The Black Priestess Shrine guildhouse, on the island country of Hinomoto.
Inside Tsuki no Hokora, which had been materialized in a woodland area within the guildhouse’s premises, Shin narrated his past.
About the days before the Dusk of Majesty, when this world was still the death game, when — even if for the sake of protecting innocent people — he committed countless PKs — murders.
Tiera slowly inhaled a deep breath after hearing Shin’s story.
“It’s something in the past now. ‘Oh, so that’s what happened, okay’. You can just see it like that if you want.”
Shin’s smile did not hide any shadows.
Everything would be OK.
With this conviction in mind, Tiera nodded.
“Could it be that what possessed me before was your former lover, Marino?”
The night before, Tiera had performed a ritual dance similar to the Japanese Kagura. The spirit that had taken over her body at the time housed a deep affection for Shin.
There couldn’t be many people with such deep feelings for him.
“It’s possible but….I don’t know. You snapped out of it before I could tell.”
While talking to Tiera about his past, Shin also realized that it could have been Marino.
“Aah, honestly, I don’t appreciate things like that being done through my body though.”
Tiera probably remembered the kiss as she hid her mouth with her right hand, her cheeks flushing a bit.
“Er….next time, I’ll do my best to dodge.”
Even if he had been entranced by something else, Shin felt guilty about kissing Tiera against her will.
“Er, well, I too want to know who it was that possessed me, okay? So, well, if it happens again, it’s okay to prioritize finding out who they are, you know!”
Since it was possible for it to be someone connected to Shin’s past, Tiera probably said that out of concern for him. Her words and behavior were very contradictory, but Shin chose to think that was her reasoning.
“While I’m thankful to hear that, wouldn’t you hate it if it happened again?”
“You don’t have to worry! It could happen when I’m doing priestess things too!! A-and besides…”
Tiera’s words stopped.
She held her hands together and looked around, visibly fidgeting.
“I-It’s nothing. Really nothing, so forget all about it.”
Tiera mumbled something, but in the end cut off the conversation without saying anything clearly.
The sun was already high in the sky, indicating that it was almost noon.
Tiera held her still blushing cheeks to cool them off and hurriedly said that it was time to eat lunch, thus forcibly changing the topic.
“That’s right, they’ll probably call us soon.”
Shin felt that it would have been better not to press the matter further, and agreed to Tiera’s proposal.
They both stood from their chairs and exited Tsuki no Hokora. Tiera, who was walking ahead of Shin, suddenly turned around.
“Thank you for telling me such a painful story, Shin.”
“No need to thank me. Pretty boring, wasn’t it?”
“Not at all. I’m glad I could know more about you.”
Tiera replied with a smile.
She did not regret learning about Shin’s past. Her expression stated that clearly.
“Actually, that scene from my past that you saw…I used to see it often in my dreams.”
“Your mother’s memory?”
“Yes. The time when I first met you too, I would dream about it sometimes. Every time, I would get awful headaches and feel depressed for the whole day.”
Tiera spoke while looking up at the sky as they walked towards Black Priestess Shrine’s guildhouse. Shin had returned Tsuki no Hokora to its compressed form.
“But ever since I received that from you, I haven’t had that dream anymore.”
“You know, this.”
Tiera then took out the Geyl coin from her robe that Shin had given her when they first met. The coin reflected the sunlight and sparkled vividly.
“I feel at peace when I hold this. Maybe because there’s your magic power inside.”
Shin looked intently at the coin and noticed that it indeed had the same aura as the items inside his item box.
“It isn’t supposed to have an effect like that, but I’m happy if it’s useful to you…why don’t we make it into a pendant? So you don’t risk losing it.”
Tiera kept the Geyl coin in a small pocket with metal fastenings.
It was also very valuable in this world, after all. Shin thought that the more closely it could be kept, the better, so he made that suggestion.
“That would be a great help, but is it alright?”
“We can do it in a flash. After all, metal forging is my strong suit.”
“Please do so, then.”
Shin stopped, took an Orichalcum ingot from the item box and, as if molding a lump of clay, quickly shaped it into a chain. He then took the coin from Tiera, molded the Orichalcum around it, fixed it to the chain and finished the pendant.
“Oh, could you make the chain longer, please?”
“Longer than this? How much?”
Shin increased the chain’s length as Tiera requested, even though he felt that it had become too long to wear the pendant around the neck.
“Did you really want it this long?”
“Yes, that’s right. Most people would think it was a fake, but experienced people could tell that it’s real. I need the chain this long so that other people can’t see the coin. If it’s here, no one can see it as long as they don’t come close to my face and peek, right?”
Tiera then leaned forward a bit and pulled down the neck of her shirt to show Shin the coin’s position.
No matter how much he knew it was not right, Shin’s gaze was drawn to Tiera’s cleavage. The Geyl coin, attached to the long chain, was nestled right in the middle.
“I-I see. That’s why you needed it that long.”
“Yes, that’s….s-see? If someone comes this close I can react, right!?”
Finally realizing that the stance she had taken put her bosom in full view, Tiera hurriedly stepped back. Her cheeks flared red again.
She seemed shaken and quickly looked all around to make sure that no one else had seen them.
“Sure, that much is nothing.”
The two started walking again. Soon enough, they met Schnee and Yuzuha, who were also headed to the guildhouse, and joined them.
“Did you finish talking with Kuchinashi?”
“Yes, I’ll tell everyone when we are with Filma and the others. Looks like there’s new trouble brewing.”
The enemies the Black Priestess Shrine’s guildmaster, Kuchinashi, talked about, the Seven Deadly Sins, grew more powerful as the event progressed. Their location was currently unknown, but it would be better to defeat them as soon as possible.
Thinking that it was better to also have the Golden Company research their whereabouts, Shin decided to send a message card.
When Shin’s group arrived at the guildhouse they found Filma and Shibaid with Oodenta Mitsuyo and Onimaru Kunitsuna, two of the Five Supreme Blades, already sitting at the lunch table.
“Sorry for the wait, the talks went on longer than expected.”
Shin apologized to the slightly irritated Mitsuyo. She had let him and Tiera have time alone, so he was thankful for that.
“Lord Shin, as you can see she is feigning a lack of interest, but Mitsuyo has been fidgeting all this time, wondering when you would come back.”
Kunitsuna, an excited grin on her face, looked as if she were positively enjoying herself as she made her report.
“Hey, Kunitsuna!? What are you even saying now!?”
“Did I say something wrong? It’s rare to see the proud Mitsuyo all restless like that after all.”
Kunitsuna probably hit where it hurt. Even while glaring at her, Mitsuyo’s eyes darted towards Shin.
“No, nothing at all. Let’s eat, first of all.”
Mitsuyo looked like she was blushing: her glare was thus not scary at all, but Shin felt that poking her further would prove dangerous, and decided to leave it alone.
“Do any of you have any plans for the rest of the day? Kuchinashi told me something interesting, so I’d like to let you all know too.”
Shin proposed discussing the Seven Deadly Sins, to which all present agreed.
After the meal, the whole group assembled in the room assigned to Shin.
“…..the Seven Deadly Sins, hmm. Clearly they can’t be ignored, but there’s not much we can do until they are found, is it.”
“Agreed. 500 years ago, the players used human wave tactics and somehow pulled through. Our group doesn’t even have 10 members, we just don’t have enough manpower for that.”
After hearing what Shin had to say, Schnee and Filma replied: the former with a very serious expression, the latter while shrugging.
When Shin said that he already requested the Golden Company to search for the monsters, the group agreed to wait for a reply.
“So there are creatures like that in this world…”
Mitsuyo seemed impressed to learn of the existence of such monsters, to which Shin replied brightly.
“We’ve never seen their final forms, though. Though considering Fuji’s fighting power, I’m sure it’ll be alright as long as a pack of final forms doesn’t gather.”
“If the Five Supreme Blades are together, it would take a really tough enemy to take us down, yes.”
Mitsuyo and the other Blades, like Kagutsuchi of the sacred mountain Fuji, were treated as boss monsters in the game. Because of this, both their stats and HP were much higher than the players.
They surpassed the players’ max values of 9999 by far, so if they fought together, even raid bosses would be felled.
Now that Kunitsuna and Dojigiri Yasutsuna had returned, their defenses could be said to be perfect.
“Tomorrow, if nothing else comes up, we’ll go back to Fuji. The earlier you’re all back together, the better, I’m sure.”
Shin was kind of concerned about Mitsuyo’s somber look, but as business was done, the group split.
Nothing of particular importance happened afterward: after dinner, Shin was swinging his 『Kakura』 in the small garden where he had found Tiera the previous night. He was wearing a bathrobe supplied by Black Priestess Shrine, as to be able to go take a bath right after training.
“You got a bit better than last time we fought.”
Shin thrust 『Kakura』 into the ground and turned towards the voice. He was focusing on training, but had noticed Mitsuyo approaching.
“Whew, if you say that, it means that it was worth the effort.”
Mitsuyo stepped out of the corridors’ shadows into the moonlight. She had removed her shoulder and breast armor: now she was only wearing an oriental-style attire with a miniskirt.
“We’re going back to Fuji tomorrow, right?”
“Yes, I doubt anything else will happen here anyway.”
The group had not stayed in the guildhouse after clearing the dungeon because they were wary of possible dangers. The miasma in Cadaver Realm had been purified thoroughly, so there was little to no chance of anything new arising.
“I see. If so…could I ask you one last request?”
Mitsuyo had come talk to him by herself probably because she didn’t want Schnee and the others to hear.
“I want you to use me. Even just for practicing techniques or something.”
“You mean, that I would just have to swing the katana 『Oodenta Mitsuyo』?”
“Yes, that’d be enough. …but rest assured, it doesn’t mean that I feel anything for you.”
Mitsuyo probably saw through Shin’s thoughts, because she gave a little troubled laugh.
Mitsuyo’s actual body was owned by Kagutsuchi, but the 『Oodenta Mitsuyo – Shinuchi』 she currently inhabited was Shin’s possession, so he could comply with her request if he wanted.
“Got it. That much is nothing.”
Thinking that he had said the same line earlier in the day, Shin took Oodenta Mitsuyo -now in katana form- in his hands. The unsheathed blade glistened under the moonlight.
Shin attached the sheath to his robe’s belt, gripped the hilt with both hands and took a stance.
From a frontal straight stance, Shin went to upward diagonal, downward diagonal, sweep, then thrust.
He added Saegusa Karin’s teachings to the techniques he had learned from a certain person during the game. What he learned were just the basics, though. Much of Shin’s style was self-taught.
The sound of the katana cutting the air and Shin’s shouts resounded through the garden.
Thus around 10 minutes passed.
Mitsuyo’s Mind Chat—-in katana form, she couldn’t talk, so her voice directly reached Shin’s mind — gave the signal, and Shin stopped.
“It’s enough, thank you.”
Mitsuyo, back in human form, had a faint smile on her lips.
“Did this mean anything for you?”
“There’s no special meaning. I told you that I have no special feelings for you, right?”
Even so, it looked like being wielded by Shin had meant something to Mitsuyo, as she looked satisfied.
“I wanted to be wielded as one of your weapons, even just once. If there was any meaning, that was it.”
“Not that wielding one of the Five Supreme Blades was unpleasant, of course.”
“I know. You have a powerful katana you’re attached to, right? I’m a weapon too, so I’m honestly a bit jealous of a katana treasured like that.”
Mitsuyo then returned to her room, saying that she would be turning in.
Left alone in the garden, Shin looked up to the sky with mixed feelings in his heart.