TNG Vol. 20 Chapter 1 Part 4
The next day. After leaving Bear Point Pavilion, Shin and his group visited the church orphanage.
After the rescue mission for the kidnapped Millie, Shin was swept away to Hinomoto while traveling on a ship and since then had not been in contact.
“Ah, isn’t it Mr. Shin! It’s been a while!”
Rashia, who had learned 【Purification】 and had officially taken over the church, was the first to notice Shin and the others. She seemed to be cleaning the garden and had a broom in her hand. Standing before Shin and the others, she straightened her back and put on a serious expression.
“Thanks to you, we can survive without destroying the orphanage. Once again, I would like to thank you.”
The broom in her hand made it awkward, but her voice and gestures were very polite and conveyed that she was speaking from her heart. She wore a solemn aura, unlike how she screamed against undead monsters.
“I heard that you also helped Millie and helped expose the fraud committed by the priest. Thank you very much.”
It was supposed to be her first time meeting Schnee and Shibaid, but she must have heard about their cooperation, and Rashia once again bowed to everyone.
Rashia was teary-eyed, probably overcome with emotion as she recalled that time.
“No, I just couldn’t overlook it. Besides, I also had something to gain, so it’s a win-win situation. Right guys?”
Shin, who had not expected Rashia’s behavior, spoke to Schnee and the others in as cheerful a tone as possible.
Although it was a coincidence, they rescued the former player Milt from being manipulated and released Filma after being sealed in the ‘Drop of Erathem’.
If Shin had not been involved in the church incident, Milt might have been used as a fighter for the Summit Faction, and Filma might have remained sealed up or been used for evil purposes. He didn’t receive a reward for saving Millie, but he did get something in return. Shin felt a little uncomfortable if they were too formal about it.
“The church has saved many people, and it is natural for us to work together to overthrow the unscrupulous people who stand in the way.”
“That’s right. Besides, they tried to kidnap Millie and use her, so it’s a deserved retribution.”
Picking up on Shin’s intention, Shibaid and Tiera spoke to Rashia. Schnee also smiled gently.
Rashia, perhaps sensing the mood, rushed to explain.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you all uncomfortable. I’ve been getting a lot of help, so I wanted to say at least thank you.”
“No worries, let’s make ourselves comfortable with each other. What about Millie? Wilhelm was with her, so I trust her to return safely.”
Shin had left Millie in Wilhelm’s care, so it was understandable that he was concerned.
“She’s doing well. She had a somewhat eye-opening experience, so she’s a lot more mature than before.”
Rashia smiled as she said that Millie was leaving the orphanage less frequently. However, it seemed that she had not stopped. It was also when she was sneaking out that she met Shin, so perhaps she was not sneaking out just to satisfy her curiosity.
As Shin was thinking about this, he noticed multiple presences approaching.
It was Millie who took the lead and jumped on him. The children from the orphanage followed her, and then Sister Thoria came up behind them.
Shin was reminded of Yuzuha doing the same thing when he was rubbing her head as she hugged him.
Shin stroked her head in the right spot, and she, in turn, moved her head that way. Somehow Shin felt like he was dealing with a beloved cat.
He looked at the kids who had caught up with him, and they opened up a little distance, looking alternately at Shin and behind him.
Behind Shin was Shibaid. The Dragnil’s huge body would make the children look up at him and might be hard for children to approach.
However, rather than being scared, the children’s expressions were a mixture of interest and wariness. Since Shibaid was acquainted with Shin and Tiera, their interest outweighed their fear.
Nonetheless, it seemed that even in this world, Dragnil was considered cool, and it was no illusion that the boys’ eyes seemed to be shining.
“This dragon person here also helped us to save Millie. He’s a good person, so don’t worry.”
Tiera said, and the children slowly approached and bowed their heads. Like Rashia, they thanked them for helping Millie. Not to the individual, but most likely to everyone.
“Speaking of which, isn’t Wilhelm here?”
Shin said, looking around as he responded to the children. Wilhelm was not at the Adventurers’ Guild, so Shin wondered if he was here.
“Brother Wil is at work. He said he’s going to defeat a skull or something?”
“Oh, you mean the Skullface subjugation?”
Although Wilhelm had no party, his combat power completely differed from an ordinary party’s. His weapon had been strengthened, so his ability was several levels higher than before he rescued Millie.
While Wilhelm may have appeared blunt, he was a kind man who cared about the children. He was among the few people who saw Shin’s fight with the unique Skullface firsthand. He might also be wary of the possibility of another one like it appearing.
“Is there something you need from Wil?”
Rashia tilted her head.
“I wanted to ask him a few questions about Wraith Plains. There seems to be a bit of a commotion.”
“I see. It’s not a big deal at the moment, but if it continues, I might not be able to say that anymore,” said Rashia.
It seemed that even the townspeople were also starting to hear rumors. They do not appear on the roads, and there is no direct damage, so it is still only a rumor.
When Shin first arrived here, merchants and adventurers were attacked by Skullface, which appeared in the forest. He remembered some people heard the adventurers talking about it.
People from all walks of life come to the church, including those who come to pray and those who wish to be cured of injuries and illnesses. Rashia said that since there are different types of people, she can find out somewhat how such rumors are spread.
Shin had requested information as a reward when he had her learn 【 Purification】, so she was conscious of remembering even the smallest conversation.
When she took notes and summarized them, she said excitedly that she was surprised to find more information than she expected.
“Come to think of it, did I request that?”
“Don’t tell me you forgot about that…”
Rashia was stunned, but Shin was hardly aware of the reward at the time. He just wanted a reason to lend a hand.
“My bad. Also if Wilhelm is there, it should be okay even if the number of monsters increases a little, and we plan to help out a bit. So when the time comes, I’ll blow them away all at once.”
“Please don’t overdo it.”
Shin said it jokingly, so Rashia seemed to take it that he hadn’t really forgotten. She responded in a light tone that matched Shin’s.
She and Wilhelm must have seen Shin reap Skullfaces, but she was quite confused at the time, so she may not remember it.
“So, aside from that, I came today to find out how Millie was doing after that incident. I couldn’t spend much time with her because of the trouble. From what I saw, there didn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary about her.”
Shin decided to send Wilhelm a message card later and changed the subject.
While Rashia and Shin were talking, Millie was running around the square in front of the orphanage riding on Yuzuha, who had grown a little bigger than her.
Previously, Yuzuha had run away to Millie after being pulled by the children who had gathered around her. However, when she was big enough for a child to ride, the children at the orphanage did not needlessly pull her tails and whiskers. Perhaps Yuzuha had learned that if she remained small, she would be again used as a toy by children.
“I agree. She didn’t want to leave Wil when she returned, but now she’s doing the same as before.”
“I see. That’s a relief.”
Earlier, Rashia mildly described the experience as “eye-opening,” but it could have been traumatic.
However, from what Rashia said, that did not seem to be the case, and Shin breathed out a sigh of relief for a moment. Mental trauma could not be healed by recovery magic; Shin could not do anything about it.
“Now that I think about it, what do you tell the other kids about Millie?”
“I told them that she had gone out for a while. Fortunately, no other children besides Millie saw her at the crime scene.”
Fortunately, Millie was the only one who came to the crime scene.
Rashia’s wounds were quickly healed with Shin’s items, and both Millie and Wilhelm returned safely. They also wiped up the blood at the scene so no one would know they were injured.
Some of the orphans were beasts. The children with a sharp noses might have noticed by smell that something had happened, but Rashia and the others stayed the same, so they didn’t poke at them.
“It’s over now, so if they don’t know, that’s fine.”
The original culprit was eliminated. There was no guarantee that someone with knowledge of Millie’s power would not do something similar, but the danger had been greatly reduced. There was no need to go out of your way to tell the other children.
The orphans were divided into two groups: those chasing Yuzuha, Millie’s ride, and those playing with Schnee and her group.
It all started with Millie and Yuzuha, but the child who had begged Tiera to play with her made the same request this time. Starting with Tiera, who was already popular with the orphans, other members also seemed to have gathered orphans.
The boys either followed Yuzuha or went to Shibaid. The girls either approached the women they were interested in or went to Shibaid.
“It’s hard to believe that they were wary of him initially.”
“He’s quite fond of children.”
Shin and Rashia look over to see Shibaid walking with the orphans on both shoulders. The boys were on the right, and the girls on the left. Both were cheering and frolicking. The children who couldn’t get on were clinging to his arms or hanging on, but his strong arms didn’t budge.
When the child clinging to him was about to fall, he deployed a small defensive barrier to catch the child. Shibaid later told them that he used to do the same thing in the early days of his empire’s establishment.
Shibaid would take turns carrying the children who begged him, “I’m next!”, “Then me!”. Some of the older children were also mixed in there.
“I guess you could say he’s the most popular.”
“It’s me and Thoria who deal with the children. Many other women have come here also. So the children don’t get to play like that very often.”
Not that there weren’t men who would be willing to play with the children. However, few of them were accustomed to playing with children, so it was a bit awkward for them. The situation seemed different for those who play with the children instead of those who receive them.
After leaving the orphanage and starting work, they were already adults in the world. It was not easy to change jobs, and it was difficult to make a living unless you had a job.
They must learn to work hard to make a living and cannot think about playing. Rashia said that’s probably why she was worried.
Shin did not know what to say to this reality, which was harsher than he had imagined. Even the children smiling innocently would eventually have to contend with this reality.
While she was thinking about this, some boys approached Shin and the others.
They were probably waiting for them to finish their conversation.
“Hmm? What’s wrong? Is it me? Or is it Rashia?”
A few of the boys pointed toward Shibaid.
Oh, that’s what the kids wanted, Shin thought.
Many of the children were excited to be on his shoulders or hanging from his arms, but only Shibaid was currently doing that. The women were either fussing with the little ones or playing make-believe with the girls, making it difficult for the boys to get close to them.
Sety was the only one being chased by the children, and there must be a childish reason for it.
Schnee and the others could easily carry a child on both shoulders if they wanted to.
But it would be unreasonable to expect a child to know what they were capable of, and even if they did, a boy would probably be too embarrassed to hold on to them.
Shin, however, was different. He was not as big as Shibaid, but his physique wasn’t bad either. He had once visited the orphanage, so his personality was somewhat well-known. And above all, they were both male. It was easier to ask for a favor.
“All right! Those who want to ride on my shoulders, line up! Take your turn!”
Shin announced with a smile, trying to make it as casual as possible. In these circumstances, he couldn’t say no to the children.