TNG Vol. 16 Chapter 1 – Part 4
After leaving Lanapacea, Shin’s group proceeded north. Their first objective was to regroup with Filma and Sety.
Afterward, they would head to Hecate’s guildhouse, the “5th Daze Garden Romenun”.
They contacted Berett from the Golden Company to check if there were any updates on the information, but Shin’s “1st Mysterious Studio Demi Eden” and Reed’s “3rd Moving Base Miraltrea” had not been found yet.
“Looks like Filma and Sety wrapped things up on their end, then?”
“Yes. But it wasn’t all good news, apparently.”
Schnee had contacted Filma while Shin asked Berett about new information.
According to Schnee, Filma and Sety had defeated the demon, but when they arrived the damage was already severe and it would take a long time before they could restore the country to its original state.
“They are apparently pleading for Filma and Sety to stay.”
“I understand how they must feel…”
Shin couldn’t hide his feelings of sympathy for them.
The demon’s hands had reached as far as the country’s top brass and even the king. Only a young prince had survived among the royalty. Some ministers and functionaries still remained and were trying to somehow support the prince.
The problem was mainly with military officers: most had either been killed by the demon or executed for siding with it, so their numbers were abysmally low.
The country’s walls were still intact, so monsters couldn’t easily enter, but even maintaining public safety inside the country was becoming problematic. Even if the demon was defeated, the future seemed rather dismal.
In such a situation, if those responsible for the demon’s defeat simply took off and left, what would happen?
Many citizens did not revolt only because they had seen Filma and Sety fight and thought they were staying in the castle, or so the ministers said.
Among the royals, who failed to protect the people from the demons’ evil clutches, only the prince survived. His personal guards, as well as most military troops, were gone. If the people revolted, no one would be able to stop them.
“Even so, requesting them to stay to keep the country stabilized is an absurd request…”
After learning about the country’s current state, Shin could understand the reason behind their request. But, it would take an incredible amount of time until the army was reformed, the town rebuilt and the country could stabilize once more.
Shin was willing to lend a hand as the country was victim of a demon’s rampage, but helping with reconstruction efforts was beyond his capacity.
Helping temporarily as he did in Erkunt, rescuing people and rebuilding lodging facilities -and a very limited number of them- was all he could do, and he couldn’t do it forever. Rebuilding a whole country was far beyond his scope.
“The people don’t have the luxury of thinking about capturing the prince now anyway, right?”
“Even if they don’t, some people require an outlet for their dissatisfaction. It might be small at first, but it will propagate among those who share similar thinking and grows larger and larger. Especially when the whole country’s existence is at stake, like in this case.”
Punishing a member of the royal family wouldn’t change anything, in fact, it could easily worsen the situation. If a revolt started, it would lead the country straight to destruction, so said Shibaid. It was like he had witnessed the very same situation unfold.
“Isn’t there anything we can do?”
“We can offer some assistance, but temporarily. In order to support a whole country, we’d have to be a country or large trading company. Well, Shin might be able to pull it off, though.”
“No way, we don’t have enough people or money. We cannot act on compassion this time.”
To give extensive support to a country they had never visited before, where they did not know anyone. It was too ridiculous to even consider.
Shin’s party was connected to the Golden Company, one of the largest trading companies of the continent, but even it did not possess trading routes extending throughout the continent. Even if they asked them for support, it would be difficult to realize.
Even in the real world, such catastrophes happened regularly.
Japan was no exception. It was well known how much time, assets, and people were required for restoration.
Other than defeating monsters, they would get involved only in things closest to them, only small feats they could perform as individuals. So Shin had decided.
He actually always decided what to do case by case, so the span of his choices was quite broad, but this time Shin was positive that the situation was beyond his capacity.
“As soon as we meet with Filma and Sety, we’re going to Romenun.”
“As you say.”
Schnee replied frankly, Shibaid with relief, Tiera not completely convinced.
Shin heard the three different replies and turned towards the direction they were heading to.
When the sun set, he materialized Tsuki no Hokora for the party to spend the night in.
It was concealed by magic to be invisible and inaccessible to anyone other than the party. Even if anyone happened to come closer to it, because it was invisible, they could never approach it.
In Tsuki no Hokora’s smithy, Shin was facing the golden crystal found in Crissot’s room.
The fist-sized crystal was a hexagonal prism, with hexagonal cones on both ends.
Its form was too clean to imagine it had formed naturally.
Shin’s analysis skills showed gibberish, like before.
“What will happen if I pour magic in it?”
Some items exhibited peculiar reactions when infused with magic. Shin tried pouring his magic in the crystal, and the reaction exceeded his expectations.
The golden crystal turned a light purple color. He stopped pouring magic, but the color did not change.
“….did I mess up?”
There was only one crystal. He had to research it, but Shin worried he did something irreparable.
After thinking for a while, he concluded that since pouring magic changed its color, maybe it could return to normal after absorbing it, so he tried to.
“A little more…wait, what’s this feeling…?”
Shin used a MP absorption skill and the crystal regained its golden glow. When he absorbed the crystal’s MP, however, Shin felt something unusual.
Because of the skill, Shin’s MP slightly recovered. The unusual sensation, however, was not about the MP he absorbed.
He wasn’t sure whether something had flown into him, or had been taken from him. It was a contradicting sensation. It was something frustratingly difficult to put into words.
He wondered whether it was something only he could feel, or anyone else would too, and wanted to test it, but it could be dangerous.
The item was probably related to the Reforgerer’s summoning. Anything could happen.
Shin was examining it alone because the smithy was especially sturdy and, if anything happened, the other members wouldn’t be in danger.
“You are examining it by yourself as expected.”
Schnee’s voice was heard from the entrance to the smithy. Maybe because of the peculiar sensation emanating from the crystal, Shin hadn’t noticed her presence.
“You found me.”
“Well, the same thing happened before too…”
Schnee was referring to something that happened in the game era. Some items would explode or release toxic gases if they weren’t examined properly.
Whenever Shin examined such items, he never let his support characters inside the smithy.
“Let me help you.”
“…it might be dangerous.”
Shin had high stats and was equipped with high-grade gear.
He wouldn’t die easily, so he could examine items with mysterious effects such as this. Since the crystal didn’t exist in the game era, he had to be especially careful.
“I am prepared for that.”
Schnee then continued.
“If I tried to do something like that, you would say the same thing I did, wouldn’t you?”
“…I give up. It’s just as you say.”
Shin placed the crystal on the anvil and raised both hands. To keep an important person away from danger, in order not to risk endangering them. If the person in question wished for that or not, however, was a whole nother story.
To experience the same thing for the first time and finally realize what others must have felt when you did it. In stories and tales, it was a common device.
Even if he was aware of it, he would pick that option all the same. Shin, however, did not force her to stay away. Even if he tried to, Schnee would come closer all the same. Shin could realize that now.
“There’s something I would like you to try, Can you give me a hand?”
Shin had tested it himself first, so it shouldn’t be dangerous. He then handed the crystal to Schnee.
Shin explained to her what happened, then Schnee poured her magic power in the crystal. It changed this time too, turning to a light blue color. A different color than when Shin did it.
“Isn’t it probably the wavelength of the magic poured into the crystal that determines its color?”
“Yes, it’s something like a fingerprint. Magic power quality is different from person to person, and we call it wavelength, as well as other terms.”
Schnee’s explanation made Shin recall that he heard something similar before.
“Oh yeah, I think I heard something like that in Bayreuth.”
Shin nodded to himself and tried to jog his memory for several minutes. The time passed since he arrived in this world was not too long yet, but still it already felt like it was in the distant past.
In a forest close to the first country he visited in this world, Bayreuth, Shin defeated a monster called Skullface and the weapon held by the monster was sent flying away.
The magic power lingering on the greatsword revealed that Shin was the one that defeated the monster and he was summoned to the castle to meet the second princess.
He recalled that when he heard the explanation at the time, he thought it was a fantasy version of DNA analysis.
“Sometimes you can see a faint aura like that, right? So that was magic power?”
“You have skills that let you see magic power, Shin, so you can see it even without meaning to. If you focus, you should be able to see your magic power as well.”
Shin immediately put it to the test: he looked at his hand and activated the 【Light】 skill, which created a source of light, at minimum power. He could see a faint purple light covering his hand.
“So Schnee’s is light blue.”
Schnee used 【Light】 too, and a faint light the same color as the crystal enveloped her hand. Shin compared the two and thought that his looked thicker, or rather, less limpid.
“Next, try using MP drain and absorb the magic power you poured in, and our first test will be done.”
Shin gave the crystal to Schnee again and asked her to absorb magic power, like he did before.
The crystal changed back from light blue to gold, just like it did in Shin’s case.
The reaction was the same.
Shin then wanted to ask if she felt anything unusual, but noticed that something was off about Schnee. Her eyes were open, but it was like she was looking at something that wasn’t actually there.
“Ah, yes, what is it?”
“No, that’s my line.”
Shin shook her shoulders and Schnee finally responded. It looked like she hadn’t heard Shin’s words.
“I can’t remember clearly, but I think I saw something like a thread.”
Shin said that she seemed unconscious for a few moments and Schnee tried recalling what she saw.
She was probably looking through her own eyes. She was in a pitch-black space, and a golden thread, probably generated from her body, was stretching somewhere in the darkness. Schnee said she saw such a light.
She added that she probably saw something else too, but couldn’t recall what.
“Hmm, I didn’t see anything like that. I felt like something was coming into me, or being taken out of me, a strange sensation like that. I wanted to ask you how it felt, but maybe it’s better to have everyone else try it too?”
It would be difficult to make theories with just two specimens. In the end, he decided to have Shibaid and the others perform the same experiment.
Tiera didn’t have MP drain skills, so Shin gave her a gauntlet attached with one.
As a result, Shibaid didn’t feel anything in particular. The silver became silver with streaks of black.
Tiera saw something like a large, brightly glowing tree. The crystal turned green.
“Yuzuha seeing the same things as Schnee was pretty unexpected.”
Yuzuha too could pour and absorb magic power, so Shin had her try too, but she remembered things more clearly than Schnee.
In a pitch-black space there was a star-like light and the golden thread was extending towards it. In Yuzuha’s case the crystal didn’t change color, but its glow turned brighter.
“Do you two have something in common?”
One was a support character, the other a partner monster. In game terms, they were completely different creatures.
Everyone tried thinking of any possibility, but no clear answer came up.
“Could it be that…, no, but…”
While everyone was deep in thought, Shibaid mumbled to himself and Shin asked if he had come up with something.
“I came up with an idea, but…Schnee and Yuzuha. Both of them have a deep bond with Shin. That’s not the whole reason, but it could be one of the causes.”
“A bond, huh…but in that case, you’re a support character like her, Shibaid.”
They were created at different times, but both of them were Shin’s support characters. Most of what characterized Schnee would fit Shibaid too.
“The bond I speak of is spiritual, or something more ambiguous. That’s why I said it was just an idea. Yuzuha originally cannot become a partner, but here she is, at Shin’s side. Judging from her words and actions until now, there is clearly a special bond between you.”
Shibaid then turned towards Schnee.
“And about Schnee….well, you know. Your wish has been fulfilled, has it not? I believe that is a different kind of bond than the one with me or Filma.”
Shibaid finally laughed, saying that if it was all baseless conjecture, they could have a laugh at it too.
“Who’s laughing? There’s so many things we don’t understand that we can’t deny that possibility. I do think we have a special bond.”
In the end, no clear conclusion could be found. If the special bonds Shibaid mentioned were a cause, however, there was more relief than concern. At least, they were positive bonds.
“That’s right. If that’s the reason, I can understand why we saw the same things.”
Yuzuha looked very happy after she heard Shibaid’s theory about the bonds and was wagging her tail energetically. Schnee did not show her emotions as clearly as her, but her smile was broader than before.
Only Tiera seemed a little dissatisfied. Her cheeks were slightly puffed, her gaze sharp. It was like she wanted to say that she belonged to that side too.
Considering that Marino had inhabited her body, it was not strange to think that Tiera could have a special bond with Shin too.
Tiera, however, had not seen the same things as Schnee and Yuzuha. That’s what she was unhappy about.
Shibaid finally realized it and looked at her with an expression that screamed “I messed up!”.
Shin noticed it too, but thought it wiser not to say anything. Or rather, he could not come up with anything to dispel Tiera’s dissatisfaction.
Both men were frozen still. Yuzuha ignored them completely, took the crystal in her paws and stared at it, while crying softly. Sometimes, she powerfully wagged her tail.
“Yuzuha, did you find something?”
Gradually, everyone’s attention fixed on her. Shin was still feeling awkward, so Schnee asked in his stead.
Yuzuha wrapped the crystal in her tail and handed it to Shin.
“You should keep this with you, Shin.”
Shin took the crystal and replied with a question. It had been used by a demon, so he didn’t exactly have a good impression of it. If Yuzuha said so, however, then it had to be true, Shin thought.
“Can I ask why?”
“This is a fragment of the originator, crosser of worlds.”
“Crosser of worlds…?”
The unexpected answer prompted another question from Shin. He had too little information and had no idea what she meant.
“Do you remember Origin?”
“…yeah. I could never forget.”
The last boss of the death game, the opponent he fought against until moments before coming to this world. It wasn’t an opponent he could ever forget.
He had collected all drop items that appeared after defeating Origin, though. There were no crystals like that among them.
All items were of unknown usage and were still sleeping quietly in Shin’s item box.
“That is the originator. One of the seven beings which shaped this world. Its true name was Origin – I.”
“I heard about it, yes. I see, so that was the original Dragnil.”
In the game, the first individuals of all races were called the Seven Saints.
Based on what Yuzuha said, there had to be six creatures like Origin remaining.
“Why was the last boss only that one, though? If the other six were there too, I wouldn’t have stood a chance.”
At the end of the dungeon there was only one Origin. Facing seven of them would have been an impossible feat.
“Kuu, I don’t know. I can’t remember everything yet.”
“If you remember, you’ll know the reason why I came to this world too?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know how much I know, after all.”
Shin thought that Yuzuha might know the answers about everything, but she couldn’t tell if it was true or not.
Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t. Retrieving her memories could become another goal for their travels.
“So anyway, why should I hold onto it?”
“Only Shin fought against Origin. And if anything happens, Shin will be okay.”
“What does that mean now…”
Yuzuha probably meant that Shin was the safest person to hold the crystal. She might have meant something else too, but she couldn’t say why at the moment.
“Well, I’m going to analyze it anyway, so I guess it’s best for me to have it…”
There still were other things to experiment with.
Shin decided to continue as they proceeded towards their destination.