TNG Vol. 1 Chapter 3 – Part 3
A few hours after Shin started his research in the library, the sun had risen fairly high in the sky: as it happened to all public facilities, it was time for the library too to close for the day.
The menu screen displayed the time as 4:50 PM. Shin wasn’t sure if the hours were the same here as on Earth, but mumbled “Just like a town hall or post office huh…” to himself.
He thought of going back to the south district, the commercial one, to take a look at the stalls, when his stomach rumbled. It was still early for dinner, but he happened to see a stand with deliciously-roasting chicken skewers, so he bought some.
The chicken skewers were, unlike Japan’s “Yakitori”, consisted of large portions of chicken stabbed in 30-cemel long skewers.
“Even in a different world, chicken skewers never betray…but I guess I bought too much.”
With a wry laugh, Shin pulled out another skewer from the bag. There were 4 long skewers in the bag he bought: a bit too much to eat before dinner. Not feeling like eating it all while walking, he went up to a fountain in a small square and sat down on its edge. Shin then continued eating while looking at the people passing.
There were many adventurers, probably because of the spread of information about the Skullface. News of the monster’s defeat should have been made public too, but they seemed to be still on alert. Shin also had the impression that the number of stalls selling items to such people was higher today: he had been in the city for just a few days, though, so it was just a feeling.
While looking around at the city and chewing on chicken, Shin made a mental summary of the information he had gathered in the library.
The important things he learned today were three:
1, there were very few documents with anything about the Dusk of Majesty.
There was the possibility that such documents were not kept in the library, but included among the forbidden titles or the ones that required permission to be consulted. Either of them was out of reach for Shin as of now, so he put that aside for the moment.
2, the geography of this world.
THE NEW GATE’s world had 4 continents, with the first 3 aimed respectively at beginner, intermediate and advanced players. The fourth continent was for players tired of normal fields.
Shin had fully explored all four areas, of course, so his map showed all fields. In this world, however, the map function was almost completely meaningless.
The reason was extremely simple: because of the geomorphological changes that occurred after the Dusk of Majesty, the continents’ shape itself had changed. Because of the continents’ shift and the changes in their geography, the continents were now five and many island countries were also scattered in the seas.
Looking at the map, it seemed all very haphazard. That could be another reason why there were no documents detailing the Dusk of Majesty.
The continent Shin was now in, by the way, was named Eltnia.
Finally, number 3: the current state of the large cities adventurers used as base in the past.
Every continent had 2 or 3 of such towns, used as bases of action by the players.
Each one had its own unique characteristic: some specialized on weapons, others on trade. The concentration of races and jobs was different everywhere, but all were prosperous.
The cathedrals used for players’ resurrection were only located in these large cities, so players tended to gather there. Such locations were now called “Sacred Places” and were regarded as “places we must take back”.
The cities had been barely affected by the geographical changes and mostly kept their original appearance, but after the Dusk of Majesty, they all became territories where high-level monsters prowled. Scouting teams had been sent time and again, but in these “Sacred Places” monsters’ levels were at least 500, so no one had ever returned alive.
For some reason, though, these high-level monsters never left the “Sacred Places”. The danger they posed could be the mutation caused by the Sacred Places’ high magic power to the land and flora around them: sometimes, low-level monsters also appeared in large quantities.
“What should we do next, then…?”
Shin held his chin and reflected.
If the world’s geography had changed, he couldn’t rely on his memories of the game. Elven gardens and Pixies’ Faerie villages, the settlements of species with high longevity, were too probably in different places than he remembered. His information gathering will likely be difficult.
Shin was considering asking Tiera or Els, when he felt someone looking at him and raised his head. What he found was a girl with cat ears, probably 7 or 8 years old, looking at him from a distance of 2 mel.
Correction: the 7-8 years old looking cat-eared girl, from 2 mel away, was staring a hole into Shin’s skewers. She looked like she wanted them more than anything else in the world.
Even Shin couldn’t stand the girl’s penetrating gaze forever.
Her innocent (but filled with desire) eyes made Shin feel, mysteriously enough, that he was the one in the wrong.
He had bought too much, anyway, so with the half-eaten skewer in his mouth, he took a new one from the bag and held it towards the girl.
Shin meant to say “want one?” but the skewer in his mouth turned it into an incomprehensible “wanchun?”. The girl probably deciphered his words, or maybe just followed her hunger: she tottered closer, swiftly snatched the skewer and started munching on it after sitting next to Shin.
After the first bite, her cat ears perked up straight, which surprised Shin.
He looked at the little girl, fully focused on eating, and felt it was a kind of adorable sight. Shin first thought she could have been a vagrant or a beggar, but her looks dispelled such doubts.
She had proper clothing on, while ragged here and there, and wasn’t too lean or emaciated either. She didn’t seem to be targeting his wallet either. Shin thought that, at the very least, she must have had a home to return to and someone taking care of her.
“Aaah…thanks for the meal.”
The girl ate neatly till the last piece, then bowed to Shin.
“Oh, you’re welcome.”
“You’re a good person.”
“Why thank you.”
The girl looked up at Shin, smiling. Her cat ears signaled that she probably was a feline-type Beast. Judging from the brown tips of her blonde hair, she was probably a Type Tiger.
Tsugumi had said that one-third of Bayreuth’s inhabitants were Beasts, so it wasn’t really unusual.
“I’m Millie, what’s your name?”
“Me? My name’s Shin, just Shin.”
“Me too, I’m just Millie.”
“Oh yeah, we are the same.”
Shin used his player name as it was, so he had no surname. There was no inquiry about it when he registered at the guild, so it probably wasn’t a problem.
Next to him, Millie looked all happy, saying “we’re the same, just the same”.
“Okay, I’ve had my meal, so I got to go now. What will you do, Millie? I can take you home if you want.”
“No problem. He came to pick me up.”
Millie pointed at a silhouette coming closer to them. Shin looked and was surprised, again.
“Hm? They came to pick you up…?”
Noticing that Shin was with Millie, the silhouette approached them quickly.
“Hey, we meet again, Shin.”
“Yeah, after today at lunch, Wilhelm.”
The man who came to pick up Millie was none other than the black-haired, beast-like adventurer, Wilhelm Avis.
Millie quickly ran up and hugged Wilhelm. Shin was even more surprised.
“Don’t tell me she’s your…daughter…?”
“No way in hell!! I’m just taking care of her at the orphanage!”
“Oh yeah, you’ve just arrived in this country, right.”
Wilhelm explained briefly while caressing Millie’s head. A church in the west district -the residential district- also acted as orphanage, taking care of children who had lost their parents. Millie was one of them too.
“This brat has always been good at sneaking out, so I was looking for her.”
“She went out without permission? That’s not good at all.”
Shin too talked while looking at Millie.
“Uh, I’m, sorry.”
She was aware that what she did was wrong, so Millie apologized honestly. Her cat ears folding down in synchrony was really fantasy-like.
“It’s rare for her not to be scared of people, though.”
“She usually is?”
Shin cocked his head to one side.
“I know she doesn’t look like that at all now, but she’s really really shy. She doesn’t even get close to people she sees for the first time.”
Shin turned towards her, thinking that she was just lured by the chicken, but Millie shook her head. Maybe she read his mind: it was like she was begging him not to say anything about it. Shin probably guessed right.
“Well, I don’t have much time to waste here, so. Let’s go, Millie.”
Millie stopped Wilhelm and ran up to Shin.
“I have to tell you, something.”
Shin crouched, putting his ears at Millie’s height. Millie whispered something and ran back to Wilhelm.
Shin waved back to Millie, as she disappeared in the crowd, led by Wilhelm. Thinking about her words, Shin walked back to the Bear Point Pavilion.
Back in the Bear Point Pavilion, Shin took a rest until dinner. Lying on his bed, he reflected on what Millie told him before leaving.
“Save the fox in the northern forest…..hmm.”
In the game, he could have guessed what they meant based on the area information, but now that the lay of the land had changed, it was difficult just to make an estimate.
No fox-like monsters attacked Shin in his latest exploration of the northern forest; most were bear, snake and dog-like, with some rare flying ones.
Because of the great quantity of monsters, there were few wild animals: Shin noticed just some snakes and mice.
Most monsters were born from animals affected by magic power, but even so Shin did not recall seeing any foxes.
“No good, I don’t get it.”
Since Millie asked like that, it couldn’t be a normal fox. Millie said “save the fox”, so there had to be danger approaching. The northern forest, despite being right next to Bayreuth Kingdom, was a highly risky area.
It felt strange for Millie to ask Shin like that, despite it being the first time they met, but since he was a friend of Wilhelm, she probably thought he was an adventurer. It’s hard to guess what children think, so Shin decided not to dwell too much on it.
Shin didn’t think he had to do something just because Millie asked, but it wouldn’t feel good to do nothing either.
Might as well have a look: so Shin decided his plans for the following day. He would also visit Tiera to leave a message to Schnee.
“Now that it’s settled…time for some grub.”
The chicken was already digested: Shin went downstairs to have dinner.