TNG Vol. 18 Chapter 2 Part 6

“…can I help you?”

After watching Filma walk towards Shin and the others, Shibaid turned to another direction. His gaze was directed at Milt.

“As we still have some time until our destination, I thought it could be a good opportunity to talk.”

“There is no need to be so polite. This is the way of speaking I find most comfortable, so you should do the same, Milt.”

“Is that so? Thank you, then.”

Despite being with Shin’s party pretty often, outside of Shin and a developing relationship with Tiera, Milt had never really interacted with the others.

Thanks to his experiences, Shibaid quickly understood that she was nervous. She looked like the kind of person who could easily get along with anyone, but that was just a front she put on.

Shibaid knew such a person already, so he did not have trouble understanding Milt.

“We never talked much, but I guess we go a long way back too. It’s a strange feeling, to be honest…but I don’t suppose you’re here to chit-chat.”

Shibaid retained his memories of the game era, including the period during which Milt joined Shin’s party.

Milt too knew Shibaid, as a support character.

“Well, it’s kind of strange to say this after I’ve joined you guys plenty of times already…but I was wondering what you thought of what I’m doing.”

“Hmm. About what exactly?”

“Shin and Schnee are officially together now, so I wondered if you didn’t have a bad opinion of me. I know it’s probably too late to say something like this, but since you were a support character like Schnee, I thought you might see me as someone just getting in their way, right? When I’m with Shin I tend to lose restraint, I mean, I get a bit bold…thinking about it, it’s like I’m trying to mess with someone who’s actually not available…”

After objectively looking at Tiera’s position, Milt also reviewed her own actions.

“Meeting Shin for the first time in a long while made me lose my cool, I guess.”

After such a “review”, Milt found her conduct to be not very appropriate, at all.

She also added that the other ladies of the party did not seem to mind. That was something Shibaid could not quite understand himself.

Shibaid hesitated for a moment, then spoke.

“I do not know what Schnee truly thinks, but as you say, she does not seem crossed.”

All people, not only Elves, would find it unpleasant if someone got too close with the person they loved. Even if they weren’t, they would surely try to prevent the “intruder” from persisting in such behavior.

Milt did not try to hide her advances, so Schnee surely knew about them, unless she was elsewhere.

“She definitely places deep trust in Shin, or maybe she thinks the same thing as us, even now.”

“The same thing?”

“Milt, did Shin tell you how he returned to this world?”

“Yes, he did.”

Milt knew that Shin had not actually died in the game world. Shibaid then continued.

“There are many people that act as ties between Shin and this world. That is what we think. To entertain a relationship with someone else is one of them: emotions can tie people more strongly than anything else, after all.”

For better or for worse.

Shibaid’s words were based on his experience as ruler of an empire.

“Do you really need to think like that? Shin has decided to stay here, hasn’t he?”

“Shin has disappeared from us once. Knowing what the circumstances were at the time, I believe it was natural. I also know that the current circumstances are different. No one can say, however, that it will not happen again. If a way for Shin to return is found…we need as many ties as possible, in order for him to choose this — hmm. This is not good…when facing this topic, I tend to return to my old emperor self…”

Shibaid rubbed his chin.

“No, this isn’t exactly how an emperor would think. I have lived long in this world already…to be perfectly honest, it is not unusual here for a strong man to have multiple wives. In Human and Beast societies it’s recommended, actually. With strong descendants, you will be able to brave all sorts of dangers.”

From the more normal monsters to extraordinary creatures such Demons, Divine Beasts and Devils. In a world where such things existed, one could never be strong enough.

“In conclusion, I have no intention to chastise your behavior, Milt. Because I think you have not overstepped your bounds or done anything outrageous.”

It would be different if her actions offended Shin or the others. After this implication, Shibaid looked at Shin’s group, where Filma’s addition had made things rather noisy. He could tell the mood was cheerful, though.

“I see. Well then, now that I have your seal of approval, guess I’ll join them too.”

“Hah, Shin truly has it rough…”

The party certainly did not look like they were heading off to battle at all, yet Shibaid knew that no one had actually lowered their guard.

They had not met their opponents yet, but they were still in enemy territory. Despite appearing to have fun, all members were ready to act if anything happened. Only Tiera was probably not as ready as the others, but that was just the difference in experience.

“To think that I would act as a chaperone…”

So Shibaid whispered to himself, while looking at Shin’s group.

What he said to Milt was true for himself too. To find partners and give birth to powerful descendants. In this world, this was a sort of duty for the strong: and Shibaid was no exception.

When he was emperor, the ministers, functionaries and even military commanders recommended — sometimes subtly, sometimes openly — consort candidates.

Shimaia, the daughter of the current emperor, renewed her marriage proposal to him every time they met.

I thought I had no time for such things, but now that I’m a chaperone myself, it feels so different…how quaint.

“In any case, whenever your children are born, I do wish to instruct them in the martial arts.”

Shibaid imagined being the instructor of Shin’s children and remembered the words of a military commander, who once confessed that it was his dream to one day instruct Shibaid’s children.

Finally understanding the man’s feelings, Shibaid nodded to himself.

He then silently sent a look of support to Schnee.

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