TNG Vol. 19 Chapter 1 Part 5
“Now, enough of the chatter, let’s get off the road for a minute.”
When the carriage that had passed them was out of sight, Shin and the others left the road and entered the woods. There was no human presence around them, but it was just in case.
Using teleportation, they traveled to the place where he had once rested with Rionne, the 2nd Princess of Bayreuth Kingdom.
It was a place about halfway between Balmel and Kalkia. It was a place where monsters pass through during ‘floods’, so people rarely passed by.
We used the Hiding skill just in case, so even if someone was here, they wouldn’t notice Shin and the others.
“Let’s get going.”
When Shin was with Rionne, he adjusted his speed so that Rionne’s stamina would last.
This time, however, there was no need for that, and it was Kagerou who pulled the carriage.
At a much faster speed than before, they ran through the wilderness, which was hardly flat.
Since I had instructed Kagerou that he did not have to limit his speed, he was running at a speed incomparable to the speed he had been running on the city streets.
In a normal carriage, a single hole on the road would have caused the carriage to bounce up and down, but Shin’s improvements had mitigated it down to the point where the carriage might sway a little.
The lack of obstacles for the wilderness, perhaps because the monster had passed through it so many times, was another reason for the lack of swaying.
“Kuh? Something’s watching us.”
Yuzuha murmured as she looked at the mountains after about an hour passed.
“Maybe Kagerou is bothering them? He lived there originally, didn’t he?”
“Yes, they must have sensed Kagerou’s presence.”
Shin knew what was watching them.
The owner of the gaze was Mist Garuda, the boss of the mountain.
It had helped to exterminate monsters that enter the mountains during flooding and, as a result, helped to reduce the harm that was caused.
Shin had once seen a Mist Garuda burning up monsters when he was working with Rionne. That was one of the reasons he was able to recognize the presence of the Mist Garuda.
“Kuh, foster parent.”
Yuzuha told us that it was a monster that had once ruled the mountain with Kagerou’s parents and seemed to have taken care of Kagerou, who was left behind.
Kagerou also seemed to be concerned about it and occasionally turned his face toward the mountain.
“A Divine Beast taking care of another Divine Beast. I guess that’s possible.”
Shibaid mumbled something like that and was thinking about something.
Beside him, Sety and Filma began to talk about the breeding situation of the Divine Beasts.
“Wait a minute, do Divine Beasts have children?”
“If they already have children, then wouldn’t it mean that a Divine Beast gave birth to one?”
Shin was not sure if monsters had the concept of homecoming, but he thought he could spare a little time to talk to them.
“We do have the time to at least say hello if you want to?”
Hearing this, the Kagerou slowed gradually and stopped.
Then he howled in place.
The howl echoed well in the unobstructed wilderness.
When the howling ceased, they saw a Mist Garuda take off from the top of the mountain. After a short flight, it spread its wings wide.
As Shin and the others stopped moving to see what it would do, they felt something like an invisible wave passing through their bodies.
When the invisible wave all passed, Kagerou began to run again.
“Is it okay?”
I checked with Yuzuha, who told me that the earlier act was their way of greeting each other.
Shin and the others continue on, with their backs to Mist Garuda, who was heading back to the mountain.
Kagerou kept running without any rest and was able to reach Balmel before dusk.
Just before the gates closed, they could see other carriages in a hurry to get past.
“Hm? Isn’t there a soldier coming this way?”
While we were waiting for our turn to enter Balmel, a soldier came out of the gate and came toward us.
I thought he might be looking for someone else, but the eyes of the soldier coming toward us were locked on us.
“Maybe he recognized you from the ‘flood’,” Sety said.
Shin’s first appearance in Balmel was during the ‘Great flood’, a larger-scale version of the phenomenon known as the ‘flood’, in which hordes of monsters swarm the city.
It was probably well known that he was working with Rionne, and that he fought alongside former players Hibineko and his friends.
It was not surprising that the gatekeeper would recognize his face.
“Excuse me. I am Cassil, a member of Balmel’s third squadron. You must be Shin, correct?”
“Yes, I am. How can I help you?”
“Don’t be so alarmed. The vice president of the Golden Company has informed me to notify you as soon as he arrives. I was on the front line during the ‘great flood’. That’s why I remembered your face, and that is why I have come to call for you.”
Apparently, it seems that Shin and his group have been given top priority, and they were allowed to skip the waiting list and go inside.
“So Berett had a hand in this. If the gatekeeper’s unit is being notified, that means he must have lobbied the higher-ups.”
Shin wondered if it was a message from the higher-ups in the military, since he had mentioned something that sounded like it might have something to do with them.
“Wasn’t Berett under Reed’s command, when did he get so high-ranked?”
“Right, you don’t know current events, Sety. Nowadays, it is a big trading company with sales channels all over the continent. That’s the Golden Company now. I was surprised when I met him for the first time.”
The Golden Company, that Sety knew, was only one of many companies out there.
The company was owned and operated by Berett, so the products it handled were first-class.
In the past, they limited the sales channels, so the scale of the business was not so large.
Shin remembered that it was positioned as a kind of hidden gem.
Now, at Schnee’s initiative, they were continuously investigating the player-killer’s movements.
However, player-killers often stayed in hiding, and it seemed that definitive information was hard to come by.
Are they hiding out in crime syndicates? Or are they like the man who was taken in by the miasma?
Shin, who was remembering the last moments of the man who had begged to be killed, was confused when his vision was suddenly blocked and his face was enveloped by something soft.
He didn’t fight back immediately because he didn’t feel any hostility or killing intent.
“You have your scary face on. Here, relax, relax….”
Filma leaned forward and hugged Shin’s head. In addition, for some reason, her outfit was the heat-resistant equipment she had used at the Sand Sea. As a result, his face was nestled in her chest.
“So that’s why sister Fil secretly changed her clothes…”
Shin hears Sety’s words of dismay.
I wonder if she had anticipated that the conversation so far would lead him to think in the direction of the player-killer.
She had no malicious intent at all, and since it was a complete surprise attack, Shin couldn’t dodge it. Due to her melee-oriented status, her movements were quick.
Shin grabbed Filma’s arm and released her embrace, even though he could not see her. Filma did not resist and easily let go.
“Wasn’t there a better idea than that,” he said.
“I could have left it to Schnee, but it seemed like it would be hard for her in a place like this.”
Shin turned to Schnee, and at those words, she averted her gaze in embarrassment.
Schnee also seemed to have noticed Shin’s change.
“It’s not often you get a chance to do something like this, and it was kind of an interesting experience. If Shin would like, I can do it again for you anytime you know? You knew how big they were, but you didn’t know how they felt right.”
Filma voluntarily raised her own breasts, which were very assertive partly due to her costume design. They were as big as Schnee’s, but now they were noticeably more so.
Sety looked at her own breasts, and then at Filma’s, and a wistful look came over her face.
“No way I’d wish for that. Give me a break.”
It was Shin who created her, so he certainly knows the size, but there was no way he could say yes. He knew he was being teased, so he raised his hands in a pose of surrender. Also, for no specific reason, he apologized in his mind to Sety.
At the same time, Shin was puzzled by the sharpness of the glare directed at him.
“Umm, Schnee, if you could relax your glare a little more, that would be great…”
Schnee’s gaze was so painful that it seemed to have physical force.
In addition, though not as much as Schnee’s, Tiera’s glare was painful too.
“Couldn’t you have dodged that one if you wanted to?”
“Men are always like this.”
Tiera and Sety were giving him cold stares.
Filma, who was the cause of the problem, was covering her mouth and trying not to laugh.
“It’s a misunderstanding!”
Behind Shin, who was desperately trying to clear up the misunderstanding with Tiera and the others, Shibaid was warning Filma.
“Take more care about the surroundings. Think a little more about it before you do things like that,” he said.
“I couldn’t do things like this before, so bear with me. Making fun of master is something you can only do at a time like this, so…”
Shibaid too noticed Shin’s present changed. Therefore he doesn’t stop Filma’s actions toward Shin.
“But you should have thought about what would happen next.”
Immediately after Filma wondered what Shibaid’s words were about, a hand was placed lightly on her shoulder.
The hand, which only seemed to be gently touching, completely stopped Filma’s movement. It was Schnee’s hand.
“Filma, you have helped me in many ways, but this time, I think we need to have a little discussion.”
Before Filma knew it, Schnee had moved soundlessly behind her. On her face was a cold smile that frightened even Shin.
Even in the cramped carriage, the abilities of the Kunoichi job seemed to be on full display.
“Wait, what? Isn’t this you know, the part where you make Shin blush by whispering to him, “I’ll do it for you later too.” isn’t it?”
“Of course, I will be doing that, but that’s not the case. It’s my fault that I was late to act, but wasn’t there something you could have done differently?”
The carriage was noisier than it was before arriving in Balmel.
Only Shibaid, who had taken Shin’s place as driver, pulled the reins of Kagerou as if nothing had happened.
“Not going to stop them?”
“It’s fine for now.”
Shibaid replied quietly to Yuzuha’s question.
They had found Miraltrea which was lost till now.
Everyone had a sense of upcoming trouble. Yuzuha also gave a small squeak in response to Shibaid, who said that it was okay to make a fuss at least for now.