Vol. 3 Chapter 4 – Part 1
“It seems to have ended.”
It was a little silent, after that remarkably big explosion. The powerful shock wave that crossed the forest and mowed down the trees had stopped.
Not just Schnee, but everyone on top of the hill realized that it was the end of the duel.
Wolfgang and Kagerou, who both boasted of high stats too, fell silent. No, they couldn’t say anything. They were cautious while all of their body hair was bristling.
The last blow. They were speechless at that too powerful pressure. Though they knew who fired it, still, the power surge couldn’t be seen in an optimistic view. It made them realize defeat, without even fighting, and they couldn’t help but feel the presence of a conqueror.
It hadn’t been long since they met the person called Shin, but everyone’s breath was taken away as they couldn’t imagine that violent presence had come from the figure of the ordinary Shin.
Therefore. In the midst of that silence, only Schnee remained calm.
“You can’t be befuddled forever, you know.”
With that single phrase, everyone quickly came back their senses. It was the moment of their own king’s death. This was not the time to be senile.
“Someone is coming here.”
Having steeled themselves in the confusing surroundings, Wolfgang and Cuore noticed a person approaching. When did that person get close? There was a figure at the bottom of the hill.
There was only one figure appearing. It walked toward the top of the hill while carrying something on its back. Needless to say, it was Shin and Girard. Shin was shouldering Girard, whose eyes were closed like he was sleeping.
Everyone went down the hill without waiting for Shin to arrive.
“Shin, your clothes…”
“Ah, it’s from Girard.”
Tiera, who saw the ripped coat, spoke with concern, but understood Shin was not seriously damaged from his gesture, and nodded as she was relieved.
“I will take out the wagon. Please hold onto Girard.”
While fiddling with the Item Box, Girard’s corpse was left to Rajim and Van. After taking out the wagon, Girard was laid behind the carrier, so he wouldn’t be shaken.
Looking at the laid down body, Cuore leaked out a voice with moist eyes. Her shoulders were dropped feebly, the ears that always stretched upwards were now drooping along with her head. Wolfgang didn’t show any of the attitude, but he looked somewhat a little disheartened.
Nothing could be done for the grief to held in, even if it was the person’s own last wish.
“Raise your heads. All of you guys.”
Shin called out to the two people. It was different from before. It was a voice carrying some dignity.
“He would be ashamed of your sympathy.”
Shin knew what he said was harsh. Gratitude was not expressed. Still, he believed he had to say it himself.
“Princess, Ulu too, don’t be disheartened. Look at the king’s face.”
Van called out, and the two people looked up. Though it was a digression, Ulu seemed to be a nickname for Wolfgang, only spoken by his close friends.
“He has a satisfied look. No one will think he had a regret remaining when they see this.”
Rajim too, called out to cheer up the two people. What Rajim said was right, a faint smile had appeared on Girard’s face. To Van and Rajim, who had shared a long time with him, Girard’s final thoughts were understood, without them even having to wonder.
There was certainly a feeling of sadness. However, the feelings of relief were stronger. They knew Girard had hidden the truth about his life span. Therefore, the joy of him dying without any regrets was bigger.
He would rather die in a satisfying fight than survive shamelessly. Because that was the way of his life, for a man who lived as a warrior.
“That’s right. If I was to weep, I would be laughed at.”
“Ah, you are right.”
From the words of the two people, that were the closest to Girard, Wolfgang and Cuore seemed to have regained themselves. The two people each faced Girard’s death firmly, the resolve to step forward was able to be perceived.
It didn’t take much time for the wagon to arrive at Girard’s residence in Elden.
The corpse was enshrined by Van and Rajim, and various people in charge of office and executives were gathered under the instructions of Wolfgang. When Girard’s death was announced, there were grieving people, there were people showing an expression of relief, and various other reactions.
There seemed to be people who also guessed at the things that happened in Larua Grand Woods, too. Apparently the sounds of their battle had echoed throughout Falnido. When connecting the dots, together with Girard’s death, questions on who was the person who fought him surfaced.
“The founder’s last moments, were very worthy of him.”
Wolfgang didn’t report Shin’s name. However, it was clearly declared that there was no better match for Girard’s last fight.
Naturally, there were people who wondered who it was, but the majority of people guessed it was someone similar to a High Human follower. Schnee and Shibaid, both were well known to have interacted with Girard, as for the other members, there wasn’t a doubt about their abilities, too.
For the people who still weren’t convinced, when they met Girard’s corpse and looked at his face, Wolfgang’s speech was understood to be truthful. A lot of people from Falnido had the reaction of; this was the spirit of a true warrior.
Anyways, everyone was quickly convinced. Before the day was out, contact was made with each community that lived here in Elden, with the exception of the dog tribe, and they started the preparations for the funeral service in unison.
Girard was unmistakably the founding father, even if he had long since retired. It was a necessity for it to become a national grand funeral. Before the supposing one week, various people gathered in Falnido, reaching the point where the place was like a festival rather than a funeral. Envoys seemed to come from all of the countries with diplomatic relations, except the clan in Falnido.
Because Shin and his group didn’t have to prepare for the funeral in particular, they spent every day going back and forth to the library. But they hadn’t accomplished much. Still, being able to enter the restricted zone, more useful things were discovered here than from the books in the general area of Bayreuth’s library.
And then, it was the tenth day after Girard’s death. The funeral of the first Beast King, Girard Estaria, was held in the capital of the dog tribe, Elden, of the Falnido Beast Alliance.
Shin and Schnee participated too. It was told that Schnee came after she had heard the report of Girard’s death, and it was accepted without any doubt. Shin and Schnee lined up to see off Girard, equipped with a full body armor for that occasion. Some of the attendees wore the equipment that they had worn when they had shared battlefields with Girard, and Shin, who had put on armor, was mistaken as a veteran hero; he was thought to be a famous soldier. Girard had had a lot of combat experience, so unexpectedly, there were a lot of people who had shared battlefields together, but didn’t know each other by sight.
At the funeral, everyone in the upper echelon of the country was present, each tribal head and successor, retired former generals, and so forth; a terrific lineup had been gathered. The representative from the village of elves and pixies was also among them. Wolfgang, who was the king, and Cuore the princess were in the front row. There was a person next to Schnee. It was the representative of the dragon imperial empire, Kilmont, an ally of Falnido, and Shin’s support character no. 4, Shibaid Etraku.
He was a High Dragnil with red eyes, and scales like obsidian. As a fellow companion that founded a country, apart from as a person that also served as a fellow vanguard in Shin’s party, Shin heard they had formed strong communications. Both the capitals of the two countries should have a considerable distance between them, but somehow, he made it in time. Shin, who saw that figure, felt nostalgic, and thought that as soon as he had calmed down, he would meet him directly.
The funeral advanced solemnly, and finished peacefully without any trouble. Girard’s body seemed to be buried in the earth where the successive kings laid. ‘I am born from the earth, live on the earth, and return to the earth.’ That was the outlook on life and death that most of the beastmen had.
At the end of the ceremony, Wolf Type, Dog Type, and Fox Type, all of the beasts howled together. It was the melody of burial rites, to send off warriors who fought till their last breath.
Girard’s body was buried in the tomb of the kings while being seen off by many people.
When the funeral was over, Shin returned to the residence. Wolfgang and the executives of the country had a pile of matters to be discussed hereafter, and it seemed that they wouldn’t return home for a while.
“Can I sit next to you?”
Having called out to Shin, who was looking out at the garden, while he was patting Yuzuha above his knee, was Van. The figure of Rajim was seen behind him, too.
“Is the discussion going well?”
“We, the old soldiers, shouldn’t come into play.”
“That’s right, the country’s matters have already been entrusted to others.”
Van sat on the veranda, and spoke those words to Shin who was asking. And Rajim agreed with the words.
The two men were clad in such a calm atmosphere, that Shin had the feeling that they would disappear at any moment.
“What will you two do from now on?”
“Go on a journey.”
“Yes, because our companion is waiting, too.”
“…I see. Go join your friend.”
Their companion is waiting, too. From the words which Van said and the atmosphere around him, Shin felt something special. He knew the destination of the two people.
“…Hey, according to you two, what kind of guy did you see Girard as?”
After a few minutes of silence, such words came out from Shin’s mouth.
“He was a great person.”
“He was a warrior rivaled by nobody.”
As Van and Rajim were feeling nostalgic, they closed their eyes and spoke.
He stood before everyone else, a leader who showed the way. A great person, who possessed overwhelming fighting power.
“He was a solitary man.”
“He was someone who got lonely easily.”
A hero without equal. A lonely king.
Because of his combat power, it was often said that it couldn’t be helped that he fought alone on the battlefield. If neither Schnee nor Shibaid was there, the two people said he would really keep standing alone on the battlefield. And yet, he seemed to impulsively pick quarrels with his friends.
“He was a person who thought of his friends.”
“He was a person who could do nothing but fight.”
For this reason, people gathered in Girard’s surroundings. For the sake of his friends he picked up a weapon, and rushed on to defeat monsters, he gathered up the tribes during the confusion of the crustal movement. He was just like a hero from the fairy tales.
Just, unlike a lot of heroic tales, he had no enthusiasm to be king. Girard’s job was focused purely on combat. Other than that, it was not important.
Though people requested it from Girard, he himself knew that he didn’t have the ability to rule. If anything, he was fit as a general. Thanks to that, he needed people to support him. Van and Rajim were first on the list, and he was said to have a hard time. Nevertheless, though he never tried to stop them from leaving, he felt mutual trust within those surroundings.
While having fighting power that could be called abnormal, it wasn’t the contributing factor on why he was alone. As the gap between battlefield and daily life was tremendous, the two people spoke in unison at the end.
“I see, thank you for telling me.”
The appearance of a Girard, whom Shin didn’t know, was there.
“Shin-dono, I want to express my gratitude once again.”
“What’s that, suddenly.”
Van straightened his posture and bowed to Shin. When he moved his line of sight, Rajim too, was bowing in the same way.
“Hey now, both of you.”
“For granting the king’s wish. Our feelings of gratitude will never end.”
“Come on now, just quit it. It happened by chance, really.”
Yes, it really was a coincidence for him to return, and etiquette was not necessary, Shin thought. Moreover, if Shin didn’t return, Girard might still be alive.
“We don’t think of those kinds of things at all.”
Rajim spoke his words while raising his head, to Shin who did think about these kinds of things.
“A life that does not end, it’s painful for us beasts, who are not of the long-life kind.”
Rajim said. The average lifespan of a beast didn’t vary much compared to humans. It was about 120 years at most, even if one had a long life. Sure, there would be people who would live for several hundreds of years, that were born in this age, but judging from the whole, it was only a small handful. In comparison with the elves and pixies, who seem to live for an eternity, it could be said that life was too short.
However, that was fine. Elves are elves, pixies are pixies, and beasts have the beast’s way of life. It was very cruel, that he alone deviated from that road.
Except for himself, the other people that were born, died. People who lived in the same time as him, left him. Certainly, Girard’s soul was gradually being eaten away by time.
“We are people who live for just a short time. Living a long life is like an endless prison. Thus, to Shin-dono, who released the king from there, it’s natural for us to express our gratitude. Even if it was by chance that you returned here, you did not leave without doing anything.”
Van and Rajim left, and a veil of darkness descended in the area. Because he conveyed that he would have dinner by himself, no one came to call on Shin.
While the moonlight shone, Shin was still on the veranda. Yuzuha had curled its tail and was sleeping.
Shin called out to Schnee as he perceived her approaching. Though Shin returned to the residence soon after he had witnessed the burial, Schnee, who was in a special position, was unable to return immediately.
After the fight, outwardly, Shin appeared to have no change until now. However, looking at it from Schnee’s viewpoint, that state of no changes was unnatural. For this reason, she wanted to be at his side if possible, but Schnee had to attend a meeting.
The general greeting was finished, and when she returned to the residence and felt the presence of Shin, she discovered that he was looking at the night sky from the veranda. But the face that she saw from the side seemed to melt inside the moonlight and disappear; he looked empty.
Schnee approached quietly and embraced Shin. Because he was sitting, Shin’s face was held against Schnee’s breasts, but his expression didn’t have any big changes.
Shin called Schnee’s name in wonder. But that voice somehow lacked feeling, too.
“The current Shin seemed to have disappeared somewhere.”
Oddly enough, it was the same feeling that Shin felt from Van and Rajim. In order to erase the anxiety welling up inside his mind, Schnee put power into her arms to hold Shin.
“Whatever it is. Please say it to me.”
She didn’t know what she was able to do. But to make him even just a little energetic, Schnee spoke the words.
Before long, an answer came back.
“Just a little while ago, Van and Rajim came.”
Saying few words, Shin conveyed the things he talked about with those two. With Schnee embracing Shin closely, she listened to his voice.
“Van and Rajim said they understand it.”
“They also said they understand Girard’s own wish.”
“Even me, I understood it as the opponent.”
While speaking, Schnee noticed Shin’s voice was trembling a little.
After coming to this world, the time Shin spent with Girard was awfully short. However, they discussed each other’s intentions through weapons, to fill the time they had been apart. It was neither NPC, and not data either; it was the real Girard. The length of time spent and so on, was unrelated to the two people.
Therefore, in a sense, this was the proper reaction.
Even if the person himself wished it. Even if the surrounding people consented. But still.
“My friend died…it’s hard….”
It was painful. Because Shin understood it at the end.
“…Please cry. You have fulfilled your obligation. It’s okay to grieve.”
While hugging Shin, Schnee also noticed that her view was blurry.
She must be sad, and it must be difficult. To Schnee, Girard was an important companion.
Beneath the moonlight, without sobbing, and without crying voices.
Only the tears didn’t stop.
The two shadows that drew close to each other under the moonlight, slowly separated.
The person who got over his sadness, in his eyes a fire with a strong light was lit .
The moon sunk over the horizon, and the sun made its appearance.
The spectacle that filled the world with light, Shin directly watched it.
One day, while waiting for the duel with Girard, set to be held 3 days later.
“Falnido is more lively than a country of humans, huh?”
“If I were to say it in a few words, it’s because the customs and cultures are quite different from tribe to tribe.”
Shin, who said so, spoke without any particular reason, but was dutifully answered by Cuore.
Four days had already passed since Shin came to Girard’s place in Elden.
It’s not good to stay in the library all the time, said Schnee and Tiera; which was the reason they were sightseeing in the town. Cuore who heard them, immediately announced she would become his guide, which is how they reached their current state.
Only Cuore walked next to Shin, except for Yuzuha who was sleeping on top of Shin’s head. Tiera was doing a completely different action of siding herself alongside Schnee.
Tiera, who was taken away by Schnee, had a gloomy face, or it was probably just his imagination. Shin deceived himself, she’ll feel better when she comes back.
“Though I only took you to the recommended places until now, is there anywhere Shin-dono would like to go?”
The capital of Falnido was decided on as the city where the king resides. Therefore, the current capital was here at Elden. He had heard the explanation from Schnee, but naturally it was not on a scale that could be called a village. It would be difficult to finish going around it in one day.
“Places I want to go, huh?”
Since Cuore already guided him to some extent, it didn’t occur to him right away.
While thinking about where he wanted to go, what entered Shin’s line of sight was the signboard of a certain shop. Shin who saw it, for some reason, picked Yuzuha up from on top of his head and brought it before his face.
Yuzuha, who was suddenly being held, barked like it wanted to say: “What is it?”
“That reminds me, I have a feeling that Yuzuha’s fur is going from a bad situation to a worse one.”
One of Rokuten’s members, Cashmere, had taught him a lot of things about taking care of monsters. Was this because hugging a monster that had a good coat fur let one thoroughly enjoy its fluffiness? The present Shin understood the disorder of its fur to some degree. Of course, there was no such skill in the game. But when he stared at it closely, he was certain that the coat hair was deteriorating after all.
“For the moment, may I stop at that shop?”
“That one? Ah, I see. I understand.”
Cuore, who saw the shop, somewhat knew what Shin thought, and agreed immediately.
When they passed through the door and entered, a Dog-type woman came over.
“Welcome. What are you looking for today?”
After the woman shifted her attention from Cuore, who was standing next to Shin and Yuzuha, whom he carried, she shifted her pleasant eyes toward Shin.
Shin felt like he was being somewhat misunderstood.
“I need a brush for brushing, but I also want you to show me some combs….”
“Certainly. Here please.”
In the place which that woman guided them, there were big and small brushes displayed. Ignoring the employee who was speaking slowly, Shin looked at the brushes.
Apparently, there were materials that were prefered by different races, although they looked the same, they varied from materials to prices.
Dog, Wolf, Fox, and so on seemed to have similar preferences, as they were sold together.
“Amazing. Do you have something like personalized brushes here?”
“For a particular person, they can get the material by themselves.”
It was not rare, as Cuore had one, too. As Shin felt admiration for the beasts’ obsession to brush, suddenly he remembered these kinds of things. It was by the greatest tamer; the article that had been carefully made by Cashmere. It was something that seemed comfortable when Girard was brushed in the game era.
“I don’t have much time to explore, so I should care for Yuzuha every once in a while.”
He purchased some items to improve the coat of hair, and they exited the shop.
When they returned to the residence, Shin sat on the veranda outside of the room, and took out the brush, ‘Gloomy Star’, from his Item Box. It had a dark appearance, like a common brush. But the handle was made from the World Tree’s trunk, and the bristles of the brush were made from the materials removed from a level 800 gigantic monster with a large mass of hair, called Tyrant Bristle.
By the way, here is the description: <From here on, you are the Brushing Master, may the best coat be with you>, was one sentence that appeared. With brushing alone, cat, dog, horse and so forth, the favorability of the monster for each model increased. It was certainly a super brush.
Originally, there were various kinds of brushes; this brush was for hair loss, the furballs were collected and broken down by the magic item; it was also a magic tool.
Shin said, and he put the brush on Yuzuha’s back. First, it was gentle, as the brush loosened up the hairs.
While being careful not to put in too much power, the entwined hair was unraveled. Did this gentle repeated brushing feel good? Yuzuha let out a bark, like it was losing strength.
Cuore was staring enviously at Yuzuha. Though she should be free, since the town tour was finished, when she heard that Shin was going to brush Yuzuha, she asked him to show her by all means. Shin too had no reason to decline, though it might be boring, so her being there was approved.
With her admiration for Shin continuing to accumulate from Girard’s stories, his courteousness and skillful brushing of Yuzuha was seen, so Cuore unconsciously thought about these kinds of things.
――Is it no good if I request it of him?
――No, it’s rude to him…he’s a High Human, yeah.
For a beast, having the opposite sex do the brushing and grooming had a special meaning.
It was an expression of one’s intention towards their lover, or someone close like a family member. A woman requesting it from a man, although it wasn’t necessarily a confession, the fact of it being special didn’t change.
While her tail and ears were twitching, Cuore was inwardly troubled about what to do, and the figure of someone she knew approached from the other side of the veranda.
“Hmm? Shin? Didn’t you go sightseeing in the town?”
“I have to take care of my partner occasionally, hence the brushing.”
“I see. Fumu…It’s been a long time. Can I request it too?”
“Sure, it’s almost over, so please wait a little. Come to think of it, this brush was made by Cashmere for Girard’s sake.”
They exchanged such a conversation, as Girard sat next to Shin. Yuzuha’s brushing ended after a few minutes, and the brushing of Girard, who transformed into a beast, began this time.
Cuore was speechless at seeing such a scene. The current Girard who hadn’t let anyone, except his deceased wife, brush him was well known to Cuore.
However now, Girard was lying down and had his eyes closed before her; while Shin carefully moved the brush using one hand. That appearance, which looked like a large dog that entrusted its body on the knee of its master, was captured by Cuore’s eyes.
Though Wolf Types hate to be treated like a dog, it couldn’t be helped but to think so. Cuore felt the reliable bond between the two people.
(For Girard-sama to make such a face, I’m seeing it for the first time.)
The expression was hard to understand when Girard was in beast form, but Cuore, who was a similar Wolf Type, understood well that Girard was relaxing and loosening his whole body.
Unlike Yuzuha, Girard had a large physique, but eventually it ended in less than 30 minutes.
“I feel refreshed after such a long time.”
“I’m glad you feel that way!”
“Now then, on this occasion, how about you do it to Cuore as well?”
It was a dream come true for Cuore, but at the unexpected development, she shouted out unintentionally.
“I’m fine with it, but is it okay to do it? Apart from the monster Yuzuha, and the man, Girard, Cuore is a woman. To do that to the opposite sex, there tends to be a lot of strange meanings that could arise though.”
Shin turned toward Girard with a suspicious face. Even without the knowledge, he thought there was some meaning to the act.
“That will not be a problem. To let my master take care of my descendant, there’s no motive. Cuore also seems to anticipate it.”
Cuore’s face reddened from Girard’s remark. But no words of denial came out from her mouth.
While she tried to say something in a hurry, eventually she finally looked downward embarrassed, answering “Yes” in a faintly audible voice.
“Well then, I’ll do it as carefully as possible, it’s my first time brushing a woman. If the power is too much for you, I want you to say so without any reservations.”
“Understood. Please treat me favourably.”
Cuore transformed into a beast, and put her body weight on Shin the same way as Girard did. Immediately she felt the brush touch the back of her head. Slowly and carefully, the entwined hairs were pulled apart without causing any pain; it was a skilled hand movement.
Was it because of the superior tool, or because of Shin’s technique? Choppy voices leaked out from Cuore’s mouth, as she felt the comfort that she didn’t experience in everyday brushing. With each stroke of the brush, she felt calmness. Before several minutes had passed, Cuore was in a dreamy state of dreaminess.
“Kukuu, she somehow looks pleased.”
“Kuu. Shin is skilled.”
Girard and Yuzuha understood. Understood in that territory, but Cuore didn’t notice. Within that comfort, just like receiving a first rate massage, her cheeks loosened.
“Alright, it’s done.”
“*Woof*…Thank you very m…What did I just say!?”
“In the presence of others, make sure to not let your mind wander.”
“Ugh…I think I let my guard down a little, anyway it’s different!”
The feeling of being embarrassed rose, when she said things that she only spoke about in her own room. However, when her head and neck were being gently stroked by Shin, she was able to regain her composure a little. If she looked at the front, Girard being patted the same way was relaxing. Before anyone noticed, Yuzuha was already sleeping on top of Girard. At that appearance, Cuore had a soft smile.
Tiera and Schnee came back after a while, Shin at that time, was like a master that was surrounded by his pet dogs; wry smiles on their faces.
That was just a few days before Girard died.
It was like the good old days they spent before, a peaceful time.