Vol. 3 Chapter 3 – Part 1
“Shin-dono! I’ve come to pick you up!”
The next morning. When Shin and Yuzuha were getting ready to dress themselves, a voice came from outside the room.
Shin opened the door while thinking, “Where have I heard that voice before?”. It was Cuore, kneeling in a proper seiza posture.
“Breakfast is ready. Come this way, please!”
“Ah, yes. Thank you.”
Since she didn’t talk much at the dinner table, he didn’t know it was her, with only her voice. Also, because it was not a maid, but Cuore, what kind of thing was that?
“Um, why is Cuore the one who is summoning me? Yesterday, I was told by the maid about dinner.”
Supposedly, Shin was a guest of Wolfgang, so the maid came to pick him up at dinner time.
“I asked to take over.”
Why would she do that? Shin thought, while thinking back that he had the same feeling at yesterday’s dinner. Within Cuore, the existence of High Humans was quite glorified, especially Shin’s, for some reason. Though she didn’t talk much, her manner and gaze showed eloquence toward Shin, too.
It was also probably because Shin was Girard’s master. Apparently there were too many anecdotes that were told when she was a child, so she seemed to feel strong admiration.
From Shin’s point of view, his embarrassing past being dramatized was nothing but a punishment game(batsu game) to him.
(I somewhat feel like her image of me is too far away from reality.)
Furthermore, the Cuore of today, her tension felt higher than yesterday. Shin became a little worried about that.
Did Girard tell her about the duel? It seemed to have slightly forced her tension to raise a little.
When he checked the route they were walking, while thinking about what was up with her, he noticed that they were going to a different place from the dinner.
“Isn’t the destination different from yesterday’s hall?”
“Yes, I was told to guide you to Girard-sama’s private room.”
Since the dinner was a banquet feast, he wondered if he could eat peacefully in the morning. On the account of the work, Cuore seemed to finish it earlier.
“It’s here. I think your companions will come soon. Then, I will be on my way.”
Shin thanked Cuore who was leaving with a bow, and entered the room. Inside were Girard, Van and Rajim.
Schnee and Tiera entered after a few minutes.
“Then, let’s eat.”
They finished greeting each other and began to eat breakfast. There was rice, miso soup, grilled fish and pickled vegetables when he looked at the contents of the menu.
When breakfast was over, they talked about things from then onward.
“Though I asked you to take care of the equipment, I don’t want you to only do that. You have to take it easy and go sightseeing.”
“Then, will you tell me a place with a library? A place with past documents is good, too.”
“Hmm, understood. There will be a need for a permission, but I will arrange it all.”
“I’m relieved of the trouble.”
He might identify some of the things he didn’t understand in Bayreuth. If there was the permission of the first Beast King, he might even be able to see something like a prohibited book which was his goal earlier. There were no issues somehow or other.
“What will Schnee and Tiera do?”
“I will stay with Shin.”
Schnee answered immediately as if it was natural. To take it easy? It seemed there was no option for her to go sightseeing.
“Well um, I wonder if I can follow you to the library too? I am curious but…”
“Do you want to go together after I repair Girard’s equipment?”
“I don’t mind. When you repair the equipment, will you deal with an 《Ancient》 grade weapon? I’m interested in that too.”
Tiera has been researching the message card he handed over from before, but apart from that, she appeared to be interested in the work that Shin did.
Her study couldn’t crack a part of the mechanism yet, but because she was not in a hurry, it seemed to be postponed.
“Then it’s settled. Girard and company, what will you do?”
“I am, well as they say, putting my affairs in order. While I’m at it, I intend to teach a skill that I failed before to Wolfgang.”
“From yesterday’s talk, did you reach the Hiden rank?”
“I almost mastered it up until the Ouden. Because the Secret Book is almost certainty a loss. What will happen next will depend on that.”
Because Shin had heard the story about their stats, he expected that a rank of martial art skills has been acquired.
The ranks in martial art skills were divided into 5 ranks in THE NEW GATE.
First, the foundation skill was Shoden. There were many techniques to learn by leveling up. Ouden could be attained by training Shoden and Chuden. When a special quest was completed, Hiden was usually acquired by taking a different action. And then, when everything from Shoden to Hiden skills were forged until they were at their greatest, Shiden could be learned.
(T/N: Shoden[Beginner] < Chuden[Intermediate] < Ouden[Hidden] < Hiden[Secret] < Shiden)
Because there were stat value requirements too, any players who attained Shiden were all advanced level players. Wolfgang’s stats were barely enough for a Hiden rank.
Though Shin understood all of that, Girard’s next words made him raise his eyebrows.
“Is there such a thing as the Secret Book failing?”
Shin was surprised at that information, as it shouldn’t have failed if the condition was met. Was there another factor that has emerged or something? He thought it over.
“Martial arts and magic. Both depend on the mental condition of the user. Long story short, it can’t be learned if he is mentally inexperienced even if his stats are high.”
“…I see. It requires both mental and physical strength, huh?”
It was natural for martial arts, Shin who was thinking of various things, felt silly. As he himself belonged to an archery club in high school, he didn’t remember any sense of discomfort either. Martial arts were such things.
Mind and body were strengthened, to polish the techniques. It was a natural duty for a person to learn combat techniques.
“It’s that kind of thing. Well, if it’s Wolfgang, I don’t have to worry.”
“Certainly, he seemed to be diligent. And he has a warrior vibe as well.”
Shin had never met a person who was a genuine master or a person who was called a warrior in his former world, but he still felt integrity from Wolfgang. That sign would not be worn, if he had an untrained mind or inexperienced heart.
“He is pretty much my valued descendant. I’m so happy to have heard you say so.”
“You have become a grandpa who is proud of his grandchild, don’t you? Well, the meal is finished, so I will start preparing. I want to take out Tsuki no Hokora, is there an open place somewhere?”
“There is a plaza for training. If it’s there, it will be fine. Van, guide them, Rajim, go ask for the permit. I will go to Wolfgang’s place.”
Van would guide the three of them, Shin, Schnee, and Tiera, towards the plaza behind the residence. By the way, Yuzuha was on top of Shin’s head, and Kagerou was walking with small steps by Tiera’s feet.
“Step back just a little.”
Van stepped back, and Shin took off the necklace with the crescent moon shape. And then, at the same time he threw it out to the plaza, he said the keyword.
The necklace emitted light instantly. The light with the shape of the necklace was greatly expanded in the next moment, and took the form of a house. And when the light disappeared, Tsuki no Hokora appeared there.
“Hmm, this is the technique that only the store owner can use, huh? There’s a big difference from hearing it and seeing it.”
Van, who saw it for the first time, seemed to feel some admiration as he looked at the state of Tsuki no Hokora. Tiera, who had surely seen Tsuki no Hokora put away before, had her face stiffen at that absurdity again. As usual, only Schnee didn’t show any reaction at all.
“Let’s enter now. What will Van do?”
“If it is possible, I would like to see the process of repairing the armor. Such an opportunity, there will be no next time.”
“Okay. I don’t usually show it, but if it’s Girard’s aide, I guess it’s fine. Come on, follow me.”
Shin spoke and entered the Tsuki no Hokora. They passed through the counter, and went straight to the blacksmith’s workshop. Other members also followed for some reason.
“Somehow, it feels like a tour.”
“I agree. Being able to see the person’s technique who mastered blacksmithing, that possibly nobody will ever see again? Anyone would want to see it.”
“Kuu, it’s interesting to watch.”
Following Tiera’s remark, Yuzuha and Kagerou raised their voices too. When Yuzuha spoke, Van had the look that seemed to want to say “Eh…?”, but never did. Incidentally, Shin recalled when Yuzuha couldn’t speak.
It was possible for Yuzuha to talk, unlike an ordinary monster, because it was an Element Tail; Van was forcibly convinced, and Shin started working.
The divine beast was also there but without Van who consented pursuing it in particular, he looked closely at Shin’s work.
“First, from how I understand its current condition”
By materializing the card, he held the armor in both of his hands. When Shin’s mana ran through it, the armor itself began to shine in seven colors. From that, Shin listed the missing things in his brain.
“…this can only be done with Orichalcum.”
After confirming his list, Shin separated one hand from the armor and manipulated the Item Box. Though the armor was held with only his left hand, with it still shining, it was maintained in the air like the time he held it with both hands.
Shin took out the missing material, and materialized it. A transparent lump of metal like a crystal appeared, it was the Orichalcum. When Shin held his right hand out toward it and performed some movement, the Orichalcum came apart at the edges, and changed into a fine thread.
“That skill…indeed, no one could learn that.”
Van muttered, unable to describe the mysterious phenomenon before him. Van was a character originally made to have the role of a blacksmith during the game era. Therefore, he has the capability of a common blacksmith. That was why he was able to understood, more than everyone who was there, the abnormality that happened right in front of him.
The spectacle where the Orichalcum transformed its shape voluntarily, he couldn’t do anything but keep looking at in utter amazement.
“The torn part is repaired. The Orichalcum is diffusing thoroughly and the strength is recovered. Mana is mixing evenly――――”
Was what Shin said, as he was concentrating on his work so much that he didn’t notice the state of Van and the others. It was only natural. What Shin had in his hand now, so to speak, was Girard’s burial clothes. He couldn’t afford to pay attention to the surroundings, because he had to keep working with the utmost respect. As for the reason he allowed their observation, other than the reason that they would not interfere, it was because he had a hunch that there was no room for him to mind.
All of the nerves in his body concentrated to restore the armor to the best possible condition. That was the thing that Shin must do.
At about 30 minutes. When the seven colors of lights disappeared, the dougi type armor reached the point where one would hesitate to touch it. It was unimaginable that its appearance was once battered.
“Phew, it’s done.”
Shin wiped the sweat that slightly drifted away, and change the armor back into a card. The work that ended after several minutes in the game, it was actually felt very time consuming for the one who did it.
Generally, it took more time to finish since his magic manipulation wasn’t perfect yet, although it was understood that he could do it by intuition. Even so, the area around precision rose up greatly when he used mana the same way of using magic skills; it was as one would expect from a person who mastered blacksmithing.
To restore such a flexible equipment like the dougi of 《Ancient》 grade, this method was the most efficient. There were other methods too, but they were inferior in terms of performance.
“Hey Shin. Earlier, was that blacksmithing? It seemed to be a magic skill to me.”
“Indeed, it certainly looks like that when seen by others. However, if there is no smithing skill covering it, let alone to change the metal’s shape, it would become a quality that is lower than scrap iron in an instant.”
Shin didn’t know the requirements before too, so he himself, experienced Orichalcum and Mithril changing into scrap iron. The rare metal which he had gathered through much hardship, when it crumbled right in front of his eyes, it was heart breaking, even to Shin.
“I understand that the mana seems to change the quality.”
Such a thing should have been written on the explanation column of the skill, so Shin then opened the explanation column of the skill he used a moment ago to confirm. <When manipulating the mana, if there is a power fluctuation outside of the material’s quality, it will result in the lowest quality for metal.>
“By the way, the skill level must be sufficient too, or the same thing will happen while repairing.”
“Don’t tell me, you did an experiment on the substance?”
“…There were times when I would repair armor made of Orichalcum and made a mistake, it become an armor of scrap iron.”
Recalling those days, Shin’s mood became deeply emotive as he brooded over that time. Tiera who heard the story, had complicated feelings.
“Blacksmithing is surprisingly a job with a big risk.”
Tiera calculated the monetary damage of when Orichalcum became scrap iron. Since she was dealing with goods in Tsuki no Hokora, she knew the market price to some extent, but for the amount of Orichalcum needed to make an armor and so on, she couldn’t imagine how much it cost to only collect it. Tiera didn’t want to think that there was a job that turned it into worthless scrap metal in an instant.
“Usually it returns to an ingot even if I make a mistake, and other items can be processed to be reuseable. Just this, let alone reusing it, I’m worried because it can, completely become garbage.”
If Shin failed normally with blacksmithing, there were several methods to reuse a material. Of course the item would not just return to its original form without any changes, but it’s still better than nothing. However, the method Shin took couldn’t be reused now, no matter what. The purchase price was zero if sold to a NPC in the game.
To rise a skill level, just how many rare metals did he convert into garbage? If it was not a game, it was something he wouldn’t have been able to do by any means.
“The reason for the loss is not only because of the craftsman’s ability. To use Orichalcum for practice, would be an unbelievable act for the present blacksmiths.”
“That’s right. How much does Orichalcum cost now?”
“In Falnido, it will be a white gold for a fist-sized ingot. Though only a few people can deal in it, it is obvious that everyone would be in a frenzy if the price was knocked down. It’s difficult to ascertain how many times its value has increased.”
“It’s amazing after all.”
How much would it cost if Shin seriously made a sword from it? There were various rare metals in his Item Box, it seemed like he couldn’t show it to the other blacksmith.
“I will stop selling metals then. Well, the story has gone this far, should I move on to the next one?”
Shin then took out Girard’s personal weapon, 『Crushing Moon』. (T/N: Changed from 『Moon Destroyer』)
Since this weapon was at an even higher ranking than the armor, there was only a little damage on the surface of the arm guard. The durability level also had more than 90% remaining.
He needed to restore this to be completely perfect. This time he put the 『Crushing Moon』 on top of the table, in addition, a small ingot was put on top of it.
“What is that…”
“By chance, is that the…”
Tiera and Van saw the ingot, but only hoarse voices leaked out. The ingot, which was put on top of the 『Crushing Moon』, except Schnee, no one in that place had ever seen it before.
The metal had a dull shine for a black color. However, on the main colored surface, big and small glitters were able to be perceived. It was like the night sky where the stars sparkled for as far as you can see, or like the space contained numerous galaxies.
Tiera, who was sensitive to magic, understood that the metal contained extraordinary magic power, and was astonished. She consistently saw metal that had magic power contained in them many times before, but the metal in front of her was far more superior. She thought it was possible for it to be a magic catalyst as it was.
Van, who knew a lot about metals, had its identity flash in his head. It was different from any of Orichalcum, Adamantine, Mythril, or Crimson Ores, but it felt higher ranked compared to the above metals. Suddenly one thing came to his mind. It was called an illusion among the blacksmiths, because no one could say they have seen the real thing.
Despite the two people being shocked, before they knew it, Shin took out a hammer and struck the ingot on top of 『Crushing Moon』. With a high-pitched sound “Kin”, the two people were fascinated to see the phenomenon that happened earlier, following again.
When Shin beat the ingot with the hammer, the ingot melted and faded away. And the scratch under the 『Crushing Moon』 disappeared, it began to shine brightly as if to say it was completed.
The hammer was swung downward a few times to completely fuse the ingot, 『Crushing Moon』 looked like a brand new gauntlet on the table.
“Yosh, this one is complete too. It is perfect if I say so myself.”
While looking at 『Crushing Moon』 which had returned to its perfect state, Shin nodded and agreed. If it was this, there was a confidence of satisfying any kind of demand of the user.
Because he couldn’t look at it forever, he formed it into a card and put it away in his Item Box. “Sorry to have kept you waiting” Shin said and turned around, he saw that Tiera and Van had an indescribable expression on their faces.
Schnee had no change in particular, Yuzuha and Kagerou seemed to be excited for the time being. They were having some kind of conversation with “Kuu Kuu”, “Guru Guru” sounds.
“Shin-dono. May I ask you one thing, only one?”
Among the two people who had frozen in shock, it was Van began to move first. By bringing his face close, he urged Shin to consent with force. As one might expect from a beast of the elephant type, that power was considerable. Shin moved back a little.
“For the time being, please settle down, you will hear the story. You are close, too close!”
“Oof, I am sorry. But the metal that Shin-dono took out some time ago, that is, perhaps a Chimeradite, the one thing that is of the highest grade?”
“Hmm? That’s right. But you seem to know it well. Because there are different types of Chimeradite, there are not many people who see it and recognize it instantly.”
“It’s not because I understand it’s type. It is something like a legend, circulated among the blacksmiths. The dark-colored metal where it retains the twinkling of the stars. Chimeradite, The weapon made using it, could easily kill even a higher kind of dragon. Depending on the person, such a thing was deemed as a mere fantasy.”
“Indeed. This thing is certainly quite limited. It’s hardly circulated in the market.”
Even during the game era, for a high-level blacksmith, it was an item that they would almost never see. Even the ingot. Once, a retired player had put a weapon made of Chimeradite into the market on a whim, a fierce competition arose because of it.
It was virtually impossible to be fully equipped even for an advanced player. With only one of those, it was possible to become famous. Of course, it goes without saying that all of the Rokuten members were the irregularity that had all of their metal-based weapons made of Chimeradite.
“By the way, Shin. You were doing it differently a little while ago, is there any significance to it?”
After Shin made Van settle down, Tiera asked a question. If he had used the same method earlier to repair the armor, he should have been able to repair it without using the hammer.
“That 『Crushing Moon』 is a weapon which has the highest rank, that’s why. And both grades are 《Ancient》 grade. But, there is a rating higher than that. The armor is ranked as average 《Ancient》 grade. Because the metal is knitted together with thread using mana, that method was effective and fast. In regards to 『Crushing Moon』, it is a higher-rank of 《Ancient》 grade. When it comes to that, I need to directly hammer it while giving mana. Though it’s possible to mend it using the same method as the armor, this is more efficient and above all, there is no possibility of making a mistake.”
Tiera knew there were differences between the same grade. However, she never thought that the grading was also applied; 《Ancient》 grade was even referred to as a fragment of the world, it was indeed the highest grade.
According to Shin’s explanation, based on the grade and the nature of the armor, there seemed to be a maintenance method that was the most suitable.. Though there were other methods, in that case, the possibility of changing the quality sharply rose. If it was done in a timely manner, with a sufficient ability, it was almost impossible to make a mistake.
“I have to redo my thinking about a blacksmith that is out of their area of expertise. For such precise mana power manipulation, it won’t be possible without mage knowledge.”
“Magic manipulation is necessary anywhere, someway or another. In case of a production job, skill in magic manipulation is required as it gets closer to the advanced levels.”
“Alchemy however, is a difficult study thoroughly too. Even though I learned a few skills, I can’t even call myself a full-fledged practitioner.”
Tiera had the skills which could be said to be the mark of a full-fledged alchemist, but from today, she realized that that was only one part of it, and she was aware that she wasn’t as good in that regard either. She couldn’t help but think that she might not even reach the middle of the pack in the era where Shin came from.
The field was totally different, but to see the person who reached the very pinnacle, doing his work, Tiera felt something towards that person.
“You seem to be improving slowly. It’s not easy to gain skills either.”
Tiera’s shoulder was lightly tapped, and Shin faced the entrance of the forge. The things that needed to be done were over, so everyone decided to go towards the living room now.
When Shin and the others moved, he heard the sound of the store’s entrance being opened. It should be Rajim, when guessing from the timing.
“Shin-dono. This is the reading permit for the restriction area in the library. Please accept it.”
“Thank you. I’m saved.”
As he anticipated, the permit was received from Rajim who entered the store. Because there was also no reason to remain, after everyone left, Tsuki no Hokora was stored again. They headed toward the library with Schnee as a guide. Van and Rajim returned to their residence as they couldn’t be together all the time.
When they appeared from the back door of the residence to Elden’s city district, Tiera was surprised at the diversity of the people walking.
There were many people in Bayreuth too, but almost all of them were humans. There were not many races with different characteristics, such as beasts or pixies.
However, this was the beast’s country. Beasts with various animal characteristics, were walking and overflowing. There were types that walked on two feet with almost an appearance of animals in clothes, a type that had a tail and ears on a person’s body and so forth; there was no uniformity.
Even if it was the same as the great number of people in Bayreuth, she was even more surprised to see this many beasts here.
“I thought I got used to seeing beasts, but there are just so much different impressions as there are numbers of them.”
“That’s because the beast race is the one whose outward appearance is the most diverse.”
In the game era, there were people whose bodies resembled a human, there were some who only had their face as animal combinations and the like. The degree of freedom in combinations was high, so the word of beast was attached to it.
“Even for the people other than the beasts, there are items so you can feel what’s it’s like to be a beast too.”
What Schnee was saying, is that there were items such as animal’s ears or tails which could be mounted and removed. A so-called cosplay item. The item was surprisingly popular among the female players. It was also the item for which the male players made a petition for the female players to wear.
“Speaking of which, I also have several of them.”
“By chance, it’s that!?”
Schnee pretend to reach into the pouch on her waist, and a card was taken out of her Item Box.
It was the cosplay item that Shin gave to Schnee before. When she materialized the item, it was adjusted to match Schnee’s hair, silver colored dog’s ears and bushy tail, grasped in her hand.
It was an item created on a whim by the members of Rokuten before. Anyway, it was high quality with various options. It was not just an ordinary cosplay item.
“Amazing. doesn’t this feel like a real one?”
“It was Shin, Reed-sama, Cashmere-sama, and Hecate-sama collaboration. To bring it as close to the real thing, there is a function that automatically conceals the characteristics of other races when attached… how’s it look?”
Schnee stated, and equipped the cosplay set. The long ears peculiar to elfs disappeared in a moment, instead there were dog ears on top of her head, and a tail of a similar color to her hair emerged from around the area of her tailbone. The beautiful High Elf woman, transformed into a beautiful woman of High Beast.
By the way, what Schnee was wearing now was hotpants with boots under, and a light-blue shirt with nothing but a long jacket on top. Because the uniform of Tsuki no Hokora somehow stood out, her clothes were changed into an easy to move adventure-like style.
A belt was worn near the lap on top of the jacket, and the pouch was attached there. In one of the equipments in the game age, the jacket was split into right and left from the belly area, so it wouldn’t obstruct the movement of the legs. Schnee left only one button in front of her belly, and others remained open. There were two reasons. One, it wasn’t so cold to close everything. Two, she couldn’t completely close it because of her chest measurement.
In the game’s specifications, even if it’s armor or a dress, it would automatically adjust to the physique of the person who equipped it; one would not deliberately wear something without that feature. What Schnee was wearing, was the equipment previously created under supervision of one of the female members of Rokuten, Hecate. Not to mention its good performance, it was set-up to emphasize Schnee’s style. According to Hecate, it was erotic for a beautiful woman and young lady, like a cute outfit where a man would want to help her put it on too, was what she said.
Clothes that focused on seduction, when worn by a woman whose style was the embodiment of a man’s desire, such as Schnee, the effect level rose by at least one more step. In comparison to a thin waist tightened with a belt, the bulging of a chest pushed up due to the shirt in the jacket, but it would be emphasized too much.
Schnee, in such a state, blushed a little as she felt embarrassed, but still asked for an impression.
“…It suits you very well.”
Anyways, in the game era, the NPC’s only reacted like a doll. So when asked “How’s it look?” by Schnee just now, Shin couldn’t think of anything good to say except, she matched well. He wasn’t used to seeing lively garments either, but the dog’s ears suited her very well.
The moment Schnee heard those words, her face’s rosy complexion flashed even pinker. At this point, one would have noticed her abrupt behavior.
“…E-Elfs stand out, so disguising as a beast makes it easier to fit into the surroundings. Besides it’s better like this now I will lead us to the library let’s go.”
While talking quickly, she stuttered to some extent and Schnee began to move at a quick pace. There was no breathing in the latter half of her speech.
Supposingly, the long ears, peculiar to elfs, would have turned bright red. As for the dog’s ears that were shaking on top of Schnee’s head too, they somewhat look red when seen by Shin and the others.
“I saw, for the first time, Master, act like this.”
“To be honest, me too.”
He agreed with Tiera’s remark while running after Schnee. As for the two people, it was better not to attract attention. So he took out some items, and Shin and Tiera changed their appearance to beasts, too. What Shin lent to Tiera were, cat ears.
Could it be, Schnee wanted him to see so she changed herself? Shin guessed while chasing the back of Schnee. Though it might just be him over thinking it, but if it proved to be right…it was already too late to think about it in various ways.
The Schnee that Shin knew was a woman like a secretary, a calm, cool and collected woman. Because she always communicated in a businesslike manner during the game, he never saw this side of her like at this time. It seemed he needed to change his way of thinking.
(I think that’s not so bad, mostly.)
While he was aware of his favorable impressions of Schnee rising, Shin quickened his pace in pursuit of her.
It was several hours later, after seeing the unknown side of Schnee. Shin was alone in the library of Elden.
When he arrived at the library with Schnee’s guidance, after he showed the permit and entered the restricted reading area, he proceeded to examine what happened after the ‘Dusk of the Majesty’. Unlike Bayreuth, because the materials were not open to public, the content was different in quality. Some information that Shin wanted to know was recorded too.
“The natural disasters that occurred after the ‘Dusk of the Majesty’…there’s no difference in damage by the regions after all. Isn’t the range of the last dungeon connected to the…Earth Pulse?”
Shin arranged the information he obtained, while voicing out in a small volume. According to the material, what was called Earth Pulse seemed to have been related with the natural disasters. Shin has heard it well in manga and light novels, it was something like a circle that ran through the earth. Though it was the guess of the person who compiled the document, the biggest place where the continents divided had numerous flows of Earth Pulse. The dungeon that Shin faced at the end of the death game, 【Gate of the Otherworld】, that place was the convergence point, which could be read from the document.
“Come to think of it, Yuzuha interfered with the Earth Pulse and suppressed the damage, huh?”
Even if he said they had a contract, a monster was still prohibited from entering the area. So now, there was no figure of Yuzuha on top of Shin’s head. Under the watch of the young lady at the reception desk, while apologizing to Yuzuha, who was waiting at the entrance in his heart, he remembered the things Yuzuha said before.
“Is the Earth Pulse also related with me coming here? But at the time of the game, it was not a major thing.”
There was an event related to the Earth Pulse, but there were a lot of limited-time events that he couldn’t remember up until a trivial setting. The one he understood the most was, the place where the Earth Pulse runs, monsters were likely to appear. Even if he knew this, there was no conclusive evidence in this world.
(As shown in the document, if the place where the Earth Pulse gathered(Power Spot) is related to the dungeon, it is possible for me to return if a similar place is found…right?)
Though it was only a plain hypothesis, it was simple and persuasive too.
It would save a lot of trouble if it was simple as this. While thinking about these kind of things, Shin picked up the next document.
One hour later.
Shin was concentrating on reading the documents, when he noticed the Mind Talk from Yuzuha.
“(What’s the matter?)”
“(I’m hungry…no lunch yet~?)”
When he confirmed the time due to Yuzuha’s meal remark, it was already past 12:00 in the afternoon. He seemed to have forgotten the time passing as he got absorbed in reading the documents.
“(My bad, I will go out immediately. Schnee, can you hear me?)”
“(Yes, is there something wrong?)”
“(Let’s have lunch soon. Yuzuha seems to be feeling hungry.)”
“(Understood. I will go toward the entrance.)”
Schnee was contacted with Mind Talk, and Shin left the restriction area a little early. He caught Tiera who was conducting research in the general area, and went toward the waiting Yuzuha and Kagerou. After thanking the receptionist who looked after them, Shin left the library after all the member joined.
“Did you find something?”
“No, not much of the important things. Still, it is regretful that the dungeon disappeared. If I could investigate it directly, I think I might able to get a little clue from there…
“Well, there’s nothing we can do since it’s already gone. It’s thanks to Schnee that I understood something, and it’s going steadily.”
While pretending not to worry about it, Shin thanked the discouraged Schnee. For the information that vanished afterward, it was not possible to know without Schnee.
Instead, Shin was more worried if they couldn’t collaborate in information gathering together.
“(Kuu, smells good from there.)”
“(Hmm? It indeed smells nice. Let’s go there.)”
Shin changed his feeling from Yuzuha’s urging voice. Even if he was anxious, he decided not to say it yet.
After the meal, he looked around the residence a little, and then shut himself in the library again.
He took a rest in the residence at night, and it was the repetition of the library in the daytime.
As a change of pace, he had a match with Cuore, and watched the skill succession of Wolfgang so he was never bored.
When he went to Larua Grand Woods for a preliminary inspection, Tiera’s leveling up also took place. With her level still low, she became completely dependent on Kagerou conditions. Even if her upper limit was pretty much decided, Shin respected Tiera’s intention to want to become strong even if by only a little.
In the meantime, the remaining days passed in no time.
One week later, Shin met Girard again. They moved toward Larua Grand Woods in the early morning.
Because they were in the wagon which Shin remodeled, it was Kagerou who pulled it. There was Shin, Girard, Schnee, Tiera, Wolfgang, Cuore, Van, Rajim and Yuzuha who rode in the wagon.
“It’s fine weather.”
“It’s the perfect weather for a duel.”
Shin and Girard were sitting on the driver’s box. Contrary to everyone who seemed a little tense, the two people had a conversation like they were going fishing. Since there was nothing that could be done about it, there were no things that needed to be discussed left. Everything has come to an agreement, including the things after the duel.
“How is your condition?”
“I can do it anytime. My mind and body are joined together.”
The broad grin and laugh from Girard, an irrepressible presence was leaking out. Shin felt it was refined even more from the time when they met again.
Girard certainly seemed to be at full power today.
“Though I want to begin immediately, let’s send the other people to the spectator seats.”
“I guess from that hill should be fine, right?”
“Indeed, if there I guess it will be fine. Last time when the chosen ones dueled, I watched it from there.”
For a fight between the chosen ones of another country, Girard seemed to be called as a referee role. Though there were guards with low fighting power watching from the top of the hill, it seemed to have no problem if they saw Girard was nearby, Shin thought.
It was the human’s and beast’s chosen one that fought. Their stats were around 400, but the beast appeared to have won by a hair’s breadth.
“The usage of skill and power were rough, but the fight was not so bad.”
While they were talking, the place where the ground was several floors higher than its surrounding, appeared in Shin’s field of vision. Only short grass grew there, and it seemed to be quite vast when they surveyed it on the top of the hill. Because Shin and Girard were to fight, it was impossible to know what would happen. It was certainly perfect for a spectating place, when he thought about the spectator’s safety.
“Then, we will wait here.”
“Ah, I will count on you if there are any stray shots.”
The wagon was returned to a card, and he asked Schnee for precautions just to make sure. He thought it would be fine, but it wouldn’t end as a joke if it did happen.
“I understand. And as for Girard’s matter, thank you in advance.”
“Well, see you soon.”
“Shin, go for it~”
Schnee, Tiera, Yuzuha and Kagerou saw Shin off, and faced toward Girard’s people. Shin glanced ahead, and saw every one of Falnido were exchanging their last words.
“I will leave it to you two afterward.”
““I wish you good luck in battle!””
The things that should be told might have already been conveyed. So Girard only said a few words. Van and Rajim striked their left palm to their right fist, and said their farewell words.
“I will not forget the founder’s teaching throughout my life. As for the country and the people, leave it to me.”
Wolfgang declared that he would take responsibility of Falnido when Girard was no more, he announced it with confidence, sticking out his chest with pride. That expression has a close resemblance to Girard in the past. Powerful words, and oozing with presence, it was worthy of a Beast King.
“…I will become a warrior that won’t shame the founder’s name.”
Cuore, who stood nearby, had little watery eyes, but still looked ahead and stated her oath firmly. She couldn’t expose her unsightly side at Girard’s final goodbye, so she didn’t cast her eyes down.
Girard who saw her state nodded in satisfaction, and began to walk toward Shin’s party.
The parting was finished. There was only one thing left to be done.
“Shall we go?”
Starting with those words, Shin and Girard began to run. With that sudden acceleration, the figure of the two people became blurry. They ran down the hill’s slope in a flash without anything obstructing them, and entered the forest.
“The king hadn’t laughed like that in a long time.”
“When was the last time I saw him like that?”
As they saw the two people disappear into the forest, Van and Rajim exchanged a few words. That face, that was laughing innocently like a child, was similar to Girard’s expression.
Shin and Girard ran between the trees, they were headed straight towards the center of the forest. By the way, Larua Grand Woods was quite spacious. One could imagine the vastness, when it was said to be wider than Hokkaido in the real world.
They went towards the center to keep the damage to the surroundings to a minimum. To really ensure safety, they should be at least 20 kemels away from the spectators.
Wouldn’t it make so that they couldn’t be seen by the【Far Sight】 skill if they were that far away? It was probably a concern, but it would never happen. Because, on the route where Shin and Girard ran through, clouds of dust looking like explosions and thousands of sliced trees flying off could be seen. Even though their figures couldn’t be seen, that track of destruction informed the others of their existence.
The two people ran side by side for a while, and divided into two groups on the way. While heading toward the center, they gradually separated from each other. It was about 10 minutes later, that the earth and sand that was flying up due to their tracks disappeared, and so they knew that the two people stopped moving.
About 5 kemels apart, both of them faced each other. Among a few of the dueling methods of the beasts, it was the oldest dueling principle that was chosen this time.
With that settled, the duel that took place in Larua Grand Woods was where they set a distance according to the ability of the people who were fighting. This was intended to get rid of the handicap of each other’s weapon specialty.
Though it might seem to be disadvantageous for the short distance type, the dense trees that obstructed the view made it easy to dish out a surprise attack.
As for the long distance type, though the distance was reduced, that meant it was harder to make a line of fire with the trees in the way.
Now that it came to this, whoever found the opponent first, was the most important point. Normally the distance would be roughly 50 mels, but because it was these two’s ability that were having showdown this time, what was said to be the best distance was not decided. Both of them spontaneously decided the distance.
There was also no referee for this match. Though it wasn’t just because it would put the referee’s body into danger; to begin with, victory or defeat was not significant between Shin and Girard. The fight itself was the goal. A referee, and the likes, would only be a hindrance instead.
Their fighting spirits were mutually raised at their locations, and they gazed at the opponent they couldn’t see.
Shin had to control his 【Limit】, to match his stats with the time in the game. It wasn’t because he was ‘going easy on someone’. The titles, such as Limit Breaker and Accomplished One, were turned off in the fight, so it became the original values from when he had spent time with Girard.
Shin wore the titles that had increased his power from around the time of the Death Game. The titles that he acquired after he defeated the boss, Origin, in the final dungeon, would never have been obtained via normal play. Because the dungeon that was also called 【Gate of the Otherworld】, and Origin too, both appeared after the Death Game began. To fight against an opponent who called himself Master, it was extremely rude to depend on those cheat skills. Though there would certainly be a time when he must use it, at least now was not that time.
This was a kind of ceremony to see off Girard. It was meaningful, when fighting with only his own power.
Girard strengthened his own ability with the aid of martial arts skills. Shin’s stats were better than his, this was something he had known a long time ago. To fill the differences, even if only by a little, he wouldn’t spare the effort.
Though Shin talked about the titles with Girard, he also conveyed that he didn’t have any intentions of using them. About that, Girard was thankful, but regretful too. He would do the same thing if he was in Shin’s position; it was easy to imagine. The feeling of them getting in the way was understood, and he felt genuine happiness by thinking that it would be settled with only their own original powers. However at the same time, he really wanted to have a fight with Shin at his best, in the true sense. Girard also knew, that Shin also thought of the same thing. When that time happened though, it would be over in an instant.
Girard was lost in thought for a brief amount of time; To receive the death that he could be satisfied with the most.
Now at this moment, Shin and Girard were pouring every nerve into each other’s presence.
Thus, it was the moment that both of them were well prepared for. The presence of the opponent was felt, and it was understood that they were ready.
The two people inhaled in a deep way. And like they had arranged it beforehand, skills were invoked.
What seemed to be like the firing of a signal gun for starting a war, was actually the barehanded system martial art skill, 【Cannon Wave】.
<Attract enemy’s attention, and cancel incantations of magic skills at a low probability.> As if sneering at such a skill’s explanation, both of them fired a【Cannon Wave】 that ran through Larua Grand Woods. Power that could rival even the upper class of wind-system magic skills mowed down a big tree exceeding 1 mel of diameter, blasted away a large monster on its course, and finally collided at the midpoint of the two people.
The charged energies did not offset each other, instead it condensed where it gathered, and that energy was released in all directions in the next moment. The scattering energy was transformed into a shock wave, and spread the destruction out to the surroundings.
That shock, together with the earth shaking, cleared the ground from a radial center that should be called ground zero. Big trees that were said to be several hundred years old, and the gigantic stones that were buried under them, flew over several mels up into the sky and disappeared into the thin air. Though it would cause a second disaster when they fell, the two people didn’t worry at all. After firing 【Cannon Wave】 , they had already started moving.
If Shin used a magic skill for long distance, than Girard, who specialized in close-range was at a disadvantage. However, Shin abandoned the advantage of a one-sided attack from the distance, as he went toward Girard.
With the speed of the two people, it wouldn’t take too long for them to arrive at the place where the 【Cannon Wave】 collided. The trees vanished and the ground was exposed, it was almost like an impromptu ring had appeared. Shin with his 『True Moon』 and Girard with his 『Crushing Moon』, took a stance and filled the distance furthermore.
Against the blow coming from over Shin’s head, Girard answered by thrusting his right hand straightforward. Sparks and a buzz sound were produced when the weapons clashed.
With a high-pitched metallic sound, cracks ran through the ground around the position where the two people stood. The earth was split, due to the energy from the clash.
“Kuku, still as good as usual.”
“Hah, this is nothing for me to stop the blow.”
With a grinding sound, while praising each other as their weapons met, the grins that appeared on their faces could be called fierce.
The duel had become a state where they couldn’t go easy on each other, because the higher the ability of both of them; just a trivial blow might prove fatal.
However, at this time now, Shin and Girard were both convinced that the other would not die from a lucky shot.
There was no reasoning there. They just knew.
――――This guy(Girard) won’t fall by such an attack!!
――――I can’t defeat this guy(Shin) with just this level!!
The weapons were repelled and they took some distance again.
Shin took a stance with his katana, and waited for Girard. Those fangs, if only he could pierce through them.
Girard, who prepared his stance with one leg bent in front and the other extending behind him, calmly overflowed with fighting spirit. As long as he used his own technique, he could receive it with his own body.
Silence, time flowed slightly.
And, the moment when the big tree fell from the sky between the two people, their figures vanished.
Subsequently, consecutive metallic and crushing sounds were heard. Sparks were scattered about midair and the ground on top of the ring was crushed.
As for speed, Shin was faster. The slashing attack that could be mistaken for a flash of light, he faced towards Girard without any hesitation.
And as for reflexes, Girard was superior as he faced Shin. He didn’t specialize in close-range combat just for show. The reaction to the strike, instant judgment, and above all, the attack predictions that came from 500 years long experience. Girard had experienced fighting against numerous people and monsters, and watched Shin fight side by side with him. His intuition showed that he could cope with Shin’s attacks, even if Shin had better stats than he had.
He bent his body and dodged the slashing attack from the upper right, approaching while flicking it with his 『Crushing Moon』, and then turned his body back to go under the roundhouse kick from Shin. The wind pressure, from when it missed, created a storm of destruction 10 mels in a straight line. Without minding Shin’s attack, Girard jumped up from the ground, after bending down, and drew back his fist.
That fist was then continuously fired out, with the support system magic skill【Enchant • High Blow】 to reinforce it further. It was an additional reinforcement magic, to the fist that could already crush a solid castle wall easily. For a fist that the naked eyes couldn’t follow, it was said to be inevitable that the opponent would be definitely crushed.
But Shin, who was a master of swordsmanship, was not so normal that he could not receive it either. The current stats were at the value that Shin was the most experienced with. When he fought against divine beast monsters, when there were confrontations among the Rokuten, and when he defeated Origin too; it was always with these stats.
Therefore, now Shin could completely grasp his own physical abilities. The arms that wielded the katana swung, and the foot that crushed the earth, they moved as Shin imagined them to. Was it because he dueled against this pinnacle opponent, the one known as Girard? His mana manipulation that was imperfect before the duel, it too was sharpened unconsciously. If he strengthened his stats by using the titles, his control might be weakened again. However, when he was in the present state, he was able to use mana naturally, like breathing; Shin was able to grasp it again.
For this reason, he didn’t skimp. In contrary to the fist coming toward him, Shin was pouring mana into his beloved katana.
Similarly to Girard’s fist, the blade that now received the support system magic skill 【Enchant • High Edge】 effect was shining, and its edge was sharpened, along with its speed.
The blade raised a buzz sound whenever it cut a fist. Whenever Shin’s blade resisted the fists of Girard, each weapon’s charged mana counterbalanced each other before discharging into the surroundings. Small explosions sounded around the two people as they exchanged blows, and the terrain was transformed.
For a lengthy long rally, remarkably large shocks resounded, then Girard and Shin separated again. Without missing a beat, they began to move. While it was going nowhere, even with the exchange of blows there, the way of fighting changed.
Contrary to before, it had completely changed to a high-speed chase inside the forest, now they dashed without leaving a trail of destruction. Though the figure of the opponent disappeared from sight, the two people wouldn’t make such a blunder as to lose sight at that level.
Let alone the five senses, their intuitions also sharpened. Multiple support system martial arts skills, ranging from【Mind’s Eye】 to 【Insight】 were activated there, and they sensed each other’s blood-lust, repeatedly clashing into each other.
The blade that was aimed towards Girard’s blind spot was repelled by his fist, while Shin had to fend off a tempest of fists that came from above with his katana. The attack was coming from all directions, whether from above, front, left, right, rear, and sometimes from the ground when they jumped.
Still, not a single blow was hitting each other’s bodies. Since there were stat differences, it was natural for Girard’s attacks to not hit.
But even Shin’s attacks couldn’t graze Girard. A person who knew the ability of these two people would feel a sense of incongruity. No matter how much they kept strengthening, currently there was a wall that couldn’t be overturned between Shin and Girard.
“Ah, I can’t get through. Is this the limit of the current technique?”
“Did you finish warming up? It’s time to show it. I felt something was off only a little while ago.”
“Kuku, you found out, huh? I was trying to conceal it.”
“Did you think I wasn’t gonna find out after we exchanged blows? It would be noticed eventually.”
“Don’t say that. It’s a technique I devised specifically to fight against you. Let me put on some airs a little.”
Sparks were scattered with the blade and fist, but the two people were joking around while running in the forest. Shin who was expressing slightly messy words, and Girard who was returning them with a smile.
For both attacks, though they were certainly powerful, it seemed to have turned into a state where friends talked about obtaining a rare item by chance.
They understood each other. There was still much to this fight; they hadn’t gotten serious and gone all out yet.
It had been about 10 minutes since the duel had started.
The greatest battle was about to begin.
Whenever Shin and Girard clashed, a portion of the forest vanished as craters and trees were blown away, exposing the devastation. The animals, which had sensed the abnormalities and moved to the edge of the forest, where there was little danger, were perhaps the only things saving grace. The two people were getting absorbed in the fight, but seemed to have considered the area as the damage tended to be concentrated at the center of the forest.
Somehow, that spectacle, which was watched with the 【Far Sight】 skill, was divided into two groups based on their reaction.
“It couldn’t be…this is when the founder is serious.”
Tiera was speechless at the scene that unfolded before her eyes. Wolfgang, who saw Girard being serious for the first time, growled. Cuore and Yuzuha couldn’t cover their excitement. Whereas Kagerou was watching their state.
“It’s about time they finished warming up.”
“Umu, flashy warm-up as usual.”
“Well, expect no less from our king.”
Schnee, Van, and Rajim watched it all with a calm composure, as if saying “You haven’t seen anything yet, there’s still more after this”.
Their reactions were split in two splendidly, into whether or not they had seen that Shin and Girard were not being serious yet.
“Master, they haven’t gotten serious yet, despite all that!?”
“Yes. Shin appears to have hardly used his magic skills at all, and Girard hasn’t shown his new move in that state either.”
“Master is strong like that too, right?”
“Depending on the fight, I still have a hard time against Girard.”
To Schnee who indirectly implied “I am stronger”, Tiera became speechless again. Though Tiera knew that Schnee was strong, after watching the fight between Shin and Girard, she understood how poor her imagination had been. Furthermore, it was said that the two people who were battling now weren’t even completely serious yet. How far away was the existence that spoke to her like it was natural? Tiera finally understood the true meaning.
“Honorable father, this is the fight of a High Human and Girard-sama, right?”
“It seems like there’s still more to it from Schnee-dono’s story. Though I also succeeded in the secret and became strong myself, I can’t help but think I have so much more to learn when I see this.”
“I have had a match with Shin-san before, and I thought he was as much the same as Girard-sama. But it was not so.”
“It’s the person whom founder-sama lowered his head to. We are likely not able to see through that power or something.”
While hearing the explosions echo far away from the hill, the parent and child were having a talk. Meanwhile, their pupils were moving rapidly, as they were going to sear the fight between Shin and Girard into their memory.
“It’s time for him to move.”
“Umu, I guess it will be an exchange of existing skills from now on.”
“That will reach the High Human, huh?”
“Now, it’s up to our king.”
Van and Rajim knew Girard’s trump card. They were not excited nor did they adopt a philosophic view on it; they just calmly watched the progress of the battle.
The intense sounds stopped.
The vibration of the earth and the atmosphere fell silent.
In the forest, in the space that was born from the last clash, the main sources were facing each other.
“Let me declare this. From here, I will become one fang.”
It was time to go all out from here.
Girard announced with the implied meaning, and released all of his power.
There were two changes.
First, the aura that covered Girard’s body slightly shook.
Second, his body trembled a little, and transformed into the appearance of a wolf.
On top of that, there was the beast’s race bonus due to the changed outward.
Though the differences between the outward appearances were small, he was neither discouraged nor unprepared. Had Girard reached that fang? That couldn’t be just a mere transformation appearance.
In contrast to Girard, Shin started to invoke magic skills as well.
“Come then. I will fight with my whole soul.”
Matching that remark, there were 7 attributes of advanced level magic skills developing around Shin.
Starting with a white flame, a water that rotates at a high velocity, then red thunder, to the earth rising from the ground like a snake, if a person who practiced magic in this world saw that, they would faint. As those magics shouldn’t be able to manifest without chanting them one by one.
However, even facing the magic skills that surrounded Shin, Girard’s expression didn’t change a bit. It was natural. If he was shaken at this point, reaching that fang would only be an empty dream.
“――――Here I come!”
Just a word. Speaking no more than that, Girard disappeared.
No, it was…
It was high-speed movement without any prior motion. Even for the advanced level chosen ones, the reaction speed was unbelievable.
However, it was not possible to shake off Shin, even with that. Even if Shin was astonished, his perceptual skill continued on grasping Girard’s movement.
Shin unleashed one of his magic skills. A crimson thunder approached Girard――――
“It won’t hit!”
Not even a graze on Girard, but the forest was burnt.
“I see!! You have reached this point, huh?!!”
Shin shouted at Girard, who avoided being struck by lightning, while having a smile on his face.
Thunder and light techniques. In magic skills, these two boasted of being the fastest; They were thought to be unavoidable. It was possible only for a small handful of people, who reached an AGI value exceeding 900, with the support skill enabled.
Girard’s AGI value had reached 800. No matter how much he tried to enhance his physical ability, 900 couldn’t be exceeded. However, Girard showed that he could dodge the thunder technique. The action that was impossible in the game, he had shown it to be possible.
“I’ve been waiting, for this time.”
Girard spoke while in a fired-up mood, and closed the distance while feeling the heat on his skin from the lightning before.
He had gone through battlefields, polished his techniques, and searched for the technique that exceeded the limit by himself.
How far had he come? To what extent could he go? Girard himself didn’t know it either.
Still, he knew one thing . He was confident.
“Now, only now――――”
Yes, he was sure at this moment.
“My fangs will reach you!!”
He was faster than when he avoided being struck by lightning.
It passed even the light technique.
Girard was the at the breaking point for a man who was at the summit, as he set foot there.
His whole body screamed with the intention to fight against Shin, as he charged towards the target(Shin) before his eyes.
He drew back his fist, while maintaining top speed, with a power that was not even comparable to just several minutes ago. Girard’s blow that was approaching had one long straight beam of light behind it, while Shin held his 『True Moon』, prepared to receive the blow.
“You don’t think this attack will defeat me, do you?”
Shin told Girard, who then reacted like it was obvious.
“Of course not.”
As for Girard too, it was only natural that Shin wasn’t surprised.
Girard, who was at the boundary of men, continued stepping onto the road to the summit, and finally he achieved a view of the top. However, Shin was already there. He was not so naive, as to think that this amount of attack would surprise him.
“This is the first time I’ve seen that. How did you do that enhancement?”
“You can ask Schnee. After this battle!!!”
Girard pushed Shin aside together with a roar as he invoked the barehanded system martial arts skill 【Burst Strike】. No matter how different the stats were, mass didn’t change. If it was the current Girard, if he used 【Burst Strike】 which had a powerful knock back effect, it might be able to repel Shin forcibly.
Shin retreated while shaving the ground, and Girard attempted a second assault. There was no chance of winning if the distance increased, and he didn’t have a lot of time either. Therefore, whether or not Girard could finish his attacks in this match? It would depend on that.
The firmly stepped-on ground burst and scattered as Girard’s figure vanished.
Against the fist that was approaching from his left, Shin put up his blade. The attacks didn’t always come from behind. As Girard couldn’t do such monotonous attacks.
Before the spark went out, Girard’s figure vanished again. He was running around Shin while maintaining maximum speed, and not only from the blind spots, he struck from the front sometimes, too.
Shin was thinking. For Girard’s phenomenal ability to rise, Shin knew Girard’s limit was being exceeded. Furthermore, there was something that he was hiding.
Did he want to use magic, or bring it to close combat? Or maybe do a surprise attack? While observing Girard’s movement, Shin considered his next move.
While striking at Shin who didn’t move, Girard also thought about how to deal a single blow with all of his might.
In Girard’s judgment, Shin, who was using magic skills to move from place to place, was troublesome. Supposedly, if Shin kept freely running around, with that alone, the chances of Girard winning went down to zero.
The skills for Girard, he was not only strengthened by becoming a beast, he was enhanced through the arts, too. And strengthening his body by 3 fold, it was done by consuming his life force. The movements that exceeded Girard’s limit, were possible because he staked everything on this fight. Until he could finally fight with Shin head-on.
If he moved poorly and the distance increased, it wouldn’t just end with time running out. Nonetheless, he couldn’t continue in his present state for a long time. He had to keep up with Shin with all of his efforts. He couldn’t behave as he did earlier.
“…Now, I’ll go from here!”
With a few words, Shin kicked the ground. A flash, like he was no longer ‘going easy on someone’ was unleashed at Girard in the form of a thrust.
Girard glanced off the approaching katana with his 『Crushing Moon』, while at the same time bending his body. Although the place right beside him was blown away, Girard barely succeed in turning that brandish strike to the ground. He landed on his limbs at the same time lifting his upper body, thrusting out his fist high towards the sky.
The voices of the two people and the sound of the arms clashing overlapped in succession, and the surrounding trees were blown away from the shock.
With Shin’s activated movement system, martial arts skill 【Flying Shadow】, due to the sudden change of course, together with attacking while pursuing, Girard reacted without even seeing it.
When Shin entered Girard’s range of attack, Girard’s body moved unconsciously. Because he knew the nature of the fight from one another, Girard’s reaction was precise. Shin especially, didn’t know this world’s unique strategy, which Girard had mastered. Therefore, Girard was able to predict the skills that Shin would unleash accurately.
“I guess we don’t have much time. Shall we exchange blows!!”
Shin shouted, with his sword not one step away. He didn’t understand what kind of enhancement Girard used, but he knew this duel, it was not the right way. When the duel had become drawn-out, only Shin would have the advantage. Such a thing, was not the fight Girard hoped for.
(Girard, you don’t wish for this kind of fight, do you!!)
With that thought, Shin put his strength into the hand holding his katana.
“Answer me!! Girarrrdd!!”
Girard withdrew back, avoiding the powerful blow, and corrected his posture.
“Kuku, haha, haha, that’s right. Good grief, I got greedy since the enhancement worked smoothly, huh?”
A strained laugh unintentionally leaked out from Girard, answering Shin’s remark. What exactly was he thinking? He reserved his power for the biggest game, Shin, he shouldn’t keep thinking as if he was the same as before. Such thoughts were discarded together while he exhaled.
Does the chance of winning disappear when Shin moves? Does he have the stamina?
Such thoughts were for a person who had the time.
“No, not now. With my remaining strength, my fangs will reach yoouuu!!”
He began to run with those words. As an answer to Shin’s shout, he returned a blow right to the front.
Shin didn’t avoid it. The swung down blade was pushed up, Girard’s shout was answered.
It was a simple blow that had neither had skills nor arts. Thus, there was no need to put much thought as their weapons resounded mutually.
It was said that fellow masters didn’t need words, they spoke by the exchanging of techniques.
Thus from thereon, the two people stopped talking.
They understood, even if they didn’t speak. They communicated when their weapons crossed.
Only laughter came from their mouths.
Shin invoked the katana and water technique combined skill, 【Setsugekka*】, a single blow formed an ice blade, from outside the distance between them. (T/N: Snow, Moon and Flowers)
Girard’s fist was clad with fire, and broke the icy blade. Furthermore, he thrust out his fist in front before the flames went out.
The range shouldn’t have reached Shin. However, a mass of energy was projected out from his fist, and that fist, made up of flames, rushed towards Shin.
Barehanded flame technique combined skill【Blazing Sky】 and barehanded system martial arts skill 【Far Strike】 were put together for a counterattack.
“This sort of thing, *Burst*!!”
It was several times the normal 【Far Strike】. The bullet of fire with a width of almost 1 mel, Shin cut right in half with his katana. One of the effects bestowed upon 『True Moon』, was the nullification of magic skills that came in contact with the katana blade. Naturally, not all of the magic was erased, pure energy such as martial arts skills couldn’t be nullified. Having cut the blow that became the form of a flame technique from Girard just now, it was Shin’s height of capability.
Still, being able to cut magic, it became very handy in combat. Though it was a slightly different situation this time, he originally used it to cut barrier skills. With that alone, he could turn the tables.
Yet, it became a trap this time. Simply because Girard knew that Shin was able to cut 【Far Strike】, so he used a skill that let him wear flames.
Under the guise of a huge bullet of fire, Girard unleashed a skill while pursuing, in a situation where Shin would shake off his katana.
It was the barehanded system martial arts skill【Binding Snake】.
To obstruct the movement of the opponent, the energy with the shape of a snake hung around Shin’s arms.
“This won’t hold me!”
The restraints in front of Shin vanished, but that moment became the chance for winning the fight between the two.
“Shiden――” (T/N: This is also known as Itariden, which was mentioned in the previous part. I have changed it to Shiden.)
That moment when Shin’s movement was stopped. Girard dealt a blow with all of his might.
This was the secret that only the person who learned all of the martial arts system skills could unleash.
The pinnacle in martial arts skills.
Barehanded system martial arts skill 【Shiden • Zekka】. This skill needed only a moment before it was invoked, its movement was only a pushed out fist, right in front. It had a short reach and an even bigger opening, too.
However, for this reason, its power was top class among the many martial arts skills. If it was in PvP, it was said to be able to overturn the situation with just a single blow.
When the current Girard released it, supposedly, its power should be beyond Shin’s imaginations.
In front of the approaching fist, Shin barely slid his 『True Moon』, at the last moment between the attack and his body. But even Shin too, was just barely able to properly parry it, as it was difficult to turn aside. Holding out was not possible, as he was blown away into the forest.
“Aaargh*cough*, as expected, it’s strong.”
Shin was blown away for dozens of mels, while some of the large trees vanished. Though it wasn’t a direct hit, it was clear that damage penetrated into his body. No matter how much of a stat differences remained to some extent, the power of the Shiden class of martial arts skills were in a different league. The forest, except for the place where Shin was, had a folding fan shape scattered for kemels away, testifying to the ferocity of that power.
Shin got up, and returned to Girard’s location. Although there was no pause time when using the skill, 【Zekka】 was a skill that had a big backlash. In the game, it became temporarily impossible to move after using it, and unnecessary damage was often received. It was not thought to be able to attack immediately after using such a skill.
Therefore, it was too late to react to an attack while being pursued from the rear.
Girard was soundless, without revealing his presence too, closing in on Shin as he glided on the ground.
He seemed to be able to totally read Shin’s thoughts perfectly, and assaulted the moment he had the chance. He suppressed his skill’s backlash forcibly, and his pupils were fiery and shined like a beast’s in a hunting game
Due to the wind technique skill, the noise of the approaching fist was gone, and the handle of Shin’s 『True Moon』 struck up. He judged the blade was good enough, rotated his body with minimal movement, and raising his opposite fist clashed against the armguard on Shin’s left arm.
The armguards clashing with each other resounded. It was a blow that could have taken off each others arms, if it was not Shin. The distance between them was only a few dozen cemels. Girard had invaded Shin’s domain.
Barehanded system martial arts 【Reverse Wave】―――― that skill was the derivation of 【Transparent Wave】 which Shin had used on the golem before. It was not a power that burst from the inside, it was a skill that broke through at a point and exploded on the outside. Though Girard was also slightly damaged from the point-blank range, he didn’t worry about such a thing anymore.
But because it was Shin, he wouldn’t remain silent when feeling the pressure gathered on his left arm. Shin immediately used 【Steel Repel】, and though the majority of the power from 【Reverse Wave】 was warded off, he couldn’t prevent his left arm from being flipped by the shock remaining.
With Shin’s damage reduced by his defense, Girard received a portion of the aftermath. As for damage, Girard who had a lot of it shouldn’t be able to move right away. Yet, Girard moved. As if there was no damage at all, he invoked the next skill.
Girard forcibly adjust his disordered stance, and what he invoked next was the barehanded system martial arts skill 【Eight Petals Palm】.
As the name might imply, it was an 8-hit combo attack. But the flowing combinations had already all been seen by Shin. Even in this world, there were certain motions to engage a combo attack.
Though Shin didn’t know it, it was said that skill was used against the physical body with magic. Each skills’ form has their own kind of chants, it could be said that the unleashed blows were invoked by magic. Therefore, it was very difficult to change form in the middle of a fight for a martial arts skill, as its power would drop if interfered with forcibly.
And supposing that rule was not known, if it was a person such as Shin, who was well-informed about the skill and the motion associated with it, it would not be difficult to deal with.
While destroying the posture with a close ranged martial art skills, Shin also dodged the drawn fist, and a kick with minimal movement.
When the last round kick approached from his rear, Shin put his strength into counterattacking it, but once again he was hit by an unexpected attack.
Soon after the kick passed in front of Shin, Girard instantly changed his pivot foot, using the rotation of his body, and aimed for Shin’s head. That without a doubt, was the movement of the continuous rotation kick from the barehanded system martial arts skill 【Two Wheels】.
The kick that was approaching his face was stopped by 『True Moon』, Shin raised his eyebrows at the lightness of the power. He didn’t know it, but he felt that something was wrong. However, that ‘something was wrong’ feeling was confirmed before long by Girard’s following action. Using Shin’s blade that stopped the kick as a foothold, Girard jumped up and invoked a skill while rotating.
He made one rotation above Shin’s head, and without breaking his momentum, an axe kick from the barehanded system martial arts skill 【Waterfall】 weaved its way towards Shin on the spot.
The ground caved-in, as Shin, who received that blow, had his feet pushed into the ground. But even with such power, it didn’t become the decisive blow.
Shin, whose main job was samurai, was not superior in defense skills like a shield job, and was not equipped with high strength shield either. However, the katana Shin was holding was an 《Ancient》 grade weapon, 『True Moon』. The average shield was no match for its strength. In addition, because its performance as a weapon was top class, it could withstand an attack that was impossible to defend against by ordinary katanas. This was also usually the combat method that was used with a large sword that values strength.
Nonetheless, if Shin was without his prized possession, the 『True Moon』, he probably wouldn’t be able to defend against even a single blow of Shiden class attacks from Girard.
With his feet buried in the ground, while facing Girard who was in mid-air, Shin counterattacked with nothing but 『True Moon』. Girard, who was a little faster than Shin’s katana that was swinging down, took some distance with 【Flying Shadow】.
Shin’s thoughts were filled with astonishment. Girard was doing movements that he didn’t think of in the game.
Apart from the 【Zekka】’s recoil, 【Eight Petals Palm】 to 【Two Wheels】, and 【Waterfall】, Shin thought that such combinations flowing together were admirable even if it was his body caught in the attack.
To work out such a strategy, he had no idea how much training Girard went through. But there was one thing that was clear, giving his complete devotion was Girard’s true strength. He was a real warrior, one who might have overtaken High Humans on earth. When he thought about that, Shin, just like Girard, had his chest filled with bitterness.
It was understood. No, he was going to. Still somewhere, he was reminded of the sense of fighting during the game. Although Shin had already experienced PvP in this world, it was not a proper fight. So, he hadn’t experienced something called a real battle.
Thus, he was falling behind.
“…Pathetic. To think that I am the culmination that an opponent is risking their life against, and it ended up like this?”
It not being the final blow, it was all thanks to his stats and his piled up combat experience. But even with that, Girard had also caught up now.
What a predicament, when he said he would accept the challenge. In the way of fighting until now, he might receive a heavy blow sooner or later.
“――――No good. This is no good.”
Shin thought. The opponent, whom the first Beast King has pursued, shouldn’t be merely at this level. Even without the unusual titles, everyone must have thought that with an opponent like this, it would be a worthy death.
Is this the limit?
Is this how the Master of Girard fights?
It should be overwhelming. Being led around shouldn’t be allowed.
He was a High Human. The person who stood on the summit.
“…I’m sorry, Girard. It still wasn’t my everything.”
The way of fighting in the game was over, from here on out, it would be Shin’s best.
He returned to his senses, and the small skills were meaningless. Similarly with Girard, he would show his feelings with the his highest skill.
With his posture set with him holding the katana above his head. His movements, from up to down, were as if he were about to cut some Chinese bamboo in half.
Just, he only put it all into a single stroke.
“――Amagiri*!!” (T/N: Heaven Slash)
The single blow that designate itself as cutting the heaven, he ran toward Girard in an instant.
Though Girard understood that he should never lose sight of Shin, still, he couldn’t help but stare in wonderment. The blade that was swinging down, it became blurry when Girard looked at it.
His body moved before he could even think of following his instincts and intuition. Girard’s abnormal reaction speed was acting in harmony, and reinforced by his body repeatedly.
He didn’t come through unscathed. Girard’s dougi type of armor, though it didn’t have any effect in battle, had a part of the shoulder cut open and stained with blood. As it may be called the same Shiden, 【Amagiri】was a more converged power than Girard’s 【Zekka】.
Behind Girard, who defended against 【Amagiri】, the earth was cut apart, exposing its cross-section due to the attack.
Nonetheless, for the current amount of damage that had been received, neither Shin nor Girard showed much of a difference.
Still, the presence that Shin gave off, Girard felt it had changed a little. From the blow just now, Shin deciding on something was transmitted.
“…Ku, kukuku, now you’re talking! That’s what I wanted to see!”
Girard muttered with a smile so ferocious, that even a grown man would run away. Though he was facing death at this moment, he was unbearably happy.
Faster and stronger. Until he could pierce his fangs into that body.
The ground was smashed and he ran.
Also with 【Amagiri】, there was big recoil similar with 【Zekka】. Naturally, it produced a big chance too. Girard was aiming for that. If it was the current Girard, he didn’t even take two seconds to catch Shin in his attack range.
Shin’s roar resounded there.
Girard’s fist arrived a little faster, Shin’s arm that should be stiff from the recoil, suppressed his mind and jumped up. The blade flashed and sparks were scattered with Girard’s fist. That was a movement that was impossible in the game.
And then the blade flipped. It didn’t mean that he knew how to suppress the recoil. It was by using his stats, that could be said to be forcibly breaking the mechanisms.
However, that was the correct solution. If it was impossible to remove the backlash, then the only thing left, was brute force.
Shin’s invoked movement of the katana technique system martial arts skill 【Swallow Reversal】, added to the blade, which drew an arc. The blade accelerated rapidly in the air once again, as Girard’s body was wounded.
――――You have to do it. You have to do this, you know?
――――Yes, it was rather late.
Each other’s smiles were deepened. Without saying anything, those words were transmitted through their weapons.
They realized the end was near.
The smiles were erased, and at the same time they prepared their weapons.
Shin raised his 『True Moon』 over his head, Girard set his fists on his waist. As if they knew what they would unleash next, their preparations were simultaneously ready.
Their eyes met, but silently they bid farewell.
This was the end. They understood that mutually.
With the unleashed Shiden. There was no more martial arts to follow this, to decorate the end.
Together with the invoked skills, the figures of two people disappeared. Instantly the distance between them was closed, as well as the impact that shook the space, a violent sound echoed out.
It was the clash of Shidens in close range. With that alone, the ground caved in radially with Shin and Girard in the center. The power of the clash increasing endlessly, the collided energy that was repelled, destroying the surroundings without exception.
Though the power’s repulsion was very powerful, both of them continued to let out Shidens like it was natural. It was an exchange of skills of the Shiden class, which was impossible in the game. Not only the user, but it also put a tremendous burden on each other’s weapons.
A snapping and cracking sound reverberated. To achieve that, which weapon was it?
No matter how much each of these weapons were bestowed with an invalidity weapon destruction attack effect, what was called durability surely existed. Therefore, it didn’t mean that it would never break, even though they were weapons of 《Ancient》 grade.
Still, even if they heard the screams of each other’s weapons, neither of them loosened their power. Because they knew it would become their defeat in that moment, if they relaxed, even if only a little.
They clashed, separated, and collided again.
Apparently, in this fight similar to a rivalry, Shin gradually began to overwhelm. It was natural, because the ability of the two people was not equal. The weight of the blow after blow, and the burden to the body, the distinct differences became visible.
Therefore, Girard tore off the last charm.
This was the technique for someone who had already abandoned their life.
Color faded from Girard’s whole body. And, besides the power of his right fist, that was competing against Shin’s 『True Moon』 at close range, power also gathered in his left fist at the same time.
The white light that covered that fist was Girard’s own life force. It was the last splendor of his life, as he was baring his fangs at this moment.
“――Kassenkou*!!” (T/N: Constrict Pierce Armor)
That skill would inflict huge damage to both the armor and shield. A blow, like a flash exploded on Shin’s 『True Moon』.
The sound of something breaking gradually grew bigger.
Girard continued to receive the burden, of the multiple invoked Shidens on himself, yet he still continued to put forth his power.
“Using Shiden simultaneously, huh? That’s cheating.”
Shin cursed while taking the blow from Girard. Still, he didn’t back down. While his Shiden was activated, Shin stacked 【Enchant • High Edge】 on his 『True Moon』.
The power to rampage was arranged beforehand, so they could mutually unleash their best single blow soon. Having realized it was the end, it came down to which one had the first move.
Did they compete for a moment, or only several seconds? Or was it for several minutes?
What reached the limit first was their weapons. The blade of 『True Moon』 broke, and the armor part of 『Crushing Moon』 also broke into pieces.
However, even if the weapons crumbled, it didn’t stop the users.
Shin, who was holding the remains of the hilt, took one step toward Girard with both of his hands lowered.
In regards to Girard, with nothing but both fists thrusted out, he single-mindedly charged toward Shin.
Shin too, promptly jumped upward with both hands holding the hilt. However, with both skills, 【Zekka】 and 【Kassenkou】, worn on Girard’s fists, and with 『True Moon』 becoming just a handle, without any skills, even Shin couldn’t defend against it.
“I got yoouuuuu!!”
The hilt that was used as a shield was repelled by Girard’s left fist, as his right fist smashed into Shin’s defenseless body.
With a raised roar, his fist ripped through Shin’s coat, coming into contact with the solar plexus―――― and made a ‘Tap’ sound, and there, he stopped moving.
I’m done for, was what Shin thought, and he took a step backwards from the unexpected lightness in Girard’s fist. He shouldn’t die an instant death, due to his high stats, but he was prepared for some damage. However, the fist that hit his body had no strength at all.
Shin raised his line of sight towards the thrust out fist, and saw Girard again――――He understood.
Girard didn’t respond. Only, he had become rigid in the state where his fist was thrust out.
“Listen, I got…*hack* *cough*…”
Girard interrupted Shin, who tried to call him once more. With blood vomiting at the same time, he fell down to his knees at the spot.
“…you… Apparently…This is as far as I can go.”
Shin was about to rush over, but Girard stopped it by raising one hand. He knew that recovery and so forth were useless.
“…I received the last blow. As expected from Girard.”
“Kuku, I have lived for 500 years,… not just for show. Surely… these fangs,… have reached you.”
Though his face was pale, Girard was laughing, baring his fangs. It was a ‘proud of myself’ smile, as this body had finally reached his master.
“Urgh…. Now then, my long-held…wish was fulfilled. Shin. Can I request..from you, one last time, a single blow as the reward?”
Girard, who had stood up while tottering, spoke of his last wish. After a bit of hesitation, Shin who heard it, accepted it.
From Girard who was barely standing, he took a distance of about 10 mels. And, quietly released his 【Limit】. Simultaneously a torrent of power gushed out. The time when he was exchanging blows with Girard seemed halfhearted, and strange pressure surges were in the surroundings.
“So this is a…”
Receiving the pressure that emitted from Shin, Girard kept standing there. His last wish would depend on Shin’s all out power as the finishing blow.
Power that Girard couldn’t fight against. Thus, to get over the last ordeal, he wanted to witness Shin’s power.
Shin took a stance. The shattered 『True Moon』 was stored into the Item Box, with nothing in his hands. No, to begin with, weapons and so on were unnecessary.
Shin’s stance that he took, was the movement for 【Zekka】. It is quite ironic if that is the case, Girard thought.
They exchanged a few words, and Shin took a step forward. With that speed, which was godlike. Girard had already lost sight of Shin.
But he knew. Before the blow that was approaching his body, Girard perceived Shin in the world for a moment.
With overwhelming power, and mana gushing out. The speed that would leave everything behind.
That figure, the appearance of the Master whom Girard surely yearned for. The present Shin was more powerful than even the figure that existed in his memory.
He wanted to reach those fangs someday. He, wished to be the best existence. That conflicting wish was now, becoming a shape in front of Girard.
(Indeed, that’s what I expected of my――――)
His last thought dissolved, when the roaring sound echoed.