TNG Vol. 17 Side Story Part 2

 

Approximately one month after she started working for the church, Milt’s name was already well known.

Having a bright personality, talkative and easygoing with anyone, and with a lovely appearance, Milt topped it off with high combat prowess as a Chosen One.

Lilishila had done what she could to keep Milt from attracting much attention, but as she had previously said, it would be only a matter of time.

That day too, what had become an everyday occurrence was happening at the entrance of the church.

“Look, Miss Milt! I have dispatched this Wild Boar myself! It is much larger than normal, is it not!? Please, enjoy it with the other good folks of the church!”

“Ehm…”

“Honestly, that thing is just getting in the way of traffic. On the other hand, the Core Frog I dispatched offers a great variety of gemstones! I shall have them crafted into an accessory for you, Miss Milt!”

“Please, never mind me…”

Some were attracted by her beauty, others enticed by her strength: many men started gathering in front of the church, hoping to woo her.

As the rumors spread, the sight of adventurers, knights, and other men flaunting their qualities could be seen all over.

For the men of this world, strength was one of the points of appeal easier to show.

Both the knights and sisters of the church were free to engage in romantic relationships.

Milt, however, was still an apprentice on paper. She was not full-fledged yet and the men who came to court her did so in public: their antics were nothing but an annoyance to her.

Milt was the target of jealousy at first, but her solicitors became so many and so straightforward that the jealousy turned into pity.

“Hahaha…”

Milt faked a smile to dodge the men’s advances and quickly went to the sisters’ cafeteria. There she sighed deeply as she chewed on a piece of bread.

“You had it rough today too…”

Next to her sat one of the sister apprentices that worked alongside Milt since the first cleaning activities. She was not a Chosen One, but the church accepted anyone as an apprentice, regardless of their status.

Milt didn’t like using the fact that she was a Chosen One to lord over others, so they became friendly enough to chat casually.

“Honestly…they won’t stop pestering me even if I say they get in the way of cleaning.”

Milt couldn’t help but voice her complaints.

The sister took turns in cleaning the various areas of the church: the entrance was the place where the solicitors could gather more easily.

Many of them boasted about their hunts there because it was forbidden to bring them inside the church. There were guards at the gate, but if the men only boasted about themselves they couldn’t be forced to leave.

Many of them also made offerings or participated in the church’s community activities, hoping for Milt to notice them, so they couldn’t be treated harshly in public.

People cannot be saved only with pleasantries and ideals, after all.

“I’m a bit envious though, to be honest…I mean, looks like even famous people come to see you sometimes.”

The apprentice sister sitting in front of Milt was the roommate of the one sitting next to her.

One was gentle and meek, the other more straightforward and frank: their very different personalities created good chemistry, so they became friends quickly.

They were two of Milt’s few friends, who talked with her without being scared even after knowing her true strength.

“Do they really think that showing me monster corpses is going to win me over, I wonder?”

“Well, they’re adventurers, what else can they do? If they can take out monsters like that, I bet they’ve got plenty of this too.”

The girl then rubbed her thumb and index finger together. Some gestures were the same no matter the world, apparently.

“I don’t really see the appeal in that, honestly…”

“Whoa, listen to this girl…I’d like to be able to say something like that too…”

The girl’s shoulders dramatically dropped.

“Then what kind of men do you find appealing, Milt? You don’t really care about strength or money, right?”

“I want to know too! You never talk about things like that, Milt. So? So? Could it be that you already have someone you like?

Though they were sisters, they were still young girls. It was natural for them to be very interested in such matters of romance.

“Hmm, well, he has to be stronger than me, first of all.”

“That’s super hard already…”

“Quite…difficult, I guess.”

The two girls furrowed their brows.

They couldn’t think of any church knight or adventurer that matched Milt in strength, surely.

Her individual strength was impressive on its own, but her Legendary grade gear was normally considered a national treasure. To be able to surpass both was an amazing feat.

“You’re that strong and so pretty too…god blessed you too much, Milt.”

“Really now…?”

“You could pick any man you wanted, with that face and these bad girls here!”

The girl pouted and poked Milt’s chest, which was resting on the table.

The specially ordered robe hid her physique as much as possible, but it had its limits.

“So soft, yet firm and elastic enough to bounce back finger pokes…if only I had it too…”

“That would be…difficult, I guess.”

“Yeah.”

Milt and the girl sitting next to her both looked away. The chest area of the girl poking Milt’s chest was very much flat.

“You’re horrible, you two!!”

“You have to accept reality. Besides, I get lewd looks all day, you know? A lot of people talk to me like my face was on my chest too.”

“Yes, that’s disturbing, to be honest.”

She wasn’t quite on Milt’s levels, but the girl sitting next to her was well endowed too.

“Aah, I wish I could say the same thing…”

The girl sitting in front grumbled out of frustration and Milt smiled.

Her gestures and reaction were exaggerated because she wanted to lighten the topic, and Milt understood. The two girls with her were capable of such kindness.

“Someone I like, huh…”

Milt returned to the room assigned to her, lay on the bed, and mumbled to herself.

When she was asked if there was someone she liked, she did think of someone.

“Hmm, but this is different…”

Someone stronger than her. There wasn’t such a person around her at the moment, but there were several around the continent.

There were adventurers equipped with Mythology grade equipment, which surpassed her Legendary grade gear. The outcome wasn’t set in stone if they ever fought, but Milt was sure she wasn’t the strongest.

Milt knew, however, the man who was likely the strongest among them all.

“Shin.”

There was probably no one stronger than Shin in the whole continent.

His stats from the game era had been boosted. He also forged the highest grade equipment by himself.

Even without counting the power boost he received after coming to this world, Shin’s original stats were the fruit of the time and efforts he spent honing them.

Milt enjoyed the same benefits as him, so she couldn’t say things were unfair.

“That’s not the point though, is it.”

She was thinking about the fact that Shin’s face came up when she was asked if she had someone she liked.

It was just a casual conversation: there was no need to think deeply about it. Even so, she didn’t want to stop thinking about it.

Milt thought about why she thought of Shin.

Because he’s strong? Because she knows him well? Or maybe because she liked him like the girls wanted to know?

“No, no, no.”

Milt sat up on the bed and shook her head left and right. There wasn’t space for such romantic feelings in her relationship with Shin.

They lived under the same roof for a time, but it was only because their goals were the same.

“At that time, Shin never showed he was interested in any of that…”

Milt knew how Shin was before the death game.

Shin the player, as most THE NEW GATE users knew him, and the person Milt’s close friend told her about.

Milt felt Shin as someone relatively close, because of what she was told about him.

Then, in the world after the death game…

They fought together in order to clear the game, but he felt very distant. The burden of the players’ expectations on his shoulders made him look tired, exhausted.

When they met again and they started cooperating, he was no longer the Shin she knew.

“But…”

Even if he was much different from before, some things were unchanged. Milt noticed by being at his side.

Maybe it was because Milt was a friend of his lover, or maybe because she was a woman: she didn’t know the exact reason, but she felt Shin was looking out for her at times.

Then, in the final moment…Milt remembered very well the expression on Shin’s face when he cut her down.

“I wonder if Shin remembers too.”

At that time, Shin looked like he was about to cry.

For Milt, Shin’s blade saved her, but he certainly did not see things the same way, as she knew well.

He might have seemed different but was the same person deep down. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have had such an expression on his face.

When they met again in this world, Milt realized he had returned to the original Shin and felt a bit relieved.

“Now that I think about it…”

Milt recalled what happened when they met again and found herself blushing. She was told later what state she was in at that time.

She didn’t know why she was taking a bath. She only knew that Shin saw her naked. She attacked him like that, apparently, so she couldn’t tell him not to look.

“Why did I do something so embarrassing…?”

In the real world, she was taken care of by nurses. They were all female, however, so there was no shame in being seen naked.

The situation with Shin was very different, though. Her naked body had been seen by a man for the first time, outside of a hospital setting. Not even Milt could say she didn’t care.

“I guess that’s the reason.”

Shin wasn’t the person she liked, but this episode made her think of him. Milt then closed her eyes.

The next day, she was in the cafeteria, sighing again.

“Will they ever stop…”

The boasting battle had broken out that day too. This time a noble’s messenger even pestered her to sell them her equipment.

Milt’s gear was extremely precious: it wasn’t rare for such negotiators to visit her. She simply didn’t want to deal with them when she was feeling down.

“Will I ever find someone stronger than me, that doesn’t care about my equipment, and doesn’t give me lewd looks?”

“What is this girl going on about now?”

“She’s tired, let her be. Today they were even more annoying than usual, I suppose.”

The girls, sitting with her as usual, were conflicted too. Milt knew she was asking for a lot, but if she found someone like that her worries would disappear.

She could at least think about him, though. If he could understand her as a person it would have been even better. If he was fun to tease, even better.

The only person Milt knew that fit these criteria was Shin, after all.

Even Shin was caught glancing at her bust sometimes, but he was still much more forgivable than the rabble who talked with her with their eyes glued to her chest.

He was overwhelmingly stronger and had a load of equipment on the same level as Milt’s.

He was also the person that knew her the best in this world.

As he was now, Shin was also a lot of fun to tease. Milt recalled how he acted awkwardly when she just hugged his arm a little and chuckled.

“Definitely a great asset, he is.”

So she said, thinking that her motives were not the purest.

She was sure that what she felt wasn’t love, just something similar.

Maybe all the lovey-dovey episodes she heard from Marino, Shin’s former lover, got imprinted onto her somehow.

Milt never experienced talking so happily about someone, so she was a bit irritated, yet envious of Marino’s expressions and the feelings she conveyed.

Was this a form of love, or maybe something else?

Milt did not know yet. Even so, she was strangely positive that it wasn’t something bad.

“Aah, I’d like to see him again soon.”

She wanted to see him, to chat about the silliest things. To give him a good hug and see him feeling awkward. Milt felt her irritation leave her completely.

“Oh, you want to see him, hmm?”

“We must inquire about *him* further, yes?”

“Whoops, did I say that out loud?”

Milt renewed her resolve to keep doing her best, hoping to see him soon.

She then switched her focus to dodging the barrage of questions of the curious girls surrounding her.

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