Volume 2 Chapter 1 Part 1
You can grab the PDF here.
After getting the fox cub to settle down, Shin turned towards the direction of the kingdom and began walking. It has only been a short while since he managed to persuade the cub to retract its claws. Previously, he had been completely unable to walk straight due to the prickling attacks accompanying the incessant paw punches.
Unlike his journey to the shrine, the forest was now filled with the presence of the creatures that lived here. Perhaps the Skull Faces had already been approaching by that time. There had been too many of them for Shin to believe that they had appeared naturally.
The only places where such numbers could spawn were designated undead spawn zones where miasma gathered, like gravesites and underground dungeons.
Shin continued walking while sighing about how he had to report this incident too. For now, he decided to keep the Elemental Tail’s race a secret, so he called out to the cub leisurely sprawled on his head.
“Aah, there’s something I need to talk about with you.”
The cub responded with a bark that distinctly included a question mark. Based on their exchanges so far, Shin knew that the cub was fully capable of understanding human speech.
“It might be troublesome if other people see your true form, so would you like to form a contract with me?”
In this case, ‘contract’ was referring to the ability of the Tamer job to contract partners. Unlike Summoners and their summons, each Tamer was limited to a maximum of only five partners, and leveling up a partner required earning XP separately from the player. Even those of other jobs could form contracts if they had experience as a Tamer, so many players contracted a monster as a pet or as support. Those whose main job was not Tamer could only contract one partner at a time, but that was not a problem here.
Shin had his support NPC characters, and thus had never felt the need to contract. However, a member of Rokuten, Cashmere, who had been the guild’s Tamer and Summoner, had half recommended and half coerced him into becoming at least able to form contracts.
“I’m not a Tamer, so you won’t get any stat bonuses, but other people would become unable to check your name and level as they please, and we would be able to communicate with each other even without using any items.”
In order to see a player’s partner’s status window, one had to be capable of seeing that player’s status window first. Although a player’s level, which was openly visible, was not necessarily an accurate indicator of his or her stats, back in the game it had been common practice to quickly judge another player’s strength by whether it was possible or not to see that person’s status window.
Incidentally, the ability to communicate with each other was so that the partner could understand the player’s instructions. Also, it provided some privacy, as anything said in the Partner channel could only be heard by the player and the partner/s.
As if saying “Really? Let’s do it!”, the paw punches resumed with renewed vigor. For some reason, though, Shin and the fox cub already seemed able to communicate with each other.
“I got it! I got it already, so stop moving around!”
So saying, Shin took the cub from his head and held it up such that both of their foreheads were at the same height, then intoned the required words.
“I wish to walk together with thee.”
The cub barked in response to Shin’s words. If it had been a monster capable of speech, then the proper response would have been “I swear to be by thy side.” As the bark faded away, a tattoo in the shape of a peregrine falcon emerged on Shin’s left arm and the cub’s left foreleg. This was a symbol of the contract, and distinguished a partnered monster from a normal monster. The design was, of course, up to the player’s preference.
“ ‘K then, once again, more formally, yoroshiku.”
The cub patted Shin with its right paw a few times and gave a bark that seemed to say, “Yoroshiku too!” It was a truly heartwarming scene.
“Alright, since we are now contracted, there is something that I must do first.”
“Your name. You are currently named ‘Elemental Tail,’ but that is your race. Now that we are partners, isn’t it a given that I must give you a name that only belongs to you?”
“Because of that ...... Calm down first! You’re shaking my head!!”
As the cub seemingly hurried Shin while asking “Really?! What is it?!?”, Shin announced the name that had come to his mind.
“What do you think about ‘Yuzuha’?”
“Ku~ku~kuu ...... Kuu!”
Hearing Shin’s words, the cub sank into silence for a while, as if it was turning the name over in its mind. Then it raised a high-pitched bark that seemed to say that it had taken a liking to it.
Back during the game, the Elemental Tail had, true to legend, appeared to the players in the form of a woman, so the name that Shin was suggesting was also a girl’s name.
“Well, you don’t actually have a gender.”
“Nothing. Well, when you appear in the form of a boy, then you can be called ‘Yuzuto.’”
Though he had given it a girl’s name, Shin remembered that as a monster, Elemental Tails were not restricted to a single gender, and could appear as either male or female. The one involved with the Kyuubi Quest had usually been in the form of a woman, but the walkthrough sites said that it had also appeared as a man every once in a while. He had never seen its male form firsthand, though.
He didn’t know if there were other Elemental Tails in this world that could similarly appear in human form, but if so, he secretly hoped that they would all choose to be female. Elemental Tails ranked pretty high in his list of favorite monsters. He sincerely prayed against the curveball of all of them choosing the form of a man.
In light novels, anime, and manga, it was a common pattern to fall asleep with a fox cub in one’s arms and wake up next to a naked beautiful girl, but if it turned out to be a guy, then that would be a total nightmare. He had no intention of denying the people who swung that way, but he had even less intention of stepping into that world.
(My LUC is low. I hope it’ll turn out alright.)
The fox cub, no, Yuzuha, tilted its head quizzically at Shin, who had been muttering things like “I hope I don’t have any strange luck” to himself for a while. Though the cub felt a tinge of unease at Shin’s suspicious behavior, it decided to stop thinking about it with an “oh well.” Though it was an Elemental Tail, it was still just a cub. It was not good at thinking too deeply about complicated things.
Having obediently retracted its claws, Yuzuha was now lightly patting Shin’s head with its foreleg, eliciting a “What’s up?” from Shin. For a long time, Yuzuha had been all alone while enduring the poison and the curse, so even Shin’s simple response filled its heart with delight.
When they had neared the edge of the Northern Forest, a familiar electronic ‘Pon!’ sound rang in Shin’s ear. It was a sound that he had heard many times before, as it had accompanied level ups, message notifications, and event announcements.
Judging by how Yuzuha did not react, Shin inferred that he was the only one who had heard it.
“I got a message. Oh right, is it from Tiera?”
At the same time as the electronic sound, the half transparents words “You have received a message” had also appeared at the edge of his vision. Having spent only a few days in this world, this blatantly unrealistic occurrence momentarily gave Shin the delusion that he was still inside the game.
“The way the system is still halfway in place is seriously weirding me out.”
It didn’t feel weird seeing the game windows back when it was VR, but here in reality it gave Shin an out of place feeling that he couldn’t shake off. “This is what you get when you mix the game with reality?”, thought Shin with a grimace. However, it was still an extremely useful function, so he had no choice but to just get used to it. With a sigh, he opened the message.
I tried sending a message to Master and it worked.
I do not know if Master has a message card with her, but when I get a
reply from her I will contact you again.
Is it possible to send items along with a message card?』
It seemed that Tiera, having met Schnee before, was able to successfully send a message. This possibility had completely slipped from Shin’s mind.
“Oh well, she was able to contact Schnee, so that’s fine then.”
Thinking “all’s well that ends well,” Shin wrote a reply and tried to attach a few more unused message cards with the mail. The attached message cards turned into particles of light and were sucked into the writing paper. Though there was a weight limit to the kinds of things that could be attached, this was quite convenient in its own way.
“Is this how it works over here?”
Though he had easily accepted things like that back in the game, he couldn’t do so in reality. Shin made a mental note to inspect all of his items later. While the usage of some might have been relaxed a bit, some others might now work in ways completely different to his expectations.
Remembering the large number of items in his inventory, Shin’s motivation took a sharp nose dive. However, he told himself that he must wade through it all, for the sake of when he truly needed to use them.
“I guess ‘I’ll count on you for the heads up when Schnee gets back to you’ sounds about right.”
Shin finished up his return message with instructions on how to attach items, then sent it off before starting to walk again. The eastern gate that he had been aiming for was now right in front of his eyes.
Despite wanting to hide Yuzuha, he couldn’t very well not report the host of almost a hundred Skull Faces, so he decided to head towards the guild.
“Yo, Shin. This time you’re back with something unusual riding on you, eh?”
The person who had called out to him from the eastern gate was Beid. Perhaps due to seeing each other everyday, the stiff formality from their first meeting was completely gone.
“This is my new partner, Yuzuha. I want to confirm, are there any regulations related to bringing in partner monsters?”
Shin doubted that the country would so easily let a monster in, even if it was accompanied by a Tamer.
“There are lots of regulations on aggressive and large monsters, but there aren’t many that would apply to that little squirt with you. There are a few documents that you will have to fill out. Then I will need to make a record of the tattoo that represents your partnership. After that, you’ll be good to go.”
“That’s surprisingly lenient.”
Having expected a more rigorous process, Shin now felt slightly let down.
“We are stricter on ones that look like they would get pretty dangerous if they went on a rampage. Besides, whenever a partner monster causes a problem, the owner will have to bear full responsibility. But because of that, there are places where people would purposely rile up your partner and then demand compensation, so be careful.”
“Aah. So there are those kinds of people.”
“Enough to give us a headache. If we limited the powers of the partners too much, then they would get directly targeted. It’s pretty hard to find the right balance.”
“I had thought it was just a lenient system, but it sounds like you guys have actually given it a lot of thought.”
There are people who would catch and sell off rare monsters, so Shin now understood what Beid had said about it being dangerous to thoughtlessly over-regulate everything.
It was apparently permitted to attack back if someone tried to straight up capture someone else’s partner. However, the cleanup was annoying, so Beid recommended Shin to do it somewhere out of the way and do a thorough job. Though Shin had misgivings about a city guard giving him this kind of advice, the people who would lay a hand on partner monsters were either members of trafficking rings or criminals of that type, so there would be no need to go easy on them.
“Name is Yuzuha, race is demon fox. Next is ......”
Shin filled in the required documents that Beid had brought over.
The ‘demon fox’ that he had filled in was a very common sub-race under fox types. It had been very popular among the players as a pet.
While Elemental Tails were top-tier bosses, they were still a type of demon fox. It’s just that they had been given a different racial classification of ‘Elemental Tail.’ It was similar to how high humans and high elves were classified separately from humans and elves.
Thus, what Shin had written on the form was not a complete lie. It simply wasn’t the entire truth either.
“...... Alright, I’m done filling them out. Please confirm.”
“...... Fumu. No particular problems. All that’s left is to register the symbol of the contract. Please touch this with the arm or leg that your symbol is on.”
After confirming that there were no problems with the documents, Beid handed them over to another guard, in exchange receiving a purple sphere the size of a baseball.
Shin and Yuzuha laid their respective left arm and left foreleg on the sphere. When they did so, the sphere glowed weakly, then their peregrine falcon symbol appeared within.
“With this, the entire registration is over. Also, knock on wood, if your partner dies or is abducted, then there will also be formalities for canceling the registration. Remember it just in case.”
“Understood. I’ll pray to never have to deal with that.”
After nodding to Beid’s business-like explanation, Shin left the gate behind.
He walked on while ignoring the people sending occasional glances at Yuzuha on his head. He had expected the attention. Even little kids were pulling their parents’ hands and pointing over while exclaiming “It’s a Fox-san!”.
While enduring the attention from the people around, Shin passed under the signboard of the Adventurer’s Guild. Even in the guild, Yuzuha continued to draw people’s eyes, and Shin felt their inquisitive stares every step of the way towards the reception desk.
At the reception were two reception ladies who looked like two peas in a pod. They were Selica and Silica.
“Excuse me. There’s something I want to report.”
“ “I will receive it.” ”
Both people responded at the same time. Their timing coincided perfectly. Though both of them also glanced at Yuzuha, their gaze was more for confirmation than for curiosity. As expected of these two.
“Umm, who do I ...... ?”
“I will receive it!”
“What is it?”
“Shin-sama is currently in front of me, so I will receive it.”
“Eh~, isn’t it fine even if I receive it?”
“You may not. I will do it.”
“Your personality seems a bit different from normal ......”
“Never mind, I understand. I will behave myself.”
From an outsider’s perspective, the two of them looked like an older sister who had it together and a flippant younger sister. Shin could only tell them apart by their hairstyles, but he had apparently guessed right.
It seemed like they had been disputing over who would receive the report, but eventually Selica emerged the victor. Their fierce exchange had been carried out in tiny voices, so Shin had missed some of it, but he decided to not worry about it. It made no difference to him who he reported to.
“...... Ah, may I give my report?”
“Yes, of course. We apologize for the disturbance. Please go ahead.”
“I’m here to report an encounter with a large number of Skull Faces in the vicinity of the central part of the Northern Forest. I have already defeated all the ones that I could confirm in the area, but I don’t know if there are still any stragglers elsewhere in the forest.”
“By ‘large number,’ you mean ...... ?”
“I don’t have a specific number, as I didn’t have time to count, but there were almost a hundred of them.”
Almost a hundred Skull Faces. As he had reported subjugating the strange Jack class yesterday, reporting that he had defeated more Skull Faces again did not elicit much of a reaction from Selica. However, when he supplemented with the number, she could not hide her shock.
“I don’t dare to think this, but were they like the one from yesterday?”
“No, the ones that I encountered this time all had levels and equipment within the normal classifications. The group was a mixture of Pawn and Jack classes, and they were moving like they were purposely surrounding a certain building.”
“A building, you say?”
“Yes, a Shinto shrine. Um, it’s a place that enshrines a god.”
He didn’t know whether they were familiar with Shinto shrines, so he gave a rough explanation.
“Shinto shrine ...... I’ve heard that there are such places in Hinomoto, but I didn’t know that there was one inside the Northern Forest.”
It was probably because there had been a barrier that repelled all living creatures. Moreover, it hadn’t been a very large area, so he could understand how no one had noticed it before.
“I had approached the place because it had caught my interest, but when I got close, I heard the sound of something breaking. At the same time, the Skull Faces arrived and began closing in. I think something like a barrier had been originally in place.”
“Did you find anything there?”
“I didn’t really notice any objects in the building, but there was a drawing that looked like a magic circle. That’s all that comes to mind.”
He had decided to keep Yuzuha a secret, so he instead raised other points of interest.
“Thank you for reporting to us. We will look into it together with the matter of the Jack class from yesterday. Please contact us again if you realize or remember anything else. There are things that only Shin-sama would know, since you are the only one who was there.”
“Understood. I’ll come again if anything else comes to mind.”
His gaze swept over the bulletin board with requests stuck all over it. When he had chosen the Hilk grass request, he had only looked at the G rank ones. On a whim, he decided to also check out the high reward requests beyond his current rank. To his surprise, he found a separate bulletin board at the side. It was placed almost like it was being hidden behind the main one.
This other board was about 30 cemels in height and width, and most of the requests on it looked handwritten. He couldn’t help comparing the two boards that were side by side, but the difference in appearance was too great.
With his curiosity tickled a little, Shin decided to give the requests on this board a cursory scan. When he did, a certain one seemed to jump out at him. He grabbed it with a hand and gave it a second, more detailed, read.
—— A request for a Skill Inheritor.
——Please come contact us at the orphanage next to the church in the east district if you wish to accept this request.
——The compensation is negotiable.
After reading the content of the request, he noticed that it had not been given a rank.
Shin remembered Silica explaining that unranked requests were posted by people with special circumstances, and ranged from poor children to those involved with crimes.
When he had asked why such a system was in place, the response that he had gotten was “because everybody is free to make requests.”
“It looks like this board is where all those unranked quests are posted. Judging by the other requests, there might be a bit of truth in that rumor after all.”
While voicing his impression, Shin also recalled a piece of information that he had gathered with【Listen】. Though it was only on the level of a rumor, it was also a pretty interesting piece of information.
It was about the connections between so-called “dark guilds” and Adventurers’ Guilds. To be more exact, it was between publicly acceptable guilds like the Adventurers’ and Merchants’, and the dark guilds where even crimes like assassinations and abductions could be requisitioned.
Furthermore, the rumor also said that public guilds had a nonintervention policy on requests made to dark guilds to purge oppressive clients and nobles who shoved unreasonable demands on adventurers. Shin didn’t know how much of it was truth, but he would not be surprised if “something” was really happening.
“The orphanage, huh? If I remember correctly, isn’t that where Millie is?”
He recalled what Wilhelm had told him before they parted the other day. As Millie was the one who had arranged the meeting between Shin and Yuzuha, Shin considered that she might be involved somehow. Leaving things as they currently were would leave a bad aftertaste.
“...... Guess I can drop in.”
In the first place, he had already planned on visiting the orphanage to ask Millie about Yuzuha, so he could inquire after request on the way. So thinking, Shin set off for the orphanage.
Following the directions from Selica, Shin found himself in front of the church roughly ten minutes later.
When he had heard ‘church,’ the image in Shin’s mind was of a chapel with stained glass windows. To his surprise, what he found matched his expectations exactly. Beyond the large doors thrown wide open were rows of long pews and colored light falling from stained glass windows. The sun was coincidentally currently situated right behind the stained glass, such that the light illuminating the dim interior shone like a halo, creating a truly mystical atmosphere.
Aside from worshipers, there were only two Sisters, and no sign of anyone resembling a Father or Reverend.
(I see a few differences in the decorations, but this looks exactly like the『Church』from the Architecture skill.)
Shin stood still and surveyed the interior of the chapel. True to its name, the Architecture skill is a necessity for building buildings. Higher levels in the skill unlocks greater scale buildings and more intricate interior design.
Partly due to being compared to Cain, who was Rokuten’s Illusionist and Architect, Shin himself had also reached level VI in Architecture. Thanks to that, he knew enough about buildings to identify their good and bad points.
His analysis was that though the interior design was slightly old, everything was diligently maintained. That alone was enough to tell him the character of the person currently managing the church.
“Did something happen?”
“Nn? Ah, sorry. It’s just that I’ve never been to this kind of place before.”
Shin had been blatantly checking out the church while standing right outside the doors. One of the Sisters had called out to him, mistaking him for someone who was coming to the church for the first time and currently confused about the way things were done. She was a young lady with black eyes and brown hair in a chignon hairstyle.
(T/N: For those too lazy to look up ‘chignon,’ it is “achieved by pinning the hair into a knot at the nape of the neck or at the back of the head.”)
In anybody’s eyes, someone who came to a church and was not praying but only stood in front of the building for no apparent reason would appear quite suspicious. Despite that, the Sister’s tone and way of speaking indicated a complete lack of wariness against Shin.
Shin had no business with the church, so he asked her about the orphanage, which was apparently not visible from where he currently was.
“I’m here for business with the orphanage.”
"Oh, you’re here because of the request!”
The Sister’s reaction seemed overly surprised. He wasn’t sure if it was because very few people came for that request, or if it was because they had not expected anyone to respond in the first place.
“Umm, for now I want to listen to the issue first. Also, is there a beast child called Millie here? I want to talk to her about Yuzuha, this little guy here.”
So saying, Shin pointed at Yuzuha, who was still on his head. Having only just noticed Yuzuha, the Sister’s eyes became as wide as saucers. Then she answered Shin, but now with a bit of wariness in her eyes.
“What do you want with that girl?”
“She said something quite odd when I saw her yesterday. I decided to look into it a little when I was on a request earlier today, and ended up meeting Yuzuha.”
From the Sister’s attitude, Shin thought that there might really be something about Millie, so he replied in a smaller voice to prevent nearby people from listening in.
“...... Very well. Please come this way. Sister Rashia, I will leave this place to you.”
For some reason, the Sister was being wary of Shin, but after quietly mulling over what Shin claimed Millie had said, she left charge of the area to the other Sister and prompted him to follow her.
The Sister stepped outside the large doors, and headed to the back of the church. What he saw there was an old, detached building that closely resembled a traditional Japanese apartment. Though there were signs of repair here and there, the overall impression was not seedy at all. This was apparently the orphanage.
“I will call Millie over, so please wait here a while.”
Entering the orphanage, he was brought to a place that looked like a reception room. He sat down on the sofa and looked around the room. Before long, the Sister returned, bringing Millie with her.
“...... It’s Shin-nii!”
She had been hiding behind the Sister, but when she saw that the person sitting on the sofa was Shin, she trotted over with small steps and plopped down next to him.
“...... It seems that you really aren’t a bad person after all.”
So saying, the Sister sat down on the opposing sofa.
“It’s a bit embarrassing if you look at me with a charming smile like that ......”
“Fufu~, sorry. It’s just been so long since there’s been someone that Millie would accept so readily.”
“Wilhelm mentioned something along those lines too. Ah, my name is Shin. I’m an adventurer.”
“Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for listening to Millie’s request. My name is Thoria Serias. I’m a Sister of the church and the manager of the orphanage.”
This Sister turned out to be a person in charge. Shin wasn’t familiar with the distribution of roles in the church, so he accepted that at face value.
“I came here today because there is something that I wanted to confirm. So Millie, is this little guy the Fox-san that you were talking about yesterday?”
“Un, yes. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Yuzuha, you should thank her too. I was only able to save you because of Millie.”
While rubbing the head of Millie, who was tightly hugging Shin in gratitude, Shin also reminded Yuzuha to not forget to say thanks. In truth, he didn’t know what would have happened to Yuzuha if not for Millie’s words.
Yuzuha came down from above Shin’s head and lowered its head to Millie. Satisfied with the gesture, Shin then turned towards the Sister.
The Sister had been warmly looking on the exchange between Millie and Yuzuha. When Shin turned towards her, though, she fixed her position and met his eyes.
“There is one more thing that I wanted to confirm. It’s about the request posted at the guild. If it’s alright with you, may I hear more about it?”
“Yes, Shin-san appears to be a trustworthy person.”
Thoria nodded with a serious face. It seemed that there really were some special circumstances behind this unranked request.
“Since you’ve come after reading that request, am I correct in believing that Shin-san is a Skill Inheritor?”
“Yes, something like that.”
He was actually not, but he nodded anyways, as it would get complicated trying to explain everything.
“We are looking for an Inheritor of a specific skill. I know how impudent it sounds, but if possible, we want that person to teach that skill.”
From what Tiera had told him, anyone who possessed a skill would get favorable treatment just by merit of that alone, so anyone willing to teach it would usually demand a lot of service and/or money. There was also a weaker version of skills called ‘arts,’ but Shin had yet to see it himself.
If it was a skill that a Sister would go to such lengths for, Shin could think of a few.
“Since you’re a Sister, I’m assuming that what you want is something from the【Heal】or【Cure】trees?”
“No, that is not the case. Although it’s true that those are needed, but there are certain unusual circumstances.”
“Circumstances, you say?”
Shin had expected her to say something like “As someone in a profession related to recovery and healing, these are the very basics, so can you teach me something like those?”, but apparently he had guessed wrong. The other skills that he could think of were either resurrection skills or holy elemental attack skills, but even he would not agree to teach those so readily.
“In that case, then what is this skill that Thoria-san is looking for?”
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear that clearly.”
There was a faint note of resignation in Thoria’s voice, as if she had added, “As I thought, it’s impossible, isn’t it?”
“Now that she mentions it,” thought Shin as he realized that he had completely forgotten about that option.
“I am aware that it is an absurd request, but ......”
“Aah, that one’s a hassle to get.”
“Eeh, ‘hassle’ ...... ‘to get’ ...... eehhh?”
For the first time, Thoria realized that Shin’s reply was very odd.
A few seconds passed in silence. Then Thoria raised her face like she had heard something strange.
“Sorry, what did you just say?”
“I just said that it would be a hassle to get.”
In contrast to Thoria, who had a “Hah?” look on her face and was desperately trying to come to terms with what she had just heard, Shin had answered in a really relaxed manner. It was a scene that seems to have happened somewhere before.
“Umm, do you perhaps know the method to acquire it?”
“Yes, I do.”
“...... Then would you be willing to take up the request?”
“That would depend entirely on you.”
With those words, Shin’s expression became serious.
Though Shin had so far been speaking with an carefree attitude, he had actually done some digging on the church before. He was convinced that there was something about Millie, but wasn’t able to find any information on her. All he got instead was information about the problems of the church. He didn’t hear enough details to realize ahead of time that it was the【Purification】skill that they wanted, but he did not mind revealing the information about【Purification】in exchange for knowing. Of course, though, regardless of how much he lacked the common sense of this world, he was not stupid enough to freely disclose the fact that he could actually use the skill to a Sister that he was meeting for the first time.
“If it’s about the reward, may we have a bit more time?”
“No, money is not my aim. Instead of that, there are a few conditions that I want.”
Thoria stiffened at the word ‘conditions,’ almost as if she knew what Shin was going to say next.
“Conditions, you say?”
“Yes. Firstly, I want to know about Millie’s power. Secondly, I want you to provide me with all the information that you gather from inside the church, effective for one year. Lastly, I want you to keep it a secret that it was me who took up the request. That stands even if it is the top brass of the church that’s asking. You can write it up as someone’s voluntary service if you like.”
The church was a place where all sorts of people gathered, be they young, old, male, or female. Shin thought that it could become a source of unique information, the kind that would be revealed only in front of God. The people of this church were all good people, though, so he didn’t hold much expectation.
What he was truly after was the power that Millie had demonstrated. Shin had naturally guessed that it was something like predicting the future or sensing crises, but that was because he was a gamer. In his original world, that kind of thinking would have been laughed down almost immediately.
It wasn’t like Shin couldn’t just listen to what Thoria had to say, take pity on the children, and just demand a little bit of money in exchange for directly teaching the skill. However, Tiera had warned him of the demerits of giving people skills so easily. With that in mind, it would be more natural to demand a more significant reward.
Depending on the point of view, the presented conditions were not worth so much. However, in Thoria’s eyes, it was a very big risk to reveal Millie’s power to a complete stranger whose background she didn’t know. There was also no guarantee that Shin would not turn around and reveal that information with other people.
It was also noteworthy that this agreement might, depending on the situation, require her to defy her superiors. Even if it was in exchange for the【Purification】skill, this trade might be too much for her. There was also no proof that Shin really did know the way to acquire【Purification】. If influential people or very greedy people heard that Millie had the power to see the future, then she would be in danger. Thoria could not easily acquiesce to these conditions.
“These conditions are what I want as compensation.”
Thoria was hesitant on what to do. Though Millie had let her guard down against Shin, that was that, and this was this. It did not mean that he could be trusted with everything.
Silence filled the reception room.
“...... It’ll be fine.”
Shin was waiting for an answer, and Thoria was holding her tongue. As if slicing through the silence between the two of them, Millie spoke up.
“If it’s Shin-nii, it’ll be fine.”
It’ll be fine.
Millie was looking straight at Thoria when she said that. Her eyes were filled with a mysterious sagacity that did not belong on such a young child.
Thoria had been keeping quiet while deep in thought, but she seemed to feel something from seeing how Millie was and made up her mind. Her mouth slowly opened.
“Very well. We will accept those conditions. However, we are amateurs when it comes to information gathering. The things that we find out might not be of much help to you.”
“No need to go to great lengths. What I’m expecting is only on the level of telling me about people at the church with something unusual about them. What I value more is hearing about Millie’s power.”
Shin explained that he was not asking them to become like information brokers. Rather, it would only bring danger to them if they did it without proper training. Having clarified that and put their worries to rest, he pressed her to go into the main topic of Millie’s power.
“...... Ever since birth, Millie has had the Gift『Star Reader』. The way Millie tells it, she suddenly sees scenes that are different from what her eyes are seeing at the time. To my knowledge, her predictions have never been off. I think that her request to Shin-san was most likely also because of something that she saw.”
“『Star Reader』? To think that that had such an effect ......”
“Yes ...... Do you perhaps know anything about it? I myself actually know almost nothing about this Gift. Those with a Gift are even rarer than Skill Inheritors, so almost none of them ever publicize information about themselves. Everything I know is only what I’ve heard from Millie.”
Fumu, thought Shin. Here was an obvious deviation from THE NEW GATE.
Shin proposed that there was the possibility it might turn into a clue for returning to his real world while fully aware of the risks. When he had been confirming his skills, none of them had gone awry, so he had not realized it earlier.
He couldn’t be completely sure, as there were still items that he had not verified yet, but it seems that there were things here and there that were different from how he remembered them.
This was especially true for Gifts, of which there are those that could be activated at will and those which are permanently activated. The player was always given the choice whether to activate『Star Reader』or not when beginning a quest, so it lied somewhere between the two types.
(So there are changes to Gifts too. Just learning that makes this worth it, as it’s really hard to verify Gifts that could be activated by will. The effect of 『Star Reader』is not so much predicting the future as ...... Wait, I’m not getting any visions.)
『Star Reader』had originally been a Gift that gave the player a simple hint when they began a quest. Though it was kind of a rare Gift, not having it did not pose much of a handicap.
Of course, Shin himself had it, but he had not experienced the effect described by Millie and Thoria. Shin guessed that there might be certain additional requirements, but had no clue what they were.
He had no clue, but ——
“Kidnapping, abduction, confinement. It would be pretty terrible if word got out about this. What countermeasures do you guys have in place?”
Instead, all that filled his mind were troublesome words like these. If his tone sounded a bit too light, it was because he had experience with all of them.
By the way, they were carrying out their current conversation while covering up Millie’s ears.
“We are extra careful to not bring it up carelessly, so word wouldn’t get out so easily. Also, there are people who used to be at this orphanage and became adventurers who are helping us out.”
“You mean Wilhelm?”
“Yes. There are others too, but he is the one who plays the biggest role in protecting this place. People are scared of his nickname, so there are very few who would dare to lay hands on the children here.”
The fact that children were easy targets for crimes was apparently the same everywhere.
Exactly as Shin had thought, Wilhelm was not a bad person, despite the other adventurers’ fear of him. For good or for bad, the more famous he got, the safer the orphanage becomes.
The problem might lie in that people with a grudge against Wilhelm might purposely target the orphanage for that reason, but that’s where the other adventurers step in. There aren’t a lot of things that could be done by only one person.
“Well then, since I’ve already received my reward, then I will now officially accept this request. Is Thoria-san the one who is to acquire 【Purification】?”
“No, it’s not me, but Rashia. Do you remember the other Sister who had been in the church? Please help that girl learn it.”
“Is that so? I had been sure that it was supposed to be Thoria-san.”
“That girl is the grandchild of the Father who used to serve here. It would make for a much smoother transition if the succession was decided by heredity.”
It appears that there was something else going on aside from simply wanting【Purification】. “With the quality of this information, the deal is already starting to pay off,” thought Shin with a wry smile as he petted Yuzuha.
(T/N: The web novel version does not have the scene with the children playing with Shin and explaining why Rashia needs Purification. From what I can gather, it’s because there is a really greedy priest also aiming for the succession. If he wins, he plans on shutting down the orphanage to pocket the extra money. He already has Purification, so he’s ahead, but if Rashia also gets Purification, the fact that she is the grandchild of the previous serving Father would clinch the seat for her.)
With the help of Millie, Shin quickly broke the ice with the children, which led to several hours of playing together with them. When Thoria returned to the orphanage, the entire group, with the exception of a few older ones, was fast asleep.
“I’m sorry for having you look after the chil ............ Looks like they have all lowered their guard down with you, eh?”
“I certainly hope so.”
Thoria had been about to say something, but stopped mid-sentence. She looked greatly relieved to see the children sleeping so easily. It seemed that she had been quite apologetic for asking someone that she’d met only today to look after them.
Behind Thoria was the figure of the girl called Rashia from the church. Her gray hair was done up in the same chignon style as Thoria. Her brown eyes looked steadily at Shin, but she was obviously quite nervous.
“Is this person Rashia-san?”
“Y-Yes! For this occasion, yoroshiku onegaishimau#......ihyai.”
She had apparently bit her tongue.
“Umm, are you alright?”
“She has a bit of a careless side, but I can vouch that she is a very hardworking girl.”
Thoria was trying to cover for her, but her laughter sounded a bit strained.
“Uu, I’m sorry for showing you my unsightly side ......”
“Well, let’s just take it easy, alright? I’m Shin, an adventurer. I will instruct you on how to learn【Purification】. However, whether Rashia-san can actually learn it or not will be entirely dependent on your efforts. Please do not forget that.”
Her reply this time was a lot crisper. Her eyes were the very image of the word ‘serious.’
“Let’s get straight to it. First of all, do either of you know of a place close by where a large number of undead monsters would appear at? If not, I can go back and ask at the guild.”
It could even be said to be a requirement for learning【Purification】. Based on the place, he would be able to tell roughly how long it would take.
“The most infamous one would be the Wraith Plains, I think.”
Shin tilted his head quizzically at the name from Thoria’s mouth, as he had never heard of it before.
“Yes. When you leave the country and go straight north, you’ll eventually reach it. It seems that it used to be a dungeon, but was brought aboveground by the cataclysms and then fused with the plains. Now, there are lots of undead always roaming about over there.”
“The dungeon was brought aboveground? Such a thing was possible?”
“I’ve heard of a few other similar places, but I don’t know much abou ......”
“No, all we need is a lot of undead monsters, so it sounds more than sufficient.”
It was almost too conveniently located, but he decided to not worry about it. Rather than checking out those places one by one, it would be much faster to just go to the one they knew. In the first place, the request did not feel like it had a lot of time to be fulfilled. It would be best to get it over with as soon as possible.
“So, how long would it take to get there?”
“I don’t actually kn—”
“Around five to six days by carriage.”
“...... Oh hey, Wil. You’re back.”
The person who had interrupted Thoria turned out to be Wilhelm, whose figure could be seen at the entrance to the room. Venom was in his hands, and he was silently pouring out fighting spirit.
“Yo, I came.”
“So you’re the adventurer who accepted that request?”
On the surface, Wilhelm looked calm, but Shin could tell that he was in a battle-ready pose.
“Aah, I’ve already received my reward, so I don’t mind also letting you in on the information about【Purification】.”
“............ What did you hear?”
Wilhelm immediately understood that the reward that Shin had received was not money. His eyes were declaring that he would not forgive even the tiniest lie.
Shin took a breath before replying.
“...... Millie’s Gift and its power. And that people who came from this orphanage are working to keep it under wraps.”
“Aren’t you guys placing too much trust in him?”
It was Thoria that he had directed his question to. Considering the faces from the orphanage’s side, he didn’t even need to think to know who it was that had performed the negotiation. Even Shin didn’t think that Rashia could take up the role of a negotiator, so in some sense it was only natural.
“It’s alright. He doesn’t seem like a bad person. And Millie also vouched for him. It’s fine, don’t worry.”
Wilhelm knew about Millie’s power, so he muttered “No way!” and looked at her.
“...... Did you see something?”
“............ Is that so.”
At Millie’s response, Wilhelm shut his mouth after a short reply. He looked satisfied with that.
“So, are you guys done?”
“Yeah. Since she said so, I’ll trust you for now.”
“I’ll also say it, to clear up any doubts. I have absolutely no intention of spreading around the things that I heard, and I am not thinking of using Millie’s power for anything bad.”
“You got that right. Just try it, I’ll drain you to death with this thing.”
Wilhelm waved Venom around in a joking way, but his eyes were completely serious. His aura broadcasted his readiness to brandish the spear at a moment’s notice.
“Mu~, fighting, bad!”
“Oops, you’re right.”
Picking up on the atmosphere that was sparkling with tension, Millie decided to mediate. Wilhelm did not look like he was going to do anything more, and stopped sending out fighting spirit.
“I’m really sorry, he’s been short-tempered ever since long ago.”
“Wil has no patience at all.”
“Oi, they’re saying all sorts of stuff about you.”
“You bastards ......”
Thoria and Rashia had casually helped cover for Wilhelm. Rather than cover up, though, it sounded more like they were just badmouthing him.
Those two were fine even though there was enough fighting spirit directed at them that would scare any normal person, which caused Shin to consider reevaluating his impression of them as normal people.
“Tch, whatever. You already heard a lot, right? So start telling us the information about【Purification】.”
“I’m going to ask you guys to not tell anyone else just in case.”
“Don’t worry. We would be in deep trouble too if we go around revealing the secret method to acquire one of the church’s famous skills.”
The others also nodded emphatically to Wilhelm’s words. It appears that the church had a lot more influence than he had thought.
“To be on the safe side, I will now cast an anti-eavesdropping spell around the room ...... Alright, let’s get down to the main topic. The way to acquire【Purification】is to defeat at least 200 undead monsters of level 150 or higher while holding onto an item called【Sacred Orb of Prayer】. Only the final blow is needed for it to count, so I will weaken them first while Rashia-san continues to hit them with as much magical power as she can deal.”
“...... Oi, you sure that works?”
“I’m sure. Actually, the more annoying part is procuring the【Sacred Orb of Prayer】, but I already have one, so we can just use that.”
Shin announced all that in a relaxed manner.
He was not aware that in this world, monsters with more than 150 levels were extremely dangerous to normal residents. Though she only had to deal the final blow, just hearing that she had to face 200 of them left Rashia so shocked that it almost seemed that her soul had jumped out.
“Oi, oi, you alright?”
The dazed Rashia came back to her senses when Wilhelm started patting her shoulder. There was no other way, so Rashia had no choice but to work hard at it.
“Oi, Shin. I’m coming along too.”
“Sure, I don’t mind. It might be more reassuring for her to have someone she knows come along.”
Rather, it might be a bit much to travel with only the two of us, thought Shin as he put in due consideration for Rashia’s mental state.
From Rashia’s reaction earlier, Shin was reminded again that there weren’t a lot of adventurers in this world who could so casually meet such requirements. He had accidentally slipped back into the game’s paradigm, so he muttered “Self-restraint, self-restraint” to himself.
“Well then, work hard at it, Rashia.”
“Yes, I will!”
While Shin had been deep in thought, Rashia had recovered. With the future of the church on her back, she had no choice but to overcome this.
After Rashia had built her up resolve, they discussed the finer details of the trip until the day ended.
There’s no time like the present, so they agreed to set off early next morning and all went back to make their own preparations for the journey. With consideration for Rashia, they decided to meet up in front of the eastern gate.
Volume 2 Chapter 1 Part 2
Volume 2 Chapter 1 Part 2
You can grab the PDF here.
After Shin left the church, everyone remaining began making their own preparations for the next day. Rashia and Thoria also took the time to tell the children about the trip.
Wilhelm went out to buy foodstuffs and other goods for the long journey.
While following the main road and buying everything needed, he also called out to the adventurers with ties to the orphanage. There was no guarantee that the priest aiming to shut down the orphanage would not take advantage of his absence to start something.
Though there were quite a few adventurers from the orphanage, the number of people who knew about Millie’s power was very small. There was the possibility that this trip might take quite a while, so he told all of them to be on their guard. In the midst of all this preparatory work, Wilhelm continued thinking about a certain man.
Needless to say, it was Shin.
Their first meeting was when they had happened to share a table at his favorite restaurant. Though Shin claimed to have only just started as an adventurer, he had not been intimidated at all by Wilhelm carrying Venom, and had talk to him normally. Because of this, Wilhelm had remembered him immediately when he saw him again at the orphanage.
At the church, when hearing that Thoria had revealed Millie’s power, Wilhelm’s first thought was that she was letting her guard down too much. However, even Millie had vouched for him, so it was good enough. Millie had even said that she had seen ‘something.’ She didn’t elaborate on what it was that she saw, but at least it was proof that he was not someone trying to get close to the church to cause them harm. Otherwise, Millie would not have advocated him so emphatically.
None of that changes the fact that he was still a complete mystery.
There were very few people who would talk to himself normally, and that guy’s words and actions just happened to remain in Wilhelm’s memory. The more he thought about it, though, the more strange points he noticed.
When that guy saw Venom, he had asked whether it had been taken for appraisal. He had even asked after the appraiser’s skill level. Thinking about it, that guy’s expression at the time had seemed to say “Ah, that level is not enough.”
It was the same for the requirements to acquire【Purification】. Shin had said “defeat at least 200 undead monsters of level 150 or higher.” Right afterwards, he had said “I will weaken them first, so Rashia will only need to deal the final blow.” From the way he was speaking, he had not intended to bring Wilhelm along when he accepted the request.
If what he said was not a lie, then it would mean that he was strong enough to take on a level 150 by himself. And that would be even while bringing along Rashia, who would only get in his way.
(Has he really become an adventurer only recently?)
Wilhelm remembered that even back at the lunch, Shin had been speaking like he had a lot of fighting experience. If he was so good, though, then it would not have been strange for there to be information about him from before. Word travels quickly about strong people, even if they are not an adventurer. However, when he had asked the information brokers connected to the orphanage, none of them had any information on the guy.
Someone who could single-handedly take down a monster above level 150 easily belonged in Rank B. Making Rank A would not even be strange.
How could such a person have remained under the radar so long?
(Could it be, that guy is ......)
His steps stopped unconsciously.
A certain title floated into Wilhelm’s mind. It was a name known only to a select few.
That phrase represented a group of existences who wielded power beyond the limits of normal people.
Those with this title were born with numerous skills and varying amounts of knowledge already inside their head. This world’s concept of ‘levels’ cannot be applied to them. They were, in general terms, ‘ones who were chosen from birth.’
“Is he ...... a Chosen One?”
It was something that Wilhelm himself already had deep ties to.
Nobody heard what he had unthinkingly voiced out loud; it disappeared into the usual clamor of the city.
The sun dawned on the next day.
Shin finished his breakfast quickly, then told Tsugumi that he would be out of town for a while and got back the rest of his unused deposit. All his luggage was inside his inventory, so he didn’t need any time for packing, which allowed him to set off before long. He wasn’t able to set off immediately though, due to Tsugumi not wanting to part with Yuzuha. Shin felt that her eyes had become those of a hunter with a prey in sight. Was it perhaps because her last name was Bear?
He walked through the relatively uncrowded roads with Yuzuha riding on his head as usual. Due to there being less people than there would be when the city completely woke up, he reached the eastern gate faster than expected. Shin was thinking “Aww, I’m a bit too early,” but he noticed that there was already someone else by the eastern gate.
“Mornin’. You’re early.”
Shin was surprised that there was someone who had arrived even earlier than himself.
The way most people in this town told time was by the bells that would peal every hour. Therefore, it was really hard to time anything precisely, so if two people agreed to meet up, one person would invariably have to wait for the other. Merchants had clocks, so they were a lot stricter on time with each other, but adventurers were surprisingly lax about it. According to Tsugumi and Douma, it was not rare at all for people to be just barely on time.
According to Shin’s ingame clock, there were still 20 minutes before the meet-up time. He had been regretful about being so early, but it appears that it had not been a complete waste of time after all.
“Do you always arrive this early?”
“No, it’s just that there’s something that I wanted to confirm before the trip. Lend me your face for a sec.”
Shin was bewildered at the inexplicable gravity with which Wilhelm was speaking. He followed behind while wondering what had happened. Yuzuha continued to lull on his head. It had probably decided to leave the situation to Shin to handle.
“Oh yea, where’s Rashia?”
“Off on a little errand that I asked of her. Well, she’s late half the time anyways.”
So this was a talk that he didn’t want Rashia to hear.
They continued walking for a few more minutes. Wilhelm then stopped in front of a certain shop.
Judging by the signboard, it was a restaurant. The picture of a glass and a spoon did not make it clear what this place served, though.
After knocking the door three times with set intervals in between, Wilhelm opened the door. It was dim inside, but lighted enough to not hamper movement. Shin noticed three tables and a five-seat counter, and rows of wine bottles all lined up behind the counter. There was also a bartender wiping a glass.
This place was, undoubtedly, a bar.
“Sorry, man. Gonna borrow your place.”
Nodding once in acknowledgment of Wilhelm’s words, the bartender left the shop through a door behind the counter. He must have noticed Yuzuha, but had not said anything. Shin had expected him to protest against allowing the cub inside for sanitary reasons, but it seems that hygiene was not a big issue for people in this world. Perhaps he had thought that Shin was a Tamer.
“Someone from the orphanage. You’ve already heard about those guys, right?”
“Aah. Wait, does it mean that person just now is also an adventurer?”
“Yes he is.”
There was no need to remain standing while they continued their conversation, so they both sat down at the counter.
Without any hesitation, Wilhelm began to talk.
“There’s one thing I want to confirm. Are you a Chosen One?”
“...... What’s that?”
Shin responded in confusion over the word that he had never heard of before. The brief pause in front was when he had mentally run through all the Gifts that he knew. To his knowledge, though, there was no Gift called Chosen One.
“You don’t know it?”
“Haven’t a clue.”
Wilhelm was carefully watching the way Shin was acting, but concluded that he was not just playing dumb.
“Chosen Ones are people who are born with skills, Gifts, and knowledge that they wouldn’t have known. They hold power that completely belies their level.”
“They were born with it? You’re not telling me that as a baby, they were already talking and firing magic everywhere?”
What Wilhelm had said made Shin think of the reincarnation genre web novels that he had read where characters who got to restart and could already speak and understand complicated concepts as a baby.
It was indeed true that after learning it, even a child could freely activate a skill, but Shin was doubtful that it could actually happen.
“I have heard of incidents like that, yes. There was also apparently a kid under 10 years old who killed a Tetra Grizzly bare-handed by using a skill that can even be described as a secret technique. Those stories are worth a dime a dozen.”
“So these are people who were born with power. How to put it, sounds like they would get derided as ‘monsters’ quite often.”
It would still be understandable if it was just strength that these babies were born with, but the same can’t be said for skills and knowledge. Depending on the way of looking at it, for the residents of this world, these people could indeed only be described as ‘the chosen ones.’
“So, by ‘knowledge,’ do you also mean memories of a previous life?”
“No, most of what they know is on items and monsters. I’ve never heard of any of them remembering a past self.”
While listening to Wilhelm, a single possible explanation came into Shin’s mind. Though there were a few points that didn’t match up, it was something that made him think “Couldn’t it be this?”
(Able to use several skills from the start, already possessing titles, great strength ...... No way, the reincarnation system is still working?)
Back in THE NEW GATE, players would go to a temple to reincarnate, and would reappear at the temple. Here in reality, it probably made more sense for the person to restart as a baby. Thinking like that, the possibility of them being born into a random family could not be ruled out.
The degree would depend on the number of reincarnations, but generally speaking, reincarnating would allow the person to keep a few skills and Gifts, as well as provide a stat bonus. If he closed his eyes to a few large questions, Shin thought that this was the most fitting explanation for the phenomenon.
The biggest question of all, though, was that the temples where one would go to reincarnate are currently deep within danger zones that no one could go into.
“Ringing any bells?”
“Sort of yes, and sort of no.”
Shin was at a loss for an answer.
The reincarnation system was from the game, and it was not like he himself had entered this world as a baby. However, Shin’s power could only be described in this world as that of a Chosen One. Also, he had already registered himself as a human back at the guild, so it was too late to try to cover things up by claiming to be one of the long-lived species.
He didn’t think he would be believed if he plainly told the truth, and it would be troublesome in a different way if he was believed. It was widely known that high humans are all extinct.
“What a vague answer. Well, it’s fine, I’m not trying to get you to confess everything to me. Everybody has things that they don’t want to reveal.”
“Thank you for your understanding.”
“It just seemed to me that you have too little self-awareness. Only high ranked adventurers can handle level 150 monsters by themselves. It’s not something that you should claim so easily, you G ranker.”
“Now that you mention it, that’s true. Man, how careless of me!”
“Damn it, damn it!” thought Shin as he outwardly displayed a wry smile. He had thought that he was aware of how the way he judged things by stats was out of place in this world where people judged by levels, but it seems that he had slipped up after all.
His response was a bit flippant, but internally he was far from calm. He had already told himself to be careful after seeing Rashia’s reaction the other day. Be that as it may, he had only been in this world for a few days, so it was absurd to expect him to already fully understand the standards of this world. In was, in some sense, a world even more severe than the game had been. Perfectly adapting to this world’s value systems and common sense within such a short period of time was outright impossible.
“There aren’t many who actually know the name ‘Chosen One.’ But if word of your strength gets out, annoying things might start going your way. It wouldn’t hurt to be careful about it.”
“...... It ...... might be a bit late for that.”
“Oi, what did you do?”
“I won in a practice match against the guildmaster and reported subjugating a Jack class Skull Face with the level of a King class. In addition, I also recently wiped out a group of almost a hundred Skull Faces composed of Pawn and Jack classes.”
“...... That sounds so insane that I don’t even know where to start, oi. What the fuck is up with those ridiculous stories?”
“I couldn’t help it. Even I didn’t expect things to become like this. I didn’t rush into those annoying situations myself.”
Although it was Shin who had approached the Skull Face that had turned out to be a unique monster, the fight with Balkus was because of the letter of introduction from Tsuki no Hokora, and the army of Skull Faces had appeared almost as if it had been timed. Shin insisted that it was not his fault. He couldn’t very well have left those Skull Faces as they were.
“Man, I had thought that you had done something, but those are no joke. Seriously, be careful, man. Chosen Ones easily earn people’s respect due to their strength. But as you said just now, there are those would ostracize you because of it.”
“There was even a guy who spouted nonsense like an oracle had foretold of his birth. There is an enormous difference in treatment when compared to those who just normally get stronger as they grow up. But well, there’s no need to spend too much time thinking about the other Chosen Ones, because most of them are already under the church’s or a country’s protection.”
“I see. By the way, around how many Chosen Ones are in each country?”
If Chosen Ones are truly who Shin thought they were, then there was the possibility that there were tons of people around who had enough power to wipe out an entire country.
“The number varies by country. If you go by official accounts, then there are a total of four in this country, one of whom is the guildmaster. The neighboring countries might not even have one in each. There are pretty large differences in power between each one, and not every Chosen One is specced for battle, so their numbers is not necessarily a reliable benchmark by which to judge which country has the advantage. If it’s battle power that we’re talking about, then Berylricht is probably on top, but carelessly over-deploying our Chosen Ones would prompt the surrounding countries to ally together to deal with us. No matter how strong Chosen Ones are, even they can’t annihilate an entire army, and all countries probably have other cards up their sleeves. Everything is in balance for now. Well, it’s pretty much a tacit understanding that every country has more secret Chosen Ones hidden away.”
“Put in another way, countries are keeping their aces face down. So you said that even Chosen Ones would be hard-pressed to wipe out an entire army alone, huh. Just for curiosity, how many can the strongest Chosen One take on?”
“From what I know, our First and Second Princesses would probably be the likely candidates. If we’re talking close combat, then it’d be the Second; if we’re talking magic, then it’d be the First. The First Princess has wide area spells, so she could probably handle thousands at once, but it would be over if someone got close to her. As for the Second Princess, it would depend on her condition and the enemy’s tactics. She would probably have a hard time if she was continually bombarded with long-range magic. There are very significant differences even between Chosen Ones specced for battle. The Berylricht princesses rank pretty high on the scale.”
From Wilhelm’s description, Shin could roughly calculate the strength of the Chosen Ones. A simple soldier would not have the bonuses from reincarnation, so even if they trained their entire life, their stats would not go above 300. Of course, with equipment and weapons, they might be able to overcome that limit, but considering the present situation where there aren’t so many who would level themselves up so high, someone who reaches 300 with only one or two of their stats after piling on lots of equipment would already be a notch above the rest.
Humans have an especially high resistance to magic, so if the First Princess could handle thousands of soldiers at once, then she must have at least 500 points in INT and a relatively large pool of MP. Wilhelm had said that she has spells that can simultaneously attack multiple targets, so the power that she holds is probably considered exceptional by this world’s standards. Paired with her was the Second Princess, who Shin speculates has high HP and STR, VIT, and AGI around 500. He could not suppress a wry smile at how they were such a picture-perfect illustration of a tanker and DPS duo.
“That makes things easy to understand. More like, if the two of them worked together, then wouldn’t they become invincible?”
The First Princess would shoot the enemy with her magic, and the Second Princess would defeat anyone who got close. Considering how much power each one had, a battle against the two of them together could only end with a laughable result.
“You’re right. But no matter how strong their teamwork, in the end, they are only two people. If other Chosen Ones similar to themselves also shows up, they could be overwhelmed by sheer numbers of normal soldiers. It’s the same for every country, which is why nobody dares to lay hands on anyone else.”
“I see, I see.”
If every country was in a similar situation, it meant that there wasn’t much of a difference in the stats of Chosen Ones with similar builds from each country. He had no solid proof, but Chosen Ones — by Shin’s definition, reincarnated people — all had at most 500 in a few stats, even with the reincarnation bonuses.
Shin now understood why so many requests came to Schnee. Instead of only a few, all of her stats were above 800. He didn’t know what weapon she was currently using, but adding it to the equation would probably bring her STR over 900. If she used the wide area annihilation magics that Shin remembered, then she could definitely wipe out not just thousands of troops, but tens of thousands. It was not hard to imagine that if she ever came into the service of any one country, then the neighboring ones would all be annexed within the blink of an eye.
(If it was such a big thing, why didn’t I hear about it from Els or Selica-san?)
As staff of the Adventurers’ Guild, they probably knew about it, but Shin guessed from Wilhelm’s wording that it was probably told only to staff and adventurers of a certain rank or higher. The real reason, though, was that he had left too deep of an impression, what with lifting the curse and subjugating the Skull Faces, so they had simply forgotten.
“Thanks for the heads up. It might already be too late, but I’ll be extra careful from now on.”
“You do that.”
“More like, you’re a surprisingly nice guy who takes really good care of the people around you. Are you sure that there are people scared of you?”
“Those people are just coming up with their own conclusions. I’ve got nothing to do with it.”
Shin accidentally voiced out what he felt from the talk. There was a large gap between the impression that he had heard and the impression that he himself got after actually meeting up with Wilhelm. Now he could tell that the common image seemed forced, almost as if Wilhelm was purposely propagating it.
“But it’s your reputation that’s protecting the orphanage, isn’t it?”
“It’s the other guys who’re all gung-ho about it. It was bad enough that the Father kicked the bucket, but now there’s that greedy fat pig who’s here to mess up the place. Thanks to all that, the kids started crying. The sound of crying kids hurts my ears.”
Wilhelm’s face was scrunched up in a scowl. Perhaps due feeling earlier that Wilhelm was purposely acting like this, Shin thought that it was probably not the sound of the children crying that bothered him, but the fact that the children were crying that bothered him.
“Therefore, you’ll shut down anyone who would meddle with them?”
“You got that right. But lately, I don’t know what got into them, even the brats have started coming up with weird ideas. Brats should just eat and sleep and run around like the brats they are.”
Facing Wilhelm, who was making such a brusque declaration, Shin could not help thinking “Damn, this guy is such a good guy!”.
In other words, what he was saying was that the children should stay innocent and enjoy their childhood, and that he would show no mercy to anyone who makes them cry. It was such a “big brother” thing to say.
“Dear me, you’re just not honest with yourself, are you?”
“You fucking with me?”
“Oops, I said nothing~. By the way, there’s something bugging me. Does the ‘fat pig’ being able to have a say in the succession of the church mean that he also has【Purification】?”
Shin couldn’t help smirking with mirth.
Returning his face to normal, he asked to confirm something that had caught his attention. Though they might not like their opponent, if he had truly gained【Purification】by his own power, then they could not afford to take him lightly. A pig who could fight would be no ordinary pig, after all.
“It pisses me off to admit it, but it seems like he does. However, to be blunt, that guy is trash when it comes to fighting. The method that you spoke of yesterday is impossible for him. Level-wise, no way.”
“Do you know his exact level?”
“From what I’ve heard, it’s 40.”
“I see, that would indeed be impossible. Which means he used a Book of Secrets, then.”
As he thought, that guy had acquired the skill through an item. Otherwise, it would be inconceivable for someone with such a low level to have【Purification】. If he was a reincarnated person — ‘Chosen One,’ by this world’s terminology — then it might be possible, but judging by the way Wilhelm was speaking, Shin didn’t think he was one.
“There are a lot of secrets in the church. It wouldn’t be odd at all for that to be true. More like, that’s most likely exactly what happened. I’ve heard that every single one of the higher ranked clergy serving at the headquarters are really strong.”
“Either they have a really bad eye for people, or it was the power of money ...... No matter how you think about it, it’s obviously the latter.”
There was no way that everyone in the position of leadership had such bad eyes. There could be a few other explanations, but money was the most common and easiest to understand.
“At first, I had thought that you were sent by that bastard.”
“I can’t fault you for thinking that.”
Exactly when they were in desperate need of the【Purification】skill, an adventurer shows up with perfect timing. It would be weirder to not be suspicious. It was especially true for someone who knew the situation.
There was no telling what would have happened without Millie.
“There is usually something up with anyone who Millie shares her visions with. I had thought that there was probably some kind of greater thing going on.”
“Heeh~, what other people has she talked to?”
“Well, yea, ‘cus she did talk to me too.”
“Fair enough. I won’t go into details, but there was a black dragnil, a blond pixie, and a silver-haired elf.”
Shin had been lightly continuing the conversation making the appropriate sounds, but it suddenly struck him that he had heard of this grouping before.
(Black dragnil, blond pixie, silver-haired elf ...... I’ve heard of all of these traits before. Wait, no, this grouping isn’t that rare in and of itself. But it’s not just one, it’s all three of described together ......)
There were a few missing, but the question “Isn’t it those guys?” refused to leave Shin’s mind.
“Hey, is that silver-haired elf that you mentioned Schnee Raizar?”
“The fuck? What made you think that?”
“Intuition ...... is the only way I can describe it. It just felt that way.”
Shin stared right back at Wilhelm, who was looking at Shin with a probing eye.
“May I ask what she said at that time?”
“............ It was『He’ll be back soon』. I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, though.”
“You know something about that?”
“Nope, not a clue.”
“You look strangely convinced but you’re telling me ‘not a clue’?”
“How do I even begin to explain.”
After unexpectedly disclosing what Millie had said, Wilhelm now looked so surprised that Shin couldn’t tell him that it was about himself. It might be possible that Millie had predicted a while ago that he would be coming.
“Umm, I ...... Nn?”
“What is it this time?”
“Sorry, give me a minute.”
A blinking message had suddenly appeared at the edge of his vision. It was apparently from Tiera.
While asking Wilhelm to wait, he mentally gave the instruction to open the message.
Master replied back.
She’s bombarding me with a lot of questions, so for now I’ll just tell you
what I understood.
When she is done with her work, she will return as quickly as she can.
Please give me notice if you are leaving Berylricht.
Master is asking me so many questions that I’m getting a bit scared.
Exactly what did you do to Master?』
While thinking “How many is ‘so many that I’m getting scared’?”, Shin wrote back “Understood.” Schnee was probably just really worried, since five hundred years had passed without any news from him, but it wasn’t something that he could do anything about, so he decided to just meet up with her first.
With a wry smile on his face, Shin was about to close the menu window when he noticed the『Important Things』tab blinking. After clicking on it, he saw the icon for『Letter of Introduction from Tsuki no Hokora』glowing with a silver light.
“Nn? ............ Ah!”
While wondering why it was glowing, Shin suddenly remembered what Balkus had said when they had first met. One way to confirm the legitimacy of a letter of introduction from Tsuki no Hokora is to check if it resonates magically with another letter of introduction nearby.
“Which would mean ......”
He took out the letter in card form. He had done it on purpose, as the letter in card form did not have any recognizable patterns, making it impossible for someone who did not know what it was to guess its true form.
Even in card form, the letter was still giving off a silver light.
“This is ......”
“Oi, don’t tell me that what you’re holding is a letter of introduction from Tsuki no Hokora?”
Wilhelm’s question cut through Shin’s thoughts.
Shin was about to ask “Why do you think so?” when he realized it.
The only people who know that the letter of introductions would glow are ——
“You also have one?!”
“So that glowing thing really is a letter of introduction!”
With shock plastered on his face, Wilhelm also produced a card out of nowhere. The card in his hand was also glowing with a silver light.
“...... Could that be ......”
“...... No way ......”
Shin and Wilhelm stared at each other’s face.
An indescribable atmosphere filled the place.
Volume 2 Chapter 1 Part 3
After a while, both of them regained some sense of composure, and returned their letters to their real forms for confirmation.
“To think that you were also a letter bearer.”
“Same for you, too.”
Shin replied with a wry smile to Wilhelm, who now looked like all the tension had drained from his body.
Despite the fact that it was Millie who had orchestrated their meeting, Shin had remained slightly wary of Wilhelm due to his character, and Wilhelm had remained wary of Shin’s unknown strength. Though they had no troubles on the surface, a slight sense of distrust had lingered in some corner of their minds. But all that was completely dispelled by the letters in their respective hands.
“There is no greater proof of trust in this world. No wonder you brought up Schnee Raizar.”
“In my case, it was Tiera who had given me the letter. Did you get yours from Schnee?”
“I got her to do some sparring with me. Well, I say sparring, but it was more like I just got one-sidedly beaten up.”
“Aah ...... she does have a really serious streak, that one.”
It was Shin who had written that trait into her settings, but he had done so with a very broad stroke, giving her space to determine the finer details herself. It wouldn’t be strange for Schnee’s personality to have undergone some changes ever since the game era, but Shin felt from Wilhelm’s story that she had pretty much remained the same. But now that she was not an AI anymore, the various experiences that she’s had so far must have left some effect on her, so Shin’s mental image of her probably needed some updating.
“Alright, Rashia’s going to arrive soon, so we’d best get going. We can continue this conversation while on the road.”
“Oh, it’s already this late?”
After glancing at the clock on the wall, Wilhelm stood up. He had not planned on staying here long in the first place, but the unanticipated discovery that Shin was also a letter bearer had caused them to stay longer than he had expected. However, he considered it time well-spent, as he had been able to converse with Shin at length, so he was now feeling very satisfied.
Every single person who had a letter of introduction from Tsuki no Hokora had some extraordinary power of other, but none of them had ever turned out to be morally corrupt. Wilhelm got a distinct feeling that with Shin on his side, all the troublesome things burdening the church could be dealt away with in one go.
“I’ll ask this now that we know we can trust each other: Are you also a Chosen One?”
“I don’t really plan on hiding it at this point, but what makes you think so? Not every Rank A adventurer is a Chosen One.”
“Nah, it’s because of the weapon that you’re holding. Normal people wouldn’t be able to use it. They would get rejected. The moment I saw you holding it like it was nothing, I knew that you were someone special.”
“Hah! So that’s how it is. No wonder you were so insistent on the appraiser and his skill level. You knew what it was from the very start.”
What Wilhelm wielded was the Legend grade Demon Spear『Venom』.
This weapon could not be equipped if the user did not have at least 500 STR. This was the reason why the weapon had caught Shin’s eye the first time he met Wilhelm.
Normally, Legend grade weapons only required 350 in certain stats. In comparison, the requirements for『Venom』are abnormally high. However, there is a proper reason behind it, and it was not a bug.
“I couldn’t very well talk about it in front of such a large number of people. Also, just now you pulled that card out of nowhere. Does that mean that you can use an inventory? I’ve heard that people who can do so aren’t that common.”
“Aah, what I have is just something that looks like it. I use an item called『Enlargement Kit』, which suffices as a sort of pseudo-inventory, but the capacity is pretty low. Of course, not everyone has it.”
“Heh~, I see.”
Shin made the appropriate noises to continue the conversation while thinking “So that function remains after all.” It was a function that was often used to have support characters or partner monsters help with carrying large loads. With it, players could give their followers almost as much inventory space as an actual player. Most people, though, only expanded their follower’s inventory once or twice, which was enough space to store things like potions and other recovery items for emergencies.
In Shin’s case, though, he had expanded the inventories of all of his support characters to the max. There was no particular reason for it, it was just him being fastidious about that sort of thing.
“Anyways, weren’t you using it too?”
“In my case, I’ve been able to use it from the very start.”
“So you are a Chosen One after all.”
“Mumu, at this point let’s just run with that.”
Without requesting any further details, it looked like Wilhelm was satisfied with thinking that Shin was a Chosen One, so Shin decided to just let him continue to think that. If he tried to go over each and every setting one by one, he might contradict himself somewhere, so he decided right there and then to pass himself off as a Chosen One.
While continuing their conversation, they eventually returned to the road that they had come from. When the two of them approached the eastern gate, they saw Rashia restlessly looking around for them.
“Ah, you stop right there, Wil! Where on earth did you go after pushing all the shopping onto me?!”
“My bad, my bad. I had other things to take care of.”
“Or so you say, but you were visiting an indecent shop again, were you?”
“Like I would! You better not be still half-asleep.”
“Shin-san. Even if Wil invites you, don’t follow him, alright? The occasional cold shoulder is good enough for this guy.”
“Listen to me, dammit! More like, stop saying things that could be easily misunderstood!!”
“For now, how about both of you just calm down.”
After Shin calmed down the two who had spontaneously started something like a lover’s quarrel, they all set off. Secretly, Shin was a bit jealous of how they were so close that they could freely say everything on their mind to each other.
Their method of transportation this time was by horse. Wilhelm had apparently rented them from the guild. One of the horses was even the guild’s best horse, and it had such a magnificent physique and a beautiful chestnut coat that even Shin, who knew nothing about horses, was impressed. When the horse saw Yuzuha, it stopped in its tracks, but after a soft bark from Yuzuha, it neighed softly and calmed down. Some kind of conversation that Shin and company did not understand had probably just taken place.
Wilhelm and Rashia rode together on one horse, and Shin and Yuzuha rode together on the other one. It was the first time that Shin had ridden a real horse, but somehow the【Riding】skill was still working, so he was able to ride without any problems. Back during the game, there were many chances to ride not just horses, but also things like griffons and dragons, so his Riding level was quite high.
Wilhelm had said that it would take five to six days by carriage, but Shin thought that their current speed would allow them to arrive faster than that. Of course, Shin could run a lot faster than the horses, but it would be awkward to carry Rashia the whole way, so he didn’t bring it up.
Stopping every now and then to let their horses rest, their journey was otherwise quite smooth, and no significant problems came up. Both Shin and Wilhelm could use their inventories, so they pretty much had no luggage to carry, and thus they were able to cover that much more distance. Furthermore, since they had all sorts of cookery and cutlery on them, even when they camped outside they had a varied menu instead of just wretched preserved foods. As they had overcome the problem of cooking, which was one of the biggest issues with traveling, the journey was not very taxing even on Rashia, who was new to it.
The horses ran for 4 days, and in that time Shin grew close enough to Wilhelm and Rashia to drop all honorifics. They arrived at the Wraith Plains before noon.
Though the sun was still high in the sky, the area did not look very bright. At the clear divide between the forest and the plains, there seemed to be an invisible wall that was blocking off some of the sunlight. And if they strained their eyes a bit, they could see a thick purple miasma welling up from the ground. It covered the surface of the entirety of the Plains, and stopped abruptly at the invisible wall.
When Shin checked the miasma with【Analyze】, nothing worthy of note came up. Based on that, they at least knew that the miasma did not cause any negative effects.
“There’s no response even when I try touching it. Which means that this is unmistakably the boundary line.”
“You’re right. Also, if you cross the line, those mobs can’t follow you over. They can only exist beyond the barrier.”
“Is that how it is?”
“I’ve tried luring them before. It might have been because it was daytime, but when they crossed over, even their armor and weapons crumbled along with them.”
“Let’s make it so that we can easily run outside the barrier if needed.”
The aim was to make sure that there was an escape route for Rashia to use in the event of any unforeseen circumstances. Unlike Shin and Wilhelm, Rasha was nowhere near strong enough to handle the upcoming enemies even on a one-on-one basis.
“For starters, let’s build a base so that we all know where to head to if something happens. Also, this is the『Sacred Orb of Prayer』. There would be no point to all this if you didn’t hold onto it. And also use this. It can repel even dragon breath.”
“U-Understood! Dhan- ...... oww ......”
She could not be faulted for being nervous at the cold air wafting over from the Wraith Plains. During the trip, Wilhelm had snapped at her many times for her habit of accidentally biting herself when she was nervous, but Shin suspected that it might have become the way Rashia unconsciously tried to distract herself from worrying.
What Shin had handed over along with the『Sacred Orb of Prayer』was a bracelet type magic item that would negate a certain amount of damage from each blow. Shin had made it himself, and the threshold for its negation was so high that it could completely cancel out even a direct punch from a King class Skull Face. Its durability was guaranteed. With this item, their worries could even be considered excessive. However, there’s no point in merely using words to convince Rashia, who was not used to this kind of fighting. The only way was to have her learn to get used to it.
Incidentally, the reason why Rashia was still using honorifics and polite speech was because of habit. The only person that she used casual speech with was Wilhelm, but that was apparently because the two of them had grown up together.
“(Yuzuha, if you would.)”
Shin sent a telepathic message to Yuzuha. They had become able to do that right after forming the contract. Yuzuha could pick up on messages that Shin mentally sent over, and Shin could pick up Yuzuha’s agreement or disagreement and mood.
Having received Shin’s message, Yuzuha came down off of Shin’s head, jumped over onto Rashia’s shoulder, and began rubbing against her face.
“Wai, wait a moment, Yuu-chan! That tickles.”
“Its telling you to lighten up and that you can do it.”
“Ah ...... Yuu-chan, thank you.”
Yuzuha seemed to have succeeded in lifting Rashia’s spirits at least a bit, as Rashia had started to smile, though the smile was understandably still a little stiff. When Shin was sending Yuzuha a thank-you telepathy for doing what he had wanted it to, Wilhelm’s figure reappeared from the thicket.
“How’s the base coming along?”
“I did set up the things around the tent like you asked, but what exactly are those?”
Wilhelm jerked his thumb at a spot beyond the forest. It was not visible from where the three of them currently stood, but over there was a tent surrounded by on all four sides by jewels about 10 cemels in size. Though monsters couldn’t leave the Plains, the tent had been erected a slight distance away just in case.
“Just a little something in the way of interception. It would attack any monsters that get close. With a barrier like that, there’s not much else you can ask for from a makeshift base, right?”
“What the heck, I’ve never heard of such an item.”
To be honest, just setting up Barrier would be enough, but Shin expected that even Chosen Ones have limits, so he opted to use items instead. Though the claim of being a Chosen One gave him a lot more leeway in how much power he could display and could serve as an excuse for the things that he did differently from ‘normal’ people, he figured that there was still a limit to how far he could push it. It was a problem, though, that he didn’t know exactly where that limit was.
With all that said, it didn’t hurt to set up Barrier and Wall anyways. It was partly preparation for the one in a million chance of something going wrong, but also partly because there was no guarantee that monsters will be the only thing that poses a danger to them.
“I’m afraid you’ll just have to believe me as a fellow Chosen One.”
“You sure picked up quickly how to use that title conveniently, seriously.”
“Eh? Shin-san is also a Chosen One?!”
Apparently, Rashia also knew about Chosen Ones. She had most likely heard it from Wilhelm.
“Hmm? You didn’t tell her?”
“I didn’t have solid proof yet.”
“Was the reason why the two of you went off the first day to confirm it?”
“You guys should have told me from the very start!”
Feeling like the odd one, Rashia pouted.
“I thought you’d at least had an inkling. The aim of this trip being as demanding as it is.”
“I thought that if Wil could do it, most people could too.”
“No way that’s true.”
“B-but Wil is the only adventurer I know! I know that Wil is strong, but I didn’t know exactly how strong he is because I don’t have anyone else to compare him to.”
Wilhelm was left speechless in front of Rashia, who was tilting her head. It would be very hard to understand how strong the existences called Chosen Ones were without seeing it firsthand. In the first place, there was no way that Wilhelm would bring Rashia to a place where he would have to get serious.
“O~i, I’m sorry to interrupt, but should we get started soon? To my understanding, we don’t exactly have time to take things leisurely.”
“Good point. Come on, let’s go. You’ve calmed down a bit, right?”
“Eh? Ah, wait for me!”
Shin had been looking on while waiting for an appropriate time to speak up. He understood that it was to calm Rashia’s nerves, so he picked a suitable time before cutting in.
“Well then, I wonder what’s going to greet us first.”
“Since it’s still daytime, it’ll probably be Skull Face, Bio Hound, or Mad Zombie. When the sun’s still up, only the ones with a physical body are able to move around.”
“As I thought, nighttime would suit our purpose better. Oh well, we can work on getting Rashia used to fighting first before finding a good time to let up and wait for nighttime to get serious.”
“Yep, and we can decide the pacing afterwards based on Rashia’s condition. Well then, here they come.”
Shin and Wilhelm turned to look at the shadows that were approaching from behind Rashia. Visibility was reduced quite significantly by the miasma fog, but it was not a problem for the two of them and their senses.
What eventually emerged from the fog were two Jack class Skull Faces and three Bio Hounds. Rashia could not help pressing her hand against her mouth at the sight of the Bio Hounds with rotten flesh falling off from half of their bodies. Seeing them in real life made them that much harder to look at.
“This is about so-so as warm-up.”
“The Bio Hounds are just in the goddamn way, though.”
Shin drew the katana at his waist, and Wilhelm readied his grip on Venom. Though Rashia’s face was a bit pale, she also held out her staff and began chanting.
The Bio Hounds, which had greater speed, reached them first.
Probably due to their lack of intelligence, the Bio Hounds charged straight in from the front. Shin stepped up, thrust out a hand, and activated the God-style Skill【Ichiyou no Misogi (Purification Ceremony of a Single Leaf)】.
At the same time, a half-transparent wall appeared in front of him. The Bio Hounds were not able to dodge in time, and ended up falling to the ground after crashing into the wall with a “gusha” sound.
Many God-type skills are effective against the undead, and that effectiveness also extends to protective skills. This fact, coupled with the Bio Hounds’ suicidal move of running into the wall, brought the Bio Hounds’ HP bars down to the red zone in one fell blow. Of course, there was no way that Shin would overlook this.
He immediately dispelled the wall and shot Rashia instructions.
“Attack the Bio Hounds!”
Having finished chanting, Rashia complied by immediately activating her Arts.
A white light shot out from the staff that she was holding aloft and fell upon the Bio Hounds. What she had used was the God-type Arts【Heal】. It did not have as much power as a God-type Skill, but recovery magic in general was a very good way to deal damage to undead monsters. With their remaining HP gone, the Bio Hounds’ corpses disappeared into thin air.
At this sight, Shin confirmed that the rule that monsters inside dungeons don’t leave behind a corpse when they die was still in effect. Apparently, the entire Wraith Plains zone was being treated as a dungeon.
“The others are coming!”
At Wilhelm’s shout, Shin temporarily stopped observing the entire field as a whole, and readied himself to intercept. With the sound of pieces of their armor scraping against each other, the two Skull Faces charged straight in, just like the Bio Hounds did. However, they did so while firmly holding shields in front.
“【Shield Bash】, I would assume.”
“Oi, can you stop them with the wall thing from just now?”
“Leave it to me. You’re not going to tell me that you can’t at least cut off their hands and legs even when I create an opening, right?”
“Hah! Who do you think you’re talking to?”
After returning Wilhelm’s question with a confidence response, Shin cast【Ichiyou no Misogi】again. Though the Skull Faces did crash into the wall, unlike the Bio Hounds, they had shields in front, so they took no damage. However, although the Skull Faces had seen the wall withstand the Bio Hounds’ body slam, they did not expect it to be durable enough to withstand even【Shield Bash】, and thus lost their balance as a result of the collision. Confirming that the Skull Faces had indeed lost their balance, Shin dispelled the wall. In that instant, Wilhelm dashed in between with his demon spear at the ready.
He drew a huge arc in the air with the Spear-type Martial Skill【Senka (Flash Blossom)】.
The attack sliced through the air and ground the two Skull Faces’ feet to dust, leaving behind a crimson trail in midair.
He was not done yet.
Without killing the momentum from his attack, Wilhelm quickly turned around. Relying on the centrifugal force generated by this movement, he sent the sword and shield of the left Skull Face flying. The Skull Face that had lost both legs and its weapons fell to the ground.
“You’re pretty good.”
While watching Wilhelm’s movements, Shin had also destroyed both arms of the Skull Face on the right using the Sword-type Martial Skill【Seijin (Blade Crusher)】. What he had in his hands was a new katana.
It was a Legend grade katana with a crimson blade,『Akechidori (Crimson Thousand Birds)』. Its cutting strength and durability were both far above the『Suda』that he was using before, and it also dealt lightning elemental damage.
The Skull Face that was now reduced to merely a head and torso had not received much damage to its core, but its HP was being steadily shaved off every time it was run through by the red lightning jumping off of the blade. The additional lightning elemental damage was helpful in lowering the Skull Face’s HP without Shin having to directly destroy its core. This kind of attack was very effective against monsters like Skull Faces who only receive damage when their cores are destroyed. This was the reason why Shin chose『Akechidori』.
“Rashia! Focus your Heals on the one in front of me!!”
Noting from the corner of his eye that Wilhelm had broken both arms of the Skull Face that had lost its equipment, Shin gave instructions to Rashia, who had finished chanting.
While holding down the Skull Face that was still struggling despite only having a head and torso, Shin reached out with his senses. Though he couldn’t confirm things by sight due to the fog,【Sense Presence】informed him of several monsters that were now heading towards them, having perhaps been drawn by the sound of fighting.
“More are coming! Please pick up the pace.”
“I can’t go any faster than this!!”
As can be expected, it was taking Rashia quite some time to use only Arts to wear down the HP of monsters more than 100 levels above her own.
“So this is all the【Heal】Arts can do. Oi, Shin! Is it possible to hold off the enemy with that wall thing and attack them from this side?”
“That’s impossible. Even if it is possible, I don’t know how.”
It would be great if they could attack from behind the invisible wall like Wilhelm was saying, but barrier type skills effectively cut off the two sides of the barrier. As a result, it was not possible to one-sidedly bombard an enemy on the other side while hiding behind a barrier. The rules that govern how skills could be used seem to be more flexible in this world than back in the game, so Shin could not say for certain that this idea could not be done. However, even there was a way that it could be done, Shin did not know it.
“Tsk, no helping it then. Guess we have no choice but to just quickly beat them up.”
“Since our roles are not to actually kill them, that’s the only thing we can do.”
“Wait a sec! I’m working so frantically over here, so how come you two still sound so composed?!”
Though it might already be obvious, pinning down monsters instead of killing them outright was a considerably harder task. It would take a normal adventurer all he had to manage it, but the way Shin and Wilhelm were talking revealed that the only consternation that this was causing them was merely on the level of “now that we’re really doing this, it’s just troublesome.” Only one of them was complaining, but even that complaint sounded more annoyed than distressed. They were wielding their weapons with only a moderate amount of tension.
“As we thought, the levels of the monsters are this low because we’re still only on the edge of the Plains.”
“We will most likely need to go in deeper. But with that said, we’ve no choice but to wait a while for Rashia to get stronger first.”
“She started at level 10, so it’s going up quite quickly. She’s level 24 now. The Bio Hounds were somewhere around level 60. Oh, she suddenly shot up to level 40. With a difference of more than a hundred levels, she’s getting quite a bit of XP just from finishing them off.”
The way they were helping her powerlevel seemed almost to trample the earnest efforts of adventurers who steadily work on leveling themselves, but they could not afford to put in several months to reach the same results, and thus continued regardless.
Though she was being protected, each and every monster was strong enough to kill her off with a single blow, and all of them were pouring out all the blood thirst that they had, so Rashia could not take it easy. It was no different to being under constant exposure to the fear of death. This fear is especially more potent on normal people who do not make a living out of fighting like adventurers do. If there was a way to quantify stress, Rashia’s current numbers would be through the roof. Seeing how she was raising her voice and trembling while endlessly casting【Heal】, one would be hard pressed to say that she was being shown partiality. The situation was such that any other normal person in the same position could only either give up or run away without wasting time looking to the side.
“But she seems to be reaching the limits of her mental strength. Her MP——magical power seems to be running dry too. Maybe Bio Hounds were a bit much right off the bat.”
Shin had accidentally said ‘MP,’ but quickly tried to cover it up by rewording it as ‘magical power.’ At the very last second, he remembered that though he had heard people in this world say ‘magical power,’ he had never heard anyone say ‘MP.’
“They’re all really grotesque, too. I guess we should commend her for not fainting.”
Fortunately, Wilhelm did not seem to have noticed Shin’s verbal gaffe.
“It would all come to naught if she collapsed here. Alright, let’s just clean up the ones that are already here and take a break.”
“Yea, let’s do that. Just because her level is shooting up, it doesn’t mean that her magical power is being recovered, too.”
They did not intend to jump right into the nighttime part without pause, so a temporary retreat to their base was in order.
Leveling up was supposed to completely restore all HP and MP, but apparently that was not how it was in this world. Shin’s original plan to powerlevel Rashia had hinged on the full recovery from leveling up, but all that was out the window now.
(This means that we need to properly plan time for recovery too. The fact that she doesn’t get a full recovery when she levels up means that we will need to keep an eye on her MP reserves.)
They couldn’t very well chug Ethers (T/N: mana potions) the whole time, so waiting to naturally recover was the only way. While mowing down the rest of the monsters, Shin thought about how this was going to take longer than he had expected and began making his plans anew.