TNG Vol. 17 Chapter 1 Part 2

“Let’s kick it up a notch.”

After the horse carriage left the gate and they had traveled some distance, Shin concealed it with a skill. They could move faster if they ran themselves, rather than driving at full speed.

Yuzuha couldn’t keep up with their speed for a long time, so she hopped on Shin’s shoulder. Shin’s speed was ludicrous, but she was a Divine Beast after all: she wasn’t going to fall off easily.

“Kuu! She’s floating!”

Yuzuha looked at Sety as she “skated” over the ground and wagged her tail in excitement.

She had stayed in town for safety as Shin and the others exterminated the monsters, so she had not seen Sety’s movement technique yet.

Floating or flying monsters weren’t a rare sight, so Shin didn’t expect Yuzuha to be surprised, but it apparently wasn’t so common to her.

“Hehehe, I might teach you how it’s done later!”

Sety was pleased by Yuzuha’s sincere reaction and gloated a bit.

Yuzuha realized that she might gain the ability to fly and was very eager to learn. Shin could tell by how wildly her tail wagged.

Would Yuzuha comprehend Sety’s “unique” explanations? So wondered Shin.

“Oh, there it is.”

Thanks to traveling at a speed physically impossible for a horse carriage, the group reached Romenun the same day.

“Hm? I detect monsters other than Baltan.”

On the edges of the poisoned area next to Romenun, Shin detected several monster presences that were not there when they left.

Shin turned towards the direction of the presences and activated the 【Clairvoyance】 skill.

There he found 5 Garmags: probably survivors of Shin and the others’ cleanup operation, which managed to travel all the way here.

Shin’s party had stayed in Passner for two and a half days, more than enough time for the Garmags to cover the distance at their usual speed.

“Should we get rid of them first?”

“This is a type of polluted area, so for Garmags it’s a natural habitat. They aren’t going to do any harm even if we leave them be.”

Poisoned areas did not invite human settlements or even animal presence: thus there was no need to go out of their way to hunt down the Garmags.

From the monsters’ standpoint, they had finally reached a place ideal for them to live.

Shin didn’t know if there were corpses for them to feed on, but looking at the Garmags huddling together, he did not feel like taking them down.

They looked very weak and debilitated, without enough energy to move elsewhere.

“Why don’t we tell Hydro and Oxygen about them? They might even start raising them as pets, saying they need to collect data or something.”

“Yeah, let’s go with that.”

If they left this area and headed towards human settlements, they would take them down.

After making a decision, Shin then headed in Romenun’s direction. Soon enough, they reached the lake with the sunken Durgin.

Baomultan was on the lakeshore, as always, and Tiera and Shibaid were next to it. Oxygen and Hydro were likely gathering samples.

“Welcome back”

“Hey.”

Shin replied to Tiera and waved to Shibaid.

Baomultan too cried softly, as if welcoming the group’s return.

There weren’t any particular changes to report in Romenun.

The freed Durgin had passed over Romenun during its flight: Baomultan looked up at it and the Durgin looked down too, then flew on.

“Did we do the right thing?”

Baomultan answered by crying louder, then rubbing its snout against Shin.

Judging by its behavior, the previous cry was a form of approval: it was probably a correct assumption.

“By the way, there’s something I need to tell you, Hydro, Oxygen. Oh, I guess Baltan should hear too.”

If the Garmags were going to settle here, they would be inside Baomultan’s territory.

Baomultan was a peaceful monster, so unless the Garmags attacked first it would not go hunt them down.

So Shin thought, but he didn’t want for any trouble to happen because he didn’t tell them.

Hydro and Oxygen listened to his explanations about the Garmags while nodding with interest.

Baomultan too moved his head up and down, as if imitating them.

“Let us go capture them immediately. A monster spawned in the area created by Durgin is too rare to ignore. I wish to catch at least one.”

“Agreed. There’s a lot of research potential.”

The two immediately started their preparations, grinning and chuckling.

They packed their item boxes with nets and artificial lure, then wore equipment that let them temporarily use the Tamer job.

Such equipment was used by players that were not Tamers but wanted to catch a monster to keep as a pet.

Any player could easily gain the Tamer job with a little time, but most players preferred to use their time in other ways.

The equipment allowed the user access to several Tamer skills, so it was also used to test out the job.

“Okay, off we go!”

Prodded by Hydro, Shin led them to where he detected the Garmags. The monsters were beyond the range of Oxygen and Hydro’s detection skills.

The map showed that the Garmags had not moved away from their initial position, so the group reached the location quickly.

The Garmags apparently noticed that Shin’s group was approaching and were acting warily.

“Looks like they’re weakened. Just perfect.”

Armed with the capture net, Hydro looked like a villain through and through. Oxygen did not say a word but looked as dangerous as her.

If the Garmags saw Baomultan they would likely escape, especially considering the difference in their stats, but they didn’t: they just tucked their tail between their legs and stood there, trembling, with no sign of attacking.

“I guess we don’t even need the nets? Look, we brought you food.”

Oxygen put out artificial feed created to make monsters more docile. The Garmags, however, simply continued trembling, not even daring to move an inch.

“Kuu, they’re scared of Shin.”

“Of me?”

Shin was surprised by Yuzuha’s comment. He thought they would be scared of Baomultan instead, as they were both monsters.

The Garmags had apparently witnessed Shin’s massacre of their brethren and the Kikiuz, so they were expecting to become his next prey and had half given up on life.

“I see…hey Yuzuha, if you can communicate, can you tell them that Hydro and Oxygen want them to become their companions?”

The Garmags were relatively close to Yuzuha in terms of species, so they could communicate. Yuzuha explained the situation and the Garmags agreed to go with Hydro and Oxygen, without a single objection.

Hydro and Oxygen had only equipped the Tamer job temporarily and could not benefit from most of its bonuses, but since they didn’t plan to fight it wasn’t an issue, or so they said.

“We accomplished what we came for, should we go back to Romenun? I have to tell you about what happened in Passner too.”

It was also the reason why Garmags had come all the way to Romenun, so Shin wanted to explain it in detail.

“A player transforming into a monster and an item capable of controlling a Durgin…quite worrying.”

“We will try analyzing it on our end too.”

Shin took out the collar that controlled the Durgin for Hydro and Oxygen to see.

Shin had performed a simple analysis too, but, at the moment, he only knew what materials it was made of. He found no clues about who made it.

“This is all I know about its contents. You can tell at first glance that it definitely wasn’t made to do good.”

“Let’s see, the main materials are orichalcum and scarletite. I supposed as much. Then…I see, nothing that you would go around gathering proactively…”

Shin related the results of his analysis and Oxygen reacted with a frown.

For Shin and Oxygen, it wasn’t strange for unique items to be made with magic metals. The problem was that the non-metal components of the item included things like blood and hearts.

In the game, these were nothing but item drops, but in this world, if you needed blood you needed to have a fitting container prepared and go actually harvest it.

If you had an item box like Shin had, you could store blood as an item card, but Shin would honestly prefer to avoid having to do that. Blacksmithing sometimes required blood to temper weapons, so he had built a certain resistance to it, though.

“You won’t use our facilities?”

“I’m going to relate what happened in Passner to several people via message card, but I think it’s better to go talk to Wolfgang in person.”

“Wolfgang…?”

Hydro and Oxygen seemed perplexed by the unfamiliar name, so Shin explained that he was Girard’s descendant. Beast types would give birth to several generations of descendants over 500 years, after all.

Shin preferred to meet him directly because he shared the blood of Girard, an important person for Shin. Wolfgang was also the king of the Beast Alliance Falnido, the largest Beast country in the continent of Eltnia, so he was sure it would be best to talk in person.

“That Girard, hmm…to think he lived until recently. That’s surprising in itself, but if he could pass on without any regrets, I suppose it’s a good thing.”

Shin expected Hydro to ask how a Wolf-type beast could have lived so long, but her expression did not show any such intentions.

Oxygen was the same too.

“I can’t say I am not interested, but I don’t want to think of my companions as research specimens.”

Shin jokingly asked about it and received this reply. They were interested to a degree, after all.

Shin was relieved to know that both Hydro and Oxygen did not think of their companions as research specimens.

Even if Hecate had created them with a mad scientist-like nature, they still treasured the people important to them.

“We’ll leave Girard’s descendant to you then. Leave Baltan and the monster in our care.”

Hydro spoke while looking at the Garmags. They normally dwelled in polluted areas, so they apparently felt right at home in Romenun’s poisoned zone.

Shin’s party thus left Romenun for Falnido. It was a fairly long distance via land, so they used a teleportation crystal to instantly warp to the location they registered the last time they were in Falnido.

“I didn’t even notice you registered a spot.”

“Well, no need to make a show of it, right?”

Shin couldn’t exactly tell he did it while taking a toilet break.

The party teleported to a forest, then moved by horse carriage, though Kagerou was the one to pull it.

Lulled by the vibrations of the reinforced horse carriage, Shin’s party headed towards the gate they were told about during their previous visit to Falnido. It was a gate reserved for those who had special permission to enter, unlike the regular one used by adventurers and merchants.

“Schnee and I will act as the coachmen. If the gate guards remember our faces, they shouldn’t be too wary.”

Shin had sent a message already, so he didn’t think they would be refused entry, but there was still the possibility of miscommunication or human error.

Schnee’s presence was likely to solve any issues they might have, but he wanted to avoid trouble as much as possible.

“Looks like they recognized us.”

“They were already informed of our arrival, apparently.”

The gate Shin’s party headed to was normally concealed by illusion skills. They didn’t affect Shin, however, so he waved to the gate guards and they waved back.

If Shin’s memory served him, one of the guards was there when they left Falnido the last time.

“Ehm, has His Majesty the Beast King informed you about our arrival?”

“Yes. However, for added safety could you show me the fang emblem His Majesty has entrusted you with?”

Shin stored the horse carriage and approached the gate, then one of the guards asked for such proof. Shin did as he was told and took out the accessory Wolfgang gave him from the item box.

“Duly confirmed. Welcome back to Falnido.”

The gate guard checked the accessory, nodded to another guard, and politely greeted Shin and the group.

The guards had already sent a horse messenger to inform Wolfgang of their arrival.

The guard said that someone would be there to pick them up and soon enough a gorgeous horse carriage arrived. It was a lavishly decorated vehicle, used to welcome important guests.

It was also rather comfortable, definitely of high quality for this world’s standards.

Horse carriages used by nobles and the royal family, while better than those used by the average citizen, still shook considerably; the lack of vibrations in this carriage clearly showed that a lot of money had been invested in it. As expected of the welcome carriage for royal guests.

Shin’s party was led to the same room they used when they reunited with Girard. There they found Wolfgang, Cuore, and two other Beastmen.

After a simple greeting, Wolfgang urged the two new faces to introduce themselves.

“I am honored to meet you. My name is Volk Degaro, I am a minister in the service of King Wolfgang.”

Volk, the Beastman who spoke first, was the type closer to Beast than human. He wore a loose-fitting uniform similar to a folk costume.

He had white wings, a black beak, and black hair. His physique was also larger than Wolfgang’s: if he stood up he would probably measure over two mel. He was likely a Type Eagle beast.

It was generally hard to tell the gender of Beastmen leaning to the Beast side, but judging from Volk’s low voice and physique he was a male, or so Shin thought.

His level was 244. Despite the bulky physique, his job was Mage.

Maybe because he could detect Shin and Schnee’s magic power, he seemed slightly nervous.

“I am a minister too, my name is Ciel Tio.”

The other beastman was closer to a human: the only signs of the Beast species were animal ears and a tail.

Ciel had short blond hair with hints of black here and there. Her thin black eyes were darting around, observing Shin’s party closely.

Ciel’s slender physique suggested she was female: she also wore an easy to move outfit, similar to Cuore. She did not seem as nervous as Volk.

Her level was 239, her job Beast Warrior. 

“Do they know about us?”

“Yes, I’ve told them already. Think of them as Lord Girard’s Rajim and Van.”

Close retainers worthy of trust.

Wolfgang said he had already told Volk and Ciel about them, but they introduced themselves all the same. As they revealed their identities, they could tell the two Beastmen looked tenser.

“How could I put this…your party has become even more incredible than before.”

Wolfgang knew about Shin and the others’ exploits already, but he couldn’t help feeling a bit awkward.

The cause was the presence of the former Dragon Emperor, Shibaid, as well as Sety and Filma, who were on the same level of prowess as Girard. They had heard about them from Girard, so they had an idea of how powerful Shin’s party was.

“Er…I know it’s weird for me to say this, but try to relax and listen.”

The atmosphere had turned tense after they just introduced themselves.

The sole exception was Cuore, who wasn’t nervous but looked extremely excited instead.

Shin started relating what happened in Passner and the air surrounding Wolfgang changed again. It was tense, but in a different way from before.

He was listening closely, as commanded by his responsibility to rule the country. Volk and Ciel too listened intently.

“I thought I had understood the situation after reading your message, but I cannot help feeling shocked.”

Wolfgang and the others took the situation gravely.

Wolfgang especially knew well how different players were from normal humans, thanks to knowing Girard.

Their knowledge and skill were very advanced, of course, but more than anything they had a certain something that set them apart from others.

Many of them were also famous: while Shin did not know them, the people of this world would accept most incredible events if one of them was involved.

“Those who know players well would be even more shocked to know this. Of course, players are living creatures like us, so they too will die eventually…but still, there is something that sets them apart from us.”

Volk and Ciel too nodded to Wolfgang’s words.

Chosen Ones were different from normal people too, but since they were born and raised in this world, they felt they did not have that different “something” players had.

“Really…well, let’s leave that aside for now. I wanted you to know that there’s someone out there who can do things like what happened in Passner. It’s frustrating, but we haven’t come up with any effective countermeasures, though.”

“No, simply knowing about it makes things very different. You have my gratitude for all your information.”

Wolfgang bowed his head and the other three followed suit. Shin knew that they were acting like that also because he was Girard’s master, but still thought they lowered their heads too much.

“Anyway, that’s all the reason why we came here. Thanks for lending us your time.”

Kings and royal retainers were certainly not people you could easily meet for a casual chat.

Considering the contents of the “chat” and the person it came from, Wolfgang and the others would surely accept to meet them, but Shin didn’t want to take too much of their time.

“Where will you be headed now?”

“I plan to visit several countries to talk with the people we know there. Some of them I can’t contact via message card, after all.”

Only players and support characters knew of message cards. The only exception to this rule was high-ranked people who had access to such rare items. It wasn’t unusual for even Chosen Ones to not be aware of their existence.

The first people that came to mind to Shin were Todo Kankuro and the Five Supreme Blades in Hinomoto, Hibineko, Shadow, and Holly in Balmel. The Five Supreme Blades had knowledge of the game as characters, so they were pretty similar to players, or so Shin thought.

“In that case, I would like to ask you to inform the Dragon Emperor. The empire holds a vital position in the continent, so I would like them to know such information quickly. Falnido will send an official document about your report as well, but I believe that they will understand better the gravity of the situation if Sir Shibaid appears in person. If you have not decided on your next destination already, please consider it.”

Wolfgang added that had the report come from someone other than Shin and Schnee, they wouldn’t have believed it at first. Information from the Beast Alliance would certainly be treated with due priority, but meeting them directly would add more importance to the matter.

“Yeah, that’s a good idea. I know a bit about the empire too. It’s the country Shibaid used to be in, we can trust them. I’ll think about it.”

Shin actually meant to go there immediately. The Beast Alliance used communication via Mind Chat, so information could be exchanged quickly.

As Wolfgang said, however, they could not know if the empire viewed the situation as grave or not. The greater the country, the more information it needed to parse. There was even the possibility that the Emperor hadn’t learned about it yet.

Shin strongly wished for them to realize the gravity of the situation, so he had no objections to having Shibaid or Schnee act as intermediaries to provide the information to the empire.

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