TNG Vol. 19 Chapter 2 Part 1
While traveling the roads, Shin continues to scout the area.
After about two hours of traveling, he noticed several presences and approaching carriages. The road was well maintained to make it easy for carriages to pass through, but apparently, the security aspect of the road was not quite as good as it could be.
By combining his detection skills, he had noticed signs of approaching presences, but by using them in conjunction with the map, he was able to obtain more accurate information.
With that in mind, Shin thought for a moment.
“They’re getting a little closer, but with Kagerou’s speed, can we get through before we’re surrounded? …No, Kagerou, slow down a little. Let them get closer and they’ll think you’re getting tired.”
Hearing Shin’s instructions, Kagerou slowed down the carriage. He even slowed down and acted like he was out of breath.
“Don’t you want to shake them off?”
Or are you going to go out of your way to fight? Sety poked her head out of the hood and asked.
Everybody was scouting the area individually, so they had noticed the incoming presence.
“If we shake them off here, the carriage we overtook just now is likely to be targeted. With those horses, even if they are not at full speed, they can’t shake off those who have been following Kagerou’s footsteps even for a little while. With this, that carriage will be targeted. If you were attacked and the people inside died, it would have a bit of a bad aftertaste, wouldn’t it?”
The carriage they passed was a common carriage. There were three armed men who were probably escorts. The armed men were surprised at Kagerou, but the driver was not chagrined. Rather, Shin remembered that he had the expression of having seen something good.
In addition, there was a child in the carriage, whose eyes lit up when she saw the Kagerou. That made Shin even more determined to stop the presence that could be a threat.
“That’s right. Berett said there was plenty of time to spare, so we should be able to take care of that much.”
Sety, too, was probably reminded of the child. The expression on her face was full of motivation. While they were talking, the carriage reached the speed of a normal horse.
Then, the presences that had been moving around the carriage narrowed their encirclement.
However, with the addition of [Far Sight] and [Through Sight], as well as [Analyze], the identity of the approaching presences were already clear. With their overwhelming searching ability, Shin and his team were able to gather information important to the battle, such as the number, placement, and type of enemies, even before the fight.
The hunters, who thought they had cornered their prey, only realized they were the prey when they attacked.
“Do you need materials?”
“I don’t have any use for it. But maybe we can sell it at the guild for some money.”
Shin thought for a moment before replying to Sety, who asked him in a light tone as if they were discussing dinner.
It’s unlikely that his money would run out, but when it came to the money he had earned, he wondered when the last time he had an income. The only time he could immediately recall was during his stay with Schnee in Erkunt, when he received a commission from the guild. He was recognized as an A rank back then, so the request at least earned him enough to live on.
“I have my savings at Tsuki no Hokora, but …are you in need of something?”
“If you just say the word, I can give you a loan.”
“No, that’s not what I meant. It just occurred to me. Don’t worry about it.”
Schnee and Berett talked to Shin, but he told them not to worry, because there was no particular reason for it. Each of them was talking in a different manner, probably because of their different positions.
“Well then, I’ll try to keep the material as pristine as possible.”
Sety said she wanted to try to see how far she could go to minimize the damage and finish them off, and began preparing her magic, waving her right hand like a conductor’s baton.
A monster resembling a cheetah emerged from the trees growing on either side of the road. It was the High Runner, a monster that was said to have all of its stats allocated to speed.
The level of the High Runners were around 250, and there were no particular individuals that stood out. The fur on its body stood up in an unnatural way and, every time it took a step forward, part of its body became transparent, making it difficult to see.
“I kind of feel like my eyes are going crazy.”
Tiera, who had been watching the High Runners, said while rubbing her eyes.
“That bristling hair has a bit of a cloaking effect. It doesn’t make their whole body transparent, but if you’re not used to it, you can misjudge their distance. But you should be careful about speed. It produces a speed that is unthinkable for their level.”
Other than speed, most of their stats were inferior to level 100 monsters, so they usually could be defeated if hit. They were not a scary opponent if one could hit them with a ranged attack that left no room to escape, or if one could hit them at a speed faster than that High Runner.
Normally, they were the kind of monsters that would run away if they sensed Shin’s presence, but it seemed that they were unable to sense Shin’s strength because they suppressed their presence so as not to startle the travelers and the horses that pulled the carriage. If they had attacked the carriage running behind Shin and his group, at least they wouldn’t have been annihilated.
Sety stopped her swinging arm. Shin felt a release of magic power from the index finger of her right hand.
In the next instant, the High Runner’s head fell off.
On Shin’s map, not only showing the individuals’ reactions, but also those that had been hiding among the trees, disappeared. It seemed that she had finished off the High Runners in the vicinity with a single blow.
Seeing the heads of the High Runners that had been growling at them fall off, a voice that could be taken either as admiration or dismay escaped from Tiera’s mouth.
Although Sety took some time to prepare, she pinpointed and instantly killed enemies within detection range without any chants, no support equipment, and no vision.
Her skill was far from that of a typical mage.
“This is what happens when you improvise.”
Shin praised Sety, who was a bit proud of her performance.
As far as Shin could tell, the MP consumption was lower than usual. The power was just right, neither strong enough to explode nor weak enough to cause a fatal injury.
It would be easy to produce simple power, but the current Shin could not imitate such precise control.
“Shall I go retrieve it?”
Shin quickly stowed away the dead body of the High Runner and returned.
The good thing about the item box was that it would automatically separate the materials if he didn’t want to leave them as they were, so he didn’t have to spend time stripping them off.
They picked up speed and hit the road. Other than being chased by the High Runners, they continued their journey until nightfall without much trouble.
The place where they stopped was neither a town nor a village that were used as stopover points on the roads leading to large cities, nor campsites that were maintained for easy rest. It was close to a forest inhabited by monsters and wild animals, and was not a suitable place for camping.
But that was the story of ordinary merchants and travelers, who would set up one or two guards and then take turns resting in their carriages or in tents…this was not the case for Shin and the others.
The [Barrier] and [Wall], which were automatically activated when the Tsuki no Hokora materialized, kept both hostile monsters and people at bay. If they tried to attack, the barrier would even automatically counterattack.
Shin and the others themselves also had high-level detection abilities, so it was almost impossible to sneak into Tsuki no Hokora. Those who have tried to do so had been met with a savage reception.
“I have to say, I feel like I’m staying at a luxury inn somewhere.”
“Because Cain and Reed also cooperated a lot. And even the other members joined in. Thanks to that, it turned out to be more amazing than I expected. It took us three months just to gather the materials.”
Shin laughed as he recalled the time when Berett said this to him while tucking into a bowl of stew for dinner.
At first, the building was supposed to be more compact, with the blacksmith shop as the main attraction. But when one opened its doors, the original concept of a blacksmith shop and an extra dwelling was nowhere to be found.
A room for Shin and his support characters, plus a room for visitors.
A workshop and a storehouse for storing finished products.
A shop area for selling equipment, various items for cooking, and so on.
The number of building materials needed grew rapidly. If each member’s opinion was taken into account, there was no doubt that it would become a mansion, and there must have been more facilities that would make people say, “You don’t need that!”. However, Cain, who was an architect by profession, was not afraid to take the ideas of “Isn’t that a bit too excessive?”. He took the members’ opinions and incorporated them into the blueprints, and said, “It could be done with the mysterious space expansion unique to the game.”
The final result was the Tsuki no Hokora (Moon Shrine). The comfort level was further improved with the addition of a toilet, which was not present in the game.
“I doubt I could gather even one-tenth of the materials used today. The chair I am sitting on now is made from the World Tree. The plates are made of Dien Stone, also known as ‘White Gold’ because of the rarity and the processing difficulty of the material , the pottery is made of Malama Clay, also known as ‘Unmoving Assassin’ which absorbs life force just by touching it. Even spoons and forks are mixed with orichalcum and mithril. Experts in that field would faint if they saw these.”
Considering the current era, the precious materials that must be kept strictly in the treasury of a great nation were being used in large quantities. Just taking out one set of dishes, a plate, a cup, a fork, and a knife would be worth enough to live in luxury for the rest of your life, Berett grumbled in dismay.
“In the past, valuable materials were also circulated to some extent. I’m sure there are things that are valuable now, but weren’t so in the past?”
“That’s right. The overall quality has declined. The same goes for wood, but especially materials related to the sea. Underwater combat requires a different skill set than fighting on the ground, and equipment such as a sword without a specific attribute can only be used as a talisman. Mereme moss and sea magic stone, which grow on underwater rocks, are always in short supply.”
Mereme moss was a necessary material for enchanting the [Dive I] skill, and sea magic stone was used to grant the water attribute. Berett said that both are now becoming more difficult to obtain, since the deeper the material was, the higher the quality. The sea magic stone, in particular, was used in magical tools that produce drinking water, so there was a bidding war to purchase as much of it as possible.
“We still have the equipment left behind by Reed, so we can secure a certain amount, but only a handful of other merchant associations have a stable supply.”
It was said that trading companies that employ fishermen and mermaids were strong in this area. There also seemed to be some trading companies that specialize in particular fields.
Shin and the others proceeded down the road while hearing about the current business situation from Berett.