After leaving the castle, Shin, Schnee, and Luxuria headed towards the institute. Though the town had been severely damaged, the institute — albeit only part of it — was in a pitiful state.
“We’ve got more than enough time to fix it.”
Shin spoke while looking at the ruined structures as they headed towards Hilamee’s office.
He was a blacksmith, but there was also a reason why he was so confident.
All Rokuten members shared part of their specialty with other members.
In Shin’s case, he taught his smithing and metal engraving skills to Reed and Cook. On the other hand, when he built his guild house, Tsuki no Hokora, another Rokuten member, Cain the “Blue Magician”, taught him all sorts of things.
Thanks to that, his architecture skills, while not too high, were proficient. Architects also required imagination: taking advantage of the fact that he was in a game, Shin had also built all sorts of bizarre constructions.
“I already knew that you were something else, but well…you really can do anything.”
“Not really…I just have a bit of experience, but, by professional standards, I wouldn’t be good at all. Other than Blacksmithing, Architecture and Alchemy are the only skills I can handle.”
Shin’s architecture skill level was IV, alchemy was X. He needed alchemy to create potions for his Blacksmithing, so it was much higher, but that was all.
If he was told to create the same things as the “Red Alchemist” Hecate, his answer would be a flat no. Alchemy required much more than just a high level.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, his trading skills, farming and animal raising skills etc were all around II: he had just acquired them and leveled them no further.
After taking in Yuzuha as partner his taming skills had grown a little, but he was still inferior to professional tamers even in this world.
“Being able to do ‘only’ that seems already enough to me…well, I guess it’s different if we use the standards of the past era.”
Luxuria knew of the “Game Era” before the “Dusk of Majesty”, so she understood why Shin classified himself in that way.
“It would be more than what we could ever ask, but is it really okay? You will end up standing out, won’t you?”
In the headmistress’ office, Hilamee made a troubled expression after hearing Shin’s proposal.
Being a skilled fighter was already enough to draw attention. If the information that he was capable of creation skills spread, many would seek to contact him. Even if there were particular circumstances, Hilamee was concerned that Shin had shown his true abilities before others more than necessary because of his involvement with her and Erkunt.
“I’ll do just enough to let people think I’m worthy of my A rank. It’s a bit late to worry about standing out anyway.”
Shin had already given up on avoiding standing out too much.
He was not based in any country, so, as long as he left the country where he was last seen, it was pretty much impossible to contact him. If someone followed him, it would be all too easy to lose them.
“The circumstances are what they are, so let’s just accept our sweet Shin’s kindness, no? We just have to thank him properly later.”
Luxuria held Hilamee’s shoulders from behind and interjected. Hilamee couldn’t see it, but Shin did not miss that her smile widened when she said the words “thank him”.
“I know already that your “thanks” is going to be something bad…”
“Oh my, I’m hurt.”
Luxuria’s lips pouted. It was rather childish for an adult, but her charm made it mysteriously acceptable.
Shin, however, glared at her. Even as an angel, he couldn’t shake off the feeling that her gratitude would be sexual in nature. She was not a devil anymore, so Shin thought that Luxuria wouldn’t need to draw energy from people’s sexual activities, but contrary to his expectations, she still possessed that ability.
“Not even a king could ever hope to have an angel service him…”
“I know what you really mean anyway. Besides, why would I go to any other woman when I have Schnee at my side?”
Shin then pulled Schnee closer to him. Her look had turned sharper because of Luxuria’s words, but Shin’s sudden action took her completely by surprise. Even though they were husband and wife, she still seemed unused to such physical contact.
“Look at them, I’m getting jealous…in this world polygamy is not all that rare you know?”
“Where I’m from monogamy is the norm, and fiction is more than enough for harems. Why are you so persistent, anyway? Because I’m a High Human?”
In the beginning, Shin thought she was provoking him out of curiosity. Though, it wasn’t enough to explain her behavior anymore.
“To fall in love with the person who saved you in a tight spot…is not so strange, is it?”
“I watched you get beat up without doing anything and attacked once in the end. That’s what made you fall in love?”
Luxuria said that Shin’s attack was what triggered her transformation, but he argued that those were two separate things.
“That was one of the reasons. Maybe because I used to be the lust devil.”
“What do you mean?”
“The strong emotion you and Schnee share…I think I was attracted to that. It’s clearly different than other humans’.”
Luxuria had grown interested because she was the lust devil. Before she could realize it, it had changed into a feeling unlike infatuation or love.
“Maybe one other thing…you don’t show an excessive reaction after learning of my true nature? Normally, people would outright reject any contact with a devil.”
“‘Maybe?’, she says…”
Luxuria caressed Shin’s hand, the one opposite to Schnee’s side. Shin didn’t react much, but a normal person would probably scream and knock it away. Even if she was an angel now, people would usually hate to be even remotely close to a devil.
King Kreunzeit, who wasn’t a Chosen One or even a former player, normally conversed with Luxuria, but that was an exception among exceptions.
For Shin too, Luxuria was “someone to defeat”. Surely a troublesome opponent, but still not enough to show an excessive reaction to.
“I can’t help it, can I? I don’t care about how it started anymore. I’m surprised too to be so attached, you know? I have never felt like this before in my life…”
Luxuria’s had tightened her grip on Shin’s.
Normally, devils played around and toyed with others. They sought the weaknesses in their hearts, stimulating their desires, charming them. There was no affection in that. In other words, they were complete beginners in terms of approaching someone simply because they hoped the other person would like them, not manipulate them.
“Well…I can understand if you’re feeling confused. Even so, it has nothing to do with this.”
Shin thought what people call “first love” had bloomed inside her. Considering that, Luxuria’s words and actions were understandable. The feeling of liking someone else couldn’t be suppressed, even if one wanted to.
He couldn’t comply with her desires, though. Schnee had come closer, as if hugging him, so Shin was presently sandwiched between them. He couldn’t see Schnee’s expression, however, which was quite scary for him.
“Schnee is a much more fearsome enemy than you, I see.”
“I’m not going to let you go any further.”
Between the two ladies’ smiling gazes, sparks were flying. Schnee was ready to do battle.
Hilamee, who was observing the situation, decided to interrupt at that moment.
“Ehm, if possible, I would like to resume our discussion about the reconstruction…aaah!?”
The two ladies focused their gaze on Hilamee, which was enough to make her retreat several steps. Shin mentally saluted her courage.
“What is going on here…”
Masakado, who had arrived late, expressed his confusion at the situation. His expression clearly showed that he thought he had arrived at a very bad moment.
“Anyway, like Hilamee said, let’s discuss the reconstruction now, okay?”
Shin used the silence created by Hilamee and Masakado and tried to change the topic with all his might. It was their reason for visiting, after all: Luxuria’s topic was completely unrelated.
“….understood. We will talk about this again another time.”
“We don’t have to…”
Luxuria winked and Shin felt a headache coming.
They finally managed to get back on topic, so he avoided thinking about Luxuria and talked with Hilamee about rebuilding the school. Shin’s skill level was high enough to restore the mostly ruined buildings to their original state. He also mentioned using the opportunity to reinforce them to be stronger than before.
The institute used a modified version of the technology employed to build guild houses, but the building itself used the same standards as that world’s architecture.
“Both I and Masakado have battle-focused skills, so all we could do was use the sturdiest materials to build it.”
In the game era, all they had to do was to send a request to a creation guild that, provided an appropriate price was paid, could build a school as strong as a fortress which could repel monster attacks easily. That was not possible now, though. It was obvious for the buildings to be damaged after suffering the brunt of a devil’s attacks.
“I guess I will focus on making it as resilient as possible. My skill level isn’t high either, but I should be able to use Cain’s techniques to fill the gap.”
The “techniques” Shin mentioned were real-world techniques, adapted for use in this world. Schnee’s method to temporarily repair the breached wall, an earthen net supported by ice, was based on the structure of concrete.
In game, many players thought of walls as compact masses of earth or metal.
However, Cain, who was a real life architect, came up with this idea and put it into practice. Thus some real-world techniques could be adapted to the game world. Other players also noticed that creation skills did not have to be used strictly as they were created, so a part of creator-type players knew about such techniques.
Shin too was one of the players who realized it by himself. When smithing, he thought that, since he was moving his body, he might as well imitate real blacksmiths, and noticed that the resulting gear was higher in quality.
“Don’t imitate Cain so well that you add in self-detonation devices, okay?”
“I won’t, I won’t….there’s no one else who would put stuff like that, anyway.”
Hilamee, who knew of the High Human that made it a personal rule to insert self-detonation devices in everything he created, made it clear that she wanted no such thing.
Shin too had been encouraged to equip Tsuki no Hokora with one, but refused.
The detonation devices themselves were made by Hecate, designed to blow away only the building and its interior. They boasted that it was an incredible item that would never cause damage to anything outside it, but, because of its concentrated power, not even a High Human could necessarily survive the blast.
“Leaving bombs and such aside, I’d like to start working immediately, but is there anywhere you want me to start from?”
“Let me see…we cannot start the lectures right away anyway, so I would ask you to start from the dorms next to the school buildings. It’s difficult for us to let the students coming from afar stay in inns for a long time, after all.”
Many foreign students came to Erkunt to study, but, except for a few affluent ones, most of them lived in the student dorms. Their school expenses would be a little higher because of it, but it would still be much cheaper than renting a room at an inn.
The inns in the city had also suffered damage because of the monsters, so the situation was still problematic. For the students’ sakes, rebuilding of the dorms was the highest priority.
“Okay, I’ll start right away then. I’ll finish today, so they can rest easy.”
Shin headed to the student dorms right away, there was no time to lose.
He found a half-destroyed building there. The parts still standing were cracked in many places, looking like they could crumble anytime.
“I see, I see, looks like it won’t be hard.”
Shin used a skill and displayed the dorm’s structure in his mind. The parts used to build it were not too rare, so he could handle it by himself. Since the wreckage was still there, so he had materials to spare. Shin touched the wrecks and activated a skill.
The structure plan of the student dorms, as displayed in Shin’s mind, materialized itself before his eyes, with the same size as the actual building. Shin moved his hands in midair and the wreckage turned into a liquid, gradually filling the blueprint he materialized.
The wreckage started filling the building plan, like water filling an empty container. It seemed as if it were dancing according to the commands of an invisible conductor’s baton.
“A few more adjustments and—”
Hilamee had been watching over the construction, but she apparently couldn’t wipe the thought of the self-detonation device from her mind and grabbed Shin’s shoulders from behind. Her tone was enough to express that she was admonishing him not to play any tricks.
“Easy, easy, I’m not going to do anything weird. I was just thinking of reinforcing the walls a bit.”
“Is that true?”
Shin was offended by the suspicion. High Human abilities were well known, but their personalities were often not trusted.
Shin continued and raised the walls’ resilience by about 30%. The mostly completed dorm glowed faintly, then showed itself just as it was before the destruction. The furniture and accessories likely used by the students were all outside. Many things had been broken when the building came down.
“I can’t do anything about that, so the rest is up to you.”
It wasn’t impossible for Shin to fix them too after a bit of research, but repairing the buildings took precedence. Thus, he thus decided to leave that kind of work to Hilamee.
“The structure inside is the same as before. I can’t do anything about the furniture, so they’ll have to do something about it themselves.”
With sleeping bags or something similar, the students should be able to get by. Regardless, the most important thing was to have a roof over their heads. Hilamee informed Masakado via Mind Chat and they started relaying the communication to the students.
Masakado had stayed in the school building, ready to contact the students as soon as the dorm was restored.
“Okay then, onto the next one.”
Skill-based construction work could be done at a speed that would leave professionals speechless. The Erkunt institute of magic regained its original look within the day, with added resilience to boot.