TNG Vol. 19 Chapter 1 Part 8
“First, please take a look at this.”
Berett took out the map he had used to determine the route to take. The locations of reported sightings were marked, and at a glance, one could tell if it was the travel route of the EX series.
“These just show where the sightings took place, but if you look at it based on time instead of location, you’ll see things differently. For example, here.”
Berett pointed to a place located on the way from the center of Kern toward the area where it connected with Est. It appeared to be a mountainous area.
“This is the Bamot Mountains, which are lower than the Grandmost Mountains, but still a series of 3,000-mel peaks. I’m wondering how long it plans to stay there, is it temporary, about a month? On the other hand, this is…”
The next thing he pointed to was an oval-shaped symbol at the end of the road northward from there. It seemed to be a lake.
“Lake Calbaen, which is actually too large to be called a lake. This place is also temporary, but this one lasts at least half a year. The length of stay is too different.”
“Maybe this one is longer and this one is shorter?”
Schnee pointed to two other places, probably inspired by the two places and the time spent there. One seemed to point to a cave and the other to a forest area.
“Shin, I’ll take over.”
“Are you sure?”
“You should listen carefully to everyone.”
Yuzuha, who could not bear to see Shin, who had to turn around so many times because he was playing the role of a coachman, took the reins in human form.
The only thing to watch out for was to make sure there were no carriages or travelers in front of them, so there was no problem if they just wanted to proceed with Kagerou pulling alone. However, it was unnatural if no one was sitting in the driver’s seat.
After thanking Yuzuha, who had changed from fox cub mode to adult mode, Shin put the cloak he was wearing on her.
A woman in a Miko costume holding the reins was a strange sight to others. After he made sure the size of the cloak was changed automatically, Shin joined Berett and the others in their discussion.
“Sorry to keep you waiting.”
“No. Let’s continue. Schnee pointed out the Payak Great Forest, which is like a sea of trees with huge trees and small hills, but the inhabitants are ordinary monsters. In contrast, this is the Jayan Great Cave. It is said that the divine beast Aginosaura resides here.”
The divine beast Aginosaura was a quadrupedal monster whose entire body was covered with a very hard armor-like outer shell.
It had degenerated eyes and moved by digging through the ground with its huge claws like a mole. It had a unique diet in which it grew by eating minerals, and it protected itself by wearing part of the minerals on its body. It was also a monster whose drop items changed depending on its habitat.
The Jayan Great Cave was a long cavern that extended more than 500 mels underground, and the Aginosaura was said to be found at the innermost end of the cavern. It was a perfect place for an Aginosaura to live.
According to Berett, there were rumors of the dominion field of such divine beasts scattered all over the place.
“The length of stay in the Payak Great Forest is about one month, and the Jayan Great Cave is about eight months. I hope that conveys my point.” Schnee said.
“I see. So they’ve stayed in the divine beast’s dominion field for a considerable period of time.”
The length of stay differed too much between the dominion field of the Divine Beast and the other places.
The same was true for the other places, too; one or two places could be considered an error, but as far as they knew, there are five places in the dominion field of the Divine Beast and six places in the rest of the world. The duration of stay was clearly longer in the dominion field.
“What is going on with the divine beasts in the dominion field right now?”
Listening to Berett’s story, Shin’s mind wandered to another question, whether or not they would be able to make it in time.
The dominion field of the divine beasts was not a place where people could live. That didn’t mean it was okay to actively pick fights with divine beasts. Furthermore, there was a high possibility that it wouldn’t end with a simple fight.
“So far, there have been no reports of any divine beasts or people being killed. It seems that they are fighting, but not to the point of killing.”
Some of the investigators found a divine beast that seemed to survive the fight. It was battered and bruised, but it did not appear to be dead. There were also several other traces of what appears to have been a battle. They could not carelessly approach the dominion fields of the divine beasts, so not all of the places were checked.
Since there was no place where it could be said that the divine beast had disappeared or that the dominion fields had disappeared, it seemed that the fight itself was the objective.
“I thought they were going around hunting down divine beasts, but I guess not.”
The concept of the EX series was “A doll that can fight head-on with divine beasts”.
Fighting the divine beasts may be the raison d’être of the EX series, but it was not a reason not to finish it. Their ultimate goal was to defeat them. The dolls don’t need food or materials, so there was no reason why the divine beasts must be killed.
“The first thing we saw in the Granmost Mountain was a figure advancing deep into the mountain. It seems that a hunter at the foot of the mountain reported to the guild that he had seen a giant at dawn. Then, a week later, an investigator from our Golden Company witnessed the EX series. Considering the cases we’ve seen so far, we can expect to still have about half a year to spare.”
Berett also said that even if the EX-series were to descend the mountain, he had made arrangements for the observation teams surrounding the mountain range to contact them immediately. They were prepared to evacuate at once if they appeared to attack the village at the foot of the mountain.
“If they’re well-prepared, they must be in the Grandmost Mountains, right?”
“Yes. There are two mountains in the Grandmost range that are the same height, and it is said that the divine beast Maganna is at the top of the third highest mountain after those two. I can’t say for sure, since the information is either eyewitness accounts or vague, but I am certain of it, considering the weather in the Grandmost Mountains and the lore that remains in the town.”
The divine beast Maganna was a monster with a snake head and four arms, and the lower half of its body was a snake. Its total length exceeds 20 mels, and the part standing up from the ground alone was more than 5 mels. The entire upper body was covered in icy scales, as if wearing a scaled mail. Its arm strength was very strong, and its main method of attack was a physical attack using ice tridents. The divine beast manipulated the trident so skillfully that it was hard to believe that it had only three fingers.
The scales on its lower body were as hard as steel, and it wore ice scales on top of them, so its defense was extremely high. A blow from its whip-like tail was like a stinging steel ball flying straight at you in a line. Its only flying weapon was an ice press, and it was also a monster that excels in martial arts, which was rare among divine beasts.
“Isn’t it one of the highest mountains?”
What is it? Shin asked in a roundabout way.
“The highest mountains in the Granmost mountains are called Iira and Venna, respectively, but we cannot get close to them at the moment.”
In the center of the Grandmost Mountains were a pair of mountains of the same height. Maganna seemed to be located in one of the surrounding mountains.
“Also, this is unconfirmed information, but there was something intriguing about the information gathered and the records left behind by the lord of the town at the foot of the mountain.”
Berett continued as if it were just a possibility.
“If any of them are correct, it is possible that there are not only divine beasts in the Grandmost Mountains, but also gods themselves.”
Berett said with a slightly grim expression.
In the world of THE NEW GATE, there were gods. Not an insubstantial god as a symbol of lore and belief. It was a god with a physical existence who could interfere in this world.
A divine beast was something that had god-like powers in this world, or, in other words, an apostle of god. They had their own dominion field and, depending on the type of divine beast, could affect many things, from weather to vegetation. However, very few of them actively attacked people. Most of them stay within their own dominion field and were harmless as long as others did not come close to it.
God, on the other hand, had many connotations. Some gods would rage, wreaking havoc, while others healed and saved people and monsters alike. In addition, even the same god could take on a different appearance depending on the state in which he or she appears.
Appearance conditions, location of appearance, fighting power, and standards of behavior.
Even gods that appear in the same place have different characteristics and behavior patterns, making it difficult to take countermeasures against them. The standard course of action when fighting a god was to take countermeasures under certain conditions, and to retreat immediately if it failed. It was not uncommon for the same monster to have different behaviors and appearances, which was why the lore that remained in the game was often varied. However, the gods were still classified as monsters. Shin and his guildmate actually fought and defeated the gods many times.
“Legend has it that the gods live here on the highest peaks of the Granmost mountains. The fact that Maganna, who is the strongest in the Granmost mountains, does not approach either Iira or Venna further reinforces this possibility. Not much lore regarding deities can be relied upon. But it is also true that the lore does not match Maganna’s behavior. So I assumed that there is a god and expected that his stay would be longer than if he were dealing with a divine beast. The reason we are preparing to evacuate is because if we are dealing with God instead of a divine beast, there is no guarantee that it will not affect us as well.”
God is powerful. It’s just an order of magnitude stronger than the monsters out there. What was particularly troublesome was the fact that the place where they fight was inevitably a field in which the god was strong. If it was a god of fire, the surrounding area was a sea of fire; if it was a god of water, there was heavy rain or flooding.
Shin had hunted them for materials in the game days, but he expected that they would not be that easy to defeat here. He had a hunch that the two, Iira and Venna, would be a little more difficult to beat.
“They are really well prepared, as you say, huh?”
“We had made preparations as soon as we had gathered information. If they start to move to another location, the tracking team will respond.”
Until now, they only had information and could not directly confirm their appearance. However, this time, EX series and Miraltrea were definitely active in the mountain range. This reason was enough to gather the investigators who had been scattered. The fact that they were able to set up a surveillance network around the mountain range as if it was a natural thing showed how much care Berett had put into this matter.
“If you’re that thorough, it looks like it’s going to be okay. Then, let’s proceed without haste.”
Berett had taken care of everything that Shin had been worried about, so Shin was able to relax his mind.
As for the gods, there were too many factors to consider, so there was no other way but to deal with them on the spot. Even in the game era, even if one stepped into a dominion field or fought a divine beast, the gods did not always appear.
“Iira Suura and Venna Var, huh?”
Shin, who returned to the coachman’s stand, muttered the words while holding the reins, and a reply came from next to him.
“From the name, I think it’s one of those two. A big mountain is sacred by itself, so it’s easier for gods to manifest. The conditions are met, according to him, anyway.”
Yuzuha was in adult mode, so she spoke fluently, but Shin also has the impression that she has changed a little.
“Have you grown up a little?”
“Yes, just a little.”
Shin didn’t notice because he was distracted by the conversation when he switched drivers and immediately put the cloak on her. Looking at her again, he got the impression that she has passed the stage of being a girl.
He could sense that she was rather laid-back, but he chose to use a forward-looking word, as he was not trying to be a stranger, given her past personality. He had no other intention.
“That’s how it is. Now I can relax and enjoy the changes.”
“Is that so?”
Shin didn’t quite understand how to enjoy a change in personality.
“But isn’t Shin a little disappointed?”
“What is it?”
A question mark appears above Shin’s head, as he was not sure what Yuzuha means.
With a mischievous smile on her slightly grown-up face, Yuzuha whispered in Shin’s ear.
“I can’t take off my clothes when I’m this grown up.”
“Don’t say that like you were expecting me to!”
I wonder if she was influenced by Filma or something like that. Thinking so, Shin dropped a ‘Karate Chop’ on Yuzuha’s head. The pain in Yuzuha’s expression was an act, since the knifehand strike was made as if he was stroking her.
“Let’s get back to the topic. Do you think they will come out?”
“I don’t know. Maybe one or even both may appear?”
“As I said in our discussion earlier, it depends on what state they come out in. If they come out in battle mode, there is no way to stop them except by defeating them.”
A god in battle mode was a fearsome force in its own right. If left unchecked, it would begin to move and destroy everything in its path. If that happened, Shin would have to leave the EX series and Miraltrea behind to face the god.
“If so, I’ll help you then.”
If we interfere with the mountain’s ley line, we can at least prevent the god from leaving the mountain for a little while, Yuzuha said.
“I’d appreciate that, I heard there is a town at the foot of the mountain. We don’t want them heading that way.”
Berett said he’s well prepared, but it was better to have more cards in hand in case of an emergency. So Shin asked Yuzuha to be his reliable partner.