Shin set aside his worry and headed toward the guild. Though the rumor about the Skull Face was true, they hadn’t heard about it. In addition, the Jack • Skull Face basically has several Pawn class subordinates, so he couldn’t assert that it became safe just because the Jack class was subjugated.
Shin had been searching for enemies in the surrounding area when he left the battle location, but there were no signs of other monsters in the surroundings. Did it act alone? Or were its subordinates swallowed up by the dance and sliced into pieces? It was very likely the latter if one looked at the Skull Face’s actions. It was not a movement that could distinguish between friend or foe.
Even a normal adventurer of this world could handle a Pawn class monster, so there was no problem if it was revealed to be Pawn class. But the story was different in case of a unique monster like the Jack class. From Beid’s way of speaking, he seemed not to worried, because a Jack class monster didn’t came forth very often.
Nevertheless, would it end with only a mere unique monster appearance this time? It was the anxiety of Shin, who was ignorant about this world.
That said, the current Shin didn’t understand it no matter how much he thought about it. He thought about whether he should ask Els or Celica again about that situation and opened the guild door.
The guild was the most crowded place Shin had ever seen. The place where adventurers assemble, was crowded with adventurers who were armed with swords and spears, and wore armor and robes.
Besides the anxious feelings, the place generally had a feeling of excitement to it. There were some unusual people who didn’t seem to be agitated.
“This is somewhat imposing.”
Although there were many people, the receptionist desk was not crowded, so he decided to report it at once. Conveniently, Celica was at the receptionist desk. Shin was saved from trouble because the contents of his report were more or less better told to a person he knew.
“Hello. I have something I need to report.”
“Thank you for your hard work, Shin-sama. The report?”
“It was about the Skull Face. However to be sure, how much is known by now?”
“Tsu!…the Skull Face is known to be Jack class, it’s been reported from surviving adventurers that the Skull Face holds a weapon that is stronger than normal. Every individual confirmed it in general. The Pawn class subordinates are not confirmed yet. Currently, subjugation requests have been issued. It became top priority, because the place in question is near the kingdom. Various A and S ranks are all out because of the situation, and are getting ready to set up a front party with B ranks and below.”
It seemed that its battle style was not known. But it was the information regarding the weapon that Shin was anxious about.
“The weapon is stronger than normal?”
“Rather than a common greatsword, the Skull Face’s sword is around twice as big.”
“…It’s a greatsword, huh? Any other information about the sword?”
“No, that’s all we know for now.”
The information about the sword had already circulated after all. As expected, the adventurers who survived the battle did not forget the weapon of the enemy. However, the greatsword which that Jack class was using should have been charged with light magic of the light attribute. Why was there no information about that?
“…In summary, it is a Jack class with a larger than usual weapon, right?”
“Yes. The level is presumed to be at least 200 or more.”
Hmm, Shin pondered. That was not the answer Shin wanted to hear, he wanted to know whether or not the greatsword was charged with light magic. But from Celica’s story it seemed like the weapon of the Jack class was just a mere greatsword. Because he expected that a magic bestowed weapon would be rare, he was in danger of being suspected to have a connection with the sword that flew into the royal castle if he unskillfully mentioned it.
The idea of a totally different Skull Face appeared in Shin’s mind, but the idea of two Skull Faces would only make uproar if he mentioned it. Besides, was there such a thing like two Jack • Skull Face with similar greatswords appearing at the same time in the same place?
“Ah, sorry. Just slightly lost in thought.”
Celica was slightly worried, because Shin had pondered while his facial expression showed a serious look. According to Celica’s judgment, Shin was one of the few people with fighting power equal to the S class. If such a person was making a serious face when hearing the information about the Skull Face, it couldn’t be helped that she became uneasy.
“What are you thinking about?…”
“Well, I was thinking about what kind of items Skull Faces drop.”
Shin thought about the greatsword, about whether or not it was charged with light magic and what kind of questions he should ask to find out, but could not say it. Instead, he decided to ask about the item drop.
“Item drops? Uhm, If I remember correctly, it drops a jewel, worn-out armor and a sword, which can be sold at moderate prices, I think…”
“Oh, is that so. Iyaa, I completely forgot about that, hahaha”
Shin behaved cheerily so that the lie he told wouldn’t be exposed, but by all odds, he behaved suspiciously.
However, Celica didn’t notice Shin’s strange behavior because a Skull Face of the Jack class was a formidable opponent, so she wasn’t worried about the item drop. In the guild, a senile looking man laughed unnaturally as he replied to a woman, which was an out of place scene.
“That reminds me, what kind of case would Shin-sama like to report?”
“Oops, sorry. It’s an important matter. I want to report that the Jack • Skull Face in the northern forest was killed by me. Ah, this is the jewel which I recovered at the time.”
“Really? Skull Face…Skull…that…?…uhm, was it Pawn class?…”
“No, it was a Jack class. It had a greatsword too.”
Celica’s movement became awkward as she tried to take out the document like usual after hearing Shin’s words. Somehow she managed to return a question about whether she misheard Shin’s words, but said question was denied plainly. It was so surprising that no words came out.
“Eh? Ah!? So-sorry! I was surprised for a moment.”
Celica pulled herself together and apologized in a hurry. That caused her tone to return to normal.
“Is it that surprising?”
“No, not at all!? At least an A rank with considerable ability is necessary to subjugate the Skull Face of Jack class alone. Please do not say it like it was a trivial thing!”
“I knew Shin-sama was a strong person…but subjugating it alone on the day the request is issued is unheard of.”
“That encounter was a coincidence though…”
“Still, normally a person would return first and report it to the guild, then attack after they firmly prepared. I think only few people would think of attacking it on the spot.”
“I see. No, but certainly my weapon is like this.”
The sword, which was mostly just a hilt, was shown. During the fight, when he heard the crack, the katana’s blade was already in a sorry state. In other words, its state was currently worse than a bamboo sword.
“Ha!? Has it shattered!”
“I only managed to keep this little part.”
“What kind of absurdity did you do!?”
“Wha!? Celica-san, too close! Too close!”
He held Celica’s shoulders to stop her from approaching any closer and climbing over the counter while her expression changed. Because of the sudden action, their faces approached each other until they were around 20 cemels apart.
Shin was experiencing a trivial, internal conflict about whether he should praise or scorn himself for reacting to Celica’s unexpected action.
“Eh…Ahh, I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to do such a strange thing. I was worried that you got injured or rather I got too excited…Wait, what am I saying!?”
The shaken Celica was amusing to Shin as he watched her. Shin almost retorted as he looked at her. She appeared to be so surprised that the Jack class was defeated by him alone.
“An intellectual, cool woman who is both shy and nervous…? Somehow this is…someone is coming!”
It’s better for me to come, but don’t give off some half-baked calmness. You are kinda conspicuous.”
“Huh? Oh, Els”
Is this gap moe?…Shin nodded alone as Els called from behind him. Apparently, Shin and Celica’s conversation was attracting attention from the surrounding people without them knowing it.
“Excuse me for intruding. Besides, just now the embarrassed Celica-san was so cute.”
“Though I agree there, I would like you not to bully your colleague too much.”
“I’m sorry. But it was not intentional, the explanation still remains.”
“I know. Because I also saw her.”
“If that’s the case, what about my opinion…”
Els and Shin who hastened their conversation, ignoring all of Celica’s words. If Els was there from the beginning, Shin felt that the situation would not become like this.
“Don’t say that. I have even prepared in various ways and was gathering information.”
Els’ attire was not the miss receptionist look like what Celica was wearing. Instead she was wearing hunter-equipment that was made for easiness of movement. She wore a slightly long leather jacket which seemed to be made from a durable material, together with a pouch to store small items and compression shorts that went to her knees, which were covered by long boots. The bow on her back was the fundamental equipment of a hunter, while a dagger was tied to her left thigh. Her long hair was tied up and the atmosphere around her was different from before. It was ‘the hunter who was aiming at something’ presence.
“About the Skull Face?”
“Yeah, it’s the monster that appeared in the northern forest. Quite some time has passed since the rumor started circulating. However, this time it holds a stronger weapon than a Jack class usually does, and for the first time harm has been inflicted to someone.”
“Oh, about that, I also saw it, too. Certainly, it swung a greatsword around.”
“I thought Celica was surprised about the appearance of the Skull Face and the sword together, but it seems to be different matter.”
“More precisely, it was really combined, even though I killed it.”
Shin uttered the killing part in a low voice. When he talked to Celica, he had to say it out loud, because the surrounding noise was loud.
“…If that’s true, I understand why Celica was flustered.”
“That’s right. It’s not funny.”
Els who joked around, stopped Shin’s words. The Celica who just returned her composure, barely responded with agreeing words.
“Even though it’s hard to doubt you, do you have any proof? It’s not possible to trust you completely, even if you subjugated it.”
“I only collected a jewel though. To begin with…what is the proof part of a subjugated monster? I don’t know what is it for Skull Face.”
From the remnants of the game, Shin hadn’t collected drop items that were common. He recalled the proof part for the guild and had completely forgotten that he could not prove that he subdued it if there was no proof.
“Did you collect the armor and the sword? Jack class certainly have good equipment, there are people who have sold it to increase their funds, and those who use it themselves.”
Shin racked his brains about how to overturn the not trusting response of Els. Anyway, beside the greatsword that vanished in the sky, he didn’t think that the helmet and the armor could be collected now.
“I wonder how much value such things have.”
“Those don’t seem like the words of an adventurer…”
From Shin’s expression, Celica and Els understood that the words he muttered carelessly were the truth. Shin was strange. Though Els was said to be modest, she needed a considerable amount of funds to buy the same or equal quality equipment as the Jack • Skull Faces in this world. At least A and B ranks would not easily get their hands on it. It was natural that Shin, who treats it like that, was seen as strange. Because he implied that he didn’t need it, and it was hardly said by other adventurers.
“Well, if the jewel get examined by an appraiser, it will be alright I guess. Because the jewel it dropped had the magical power of the monster charged, it should be revealed that it belonged to a Skull Face.”
“Is that so?”
Els decided not to think too deeply, and let the jewel speak for itself if it turns out to be evidence. Though it takes time and was more difficult than the finding of other proof part, if he could prove that he had really subdued it, there was no problem even if some time was lost to some extent.
“But it will take a while, so the jewel will be kept here as it’s being appraised. Though it’s possible to sell it right away.”
“Ah, this time I will pass. Because I don’t mean to sell it for the moment.”
“Alright then. I will contact the person in charge at the inn as soon as they finish appraising it. The inn is Bear Point Pavilion, correct?”
“Yes. Well then, thank you.”
Celica took over from Els’ speech and skillfully conveyed that it will take time. She was in complete working mode.
“That reminds me, why did the Skull Face appear so easily in the northern forest? I’ve heard that rumor before.”
“Originally the undead monster group was born because grudges and regrets of the living meets with magic power. Moreover, though ferocious monsters inhabit the northern forest, there was no end to the people who set foot in there, because there are precious medicinal herbs and materials to be collected. Subsequently, numerous people had lost their life because they were attacked by monsters. Therefore, the condition for the undead to be born was set. However, the appearance of a strong magical individual like the Jack class had not naturally occurred in that environment. Because normally in the northern forest, the Skull Face is a Pawn class.”
Els added that she thought Shin might have mistaken it for a Pawn class. Moreover, it seemed that no one has actually fought it for it to be confirmed its authenticity. Nobody tried to verify it expressly because it was no more than a rumor.
“By the way, what is the range level of a Jack class?”
“It is confirmed that the lowest is 150, and the highest is 250. It is classified as Queen and King class for levels beyond that.”
Apparently, the upper level limit for every monster did not seem to have changed somehow.
“Then. Will it be an exception this time?”
“What do you mean by that?” “What?”
Two people reacted to the words from Shin. As expected from staff of the guild and an adventurer, it was a split second reaction.
“The Jack class which I fought had a level exceeding 250.”
“That, is that true?”
“No doubt about it because I saw with 【Analyze】. I think it is probably a unique, or special monster. There were no Pawn class followers in the surrounding area unlike the normal one, too.”
“Just to confirm, what was its exact level?”
“It was 359. I think it was already a King class if my memory is correct.”
Jack class certainly appeared in 【Analyze】, and in the first place, Queen and King class Skull Faces’ physique and equipment don’t match. When the level was excluded, the weapon and the movements were nonstandard, but there was nothing strange besides that.
Again, two people became speechless from Shin’s words. There were various questions that popped up inside their heads, such as ‘Should I believe it?’, ‘Is he mistaken?’ and so on.
“…Is there something wrong?”
“Rather than unpleasant…no…I seem to be confused. Celica, I guess there is probably a method that can roughly examine the opponents strength in the jewel, right? Then how about we try that?”
“――tsu! Then I will hasten the appraisal of the jewel. Els, I’m sorry, but please take care of the rest.”
As she replied to Els’ words, Celica bowed to Shin and took the jewel in his hand and headed for the other side of the reception desk.
As for the easygoing Shin, he felt admiration about the convenient method.
“Good grief, what a guy you are.”
“If it’s true what you said about the level, your strength can be compared to at least an entire A rank party. But if it’s a lie, then you’re a great braggart.”
“Well, If it’s wrong, that means I saw it wrongly. Besides, isn’t my rank G? No one will believe if I said that I subdued a Jack class.”
“Though that is certainly so, if they don’t know the circumstances.”
“Then, that’s nice, I guess. Though I don’t mean to attract attention with the words I said until now.”
Although it felt like his words were contradicting his actions, Shin chose to not stand out because he didn’t want to be troubled by the attention towards him. Shin’s only purpose was to return to his former world, and joining the guild was an effective way to gather information.
“I reported it because if one would wander aimlessly to search for it and that would be bad, I guess. If possible, I don’t want it to be known that it was my doing.”
“Although I want to comply with your will, I think there will be people who investigate it even if I hide it. Because normally it’s natural to introduce oneself as the one who did it, right?”
“You have a point…”
Though Shin understood that, he felt it was bothersome as she said it clearly. There would be a commotion only for this. The adventurer that defeated it would be considerably famous, but it was too unnatural if the person chose not to divulge his name. It would be inevitable that people wanted to know the reason that he didn’t appear.
When it was revealed, it surely would attract attention if he was a G rank adventurer. It was troublesome no matter how it turned out.
“Sorry to trouble you, but it seems that I’m not able to help you with much.”
“I don’t intend to put a burden on you there, so it’s fine. For the time being, I have to find a meal to eat.”
The problem wasn’t solved from worrying meaninglessly. He decided to have lunch as a change of mood. Inside the guild was so crowded that hardly any seats left, so he decided to go outside the guild, to eat lunch.
Since Els stayed in the guild, Shin walked on the main street alone. He headed for the restaurant which Els and Celica, who returned from the interior of the reception desk, recommended together.
After walking for a little while, the restaurant that hung out the signboard where a sword and fork were drawn, came into view. It was said that every chef were a former adventurer, and seemed to be offering exotic dishes such as dishes with rare ingredients and so on.
“Is it a fighting chef?…like Cook?”
He remembered the woman who did the cooking in the ‘Rokuten’, and a wry smile leaked out. She was particular about securing materials by herself, therefore she was an oddball whose stats were said to be on the verge of the maximum value.
To begin with, there was no oddball in the ‘Rokuten’, but the figure that handled a handiwork kitchen knife in both hands while preparing to cook a dragon left a strong impression in Shin.
“Just by remembering it makes me hungry…”
Because his stomach started to growl, he quickly opened the door. The restaurant was crowded, probably because he arrived during lunch break.
“Welcome. I’m sorry. You will have to wait a bit!!”
The voice which likened a bell resounded in the noisy restaurant. There was only one waitress who went back and forth between table and counter. Although he was hungry, he felt sorry for rushing it in this situation.
Shin stood quietly beside a door and looked at the restaurant interior. Was it because it was near the guild?, or because the restaurant manager was a former adventurer? Most of the people inside the restaurant were equipped with armor and weapons. They were probably the people who gathered because of the Skull Face, Shin guessed.
“Thank you for waiting. Let me guide you here…Isn’t it Shin-san?”
“Yep? well, errr…Celica-san? No, is it Cilica-san?”
Although Shin was surprised at the sudden words, he could see properly that the hair was in a ponytail not like Celica’s, so he noticed it was Cilica. He thought about whether Celica had changed her clothes again for an instant.
“That’s correct. Is it because of a recommendation from Onee-chan that you have chosen this restaurant?”
“Yes. I’m grateful in various way.”
“…Isn’t it too early for an ordinary person to be recommended here.”
“? Did you say something?”
Cilica muttered something with serious face for a moment. Though Shin felt inclined and asked, she just smiled and said nothing. Since pursuing it would be strange, the conversation stopped there. He didn’t want to have a long conversation beside a door, too.
He was guided there when a group seemed to leave by chance, so one table was vacant. Shin felt awkward to use the table alone, but unfortunately the table for one person was filled. He gave the consent to Cilica that he wouldn’t mind sharing the table when other visitors came, and then he ordered a dish.
“Uhm, Shin-san. Because a new visitor came, share the table, please. Thank you.”
“Ah, yes. I understand.”
Cilica turned up after Shin ordered a dish almost without pausing and requested for him to share a table. The one who came over was a man who was also an adventurer with a spear which emitted a poisonous-looking radiance.
“…Is that ‘Venom’?”
Shin muttered as the spear that could be said to be ominous was seen.
Devil spear ’Venom’―― 《Legend》 grade that had the ability that could be compared with 《Mythology》 grade, was a weapon that had a clear distinction from 《Rare》 and 《Unique》 grade.
“Sorry to bother you.”
“No, you saved me from trouble. I was hesitant to occupy the table alone”
While greeting lightly, Shin looked at the man. His height almost the same as Shin. His eyes were red and gathered his raven-black hair roughly behind his head. His skin was white like the skin of a sick person. Though he thought that the man had a good-looking face, Shin had the impression which stood contrary to his appearance. The man was like a wild beast. He had a sharp glint in his eyes, indicating that the man has made it through violent situations. In addition, he had the same composure to kill as a beast.
His level was 188. This man could probably defeat the normal Jack • Skull Face alone.
“I am Shin. This must be fate or something, too. Although it’s only for a short time, nice to meet you.”
“…There is still a guy who has not yet heard about me, huh? I’m Wilhelm Avis. Are you a new face among adventurers?”
“That’s right, it’s my third day today.”
Shin observed the man as he greeted him, and Wilhelm told him his name. Shin answered the question while looking puzzled to Wilhelm’s words.
Suddenly Shin noticed that all the visitors in the restaurant paid attention to him, although the surroundings were still noisy. But Shin was still a rookie adventurer. So it would be Wilhelm who attracted attention. Even though Shin did not understand the reason why Wilhelm attracted attention, he decided to leave it alone because there was no harm for the moment.
“Third day? That equipment is quite good for you. Are you employed as a mercenary?”
“No, well, you might say that it’s because I have traveled from a faraway country, I think. So I lack a little knowledge about the common sense here.”
“No wonder you don’t feel nervous when hearing my name. A normal adventurer and me wouldn’t share a table, I guess.”
“I don’t feel nervous? …What on earth did you do?”
Shin calmly asked about it, despite of the intimidation situation which seemed to caused some person break out in a cold sweat. The surrounding adventurers were thinking: “Why is this guy speaking with him overly familiar”, their hearts were all screaming together.
As for Shin, he didn’t feel the intimidation, not even in the slightest. It was just a somewhat over-familiar question because he thought the man he saw had more or less never committed any crimes.
“No big deal particularly. I only killed undead monsters for quite some time. So people don’t always approach the place I fought. It was said that I continue to fight to the point where I can absorb the undead’s power.”
“What is that?…I don’t understand the meaning.”
Shin didn’t believe it was only that simple. He wondered whether or not it was a joke.
“I am the same, too. Well, a guy with a low ranked who believed this is a fool. The true reason is because I have this.”
As he said so, Wilhelm grabbed the spear which leaned against the wall – the devil spear ‘Venom’.
“This guy is ‘Venom’. It is a weapon of the 《Legend》 grade, and it has the ability to absorb the vitality of the opponent it wounded, and share it with the user. Though it is a convenient thing, 《Legend》 or higher grade weapon means it possesses a power that can blow anyone away. But even if I use it, I don’t understand the ability of this guy either.”
“You use it, and you don’t understand it either?”
“I noticed that I became the guy who was being detested. Additionally, the ability of my weapon is absorption <Drain>. Even allies were nervous at one time because of the absorption.”
Because naturally there was no weapon description column in the game, he did not seem to know exactly what kind of effect the weapon had. Though it would actually be an absurd case if Shin knew the effect, it was because he wasn’t from this world. At the same time, he was satisfied with the reason as to why the surrounding visitors were paying attention to them, then the 【Appraisal】 skill question emerged.
“Do you know it can get appraised?”
“Well, I have attempted to get it appraised you might say, but only the name and the grade was discovered. The current ability used can’t be confirmed.”
“What is skill level of the person who did the appraisal.”
“It was Ⅶ.”
Shin was convinced he knew why it was impossible from Wilhelm’s reply. The lowest skill level necessary for confirming the ability details of weapons of 《Legend》 grade was Ⅷ, Ⅸ in 《Mythology》 grade, and maximum level Ⅹ for the 《Ancient》 grade ones. When playing the game, merchants or blacksmiths could be requested immediately by players for appraising skills, but apparently in this world, it didn’t seem to be that easy.
The dish which he ordered was served as Shin was going to give up the topic. Wilhelm seemed to have already ordered his dish, as there was a dish that Shin didn’t remember ordering.
“For the time being, shall we eat?”
“Sure, let’s eat!”
After saying “Itadakimasu”, they immediately dig in. The dish Shin ordered was the grilled thigh with bone of the Aburidori monster. Shin’s nose was tickled as an indescribably fragrant aroma was shrouded as it made a sizzling sounds.
A fragrance of the spices mixed with meat juices impacted and filled his mouth the moment he bit in it. Crispy skin and the feel of the meat coming loose softly was irresistible for the hungry Shin.
“Delicious! This is delicious!!”
“…Settle down a little and eat.”
Wilhelm was a little amazed at Shin who was vigorously wolfing it down. Though he couldn’t say that himself, because Wilhelm was greedily ate the dish with a speed matching Shin’s.
For a while, they continued to eat in silence, and then each of them sipped a cup of black tea after the meal.
“I ate Aburidori for the first time after a long absence. Even it’s name made me think that oneself is warmed.” (T/N: Aburareru means warm; grill/scorch which is almost similar to the monster’s name, Aburidori)
“It was a little charred here though.”
It was a playful name, but still, the level range of the monster was about 100. It couldn’t fly although it was a bird type monster, and it was not alert and agile, but it could breathe out flame as it was the biggest characteristic according to its name. It was the monster which was strangely popular during the time of the game.
“That reminds me, was it okay to tell me the information on your weapon thoughtlessly? Isn’t it supposed to be concealed?”
“What I said earlier, it was widely known a long time ago. It won’t change anything even if I have only told a rookie now.”
“You have a point there.”
“I’m already done eating. See you then, newcomer”
Just like he said it to a friend, Shin saw Wilhelm off. The surroundings were noisy, but Shin didn’t mind it now.
Shortly after Wilhelm left, Shin left his seat, too.
The first meeting of a High Human Rokuten and a white figure welding a devil spear, was in fact a plain and simple one.