TNG Vol. 17 Chapter 2 Part 3

“Hmm, that was a pretty disappointing way to end it…”

“Well, what’s done is done.”

Shin consoled Milt, saying that stuff like that happened sometimes. He was glad he didn’t have to use the magic spells he had prepared just in case.

Even if the monster didn’t damage itself with the acid, Milt’s stats and equipment pretty much ensured her victory. She wanted to face the monster head-on and win, however, so a victory like that left her dissatisfied.

“To think that Milt and Lady Tiera could defeat such monsters on their own…”

Shin and the others signaled to Reiner and the church troops that the battle was over and regrouped.

They hadn’t actually witnessed the fighting, so Milt told him how it went down — first with excitement, then with some annoyance.

Shin collected the corpses of the monsters probably killed by Dylebion before Reiner and the troops arrived.

He also had to offer part of Dylebion’s body for Yuzuha and Kagerou to eat: they didn’t have any chance to fight, so their mood was more sour than Milt’s.

“It was a bit disappointing to win like that, but having good equipment really makes things different. I don’t have to worry about my weapon anymore either.”

“Just ‘good equipment’? Aren’t those historical artifacts?”

From Reiner’s standpoint, or any other denizen of this world, Mythology and Legend grade gear was the stuff of legends and fairy tales.

It was natural for him to look at 『Ordgand』 with a grave expression on his face after Milt told him about it in detail.

His gaze sometimes wandered over to Milt’s exposed chest and thighs, but it was pretty normal for a man. Shin was sure Milt had noticed his gaze too but said nothing.

“It is indeed valuable as a weapon, but it doesn’t have any historical value.”

He replied to Reiner’s comment instead. They said that 『Ordgand』 was just a borrowed item, but, since it was created from 『Breogand』, it couldn’t be turned back anymore.

User restrictions had been applied to it, so it was solely for Milt’s hands.

Shin had crafted it just a couple of days before, so there was nothing historical about it.

“I would aspire to be able to wield such a weapon one day…as of now, I doubt I could even lift it.”

“Because it looks like it chooses its own wielder.”

If the player’s stats were too low compared to the weapon, the resulting penalty made it impossible to wield.

In some cases, depending on the gear and the player’s stats, the penalties could even come in handy.

In the game era, obviously, stats only decreased and the gear itself weakened too in most cases. In this world, however, just equipping such items became difficult.

Shin had rarely ever experienced such circumstances.

Seeing that Reiner couldn’t even move the halberd’s handle an inch, Shin realized that it could be one of the reasons why advanced equipment was so scarce.

“Is gear above Rare grade that hard to find?”

“In my experience, Rare grade gear is relatively common. It’s not strange for high-rank adventurers to have Unique grade stuff too. But there are very few people with Legend grade gear in their hands. They’re considered national treasures, so it would take a fortune to buy one. A lot of adventurers and country officials told me that they’d buy my 『Breogand』 and 『Oriental Battle Garb』 at any price. No one would ever let go of such items unless they have serious money problems or plan to retire or something.”

For the people of this world, possessing Legend grade gear meant a boost in ability, even if the penalty was factored in.

Shin thought that some very wealthy people could use their finances to gather them, but, apparently, things weren’t so simple. Even in a large country, having elite forces all armed with Legend-grade gear was a nearly impossible feat, or so Milt said.

“I heard there are craftsmen capable of making new Legend-grade gear in the east, but a person like that would be sought after by countries all over the world. The blacksmith that fixes our gear said that it’s not possible to make items like that on purpose. There are several countries that probably have craftsmen who can replicate items of that level if they can see them, though.”

“I see.”

Shin thought that it was better not to mention Kanezuka Araki, the blacksmith he met in Hinomoto.

“(I think there’s someone like that in Kilmont too. I don’t know if they’re a former player, but apparently, the generals are equipped in Legend grade gear and above from head to toe, and their elite troops are apparently supplied with a lot of Legend grade gear. Shibaid might know about them, though.)”

“(Even if he does, don’t ask, okay? If they say there isn’t anyone like that, I guess it’s true, but it would be pretty difficult to develop your skills that far…)”

Since they couldn’t let anyone else hear them talk about the topic, Shin replied to Milt’s question via Mind Chat while he looked up at the sky.

Anyone could train blacksmithing skills to a certain degree. Precious metals were necessary to do it, but, if you were in an area rich with them, it wouldn’t be too difficult.

Raising skills over a certain level — more precisely, over level VII — would be a nearly impossible task.

When Shin took out an Orichalcum ingot in Falnido, he was told that it would fetch a very high price.

The same probably applied also to rare metals like Adamantite or Mithril.

In order to raise blacksmithing skills over level VII, it was necessary to use such precious metals and materials in great quantity.

In the game, they were monster drops, an essentially endless resource, but to do the same thing in this world was practically impossible.

At the same time, the only ones capable of crafting Ancient grade weapons were either former players, who had the ability to do so from the beginning, or Chosen Ones, who were born with the ability.

“(But there are also those you call geniuses in this world. There might be someone who can train by themselves and become able to forge maybe not Ancient, but at least Mythology grade gear.)”

Hinomoto’s Kanezuka Araki had in fact succeeded in crafting Legend grade gear, even though with his abilities it wouldn’t have been possible in the game era. They couldn’t rule out the possibility.

“(Weapons are scarce everywhere, after all. There are people who can’t fight at full power because of that, so hopefully the number of blacksmiths will increase.)”

According to Milt, most players and Chosen Ones tended to be combat-oriented.

Production specialists were few and far in between: they were all closely guarded by their countries, blacksmiths included.

In battle not only were weapons and armor necessary, but also healing items or temporary stat boosting items. Shin also struggled with procuring sufficient equipment at the start of his career as a player.

“We aren’t going?”

“Oh, right. Let’s get going.”

Tiera couldn’t hear Shin and Milt’s conversation, but she figured it out from their looks. She prompted them to go and they resumed their advance towards the 9th fort.

There they would gain new information about high-level monsters or other threats.

If the situation was really critical, they would be informed directly, so things were probably still not so grave at the moment.

So thought Shin and the others, but once the knights who had galloped ahead to the fort returned, they realized their assumption was incorrect.

“Is that really true?”

Reiner couldn’t believe the report he had just received from the knight.

“No mistake about it. The 9th fort has already fallen, or more precisely, it has been completely erased.”

The knights who actually witnessed the scene had a sickly look on their faces.

Since they were sent as anti-flood reinforcements, even the soldiers in charge of communication had fairly high levels and were battle veterans. Not even such experienced soldiers could hide their agitation.

After proceeding for a while more, the church troops prepared to set up camp.

They originally planned to reach the fort before the evening, but it wasn’t rare for schedules to change during the flood. The soldiers were not told the news about the fort, but they started setting up camp without objections.

In the meantime, Shin went ahead to the 9th fort to see what happened to it.

Judging from the contents of the report, there was the possibility that Wolfreet was involved, so Shin went there with Yuzuha: the strongest duo in the current party.

“This is something…”

At their destination, they did not find anything remotely resembling a fort.

If it had fallen to a monster attack, normally one would find crumbling walls and buildings, as well as the corpses of monsters or people.

Things were very different here, however.

There were objects protruding from the ground here and there, probably the remains of the walls. But nothing else.

All the buildings, the remains of living beings, and any traces of fighting were probably buried in the hardened lava covering the surroundings. It was still burning hot and steaming in some spots.

“Do you think this is Wolfreet’s doing?”

“The ground is melting. There aren’t many monsters with this kind of ability.”

Wolfreet’s territory was like hell on earth, an area of scorching hot flames that burned anything and everything.

Whatever constituted Wolfreet allowed it to burn forests or vaporize lakes just by walking through them. In the game era, its original habitat was rivers of lava in volcanic areas.

The current state of the 9th fort resembled what happened in the game when one failed to repel Wolfreet’s attack on a base or home town.

“Kuu! I feel a presence still alive!”

After Yuzuha pointed it out Shin detected it too. In the forest close to the fort, there were several presences huddled together.

If there were survivors, Shin might learn exactly what happened, so he and Yuzuha started running towards their location.

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