TNG Vol. 1 Chapter 3 – Part 6

“And it’s over. Okay, what to do now?”

Shin said to himself, spear in hand, as he looked around…

After defeating the miasma-transformed monsters, the fog had dissipated completely, so the surroundings were completely visible. Honestly speaking, it was a sorry sight.

The Skullfaces’ dropped items, weapons and armor, were scattered everywhere, the shrine’s main building destroyed. Maybe because of the magic skills’ aftershocks, half of the Torii gate had been blown away, there were craters and holes in the ground here and there, some parts even turned into glass. 2-mel tall icicles stood on the ground, with the trees they struck collapsed behind.

It had been inevitable, yes, but it was still the scene of a disaster. No one would think that there was a shrine in such a place.

Even so, Shin did not feel like putting everything in order.

“….there’s no miasma anymore, I guess I’ll just report about the Skullfaces.”

The miasma this time appeared to be the type that disappears once the source is cut. The shrine’s atmosphere was now similar to the forest’s, however: it did not feel as pure and sacred as before. The disappearance of the barrier could have something to do with the loss of that effect too.

Events of concentrated miasma invasion happened often in the game too: the goal was to defeat miasma-possessed monsters. Shin thus thought that there was no problem anymore.

After kind of forcing this conclusion, Shin faced his next problem—

“Kuu!”

“Whoa! That was dangerous, you know!”

Shin gently stopped the small fox. It had jumped towards Shin from the magic circle. He looked at the fox, rubbing its nose against Shin’s face, and observed its condition. It seemed to be completely recovered and was busy licking his face, with no trace of the weakened state from before.

“You look all better now.”

Shin didn’t know what had caused the situation, after all, but the small fox had been saved, so his effort had been worth it. It was also very important that he could witness a phenomenon he did not know, as it did not exist in the game era, with his own eyes.

It probably wasn’t a lead to go back to his original world, but there was no harm in learning new information. In his current situation, he didn’t know what could or couldn’t become a hint.

“Kuu?”

Maybe curious about Shin’s thoughts, the small fox cried as to ask what they were.

“Yeah, I still don’t know what you’re supposed to be.”

Shin held the fox high and talked to it. He had been asked by Millie to save it, but the small fox was full of mysteries.

The emergency situation started since he found the fox, so he hadn’t checked its name yet. Only players and monsters had HP gauges, so he knew that it was a type of monster, at least.

“I totally forgot to check the name. Must be Little Fox, I guess?”

While suggesting the name of a monster often used as pet, Shin activated 【Analyze】 to check the fox’ information. The small fox didn’t seem to understand Shin’s words: it just continued looking at him, its head tilted to one side. Small monsters were often found in Element Tails’ areas, so Shin made such a prediction.

“Ok so, your name….is…?”

Shin stared at the spot where the monster name was displayed. The name written there exceeded his imagination by far.

“E, Element Tail….? For real…?”

“Kuu!!”

The small f…Element Tail reacted as if to say “that’s right!”.

It wasn’t strange for Shin to freeze like that: Element Tails were monsters the players also called Nine-Tailed Foxes, one of the most powerful monsters of THE NEW GATE, which could reach as far as level 1000.

They were so powerful that they often topped the charts of the most powerful monsters in the game as chosen by the players: Shin would have never guessed to find this name displayed in the small fox’ status window. If the display wasn’t wrong, it had to be the master of the area Shin was in.

Element Tails as Shin knew them had either human form or massive bodies extending over 20 mel. He had never even heard of Element Tails in small fox size.

“What am I supposed to now…really…”

He inquired further and found that the Element Tail’s level was currently 211. It wasn’t much for a boss monster, but for this world’s inhabitants it was already dangerous enough.

Since it was alone, maybe it had lost its parents. If they were around, instead, Shin’s life would be in danger. Element Tails were deadly foes even for players with maxed out stats. Shin could probably defeat one if he removed all of his 【Limiter】, but the northern forest would surely be burned to the ground, with aftershocks of the battle reaching as far as the kingdom. 

“Why is the level so low, though? I haven’t ever heard of kid Element Tails too…”

Shin constantly gathered information about powerful monsters: he knew enough about Element Tails to boldly say that there was nothing about them that he wasn’t aware of. One reason was that more than half of the players visiting Tsuki no Hokora did so when they embarked on Element Tail-related quests, commonly called “Nine Tail Quests”. It could be said that they contributed plenty to the shop’s sales.

Because of this, Shin’s knowledge of the Element Tails was so vast that some suspected he was part of the development team.

“Well, we aren’t inside the game anymore, it’d be weird for it to be in adult form all of a sudden too……no good, I just don’t get it.”

All Shin had was game knowledge, after all. It couldn’t be helped if there were things he didn’t know about this world, or so he chose to take it. 

There was still the problem about what to do next, though.

“What are you going to do now, little one?”

Shin didn’t think they could make conversation, but it looked like the small fox understood his words, so he tried to ask it a question.

The magic circle had lost its light, looking like it had completed its duty. He didn’t feel like leaving a small animal there on its own, even if it was an Element Tail.

“Kuu….”

Shin let the small Element Tail on the ground, which looked at the ruined shrine grounds and the remains left by the monsters, but after a while it spun around, as if to leave old thoughts behind.

It then performed a big jump, climbed on Shin and rested on top of his head.

“Why on my head, though?”

“Kuu!”

“No, I don’t get it.”

The Element Tail poked Shin’s head. He felt that it had resolved to leave that place, and voiced the thoughts that had surfaced in his head.

“…want to come with me?”

“Kuu!!!”

Shin felt like it had replied “I want to!!!”

“I see…agh! Wait! Stay quiet! Claws! Claws hurt!”

The small fox, maybe out of euphoria, went a little wild, shaking Shin’s field of sight.

Its prey-hunting claws were fully in the open, picking on Shin’s head, making it really hard to walk.

“Calm down I said!”

“Kuu?”

“What are you looking confused about? You understand what I say, don’t you!”

Even if very young, it was still an Element Tail, a superior class monster: it had to possess high intellect. The small fox could have been trying to forget its loneliness.

(I hope it becomes independent before I have to go back to my world, though.)

Shin starts walking again while protecting himself against the small fox’ (clawed) little punches.

While continuing to deal with the small fox on his head, Shin made a mental list of the events he had encountered until now.

The Skullface with abnormal level and equipment he encountered in the forest.

The Skullface swarm that appeared out of the blue.

The golems tainted by miasma despite being inside the master’s territory.

Too many events could not be explained by the knowledge he possessed: he couldn’t find an answer. He understood, though, that something was going on.

“I’ll go check with Millie about this fox, then gather more information, I guess. Then…better hope Schnee still remembers me.”

Schnee, one of Shin’s support characters, probably knew a lot. Praying that her request was wrapped up quickly, Shin decided to visit the guild first, then the orphanage.

𑁋

In just a few days after his arrival in the new world, Shin had been involved in several bizarre events. Were they all coincidences, or fated happenings? 

The curtains on the tale with Shin as protagonist had but just opened.

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