TNG Vol. 18 Chapter 2 Part 4
“Okay, next up is Yuzuha. Which one do you…hmm, might as well do both.”
Yuzuha could use the monster-type and human-type equipment. Preparing both would make it possible for her to have the equipment available no matter what form she was in.
Equipment she wore in human form was not removed when she turned into monster form: she could equip items in a way impossible for humans as well.
“Then, do this one first.”
Yuzuha, who had been just listening in small fox mode until now, turned into human form. When she did, she usually turned into a child-like size, but this time she changed to her most mature-looking form, which appeared to be in the late teens.
“You’ll use that form this time?”
“In child form, it’s harder to make quick decisions.”
Yuzuha apparently judged the small fox mode to be unsuited for battle.
Her tone was different than usual, as well as her behavior and atmosphere: she was more calm and composed, closer to how Shin remembered the Element Tails.
He recalled her monster form tone to be a little more archaic, but it probably changed depending on the degree of her transformation.
“Have you grown again?”
Shin noticed that Yuzuha looked a bit more mature than he last saw her.
“A little. I am returning to the Yuzuha you knew.”
Yuzuha had previously said that, as she became more familiar with the energy she absorbed, her body would grow too. At this stage, however, her growth was not so easy to notice anymore.
Shin had witnessed her rapid growth a few times already, so he felt relieved.
The reason was that every time she experienced a bout of rapid growth, a bizarre phenomenon occurred: all of her equipment would come off, leaving her naked.
Yuzuha usually wrapped herself in Shin’s blankets, and that phenomenon often happened while she was sleeping. Because of that, Shin would end up seeing her like that while they were in bed together.
Things were different when she was still child-sized, but now that she looked almost like an adult woman, it was a big problem for him to discover her naked under the covers. Yuzuha did not even try to hide anything in those situations: if anyone saw them, Shin would be hard-pressed to find a believable explanation.
“Okay, choose the design then. The size will adjust automatically, so I can do the rest by myself.”
Shin took out samples of the designs he made until now and showed them to Yuzuha in the form of a pamphlet, materialized from the item box.
Tiera and Milt had decided the design they wanted after seeing the designs of the spares made for Schnee and Filma, so Shin was showing the samples for the first time.
“I want this.”
“This one…? Frankly, I wonder how I changed it this much.”
Some samples were completely different from the default design, making one wonder if they were even the same equipment.
There was a lot of freedom, but also videogame-like limitations. For whatever reason, however, equipment meant for specific environments, like the sand sea gear, had less strict limitations.
The design Yuzuha picked was one of those. It was basically a ladies’ hakama with a piece of cloth draped over the shoulders. No Arabian traits to be found anywhere.
Yuzuha also requested for the lower body design to be changed to a mini skirt and long boots. She was used to wearing a hakama, but when she wore other kinds of clothing she felt uncomfortable if she couldn’t let out her tails. Even if her requested design was basically a hakama, according to Yuzuha they were not exactly the same thing.
“About the monster form equipment, here is a set of claws and one accessory.”
The claws would allow Yuzuha to run on the sand for a limited time, even without using Skills. The accessory could not let her run on the sand sea, but would save her if she fell in.
One item to help her stay out of the sand, another to rescue her if she ever fell in. In the game era, only one could be used at the same time, but in the current world such limitations were no more.
Shin had Yuzuha changed to monster form and upgraded her desert gear to 『Exploration Claws Plus』, then put the 『Liquid Band』 on her right ear.
Now she would have an easier time staying out of the sand sea and also getting out if she ever did. If they also added sticking-type accessories, she would be fully ready to face the treacherous sand waves.
“Hmm, feels good.”
Yuzuha waited until the equipment was ready and wore it immediately. Back in human form, she twirled happily, showing off the costume.
The smithy was rather narrow, but she was not so clumsy as to bump against anything.
The one thing that concerned Shin was that with every twirl, Yuzuha’s skirt would rise higher.
The length was adjusted to Yuzuha’s preference, but it was pretty short. Apparently, it would feel oppressive if it was longer.
Shin couldn’t see the parts hidden by the skirt, but other people probably could. Yuzuha was originally a monster, but when she was in human form he wanted her to mind such things more.
“If you want to see, go ahead.”
Shin warned her to be careful, but Yuzuha’s reply was all too nonchalant.
“Don’t start acting like Milt now.”
Yuzuha was about to lift the edges of her skirt, but Shin’s light chop was faster. He knew she was joking, so he just poked her lightly.
“By the way, when you grow you retrieve some of your memories too, right? Have you recalled anything about this world?”
Yuzuha was holding her head, glaring dramatically at Shin, when he asked this question.
She could not remember much when her powers were still mostly gone, but she might know more now. Shin bet on this faint hope, but Yuzuha shook her head in reply.
“The most important, precious memories are sleeping deep within me. If I temporarily turn into my adult form I can remember a lot, but not everything. I still can’t recall the things you want to know.”
“It won’t be that easy, huh…hey, I just asked in case you remembered anything, don’t make that face.”
Yuzuha all too clearly expressed how she felt sorry, so Shin patted her head. Shin really meant that he thought it might be a lucky chance if she remembered anything: he had no intention of accusing her at all.
“Okay, it should be time for dinner, let’s go back.”
The equipment was ready, they just needed to cross the sand sea. Shin and the others thoroughly enjoyed Schnee’s cooking and took a good rest to be ready for the next morning.
“First, the ship.”
Shin combined parts to make a ship, like he did in Barbatos.
The ship was also customized for the sand sea: it had special propulsion devices, equipped with Flame, Water, Wind, and Earth magic enchantments, set in pairs on each end of the ship. The propulsive power of the ship was extremely high, enough to make a normal ship spin around.
The reason why they needed something so powerful was that any object over a certain weight would be greatly influenced by the sand sea: ships with sails could not advance unless Players used powerful Wind spells. Some Players rumored that this special effect was a trap set in advance by the creators.
“Next, the equipment.”
Shin distributed the equipment to the party members.
Part of the equipment turned out to have risque designs, so Shin thought of changing it. Milt and Tiera had requested that particular design, so even if Shin changed it for Schnee and Filma, he would get accusatory looks either way, so he gave up on making any changes.
He would be on the receiving end of funny looks anyway, once the original design was found out.
“…it’s embarrassing, after all…”
After changing, Tiera blushed fiercely and squirmed, hiding her body. Because of the equipment’s design, that gesture made her look even more seductive.
“I prepared a more moderate design too, just in case.”
Since Tiera was not exactly in her “right mind” when she picked the design, Shin had also prepared the conservative version.
“…no, thank you. I chose this myself.”
Tiera glanced at Schnee, then rejected Shin’s proposal. Just like Milt, Schnee and the others wore the equipment without any particular embarrassment.
“Your mistake is thinking that it’s embarrassing. Just treat it as swimwear…”
Tiera was mumbling, trying to convince herself. Shin thought it best not to stimulate her further and looked at the others. Just then, someone clenched his shoulders.
“Hey, Shin? Why does everyone other than me have that design? Basically, you’ll only let someone wear it if they have certain assets of a certain size?”
The tone was calm, but terribly intimidating. Naturally, it was Sety.
Excluding Yuzuha, currently in monster form, all female members of the party wore the same design — except Sety.
“Wait, wait, wait!! It’s not on purpose!! Tiera and Milt saw the design of Schnee and Filma’s equipment and said they wanted the same! We barely ever used your sand sea equipment, didn’t we? So it just stayed as default. You wouldn’t like to change it to something with more exposure either, would you?”
Cold sweats were running down Shin’s back. Looking at the party members, lined up on the ship’s deck, there was no need to clarify which “asset” Sety was referring to. It jiggled every time they moved, further enhanced by the costume’s unique traits.
“Reeeally? That’s all?”
“Of course!! I showed the other designs to Milt and Tiera, it’s not like I forced them to wear that!!”
Shin desperately defended himself against Sety’s vehement accusations. All the other party members knew that the size of that “asset” was a matter she was particularly sensible about.
Things may have been different if there were other members with a physique like hers, but in this party, the average size was quite high.
Other than Tiera, however, their proportions were all set by the Player who created them: with such stark differences, it wasn’t strange for Sety to feel there was something behind it, or so Shin thought.
“Please, Sety, do not trouble Shin like this.”
Schnee knew that Shin avoided using this equipment after gathering materials at the sand sea, so she lent him a helping hand.
In the game era, only Schnee and Filma had experienced the sand sea multiple times. Their stats were already high at the time, and since in the sand sea it was more effective to gather materials by sneaking in small numbers, they decided to move in small groups.
Girard, Shibaid, and Sety had been in the sand sea before, but had not participated in many material-gathering trips like Schnee and Filma. Sety’s equipment thus still had the default design.
Shin had changed Schnee and Filma’s design because of the eye candy it could provide.
“Ngh…that is true, but…”
Sety knew what Shin said was true, but could not accept it so easily.
Was she gazing at Schnee’s impressive assets or the veil that wrapped them? Probably both.
“Why not make something special for Sety, then? Even if you didn’t do it on purpose, it’s true that she’s the only one left out.”
“T-That’s not why I’m angry, though…”
Sety objected to Schnee’s suggestion, but her words trailed off.
The “killing intent” she showed before was definitely real: as Schnee said, she probably disliked being left out.
Feeling apologetic, Shin agreed to craft equipment for her too.