Vol. 3 Chapter 2 – Part 1
Shin and the others waited for ten minutes while guarding the wagon. Then Gaien and Nack returned. The bandit leader’s figure was not seen. He was likely taken care of since there was no need to bring him back alive.
Everyone climbed back into the carriage and tried to recover from the delay caused by the bandits, so the speed started to increase a little. Nack was responsible for being the driver, so Gaien explained the information obtained to Shin and the others.
“In other words, they wanted the baggage Nack-san carried?”
“That’s right. It seems to be related to a church matter. But they weren’t informed of what the baggage was.”
“They didn’t know what to take?”
“Well. Consequently, after the guards were slaughtered, together with the coachman, they would steal the wagon.”
Shin, who listened to the story, instantly thought that Rashia might be related to this case. The priest appointment of Rashia was only valid when recognized officially by the church. Therefore, the mark of proof, necessary documents, and so on might have to be transported.
The client who requested it, without telling their goal to the bandits, was at the same time trying to avoid being detected. Though it was simply a guess, when he looked at the place, where no one had disclosed what Nack was transporting, it was no doubt that it was something important. There were plenty of those possibilities.
When Shin thought about it, for Nack to have a Grimm horse by chance, which traveled faster than a common merchant, and to also have guards, it seemed to be the right interpretation.
Afterwards, without encountering any more bandits or being attacked by monsters, the group arrived at Beirun.
The wagon pulled by the Grimm horse passed the gate.
A lot of wagons entered the gate in similar ways. It was congested, but it was reasonably crowded with people.
Beirun was a small country, and similar to the surrounding countries. Eltnia continent had a shape of two continents linked, and Beirun was located in the middle of the two. Because of its strategic location, they might be invaded by the big countries, so they cooperated by forming an alliance to prevent an invasion by another country. Since each of the countries had a chosen one, the total force of the alliance was said to exceed even a big country’s.
“Thank you for your efforts, if there’s a another opportunity, I will request you again.”
They passed through the gate and advanced for a while along the road, and the wagon stopped in front of a second-hand shop.
Unlike a usual merchant, Nack said his gratitude with words, and handed over the proof of request completion to Gaien. This was how to receive the reward, once it was submitted to the guild.
“Well then, I will go to Kilmont after this, what will everyone else do?”
Gaien started on a topic after this matter along the road. Kilmont was ruled by the dragon king, a Dragnil’s country.
The formal name was the dragon empire, Kilmont.
From Schnee’s story, it was Shin’s support character no. 4, High Dragnil Shibaid’s country.
“I also have business in Kilmont.”
“Tiera and I have business in Falnido.”
Gaien and Tsubaki seemed to have a different destinations from Shin and Tiera.
“Fumu, this is divided splendidly again.”
“I knew it’s like a combination.”
Meeting and parting were part of the adventurer ways. Gaien and Tsubaki seemed to go to Kilmont for another guard request this time. By the way, before they met Shin and Tiera, they already received the same request several times.
After receiving the reward, they each left the messages, “Let’s meet again” and “Call out to me if you see me”, and started their journey to Kilmont. Though it was very simple, because it was often the case for adventurers to meet again during different requests, they might have to be practical if that was the case.
“So, how do we advance after this? Use a wagon too?”
“If I’m not mistaken, using an ordinary horse will take one and a half months, and a wagon will take 2 months, which we should not do.”
“It’s too far now that I think about it again.”
After separating from Gaien and Tsubaki, Shin and Tiera talked about the means of transportation. There was the way of moving on foot, but they were not so poor that they couldn’t ride on a wagon together. Though Shin was the fastest if he ran, he couldn’t hold Tiera all the time. After thinking it through, Shin decided to purchase a wagon. Either way, Shin and Tiera could continue traveling even after Schnee joined them. There was no loss in owning one. That’s why Shin and Tiera visited the shop that sold wagons for trips, as introduced by the guild.
“How should I say, all of the performances seem similar, even the high performance ones.”
“No no, customer, there is a reason for this.”
Towards Shin, who had muttered while looking at the shop, the storekeeper, who was coming nearby, answered.
“Is that so?”
“Yes, a large quantity of wagons were bought by the country a while ago. The ones here were made with the leftover materials, because we had to prepare the number required, it pretty much became the same thing in the long run. Depending on the material, it will become a little better.”
“I see, materials huh?”
From Shin’s assessment, the quality wasn’t that good, but it couldn’t be helped. Shin recalled the wagon used by Nack. Though the appearance was not good because it stressed the importance of transporting cargo, as for the material, the good ones were certainly used. Something needs to be done about the shaking, so they didn’t have to suffer there. Of course, that didn’t mean that he was dissatisfied with everything else.
“This one…only need to restructure it just a bit.”
“Wait a minute, did I hear something bad just now?
Tiera put her hand on Shin’s shoulder who was muttering. And as she now knows from experience, she would expect that didn’t mean a good thing. Though she had a laughing face, her eyes weren’t laughing.
“What do you mean?”
“It’s shameless. I know you’re lying. Now spit it out. What are you going to do this time?”
“Why are you being so cautious? I just want to improve the wheel’s movement, and suppress the shaking a little.”
The shaking countermeasures could reduce the burden on the horse pulling the wagon. Naturally, he didn’t want the trick to be found out, so the outward appearance wouldn’t change much. One must get in the wagon to actually feel the change.
“Really? It won’t fly in the sky and travel without a horse?”
“Of course not!!”
Shin didn’t say, “It was not possible to do.” But because the wagon’s design was out of his specialty, it wouldn’t be easy.
However, because the springs and wheel bearings were within the blacksmith’s domain, it would be easy to start working on it.
“Well, it’s fine if you only go that far.”
“It’s better to keep a low profile. Aren’t I learning, even a little?”
“If it wasn’t you who said it, I’d believe it.”
“That’s kind of cruel.”
Not being able to object was painful.
“Then, the wagon can be remodeled further?”
“Only a little because it’s not my main job, but it’s better than nothing.”
“If it’s better than Nack-san’s, it’ll be welcomed.”
Apparently, Tiera was also annoyed by the shaking of the wagon. The carriages that nobles rode in hardly shook, that was something that Tiera learned from an idle chat with an adventurer who came into the store. So, she thought that she should rather welcome him if he could make such a carriage.
Though the shaking was minimized in Nack’s wagon too, it was hard on Tiera who was not accustomed to it.
“Enough about remodeling, which carriage will do? Honestly, I don’t know which one is good.”
“First of all, I want space big enough to be able to sleep inside. Something like that.”
Shin thought about the number of people and the baggage they would have, and pointed at the biggest carriage in the shop.
“That’s right. Master will come too, so we also need to think about if it will hold a large amount of baggage.”
Tiera also agreed, about it not posing any problems with the number of people.
Also the horse must be powerful in order to be able to pull the wagon’s weight, in the worst case, he would have to get Yuzuha’s help to pull the wagon. That transformation ability was indeed useful.
“Thank you for your patronage! By the way, customer, have you obtained a horse for pulling the wagon?”
“No, I’ll go buy one after this.”
“Is this your first time buying a horse?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“If that’s the case, this is a piece of advice for the customer who just did an expensive purchase. The horse’s legs should be as strong as possible. Though it’s different when using several of them; to pull it with only one, the wagon is a little heavy.”
“Thank you, I will use it as a reference.”
Perhaps, a draft horse type would be good. Given the number of people that will ride on the wagon, Shin thought that type was better.
“On that subject, how about using a monster to pull it? Because there is person I know who does it in such a way.”
“Well, the horsepower is definitely in a whole different league. Though it would have to be tamed, haven’t you heard that it’s difficult?”
“Indeed. Thank you for the information.”
He thanked the storekeeper who gave them advice and left the shop. Their following destination; a shop that dealt with horses.
“Next is…hmm? This sound is”
When Shin took a step forward to go purchase a horse, a ‘Ding’ sound reach his ears. It was the ringtone when notified of a voice chat, which he had set before. Because the operation hadn’t changed since the game era, he accepted the call by thinking about it.
“(Hello, This is Shin. Loud and clear.)”
“(This is Schnee. The request here is over. Where are you now?)”
“(We are in Beirun. I intend to go to Falnido by carriage once a horse is obtained.)”
Because it was just the right time, he conveyed his present location and the wagon he just bought.
“(Is that so. Then, I will capture a monster. I think I will arrive in Beirun in about 1 day, would you wait for me there?)”
“(I understand. Now that you mention it, you are also a Tamer.)”
At the time when Shin was encouraged to obtain the job from Rokuten’s Tamer and Summoner, Cashmere, he was also accompanied by Schnee. She acquired it when he did. Though she hadn’t tamed anything up till now, it was useful in an unexpected place.
“(Yes, please look forward to it, because I will bring the strongest one possible.)”
An image of Schnee stating so in high spirits came into his mind.
“(And, may I ask you one thing?)”
“(What is it?)”
“(When storing the Tsuki no Hokora, did anything happen? Because Tsuki no Hokora disappeared, I’m worried they would do something.)”
“(Ah, somehow it was monitored, but because being followed is troublesome, I used a little magic skill.)”
“(I see, it’s an illusion, huh? That’s quite peaceful. I thought the surrounding land would be cleared, because it is you.)”
“(Hold on, what do you think I am!?)”
“(Haven’t you done it before?)”
Apparently, she seemed to be talking about the death game era.
“(No, that’s because I’m not the kind of guy who just goes all out in order to wipe such opponents, and to begin with, I wouldn’t do such a violent thing to the monitoring people of a country.)”
Certainly, he would not go easy on an opponent who had come to take his life, but he didn’t have the intention to needlessly kill an opponent who only observed. In the first place, it was Tsuki no Hokora and Schnee that were monitored, not Shin.
“(If Shin decides so, then it’s fine. The upper echelon might be serious about it this time, because I acted like I didn’t know about it.)”
“(Right. Of course, our appearance was not seen, since I used a concealment skill. To the guys who were watching, Tsuki no Hokora would have seemed to have suddenly disappeared. I’m sure it caused a great deal of confusion.)”
The multiplex use of concealment and illusion. It was a popular way of showing an illusion to others while hiding oneself. Because the user was Shin, the other person couldn’t help but to become a target of the spells. As for the ‘concealment’, the skill name was similar for both martial arts and magic skills. It was the magic skill ‘concealment’ that Shin used this time. The effect was lower than the martial arts skills, but it was effective for himself, and he could hide Tiera too. In fact, the spies couldn’t see them at all.
“(Get a taste of their own medicine. To be honest, while I get praised unanimously, I got mad at the way they monitored and solicited repeatedly behind my back. Even if it causes a bit of an uproar, it will be their own fault.)”
Schnee said that irritably. Of course, not all countries were like that. There were many countries that contacted her with a moderate attitude. However, there were also a lot of countries that gathered war potential over the hegemony after the chaos due to the crustal movement. It was known that Schnee was the subordinate of a High Human, and an endless amount of countries desperately tried to include her in their own area.
This was how things got this way, that Tsuki no Hokora continued to be monitored even after the turmoil had settled down. Even though there were few people or countries that monitored her knowing those days, it was not so very long ago for the high elf Schnee. Even now that she became calmer compared to those days, she still felt a strong discomfort from the monitoring and solicitation.
“(Somehow, it’s even worse than I heard.)”
“(There are even countries that claimed to have the property rights for Tsuki no Hokora without permission, too. I thought of erasing each of those countries at the time.)”
“(When you say it like that, it must be serious.)”
While telling him that she was disgusted, Shin understood why Schnee got angry. Their precious place and things, it was natural to be angry when others claimed it was their own without permission.
With Schnee’s temperament, her anger was probably greater than that.
“(Well, there’s no need to be worry about it anymore now. That was my property originally, it’s up to me to take it anywhere.)”
He couldn’t concede Tsuki no Hokora, even if it was important to the people.
For Shin, Tsuki no Hokora was a precious place where he spent a long time with friends. Even if the opponent might be the king, he didn’t have any intentions to submit even a fragment.
“(Perhaps if Tsuki no Hokora was obtained, they thought that Schnee would follow?)”
“(Right, such people exist, too. There were even a lot of people who proposed marriage though.)”
It was Shin who set her appearance, but the beauty of Schnee could be said to be on the level of a beautiful courtesan. It was easy to imagine that she would be popular before long. Since Schnee and Tsuki no Hokora were known as a set, there might be a lot of people who tried to obtain Tsuki no Hokora, just to get that pretty face unexpectedly.
“(Well, it’s only natural, huh?)”
“(Are you jealous?)”
He would’ve been proud of it in the game era, but the feeling changed now that it was reality. Shin also felt considerable feelings from Schnee. Was it because he was the master? Or as a man? It was difficult for him to make a judgment, but if possible, he thought it would be nice if it was the latter.
“(Fufu, is that so? Would you be jealous for me?)”
“(Why are you in a good mood like this?)”
“(I feel like I’m being led around by the nose.)”
The problem before guessing the reason for a good mood and so on; For a light novel’s main character who was thickheaded, there were possibilities of saying “I seriously didn’t know”.
Though Shin was also dense, still, it usually didn’t go to that extent.
“(Then contact me when the inn is decided upon. Because I don’t know when I will arrive yet. I will go directly to the inn according to the time.)”
“(Understood. See you later.)”
The Mind Chat was cut off. Since the goal of obtaining a horse were more or less met, he didn’t have to purchase a horse anymore.
“Hey Tiera, once the wagon is obtained, why don’t we look for an inn for tonight? I think securing the beds is important too.”
“What’s with this abruptness? Don’t we have to go buy a horse?”
“Schnee just contacted me. We will wait because she’ll catch a monster to replace the horse.”
“As expected from master. It’s perfect timing.”
Even though the admiration felt different, because he felt like he lost when he thought about it, Shin didn’t say anything. That timing was too perfect in his opinion.
“For the time being, would you like to go sightseeing while looking for an inn?”
“Okay, but it’s boring if we only walk around.”
Because they had time on hand, the two people decided to walk slowly. When they looked around at the stalls, various glassworks attracted their attention.
By the way, although Shin was also attracting attention because of the young fox on top of his head, he didn’t mind it since he had already gotten used to it in Bayreuth.
“Is the specialty here glass?”
“It’s beautiful. But I don’t know what it represents.”
The glassworks seemed to be popular, except the shops that sold glass, the products were displayed in almost every shop entrance.
They went to several shops in succession before finally stopping by a female store-keeper who was talkative, so they were introduced to a famous inn in this town. Since it was a lot of effort, they decided to stay at the inn there tonight.
They walked for about 15 minutes after they were instructed about the route, and saw a quite elegant building.
Judging from its appearance, it seemed to be made from wood, the outer walls were painted in white and its presence was clearly different from the neighboring inns. The windows in all of the rooms were fitted with glass. If seen properly, those window-glasses were enchanted to be completely strengthened.
Because the entrance door was big and had glass attached on the left and right, they could have a look inside. Rather than a common inn from fantasy, it had the same appearance as one would see in a modern hotel. The name of the inn was ‘The Reflected Flowers Palace’.
“Amazing! I didn’t see any inns that used glass in this way in Bayreuth.”
“It’s seems to be one of the selling points of this inn. It was said that its glass windows were firmly strengthened.”
“Indeed. I think it would be okay even if I hit them with a hammer.”
“But it seems a bit expensive.”
While Shin looked at the details of the exterior with his architectural skill, Tiera worried about the price.
Since they couldn’t stand in front of the inn forever, Shin went ahead and entered. Still, there was no automatic door or something like that, so they had to open it by themselves.
Once he was inside, the employees, who were dressed in stylish uniforms, immediately greeted them. When he conveyed that they had a female store-keeper refer them, they received a slight discount to some extent.
Apparently the main building was separate, this seemed to be the annexes for the trial services. Trial service? The two people look puzzled.
“For one night, it 4 silver coins per person.”
Though the discount should have reduced the price, it was two silver coins more expensive than the Bear Point Pavilion of Bayreuth where he stayed before. It was as expected from a high-quality hotel.
Because there was the reward from Nack, they paid respectively for a night. He also thought about whether it would be okay for Yuzuha to accompany them, but it didn’t seem to have any problems if they had a contract. Naturally, Shin would have take responsibility if it caused a disturbance or something like that.
“Um oba-chan(aunty), did you see through us and know if we could pay the price?”
“You’re an adventurer. Aren’t you all considered to have money?”
“Well we do have some, but the request’s reward just diminished in one go.”
Because half of their reward vanished in an instant, Shin unconsciously thought of such things. As a matter of fact, though there was some additional income, as a reward from defeating the bandits, he still felt it was too expensive. Actually, he did have a certain amount of white gold coins, but his money sense was still fuzzy.
“Since this is similar to the famous inn in Beirun, there are stories saying that you should stay at least once. Also, the main building costs one gold coin per night, that’s still fair.”
“Who could stay there?”
“Perhaps, it’s people like Shin. Don’t you have money from the raw materials you sold to me last time? To be frank, the current Shin is quite rich, you know?”
“T-That’s right. I only thought about the request’s reward.”
Tiera pointed it out, and Shin finally remembered that he himself was quite rich. Judging from the total sum of money he had in hand, 4 silver coins was just a trivial expense.
Even though the inn was where the reward from the guard duty would disappear within 3 days, because the tempered glass was very expensive, 4 silver coins might be a cheap price when he thought about the details of the facilities.
For this sort of famous inn, he understood why it became the topic of the story. It was a special trip, s0 Shin decided not to worry about it and enjoy himself a little.
“As expected from a high-quality inn. This is already an ordinary hotel. The soundproofing is secure, too.”
That was the level of quality that Shin first felt when he entered the assigned guest room. It was a place that could be called a budget hotel if seen in his former(real) world. Though it would be excessive for comparison, the only other inn that Shin knew of in this world, Bear Point Pavilion, from the bed, desk and the chair provided, they were of a higher grade. Still, it was inferior to the furniture inside Tsuki no Hokora.
“Kuu, can I talk already?”
“Yes, it’s all right here.”
Yuzuha seemed to endure it for a long time in the town. The walls of the inn were thick, so it was judged to be safe to talk as it spoke to Shin.
“There’s still time until dinner, shall I do some equipment maintenance?”
Shin put the luggage on the floor and took off his sword from his waist and began the inspection.
It was hardly necessary in the game, but he thought that he should try to keep doing it wherever it was practicable here. A small chip in the blade and rust due to blood remains and so on were factors that hastened the deterioration of the arms. Naturally, frequent inspections were required, especially for low-grade arms.
“It took a lot of hardships to reach this level.”
The aura that wrapped the blade was visible, and Yuzuha voiced its impression. Actually, the blade, which retained its mysterious shine, was indeed beautiful. He could understand if it was called a work of art and not arms. While looking at the radiance that could not be emitted by superficial gear, Shin remembered the days of his former training.
He confirmed the blade state, loosening the hilt and the guard of the katana in order. As he was about to return the katana into the scabbard, the door was knocked upon.
Tiera’s voice was heard from the room.
“Shin, do you have a moment?”
“Yeah, I’ll open the door now.”
Before Shin stood up, Yuzuha took a human form and opened the door. Of course, it wore the shrine maiden’s clothes.
“Ara, Yuzuha-chan. You are in that form now, huh?”
“Kuu, do you have business with Shin?”
“I want to ask about a little something.”
Yuzuha showed her in, and Tiera entered the room.
“And, what do you want to ask me?”
“Didn’t I receive 【Analyze】from Shin before? It’s about that.”
“Was there something wrong?”
“It may be trivial, but when I looked at Tsubaki’s stats, there was a thing that worried me a little.”
“Something that worried you?”
Suddenly, a certain conjecture flashed into Shin’s mind.
“By any chance, when you used【Analyze】, sometimes it became hard to see the race of Tsubaki…right?”
“Eh? Shin too?”
Tiera was surprised. Shin’s prediction appeared to be correct somehow or another. To say it accurately, rather than hard to see, there was some static or something such that moved around. Though it was only the race column, it was a phenomenon that had never existed in the game. It was the first time for Tiera to have seen one. For Shin, it was his second time.
“I am a bit interested too. But I don’t understand this well either.”
In case of Shin, he wondered whether it was a malfunction appearing or not, since the way he came into this world was also a malfunction. Anyway, he only knew that the static noise didn’t start until he encountered Tsubaki.
“I wonder if master knows something?”
“Right. Either way, she’ll join us tomorrow, and we’ll ask her then.”
Since Schnee could use the same 【Analyze】as Shin, she might know something. However, it was not an urgent business, so he decided to not use the Mind Chat.
“Kuu, a serious problem?”
“It’s probably not a serious matter. I have a guess, but there is no conclusive evidence.”
Shin shrugged his shoulders while smiling wryly toward Yuzuha.
“Which reminds me, when will master come?”
“I don’t know the exact time. She told me that if I tell her the inn, she will come there.”
“If that’s the case, you can already take a rest for today. I guess master won’t come at night.”
“Well, I guess so. Let’s have dinner soon.”
The current time was past 6.00 P.M. Though it was a little early to have a meal, it seemed to be unquestionable in the inn. Because Yuzuha wanted to eat together, but its human appearance couldn’t be shown so they brought their dinner inside the room to eat.
Though it could be said that the food was grand, the bread was still brown. Apparently, the white bread seemed to be quite high class for some reason or another. By the way, if this was the main building, white bread would appear commonly.
Afterwards, he asked for a hot bath and fell asleep after changing his clothes. About the hot spring, in Bear Point Pavilion it was charged per use, but was free here. There didn’t seem to be a bathhouse. Since the one in Bear Point Pavilion was basic bathing, he felt like there wasn’t much of a difference.
Dawn of the next day.
The half-asleep Yuzuha had crawled into Shin’s futon, but it was really peaceful and not making any fuss, because it was in young fox mode. Shin unconsciously rubbed Yuzuha’s head and moved it away, and then washed his face. Just like a hotel, the room had a washbasin. After feeling refreshed, Tiera visited them, and they ate a breakfast similar to yesterday’s.
“Just now, before breakfast, I heard that Schnee will arrive in Beirun by the end of the morning. I’ll remodel the wagon, what will Tiera do?”
Shin talked to Tiera while chewing his bread. Because he thought it was not a good idea to keep waiting without doing anything, he intended to remodel the wagon.
“I’ll look at how you remodel the wagon.”
Tiera, who had demanded that Shin restrain himself, seemed to be interested in the remodeling process, too. It goes without saying for Yuzuha.
Apparently, they appeared to be excited about seeing an unknown technique.
After checking out from the inn, they headed straight to the shop from which the wagon was bought. The wagon was still in the shop as there was no horse to draw it yet.
“Welcome. Oh, it’s the customer from yesterday. Have you bought a horse?”
“It was decided that my acquaintance would supply it. So I intended to fiddle with the wagon a little.”
“Heh, is Customer-san a craftsman or something? I thought you were an adventurer.”
The surprised shopkeeper returned, and they moved to the place where the carriage was. First of all, he laid a magic skill that lifted the target temporarily to prevent the frame from falling down, and then installed the spring as a countermeasure for the shaking. Of course, it was not just attached, he tinkered around with the wheels’ axis, too. The appearance of lumps of wood and metal, wriggling and changing shape, might be quite weird, depending on the point of view. However, the speed of the operation in that state was fast. Since he went underneath the frame; he worked quickly, because he didn’t want the shopkeeper to see it. The shopkeeper didn’t notice that the wagon’s performance had already become incomparable to that of the surrounding wagons.
And seeing the work scene up close, Yuzuha had glittering eyes, and Tiera’s eyes were in a focused state. Tiera was somehow able to understand the details of the operation, too. But seeing lumps of metal become flexible and changing shape in Shin’s hand caused them to be speechless. She wanted to say: “Haven’t you learned about not attracting attention already?”, but managed to endure, as the shopkeeper might hear her.
“Phew, I only need to attach the bearings next.”
“(Kuu! Shin, what was that a while ago? The iron was flexible!)”
Was it that interesting? Yuzuha began to talk through the Tamer version of Mind Chat. Did it love craftsmanship? The enthusiasm was seen before, during the time when Shin was tempering the longsword.
“(This is the production group skill which processes iron. Somehow, I found a use for it.)”
It was the production group skill, 【Molding】, to be exact. Originally, it was only possible to transform objects into fixed patterns, but once he knew how to use it, the shape could be changed into interesting ways. Because the technique of remodeling a wagon had not changed since the game era, he could finish it without any problem.
“Shin, where did your self-restraint go?”
“A-Ah? I hid myself in a way that I couldn’t be seen, and the external appearance didn’t change either. Why are you so mad?”
“Certainly I saw it in a flash, and I don’t even know what the difference is.”
“But! It’s obviously unnatural.”
“Um, why is that?”
Before he knew it, Shin was spinning his mind around to think if he was guilty of doing something wrong, as Tiera was in preaching mode. Unfortunately, the reason why Tiera was angry didn’t come to mind.
“It’s the time.”
“Yes, time. You know, no matter how easy the work was that modified the wagon, it shouldn’t take less than 1 hour! It’s too fast!!”
“Ah, I see.”
“Don’t ‘Ah’ me, you have to take it a little more serious…”
She said it with a strong tone, but in low voice. While Shin was using the impressive lost technology, Tiera warned him. Though Tiera said one hour, only about 15 minutes had actually passed since he started his work. Come to think of it, it was definitely too fast, so it might become a story of, “How on earth did you do that?”. Because he only cared about the appearance and the result, he seemed to have forgotten about the working speed. Shin didn’t realize it, since there was never a complaint about being too quick in the game.
“It couldn’t be helped, so I’ll go slow with the bearings.”
“Please, do so.”
He accepted Tiera’s demand and proceeded to work slowly this time. Since he only had to remodel the axial junction and the wheels to some extent, it didn’t take that much time even when he did it slowly. He could concentrate on the work, because only a small part of the body was still floating.
Afterwards, the bearings were attached to all four wheels, and the modifications were completed. The total time for the job took about one and a half hours, including the installation of the springs. The current time was half past 10 now.
He told the shopkeeper at the wagon dealer that they would bring a horse, and exited the shop. And then, they waited for contact from Schnee. Since they had time, they went for another walk in a different direction from yesterday. They spent about one hour of window-shopping at the street stalls, and then the call from Schnee came.
“It’s the call from Schnee. She seems to be in the forest ahead of the north gate.”
Because he conveyed that they had already checked out from the inn and were wandering around, it was decided that she would wait outside. And so, they headed toward the north gate immediately. While extending his perception area, they passed through the gate and walked further. The response from Schnee showed what she had already captured a suitable beast. But――
Both of his feet that were supposed to be walking in high spirits became heavy.
“Kuu, what is it?”
“What’s the matter?”
“Sigh, how should I say this…, I think you will understand when we arrive there.”
Tiera raised her question after Yuzuha’s words, but Shin said that she would find out once they reached there. The reason was that even if he didn’t expressly speak of it, as Shin walked forward, he had an expression of bewilderment, because he understood what had caused Yuzuha to be cautious.
What was displayed on the map, moved into Shin’s field of vision. The monster that stood next to Schnee was why there was such a reaction from Shin.
When they got closer to the forest, the appearance gradually came into view.
“Shin, that one, is strong.”
“Hey Shin, really, what is that? My 【Analyze】 doesn’t show its name, let alone its level.”
Yuzuha and Tiera seemed to be uneasy.
“Well, that’s natural.”
Even if it was Schnee, it couldn’t be helped as the monster alone emitted huge pressure. Tiera stood behind Shin to hide herself, Yuzuha re-hardened its posture that had weakened.
“I’m here now. As I told you with Mind Chat, the monster I brought will pull the wagon. In the case of this fellow, it won’t have any problems pulling the wagon that Shin gets on.”
With a very nice smile, Schnee said so full of confidence. That smile with overflowing charm would make everyone a captive.
However, Shin’s heart was about to say “Seriously?! This will pull the wagon?”, as his line of sight went to what was behind Schnee.
“Just to check, but where did you get it?”
“Because I was near the sacred mountain, it’s from there.”
“…Clever. As expected from Schnee.”
“I’m honored to receive your praise.”
As expected from Schnee, she seemed to interpret the meaning of crazy in a good way, even with Shin’s state of mind.
“I forgot. Master sometimes gets reckless when it comes to Shin.”
“That information, if possible, I wish you would have said that earlier.”
Tiera looked up at the sky with a shocked expression, while Shin held his brow with one hand as if to say, “Oh great!…”. Watching the two people, Schnee looked puzzled.
“Well, nothing can be done since you already brought it here. For the time being, may I ask about this fellow?”
“Yes. Because it will pull the wagon that Shin is riding on, I thought it should be something like this, a divine beast class monster.”
“No no, that way of thinking is weird. It’s strange no matter how I think about it! What kind of wagon do you think it’ll pull!?”
Shin exclaimed, while pointing at the monster which was obedient behind Schnee.
That shout was reasonable too. Anyhow, its physique was much bigger than a carriage. In the case of it pulling, the wagon would need to be the size of a single house.
“Of course, I assumed that Shin would say that.”
Schnee calmly replied to Shin’s retort. Apparently, she seemed to have a plan.
Shin looked at the monster Schnee brought again.
A four-legged walking type monster, its name was Gruefago.
It had a forward-leaning posture when it walked, and its height was about 3 mels from the ground. Even if it was pulling to the wagon he purchased, they might not able to see the front.
Ash-silver hair covered its whole body to the forearm, which was developed like a horse’s body. Moreover, it had thick and strong muscle masses on its tail, and it rivaled the power of the Lord Skull Face which Shin and Schnee fought before.
In addition, if it began a surprise attack during the game era, it would be a fiendish monster even for advanced level players. Its head resembled that of a wolf, but there were scales that dully shined visible here and there, making it possible to tell that it was a different animal.
Above all, it was eye-catching as Gruefagos’ have a horn protruding from their foreheads. Though its horn was crooked to some extent, an amount of light and shade was emitted from the emerald horn, just like a crystal.
There was one fact to understand from there. This meant that this Gruefago was a unique monster.
Even though it was unclear, it should be a monster that attacked without hesitation when it found a player, and yet it behaved itself without showing such signs at all.
When he checked with 【Analyze】, it appeared as Gruefago Jade, Lv. 751. Originally, the upper limit level of a Gruefago should be 650, but it was a common occurrence for a unique monster to exceed the limit. It would certainly be a recipe for disaster if it descended on a human dwelling.
“Go on, do it.”
When Schnee said that, green phosphorescence enveloped the body of the Gruefago. Crackling sounds were occasionally heard, a small sense of incongruity was added to that magical scene.
The phosphorescence dimmed in less than a minute, and a single monster made an appearance.
Though 【Analyze】 confirmed it as the Gruefago, the appearance was different from before. The forelegs were about the same length as the rear legs and the tail also shrunk. Though it was somewhat irregular, it could be said that it was a slightly big wolf. The featured horn shrunk as well, so that only a small part of it could be seen from the forehead.
“It became small?”
“Yes. Since there’s this ability, there’s no problem if it pulls the wagon.”
“That’s certainly true.”
Surely, the wagon could be pulled without any problems. But, there was a thing Shin was interested in before that.
“Did it have such an ability?”
Gruefago were originally monsters that put emphasis on flinging themselves onto the enemy. Like Yuzuha, it should not specialize in transformations.
“Because it has a habit of ambushing and a preference for surprise attacks, it became a unique monster, and I think it obtained a more useful ability. In fact, it can use illusion and lightning attribute skills.”
Though he didn’t feel at ease because of that, a monster that couldn’t adapt didn’t make sense. Because it was born from demon essence, he was convinced that it would transform into a skeletal monster.
“I guess this appearance is probably fine for the time being. The wagon has already been modified, let’s return and depart from there.”
“Okay. Let’s do it.”
Since it was a waste of time even if he talked here, he decided to return and leave at once.
“Haa, it is strangely tiring.”
In contrast to the happy Schnee, Tiera appeared to be slightly tired. It was natural too, no matter how light the exchange of Shin and Schnee appeared to have been, that was certainly a monster that was called a divine beast standing before her eyes. Even if it seemed docile, the intimidating air dispersed around it was not normal. Now that it became small, the feeling of intimidation was on the same level as that of a common monster. It wouldn’t be strange if a commoner fainted because of the strong pressure from its original figure though. For Shin and Schnee to talk like it was nothing, the two people were strange.
If Tiera hadn’t received training from Schnee, she would have joined the fainting group.
Looking at both of them barking to talk, all one could do was to have a strained smile.
“I agree with Tiera. I didn’t expect that you would bring something of this level, either.”
For Shin, if anything, his surprise was stronger than fatigue. Because when he said horse, he expected something like the higher kind of Grimm Horse, a Wonder Horse, or even higher than that, a Tri-Horse. For a monster that was said to be the standard for every merchant player, the level didn’t exceed 200, because it was easy to handle. It was unexpectedly popular because of its horsepower.
However, a divine beast was obviously overqualified if he looked at the outcome.
“Was it something strange?”
“Master, usually one doesn’t bring a divine beast simply to pull a wagon.”
“I will only settle for this.”
What was her intention to bring it along? It couldn’t be helped for Shin’s and Tiera’s voices to be in harmony.
“Don’t you think it’s a bit excessive?”
“No way, you don’t like it…?”
Schnee’s face became gloomy.
“Wait, wait, why are you depressed?”
“Well, Shin has a contract with an Element Tail, so if it’s not a stronger monster maybe you wouldn’t be pleased with it?”
“Kuu? Guu-chan, don’t want?”
Though what Shin meant was: ‘You don’t have to strain yourself’; Schnee seemed to have interpreted it as ‘You are not satisfied with this level?’. She was overly enthusiastic, too.
And, hearing the two people’s conversation, toward Yuzuha’s remark, the Gruefago expressed its surprise. Judging from its facial expression, it probably said, “Really?!”. As expected from a divine beast, it didn’t need to say out loud what it was thinking.
“No, a Gruefago is strong enough. Besides, it is a unique monster and I see almost no other flaws.”
“I am relieved when you say that. I thought it would be useful if the monster was as smart as a person.”
“So that means, it understood the things we talked about just now?”
“Yes. Though it can’t talk with words, most of our words are understood.”
“Leave it to me, it said.”
Yuzuha promptly followed up. It seemed that fellow monsters understanding each other was possible. After all, a divine beast class had high intelligence.
“This is my master. Be sure not to be rude.”
Schnee said while presenting Shin.
“Nice to meet you.”
Shin said as he patted the head of the Gruefago. Without a sign that it disliked it in particular, the Gruefajio closed its eyes partly, indicating that it felt good.
“By the way, what is this fellow’s name?”
“Is it because it can use illusions?” (T/N: The ‘影’ kanji, from ‘幻影’[genei] which means illusion, is pronounced as ‘kage’.)
“Yes. Is it too simple?”
“Well, that might be good. I think it’s a cool name.”
It was certainly simple, but Shin thought it was not bad. It was a name that is occasionally seen in games and manga.
“I like it.”
This beast seemed to like it, too. Yuzuha, who moved to Kagerou’s back from Shin head, interpreted it properly. Since it might be hard to understand with only barking and gestures, it was very helpful.
“Then, Kagerou. I will give your first mission!”
“That is, pull the wagon!”
To Shin, who exaggeratedly informed the beast, Kagerou answered full of motivation. Though Shin worried that it might complain, it didn’t seem to mind pulling the wagon.
With Schnee and Kagerou added to Shin’s party, they returned to Beirun from the forest, and came back to the shop where they left the wagon. At the time when they passed through the gate, Kagerou was registered as a monster partner of Schnee, similar to what Shin did in Bayreuth. For Kagerou, because its build was quite large unlike Yuzuha and its appearance seemed to be a little ferocious as well, it was necessary to hang a plate that indicated “Tame” on the monster’s neck.
Schnee was strongly warned that if Kagerou barked, acted violently and so on, there would be penalties for that, but that was inevitable. Unlike the monsters of the horse group, it was considered very likely that it would act violently.
Did bringing Kagerou along have some effect? Although Schnee and Tiera were beautiful women, no suspicious men tried to pick a quarrel with them. People like punks generally had a low sense of danger and lacked the ability to read the mood. But when they saw Kagerou, there were no daredevils who tried to pick quarrels with the group.
With Yuzuha riding on Shin’s head, they might have thought that Shin was Kagerou’s tamer, too. It was natural for a strong man to be with 2 beautiful elf women; it was from the air he gave off, everyone who looked at Shin’s party thought.
“Customer… this is also another great one you brought.”
The storekeeper was surprised when looking at Kagerou that appeared alongside Shin.
“There’s a little connection with someone I trust.”
“You don’t say, is it that beautiful woman whom I didn’t see yesterday?”
“Yeah, sort of.”
“I envy you brother, with how your young ladies look.”
What did the storekeeper imagine when looking at Tiera and Schnee; Shin’s shoulders were clapped down on hard. Though the storekeeper was acting a little overly familiar, there was almost no feeling of discomfort, which was expected from a merchant.
“It’s not such a relationship…”
Before he knew it, the way he was called changed from “customer” to “brother”. Incidentally, even with such a poor excuse, the smirking storekeeper didn’t seem to be listening.
Currently, Schnee had changed her appearance with a skill. With blond hair, red eyes, and a ponytail hairstyle, her impression appeared to be more energetic than usual.
Therefore, the collection of gazes she received from passerbies, was even more than Tiera and Kagerou got combined.
Shin received the wagon while sighing, and then mounted the necessary pulling device on Kagerou. It took some time for the fitting, because it was originally meant to be mounted on a horse, but he adjusted it using a skill in secret and kept up the appearance.
“Is it tight?”
Kagerou nodded, telling Shin that it didn’t have any problems. It felt no constraints, even when Shin took it for a light run. Though the wagon’s weight should be more than normal, it didn’t seem to be a burden judging from Kagerou.
“Then, shall we depart?”
While hearing enthusiastic voices from the monsters, the carriage began to move slowly. Was it the result of his remodeling? The shaking had been considerably lessened.
“Amazing, it doesn’t shake at all.”
Tiera widened her eyes in amazement.
“Fuh, this is the result of my remodeling. Aren’t you glad I did it?”
“Now that I know this to be this comfortable, I won’t be able to ride a normal carriage anymore.”
There were personalized cushions laid out for each of them, so the vibration wouldn’t make their buttocks sore. From a person who knew the shaking of an ordinary wagon, the difference in comfort was like heaven and earth. What Tiera said was also understandable.
“I see, it’s been modified, huh?”
Schnee also felt admiration as she looked around the wagon.
“Yes, originally I thought of excluding the extra bearing, but I knew I could improve it more if I tried. I thought why not do it on this opportunity, as it really is harsh to be inside a shaking wagon for a long period of time.”
“It is indeed. Isn’t the performance better than the carriage of the royal family?”
“I’m not that rash to go all out there though…”
“In present times, there are no wagons’ that don’t shake like this one.”
Schnee smiled as if she was troubled. Judging from the talk, she was likely to have ridden on the royal family’s wagon.
“Long distance travel in this world is really hard.”
“There are problems of public peace too, one wrong step could cost you your life.”
Monsters and bandits were dangerous too, but even wild animals were plenty of a threat for any ordinary person. For this reason, there existed the work called, bodyguard. For a person who couldn’t hire a guard, a trip was really risking their life.
“I think I’ll hardly feel danger with these members.”
The words that Tiera muttered alone were the truth, too.
To begin with, with a divine beast class monster, Kagerou, pulling the wagon, monsters wouldn’t approach directly. Even if a bandit who couldn’t measure its power showed up, they would either settle in Kagerou’s stomach, or become minced meat by Shin.
There was no problem even if there was somewhat of a travel mood.
“When Shin and I are present, we can generally even do something about a national disaster class problem.”
“Master is too almighty.”
The speech that came off as arrogance was incorrigible, simply because it was reality. Even with only Schnee, she was already a national class in regards of war potential.
“Kuu! Yuzuha also here, so it will be all right!”
The two of them agreed with Schnee’s words. That scene was exactly like a pet seeking approval from its master.
“As long as it’s trustworthy.”
The words Shin muttered while smiling wryly were not heard as they dissolved in the hustle and bustle.
“But well, to modify it to not attract attention, it stands out in a different way.”
“Mou, this couldn’t be helped.”
In addition to the combination of Schnee and Tiera that would attract public eyes, there was Kagerou, too. There was no way that this group wouldn’t stand out.
After all, they were continuously exposed to public eyes from the surroundings until they left the gate.
Shin’s party departed from Beirun. Kagerou’s movement speed was not comparable with a normal wagon; when it ran for a while, all presences of people disappeared.
“It’s alright if it’s here. Schnee, can you come over here for a moment? I want to ask you something.”
“Yes, what is it?”
He searched for any surrounding presences, and called out to Schnee after confirming that there was no one around. He had something to discuss with her that couldn’t be heard in the neighborhood, though he only now remembered it.
“I completely forgot about it. What was Kagerou’s position on the sacred mountain?”
So, he had forgotten to ask this because he was surprised at the appearance of the divine beast, since Kagerou had been found by chance and was brought along, he felt uneasy with its presence.
Basically, for divine beasts, most of them had their own territory, and rarely came out from there. In addition, each of them were followed by their underlings. It was different in the game, but in reality, he couldn’t just bring it along like that.
“Let’s see. If I am to say it nicely, it would be symbiosis, but if I must say it in a negative way, it would be freeloader.”
Due to the anticipation ahead of the unusual answer, Shin couldn’t be helped to have a stupid expression on his face.
It was not a word he imagined would describe a divine beast.
That symbiosis she mentioned earlier, there might be a another divine beast in this case.
“Is it that? Kagerou was allowed to live in another divine beast’s territory?”
“Yes. There is a monster called Mist Garuda that leads on the sacred mountain, near the summit. Because of that, there are not many ways for Kagerou to be helpful. And Kagerou didn’t appear to have either followers or its own territory.”
The story seemed to have taken a quite special turn. Normally, in the territory of a divine beast, other divine beasts didn’t emerge. Since it was not a game any more, it was possible, but if that was the case, Shin felt a strong sense that something was very wrong.
“I understand this much as we came to a mutual understanding over the Mind Chat. I don’t understand Kagerou as clearly as Yuzuha, but we can compare the information I know.”
“I see. Yuzuha, can you ask?”
“Kuu, leave it to me.”
Yuzuha, who was able to communicate clearly, asked about its circumstances. The conversation that sounded like “Guruguru”, “Kuukuu” continued for a few minutes.
Was she interested in that conversation? Tiera also sat near the coachman’s seat. Before long, Yuzuha returned to Shin.
“I got it.”
“Yosh, let’s hear it right away.”
“Let me see. Was it the Mist Garuda, now? Though it rules the sacred mountain, originally half of it belonged to Kagerou’s mother. However, its mother was killed by adventurers, and only Kagerou survived.”
Shin had done similar things in the game era, so he felt ashamed.
Of course, he didn’t intend to hunt divine beasts thoughtlessly in this world.
“It desperately ran for its life, and then, it was helped by an elf girl. After that, it tried its best and became strong, though when it returned to the sacred mountain, it could only help in battles, because its mother’s territory was already lost.”
“Elf, huh? Indeed, when I met it, there was a little hostility against me.”
Did she recall the time she met Kagerou for the first time? Schnee nodded as she understood.
“Did it surrender without fighting?”
“Though we did have a contest, if anything, it was a slight degree of testing each other’s ability.”
Apparently, without showing their whole power, they seemed to understand each other’s strength.
“Schnee is very strong and had a nostalgic scent attached to her, that’s the reason it accompanied her.”
“It said that it was the same scent as Tiera.”
An unexpected answer returned. Shin, who heard it, had an idea pop up by chance.
“The elf girl who helped… was probably Tiera?”
“Kuu, looks like it.”
It was totally like a development from a manga, but such a thing was really unexpected in reality. If Shin hadn’t arrived, it seemed like their destinies wouldn’t intertwine.
“Errr, I wonder when such a thing happened…”
Tiera said as she closed her eyes to search for the memory where she helped Kagerou. She didn’t seem to be able to remember it right away.
“It said it was more than 100 years ago.”
“That was when I was still a child… Now that I think about it, I did save an injured puppy.”
The information of Tiera’s age could be guessed, but because circumstances were circumstances, Shin didn’t dig deeper.
Though it was difficult to associate the puppy from back then with Kagerou’s current real figure, it probably didn’t have a brutal appearance when it was a baby. She could understand because it reduced its size to pull the wagon furthermore.
“If I’m not mistaken, there was a severe injury. It was hopeless for me alone, so I asked for mother’s help.”
“Benefactor, it said.”
“And you chose to be tamed? Even if you might not end up meeting Tiera?”
Shin pointed out that doing so was hasty; even if it followed the scent, it might not have met Tiera again.
According to Yuzuha, it seemed to understand that it couldn’t win, even if it fought against Schnee. That being the case, it decided to believe in its own intuition.
By the way, the reason it let Shin pet it quietly too, was because it felt a portion of the strength that he hid. Even if he limited it using a skill so that his true ability wouldn’t come to light, it seemed that he wasn’t able to completely cover it when it came to a monster of Kagerou’s class. It felt an overpowering sense of intimidation that couldn’t be compared, even with Schnee, or so Yuzuha informed them of what Kagerou said.
“So that’s why it was so docile.”
Indeed, it wouldn’t let an unfamiliar human touch it just like that. Although it seemed to be no problem for the members here now.
“Then, shall I transfer the master’s qualifications to Tiera?”
“Will that be alright? For her level and such.”
“If the person in question is accepting, there won’t be any problem. It has been verified.”
Though Shin raised his doubts, it seemed to be alright.
“Um, master. I don’t have the Tamer job, so continuing with this conversation is pointless.”
Of course, a special skill was necessary to form a contract. And only a tamer was able to do it.
“In this case, I was thinking of an irregular contract, rather than the said transfer. The contract is canceled temporarily and then made again, right?”
“Yes. Because a monster that was freed from the contract would return to the wild, it can make a contract with another tamer.”
Though it was obvious, this world was a reality. If it was a game, there was no such thing. It was similar in the sense that a monster would return to the wild after the contract cancellation, but something like a re-contract was impossible. After the message of it having returned to the wild, 2 characters disappeared.
As Shin had mentioned, it wouldn’t disappear in the way they did in the game.
“No, like I said, I don’t have the job.”
Tiera didn’t get the point.
“It’s fine. With this method, Tiera doesn’t necessarily need the job.”
“Errr, what do you mean?”
Tiera was at a loss for Schnee’s words. The reason for her perplexity was because she didn’t know the acquisition conditions for the job.
In THE NEW GATE, there were 3 main methods to get the Tamer’s job.
1. Accept the contract application from the monster’s side, generated at a very low probability. (E/N: Monster proposes contract, player accepts)
2. Inherit the skill, 【Master and Servant Contract】 from another player, and at the same time, acquiring the job.
3. Clear a job acquisition quest.
In Tiera’s case, it was falling under no. 1 this time. Though they were supposed to fight until it was driven into a corner, Kagerou was uninterested in fighting, so it became a contract as it was. He understood it since the characters for “Very Low Probability” were included. There were only a few players who obtained the job through method no. 1 in the game age. Even Cashmere of the Rokuten guild hadn’t experienced this, more or less making him realize the low probability to some extent. Though it looked a little like a cheat, there was no benefit in particular.
Therefore, most players received the skill from acquaintances, or obtained it directly through a quest.
“Indeed, then I can do it, too.”
Tiera consented after receiving the explanation from Schnee.
“So, let’s finish this quickly. Kagerou, stop.”
The wagon stopped moving, and everyone hopped off for the time being. The pulling device was detached from Kagerou, and it changed back to its former appearance.
“First, I will cancel the contract.”
When Schnee said so, she stretched out her arm, and Kagerou bowed its head and touched her hand.
“The light in thy future”
Schnee recited the words of contract cancellation. Then a faint light enveloped Schnee and Kagerou, and vanished after a few seconds. With this, the engraved contract marks on both of them disappeared.
“Now it’s Tiera’s turn.”
Though she was tense, Tiera stood before Kagerou.
The current Kagerou was in a state without any restrictions. The intimidating feeling released by that body was enough to make a commoner scared, even if Kagerou suppressed it. Combined with that gigantic appearance, Tiera felt the illusion of a force that pushed her into the ground.
“I-It’s alright. I can do this.”
With a smile to Kagerou who barked worriedly, Tiera composed herself. There was no hostility from Kagerou. Those eyes too, when looked at properly, were worried about the shaking Tiera.
She took a deep breath, and looked straight at Kagerou. The next moment, a stream of information flowed into her head. A golden light enveloped Tiera’s body, and disappeared after several seconds.
With the guide from the skill she acquired, Tiera recited the words of the contract.
“I, wish to walk with thee.”
Kagerou barked to answer Tiera’s words. At the same time, Tiera and Kagerou, on each of their left arms, a tattoo with the shape of some kind of flower, emerged.
The pattern of the tattoo created ripples in Shin’s memory for an instant.
But since Tiera staggered after that, his thoughts were interrupted, and he caught her as she was about to fall. Because of that, the sense of incongruity he had, was gone along with the waves.
“Are you alright?”
“I’m sorry, somehow I’m losing strength.”
【Master and Servant Contract】 was originally a skill used on a partner who was already weakened substantially. Since there was a huge level difference too, Shin judged that there might be an unexpected burden on the body.
Shin let the tired Tiera rest on the canopy top, and installed the pulling device on Kagerou again. Though Kagerou worried about Tiera, when he said she’d be alright once she took a rest, since the person in question was merely tired, Kagerou began to pull the wagon obediently.
“Hey, Schnee. When you transferred Kagerou to Tiera, was it to protect her after all?”
The carriage has moving forward, and approximately 20 minutes had passed. Shin confirmed that Tiera was still asleep, and opened his mouth.
“Yes. It is as you say.”
She probably knew that she would be asked that question. Without being surprised in particular, Schnee answered.
“After this, we won’t always be nearby.”
Schnee said it in a flat voice. This was likely one of the reasons she tamed Kagerou in the first place.
Schnee would follow Shin, but for Tiera, it was not necessary to follow him. Though she brought Tiera a little forcibly this time, she intended to let her go free after the affairs were over. It was up to Tiera on how she lived.
However, in the case of her joining Shin with his action, there was the insecure factor of fighting power in the long run. Currently, Tiera’s level was 59. Although it went up a little in the battle with monsters and bandits to some extent, it was still low. It goes without saying that the same goes for her stats. Even Rashia, who did power leveling with Shin and Wilhelm, had a much higher level. The equipment necessary to compensate for it was also limited.
That was the reason for the【Master and Servant Contract】. The person who became the master was able to summon their monster partner near oneself in an instant. The danger might decrease if Kagerou was there.
Above all, if Tiera was exposed as staff of Tsuki no Hokora, some insurance for that time was needed. No matter how much she raised her level, if a chosen one appeared, it was impossible for Tiera to deal with them alone. If Kagerou made some serious effort, it would likely end up as overkill, even against a chosen one. But one could expect that the opponent would use any cruel means, so there was no need to show mercy.
Also, if it was Tiera, Kagerou would not to be used for committing crimes.
For Schnee, what kind of life Tiera would choose, though she thought to decide on the coping method, it was unexpectedly easily settled. Of course, since it was possible for her to do something for Tiera indirectly, a different coping action was needed again.
“I didn’t expect that it would turn out like this, though.”
“That is…for an ordinary elf to tame a divine beast, usually one wouldn’t think of doing it. Though, I didn’t think you would bring a divine beast to pull the wagon either.”
“I was aiming for the Mist Garuda actually.”
“Isn’t that the top position in the sacred mountain? That would endanger the ecosystem or the territory in various ways, you should stop that.”
Certainly, bringing the master of a territory would be too much of a problem.
“If Tiera chooses a different path from us, I will look for another monster again.”
“You don’t have to be fixated on another divine beast, you know? You seem ready to pull something like this time again.”
Something like this time, it certainly was Kagerou.
She wasn’t aiming for it, and completely discovered it by chance. However, contrarily it was human nature to be suspicious when it went smoothly up until there. To the chain of events, he felt some kind of artificial destiny.
Shin asked Schnee for a horse substitution, and Schnee came across a divine beast that has a connection with Tiera. The divine beast was reminded of Tiera by the attached scent of Schnee, who was a High Elf, and followed her obediently. And then, it made a contract with Tiera.
The occurrence was too much for it to happen by mere chance.
“Really, for it to somehow move like it was arranged, it makes me uneasy.”
“It’s not a bad sign though.”
If he took it in a good way, it could be said that he was guided to it. Depending on the viewpoint, even if he was dancing in the palm of someone, he couldn’t make a conclusion based on the present situation.
“There! That’s what I mean. How do I put it…basically if it’s malicious, it seems even stranger because I couldn’t see the intentions.”
“In terms of war potential, there is no disadvantage to us, right?”
At present, they didn’t have a big disadvantage. Only at the present, however.
“Well, I won’t understand even if I think about it.”
“If something happens out of my expectation, I cannot do anything but deal with it right away.”
“It couldn’t be helped, huh? As I said earlier, it hasn’t been a long time since I came to this world. In some cases, there might be situations where I can’t make a decision.”
“You’re right. Since a lot of things are different from before, adjusting might be difficult.”
“And to be frank, I will rely on Schnee when it gets really dangerous. So please take care of me at that time.”
“!!…Leave it to me!”
I will rely on Schnee.
As Schnee heard those words, she stopped moving as if struck by thunder. And after a short period of silence, she answered in a firm voice. The expression that overflowed with determination only brightened her pretty face even more.
Because she was relied on, Shin thought it was good to show some motivation. But Shin’s words appeared to be more effective than he thought.
When he looked between her hair, her long ears, which were peculiar to an elf, sometimes twitched and quivered, and her cheeks were also tinged a little reddish. Her lips were twitching like she was enduring something, and when he looked closely, he found out that the corner of her mouth almost rose up.
“Schnee? Are you alright?”
Shin was surprised at the unexpected reaction from Schnee. Though he intended to understand Schnee’s feelings for him, he didn’t expect that this much of a reaction would come out. Having said that he would rely on Schnee, he was including Tsuki no Hokora that he carried, Tiera, and the monsters’ company, because he thought it would make a big difference in dealing with an emergency.
Of course, no one could rival Shin’s dependability of Schnee, but did he flip a switch? Shin was anxious.
“I’m alright. No problem at all…….that surprise attack, it’s unfair.”
While she answered Shin, Schnee vented out her emotions in a faint voice. The voice was covered by the sound of the moving carriage, so it didn’t reach Shin’s ears.
Schnee was a young lady, too. To the companion whom she longed for, it was impossible for her not to be happy when told she would be relied on and so forth.
She was counted on. How long did she wait for that moment. The joy that erupted next, no one in that place could understand it. Contrary to motivation, the face that almost broke out into a smile was tightened by force. In some way or another, she maintained a front as hard as possible.
“Well, that. Please do.”
With moistened eyes and a reddened face, coupled with the strange romance that appeared, as he glanced at Schnee, Shin issued instructions to Kagerou. The speed was about 1.5 times that of a normal carriage when it was doubled, and the scenery of the surroundings flowed by faster. The wind that blew against their faces became stronger, too.
While thinking that it was nice if his face didn’t redden, Shin stared ahead.
It was an easy route, comparatively, for one week. Without being attacked by any monsters or bandits, the trip advanced smoothly. From Beirun, there was a large forested area, which was called Larua Grand Woods, and the wagon traveled along its borders.
The wear and tear of the wagon was intense due to Kagerou’s speed, but it still didn’t break because of the good craftsmanship. However, maintenance would be necessary when they arrived at Falnido.
“It’s normally impossible to come all the way up here in one week.”
Tiera muttered alone while looking at the map. If it was a normal carriage, even when it advanced quickly, at this time they would only have covered around one-fifth of the way, and yet they had already covered four-fifths of the whole distance. There was hardly any shaking, thanks to the modifications before the trip, so he didn’t have to worry about Tiera and the others, even if he sped up.
If he had done the same thing with a normal wagon, it probably wouldn’t have held up for even an hour. Especially the passengers inside.
“Even with this speed, I have gotten completely used to it.”
“It can be faster than this. But the wagon wouldn’t last.”
“Don’t raise it any further, it’s scary…”
Currently, their speed was about 60km per hour(T/N: About 38 mph). Because of the terrain, that speed was not always maintained. However, after Tiera became accustomed to it, they moved at a speed about 3-4 times faster than a normal wagon. For Kagerou, it was somehow fast, since its stamina to maintain the speed was off the charts.
Most of the inhabitants of this world have never experienced that kind of speed.
Although Tiera’s face showed no reaction at the moment, her face had been blue while yelling “Too fast! Too fast!” repeatedly when Shin raised the speed in the beginning. She didn’t seem to be able to feel relief even when she saw how calm Shin and Schnee were.
“With this pace, we should arrive in another 2 or 3 days, huh?”
“That’s right. I think around then.”
Contrary to the calm conversation, the wagon traveled on the grassy plains at a blistering speed. Not only animals, but monsters also ran away immediately when they saw the carriage.
“For monsters to clear the road for me, I’m seeing it for the first time.”
“Because the one pulling us is Kagerou. It’s far from being reckless.”
Shin said that while giving instructions to Kagerou. The direction of Kagerou’s running changed depending on those instructions. Avoiding big cavities in the ground while running in a zigzag line, the wagon easily sped across the grassy plains.
They got through the grassy plains in one day. A forest came into view in the direction of their movement, and there were some reactions within Shin’s range of perception.
“Schnee, Tiera. There is something up ahead. Be cautious, just in case.”
While giving instructions to drop the speed to Kagerou, he called out to the two people in the wagon.
Yuzuha, as usual, was on top of Shin’s head. It’s attitude was alert even without having been told.
“This is…are they being chased by something?”
Shin muttered while looking at the map displayed in his view. Judging from the speed, it might be riding a horse. It was faster than a running human, and the multiple responses were heading toward Shin and the others.
Behind them, a response came from a monster.
“They are being chased.”
“Um, naturally I don’t understand even if you guys say something like that.”
“Mmm~, I can’t see them…”
They seemed to already have entered Schnee’s range of perception, and she gave the same judgment as Shin.
Neither Tiera nor Yuzuha could grasp the situation. It was only natural, as they were still several kemels away.
“At this rate, we are going to clash. Should we change our lane?”
“Eh, we aren’t going to help?”
“Whether they were attacked or not, it’s hard to judge by the composition.”
While having a difficult face, Shin told Tiera about the other party that was coming straight toward them.
The number of people who were on horseback numbered five. There were people of level 40 and exceeding 200 in the center, and three people around level 150 surrounding them.
Three Guardian Golems at Lv. 430 were chasing them from behind. If Shin’s memories were correct, the Guardian Golem acted as a gatekeeper for a dungeon; it was a monster that was supposed to serve as protectors of treasure. At least, it didn’t attack a person indiscriminately.
If that characteristic was still in effect, it meant that the 5 people who were escaping were being chased because they were guilty of something.
“Indeed. It will bring us harm if we thoughtlessly help.”
“That’s what she said. You might say it’s because the monsters from the golem group sometimes run wildly without any meaning, but I cannot affirm that.”
Like this time, it was very likely the model that persistently ran after the opponent. At the same time, there might be something nearby that was unknown to Shin, something that the golems were protecting.
“If I might add another possibility, the golems were protecting a secret, for example, an item, and they stole it and ran away.”
“That’s the most troublesome one.”
The golems that guard a treasure chest would chase the stolen item until the ends of the earth. It could be said that it was the last form they wanted to be associated with.
“I’d understand if that is the reason they went wild when I see it, but…”
The golems, when in a state of running wildly, were clear at a glance, because mana was emanated from the core to its whole body. The problem was that it was not understandable just by looking.
“I can’t tell the difference with 【Analyze】.”
In【Analyze】, except for the official record of the wild golems, it was usually indistinguishable from a normal golem.
“…There’s no point in continuing the matter by prediction alone. I will help if they are really being attacked, otherwise I will kill them if they started the problem. Let’s adapt to the circumstances for the moment.”
He assumed it would be the worst type and got prepared just in case. The driver was Shin. Schnee and Tiera hid themselves inside the wagon’s canopy.
“For the time being, all members put on cloaks. One of those escaping is a noble. Even though I don’t know what they are doing, I don’t want our faces to be remembered.”
Because the illusion skill would be removed if they took off the cloaks, it was still better than nothing.
“They will reach us anytime now. Kagerou, please slowly reduce the speed.”
They advanced for a little while along the road when he saw the cloud of dust that was whirled up by the golems, and he dropped the speed of the wagon. Shin confirmed the armored men who rode the horses with an eyesight strengthened by a skill.
“…It’s the troublesome type.”
He sighed while saying a few words. That was Shin’s guess from the scene that was reflected in his view.
In front of Shin and the others’ line of sight, a man in armor riding on a horse, who seemed to be leading the group, made an appearance. And then, there was a low-level man and a man who seemed to be his guard, appeared successively. And lastly, two horsemen with a little delay appeared.
The men with armor seemed to be really experienced in combat. On the other hand, the low-level man wore clothes that gave off a luxurious feeling of material. A word that explained his body: obesity. He held a cup that shined like silver in one hand.
【Analyze】 displayed the name of the cup. Shin, who saw it, grimaced in a big way.
“They don’t seem to have been attacked without reason.”
“Schnee’s prediction is a strike. That guy who is yelling has a Holy Grail of Rotten Malice.”
Treasure chests existed in dungeons of regular rank and above. One of the items could be obtained at random from there.
Considering the situation, Schnee was right; it was likely that they only collected the item and ran away.
“I’m going for a moment. I’ll leave the defense to you.”
While taking out a card from the Item Box, Shin got off of the wagon. In the next moment, he disappeared with a Hiding skill.
In the coachman’s seat, Schnee now sat instead of Shin. Because there was a distance between the two groups, the movement of the two people couldn’t be seen by the side that was running away.
While hidden, Shin approached the men who escaped. Then, he heard the low-level man who was ranting louder than the sound of the horses’ hooves.
“What have you done!? They are catching up! Can’t you go faster!?”
“I’m afraid this is the limit!! If you just throw that thing away, the golems might stop chasing us!!”
Looking ahead, a guardsman answered. That face clearly showed that this situation was not the man’s real intention. As for the other men, they were making similarly ugly faces.
“Damnnit, this pig guy is misusing his power. If I was holding it, I would have already thrown it away.”
Shin strengthened his hearing, and caught the murmur of the man who lead the group.
(There seem to be some circumstances. Given this situation, all of them will be killed immediately in the end.)
Though he didn’t know the reason, the guards didn’t seem to be cooperating willingly.
The distance between them and the wagon which Schnee rode on was getting smaller.
“Hey! That wagon! Make that a decoy and let’s escape! It might earn us a bit of time!!”
“Wha!? Don’t joke around!! Do you know what you’re saying!?”
“It’s you guys who are joking around! Do you understand what happens if I don’t return!”
At the words which the low-level man said, when he looked at the wagon, a guard shouted back. As one might expect, the guard couldn’t hold his anger.
(He might be using the guards’ weaknesses. Even if he did something to that low-level, it wouldn’t solve the problem)
While watching the exchange of the two people, Shin decided to act.
He could kill only that low-level man, but then the situation of the guardsmen would worsen.
Judging from 【Analyze】, the job of the low-level man was priest. It was no doubt that he was a church official. And from his attitude and appearance, he was probably a priest with a high-rank.
When Shin thought up to there, everyone in the orphanage came to mind.
(…Don’t tell me, this guy is that pig bishop in question.)
Partly because of the ‘pig guy’ remark he had heard a little while ago, Shin was convinced that he identified the low-leveled man correctly. Though there was no conclusive evidence, he wouldn’t let him steal the item just like that.
(I will switch the item with a counterfeit.)
The cup, which that low-level man held, was quickly exchanged with an imitation. It looked exactly the same, but only in appearance; it was now a joke material item.
The holy grail was turned into a card, and stored away in his Item Box. With Shin having snatched the item, the target of the Guardian Golems moved to Shin. Because he didn’t want them to notice that, he traveled side by side with them for a while.
“(Schnee, can you make a scene where you run away when the golems attack the wagon with the illusion skill?)”
“(I can do it, though do you want to let them escape?)”
“(There seem to be some circumstances here. It’s just one person who is the root of all of these problems.)”
“(I see. I understand. Should I refrain from counterattacking even if they do something?)”
He made an arrangement with Schnee via Mind Chat. If one looked properly at the carriage, Kagerou had also been clad with the illusion of a common horse. To the men’s eyes, it would only look like a horse. Since Kagerou stood out, Schnee seemed to have made a smart move.
“The wheels! They can’t run away immediately if you break the wheels! Break them when we pass each other!!”
“For a guy like you to say something like that!!”
While Shin acted separately, the low-leveled man’s instructions went in a cruel direction. Of course, the guard tried to refuse. However, he finally pulled out the sword from the sheath at his waist and lowered it due to the words of the low-level man.
That face was filled with bitterness. The thing which the guardsman tried to protect, him or them, he wanted to protect even if he got his hands dirty.
The man’s sword destroyed the wheels on one side when they passed each other, making it impossible for the wagon to advance.
A faint mumble leaked out as anguish appeared on the guard’s crooked facial expression; it clearly expressed the man’s feelings.
Shin muttered while seeing those men gallop away. In the eyes of the man who looked back, the destroyed wagon and Shin’s group trying to escape was reflected.
“Now then, shall we finish it up?”
He turned around, and prepared for the Guardian Golems that were approaching from behind.
Although he also could just return the item to the Guardian Golems, the Holy Grail of Rotten Malice was very dangerous when misused. Therefore, it was too bad for the Guardian Golems, but he decided to retrieve it here.
“Those golems are a precious raw material. It’s useful for remodeling the wagon.”
He asked Schnee to be cautious and hide in the surroundings, then faced the Guardian Golems.
Even if the Guardian Golems were in front of Shin, he charged without faltering. Since they were not living beings, they were not affected by Shin’s overpowering presence. Their gigantic build reached about 3 mels in total height, and they were closing in on Shin while raising a cloud of dust.
Without changing the momentum of his charge, he dodged a fist, and they passed each other as he swung his katana. The slash that hit the Guardian Golem broke through the high defense that was a characteristic of the Golem group monsters without difficulty, and its left leg was sliced off.
Shin changed his running direction and aimed for the golem’s core after it lost its balance and fell down. The core was located in the center of the body from behind, which Shin pierced through with his katana. Though the Guardian Golem moved its body as it suffered, it slowly stopped moving after Shin twisted his katana to tear and crush the core.
The two Guardian Golems that were left attacked Shin when his movements stopped after he dealt the finishing blow. With Shin’s katana sticking out of the core, the two bodies swung their fists downward like hammers.
Shin parted with his katana, turned around and held out his right fist. With the barehanded system martial arts skill 【Steel Repel】 activated, his fist clashed with the fist of the Guardian Golem. Following that, the thick sound of metal being hit resounded. Shin’s fist didn’t seem to be much of a rival, but the golem’s fist, which was almost 1 mel wide, was repelled. That recoil caused the Guardian Golem to lose its posture and stumble backward. Various big and small cracks traveled across the fist that collided with Shin’s own.
Shin didn’t pay attention to the stunned Guardian Golem, and twisted his body with the momentum of the swung right hand. And then, toward the other Guardian Golem that was closing in a little bit more slowly, he unleashed a skill from his left palm.
Barehanded system martial art skill 【Transparent Wave】―― a vibration wave that destroyed the internal parts of the body was transmitted through the Guardian Golem’s fist from Shin’s palm. Was the power too strong? It was over in an instant, as the Guardian Golem’s body shook a little, before half of it got blown away. Among the shattered pieces, the core seemed to be mixed in, too. The remaining half of the body fell down to the ground like a broken doll.
“This…can’t be used on a living being.”
Shin muttered while seeing the Guardian Golem shattered. If the opponent was a living thing, it would be a painful scene to look at.
He made a mental note in his mind, and faced the last golem. The Guardian Golem that fell on it’s back didn’t seem to flinch at all, even though the other two were already knocked down. At the same time as it was getting up, it naively turned its fists toward Shin.
Before the punch arrived, Shin fired magic toward the final Guardian Golem.
It was the earth system magic skill, 【Earth Spear】. The magic that was released immediately showed its effect; the earth right underneath the Guardian Golem shot upward and simultaneously became a spear that attacked its target. The earth spear was reinforced with Shin’s magic, and ran straight through the core of the Guardian Golem, as it ceased to function.
“An elementary level magic skill of the Earth system can take down a golem exceeding level 400, huh?”
Shin tested two skills as an experiment, since there were a few golems. 【Transparent Wave】 seemed to be effective against monsters which have a high defense, such as golems. However, a very grotesque spectacle might occur if he used it on a living being. By the way, after he had used it, he had a feeling that adjustment of the skill’s power was possible.
As for 【Earth Spear】, was it because of Shin’s magic power? It’s power had increased considerably. Though the increase in power itself was obvious, he hadn’t thought that the defense of golems surpassing level 400 would break so easily. Anyways, earth system magic skills were the first skills one obtained in the game. Though it was useful for traps and surprise attacks, there was no power behind it until now. Soon after coming to this world, he was only able to test the operations of a few skills, but Shin once again thought that it was necessary to train.
“Now then, time to collect the raw materials”
When he concluded the matter in his mind, he moved on to retrieving the raw materials. However, the only thing he collected was the golems’ fragments, which he then changed into Item Cards. From the Guardian Golems, one could harvest magic steel, while even small amounts of orichalcum could be retrieved, so he didn’t forget to collect even the smaller pieces.
When he collected everything, Shin returned to Schnee’s location.
“Good job for today.”
“That one too, so what’s your impression on the damage?”
“The right wheels were completely destroyed. The axles were broken too, as it slumped against the ground afterward.”
Schnee and the others got off the carriage and waited. Schnee, who heard the report about the broken wheels, got off from the wagon earlier and cast an illusion.
As for the wagon, the wheels were destroyed and one side of the carrier had sunk into the ground. When it lost its balance and touched the ground, it didn’t seem to be able to endure the weight of the carrier, so the axles broke completely. It was also probably influenced by the violent speeding earlier. When he looked more closely, they were pretty much worn out.
“It’s totally broken. Should I make it more sturdy on this occasion?”
He made the carrier float with a skill, and removed the broken axles. Taking advantage of this situation, he took out parts for the wagon that were long stored in his Item Box. Even if it wasn’t his specialty, it was still a production job. While raising a skill, parts he made couldn’t help but pile up to an excessive amount.
He removed the wheels to change out the broken axlex, while at the same time, he remodeled it to reduce vibrations. The newly installed parts gave off the appearance of wood. However, for a human specialized in that field, if they were not an expert craftsman, they wouldn’t be able to grasp the unnatural gloss on its surface.
That shine was the adamantine coating, which only Shin and Schnee had in this world.
“…Something, feels strange.”
“It’s just your imagination.”
Tiera was going to ascertain the strange feeling with the power of observation, but because of her lack of knowledge, she gave up on it. Nonchalantly, Schnee also diverted her attention.
When the repairs were over, they began to depart. The wagon’s performance rose significantly compared to before the repair, and pushed onward in spite of the bad road.
After moving for an additional 2 days, the party finally reached the end of the Larua Grand Woods, and arrived at Falnido.
Shin and the others were in the southeastern part of Falnido. Probably because the grand wooded region was adjacent to Larua Grand Woods, it wasn’t dense, but the scenery of the forest across the border was extended. Was it different vegetation? While Larua Grand Woods was a densely packed area close to a jungle, Falnido’s forest gave off the impression of small animals living peacefully.
Although the forest was spread out, naturally there was a border. According to Schnee, there were guard troops, too.
The road that lead to the country was maintained; there was no need to charge through a trackless path. On the main road that continued to Falnido from the plains, Shin’s troupe advanced slowly. They might be taken as suspicious fellows and be restrained if they increased their speed here.
Schnee sent out a message card, to inform Girard of their arrival.
“Hmm? Someone’s coming. Their levels are quite high.”
About 10 minutes had passed since they entered inside the forest through the road. Shin sensed someone heading toward the carriage in a straight line. There were two of them. Their levels were 210 and 179 respectively.
“Since I already sent a message to Girard some time ago, I think it’s the people who are coming to welcome us.”
Because they couldn’t afford to just call him a High Human, she seemed to have requested a reliable person to guide them. Schnee, who appeared to remember the two people, casually sat next to Shin.
The wagon stopped for a few minutes, and a pair of Beast-men appeared from the forest.
“As expected, you guys came.”
“Yes. I received a decree from the Founder whom you are visiting.”
The one who responded to Schnee’s words had gray hair and deep green eyes was a man with masculine looks. There was no opening in that standing posture, so it was clear that he could cope on the spot if something happened. He looked to be in his late 20s; for this world’s standard, considering his level, Shin felt he was pretty young.
“That person is, the one who was mentioned?”
“That’s right, this is him. Because it’s somewhat difficult to introduce him here, I asked for a guide from Girard.”
“I understand. We will be the guide to our city, Elden. Follow me.”
The man moved to the front of the wagon with that reply. Shin made the wagon advance to match the speed of the man running.
“Cuore seems healthy, too.”
“Yes! Schnee-sama also seems healthy above all.”
Having answered in a brisk tone, was the woman called Cuore. Identical to the man who was described just now, she was a beautiful girl with gray hair and deep green eyes. The length of her hair was shoulder length. Shin saw that the only part that was lengthened was the part at the back of her neck. She talked like a warrior, and gave off the impression that she was popular with the same-sex.
Judging from the friendly conversation, Schnee and the two people appeared to be acquainted since olden days.
“Have you been acquaintances for long time?”
“I was there when she was born. I also trained her.”
“Heh…a Chosen One?”
“The implication might be different, but she has enough power that it could be said she is a chosen one. After all, it’s because she is Girard’s direct descendant.”
“What!? …Is that so? If that beast has great-grandchildren, let alone great-great-grandchildren…, no…, anymore would not be strange.”
When he thought of Girard’s original life, Girard was married to his wife, and it wouldn’t be strange for him to have a child. Since he couldn’t live for several hundreds of years like elves and pixies.
“Hmm? Have we arrived?”
After the man had run for a while, he signaled for them to stop in front of the ramparts that came into view. When Shin looked at the ramparts, he discovered that some parts of the wall were camouflaged to make it look ordinary.
Apparently, there was a concealed door somewhere or another. The width was enough to let about one carriage pass, and there was not much height either. This might be a gate to let the forthcoming company go through incognito, like at this time. The soldiers who were on guard were likely chosen ones, too.
“How about the wagon?”
“In this case, I should change it into a card.”
Because the parts he used for remodeling might be suspicious in this world, he put it away in the Item Box, just in case. It could be said that the moment he started remodeling it, the option of selling it was already gone.
Kagerou was released from wagon pulling duty, obviously changing into a small body, so that Tiera could hold it.
They moved from the open space where they stopped the wagon to go through the tunnel, so they could meet Girard who was ahead. They then entered a building, and advanced toward the underground from there.
“Somehow, I feel out of place.”
“What are you saying, an employee of Tsuki no Hokora is a legitimate person concerning the people.”
As they were guided along the way, Shin encouraged the nervous Tiera. Since she was in the shop for more than 100 years, she was pretty much family as far as Shin saw it.
According to Shin’s memory, Girard was not the type that worried about trivial things, so it shouldn’t be an issue.
“You don’t have to be so nervous, because I already told him about you, Tiera.”
“Even if that is so, it’s impossible for me to relax…”
From a commoner’s viewpoint, the person whom she was about to face after this, was a person who was on such a whole different level, that it was only possible to encounter them once in a lifetime. It was normal to feel small. Just because she was close to the existence named Schnee, didn’t mean she was able to get close to other similar members.
“Prepare yourself. We have arrived.”
While they were talking, it seemed like they had reached the end of the tunnel. Beyond what appeared to be above ground, there was a building like a Japanese samurai residence.
There was no gate, but everything from the roof tiles, to the paper sliding doors, it was like a full-scale replica that seemed to be able to be used for a historical drama.
The man invited them in with a few words. They took off their shoes at the entrance, and proceeded to the depth of the residence through the veranda.
In front of a room in the house, the man who guided them stopped his pace.
“I have brought Schnee and her companions.”
“Ou, come in.”
The answer was received, and the man opened the paper sliding door. There were three people in the room.
Before long, Shin recognized one of them. Sitting in front of him was a Wolf Type High Beast, his support character no. 3. It was Girard Estaria.
From Shin’s point of view, there was an Elephant Type on his left, and a Turtle Type to his right side, but Shin had no memory of them. Both were level 255. They might be Girard’s trusted confidants.
Following the man, Shin, Schnee and Tiera entered the room. Of course, Yuzuha and Kagerou followed along too.
Shin was in the center, Schnee and Tiera were on his left and right respectively, and Girard opened his mouth to talk.
“Ou, Master-dono. I never thought I’d live until the day I saw you again.”
Girard’s voice, which he now heard for the first time after coming to this world, and one that Shin used to hear all the time, was a low and deep voice.
“Same here, I never thought that you would still be alive.”
Similar to Girard’s first opinion, Shin too, answered back.
Unlike the beasts that were sitting down on his right and left, Girard was a Human Type now. Wrinkles had increased on his face, and his hair had whitened.
However, even if his appearance looked old, the presence that emanated from that body, Shin thought that not even a particle of it had become weak. At least, he didn’t look like he would die any time soon. That arrogant tone seemed to be the same as before, too.
“Kukuku, that is right. I don’t know why I’m still alive either. Because I might die suddenly, everyone around me is worried.”
“Well that, you shouldn’t be laughing at that.”
While saying things that he shouldn’t joke about, Girard laughed heartily. As for the beasts who sat on his right and left, they were in a shocked state and also sighed while nodding in agreement at Shin’s remark.
“Now then, there is great deal to talk about too and the story has been accumulating, but I have to introduce these guys before that.”
Saying so, Girard introduced the man and woman who guided Shin and his party, while sitting down between the beasts.
“This guy is the current Beast King, Wolfgang. And this here is Wolfgang’s daughter, Cuore.”
“I am Wolfgang Estaria. Please to make your acquaintance hereafter.”
“I’m Cuore Estaria! It’s an honor to meet you!”
Introduced by Girard, the two beasts lowered their heads respectively.
Wolfgang looked composed, but Cuore seemed to have gotten a little bit excited.
“And, these two people are my trusted friends. Van and Rajim.”
“King’s right arm, Van Kuu.”
“King’s left arm, Rajim Dolku.”
The two beasts said no more than that and calmly bowed. Their shocked states from a while ago disappeared, and they now wore serious expressions.
The one who introduced himself as Van was an elephant, and Rajim as a turtle beast, were known. The position where they were seated seemed to be corresponding to each arm. The right was Van, the left was Rajim.
“I’m Shin. You might have already heard it, but I’m a High Human. I hope to get along with you.”
Shin too introduced himself and bowed. That humble attitude was not the same dignity as those who transcend and were talked about among the people.
From the beginning, he didn’t have the intention of doing it with an air of superiority.
“Kuku, master said it like usual. There’s no profit even if you are being modest here.”
“Well, because I shouldn’t talk so casually to a king I just met. It’s common to call them by name. You originally wouldn’t call them by such a name.”
“A reunion after such a long time. I want you to forgive me for making a joke like this. Besides, Shin, we know how much High Humans are an irresponsible existence. Then, I should understand such a reaction coming back.”
“Good grief, this guy. Well, if you know about the things we have done, you should understand.”
For a resident of this world, a High Human was a legendary existence, and also an object of fear at the same time.
They sank a city into a sea of flames and hunted divine beasts. It was an existence that really accomplished what people usually thought to be a joke.
And now, amongst the long-lived races such as elves and pixies, which have seen such spectacles, many were still alive, spreading stories about the mighty power of High Humans.
Moreover, if Schnee and Girard, who were merely subordinates, have shown such a phenomenal power, one could only imagine how mighty of an existence the one they followed was.
For a person who governs a country, bowing their head to one with such power was trivial, just done to flatter them. It was a might so great that any king voluntarily does such a welcome.
“For the time being, let’s talk normally, whether or not I can erase a country on a whim doesn’t matter. This way, I feel I can talk to a friend.”
In a defiant attitude, Shin asked Wolfgang to talk in his normal tone.
“Is that alright?”
“It’s better to ask here.”
Shin answered immediately.
Though he had made a mess of various things in the game, he was aware that he was known as a legend. However, from Shin’s point of view, even if he didn’t remember that he had done anything, other than the game era, for him to be worshiped made him uncomfortable.
The reason was different from respect as a high player during the time of the game.
“Cuore-san, Van-san, Rajim-san too, please do the same.”
“IS IT FINE!?”
“Princess, please calm yourself a little.”
“But Van, he himself said it’s fine!”
The high-spirited Cuore gave Shin the impression of a fan who met their idol. Though when they met for the first time she had a dignified appearance, there was not even a shadow of that left. It was an absurd ‘change’.
“Shin-dono is our Patriarch beast king, Girard-sama’s master. Don’t use the honorific title for us either, we don’t mind if you call us by our first names.”
“That was an unintentional mistake created by the dignified presence just now.”
In the place of Van who calmed down Cuore, Rajim talked with Shin. For the person whom Girard pledged his allegiance to, using the honorific titles, the style might go mad.
“Then, it will be easy to talk if Rajim and the others speak comfortably, too. Since it’s more comfortable for me and I feel more at ease that way.”
“If Shin-dono says so, I will have the privilege of doing so. Because this is my most comfortable way of speaking. Please understand.”
Because of the warrior personage which Shin had gotten an impression of, he thought Rajim was going to decline, but he seemed to be surprisingly adaptable. Since Girard was not holding back, that might be the influencing effect.
“By the way, Shin. Now I want to hear about the young lady and the divine beasts over there.”
In a somewhat friendly way, Girard shifted his attention to Tiera and the monsters. About Yuzuha and Kagerou being divine beasts, he seemed to have already found out.
“I’m sorry for the late introduction. She is Tiera. She was the one who looked after Tsuki no Hokora.”
“Nice to meet you. I am Tiera Lucent. For Tsuki no Hokora, I am very grateful.”
Her behaviour from before entering the room had completely changed, Tiera perfectly managed her behaviour, and even performed good etiquette. The strained appearance was nowhere to be seen. Not even stiffening up, she faced everyone in Falnido in a natural manner.
Shin may have seen it in a different way, as a defiant attitude, because she was too tense.
“And the fox here is Yuzuha, that wolf pup is Kagerou. I’ll tell you just in case, but their races are Element Tail and Gruefago.”
“It can’t be…the legendary…?”
While Yuzuha, who had become small next to Shin, and Kagerou, who was held by Tiera, were looked at alternately, Girard had a smiling face, like a mischievous boy grinning.
In contrast to him, Wolfgang and Cuore opened their eyes wide in surprise. To a certain extent, Shin had a feeling that Cuore’s shock was pointed in a different direction.
Though neither Van nor Rajim reacted in a big way, they gave a small nod, as if they thought it was as expected from a High Human.
“Same as ever, you never lack on subjects.”
“It’s not like I aim for that in particular.”
“Kuku, it’s a good thing not to be bored. Then, the story has piled up, but you all must be tired from the long journey. The young lady looks like a commoner. Lead them to their rooms for the moment. After having cleansed your bodies in the baths, let’s have a meal together.”
The current time was 4:30 P.M. Apart from Shin and Schnee, because Tiera showed fatigue as expected, he seemed to be worried.
Wolfgang and Cuore returned to work temporarily, and would join them for a meal later on.
“Ah, that’s right. Shin, come here for a minute.”
When he was about to move, Girard called out to Shin.
“What is it?”
“Let’s make a party. There will be some talks later on.”
Apparently, there was something secret he wanted to talk about. For a party created in the old generation version, Mind Chat was available anytime.
Van and Rajim lead them to their rooms.
With a private room each, the interior of all rooms were decorated with a chest of drawers on tatami mats next to a hanging scroll, just like a samurai residence.
“(Shin. I’m sorry about being so sudden, but can you keep me company for just a little?)”
“(Okay, I will go there right away, so wait for me.)”
While Shin was looking at the interior of the room, a message came through Mind Chat from Girard. For some reason, he didn’t have a good premonition. However, there was nothing he could do but comply with him, and therefore headed toward Girard with the help of a map.
Though this was a digression; the simple map projected in Shin’s view before he knew it, the map drawing function was restored like it was during the time of the game. Because of that, he could completely understand the structure inside the samurai residence.
“Oh, here you are.”
As Shin preceded while checking with the map, he discovered Girard who was looking at the garden while sitting on the veranda. Was it to match the style of the house? He was wearing a kimono.
“You came. Please sit down. The tea will come soon.”
“Well then, I won’t hesitate.”
He sat on a prepared cushion, and Shin paid attention to the garden Girard was looking at. As for the vast garden, there were both a pond and a stone garden where the greenery was well arranged. Even Shin, who didn’t know much about such things, was somehow able to recognize that it was an excellent garden.
Before long, Schnee arrived with a tea set. The tea seemed to have been prepared by Schnee.
“Now then, where should I start talking from?”
“If it’s about the heroic story of Girard founding a country, I have already heard it from Schnee.”
“Oioi, did you tell him about it earlier? I was gonna brag about it.”
“If you were the one telling it, I thought you were going to exaggerate the contents, so I conveyed the truth of what I saw objectively.”
Schnee answered with a smile, to Girard who was disappointed. Knowing the temper of her fellow companion, she replied without hesitating.
“It can’t be helped. Leaving my heroic tale aside. In exchange, please tell me about Shin’s circumstances instead. I received the message, but not the minor details that weren’t written.”
“Is that so, though I already told Schnee, to tell you the truth――――”
Just like at the time with Schnee, he explained to Girard how he ended up here.
“I see. That explains why no matter how much I looked for you, not even a single clue was found.”
Girard, who had now heard his circumstances, nodded. Girard had searched countless times for Shin. Since he shared information with Schnee, he knew that difficulty well.
“Even so, Shin too, don’t let this mysterious thing bother you.”
“Indeed. Well, though not everything, helping out isn’t all bad.”
Girard wore an expression seemingly wanting to say “Yareyare”. Because Girard was relieved as he felt sorry for the person concerned, Shin was slightly touched.
“Is that so? That’s right. At least it’s a good thing to me.”
Girard’s mood changed. The sensation that Shin felt, pricking his skin, it was the aura that Girard wore.
“Now let’s get down to the main point. Shin, I must tell you something.”
“…..What is it?”
Anticipation appeared in Shin’s mind. However, he calmly asked again, without showing it on his face.
“I am going to die soon. It’s not long now. Perhaps, I won’t last for even one more month.”
“What do you mean?”
At the least, the Girard who was before his eyes didn’t seem like he was going to die in about a month’s time. Rather, his body, with which it wouldn’t be strange if he stayed alive for several more decades, unleashed a suitable presence.
“I’ve felt an uncomfortable feeling for several weeks now, and I was convinced when I read Schnee’s message. Inside me, the stopped time has started moving again.”
“As if it was waiting for Shin to return.”
Schnee also added.
“If God exists in this world, it might have granted my wish.”
It might be the content of the main point. Girard looked straight at Shin, and opened his mouth.
“It’s a match, Shin. You…me, I want to fight against you.”
In the situation where his life span has shortened considerably, he asked for a match.
Even if Girard didn’t say everything, Shin understood well what Girard wanted to say.
(You want to die in a battle?)
Girard was a warrior. Not as a job, but as a way of life.
For this reason, he couldn’t help but think about it. More importantly, it was a fight against Shin who was the strongest warrior at the same time.
He never had a duel in the game era, a one on one duel with Shin, that is.
How far could he reach with his fists and skills against a transcended person? Not as a Beast King, and not as a support character either. Just as a warrior, he wanted to challenge the summit.
“It’s my last wish. Can you accept it?”
Girard’s eyes conveyed that there was no way more suited to burn the last of his lifeforce. Unaffected by old age, his fighting spirit was still burning brightly; there was no option for Shin to decline.
For example, if comrades who walked together before wished it, even if it lead down a path that would continue until death, it was Shin’s duty to accept his challenge.
For the role of the opponent who gives glory to the end of the first Beast King, there was no person that fit the role better than Shin.
“…I understand. I accept your challenge.”
He looked back into Girard’s eyes and agreed.
There were no grim emotions in the eyes of these two people.
As if it was expected to happen in the near future, such a sensation was shared.
As the two resolved themselves to face each other, Schnee was quietly watching them.
To Girard, who had revealed all his feelings, she felt it was enviable.
“By the way, have you talked about your decision to Wolfgang, Van, and Rajim?”
Girard’s existence as the first Beast King was huge. If he died, then the influence his death would have on the surroundings was immeasurable.
“I have told them about my shortening life span, but not yet about the duel. Nonetheless, I have no intentions of concealing it. I will talk to them after this. Well, Van and Rajim seem to be aware of my wish though.”
Saying his confidants’ names, Girard laughed.
They probably pretended not to see through and so on; it seemed like they had really followed Girard for a long time.
“Are they your fellow comrades-in-arms?”
“Yes, after Shin disappeared, it was a relationship built on continuously fighting together.”
Girard probably felt nostalgic for the old days, as he talked while at the same time being boastful in some respects.
“Elephant and turtle. There are one or two kinds amongst the Beasts with long lives, huh? I guess it’s possible to live for more than 500 years.”
“You might say that I’m the one who is an old geezer. They were originally in a guild somewhere, but it collapsed during the ‘Dusk of the Majesty’.”
When Girard first met them, both of them were still boys. They became his subordinates with whom he shared his life; it could be said they were comrades.
“Those guys have years of experience. I am also similar. Soon, the people of this country have to get out from our influence.”
Different from when Girard boasted about his subordinates, he closed his eyes like he was worried about something.
“We beasts quickly go through our generations. Though it’s not what I should say myself, our existence has grown too big due to that. I got off as a retired person until about the second or third generation, but I became the shadow who was being relied upon after that. Other than the current Beast King, we were being counted on by the guys before that.”
“That is certainly bad.”
It was a problem if the strongest king was still active during each successive generation. The stories would be slightly different though if his ability declined. However, whether it was for better or for worse, Girard’s physical strength hardly changed as time passed. When his bad influence showed traces on the current reign because of it, Girard was probably in a bind. Looking at his character, one wouldn’t expect him to be involved in politics. However, his influence would remain, simply because he was part of the first generation.
“I’m not saying that I want to die just to pass over my lifespan. But the country is still not good. Though I cannot strongly say that because there are the chosen ones, if I only depend on a few strong warriors, I don’t know what would happen if those guys died. If Shin hadn’t come, I thought of going away to a far-off land.”
It was not necessarily a bad thing to be gathered up and lead by a strong person. But, Girard’s strength, compared to the other chosen ones, was too different in order of magnitude, so it was not possible to treat them as if they were of the same rank.
“I heard that Wolfgang is excellent as a ruler, what about that?”
“Indeed, that guy is especially excellent among the successor generations. Even in battle he is the strongest, next to me, within Falnido. He also listens to the voice of the people.”
The present Beast King seemed to be stronger than Van and Rajim.
“So you can leave it to him, right?”
This was a someone with whom he was able to entrust the country. It was a very joyous thing for the people who supported Wolfgang to shoulder the country. Moreover, Girard was also able to die without worry for the only country he created.
“Come to think of it, I heard that Wolfgang and Cuore are not Chosen Ones, why was that?”
“Those fellows are certainly not chosen ones. However, that’s what people say. If I am to judge from their stats, they are more than 600 on average.”
The value that Girard conveyed greatly exceeded the ability level of a chosen one by many times over, even more than Shin expected. Apparently, powerful people in this world didn’t seem to be limited to only the chosen ones.
“Even if I say that, they are more like the exception. Within my direct descendants, a child who can succeed my ability would occasionally be born. Wolfgang and Cuore are two of them. There are individual differences regarding how much those children inherit, but generally, their attribute values are high.”
“In the case of a chosen one, such a thing never happens?”
“I’ve never heard of such a story. But such cases, where one has stats above the standard, I have heard rumors about them. At least, they never went out of the stage from being rumors to facts.”
Girard highlighted a portion of the rumor. Though he didn’t confirm it, since it happened to a child’s body, he couldn’t be so sure.
“Actually, though it is a rarity among the chosen ones, a person with abilities greater than Wolfgang might have been born.”
Once again, a very powerful chosen one seemed to have appeared.
According to Girard, he was informed that each of the stats had an average of 700. It was a value than could even fight with Kagerou. It was said that there was no information relating to their descendants.
By the way, as Shin expected for an ordinary chosen one, if one of their stats, STR or INT or so on, reached 500, they seemed to be classified in the upper advanced level. It seemed to be quite rare for two of the stats to be that high.
The two princesses of Bayreuth seemed to fall under that category, but there were hardly any others. Furthermore, their stats were around 200-300 higher than the standard. This numerical value could be gauged from intuition when fighting. As for the majority of the chosen ones, they had an average of 350 at most.
“Still, it’s plenty menacing for a commoner, huh?”
“It seems so. Well, the story has digressed. Let’s return to the talk about our duel.”
Girard lightly shook his head.
“Okay, on that subject, do you know of a good place with plenty of room for the duel? If we fight seriously, it won’t end up as just a joke.”
As Shin said, the surroundings would definitely be turned into empty plot of land with a destroyed surface. According to the circumstances, it was necessary to take the terrain changes into consideration.
Of course, no buildings, including the arena and training grounds, either. When Shin and Girard’s attacks clashed, it would be too dangerous to even just watch.
“There is a place I have in mind. If you came from Beirun, do you remember Larua Grand Forest? Let’s do it there.”
“Is there a place to fight there? It’s looked like a jungle to me though.”
“That forest is a little special. Within a certain range in the extended forest, no matter how many trees are cut down, they will all be restored overnight. Because there were times when I tried to rampage before, even after I turned the roots upside down, it was completely restored the next day.”
“What’s with that…”
“It’s a jungle-type dungeon that mutated. Though the cause is unknown, because the forest didn’t extend from its fixed range, it was left alone. It was also used as a place for a fellow chosen one to fight, so it’s not the first time.”
Shin, who at first might have been worried about the destruction inflicted upon nature, understood when hearing Girard’s words. If it was restored no matter how much damage it took, it was perfect as a battleground. Moreover, if it’s constantly being used as a ring, he didn’t need to hesitate.
If the two people got serious, even if there were monsters that wandered around the area, they wouldn’t become a threat either. It was just perfect.
“Then there’s no problem about the location. Next is the time. I guess you don’t have much time left?”
“It would the best for me to have it one week from now.”
“Shouldn’t it be better to have it earlier?”
“No, most of my power is likely to come forth on that day. The embers that are fading will burst into flames during my final moments; there is timing, you know?”
What he said was probably that his physical condition was also having its ups and downs. Was it because he sensed death? He seemed to understand about these types of things to an extent.
“Is that so? Then in the meantime, I will polish off your personal weapon. If we do this, you should have the best equipment.”
“That is unnecessary. Still, I want to use that in my fight till the end.”
Girard’s personal weapon was an arm guard, covering everything from the hand to the elbow, 『Crushing Moon』. Its rank was of course, 《Ancient》 grade. It was firmly kept in Shin’s Item Box.
Because 『Blue Moon』 was already returned to Schnee, the equipments he had remaining for his support characters numbered only three.
“How about your armor? I think you kept it with you before though.”
“It’s securely stored. Though its appearance is a bit rough, it was never in poor shape. Even after 500 years of using it, somehow I don’t feel like its performance has dropped.”
“Can I see it just in case, I have a feeling that no one could repair it?”
“Yes, none of them have the sufficient skill level. If it wasn’t an 《Ancient》 grade with an outstanding durability level, it would’ve probably become useless by now.”
For Girard, since the armor was not close to a keikogi*, it could be said that he had no way of maintaining it. He couldn’t improve it by only using magic power. As Girard said, if this was a 《Mythology》 grade, it was likely that the armor would be useless. Its performance too, was the highest class in respect of the durability level in 《Ancient》 grade gear. *(T/N: Martial art uniform)
“I will hand over the armor first―― here it is.”
“Okay, I’ll keep it…this is horrible.”
When Girard took out the armor, which was in Item Card form, from his Item Box, Shin lightly checked on the armor’s condition and raised his voice as he was astounded. The reason was that the durability level of Girard’s personal armor was left with only 30%.
To exhaust the durability of an《Ancient》 grade armor until it’s this low, it was difficult even in the game. Exactly as Girard stated though, there was hardly any change in its defensive power, regardless of the degree of damage its durability suffered; it was as one expected from an 《Ancient》 grade item.
When he materialized it in an attempt to take a look, no other words came into his mind, except for ‘worn-out’. There were torn spots, burns, and even discolored places, to which he couldn’t help but want to say; ‘What have you done to this thing all this time?’
“When it comes to fight after fight for more than 500 years, I must say, you have cared for it well.”
When Shin thought about the times when the armor was repeatedly worn, he understood.
“The performance state hasn’t changed much either. It’s still usable.”
“Though it’s not something I should say myself, I have made an incredible thing.”
“Oioi, is that what the maker should say?”
Though what Girard said was reasonable, having touched the real thing and not data, Shin was made to wonder, ‘Was there such a thing?’. As for the one who was familiar with modern science, he believed that just this one could cause a technological revolution.
“…Well, that’s fine.”
Shin stopped thinking about these matters. If he returned to his former world, magic, skills, and so forth didn’t exist, even if it was possible, he didn’t intend to take something with him from this world.
“For the time being, leave the equipment to me. Is there anything else to decide upon?”
Returning back to the point of the discussion, Shin asked Girard. Assuming the battleground and equipment didn’t have any problems, the arrangement and succession were needed. Whether Shin could help it or not, he intended to lend his hand if there was anything he could do.
“Another thing huh?…I have nothing in particular. Because I’m not in some official position, there is no troublesome succession either. The preparations have already ended, too. Ah, that’s right. I want Wolfgang, Cuore, Van and Rajim, the four of them to watch the fight, do you mind?”
“Oh, that’s no problem. They already know that I’m a High Human, so I guess they want to watch from the side, too.”
“As for me, what kind of level of power a High Human has, I want to know that. The residents of this world, they don’t know of the existence that is stronger than me and the others. Of course I know there are monsters that are stronger than us, but if you find yourself representing a country, you will have a better understanding from the highest standpoint.”
Girard probably wanted to personally experience what it was like to go up against an opponent that one must not fight. The stories of Shin and the others’ strength were exaggerated like a fairy tale. He couldn’t comprehend that, unless he experienced it with his own body.
“Indeed. Certainly, the things before the ‘Dusk of the Majesty’ would be unknown if there were no long-lived species.”
“It’s not often that we fight seriously either, so they will be using 【Far Sight】 to watch us fight. I guess that is enough to feel the atmosphere of the battle.”
Though Shin intended to push the issue if Girard said they would be watching from within the vicinity, but as expected, Girard didn’t say it.
All jokes aside, the distance should be a kemel(km) at the minimum, or there would be casualties in the aftermath of the battle. Such a thing would result from the fight between Shin and Girard.
Whether or not they could defend themselves, they couldn’t watch safely unless they were in a remote place, away from the battle.
“Such a place must be decided upon soon. And the rest will be decided after I tell Wolfgang and the others.”
“Roger that. Then, is that all for today?”
“Uh huh. Ah, Schnee. Sorry, but can you take the teacups to the kitchen?”
“Yes, no problem.”
Schnee put the teacups for 3 people on the tray, and left without making a sound.
“…So? What is it that you don’t want Schnee to hear?”
After Schnee’s figure disappeared for a few moments, Shin asked Girard. Because it was somewhat quite forced, Schnee probably also noticed it.
“Well, sorry for this.”
He seemed to be sorry for what he did, Girard scratched his cheek.
“Only one, I want to confirm one thing.”
Those eyes, they were more serious than when Girard talked about dueling with Shin. The opposite side, Shin, also naturally got nervous.
“Schnee might have already asked you this, but if Shin finds a way to return, will you?”
Will you leave Schnee behind?
Though that wasn’t expressed in words, it was clearly conveyed by Girard’s eyes.
“…….Yeah, I will return. That is the reason I continue fighting.”
He has family waiting. Has friends. Has companions.
There was no end, even though he cleared the game. It was the promise he had exchanged with his special someone to continue living in future, it was an oath that Shin himself decided upon.
Just because he was transported to another world, it would not make him quietly abandon hope and give up so easily.
“…Is that so?”
Shin’s answer was heard, and though Girard was about to say something for a moment, he didn’t turn it into words.
“No, it should be me apologizing. I’m sure the person concerned would understand. This old man tends to say unnecessary things.”
Girard shook his head, as it wasn’t his intention to say it expressly. Even Shin understood the things Girard wanted to say. No matter how large an effort Girard was making for the country, his fellow support character had been exchanging information with him, and they would notice each other’s intentions.
Schnee’s situation from Tiera’s story, and guessing from Girard’s way of speaking, Schnee must have searched for Shin for a long time.
Would he return and leave her? Girard wanted to ask him, no, he was going to ask him. Girard, as a companion who had seen Schnee’s actions, couldn’t help but do so.
“We have our own, and Shin has his circumstances. They’re difficult ones, too.”
Girard sighed after he said so. He didn’t express his words clearly, because he saw various colors in Shin’s eyes. Doubt, confusion, and sadness were all reflected in there. There were also positive colors such as joy and love. And then, the color of determination enveloping them.
Girard knew those well, it was the color of a warrior who advanced while struggling. When he saw it, he understood that Shin was thinking about Schnee. In fact, he could assert about that.
However, a clear answer had not come out yet. In the answer that Girard heard, there was still some hesitation. His former world or the current world. Even though Shin still strongly thought about his former world right now, one never knew what would happen in the future.
“My matter and Schnee’s matter too, I will think about them when I have gathered all the possible solutions, isn’t that the smartest way of doing it?”
“Well, I too just thought about it a little while ago. It’s as they say, the principle of convenience.”
“Indeed, everything goes well and you get a good ending. Everyone is happy and they all lived happily ever after.”
The ending where everyone laughs, no one is missing, and an overflow of happiness comes to him. For the misfortune that befell him, he would have no choice but to play a minor role that emphasized happiness.
“Really, I can’t relate to it at all.”
“That was just said unintentionally. But I also have the same opinion.”
He couldn’t help but think that to believe in both at the same time wasn’t possible. The two people, who experienced a lot of unjust separations, smiled wryly together.
“I’m sorry to take so much of your time, Shin. There’s still a little time before the meal. Get some rest.”
“I’ll do that.”
They bid farewell to each other and returned to their respective rooms. Shin killed time in the room while playing with Yuzuha. He wanted to begin the restoration of Girard’s weapon and armor, but the currently available time was insufficient.
Then he ate with relish over the luxurious dishes at dinner, and took a bath to wash off his sweat. There was no big event afterward either, the night of the first day in Falnido grew silent.
After dinner, when Shin and his group were heading to their bedrooms, Van, Rajim, Wolfgang, and Cuore; the four of them were called to Girard’s private room.
“Ou, sorry to call you when all of you are tired.”
“What is it that you want to discuss together?”
Wolfgang, who might have felt there was something abnormal from Girard’s appearance, asked on behalf of the four people.
“Well, you see, I have found a place to die. And I wanted to tell you all.”
Out of nowhere, Girard said so with a light tone. Of course, the contents were far from being light-hearted.
To the sudden remark, Wolfgang’s response escaped from his mind. It was natural. Being suddenly told that a place to die was found, there was no way he could return with “Yes, I see”.
“What do you mean by that?”
“It is how it sounds. Didn’t I tell you all that my life-span was about to end? Before that, I will duel with Shin. That is the place I’m going to die at.”
“It is one week from now that I can display my maximum power. If I go beyond that, there is nothing left but to become decrepit and ugly with age afterwards. My warrior’s pride wouldn’t allow it if I didn’t bring it to an end before then.”
He dies as a warrior in the end. Wolfgang could say nothing to Girard who announced it so. After having done everything, protecting his family, leaving behind a child, he was ending his life in a fight without leaving any regrets.
For the wolfman clan warrior’s family, which was also called Wolf Type, it was the best way to die. Much more so, if the opponent was of the legendary race, High Human. It would be envied by everyone.
“I’m going to say that the time has come.”
In place of the silenced Wolfgang, Rajim muttered as he consented.
“Umu, when I heard the story of the longevity of the king, I never thought that it would end this way. What a way to go, huh?”
Followed by Rajim’s words, Van also agreed while expressing his feelings. Wolfgang had no grim feelings here, which made him feel a little relieved.
“Why are you all so calm?”
The one who raised such a question to the 2 people was Cuore. She was losing her composure as she couldn’t maintain her usual, formal tone.
“Princess, to die in a final fight against a High Human, there is nothing more honorable than this. As the king’s direct descendant, shouldn’t you already understand this?”
“I GET IT! I get it, but I can’t calm down like Van at all.”
To Van, who explained it to her in an admonishing way, Cuore, who was confused, rebutted. Even if she understood, it was not possible for her to consent.
Cuore could not imagine for that familiar power she felt, for Girard to die so easily.
“You glorify me a little too much.”
“Such a thing is――”
“Aren’t you going to say no?”
Girard, who talked to Cuore with dignity, erased the light mood from a while ago. Still, somewhere in that figure, it was like a grandfather loving his grandchild, as it was reflected in the eyes of the three people who were watching.
“I have lived for a long time. My brothers have fallen, my son has died, and I have even nursed the grandchild he left. Why me, why didn’t I die? It’s reached the point where I often think of that. And the answer will come in one week.”
“ Cuore, the time when I decided to see off Shin, who is my master, that is the only regret I have.”
“And, there is no match like one against Shin, even if I wish for it.”
Without even a trace of tragic feelings in Girard’s words, his determination to fight calmly fired up. Everyone in the room could feel that heat. No one could make it stop. As a first class warrior, everyone understood it. Stopping him would be an insult instead.
Cuore, who revealed her feelings too, now couldn’t do anything but agree.
“The place will be Larua Grand Woods. I will make it my last and greatest fight. Watch closely!”
The last order of the first Beast King.
The confidants and the direct descendants, all in a unified voice, accepted it.