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Vol. 4 Chapter 3 – Part 1

Schnee, who cut off the Mind Chat with Shin, went into action immediately.

She seemed to be very anxious when Shin’s presence disappeared half a day after going into the castle, but she regained her usual composure right away.

“Kuu?”

“What’s wrong?” Yuzuha asked, and the situation was briefly explained.

“Kuu! Yuzuha hates that!”

Precisely because Yuzuha’s partner got involved, and because it personally had been affected by miasma before, Yuzuha wouldn’t allow the existence of the enemy*. (T/N: This will be explained later.)

With Yuzuha perched on her shoulder, Schnee went into town from the inn. Though passersby stopped walking, being fascinated by Schnee’s pretty face, nobody recognized her because she was disguised by a magic skill.

Avoiding those who didn’t know their places gracefully, Schnee arrived at the place where Tiera was in no time. When she opened the door to the entrance, fragrances that she never smelled in daily life lingered in the air. Apparently, it was a shop that dealt with alchemy-related products. Items, which would become special catalysts, like leaves with poisonous-looking colors or some kind of dried things, were side-by-side.

Tiera was in the corner where various types of paper lined up, and she was eagerly comparing them.

“Tiera. Tiera?”

“………”

Apparently, Tiera was quite focused on it.

Even when Schnee called out to her, Tiera didn’t respond at all. Because it couldn’t be helped, Schnee lightly tapped her shoulder and called out her name close to her ear.

“…Tiera?”

“Hyaaa!!?”

Tiera was probably surprised, suddenly hearing a voice so close to her ear.

She jumped in response.

“M-Master. Please don’t startle me like that.”

“Though it’s good to concentrate, pay attention to your surroundings. You didn’t even notice when I was calling you earlier.”

“Uhh, I’m sorry.”

Tiera apologized while hanging her head.

Somehow, her long ears also seemed to face the ground.

“Never mind. Tiera, although this may be difficult for you, there has been an urgent business that has come up and you need to accompany me from now on.”

“Urgent business?”

“Yes, it’s about the King’s castle.”

The King’s castle, Tiera understood it, was not a place she could go.

If she was still at Tsuki no Hokora, she certainly would have retorted in a loud voice. However, because of Shin and his actions, she was not surprised by a thing of such degree.

“…I’m starting to get used to these situations that happen while accompanying Master.”

‘As expected from Master, you and Shin are certainly the same’, agreed Tiera as she thought to herself.

 

“It’s not a story to explain in here. Let’s go outside.”

“Understood.”

Tiera obediently followed Schnee who turned back towards the street.

It wasn’t a problem for Tiera, since she had no intention of buying anything in particular.

While walking on the road that lead to the King’s castle, Schnee explained the situation.

“…So in other words, I will have to defeat ‘it’ from now on?”

“That’s how it appears. Because you have reached the point where you can go outside, there’s no guarantee that you wouldn’t get involved with ‘it’. There are no documents or rumours about ‘it’, and it’s better if you understand ‘it’ by yourself.”

‘It’ was different from the monsters that attack people for food or to protect their territory. ‘It’ was different from the thief who steals items and money. ‘It’ was the antagonist who afflicts and entraps people.

“It’s a perfect chance for Tiera to learn about the existence of demons.”

 

――Demon.

Was a monster said to be born from miasma.

It was greatly different from other monsters, because it was not subjected to ability restriction at the place where miasma accumulated; instead it was strengthened. Again, in the demon’s area, the transmogrification of monsters were also accelerated by miasma and in the areas affected by it; the presence of demons increased the degree of difficulty.

Normally, when a monster was affected by the miasma, it was difficult for them to keep their sanity.

It may be possible for a high-level monster, but low-level monsters are hardly able to resist transmogrification. Monsters that change appearance have the word ‘Invade’ added to their names. Then, it becomes an existence that attacks surrounding living beings indiscriminately.

The change of the appearance was assumed to happen when the body of the monster, which was born from demon essence, was replaced by miasma. Thus, the monster’s appearance didn’t revert back to its original form even if the miasma was cleared away. Was it because the monsters, which couldn’t distinguish between ally and enemy, were affected by miasma? There were a lot of them that followed the demon.

Also the miasma, besides affecting monsters, inflicted effects to the seven races who existed in this world. There was no transmogrification in the game’s setting; however, inside the miasma, one would have received bad statuses such as ability restriction, abnormal states, and so on. Though it depends on the density of the miasma, level and race of the person in question, it was a troublesome hindrance to fight against the enhanced demons.

The miasma appeared in quests against a boss, and it lead to monsters attacking a town; it appeared in various places.

When it comes to a high-ranking demon which had the appearance that was close to human anatomy, high intelligence, high fighting power, and was accompanied by low-ranking demon. It was a monster that always appeared in a difficult dungeon and quest.

Ranks usually depended on strength, and were classified into Grand Duke class, Duke class, Marquis class, Count class, Viscount class, Baron class, and Knight class. By the way, this was the index that existed as a setting in the game; it roughly expressed the fighting power of the demon.

 

“The enemy is probably a Count class.”

“How does Master know?”

Tiera asked Schnee who conjectured the enemy’s rank.

Even if Tiera knew the existence of demons as knowledge, she couldn’t predict like Schnee did.

“It’s a simple method of elimination. In case of Marquis class and above, it’s plenty enough to destroy the country in a surprise attack, without even the need to transpose the second princess. When it comes to Baron class and below, there is no intelligence to think about that far ahead in time. Its level is high to some extent, but it’s reasonable to think it’s a Count class.”

“I see. By the way, what is the level estimation?”

“Right, I guess it’s about low 300s , to high 400s.”

‘If the Princess dies at the Sacred Place, then it’s beneficial for them. Even if she doesn’t, they achieve their purpose by taking advantage of the confusion.’ Tiera thought, while receiving such an explanation from Schnee.

“The level of that class is somewhere in the middle…I mean, um, Master? I’m still no good to fight against it, even if it’s half of the lowest level.”

Unlike chosen ones with high fighting power, it was impossible for her. Except to get killed by fighting an opponent whose level difference was more than 200. Even if Kagerou was with her, it didn’t mean her fighting power increased.

“No problem, because we’ll only observe this time.”

“Observe…”

‘Should I be pleased that there’s no need to fight? Or should I be amazed with Master who says such a thing?’

‘Something was strange either way’, Tiera thought, as her eyebrows furrowed.

Aloof from Tiera’s worries, Schnee continued walking towards the castle.

Because Tiera heard that the Princess was forced to transpose, she thought that the castle would be in confusion. However, the guards didn’t have the appearance of a panicked state.

“Master, we don’t have permits, will we be all right?”

“No problem, because we won’t use the gate to begin with.”

“Eh?”

A question mark floated from Tiera at Schnee’s words.

Schnee then advanced towards the direction where it was different from the gate.

Though Tiera didn’t understand Schnee’s intention either, she followed her for the time being. Schnee, who walked along the wall for a while, the moment there were no people in the area, she activated a magic skill.

“【Hiding】”

The figures of the two people disappeared with the effect.

Coupled with the bonus effect of Kunoichi, which was Schnee’s main job, they would only be discovered in extreme circumstances.

“My appearance is concealed…Don’t tell me…?”

“You are correct. Hold on a little, because we are going to jump.”

Saying so, Schnee held Tiera in her arms and kicked-off the ground.

“Eek!――――”

Without crushing the ground, Schnee and Tiera appeared to fly up gently.

However, Tiera’s scream was forcibly halted from the sudden wind pressure. Though no one would hear it even if she screamed due to the effect of 【Hiding】, if possible she wanted some time to be prepared.

“One step is not enough after all, huh?”

Besides Tiera who thought about these kind of things, Schnee calmly calculated the distance to the top of the wall.

Because she jumped while holding Tiera, she wouldn’t have arrived at the top if she kept going as is. Since it couldn’t be helped, she put her feet on the wall and kicked with her strength.

Movement system martial arts skill 【Wall Run】. With a fixed number of steps, it was a skill that let one run vertically on a wall temporarily when invoked and maintain the foothold.

From that one step, Schnee soundlessly ran up the wall.

“Master, didn’t you make a strange jump just now?”

“It’s a skill that can make foothold on a wall. It’s very convenient.”

“I-I see…”

From Tiera’s point of view, who often had combat training, she wondered ‘will there ever be an opportunity to use a wall as a foothold like that?’ She expected that it was related to a job.

When Tiera asked about Schnee’s job before, she received a single phrase: “It’s a secret.” instead.

“Well then, let’s go down. It’s dangerous if you don’t hang on.”

Regardless of what Tiera thought, Schnee jumped into the air without faltering.

“Ah, ye-AAAAH!”

Tiera screamed from the sudden fall, but Schnee didn’t mind for the time being. Schnee often did this type of fall together with Shin.

Though she jumped off from about the height of an average building, Schnee landed soundlessly, just like when she got on the wall. After she lowered Tiera, Schnee began to walk with silent footsteps right away.

To Tiera who was kneeling on the ground, holding her chest, and was out of breath, the next words that came out from Schnee mercilessly pierced her.

“Now, it’s time to sneak into the castle.”

“Ye-Yes…”

While recalling her past days of Spartan training, Tiera obediently followed after Schnee.

(Even if Shin returned, Master is still Master…)

Schnee was completely ignorant of Tiera who thought about such a thing.

 

◆◆◆◆

 

Now, Schnee and Tiera stepped inside the castle. However, their appearances were not to move sneakily like someone suspicious. In fact, they acted in a very bold way.

They entered the castle’s front gate after a little walking from the wall, and advanced through the passage where the knights and civil officers were going back and forth. They were moving as if they were in a totally open plain.

“Um, where are we going, Master?”

“To the prison cell. I’m going to remove the abnormal statuses on Cardinal Greyl.”

“Well, um, don’t we need to defeat the said demon before?”

“No problem. I already caught it.”

“Master is too amazing…”

While talking with Schnee who answered indifferently, Tiera thought, ‘Demon, it’s over for you.’

There were certainly soldiers who were on patrol and on guard duty. However, there was no one powerful enough that could see through Schnee’s 【Hiding】, and Schnee assumed that there was no need to patrol inside a castle in broad daylight.

‘It was too easy,’ thought Tiera who knew of Schnee’s capabilities, but she held back her question about whether if it was all right to have advanced so easily like this.

Even the demon wouldn’t expect this kind of development.

And then――.

 

“We have arrived…”

After a several minutes, they arrived at the front door that lead to the prison cell without any incident.

Guarding the sturdy door were two muscular knights. However, when Schnee approached, they leaned their backs against the wall and sat down, as if they lost their strength.

It was the non-chanting magic skill, Sleep. After taking the key from the guards who have completely fallen asleep, Schnee opened the door that led to the prison cell.

You couldn’t say that the prison cell was clean. Even though it was in the royal castle, it had the appearance close to a cave. Each one of the jails were spacious, it was possible to accommodate about ten humans brought together.

Schnee had detected 2 presences within her perceptive range. One of them was the demon and the other belonged to Cardinal Greyl. She headed straight towards the cell because that was where the demon’s presence was.

In the prison cell, except Schnee and company, there were only two presences. Even though the room was quite spacious, only the Cardinal was accommodated there.

After leaving Yuzuha to Tiera and put her on standby, Schnee approached the Cardinal and showed herself. Then, a loud voice from Cardinal Greyl asked for her identity.

“Who’s there?”

“It’s been a long time, Cardinal Greyl.”

“!? T-That voice, perhaps you are Raizar-dono? Why are you here?”

Perplexity was mixed in with Cardinal Greyl’s voice.

Even the Cardinal heard about the disappearance of Tsuki no Hokora.

“You are affected by Charm and Confusion, aren’t you?”

“…You know?”

“I heard you transposed the person who was regarded as an upper class Chosen One and the Second Princess to the Sacred Place.”

“As expected from Raizar-dono, you have quick ears. When did it begin? I have little memory of it. I was arrested by Gadras when I recovered my consciousness, and came to be this state. Even if I try to remember it, no matter how many times, only fragmented and vague memories appear.”

Cardinal Greyl frowned in a regretful way; Schnee felt he was a size smaller than the time when he was part of the Armed Struggle Faction. It was likely he felt responsible for the events that occurred.

“That’s the harmful effect when you get two of the mind interference, you know? I came here to remove Charm and Confusion from you completely. Please be at ease. The two people who were transposed are safe.”

The Cardinal suddenly lifted his head.

“What! Is that the truth!?”

“It’s trustworthy information.”

“I thank you for your concern. Having driven people indispensable to the country, the royal family and a Chosen One, to death, you could say I was very worried.”

“It probably won’t take long until they return. Now, since your worries have disappeared, shall I remove the abnormal states?”

“Yes. It’s frightening that I don’t know when I will lose my sanity. Please do so.”

The truth was it’s already dispelled, but Schnee told him so to make him feel relieved.

When mind interference group magic skills became a taboo, the knowledge of the recovery method was also lost.

Schnee was going to use an abnormality state recovery magic skill on the weakened Cardinal Greyl.

However, before she could activated the skill, a shadow came flying towards Schnee.

“You finally came out, huh?”

Schnee quickly took out a ninja katana,『Lazuline Flame』, and turned her gaze toward the shadow that flew in.

Before her, there was a monster which had a strange appearance.

The lower half of its body had two different legs: one leg resembled that of a cow and the other was human. An exoskeleton similar to insects covered the being from its chest to its buttocks. The left arm had a pair of crab pincers and a mantis sickle. The right arm on the other hand, had five tentacles, all of which had thorns protruding the tips. Its head was probably an anglerfish. With a fish face that extended horizontally, the demon seemed to had compound eyes.

It was like a chimera created with evil intention. That figure, which could only be called revolting, were characteristic traits of the Count class.

――――『Count class Demon   Magunumuku   Level  423』

With Schnee’s【Analyze】, the enemy’s information was disclosed. The rank was what she expected. The only difference was it had “Magunumuku” as an individual name.

“It has a name. I see, so that’s why it possesses such intelligence, huh?”

Some demons, apart from the rank, have their own name.

It could be said that there were the demon’s version of unique monsters. It was commonly known to be strong, similar to other unique monsters. In an indirect way, its high intelligence seemed to come from it being unique monster.

“Silver hair. Blue eyes. Elf. You are Schneee…Raizaa…huh?”

Did it have a problem with its vocal chords? It seemed to have a distorted out of pitch voice that echoed in the basement.

“It’s been about 500 years since I’ve met your kind. Though I haven’t seen a figure since the natural disaster, it’s still a weird appearance as always.”

“You all are annoying. You fellows are always a nuisance.”

“Naturally, swish!!”

The voice of Magunumuku was erased by a Ting sound that reverberated underground, and blue sparks lit up the dark prison cell momentarily.

As it weaved through the darkness, the thorn that lengthened from the tip of the tentacles were launched at Schnee, but she knocked it down in time. The iron bars of the prison cell were already in pieces by Schnee’s movement.

Whoosh

Pincers and a sickle attacked Schnee who moved to protect Cardinal Greyl.

Schnee caught the 3 lethal weapons that concentrated an attack on her 『Lazuline Flame』. With the katana blade pushed by the Count class, which featured high muscular strength, blue sparks scattered from the 『Lazuline Flame』.

Tentacles approached from Schnee’s right side, which couldn’t move. There were five of them and Schnee’s 『Lazuline Flame』 was suppressed by the pincers and sickle from Magunumuku.

‘Caught you’, Magunumuku thought, but just then a blue trace ran through the base of its tentacles.

Gaaahh!?

The screaming Magunumuku took distance from Schnee.

The compound eyes of Magunumuku caught the dagger, 『Scarlet Flame』, in its view in Schnee’s left hand, and confirmed that it had stopped the 『Lazuline Flame』 with its pincers and sickle.

Magunumuku couldn’t prevent its tentacles from being freely cut by 『Lazuline Flame』, as it was not possible to react to Schnee’s simple but quick movements. Even if the tentacles were able to withstand blows from a greatsword, it couldn’t endure the blade which carried a mysterious shine.

“Guu! Annoying! Why are you protecting a human!?”

“He is an innocent person, I cannot let him die with such a false accusation. Besides, I cannot let you guys do whatever you please. To do so would tarnish Tsuki no Hokora’s record.”

“Tsuki no Hokora. The place of the High Human, huh?”

Mugunumuku, who heard the name Tsuki no Hokora, withdrew back one step and straightened its posture.

Its cut off tentacles regenerated from the part of its base.

“High Human, these fellows also killed many of my comrades. However, that’s alreadyover.”

“Over?”

“They have abandoned this world, and many of the warriors left. Humans that remained, degraded as they progressed.”

“Well, I never thought to be told such a story by a demon.”

Though Count class demons were not smart to that extent, when it came to those owning a name, it seemed able to understand the society of the human race.

“Human era is facing the end. Schneee Raizaa. Be our comrade.”

“Is this the lead in to said story? When I think about whatever you said―――― It’s impossible.”

Magunumuku’s invitation was declined by Schnee without any hesitation. Such a thing was not worthy to be considered.

Magunumuku, which heard Schnee’s answer, bent its without-a-neck-body skillfully, and had a posture that looked puzzled. It appeared to not understand the reason Schnee refused.

“Schneee Raizaa. You were left by your master, why did you refuse us?”

“…Wait.”

In the middle of a trifling conversation, Schnee had to estimate the timing of attack, and her pretty eyebrows twitched to the words originating from Magunumuku.

“What did you just say?”

The air had frozen. Everyone in that room felt the illusion that the temperature inside the prison cell fell below freezing.

At this time, only Tiera felt the furs of Yuzuha and Kagerou suddenly bristling up.

“Your master has left you behind. These fellows have gone long ago. They will no longer return.”

As for Magunumuku, did it not feel the severe cold given off by Schnee? It wouldn’t stop talking.

“Isn’t it hateful? I won’t abandon you. Isn’t it annoying? Just rely on that power.”

Magunumuku kept stacking up words in a crooked voice to Schnee, who was silent.

The distorted sound, which was similar to the noise from the abyss, invaded and surged toward Schnee’s ears.

That was the skillset of Charm and Confusion that had manipulated Cardinal Greyl. The double mind contamination extended its evil hand towards Schnee.

However――

“Indeed, you all are still not aware of it after all.”

Schnee’s voice had somewhat a translucent feeling in it, filling the dark wet prison cell and purifying it.

“What are you talking about?”

“If it was the former me, I would surely be angry. I may have relied on feelings and fought.”

Schnee’s expression changed completely into a calm one from some time ago.

Magunumuku couldn’t understand why it didn’t feel negative emotions.

“The timing was bad for you.”

Schnee, in the next moment after saying so, moved both of her hands that they became blurry, and her weapons『Lazuline Flame』and 『Scarlet Flame』became flashes that penetrated through Magunumuku.

Gaahhh!?

Magunumuku couldn’t even react to the overwhelming speed of Schnee.

The blades pierced through the demon’s right chest and left side belly; its power and sharpness caused Magunumuku to become sewn on the wall of the prison cell.

There, Schnee approached him in a relaxed manner. Her movement was not in the least fast.

“This degree of――”

Its words didn’t continue to the end.

With its view declining diagonally, the figure that projected there, especially the blue shining line, made a strong impression in Magunumuku’s mind.

Magunumuku had its head severed. However, it didn’t cease breathing immediately because of its tough vitality. Therefore, it was able to recognize the ninja katana that gave off a bizarre air that Schnee held in her hand.

Schnee and a Demon

(That weapon, don’t tell me, 『Blue Moon』? Absurd, that impossi…)

Its thought also broke off there.

Magunumuku’s view turned blue for an instant, and this time, it ceased breathing after recognizing the ninja katana.

“If now, I don’t feel like losing to an Element Tail.”

Schnee muttered, while feeling the power flow from 『Blue Moon』.

 

“Raizar-dono. What in the world was that monster just now…?”

Cardinal Greyl confirmed that the demon had vanished, and turned toward Schnee.

Before his eyes, an expression of astonishment appeared on his face.

“The one I defeated just now was the monster called a demon. The one that was manipulating you. Though you should be able to understand what you saw, there is not much known about it because it was a unique monster.”

“That’s a demon…I have read the Church’s documents. It’s humanity’s enemy and is born from miasma.”

The demon, which hadn’t appeared for a very long time, started making its move.

This, may be an advanced warning that something different from the current would happen.

“The abnormal state that affected you has been dispelled. Because I have to tell the King, let’s go together.”

“Ah, what should I say to express my gratitude? I will repay this kindness by all means.”

“Please, don’t get worked up too much. Now, let’s go.”

Schnee winked at Tiera and the rest who were hiding, and began to walk.

Tiera, who was under a 【Hiding】 state, was holding Yuzuha, followed the two people. By the way, Kagerou was hidden inside her shadow the whole time.

 

◆◆◆◆

 

Schnee and Cardinal Greyl headed straight to the King’s room. Because Schnee stopped hiding her appearance, people who passed her gave a surprised expression and lowered their heads, which looked impressive to Tiera.

Was the story transmitted to the top brass? A guide came from the King’s bodyguard unit in the midway and led them. It was boisterous inside the castle, probably because the information related to the series of events were not transmitted accurately. As for the guide being dispatched, it was because some of the capable leaders had no choice but to make a move.

“This is the office of the King. Please wait for a little bit.”

Saying so, the guide’s soldier knocked on the door, and conveyed Schnee’s visit.

Schnee already grasped who was inside the room, and when the door opened, she calmly entered. Cardinal Greyl was urged to go inside, too. Tiera and the rest secretly slipped into the room.

There were three people in the office.

King of the Bayreuth Kingdom, Jeon Courtade Bayreuth.

First princess of Bayreuth Kingdom, Efilia Lou Bayreuth.

Knight’s leader of Bayreuth Kingdom, Gadras Jarre.

The color of tension could be perceived on the three people’s expression.

“It’s been a long time. I need to talk with all of you.”

“Ah, Raizar-dono. I’m sorry for meeting you like this. I heard that Tsuki no Hokora had disappeared, and my mind became dismayed, you know?”

“I seemed to have caused you worry. However, Tsuki no Hokora and I are safe. Please rest assured.”

Jeon had heard the report of Schnee being alive and well. However, having met her, moreover obtained the information of Tsuki no Hokora was safe from her directly, he felt relieved.

“Raizar-sama. That is Cardinal Greyl, shouldn’t he have been put into the prison cell?”

“Yes, I would like to talk regarding that.”

To Efilia’s question, Schnee explained to them about the existence of demons and how they were behind the scenes of controlling the cardinal.

“Demons…It’s written in the history book. The enemy of mankind. For such a thing to make a move…”

“They have mind interference skills, which are considered a taboo. What a troublesome bunch.”

Listening to Schnee’s story, Jeon and Gadras groaned with a grave expression.

Because they knew Cardinal Greyl was a person who didn’t neglect self-training, they seemed to fully realize the nuisances of the mind interference system skills that manipulated him.

Efilia anxiously looked at Schnee.

“With my magic skills, can I oppose them?”

“Even without magic system skills, there are skills that weakens the mind interference. I will hand you the Secret Book, please spread it around as much as possible.”

Up until now, such a skill was hardly needed.

However, when the thought of enemies that relied heavily on mind interference skills, like demons, increased, Schnee handed over the『Secret Book』of support system magic skill to Efilia. Though it was a useless item depending on level differences, she thought it was better than doing nothing.

“Also, the two people who were transposed are also safe.”

“Oh, is that the truth?!”

“What a relief…”

“Though princess and Shin-dono are said to be upper class Chosen Ones, I thought they wouldn’t die easily, no, I’m glad, very glad.”

Jeon, Efilia and Gadras looked like they were relieved to hear the safety of Rionne and Shin.

“As for Cardinal Greyl, he has not been affected by mind interference either. Therefore, I came with him to go here.”

“This time I have troubled you all.”

“No, as Raizar-dono said, it was because you received mind interference; it would be the same if it was us. I would like Cardinal Greyl to serve as a mediator with the church as always.”

“Yes sir, I promise to give more effort.”

The cardinal bowed his head to the King.

Because he was not the cause of the event, there was no significant punishment.

“First of all, we need to manage the information. When people of the castle are confused, they become uneasy.”

“Understood. Raizar-dono, what will you do after this?”

“There is a place I must go. Excuse me.”

Schnee bowed and turned back.

Though it was extremely rude toward a King, no one said anything because it was Schnee.

Jeon, as usual, already turned his head and gave instructions to Gadras.

 

◆◆◆◆

 

“What will we do from now on, Master?”

“We are heading toward the fort city Balmel. Because when Shin and Rionne escape from the Sacred Place, they will be going there.”

After buying food in town, Schnee and Tiera appeared outside the ramparts.

Since Shin had the wagon, they were going to head on foot from here. Schnee and Yuzuha moved by themselves, but Tiera rode on Kagerou’s back, which transformed to just the right size.

Like the blowing winds, Schnee and the rest ran through the road.

With【Hiding】still in effect, and due to the running speed that was incomparable with horses, the merchants and adventurers passing by were plagued with the sudden gust―――.

“Master~! It’s fast! Too fast!”

“G-Gruu…”

Occasionally, they heard such voices too.

 

◆◆◆◆

 

Vol. 4 Chapter 3 – Part 2

Going back in time, immediately after Shin and Rionne were transferred to Sacred Place Kalkia.

“How was it?”

“I was able to contact and convey the message to my companions. They will meet us at Balmel and will contact me if something comes up. I asked them to inform the king that the princess is safe for now, but please don’t expect too much.”

Shin thought about what to do next, while telling Rionne; although it was quite different from his actual conversation with Schnee.

Though he wanted to explore the Sacred Place, it would certainly be bad if he took Rionne with him, so he decided to make escaping a top priority and exploration as a bonus.

Even though Rionne was said to be an upper class Chosen One, if the rumored monsters’ information were correct, she would be in danger if Shin didn’t guard her.

“Rionne-sama, do you know anything about the Sacred Place?”

“No, this is also my first time inside, but I have heard stories about the monsters that would come out, and that it would take several upper class Chosen Ones’ everything to deal with them.”

“That’s similar to the information I know. In any case, I will need a weapon, right?”

“Indeed, it’s impossible without a weapon. Is it a blessing in disguise that I have this?”

Rionne said and took out 『Muspelm』from the case she held in hand.

Was this because Rionne had a weapon that could bear all of her energy? Though she was transposed to the danger zone, there was no grim facial expression from her.

Since the case became useless baggage under the current situation, she decided to leave it behind. Because 『Muspelm』 was currently sheathed in what was thought to be a custom-designed scabbard, she didn’t need to carry it exposed.

“I am good, but what about you, Shin? There may be no handy weapons lying around…”

Rionne, who was equipped with 『Muspelm』, muttered as she looked at Shin.

However, Shin didn’t panic. If what he needed was a weapon, he had more than he could possibly use and had explanations for having them prepared.

“It’s okay, because I have this.”

Shin said and took out a piece of a card from his chest pocket and materialized it.

“That’s…?!”

“Haven’t I said it before? I have one or two trumps card concealed.”

Shin laughed a bit proudly towards the surprised Rionne.

What Shin was holding was something that could be misinterpreted as a weak, elliptic-shaped, flattened bar. The katana without-brim had a thickened portion part of the blade, which also best describes its shape.

Its length was about one and a half mel and was fully black in color. Designs like Sanskrit characters were drawn in red on its flat part. Though it had the appearance of a sword, because the weapon was of the heavyweight class like a mace or a long staff, it was mainly for smashing, not cutting, during combat.

This weapon, which seemed to have completely opposite attributes compared to 『Muspelm』, was an average 《Mythology》 grade, named 『Kakura』. The reason why it had a black appearance was because most of it was made of adamantine. There was a little amount of orichalcum in its core, and mithril was used for the Sanskrit characters; as a result, it could deal with the opponent’s magical and physical attacks.

“Even though I thought that you were no ordinary person, when you concealed such a thing…”

“I went through many hardships to obtain it, so please keep it a secret if possible.”

Shin confirmed his senses by taking a swing of 『Kakura』, which was enveloped by a red aura.

By contrast with its thin appearance, because the material was adamantine, its weight was as heavy as Rionne’s 『Muspelm』. The gust of wind conveyed the weight of a single swing.

“I just wanted to ask one thing, where do the Sacred Place investigation teams enter? I have a feeling that they exit over there.”

“Among the gates are four cardinal directions, they enter through the southern gate; of course, it won’t be so easy to pass by.”

“Is it difficult to climb the surrounding walls?”

“Ah, there was one person who tried it once. It’s fine to do it from the outside, but when you try from the inside, monsters seem to only target you. Evasion is also difficult once noticed.”

From the place where Shin and Rionne were, walls that surrounded Kalkia were seen.

Even if one climbed the wall which, by the way, was higher than Bayreuth’s, and did so without any hindrances, it would probably still take a considerable amount of time.

It would take even more time while on the lookout for monsters.

(But if I get serious, it’s possible to do it…)

Though Shin could do it, his ability may be known to Rionne, and it was a simple matter to escape for the two people.

The technique of combining martial arts and magic skills to run up the wall quickly was a relatively popular technique in a battle between players. If he forcibly used the technique little by little, he may be able to do it with just either one of the skills alone. However, according to what he heard from Rionne’s story, that technique must have been lost too.

“Well then, Shin, let’s advance cautiously.”

“Yes.”

The two people moved toward the south gate while observing their surroundings for presences.

Because Kalkia was a city from the game era, Shin thought he could restore the map; however, against his expectations, when he tried there were no significant changes. Still, the map seemed to have been drawn from scratch again.

While watching the presences of monsters, they moved along and jumped onto a roof, and Shin felt his view was distorted.

“What?”

Shin found himself standing on the ground before he knew it.

He intended to jump onto the roof above, but the sensation that transmitted to his feet certainly came through the ground.

“Shin, you felt the same thing too?”

When Shin turned around, Rionne stood there with a similar perplexed expression.

“Wait a minute. Let me try it again just to make sure.”

Saying so, Shin kicked-off the ground a little stronger.

As usual, he only put enough strength so that he could just jump over the roof of the building. However, nothing happened.

“Is this a transition point?”

It was possible to jump to a certain extent. However, when one reached above the height of a certain level, the body that should be jumping up landed on the ground.

“Rionne-sama, how did I look to you?”

For confirmation, Shin asked Rionne.

“You certainly jumped, there’s no doubt about it. However, there, when you reached the height just above the roof of the 1st floor, your figure, which should have been heading up, disappeared, and you appeared on the ground in the next moment.”

While Rionne pointed at the roof of a certain building in front of Shin, she explained how she saw him.

“I see…If we assume that that will happen every time we try to ascend above a certain height, it means that it is blocked.”

Shin concluded.

“This is the first time I’ve seen such a phenomenon. Shin, do you know anything?”

“I think that I have some idea of what’s going on. Can we move continue along the road as is to confirm my hypothesis?”

“I don’t mind, so I’ll leave it to you.”

 

Shin moved through the readjusted boundary of the main street.

In the middle of the street, they finally stopped in front of a narrow alley that could barely fit two people.

“Rionne-sama, I will enter the alleyway now, please wait here.”

“Okay.”

After saying a few words to Rionne, Shin walked into the alley.

In the following moment, when Shin’s whole body entered the passage, his vision became distorted, and a different scene of the alley came into view.

In Rionne’s eyes, just like what happened to Shin a while ago, Shin seemed to return from the alley unnaturally.

“What on earth is this…?”

Rionne looked at Shin with a puzzled expression.

Although it happened in front of her eyes, she seemingly couldn’t make any sense of it.

“This one too, huh?”

“Shin, can you please explain what is going on? Something is strange with today’s events.”

Rionne asked Shin, who looked like he understood what was going on.

“Sorry, I just want to confirm one last time, because I think I can be sure after this one, could you please wait a little?”

“Muu! If you have to, then it can’t be helped. Also, what is it that you want to confirm?”

Rionne asked as she pressed Shin ahead.

“When we get on this road, there should be a glowing sphere floating. Because you can’t move forward if you go off the road, please take note of it.”

Shin told Rionne the details and began to walk.

Rionne too followed him, while looking closely at her surroundings.

 

“Rionne-sama, I saw it. It’s there.”

“…Indeed, it’s as you say, a sphere of light.”

The way ahead, also in the center of the road, was a floating sphere with a diameter of about 30 cemels, which emitted a white light.

The brightness was not very strong; one would not be blinded even if they looked straight at it.

“I guess there’s no mistake about it. Somehow this whole city seems to have become a dungeon.”

“WAIT, WHAT?!”

Rionne heard Shin’s explanation, but raised her voice in surprise.

Though the features for the city were lost because of the roaming monsters, it was once a place known to be full of prosperity. When she heard that it become a dungeon, it couldn’t be helped that she was surprised.

“But, what should we do now? I’ve never heard of a town becoming a dungeon before.”

“Even though I say ‘dungeon’, please don’t worry, because it’s different from a general one.”

Shin talked calmly to Rionne who frowned and pondered.

Shin actually knew this whole dungeon-making thing well.

“Please explain it to me, Shin.”

“Sure. What I’m saying is, In the current situation, we can only reach the exit if we go along a specific route.”

“Specific route? Then, the reason for us not being able to move above the roof and the alley…”

“Yes, it’s because it deviates from the specific route. If you try taking shortcuts that greatly deviate from the route, you return to your original location. In order to escape, we must advance following this shining sphere as a marker.”

Shin had remembered that immediately after a massive update, a time-attack race was held using the entire city.

In the city that newly appeared in the update, there were no players’ shops, guild bases and so on. So, in the case of an event using a whole city which was thought to be impossible, was implemented at this opportunity; a time-attack race.

With the center of the city as the entrance, players competed in a time trial to escape from there. The players and parties with the shortest time got a limited edition rare item distributed from the event; therefore, Shin had seen this sphere before.

“I don’t remember registering in this race though.”

Shin continued talking in a small mutter that was not audible to Rionne.

“Because there are no traps installed on the route, if we find the sphere while killing monsters, we should be able to escape without any trouble.”

Monsters would emerge and would match the stats of the players.

【Limit】 couldn’t be released during an event, and decreased stats were applied. In addition, the course became longer if the stats were high; it was the overview of the time-attack race that Shin knew.

Instead of the race deciding on stats or learned techniques, the race was decided upon the escape routes that were randomly generated and differed in length.

(It’s possible to release 【Limit】 now, but will it be different from the event in the game? No…, to begin with, there is a possibility I cannot interfere with the stats because the game became a reality, right?)

Because this world itself was mysterious, Shin couldn’t be certain, but then, not everything should act according to the game scenarios.

“I see, is there a time limit? When exploring the ancient ruins and the dungeon, I heard that there were such things.”

“No, there should not be.”

It was an event which one could clear even if one took their time.

The goal was to compete for the quickest time to escape. According to Shin’s knowledge, there was no particular penalty in the case of being slow.

“Shin, though it may seem bad when I say it this way, I feel lucky to be teleported with you. Thanks to you, I did not have to make any effort in trying to solve this riddle.”

Rionne said while smiling wryly.

If Rionne was actually alone, it was certain that she would waste time before she understood the situation.

“Then, Shin, let’s go look for the lightsphere. Tell me if there’s a place that differs from your knowledge. This is a Sacred Place, I don’t know what can happen.”

“Understood. As for this sphere, it becomes the transition point to the next route. First, I will be transposed ahead. I will return immediately if there is nothing, so please standby.”

“Okay.”

Hearing Rionne’s answer, Shin touched the sphere.

His surrounding scenery suddenly changed in an instant, and Shin was in a different place than a moment ago. When he checked the map, the distance between him and Rionne was not that far. It was the distance of less than five minutes if walking normally.

“This is the part of the race where it gets unpleasant.”

Shin sighed, as he recalled the race that he had experienced before. He returned to Rionne right away.

“It’s safe for transposing. Now then, let’s go.”

“I’m sorry to leave you in a dangerous position.”

“I cannot afford to let you, the princess, to be in my position. Besides, there are groups of monsters ahead at the transposing point. If it were just me, I could only run away.”

Shin, on the contrary, could easily crush the enemies ahead.

If he was in a place where he wouldn’t be seen, Shin would instantly kill any monster that was there without hesitating.

“There’s no need for etiquette here. Let’s both survive and leave together.”

“Of course.”

In response to Rionne’s words, which were full of determination, Shin returned a big nod.

 

◆◆◆◆

 

With Shin as the lead, the two people walked down the street.

During the time-attack race, it was basically impossible to move forward except through the main street. There were exceptions, such as hidden passage-like alleys and shortcuts, but it depended completely on luck whether or not they were found.

Unless they were in a very desperate situation and aimed for reversal, it only cost time to look for such a thing. Rionne was also looking for such alleys at first, but with Shin’s advice, she went ahead through the main street obediently.

In a place where they approached a crossroad, Shin looked back at Rionne.

“Rionne-sama, let’s go straight from here.”

“Did you find something?”

“There are three monsters on the left, one on the right. Because there is nothing up front, we should go there first. If it’s no good, we go to the right. Even if the left is the correct path, there will be a series of battles. I think we should avoid battle as much as possible.”

In Shin’s perception range, there were already several presences of monsters.

Because he could narrow down the range to value accuracy, he was able to see their names and levels.

On the left side, there was a level 602 wolf type monster “Blue-Mist Hound”, a scorpion type monster level 544, “Spoerk”, and three level 588 slime type monsters, “Gilslay”.

He could see that it was a three-way battle from the movement of the markers. It would probably be hard for Rionne to jump in there.

In the opposite direction, there was a ghost type monster level 531, Ghillie Wize.

It was a troublesome monster that uses some advanced level magic skills, but with Shin’s 『Kakura』 and Rionne’s 『Muspelm』, they had more than enough to deal effective damage to it. Even with Rionne’s fighting ability alone, going right was the easiest fight. There was no problem even if she were to be directly hit by magic skills if Shin became her shield.

“That’s right, there are only two of us. We should avoid the fights that are likely to be disadvantageous.”

Rionne seemed to believe Shin’s story, and stepped straight forward.

However, the view for the two people became distorted after they walked for about five minutes. It was incomprehensible because it was in the middle of the main street, and the left and right shops changed similarly to a moment ago.

“It seems to be no good here.”

“It looks like it. No choice but to return.”

Since they could not proceed forward, as they agreed beforehand, they returned and instead turned left.

Shin caught the monster’s appearance in his view after moving for a while.

“It’s here. It’s still the only monster, and there’s no other presences of monsters nearby.”

Before the two people was a figure of a mummy, which wore a mist-like black robe and had a twisted, warped-shaped staff.

Only the head and arms resembled the figure of a mummy, neither the legs nor upper body were there. It was a monster that fell into heresy; its own body had turned into mist. Its name was Ghillie Wize.

In fact, by looking at it alone, the mummy that appeared had no physical substances for its head and arms either. It could be said that normal weapons couldn’t deal proper damage; it was a mage type monster which could resist physical attacks.

“What… is that?!”

“A ghost type monster, Ghillie Wize. It can use earth and wind magic. Though it seems to hold a staff, because the staff is floating, it’s movements are irregular. Please be careful.”

“Thanks for the advice!”

Shin gave important info to Rionne while running.

If a person saw this creature for the first time, they may have thought that it was holding a staff, and they would have received severe damage from the flying stick, as they would not be able to perceive any movement from the monster.

“Suuuooooooooooooonyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!”

Its voice reverberated, not knowing where it came from.

It was the magic chants of Ghillie Wize.

“It’s coming!”

Almost at the same time as the Ghillie Wize finished chanting, Shin shouted.

What it released was a wind system magic skill, 【Air Barret】 and 【Air Cutter】. Bullets of compressed wind and blades of sharp wind swooped down on Rionne and Shin. Though both magics were elementary level, the number of attacks were no match for an ordinary mage.

“This degree!!!”

Rionne closed the distance while lightly evading the barrage of winds from Ghillie Wize.

Sparing no effort to display her strengthened physical ability by the support system martial arts skill 【Spirit Manipulation • Katsusen】, she continued dodging the wind magic which should be difficult to see.

Shin too, closed the gap in the same manner as Rionne, approaching the Ghillie Wize. However, if one looked closely, the magic shots actually vanished when they neared Shin. With the magic resistance from the said High Human’s abnormality, the magic couldn’t maintain its form. Judging from mage types such as Ghillie Wize, the existence of Shin had a thoroughly bad compatibility.

“Ziiii!!?”

That surprised voice originated from the Ghillie Wize.

Apparently it had noticed that the magic around Shin had disappeared.

While moving with a speed matching Rionne’s, Shin had a grin and laugh that could only be seen by the Ghillie Wize.

“Uhh!!?”

The word that came out, did it mean, “Crap!!?” if it was said by a human?

It may have realized that its magic didn’t work. The mummy’s face, which should have had no expression, appeared to twitch.

The approaching figure of Shin, who was a little behind than Rionne, must have appeared as the devil in the Ghillie Wize’s eyes. It’s being more cautious toward Shin rather than Rionne who was holding a holy sword that should be its weakness, was the best evidence of it.

“BeeeeJaaaaaaaaaa!!”

With a cry, a large mass of magic power developed around the Ghillie Wize.

It was charging the wind system magic skill 【Storm Blast】 and earth system magic skill【Dragoon Bite】. With a tornado that exceeded the height of the Ghillie Wize, and a huge clay jaw modeled from a dragon, the skill 【Air Barret】 flew wildly, pushing the two attackers.

“Damn it! Is this the power of a monster in the Sacred Place?”

Even Rionne seemed to be alarmed by this.

Putting strength into the hand holding 『Muspelm』, she was going to activate some kind of skill. However, Shin interrupted there.

“Leave it to me here! Rionne-sama, you deal blows on that fellow!”

“Okay, you can count on me!”

Rionne canceled the skill she was going to invoke, and accumulated more power into her arm.

Though it was quite dangerous if Shin failed, Rionne didn’t think that Shin would make a mistake. Even if she only knew a little about his ability, she didn’t doubt Shin’s so called trump card, 『Kakura』.

Shin stepped forth strongly by one step while a pair of advanced level magics drew nearer. These magic skills were unleashed with the Ghillie Wize’s whole power. However, the magic already lost its power due to Shin’s magic resistance; in fact, the magic was on the verge of dispersing.

“Here I go~!!”

Shin used a side sweep towards the magic, which would disappear if blown apart.

Contradictory with its appearance, in front of 『Kakura』’s brandish, which carried a considerable amount of mass, was able to erase the magic that approached the two people so easily that it was basically disappointing. The Ghillie Wize too, never thought that it would be easily broken there.

Seeing Shin and Rionne charging through unscathed, the Ghillie Wize’s movement already stopped completely. Rionne, who never overlooked such opportunities quickly took advantage.

“Got you!!”

Rionne mightily jumped up from behind Shin and rotated once in the air.

Releasing the accumulated power, she invoked the fencing technique system martial arts【Full Moon Edge】. With centrifugal force added to the mass of 『Muspelm』, she struck the increasingly white radiant blade against the Ghillie Wize.

“Dyyyyyyyyyyyyyyーー!!”

The slashing attack pierced the robe diagonally and blew off one-third of what the Ghillie Wize was composed of, and cut off the arm that held the staff.

The cut off arm then vanished into thin air. Even though it was said to be disembodied, it couldn’t avoid damage if so much of its body got blown off. All the more was true since the attack had a light attribute to it, which was its weak point.

The staff that should have been floating around was also lying on the ground now. The Ghillie Wize screamed at the substantial damage it received, but its suffering hadn’t ended yet. This is because, charging towards the Ghillie Wize that had received so much damage and had started to retreat; was Shin.

Shin was grinning and laughing again.

It’s needless to say that the Ghillie Wize saw Shin, who had a brutal smile, as the devil.

“Hiiiii!?”

Did it have intelligence? The Ghillie Wize started to desperately take distance, as it no longer raised the “Hiiii!?” voice.

However, it was not possible to escape from Shin’s pursuit.

“Time to put an end to this fellow!!”

Shin jumped and swung downwards, on the Ghillie Wize which fell due to damage.

It was the mallet technique system martial arts skill 【Fission】 that enveloped 『Kakura』. Because of the very few martial arts skills that could cause damage to disembodied monsters, the already strong 『Kakura』 was powered up even more.

“orz…”

Ghillie Wize uttered at its final moment as a single blow came from sky; although, what it muttered was a meaning even itself didn’t understand.

 

“It’s unexpectedly an easy win.”

Rionne seemed to feel satisfied, for the battle that ended after only a few minutes.

“It may be because its weak point is the light attribute bestowed on 『Muspelm』. Added with its high quality, somehow even with only us, two upper class Chosen Ones, we were able to defeat it. It’s usually not so easy.”

Because Shin was troubled that it was strange to be thinking optimistically, he gave a firm reminder.

Perhaps, if his weapon was an iron bar or sword borrowed from the ruins, it hardly would have gone in this direction. Though Ghillie Wize was brought down very easily, if its opponents were ordinary soldiers, it had the ability to destroy approximately a small country on its own. It just had a bad matchup this time.

“I get it. Anyway, my level didn’t go up even when I defeated a unique Skull Face, but this time it did. While it may be true that the battle was easy, I never thought it was weak.”

Apparently, Rionne’s level had gone up.

The opponent was close to her rank in this case. For such, she earned enough experience points to level up.

“Moreover, I also acquired some kind of title.”

“Title?”

‘Titles are obtained through battles and leveling up’, Shin thought as he recalled the things that corresponded to the current battle.

“Yes, it’s displayed as ‘Natural Enemy of Magic Users’.”

‘Natural Enemy of Magic Users’ was a title that was obtained by defeating a monster without using magic, and without receiving any magic damage when fighting against an opponent who uses advanced level magic skills. There was an effect of decreasing the damage of magic skills by 2 percent.

“Oh, I see…but is it okay to tell me that? This kind of thing should be kept a secret, right?”

“It’s thanks to you that I obtained this, Shin. Besides, you will not spread such a thing around, will you?”

“That’s true, but…”

Before he knew it, Rionne’s reliability on Shin seemed to have risen.

Was it because they both fought together?

“Still, from your appearance, you seem to know the effect of the title, Shin.”

“Well, what are you talking about?”

“A while ago, you said “I see”, didn’t you?’

He seemed to have been exposed from his answer.

Because he had a hunch that it would be bad if he knew in detail, he didn’t answer affirmatively. On that subject, Shin recalled that ‘titles are rarer than skills’.

“…I don’t remember it.”

“Are you a noble?…”

Rionne gave out a little disgusted feeling; the nobles in this world seemed to have said similar things, too.

When related to politics, these types of lines seemed to be common anywhere.

“Fufu, but I’m more interested in you suddenly. However, it’s an emergency now. I will question you later on. Then, I will go ahead.”

Did something tug on Rionne’s heartstrings? She began to run away with a small laugh.

Her eyes felt like a hunter who found their prey.

“…Roger that.”

‘I would be rather thankful if you forgot that,’ Shin thought while following Rionne.

When he escaped from the Sacred Place, Shin had a premonition that a troublesome thing like this would come back when he returned.

 

◆◆◆◆

 

Vol. 4 Chapter 3 – Part 3

“Shin, how many monsters are within your perception range?”

“Besides the other three that I mentioned earlier, there are more than 20 in total. From what I know, most of them supposedly don’t make big movements, but we can’t be careless because some of them tend to disregard this trend too.”

Shin answered to Rionne, while searching for the white sphere to make sure that this was the correct route.

“It would be nice if the rest of the way goes as smoothly as it has been so far.”

“That, I agree with you.”

It was his honest, true feeling.

“Hmm?”

While repeatedly being transposed for several times, Shin noticed something.

After the battle against Ghillie Wize, the route was gradually approaching the center of Kalkia.

“What’s wrong? Is something funny?”

“No, it’s just that I think we are moving away from the gate.”

The route was completely random. There was a behavioral pattern in which a person could transition near the gate in one go.

Were there any requirements that had to be fulfilled during the race to reach the gate? Or was it that the race’s goal was to reach the center? Shin didn’t know, but since it was a one-way route, they would eventually return to the gate even if they came close to the center.

“Indeed. Well, this area in the Sacred Place is uncharted territory, so it’s a good chance to unravel such a place…”

“Although life is more important than information,” Rionne continued and as she followed behind Shin.

When they passed through the street after being transposed some time ago, they used the shade of a wall and the tree that grew in the garden of a residential building to conceal themselves from the wandering monsters.

Such a small technique was possible; although the alleyway couldn’t be used.

Fortunately, they were not lacking hiding places thanks to a house that hadn’t yet collapsed.

The monsters’ blind spots were exploited, as they went behind buildings, garden fences, and occasionally went against the direction of the route.

However, there were some monsters that noticed them because some of the monsters had a perception ability that didn’t rely on sight, but instead sound or heat.

(It’s hard not being able to use skills thoughtlessly…Hiding!)

Shin activated the skill, without Rionne noticing. It was a non-system skill which fell under magic skills, 【Hiding】.

Though its effect was lower than the 【Hiding】 of support system martial arts skills, it could conceal presences, sound, etc. to a number of people like a party within a fixed range. It was useful using this skill too, as they wouldn’t be discovered by snake or bat type monsters.

‘However, it is difficult as I can’t use the skill with all of my strength,’ Shin thought once again.

Even for an upper class Chosen One, dozens of them didn’t have the skill either when he asked Schnee about it.

He didn’t worry about it at that time, but when being with a person like Rionne, it was not done easily.

Even under normal circumstances, she was interested in him because he was knowledgeable in weapons and titles. If various skills of martial arts or magic that he was able to use were discovered, what kind of questioning would await?

(Why is it when coming to a different world, I have limited play?)

‘If the members Schnee, Tiera, and Wilhelm were here, it wouldn’t be a pain in the ass like this,’ Shin thought while running.

It was a considerably high pace, but as expected from a Chosen One, Rionne didn’t have a shortness of breath and so on. Then, after transposing repeatedly several times; just when Shin thought, ‘can we reach the gate without any troubles?’ a formidable enemy appeared.

“…Is that Gilslay?”

It was a different individual that composed 3-way battles some time ago.

With a level of 684, that Gilslay was the highest level among what he saw in Kalkia. It was not a good opponent to be in conflict with as it had random movement and had no regularity.

Weren’t the small-fry enemies that came out in the beginning of the game slimes? This was a monster that could be classified as a formidable boss character.

The most troublesome thing about this Gilslay was that the monster had exceptionally high fighting power for a slime.

Was it because its gel-like shape was irregular? Almost all physical attacks were ineffective. Furthermore, its body stretched out like a tentacle and struck in the same way as a whip. It thrust like a spear, wrapping around to capture its target, and did so until the attacks broke the opponent’s battle formation.

In addition to the body fluids that secreted from Gilslay’s body, it also had an effect of reducing the durability of weapons and armor. It was known to be a typical time-consuming monster, so the battle was prolonged even longer.

Even if its appearance was about 4 mels of semi-transparent water and steamed bun-like, one should never be careless.

“Slime, huh? But if it’s only huge then there’s no problem. Let’s not stand still, but breakthrough in one go.”

“Ahh!? Hey hey, Rionne, don’t go there!!?”

However, apparently Rionne recognized that the said slime was a small-fry and didn’t stay still.

Did she not hear Shin’s panicky voice that said to restrain herself? She went for the endgame as she closed the distance in one breath by using her strength as an upper class Chosen One.

“*Hmph*!! ――Guah!? What on earth is this?!”

Rionne, who swung down 『Muspelm』 at Gilslay, stopped moving when the bizarre reaction occurred.

If Gilslay was similar to any ordinary slime, it definitely would be defeated if she could destroy its core. However, it couldn’t be easily done as Shin examined the situation. The opponent was a monster whose level exceeded 600. It was not so naive as to overlook the chance of Rionne stopping.

Gilslay immediately moved to counterattack. Did it think that she was not a strong opponent? Rionne’s limbs were restrained by the body that stretched out like tentacles.

Moreover, Rionne was not able to react to the unexpected speed.

“Good grief, I told you so!”

The sounds of Rionne’s protective gears dissolving by the Gilslay’s body fluid was heard.

Since he couldn’t just leave her as she was now, Shin approached the slime brandishing his 『Kakura』.

『Kakura』 had a clad in mallet technique system martial arts skill 【Sandstorm Burst】――A single blow of 『Kakura』 was dyed in a brown aura, and blew away the tentacles that had caught Rionne.

Shin’s current stats were quite restricted, but he somehow managed to deal damage to Gilslay.

Nevertheless, Gilslay didn’t appear to have the physical resistance of its main body as the tentacles became thinner. 【Sandstorm Burst】 was effective against opponents who had high physical defense, so it may have been a good idea to use it.

“We will fall back so don’t move for a moment!”

Attack of the Tentacles

The liberated Rionne was held with one hand by Shin, who jumped back.

With Shin’s leg power, they were able to escape from Gilslay’s attack range in one jump. Tentacles of Gilslay pierced the place where Shin was before just one breath later.

The road they were on used a orichalchum mixture for the pavement. Only the strength of a rampaging middle class Dragon could crack it.

Even so, the tentacles of Gilslay had easily pierced the pavement.

“It penetrated through the orichalcum pavement…”

If it’s Shin’s armor strength, there was no problem receiving any number of attacks, even on his own body. However, knowing the hardness of the pavement, his face was stiff instinctively.

Even though there was no damage, Shin unleashed a single blow and blew out the tentacles. Did the Gislay judge him as a threat? Unlike when it was against Rionne, the Gilslay didn’t go easy.

“Shin, what is that? Is it really a slime?!”

“Calm down first, I’ll explain it to you. That is Gilslay, a monster that is strong at resisting physical attacks. Never confuse that with small-fry slimes from the grassy plains.”

Because it would be a problem if Gilslay charged again, Shin explained briefly what kind of opponent it was to Rionne.

It was indeed troublesome if he plunged into the enemy who didn’t match his power.

“…Sorry, it was careless of me. Even though we are in the Sacred Place.”

“Well, it’s inevitable if you only know about ordinary slimes. Gilslay has a gentle-looking appearance; however, be it slashing or striking, it’s a troublesome opponent since half-hearted attacks are reduced to nothing and have no effect.”

“Ah, it pierced through its body. For my weapon to really be repelled.”

Even though it was a slash without any skill, the attack of 『Muspelm』was repelled.

Looking at Rionne, who nodded seriously, Shin, who for now felt relieved, thought ‘Is this alright?’.

While Rionne was glaring at Gilslay and preparing 『Muspelm』, Shin thought about the plan. It wouldn’t be difficult to separate from Gilslay, as it was a high defense but low agility opponent.

If there was a problem, it lied in its tracking ability.

The monsters who didn’t rely on their five senses could perceive many things such as the opponent’s magic or presence and could pursue them.

Among them, slimes were especially good with this ability. Even if they thought they succeeded in escaping, there were many cases where it actually followed them.

In many places, leaving it alone would lead to more danger. It seemed better to defeat it, Shin concluded.

“This fellow has a considerably high sensing ability. Because we’ve already been targeted, it will chase us for a long time even if we escape. I think I’ll defeat it here, how’s that?”

“I won’t object for my future’s sake, but can you break through that defense, Shin?”

Rionne, who had experienced the firmness of the slime firsthand, had her eyes seem doubtful toward Shin.

The story would have been different if the attribute bestowed upon 『Muspelm』was flame or thunder, but it couldn’t be helped that she said that. Light attributes tended to be very effective against monsters such as undead and ghosts, but it were not very effective towards other monsters.

In other words, since Rionne’s attack was only a physical attack with light attribute, it was ineffective towards Gilslay.

“I’ve got few tricks up my sleeve. I can clear the way to the core, so please destroy the core with your strongest skill. Since the core itself is quite fragile, it should be good to go.”

Generally, monsters with cores were vulnerable to direct attacks on it. It was especially noticeable on the slime group.

It was said that it was the result of balance adjustments for having high defensive power except for the core. So, if given the chance, Shin judged that there would be no problem if it was Rionne’s skill and her weapon’s ability to break the core.

“Shin’s trump card huh? All right then. I’ll leave it to you.”

As if there was no uneasiness, Rionne faced towards the Gilslay.

『Muspelm』was carried on her shoulder and was ready to step up at any time. Rionne would’ve been knocked down by Gilslay if Shin wasn’t there――No, she would have been devoured. The binding force of the tentacles seemed to laugh at Rionne, who resisted desperately. It was frightening just remembering it.

However, with such a strong binding, Shin blew it away with only a single blow, which was why she said she would leave it to Shin.

‘It would be a disgrace as a woman if I didn’t go,’ Rionne thought and let her entire body be filled with power; at the same time, she got rid of idle thoughts from her consciousness.

This world’s mental improvement enhances precision and the power of skills. The original power increased a little, regardless of skills and arts.

Rionne, while waiting for Shin’s signal, prepared the skill that she would unleash.

“I have to meet his expectations.”

Shin took out a card. A blue flame-like pattern was drawn on the surface.

“【Flare Burst】 release!”

Simultaneously with the shout, Shin pointed the card toward Gilslay.

Then as the card tore itself apart, a sphere with a diameter of about 30 cemels appeared.

In the following moment, a heat ray around 1 mel was discharged from the sphere.

The sphere was blue on the outside and white in the center, and charged through the air aiming at Gilslay’s core.

Did it determine that it couldn’t dodge the attack? The Gilslay expand its volume size as the 【Flare Burst】 hit it directly.

There, the heat ray pierced through while scorching the air.

“――!!? ――!!!”

Though the Gilslay desperately withstood it, its body had low resistance to magic by nature from the start. Even if the strengthening by level was taken into account, it wasn’t able to endure the 【Flare Burst】.

When the bluish-white heat ray went off, the figure of Gilslay could be seen with a portion of its body vaporized in the line of fire.

The heat ray didn’t destroy the core, but it was left half exposed.

It may be because a quarter or more of its original volume vanished at once, and the Gilslay didn’t move immediately after receiving the heat ray.

“Now!”

“Leave it to me!!”

Without missing the opportunity, Rionne, who reacted to Shin’s voice, prepared to use 『Muspelm』 and dashed toward Gilslay right away.

Rionne was surprised of the 【Flare Burst】’s power, but since she had to focus on defeating the enemy, she left that thought in the corner of her mind.

With the increased concentration, Rionne’s ability was perfectly demonstrated.

As of now, she arrived at the front of Gilslay quickly, leaving her afterimage as she swung down the 『Muspelm』, and the core was cut in two with little resistance.

“!!?”

Once the weak point of Gilslay was cut right in half, its gel body shook, and its life was ended.

Afterwards, the jewels broke into two and dropped on the ground along with a gel substance.

“Let’s collect the jewels and leave quickly. Other monsters are approaching as they noticed the battle noises.”

“Understood. Please lead the way.”

 

The jewels, which rolled over the ground, were picked up while running. The two people ran at full speed on the supposed correct route.

“By the way Shin, your language has seemed quite friendly since a while ago.”

“Ah…”

Rionne pointed out as if she just remembered and Shin looked at her with a distorted expression.

His face had “Oops!” clearly written there. Ever since he warned Rionne, who had jumped out recklessly in the spur of the moment towards Gilslay, he had been talking like that without change.

“I wonder if the wall between us disappeared a little, Shin?”

“Ah no, I’m sorry. It’s just, when in battle, my wording becomes rough.”

“Mu! I don’t mind it as is. This is a situation where we must entrust each other’s lives. It’s difficult to cooperate if you’re strangely humbled.”

“Even if you say so, I can’t just talk like this after all…”

In Shin’s mind, in a society where a privileged class such as the royal family and nobles exist, a commoner and the like shouldn’t be talking to them over-familiarly.

“That won’t do. This is the Sacred Place, you know? Anything trivial can cause death. From being modest some time ago, the consequences of it may delay me a bit. If I am killed by my own mistake, then that’s what I deserve. However, if you are put in danger because of my mistake, I’ll not be able to live with it, so dying is not an option. At this time, let’s leave out the strange modesty from each other. You can drop the formalities and just call me Rionne.”

“Well, um…”

Though it was about the problem of wording, before he knew it, it became a serious matter between life or death.

As for the matter of Gilslay, Shin didn’t mean to be especially reserved toward Rionne, but she seemed to interpret so. Still, when it comes to the matter of life or death, he couldn’t decline it without special reason. Before he was aware, it was difficult to continue keeping a distance in that type of atmosphere.

“…Got it. However, I think we should give priority to the royal family in this case, no?”

“Though what you said is also a fair argument, even if only I was left alone, the probability of safely escaping is not high. It’s more meaningful for both of us to be alive. Again, don’t be reserved from now on.”

Words of reluctance didn’t come to Shin’s mind; he accepted Rionne’s condition unwillingly.

The frowned Shin and the joyfully smiling Rionne were indeed opposite.

“This is only temporary until we escape.”

“Mu! Well, there’s no other way.”

He also didn’t forget to make it clear, “I’ll do it since there’s no one here”.

“…Then let me say this while I have the opportunity.”

Because she was slightly annoying, Shin decided to launch a little counterattack.

“I’ve seen them. In various ways.”

“Hmm?”

Did she not understand what Shin was talking about? Rionne looked puzzled.

“Have you look at yourself after being caught by Gilslay?”

“Caught? ――KyaAH!!”

Rionne, who checked her own appearance after Shin’s words, raised a cute voice and crouched down on the spot.

In addition to the equipment that was caught by Gilslay, she finally noticed that it melted her clothes too. Frankly speaking, there were almost no safe places.

Most of her arms and legs were bared, hotpants and so on in a very dangerous state. Only a portion of her body was safe. It was probably thanks to the double equipment of armor that consisted of dragon’s leather and a jacket. It seemed to have prevented her clothes from melting completely.

Although there were holes here and there, given that Rionne was a woman, she had hardly shown it to other people.

The body fluids of Gilslay, which had durability reduction effects, seemed to accomplish its duty well to the last minute.

Was it because it was the body fluids of some fantasy creature? It may be a fortunate blessing in disguise that the skin had no injury. However, Shin was worried about the voice Rionne raised.

“Kyaah?”

“…Don’t look at me.”

“Ahh, sorry…for the time being, put this on.”

The figure of Rionne, which may have been visible and invisible, was very tempting for eyes.

This was embarrassing for Rionne too it seemed, as she was blushing and huddling herself up. Because it couldn’t be helped, Shin let Rionne put on the jacket he wore.

“For now, let’s enter the house over there. It’s bad to stay still here.”

“Okay.”

While Rionne, who was out of order and suddenly became meek, Shin pointed at a relatively decent abandoned house nearby.

Though there were no monsters around, it was better than being outside. Even though it was in the middle of a time-attack race, they were able to enter the isolated house.

Just in case, Shin activated 【Barrier】 without Rionne noticing. Then, an item card was taken out from his chest pocket. Of course, it was actually from the Item Box.

“First of all, change into this. It should be better than what you currently have on.”

The item card was materialized, and presented out to Rionne.

It was the equipment items which had been stored in the Item Box. Because he couldn’t hand over powerful things, the equipment’s rank was low, but since it was strengthened by Shin, it was several times more powerful than those of which were sold in the market, without exception.

What he handed over was a shirt made of rockworm thread, a  jacket that used the skin of a black buffalo, and a pair of pants that was made of orb-weaving spider string. As for the appearance, it was a simple plain white shirt, a light brown jacket, and black pants.

“Thank you, do you always have this with you, Shin?”

“Pretty much. There’s a saying, save for a rainy day, save for a time of need, at the place where I’m from.”

Shin said.  Just in case Rionne didn’t understand the saying, he made sure to say his hometown.

“It’s a good expression. Still, to possess so many item cards…”

“Acquaintances…Wait, I’m sorry, but I don’t mean to tell you any information about this. It’s sort of an agreement.”

Instead of taking all the responsibility, Shin hinted it as if he obtained it from a personal connection.

“I got it. Not all Chosen Ones are Item Box carriers. I don’t think of trying to pry into you thoughtlessly. It’s just enviable, I think.”

Every item skill were no match compared to the usefulness of an Item Box.

Its carrying capacity was very useful in many fields such as business and military affairs. Rionne was in a preferable direction, since she wasn’t persistent.

“By the way, Shin, though it’s a little rude to ask, I wonder if there are a bit more comfortable clothes that I can borrow?”

“Oh, was it torn anywhere?”

“Well, no? It’s a bit tight.”

“Tight? …Ah.”

When Shin pondered over Rionne’s words, he noticed the meaning behind those words.

The size of the equipment which Shin handed to Rionne was fitted to Shin’s physique. Because a size adjustment function was not included in low-grade equipment, he deliberately disabled the function so he wasn’t suspected.

However, a problem appeared as the result. Mainly on the chest measurement.

“………”

“Hey, what are you looking at?”

“Oh, nothing.”

Shin had glanced at Rionne’s chest, which seemed to be able to burst out of her shirt at any moment because she buttoned up forcibly.

Furthermore, the bottom half of her chest was pushed up. The top half was left open, so now there was a deep cleavage to look down into. In the case of general mass production of clothes, it may be in the right size until there. However, this time, what Rionne wore was equipment that matched with Shin’s physique.

The size adjustment function was adjusted along the line of the body, so Shin, who was classified as a thin man, had no need for room at the chest at all.

The shirt may have been no problem if it was an average sized shirt, but when a pair of hills that were bigger than the average like Rionne’s, there was not enough to hold it in various ways. Additionally, the length of the sleeves were too long; even the joints of her fingers were covered. Her appearance was sensational, in a different meaning than from a while ago. Rather than it becoming shabby equipment, it became cool to see, but only the fingers were outside the long sleeve.

“I’m sorry but the sizes of the clothes are helpless.”

“Muu! There’s no choice, huh?”

Shin didn’t have the intention to tell the truth at the moment, so he decided to say it was helpless.

The reason was by no means a delight for his eyes if she stayed as is.

“Putting that aside, what was that a while ago?”

“That?”

“When you suddenly went “KyaAH!?” before.”

“Wha!? Such a shameless appearance has been seen! I guess it’s not possible to stay dignified.

Rionne protested, but there was no intimidating feeling while her face was dyed in red.

“Is being shy is a common thing?”

“…It’s a way of speaking when I got mixed up in something.”

Rionne, who heard Shin’s remark, scowled at him lightly.

“Well, because there’s an image that a lady’s maid helps to change the clothes of royal families and nobles, I thought you were fine even if you are seen.”

Because there were such scenes in manga and novels he read before, Shin thought that Rionne would also be so.

“Having a lady’s maid to help change my clothes and having been seen by a man in an improper appearance– there’s no way that it’s the same!”

“You say so but don’t you usually notice when your clothes are in tatters that much? I thought it was certainly so, because you were so dignified to that extent.”

“I was focusing on the fight!”

From the slime’s strength to the power of Shin’s card 【Flare Burst】, she should have had enough to be surprised at; even if her clothes came off completely, it couldn’t be helped.

“Also, I am a woman. I can scream too.”

“I don’t mean that, what I want to say is that you are not feminine. Until now, you had a different image. Look, you don’t feel scared when you fought against Ghillie Wize, right? Therefore you are not really similar to my impression of you.”

Shin didn’t know Rionne that much. However, from her attitude until now, the impression of her was dignified was strong.

“…I have no need to keep up appearances. This tone is my personality. I’m aware that it’s hard to say it’s charming as a woman. I’m a woman whose job is to fight.”

“No wait! Why are you being so down for? If you said you’re not attractive, you will make all the women in the world your enemy!”

Because the story deviated towards a strange direction, in order to change the mood, Shin spoke the lines he heard somewhere.

Of course, that was reality.

Though Shin has seen a lot of beautiful girls, it didn’t feel unnatural to put Rionne along with beauties like Schnee and Tiera.

Rionne was more than beautiful enough, though she didn’t seem aware of it. From Shin’s point of view, he couldn’t understand why she became so servile.

“The ability as a warrior and being of royal lineage. There’s not much I can boast about. Not only am I useless in political marriage, I’m also powerless against enemy monsters.”

“You know, you have looked very down for a while now. What’s the matter?”

After they entered the house to take a rest, her thoughts were too negative.

Shin understood that it was not the type of atmosphere to laugh or make fun of, as he tightened his expression himself.

“It’s the fight just now. I couldn’t even put a scratch.”

Even though it could be said that she was the one that gave the final blow, it seemed to be caused by the fact that she wasn’t able to do almost anything to Gilslay.

“I would say a while ago is the question of compatibility. If you had known the physical attacks didn’t work, it would have been a different battle.”

“It’s certainly so. However, if a similar opponent appeared, there’s nothing I could do. If it was only me alone, this time is…”

Shin was worried about how to speak to Rionne, who was now discouraged.

The problem that resulted in having the power of an upper class Chosen One was that it was likely that she had never fought against such a difficult opponent. However, since they have to act together from now on, he couldn’t leave her as is.

“…Hey Rionne, can’t you use a magic skill? If you can use it, you can fight without being repelled.”

“That’s right. I’m not at my elder sister’s level, but I can use several magic skills of elementary level. However, can that affect the enemy in some way or another?”

“Only the elementary levels are usable, huh? Well then…”

It didn’t mean there was nothing she could do about it. If physical attacks didn’t work, one should go with the bestowed attribute instead of the physical attribute as the weapon.

Magic and martial arts. If Rionne could use both skills, a combination skill may be usable, and even if she couldn’t use them, there was a little loophole path too.

The problem was whether he should tell her or not.

While Shin has encountered some things in this world, the people who could use combination skills were limited. Because of that, he didn’t know how combination skills were treated in this world.

Even a mere skill was valuable. A combination skill was unleashed using two or more skills, and it didn’t appear to be common.

On this occasion, he decided to ask it from Schnee.

 

“(Schnee, is it alright to talk now?)”

“(No problem. Is there anything you need?)”

“(I want to confirm something; nowadays, how are combination skills treated?)”

“(Combination skill, huh? I would say it’s valuable, but it’s not strange for a Chosen One to be able to use it. However, the number of people who can use it are quite limited.)”

Shin briefly talked about the current situation, because he didn’t have much time.

Schnee, who guessed the situation, shared her knowledge about the skills. Living more than 500 years in this world, she covered all of the information to this degree.

“(If I’m a Chosen One, is it alright to teach it?)”

“(I think it’s alright. If you are an upper class Chosen One, it isn’t strange to have multiple combination skills.)”

“(I’m saved)”

 

Apparently, there was no problem.

He had no doubt if it was information from Schnee, and decided to give advice to Rionne about the skills.

Rionne herself was not a bad person, and she couldn’t protect the country if she was left alone in this condition.

“Hey Rionne, may I ask which magic skills you can use?”

“Magic skills? I don’t mind.”

As a person who seemed to already know, they just started to get acquainted with each other.

So to add one thing to another, Rionne gave away the skills’ names. As for Shin, he explored the combination of Rionne’s martial arts skills and the magic skills she had told him.

However, as expected, she didn’t have a clue about her skill, 【Full Moon Edge】, which was classified as a combination of elementary level magic skills and Ouden rank martial arts skills.

Not only was its balance bad, but also, combination skills that used elementary level magic were few in numbers.

“There’s no helping it. I guess we’re going with an imitation, huh?”

“Imitation?”

Shin, who was lost in thought for a while, decided to teach a method of giving an attribute to a physical attack, although it wasn’t a combination skill.

If he found out the information of other martial arts skills that Rionne could use, there might be some good combinations too. However, he’d like to stop the act of uncovering everything of the other party’s skills.

“Just checking, but Rionne, you can’t use combination skills…right?”

“Indeed, my magic skills haven’t reached the level where they can’t be used as combination skills. I tried many different ways though.”

“Then, have you tried this method?”

Shin explained the method to bestow a false attribute.

It was not a legitimate way, so its power was inevitably diminished compared to the real thing, but it was still powerful enough.

“Can I really be able to go with that?”

“You will know once you try it. I also only knew about this by chance.”

“Okay, let’s try it.”

Rionne then activated the basis of flame technique system magic skill 【Fire】.

Thereupon, near the poised 『Muspelm』, a flame about 30 cemels appeared. When she maintained the state as described by Shin, the flame was gradually absorbed by 『Muspelm』, and its blade turned red.

“Look!”

The foot of the chair which Shin suddenly threw was cut off by『Muspelm』 without any resistance; it was like cutting tofu.

The cut surface scorched; it was clearly understood that heat was added to the blade. Although the proper support magic skill 【Enchant Fire】 somewhat lacked thermal power when compared to combination skills with flame techniques, the effect of the bestowed attribute was still obvious. At least with this, it would be much better than the light attribute.

“What kind of state is this?”

For Rionne, who couldn’t use support and combination skills, she seemed unable to comprehend the current phenomenon just yet.

Since it was placed as an underhanded trick in the game era too, it was no wonder she didn’t understand it.

“Well this, if I have to say, is 【Imitation-type Fire】. I don’t know its formal name either. Please keep in mind it’ll break low-grade weapons when it’s applied there. At least 《Legend》 grade weapons are still needed, and overuse of this is strictly prohibited. Even without the application of personal skills, there are a lot of things that can be done with that.”

“…I understand it vaguely, but was it okay to teach me? This is an undiscovered technique, you know?”

“In this world, the strength of monsters exceeds humans. If such a technique spreads out, there will be fewer victims too. Are you unhappy or something?”

“Very unhappy. You’re only giving it to me, aren’t you Shin?”

Rionne wasn’t convinced at the immature soteriology.

The application and the diversity of the technique that Shin taught, she probably had understood it accurately.

“I tried and understood it, Shin. This can be applied to arts too. You may even use a low durability weapon if it’s an arts, there are many usages besides battle as well. The value of this information is higher than a Geyl gold coin, do you understand?”

“I understand it even without you making such a scary face, Rionne. Isn’t it fine? You obtained so much valuable information. Shouldn’t you be pleased as a royal family?”

While calming Rionne who approached seriously, Shin told the reason.

“But, that is…”

“It’s not convincing, huh? Then――”

Let’s give her a good reason.

“Protect. I want to protect all the countries, people, and myself.”

“That’s the equivalent price,” Shin finished it while staring at Rionne.

“Shin, you…”

Rionne thought there was a secret in Shin’s speech, but she was at a loss for words.

Rionne felt as if Shin was completely making up excuses.

――Therefore.

(Crap! I said it like that to deceive her, but in fact, it wasn’t so useful and was treated as a joke. When such a look of respect was directed at me, the sense of guilt is incredible!)

Rionne wasn’t aware of the things going on in Shin’s mind.

◆◆◆◆

 

“I’ve accepted your reasons, Shin. I’ll put it to good use without fail!”

Rionne, who didn’t know the truth, firmly clenched her fists and expressed her determination.

Something like eyes on fire could be felt from her.

“First of all, have you recovered?”

“You can count on me. The me a while ago is already gone!”

“Though this is a bad place to display your motivation as we will be avoiding battle, you know?”

“I will bear that in mind, whatever the circumstances may be. Please take care of me.”

Though Shin was worried whether the revived Rionne would want to rush the race or not, as expected it didn’t go to that extent.

However, should one say ‘as expected?’ Her spirit was quite high.

“When I’m together with Shin, it makes me think various stuff. I have thought that the talk about engagement is not bad either.”

“I’ve a fiancee. Give me a break!”

He had a feeling that the distance between each other was gradually diminishing, and Shin couldn’t settle down in the difficult situation.

Though Rionne was a little surprised about how he had a fiancee, she didn’t have the intention to uselessly talk further, and their travel went smoothly.

 

On the way, when they reached the closest point to the heart of the city, Shin saw something like haze spread out in the center of the Sacred Place.

“What is that?”

The anxious Shin informed Rionne in a few words to see if it was possible to move to a better place on the street and observe the central part using a skill.

Since the central part of the city was slightly higher than the surroundings, they could see it without even without getting on a roof.

Though there were ruins everywhere in the Sacred Place, only the building in the center remained intact. Shin also remembered it faintly because he often came there when the game had just begun.

When he looked back at the haze again, for an instant, something seemed to move inside it.

“What? There’s something there?”

In order to ascertain its identity, Shin stared at it motionlessly.

In several seconds, the moment when something began moving in the haze again, and Shin was assaulted by a sense that seemed to pull him into the haze.

“Uwah!?”

He lost his balance in the abrupt situation, but recovered quickly.

“What’s the matter? You suddenly raised your voice.”

“No, I had the feeling of being sucked in, but it’s alright now.”

At the moment he lost his balance, when he looked again in the haze, he felt nothing in particular.

If he said that it was because he was leaning forward too much and nearly fell because he was staring at one point for a long time, she would have been convinced.

“Shin, I don’t feel anything though?”

“Just what on earth was that?”

Will a similar thing happen? Although Shin watched the haze for a while, the sense he felt in the beginning didn’t come back in the end.

“I’m sorry for making you wait. Now, let’s go.”

“Is it alright? Aren’t you interested, Shin?”

“I’ll come by again even if I don’t go now. In this situation, I don’t have any intentions to say anything more selfish.”

With the princess, he couldn’t investigate the dangerous Sacred Place thoughtlessly.

Shin reaffirmed his priority, and both of them resumed their travel.

Then, in the place where they had transposed for more than three times, Shin and Rionne finally reached at the plaza that existed inside the southern gate.

While being alert of their surroundings just in case, they moved to an alley path to leave the gate and there was nothing stopping them like the teleporting fiasco from before.

“Somehow we have reached the goal. There’s no need to worry about the route anymore.”

“Indeed, with this we escaped at last.”

If Rionne’s story was true, the southern gate seemed to be the gate which was used when Sacred Place was investigated, so they decided to go toward it right away.

 

“That’s the place.”

Before long, in front of Shin and Rionne, the southern gate of Kalkia revealed itself.

A portion of it was hidden by buildings from the plaza space, but its appearance didn’t change since the game era. It was a solid gate which had defense magic bestowed upon it.

“Wait a minute!…”

Nevertheless, what leaked from Shin’s mouth was a voice of disappointment.

Because the side entrance was for palace guard usage, the door Rionne meant to go through was crushed and buried. The side entrance was more fragile than the main wall, so it was not strange for it to break. However, it was clear that it didn’t collapse naturally.

“I wonder if this is an accidental attack to the side entrance by a fight between monsters?”

“There are some scars in addition to the side entrance, but it’s still unknown with only this.”

Visually on the surface of the side entrance, it was in a state like a cement was poured and hardened.

Even if Shin gently tapped on it, only a feeling of a rigidness was returned. The surface was easy to blow off, but if it was firmly filled in on the inside; it would be the same for the walls. One could see it was hardened in a similar way, as the cement, which fortified the side entrance, was widely used in the surroundings.

“Now that it has come to this, we must climb up the gate; also…what is that?”

When Shin just thought about climbing the gate forcibly as the last resort, he saw a strange thing come into view from the ordinary sky and spread out on the wall which enclosed the Sacred Place.

“I don’t know about this either.”

Similarly, Rionne turned her attention to the sky muttered.

“Is it a barrier?”

When Shin looked around, a dome shape covered the town, and a semi-transparent thin coat was being developed.

Because it resembled the state when 【Wall】 and 【Barrier】were being erected, Shin predicted that it was some kind of barrier.

In the game era, except during events, flying-type monsters couldn’t enter the town. So in this world, it could be said that there was protection developed before their eyes.

“Shall I try a little experiment?”

When Shin picked up a pebble which dropped at his feet, he threw it with all his might toward the sky.

The stone, which was shot by the physical strength of an upper class Chosen One, flew to the top of the wall without losing power and hit the thin coat. The result was slightly different from Shin’s expectations when the electricity made a noise that sounded like a short-circuiting, *Crackle*, and the stone crumbled in an instant.

While the stone was falling, it lost to air resistance and disintegrated in midair; it became sand and blew with the wind.

“Leaving from the top of the wall will be difficult.”

“You’re right. It’s not possible to touch that carelessly.”

Rionne also agreed with Shin’s opinion.

Though it was uncertain how much electrical output the erected barrier had, there’s no doubt it wouldn’t end without someone getting burned.

If Shin used all of his power, he may be able to break the barrier, but he couldn’t do so in front of Rionne, so he decided to keep that as a last resort under the current situation.

“Can’t we use other gates?”

“Only this place was secured in case of an invasion. There are dangerous monsters, so I cannot afford to open the gate leisurely. Thinking about the unlikely event, this is the only place. Besides, the side entrances from the other gates have probably collapsed from the beginning due to the impact of natural disasters. It’s a different story for a small animal, but there’s no gap for a person to pass.”

The findings of Sacred Places seemed to be shared among the countries; Rionne knew in details.

“Then, do I need to break through the site gate forcibly? Is there no other choice but to open the very gate itself?”

The gate’s opening and shutting mechanism was located inside the wall and the entrance was through the side entrance; it was said that the methods to open a gate were a common everywhere.

Even if the part which leads to the outside has been destroyed, there was a possibility that the room with the opening and shutting mechanism was safe. Because they couldn’t move in the southern gate because of the current state it was in, both of them decided to leave for the eastern gate.

 

◆◆◆◆

 

“…Strange.”

“Hmm? What it is?”

Rionne asked about the words that she happened to overhear during their travel.

“Most of the monsters’ presences have disappeared. I was going to choose the route with the fewest monsters if possible, but no matter how I look at it, there are no presences at all.”

When Shin felt uncomfortable, he turned his attention to the map; there were already several monsters dwelling in the Sacred Place. That number was greatly reduced than the ones he had perceived when they were heading toward the southern gate and were being transposed.

Although Ghillie Wize was defeated by Shin and Rionne, it should be no more than a ‘pouring water on a hot stone’ level.

“It’s certainly strange, but it has become easier to travel in this way, so isn’t it fine?”

“I hope so too, but because of the difference of information in various ways, I can’t help but foretell something dangerous will happen after this.”

Even if the side entrance of the southern gate was crushed as an accident, the top of the wall had a barrier to prevent anyone from escaping.

The contact was completely cut off from the outside world; it seemed to be trying to confine those who were inside.

“Then, all the more reason to escape quickly. Hurry up!”

“An enemy may appear suddenly. Don’t let your guard down, Rionne.”

It was only an unpleasant premonition, but there was no reason to waste time either; Shin and Rionne raised their running pace.

As a better alternative to the shortcut of going on the roof, due to the dangers of being found by monsters and risks of  houses collapsing, they advanced through the way along the wall obediently. In the process, Shin noticed certain things.

“…Isn’t the wall somewhat shining?”

“It’s seems so. I’ve never seen such a phenomenon before.”

At first he thought it was just his imagination, but now it was clearly shining; it was emitted from the wall which stood towering over the surroundings of their flank.

Two colors, ice blue and emerald-green, flowed to the front of Shin and Rionne as they blended together.

“Hey…at this rate, I have a bad feeling about going straight.”

“I agree. However, there’s no place for us to escape to, right? If that’s the case, it’s better to check what’s going on, and then think of a way to countermeasure from there.

“The exit has been blocked. Even if we avoid danger here, there’s no point,” Rionne said.

“It seems so, but I think most humans would want to avoid trouble, don’t you agree?”

Shin joked, as he failed to remember any information about the phenomenon that occurred in front of them.

If there was such a flashy event, it should be caught somewhere in his memory. If there wasn’t, it became a situation which was unknown during the game era.

“I don’t get it, not. Well, look Shin!”

Coming into the wryly smiling Rionne’s view and Shin who was talking jokingly, the eastern gate was visible.

Apparently, a torrent of light seemed to flow to the eastern gate from the north side.

“Did it gather in the gate? …If it gets slightly nearer, it’s better to hide ourselves and observe.”

He didn’t know whether the same thing happened in all gates and decided to stay here for safety.

In front of the gate, the road where they ran along the wall and the main road merged and became a small plaza.

Shin and Rionne entered an inn that was facing the street, and observed the gate from a window on the top floor.

“There’s something like a huge ball.”

A huge blue sphere appeared in front of the gate.

By a rough estimate of 5 mels in diameter, luminous green occasionally ran through on its surface. The mana that moved along the wall could also confirm that it was flowing into the sphere.

“Shin, is this change caused by that?”

“Maybe. I’ve never seen something like this, but it feels like the time when a monster is born, don’t you agree?”

A monster spawned from mana in this world. Shin thought Rionne may have seen it, so he asked.

“No, when a monster is born from accumulating mana power, the scene is warped and takes the monster’s form. Then, it appears by breaking out of the shell. As for a sphere like that, I’ve never seen one.”

“If so, does it mean it’s not an ordinary monster? Or is it not a monster to begin with?”

While looking at the sphere, which was stationary, Shin thought, ‘what is that sphere?’

On Shin’s map, the sphere was displayed with a green marker. This represented neutrality.

However, even if a marker was usually green, there were monsters which turned to red when a player approached, which represented an enemy, so he couldn’t relax his guard.

“For now, I should change to my original equipment. Rionne, here.”

Shin changed his equipment with a shortcut function. It was the Dark King series which he wore during the duel against Girard.

Black coat and trousers, red arm guards and leg guards, and a muffler with a red line like lightning bolt; Shin wore so much protective gear that not a scratch could be dealt if hit by a half-assed attack.

Apart from that, Shin materialized a pair of gauntlets and handed it over to Rionne.

“This is?”

“It’s called ‘Gauntlets of Moribito’, it raises the resistance to magic and abnormality statuses for the equipped person. Its best effect is when the equipped person is about to receive a fatal blow, it’ll become a sacrifice, but only once. I don’t know what will happen in the future, so please equip it just in case.”

“Is this alright? It seems quite a valuable thing to me.”

Rionne, while listening to Shin, turned her attention to the gauntlets.

As for its appearance, the material used was orichalcum, although it was mostly silver in color and close to iron gauntlets. The red pattern on its surface was drawn with paint of mithril and scarletite ingot, which was dissolved by a special method. Self-repair was also possible if not destroyed completely.

Even though the gauntlets were 《Legend》 grade, it had been reinforced by Shin, so its strength was close to 《Mythology》 grade. High defensive power combined with a sacrifice effect was demonstrated when the gauntlets were used as a shield during a critical moment.

“It’s alright because I have these arm guards. Though, even my clothes are far sturdier than armor, I tend to be a puzzle a lot this time. I said it a while ago, ‘save for a rainy day, save for a time of need’.”

Shin raised his crimson red arm guard equipment with both arms himself, and spoke to Rionne.

That so-called Dark King’s Arm Guards have the effect of preventing the skill with an effect such as trap and theft. Also, there is even the effect of reflecting back a portion of the damage; Gauntlets of Moribito’s performance was not on a par with the arm guards.

“…Understood. I’ll use it gratefully.”

When Rionne put on the gauntlets, it shone slightly and its size changed to fit her hands.

“I was worried about the size, but this is really cool!”

“This is my treasured item, so return it later.”

“Got it. However, I feel like I’m being protected by you somehow, Shin.”

“You’re joking―― and as we continue talking, there is movement within the sphere.”

“Are those cracks?”

Urged by Shin, Rionne also turned her eyes to the sphere.

The cracks on the surface of the sphere were spreading gradually, reminding the scene of an egg hatching.

“Indeed, I have a feeling that something will be born after this, Shin.”

“It looks like it. Besides, the wall that shone until a while ago is restored now. Maybe its duty has been finished.”

Shin looked up at the wall.

Was it a place for the mana to pour into the sphere? The possible cause that he could think of was that the wall or the entire city was becoming some kind of device.

Shin didn’t know of any existences that could do so such a feat. If this was in the game, it would be management and the GM, but if they still existed now, “Return me to the original world quickly,” was what he would likely say.

What was the meaning of this phenomenon in this case? When he thought about it, Shin suddenly felt the sense of being dragged into the center of the Sacred Place similarly to a while ago. Shin thought that this might be related.

“――Shin, it came out!”

“It came, huh?…”

There was movement in the sphere before his thoughts were being settled.

When Shin returned his view towards the sphere, the cracks that were spreading little by little already had its whole surface covered. Light began to emit from several places, and flickering ominous light informed them that some kind of existence was moving inside.

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