her life a little longer…”
Karin tried to console the downhearted Kanade. The country’s merchants had done everything they could too.
(I think I’ve already heard about this…a quest, maybe?)
Shin took a thinking pose and opened the menu via mental control. Inside the menu, he picked the “Event History” option.
This mode allowed Shin to browse, in detail, the past events he participated in during the game era: the contents, the item rewards, and other information.
Among them, Shin looked for events that required Dead Snake Grass.
(There’s just one…did I hit the jackpot?)
Among the events that required Dead Snake Grass, only one was related to a sickness.
In the events guilds could participate in during the game era, there was one that involved concocting medicine for a villager.
It was mainly aimed at players with alchemist jobs, but Shin took it for the rewards.
(Now I’m not sure if I should say it or not though.)
Shin looked at the event details and grimaced, careful not to be noticed by the two women.
If the illness was the same as the one he looked up, Kanade’s Mimic Dead Snake Grass would have no effect at all.
Not knowing the sister’s symptoms, though, he could not talk lightly. Even if he talked now, he would just dash their hopes of prolonging Kanade’s sister’s life.
“I apologize for the depressing story. We should go to sleep to be ready for tomorrow. We will watch the fire tonight, so please go ahead and sleep sir Shin.”
“My mistress and I will take turns standing guard. Please rest well sir Shin.”
“No, I can’t let you…”
“It must have not been easy to pull us up from the sea. You must be weary too. I assure you, we are better trained than the average person, we shall not succumb to mere monsters.”
Kanade smiled, full of confidence.
Shin was not excessively tired, but realized that even if he insisted he was fine, they would not be convinced, so he decided to rest.
Around 20 minutes after Shin went to rest, Kanade and Karin headed towards the entrance of the cave.
Shin, who stayed awake in case of an emergency, noticed it and checked the surroundings just in case, but did not perceive signals of monsters or the like.
In the silent night, except for the sound of bonfire, the sound of someone crying reached his ears.
“…but why…!!…..a little….more and….help….my sist…..this can’t….”
It was Kanade.
She must have kept it all inside while she was talking to Shin.
She had left her house, her country, to save a person…and just when she thought she had achieved her goal, the Gale Serpents attacked.
Without enough medicine left to save her sister, it was natural to feel like crying.
Furthermore, Kanade was still a child. It wouldn’t be weird for her to feel heartbroken.
“(Well, who wouldn’t…)”
Yuzuha had heard too. Shin patted her head lightly, telling her not to mind and go to sleep.
(If I could….leave her alone, I wouldn’t be concerned like this…)
Sighing at himself for not being able to cut her off as someone he had no relation to, Shin decided to help the two Hinomoto women.