Shin, who found what he looked for, unintentionally posed a victory pose. Tiera, who was watching Shin’s eccentricity, stayed on guard.
“Be delighted, Tiera! I just found out what causes your bad luck.”
“Believe me. I’m sure because the display status appeared. The color of hair changes, the multiple attacks by monsters, they are all caused by 【Cursed Gift】.”
Tiera was dumbfounded because she didn’t understand its meaning.
【Cursed Gift】 was a curse that suddenly occurred in THE NEW GATE. It was literally bad luck.
Originally, players could obtain 【Title】 or 【Gift】 from regularly clearing the quests. On occasion, support abilities and items could be gained from it. Depending on the 【Title】, stats could be slightly strengthened as more new skills became available.
Then suddenly the 【Cursed Gift】 had fallen to all players. The curse had negative effect such as random status degradation, gained all kind of abnormalities, random encounters with strong, unique monsters and so on. It could only be cured with the magic skill 【Purification】or by using the item 【Holy Water】.
Although the negative effect was random, the players with 【Cursed Gift】had some part of their body turn black. Their status screens also showed an image of a laughing reaper.
Subsequently, Shin had confirmed that there was a laughing reaper shown at Tiera’s status screen.
“Alright, to make this quick, Tiera, I want you to step out from behind the counter and stand at the center of the store.”
As Shin said that, Tiera stood at the center of the store without much resistance as she was confused at the situation.
“Here I go. Activate 【Purification】!!”
In order to eliminate the curse, Shin extended his right hand toward Tiera and activated his magic skill 【Purification】. Shin acquired the skill that mainly used by a priest due to a certain circumstance.
Golden light began to gather on Shin’s right hand. At the same time, Tiera’s whole body was wrapped in golden light.
Although Tiera was surprised when she got wrapped in the light, she didn’t feel any danger from the light emitted. Tiera felt comfort and warmth instead, while the purification process took place.
After about 5 minutes, the light gradually dimmed and disappeared.
Even after the light disappeared, the absentminded Tiera took a while to come back to her senses.
“…Was it successful?…”
Muttered Shin as he felt baffled. The laughing reaper’s icon slowly faded on Tiera’s status screen as Shin looked at it. However, the hair that should have returned to its original color, was still mostly black. A silver highlight was seen among the black hair.
The atmosphere between those two became silent for a while, because it was hard to determine whether the curse had disappeared.
“So, how is it?” Tiera asked.
“The curse is gone…it’s…it’s…but…the hair wasn’t completely restored…”
He had a hard time saying it.
“Ah…I’m sorry, only part of your hair returned to its original color. But just in case, please confirm it.”
Shin said while feeling discouraged. A mirror was taken out from Item Box and passed to Tiera. Tiera snatched the mirror from Shin after she heard the word hair, and held it in front of her.
Tiera’s face was reflected in the mirror. There was a face that never changed. But one portion of her hair changed into a shining silver-color.
It was obviously the color Tiera once had.
Tears started to flow down from Tiera’s eyes.
After that, tears started to burst out like a broken dam.
While wiping her tears with her sleeve, Tiera cried quietly.
And in front of Tiera, there was a man who was totally confused.
Needless to say, it’s Shin, after all.
The girl who cried in front of him was not a little child, but an adult woman, yet due to Shin’s limited reasoning ability, he just remained still in that situation.
“Sob…just a moment…hick…need to…catch my breath…”
“Ah, I understand. Just take it slow.”
Shin passed a towel as he returned to his senses and dragged the chair from by the counter to let Tiera sit while she wept.
About 5 minutes later, Tiera raised her face from the towel. No tears remained, but her eyes were still red.
“I’m sorry, I’m alright now.”
“Is that so?”
“Why are you using honorifics?”
“No, well. Even though I removed the curse, your hair is mostly unchanged so I felt apologetic for that…”
While Tiera was crying, Shin was afraid that she might get angry again because of the hair.
However, judging from Tiera’s expression, she hadn’t shown any signs of being angry. At this time, Shin became timid. And just a while ago, the position was the exact opposite.
“I’m good about the hair…Please don’t use honorifics towards me. After more than 100 years of having black-colored hair, even if it’s only a little that has returned, I’m glad.”
Tiera smiled and looked very happy as she said that. And all the frightening feelings that Shin had, dissipated after seeing Tiera’s smile.
“Really? I am glad too.”
But, Shin thought. His mother and his younger sister always said that the hair was very important to women. That’s why Shin felt unsatisfactory for her.
“Yes, I’m really good, so don’t worry about it. But is the curse gone for real?”
“Ah, it should be, no doubt about it. I think it will be clear if you go out from the store.”
Since Tiera said it’s good, Shin convinced himself not to fuss about it.
Tiera’s curse, which was random encounters with unique monsters, couldn’t be proven to have disappeared unless she went outside the barrier. Because high level unique monsters couldn’t creep inside the barrier.
THE NEW GATE pursued reality in the game, so unbreakable objects were almost nonexistent. And the player’s stores, like Shin’s, were often aimed at by thieves player.
Therefore, many skills barrier system existed to prevent intrusion to the store. Which were applicable to monsters, too.
“Honestly, it is a little scary. What if the curse wasn’t dispelled?”
“It’s okay. Since I was cured from the curse too.”
“Eh? Eh!! You got cursed too!?”
“Ah, yes, my curse type was random encounters with high level unique monsters too, but I cured it with 【Purification】skill.
When Shin was cursed, the unique monsters thoroughly tried to attack Shin repeatedly, until Shin was tired of it. And there was a time when Shin used them to raise his level.
“Is that so. Then, what was the highest level of monster that has attacked you?”
“Horn Dragon was probably the strongest. I think it was around level 200.”
“Is that the higher rank species of Lesser Dragon?”
“Ah, only a little.”
Horn Dragon was a higher rank species of Lesser Dragon, their size was twice as large and they had horns on their heads. Lesser Dragons were only around Lv. 100, but Horn Dragons were around Lv. 200. Tiera’s level was 57 from what Shin saw in the status screen, so there’s no chance of winning against the dragon.
In THE NEW GATE, the maximum level of a player was 255, and the maximum level of monsters was 1000. It was about four times more than the players. This was solved by reincarnation like Shin or other high level players. Especially Shin, or Rokuten similarly, could easily beat boss monsters and never get tired from it. But even Shin couldn’t let his guard down, as a boss monster was usually Lv. 1000. So Shin didn’t even feel any danger from Lv. 200 unique monsters.
“However, it is said that several elite forces of knights are needed to take on a Horn Dragon.”
“Elite forces? Why do they need the elite group for something like that?”
“Shh..They are the real elite, you know. Did you see a huge rampart next to the store before you came here?”
“Ah, I think I saw it.”
“That’s the reinforced rampart that surrounds the Kingdom of Bayreuth. Well, the captain of the elite force of the knights group in this country is only level 158. And the Horn Dragons are about level 200, so the captain needs 40 more levels to fight it head on. And only those with a screw loose in their head will take on that monster alone, so no one can brag about it.”
“Yes, it is absurd to even challenges the Kingdom’s no. 2 strongest alone.”
It seems that Tiera thought Shin was surprised by the captain’s high level. But actually, the level was too low. Shin thought it was absurd to have that level. And the level had barely reached the intermediate class in the player’s standards. Particularly, player’s standards like Shin’s.
If a monster that had a higher level than Horn Dragon appeared, it might annihilate two or three countries. Shin thought.
“Well then, let’s leave the store so that we can see whether the curse is gone.”
“Wait, didn’t you hear my story?”
“I heard it. It’s better to find out now if there are any more problems.”
“Not gonna happen. What if a Horn Dragon attacked us?”
“…….Hey, just to make sure, what is your level?”
“I’m level 255?”
Both of them went silent. Shin said it honestly, but it seems that Tiera doubted him.
“255…? Same as master?”
“Ah yes, my level is 255, same as Schnee.”
“Is it really true?”
“It is true.”
“Yes! yes! I’ve said it many times!”
The conversation stopped before it became a truth battle.
“Are you able to use 【Analyze】? If you can, then you can see my stats too.”
“I can’t. Only the skill successor can use it.”
“What’s a skill successor?”
“…I begin to doubt your common sense.”
If he was a resident of this world, he would know that too. But Shin, who arrived in this world just a while ago, didn’t know anything about common sense. Rather, he just assumed it was the same as in the game and went with the flow.
“Even if it’s said to be common sense, I do not understand it well because I lived far from human villages for a long time.”
Since he couldn’t say that he was in a game before coming here, he decided to say that he lived as a hermit. It was the most likely excuse for his ignorance of this world, thought Shin.
“I understand. I will tell you everything you need to know, just ask if you have something you don’t understand.”
Shin bowed his head to express his gratitude while Tiera said “Somehow…”.
“First of all, the skill successor. Because the people who can read the symbols are lost along with the skills. Skills can only be inherited nowadays. A lot of skills were lost during the ‘Dusk of the Majesty’ and currently, less than 100 skills still remain.”
“Less than 100, huh?…”
Shin unable to hide his surprise for that number. THE NEW GATE was known for its numerous skills, and the number coming out of Tiera’s mouth was not even 1/10 of the total amount of skills.
“Nowadays, skills are used to gain personal benefit. The people who make a living by fighting, such as adventurers and knights, are using weakened skills which are called Arts. Though it has the same name with as the original skill, its power and effect only amounts to 1/3 of the original. The magic my master showed to me was ‘Magic Skills’, but I can only use ‘Magic Arts’. And naturally the power gap is huge.”
“I see, the skills that turned weak are called arts. Is there a separate level in arts?”
Some level in skills have their own setting. Shin activated 【Analyze • Ⅹ】. He immediately understood the skill right away, because the letter of Ⅰ~Ⅹ was attached after the skill name. The lowest was Ⅰ, and the highest was Ⅹ. This setting system was almost nonexistent in combat skills, and most support skills were using this setting system.
“As far as I know, arts do not have levels like skills.”
“It will be hard to fight using arts…”
Shin couldn’t help to think that it’s difficult to fight using arts, as skills were more favorable than arts.
“You can use skills, right? What skills are you able to use? Just now you used one, didn’t you? How many skills can you use? 2? 3? No way!! Is it 4!?”
“Indeed, one digit is too few. I’m certain that I can use at least 1000 or more. Although I don’t know the exact number, because I never counted them.”
“What? 1000? Did I hear it wrong?”
Tiera tilted her head and thought whether Shin was making a joke or not. It felt like a joke, because it strayed too much from this world’s common sense, even though the joke was the truth.
“Do you have the【Analyze】skill by chance? I can lend it to you, although the skill is only level Ⅰ, so it can’t see my limit break level, but it wouldn’t hurt to have it either. Well, I’ll use the skill 【Secret Books Creation】.”
Tiera looked puzzled as Shin once again moved his hand in the air.
“Wha, what is this?”
Shin handed a scroll to Tiera. Various potential derivation of skills mastery could be learned and benefited if the skill proficiency was raised to a certain level. One of the benefits of 【Secret Books Creation】 was that it was possible to creates items. 【Secret Books Creation】 was able to make scrolls. When 【Secret Books Creation】 was used, it was possible for other player to learn the skill from the book.
Although it’s reasonable, various restrictions were imposed to the skill, such as the number of skills that could be made was fixed, players couldn’t learn the skill if the acquisition condition were not met, and so forth.
To begin with, 【Secret Books Creation】 also had some skills that were impossible to make. As there were only few strong skills that could be created by 【Secret Books Creation】. High class skills from 【Secret Books Creation】 were limited to low-level, and there was a level restriction too.
【Analyze】wasn’t technically seen a skill. Even the restrictions from 【Secret Books Creation】 were kept at a minimum. So Shin could share the skill with other players unlimited because of this. It was one of the reasons why he made that scroll.
“The secret book of 【Analyze】. If you read this, you will be able to use this skill.”
Because 【Secret Books Creation】was usable for a support character, Shin thought of making good use of it. However, he intended to apologize if it didn’t work. These kind of things wouldn’t be understood if he didn’t try it.
“Can the skill be used after this? But I don’t have anything of equivalent value to this.” “Equivalent value?”
Shin was going to give it for free, but Tiera seems didn’t get it. Apparently, skills were a substantially valuable thing in this world.
“I told you, didn’t I? Skills are valuable too. Anyhow, one would need a large sum of money for an apprentice like me to get a skill from a master. And you will give this to me for free?”
“Eh, It is, even though I was going to say it. Did I do something wrong?”
“For the time being, please refrain from raising this matter to anyone. Because it could become a serious matter. Depending on the situation, one life might be targeted.”
“To that extent!?”
Shin decided to instruct only the fellows he trusted with the skills from 【Secret Books Creation】, as he never thought that his life could be targeted by someone.
“Well, don’t get too scared. I think Tiera will be safe, so have you read it yet?”
“No, after I use it, will there be any compensation claims?”
Am I an evil swindler!? Shin wanted to retort. However, because there was the possibility of one life getting targeted, it was normal to be cautions.
“Giving away a skill for free is your modus operandi, isn’t it?”
“If that’s the case, then I should have made a high-class skill to deceive you.”
“To me, even this skill is very valuable. It must be a great feeling to have several skills.”
“But I cannot use arts. And I thought this is natural, so I have no feelings about it, because I think I possessed all the skills.”
“What a ‘luxurious agony’…well, whatever. I’ll receive it without reservation then.”
“Ah, don’t worry about it. It would be rather embarrassing if you didn’t take it.”
Tiera took the scroll and seemed convinced for the time being. Shin urged her to read it, so she opened it and took a look at the scroll.
When she began to read it, a light wrapped Tiera’s body and faded after 10 seconds. This was the effect when a skill was acquired. And apparently the skill learning process had been completed.
“How is it?”
Shin was anxious because he didn’t know if 【Secret Books Creation】 would work in this world. That’s why he needed to test it.
“Somehow it is a mysterious feeling. 【Analyze】 showed up in my head after I opened the scroll, and something like flows special effect coming out. However, there is no unpleasantness.”
“Eh, is that so?”
Shin was relieved as the skill was successfully learned. From here on, he would keep that in mind in case he used it again.
“I can see your name, but the other stats have a weird symbol on them.”
“As expected, the name is visible. Well, the weird symbol is called question mark. It will only show when the level difference is huge. So it’s common not seeing the stats.”
“Eh, originally the name is not visible. But now that I gained a skill, I can see it, although your stats are hidden because of the level difference. This skill more or less shows that you are indeed strong.”
“Will you believe me now? I will keep you safe from monsters when you go out of the store.”
“I have no choice but to consider what we have done till now, so I’ll believe in you.”
Tiera seemed more willing to believe in Shin thanks to the skill 【Analyze】 that she had learned. There might be some uneasiness of course, since Tiera had constantly been attacked by monsters up till now.
“I’ll go out first to check the surrounding area just in case. After that, please come out.”
Shin went out of Tsuki no Hokora and looked at the surrounding area to make sure there were no monsters around. 【Search】 also confirmed that there were no monsters in the vicinity.
“All clear, you can come out now!”
Tiera peeked outside the door as she looked at the surroundings.
At Tsuki no Hokora, there were skill barriers – 【Barrier • Ⅹ】 and 【Wall • Ⅹ】 set by Schnee. The 【Barrier • Ⅹ】 could prevent monsters from Lv. 900 to 1000 (Depends on the user’s levels) from attacking the store, and even if they attacked, the invisible wall could counterattack.
And 【Wall • Ⅹ】could prevent player intrusion (Also depends on the user’s level) from level 230-255. Because both of them were of the highest level, the invasion was impossible even with 【Cut Through】.
By the way, for 【Wall • Ⅹ】, it’s necessary to set the setting permission so that general guests weren’t mistaken for invaders. Players were prohibited using weapons and combat skills in Tsuki no Hokora. When Shin was the store owner before, he went into details, such as preventing players from equipping weapons.
At present, the radius of the barrier skills were around 20 mels. (T/N: In case you forgot, 1 mel = 1 meter)
“Come, over here.”
When Shin beckoned her, Tiera approached slowly. That was because Shin was standing about 1 mel from outside of the barrier.
Shin watched the surrounding area while Tiera was silent because of the nervousness.
For about 5 minutes, there was no change in the surroundings, except warm winds that stroked their hair.
“Nothing is happening.”
“Yup, nothing happens.”
Furthermore, after 5 minutes, Shin judged that there was no problem. It was because the curse would make monsters to attack once in every 10 minutes.
“There is no monster coming.”
In the first 5 minutes, Tiera was nervous and couldn’t stop checking the surroundings.
“The curse is finally gone, right?”
“It sure is.”
Tiera replied to Shin’s question while looking up at the sky.
The sky was so vast and blue, it made Tiera’s eyes open wide. It was not compressed by the store’s windows she always saw it from.
She could feel the wind, the sunlight and smell the scent of the forest. Such nostalgic feelings spread to Tiera’s mind.
Shin felt relieved as he saw Tiera looked up at the sky. While it was still necessary to be frightened by monsters, at least she no longer needed to worry about her surroundings or troubling people. It was possible to go outside the store freely from now on.
“The sky is so wide.”
Tiera muttered as she just remembered.
Then Shin looked up at the sky with Tiera for a while.
The corner of Tiera’s eyes shined as she looked at the wide sky, and Shin didn’t say anything.
“Let’s go back soon.”
Said Tiera, while Shin turned his gaze from the sky to Tiera.
“Let’s go then.”
There was no objection since they only came outside the store to confirm that the curse was dispelled from Tiera. After that, the two walked back to the store.
“Still, to really dispelled the curse.”
After she returned to the counter, Tiera muttered heartily. She still hadn’t caught up with reality.
“That was more or less because of the skill 【Purification】. If anything, I was having a hard time and went through a lot of trouble to learn this rare skill.”
“Any curse can be purified with 【Purification】, right? To think that it was hard to get this curse dispelled.”
“Why is that? Don’t priests have this skill? It would be strange if they don’t have one like it.”
“That’s not it. Because 【Purification】 can only be used by high-ranking priests, so I can’t really ask them to meet me. Also, due to the nature of the curse, I can’t come to meet them with all the monsters around.”
“However, that would have been different somehow if the curse effect was stats degradation.”
Tiera just said something dangerous without her realizing it. As for the stats degradation, the curse would make stats drop to 1/10 from the original. Even combating with small fry monsters would be difficult.
“Now that it is dispelled, it’s useless to think about it.”
“That’s right. After all, you are able to roam freely again.”
“Yes, although the elves dislike black hair, if the hair is not completely black-colored, it might be different story.”
“Hmm? If the hair is all black-colored, it’s no good?”
“Yes. I couldn’t even conceal my hair when I was cursed before. The dye would turn black after some time. But now that the curse is gone, I can dye my hair again.”
“Is that so.”
Because the act of dyeing hair was not possible in the game, Shin didn’t understand such things. To begin with, as soon as players got cursed, they immediately used items or found a priest to purify it. So the players never needed to dye their hair.
“Ah right, this is your reward for the materials and the jewel.”
Tiera placed a bag on the counter. It was swelled considerably, because there were more than 50 pieces of gold and silver coins.
“Can this fit into Item Box?”
When he tried to put it in Item Box, he saw Geyl gold coin slots in the display screen. And it also showed up 26 J gold coins and 27 J silver coins. Somehow, every coin was displayed, separated by type. It was indeed convenient.
“The coins disappeared? That’s convenient.”
Shin couldn’t say anything but smile wryly because Tiera already said what he wanted to. That was yet another use for Item Box for items. And there was no need for a wallet.
“For the time being, I need to find an inn to stay at for today.”
“Are you perhaps going to enter the Bayreuth Kingdom?”
“Yes, there are various places I would like to explore. Is there a good place to gather information?
“Well. Wait a minute, I will give you something good as an extra service.”
After Tiera said so, she went to a room located behind the counter. If Shin’s memory was correct, there was a private room there.
Tiera entered the room, and 3 minutes later she came out, handing a piece of paper to Shin.
“A letter of introduction from Tsuki no Hokora. With this letter, you can enter the country without having to wait in line for inspection.”
Apparently there was a waiting line to enter the country. Shin, who wanted to find an inn today, was feeling grateful.
“I appreciate it. I didn’t want to be homeless and sleep on the street when I came here. But is this okay? To give an introduction letter to someone who you just met today.”
Although Shin thought that he was not qualified, Tiera unexpectedly shook her head.
“The curse that stayed for more than 100 years was dispelled. Besides, you meet the qualifications. Moreover, I think you are a good person. There is no problem…Even with this, I still haven’t returned all your favors.”
“A good person…what did you say just now, I couldn’t hear the latter half?”
“Geez, I don’t care! I said there is no problem and please leave obediently.”
Tiera said so, while pushing the letter of introduction to Shin. Although her face looked downward to conceal her reddened face, it could be seen from her ears which turned slightly red.
“All right, all right. I will take it without reservation then.”
Again, Shin didn’t notice it. While another person would have noticed it, he himself was a dense person.
“Then I’ll go now. In addition, please take care of me the next time when purchasing the monsters I hunted.”
“I understand, please don’t force yourself too much. Because I’ll get nothing if you die.”
“See you then.”
“I’ll look forward to your next visit.”
Tiera lowered her head and Shin waved his hand lightly while exiting the Tsuki no Hokora.