TNG Vol. 18 Chapter 1 Part 3
“The monsters came to talk…frankly speaking, I find it hard to believe. However, I am sure that Sir Shin would not lie about such a thing.”
Shin’s party regrouped with the Empire’s forces and immediately reported to the commander, Raig. The information revealed by Gelganger naturally surprised him, so he found it difficult to decide the next move.
“The Sacred Place monsters…I’ve participated in scouting missions there, but I’ve never seen monsters like those you described…”
Milt, whose standing within the army had risen thanks to her Shin-upgraded gear, spoke while tilting her head. Her arms were crossed, enhancing the visibility of her assets even more.
Most of the monsters she encountered during the scouting missions were small or medium sized, all monsters she already knew.
“I thought you might know something about them, but I guess it won’t be so easy, huh.”
Shin asked her via Mind Chat if she felt like she was being pulled, as it had happened to him when he encountered Gryphon, but she replied negatively.
“You’re going to the Sacred Place, right? Can I come too?”
“I wanted to confirm something, so I wanted to ask you to accompany me. Don’t you need to stay with the Church Warband though?”
Milt was a former player, a different existence from this world’s denizens.
She had also reached this world in different circumstances from Shin, so he wanted to see how the Guardians would react to her.
It was a dangerous gamble, so he was surprised to hear her accept immediately.
“We’re going to find out the true cause of this whole mess, so no problem.”
The Church Warband had been dispatched in order to limit the damage caused by the monster hordes. If what Gelganger said was really true, not only would the Empire reap benefits, but also the Church and other countries sending reinforcements too.
Milt was stronger now than in the game era, both in terms of personal stats and gear, so she wouldn’t be a liability in battle.
“We would like to send someone of ours with you too, but I doubt anyone could keep up with your party’s strength.”
Gelganger’s master was apparently ready to negotiate with the Empire if Shin cooperated with them to take over the other Sacred Places, so the Empire wished to send a representative with Shin.
“Depending on the situation, we might have to face opponents more dangerous than the previous Flood, so I’m afraid that even a Chosen One would be in grave danger.”
The destination was completely unknown to Shin: he couldn’t make promises to protect others. Some of the high level Chosen Ones among the troops tasked with erecting the wall offered to go, but Shin drew this conclusion after inquiring about their combat skills.
Compared to Shin and his support characters, Tiera and Milt were of a lower grade of battle prowess; thanks to his equipment, however, they could manage fighting against Divine Beasts.
Shin could have provided the Empire representatives with gear too, but if their skills did not match it, even advanced equipment would just become a burden.
“It doesn’t seem like they are open to negotiating right away, so we will monitor the situation first. We have to talk before we decide whether to accept their conditions or not after all.”
“That’s right, in the end, they have their own plans. There’s no place for us at this point, I suppose. I’ll leave the decisions to you, Sir Shin.”
Gelganger’s master had requested for Shin: Raig realized they could not intervene yet. He was, however, very interested in the possibility of protecting the continent without having to use a wall, thus putting the previously abandoned land to better use.
“So, are we leaving right now?”
“I told them we’d go two days from now, so there’s still time. I didn’t think we could just make our report and go, you see.”
“They left it all to you pretty easily though.”
“Yeah, you’re right…I expected them to be more persistent about sending someone with us, or about whether we could really trust monsters, things like that…”
The matter was completely entrusted to Shin in a matter of minutes, so he was a bit at a loss.
“Since Shibaid used to be the Dragon Emperor, I guess they thought he wouldn’t allow for things to go in a bad direction for the Empire. Schnee is also well trusted on an international level, so maybe it’s not too weird for you to be treated as an ambassador.”
“I guess that’s true. It’s also a fact that they don’t have anyone that could keep up with us.”
“The only people from the Empire who could are the current Emperor’s personal guards, I guess.”
Both in terms of stats and equipment, the Dragon Emperor was the Empire’s apex. He had fought with Shibaid in the past, so there was no doubting his skill.
“He is definitely strong enough to keep up with us: I’ve never seen a Chosen One like him, among all the people I’ve met until now. The captain and vice captain of his personal guards could also equip your gear without trouble, Shin.”
Shibaid complemented Milt’s words. The Empire apparently had some powerful assets, though they might be inferior to the samurai they met in Hinomoto, Toudou Kankurou.
Shin recalled that he didn’t see the Emperor’s personal guards when he met Raig in the castle; Shibaid, perceiving such a thought, explained that they were the guards posted outside the room.
“I see…no way normal guards are posted outside the Emperor’s chambers, after all.”
Shin remembered noticing how high their levels were. He didn’t recall the exact numbers, but they were definitely over 200.
“So, we have to kill time for two days? I don’t think there’s much we can do, is there?”
“Well, we all fought against the monsters, so make sure you get enough rest. I’ll do maintenance on our weapons and stock up on items.”
Shin and his party had not suffered particular damage, but had still engaged a great quantity of monsters. He thus told them to rest and recover.
Raig and his troops shared the same opinion: they were told they didn’t need to help setting the remaining wall-creating items and to rest.
“You don’t need to rest, Shin?”
“Well, I’m not going to analyze weapons like in Hinomoto, so it won’t be strenuous work. I’ll rest as soon as I’m done.”
Compared to analyzing Ancient Grade weapons, maintenance and repair were simple tasks, and he could do them however he wanted. It wouldn’t take hours or become a burden, as Shin reassured the worried Tiera.
Shin and the others walked along the wall, then used the Magic Skill 【Hiding】 and materialized Tsuki no Hokora.
They did not need to hide Tsuki no Hokora from the imperial soldiers, but they didn’t want to openly show they were resting while everyone else was working.
“Are you really sure you want to stay here? It won’t be fun, you know.”
In Tsuki no Hokora’s workshop, Shin warned Milt, who had come with him. She said she wanted to watch him work, so he explained he was only going to do maintenance.
Milt did not have any Blacksmith skills, so there would be no point in showing her anything, but she insisted.
“It’s fine, it’s fine. I promise I won’t get in the way.”
For some reason, Milt seemed awfully giddy.
They changed to casual clothes once inside Tsuki no Hokora. They were both wearing T-shirts and trousers similar to jeans, though in different colors.
Shin’s were crafted by Cashmere: despite the plain appearance, they had defensive capabilities on par with Legend-grade equipment. They were easy to move in, perfect for smithy work.
Milt was wearing the same trousers she used in the game era, while the T-shirt came from this world. It was very loose-fitting, definitely not matching her size: the neck part was so large her left shoulder was completely exposed.
“You’re doing that on purpose, aren’t you?”
“You bet. Clothes with the automatic fitting function adjust perfectly to your body, right? It’s convenient, sure, but it always feels too tight for me…so most of my casual wear is loose and comfy. Well, it’s also because casual wear doesn’t usually come with automatic fitting here. I also don’t want to fall in the trap hiding within automatic fitting clothes…”
“Trap? What trap?”
Milt’s expression had turned somber, so Shin worried he had overlooked a dangerous defect in that function.
“That kind of clothes automatically matches your body, so even if your size changes, it adjusts automatically and you don’t realize it.”
“Hmm…? Well, yeah, that’s the whole point…”
Shin could not see what the problem was with what Milt pointed out.
“That’s not good!! Listen! If you don’t realize it when your size changes, it means you will gain weight without realizing it!!”
“That’s the trap!?”
Shin sighed, dejected. He expected something more dangerous, so he felt worried for nothing.
“You don’t get it, do you, Shin…to gain weight without realizing it is a big problem for a girl.”
“I’m sorry, okay?”
Weight and body size were delicate matters for women. Milt’s words reminded Shin how his mother and little sister used to urge him to pay attention to such things. Even his little brother had scolded him about it at one point.
“Ah, but I want that function on my bras, so can you do it later? Thanks.”
“Wait wait wait. Why do I have to do it!?”
Milt suddenly started talking about underwear, so Shin stepped away from her, warily.
“They don’t use them much in this world, that’s why. You can barely find any on sale and the sizes are very limited too. I’m really troubled, you know. With some nudging I can get craftsmen to attach the function to clothes, but they always get angry when I ask about underwear.”
The automatic fitting function existed to help warriors fight on the battlefield: that was the general idea.
Shin knew that people saw Skills differently in this world compared to the game era, but never expected craftsmen to get angry over something like that.
“You can’t acquire it without training Creation type Skills over a fairly long time, after all…”
“Right. Those who have it are all pretty famous craftsmen.”
It was a symbol of pride for a craftsman to be able to use such a Skill.
“And so poor little Milt is in a pickle. I mean, it comes off every time I fight…and now too.”
“I can’t say I know how that feels…are you okay?”
Shin felt Milt dropped a bomb with her last words, so he thought it wiser to ignore them.
“The equipment’s size is just right, so it’s not like they hurt, and they’re designed to allow me to move a lot, so they don’t bounce around like in normal clothes.”
Shin realized that if Milt’s armor was to break, the consequences would be outrageous. Though, if Milt received an attack powerful enough to destroy her armor, it meant she would be in real trouble.
“And so I humbly request you to take care of at least one pair of underwear. You can look if you want, but just a little bit.”
Milt then leaned forward and pulled on the exposed shoulder.
The neck was already wide enough to fully show her shoulder: if she pulled it to cover her shoulders, her cleavage became even more exposed.
“I knew you were going to do that…”
Because of Milt’s previous words, Shin predicted she was going to pull a stunt like that. Before he could see too much of her chest, Shin looked up at the ceiling.
“My strategy has been foiled!? But you can’t dodge my next attack from that stance!!”
“Hey! Stop clinging! Don’t push! Or squeeze either! I got it already, I’ll do it!!”
Shin tried pushing Milt away, but her hold on his body was iron tight.
He could have pushed her away with force, but his force in this world could cause catastrophes.
“Hehehe…my boy Shin prefers larger sizes, I know…”
“H-how do you…!?”
“One look at your support characters, and anyone could tell…”
The appearance of support characters could be changed at will, so many players created them according to their preferences. In the end, they often turned out to be the creator’s ideal male or female figure. In other words, the creator’s preferences could be easily guessed through them.
“Well, in that case, what about Sety?”
“A camouflage attempt, I suppose.”
“Kh…you say it like it’s obvious…!”
Milt nodded, the grin on her face vexing Shin to no end.
The two walked towards the smithy while partaking in a nostalgic exchange, very close to their conversations in the game era. Shin felt like he had taken a trip to the past.
As they arrived closer to the workshop, however, Milt spoke less and less.
Her hold on Shin’s arms grew weaker and weaker: he could shake her off easily now.
Shin was thinking that if she acted too clingy in the smithy, he would really have to force her off him, but the change in her behavior felt unnatural.
Shin turned towards her and a look of surprise appeared on his face.