TNG Vol. 19 Chapter 2 Part 2
Two weeks after starting their journey, Shin and his group arrived at the first resupply point, Macalla.
Macalla was a large city situated on the route to the north of Kern.
Several cities have formed a federation to function as a single country. It was similar to the Beast Alliance Falnido. However, there was not as much racial polarization here as in Falnido.
The main population consisted of Humans, Beasts, and Dwarves, who made up 90% of the total population. Next were Elves, Pixies, and Dragnils, who made up about 10% of the population. The Lords were few and far between.
“The Lords are gathered in the great northern kingdom, the Demon Empire Reigand. And unlike other races, the Evil Eye, which works just by looking at them, can easily be feared.”
“Are they also subject to discrimination now?”
Players in the game era recognized that the Evil Eye*, a skill unique to the Lord’s race, was quick to activate but weak in power. (TN: changed from Devil Eye)
In terms of combat, it was not as good as humans’ magic resistance to status ailments, and the dwarves’ bonus to specific skills. In the first place, there were some complaints about the unique skills of each race, such as Dragnil’s Breath, Elves’ and Pixies’ Spirit Arts were too strong.
“The Beast’s Transformation and Physical Enhancement were accepted normally though.”
Shin recalled how race-specific skills were handled in the game era, and he mentioned that the perception of players at that time was also a bit strange.
“That’s probably why Breath and Spirit Arts were outstanding. I’m well aware of the fact that they are easy to use and apply.”
“That’s true. Although it is inferior to Breath in terms of power, in terms of practicality, Spirit Art is overwhelming.”
“Now you can use it together with magic. The power is about 30% stronger.”
Schnee and Sety, who could also use Spirit arts, pointed out the advantages from Berett’s opinion.
“Breath is focused on power so it’s not very useful outside of battle. If you use it incorrectly, your allies will get involved, so I don’t think I’ll actively use it.”
“Come to think of it, I haven’t seen you using it since you joined us, Shibaid.”
It seemed that Shibaid had used it against a horde of monsters during the empire defense line, but Shin wasn’t there so he didn’t see it.
“He was blasting away at them in a big way. It was different from the way Shibaid usually fights.”
Sety, who was working with him, said as she recalled those days. After preventing a long-range attack aimed at Shin, he ran into a crowd of monsters and went on quite a rampage.
“Well, talking to everyone like this reminds me of when the Evil Eye was just a personality. Speaking of which, what kind of ability does Filma’s Evil Eye have?”
“My evil eyes are a supportive ability that allows me to use my magic power more efficiently. The most important thing to remember is that the eye is not a replacement for the beast’s physical enhancement since it’s less efficient. Also, I can boost magic, but I’m better at cutting than that, so I don’t use it much. You can imagine how it works.”
Evil Eye was mainly classified into three systems.
The offensive type, which had effects similar to those of offensive magic.
The abnormal type, which gave effects such as paralysis and charms.
And the auxiliary types, such as Filma’s evil eye, which boosted the effectiveness of skills.
Players often chose the offensive type, while support characters often included abnormal and auxiliary types. The offensive type was useful in battles between players because it could shift the timing of the opponent’s attack without using skills and could also act as a deterrent. However, the higher the player’s level and equipment, the less useful they became, as they would be repelled by their own defenses.
“Let’s stop talking about abilities. There are more people coming.”
A line of carriages was forming toward the gate of Macalla. Even though they had arrived, it would be some time before they could enter the gate.
Shin and the others lined up and waited their turn, exchanging information with a carriage vendor who happened to be next to them. Once inside Macalla, they headed directly to the branch of the Golden Company. Urgent information was sent by message card, but everything else was to be received at each branch.
“No changes so far?”
“No change within the visible range, so there’s a possibility that a battle is going on inside.”
Berett said this, but his calm expression showed that he thought it was unlikely.
Shin also agreed.
If it was a battle between the EX series and a divine beast, he expected that there would be changes that could be recognized from the outside, such as ground rumbles and sounds. Most of the divine beasts and their equivalents that Shin and his guildmate had fought up to now had also caused a storm of destruction in their surroundings.
In fact, in places where the EX Series has been sighted so far, continuous bursts, crashes, earth rumbles, and other phenomena, that were believed to be the sounds of a battle between a divine beast and the EX Series, had been confirmed.
The battle started before one knew it and ended before one knew it. This was not likely to happen.
Food and other supplies had already been prepared, so they left as soon as they updated the information. Even though they had made up the distance by teleportation, it was a distance that would take more than a year to travel in this world. There was no reason to stay at the supply point for long.
“From here, it would take more than half a year even for a well-trained warhorse. But at this speed, I am sure it will be less than half that. The time is shortened only because we have Kagerou and a carriage that can withstand his running.”
Inside the rattling carriage, Berett talked while looking at the scenery that was flying by.
Since the carriage was traveling at the same speed as a car in modern times, the time it took to reach the destination couldn’t be compared to that of a normal carriage. It could be shortened a little more, but, when passing other carriages and travelers on the road, the speed was slowed down, so it took longer than if they just drove on.
If they went too fast, they may be mistaken for monsters or bandits and attacked. One time, when they were too late to slow down when overtaking a trading party, their escort was deployed and a battle almost broke out. Since then, they proceeded with caution.
“Can’t we just avoid the roads?”
“It’s fine if it’s a plain, but otherwise it’s not suitable for a carriage to run on. Shin would be able to modify the carriage to suit the environment, but it would be meaningless if he had to go a little further and modify it again and again. If it’s Shin or Schnee, it’s probably faster to run. But I’m not confident that I can keep up.”
“I feel the same.”
Sety nodded in agreement with Berett’s comment.
There was also the option of riding Kagerou, but then only Shin and Schnee would have no problem, and Filma would be able to keep up with them with the combined use of magic power-blast. Everyone else would be left behind if they didn’t take a ride. Even if the AGI value, which was the speed on the status, was higher than Kagerou’s, the strides were too different. Unless the difference in status was so great that it could compensate for it, they will not be able to beat a large monster like Kagerou in simple movement speed.
And no matter how big a monster Kagerou was, if they had Tiera, Sety, Berett, and even Shibaid on board, they would be over capacity. It was not impossible if Yuzuha also cooperated though.
“What about moving like when you were in the sacred place?”
“It’s not impossible, though. I did it because there was no problem with pushing through that place. If you do that here, you’ll blow away the forest, the rocks, the mud, and everything else. It’s pretty dynamic as it will be a great destruction of nature.”
To add to that, it would definitely be considered an unknown monster.
If something approached in a straight line through a place that no one could pass through, it could cause confusion for Macalla as well. Unless there was a pressing need to do so, they would not use that method.
It was the same reason that they would not ride Yuzuha and Kagerou. Two divine beasts coming toward the town on a pathless road would be a major nuisance to the said town. Even if they did not recognize them as divine beasts, rumors may spread that the town was suddenly targeted by two large monsters. The damage caused by rumors in this world was nothing compared to that in the real world.
There was also a way to use [Hiding], but even if Shin and the others could be concealed, the smoke, footprints, vibrations, etc. could not be hidden. It would either show up as a bizarre phenomenon, or it would result in more alarming results if something unseen was moving around. Either way, it was certain to cause trouble for those who have nothing to do with it.
“Then it can’t be helped. But I have too much free time on the road.”
This was a world without mobile games. If one were escorting a carriage, they have to be on the lookout while walking around the area.
“I have some books.”
“Reading is good once in a while.”
While Shin was discussing blacksmithing with Vulcan in Erkunt, Schnee used to wait for him by reading a book. She had a spare pair of glasses and some books she used at that time. There were some stories that were unique to this world, and Shin would read them from time to time.
“Do you have any books on magic?”
“There are a few that summarize theoretical systems, but I don’t know if they’ll be of any use to you.”
“Okay okay, I’m just trying to pass the time.”
Schnee often reads not only books from the game era, but also books from the current era. Since she met Shin again, she didn’t get many chances to see him because she had fewer opportunities to do so.
She realized it again when she and Shin lived together in Erkunt. This was not a setting given by Shin when he created her as a support character, but something that Schnee herself, who had lived in this world, was interested in.
“Let’s see, the reasons and conditions for the birth of Chosen Ones?”
Shin, who had heard that it was a theoretical system and thought it had something to do with magic or skills and arts, just couldn’t help but speak up when he heard the title of the book that Sety had mentioned.
The book that Schnee materialized seemed to have been written by an inhabitant of this world.
“There are a fair number of people in this world who are trying to solve mysteries. But they don’t come out very often.”
The Chosen Ones were also treated differently in different regions, and as the title suggested, there was a tendency for few people to think about why such an entity came into existence in the first place.
“When I think about it, I don’t know the definitive reason. I thought it was the reincarnation system at work.” Shin said.
“I agree with you. However, the reincarnation room in the solitary island sacred place didn’t seem to work.”
“Did you check that part as well? It was completely out of my head. I didn’t have time to investigate when I was sent to Kalkia.”
When he was transferred to Kalkia, he focused on getting Rionne safely outside. Even when he went to Eleven’s sacred place, Shin was thinking about where he was going to attack and whether there was a trap, so he didn’t think about the internal structure.
“It was a special situation and we didn’t have the luxury of time. I haven’t confirmed it clearly either, so it’s not impossible that I could be wrong.”
According to Schnee, when she and Shin went to the sacred place – the main city during the game – she noticed a presence. There was a huge crystalline stone floating in the reincarnation room, which was used to change races or to upgrade to a higher race, that one could look up at. Schnee said she could feel a unique presence coming from the crystalline stone.
“Because it was a game, it’s like something you just can do. It’s not like you’re starting over as a baby.”
“If you tried to integrate that into this world naturally, it would be like it is now.”
The only thing that changed was the limitation of skills and equipment due to the decrease in level and status, but there was almost no change in physique after reincarnation in the game era.
As one would expect, when one’s race changed, one’s appearance also changed accordingly, but there was no change except for one’s racial characteristics. For Shin, it was more apt to say that the body was remade rather than reincarnated.
“If a race can be changed at will, that’s a problem.”
“I think all humans want to be of another race. Humans were unpopular in the world before ‘Dusk of the Majesty’.”
“I can’t deny what you says, Berett”
If one raised a human hard enough, they could fight reasonably well. However, other races were more glamorous in many ways. Combat, production, research. There was nothing that only a human can do. The fact that there were no strengths or weaknesses in acquiring skills was attractive in a sense, but that was not a reason to bother choosing humans.
If they were going to go to the trouble, they would want to be active in the field in which they were going to advance. Even if that is not the case, there were many humans who yearn to be a long-lived species.
Shin also believed that Berett was not wrong in thinking that if reincarnation were possible in today’s world, there would be many people who would want to change their race.
Especially those with position, power, and money often seek something that had the effect of prolonging their life or rejuvenating them in the end, which was often seen in fiction. In reality, it was no different.
“But I do wonder about babies being able to use their skills.”
“I agree with you on that. If you specialize in magic, it can be a disaster for everyone around you.”
Shibaid, who had actually experienced such a thing, said with a serious look on his face. It was not uncommon for babies to almost blow up the people around them once or twice.
“In the empire, whenever possible, the birth of a child is attended by a Chosen One who excels in defense. Especially when a Chosen One’s child was born.”
“If the parents are Chosen Ones, is it more likely that the child will be a Chosen One as well?”
“No, they are classified as children of the Chosen Ones, but in most cases they can be said to have inherited their parents’ abilities, unlike those who are born unexpectedly. This one is almost never harmed by mishandling of ability control. It is when a Chosen One is born from an ordinary person that it tends to go out of control.”
However, it seemed that even the children of Chosen Ones were not entirely free from out-of-control abilities. In an emergency situation, they may use more powerful skills than their parents, and a more skilled Chosen One was said to be present at the birth of a Chosen One.
“I didn’t realize we were living in a world where people felt they had to risk their own safety to give birth to a child.”
“Hadn’t you ever heard of anything like that? It’s in no way that you didn’t have to travel back and forth to the outside world, did you?”
The fact that not all the ingredients were provided in the garden, Shin also heard the saying. If he had the chance to go out on the town, he could have heard about it there.
“It’s not that I didn’t go outside, but I didn’t hear anything. If rumors spread, I might have heard it, but it doesn’t happen that often, does it?”
“That’s right. There weren’t many things that caused damage to the surroundings. Even when I was the king, it should have been about once every few years.”
By making sure that the Chosen One was present at the birth, it seemed that even if it did happen, there was rarely enough damage. It didn’t seem to be zero, though.
“In the empire, what would you do if a baby was born to be a Chosen One from ordinary parents? Will the parents raise them as they are?”
There were those who had abilities that were different from those of ordinary people. Shin wondered if the parents would be able to handle it if they were ordinary people. It was quite possible that the child had the power of a monster’s blow to their parents, even if they thought they were just playing around.
“If the baby is a Chosen One, the state is supposed to take care of it. Of course, the parents can visit them at any time.”
In most cases, the country will take care of it. While confirming how much ability the child had, they teach them so that they could adjust their strength even against ordinary people.
In any country, there were usually one or two Chosen Ones, so many countries have the same approach regardless of race.
“If there is a problem, it would be when the baby was snatched by an individual.”
There were also those who recruit Chosen Ones outside of the country, such as nobles, local lords, and large merchants who want the strength to fight. There was no problem if they were well-educated and work as escorts. However, it was also true that they may be forced to use their power for other purposes. Sometimes, they did not give them a proper education, but made them like puppets or made them do dirty work.
Eline, who was once a knight under the control of a bishop, was a case in point. The bishop took in Eline, who was not strong enough, and gave him a unique education that distorted his personality.
“Some have even attempted to overthrow the state by assembling highly competent Chosen Ones. In order to eliminate such things, the state is taking over. It’s not yet completely ingrained in the populace, though, and that sets my teeth on edge.”
Prejudice against the Chosen Ones was more or less prevalent throughout the continent. If not for that, life may have been more peaceful. Shibaid concluded.
“Maybe we can look into that too the next time we’re in the Sacred Place.”
“Yeah, I suppose. If we can figure out the rules and trends, we can at least come up with some countermeasures.”
Even just a little, would be better than nothing.
The problem, though, was that most of the time when they go to the Sacred Place it’s an emergency, and they’re likely to forget about it.
“Speaking of which, does the book say anything about the cause?”
“According to the book, it’s written that it might have something to do with the Ley Lines.”
Babies endowed with special powers.
Could such mysterious occurrences be related to the Ley Lines, which also have some kind of supernatural power surrounding it? Some scholars seem to think so.
“Oh come on sis, I just picked up the book, and now you’re spoiling it with your conclusion.”
“My bad. Then again, it could also be fun to read while trying to figure out how I came to that conclusion.”
“I guess you have a point…fine then. I’ll read it and come up with my own deduction.”
Sety quickly opened the book and began to read, since it was originally intended to pass the time.
Other books on magic were piled up beside Sety. She was going to read them all.
“You wanna read too, Schnee?”
“Yes, that’s the plan.”
“Then could you pick one out for me as well? I’m gonna be bored out of my mind otherwise.”
Once Sety quieted down, Filma received a book and a pair of glasses from Schnee. A lot of them seem to be reading books from before the ‘Dusk of the Majesty’.
Tiera was sitting, holding what looked like a twig with both hands for support, with her eyes closed in silence. She seemed to be concentrating.
Next to her, Shibaid was meditating. And Berett was flipping through a stack of papers.
While each person was killing time in his or her own way, Shin was in the driver’s seat watching the ever-changing scenery.
He could relax and enjoy the scenery without having to worry about going off the road from negligence in making every little adjustment.
And on Shin’s lap, Yuzuha was sprawled out in a baby fox mode. She was completely out of it, and when the carriage bounced, so did Yuzuha.
“Be careful so you don’t fall, okay?”
Her dazed voice was a little worrying, but in all rationality; even if she fell and rolled around on the ground, she wouldn’t suffer any injuries.
That’s how stacked her stats were, it wouldn’t stop Shin from trying to prevent it though.
“Okay then, we’ll soon be reaching the next town…how come you’re all suddenly in glasses mode?”
All the members present were wearing glasses and reading a book when he turned around to inform them of the staging post that was about to come into view.
Tiera and Shibaid were participating as well, which seemed oddly comical.
“Is something wrong?”
“No, nothing. I just thought you all look good in those glasses.”
Schnee, Tiera, and Sety give the impression of being intelligent women. The sharp design of their glasses may be one of the reasons.
Filma wasn’t included because she was wearing her 『Magic Armor of Hollow Lacquer』, not to mention her face. The armor covers a significant portion of her skin, making her look good, but at the same time unbalanced.
Berett was wearing round glasses, which made him look more like a merchant. He might as well fiddle with an abacus and it would be perfect.
The one that baffled him though was Shibaid. He was wearing a monocle.
It was in Shibaid’s right eye, which, unlike the original monocle, could be snugly attached without falling off no matter the position. These differed only in shape, and the effect of the monocle also extended to both eyes.
Each of them seemed to be reading a book suited to their taste.
Tiera was reading a botanical encyclopedia, while Sety was on another magic book, perhaps having finished reading the one she borrowed from Schnee.
Shibaid was reading an adventure story, while Berett was reading a history book.
Surprisingly enough, Schnee and Filma were reading the same love story.
“What? Is it so surprising that I’m reading a romance novel?”
“I didn’t say anything…”
Filma noticed Shin’s gaze and said in a sulky tone.
It was a little unexpected, no doubt, but Filma was a woman, too.
It’s a little hard to imagine from her rough fighting style and the way she always teased Shin and the others, but it was nothing out of the ordinary that she’d be interested in romance.
It was rather understandable, considering the fact that she would smirk and question the relationship between Shin and Schnee.
Shin thought so, but Filma didn’t seem to think so.
She used the book as a shield, trying to escape Shin’s gaze. The way she peeked out from the book and glared at him was cute, unlike her usual dignified appearance.
“Why not cut her some slack? It is what she likes after all.”
“But I didn’t say a thing. She’s free to like whatever she wants.”
He was a little defensive, perhaps because he thought he was going to get some payback for the teasing, as he usually did.
Shin had no intention of venturing any deeper, so he waved for her to get back to reading, and then turned to hold the reins.
They were now running on a plain with a good view, so even if he looked away a little, he wouldn’t bump into anything or go off the road.
Despite this little episode, Shin and his party proceeded smoothly on their way.
Thanks in part to Kagerou’s efforts, they were somewhat faster than Berett expected.
“I can see it now. Yuzuha, do you feel anything?”
“The Ley Lines are a little more active. But I don’t see any bad signs.”
Yuzuha answered Shin’s question in adult mode. It would seem that it wasn’t uncommon in places where there are thick ley lines or where multiple ley lines converge.
“But damn, it’s huge looking at it again.”
Shin looked up at the mountain range and murmured.
The closer they got, the more he was made aware of its grandeur.
The two tallest mountains, Iira and Venna, were hidden in the clouds that covered the sky. More than half of the mountains, not just the summit area, were obscured.
Shin had once climbed the sacred Mt. Fuji back in Japan, and it didn’t come close to the Grandmost Mountains. It was simply enormous. Ridiculously so.
“We are, climbing this…”
Tiera was overwhelmed by the majesty of the mountains and mumbled in a daze.
Shin felt the same way.
Despite having traversed similar mountain ranges back in his heydays as a gamer, he was still overwhelmed by its magnificence. Faced with reality that seemed to be trying to say: your experience is nothing more than fiction.
“I guess I better go over my gear.”
He had already prepared his cold-resistant gear so that he could set out into the mountains at a moment’s notice.
However, having been met with more pressure than expected, Shin decided to review his equipment just in case.